Portland Inspiration Album

Just some of my favorite pics from my week long trip to inspire you to plan a trip to Portland, Oregon! Enjoy the delicious eats, beautiful scenery, and unique PNW vibe 🙂

 

Flying into the PNW

 

Tonkatsu Ramen from Marukin

 

The Voodoo Doll from Voodoo Donuts

 

International Rose Test Garden

 

International Rose Test Garden

 

Hoyt Arboretum

 

Pad Thai from Baan Thai Restaurant

 

Council Crest View Point

 

Burgers and truffle fries from PDX Sliders

 

Old Salmon River Trail in Mount Hood National Forest

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Old Salmon River Trail in Mount Hood National Forest

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The Reggie from Pine State Biscuits

 

Oceanside Beach

 

Oceanside Beach

 

Oswald State Park

 

Pittock Mansion View Point

 

Pittock Mansion

 

Lunch at Breitenbush Retreat

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breitenbush hot springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs

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Oregon really has it all. The amazing hikes, the beautiful beaches and coast, and of course a vibrant city with a delicious food scene and wild nightlife. If you’ve been considering a trip to Portland, book it! Just one week was all it took for me to completely fall in love with the city.

Love,
Di

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Breitenbush Review: The Clothing Optional Hot Springs in Portland

Breitenbush is a clothing optional hot spring and lodge about two hours outside of Portland. The whole wellness industry is big here, and you’ll find centers for it scattered all around the city. Most of them involve paying a set fee for a sauna and hot tub soak, massages, acupuncture, yoga, or all of the above, and Breitenbush is no different.

The retreat center has a large lodge, hiking trails in the scenic Mount Hood National Forest, multiple hot springs, massages, yoga classes, a meditation sanctuary, and cabins for overnight stays all spread across their remote piece of land. It sounded so very “Portland” to me that I just had to go check it out for a day, and of course write this Breitenbush review to tell you all about it!

 

lodge at breitenbush

 

Costs and Reservation

Breitnebush offers a sliding scale of payment, which means that a day pass can cost you anywhere from $20 to $35. They’ll just ask you on the phone and you can pick what you’d like to pay. I also had to pre-order any meals I wanted for $15 each. I opted for lunch only (served from 1-2), but they also have breakfast and dinner daily.

The actual reservation process is pretty old school. It’s still not possible to make one online (but you can check availability here) so you’ll have to call during business hours to lock in your slot and pay with a card over the phone.

 

river at breitenbush

 

Getting There

Breitenbush really prides itself for being off the grid, so they have no wifi or cell service and getting there can be a little tricky. The drive is two hours from Portland, and the retreat sits just outside the tiny town of Detroit, Oregon.

When I made my reservation, Breitenbush sent multiple emails that stressed that the backroads are treacherous and if I tried to use GPS I was doomed to be lost in them forever… but that’s not the case. All you have to do to get there is plug “Detroit” into your GPS, and once you arrive you can follow the signs for a few miles until you arrive at Breitenbush. Easy.

 

What to do at Breitenbush

The most popular activity at Breitenbush is definitely soaking in the clothing optional hot springs. They have four man-made spiral pools on one side of the land, and three natural pools on other with varying heat levels. The last one is the hottest, and also requires absolute silence.

I enjoyed soaking in the springs for a couple hours during my trip, especially when a family of five deer came and ate in the field right in front of us! It was cool to connect with the wild so closely, and I won’t deny it’s an extremely unique experience. The view from all of the springs are beautiful, but the last silent pool was definitely my favorite.

 

breitenbush hot springs

 

Because I arrived around 11:30am, I only had about an hour before it was time for the 1pm lunch in the cafeteria (or you can opt for silent eating in the library as well). I felt like I was back in school lining up and hitting the buffet, but honestly the all-vegetarian food was really good. The menu is ever changing but I thoroughly enjoyed the falafel sandwich, salad, and basil lemonade.

After lunch, I went on a short hike on the trails and then soaked the hot springs again. Around 3:15 I decided I was done, hit the showers, and packed up to leave. However, heading out at 4pm was a mistake because I reached Portland juuuuust in time for that rush hour traffic. I’d recommend timing your departure either earlier or later to make sure you miss it.

 

sandwich and salad for lunch at breitenbush

 

So, Would I Go Back?

