If you’ve ever been to a good ramen shop, you know that nothing compares to the silky-smooth broth, bouncy noodles, and mouthwatering flavors you’ll find there. It’s a borderline magical experience that basic instant ramen recipes, consisting of basically nothing but powdered broth, can’t beat.
But if you don’t have a way to taste those delicious, succulent flavors right now, fear not. There are some secrets these noodle shops have been keeping in the kitchen. Luckily for you, not all of them require years of cooking experience to master.
In fact, some of the key components to an excellent bowl of noodles can be recreated in your own kitchen, using ingredients you can find in your own neighborhood.
These easy instant ramen recipes can elevate a drab bowl of prepackaged noodles to heights that neither you nor this instant noodle’s manufacturer ever dreamed of. But that’s mainly becasue they’re mass produced and meat to be quick. Quick is everywhere from instant coffee to minute rice.
This recipe imitates the classic Tokyo-style ramen bowl that’s come to be beloved all over the world. Featuring delicate flavors, fresh vegetables, and hearty pork, it’s sure to satisfy your ramen cravings.
two 3-5 oz packages instant ramen, with flavor packets
4 cups water
¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp dry sake
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch peeled and grated ginger
3 stems scallions
You’ll want to plan ahead for this recipe a little. At least half an hour before you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, for the pork. At the same time, soft boil an egg. It will need to cook for 4-6 minutes at a rolling boil.
When the oven’s preheated, cover the pork in the sesame oil, salt, and pepper, and put it in the oven for 15-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145.
Gently make cracks in the surface of the eggshells. You don’t want to break them completely. Then place them in a small container with ¼ cup of the mirin and one tbsp of the soy sauce. If the eggs are not completely submerged, add water until they are.
Put your noodles on to boil. Do not let them boil for longer than a few minutes, unless the package directions say otherwise.
While the water heats, add the dried mushrooms. Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and the flavor packets.
“Shoyu ramen” is simply ramen that heavily features soy sauce, especially as a finishing ingredient. That’s why, in addition to using soy sauce flavored ramen, you’ll want to use soy sauce in the “tare,” a sauce added just before the ramen is cooked. Make the tare by combining the remaining soy sauce and mirin with the sake, and add it to the pot.
Transfer the finished noodles and broth to two separate bowls. Once your pork has cooked and rested for at least ten minutes, slice it into small strips. Place those on top of the noodles.
Retrieve your eggs from their container and remove the shell. They should have a marbled pattern on their surface that will add to their flavor. Cut each one in half and add them to the surfaces of the bowls. Cut the scallions and sprinkle them on top.
Please note: Sapporo Ichiban Miso Flavor may have traces of non-vegan ingredients.
Two 3-5 oz packages of instant ramen, with flavor packets
Four cups water
Two oz enoki mushrooms
1 tbsp sesame oil
Three stems scallions
One small bunch cilantro
½ oz pickled bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
1 inch stem ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tbsp lime juice
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 ½ tbsp miso paste
Sauté the mushrooms briefly in the sesame oil, until they are soft. Set them aside.
Boil the noodles for 3-5 minutes or according to the package directions. As they boil, prep the scallions by trimming the roots and chopping the rest into small pieces, and pick the cilantro leaves from the stems.
Skim a little hot water from the boiling noodles and combine it with the miso, then stir them together until there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth and runny. Add it back into the pot.
Add the flavor packets to your noodles. As soon as they dissolve, add your mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar and lime juice to the broth.
Separate the ramen into two bowls and top with the cilantro and scallions. Serve immediately.
Two 3-5 oz packages instant ramen, with flavor packets
4 cups of water
3 large chicken thighs
2 tbsp peanut oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 oz bok choy, rinsed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp chili oil
1-2 whole dried D’Arbol chilies or 1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp rice vinegar
¼ cup chopped peanuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the chicken with peanut oil, paprika, and the salt and pepper. Roast the chicken thighs for 45 minutes, flipping them halfway.
Once the chicken is out of the oven and resting, heat the sesame oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add the garlic and brown it slightly.
Once it’s browned, add the chili powder or whole chilies and the coriander powder to the pan and toast your spices gently. Separate your rested chicken meat from the bone. Turn the heat down to medium low and add your chili oil.
You can make your own chili oil, but if you don’t have the time, your local supermarket or import market most likely carries some. Once it’s added to the pan, add your chicken meat and your bok choy and saute them with the spices until the bok choy is wilted.
Boil your noodles for 3-5 minutes or according to the package directions, and add the flavor packets. Tip your pan full of bok choy and chicken into the pot and add the entirety of the contents to the ramen, including any leftover oil or whole chilies.
Separate the ramen into two bowls and top with chopped peanuts. Serve immediately.
While it’s nearly impossible to make restaurant quality ramen out of the instant stuff, it is possible to capture some of the magic you’d find in ramen that was made by a professional. The key to great instant ramen recipes is, above all else, creativity.
With a few tweaks and the addition of fresh meat and vegetables, you can have a delicious dinner budget-friend dinner ready without spending the time and money on rich and traditional broth and noodles.
When cooking’s off the table—some healthy takeout while sipping on your favorite breakfast smoothies could be the way to go when you’re not in the mood for this tasty Japanese meal.
Since he was a child, Elon Musk has been doing some really impressive stuff. To describe Musk as a visionary would simply be an understatement. Many people (especially the Redditors on r/wallstreetbets) are huge fans of Elon, but it can be difficult to map his life, let alone his success. As with both magnates and tech visionaries, the easiest way to get the full picture is to start at the beginning.
Elon Musk’s legacy begins when he’s born in Pretoria, South Africa.
At just 10 years old, Musk begins teaching himself computer programming.
Two years after his quest to master programming, Musk creates a video game written in BASIC called “Blastar”. He sells it to a company for $500.
1988 – 1989:
At the start of his adulthood, he dodges the mandatory South African Military Service by moving to Canada where he studies at Queen’s University.
Wanting to pursue the American Dream, Musk transfers to the University of Pennsylvania and studies both Physics and Economics.
After receiving his two Bachelor’s degrees, Musk co-founds and codes a software called Zip2 with his brother Kumbal.
Musk sells Zip2 to Compaq for $307 million and gets a 7% cut leaving him with $22 million.
Later in 1999:
Looking to start the next big thing, Elon creates an online bank named X.com
The New Millenium
X.com proves to be successful when it merges with competitor Confinity. The two ultimately form PayPal, and Musk is designated as CEO of the company.
Elon marries his first wife, Justine Wilson; however, due to a disagreement on how to code the online bank, his honeymoon goes sour when he gets removed from his CEO position at PayPal.
Looking for his next endeavor, Musk discovers his interest in rockets. He conceptualizes the grandiose Mars Oasis, a project that involves putting a greenhouse on our sister planet. His first step was to look into missiles, so he travels to Moscow, Russia to explore intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Following through with his rocket ship fascination, Musk makes plans to buy the ICBMs but ultimately thinks they’re too expensive.
After his excursion to Russia, Elon forms Space Exploration Technologies (aka SpaceX) with the hopes of developing affordable rockets that will be used to advance rocket technologies and explore space. Musk assumes the CEO and CTO positions.
PayPal gets purchased by eBay for a whopping $1.5 billion in stock. As a result, Musk receives $165 million.
Musk joins Tesla Inc. as the Chairman on the Board of Directors after he leads the Series A investments.
Later in 2004:
Musk and his wife Wilson give birth to twin boys through IVF.
2006 is a busy, but successful, year for Musk. SpaceX finds success after earning several contracts with NASA to deliver cargo to the International Space Station – this was the start of the Falcon-9 project. Later, he begins SolarCity with two of his cousins. Towards the end of the year, his wife gives birth to triplet boys via IVF.
SpaceX attempts their first rocket launch but fails.
SpaceX attempts their second rocket launch and fails again.
Musk and Wilson separate and share custody of their five children. SpaceX attempts their third launch, but they fail and destroy several satellites in its demise.
Later in 2008:
As SpaceX and Tesla are running out of money, Musk steps up to become CEO of Tesla, Inc. In a last-ditch effort, SpaceX launches a rocket for the fourth time and finally succeeds. Just barely escaping bankruptcy, SpaceX is awarded a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. Tesla also receives funding just moments before it goes broke.
2010 to Present
Tesla launches its IPO at $17 per share and closes the day at $23.89 – a 40.53% increase.
Later in 2010:
Musk marries actress Talulah Riley after two years of dating.
Elon Musk announces his biggest plan thus far: to send humans to Mars. He intends on accomplishing this goal by 2031. Additionally, SpaceX unveils a revolutionary concept: reusing rockets to make space travel cheaper.
Musk and Riley divorce.
SpaceX makes great progress as Dragon docks with the ISS.
Tesla begins shipping out their Model S vehicles at $75,000.
Later in 2012:
SolarCity and Tesla come together in an attempt to stop global warming by using electric car batteries instead of energy-consuming rooftop solar panels.
Musk and Riley remarry.
Once again, Musk has a new groundbreaking project. He reveals his plans and designs for Hyperloop, a high-speed underground transportation system.
Elon Musk and the SpaceX team attempt to land (from orbit) a rocket onto a ship.
The SpaceX team reaches a milestone for reusing rockets when they successfully land a rocket from orbit. Musk starts a new project, with others, termed OpenAI that aims to advance artificial intelligence for the world’s benefit.
Tesla, Inc. acquires SolarCity and becomes a subsidiary. Musk co-founds yet another brilliant company called Neuralink, whose goal is to connect the human brain and artificial intelligence. Elon’s goal of colonizing Mars progresses as he releases details of the architecture.
Elon Musk starts another company that would support his Hyperloop project: The Boring Company. Its main purpose is to dig tunnels.
After forming PayPal, X.com was essentially dissolved; however, Musk purchases the domain from PayPal for an undisclosed amount citing that it has sentimental value.
Musk and Riley divorce for the second time.
Musk decides to leave the board of OpenAI due to potential conflicts that may arise while he operates Tesla, Inc. Elon also launches a Tesla Roadster into space via a SpaceX rocket.
The Boring Company sells 20,000 flamethrowers cleverly named “Not a Flamethrower.”
Elon Musk begins dating Grimes, a Canadian singer/songwriter.
Shortly after the Thai soccer team gets trapped in the Tham Luang cave system, Musk attempts to save the day by designing a mini-submarine that ultimately went unused.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges Musk after he posts a tweet falsely claiming that Tesla will go private at $420. As a result, Elon has to step down from his chair position and pay a fine of $20 million. Additionally, the visionary was seen on the “Joe Rogan Experience” smoking a blunt.
Elon and his foundation donate $480,000 to install new water filtration systems in Flint, Michigan schools.
The Tesla Cybertruck is revealed, leaving many Elon fans in awe and many more in confusion, especially when the unbreakable windows break during a demonstration.
Musk tweets out “Woah … the stock is so high lol” as TSLA trades above $420 for the first time.
Musk makes waves in social media when he and Grimes’ son, X Æ A-XII, was born. Later in the month, Tesla and NASA pair up for a historic launch of astronauts to the ISS.
With a net worth just shy of $130 billion, Elon Musk dethrones Bill Gates for the title of the second richest person in the world. A dethronement that will likely only go back and forth like an east vs. west coast rap battle.
As much as New York pulls you in with its promises of over-stimulation, over-achievement, and other excess, there’s nothing like leaving it behind with some sorely needed day trips from NYC.
All complicated relationships can benefit from an occasional break, and luckily, the five boroughs extend only so far. With the Shore to the south, the Island to the east, and Upstate woodland to the north, there’s no shortage of small havens to get to know.
Set aside an entire day; these destinations will require a commute, but there are options for drivers, train riders, and even cyclists in need of a break from the Big, Loud, and Very Busy Apple.
If you’re a New Yorker who owns a car, it’s likely that your desire to get away already outweighs your daily parking-induced neurosis.
