Bon Appétit Hot 10

[trip style = food & wine] 

It's the third week of August and that means one thing for gourmet globetrotters: the release of Bon Appétit's Hot 10 list of the best new restaurants in America. This annual list is our go-to source for first-rate restaurants from casual luncheonettes to approachable fine dining. When we're looking for a great restaurant in a city we're visiting, we always reference the Hot 10 list, as well as the magazine's list of top 50 nominees from the past few years.

One of my most memorable dining experiences—and my number-one recommended restaurant in San Francisco—was in Bon Appétit's best new restaurant of 2012, State Bird Provisions. At this gorgeous hotspot in the Western Addition, food is served dim sum style off carts rolled past your table by friendly servers. With unique dishes and a great wine list, this restaurant is way more than a gimmick and definitely worth the inevitable line-up!

As a Trip Styler team we've dined at several other hot 10 restaurants: Luce, Ava Gene's and Måurice in Portland, Westward and The Walrus and the Carpenter in Seattle, Grand Central Market Los Angeles and Rolf & Daughters in Nashville. All Trip Styler approved!

Trip Styler Tip: If you can't make it to San Francisco, Seattle, Indianapolis, Austin, Chicago, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Davidson, NC this year, bring these award-winning restaurant meals to your kitchen with these recipes.

What better reason to explore a new or favorite city for a weekend getaway than a few outstanding meals? Is San Francisco calling? Or is it North Carolina? I can't wait to sink my teeth into Austin. Check out this year's Hot 10.

#1 -  AL's Place  / San Francisco

#1 - AL's Place / San Francisco

#2 -  Gjusta  / Los Angeles

#2 - Gjusta / Los Angeles

#3 -  Petit Trois  / Los Angeles

#3 - Petit Trois / Los Angeles

#4 -  Semilla  / Brooklyn

#4 - Semilla / Brooklyn

#5 -  Parachute  / Chicago

#5 - Parachute / Chicago

#6 -  Dai Due  / Austin

#6 - Dai Due / Austin

#7 -  Kindred  / Davidson, NC

#7 - Kindred / Davidson, NC

#8 -  Rintaro  / San Francisco

#8 - Rintaro / San Francisco

#9 -  Manolin  / Seattle

#9 - Manolin / Seattle

#10 -  Milktooth  / Indianapolis

#10 - Milktooth / Indianapolis

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

San Francisco :: Eat
Spotlight :: Miami
Oregon Travel Diary :: Feasting on Portland
LA, Seriously

[top image and photo collages by @heatherlovesit, all other images via bon appétit]

It's a Wrap

It's a wrap holiday package W seattle[trip style = weekend getaway + urban]

Every Christmas season Seattle decks their halls with twinkly lights, iconic "red cup" bevvies and holiday cheer. Not so coincidentally, every year I take my sleigh down to the Emerald City to immerse myself in its red- and green-themed spirit, and play Santa during a hot chocolate-fueled shop-a-thon.

Downtown seattle christmas sparkle

This year I was asked by the W Seattle's elves to experience their just-released It's a Wrap Holiday Package. On during weekends until January 12th, the package includes all the fixings for a festive getaway, including: - a Fabulous Corner King room - valet parking {$40 savings per night} - complimentary gift wrapping for three gifts {Saturdays} - a Saturday "Wrappy Hour" at TRACE Bar, seasoned with holiday treats like a snickerdoodle cocktail paired with gingerbread snowflake cookies, and the live sounds of a Grammy award-winning nouveau jazz artist - a $50 gift card from a major credit card company and a $50 gift certificate to University Village---think: Aritzia, Madewell, Mercer, Jonathan Adler, Anthropologie, J.Crew, etc. {per stay} - a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter shuttle to and from University Village {Saturdays} - WiFi <<<< Find FULL It's a Wrap Holiday Package details here >>>>

W seattle holiday package - trip styler

In my job, I'm lucky enough to spot a world of travel offers, and the reason I'm telling you about this one is because it's festive, fun and cha-ching it offers a good perks {plus the guestrooms have Bliss Spa products and the W's beds are uber-comfy}. As a HUGE fan of experience-based gifts, this is a getaway I'd want to receive under the tree this season.

Trip Styler Tip: At the time of writing, all weekends offered during this package are available. Rates start at $200/night and there's a two-night minimum.

Here's a short video of my Wrappy weekend.

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[photos and video by trip styler taken while as a guest of starwood hotels; view my strict editorial parameters here]

Fashion Friday :: Shop Seattle

[trip style = urban]

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

I must confess that I've been cheating on Seattle with Portland for the past few years, but the Emerald City has been calling me back. While Portland has tax-free shopping and killer restaurants, its larger neighbor to the north has more to offer than Nordstrom and corporate coffee outposts. Here are a few neighborhood picks -- shops and eats -- away from the established shopping zones of Downtown, Bellevue and the U District, where you'll find unique clothing and lifestyle goods for the discerning, fashion-forward shopper.

Capitol Hill - 10th Ave
Totokaelo makes an impact even before you've set foot inside its doors. It's the kind of shop you can't just walk past; it calls you in. The store has three separate spaces for women, home goods and, most recently, men. Beyond the incredible selection of items from designers like Dries Van Noten, Acne, Rachel Comey, Apiece Apart and Henrik Vibskov, Totokaelo {pronounced toh-toh-kye-oh} sets itself apart with impeccable customer service. Cruise your favorite items online before coming in and save them in your online account to try on in store. Buy a few items and get a beautifully designed card in the mail to follow. It's details that these that keep me coming back -- especially during sale season!

