9/11 Tribute Museum, America, Cafe, Chinatown Gate, Club Quarters Hotel, Diary of a Foodster, Eat, Education, Food, Growing Up, Hotel, Hotel Review, Katong Kids Inc, Little Italy, Manhattan Chinatown, New York, United States, Vacation

New York Travelogue – (Part 1): 9/11 Tribute Museum and Memorial, Manhattan Chinatown and Little Italy

An experience like no other, we took an 8 hour flight and headed to the Big Apple. We were looking forward to bunches of cool attractions at the amazing NYC!

We heard it would cost about $70 to take taxi from JFK International Airport to World Trade Center. It was the peak hour when we arrived and it took us about 1.5 hr just to clear the customs which everyone had to undergo stringent checks. Nonetheless, we opt to take the airtrain.

Strangers to NYC, we were trying to figure out how to buy the airtrain tickets.

Using our Traveler Wifi Router, we googled how to make our way to World Trade Center.

Our stay in New York City – Club Quarters Hotel at the World Trade Center.

This was the Standard Room that we booked which was rather squeezy but we had to manage our expectations as hotel lodging did not come cheap.

One of the most important stops in NYC was none other than the 9/11 Tribute Museum. Before this trip, we had educated Big and Small M on the history of 911 and why it was such a big thing to visit NYC.

The 911 Tribute Museum was near to our hotel and it became our first stop naturally. Visitors could get to experience the events of 911 from artifacts to personal stories. A big plus over here was that we could also purchase ferry tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty.

The Museum offers visitors the ability to learn factual information about the events of 9/11, the unprecedented rescue and recovery operation and the rebuilding of both Lower Manhattan and of people’s lives.

Video clips of the terrorist attacks.

The day when the whole NYC come to a standstill. Many stories were left untold.

Down the streets was the National September 11 Memorial Museum. The Museum occupied about 110,000 square feet of exhibition space, telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts. The ticket prices were $26/Adults and $20/Young Adult. We did not enter though as we thought the exhibits were more or less the same.

The 9/11 Memorial is free of charge and open to the public daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Honoring the lives of those who were lost. Occupying eight of the 16 acres at the World Trade Center, the Memorial is a tribute to the past and a place of hope for the future.

The two reflecting pools are the center piece of the 9/11 Memorial’s design, a work titled “Reflecting Absence” by Michael Arad. The pools cover the exact footprints of the original Twin Towers. Each is about an acre in size and together they make the largest man-made waterfall in North America.

The names of every person who died in the terrorist attacks of February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 are inscribed in bronze around the twin memorial pools.

We took a stroll down the streets of New York City.

This was our first day at the Big Apple and we seemed to have lost way.

We spent the evening visiting Manhattan Chinatown. This was the neighbourhood where Chinese immigrants brought their traditions and culture to the lower east side of New York City.

Manhattan Chinatown is a densely populated neighborhood that draws foodies and tourists to its many Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants for dumplings, pork buns and hand-pulled noodles.

We really loved the peanut dumplings and soya bean milk here that we patronised twice.

Passed by this noodle house and we gave it a try.

Clearly, their noodles wasn’t disappointing. The bone broth soup filled with dumplings. Every dumping was meaty and packed with salty goodness to make it a homey meal in this winter day.

Always remember to include tips when dining in the States.

After our dinner, we headed down to explore Little Italy. Little Italy’s streets are lined with restaurants serving Italian staples on red-and-white checkered tablecloths.

It was pretty small and we covered the place within 15 mins. It was a long day but our hearts were full!

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FARM Florist: Farm Fresh Flowers curated to capture the best memories ever

To pride itself as a reliable online florist that promises full refunds for all orders that arrive late is certainly a special florist that every customer should be amazed of. FARM Florist, a subsidiary of Masons Home Decor, takes pride in offering the highest quality flowers with afforable rates.

Their website – https://farmflorist.com/ – is easy to navigate and explore. What really stands out are the friendly features that allow customers to sort by their choices and filter the price ceilings when shopping online. Thumbs up!

Over at FARM Florist, there are so many assortments of flowers that you can shop at ease on all occasions. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, giving flowers is a timeless romantic gesture that bounds to wow your other half.

FARM Florist has the knowledge and experience to ensure your flowers deliver on time and have you receiving the most gorgeous flowers that you have seen.

You may not be the first but you certainly won’t be the last. Bookmark FARM Florist and browse through the beautiful hand bouquets. Your best memories are created here 🙂

Email: hello@farmflorist.com

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London Travelogue – (Part 1): Gatwick Airport, Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown Gate and Trafalgar Square

This is our first trip to London and we were told that it is an extremely expensive city for vacation. All this while, we thought it wouldn’t be possible until we discover some London hacks that made our trip a reality.