Are your usual weekend haunts missing natural appeal or historical value? Check out these sites on your next day trip from NYC.
Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Set aside an hour and a half to drive to this park located between the towns of New Paltz and Kerhonkson.
Minnewaska is one of the most popular destinations in the area, so try to experience it on a weekday. Surrounded by rock walls and greenery, Lake Minnewaska is unforgettable, along with the elegant Awosting Falls.
The park hosts a variety of moderate trails, viewpoints, and other lakes and waterfalls. It’s easy to see why two luxury hotels were built at the location over a century ago; both are long gone, and the area is still maintained as a preserve.
The same family that owned the hotels later established the neighboring Mohonk Preserve, situated a little to the north. Its 70 miles of trails incorporate former carriage roads surrounded by nature. Some are open to hiking, while others accommodate skiing and mountain biking.
Storm King Art Center
Currently open on a limited schedule, Storm King Art Center is an outdoor sculpture park a little over an hour away from the city.
Featuring special exhibits alongside a permanent collection, the park is best seen via the meandering footpaths that cross its grounds.
A large portion of the work shown is site-specific, turning your traditional museum experience into a more intimate, interactive activity.
Summer wildflowers, fall foliage, and winter chill all add to the allure of weaving your own path. You may stumble upon a bronze log hidden in a forest floor, or a Lichtenstein mermaid overlooking the park’s north pond.
Martin Van Buren Historic Site
The Martin Van Buren Historic Site near Kinderhook, NY, is a low-key stop. It features a system of nature trails that run through private farmland, as well as the eighth president’s own farm—active in the mid-19th century.
The trails are tranquil and not too extensive, making this a good detour on the way to Kinderhook, or if you’re visiting the town of Hudson.
Catskills/ Hudson River Art Trail
The Catskill Mountains and the town of Catskill, nestled on the left bank of the Hudson, are well-known destinations for day escapees.
For a mix of culture and American history, plan your day trip to the area around the Hudson River Art School’s most famous members. The 19th century movement, focused on the idea of the sublime American landscape, produced iconic paintings of the Catskills and the Hudson Valley.
The Hudson River Art Trail is a local project that works to preserve the legacy of painters like Thomas Cole and Frederic Church, by providing detailed directions to the sites depicted in their works.
Travel to any of the twenty sites listed on their website, hold up a printout of the painting associated with it, and compare. Incredibly enough, many of the shapes and forms haven’t changed since the 1800’s, making it easy to imagine the artists moving their brushes along with mountain ridges and riverbanks.
You might be able to hit many of the sites on the same day, with pit stops in villages like Saugerties and Rhinebeck.
Day Trips Out of New York by Train
For those of you who have grown used to a subterranean commute, the Metro North, LIRR, and NJ Transit are a refreshing way to get to where the Subway just can’t take you.
Harriman State Park
While the Metro North’s Hudson line might be the most scenic, NJ Transit’s Port Jervis line is the one that gets you to Harriman State Park.
From the station in Suffern, NY, walk ten minutes to the Suffern-Bear Mountain trailhead. The entire trail adds up to 23 miles and is rated difficult, but a few hours of steadily paced hiking can round out your trip.
With lean-to shelters, lake beaches, and peaks, Harriman is ideal if you decide to turn that day trip out of NYC into an overnight stay.
You can even take in a tiny and adorable Manhattan skyline from certain viewpoints near the Suffern trailhead—just so you don’t forget it’s still out there.
Few day trips from NYC offer a great escape 365 days a year, but New Jersey’s Asbury Park is always worth a visit, even in the colder months.
While the boardwalk is busy with nightlife during the summer, in the winter it holds a carnivalesque, slightly deserted charm.
Though it has a beach town reputation, the community boasts a vibrant local culture without the summer crowds. Amidst the town’s revival, its historic seaside architecture has become a draw, along with the local businesses that have sprung up in the past decade.
The NJ Transit ride to Asbury Park is a little under two hours from Penn Station.
If Martin Van Buren didn’t spark any recognition, how about a visit to Teddy Roosevelt’s final home?
Roosevelt lived at Sagamore Hill on Long Island for over 30 years, and his estate is open to the public. While the buildings are temporarily closed, the grounds offer wooded trails and access to the Cold Spring Harbor beach via the Eel Creek Bridge.
The former president’s actual house, painted a soft blue, can be viewed from the outside. Take the LIRR to Oyster Bay, then a brief cab ride to Sagamore.
If the visit is shorter than expected, return to Oyster Bay for waterfront views from Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park.
And if you tire of Teddy, look across the water towards Centre Island, where Oyster Bay native Billy Joel owns a mansion.
Day Trips from NYC by Bike
If you’re determined to spend your entire day trip out of NYC enjoying the great outdoors, both Nyack and Tarrytown can be reached from the city by bike.
Don’t worry: they still feel plenty removed to qualify as a getaway.
Nyack/ Edward Hopper House
The Edward Hopper House in Nyack, NY, is a gem on the Hudson in Rockland County. The 20th century painter, famous for his scenes of American life, was born in the home on North Broadway in 1882.
The home gallery now features contemporary artwork, and Hopper’s early work and supplies, among other rotating exhibitions.
Starting on the Upper West Side, cross the George Washington Bridge to reach bike Route 9w. Find detailed directions here.
This is a long, 60+ mile round trip ride, but it’s a good challenge for experienced cyclists. Consider staying overnight if you do want to devote time to Nyack’s Main Street, and attractions like the Hopper House.
New York to Tarrytown, NY, is another smooth ride to an idyllic town north of the city.
The best part about this one is that you and your two-wheeled friend can take the Metro North one way, leaving you more time to spend in Tarrytown and neighboring Sleepy Hollow.
From the Bronx, connect to the South County Trailway just beyond Van Cortlandt park, then ride a little over 20 miles north to reach Tarrytown.
The paved, traffic-free path allows you to focus on the tree-lined road ahead and enjoy the journey.
Once in Tarrytown, lock up and stroll the main drag, or relax by the Hudson in view of the Tarrytown Lighthouse.
Sleepy Hollow, located right above Tarrytown—and the site of Washington Irving’s classic tale—is best visited deep into the fall. The town embraces its uncanny history during Halloween season, and there’s plenty of historic sites to visit.
Stop by Sleepy Hollow Cemetery any time of year, though, to read centuries-old epitaphs and get lost among the serene stone structures.
Get Away for a Bit
Too much of a good thing applies to all cities, and New York is no exception. Fortunately, great destinations sit within a stone’s throw of the concrete jungle, giving overwhelmed city dwellers the perfect opportunity for a few day trips from NYC. All the same, for the days that you’re looking to connect with your city more, this Ultimate NYC travel guide is perfect for residents and tourists alike. NYC is among the coolest places to travel, after all.
Don’t hesitate to skip town by car, train, bike or all three. Be warned, though: if you get stuck in FDR traffic, a delayed train, or ill-chosen gear on the way back from your day trip, you might wish you were still there in the woods, on the beach, or in that charming village. If you are planning to travel by bike, be sure to plan thoroughly as you will likely need to plan where you eat, sleep, and even shower.
Luckily, you can do it all over again on your next free day. One of the best things about the city is the variety in what surrounds it, and how simple it is to unplug, pack up, and get away from it all.
The concept of electric vehicles was merely science fiction before General Motors first rolled out the EV1 in 1996. They later crushed most of them in 2003 citing unprofitability, leaving the electric vehicle market essentially empty.
Immediately recognizing the potential that the EV1 electric cars failed to reach, engineers Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning founded Tesla Motors—an ode to inventor Nikola Tesla.
With hopes of creating highly efficient battery-electric cars, Tesla Motors sought funding from investors. In 2004, Elon Musk joined and led the Series A investments by putting up $6.5 million of the $7.5 million raised.
As a result, Musk became the chairman of the board of directors. The vision for Tesla Motors now became clear: to become “a car manufacturer that is also a technology company.”
During the design process of their first vehicle, the Tesla team wanted to incorporate a lithium-ion battery, as opposed to the lead-acid battery that GM’s EV1 used.
Being the first automaker to use such technology in a vehicle, Tesla figured that it would be more powerful and less expensive to manufacture than traditional batteries.
The First Electric Sports Car
Tesla’s first official project was the Roadster: a high-margin, high-performance, and completely electric sports car.
Though the young company’s long-term goal was to create affordable electric vehicles, they wanted to start with manufacturing high-end cars to help fund their future endeavors. In 2006, Tesla revealed this groundbreaking automobile to the public.
From this point until 2008, Tesla Motors entered its next several rounds of investments. These rounds found great success, having earned over $100 million from numerous investors such as the Google co-founders and the former eBay President.
A Change in Leadership at Tesla Motors
Sometime during this success, Eberhard was asked to resign as CEO to join the advisory board. Shortly after, he left the company.
Almost simultaneously, Tarpenning, the other co-founder, stepped down from his position as vice president of electric engineering and left the company as well in 2008.
Elon Musk then began his tenure as CEO of Tesla Motors, where he made drastic changes and secured a $465 million loan from the United States Department of Energy.
In 2008, Tesla Motors began producing the Roadster. The vehicle was able to travel an unprecedented 245 miles on a single charge, accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds, could hit a top speed of 125 mph, and, of course, use no gasoline.
The company IPO’d on the NASDAQ in 2010. On its first public day of trading, the stock opened at $17 per share and closed at $23.89. As an aside, the current price of TSLA is north of $700.
In 2012, Tesla Motors ceased production of the Roadster and shifted its attention towards the Model S, an affordable electric sedan.
Soon after its release, however, Model S drivers found their vehicles combusting into flames after hitting road debris.
This event led to a significant drop in their stock, but customers continued to craze over the innovative Tesla Motors.
Rapid Growth and Massive Success
Over the next couple of years, Tesla Motors saw rapid growth as it reached many milestones.
To keep up with their demand for lithium-ion batteries, Tesla unveiled ambitious plans to develop the aptly named “Tesla Gigafactory.”
This massive factory would be used to manufacture lithium-ion batteries at a large scale with hopes of making their batteries, and thus electric vehicles, more affordable.
In the following year, Tesla rolled out its powerful (and controversial) autopilot feature for the Model S.
Revealed in 2015, the Model X was the next electric vehicle in Tesla’s line. The Model X was a roomy SUV with an impressive range of nearly 300 miles on a full charge. With this release, Musk and the Tesla team showed just how powerfully versatile they are.
While seeing success, Tesla Motors decided to expand and acquire a handful of other companies.
One was SolarCity, a solar panel company. Tesla previously had ideas of using solar energy in their technology, but ultimately found SolarCity to be a worthy subsidiary.
Finally, Tesla released its most popular electric car, the Model 3, in 2016.
This four-door sedan could travel for 220 miles (the newest model has a range of about 350 miles). It also boasts a shockingly affordable price tag at just $35,000.
A Fitting Rebranding: Tesla Motors Becomes Tesla, Inc.
On February 1, 2017, Tesla Motors ceased to exist, and Tesla, Inc. was born.
The Tesla team wanted the public to know that it’s more than just an automobile manufacturer. It’s also a tech company.
Shortly after the name change, one of China’s most powerful and valuable companies bought a 5% stake in Tesla, valued at $1.8 billion.
It wasn’t long after that Tesla surpassed Ford in market capitalization to hold the title of the most valuable American automaker.
As the Tesla stock quickly rose, Musk Tweeted that he might take Tesla private when the stock reached $420. He further stated that the company already secured this funding.
In September 2018, the U.S. SEC found this Tweet to be fraudulent and sued Musk. As a result, Musk stepped down as chairman and received a fine of $20 million.
Regardless, Tesla decided to keep the company public.
Looking to expand its lineup, Tesla revealed its first truck—the Cybertruck—in 2019.
