My Two-Week Adventure in the Mediterranean ✈️

My Two-Week Adventure in the <b>Mediterranean</b> ✈️

So much has happened in such little time. All so surreal that I have to pause at moments to pinch myself, just so I know I’m not lost in some dream.

From having an amazing trip, maybe the best yet! Yes, exhausting, as we moved around every day trying to explore as much as we could; San Francisco to Vienna to Prague, Croatia, Greece, Switzerland & back home. Rey and I were planning this one for some time & we wanted it to be extra special. What I didn’t know was just how special this trip would end up being, as I said yes to marrying my best friend & the love of my life in Mykonos, Greece. Rey & I have known each other for ten years, we’ve done so much growing together that I couldn’t picture myself with anyone else. He’s the one & officially my forever.

Ok ok, this blog wasn’t meant to be a love story nor a diary of how my proposal went, so back to the point. I previously listed some of the places where we landed and explored, all in two weeks! Now, instead of boring you with details and making this all about me, I’ve compiled a list of highlights in hope that it will inspire you and maybe help guide your next trip.

Can’t Forget, Won’t Forget! My Top 10

Setting Foot on Charles Bridge, Prague

It was our first full day in Europe & I was struggling (bad jet lag). I couldn’t understand how Rey was so full of energy and ready to take on Prague. He was so excited about going to Charles Bridge that I agreed to it. I knew about it, but it wasn’t until I walked across, up the bell tower & saw the view that I was able to fully appreciate it. On and across the bridge lie years and years of history and it was all so beautiful.

Soaking in Prague 🍺

The moment I learned that soaking in beer was a thing in Prague, I was in! Rey teased me a bit for being so excited about this so-called beer spa. I mean, above everything else we had planned for our two weeks in Europe, all I could think of was beer! Soaking in beer, drinking unlimited amounts of beer, wouldn’t you be excited? In the end, it was everything I expected & more…Beer Spa Bernard is the one, don’t forget to make a note of this one.

Hiking from Split to Kašjuni Beach, Croatia

In between eating and drinking, getting some sort of workout in is so so crucial for me. A five-mile hike with a view from Split to a small little beach called Kusjani wasn’t only the best workout we got in two weeks, but the most memorable.

Walking the City Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik, the Pearl of the Adriatic. Just imagine walking its city walls & being able to take in its beauty from all angles and heights. The ocean breeze hit our cheeks as we climbed up and around, taking in every view that came our way. A camera with full battery and memory space is needed for this one…I mean, especially since it’s where much of Game of Thrones is filmed.

Island Hopping Croatia

I’m a coastal girl & I love me a beach. Taking a boat tour from one beautiful beach to another was just what I needed, especially when the temperature is hitting 90+ degrees. We soaked, we tanned, we ate & drank. From Koločep to Šipan and finally, Lopud where you can find the famous Sunj beach.

Riding a Quad Through Mykonos

ATV’s take me back to vacationing in México. Except doing this in Greece is so much better! From beach to beach, we explored the island of Mykonos and fell in love with every bit.

“I’m Engaged! 💍”, Mykonos

Rey was very excited about having dinner at this fabulous restaurant called M Eating. If you didn’t already know, the man is a foodie, real food lover. Reservations had been made months in advance & upon arriving at the small but so elegant Greek restaurant, our expectations were met. The food was delicious, champagne fit the occasion & the rest I’ll leave for another blog entry. Let’s just say, it was the best night and dinner yet.

Lost in Oia, Santorini

Santorini was and is special. An island of houses beautifully decorated in white and blue. The island is small and it’s easy and fun to get lost. It’s not an easy walk, especially when it’s hot, but the views and photography we captured were well worth it.

Watching the Sunset at Ambrosia, Santorini

Ambrosia, I learned of this restaurant thanks to a friend. Listed as one of the most romantic restaurants with an extravagant view (especially at sunset) and candlelit dinner, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience it. Rey & I watched the sunset here & celebrated our final days in Greece.

Exploring the Acropolis, Athens

Arriving in Athens felt like arriving in any other big city, cars rushing through, people going about their days; nothing too special really, but in the midst of all the madness is where the magic lies— the Acropolis. Just a hike up & you’ll find yourself surrounded by remains nearly 2500 years old, crowned by the Parthenon, arguably the most important and beautiful building in Western Civilization, and if that wasn’t enough, a stunning view of the city surrounds you. Rey & I followed an audio tour guide (by Rick Steves) and it really completed the experience.

Sigh & of course now I’m having major vacation withdrawals. Anyway, while my list was made up of ten, the memories and highlights were endless. Soooo, too soon to start planning the next vacay? I’m thinking Asia. 😊

XOXO, Jo

El Cubano Made Its Way to San Francisco 😋🇨🇺

El Cubano Made Its Way to San Francisco 😋🇨🇺

I probably should have had a full meal before attempting to write my review on Media Noche. Because, although I just had a little snack, my mouth waters as I think back and remember the El Cubano I had…not once, but twice now. 

To be honest, the reason I ended up at Media Noche wasn’t because I was on the hunt for delicious cuban food, nope, it also wasn’t for its hip interior or even its music selection (un poco de salsa). What has given this gem an extra bit of fame on Insta and with the social SF locals has been a wall of art outside its Mission restaurant (by Fnnch)…I’m talking about the pink flamingos! I know you’ve seen them. 

