I have to admit that my amazing trip through Northern Idaho completely exceeded all my expectations. If you didn’t get the chance to read about my adventure, check it out here!
And, who knew I would have no problem finding great vegetarian options while exploring the area? Not me! I was sincerely impressed with the array of vegetarian (and even vegan) options pretty much everywhere we went. I’ve included some of my favorites by city, check them out in this guide here.
Pend d’Oreille Winery– Adorable restaurant and winery in downtown Sandpoint with a great selection of wines, delicious food and live music. Make sure to order their awesome pizzas!
Beet and Basil– Globally inspired elevated street food with a great outdoor patio along the water. Make sure to get the vegetarian banh mi sandwich, I still think about it!
Heart Bowls – Found in the awesome food truck court, loved these healthy bowls to start the day.
La Catrina– Also in the food truck court, this vegetarian tostada was excellent. So fresh and tasty.
Sky House at Schweitzer Mountain- Stunning views and delicious food, definitely recommend stopping by. I had this vegan “tuna” sandwich made from chickpeas and loved it!
Panhandle Cone & Coffee– A must-visit and popular spot in Sandpoint. Of course, I had to get at least one scoop of the local huckleberry ice cream. YUM!
Blackboard Marketplace– Cute spot with coffee, pastries, food, ice cream and gourmet marketplace. We were so hungry when we stopped here, I didn’t even take a picture of my sandwich. Oops! It happens. But, I do recommend for a visit.
I hope this guide helps while you explore the stunning landscape and amazing outdoor activities in Northern Idaho. So many great vegetarian eats are there for you to discover. Let me know what are your favorites 🙂
Please Note: While this post is in collaboration with Idaho Tourism, all opinions are my own.
Over the past several weeks I’ve had the chance to discover a game-changer platform called Mercato, which delivers the best specialty and local food shops right to your doorstep. During these pandemic and extreme weather times, Mercato has become a new best friend!
Not only are the website and app extremely user friendly and easy to use, the entire process from order placement to delivery has been seamless every single time. You can easily browse each vendor, all the grocery offerings and then schedule a one-hour time frame for your delivery, even for future dates.
Here is a highlight of my experiences so far using Mercato. I am officially hooked and will definitely be ordering again and again!
Pita Inn Market– Most everyone in the Chicagoland area is familiar with the popular restaurant chain Pita Inn, but many do not know there is a wonderful Pita Inn Market that sells Middle Eastern groceries and some favorite staples from the restaurant like fresh baked pita, hummus and babaganoush. I decided to make a Mezze Platter and ordered all my must-haves, while also discovering some fun new Middle Eastern delicacies. My family LOVED this platter, and I can’t wait to recreate it when I can host parties again in post-pandemic times.
Metro Spice Mart– The opportunity to have Indian groceries delivered downtown is life-changing. I’m not kidding. When the only option to purchase Indian groceries back in the day was to make the trek to Devon Street and buy everything at once, having Mercato deliver these groceries to my home was truly a moment in time I will never forget. Not only that, I was so impressed with the variety and multitude of options you could purchase from the Indian stores such as Metro Spice Mart. I wanted to make something quick and easy, so I ordered several varieties of stuffed, frozen parathas as well as all the ingredients to make a boondi raita yogurt dip. Perfect for a meal or Saturday brunch and took literally 15 minutes to make.
Masalas Groceries– Because I was simply so blown away by having Indian groceries delivered, I just had to do it again! This time I ordered from a different store called Masalas Groceries and got everything to make masala dosas, including all the fresh items like cilantro, potatoes and ginger. I had seen ready made dosa batters being sold in Indian grocery stores and never tried one before, so I figured this was a great opportunity to try it out (we got the Priyems brand). Let me tell you, it was awesome! So easy to use and made very tasty dosas hot and fresh at home.
I know I sound redundant when I keep saying Mercato has been a game-changer, but it really has. I have sincerely enjoyed discovering this platform that is helping support local grocers in our communities, while also creating a way to discover cool shops I would probably not have found on my own.
