Snippet #5: Washington Monument

19 06 2010

I vividly remember that scene from the movie Wedding Crashers that shows the Washington Monument as viewed while while sitting on the steps over at Lincoln Memorial.

I did the same thing… sat on the steps, took a shot from my low tech IXUS 95IS.

I hope I did justice to this one helluvah magnificent view.

Enjoy!


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Where We Ate In NYC

18 06 2010

This is the second installment for my backlog entries and this is a nice supplement to the one I earlier posted about Ace Hotel New York.

If you remember, I posted here some time before that I wanted to go into a Food Tour of NYC. You see, the problem is that four days in NYC is not enough to see and try everything. Another setback for us was that NYC was like the 5th place in mainland USA that we went to and as you know, Filipinos love to eat with family. We realized that’s what we’ve been doing for most of the time and we can’t splurge on gastronomic journeys lest we go home with hypertension.

So what happened was we didn’t push through with Buddakan (*sorry Burns, I promise I’ll go there next time*) and Le Cirque (*for delicadeza’s sake, hubby and I decided not to go especially that he worked for the country’s President*) and we also didn’t bother searching for the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory and Cafe Lalo (*thanks Pao for recommending this but maybe next time when we have more time to splurge on that You’ve Got Mail resto*). We never even got any chance to try the Halal guys in 53rd and 6th.

I know most people would say that hey, you should have tried this and that. We know. Too bad, we didn’t have enough time, really. But for sure, our next trip to NYC will involve more culinary experiences for us. This is not to say we didn’t enjoy what we ate in NYC. It’s more on the safer side of things but heck, we enjoyed every crumb of it. Each experience is unique and for us, we had a great time with family and we happily went to where they led us ๐Ÿ™‚

NEW PIZZA TOWN II

Yah, sounds like a FaceBook game but nope, Pizza Town is the very first restaurant in NYC that we ate at.

Our route to NYC was from Washington DC via MegaBus. When we got off at our NYC destination around lunchtime, we heard our tummies rumbling as we walked towards Ace Hotel. There are lots of things to see and as excited as I was with the buzzing New York City, I accidentally laid eyes on this pizza joint. I actually heard it call my name.

Without knowing where to go and having no plans where to eat, sure thing, we gave it a go. It’s at W 30th St./7th Ave. Yes, very near Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, and our hotel of course.

To be honest, the pizza tasted good although I felt that it was a bit pricey. I remember paying around $4 for a slice. The bad thing though was I cried while eating because I experienced a terrible nightmare while in San Francisco and I badly brought that with me to DC and then to NYC. Hubby was just really quick at fixing things and made me back to my usual excited self again. I ordered Penne pasta too and that’s something that I liked.

Overall, it’s not a pizza joint I’d crave about. It’s basically just like Sbarro. If I were to choose between Pizza Town II of NYC and Brooklyn Pizza over at Ortigas Home Depot, I’d say Brooklyn’s better ๐Ÿ™‚ At any rate, there’s always an on-going pizza war in NYC anyways. You wouldn’t miss anything if you don’t eat here.

ANGELO & MAXIE’S STEAKHOUSE

photo not mine

We met up our hosts for dinner at Angelo & Maxie’s Steakhouse in FlatIron district. It’s a casual/semi-formal restaurant that is not so much on the high-end but still pricey for us because we have this tendency to always convert US$ into Philippine Pesos ๐Ÿ˜› But of course, steaks are always priceyย  wherever you eat them (*wonders when will I eat at Fire Lake Grill again*).

We ordered some appetizers, I think we had Clams Oreganato (US$19.95). They’re good but I didn’t eat too much. I was saving space for the steak *har har* ๐Ÿ™‚

And then we were told that the portions are really huge so I was kinda thinking if I could finish up one whole steak. Besides, two nights before that, we had Brazilian steak in Baltimore so I’m not sure how many more steaks I can handle. I ended up gulping down half of their Rib Eye Steak and sharing the other half. Of course, steaks are best eaten with wine. We had red wine but since I am not a sommelier, any red wine tasted good for me ๐Ÿ˜›

It’s a little jam-packed that night but we had good seats, nice dinner, and wonderful company. I would probably go back there again.

