• UO Guide: Local Food Scenes

    The launches of our new souvenir shops are giving us some serious wanderlust! LA, Austin, Honolulu, and NYC are amazing places to visit…and chow down. We’ve teamed up with some local residents to give you their must-visit foodie places when traveling to their hometowns.

    Photos by Reese & Renee

    Surfing the Nations - STN is our favorite coffee shop on the island because of the laid-back environment, cool surf vibe, and amazing coffee options. Since we run our own business, we love going here to work because they have free wifi and outlets to charge our laptops and phone.

    We got the "Iced Wahiawa Mocha" – a sweet, cold drink perfect for the hot Hawaiian days. We also got one of their famous "Acai Bowls" topped with bananas, honey, coconut shavings, and strawberries. It’s our favorite thing to get (or even make) during Hawaii’s hot summers – it’s a cold and sweet sorbet, but extremely healthy for you at the same time.

    The drive there from Oahu’s North Shore is one of our favorites on island: it feels like you’re leaving Hawaii for a second and heading into the pines of Northern California. STN even offers programs for the homeless in the community to get food and drinks for a very discounted price or free! You see people from all walks of life in their coffee shop (everyday people who go there to work, tourists, missionaries, and homeless) and we love that inviting feeling. They also have an open mic night every Wednesday at 7pm, which brings in some talented artists on Oahu.

    Elephant Thai - This is our favorite food truck on island. Every time we go, we get their Pad Thai – it comes with rice noodles stir-fried with their house recipe sauce, garnished with roasted peanut, cilantro, home-grown bean sprouts and lime. You can add chicken, tofu or vegetables as the main part of the dish. It’s located right across from Shark’s Cove on Oahu’s North Shore and after you grab a bite to eat, you can walk across the street to catch some amazing sunsets.

    They have plenty of seating outside their food truck and light up all the candles as the sun starts to set. We highly recommend ordering online because they take cash only at the truck. Since they’re such a popular spot, their wait for food can get long if you don’t order ahead of time. It’s a perfect spot to get together with friends and family or have a date night!

    Photos by Gillie Houston

    Gotham West - One of my favorite food halls in New York City is Gotham West Market, an extremely cool space that fills a serious geographic food void. For years I worked in Midtown Manhattan, which is essentially a quality food desert. In an area overflowing with fast food chains, kitschy celebrity mega-restaurants, and overpriced tourist traps, I'd usually order out for lunch, not wanting to even bother with the throngs of people fighting to get into one of the few affordable, tasty places in the area. Then I discovered GWM, a large, industrial space in Midtown West that’s filled with food stands that satisfy just about any food craving, no matter the time of day.

    Fo r breakfast, you can snag a cold brew from Blue Bottle Coffee and a vibra nt acai bowl from Indie Fresh. For lunch, there’s bowls of Ivan Ramen’s famously delicious slurpable ramen, fried chicken sandwiches from Genuine Roadside, solid tacos at Choza Taquiera, or the #Instafamous sushi burritos from Uma.

    And of course, for dessert (which I can eat at pretty much any time of day...) there’s Ample Hills, with some of the best cones in the city. Throw those all together in a funky, airy space with a good beer selection and plenty of seating, and you have a recipe for food hall success.

    Photos by Megan Martinez

    Stilles Switch - In a city that's famous for great BBQ, Switch is one of my personal favorites. This place perfectly captures the rural Texas atmosphere within city limits and serves up quick, so you're free of waiting for hours in line! Invite your friends and family and enjoy!

    Paper Boy - In the heart of the east Austin neighborhood is the coziest food truck with the friendliest staff. In an area rich with dining options, Paper Boy is a standout and one of my favorite brunch locations. They offer a seasonal curated menu with fresh produce and dairy from local farms. How can you not love that?

    Photos by Christine, aka Los Angeles Foodie Girl

    Lamill Coffee - Nothing is more important than brunch. For anyone visiting LA, a must stop is the 19 year old, LA-based Lamill Coffee located in the heart of Silverlake. The "must orders" here are their avocado toast, smoked salmon toast, and the scallion and sage waffles with fried chicken and spicy honey butter. All are incredibly delicious! Enjoy your meal with an 18 hour extraction cold brew or a vanilla latte finished with pretty art made by a local artist. Opt for outdoor seating on a Spring or Summer day to enjoy the passerby of this artsy neighborhood.

    See more from our local accounts in our US@UO Souvenir Post