Honestly… no. I really wanted to love it and feel ultra-relaxed, but the truth is I just wasn’t a huge fan.

I like wifi and meat, I suck at yoga, and I get bored in quiet places. I know there are plenty of people who are into meditation and getting unplugged to find their inner self, but the vibe just wasn’t for me. It was kind of relaxing, but by the afternoon the pools were starting to get cloudy (ew) and I was definitely ready to go after only four hours at the lodge.

If Daniel had been there though, I think I might have enjoyed it more. I’m glad I went, but I also thought $40 payment was a bit steep and think there’s other, better things to do in Portland for the price (like go for a free, easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest and then use that money on dinner, drinks, or a million other things).

 

river at breitenbush

 

Breitenbush Review

Honestly, I know that there are plenty of people who love this place and I really get why they do, but the Breitenbush retreat isn’t for everyone. It has its pros: nice mountain views, delicious food, and natural hot springs, and some cons: far from Portland, kinda pricey, and no wifi or cell service.

You all know yourself best, and know if you’d enjoy the place or not! If you’re interested, give it a try and let me know what you think!

All my love,
Di

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Old Salmon River Trail: An Easy Hike in Mount Hood National Forest

If you’re looking for an easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest, the Old Salmon River Trail is a great choice.

When my sister and I went visited Mount Hood in late March we thought we would be able to hike anywhere, but we were so wrong. The snow was still packed in on almost all of the trails! Unfortunately we were not prepared for snowshoeing or winter hiking, so we had to return to the Zig Zag Ranger Station and the trails at the start of the forest, where the snow was melted.

We asked for an easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest, and the ranger recommended Old Salmon River Trail. It’s almost two miles out and back (four miles total) and has very little incline. It’s also located in a surreal and stunning moss covered forest along the banks of the wild and rushing Old Salmon River.

This hike does NOT have views of Mount Hood, but if you’re in the park on a rainy or cloudy day and want to experience the classic PNW atmosphere, this is a great choice for any and all skill and fitness levels. The best way to get there is to just plug the “Old Salmon River Trailhead” into your GPS, or stop by the Zig Zag Ranger Station that’s just a minute or two up the road for directions.

If you’re still on the fence, check out my photos below to see why you should add this easy hike in Mount Hood National Forest to your Portland to-do list!

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

old salmon river trail, portland, oregon

 

The Old Salmon River Trail is beautiful, easy, and a great hike during the spring or fall when options in Mount Hood National Forest are limited from the snowfall. Explore the trail, enjoy the scenery, and comment below to let me know what you think!

All my love,
Di

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Instagram Makes it Look Easy: The Truth Behind Life in a Prius

No agenda to keep, new cities every week, and a weirdly strong opinion about Taco Bell.

It might not be what 28-year-old Jordan Thornsburg expected when he graduated from Miami University in 2012, but the daily grind of post-grad life in Dayton, Ohio had him rethinking his priorities.

Some people buy an RV, others renovate a van… Jordan Thornsburg lives in his Prius. The videographer and creative mind behind Macroscope Pictures has been living in his car since March 2017, and gave me a glimpse into his incredibly unique and often hilarious life on the road.

Where, how, and most of all, why? He answered all of my questions and more about a lifestyle we’ve all thought about in passing, but never really had the guts to make happen.

 

Leaving His Old Life Behind

As with most major life-altering decisions, it all started with a break up.

“I had a really great relationship that ended right before 2016 when she decided to move to the UK and I did not. That severance was the catalyst for a lot of soul searching about the course I wanted my life to take. According to a 2010 census bureau survey, Ohio residents are the 3rd most likely to still live in their state of origin.  I knew I wanted to defy this trend, but I didn’t know where to start. How exactly does one decide where they want to spend their life when they’ve experienced so few of the options?” 

Although traveling the country seemed like a faraway, fleeting thought, it soon turned into an obsession. He scoured Youtube daily for ideas, saved money for months, and finally landed on his escape plan.

“A few DIY projects and Goodwill drop-offs later, I quit my job, and on March 1st, 2017 I told Siri to set a course for yonder.”

So, what makes Jordan different from the rest of us? Not much, really. He’s just a college grad who was underwhelmed by the monotony that adult life often becomes. Traveling the country and living in his Prius was the solution, and so far, he’s loving it.

