Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Creperie Beaumonde - Philadelphia

Philadelphia is only about 2 hours away from where we live. We have been here so many times but often enough we haven't really stayed here longer than a day trip. When hubby suggested that we could make a short weekend getaway out of it, well, I couldn't say no to that.

Crepes had been one of my favorite foods. I like them warm and very sweet. Paired with an awesome cafe latte, then it is my little of piece of heaven.

We heard only good things about Creperie Beaumonde in Philadelphia. And since we were in the area, we thought of checking it out.

9th Avenue International Food Festival 2012

New York City - Another street fair that I look forward to every year. Like the Taste of Tribeca in downtown, it is a collection of sample fares from nearby restaurants. At least this time, the tasting portions have reasonable prices.

Japan Day 2012 @ Central Park

After weeks of constant rain and cloudy weather, we finally had a clear day and full of sunshine. This is one of those days that you don't want to be stuck at home.

When we heard about the Annual Japan Day celebration in Central Park was on that weekend, Madison and I went to check it out.

Taste of Tribeca 2012

Every year nearby restaurants in the Tribeca neighborhood of NYC offer a select sample from their menu. It is an organized fundraiser to benefit art and technology enrichment for the local community.

To be able to participate on the sample tasting, you have to buy a $50 card that would allow you to try 6 items on the menu. It's pricey but when you consider the quality and presentation on each booth, I would say this is the high end version of a street fair food festival. And its for a good cause.

A lot of good looking people in Tribeca.

The Poconos Weekend

It was a surprise when hubby told me that he wants to do a weekend getaway. I was exhausted these past few weeks and I don't feel like going on a long drive. And since we have always been driving south on most getaways, this time I suggested going north. The Poconos Mountains sounds a good idea. It is close, an hour and a half drive and we never been there. So, we grabbed the water cooler, the van and the in-laws and off we went.

The Poconos Mountain is a popular (and cheap) options for family vacations. It is great to visit on both extremes of the season. On winter, it is a popular ski destination. On the summer, it is known for hiking and white water rafting. We are in a shoulder season (too cold for the pool, too warm to ski) so I am not sure what other options we could do for the weekend. It turns out that its a good thing not to do much on a weekend. My in-laws (both retired) made sure we ate good and got enough sleep. I told hubby that we should do this more often.

Recap: Korea Series

The photo below was taken in Incheon airport on our way back home. We are scheduled to land in San Francisco and transfer to another flight to Newark, New Jersey. Those Sopranos sang their heart out that it hit a sore spot (for me) as they bid us goodbye. Seoul made a great impression on me. As I said before, I vow to come back for more.

Korea series: More Random Notes

Our last days before heading home had been a blur. We are now in a rush to fit in some shopping and places we want to see. Around this time, we had been often calling home. I am terribly missing hubby and my little one.

When we are in the process of booking this trip, there was a big debate as to where we would stay in Seoul. We sorted it out based on price, location and convenience. Then we chose this mid-range business hotel located on top of a mall aptly called Times Square. The area is still surrounded by a cluster of residential neighborhoods and its great to see something mundane like watching locals head over to work in the morning.

Korea series: Coffee And Tea

The first thing that I noticed once we started exploring around Seoul was the abundance of coffee shops. They seem to be everywhere. Some are chains, some are stand alone shops. Coffee in these places aren't cheap at all. But it gives you that fancy space to rest and relax that weary feet.

Korea series: Food Trip

It felt that this particular trip had been a blur. Looking back, my sister and I had rare sit down dinners in Seoul. It is also our fault that every time we see something interesting we stop and look. Most of the time we ended up snacking. When its time for a proper meal, we are not in the mood and sit down for another bout of bottomless meal. I kid you not.

To get an idea of how a typical restaurant meal, it starts with a ban-chan. It is a small side servings, a bit more hearty than an appetizer. It really depends how generous the host gives you but it typically has a side of kimchi and other spicy and fermented greens. Often times, these sides do complement with the meal you have ordered.

My A to Z travels: The Restless New Yorker

My first ever guest post from my cousin Kristine. I would find it interesting to see her response to the A to Z travel questionnaire. She has been consistently travelling to various exotic locales these past few years. Every time she posts her travel photos, it makes me want to go there. I won't be surprised if she decides to take a year off to roam around the world.

Age you went on your first international trip.I left for a month-long study abroad trip to Argentina in December 2003, about a week after turning 21. It was my first international trip by myself, not knowing anyone else in the program. I've been hooked ever since. 
Best foreign beer you had and where.
I'm not much of a beer connoisseur, but my favorite beer-related memory has to be in Sapa, Vietnam. Exhausted after trekking all day in the heat through the rice terraces, we were surprised to find a river just a few meters from our homestay. We jumped in, bringing our beer with us to a big rock in the middle of the river. So awesome.


Cuisine (favorite)
Vietnamese. To me, no other cuisine can match it freshness and variety of flavors. And I love how the street food culture is so strong that fast food chains have never caught on. 

Korea series: Random Notes

I had accumulated a handful of random photos that are too short for a single post. I thought to share you some random quips and photos that were taken from the trip.

