Travelogue: en route to Nashville (Dec 2016)

Chattanooga!

On the way from Atlanta to Nashville, we stopped by this town for the night.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Champy’s boasted having the best fried chicken in town. I only went to one here, so I would agree.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

There’s a huge parking lot but there were no spots! So we parked across the street, which is not bad at all. It’s a very casual Southern diner kind of place.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Clumpies featured a lot of unique ice cream flavors like sweet potato casserole… very interesting.

Next morning, we went to Maple Street Biscuit Company for… well, biscuits.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

After we fueled up on food, we drove about an hour and 40 minutes to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery for some whiskey tasting.

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

It’s strange because this county is “dry”, but you can taste alcohol here. According to Wiki, “while it is legal to distill the product within the county, it is illegal to purchase it there. However, a state law has provided one exception: a distillery may sell one commemorative product, regardless of county statutes.”

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Atlanta & Nashville 2016

Next up — Nashville!

LA: Arts District, Korean ice cream, and finding angel wings (Nov 2016)

Uber and Lyft were SO cheap in LA (compared to NY). If you want to avoid looking endlessly for parking or spending a lot of money on parking garages, just take an Uber. I took one to Downtown LA.

Los Angeles 2016

Chimney Coffee House.

Los Angeles 2016

BEST. BURGER. EVER. They call this the “Rogue”.

Los Angeles 2016

The “Rogue” sandwich has 2 eggs in it. TWO. Scrambled eggs and thai style fried egg, separated by juicy sage-black truffle pork sausage, cheddar crisp (omg crispy cheese), and sriracha yuzu mayo on a toasted house made milk bun. This combo is bomb. I was amazed at how all the flavors complemented each other and surprised my tongue at every bite.

After that, I was stuffed, but I had to get ice cream at Ihwamun.

Los Angeles 2016

I got the citron and ingeolmi (their signature flavor). They’re known for their Korean flavors — try Choco Pie! Their matcha is also really good. Some of the best ice cream I’ve had.

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I always seek out wall murals wherever I go.

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The Arts District Co-Op reminded me of Chelsea market in NY. Lots of vendors selling their own unique clothing and jewelry.

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Finally found my wings.

After that, I took an Uber to Rowland Heights (20 bucks for 1 hour in traffic, crazy affordable right?!?!) and serendipitously found another set of wings.

Los Angeles 2016

Zero Degrees.

Los Angeles 2016

Boba ice cream.

Los Angeles 2016

LOVE the unique bubble tea flavors here, and they come in a glass bottle as an option (+$1.50). Everything is so fresh and they don’t use powder.

Los Angeles 2016

Water drop cake with matcha.

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Next up, Korean food at Junkabok by Mokkoji.

Los Angeles 2016

They offer 3 set menus in addition to a la carte options: the Piglet, the Piggy, and the Pigzilla. I got the Pigzilla, of course.

It comes with: small stew or hot stone + small BBQ dish + seafood pancake + braised pork cartilage. It’s enough food for 3-5 people…

Los Angeles 2016

Los Angeles 2016

Los Angeles 2016

Los Angeles 2016

Los Angeles 2016

SOOOOO GOOOOOOD.

Travelogue: Zion National Park, Utah [Part 2] (Sept 2016)

Observation Point. Take the shuttle to the Weeping Rock stop.

If you’re short on time and deciding between Observation Point or Angel’s Landing, I’d pick the latter. Angel’s Landing has more of a thrill factor with the chains and the narrow paths — lots of picture opportunities and you can be done in 2.5 hrs. Observation Point is a strenuous 5-hour hike, 8 miles round trip, and has similar views as Angel’s Landing (but higher and has a nice panoramic view). It IS longer and steeper, so I would start earlier in the day to avoid the sun.

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Definitely bring some snacks and lots of water. This is really good, by the way. Rip van Wafels! Dark chocolate sea salt. Sorry for the dark picture.

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This was a similar viewpoint as Angel’s Landing (previous post here).

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Some people rock climb in this crevasse. Pretty cool.

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After this hike, we left Zion and drove towards Bryce Canyon National Park.

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The drive was insanely awesome. Very scenic, no boring roads here.

