January 2018

How do CILTEP and Procera AVH Work?

Nowadays, it is quite common for professionals from all walks of life to turn to brain enhancing supplements to sharpen their memory. In other words, it is not just students but investment bankers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and even Silicon Valley nerds who take the help of brain boosters to compete with their peers. A fairly simple logic seems to work in favor of memory pills. Just like athletes need to take supplements to improve physical performance, other professionals need to take brain supplements for enhancing their mental faculties.

Today, many nootropic drugs are available on the market that claims to improve cognitive functioning. However, it becomes difficult to choose one that will be work best for you. This is where comprehensive and unbiased information on brain enhancing supplements, available on Smart Pill Guide, comes to the rescue. You can read reviews of several nootropics, such as Lumunol, Brain Pill, Lucidal, Procera AVH, CILTEP, Cerebral Success and Alpha Brain, to make an informed decision. Let us take a look at what brain enhancing supplements like CILTEP and Procera AVH do to enhance the cognitive functioning.




CILTEP, an acronym for Chemically Induced Long Term Potentiation, consists of ingredients that make it quite effective as a brain booster. The premium artichoke extract in CILTEP stimulates bile secretion. This nootropic has a potent phytochemical, luteolin, which inhibits PDE-4, enabling the brain to induce long-term potentiation. Another ingredient, L-Phenylalanine, makes the user feel happy as well as rejuvenated, enhancing confidence, while motivating the individual and driving them to accomplish their goals. This chemical promotes the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure centres. The third ingredient, Forskolin, in combination with artichoke extract, enhances learning power and memory. Other ingredients that enhance the overall effectiveness of CILTEP are Acetyl L-Carnitine and Vitamin B6. The unique blend of ingredients in CILTEP aid memory protects your brain from the deleterious effects of aging, increases alertness and improves concentration.

    1. Procera AVH

Procera AVH comprises of three major ingredients, Acetyl L-Carnitine, Vinpocetine and Huperzine (HUP). Studies have shown that Acetyl-L-Carnitine results in enhanced cognitive functioning. This substance lowers the rate of cell deterioration, which results in enhanced brain capacity. It also alleviates the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Vinpocetine, on the other hand, addresses issues such as memory damage, loss of focus or concentration, as well as increased flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Huperzine (HUP) functions as an ache inhibitor. The brain blocks Huperzine’s activities, thereby increasing the Acetylcholinesterase enzyme. This enzyme removes acetylcholine from the synapses, which leads to enhanced brain functioning, as it is protected from calcium as well as other free radicals.

This brain enhancing supplement consists of ingredients that increase blood distribution in the brain. This results in an increase in the levels of oxygen and nutrients available to the brain. Hence, Procera AVH improves memory, alertness, focus and other cognitive functions. In addition to this, the supplement restores vital neurotransmitters that are depleted due to a poor diet, lack of sleep, stress as well as aging.

Before making a buying decision, however, make sure you learn more about memory pills and brain enhancing supplements, such as Cerebral Success and Alpha Brain, to make an informed decision.

Great Places to Picnic Around Long Island & NYC

As the end of January approaches, it’s hard not to feel a little annoyed at the cold weather, wishing it would just go away already. Symptoms of the January blues include: trying (and failing) to eat healthy, noticing how dirty and worn-out your winter coat is getting, and daydreaming about when the temperature will rise above 60 degrees again. We’re here to indulge your daydreams, and start planning your spring weekends around getting some fresh air! Here are some great, away-from-the-crowds places to go picnicking in the New York City and Long Island area:

  1. Shore Road Park & Parkway
    Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
    This park runs along the southwest portion of Brooklyn, following the path of the Belt Parkway. Most of the time, you’ll see people jogging and enjoying the shoreline, but this park is a totally under-the-radar area for a picnic. It’s southern, east-to-west orientation also makes it perfect to view the sunset. You’ll also get fantastic views of the Verrazano bridge, the Manhattan skyline, and even catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Afterwards, you can visit the quaint neighborhood of Bay Ridge for dessert.
  2. Eisenhower Park
    Westbury, Nassau County
    If you’re one of those people that thinks Jones Beach is just way too crowded, Eisenhower Park might just be the place for you. This 930-acre park is the perfect place to find some solitude, as it’s one of the largest recreational spaces in the metropolitan area. If you feel like getting a workout before your picnic, head to the Aquatic Center, Ice Center, Athletic Fields, Fitness Trail, or Golf. In the summer, you can even catch a concert or movie at the outdoor theatre. You’ll never be bored here!
  3. Fort Tryon Park
    Hudson Heights, Manhattan
    This park is as dynamic and natural as it gets, you’ll hardly believe you’re still in Manhattan! In it, you’ll find the Met’s Cloisters, a beautiful medieval castle that stands as a testament to the rich history of New York, as well as spectacular views of the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge. The park features many patches of grassy areas, ensuring you’ll get a spot for a picnic while remaining away from the crowds.
  4. Steppingstone Park
    Great Neck, Nassau County
    Positioned along the Great Neck shoreline, this park remains one of the best places for sand and sea. The park features a boat ramp, if you’re feeling up to sailing the Long Island Sound, as well as a garden where you can stop and smell the roses. Perfect for picnics as well, it’s a favorite spot for locals to view the sunset.
  5. Corona Park
    Corona, Queens
    Although this is one of the most well-known parks in New York, It’s also one of the grandest. With an expansive 897 acres of recreation area, you have the option to go swimming in indoor pools, fish at Flushing Lake, rent a paddleboat, and visit the Queens Museum, all in one location. It’s truly massive, and there’s no shortage of picnic areas for when the weather finally warms up.

Top Diners on Long Island

Diners are as essential to the Long Island experience as pronouncing “ohs” as “aws” and drinking on the Long Island Rail Road. They’re the places we converge after a night out or for Sunday breakfast. The only place where you can get a fairly authentic gyro and a stack of pancakes at 2am. So, where do Long Islanders go when they choose which diner to go to? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best diners on Long Island for your convenience.


1. Landmark Diner
Roslyn, Nassau County

For over 45 years, Landmark Diner has lived up to its name as being an essential establishment on the island. With two stories and fashioned with an old-school, retro motif, Landmark prides itself on being the quintessential American dinner. It’s state-of-the-art water filtration system, energy-efficient heating, cooling, and lighting, and use of eco-friendly cleaning products ensure the establishment runs as sustainably as possible. Most importantly, their lengthy menu features everything from omelettes to signature sandwiches and desserts.


2. Thomas’s Ham and Eggery
Carle Place, Nassau County

A place notorious for long lines but friendly service, Thomas’s Ham and Eggery ranks high on many Long Islander’s lists for best diners around. Their famed egg scrambles are fluffy and flavorful and served in a skillet. While their breakfast menu is the talk of the town, they serve lunch and dinner that’s just as delicious.


3. Tim’s Shipwreck Diner
Northport, Suffolk County

If you’re not a local, you may recognize this place from their appearance in an episode on Food Network’s American Diner Revival. Located just across from the Northport Village Dock on Main Street, Tim’s is a local favorite famed for their seafood-infused menu and breakfasts. We recommend the local favorite “wreckfast burrito”, if you can handle the hot sauce’s heat.


4. Sunny’s Riverhead Diner & Grill
Riverhead, Suffolk County

If you’re on your way out to The Hamptons, a stop at Sunny’s in Riverhead should be on your agenda. Since 1932, Sunny’s has served the Riverhead community with fresh, local ingredients and a smile. While the ownership may have changed throughout the years, the same family still runs the establishment, ensuring the quality and community values core to the place have been maintained.


5. East Bay Diner
Seaford, Nassau County

This classic hometown diner is always a hotspot for locals. Outfitted with a nautical theme fit for the south shore, the establishment prides itself on a traditional diner experience with a Long Island twist. Portions are large and filling, perfect for taking a doggy bag home at the end of the meal.


6. Park City Diner
Garden City Park, Nassau County

A favorite for Long Islanders all over the county, Park City Diner is an establishment that is proud of it’s non-traditional take on the diner experience. Diners can take advantage of the full bar and screens to turn the diner into a sports bar for events. Also, the diner offers takeout and delivery options as well if you feel like enjoying the meal at home.


So, if you’re looking for an authentic Long Island experience, stop by any of these diners and thank us later!