BAGEL MAVEN CAFE

If there’s an on-going pizza war in NYC, let me tell you that there’s also a bagel war ๐Ÿ˜› Some say that H&H have the best bagels in town. But heck, food is food and bagels are bagels, I’ll eat them wherever they’re from as long as they’re clean ๐Ÿ™‚

Bagel Maven Cafe is a place that New Yorkers would most probably just pass by. It looks like they go there for a fast order or something. I also heard it’s a little expensive being in the Midwest. Hubby and I expected, and we were right, that an order wouldn’t be less than $5.

For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs, french toast, and 3 slices of bacon and a juice for $5. Hubby had sausages instead of bacon for the same price. We know we could have gone to another place but we didn’t have the time to hunt for a budget-friendly resto especially that at that time, we were already running late for our meet up at the Subway near Penn Station.

And nope, I’m not going back there not because the food wasn’t good but because I will try something else next time.

NEW WONTON GARDEN

This is where we had late lunch/merienda when we went to Chinatown. I may be exaggerating and I’m good at it but really, they have the best wonton noodle soup I have ever tasted. And their char sui, oh my goodness! Little tender pieces of barbecued meat in light fluffy and soft mantao bread. Argh, perfect combination!

Surprisingly, this is like the least presentable of all the restaurants we went to but they served memorable dishes and definitely, I’ll go back there again.

You SHOULD go. You won’t regret the trip ๐Ÿ™‚

FAMOUS DAVE’S

We spent one of our dinners at Famous Dave’s in Times Square. This is the only place where I actually took photos of the food!

I ordered their Memphis-style baby back ribs paired with rice pilaf (US$27.99). Of course, I miss rice! I’m a proud rice-eater! ๐Ÿ˜›

And if steaks are best with wine, ribs are best with beer… Stella Artois from Belgium.

I haven’t had ribs since we came back and I have no plans of having one any time soon. Not to say that Famous Dave’s is bad. Just that if you had too much ribs, regardless of how much you were craving for it before, your palettes will really get tired of it and the smell alone will make you wanna puke. We had ribs in all of the places we went to and it’s not something that I’d like to eat again before the year is out.

JUNIOR’S CHEESECAKE

Okay. I have proven all the hype about it to be true. This is definitely the best cheesecake out there! I remember our Cheesecake Wednesday at the office where I believe, with strong conviction, that the best cheesecake is the one submitted by my friend CherieL from Miss Desserts or the one I got from Chelsea. Unfortunately, they’re no match when compared with Junior’s Cheesecake.

I got a slice of their strawberry cheese pie, and while it was ouch on the pocket (US$6.75 a slice!) it was all worth it.ย  While hubby seldom afirms what I consider to be good, he gave me his wholehearted affirmation on this one.

Junior’s cheesecake bears our stamp of approval and now bears our seal as the best cheesecake we’ve ever had ๐Ÿ˜›

WHITE CASTLE

We were hunting White Castle down, not because of Harold & Kumar’s movie, but because we’ve seen it in a food network way way before. We saw that they put five holes on their burger patties and cook them over a pan filled with onions. I copied that at home and that was the very first epic failure I had in cooking ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Anyways, we went to try White Castle and while we weren’t very happy with it, we weren’t disappointed either.

GRAY’S PAPAYA

When you see it in the movies, and it gets featured by Anthony Bourdain, and your friends talk to you about it, wouldn’t you be curious enough to try it?

We tried Gray’s Papaya and we got mixed emotions.

I wasn’t that ecstatic about it although it wasn’t that bad. Hubby though loved it. I guess they’re really good it’s just that I wasn’t hungry at that moment.

We ordered the recession special, of course ๐Ÿ™‚

Juicy hotdogs served by Filipinos ๐Ÿ™‚ yup, Filipinos run this place. And aside from the hotdogs, they serve really good juices. Hubby loved the papaya juice.