Jordan recommends the lifestyle for “those who seek to challenge themselves, collect less bullshit space-consumers, and live while they’re alive. You can work for 50 years at the same job in your hometown saving smart for a retirement of travel adventures, but not only are you going to be the least physically capable of enjoying it you’ve ever been, there is also no guarantee you won’t die before the time comes.”

And if you need a little more inspiration…

“We gave a manbaby [Trump] access to a button that could trigger the end of every conscious creature on the planet. Go for broke!”

 

 

The Day to Day Life of Living in a Car

Many of the basic amenities we take for granted in an apartment are non-existent in a Prius. So, what exactly does the day-to-day routine of a car dweller look like?

“Ironically while I set out intending to escape routine, I ended up discovering its value. When you are hopping from one place to another nearly every week, keeping a routine that sets you up for physical and mental flourishing becomes much more challenging.”

Jordan hoped that getting away from the distractions of every day life would help him become a better version of himself. So far, it’s a work in progress… 

“On an ideal day I go to the gym, meditate with Headspace, chip away at a creative project, cook, journal, and read/listen to philosophically enriching or educational content. The daily reality involves failing to do half of those things, eating out, and wasting time on Tinder.” 

 

The Basics

I’m glad Jordan mentioned Tinder, ’cause I was feeling like it was time to get pretty up close and personal. Specifically, how does showering work when you live in a Prius without running water? The answer is “hobo hygiene,” and it’s easier than you think. He pays $32 a month for a YMCA membership that grants him access to 2,700 gyms across the country, effectively solving all the problems associated with trying to smell like an upstanding citizen while living in a car. 

 

 

Internet Access

Showering may be one thing, but internet access is a whole different beast when living on the road. Can you imagine life without unlimited wifi? For Jordan, that’s been one of the toughest aspects of the lifestyle, but also one he’s grown to appreciate in a certain way. 

Jordan “shares” (aka uses 95% of) a 15gb month family cell phone plan with his parents. Even that’s not enough, though, and local libraries and Starbucks have become frequent haunts for him. Still, limited internet access could be a blessing in disguise for a lot of us who have become addicted to our screens. 

“An unlimited data plan is very tempting, but at the same time I actually appreciate the limitation. It’s an incentive to put my phone into airplane mode and experience the world, rather than sit in my car and gorge on Netflix.”

 

Food

Most Priuses don’t come with an open kitchen plan, and cooking outside on the hitch on the back of a car sounds less than ideal. Still, it can and does happen (although, pretty infrequently). Jordan only owns a single fold up burner, a spoon, and a pot.

To be honest this sounds like my own personal version of hell, but some people just really don’t care that much about food variety. When your fridge is a high-efficiency cooler only sporadically refilled with ice, something’s gotta give. 

“Despite having all the gear I need to make meal magic, I can’t help myself from analyzing the time and resource investment it takes vs. optimized drive-thru fast food orders. My diet right now is in large part made up of healthy choices from Taco Bell.”

He usually opts for one of two options every time he goes. Two mini skillet bowls fresco style or two tostadas fresco style (no chipotle sauce!) both run him only $2 – $3 for a filling 300 calorie meal.

 

 

Sleep

You can’t just park overnight wherever you please. Living in a Prius involves a certain amount of stealth, and Jordan’s sleep game has been slowly evolving over the year.  “I started out sleeping in Walmart parking lots. Later, I discovered how much I get a kick out of sleeping in a downtown area where a hotel would cost a fortune.” Jordan will let you aspiring Prius dwellers in on a little secret: “most metered parking spaces in excellent locations don’t start charging until 8am.”

If you can get your ass out of bed early (not too hard when the morning sun is cooking you, Jordan says) these become convenient places to settle down for the night. And when he’s not checking out new cities, Jordan likes to sleep in nature. “Lastly,” he says, “I got hip to the wealth of Bureau of Land Management properties, where you can camp for up to 14 days straight free of charge.” He also recommends Freecampsites.net as an enormously helpful resource for car dwellers in the country.

 

Let’s Look at the Finances

We’re all wondering it, so I asked it. How can you make money when you live in a car?

Well the honest truth is… you don’t. Jordan saved up money before he went on the road so he has the freedom to go where he wants, when he wants, and only take on paid work that he really enjoys.