Nootropics for Beginners

Wading through the uncharted waters of nootropics can be confusing for many newbies. If you are entirely new to nootropics or have tried and are yet to find any satisfactory results, this mini guide is for you.

I’ve tried to answer the most basic questions about finding the right nootropics for you, and attempted to cover all the possible angles from ‘what’ to ‘why’, ‘who’ to ‘how’, and ‘when’ to anything else.

There is no denying nootropics can be puzzling or even intimidating for people who have never used them before. Sometimes, it can be difficult to make sense of the vast world of nootropics, even if you’ve been using them for a while. So, I’ve decided to create a mini guide to help you find the right nootropics by answering five crucial ‘W’ and ‘H’ questions.

What… should you be looking for?

Finding the right nootropics as a beginner starts with searching for the most basic ones. Once you’ve found options you think you might like to try, look out for what the nootropic contains.

It’s very important to check the kind of ingredients used in the nootropic. Be wary of brands that use cheap ingredients, because chances are, you’d only be dealing with a diluted substance.

Also, look out for the amount of ingredients used in the nootropic. While you might find that a nootropic contains the right ingredients, if it’s not the appropriate quantity, it will not reap results, leaving you with an ineffective nootropic.

The brand of nootropic matters as much as the ingredients. Beware of false marketing hype, especially with brands that establish and reinforce false expectations. To help you tie this all up, read feedback and reviews online, as they are often more reliable than what the distributor or manufacturer has to say.

How…should you do it?

Again, it is important to start basic and slow. Take your time and find out what each ingredient in your nootropic does. Go slowly and allow yourself to test it and understand how it will affect your body.

This is important, because the way it will affect you might be different from the effect it will have on someone else. When you start with as low as one or two noots, you’ll be avoiding overshooting the mark, as one compound might actually be all you need. Also, you’ll find it easy to determine what effect each compound has on you.

Why… nootropics in the first place?

Before you even start, you have to ask yourself exactly why you’re taking nootropics and why you chose a particular nootropic . You need to define what your personal goals are and exactly what you hope your nootropic intake will do for you, in terms of cognitive benefits.

It also matters if you’re not in perfectly good shape and have a serious medical condition that may be affected by your nootropic intake. Finally, decide whether you’ll be better off using a nootropic stack or a single nootropic supplement and why either option would work better for you.

Who…should you ask for help?

It’s easier to find out from someone around you what nootropics to use, but you must bear in mind that person’s personal goals might not be the same as yours. If they’re taking a nootropic you’d like to try, you could ask them about how it affected them.

Your best bet for finding what works for you is by learning from a nootropics expert. That way, you’ll have all the guidance you’ll ever need.

When…could you start to experience side effects?

You have higher chances of experiencing side effects the higher the dosage of nootropics and the more nootropics you add. This is exactly why you should not start off by building a complicated stack.

When you start to experience side effects, start all over, but slowly. If you had taken too many different cholinergic supplements, cut the dosage in half. If you had used more than one product, narrow down the culprit by cutting out products through trial and error.

When…they simply don’t work?

It’s easy to feel discouraged when it seems a nootropic does not work after you’ve taken it in the recommended dosage. Bear in mind that the most awesome nootropics take their time to work their magic in your system and produce the desired results.

Also, sometimes you might get slightly different results than what you expected, but before you give up on the product, use it for at least two weeks.

On a final note, nootropics should be approached with the right mind-set and not rushed. Do that, and you’ll have solved half of your problems.


Healthy Eating Trend: The Best Oils for Healthy Cooking

Your diet and lifestyle have a direct impact on the health of your heart.

When you prepare your food, it’s recommended you eat something that is rich in nutrients and healthy fats. With oil, there is a difference in the type of fat that you can get.

Before I recommend oils to use for your healthy cooking, let me explain the different types of fats that are found in oil.

Oils are liquid fats that come from the seeds or nuts of plants. The ratio and type of fats contained in each oil usually differ.


Saturated Fats: Also known as Solid Fat, it is usually solid around room temperature and found mostly in animal foods like meat, cheese and milk.


This saturated fat is found less in poultry and fish, but more so in red meat. It is also found in tropical oils like cocoa butter, coconut oil and palm oil, which are used in things like coffee creamers and whipped toppings.