Before I move to the next place, let me tell you that Gray’s Papaya endorsed Pres. Obama during the last elections. Ergo…

SERENDIPITY 3

So sorry, I had to cut the picture down to 20% of it’s actual size. This is the only picture I have of Serendipity 3 and hubby and I are in front of it ๐Ÿ˜›

If you’ve seen Serendipity, you probably will be one of those who line up at Serendipity 3 in the hope of finding your own John Cusack ๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately, I don’t get all the hype about it.

Btw, there’s also Serendipity 3 in Las Vegas. So if you want a fast seat, just fly to the Sin City ๐Ÿ™‚

HARU SUSHI

We spent our last dinner in NYC at Haru Sushi. It is a modern Japanese restaurant that serves delish Japanese food in elegant styles and big portions. I don’t remember what we exactly ordered but I enjoyed their Endamame (lightly salted steamed soybeans) ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re looking for a nice sushi place, then Haru Sushi is meant for you. But if you’re not into Japanese food like myself, one try in this resto is enough ๐Ÿ™‚

Sorry about my lousy blog post. It’s just hard to describe food from memory alone. I wish I could have taken more food pictures to show you. Then again, there’s always a next time ๐Ÿ™‚





Ace Hotel New York

18 06 2010

Alryt, this is my first post to catch up with my long list of backlog entries ๐Ÿ™‚

When we were still planning for the NY trip, I was looking for a hotel in the Manhattan area and is within walking distance of most of the good spots in the City. I know there are lots of good hotels even outside Manhattan but let’s just say hubby and I are really playing touristy. At first, I was inclined to book at Affinia Manhattan which, by the way, is just in front of Madison Square Garden. If Affinia is not available, my second choice was Vincci Avalon. On a side note, I saw Affinia in NY and I still think it’s a lovely hotel. It’s just beside Macy’s!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see Vincci Avalon. It looks good in the pictures though ๐Ÿ™‚

I showed the pictures to hubby and while these hotels look good in pictures and have good reviews, it kinda felt like we are still looking for something else. It’s more like a feeling of wanting to feel NYC in every detail of it, even in the place we sleep in. And so we created a mental list of things that describe NYC and the common denominator we got was “Hip.”

Thank God for Google in that “hip” + “hotel” + “NYC” = ACE HOTEL NEW YORK.

photo not mine

Ace Hotel is a boutique hotel chain founded in Seattle, Washington whose headquarters is currently in Portland, Oregon. There are four boutique hotels being operated by Ace Hotel (the two others are in New York and Palm Springs). The chain was founded in 1999 by Alex Calderwood who, apparently, was also the founder of a retro hip barbershop in Seattle known as Rudy’s (you’ll see Rudy’s in the pics later).

Now, Ace Hotel New York is formerly known as Hotel Breslin which is housed in a 1904 building in Middle Manhattan. From the outside, the building looks old. But then again, it’s what is inside that makes everything perfect.

Here are some of the reviews online about Ace Hotel New York that made us click on that “RESERVE NOW” button ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The bed was INCREDIBLY comfortable, and the bathroom was a good size, with really nice toiletries. We also ordered room service one night — it comes from the kitchen of The Breslin, downstairs — and it was bar none the best room service I’ve ever had. If hanging out with your laptop in the lobby, drinking (delicious, Stumptown) coffee and talking about Coachella sounds like your scene, you will probably love the Ace.
  • When you are too exhausted to hit the town, you actually don’t have to leave the hotel lobby or restaurant – there are tons of people around all the time, the bar is cool, the food is great, and the atmosphere is very hip and happening.
  • I very much enjoyed my stay at the Ace as I felt like a traveller, not a tourist, and wanted something different, more authentically New York for this is my third visit to NYC. The staff was very welcoming and friendly and the accommodation was easy to like.
  • The room was a good size with a huge bed! The room consisted of a Smeg fridge which was very well stocked up, TV, Radio with ipod connector, kettle, mugs (but no tea bags or coffee so you may want to bring your own), hairdryer, bathrobes, aircon. The bathroom had lovely large bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Maids came everyday to change towels etc. There was imacs and ice machines on alternative floors. The lobby was buzzing with a good atmosphere, great coffee shop too!

