A BIT OF PARADISE IN YOUR BACKYARD
I tried my first poke bowl in Oahu this past February, and fell in love! I was excited to find a vegan poke bowl at our favorite Hawaiian spot Island Vintage Coffee. to say that Hawaii is one of my favorite places on earth in an understatement. I have longed to live the Hawaiian life ever since I was about 12 years old, even though I had never been. I was convinced I would move there after high school and never leave. well reality set in, and although I did not get to visit Hawaii for the very first time up until 3 years ago, I knew I would love it the second I set foot on one of the islands. we went back for our honeymoon this past year and visited two islands this time, Maui and Oahu. from snorkeling, surfing, hiking, adventuring waterfalls, bamboo forests, and little towns and markets, there is so much that Nick and I love about the Hawaiian Islands. we have found our favorite coffee shops, our favorite breakfast spots, places to watch the sunsets, secret gardens, I am not sure there is anything about it I don't love. every time we go, we talk about how we both want to move there, but our lives for the time being are firmly planted here in Chicago.
I am a tropical at heart, islands know my name and call my spirit. living in such an urban city can be testing to my soul. we have found a beautiful home that sits along side a magical nature preserve here in Chicago, as well as a giant park. we are blessed with a backyard and tons of options for fresh air outdoor space attached to our home, but I have struggled to find tropical hideaways throughout the city. with so much brick and pavement a girl can really feel stuck in a concrete jungle. enter MAHALO...
on my hunt for tropical vibes in Chicago, I came across MAHALO, in the Wicker Park neighborhood. not only is the aesthetic bright and cheery and a much welcomed contrast to the traditionally darker more urban hipster vibes that crowd the neighborhood (don't get me wrong it has its place, but a little variety adds so much character and interest), this place is filled with so much aloha, it is sprinkled every where. the floors are a bright hawaiian ocean blue, they have cute little neon lights with words like "mahalo vibes" or "aloha" or "I left my heart in Hawaii", the walls are lined with palm leaves, and the bathroom signs are adorable. they have two levels and a rooftop patio. there are so many cute details here, I will have to go back to capture more if it!
I went for brunch and got the Papaya Salad (hold the shrimp) and the Veggie Poke Bowl. both I highly recommend. the salad was fresh, light, crispy with a zest, and the poke bowl was filling, nutty and full of flavor. I wanted to experience the cute little heart shaped crazy straws. traditionally they come with the BIG KAHUNA, but our server was amazing and brought one out for me for my guava juice instead! I still had to get back to work and so unfortunately the Big Kahuna wasn't an option for this brunch session.
The Big Kahuna ($26) caña brava rum, pineapple juice, perfect purée coconut, plantation overproof, comes in a whole pineapple and serves two! drinking out of fresh pineapple is one of my favorite snacks to get while walking around Waikiki. I will definitely be going back to get this masterpiece soon. if you have had it let me know what you think!
as fall is starting to make itself comfortable here in the city, I am so so so excited to have a new place I can escape to, that takes me back to my favorite islands.
I will be off to NYFW this coming week and then headed to Tulum for the very first time after that. I can not wait to experience a new place and all the magic that it holds. I will definitely be sharing it with you all ever step of the way! let me know if there are certain things you would love to see or know more about.