For once, we realised apart from travelling with the usual prominent airlines there are actually options to travel with budget airline to London for an affordable price of $1.1K in total for 2 adults / 2 childs (one way) – Norwegian airline.

Journey to London

Norwegian airline offers a direct flight from Singapore to London without any stopovers. To ensure further comfort, inflight entertainment are available. Ear phones were not provided.

The inflight meals were simple and nothing fanciful.

As we booked the flight early, we managed to get the best seats which gave us more room.

The 14-hour flight was surprising smooth without any turbulence and we arrived at London Gatwick airport by 5:40am.

If you are travelling to London Zone 1 or 2, we would recommend you not to take the express train which cost about $20 per adult. Our travel from Gatwick to Islington/Highbury was horrid as we needed to change platforms during the morning peak hours.

Towing 4 big luggages with us up and down the subway stairs without elevators and waiting for multiple trains before squeezing in was no joke. The weather was about 10 degrees but we were already perspiring. We would recommend booking the airport transfer (Blackberry cars) instead as the price was almost the same with no hidden charges.

The train ride brought us to the Victoria station where we would need to buy Oyster cards to travel in the London Underground, or the “Tube”. In simple terms, this is a version of our MRT. London is segmented by 9 zones with the touristy areas being in Zone 1 and 2.

Image result for london map zones
Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_fare_zones

The morning crowd at Victoria station were beginning to build up.

We had our breakfast here before continuing our journey to the Airbnb.

This was already the third train ride. We were tired.

Finally arrived at Highbury & Islington station.

But not before taking a 5 min bus ride and another 2 min walk to our Airbnb apartment. For all the hassle, it would be wiser to take Blackberry cars next time.

Covent Gardens

Covent Gardens is one of the ultimate Instagram spots in London. An iconic area with thriving street arts, we heard that it is usually crowded with tourists. However, it was not that bad.

The streets were easy to explore and it was not uncommon to take a pause every now and then to soak ourselves in the historic architectures. Covent Garden is a popular tourist spot such that Din Tai Fung has recently established an outlet here.

Something similar we have seen back home.

The locals love coffee so much and very often cafes would be packed with people. The scent of fresh coffee permeated the cafe and we couldn’t help but to order a cup.

Address: 13 Floral St, London WC2E 9DH, UK

Leicester Square / Piccadilly Circus

As Covent Garden is located centrally, it is near to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Google maps may not be reliable. Having these street directories made it easier for us to find our way around.

We were in for a treat during winter as Leicester Square Christmas Markets was up and running.

Not a fan of shopping but food tasting was our theme during this trip. Unlike the States, Christmas markets are common throughout Europe and UK.

Didn’t stay too long in the Christmas markets as some strangers kept looking at our belongings. We decided to leave and go into M&Ms World for safety reasons.

Address: 1 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7DE, UK

Have you been to M&M’s World? It is situated directly opposite Leicester Square Christmas Markets.

The bright, colorful storefront would inevitably draw anyone in. The staff were friendly and helpful, even if you are not buying anything.

Abbreviation familiar to a tween.

Address: Leicester Square, 1 Swiss Ct, London W1D 6AP, United Kingdom

London Chinatown is close to Leicester Square. The nearest underground stations to Chinatown are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Bus available are 14 / 24 / 27 / 29 / 134 / 168 / C2.

Eat all you can for $10.50.

We dined here over the next 2 days as the price was cheaper compared to other restaurants. Some restaurants open till 3am.

Address: 10 Wardour St, London W1D 6BZ, UK

Our jet-leg started to kick in. One final stop at Trafalgar Square before we ended the day. The attraction here is surrounded by museums, galleries, cultural spaces and historic buildings.

Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain that took place on 21 October 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.

Address: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

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Finland Gigantic Indoor Playground SuperPark Opens in Suntec City!

The mega indoor theme park franchise from Finland SuperPark has finally landed in Suntec City, occupying a huge 40,000 sqft. What we remember about Finland was that it’s the homeland of Santa Claus when we visited.

Yup, never did we imagine that it produce such awesome all-in-one indoor activity park for the little ones!

AN INDOOR PARK FOR EVERYONE

Go ahead and call it a “bad idea” for SuperPark to open here. Every family with kiddos passing by would pause and before curiosity kicks in, you bet their little ones would be pulling the parents to the registration counter. Click here for more ticket prices.

Image Credit: SuperPark Singapore (Regular Ticket – Monday to Friday Only. Exclude weekends & Public Holidays)

FREE LOCKERS

The newly opened SuperPark is clean, neat and fun. Paid visitors are entitled to free usage of the lockers.

As digitalisation transformed the way we work and live, it’s a nice touch to see opening of the lockers by scanning of QR code.

