Utah Travel Tips from Kait Miller, Blogger of Real Food Gypsy

Conversations with Locals

Kait Miller is the blogger of Real Food Gypsy. Originally from North Carolina, she now calls Salt Lake City home. Kait reveals the hiking trails to go for, where to head for lunch, and why you should steer clear of the Great Salt Lake. 

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Photo: Real Food Gypsy

What should travellers know about Utah before heading there? 

In the summer, bring a jacket! It’s hot during the day, but it’s dry heat. At night it cools down a lot and there’s no humidity. It’s like the desert, so definitely bring the jacket.

What do you feel defines the cuisine in Utah? 

Utah is unique. Since it’s in the West and close to California, Arizona, and New Mexico, you may think that the cuisine is Southwestern. At least that’s what we thought when we found out we were moving here three years ago. We were so wrong! Utah is a lot like the South, where I’m originally from (North Carolina). It’s traditional American-inspired food and you can find diners and burger joints all over. What’s also unique is that there are a ton of Italian and pizza restaurants.

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Utah without trying? 

This is easy! Hands down the beef stroganoff from The Copper Onion. The noodles are handmade, the beef is from Snake River Farms in Wyoming, and the sauce is incredible. Everything is locally sourced and it shines in every dish, especially this one.

I’ll also say fry sauce. It’s not a dish, but a condiment. Utah is known for it, and it just tastes better here. 

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The Copper Onion. Photo: Real Food Gypsy

What about your favourite restaurants?

I have several favourite spots, most happen to be in Park City or Salt Lake. The Copper Onion for their burger and stroganoff, HSL for their pork shank and general tso’s cauliflower, Publik for their delicious coffee and thick toast, Fletcher’s for their salmon, Alamexo for their chicken enchiladas, Harvest for a delicious breakfast, and Pizza Nono for the best wood-fired pizza in the city. 

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Photo: Real Food Gypsy

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HSL. Photo: Real Food Gypsy

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Utah

Yes – the Great Salt Lake! It is the most underwhelming thing you could do. It stinks and it’s just really sad to look at. A complete waste of time.

Describe the perfect way to explore Utah

I would start in Salt Lake City and adventure through the canyons and mountains. There are beautiful hikes in Cottonwood and Millcreek Canyons. A few of the prettiest places to hike are Lake Blanche, Bell Canyon’s Waterfall, Cecret Lake, White Pine Lake, and Albion Basin to see the wildflowers. You may even see a moose or two! Then escape to Park City to experience Main Street or some world-class skiing. On your way to Southern Utah, stop by Fifth Water Hot Springs in Provo. After you’ve exhausted Northern Utah, head down and explore the National Parks. Moab, Zion, and Bryce Canyon will take your breath away. There is nothing like it.

Name one best kept secret of Utah

Fifth Water Hot Springs in Provo. It is absolutely stunning in rain, snow, or shine, sunrise or sunset. It’s a fun experience.

What about your favourite spot for a weekend getaway in Utah? 

Park City! We love escaping there. It doesn’t matter if it’s during ski-season or summer time, there’s always a ton of outdoor activities going on. They have amazing restaurants on Main Street and all the resorts have farm-to-table dining. It feels like a vacation and it’s only a 30 minute drive from Salt Lake. 

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Photo: Real Food Gypsy

What should travellers bring home with them from Utah? 

Honey! We are known as the Bee State and there is local honey everywhere. Creamed cinnamon, raspberry, blueberry, you name it. It’s incredible.

 

WHERE TO EAT IN UTAH


The Copper Onion

Where: 111 East Broadway #170, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA
For: Beef stroganoff

HSL Restaurant
Where: 418 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA
For: Viewspork shank and general tso’s cauliflower

Publik Coffee Roasters
Where: 975 S W Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA
For: Coffee and thick toast 

Fletcher’s Park City
Where: 562 Main St, Park City, UT 84060, USA
For: Salmon 

Alamexo
Where: 268 State St #110, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, USA
For: Chicken enchiladas

Great Harvest Bread Bakery
Where: 140 N 400 W, St George, UT 84770, USA (and more) 
For: Breakfast 

Pizza Nono
Where: 925 East 900 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, USA
For: Pizza 
 

WHERE TO GO IN UTAH 


Cottonwood Canyon
Where: Cottonwood Heights, Utah, USA
For: Hiking

Millcreek Canyon
Where: 3800 Millcreek Canyon Rd, Salt Lake City, UT 84124, USA
For: Hiking