Desserts, cookies and cakes are usually high in saturated fats and can raise your cholesterol level. Anyone embarking on a healthy diet should ensure that the saturated fat in their daily calorie intake should be less than 10%.


Unsaturated Fats: Unlike saturated fats (which at room temperature are in liquid form), unsaturated fats are found in the oil derived from plants or their seeds.


Consuming unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats can assist in improving your cholesterol levels. Two types of unsaturated fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.


  • Polyunsaturated Fat: Found mostly in vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn oils and sesame. This is also the main type of fat found in seafood.

    When you consume polyunsaturated fat instead of saturated fat, you’re on the path to reducing your LDL cholesterol level.

    In polyunsaturated fats, you can find Omega-3 fatty acids (sardines, walnuts, salmons, shellfish, canola oil, mackerel) and Omega-6 fatty acids, found mostly in vegetable oils.

  • Monounsaturated Fats: Found mostly in olive, peanut oil, nuts, avocado and vegetable oils.

    Foods high in monounsaturated oil can help reduce LDL cholesterol, but when you consume more unsaturated fat without reducing your intake of saturated fat, your cholesterol levels are unlikely to go down.


Here are our best choice of oils for cooking your healthy meals:


Avocado Oil: One of the richest oils in monounsaturated fats and a great way to include vitamin E into your diet. Avocado Oil, unlike others oils that are extracted from the seed of a plant, is extracted from the flesh of ripe avocados and has the highest smoke point of any plant oil (520 degrees Fahrenheit).


You can opt for this if you have a little extra cash to splurge, but try storing it properly, as it’s likely to go off fairly easily if it’s not taken care of. It is highly recommended, as it produces an antioxidant that improves eye health, helps your cholesterol levels and its buttery flavor can complement sauces and salad dressings. It is good enough to be used for any cooking need.


Canola Oil: This great cooking oil isn’t as popular as the rest, but provides a lovely texture, an amazing neutral flavour and an impressive heat tolerance level.


Budget-friendly when compared to other cooking oils, this oil is obtained by crushing the seeds of a type of rapeseed plant, (the canola), which comes from the same family as broccoli and cabbage. It also has the lowest content of saturated fat present in any oil and works well when used for baking, fries and sautéing, as it has a relatively medium smoking point.


A well-embraced oil for making Indian and exceptionally-tasting Mexican dishes.


Coconut Oil: Containing over 90% of saturated fats, which makes it resistant to heat, coconut oil has very powerful benefits and is a great choice for high heat cooking. It becomes solid at room temperature and can last for months (even years) without going bad. It is surprisingly rich in Luaric acid, which is a fatty acid that is known to improve cholesterol, as well as kill pathogens and bacteria. A great source of energy and taste, coconut oil is highly recommended for healthy cooking.


Olive oil: Well-known for the effects it has on the heart, the monounsaturated fat it possesses makes it a great choice to fight breast cancer and heart disease. It lowers the cholesterol level in the body and is ideal for breakfast and a great improvement to the Mediterranean diet. It is fairly resistant to heat and is used widely around the world for cooking. The extra virgin olive oil is great for sautéing and light salad dressing, while the regular olive oil is widely used for frying.


Palm Oil: Derived from the fruit of the oil palms, palm oil contains mostly monounsaturated and saturated fats, but with trace amounts of polyunsaturated fats, making it a recommended choice for cooking. The unrefined red palm oil is rich in Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E, as well as other nutrients.


Leading health expert, Dr Shikha Sharma, claims that since there isn’t a single oil that contains all the necessary fatty acids (in the ratio at which the body needs them), it is a healthy option to rotate or change the oils that you consume. According to him, “Your body needs different essential fatty acids. A combination of saturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats will do well in keeping your body and diet healthy.”


In addition to their diet and lifestyle benefits, oils – especially coconut oil – have also been getting a lot of attention recently for their health benefits, including weight loss, skin regeneration and dental hygiene.

“In the field of dental health for example, you can use coconut oil as part of your dental health to help attack harmful bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath, fights gum disease, reduce plaque and prevent tooth decay and loss,” says Dr. Cecil Luong of Tigersmile Dentistry.


