Category Archives: Local Businesses

Book hotels in these cities throughout the U.S. to get close to some great local food joints.

The 10 Best Places Across the United States to Chow Down like a Local

Treat yourself to a good meal, festive drinks, friends and family with this list of the 10 best places in the U.S. for scrumptious local fare. From Hawaii to Virginia and everywhere in between, there’s a great restaurant for everyone.

1. Carmel’s Breakfast House, Phoenix, Arizona

This cute restaurant was opened by a local weatherman and serves up local favorites like tartines, Panini and fresh brown-butter scones. Start your day at a great hotel in Phoenix, like the Hermosa Inn, and make your way to this breakfast haven.

2. Taqueria del Sol, Atlanta, Georgia

Locals and tourists flock to this hang-out which serves traditional Tex-Mex flavors, including the house specialty, Beef Enchiladas, with a to-die-for red chile sauce.

3. Grits & Groceries, Belton, South Carolina

Nestled in an old farmhouse, Grits & Groceries is a restaurant and small grocery store that features delicious lunch and dinner fare like homemade pimento cheese sandwiches, grass-feed beef hamburgers and more.

4. Ad Hoc, Yountville, California

This restaurant’s three-course dinners (which change nightly) bring in diners from all over the country. Other favorites include a delectable wine list and the restaurant’s signature cocktails.

5. White House Sub Shop, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Frequented by locals, tourists and celebrities (including Frank Sinatra and Ellen Degeneres), the White House Sub Shop has a large selection of hot or cold sandwiches, including the famous White House Submarine.

6. Elizabeth Street Café, Austin, Texas

A fusion between Vietnamese and French cuisine, the Elizabeth Street Café in Austin is a favorite among locals in and around the city; the restaurant’s most popular dishes include pho (a Vietnamese soup) and pork buns. Try it out for lunch after a stay at the nearby Hotel San Jose.

7. Coconut’s Fish Café, Maui, Hawaii

Set against the panoramic backdrop that is Hawaii, Coconut’s Fish Café in Maui offers up the freshest fish and seafood, including famous fish tacos, seafood chowder, seafood Caesar salad and fish burgers.

8. Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco, California

This century-old San Francisco culinary institution (which turned 100 years old in 2012) features fresh oysters, crab and more. There are many superb San Francisco hotels nearby, such as the Nob Hill Hotel, to stay at after a delicious meal.

9. Lombardi’s, New York City, New York

Touted to be one of the city’s best pizza places, Lombardi’s features classic pizza pies and more unusual varieties like the famous clam pizza, homemade meatballs and fresh sweet Italian sausage.

10. Cocoro, Chicago, Illinois

Last, but not least, on this list is Cocoro in Chicago; this restaurant features an eclectic menu, including dishes like Pork Terrine, muffuletta and the delicious Short Rib Grilled Cheese sandwich.

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thailand elephant

An Interview with Diana from Save Elephant Foundation

Today we’re kicking off an interview series on OHW that will ask travelers, tech entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and more to share a bit about the work they are doing and why they’re doing it. Oh Hey World believes in not only the transformative power of travel (that’s definitely a focus of ours), but in the positive changes we can create when we connect with like-minded people (that’s the core of the OHW platform). During my travels in Southeast Asia over the years I began to learn more about the plight of the Asian elephant, and conservation efforts in the region. When friend and fellow travel blogger Diana Edelman slowed down her travels and began working for Save Elephant Foundation in Thailand I knew she was just the right person to kick off the interview series. 

thailand elephant

1) Tell me a bit about the work Save Elephant Foundation is doing in Southeast Asia and why it’s needed.

Save Elephant Foundation is working to protect Asian elephants in Thailand and beyond. The foundation, founded by Sangduen “Lek” Chailert, a renowned animal conservationist, not only works to protect the Asian elephant, but also other animals. Elephants in SE Asia are being removed from the wild and the main goal of SEF is to raise awareness about the plight of Asian elephants and how current activities in the tourism industry impact the population of the elephants in the region. Other than the elephants, SEF also works to give people in local communities better lives by providing aid and education — particularly as it relates to elephants mahouts or elephant caretakers who, prior to working with SEF, would have their elephants working.