The futuristic vehicle made waves on social media when its indestructible windows shattered during a live demonstration. Tesla plans to release the boxy electric six-seater in 2021.
Just a couple of days before Christmas Eve, Tesla’s stock reached $420. Tesla fans rejoiced as Musk Tweeted, “Woah … the stock is so high lol.”
Tesla’s Growth During the Pandemic
In March 2020, a year later after its unveiling, the Model Y electric car went public for deliveries.
The vehicle is essentially an upgraded Model X. It can recharge half of its 326-mile range in just 15 minutes.
Several more Gigafactories broke ground around the world, including Shanghai, Berlin, and Texas. Musk later ambitiously claimed that the Berlin location will eventually be the biggest battery factory in the world.
To close out 2020, Tesla officially joined the S&P 500 Index on December 21.
Tesla’s growth and innovation appear not only limitless, but also inextricably linked. As the company releases new electric cars, each more powerful and accessible than the last, its stock will continue to rise.
Furthermore, its hold on the electric vehicle market will only strengthen. Where previous automakers saw little to no profitability, Tesla saw opportunity.
Its rapid growth and astounding novelty are, perhaps, owed to Tesla, Inc.’s original goal: to be a car maker and tech company in one. The respective keystone principles of each industry’s most successful titans—productivity and creativity—continue to keep Tesla at the top and will undoubtedly do so for decades to come.
The best restaurants in Portland, Oregon, are some of the best in America, period. Why? Chefs and restaurant owners come to Portland to take chances and innovate. Its eclecticism is owed to the city’s eager embracing of broad, diverse cuisines.
Whether you’re hunting for one of the 500 food carts open at any single moment in the city, or a more formal brick-and-mortar dining experience, these restaurants in Portland will give your tastebuds as thrilling an experience as the rest of the city.
Folks are downright serious about their chicken. Original, baked, crispy, smoked, grilled…and, of course, classic nuggets.
What’s the secret to a great-tasting, lip-smacking chicken dinner? Some opinions state the marinade or brine makes it perfect, while others argue white or dark meat seals the deal. There are also theories that salt and sugar rubs make a palatable difference.
As one of the very best restaurants in Portland, Bae’s combines all these opinions to craft, hands down, the best fried chicken you’ll ever find in this city.
The menu has chicken selections for every appetite. Traditional sides include mac-and-cheese, collard greens, Texas toast, waffle fries, skillet corn, and coleslaw.
Bae’s also makes a fantastic chicken sandwich that warrants an article all its own. Remember when people got in fights at the Popeye’s Drive-thru…for a chicken sandwich? Shoulda gone to Bae’s.
One-Hit Wonders: Best Restaurants in Portland with Limited Menus
With two decades under its belt as a Portland food lover’s staple, Whole Bowl has expanded its locations to include Brooklyn, New York, and Cincinnati, and Ohio.
The original site, a small pushcart on Glisan Street in the Pearl district, has grown into over a dozen stores.
The menu consists of one item: a bowl. It includes brown rice, black beans, cheddar cheese, salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro, avocado, and any combination thereof.
But what really makes this dish is its generous layer of Tali sauce, named after the owner and inventor.
The temptation to know more about Tali sauce will envelop your curiosity, but gentle warning, fair foodie: all you’ll get out of your Bowlista when you ask what the sauce is, is “it’s a lemon-garlic sauce.” There are actual websites dedicated to mastering Tali sauce, but alas, the secrets will remain elusive.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what it is. It’s simple, it’s delicious and healthy—and it’s remark-a-bowl.
Nong’s Kao Man Gai
Similar to Whole Bowl’s approach of the one-item menu, Nong’s keeps things simple, but adds a protein into the mix.
Kao Man Gai gets its name from a Thai dish consisting of chicken and rice. Nong’s prepare their version by poaching organic chicken breast in their bombastic homemade stock until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Served with fresh cooked white rice, Kao Man Gai is wrapped in butcher paper and tied with a string. A small side of their fantastic chicken broth with tender jewels of steamed zucchini accompanies the order. And of course, a sauce made with ginger, garlic, and chiles that makes it Nong’s.
Support one of Portland’s most famous eateries by checking out all things Nong’s here: the menu, the kickin’ apparel, and their off-the-chain Bloody Mary and Lychee Margarita mixes. Best of all: they ship.
How would some designer ramen sound?
You design your own bowl of ramen at Boke Bowl. This affordable pop-up-turned-restaurant is affordable, environmentally friendly, and heavy on flavor and texture. And everything edible that goes in your customized bowl is locally farm-to-table fresh.
You start by choosing from slow-smoked pulled pork, aromatic duck dashi, caramelized fennel, and nuggets of Asian-inspired fried chicken.
The tantalizing deep broth is earthy and robust. Choose a rice bowl or noodles and add avocado, poached egg, pork belly, fried pears, pickled cucumbers, and a host of other housemade delights.
Discover Boke’s entire selection of steamed buns—including PB&J—and you’re hooked! Curry bowls are available to order too.
On Thursday nights from 4-8 pm, it’s Boke Bird: you can add Korean fried chicken or tofu to your designer ramen.
The bun is pillowy and cradles your choice of Galbi Short Rib, Cured Smoked Salmon, King Oyster Mushroom, Tofu, Pulled Pork, or Honey Gochujang Chicken.
Then they stuff the borders of your protein with cucumber bon chan, sesame seeds, and a choice of one of four homemade Kim Jong sauces.
Best “I Feel So Worldly” Restaurants in Portland
With 2 locations in the Northeast and Southeast quadrants of Portland, Hat Yai is the Portland restaurant to visit when you’re craving Thai street food.
You can’t go wrong with an order of the signature Hat Yai fried chicken with a side of sticky rice. Definitely add extra pickles, garlic sauce, and a side (or two) of Roti, their superior warm flatbread.
The chicken is notably crunchy and a bit caramelly. Fried shallot curls are incorporated into the batter for maximum flavor. As for texture, the chicken’s garlicky-sweet coating will deliver pure joy to your mouth.
The Brisket Curry is Nobel Prize-worthy, and the Muu Hong—braised pork belly and shoulder with a fried egg—will have you shouting, “How was I unaware of this pairing of texture and flavor? Where have you been all my life?”
When it comes to Thai restaurants in Portland, the legendary Thai Peacock is the Holy Grail.
Serving dishes like their praise-worthy Larb, Pad Thai, and Marinated Beef Salad, the endless selections are tantalizing to the last bite. Save room for crispy banana rolls with coconut ice cream.
Thai Peacock hand-mixes each signature cocktail using fresh, exotic juices and premium spirits. The Tamarind Whiskey Sour includes Even William White whiskey, Chinese 5 Spice, and fresh lime.
And the Bangkok Mule (yes, served in a copper mug) blends Thai rum, coconut sake, ginger beer, and fresh lime.
For the non-spirited, ask for a refreshing Peacock Thai Iced Tea. It’s the best version of this iconic drink on the planet.
Without a doubt, Luc Lac is the spot to grab a late lunch—or an even later dinner—after some weekend clubbing.
Under normal operational hours, doors remain open until 4:00 am on dancehall nights. Needless to say, Luc Lac is packed until the bouncers wrangle its patrons to the front door come closing time.
Yes, Luc Lac’s Vietnamese street food is that good.
So good, in fact, that when Luc Lac underwent a full renovation in 2014 and covered its windows, it sent people into a panic. Only later would the hangry PDX “Luc Lackers” find out their beloved Portland eatery wasn’t closing for good, but simply making the place roomier to seat more of the masses.
Luc Lac has remained one of the best restaurants in Portland since its doors swung open in 2011. One bit of Luc Lac’s generous and ingredient-centric selection of Banh Mi sandwiches, Pho, Rice Plates, and Vermicelli Bowls will explain the restaurant’s mantra: “Often imitated, never duplicated.”
By the way, it’s always good to order the Blood of Tiger cocktail with tiger prawn tequila, Can Chua mix (tamarind soup), lime, High Life, and a dried shrimp rim.
Or you can get busy slurping on the jumbo Sunday Service Slushee, a frozen mimosa with sparkling rose cognac and watermelon-mandarin juices. Take Monday off.
If you get a taste for Beijing food, swing by Danwei Canting at the intersection of SE Stark & SE Division near SE 8th Avenue.
This Portland eatery’s name translates to “Work Unit Restaurant,” a tribute to where Chinese workers ate their meals up until around the mid-1990s.
The owner’s impetus for Danwei Canting was to introduce PDX food lovers to a snapshot of Beijing’s food and energy, and they do not disappoint.
Get your heat on with an order of The General’s Chicken. Wok-fried chicken with garlic, scallions, ginger, and chili sauce, served with sticky rice, is a standout starter.
You’ll have to remember what your parents told you about fairness and sharing if you order the Pork Roll starter with scallion pancake, braised pork, sweet chili sauce, radish, and cucumber. Actually, you’d better order two.
Pair Danwei’s Cumin-crusted Lamb Burger with an order of Street Fries (crispy potatoes tossed with Sichuan peppercorn, chilies, cilantro, and scallions) piping hot from the fryer.
Wash it all down with a frosty glass of Yanjing, Master Gao, or Tsingtao beer on tap. Then ask your friends to leave you be until it’s time for a Honey-Lavender Ice Cream Sandwich with Lemon Cookies.
Danwei Canting also has a baijiu library. Not quite a vodka, not quite tequila, this fruity and somewhat nutty “clear liquor” is a Chinese distilled spirit. Danwei Canting offers a wide selection, including popular baijiu from Vinn, Ming River, Moutai, Red Star Erguotou, and Mianzhu Daqu distilleries.
Also, flight tastings are available for those who need to be in the know.
The open kitchen at Grassa, a Portland eatery for all things Italian, is always bustling with pasta makers and chefs working in tandem to create tasty and authentic dishes.
First and foremost, sink your teeth into Grassa’s Carbonara. It’s got the perfect culinary chemistry: bucatini pasta (tubular spaghetti), pancetta, fried egg, and pecorino cheese.
For a heartier balance of flavor, attempt the Texas Stroganoff with burnt brisket ends, crimini mushrooms, buttered noodles, and mustard crema.
And if you’re in a going-all-the-way mood, the Pizza Pocket Ravioli blends whipped ricotta and mozzarella tucked into miniature pasta pillows, garlic knot breadcrumbs, and spicy tomato sauce.
All the pasta is homemade and hand-cut. Hand-picked wines fully complement the cuisine, and the cocktails are sublime.
Get in line early; Grassa attracts a crowd. Be prepared to make new friends, since the open picnic-style seating forces you to strike up a conversation with strangers. Saluti!
Best Portland Americana Eateries
Breaking Fast, Instead of Bad: Breakfast Joints
Pine State Biscuits
Picture it: a hot, steaming biscuit, fresh from the oven. Are you the butter-and-eat-it type? Apple butter or marmalade? Or perhaps you’d prefer a mountain of piping hot white sausage gravy, generously ladled overtop.
Now, what about adding a piece of fried chicken, pickles, and some melty cheddar cheese to that biscuit?
Meet Pine State’s signature breakfast sandwich, the Reggie—pictured above.
But it’s the homey feel of this Pint State Biscuits that will really mesmerize your senses. The irresistible scents of fresh biscuits and coffee have made it a favorite Portland eatery since 2006.
Grilled marinated steak and onions biscuit? Yes! Pulled pork and Carolina slaw? Mm-hmm. Over-easy egg with braised greens and hot sauce? That’s Reggie’s friend, Regina.
Ever had a wedge salad on a biscuit? You can eat one at this innovative breakfast joint.
And vegans, rejoice: the meatless sausage patty, tofu bacon, and plant-based cheese biscuit topped with shitake mushroom gravy will blow your mind.
Pine State Biscuits also offers biscuit meal kits so you can have the perfect football brunch kick-off party or cozy holiday breakfast with the family.