On a final note, don’t forget to take care of your cooking oils and ensure they do not turn rancid. If you cook a lot and are sure you can use up a lot of oil in a short period of time, then buy in large batches. If not, consider buying small batches, so they don’t get the chance to go bad.


Activated Charcoal: Detox Tool or Fitness Fraud?

It seems as though every fitness media outlet has latched onto the newest trend: activated charcoal. The black powder is said to have medicinal purposes as a powerful detoxification agent, and is treated in a way that is safe for human consumption. Before being a fitness fad, it was commonly used in emergency rooms to treat mild poisonings. Basically, activated charcoal is supposed to flush out all toxins and chemicals from your body, giving you a clean slate to begin a healthier lifestyle.

All of this sounds good, but how effective is activated charcoal at removing these so-called “stored toxins”? According to Livestrong, there is no evidence to show that the human body has stores toxins to begin with, or that charcoal can somehow extract them from your body. If you’re trying to use activated charcoal to lose weight, regular consumption of charcoal can lead to more damage than good. Similar to other detox diets out there, the charcoal detox requires participation in fasting for a few days. The weight you may lose during this time is due more to the calorie restrictions during the fasting phase than to the charcoal consumed.

Moreover, the regular consumption of activated charcoal can lead to constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, and in some severe cases, bowel obstruction. With consistent and repeated doses, complications such as abscesses and charcoal deposits can develop in the abdominal wall. Dr. Kamal Patel, a medical professional in Tampa, Florida, has been doing extensive research on the affects of activated charcoal on the body. For those taking daily prescription medications, the interactions between charcoal and the medications could render the medication ineffective. This is particularly dangerous if the medications taken ensure proper bodily function or livelihood.

One of the most popular promotions of activated charcoal, besides consuming it for detox, is using it for teeth whitening. Instructions for it’s use for teeth whitening is to wet your toothbrush, dip it into loose activated charcoal powder, begin brushing it on your teeth, leave it on your teeth for three minutes, then rinse. It’s recommended to use activated charcoal to whiten teeth around two to three times a week in order to begin seeing results.  Activated charcoal is also said to be a cure for bad breath.

Unfortunately, dental professionals are wary on recommending activated charcoal for teeth whitening. They recommend only using it around once every other week, if at all. They also warn that since it is such an abrasive powder, it can wear down the enamel on the teeth, causing bigger dental problems down the road. Enamel is the protective layer on your teeth that help prevent cavities or rot, and once it’s gone, it’s very hard to restore. This is certainly a bigger problem than having yellow teeth.

So the next time you’re looking for a healthy way to detox, we recommend sticking to fruits, vegetables, and a large glass of water!

Fun Fitness Classes in NYC to Help With Your New Year’s Resolution

Now that the second week of January is coming to a close, how are your new year’s resolutions coming along? Less than stellar? Well, you’re not alone. Statistics show that only 8 percent of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions. If you’re one of the millions of Americans that pledged to lose weight in 2018, week three typically tends to see a steep drop in motivation. If you’re in the New York City area, however, there are a lot of creative, unique, and fun fitness class options to help keep you motivated!


Learn Japanese & Korean Sword Fighting – Sword Class NYC  

Was your other resolution for 2018 to learn more about other cultures? Kill two birds with one stone and sign up for a Beginner Iaido – Siljun Dobup class. During these 55 minute classes, you’ll learn techniques and forms for using traditional Japanese & Korean swords as well as proper cutting directions. Certainly more interesting than feeling like a hamster on a treadmill.


Learn To Juggle (Or Get Better) – Juggle Fit NYC

Has learning to juggle always been a secret desire of yours? Or maybe a hidden talent? Juggle Fit NYC combines the technical skill, balance, and concentration involved in juggling with the activeness of an upper body workout. An hour of juggling can burn around 280 calories, the same as walking, and combining the two could make for a fun and entertaining workout!


AG6 – Asphalt Green

Located inside the Asphalt Green fitness center in the Upper East Side, AG6 is a workout that combines total body, high-intensity, circuit based training with interactive technology for a workout like no other. Basically, the system will give you visual cues in the form of lights to guide you through your workout; so it’s basically like an Avatar-inspired bootcamp. It’s a pretty intense and legitimate workout, burning around 1,000 calories in 45 min.