We believed the reviews and proved them to be true ๐Ÿ™‚ If I were to describe Ace Hotel New York, I’d say it’s HIP, FUNKY, VIBRANT, CREATIVE, FUN.

When we entered the hotel, we were welcomed by what seemingly looks like a library in Harvard or somewhere. People are seated on the sofas, some in the library desks, but each one armed with a laptop and a cup of coffee. It’s not so crowded in the day time but at night, even on a weeknight, there’s a long line outside of people wanting to get inside.

hotel lobby

Upon the door to the right is the front desk. It’s hard to know who the members of the staff are because they don’t have uniforms and everyone inside just dresses up so nicely. It’s so hard to spot who to talk to except for the people we found at the front desk who we presumed are working for Ace Hotel ๐Ÿ˜› I heard Converse styles their clothes.

front desk

While waiting for our keys, my eyes wandered around the lobby. As I said, Ace Hotel is for people who are on the go and full of energy. The flowers toned it down a bit. It gave me a feeling that while there’s a lot of happening going on, the place can still be enjoyed by the romantics.

flowers made the lobby a little romantic

There are a lot of interesting pieces mounted on the wall. This one shows some of the stuff you can see inside your room but can’t bring home.ย  Fortunately, you can buy them as souvenir from your stay in Ace Hotel ๐Ÿ™‚

see those bottles? they're Rudy's shampoo and conditioner. love 'em!

Their staff is the best. Very cheerful and accommodating. Then again, it’s hard to know who they are because they’re dressed up like guests. Front desk told us to wait for someone to take our bags and this guy came, fashionably dressed, doesn’t look like he’s from the Concierge or something, and he picked our bags. I was like, “okay, he’s not a guest!” And we were on our way to the room.

room key case

our keys

When we reached the fifth floor, the elevator opened up and showed us the huge directions on the wall ๐Ÿ™‚ It was like “whoa!” but fun. At least, you wouldn’t get lost finding your way around the hotel, right?

smart way to give directions in and around the hotel

Room 500 is the very first room you’ll see after hopping off the elevator. Now let’s see what’s inside.

Without turning our heads, this is the very first thing I saw as it was just straight in front of the door. I thought, “aww, what kind of view do we have here?” But as I walked towards the window and looked out from it, it suddenly gave me the feeling that I’m just living in well-designed apartment in New York. Made me happy ๐Ÿ™‚

ice, coffee, manual

I’m not sure if you read the hotel manuals and stuff but I do. However, most of them are boring and they are so formal you wouldn’t bother going past the “Welcome Guest” part. But Ace Hotel’s manual, trust me, is a fun read. The manual itself is so cool, I wanted to bring it home ๐Ÿ™‚

they call it The ACE Survival Guide

As I said, directly opposite the window is the door. Turning around, I had a good look of it. It looks very sturdy ๐Ÿ˜› It should be, it’s a metal door.ย  I was looking for the “do not disturb” sign and was like, it’s not here. Of course it is. It’s a magnet. See that? That “not now” thingie, dumbwit?

metal door

I noticed the door to the left and went inside. Ah, it’s the bathroom. It’s clean and neat but it’s for tall people ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Like my feet don’t touch the floor when I sit on the bowl ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Nah, I didn’t take pics of the bowl. Instead, I’ll show you these.