If the line at Pine State Biscuits is too long and you’re on the verge of slapping somebody from hunger, walk across the street to Genie’s!
Voted numerous times as the must-stop for breakfast, Genie’s is a quaint slice of yesteryear.
Omelets, classic tw0- and three-egg breakfasts with the meats, huevos rancheros, benedicts, a kick-ass breakfast sandwich with a phat checklist of options, and griddle goodies to satisfy all the pancake lovers…if it’s Genie’s, it’s breakfast.
And brunch! Bottomless coffee and the full bar features house-infused vodkas galore. Doors open at 8:00 am, close at 3:00 pm, seven days a week.
Fuller’s Coffee Shop
Long before the food revolution began in Portland, Fuller’s was on the scene starting in 1947.
It has moved location once, but nothing else about this beloved restaurant has changed. It serves a standard breakfast and lunch in the style of classic bygone American diners.
Fuller’s is a place to sit a spell, read the newspaper, and have a coffee. Pony up to the counter—by the way, the whole restaurant is one big counter—and relive the classics.
The chicken fried steak, club sandwich, Monte Cristo, Pigs in a Blanket, blueberry pancakes, and Georgia’s Potatoes Deluxe are continually rotating from the kitchen to the customers.
Order breakfast all day, starting at 7:00 am. The loaves of bread are homemade, but make sure to be in a seat by closing at 3:00 pm. Avoid visiting on a Monday; Fuller’s closes up shop for the entire day.
Best Midday “Take My Hunger Away” Restaurants in Portland
Little Big Burger
The burger market, saturated with the fast-food giants, is a hard nut to crack. But every once in a while, a concept arrives on the scene that smashes the glass ceiling, ratchets up the flavor profiles, and gives the “big box” burger competitors a run for their money.
Such is the case with Little Big Burger. The play on words is intentional. Imagine your perfect burger, stacked high with ingredients but reduced to four bites.
Would you like a hamburger or cheeseburger? Choose the former, and LBB will make it using 1/4 lb of fresh Cascade farms natural beef, lettuce, pickle, red onion, and Camden’s Catsup on a freshly baked brioche bun.
Choose the latter, and you’re guaranteed a flavor explosion. Chévre, crumbled bleu, Tillamook sharp cheddar, Tillamook Swiss, or Tillamook pepper jack: you choose which cheese you want dripping down the sides of your LBB.
As far as taste, every LBB burger is scratch-made. So when they scream your name and hand you the greasy brown paper bag, expect a hot, mouthwatering burger.
Always leave extra room in your paper bag for LBB’s signature Truffle Fries. LBB crams as many shoestring skin-on potatoes, tossed in white truffle oil and kosher salt, into the paper carton as possible.
Each order also comes with LBB’s homemade Fry Sauce. Ask for extra: it’s the perfect companion for every crunchy Truffle Fry bite you’ll experience.
Can you handle a Root Beer Float with Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream and Barq’s root beer? LBB makes those too!
Ask the staff about The Firebird, The Chicken Burger, and The Beyond (plant-based) Burger if you’re in the mood for an upgraded LLB experience.
Since opening in 2010, Little Big Burger has been an exemplary part of Portland’s eatery culture. Move over, Mickey D’s.
A Google reviewer stated the following: “You know when food is so good, you just can’t talk for a moment?” Enough said.
First bites include their wedge salad, deviled eggs, and fries with gravy. For entrees, good luck choosing between their pulled pork, brisket, smoked salmon, chicken, hotlinks, brisket burnt ends, or spare ribs.
Meals are served with pickles and onions, white bread, and your choice of two sides. And don’t think the hard decisions stopped with the meats. Side options include macaroni salad, braised collard greens, potato salad, mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, and cornbread with honey butter.
Don’t take too long to decide: Smokehouse Tavern is only open from 3 to 9 pm, and is closed on Mondays.
Remember “profane and curmudgeonly” detective William “Bunk” Moreland on the critically acclaimed television show The Wire? Bunk restaurants in Portland honor his name.
As to the why, it isn’t all that clear. But that doesn’t matter. All hail, Bunk!
Bunk is famous for their Pork Belly Cubano. Their selfie-worthy sandwiches have garnered national media attention from The Food Network, Food & Wine Magazine Travel + Leisure.
Rainier beer tallboys can be seen dotting every table, and Bunk’s signature ICEBERG, a pint of Rainer with a float of a homemade frozen margarita, is a showstopper sipper.
Bunk also offers a kid menu, making it fun for all ages.
An Amazing Indian Joint: Swagat
The best thing about Indian food is its remarkable ability to provide the mind and body with a sensation of comfort that other international foods can’t quite attain. Swagat raises the bar, and does so in three locations.
The Tandoori mixed grill arrives sizzling hot to the table, combining lamb, chicken, shrimp, and halibut marinated in yogurt and herbs. The piping hot naan comes non-stop.
Swagat’s dosa (lentil flour crepes) are stuffed with curries or vegetables and served with chutney and sambar, a tamarind-based stew. Vegan versions are also available.
Save room for the house dessert, gulab jamun, a fried pastry ball smothered in honey and rosewater.
Off-the-Chain Mexican Restaurants in Portland
When it comes to some of the best Mexican food, you might think of cities in SoCal like Los Angeles or San Diego, but you can definitely find it in Portland too. You’re going to have to go day-tripping, however, down to a town called Woodburn for Mexican food. Woodburn is home to Oregon’s infamous outlet mall, about 45 minutes south.
There’s also Lupita’s, Los Cabos, and Los Machetes…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the authentic Mexican cuisine Woodburn offers.
And, after you’ve gotten your taco on, rest easy: there’s a Day’s Inn at the heart of the town.
Best Pizza Parlors in Portland
When you think of pizza, you may think of New York, Chicago, maybe even Italy, but, to be honest, the list for best pizza eateries in Portland would stretch the length of the 187-mile Willamette River.
That said, there are five standouts for fantastic pies and slices. Each restaurant has a specific claim to fame that gives them a leg up on other pizzerias.
Nestled in the heart of Portland’s warehouse-turned-urban-chic Pearl District, The Star offers award-winning deep-dish pizza.
Not just any deep-dish pizza, though: transformative, old-style, Chicago deep-dish pizza.
The Star also serves up a thin crust pizza that will have you questioning how every bite is more delicious than the next.
Design your deep-dish pizza, or choose the Little Star with fresh spinach blended with ricotta and feta cheeses, mushrooms, onions, and roasted garlic.
If you’re more of a “thin cracker crust” pizza lover, holler for a Hoyt Street pie. It has a walnut-pesto base with zucchini, fresh tomatoes, and balsamic glaze.
The bar is mad stocked, so you’ll have no issues finding a cocktail, local craft beer, or wine with your name on it.
Happy Hour with banging bites and drink selections, lunch specials, loyalty rewards program, and delivery available puts The Star at superstar status.
One of the unique features of Virtuous Pie is their respect for plant life. Navigate the menu based on your diet. The expansive allergen, vegetarian, and vegan filters allow you to customize a diet-centric pie, or order a Virtuous Pie specialty pizza worry-free.
The Super Funghi pie introduces the mouth to cashew mozzarella, herbed-potato cream, and a day of foraging for wild mushrooms.
Alternately, the Stranger Wings offers up a unique combination of Bianca, spicy buffalo cauliflower, crisp fried shallots, blue cheese drizzle, and scallion.
Or try the Ultraviolet: walnut and arugula pesto, cashew mozzarella, oven-dried tomatoes, kale, caramelized onion, and pine nuts.
East Glisan Pizza Lounge
About six minutes just outside of Portland’s city limits, on the corner of NE 81st Avenue and NE Glisan, sits an old-time pizza parlor you’ll regret missing.
From their specialty pies to the Detroit-style Sicilian pizza, to the most delicious handmade cocktails from some of Portland’s finest mixologists, there is a slice for all the carnivores and herbivores alike.
Funnily enough, what makes East Glisan Pizza Lounge such a top-tier pizza place isn’t even pizza: it’s their homemade lasagna.
While Papa Haydyn is also a full restaurant, it’s the dessert case that creates a stir when you arrive.
The vast array of treats and sweets quickly distracts you, and will have you thinking about dessert before dinner. And after.
Do not pass on The Cherry Forest, Bourbon Ball, Carrot Cake, and Georgian Peanut Butter Mousse Torte. And then order every other dessert, just because.
This frozen treat palace deserves a spot in your itinerary of the best restaurants in Portland for two reasons.
First, they offer an ice cream named Chocolate AF. As you can imagine, it is loaded. With. Chocolate. Ganache, chocolate swirls, dark chocolate add-ins…if there was such a thing as too much chocolate, this dessert would be it.
The second thing that makes Fifty Licks one of the best restaurants in Portland is the owner, Chad Draizin.
A self-proclaimed nerd on a mission to combine his love of food science with ice cream, he’s dominating the gourmet ice cream market in Portland.
Mango Sticky Rice and Golden Milk not only taste like their names, but are also 100% vegan. French Toast, Horchata, Hood Strawberry, and (for the purists) Vanilla AF: it doesn’t matter what Chad scoops. Fifty Licks is terrific AF.
They’re small and bite-sized, but still feature a center hole. You can get them rolled in or stuffed with cinnamon sugar, raw honey and sea salt, Nutella and sea salt, or even candied maple bacon.
Beyond the doughnuts, their selection of Chai is something to behold. Smokey Robinson Campfire Chai elicits a smoke flavor, along with cinnamon, clove, and vanilla. Warm up with Heart of Gold; toasted coconut, turmeric, ginger, clove, and green tea.
Can’t decide? Try 6 ounces of each with a flight of Pip’s Chai for $12.95. Dip and pop those Pips.
Experience the Best Restaurants in Portland
There is an old German proverb which defines the Portland eatery scene to a T: “Eating and drinking holds body and soul together.”
For decades, Portland restaurateurs and entrepreneurs have found unique, interesting, and delicious formulas with which to strengthen the bond of body and soul, and bring the community together to feast.
The best restaurants in Portland offer a vast and eclectic selection of foods from around the world, from small pop-ups, to food carts, to comfy full-service brick-and-mortars.
Head out and enjoy all the rich complexities that dining in the west coast’s weirdest city has to offer.
Cooking at home is the healthiest and cheapest way to enjoy meals, but it’s not easy. Between running out of recipe ideas to spice up your ramen, enduring the madness of grocery stores during peak hours, or endless kitchen clean-up after cooking your favorite budget meal, or maybe you’re feeling just plain lazy, it’s often just easier to order out.
Thanks to meal delivery services like UberEats, DoorDash, and GrubHub, there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from. But what should you order when you want easy and nutritious?
To shake that laziness, be sure to get in some of these best exercises while you’re waiting for your delivery to arrive at your door.
Here are some healthy takeout options to consider the next time you want delivery without the guilt.
Panera Bread has been around since 1987. Although they are a chain, they offer seasonal local options when possible. They serve some of the following:
There is an option for most people with all the variety, including vegetarian dishes.
Established in 1993, Chipotle is known for using fresh, healthy ingredients.
From crisp veggies and quality meat to perfectly steamed rice, Chipotle’s Mexican cuisine covers a wide range of dishes that are both tasty and filling.
Choose from burritos, bowls (a burrito sans tortilla), or salad, and start your order with the star: grilled chicken, steak, carnitas, or grilled veggies. Extras include house-made guac, pico, corn salsa, and more. The best part of Chipotle is everything is up to you. You can even “hack” the menu to make something unique.
With the slogan “Eat Fresh,” Subway’s stood apart from competitors since its beginnings in 1965 with quality sandwiches, mouth-watering flavors, and baked bread sure to lure you into any food court in a heartbeat.
Nothing at Subway is fried, and many of the menu items are healthier than typical fast food fare. New options include flatbread and breakfast sandwiches, and more are added regularly.