OVER 20 EXCITING ACTIVITES!

Your kids will be forgiven not to sit still and causing a rampage here. The double-storey 40,000 square foot play space features over 20 exciting adrenaline pumping games including tube slide, indoor flying fox, and a trampoline zone.

Resting area for parents and tired kids.

The pedal car racing track in Adventure Area.

For the baseball fans. Step into the batting cage to practice your swing!

Superhoop, Street Basketball, Superbowling or Superball you name it. You can play them again and again.

Be the next Messi or Ronaldo in the making and try your best to beat the Robokeeper.

Frisbee.

They called this as the Augmented Climbing Wall. Not your average indoor rock-climbing wall. This wall has integrated digital aspects with different kinds of games to increase the challenge.

Flying Fox – hold on tight and slide from one end of the wire track to the other.

The Trampoline Platform is an all-time favourite. How high can you bounce?

Tube Slide – fun to play but what is not fun is having to pull the tube up the hill by yourself.

For the adventurous and energetic, venture into the explorer area and relive your childhood!

ADDRESS

3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City Tower 1, #02-477 (North Wing)
Singapore 038989

 

OPENING HOURS

Monday – Friday, 10am – 9pm
Sat, Sun, Public and School Holidays, 9am – 9pm

 

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Habitat by Honestbee: Uniquely Shopping and Dining Experience for Family

Just by word of mouth is enough to draw us to explore Habitat at Honestbee. The newly-opened supermart prides itself as a multi-sensory, tech-meets-food grocery and dining experience like no other. See, smell, hear, touch and taste fresh flavours and food items from across the globe – all in one habitat by honestbee.

When we arrived, many curious and eager shoppers were crowding at the entrance, opening or setting up their “Bee Pass” to enter/exit habitat. Yes, first of its kind experience. You do not need to bring any physical wallets and there are no ATMs to be seen as well. Just your “Bee Pass” will do.

Potted plants for sale after entering Habitat.

We read that Habitat occupies the space of slightly larger than a football field. Upon stepping into the compound, we were greeted with so many shoppers (probably their first time).

A long queue was forming at the coconut stall. Amazing, each fresh trimmed coconut was selling for only $0.95! No wonder they are the best sellers. We thought it’s a worthy buy, at least not spending more than $4 on bubble tea.

Big & Small M made a beeline to take a mandatory photo with the friendly bee when it came by.

Exploring the section near the entrance before our hunger pang strikes. According to Honestbee, the produce were sourced directly from farmers and established producers from across the globe.

Cute cup noodles from Korea and Japan.

If you are observant enough, you get to see peoples’ orders are packed quickly and transported by these conveyor belts.

 Dining here is akin to having design thinking, digital marketing and digital awareness coming alive right in front of you.

And so, we had our lunch here. To order our food, we can’t order direct from the stalls. The only way to order is through your Honestbee app under “Habitat”. E-receipt is emailed to you and via the app, you can track your order and receive notification that your food is ready to collect.

Honestly, Habitat wasn’t as big as we thought it was. Probably much of the space was taken up for storage or collection/packing. It would be good if Honestbee can introduce stationery or some electronic items in the future to make the shopping experience more fulfilling.

Finally managed to find seats after waiting for quite a while. This is Little Neck Clams and Bacon.

Milk Made: Frozen shakes & bakes.

Tiger Beer battered fish & chips.

Crumble Vairhona Chocolate.

Poofy Pancakes served with vanilla chantilly cream, maple syrup and fresh berries.

Australia Grass-fed Flank Steak. Served with roasted chat potatoes, roasted plum tomatoes, herb salad.

Cute and shiny utensils. They are actually made of plastic 🙂

We have a soft spot for fresh bakes.

Free tasting at the Lazy Loaf counter.

Exploring the remaining sections. Fresh seafood are a hit with shoppers. The best part was that you can pick your seafood and the masterchef will cook it for you.

While almost everything is automated, we still need human assistance to help us figure out how to complete our purchase.

Scan our order and the trolley will check out and be automatically rolled into the packing area.

In case you are wondering whether you need to “rush” to the collection point after checking out your trolley, there is no need to. You can still dine or shop additional items and when ready, just proceed to the collection point to collect your honest purchase.

At the collection point, served by robot courier!

Shuttle bus is also available between Harbourfront to Habitat at Honestbee.

Address: 34 Boon Leat Terrace S(119866)

Bus: 10, 30, 30E, 51, 143, 175, 176, 188, 188E

MRT: Labrador Park, Pasir Panjang

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Family Friendly Restaurant: Thai-licious Boat Noodles @ Liang Seah Street, Simply Delicious!