My A to Z travel

This list seem like questions you get on a job interview. I know, it is designed to get to know you better. But just like the job interview, you want to make the best of it. So here we go:

Age you went on your first international trip.

I started travelling by myself after college and my first destination was to visit my college friend in Toronto, Canada. It was the first time I fell in love with a city. I love that you could get anywhere with public transportation. Food is cheap. It had the best Chinatown where I had my first taste of bubble tea.

Best foreign beer you had and where.

Hands down on the beer hall in Munich, Germany. I ordered the large mug of light beer. There was a refreshing taste that I can't shake it in my memory. The beer wasn't bitter and best paired off with grilled chicken and scalloped potatoes. The cranky butch looking bar maid adds to the charm.


Korea series: Insadong

We woke up listening to a local news channel and heard that the Vietnam president is in town for a state visit. He was there for a proposed joint venture project with the South Koreans. Ho hum.

We got out of the subway in Insadong and the first thing we noticed was a motorcade with a limo in front with Vietnam and South Korean flags. Walking through the shops we saw a bunch of people staring at a small shop. We saw folks in suit with an earpiece and they look so serious. They finally started to move along and we saw a group of well dressed women shopping.It is expected that Insadong has been the first place to visit on most foreign dignitaries.

Insadong is the main art and antique district in Seoul. It used to be the a wealthy district during the Joseon era till the Japanese occupation. Wealthy residents were forced to sell their belongings and hence the district became an antiques alley.

Korea series: Kids Fair 2011

We were supposed to walk around the Coex mall when we stumbled an ongoing Kids Fair for educational items. The inquiry took about a half hour run around since everyone we asked kept us pointing to another person. It turned out that we had to fill up a form for our information and since we were in the children's apparel business, they eventually waived our entrance fee.

Korea Series: The Loot

Preparing for the trip, I packed a medium sized suitcase full of clothes that would last me for 10 days. The weather forecast around that time frame would be sun and rain at 42F. That sounded cold to me. So I packed a handful of turtlenecks and sweaters. The luggage was so bulky that it weighed at 45 pounds. If I need to bring something back then I have to hand carry it. I try to avoid carrying anything with me on board since we have a full day waiting for our connecting flight in San Francisco. I hate to drag all that in the city.

And of course once on Korea, one can not resist on not bringing anything back. I ended up buying a handful of childrens clothes and a pair of shoes (for moi!).

Korea series: Paris Baguette Cafe

This place is one of the countless coffee franchises in the country. It is so happened that we don't want to start our day with an expensive cup of coffee that we opted to look for a coffee shop outside the hotel. The coffee at this cafe is not cheap but reasonable enough that we start our day getting breakfast at the same shop for the next 7 days.

Korea Series: Gakwonsa Temple

This wasn't on our list on our itinerary. It so happened that we found an English magazine with a photo of a giant Buddha centered at the foot of a mountain. It looks so majestic and we want to see it. From my out of date guidebook, it says that it would be accessible by the subway. Sounds easy, right? The trip took about 2.5 hours but if you use the local train (like taking the express train), it took us about 1 hour. I heard that if you take the KTX (the speed train) it will only take about 30 mins but it will drop you off on the different train station next town over.

We got off in train Cheonan station. The train station was small not as slick as the one in Seoul but functional. You could tell that we are really far removed from the city life when you see squat toilets on public restrooms. We took Exit 1 and on the bottom of the stairs is a tourist information. They gave us information on the bus number we need to take and where we would be able to catch it. We were told that we would be able to use our subway T-card so there is no hassle fumbling for cash.

Korea Series: Our favorite place

Nothing beats like a family ran restaurant with such great food. Were supposed to be in the city for 10 days and we like to try and eat at a new place everyday. Given that you are in Seoul, there has to be a place to eat or a convenience store every 200 meters. But it so happens that the food we ordered at this place is so good that we decided to eat here again before we have to catch our flight back home.

Things I love about Seoul

It has been a week since my trip from South Korea. And I am still fighting off jet lag. I come to realize that I don't easily adjust to time change like I used to and that (or) I am feeling my age. One thing is for sure, no more backpacking trips for me from here on.

It was a whirlwind adventure these last few days. It was exhaustive and yet exhilarating. Everything in Seoul (or everything about Korean) seem to fascinate me. It is a totally different world out there. I often wonder what life would be if I chose to live there - temporarily.

  • Public Transportation
Getting around the city is so easy once you get the hang of using the subway system. It is cheap, reliable and clean too. Certain bus stops had a monitors that tells you how far long or where was the bus at the current time. There are no room for guessing games. How hi tech was that? Take notes New Jersey Transit.

The M's and a Candy Bar

It occurred to me that I haven't shared some of my Orlando photos. I am currently using a clunky desktop and don't have the ability to upload photos. It has been a couple weeks back but like what good 'ol Justin Bieber would say --"never say never"!

After spending a couple of days outdoors, we decided to spend a laid back afternoon in the nearby Florida mall. There is nothing new with this mall, sure its huge and it has basically the same stores you would find in any other major mall except for one when Madison got excited when she saw a familiar face.