That said, Subway knows when to keep customer favorites; some have a permanent place on the menu, while others are strictly seasonal.
Much like Chipotle, Costa Vida is a Mexican-style restaurant offering a vast menu of salads, power bowls, burritos, enchiladas, and more.
Their selection includes meats, beans, house-made tortillas, pico, queso and chips, and guac. As the self-proclaimed “fresh Mexican grill,” Costa Vida may just become your next lunchtime go-to.
This restaurant has a few locations throughout California and was founded in 1995. It is basically a massive “make your own insanely delicious salad” restaurant, though sandwiches are also available.
Noodles & Company
You can definitely guess this restaurant’s specialty!
Founded in 1995, this Colorado-based company offers classic pasta dishes, twists on old favorites, and even veggie noodles made of zucchini (zoodles) or cauliflower (caulifloodles).
Served in the build-your-own style of Subway and Chipotle, the dishes at Noodles & Company are made exactly how you want. The hard part is deciding whether to stick with an old favorite, or try something new.
They also offer a wide variety of soups and salads, in the unlikely event you’re sick of pasta.
Smoothie lovers, rejoice: you can drink your meal, or add it on the side of a granola or oatmeal bowl loaded with fresh fruit. Try the Vanilla Blue Sky (blue spirulina with vanilla coconut milk, blueberries, strawberries, and more), or some classic oatmeal alongside the “Whirl’d Famous” Mango-a-Go-Go smoothie.
Everything is made fresh and in-house, and smoothies can be upgraded with energy boosts, vitamins, protein powders, wheatgrass, and more.
With a slogan like “Healthy for Everyone,” Just Salad offers what you’d expect: a wide variety of options everyone in your house will love, with nutrition you’ll feel good about.
That’s where the expectations end, though, because Just Salad serves way more than salads. With wraps, bowls, avocado toast, soups, smoothies, and more on the menu, this chain covers the health food spectrum in every way imaginable.
Founded in 1971, nationwide sandwich Togo’s uses the freshest veggies, meats, and cheeses, and bake all bread on site. Customize your sandwich, or select a menu classic for a masterpiece with premium ingredients and taste you won’t find elsewhere.
More Healthy Takeout Options: Shop Local
Finally, you can’t beat local selections when it comes to healthy and delicious takeout. Delis, small restaurants, and cafes often thrive because customers appreciate the attention to quality some large-scale chain restaurants lack.
Bonus: you’re supporting local businesses and your community, which makes eating well feel even better.
Ah, 2020: the year the world was grounded and told to sit in a corner. The pandemic kept millions from the joys of discovering, connecting, and exploring the coolest places to travel.
Now the urge to march into your closet, bust out the suitcase, and get out there is stronger than the Force.
Make 2021 your year! Dust the digital dust off your Travel boards on Pinterest; grab that scribbled list of destinations like Bali, the Australian outback, Knott’s Berry Farm…or even your own driveway. It’s time to stop dreaming, and start going. Here are the coolest places to travel in 2021.
Why You Should Go: Remote, picture-perfect, not a soul in sight
For unbeatable star gazing, 360° views, and a property that boasts random Mule Deer, Elk, Javelina, and rare Bighorn Sheep—start packing!
At the top of a long gravel driveway, you’ll discover a glass-walled home nestled under a large industrial open-air hangar, perched 3,000 feed over the Texan desert.
Barbecues, sunsets, incredible hiking adventures, and stunning views of the Rio Grande await. All-terrain vehicle not included, but recommended.
Where to Find It: Shirley Basin, Wyoming Why You Should Go: Pioneer life meets lake-fishing, a petrified forest, and ATV trails
Get ready for some excitement in this abandoned mining town! (No, really: the last resident left in 1992.)
For big sky country and true prairie living, look no farther than this unique Air BnB. 65,000 acres sit far from the view of any freeway, airplane, or Google Maps, upon which you can rent your own little house to live like a real pioneer.
Except by “house,” they really mean “sheep wagon.”
The classic wagon sleeps four, and includes a generator, cold boxes for your food, and a water basin that doubles as a bathroom and kitchen sink.
Word to the wise: bring plenty of lanterns, and a herding dog if you’ve got one. Sheep like to wander through while grazing, so that furry guard will come in handy.
No dog? Rattling a feed bucket will move the herd along just fine, too.
Why You Should Go: Build the perfect vacation getaway for potato lovers!
What do you call a fake potato? An imi-tater! Enjoy a quiet, spa-like vacation in this faux spud, the perfect getaway for two.
Located in Boise—voted the best place to retire, be a doctor, and raise a family—this 6-ton potato became famous after touring the United States on the back of a semi during the Idaho Potato Commission’s Big Idaho Potato Tour.
Quaint and colorful inside, realistically Russet on the outside, it comes with a detached silo spa, where you’ll find an open-air soak tub perfect for stargazing.
You’ll also make a new friend: your very own fuzzy Jersey cow!
Why You Should Go: Theme park meets tranquil, private hideaway
Calling all cosplayers! Avast Ye and All Hand Hoy!
The most exciting thing about this cottage is the incredible attention to detail. The lighting, decor, and landscaping instantly transport you to a time when pirates ruled the seven seas.
You’ll feel just as daring and brutish as your favorite swashbucklers. Pirates typically hide their vast collection of treasures, but this house has the full amenities on display, including a sauna and hot tub, DVD library, waterfalls, crystal fireplace, and hammocks for napping.
And, with Santa Monica just twenty minutes away, there’s no better outing than a surf session (or a few lessons, if you’re new).
If you refuse to get your nails dirty and require a real bathroom, this glamping (glamour plus camping) list will make you feel like you never left home…-ish.
Cozy Glamping Getaway
Where to Find It: Banks, Oregon
Why You Should Go: A pond, a tent, and the woodsy hot tub thang
Experience the ultimate chill spot in this 4-walled, all-weather tent, located just over 22 miles from Portland (the perfect day trip to stay weird).
Breathe in clean, fresh air and embrace tranquility as you camp pond-side, play some volleyball or horseshoes, fit in some yoga in the refurbished barn, retreat to the hot tub, or shower in the open garden.
Last but not least, you can lose yourself in the labyrinth, and possibly find your purpose in the process…or, if nothing else, a fun time with friends.
Where to Find It: Sequoia King Canyon National Park, California Why You Should Go: Couture camping with 600 thread count and maids
Once in a lifetime, you should experience Sequoia National Forest. Standing at the Redwood tree base and looking up puts you in an indescribable state of awe. Afterall ,it is one of the best national parks.
To reach the High Sierra Glampsite, you have to hike into the park one mile. It’s worth every step. Upon arrival, you’re greeted and then ushered towards your deluxe tent. These aren’t your ordinary favorite tents, either. These are borderline cabins.
Sleep on a plush-top mattress, lounge atop artisan furniture, dine on five-course meals, and stroll through the forest on a day hike to Mitchell Peak.
Daily maid service is included, with fresh towels and toiletries! Outdoor activity packages include horseback riding and fly fishing, with craft beer and local wine service.
Don’t forget, there is a 3,300-year-old forest to ogle over. Meet 5 of the world’s ten tallest trees, and catch the stunning view at 9,200-foot-high Pear Lake.
PS: watch for Ewoks—you’re glamping in the forest of Endor.
Why You Should Go: Sleep in a glass-roofed igloo under the Aurora Borealis
Alaska: where the four seasons are known as Winter, June, July, and August.
This bucket-list spot isn’t a destination: it’s an experience. Imagine bundling up in a cozy down sleeping bag in your very own igloo, taking in the shape-shifting beauty of the Aurora Borealis through the glass roof.
Day expeditions and basecamp experiences are also available, including riding snow mobiles, learning to dogsled, and feeding reindeer. Portrait sessions are available, so you don’t have to worry about your phone: the magic is captured for you.
In the evening, retreat to the wood-fired sauna for a recharge.
If you’ve always daydreamed of boarding the sexy Concorde, sipping champagne, and throwing your head back to converse wittily in French—all while being flung across the Atlantic Ocean at 1,350MPH—stay-cations and local trips just won’t cut it.
Here are the most unique, coolest places to travel internationally if you’re ready to put in the miles.
Where to Find It: Helsinki, Finland
Why You Should Go: an experiment to explore and live on less (or: kokeilla, miten voimme elää vähemmän)
Located in the birthplace of the sauna and home to the 1952 Summer Olympic Games, your destination consists of a single-room wooden A-frame cabin on a flat outcropping, overlooking an archipelago.
Pick a view, any view: no matter which way you look, nothing but nature stares back from the surrounding islands.
There’s a small grouping of restaurants, as well as kayaks for rent. The Nolla cabin comes with a fuel supply and little cooking area.
Where to Find It: Cotignac, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France
Why You Should Go: Gives new meaning to the word “romantic”
At first glance, the Cave House’ in Tuff Cliff looks impossible to access. But look closer, and you’ll catch a single-window cut right into the rock wall.
Find the primitive staircase leading up and disappearing into this remarkable space overlooking the quaint village of Cotignac. When you open the door to this unique dwelling, you’re instantly transported to a 16th-century Italian villa, inserted into the side of a cliff!
The space is open and bright. Bedrooms boast a warm and inviting atmosphere. The space also has an open indoor shower, a rock fireplace in the kitchen, and an upright piano for a night of festive singing and good wine.
Why You Should Go: A beautiful, peaceful place to shut down and recharge
At the going rate of less than $30 per night, you cannot beat experiencing the mystical and transformative energies surrounding the Peruvian landscape.
Nestled in a seemingly uncharted valley, each individual clay hut offers a one-of-a-kind experience, wholly stripped of modern conveniences and amenities.
(Well, there is a hot shower and WiFi, so it’s not that primitive.)
Located at the base of the Apu Pachatusan Mountains in a conscious little community called “La Pacha,” the Dome Room translates to utter stillness and tranquility, yet still pampering you with amenities and stunning views.
You’re immersed in nature while having first-hand access to a comprehensive understanding of the Andean culture from your host. Visitors have compared this Sacred Valley to the Land of Oz.
Where to Find It: Friesland, Harlingen, Netherlands
Why You Should Go: Explore the Netherlands while staying in a lighthouse, lifeboat, or harbor crane
You read that right: during your trip to the magical city of Friesland, you’ll have the choice to stay in a lighthouse with breathtaking panoramic views, a lifeboat with a continental breakfast (and your private captain to tour the harbor and surrounding sea), or a harbor crane, “the beacon for seafarers” who enter Harlingen harbor.
Six-course dinners and New Year’s Eve packages are also available. Book early: no stone was unturned to restore these iconic Harlingen harbor landmarks.
Why You Should Go: The romance of authentic train travel meets a crystal blue ocean
Discover nine decommissioned, beautifully restored train coach cars from historical South African Railways, all sitting parallel to a gorgeous beach. You’re a one-minute walk from your accommodations to the sparkling sea.
Choose from several configurations: dorm, single, twin, double, honeymoon, mountain, or ocean view. Delight in the hot breakfast and extra-special pampering.
This little slice of heaven “has the second most moderate climate globally and has the only north-facing beach in South Africa.”
For the food lovers, here are three unique stays you can brag about at your next dinner party.
First, there are the Chocolate Hills in Loboc, Bohol, Philippines. The vast jungle is dotted with cone-shaped hills that will remind you of classic Hershey’s Kisses.
Staying at Nuts & Huts will cost a whopping $8 per night. With breaktaking views and friendly locals, jungle living never looked better!
Palacio de Sal
Find some balance with nature on the vast open salt flats of Bolivia, in a hotel made entirely out of—you guessed it—salt! Even the furniture and decorative sculptures in Palacio de Sal are made of the stuff.
Beyond the novelty, you’ll find show-stopping sunsets and four-star service.
If salt isn’t your thing, how about ice?