Over the past year he’s worked on freelance shooting and editing projects and a few corporate video gigs. However, most of his time is spent working on passion projects, like the #ShotsOrShots drone challenge he and his friends complete every week on his Instagram, or the videos showcased on his Youtube channel, like this promo he made for the Summer Shadows Tour.

 

 

On average, Jordan spends between $500 and $650 a month to live in his Prius, depending on how often he goes out for dinner and drinks with his friends. However, I noticed that health insurance wasn’t listed on his budget breakdown. Jordan may be different from most millennials in a lot of ways, but the cost of health insurance is still f*cking up his life like the rest of us.

Instead of doctors, Jordan uses “peppers to absorb my toxins and crystals I bought on Ebay to provide healing energy.” He’s just kidding though.. kind of.

“I use the kind that’s imaginary and I pay $700/year in penalties. I looked into buying healthcare and it would cost me $3000/year and not even begin covering me until I’ve spent something like $5000 out of pocket. On principal, I’d rather die.

 

Lifestyle: The Pros and Cons of a Living in a Prius

Since Jordan started traveling, he’s been able to spend weeks in each of the top three cities he always wanted to live in: Denver, Austin, and Los Angeles, and that’s just the start. The list of places he’s traveled to was over 30 entries long, including Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and national parks throughout the west.

I wondered if there’s a car or van life culture that’s hidden to the untrained eye, and Jordan says he’s met a few others like him. However, the lifestyle is so nomadic that he didn’t really see any common threads that tie them all together. “I’ve been surprised about how much variance there is. Variance in upbringing, wealth, motives, political affiliations, physical health, mental health, diet, etc. But if you judge the “culture” by the 25,000 youtube channels on the topic, you could begin to think they’re all vegan bloggers.”

As far as the worst parts about living in a car, Jordan says it’s hard to keep a healthy morning routine, and (despite the amount of time he spends on Tinder), dating is difficult and the logistics of his love life have become pretty interesting.

However, one of the best parts about it is pretty clear. He has “the freedom to pick up and go wherever I want, whenever I want. My friend was talking about how she really wanted to visit Taos, NM. One Google search and an hour later, I was on my way there.”

 

 

Stand Out Moments

Every adventure has it’s memorable moments, and Jordan’s is no different. We discussed some of the scariest events that he’s been a part of on the road.

“In New Orleans I found myself feeling extremely tired, so I pulled over to take a nap in an unfamiliar part of town. After putting in my ear plugs and masking my eyes, I heard what was very clearly gunshots. Despite this realization, I drifted to sleepy boy land. Next I woke to a cop shining his flashlight through my windshield. ‘This is not the place you want to do what you’re doing,’ he told me. He was obviously right.”

What’s as scary as gunshots and cops in the night? Easy: “Being on a road in Texas. Any road.” Jordan has found driving in the Longhorn state to be more terrifying than anywhere else he’s been in the US.

“You’ll often hear excessively long horn blasts and dramatic skidding to a stop. During one week there I saw two minor collisions. Another time I was first on the scene where a vehicle ran off the road and tumbled into a ravine. The driver was fortunately okay enough to crawl out and attempt to act sober… That said, I still love Texas.”

 

 

So, How Long Will it Last?

Traveling the world is fun but can also be romanticized, and I know it’s definitely possible to get disillusioned with the nomadic lifestyle. I asked Jordan if he has any plans to get a permanent place soon, and put the Prius lifestyle behind him for good.

“I don’t have an end date in mind but I’m not in any hurry. With my Prius I feel like I’m lacking nothing, and the cramped space reinforces my motto: Sleep in your car, live in the world.” 

Right now, finances are fine and life on the open road has only just begun. He gets to see the world, push his creative limits, and hopefully become a better version of himself along the way. Exploring and creating are major perks, but most importantly for Jordan “living a life self-defined comes with a sense of pride.”

 

Jordan lives in his Prius so he can make videos for YOU. Follow him on Instagram, subscribe to his Youtube channel, and check out his site at Macroscope Pictures. 

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America’s Dining Culture is Super Strange… Here’s Why

I spent the first 22 years of my life in this country and never gave America’s dining culture a second thought. Listen up though… this situation is nuts. America’s dining culture is WEIRD AS HELL. There are literally zero aspects of it that are replicated anywhere else in the world because pretty much none of it makes any sense at all.