You should definitely try Mercato and use code ‘vegtourist’ to get $10 off your first purchase. I am confident you will love this delivery platform just as much as I do. 😊
Please Note: While this post is sponsored by Mercato, all opinions are my own.
For as long as I can remember, Hawaii has been on my bucket
list of places to visit. I’ve grown up seeing this magical place in tv shows,
movies, magazines, travel fliers, you name it. It always just seemed like this
mystical land that I knew I’d one day make it to. And, I’m happy to say, that I
can finally cross off Hawaii (well, Kauai only) from my list. I’ve become so
enamored, that I know I need to see and experience more of the island life
again sometime soon.
When I mentioned to others that I was going to Hawaii,
almost every single person made the same comment; if you can only go to one
island, Kauai is the one you should go to. It’s very lush, has lots of outdoor
activities and is unbelievably beautiful. While I don’t think you can go wrong
visiting any of the Hawaiian Islands, I’d say this sentiment is on point.
Kauai is also known as the filming site for many popular
movies like Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name
a few. That should help paint a picture of this rugged, tropical landscape. With
the famous Na Pali Coast and stunning beaches, Kauai truly is paradise. I’m
sharing some of my favorite things we had the chance to see/eat/do during our 5-day
There is honestly so much to see that I think no amount of time will feel like enough. We did SO much in our 5 days and I feel like we barely scratched the surface. I’m listing just a few favorites out of all of that we had the chance to see.
Waimea Canyon- Absolutely not to be missed, I kept calling it the “lush Grand Canyon” cause that is what it looks like. Make the drive to the lookout for the most spectacular views.
Na Pali Coast- Another place that can’t be missed is the Na Pali Coast. One of the places I was most excited to see on this trip and it’s worth seeing it from any vantage point you can (air, sea, land).
Kilauea Lighthouse- Not only a picturesque lighthouse, but also some fantastic views of the edge of the Na Pali Coast.
Spouting Horn- Right along the coast line, I like to describe Spouting Horn like the ocean version of Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. It’s a tall shooting geyser
ALL the beaches- We stopped as at many beaches as we could, but I know there are many, many more! Each was beautiful in its own way 🙂
I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of vegetarian food on Kauai and I have to say I was blown away at not only how many options there were, but how fresh everything was. We had some fantastic meals and treats, and here’s a highlight of some favorites.
Island Taco– Some of the best ever cilantro lime tofu tacos as well as bean and spiced rice enchiladas.
Jo Jo’s Shave Ice– A must while visiting Hawaii in general; shaved ice! This one from Jo Jo’s was special because we got the pineapple and coconut shaved ice, but found underneath it all was macadamia nut ice cream. So delicious!
Moloaa’s Sunrise Juice Bar– A great recommendations from my friend Amanda. This roadside stop had so many fresh juice and smoothie options as well as great breakfast and sandwich options.
Java Kai– Loved this adorable spot in Kapaa and I had the best ever iced macadamia nut latte. Wish I could have another one right now.
The Right Slice– OMG do not leave without getting the mango pie! It was to die for (I only got a picture of the blueberry pina colada though). Wish I could’ve brought an entire pie back!
Thai Food Coconut Corner- This spot had great vegetarian options and we really enjoyed the pad Thai as well as tofu curry with pineapple.
Kalapaki Bay Sunset Cruise– No joke, we landed at the airport, picked up our rental car and head straight out on a sunset catamaran cruise with Kauai Beach Boys. This cruise is situated on the Hulei’a River in Kalapaki Bay, so different than all the other sunset boat cruises along the Na Pali Coast. We had a blast on this chill cruise, where we sipped on delicious tropical drinks and enjoyed the beautiful views. What an amazing way to kick-off a Hawaiian adventure!