Bollywood-Inspired Interval Dancing – BollyX

With numerous locations held throughout the five boros, BollyX is Bollywood’s answer to Zumba; an intense, interval workout to your favorite Bollywood songs. Bollywood is known for its catchy, rhythmic music that typically features a series of dance numbers, perfect to get your body moving and shaking. It’s designed as a complete body workout, so be prepared to sweat while toning and slimming down.


Rock Out While Jump Roping – Punk Rope NYC

Jump rope was easily the best part of recess. This new cardio workout is sure to get your heart pumping by combining two exciting factors: jump rope and punk rock. Designed for groups and individuals, the workout is a fun and intense workout aiming for good vibes and sweat. The class is held at the Greenpoint YMCA every wednesday from 7:30 – 8:30.  

Get LIIT: All About The Long Island Iced Tea

Oh, the infamous Long Island Iced Tea. The stuff of graceless nights and blurry memories. Despite its name, it’s traditional recipe actually lacks tea. Its contents are nothing short of a formidable concoction featuring 5 different alcohols; vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola for good measure. Compared to other cocktails, the Long Island Iced Tea’s alcohol content is quite high at 22 percent, which makes sense considering the drink is almost entirely liquor. The deceptive cocktail tastes like a refreshing, bittersweet, light drink, so handle with caution.

Although some credit its origins to an older, prohibition-era version of the drink to Ransom Bishop of the community of Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee, it’s quite different than the drink we know today, featuring maple syrup and whiskey in lieu of cola.  The Long Island Iced Tea of today is credited to Robert “Rosebud” Butt in, you guessed it, Long Island, New York. In the 70’s, Robert Butt was a bartender at the locally famous Oak Beach Inn located on Jones Beach Island when he concocted the beverage we know today during a cocktail competition. The restaurant became so well known, it was able to open up three other clubs in Smithtown, The Hamptons, and Island Park. People from New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, and other parts of New York would flock to their locations. The locations would meet a series of legal battles and issues that would lead to them all being torn down or left in ruins.

If you ever find yourself on Long Island, Mercato Kitchen & Cocktails currently holds the title for best Long Island Iced tea on the island, selected by locals, due in part to their moderately priced cocktails and authentic Italian cuisine. If you can’t make it there, however, here’s how you can make the drink at home.

Long Island Iced Tea



½ oz of vodka

½ oz of rum

½ oz of gin

½ oz of tequila

½ oz of triple sec

1/2 oz of sweet/sour mix

1 oz cola, or to taste

1 slice lemon (optional)



Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour all liquors into shaker and shake well. It’s suggested you serve drink into a Collins or hurricane glass. Add 1 oz cola, or to taste, depending on your strength preference. Top with a slice of lemon for garnish. Bottoms up!

Food & Fun: San Diego Restaurant Week

It’s time once again to celebrate San Diego’s rich cultural and culinary scene at San Diego Restaurant Week, running from January 21st to the 28th. This year, over 180 restaurants around the county are participating, ensuring everyone can experience the food and fun. With the slogan “Eat. Laugh. Share.” organizers hope to inspire an environment and “experience that extends far beyond the dinner plate.”


As typical with most restaurant weeks, participating restaurants offer three-course, prix-fixe meals as a part of the celebration. The menus are specially designed to showcase the best dishes the establishments have to offer, ensuring a delicious and quality meal. Depending on the restaurant, dinners typically range from $20 – $50. If you’re looking to stop by for lunch, prix-fixe ranges between $10 – $20. While there is no need for tickets or to pay ahead of time, reservations are recommended.

Get a taste of some restaurants participating at San Diego Restaurant Week below!


For Lunch:

Cafe Coyote

Located in San Diego’s Old Town, Cafe Coyote is an immersive Mexican dining experience, complete with decorative fountains, live mariachi music, and a selection of over 100 tequilas to complete your margarita. Their lunch menu is affordably priced at $10 for 2 courses, one entree and your choice of appetizer or dessert. We recommend the Famous Old Town Carnitas as an entree, Quesadilla Mexicana as an appetizer, and the Mexican Flan for dessert.