Thai cuisines are undeniably one of the best cuisines in the world. Very often, we would think that tasting such heavenly dishes would require us to be whisked off to the Land of Smiles to experience it. Not really.

In fact, it didn’t take too long by word of mouth for us to try out the mouth-watering array of dishes brimming with the exicting flavours of Thailand at Thai-licious Boat Noodles, newly-opened and conveniently located at #01-01, 8 Liang Seah Street.

The ethos at Thai-licious Boat Noodles is all about woking up the best and authentic Thai food in Singapore at reasonable prices to boot.

Free Wi-Fi is a bonus to the ever data-hungry geeks for them to share Instagram worthy pictures of Thai-licious’ dishes to whet your appetite.

Good Old Thai Food

It’s time for our taste buds to fall in love with Thai food. Thai Boat Noodles are notably the restaurant’s core cuisine. We were at a lost on what to order simply because there are too many incredibly good cuisines to choose from! But still, we manage to savour some of their best dishes and just one trip here might not do justice to the allure of this restaurant.

These are our humble orders..

Strong flavoured Thai Boat Noodles (pork/beef) are notably the restaurant’s core cuisine. Served in either small ($1.90) or large bowls ($7.50) and packed with such awesomeness, it would be hard to resist and give it a miss.

Seafood Tom Yum Soup ($12), hot and sour soup base that is aromatic. It comes with fresh mussels, crunchy tiger prawns, thick cuts of fish and squid. We tasted and it was really spicy!

The Braised Pork ($15) brings out the flavour of tender cuts and it is served with blanched bean sprouts and crispy garlic sprinkles. A big favourite by Big & Small M 🙂

The Thai Papaya Salad ($10) comes with a generous portion of shredded ingredients consisting of thick, crunchy unripen papaya shreds, long beans and cherry tomatoes flavoured with the right amount of sweetness and tang.

Phad Thai Wrapped in Omelette ($10.50). Widely recognised as one of the best Thai street food, our insatiable craving for Phad Thai has become the must-try food in the bucket list during our visit to this restaurant. The picture says it all – you will only understand why after tasting a mouthful of Phad Thai, with the sauce flavour, bean sprouts, crunchy prawns and ingredients blending together in such harmony.

Braised Beef Tendon Rice ($8.90), with tender pieces of beef slow-cooked in a flavorful sauce of soy sauce.

Spicing up our evening with galore of these Thai food!

We ordered these desserts which tasted super chewy but not sticky to the teeth. The Thai Mochi ($7) which comes in 3 flavours such as Mango, Thai Milk Tea and Taro, is a treat for the sweet toothed. Expect delightful ice-cream fillings enveloped in a smooth skin of glutinous rice-flour.

Topping up with the ever popular Mango Sticky Rice ($10).

Thai-licious has a rather extensive menu with over 50 items for a small sized eatery, hence customers can return to savour dishes they have yet to try whenever the Thai hankerings kick in. Did we mention that Thai-licious has no 7% GST charge and their dishes are specially prepared by chefs from Thailand? 🙂 

Thai-licious Address & Opening Hours
8 Liang Seah Street, #01-01, Singapore 189029
Mon –Thur: 1100 to 2200
Fri – Sun: 1100 to 2400

Social Media
Facebook: fb.me/thailiciousboatnoodles
Instagram: Thai-licious Boat Noodles

Restaurant & General Inquiries
Email: contactus@thailicious.com.sg
Tel: 69179857

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Road Trip: Pacific Coast Highway

It is not often we can get a chance to be across the globe. As evidenced by the beautiful scenic pictures that keep cropping up in our trip planning, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) promises unique landscapes and plenty of places to stop and explore. However, we are still toying with the idea of whether to take a domestic flight or drive along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

The distance stretches up to 800 km and it does not seem possible to complete the route within a day without exploration.

A tad daunting, perhaps.

An initial thought was making interval stops before hitting Los Angeles (LA). That means shortening the time we have in LA, an itinerary that we felt are not conventional to many travellers as they prefer to spend more time in LA with the availability of amusement parks. After some research, it seems hard to miss out attractions along PCH.

All thanks to Outdoor Blueprint, they made trip planning easier with these attractions laid out neatly.

SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

MONTEREY BAY

Monterey Bay Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

BIG SUR (Limekiln State Park)

Limekiln Big Sur 26
Image Credit – https://californiathroughmylens.com/big-sur-attractions

Big Sur Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

SAN LUIS OBISPO

San Luis Obispo Road Trip Guide
Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

 

POINT CONCEPTION (The Santa Barbara Channel)

Image Credit – https://exoticwinetravel.com/santa-barbara-urban-wine-trail/

Point Conception Road Trip Guide

Image Credit – http://www.outdoorblueprint.com

If you have driven across Pacific Coast Highway before, do feel free to share your travel hacks.

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