When looking for the coolest places to travel, you won’t find anything cooler than this one…literally. Every year, the Ice Hotel, in Jukkasjärvi, Iceland, is reconstructed with 100% ice. Sleep on deerskin blankets and thick down sleeping bags.
The combination of frozen architecture and ambient lighting introduces you to Tundra silence, the northern lights, shimmering snow-covered forests, and more.
Warm rooms are available for travelers who prefer to be toasty. No judgment: you get all the same amenities, hot or cold!
Tips for the Trip
Travel may never look or feel the same again. In the meantime, there are some essential tips to pack in your brain for a more seamless adventure from departure to arrival.
Take alcohol wipes. From the moment you get out of the Uber until you pass through the TSA, and for the duration of your flight, carry portable alcohol wipes. Every traveler that came before you has touched the same surfaces, and there’s no telling where those hands have been.
Due diligence. Visit the airline’s website before booking to understand the cleaning protocols currently in place. Check a few days before you fly, and at the time you check-in for updates. You can also set notifications on your phone so you’re informed of every single change.
Cancellation. Don’t assume you’re getting a refund if you cancel. Airlines have different policies, so read the fine print before clicking that “Book” button! Also, consider calling the 1-800 number. It might be easier to read the airline website FAQ, but speaking to a representative directly will alleviate any undue stress when you arrive at the airport.
Whatever destination has been calling you, unblock that number. It’s 2021: time to put things back in motion…especially yourself. So, get yourself moving with that bike tour and try to see if you can hit some of these amazing destinations. With so many beautiful destinations in the world like the parks that litter the United States to amazing countries like Italy and Portugal, the world is yours to explore.
The coolest places to travel are flung far and wide. From isolated cabins to palaces made of salt, there’s no telling where the new year will take you. Pack your bags.
Managing stress is a lot like getting more sleep, or exercising daily: everyone knows they should be doing it, but the “how” feels so vague and unattainable, they give up before they begin.
True, everyone feels stress. Sometimes, it can even be helpful, increasing focus and putting just the right amount of pressure on you to accomplish a task. But too much can be harmful, which is why managing stress effectively—before you hit a breaking point—is so important.
Society doesn’t help matters. People are urged to stay busy, and there’s a negative connotation to the idea of “downtime.”
Ironically, though, effectively managing stress allows you to increase productivity, generate more energy, and live a better, healthier life.
All the stress management strategies in the world won’t help if you’re bombarding yourself with unnecessary stressors.
Think of it like bailing out a boat. Sure, bailing out the water is important—but so is stopping the original leak! Eliminating extra stress-inducing elements from your life is the first and most crucial step to managing stress effectively.
If any of these hit close to home, consider cutting them out. The changes don’t have to be permanent, either; try a week or so at a time, then reevaluate whether or not your mood and overall quality of life have improved without those things.
Watching the News
When a crisis is happening, the human body reacts by releasing stress hormones. Watching the news can trigger these stress responses for events that may have nothing to do with your actual life, or have a very small chance of happening to you.
Now, that’s not to say the stress response is bad: humans need it to escape or mitigate life-threatening situations. The news, however, doses the brain with too many worst-case scenarios at once, things you’d likely never ruminate on without being prompted.
If skipping the news isn’t an option, consider a news source that focuses on positive stories more than negative, or limit your doom-scrolling to a few minutes per day.
Constantly Connected to Social Media
Productivity has definitely decreased with the rise of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media apps—but science has found happiness and wellbeing directly correlate, as well.
Simply put: the more time you’re “connected” online, the less connected you’ll feel with your real life, and the less happier you’ll be.
Social media has similar effects to watching the news too often, but it’s almost worse. This is because social platforms are designed to deliver dopamine. Despite the politics, comparing yourself to others, sad stories, and comment section wars, you’ll keep coming back for more and more.
The solution? It’s simple, but incredibly difficult: stop using these platforms.
Or, at least, cut down your usage by significant amounts. This can be accomplished by setting app timers, or choosing to keep only one or two platforms and uninstalling the rest.
Don’t despair, Facebook fanatics: some research has shown that quitting social media doesn’t, in fact, affect happiness or stress levels. Interestingly, it seems to be how you use a platform that really matters.
Mindless scrolling and clickbait rabbit holes are an issue, as is replacing real-life communication with digital versions altogether. But interacting meaningfully with friends and family can actually improve wellbeing.
An important factor in that study was the characteristics of the person using the media. In other words, just because one person is happier off social media, doesn’t necessarily mean another will be, too. It comes down to your reasons for using it, how you engage, and if it interferes with other aspects of your life.
The moral? Analyze your social media use as objectively as possible. And don’t force yourself to give it up if you really don’t want to; cutting back can be effective, too.
If you have a toxic or abusive relationship in your life, you already know they need to go. Some relationships may be less obvious.
Do you have a friend that you love to commiserate with? The one that complains about their day then you complain about yours? Helpful as it feels in the moment, this habit can actually be feeding more stress into your life.
Try redirecting negative conversations with those friends and focusing on neutral or positive topics. If they seem addicted to the gloom and doom, you might consider cutting down contact, or—in extreme cases—cutting them out of your life altogether.
They say you’re heavily influenced by the five people you interact with the most, so make sure your top five are as focused on keeping stress levels down as you are.
Too Much Coffee
Caffeine gets a negative reputation it only partially deserves. While coffee is great for heart health and mental acuity, it also elevates cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
What’s worse, it does it almost undetectably; you don’t notice the effect until you eliminate caffeine altogether.
Before you ditch the Keurig, remember that coffee, like pretty much anything else, is fine in moderation. Decrease your intake to one mild to reasonably strong cup per day, before noon, with no top-offs, tea, or soda the rest of the day.
You’ll get the wake-up call you love, without an unchecked caffeine addiction brewing in the background.
Like coffee, alcohol is another “usually fine in moderation” substance. While it brings short-term stress relief, it’s been linked to increased anxiety in the long-term.
When you do imbibe, formulate a game plan. Stick to drinks with lower alcohol content, alternate with water, and get plenty of rest after a night on the town.
Long-Term Strategies for Stress Relief
After you’ve fixed the leak in your boat—eliminating any additional stressors in your daily life—it’s time to bail out the water that’s there (managing stress triggers that you can’t avoid) and work on steering that boat away from the rocks (improving your body’s natural response to stress, so you bounce back faster).
These suggestions aren’t quick fixes. In fact, they require cumulative efforts to work. The more you implement, and the more often you do them, the more profound the effects will be.
Filling yourself up with the good stuff helps your body counter-attack stress. It’s way easier to handle negativity when you aren’t battling a sugar crash or caffeine headache.
Scientifically, it makes sense even down to the cellular level: healthy, balanced diets lower inflammation and blood pressure, two things that skyrocket because of stress.
Whole ingredients and nutritious meals also improve the gut-brain axis, helping your body produce the right brain chemicals at the right times, including dopamine and serotonin.
Getting Enough Sleep
Whether you’re a full-fledged night owl or the ubiquitous “I’ll just catch up on the weekends” short-changer, you’re putting yourself at a serious disadvantage by not hitting the hay earlier.
A lack of quality sleep puts strain on the body, which needs adequate rest to heal and prepare for the day ahead. It also lowers mental proficiency, affecting memory, coordination, mood…and just about everything else.
Being grateful for what you do have makes you less stressed about what you do not have.
A study showed participants who exercised gratitude for 10 weeks (journaling about the positive things that happened to them) were more optimistic and happier than the groups that only tracked negative experiences, or who logged events without assigning emotions.
Of course, it’s not ironclad science, but plenty of similar studies exist to support the notion that being thankful and optimistic strengthens your sense of contentment.
This doesn’t mean removing all ambition, or that striving to improve your life is bad. It simply means you should slow down and enjoy the journey, while you’re at it.
Making Time for Nothing
Leave white space on your calendar: beautiful, empty, blank space to do absolutely nothing at all.
It’s daunting, actually planning to do…well, nothing, but studies show taking breaks makes you more productive overall.
Like any impressive machine, your body and brain need time to idle and recalibrate; constantly moving and doing will lead to burnout. Schedule that empty space for yourself and, if you must justify it, label it “self-care.” (After all, that’s exactly what it is!)
Short-Term Strategies for Managing Stress
Stress happens. Even the most carefree individual, armed to the teeth with long-term stress reduction strategies, is going to encounter a stressful situation or two every single day.
Fights with spouses, tight deadlines, health challenges: these things are inevitable, and learning to cope with them in the moment is just as important as big-picture stress management.
The best part? When done regularly, these short-term strategies contribute to long-term stress relief, too.
Your neural pathways will be primed to respond properly to stress, and these habits will become second nature after only a few repetitions.
This one is very much an in-the-moment tool. Take a moment to think about your breathing. Inhale through your nose for three seconds, then exhale out slowly for four.
This method sends the message to your brain: Hey, slow down. Relax. It pulls the body out of its “fight or flight” mode, that panicky, jittery feeling that accompanies stress.
Breathing exercises also encourage a full oxygen exchange: oxygen goes in, carbon dioxide goes out, and the heartbeat and blood pressure stabilize.
Take a Walk/Get Outside
Spending time outside not only calms you down, but also improves vitamin D production, which directly affects numerous functions within the body: calcium regulation, immune response, mood regulation, and much more.
Nature’s also grounding because it encourages connectedness to the environment, and forces you to be more “in the moment.”
After a heated argument, try cooling off with a walk. Stuck on a big project at work? Step away from the screen and do some laps around the office building. You’ll return with a fresher perspective and clearer mindset.
Incorporating habitual walks into your routine is beneficial, as well. Schedule one for the times each day when you’re most stressed: after work, during lunch…or even after dinner, when the kids have you at your wits’ end.
Cardiovascular exercise boosts endorphins, which make you happy and reduce stress hormones. Running, swimming, riding a bike, and even walking. There are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping. Some workouts you can even do from the comfort of your bed, couch, or in your home!
What’s more, it helps you sleep more soundly, feel more energetic, and focus better—all critical components to effective stress management.
Having an artistic outlet requires you to slow down. Painting, drawing, photography, woodwork, or sculpting are some ways that you can relieve stress through the process of creating.
And good news for anyone who hasn’t crafted since grade school: the positive effects of creating have nothing to do with talent! It’s the process that’s beneficial, not the final product.
Talking to Someone
A support system can bring you a lot of relief.
While trained psychologists or counselors are invaluable for chronic stress or mental health issues, milder stress can be “talked out” with a good, trusted friend.
Bonus: helping other people with their problems benefits you, too. Talking through others’ issues and giving advice instills a sense of value, and promotes objectivity when observing your own troubles.
Like gratitude, meditation is difficult to grasp until you give it a try. It’s also not a “one and done” strategy, by any means.
Consistent meditation, however, will yield incredible results. It takes practice; being mindful, quiet, and still is not easy feat in this modern, fast-paced world.
Start small, and build up slowly. Two minutes a day is still enough to see some benefit, and can easily be built upon until you’re at five, ten, twenty minutes…or even more, if you wish.
Granted, none of these strategies are particularly groundbreaking or novel, but that’s also why they work so well: they encourage simplicity, listening to your body, and connecting with your inner self.
The hardest part is getting started. The second hardest part: sticking with it.
A little self-discipline and consistency are key to managing stress, and you’ll find these strategies become easier the longer you do them.
If you’ve wondered what the difference is between vegans and vegetarians, you’re not alone. Many similarities exist between the two diets.
They do have one glaring difference, though. While vegetarians do not eat meat, they do consume animal byproducts like eggs, cheese, or butter.
Vegans, on the other hand, consume neither animals nor their byproducts.
In other words, if an animal died to make the product (a steak, for example), neither group eats it. If an animal was involved in its production in any way (like dairy-based ice cream), vegetarians can eat it, but vegans do not.
