Sushi in Chicago on New Year’s Day

If you’re like us and crave sushi every now and then head to one of the newest sushi places in the Chicago burbs- Kura Revolving Sushi Bar in Schaumburg. Maybe you’re also like us and didn’t actually eat any sushi in Japan (my post on our visit to Tokyo) but when at home in the States enjoy eating it.

A perfect 15 minute Uber ride from O’hare airport (in light traffic) this spot uses the conveyor belt concept to bring sushi around to customers sitting at tables all along the belt.

Revolving sushi

It’s simple, pick as many plates as you like as they go by, each plate is $1.50. Then once you’re done with each plate you discard it in a drop bin that tallies up the total.

There’s also a touch screen display to order special plates that cost more, like teriyaki chicken, noodles etc. Those orders come out on the top conveyor and stop right in front of your table.!

Beef on rice
Eel wrap?

We spent about $35 for two people with two drinks. You can get cheaper sushi but for the choice, variety and eating your fill, it’s not bad at all.

Have you experienced this type of restaurant before? Do they have these in Japan?


Disneyland Paris

Magical is THE only way to describe Disneyland Paris.

On our third day in Paris we checked out of our (relatively speaking) posh hotel in the city centre and rode the train out to the Val d’Europe stop near Disney. It was a fairly long walk to the hotel. The thought when we booked the hotel was that since we splurged on the hotel in the city centre, we would stay cheaper for the next couple nights and not at a resort hotel.

The hotel didn’t have AC which I suppose since it was September it wouldn’t be needed but it would have been nice to have some air flow without opening the balcony doors at night. One morning it also didn’t have hot water…that’s a little more needed in my opinion.

Anyways the plan was to go to Disneyland for one full day the next day so the evening we arrived there we checked out a massive indoor and outdoor mall.

Keeping with our tradition of shopping at a Primark whenever possible like we did in Ireland and Boston. I bought a new workout shirt for less than €5, can’t beat it.

We bought some groceries from a grocery store too and went back to the room to cook up a meal at 11pm, another late dinner for us.

Next morning was when the hot water didn’t work so our morning started later than expected. There was a free shuttle bus that picked up from our hotel and a couple others and dropped us off outside the main Disneyland entrance.

We bought the special Mini 1 day ticket so we could see both Walt Disney Studios and Disney Park. We bought the tickets on the Disneyland Paris website and from what I gather certain days you can buy the Mini pass which cost us $78 per person but that the price varies depending on the time of year. We printed the tickets out at the hotel.

We spent 4 hours at each of the two parks and ate overpriced but delicious food for lunch and dinner.

Really recommend ridinf Crush Coaster, the Nemo themed ride. You sit in a turtle shell and throughout the coaster you go up, down, forward, backwards and spin. That was probably my favorite ride.

At night was the light show on the castle. Check out the video I made of the spectacular show on YouTube. The video is 5 minutes long but the show itself is really closer to 20 minutes, it’s a must see if you visit Disneyland.

After the castle show it is a crazy packed walk out to the exit, but a few gift shops still open? Don’t mind if we shop some more.

Photographic Tale of a Day in Paris

Let’s just say that this blog post is all about the photography, the photos will tell the story of our second day in Paris.

Fountain down the street in Paris
The Arc de Triomphe
Champs Elysees
Eiffel Tower from the Arc
Arc de Triomphe from Champs Elysees
Locks still on the lamp post of the love locks bridge
The Louvre
Notre Dame
Walking street down the road from Notre Dame
Gelato in Paris

Four Hours at The Eiffel Tower

My 9-5 job that pays for my very cheap condo mortgage and very exciting vacations has allowed me to take a week off to go where the wife and I have been wanting to go to…Paris.

I thought the flight that left Chicago at 6pm and arrive to Paris at 9am would be perfect, an 8 hour flight and I would wake up rested and set for a full day in Paris…oh how I was wrong.

I was tired and jet lagged, so first thing when checking into the hotel was to take a nap. After resting and showering we were able to walk towards the Eiffel Tower and get crepes on the way for an early dinner.

Crepes in Front of Eiffel Tower

By the time we actually bought tickets it was an hour away from sunset. I’d like to think we planned it this way, to get to see the view from the Eiffel Tower during daylight, sunset and at night, but it was really because we were jet lagged!