After spending over three years living abroad on three different continents, I realized that we are pretty much doing it all wrong (although a few of our dining practices are quite enlightened and really should catch on elsewhere…) Read on to see the good, but mostly the bad, of America’s dining culture compared to the rest of the world.

 

 

Money Madness

Paying for a meal abroad is so dang simple. You look at the menu, choose a meal, then pay the listed price. The end.

In the US, estimating your total bill is pretty much impossible and the final cost is usually a complete surprise due to two reasons: tipping and tax.

 

Tipping

Lets start with the tip. Tips are supposed to be based on service and encourage great work from the waiters and waitresses. However, at some point that got warped and now a 20% tip is completely expected. Just yesterday I had a dinner where the waitress accidentally brought me three ciders instead of the one I ordered, brought my husbands food before mine, completely entered the wrong order, and forgot to give my husband the sauces he asked for on the side.

Guess what we still tipped her? Yep, 20%. Because Americans have successfully been conditioned to feel guilty if they don’t. Now, a 10% tip is reserved for basically the worst service imaginable, and if you don’t tip at least 18% every time you are literally a monster.

 

Tax

The second reason why payment at restaurants is a total crapshoot is because of tax. For some unknown reasons, the taxes in the US are not included in the price like they are EVERYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH. Why? Why add it at the end?? No one knows, but everyone accepts it. So, be prepared to blindly pay a couple bucks extra for every meal on top of the menu price and tip.

BTW for those of you saying, just calculate the tax when you order, it’s not that easy. Remember, some states tax food and drink and store items. Some only tax products in stores, but not food and drink. Some tax neither. Some only tax food and drink if you consume it in the restaurant, but not if you get it to go… yeah. Good luck keeping all that straight and completing “Beautiful Mind” level calculations in your head to properly estimate the price of every meal.

 

Bringing the Bill

The last and weirdest aspect of America’s dining culture when it comes to money is that waitresses bring the bill without asking. I totally thought this was the norm until I moved abroad and realized this is actually SO. RUDE. Everywhere else in the world, you can sit and chat and browse dessert, cocktail, and coffee menus to your hearts content. The waitstaff would never dream of bringing the bill without being explicitly asked. This is because they make a living wage and feel no need to rush out every table to get more tips.

In the US, I’m always surprised now when the waiters bring our bill. Usually, I’m still taking my last bites. They almost never ask if we want another drink or anything else to eat before they do. They pretty much lay it on the table and expect us to pay it and GTFO asap. I just paid ridiculous prices for this meal, can I sit and digest it for a minute before you make it clear you want me gone? This aspect is due to the tipping culture, both of which need to be remedied in my opinion.

 

Food

America’s dining culture is also weird because it has conditioned us to accept and expect horrible produce. For example, one common food that most children hate is tomatoes. They’re weird and mealy and overall a pretty controversial food. Once I went abroad, I realized tomatoes are actually delicious when they’re grown without ten million pesticides and genetic modifications. In fact, so many fruits and veggies actually taste completely different and way more delicious outside of the United States, like strawberries, cucumbers, and avocados just to name a few.

Buying produce abroad is also a completely different experience than in the United States. Confusingly, the US adds tons of chemicals and whatevers to their produce, but it still goes bad so fast. When I lived in Italy, the UAE, and Colombia, I was always surprised because my produce never. went. bad. Seriously, it would last like three weeks. Something strange is going on with US produce, and I don’t like it one bit.

 

Time

Ok, we got the money and the food issues with America’s dining culture out of the way. Now on the to super weird time issues!

 

Fast Service

When I eat out in the US, food comes sooooo fast! The waitress will hand you the menu and pretty much immediately ask if you want to order. I’ve found after living abroad I have to tell her I’m not ready to order two or three times in a row before I finally have enough time to look at the menu and decide what I want (and even then, I still usually feel rushed).

After you order, your appetizer will come in about 10 minutes, and as soon as you take the last bite (or even before) your entree will arrive. Eat it in about 15 minutes and the bill will be on your table. It’s honestly normal to be in and out of a restaurant in less than an hour. This weekend, our food took about 30 minutes and the manager was so apologetic he gave us one of them for free… I didn’t mention that I was actually happy for the “slow” service.

