July 24, 2011

Old Ebbitt Grill, Washington DC…absolutely on the money

 I can’t put into words how much I love this place. The atmosphere is awesome. The service is impeccable. Just across the street from the Treasury and around the corner from the White House, the place was packed when I got there at 6.30pm, but the hostesses handled everything with aplomb. My wait was less than 15 minutes.

The restaurant is a sprawling, wood-paneled, old-fashioned type of joint.  It just oozes with charm.

The star attraction is that one word. Oysters. I had the fried oyster stew. It was spectacular. Your best bet is the Jumbo lump crab cake dinner.  Served with roasted potato wedges, sugar snap peas and lemon aioli, I distinctly remember the remoulade sauce with the crab cakes was delicious. 

This place  (filmed in the movie, “In the Line of Fire”)  FILLS UP …but it’s easy to see why. But don’t let a packed lobby deter you from walking in and seeing if there’s a table. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…


July 17, 2011

Chocolate Cafe, The South Bend Chocolate Company, Indianapolis…The chocolate covered raisins are to die for

The South Bend Chocolate Cafe I went to is at the airport; the hot choc is very good and so rich but a tad pricey. It is made with real melted chocolate topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup if you want as well. YUMMY! Service (it is counter service) at the Cafe is fine but nothing special.

They also have really good chocolates. Get the Chocolate covered raisins if you want a treat – it is high quality and very, very good. Plump, juicy raisins surrounded by creamy pure milk chocolate makes this a tasty gourmet chocolate treat.

Remember The South Bend Chocolate Company if ever you need a fix for your chocolate craving when you are in Indy. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

July 16, 2011

Txapela, Barcelona…indulge and try various types of tapas

Near the Plaza de Catalunya (Barcelona’s main square), there is a decent place for tapas where we have the option to get seated by the tapas bar or the tables. Try the first floor, where it is a bit quieter.

The menu consists of about 50 different pictures, usually bread or toast but not always topped with different things: vegetables, meats, cheeses, tortillas, seafood, you name it. The prices of pintxos (or small tapas) is about €2 – €4.  However, the serving is small and often bite sizes only, which is in fact quite good because we get to indulge and try more types of tapas.

This is Tapas 101 for the clueless diner who wants to learn tapas. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

July 12, 2011

Chee Kei Noodles, Hong Kong…Have the wanton noodle soup. Your taste buds will thank you

For delicious wanton noodle, hardly anyone can compete with good-old Chee Kei. The fabulous noodle at Chee Kei has never let me down – I love their wonton noodle soup with their excellent golf-ball size shrimp wonton. The noodle – aka“har chee mee (translated: shrimp egg noodle) –  is impossibly thin, but still firm and hearty and cooked well with the amazingly strong flavour, but not overpowering soup. The soup is simply brilliant – there’s a hint of shrimp, pork and ham. Their XO chilli sauce has a tinge of dried scallop.

The crab congee  is average, though.

This is a big call, but Chee Kei’s noodles are the best wanton noodle soup I’ve eaten. This is still the true truth as I still say it as it is…

July 10, 2011

Thong Thai Traditional Thai Massage, Johor Baru…very affordable and absolutely magical

If anyone loves massages – it’s me. I love many different forms of massages but the Thai style massages have become one of my favorites. They do not usually use any types of oils or lotions yet they are able to work every single muscle.

This is a small place in Holiday Plaza, but really quiet and you can get a clean room (your mattress is separated by a curtain from the others) to get a massage. They will give you a little outfit to change into once you enter the cubicle. The masseur located my knots and relentlessly drove into them like a jackhammer. I was bent, pulled, and stretched into positions I never thought my body was capable of. I got elbowed and kneed at every little crevices of my body and I left feeling like I got pounded with a meat tenderizer and whacked with a rolling pin.

It is also very affordable. 60 minutes traditional thai massage was RM58.

All I know is that I felt incredibly relaxed afterwards and that it was worth the money.  Absolutely magical!! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

July 9, 2011

Chuan Jiang Hao Zi Steamboat Restaurant, Singapore…Hotpot? More like tongue-torching firepot.

This is a Szechuan Hot Pot place. Even though I don’t go ape crazy over heaps of chilli in my food, sometimes I have the hots for spicy food but the Mala soup is so fiery  spicy I needed a fire extinguisher by my side. Be warned: The searing spices in the oily-red broth will attach themselves to your lips and burrow deep underneath your tongue. Your whole mouth begins to buzz and grow curiously numb. You will sweat like never before. Your eyes will shine and your head will begin to grow light. You might just come away with your lips swollen like sausages, like it got hit by electric current. And the meal has barely begun.

The restaurant was loud and boisterous. The staff speak mostly Chinese so communicating is difficult if you are like me and do not speak Chinese.

Courage is measured in a man’s ability to eat the hot pot here repeatedly and vigorously. This is the true truth and I am still saying it as it is…

July 3, 2011

Empire State Building Skyride and Observatory, New York…the queues are as spectacular as the building itself

Once the tallest building in the world, and once again the tallest building in New York, the Empire State Building is truly a site to behold. The building is iconic and the views from the top was fantastic. Anyone who had seen the movie King Kong would recognise the unqiue art deco exterior.

The sky ride, though quite enjoyable – seeing the city from above (simulated) áccompanied byKevin Bacon’s commentary – is not worth the US$36 ticket price.

It was a cloudy and greyday but I still appreciated the great views from the 86th Floor main Observatory. It left me imagining that I could possibly see for miles on a clear day. The next time I am in New York, I will try visiting this building in the evening or during sunset because i can imagine that there’s something magical about visiting in the evening, as many movies have famously depicted.

The lines at the Empire State Building Observatory are as spectacular as the building itself. Three lines, actually…the security line, the ticket line and the line for the elevators that take you to the Observatory. It is no worse than standing in line in, say, Tokyo Disneyland, but definitely something to be prepared for. I hear that you can buy and print your ticket at home to skip the ticket line.

The Empire State Building is an amazing structure and a huge part of New York’s skyline. This isn’t something you have to do everytime you visit NYC but you have to go at least once. This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

July 2, 2011

Potomac Mills Mall, Washington DC…a place to shop for hours without running out of stores

Filed under: Shopping — PEr @ 9:34 pm

This is the factory outlet mall to go if you want a place to shop for hours without running out of stores. It is truly huge and a GREAT mall. So put on your walking shoes because you can always find a great deal here.

Potomac Mills Mall is located about a hour south of Washington DC. It’s a bit far – a metro ride to Franconia-Springfield stop and then a US$35 taxi ride each way (I was told there’s bus service on weekdays, though) – but I think it’s still worth the trip.

There are shops for kid’s clothes, women’s shoes (tons of these stores), clothes, perfume, books, etc.  There’s an Abercrombie & Fitch store with amazing prices. Other stores include Victoria’s Secret, LEGO, Bose, Coach, Calvin Klein, Polo Ralph Lauren, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, Samsonite, Crocs and Nine West. You can get your nails done while you give your feet a rest. You can even get a massage. It has a big food court but the food on display doesn’t look so good. But hey, I don’t go to the mall to eat, I go to shop!

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. The customer service in this mall is LACKING.   The people are rude, and never really want to help you.

Everyone can find something here. I can’t imagine going to Potomac Mills Mall and not finding anything I am looking for. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

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