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Checkerboard mesa. Look at the checkerboard marks!

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You can see we’re leaving Zion when the road abruptly stops being red.

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We stopped by this gift shop/restaurant for huckleberry ice cream.

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Onward to Bryce!

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We got to the campground (near Bryce) around sunset. After we set up camp, we drove into Bryce Canyon to eat at the lodge restaurant. You can drive right into the park after hours for the restaurant.

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Hoodoo beer!

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Some notes about the campgrounds: I recommend all the ones we stayed at — they will be listed at the bottom of each post. They were all very clean and had great individual showers, which was important to me…

Campsite Info:
Ruby’s Inn Campground
300 So. Main Hwy 63,
Bryce Canyon, Utah. 84764
$62.78 for 2 nights

Travelogue: Hong Kong Day 3: Eat & Yoga & Eat (Dec 2015)

I took the MTR to Causeway Bay on a Sunday morning and felt like I was the only one awake in this whole city. Only a few people (domestic workers) were on the train and the streets were empty! It certainly did not feel like HK. Nothing was open so I walked around…

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I walked around until it was time for the free yoga class at Lululemon in Hysan Place. I was the first one there, of course…

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I was surprised when the class started filling up. I had registered ahead of time (I always look up free Lululemon classes before traveling!) and asked to borrow a mat. They were accommodating.

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The yoga class was led by the lovely yogi-extraordinaire Héloïse Chong in English and I felt invigorated!

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They even had free apples.

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Héloïse Chong! She was really lovely to talk to.

There was a LINE store at Hysan Place for a limited time so of course I went.

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Got a drink to go.

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Star Wars at Times Square!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Christmas decorations in HK are the best! This was at Elements.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Pretty elaborate and detailed.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Naked bear!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

More bears.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Bears.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

A bear.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

My cousin Eunice took me to Tai Cheong Bakery in Central for their AMAZING egg tarts. Really good when they’re fresh out of the oven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Others may disagree, but I loved their egg tarts. I personally don’t care for the flakey crust and prefer this instead.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

PMQ! The former Police Married Quarters located in Sheung Wan, in the middle of SoHo, has been converted to an arts and design center with shops, exhibits, food — a great place to show off to your friends and hang out.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

I really enjoyed walking around this area.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

We turned the corner and went to Little Bao for a snack.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

LB fries – THEY WERE SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!! Pretty much the best fries ever.

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Pork belly bao! Slow-braised pork belly, leek & shiso red onion salad, sesame dressing, hoisin ketchup.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Fish tempura bao! Fresh market fish, tamarind palm sugar glaze, pickled lemongrass fennel salad.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

DESSERT. Ice cream baos!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Next time I’ll get the matcha with condensed milk! Can’t wait.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Went to a store called “Homeless” and bought some trinkets as souvenirs. Loved browsing here!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Cupping Room – another coffee place recommended by a friend.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

They’re serious about coffee here.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

More random HK pictures.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Walked out to the pier and it was time to meet up with my friend Melody from Primary school! Back to Causeway Bay…

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Via Tokyo!

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Down the block is “I see I see“, an ice cream pop place.

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Chunks of mango!

After dessert, it was dinner time.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Blogging about this has made me very hungry.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

 

 

Travelogue: Hong Kong Day 2: Eat & Run & Eat (Dec 2015)

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Day 2 in HK. Random pics from this day:

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Pandan ice cream and pandan eggettes from Modos.

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Knockbox Coffee Company — recommended by a friend.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

My latte was pretty good.

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They featured coffee from Africa, Central & South America.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

I didn’t get to try their beer on tap!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Old

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

New

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

I love walking around the shopping malls for holiday decorations. This was at Olympian City.

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I got to run during this trip yay

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Time for seafood:

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Let’s pick them out…

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hehe

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Next, we go into the restaurant and feast!

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Seafood Thai

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Travelogue: 5 days in Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Last December, I made some last minute switches with coworkers and somehow got 6 days off in a row (wow!) for my cousin’s wedding… in Hong Kong. The flight was uber expensive since it was in between Christmas and New Years, but it was worth it. Also, I felt pretty badass hopping on the plane at Newark with just a backpack. The guy at the Cathay front desk noticed and asked if I was going home, and I answered “…yeah.”