Hiking the Kuilau Ridge Jungle Trail– An absolute must while visiting Kauai is a hike through one of the many trails on the island. The lush, green, beautiful landscape lends itself to a plethora of options from pretty easy to probably one of the hardest, steepest hikes around. I choose to go the more easy-moderate route on this trip with Kauai Hiking Tours. While the elevation was not that difficult compared to other hikes I’ve done before, what got me on this hike was all the mud! It definitely made for a fun adventure and my first time using hiking poles on a hike. I had a blast though and our awesome guide Jeremiah was so knowledgeable and took us to some great look out points. At the end of the hike, we also got to see the famous rainbow eucalyptus trees, which are something cool I’ve never see before!
Auli’i Luau– One of my bucket list items for many years has been to go to a luau in Hawaii and I can finally put a check mark next to that box! One of my biggest concerns though has always been how much (if any) vegetarian items would be available. I was beyond excited when I saw that not only does Auli’i Luau have very clearly marked vegetarian (and vegan and gluten-free) options, but it’s the only beachfront luau in Kauai. It was a no-brainer then that we made it a point to experience Auli’i Luau. The setting, drinks, food and performances were spectacular and we had a great time (even though it did rain on and off). If you’ve never been, a luau is definitely something fun to experience, especially when in Hawaii.
Na Pali Sunset Cruise– One of the most famous coastlines in the world belongs to Kauai; the Na Pali Coastline. There are many sunset cruise options available and we had the chance to go out with Kauai Sea Tours. I’ve been on many excursions around the world and I have to say this was one of the best ones I’ve ever been on. Everything from the catamaran itself to the crew, hospitality, service and food/drinks were exceptional. Of course the views were out of this world…that majestic coast line with all the vibrant colors and cliffs truly took my breath away. A work of art by Mother Nature. And, the biggest and probably best surprise of them all was the sheer number of whales that we saw! There must have been at least 30 whale sightings on our trip and that honestly brought the biggest smile to my face. The sunset was spectacular on the evening we were out and all in all, one of the best cruises I’ve ever been on, hands-down.
So, as you can see, we covered quite a bit in just 5 days. What an amazing adventure and I can’t wait to visit more islands of beautiful Hawaii. Until we meet next time, I’ll have these amazing images etched in my memory forever. Love you Kauai!
Please Note: While some experiences were sponsored, all opinions are my own.
There is a first time for everything and this was my first time flying United Polaris international business class. What an unbelievable experience flying from Chicago to Paris in comfort and style. And, when I say in style, I really mean it.
Upon arrival at Chicago O’hare International Airport, I used my TSA pre-check to swiftly get through security and head straight to the United Polaris Lounge, located right outside of gate C17. And, how lucky, our flight was leaving out of gate C18!
From the moment I entered, I knew this was going to be a great experience before boarding my flight to Paris. I took a quick walk through the massive lounge, walking by all the comfortable chairs, sleeping pods, large bathrooms with showers and so much more. United really put a lot of thought into designing this exquisite lounge.
I met up with Ashley and we immediately scoped out all of the drink options at the bar as well as the plethora of food. There was so much to choose from (and very clearly marked for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free) that I just had a hard time figuring out what to get. I couldn’t help but try a few things, because, why not?! First things first though, we needed to kick-off this adventure with some champagne.
What’s also really great is there is an actual sit-down restaurant where you can order food too at no extra charge. Unfortunately we did not get the chance to dine at the restaurant this time around, but that’s ok, I’ll save it for the next time I fly Polaris 🙂 I wish I could’ve come to the lounge like 6 hours in advance and just hung out! When does that ever happen? Usually I’m timing my arrival at the airport to get to the gate right when they are boarding. But, this was one experience where I wish I could’ve gotten there early to relax in the lounge and take full advantage of all the amenities.
Our time flew by quickly and all of a sudden it was time to head to the gate. I was so excited to get to board with Group 1 for my epic trip to France! And, how fortunate, our plane was one of the newly outfitted aircraft with the updated Polaris seating pods. Seat 5A, here I come!