Abroad, and especially in Europe, I’ve found that eating out is a much slower and longer experience for two reasons. First, eating is more of a cultural thing and families and friends are expected to linger over meals to chat and connect. Second, the waitstaff isn’t relying on tips to make money so they have no reason to rush out each table to get on to the next. It actually makes their work easier to have the tables linger while eating.

If you’re wondering if not tipping means terrible service abroad, I found it did not. It was definitely a little slower and the waiters weren’t quite as friendly, but I will gladly take that for a properly paced meal and low or no tip.

 

Early Dinners

People in the US eat so early!! I think this is also part of the reason why we have such an obesity problem. If you eat dinner at 5pm and go to bed at midnight, there’s a seven hour window without food (that most of us and me included usually fill with snacking). It doesn’t really make any sense at all.

When Daniel and I live abroad I find our meal times, even in our own home, shift later and later until we find it normal to eat around 7:30 or 8pm every night. Every time I head home for the holidays and my mom has dinner on the table at 5pm, I’m shocked all over again.

 

 

The Best Things About America’s Dining Culture

I’ve been bitching for awhile about my least favorite things about America’s dining culture. But, there are many totally awesome aspects to it as well (still very very weird, but awesome none the less). Here we go!

 

Drinks

The number one best thing about America’s dining culture is FREE WATER! F R E E  W A T E R wahooo. Huge soda drinkers might not even notice this anomaly when traveling outside of the US, but ew. I pretty much only like to drink water or alcohol. Unfortunately, restaurants across the world do not offer glasses of water for free! I never want to spend $2 or $3 on a bottle of water though, so I end up buying a soda or a beer just to feel like “I got my money’s worth.”

After all that complaining about tipping in the US, I’m just realizing as I write this that the basically forced purchases of drinks in restaurants abroad probably adds up to spending about the same amount of money. Daniel and I got around this by pretty much just bringing our own water bottles out to eat whenever we went and declining to order any drinks at all. Trashy? Maybe, but I found when I asked for tap water I often got declined and hey, I like water with my meals and hate overpaying for it!

Along with the free water comes the free refills. I have had to teach myself to ration my drinks when I eat out abroad because one glass just isn’t enough for a whole meal, and you will never, ever, find me paying for two. So, that sucks. Free refills needs to be a thing around the world, come on guys get it together!

 

Coffee

American coffee is the best. Most other countries only serve espresso and espresso based drinks. I was seriously confused the first time I got a coffee in a cafe in Florence and it was so tiny! I like my coffees giant and, you know, coffee flavored. If I drink a giant cup of espresso it’ll either taste like hot milk (ew) or I get the jitters from caffeine overload.

I also found that when I’m traveling and do find a coffee place, I can only order it black. Asking for “a little bit of milk” means I’ll get it almost white, and just ordering it with cream or milk means it will be whiter than snow and sweeter than candyland. Baristas outside of the US uniformly cannot be trusted to add milk or cream to a coffee without destroying it. I found myself drinking lots of black coffee or being that super annoying customer asking for it on the side to do it myself. Sorry guys. American coffee is the best, and something I always miss when I live abroad.

 

Food

Offering free bread or chips and salsa before a meal is the pinnacle of human achievement. And no, not only do American restaurants give a small serving to enjoy while waiting… it’s a huge basket that is constantly refilled before and during the meal! Literally unheard of anywhere else in the world, but the best.

When Daniel and I lived in the UAE, we found ourselves going to American chains every now and then just to get free rolls with our food because it felt like home. Even most Mexican and Italian restaurants abroad make you pay for bread baskets or chips and salsa, and I just don’t abide by this practice. America, your generosity in this matter does not go unnoticed. Thank you for being you.

The second thing I noticed when abroad was that it was totally normal for restaurants to have items on the menu that they did not have in the restaurant. In the US, you may be told a restaurant is out of something you want once a year. Abroad, it’ll probably be once a meal. However, this may be changing in America too because of the push to source locally and farm to table and all that, but there are so many chains here it will probably always apply.

I think this is because the restaurants abroad actually use seasonal/unfrozen products, and people generally have no problem being told no. Americans, on the other hand, will write a scathing yelp review before the words “Sorry, we’re out” completely leave the waiters lips.