Hong Kong is where I was born. I lived there for 10 years until I moved to New York. I don’t fly back often since it’s expensive, and every time I do go back, it’s completely different. Yet, some things still feel familiar. Listening to random dialogue around me in Cantonese, it feels natural. But at the same time, I’m sorta like a foreigner. There’s always so much to explore, so many places to eat and shop at.

My trip begins…

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From Manhattan, I took the NJ Transit to Newark Airport. It was only $13 and took less than half an hour.

The Cathay menu (we got 2 meals):

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In the back, the English version:

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In the morning, there’s congee.

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I love Cathay.

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I arrived at 6am. Welcome to Hong Kong. And Merry Christmas. There’s free wifi at the airport woohoo!

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I bought a one-way ticket from the airport to go to the city (Kowloon stop): $90HKD (~$12USD). You can also put money on an Octopus card if you have one already, or you can purchase it there.

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The seats were comfy and it took less than half an hour to get to Kowloon.

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I love seeing these buildings in HK. There’s so much character.

After I found my dad’s apartment and met up with my parents, dropped off my stuff, we went to eat because that’s what people in HK do. We eat continuously.

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HK diner food

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Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Second breakfast. Dim sum at City Chiu Chow.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Quail egg siu mai

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

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Iron Buddha Oolong Ice Cream from TenRen’s Tea ($20HKD=$2.58USD)

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Stopped by Kam Wah Cafe 金華冰廳 for their pineapple bun with butter

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I got to spend Christmas with family.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Ladies and gentlemen, my cousin at the grill.

Hong Kong (Dec 2015)

Polar wants steak too.

 

 

Chile: Puerto Natales, Punta Arenas, Santiago (Dec 2015)

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Breakfast at Refugio Las Torres was good. So much better than the other refugios.

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Our view from the dining area.

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We walked around the area before catching the shuttle to Puerto Natales.

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After catching the shuttle to get out of the park, we got to the bus station to purchase tickets (Puerto Natales –> Punta Arenas). There were lots of bus companies and you can pretty much get on any and it’s the same price.

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Buses Fernández.

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Buses Gómez.

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Since we had some time before our scheduled bus, we explored the city center some more.

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When we got to Punta Arenas, it was already bed time.

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Next morning’s breakfast at the hotel.

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I love these trees.

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We walked around the city. Yes, we do that a lot.

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At the airport going from Punta Arenas back to Santiago. Paro!

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Naoki in Santiago. Sushi in Chile? Why not…

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It was easy to catch a taxi back to our hotel.

We booked a tour through our hotel (about $50 USD) for our last day on this trip to Valparaíso. To be continued…

Travelogue: Roadtrip to Maine (Day 1)

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We started driving early in the morning. From Boston to Maine was a bit of a drive, so I planned a few stops along the way.

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First, we drove to the Merrimack Outlets for some tax-free shopping in New Hampshire. We spent about an hour+ there (didn’t find anything good) and moved on to our next stop: Kennebunkport.

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Such a cute little town! It’s a fishing harbor and seaside tourist attraction.

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We stopped in at Mabel’s Lobster Claw for lunch.

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We got a lobster and crab roll. I really enjoyed the crab part, more than the lobster part.

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and the lobster Milanese with shrimp coming out of the lobster… what a sight!

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There’s ample street parking around the area, and we parked right across the street. Love outdoor seating!

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Rococo artisan ice cream was high on my list, since I LOVE homemade unique ice cream flavors.

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This was the best ice cream I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot of ice cream.

I love their real mint — it’s not your typical artificial mint flavoring and coloring. There are real mint leaves inside! Sweet cream was also amazing. I got both flavors in a cup for less than 5 dollars.

It’s a small place, grab a scoop and sit outside or take a stroll. They’re really friendly and will give you samples if you ask nicely!

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This was something I read about but seeing in person felt a bit… serendipitous. Love locks on a bridge.

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There was so much to see in this quaint little town, but we had to drive to our next destination.

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Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth.

 

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The classic lighthouses-along-cliffs postcard scenery.

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This park is free and has a few routes for you to explore. There’s a cliff walk and an abandoned mansion!

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