Everything inside the bathroom is plain white. It’s actually bare with only the essentials hanging on the wall. I kinda like that idea. I realized my bathroom is cluttered.

hair dryer

Rudy's products. No.1 is the shampoo. No. 2 is the conditioner. No. 3 is the body wash. Too bad, I can't take them home ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The sink, by the way, is not inside the bathroom. Not sure if that works well with you. But as for me, someone who craves for that New York feel, I love the idea of having the sink inside the bedroom.

the sink. gotta love that whole body mirror too!

complimentary soap ๐Ÿ™‚

Moving around, we saw that they have robes for use. But you can also buy them in case you get comfy in them. They’re just a bit pricey IMHO. They’re like $150 each. *shrugs*

just how creative can they get with the price tags

Beside the robes are the hangers. Didn’t really give much attention to it and looked at the other things inside. Then it hit me that it looked like there’s something written on the hangers, so I went back to take a second look. The hanger says “You Look Good In That.” That’s so sweet. And I noticed the wall. They tore up pieces from Harrap’s Shorter French and English Dictionary and used them as wall paper ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheap but chic!

that is so sweet of you, hanger!

Next thing we checked out was the freebies. Sorry to say but apart from these, I don’t think there’s anything else that you can take home with you, for free.

Sure enough, we got notepads, and pencils, and yah, even the maid’s tip envelopes where I put the nickels in. But what sets Ace Hotel apart is the fact that it gives out music sheets. Gah! Music sheets! From that moment on, believe me, hubby blurted, “this hotel rocks.” Suddenly, I’m transformed into this imaginary rock star who hides away from the probing eyes of the public and stays inside a very confidential room in Ace Hotel to write songs. Gosh, Ace Hotel is so artistic and brings out the artist in you. Yup, we brought the music sheets home with Bed of Roses playing in our ears ๐Ÿ˜‰

scribble away

I’m not so sure if these are free too but we didn’t get charged for them so I guess they are. But they’re among the things in a price list of goodies and we wouldn’t have touched them had we bought water from CVS. These are so expensive, like they’re $3-3.50 a bottle and we consumed two. Yikes.

love the bottles

This one is also cool. I think you can use it for multiple purposes but at the state we saw it, it contains the blanket if you’re feeling very cold. We regulated the temperature though so it stays warm inside. What we did was we took out the blanket and put all our dirty clothes in there so they don’t mix with the clean ones inside our bags. When the clothes are all dirty, that’s the time we packed them up ๐Ÿ˜›

love the print

Entertainment in Ace Hotel is never a worry. It’s in the middle of good spots. Another thing, you don’t have to go out to have entertainment. Go down to the lobby, that is one heck of a buzzing place. Inside the room, we got this.

lol we didn't watch Adult TV ๐Ÿ˜›

Now if those above haven’t met your expectations yet, try this. For us, this is the most creative presentation ever. Ladies and gentlemen, look at our fridge. This is the epitome of hipness ๐Ÿ™‚ teehee

when everything else is Made In China, these goodies are the exceptions. I didn't find anything Made In China here. Yah, even the noodles.

hold on a sec, there's something inside the Rations box

genius idea to cover a mini-ref!

I know, I know. The only thing missing is the picture of the bed. Let me tell you that if there’s one consistent review about Ace Hotel, it has got to be their comfortable beds. And pillows! Who would have thought I’d get the best sleep of all time in the buzzing and noisy city of New York?! The key is comfy bed + pillows. Unfortunately though, I can’t post it because I just realized that I don’t have a pic of the bed without me or hubby or us both on it. And I vowed not to post any of our pics again in my blog. *it’s an anonymity thing*

I’m sure the things I showed you are more than enough to cover up for the missing bed picture.

Hey, I’m not from Ace Hotel *helleour*! I’m not promoting it. I’m not even a qualified writer of hotel reviews. These things are just my own way of expressing how satisfied hubby and I were with the kind of experience we had in NYC. True, a hotel shouldn’t be a priority when you’re on a budget as most probably, you won’t be staying inside the hotel all the time anyways. Then again, it’s a different story when you spend a little more than ordinary to experience something beyond extraordinary. It makes all the travel worth it.

Ace Hotel New York is located in 20W. 29th Street, more like 29th Street cor. Broadway. It’s a tumbling away from Madison Square Garden, Macy’s and Penn Station. We also walked to Times Square and Empire East from the Hotel. Maybe a little far for some, but really, it’s a short sweet walk for us.