 

The People

Ok, the last thing on my list of American’s weird and terrible and great and strange dining habits (whatever this blog post turned into) is that there are noooo pushy sales people in restaurants in America. Phone stores? Sure. Car dealerships? Definitely. However, restaurants are generally a customer service dream. I found when I was abroad (mostly in the most touristy places) that peoples’ sole job was to come up to me on the street and try to shove a menu in my hand while convincing me to eat in their restaurant.

N O. Respect my personal space. This is the fastest way to make sure I never eat there cause the second I see you approaching I WILL run to avoid conversation. I appreciate the American people’s total disinterest in me until I am actively seated at a table.

 

Wow. Ok. This got really long. But the truth of the matter is that America’s dining culture is frickin’ weird and the world needs to know.  Nonamericans, do you notice these practices when you travel to the US? Americans, what do you think when you eat abroad and it’s totally different? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below!

All my love,
Di

 

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The Complete Dayton Brewery Guide

It’s about time for a complete Dayton brewery guide. I’m home from the holidays, and have made it my mission to visit, review, and let you know about not just the best breweries in Dayton, but ALL the breweries in Dayton. That meant visiting five in one day (for research of course) and creating and cataloguing a list of the rest that are outside of downtown. If you’re ready to drink local, this Dayton brewery guide has everything you need to know.

 

Location: Downtown Dayton

There are six breweries in downtown Dayton, and five of them are within walking distance of each other. Uber downtown to hit the first one and create your own local Dayton brew crawl by walking to the rest. If you want to visit all six, I recommend hitting ’em in this order…

 

Carillon Brewing Company

Ok, let’s start with the outlier. This is the only one not within walking distance of the others on my Dayton brewery guide, so it should be either first or last on your list.

Where: 1000 Carillon Boulevard, Dayton, OH 45409
I recommend: Checking this out if you’re a history buff, because they make beer with the same equipment and recipes as they did in historical Dayton.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: The Carillon Brewing Company is located in the beautiful Carillon Historical Park, which makes it a perfect day trip all on its own. Walk around the grounds and museum, and then visit the Carillon Brewing Company for lunch or dinner and a couple pints. Just be warned, though, the only house brews here are sour beer… it’s worth trying, but definitely is an acquired taste!

Next: Drive to Fifth Street Brewpub to start your walking tour of Dayton’s breweries

 

Fifth Street Brewpub

Where: 1600 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45403
I recommend: Start your walking brewery tour of Dayton here! Also, try the mint cookie stout.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This pub is unique because it’s in a restored house, and because it is a nonprofit organization. The pub is run as a co-op, so you can buy ownership with a one time fee of $125 and receive discounts for the rest of your life. The Fifth Street Brewpub regularly holds charity events and donates to local organizations, and any leftover profits at the end of the year are invested back into the bar. It’s great because not only do they do good, but they also brew good. We tried eight of their nine home brews on tap, and they were all delicious. My favorite was definitely the mint cookie stout! Sooooo tasty, and perfect for the holidays.

Next: walk 13 minutes to Toxic Brew Company

 

Toxic Brew Company

Where: 431 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402 (the Oregon District)
I recommend: Visiting this if you’re only going to one, because of its awesome location in the historic Oregon District.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This brewery is in the heart of the Oregon district, so it’s super convenient to visit, and usually has a pretty chill ambiance. I like it because their house brewed beers are good, and they also serve some other local beers as well as meads, wine, and mixed drinks. So, it definitely has something for everyone. There’s also free popcorn and boardgames to play, which is always great. If you’re visiting the historic Oregon district, definitely don’t miss Toxic Brew!

Next: Walk 7 minutes to Warped Wing Brewing Company

 

Warped Wing Brewing Company

Where: 26 Wyandot St, Dayton, OH 45402
I recommend: Ermal’s Vanilla & Cranberry Cream Ale was my favorite, but I also enjoyed the Piroque Black with Coffee, 10 Ton Tiramisu Stout, and trying their Esther’s Lil Secret Winter Ale made with Esther Price chocolates!
Learn more here

Why you should visit: Warped Wing is located in a giant industrial building and has a cool ambiance. It was named after Dayton locals Orville and Wilber Wright’s invention of a flexible “warped wing” for their airplanes, the missing link that allowed them to be the first in flight (and no, North Carolina can’t claim them no matter how badly they want to.) The super high ceilings and large windows in Warped Wing make it the perfect place to day drink. You can also see back into the brewery itself, and even take tours for $10 on Sunday afternoons. Warped Wing Brewery is great because their branding has a super old school cool retro Dayton look, and they had 20 of their own beers on tap. It was interesting to try some very unique brews!