{More great shops on Capitol Hill's 10th Avenue: Elliott Bay Book Company and Nube Green}

Trip Styler Tip: Rest and refuel at Oddfellows Cafe & Bar next door and Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream Shop around the corner.

Ballard - Ballard Ave
Prism is a retail and art space I came across this summer on one of my favorite streets in the city, Ballard Avenue. This restrained yet gorgeously curated lifestyle shop carries home goods, jewelry from local designers like Iacoli & McAllister, apothecary items from Blackbird and both new and vintage mens and womenswear. Only a little over a year old, Prism is the sister space to Capitol Hill's Cairo. On my first visit, I couldn't help but leave with two necklaces, the bangles shown above and a list of must-buy items for my next stop in town.

{More great shops on Ballard Avenue: Ketch and The Palm Room}

Trip Styler Tip: Take a load off and get your eat on at The Walrus & The Carpenter, La Carta de Oaxaca and Hot Cakes.

A Few Other Seattle Gems
- E. Smith Mercantile {Pioneer Square}
- Les Amis {Fremont}
- Hammer & Awl {Madrona}

More Fashion Friday
Falling for Portland
High/Low Fall Trends
Make a Statement

[photos via visit seattle, totokaelo & prism, collages by @heatherlovesit]


[trip style = urban + weekend getaway]

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Last weekend when I was in Seattle with some of the Trip Styler gals, we were all reminded of how much we love the Emerald City, and said {almost in harmony} "why don't we come here more often?" We'll blame it on the flagship Nordstrom's shoe department, which can wreak havoc on even the healthiest of bank accounts!

Here are some shots of Seattle's iconic and everyday goings on, representing a fraction of why we love our 'sister city' below the 49th!

{Shot on a morning run around Lake Union.}

{Springtime-meets-graffiti on the base of the Freemont Bridge.}

{Fish tossing at Pike Place Market.}

{The fish being tossed.}

{There must have been between 75 and 100 meters of tulip vendors at the Market!}

{Dancing windsocks in Post Alley.}

More IMG_FRI Tokyo JAL Business Class A Cinque Terre Adventure Conquering Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain Arizona Spring Training Baseball Tipping Etiquette Infographic Portlandia Honolulu

[photos by @tripstyler]

Vancouver to Seattle Must-Stops

must stops from vancouver to seattle[trip style = weekend getaway]

I can't even count the amount of times I've travelled (by car) between Vancouver and Seattle and back again. Along with my husband, we now have the trip down to an art! Too bad there isn't a car version of frequent flier miles. Whether you're crossing the 49th parallel for a flight, shopping, to visit friends or a weekend getaway, here are my tried and tested must-stops.

YVR --> SEA Must-Stops 1) The Border (Nexus) The Nexus lane is fast and efficient, 95% of the time. Spending $50 and investing two hours to apply and interview for Nexus makes border crossing, dare I say, somewhat dreamy. Otherwise, check out the border line-ups with one of these border wait apps, or indulge in orange tic-tacs at the Pacific Truck Crossing's duty-free store to legitimately jump the line and save yourself a lot of time.

2) Gas Filling up once you cross the border is a no-brainer. Gas is about 20-25% cheaper in the US, regardless of the exchange rate because the price differential is almost entirely related to gasoline taxes. So why not fill up?

3) Avenue Bread What this simple take-away or eat-in cafe lacks in decor, it makes up for in food quality. Their freshly baked bread is what they're known for, but in my humble opinion, their two most delectable dishes are Avenue Eggenues (a fresh-baked english muffin and egg breakfast sandwich, with add-ons like cheese, spinach, bacon, avocado and tomato) and the BLT&T with rosemary bread, add avocado. Where to find it: The location with the most atmosphere (pictured above) is 3 mins off the I-5 highway in historic Fairhaven (the last exit before you exit Bellingham.)

4) I Wanna Moka I have never been served coffee by friendlier, more bubbly baristas. Either they LOVE their jobs, or they're on a constant caffeine high. But seriously, this drivethru coffee bar is where it's at. And yes, their 'mokas' are good. Where to find it: Also, just off the Fairhaven exit, you won't be able to miss I Wanna Moka.

5) Optional but highly suggested: Trader Joes and/or Target. Trader Joe's, a more fun, boutique alternative to Whole Foods has everything from Two Buck Chuck ($3 bottle of bin-end wine) to fun treats, fresh flowers, great to-go salads, the best tasting sugar and salt-free peanut butter on the planet and a host of other groceries. Whether you're driving to Seattle for a flight or shopping, it's a great place to grab healthy snacks. Where to find it: The Bellingham store is just off the I-5 highway and conveniently across the street from an Avenue Bread (not the location I mentioned above).

What don't we need at Tar-jay? This weekend my husband found a great fall essential for $6, the grey waffle shirt. Need I say more? Well, I will: shopping at Target makes me wish I had a hobby/storage room to keep all the sometimes silly, but sometimes awesome seasonal stuff I find. There is no store like it in Canada. I always stock up on their allergy medication, toiletries, white platters, designer-collab clothing lines and wine (costs 50% less than in Canada). Where to find it: In Bellingham at Bellis Fair Mall, or in Marysville just off the I-5 highway.

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PS - Introducing our Travel Beauty, Travel Fashion and Travel Health Contributors!