Lake Blanche
Where: Lake Blanche Trail, Salt Lake City, UT 84121, USA
For: Hiking

Moab National Park
Where: Moab National Park, Utah, USA
For: National parks

Zion National Park
Where: Zion National Park, Utah, USA
For: National parks

Bryce Canyon National Park
Where: Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA
For: National parks

Fifth Water Hot Springs
Where: Diamond Fork Rd, Springville, UT 84663, USA
For: Hiking

Park City
Where: Park City, Utah, USA
For: Skiing

Oahu Travel Tips from Katherine Lou, Blogger of Wander Hour

Conversations with Locals

Cali girl Katherine Lou is the blogger of Wander Hour, and has called Hawaii home since five years ago. Katherine divulges where to go for poke, Oahu’s snorkelling spots, and why you should not miss out on Oahu’s Chinatown. 

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Photo: Wander Hour

What do you feel defines Hawaiian cuisine? 

Native Hawaiian cuisine differs from local cuisine in Hawaii. Therefore, I feel there are many things that define the cuisine of Hawaii. When I think of native Hawaiian food, I think of kalua (pig) and poi (taro) amongst many other things. The type of food that you find in a traditional luau is more in tune with Hawaiian cuisine. Even better, family parties here serve some of the best native Hawaiian food and they put so much love in their dishes!

When I think of local food, which is entirely different from the native cuisine, I think of the melting pot of different cultures that contribute to it. There are strong Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, etc. influences in the local cuisine here. Overall, both native and local food are delicious. Most places are big in using local ingredients, so very often, the food is fresh – especially the fish!

What is the one local dish you feel travellers can’t leave Oahu without trying? 

You cannot leave Hawaii without eating fresh poke, shave ice, and haupia (coconut pudding)! 

What about your favourite restaurants?

My current favourites would be Maguro for their spicy ahi poke, Marukame for their fresh udon, ARVO for their cute coffee and aesthetics, and Helena’s for the Hawaiian food. At Helena’s, I love their pipikaula which is a type of dried beef and their haupia. For shave ice, I love Waiola.

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Waiola Shave Ice. Photo: Wander Hour

Name some tourist traps travellers should avoid in Oahu

There aren’t many to speak of, but don’t spend your entire week in Waikiki. It has its charms but venture out! There’s so much more to see! 

What is the one activity travellers should do in Oahu? 

When you go to Honolulu (in Oahu), put aside some time to hike the many trails! 

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Photo: Wander Hour

What about the best spot to catch the sunset? 

The best place to catch the sunset in Hawaii would be from the North Shore, which is about an hour’s drive from Honolulu. If you’re in Honolulu though, Ala Moana Beach Park might be a good place!

Where are some of your favourite snorkelling spots? 

When the water is calm during the summers, Shark’s Cove in North Shore is a good place to snorkel! Hanauma Bay is also good! Always be aware of your safety even if it’s summer. A lot of visitors and locals underestimate the power of Mother Nature! That said, I wouldn’t recommend snorkelling at North Shore around winter time. During winter, the North Shore gets some of the biggest waves and lots of surfing competitions happen around this time. 

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Photo: Wander Hour

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Photo: Wander Hour

Name one best kept secret of Oahu

The best kept secret would be Chinatown! Tourists normally don’t head to Chinatown in Honolulu but you can find some of the best restaurants there like Maguro which is my favourite place for poke, The Pig & The Lady, Livestock Tavern, and Lucky Belly. There are also cute boutiques, bars, and coffee shops in Chinatown! 

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Lobster roll at Livestock Tavern. Photo: Wander Hour
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Lucky Belly. Photo: Wander Hour

Describe the perfect day trip 

If you’re staying on the island, a perfect day trip would be driving east from Honolulu and around the island, and stopping at one of the many beaches. Continue towards North Shore and stop by the shrimp trucks such as Giovanni’s, then head back down to Honolulu.

If you’re feeling real adventurous, hop on a plane to Maui! Just a short 40 minute flight to Kahului from Honolulu, you can rent a car and drive around the island. My favourite stops would be Ululani’s for their shave ice. Drive up to Haleakala which is out of this world – it literally looks like Mars! If you leave early enough, check out the waterfalls on the Road to Hana. The whole drive can take about 6 hours back and forth depending on how many stops you make! 