Next: Walk four minutes to the Dayton Beer Co.

 

Dayton Beer Company

Where: 41 Madison St, Dayton, OH 45402
I recommend: Visiting in the summer to enjoy the outdoor beer garden, and also bringing your pup along to their dog-friendly outdoor patio
Learn more here

Why you should visit: The Dayton Beer Co. is encouraging the city to “Think Dayton, Drink Dayton” which I absolutely love. They pride themselves on being Dayton’s first local brewery in 50 years. The Dayton Beer Co has a huge selection of beers, from their own home brews (I think there were about 13 on tap when we visited) and from around the state and country. Their coffee beer was one of the best I had tried all day. If you want a large selection and outdoor seating, this is the brewery for you.

Next: Walk 4 minutes to Lock 27 Brewing

 

Lock 27 Brewing

Where: Dayton Dragons Plaza, 329 E. First St. Dayton, Ohio, 45402
I recommend: The ghost pepper beer! It’s super spicy but has a great chocolatey flavor. Also, try the food. The wings, pretzels, and salmon we ate were all amazing.
Learn more here

Why you should visit: This is the second location for Lock 27 Brewing, but they still have the equipment and make their beers in house. They had seven or eight of their own beers on tap, and we tried six of them. The ghost pepper beer was probably the most unique flavor I have ever tasted, and the spice lingered in my mouth for a good couple minutes after each sip. The IPA was also good and not too bitter, which I like. My favorite part of this brewery was the food though. The soft pretzels and dry rubbed wings were both delicious, and the salmon was really flavorful too. If you need to eat, I think this brewery is the one for you.

Next: This is the end of the Dayton brewery tour! You can still check out some other awesome local bars within walking distance, though, listed below…

 

ProtoBuild Bar This is only 3 minutes walking distance from Lock 27 Brewing. My dad really wants me to include this one, because apparently it’s a 3D printing lab and bar all rolled into one? I’m honestly not too sure how it works, but it sounds interesting. Read more about it here, and if you visit comment below to let me know how it is!

Crafted and Cured This bar is near the Oregon District, only a few minutes from Toxic Brew Pub. The bar has 60 beers and ciders on tap, and an old fashioned vintage ambiance. They also have a meat and cheese bar, where they serve delicious charcuterie platters. Finally, you can grab some beers or a bottle of wine to go from their retail selection as well. The food isn’t cheap, but it’s unique, delicious, and presented well. You can learn more about it here… it’s definitely worth checking out in my opinion.

 

 

Ok, these are the six companies that make up my Dayton brewery guide. However, I’m not gonna leave it at just that! I also took the time to track down the names and locations of every brewery within reasonable driving distance, for those of you that are ready to branch out for more. I haven’t been to these yet, but am hoping to check a few more off my list while I’m home for the holidays. Eight more local breweries as listed below, sorted by location.

 

Miamisburg

Star City Brewery Company  319 S 2nd St, Miamisburg, OH 45342  Website

Lucky Star Brewery  219 S 2nd St, Miamisburg, OH 45342  Website

 

Centerville

Heavier Than Air Brewing Co.  497 Miamisburg Centerville Road, Centerville, OH 45459  Website

Lock 27 Brewing (original Location)  1035 South Main Street Centerville, Ohio 45458  Website

 

Springboro

The Crooked Handle Brewing Co.  760 N Main St, Springboro, OH 45066  Website

 

Vandalia

The Hairless Hare Brewery  738 W National Rd, Vandalia, OH 45377  Website

 

Kettering

Eudora Brewing Company  4716 Wilmington Pike, Dayton, OH 45440  Website

 

Yellow Springs

Yellow Spring Brewery  305 Walnut St, Yellow Springs, OH 45387  Website

 

Beavercreek

The Wandering Griffin  3725 Presidential Dr, Beavercreek, OH 45324  Website

 

Well, there you have it. The complete Dayton brewery guide, not just of the best breweries, but all the breweries. Cause if you’re a beer lover like me, I know you’re gonna want to try them all! Do a walking tour of the five breweries downtown, or take a short trip to hit up the rest. As always, comment below to let me know what you think!

All my love,
Di

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