So, after deciding that I’d gather my gals to go and take a totally Instagram worthy pic at Media, I checked out their site & quickly realized the whole place was dope. Tile flooring, vibrant colors, banana wallpaper…it’s all so pretty, the flamingos just draw you in!

But, back to the food! I had El Cubano which is made up of roasted mojo pork shoulder, smoked ham, swiss, pickles & mustard. I’m kinda hooked now, the second time I had it was actually after looking back at a picture of it on my computer; I couldn’t resist (delivery, no shame). However, I have yet to have their special–the Media Noche sandwich, a hot, pressed Cubano with ham, pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard. Yup! And, they also serve alcohol, I had the sangria, refreshing and oh so tasty!

Now, while everything I’ve probably written up until now sounds great & appetizing I’m sure, the reason I wanted to share and support this specific restaurant, is for its uniqueness. It’s easy to find a burrito place in the Mission, because this city was once a magnet for Mexican immigrants who created the now famous burrito not too far from this location. But, what Media Noche brings to the city is some Caribbean flavors that were once rare on the west coast and I can’t wait to work my way through their menu and try some more!

So until then, ¡provecho!

Any other local recs? Always open to checking ’em out. Feel free to shoot me an email or a tweet @Joanna_Renteria. 

Photography by: Sindoora Satyavada

Eating Meat Again…Pros & Cons

Eating Meat Again…<b>Pros & Cons</b>

April of 2017, I would have reached my six years as a pescatarian (yikes)…and based on the title of this blog, we all know that didn’t happen. Boo! I blame it on the carnivore bf. 👎🏼

Just kidding…

Real talk now. I’m still not sure if my decision was the right or wrong one or if giving up meat was ever really necessary. What I can say however, is how the past few years and now months have been, how changing a diet so drastically affected me in a good and not so good way. What not eating meat and now eating meat again has done for my body, mind & lifestyle. ‘Cause, let’s be honest…it wasn’t easy! Not when you grew up eating meaty meals and delicious Mexican food (tacooooos 🙌🏼)! It’s still not easy.

So, if you’re thinking about it…if you’re curious to know, I share some of the pros and cons of switching up the diet & trying something new below. Let’s go!

PROS

Restrict Yoself, Girl

Portion control, it’s so so very important. Giving up meat meant I had to explore new ways of eating…new places to eat & that meant no fast food. #winning

Luckily, I was living in Los Angeles at the time…looking for vegetarian places to shop and/or eat also meant shopping at healthier spots, this was all for the good. While it may be a little bit pricier, you do learn to pick and choose what you eat and therefore skip out on unhealthy snacks and unnecessary foods.

Learn About Your Bodyyyy

What fills you up, what makes you and your body happy…these are all important. Every year I completed as a pescatarian, I felt more educated on the topic of food and diet, even fitness. I needed to know what gave me the right energy to perform and tone up. For example, the first year I ate a lot of soy and tofu, I learned how to substitute it for meat and complete meals as if I was eating the same…this wasn’t the healthiest idea and I quickly learned it wasn’t what I wanted to continue doing; I then learned what I wanted to substitute as protein and that sometimes food wasn’t enough, I needed supplements.

Get Down in The Kitchen

My first month as a pescatarian, I dropped ten pounds. I wasn’t planning on losing weight and I hadn’t given up meat to lose any either. What happened was that I was cooking, two or three meals a day instead of eating out and not knowing what was going into my body. I am no chef (ask around), but I can get by and thanks to a change of diet…I know how to prep some stuff without a recipe or without having to go completely out of my way.

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CONS

Blah…Low in Energy!

The second or third month of my new diet, I had moved to a new city and I was riding my bike a lot. I clearly remember having to take one or two naps a day…whaaaaa?! I had never been the type of person to nap, I actually kinda hate it. I did some research, spoke to a few people & I learned that by simply taking some B12, I was giving my body the fuel it needed…but, I went three or four months without knowing that. It was tough!

Give Me Carbs

Biggest problema any vegetarian or pescatarian will face in the first month or so of giving up meat…substituting protein with carbs! Nooooo, SMH! Luckily, I’m not big on eating bread at all times of the day, but even after the first or second month of my diet change, I would find myself craving pastas to fill my tummy…so not the thing to do. Still something I’m working on.

No Meat? Mo Problems

It’s as if giving up meat means you will forever be the topic of conversation at any dinner party… “What? Why? How? Are you sick? No…” aaahhhh…it’s a bit of a challenge doing the no meat thing and then going over to any dinner party or any party for that matter. Then, there’s traveling.  When you’re used to finding vegetarian spots to eat at, you’ll find yourself a little lost when you’re somewhere where there aren’t any. No meat can be mo problems. 

So, there you have it…the pros & cons. While I didn’t make it to my six years as a pescatarian, can’t say for sure I never will. I am grateful for having tried something different, regardless of the challenges and for making it soooo damn far. As for now, I have learned that cooking is always a better option, and everything is best when balanced. My goals to be healthy are the same…I try to only eat good meat (grass fed) & I’ve been staying away from carbs and any processed foods. As for advice, I always say “give it a try” and you’ll eventually learn what works for you and what doesn’t.

Until next time.

XO, Jo