Here’s an idea of how much their rates are (approximately):

  • Bunk Beds – US$269/night
  • Cheap Full and Cheap Queen – US$299/night
  • Small Full, Small Queen and Small King – US$359/night
  • Medium Full, Medium Queen and Medium King – US$399/night
  • Medium Double Double – US$459/night
  • Large King – US$509/night
  • Large Double Double – US559/night
  • Loft – US$979/night

You can follow Ace Hotel’s BLOG for updates and see just how hip it is even online.

Til next backlog update! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a good one.





Our SanFo Experience

13 05 2010

Hubby and I flew to San Francisco on our 5th day in U.S. via Virgin America. It was a short but sweet flight. We loved our plane which was new and has hip lighting inside. We also loved the in-flight cartoon presentation of the safety reminders. We thought it was cool ๐Ÿ™‚ We had individual screens in front of us but we had to pay for the headphones. Although we could have used the usual ones, we didnโ€™t think of using them. Bummer. I so wanted to watch Fly Girls.

We were picked up at the Airport by hubbyโ€™s aunt and cousin. It was a Sunday so we headed to hear Mass first. Hubbyโ€™s cousin plays the flute for the Church choir. I was impressed ๐Ÿ™‚

The weather was not good when we got there. It was raining ๐Ÿ˜ฆ After Mass, we had lunch at Tastebuds, a Filipino restaurant in San Bruno. I didnโ€™t take pictures of the place and the food coz it was raining and I was worried that our trip wonโ€™t be fun because of it. The restaurant was more like Masas in Greenbelt 2. They serve Filipino food but gourmet-ish. I loved their crispy dinuguan. It was way better than Kanin Clubโ€™s.

My family was also headed to SanFo that afternoon and while waiting for them to arrive (they decided to drive from Long Beach to SanFo because my sister brought our little Lahi with them and she wanted to bring all of Lahiโ€™s stuff hehe; itโ€™s a six hour drive by the way, whew!), we went to the house of hubbyโ€™s aunt for some siesta.

We picked up my folks from the hotel (itโ€™s actually more like a motel but not like the motels that we have here), which was very strategically located at the corner of Broadway Street and Van Ness Avenue. The name of the hotel is Broadway Manor Inn and we thought it was one of the best deals we had coz the hotel was for only US$59 a night. The room was huge and has two queen beds, and can accommodate four people comfortably. It has everything you need from a hotel and has free WiFi ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually, it was free WiFi galore during our trip!

Our first stop in SanFo was at the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a surprise that the weather cooperated that afternoon. Although it was a bit cloudy and there was always the warning sign that it might rain anytime, the rain actually stopped on our way to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was very cold though. Very, very cold.

The cold weather prevented us from taking a walk along the Bridge itself. It also prevented us from taking a picture of the Bridge at night because it was very foggy. Anyhow, we picked a good spot for viewing and some picture taking.

Golden Gate Bridge

We then drove along the Presidio National Park, then to Crissy Park. We next went to Exploratorium and the Palace of Fine Arts. It was awesome. The structure, the lake, the fountains, the grass, and everything in that area made me want to live there ๐Ÿ™‚ Beautiful houses lined the street in front of it and I heard theyโ€™re worth milliions. That sucks ๐Ÿ˜›

Exploratorium

houses in front of the Exploratorium

It was almost evening so we went to our last stop for the day at Lombard Street. Thatโ€™s where the worldโ€™s most crooked street can be found. We drove along it and enjoyed the short experience but the weather turned bad again (plus, parking was full) so we just took quick photos of us at the foot of the street.

By the time we were done with Lombard Street, most of the shops have already closed. As I said, it was aย  Sunday and most shops close early. We could not find a restaurant to eat at and so we had to drive back to Daly City to look for one. Fortunately, there was a Chinese restaurant that was still open and we thought that a warm and hearty Chinese noodle soup would be great. I forgot to write down the name of the restaurant and to take pictures of the place and the food because everything was so quick. We had to eat quickly because the place was going to close already.