2) As a traveler yourself, why did you decide to stop traveling and work with the Foundation?

As a traveler, I decided to stop traveling so much and join the Foundation because I believe in what Lek is doing. When I first visited the foundation’s Elephant Nature Park in 2011, I was shocked at how little I knew about animal exploitation and animals working in the tourism industry all over the world. My time as a volunteer there really opened my eyes to the decisions we make as travelers, and the fact that most people who come to this part of the world are not aware that the decisions they make in regards to animal attractions can greatly impact an entire industry and trade. Lek’s unyielding passion and desire to make the world a better place for animals is truly inspiring. Her love knows no bounds and being able to help her raise awareness about her foundation and responsible tourism is a dream fulfilled for me. I’ve always loved to write and do PR, but to be able to use my skills to try to better the world and change people’s ideas of what is responsible tourism … it makes me so happy.

3) What work are you doing at the Foundation right now?

I do the PR and social media for the foundation. I have traveled a bit and done research regarding the human elephant interaction, and also have been a part of two elephant rescues.

4) When I visited the Elephant Nature Park, I noticed visitors could not ride the elephants, which was a new concept for me, can you share the work the Foundation is doing in this regard.

The foundation’s main focus to is to educate tourists and future travelers to this region of how their actions impact the lives of wild and captive Asian elephants. Our hope is that with this information, people will make more informed choices as it relates to the animal activities they choose. The most common mistake people make in SE Asia is not being educated. Ignorance is bliss.

5) How can both short and long-term travelers have the biggest impact in supporting Save Elephant Foundation?

Short and long-term travelers can have the biggest impact by taking what they learn from SEF and their visits to the foundation’s projects and telling others. Education can change the world, and the elephants need people to speak for them.

If you’re keen to connect with Diana on the OHW network, you can follow her check-ins and activity from her OHW profile. Other important links to connect to Save Elephant and Diana include:

Save Elephant on Twitter and Facebook
Diana on Twitter

Shannon O'Donnell

A storyteller and knowledge-seeker captivated by the world. Formally an actress and web-nerd, I left in 2008 to travel solo, volunteer, and hunt down delicious vegetarian eats all over the world. She recently published "The Volunteer Traveler’s Handbook, and her travel stories and photography are recorded on her travel blog, ALittleAdrift.com.

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An Example of How NOT to Build Word of Mouth for a Hostel

You’re lucky I didn’t throw your bag out with the trash.

Those are the words I was greeted with after the final day of Startup Weekend Amsterdam. Really? That’s how you treat your customers? Threatening to throw their bags out with the trash? Yeah, there’s a smart way to run your business. Yes, I’d say Europe needs some customer service lessons. For starters, you don’t generate positive word of mouth by threatening your customers and making them feel like crap. That seems to be a pretty simple concept, but I guess not a lesson everyone has learned.

I realize that checking out in the morning and leaving a bag until 9 pm isn’t normal. That said, I did ask the person working in the morning if I could leave my bag.

They said yes. I didn’t specifically tell him the bag would be there until the evening. The night receptionist told me that “bags can be stored for up to 3 hours after checkout” is written all over signs everywhere in the hostel. That may be true, but I never saw those signs. I’ve been to a ton of hostels all over the world, and never has someone tried to enforce a hard time limit on storing bags after checkout. I apologized for leaving my bag there longer than normal, and he proceeded to tell me that I was extremely lucky this time that the bag was still there. I would have been happy to pay a few Euros for the inconvenience — but instead they jumped straight to making me feel like an asshole. Not the way I want to be treated by the staff of a place where I’ve spent over 200 Euro.

There’s one thing I know for a fact. I will never say a good thing about Cosmos Hostel Amsterdam to anyone ever again. It’ll always be the Amsterdam hostel that I warn people against staying at. Well done, Cosmos Hostel Amsterdam. Well done. You just lost a customer — and all the WOM potential that goes with that customer — for life.

