Halo Circus’ Allison Iraheta

Allison Iraheta was an “American Idol” Season 8 finalist, and is the singer for Los Angeles-based band Halo Circus. The band has had a 4-week Friday night residency at The Hotel Cafe in L.A. which ends Oct. 17.

Their lithe and luxurious cover of Duran Duran’s “Do You Believe In Shame?” is included on the tribute album, Making Patterns Rhyme: A Tribute to Duran Duran, due out this month, and they’ll be setting sail on the first-ever Grammy Festival At Sea: Women Who Rock! cruise alongside Heart, Emmylou Harris, Joan Osborne, Estelle, Skylar Grey, and more in November. Be sure to check out Halo Circus, the band that Duran Duran bassist John Taylor dubbed the “Best live band in the U.S.A.!”

Here are Allison;s favorite places in the country…

My favorite place in the U.S. to visit is…hands down Big Sur. It’s a place of freedom for me. Rushing doesn’t exist, pressure doesn’t exist. It’s a place of nature and contemplation. You can make friends with birds and squirrels and you can meet awesome people along the way. There’s something about Big Sur that makes people want to take off their business masks and ask better questions of themselves.

The first thing I do when I go to Big Sur is…stare endlessly out into the distance until I find the perfect cliff for me to spend the afternoon on. It’s always the first step I take to leave my worries behind and to remind myself that this is what it’s all about.

3. Everyone should visit…Lake Arrowhead, California…at least once because…it’s just an hour or so away from L.A., but it feels like a different universe. You can rent cabins, ski, hike and eat overlooking a beautiful lake. When I can’t get away for a long vacation, I like to get in my car and spend the weekend in the woods there with no internet, no cell phone and no TV. But that’s just me, as they actually do have televisions, cell reception and internet there. There’s also a video rental place that still rents VHS tapes!

Portland…was the first stop of my tour with “American Idol” and I didn’t know what to expect. One of the guys in the crew had a bike and let me borrow it for a few hours before the show. I got to ride around town and see first hand these huge trees and beautiful landscapes. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I came away thinking that this might be the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen.

My favorite restaurant in the U.S. is…Tia Maria’s in Houston, Texas. There’s no such thing as good tex mex anywhere other than in Texas and there’s no better old school cheese enchiladas than at Tia Maria’s. I’m actually a vegan so for me to confess my love and adoration for a cheese enchilada is a big deal. The only time I eat cheese is when I am in Houston and there is that boiling hot plate of sizzling gooey goodness in front of me!

The best place to find…pumpkin pancakes is The Original Pancake House in Chicago. It’s good that my favorite foods are so far away from home because I don’t know if I could stay off sugar and dairy if I lived within 25 miles of this place. I was on tour here once and our tour manager suggested it as THE breakfast place. She was not wrong.

A great town people may not know about and should visit is…Fort Collins, Colorado. Great music scene and nice people.

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