Hubby and I stayed with his aunt for the night, while my folks had to drive back to the hotel in SanFo.

The following day, we went to Fishermanโ€™s Wharf and walked along Jefferson Street until we reached Pier 39. It was sunny but cold and windy. I loved the weather that day.

Fisherman's Wharf

view on the way to Pier 39

these birds are everywhere. but this one standing proudly on the pole is cute.

Pier 39

We had lunch at Hook & Cook in Pier 39. Their specialty was clam chowder with the famous Boudin sourdough. Hubby ordered fish and chips. Theyโ€™re all good ๐Ÿ™‚

lol the birds are really everywhere

clam chowdah

fish and chips

what's written on our table

We had a great chat during lunch and didnโ€™t notice the time. We were running late for the 1pm Alcatraz tour. We ran from Pier 39 to Pier 34. I thought Pier 34 was just near coz itโ€™s just like five piers away from Pier 39. But ouch, theyโ€™re far from each other so we had to run. Okay, I didnโ€™t run. I didnโ€™t jog either. I just walked fast ๐Ÿ˜›

We purchased our tickets online via Alcatraz Cruises. We boarded the ship at Pier 34. The boat experience was like the Corregidor tour we had but this oneโ€™s shorter. We had a nice view of Alcatraz Island from afar.

When we got to the Island, we had a short briefing with an officer. Thereโ€™s no tour guide on the Island so itโ€™s more like an overview of what to do to make the most of our experience. We had to climb all the way up to the cell house to be able to begin the audio tour. Trolleys were available for people who canโ€™t climb up. I thought I was too young to take the trolley so I walked with hubby but the non-physically fit me had to take small pit stops to rest my legs.

There are lots of pictures from the Alcatraz tour but I’m gonna post only a couple of them ๐Ÿ™‚

self-guided tour orientation

the morgue. this is on the way up to the cell house

entrance to the cell house

where they scrubbed their bodies

hallway

the prisoners would fight and kill just to get this

famous inmates

After the tour, we walked back to Pier 39 for merienda. I heard the corn dogs are great so we got some from a food stand along the street. The tindera was Pinay :)

We took the time walking along Jefferson St.ย  There were lots of shops and restaurants and street performers and things to see along Jefferson. Itโ€™s a long stretch but I will never get tired of walking there over and over again. The weather was very very cold and that made walking a no-sweat thing to do. We had to walk miles, then go uphill, then move a little more uphill but I didnโ€™t mind. Had it been here in the Philippines, I would probably have been naghahabol na ng hininga, but there in SanFo, it was a breeze!

this guy gathered a huge audience

no audience for this dude

one of those street artists

this is heaven for candy lovers!

We went to Ghirardelli Square and bought chocolates. I satisfied my craving stomach with a sweet bunch of freebies from Ghirardelli ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I also happened to read good reviews about Karaโ€™s Cupcakes so I took the opportunity to try one. In all honesty though, I didnโ€™t like the lemon cupcake I got ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Ghirardelli Square

Kara's Cupcakes

On our way back to where we parked, we grabbed some burgers for dinner at In And Out. I loved the burger but not the French fries.

That night, hubby and I stayed at the hotel with my folks. As usual, I hoarded all the little bottles of shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap. Take home, shempre! ๐Ÿ˜›

On our last day, we rode the famous Cable Car. From the hotel on Broadway, we walked uphill towards Hyde Street. Thereโ€™s a Cable Car stop there that goes along Lombard Street and stops near Jefferson. We went back to Fishermanโ€™s Wharf and bought some souvenirs ๐Ÿ™‚ My folks left us in SanFo after lunch at Subway coz they had to drive for six hours back to Long Beach. Our flight to Washington DC was at 11:50pm that day so we had a couple more hours to spend around town.