[Photo via http://www.hmtweb.com/]

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Big’s Little Cafe: The Best English Breakfast in Pai

I’m a sucker for a great English breakfast. Hands down, the best english breakfast I’ve had in Thailand was this past week in Pai.

Big’s Little Cafe

Where? At Big’s Little Cafe, which is a short walk down the road to the right when looking at the main Pai bus drop off from the middle of the street (toward the river).

110 Baht for a massive plate of hashbrowns, eggs, sausage, beans, and tomatoes — a pretty damn good deal.

Have a few minutes to spare before your bus back to Chiang Mai? Love a great English breakfast? Big’s Little Cafe is well worth a visit!

Here are a few more photos of the breakfast in process:

getting close..

YUM

Yes, the sausage is home made

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Best English Breakfast in Chiang Mai? ?A Full “English” Review of UN Bar

Like many of you, I’m a sucker for a great English breakfast. Virtually every single morning while living in Santorini in the summer of 2010, my friends and I would get up, head to either Atlas or Beach Bar, and order an amazing English breakfast (many days with hang overs in full effect). Wherever I go, I usually try to find the best english breakfast I can find — since many places serve what I categorize as “crappy” English breakfasts.

Anthony Middleton at ManvsClock.com was “that guy” in the I Love Chiang Mai Facebook group who wanted to know where the best English Breakfast was in Chiang Mai. A few responses later in the thread, UN Bar (an Irish bar) was the chosen winner — and Anthony was off to try it.

The following is a full “English” review of the UN bar in Chiang Mai from Anthony that he posted in the I Love Chiang Mai group. As Joel Ward mentioned, this is better than the vast majority of blogs posts that I read — so I thought it only fitting that it got posted on a blog — and not stay hidden in the archives of the I Love Chiang Mai Facebook group. Enjoy…

Well it started pretty sweet, because the incredibly rude guy wasn’t working today. The short and stocky one, who obviously thinks that I was Attila the Hun in a past life.

I actually opted for the Irish breakfast as it provided the golden challis of the UK breakfast: the bean.

Toast: nice and soft and already buttered – nice touch. But not just slapped on, evenly spread while still hot, so it soaked right in. Good work!

Eggs: I got poached and they were bloody lovely.

Mushrooms: Not too shabby, but quite small.

Tomato: Perfect, almost brought a tear to my eye.

Bacon: Too much grissle and not enough meat, yo!

Sausage: A bit skinny for my liking.

And of course, the mighty bean. The Kate Beckinsale of the English breakfast: Piping hot, but a bit hard on the inside. Think it’s an Asian thing, my heart cries out for Heinz.

Special touches: Had to refrain from hugging and proposing to the waitress when she gave me a bottle of BROWN SAUCE, baby! 🙂

Coffee: VILE! I’m a tea drinker, but would rather eat my own fingers than drink Lipton. I don’t get why the coffee is so consistently bad (and cold) over here.

Didn’t even finish it, bleurgh!

Full English Experience: 7/10. I’m happy enough. If you mixed in Lauren’s shout of a ‘Blue Diamond’ coffee – it’d be a solid 8.5 😉

“Operation Full English” is still an ongiong process. Yes, I totally just wrote this.

Love it. I’m totally going to hit up the UN Bar for a splendid English breakfast really soon…

**Photo via antonylynnhillphotographer.co.uk

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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A Quick Review of the Red Piano in Siem Reap, Cambodia

I’ve spent the last week in Siem Reap getting some writing done, and have tried to pick a new cafe/restaurant each day to hang out at. Yesterday, the cafe I spent my time in was Red Piano, right on the corner of Pub Street. In short — I was not impressed. I ordered an English breakfast, which cost $4.75. It was okay, but certainly not great (it can’t live up to all the English breakfasts I ate while living in Santorini). A large Angkor beer was $3. Again, not a great deal. And a large water was a whopping $2.50 (the same water costs $.80 at my guest house). The only plus was that the wifi there was fairly fast and didn’t crap out at all the entire day.

My advice? Find somewhere else to spend your day in Siem Reap.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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