Cucina Urbana

Uptown in Bankers Hill sits Cucina Urbana, a chic Italian restaurant with a California twist. Highlighted here is the extensive, high-quality wine selection to pair with your meal, as well as the wine shop to take some home with you. Priced at $20 for lunch, you can choose an appetizer and an entree. We would choose the arugula and heirloom tomato salad as an appetizer and  the margherita pizza as an entree.


For Dinner:

Draft Republic

Located in Carlsbad, Draft Republic is a California-inspired bar & grill that’s a part of the local Cohn Restaurant Group. With 101 beers on tap, it’s the perfect environment to sit back, relax, enjoy a game, and get together with friends. Their restaurant week dinner menu is priced at $20 for a three course meal. We recommend the Buffalo Buttermilk Chicken Lollipops for an appetizer, Draft Republic Burger as an entree, and the Skillet Brownie for dessert.

1500 Ocean at Hotel del Coronado

Located inside the Hotel del Coronado, this upscale coastal restaurant offers the best in a San Diego beachfront dining experience. The menu is designed by renowned Chef Patrick Ponsaty, specializing in fresh seaside cuisine. With a beautiful view of the pacific ocean, stopping by for dinner during sunset is highly recommended. Their restaurant week dinner menu is priced at $50 for three courses, not including drinks. We’d get the Lemongrass Ginger Lobster Infusion for the first course, Roasted Mary’s Chicken for the second course, and Vanilla Creme Brulee for dessert.


Bon Appetit San Diego!

5 Dishes That Represent Today’s Houston

When you think of signature dishes for US cities, you might think of New York’s pizza, Chicago’s hot dogs, or Philly’s cheese steaks. However, Houston is quickly becoming one of the biggest hot spots for food tourism, due in part to its growing population and cultural diffusion. Currently, over 2 million people from many cultures and creeds call Space City home. Given the dynamically changing nature of Houston’s cultural scene, we’ve nominated the following as candidates for Houston’s signature dish.

  1. Pho

The traditional vietnamese soup is taking hold in Houston in a big way. Although it’s an unlikely candidate for the humid southern city’s signature dish, it’s jam packed with all the things Houston loves about food: comfort, richness, and beef. We suggest checking out Pho Binh, a local chain that started in a trailer that now has 7 locations throughout Houston. Specializing in the Vietnamese comfort food, their Pho is often referred to as the best in Houston.


  1. BBQ

Talking about food in any area of Texas would be remiss without mentioning barbecue. A southern staple, barbecue is less of a dish and more like an artform of spices, aroma, and technique. Everyone knows that the best barbeque is smoked for hours on end for that soft, fall-off-the-bone factor. Ronnie Killen from Killen’s Barbecue knows this process intimately, specializing in a tantalizing barbecue brisket that needs nothing more than a salt and pepper rub. It’s certainly some of the best barbecue around.


  1. Fajitas

While any dish in the tex-mex family could be considered a signature Houston dish, fajitas hold a special place in the hearts of Houstonians. First of all, grilled beef. Second of all, it’s proximity to Mexico ensures you’ll get as close to authentic Mexican cuisine as possible this side of the border. Credited with being the original fajita stop in Houston, Mama Ninfa’s has been serving up seared skirt steak and handmade tortillas since 1973.


  1. Crawfish

A good old crawdaddy boil is the heart and soul of America’s gulf coast, and Houston is not immune to the craze. It’s messy, it’s savory, and most of the time you’re left chugging water with the outside edges of your palms; the only area not covered in salt and crawfish. Speaking specifically to the area, we’re expanding our palate by mentioning a true innovation and marriage of cultures, the asian-inspired cajun crawfish at Cajun Kitchen. Located on the outisde edge of Chinatown, Cajun Kitchen offers the choice to get your crawfish seasoned with Thai basil and adjust your spice levels.


  1. Fried Chicken

It might be a little basic for anyone else in the country, but fried chicken is absolutely no joke for Houstonians. For the authentic southern experience, we suggest paying a visit to flagship store of the chicken chain Frenchy’s, as it’s still considered the best in town. Located on Scott Street, it serves staples like jambalaya and gumbo, giving it’s chicken an authentic creole twist.