Hubby and I walked from the hotel to Union Square, then we walked some more to ride the Cable Car. We got a whole day pass so itโ€™s practically a Cable-Car-ride-all-we-want ๐Ÿ™‚ We spent an hour or so at the Cable Car museum.

the cable car museum is also where the operators of the actual cable car work

these are the actual cables used to run the cable cars

We took the Cable Car again to go back to the Fishermanโ€™s Wharf area and went down at Johnson Street. We walked around again until it was time for us to leave. We took a last ride at the Cable Car along Powell and went down at Hyde Street. We walked downhill towards Broadway to pick up our stuff from the hotel. From the hotel, we hailed a cab to bring us to the airport. We paid roughly US$35-40 for the cab fare.

It was a memorable weekend in SanFo. Canโ€™t wait to go back there again ๐Ÿ˜€





Our First Four Days in Long Beach

30 04 2010

I wasn’t expecting a lot from Continental Airlines especially that we got our tickets at a really low price (US$760 MNL-LAX-MNL with two stopovers: Guam and Honolulu). Surprisingly, the service was good, and food were served timely ๐Ÿ˜› From Manila to Guam, we had midnight snack served. From Guam to Honolulu, we had lunch. From Honolulu to Los Angeles, we had dinner and midnight snack and dessert.

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t enjoy the food because I felt restless during the flight. I couldn’t sleep, much of it was due to excitement but a greater portion of it would really just be attributable to the fact that it was a super LOOONGGG flight.

last food served from HNL to LAX. i managed to squeeze in a moment to take a pic even if i was really tired that time ๐Ÿ™‚

the only photo i took during our stopovers.. mom was warned by an airport official to stop taking pictures and to delete all photos she took of the airport ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

We arrived in Long Beach last April 7 and I was expecting jet lag to set in but nope, it didn’t come ๐Ÿ˜› We were picked up by my sister at LAX around 5 a.m. and we were treated to a sumptuous breakfast at their place in Long Beach. After breakfast, sister and I hit the road to visit St. Philomena Church office to verify if the pre-Jordan card issued to me by St. Mary Euphrasia parish in Batangas City is acceptable. It’s a requirement to be appointed as a godmother at St. Philomena. On our way, I asked sister to buy me ice cream coz I didn’t touch the one given during the flight. Fortunately, this was just around the corner ๐Ÿ™‚

I ended up getting a strawberry-banana smoothie instead ๐Ÿ˜› Just at the back of St. Philomena parish, this is what I saw:

i don't know what it is but it's called Manila Sunrise.. it suddenly felt like I'm home ๐Ÿ™‚

When we got back, I just took a couple hours of sleep then we were on our way to visit the “budget-friendly” stores around. It’s been like that for the next two days. Yeep, no jet lag whatsoever ๐Ÿ™‚

this is where you'll find cheap Nine West, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess bags and if you're lucky, you can also get some Ralph Lauren, Kenneth Cole and Michael Kors items... this is not an outlet store but they sell the branded items at super marked down prices..

like most of you girls, i love buying stuff from Victoria's Secret

had cheap lunch over at Cosco.. got a humongous slice of pizza and refillable pink lemonade ๐Ÿ™‚

so that we won't miss the Philippines much, we had dinner at Salu-Salo Grill ๐Ÿ™‚

We went to different malls but I wasn’t able to take pictures at all of them. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Anyhow, we had dinner at Panda Express which sells budget-friendly meals (like $7 for rice plus two viands) ๐Ÿ™‚ I like their orange chicken and ofcourse, the fortune cookie I got which says:

Til next time, I’ll be posting stuff from our visit to Getty Center and LA’s Chinatown ๐Ÿ™‚





Hello hello from D.C.

16 04 2010

hello ๐Ÿ™‚ i couldn’t find time to update this blog as i’m currently always on the go ๐Ÿ˜ฆ i miss blogging. i’m pretty sure i have lots to talk about when i get back. i’m currently in Washington DC and it’s 4:30pm here. been touring the place since yesterday and i’m so tired by now, i decided to go back to the hotel. i’m gonna have a warm soak for my tired legs and feet.

take care folks ๐Ÿ™‚





I’ve Arrived

8 04 2010

in Los Angeles now ๐Ÿ™‚