I’m Ready For Takeoff to Paris photo credit: @mushroomstew
Having a private pod was hands-down the best airline seat I’ve ever had. It was such a comfortable, cozy little area and I felt like I could relax, sleep, watch a movie, eat, whatever, and no one would know otherwise. I also really appreciated all the lovely amenities like the Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, the Sunday Riley skincare and even the white terrycloth slippers so I could really get settled in.
Saks Fifth Avenue and Sunday Riley Products on Polaris
Getting Comfy In My Slippers on Polaris
Being vegetarian, I always request the Asian Vegetarian meal when I fly. We enjoyed a three course meal which included a salad starter course (lentil salad, green salad, naan and bread) and then the main course (paneer, spinach and mixed vegetables with yellow saffron rice) with the best for last, the dessert cart! A cart full of options from mini pies to little cheesecakes to a make-your-own sundae option are all there for the taking. I tried all the things (duh) and I’m telling you, that hot fudge sundae is honestly one of the best sundaes I’ve ever had. You can imagine I made sure to have it on the way home too!
First Course For Dinner on United Polaris
Main Course Indian Meal
The Polaris Dessert Cart!
The Best Hot Fudge Sundae Ever!
Stunning Sunset During Dinner
After our filling meal, I got cozied up and fully reclined my seat to lay flat to get some rest. I used the eye mask to cover my eyes and slept for a solid 3 hours. I woke up to the crew getting ready for our breakfast service. Already? Didn’t I just eat? I had another great Indian meal and poof, we were landing in Paris. Honestly, this was the fastest 8 hour flight I’ve EVER been on. If only every flight could be like this.
Asian Vegetarian Breakfast on United Polaris
Approaching Paris Half an Hour Early!
Not only that, we landed half an hour early in Paris!!! I didn’t think this flight could get better and it just did. Overall, I can’t rave enough about my experience on United Polaris. Everything from the comfort to the service to amenities were top-notch and now I’ve officially been spoiled for life. If you have the chance to fly United Polaris, I highly recommend it. It is definitely going to be my preferred choice when flying international.
Please Note: While this post is in partnership with United, all opinions are my own.
Calling all my wellness and spa friends (that should really be ALL of you). I’m here to tell you I’ve found the BEST Ayurvedic Aromatherapy products I’ve ever come across in my life. No seriously. The brand is called Subtle Energies based out of Australia and you can find it here in Chicago at The Peninsula Spa (at all of the world-wide Peninsulas as a matter of fact).
What sets apart Subtle Energies from other products I’ve come across is how pure the products are. “Subtle Energies creates results-based aromatherapy, natural skincare and wellness solutions founded on authentic Ayurveda principles. The range is created with intent to address multiple skin and body concerns, whilst delivering high performance results empowering one’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.” They use a process sourcing the highest grade of oils, by extracting the quality active ingredients, rather than crushing the plants for extraction, like most others do.
The results are the purest, highest quality products available. Having just returned from India, I came across many Ayurvedic products while out shopping or during a spa visit and each and every time I would think, these are no where near the luxurious quality like those of Subtle Energies products. That’s a testament in of itself.
I’ve now had the chance to try the full skin care line at home, as well as most of the essential oils. I can genuinely say that each time I use any of the products, morning or night, it completely centers me and brings me to the present to appreciate the amazing aroma from each product. I really love all the products, but if I could only choose one, it would be the facial blend serum. I’m obsessed with the scent of mogra (Indian jasmine) and every time I apply the serum to my face, I close my eyes and just enjoy that deep, pure scent. It’s true that using these products are more than just a physical sensation; it truly incorporates mental and emotional well being.
I also had the chance to try out the Subtle Energies Holistic Anti-Aging Customizable Facial at The Peninsula Spa and it was straight up glorious. Not only did I feel completely relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards, I was mesmorized by the heavenly scents and my skin was glowing and so soft. It was just the reboot my skin needed after the long, harsh winter we had in Chicago this year.
Moral of the story: you need to try out all of the Subtle Energies products. I simply can’t rave enough and it’s become such a part of my daily routine. I’m starting to run low on my products so I’ll definitely be stopping by The Peninsula Spa to restock. I can’t survive without them now.