As an aside, including animal byproducts in your new vegetarian diet will ensure a smoother transition away from meat. Eggs and milk are good sources of protein, and make useful meat substitutes in recipes like fried rice, protein bowls, and more.
If you’re interested in becoming vegan, consider a gradual approach: vegetarianism first, with a slow decrease in animal byproduct consumption as time goes on. This will make veganism less of a shock to your system.
“Vegetarian” Does Not Automatically Mean “Healthy”
This is a big and understandable misconception about this lifestyle.
Due to occasionally low sources of protein, iron, or other nutrients you used to receive from meat, you can feel hungry a lot. When you’re not sure what to eat, you tend to grab whatever is around and whatever is easiest.
The product may be vegetarian, but it’s almost always packed with sugar and carbs, too. Be sure to portion out your intake of these snack foods into appropriate amounts.
If you find yourself gorging on food after becoming vegetarian, it’s possible you’re deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. The same goes if you experience lethargy or mood swings. Consult a doctor to get some basic lab work done for anemia and other deficiencies.
Alternatively, you might find yourself rapidly losing weight, now that so many of your favorite foods are off-limits as a vegetarian.
Keep a food log to track your caloric intake, and make sure you’re getting the right amount for your height, weight, and lifestyle.
Beware of Hidden Animal Bases
Some folks who won’t eat meat have no problem consuming fat-based flavorings. They may even take supplements with bases like cod liver oil.
If you choose to make exceptions to your vegetarianism like those, that’s entirely your call. If, however, you want to avoid hidden animal bases, watch for these items on food labels:
Gelatin. This substance consists of animal skin, tendons, and bones. It’s boiled down to form a gel-like substance, and is found in Jello (obviously), candies, marshmallows, and even vitamins.
Lard. Simply put, lard is fat from pigs. It’s found in many baked goods and anywhere you’d expect to also find butter.
Rennet. This enzyme is found inside the stomachs of animals (usually calves) and is used to make a lot of different cheeses. Many don’t require rennet, however. A lot of cheese production companies have recently switched over to vegetable options.
Beef/chicken stock, bacon fat, and bone broth. Usually added for flavor, these ingredients can still affect your body the same way meat would. Slowly consuming less of these might be ideal for brand-new vegetarians looking to ease into the lifestyle, but if you want to steer clear of meat completely, watch for these in most products. These products can typically be found in soups and ramen. Although, ramen ingredients are largely vegetarian, it is possible to have a vegetarian broth made so that the whole dish can be perfectly vegetarian.
How to Get Your Protein and Iron as a New Vegetarian
There are probably more sources of natural protein and iron sources than you have ever imagined. Some excellent meat substitutes and protein sources include:
Seitan. A gluten product that has a similar texture to meat that also contains iron and other nutrients.
Tofu, tempeh, or edamame. All made from soybeans and packed with protein and amino acids.
Lentils. Delightful little bean-like things that are packed with protein and fiber.
Beans and chickpeas. There is a huge variety of these, so you are bound to find one you like. Hummus, for example, is made of chickpeas, and makes a great dip for vegetables.
Nuts and seeds. Full of protein and healthy fats.
Mushrooms. Not as protein-packed, but they are rich, diverse, and delicious. They also contain a lot of B-vitamins.
Dark greens. Veggies like spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, and the outlier potatoes (or sweet potatoes) are high in protein, iron, and vitamins.
Dark fruits. Nectarines, blackberries, and blueberries are all vitamin-rich and delicious.
Gold Standard Whey Protein. If you’re struggling to meet your protein goals, adding some protein powder to your diet can definitely help. The only animal-derived ingredient in this powder is whey itself which comes from cow’s milk.
Benefits of Becoming a Vegetarian
Lower Food Bill
If planned in advance, eating as an herbivore is insanely inexpensive. Including foods like those listed above will keep your grocery budget low. There are a ton of budget friendly recipes out there as well!
The pricier options include plant-based replacements (like Impossible Burgers or other burger substitutes), and vegetarian-branded snacks. You can choose to include these in your weekly shopping trips, but watch out for creeping costs.
Grocery shopping as a vegetarian isn’t all that different from most shoppers’ experiences. The more whole goods and ingredients you buy (to cook with yourself), the cheaper it will be. If, however, you go for more premade options and snacks, that total will look a lot higher at the register.
Easier Mealtime Cleanups
No more fat or grease caked to baking sheets and pans, no more strict clean-up after handling raw meats…the kitchen is a very different place after you switch to a vegetarian diet!
Simple Meal Substitutions
One of the best parts about becoming a vegetarian is how simple it is to substitute meatless options for your favorite meals.
You don’t have to give up your beloved spaghetti; just ditch the ground beef or sausage from your favorite sauce (or make your own from scratch). Substitute mushrooms for some extra flavor, if you’d like.
Bean tacos or quesadillas are just as delicious as the original versions. Your lunchtime salad will be even more delicious with hardboiled eggs or tofu in place of grilled chicken. Get creative! You might find your new vegetarian recipe is even better than the original.
Best of all, of you find that you’re struggling to meet your daily protein goals, you can easily add some protein powder to your favorite smoothies, yogurts, or even water. As an added bonus you can even cook with protein powder by adding them into your favorite pastries making you feel a little less guilty about eating them.
Restaurants Almost Always Have Options
Unlike other diets (veganism, for example), vegetarianism is common enough and lighter on the restrictions that make cooking such a challenge for other dietary needs. This means restaurants will be more apt to include a vegetarian option or two.
And, in the event your establishment of choice doesn’t have a vegetarian option, you can always ask for a customized meal made with ingredients most places already have on-hand, like rice and vegetables. Chipotle is one of the best on-the-go restaurants for vegetarian options.
Keep in mind that some cultures eat more vegetables than others. This means places like Indian, Thai, Mexican, or sushi restaurants may cater to vegetarians more easily than many American chains.
Live a Healthier Lifestyle and Feel Better
Perhaps the biggest benefit of becoming a vegetarian is how much better you’ll feel. When you plan your food intake wisely, you can meet all your required vitamin and nutrient levels, dramatically lower your fat consumption, and still get plenty of protein.
Some people turn to vegetarianism for a dramatic dietary overhaul, while others just want a little more plant-based food in their normal diets. Whatever your reason is for becoming a vegetarian, you can absolutely succeed in it with good research, planning, and dedication. Bon Appétit!
Many American sights are built around the probability that people will not only arrive by car, but stay in it as they take in the views. Parking lots, overlooks, scenic highways: they’re all there to make travel as convenient as can be. Planning a bike tour, however, is a way to deepen that sightseeing experience from a totally new vantage point.
It’s as much about the journey as the destination. Hovering between sport and adventure, long-distance cycling is an art of its own. Yet even seasoned riders can get lost amid the logistics when planning a bike tour.
The most crucial element is preparedness. You need to bring the right gear, plan your route efficiently, and know your own limitations.
This comprehensive guide to planning a bike tour covers the basics of preparing for your trip, all the gear you need to bring, and, finally, a list of some of the best destinations in the US to see by bicycle.
First off, figure out where you want to go, and whether your budget, resources, and willpower will get you there by bike.
More importantly, make sure the roads you’ll be riding are bike-friendly; you don’t want to find yourself pedaling inches away from an eighteen wheeler.
Enter the Adventure Cycling Association, an organization that has been bringing bike touring to the people since 1973. Run by longtime cycling enthusiasts, ACA has compiled an extensive network of bike routes spanning the entire country. Along with hand-picked directions, their maps show food, lodging, and amenities available to cyclists on the road.
There are a number of long, car-free bike paths like the Katy Trail around the country which you can incorporate into your trip. Additionally, the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) converts and maintains miles of multi-use rail trails throughout the country that can be a starting point for a shorter tour.
Chances are someone else has done a tour in your area, so check out Facebook groups to connect with other cyclists and get their recommendations.
Lastly, if you aren’t comfortable riding alone, ACA leads supported tours that might cost you a lot less than a standard vacation.
Overnights and Mileage
Once you know where you’d like to end up, plan your trip depending on where you’ll be sleeping. Everyone’s comfort level is different; you may prefer staying at motels, or you might be up for roughing it in a tent.
Either way, make sure you know where these and other resources are located. If your next campground turns out to be too many miles from the last, you could be left stranded.
This is especially important in terms of grocery stores. You definitely don’t want to get too low on food or water. Never assume there will be a store ahead of you, and keep meticulous inventory of your supplies.
Training before your trip is a smart move, too. Doing longer loops in your area will give you an idea of your daily distance: how far your can ride without overexerting yourself. This will help you map out your tour more efficiently.
Thirty to fifty miles is a good daily average to start with, but be careful not to overestimate your capabilities. Pacing yourself is one of the best things you can do for your body on a bike tour.
What Bike Should You Tour On?
What bike you ride can make a huge difference on tour. Like any decent vehicle, you don’t want it breaking down on you.
Now, that’s not to say you can’t traverse an entire state on a regular road bike. However, if you’re serious about riding long-distance, a touring bike is the way to go. Among all the unpredictable elements of being on the road, having a capable bike is one you do have control over, so don’t risk your safety or comfort with a subpar bike.
If Price Is an Issue
Touring bikes are built to carry weight, have diverse gears to tackle uphills, and can handle unpredictable surfaces thanks to stronger wheels and thicker tires. Your bike will be the biggest investment of your trip.
To put it another way, your bike will be your home, car, and companion, all rolled into one—so it’ll be well worth its higher price point.
For bicyclists on a budget, Craigslist or touring forums are always a good bet to score affordable used bikes and travel or camping gear.
Essential Gear to Pack on a Bike Tour
Before departing on what might be your first bike tour, avoid the common mistake of underestimating the challenge ahead of you.
Even if you’re an experienced traveler, a tour of any length has different demands than a trip by vehicle or other means of transportation. When you’re out and exposed on your bike for multiple hours a day, the obstacles you might face are unpredictable.
Preparing for the trip is the part you actually have control over, so take the time to pack accordingly. This gets easier as you continue touring, but this gear guide is a good start for those who aren’t sure if they are over or under-packing for their first long-distance bike trip.
As the saying goes, the weather is never the problem: the way you dress is.
If you’re going to be spending most of the day outside pedaling, have a range of clothing suitable for most conditions. Make sure you’re familiar with the temperature and weather patterns of the region you’ll be touring in, and plan for nighttime cool-downs.
Invest in a few pairs of bottoms with sweat-wicking technology (this includes liner shorts, padded shorts, socks, and tights). Cycling- specific fabrics account for how much you sweat while exerting energy, and it’s important that your clothes aren’t soaked when you get off your bike.
Most of these fabrics have antibacterial, odor-free characteristics and dry quickly, making them a good choice for overnight trips. You can rinse them off before bed, then reuse them the very next morning.
Sun sleeves can help you avoid prolonged sun exposure as you bike. These arm warmer-like covers often include cooling technology to keep you comfortable and protected.
Sunscreen needs to be reapplied (and gets messy when mixed with sweat). If you rely only on sunscreen, there’s a good chance you’ll end up oily, caked in grime, and slightly sunburnt by the time you get off the bike. Pulling on a pair of sun sleeves can save you from that Banana Boat headache later on.
When choosing a helmet, focus on weight and airflow. Though definitely protective, a hard-shell helmet will not be the most comfortable when you are sweating all day.
Rain shouldn’t be a reason to miss a day of riding on tour. Unless conditions are dangerous, you should be able to keep moving even in a drizzle—provided you have a touring bike with capable brakes and tires.
A set of waterproof clothes is a must, even if rain isn’t forecasted in the area. You’ll want a waterproof rain jacket that can keep you warm and dry. Ideally, it will also have a hood that extends completely over your helmet.
High-quality waterproof pants will be a financial investment, but one pair can take you through years of flash rainstorms.
The same goes for gloves and shoes. Lightweight waterproof gloves like this Showers Pass Crosspoint Knit pair will prevent your hands from getting pelted with freezing rain.