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Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Photo: Wander Hour

 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN HONOLULU


Maguro Brothers Hawaii
Where: 421 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
For: Poke bowls

Waiola Shave Ice
Where:2135 Waiola St, Honolulu, HI 96826, USA
For: Shave ice

Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Where: 1240 N School St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Hawaiian food

Marukame Udon
Where: 2310 Kuhio Ave #124, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
For: Udon

ARVO
Where: 675 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
For: Coffee

The Pig & The Lady
Where: 83 N King St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Vietnamese food

Livestock Tavern
Where: 49 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Lobster rolls and burgers

Lucky Belly
Where: 50 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
For: Ramen and dumplings

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Where: 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
For: Shrimps
 

WHERE TO GO IN HONOLULU


North Shore
Where: North Shore, Waialua, Honolulu, HI, USA
For: Sunsets
Ala Moana Beach Park
Where: 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
For: Sunsets
Shark’s Cove
Where: Pupukea, Oahu, Honolulu, HI 96712, USA
For: Snorkelling
Hanauma Bay
Where: 100 Hanauma Bay Drive, ueber Kalanianaole Highway, Oahu, Honolulu, HI 96825-2005, USA
For: Snorkelling

LA Travel Tips from Michelle Madsen, Style Blogger of Take Aim

Conversations with Locals

Michelle Madsen is the style blogger of Take Aim, with countless Instagram-worthy coffee posts to satisfy every caffeine junkie out there. She lives and breathes downtown LA, and has scoured the streets for the best brunches and coffees. We get the lowdown on her list of coffee drinking haunts, what to wear for LA’s long summers, and her must-bring skincare item whilst travelling. 

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Photo: Take Aim

 

Where can we go to see your favourite view in LA?

One of my favorites is at Griffith Observatory. You can see so much of the city and it’s a very peaceful place to visit.

How is the food in LA different from other parts of the US?

In Los Angeles, we have a lot of ‘small bites’ restaurants, which are great for appetisers and sharing. There are plenty of healthy options and we cater to dietary restrictions like gluten-free and vegan.

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Photo: Take Aim

 

What is the one restaurant you feel travellers can’t leave LA without trying?

My husband and I have a favourite place downtown, called Cole’s. It is one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles. It has a lot of history being open during the prohibition and has claimed the origination of the french dip sandwich. It’s a fun environment with great drinks and has a speakeasy within the restaurant called Varnish. The Varnish is an underground piano bar with live music and top mixologists serving up a ‘bartender’s choice’ if you like to experiment.

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Photo: Take Aim

 

Where are your favourite spots in LA for a good cup of coffee?

There are so many great ones but my favourites downtown are Blue Bottle, Stumptown, Classic Coffee, and Verve.

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Coffee at Verve Coffee Roasters. Photo: Take Aim

 

Where are your favourite restaurants or cafés in the city?

In downtown, my favourites are Bar Amá, Perch, Wurstküche, Sugarfish, KazuNori, and Little Bear.

What are your wardrobe essentials for LA’s weather?

Lightweight outerwear like denim jackets, blazers, knit cardigans.

Where are your favourite shopping areas in LA?

I really love all the shopping happening on Abbot Kinney in Venice!

Where are your favourite beaches in LA?

Malibu and Santa Monica Pier are the ones I go to most often.

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Photo: Take Aim

 

What is the one beauty advice you would give to travellers?

In general, I’ve learned to bring masks when I travel. My skin always gets dry with a change of weather but when I do a mask at night my skin always feels moisturised in the mornings.

 

WHERE TO EAT IN LA


Cole’s
Where: 118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, United States
For: French dip sandwiches

Blue Bottle Coffee
Where: 8301 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, United States (and more)
For: Freshly brewed coffee

Stumptown Coffee Roasters
Where: 806 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021, United States
For: Sustainable coffee

The Classic Coffee
Where: 862 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, United States
For: Breakfast

Verve Coffee Roasters
Where: 833 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014, United States
For: Coffee and pastries

Bar Amá
Where: 118 W 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States
For: Tex-Mex food

Perch
Where: 448 S Hill St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States
For: A rooftop dining spot and French food

Wurstküche
Where: 625 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, United States
For: Sausages on the grill

Sugarfish
Where: 600 W 7th St #150, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States
For: Traditional sushi

KazuNori
Where: 421 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States
For: Sushi hand rolls

Little Bear
Where: 1855 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021, United States
For: Belgian beer and grilled cheese

 

WHERE TO GO IN LA


Griffith Observatory
Where: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027, United States
For: A view of the city

Abbot Kinney
Where: Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291, United States
For: Shopping

Malibu
Where: Malibu, CA, United States
For: Beaches

Santa Monica Pier
Where: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Suite A, Santa Monica, CA 90401, United States
For: Beach parties