You can buy tickets to the second floor or all the way to the top, we did the top. If you wait until it gets dark you can watch the tower light up and sparkle on the hour.

Eiffel Tower at night

I never believed that we could spend 4 hours doing one tourist spot, but that’s exactly what we did. Combined with all the photo ops, selfies, videos, relaxing on a beanbag while the warm breeze hits your face – how could you spend less than 4 hours there!

We topped off the night with a late dinner (11p.m.) at La Malakoff, it was basically dinner time at home so we were pretty much on schedule.

What’s the longest time you’ve ever spent at one tourist spot?

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island…where one could retire or just move to and open a small bbq joint. A place like Bullies BBQ is ideal- small, feels local, food is good and sells tee shirts to make extra money.

Bullies BBQ in Hilton Head
Bullies BBQ in Hilton Head

Have you ever imagined doing something like this? Set up shop on a beach or island somewhere and leave all your cares behind.

Well, not quite. You’d still have to run the shop, employees, payroll, inventory etc. You would probably spend 14 hr days, 6 days a week at said shop just managing it.

Yet…you’d be in paradise, living the dream as a small business owner. Waking up to this everyday!

Hilton Head Island, SC

And when or if you actually felt like getting away from the beach and hitting up the city, you got Savannah about an hour away.

I don’t know anything about barbecuing or running a shop though so I’ll leave you with a blue drink… island life, that’s the life.

Has anyone done this? Moved to an island and opened a shop or restaurant?

Where to Get Your Japanese Culture and Food fix in Chicagoland

One of the best places to shop for Japanese groceries, drinks, snacks, books, cool items and eat a variety of food is at your finger tips in the suburban Chicago town of Arlington Heights. Mitsuwa Marketplace is within a short Uber ride from O’Hare International Airport if you’re staying in town for business.

This past weekend they had a booth that was making these red bean, custard, caramel and green tea cakes, nothing better than warm and fresh Japanese pastries.

Japanese Red Bean and Green Tea Cakes

After eating some of this, you can check out the bookstore/gift shop. We didn’t buy anything because a lot of the stuff was stuff we had seen before (we visit there quite often). If groceries are your thing you can definitely stock up, and their raw meat portions are good sizes!

Maybe snacks and fancy ramen is your thing. We bought several things to try to perfect our ramen made at home. Will it be as good as the time we visited Tokyo and ate a ridiculous amount of ramen?

Food Court at Mitsuwa
Food Court at Mitsuwa

After stocking up on all those groceries with the intent to go home and cook, we decided that it was getting late and that the better and quicker choice would be to eat at the food court inside the place.  The wife usually gets the salmon avocado sushi roll (highly recommended) and I usually debate between getting yakisoba or Korean spicy pork with rice.  In the end it’s all good and would recommend locals or out-of-towners to visit.

Hiking Torrey Pines San Diego

I love hiking, growing up I went hiking and as an adult I try to go for a hike any chance I get.  Last year I visited San Diego and while there hiked Torrey Pines State Preserve.  Views of the Pacific Ocean, sunny clear skies- it was definitely worth getting a sunburn.

Torrey Pines San Diego
Torrey Pines San Diego

Parking along Torrey Pines Road was free, and did not have to pay to get in.  I headed into the park with very little water, my Go Pro that had no battery left, and my one year old niece in one of those baby-caring-backpack things.  Don’t worry, my sister had plenty of water for her daughter…none for me though.   It began by hiking along the side of the road that leads to another parking lot inside the park.

Torrey Pines

At some point you get the top of the hill and the trail begins.  There are signs to warn you to stay on the trail and watch for snakes.

Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines

This place is good for either a quick 30 minute hike if you drive into the park and start from the upper parking lot.  Or if you want to hike for hours, it looks like you are able to as there are multiple trials.  I’m used to hiking trails that are covered by trees, this trail is not like that, it’s mostly open with low lying shrubs.  Sometimes this can be a negative because when you are trying to take a photo that is Instagram-able you see people wandering around on the trail some ways away. I managed to get some decent shots.

Torrey Pines View of Ocean
Torrey Pines View of Ocean

Have you been here?  I’m going back to San Diego at some point, so please share your favorite place to hike for next time.