Base layers are compact enough not to take too much space and will keep you warm on cold nights. If you’ll be sleeping outdoors, be prepared for plummeting nighttime temperatures, especially if you’re planning a bike tour in mountain climates.
They can also be worn under your rain gear as an emergency layer.
Your shoe choice is, arguably, the most vital part of your wardrobe to get right when planning a bike tour.
Pack two pairs of shoes: a lightweight low-top option, and a warmer waterproof model.
If you choose to clip in to your pedals, you’ll need the right shoes and cleats. In general, clipping in will give you a more efficient pedal stroke, but how much this matters while pacing yourself on tour is up to you.
If you don’t want to clip in, research flat pedal shoes to find the right fit for you. You will notice that cycling-specific shoes have very stiff soles to protect your foot from the pressure exerted while pedaling.
Since waterproof cycling boots can be higher-priced, consider shoe covers to protect your feet in the rain.
On the Road
Great views and incredible rides are just ahead…but so are flat tires, pouring rain, and pitch-black country roads. Mishaps are inevitable, so prepare for these hazards ahead of time with the right gear.
USB-rechargeable lights are the norm nowadays, and you can’t go wrong with a front light you can charge anywhere, such as the Blackburn Dayblazer 1100.
With a battery life of up to 12 hours, it’ll give you the visibility and peace of mind you need on tour.
Check out the other Dayblazers on Blackburn’s website, as well, which all come with a lifetime warranty.
Remember to have your front and rear lights turned on at dawn, in fog, and even in shaded areas.
Again, flat tires are inevitable: no matter how carefully you map your route or research road conditions when planning a bike tour, you’ll lose air along the way. A lightweight portable air pump will make that annoyance a breeze to fix.
Try the Topeak Mini Dual DXG. Its built-in pressure gauge indicates when you’ve gotten your tire into the perfect pressure range.
Waterproof Bags and Panniers
Durable panniers are extremely important, since they protect and carry your entire world when on tour. Make sure you get a waterproof set like these roomy, dry, and sturdy Banjo Brothers panniers.
How you set up your bike is up to you, but two larger panniers in the rear and two smaller ones in the front is a standard. Add a frame bag, handlebar bag and seat post bag for smaller items, like tools and electronics.
Distribute weight evenly. Remember that your rear and/or front racks are a good storage option for your tent, sleeping bag, and other bulky items.
If you’re planning on relying on motels and other indoor lodging on tour, you’re all set with the gear listed above.
If you’re camping, however, you’ll need a few specific items to make sure you’re well-rested when you tumble out of that tent and onto your bike.
Used gear will suffice just fine, of course, but make sure there’s no damage to the tent that can compromise your comfort, like holes or broken zippers.
Speaking of holes: if your tent doesn’t come with one, bring a patch kit to mend rips and tears quickly.
Additionally, consider lightweight options to minimize your load. Before departure, practice setting your tent up and breaking it down.
Mummy-shaped sleeping bags are popular among cyclists because of their portability and warmth factor. A blow-up sleeping pad is a lightweight addition to your setup that will keep your back comfortable and protected.
Also, if you have the space, you can’t go wrong with a water-resistant blanket to either put underneath your sleeping bag for insulation, or to wrap yourself up in on stormy nights.
If you’re planning a bike tour that’s on the longer side, you’ll probably cook at least some of your own meals.
A portable gas stove like the Olicamp Ion Micro Titanium Stove and a camping pot can help you eat healthier and save money. The Olicamp runs on fuel canisters, allowing you to make anything from outlaw coffee, to a nice, hot plate of pasta.
It might sound like the last thing you want to do at the end of a six-hour bike ride, but preparing something hot is a huge plus. This is especially true if you find yourself in an area without restaurants (or pull into a campground late).
Using the stove is almost like throwing together a quick dinner at home—even if your apartment kitchen is a little nicer than that rotting picnic table.
When Planning a Bike Tour, Gear Matters Too
Even if you’re on a tight budget, what you bring with you on tour will determine the quality of your experience.
By no means do you need to have the latest camping gear or technology to enjoy yourself and stay safe, though. It’s just a matter of basic human needs for nutrition, shelter, and warmth. And these needs become very obvious when you’re on the road.
Touring is inconvenient by nature. That’s part of its appeal, however. It pushes you out of your comfort zone, and into new places, interactions, and (hopefully) perspectives. Packing properly with gear that keeps you warm, dry, comfortable, and hydrated will make your tour unforgettable.
Bike Touring Destinations in the U.S. (By Region)
When planning a bike tour, it’s tempting to want to see it all in as little time as possible. Keep in mind, though, that sight-seeing on a bike is vastly different from traveling by vehicle.
You’re your own engine, and you don’t want to burn out between Point A and Point B. It’s better to choose a handful of must-see destinations and actually enjoy your ride, rather than conquering a massive travel checklist all in one tour.
Starting out close to home is a good idea if you’re new to bicycle touring. Check to see if there are any bicycle loop trails near you. Your endurance is usually lower, and the discomfort of long rides will be mitigated if you give yourself plenty of time between destinations to rest.
But, if you have some touring experience and are looking for a challenge, customize your path by connecting existing routes like those created by the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA). The ACA website also offers access to the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS), a collection of state- approved bike routes throughout the country.
The following is a list of destinations that can be reached by bike in different regions of the United States. Always exercise caution when biking on shared roadways.
While it can take weeks to explore every corner of New York City by bike, the rest of the state is better suited for a long tour. (Scenically, at least).
State Bicycle Route 9 can take you from the city to the Canadian border, 345 miles to the north. After the riverside views of the Hudson Highlands, the ride climbs into the Adirondack Mountains, which boast some of New York’s wildest terrain.
Once you hit the banks of Lake Champlain, take a detour to Vermont via the Lake Champlain Bridge, or the ferry from Port Kent to Burlington.
For an east-west excursion, the 360-mile Erie Canalway cuts across the state, following the historic Erie Canal.
Expect rolling farmland, canal locks, and towns bearing the evidence of New York’s role in the Revolutionary War.
If you’re traveling west, your finish line will be the roaring trio of Niagara Falls.
If you’re looking for elevation along with history, and one of the coolest places to visit, Virginia has a lot to offer for those on two wheels.
For an extended experience, get on the TransAmerica Trail (U.S. Bicycle Route 76) in coastal Yorktown. The route travels the entire length of Virginia, crossing borders at Kentucky’s Breaks Interstate Park.
The Virginia portion of the route measures over 400 miles, taking you over the Blue Ridge Parkway in the western part of the state.
Often remote, wooded, and gorgeous, this section of the TransAm is diverse enough to plan an entire trip around. Try out detours like the Creeper Trail, which is a 34-mile long bike path connecting Abingdon, Virginia, with the Appalachian Trail town of Damascus.
Don’t miss colonial Williamsburg, downtown Charlottesville, or historic Roanoke, either. Be ready for long climbs once you reach the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains.
If you’re further down the coast, the East Coast Greenway is a one of a kind resource to take advantage of when planning a bike tour.
Good news: you can make your Greenway ride as long as you want. The entire trail is 3,000 miles long, stretching from the Florida Keys to Maine’s rocky beaches.
The entire Florida coast can be a shorter section ride. Starting in Key West, the greenway ride to Jacksonville totals about 600 miles, including stretches of pristine Atlantic beach, Spanish colonial architecture, and just as much greenery as sand.
The Midwest is vast, but Missouri’s Katy Trail is within a day’s drive from several large cities, including Chicago, Kansas City, and Louisville.
This is another cross-state ride, beginning just outside of St. Louis and ending in Clinton, Missouri. Over the trail’s 240 miles, experience trailside communities like Sedalia, Augusta, and Rocheport.
The trail mostly gravel, so prepare accordingly. You’ll need thicker tires and, ideally, a mountain or gravel bike.
The Katy Trail is a green, serene, and traffic-free choice for a shorter tour. With multiple access points by car or Amtrak, it can be forgiving to those who aren’t used to riding long-distance.
Tucson is a dream destination for winter cyclists. Since the establishment of Arizona’s Bike Route 90, it’s easier to make the city a focal point of a long-distance tour.
Route 90 is about 575 miles. It extends from Cochise County (home of the quaint mining town of Bisbee) to Maricopa county in the western part of the state.
From the Sonoran desert, cyclists can pedal north through Tucson, traverse Phoenix, and ride to the California border.
Though the remote nature of the route requires advance planning, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the vastness of the landscape at a cyclist’s pace.
In Tucson, make sure to ride the paved Loop around the city, and try the Cactus Forest Loop in Saguaro National Park. The Park offers multiple cycling trails and striking desert fauna making it one of the best national parks to visit for cycling. Get in at sunrise or sunset for golden views!
The Oregon coast is one of the west coast’s most popular touring destinations.
The Oregon Coast Bike Route will take you from Astoria, in the state’s Northwest corner, to Brookings, a town tucked into the southern Oregon coastline.
Windy and wild, the route rarely strays from the shoreline. You’ll pedal right along the Pacific, with stops in seaside towns like Cannon Beach and Florence.
Ride north to south to avoid headwinds. Expect drizzle, fog, and dramatic cliffside scenery.
If you end up in Brookings and are craving more, hop on ACA’s Pacific Coast Route. You can follow it south through California all the way to the Mexican border.
Remember to pace yourself, research cycling conditions in the areas you’ll be passing through, and be proud of every mile.
More Helpful Tips for Planning a Bike Tour
You’ve got a route in mind, proper gear, and a departure date. But before you embark on that epic bike tour, here are some final tips to make that ride as legendary as possible.
Allow for rest days. Your body will be challenged during your ride. Taking a day once or twice a week to relax will keep your spirits up (and your muscles grateful).
Don’t set hard mileage expectations. While you’ll sometimes need to bike a certain distance to get to where you’re sleeping or eating, give yourself the option of biking less or more whenever possible. Planning a bike tour with that little bit of “cushion” will make all the difference in how you feel afterwards. Listen to your body, and remain as flexible as you can.
In a pinch, a local fire or police station may point you towards a safe place to camp, or even let you pitch a tent on their premises.
Bike shops and churches are often willing to give pointers. Oftentimes, you can call ahead to scope out the situation.
Don’t underestimate dogs! Your first instinct might be to out-bike them, but that can go terribly wrong if an animal gets underneath your wheel. If your air horn isn’t successful, stop and shield yourself with your bike. Yelling at the dog while pointing at it can assert your dominance. Continue making yourself loud and large while backing away until it’s safe to get back on your bike. If you can wave down a passing car, the motorist can honk at a dog to scare it away.
Pay attention to bear-prone areas you might be crossing and camping in. Bring bear bags and bear spray just in case.
Unless you’ll be staying indoors, prepare to be shower-free for a while. Bring a quick dry towel for when you do shower. In the meantime, a simple washcloth and Starbucks sink might have to do. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find a couple showers on the road.
Wear a helmet—always.
Use lights at night, early in the morning, while riding in fog, or any instance when visibility is less than ideal.
Do all you can to make it easier for yourself. That might mean saving up for a weekly hotel stay, or listening to music as you ride.
Remember Why You’re Riding
Don’t forget that your trip is an adventure as much as it is an endeavor. It isn’t easy but planning a bike tour properly can deliver an unforgettable travel experience no other transportation method offers.
Touring is a special way to experience the country at a rare pace. It allows you to directly interact with the world around you. On your bike, the weather matters. The way the land dips and rolls matters, because it’s under your tires.
Being out on the road brings you closer to coexisting with both the natural and man-made. You might walk away knowing more about your capabilities and limitations.
Better yet, you might choose not to walk away at all.
So, the next time you’re feeling a little bored, get out on that bike and hit the open road. Enjoy that crisp air, the cool breeze rushing past you, and the beautiful scenery that surrounds you.