Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel – Banff, Alberta

November 23rd, 2014

I’ve been to many hotels in my life so far and time after time, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel keeps coming up as my all time favourite! So, we decided to go back and stay again as it’s been awhile to re-live old memories and make some recent ones! We booked a night in the Deluxe Mountain View King Room where we were blown away yet again!

Our room was amazing this time, we got a corner room that overlooked Tunnel Mountain and Rundle Mountain – and you can make out Bow Falls from the window! The view was amazing and the space in the room was plenty ample! Once you walked into the room, the bed was on one side, and basically everything else was on the other side!

We walked in and there was the drink amenity tray which has a coffee maker, and a kettle! There’s also a mini fridge that’s under the TV stand too and it had some creamers! They give you plenty of coffee and tea options, and only 2 mugs! So, we just rised our mugs and reused them as I made hot chocolate that I brought with me for this amazing trip!

The bathroom was pretty small, and offered a relatively spacious stand in shower! The bathroom amenities were quite nice and it offered a subtle rose scent. It had all that you really needed though! Behind the door on a hook was a hair dryer too! There’s plenty of extra bathroom supplies – so for sure you won’t run out!

The treat in the room was the giant soaker tub with jets in the corner. It is located outside the bathroom in the room but it’s tucked in the corner! What an amazing treat! You can turn the TV over and watch TV from the tub, but if your jets are going, you probably can’t hear the TV. There’s a few steps here on tiles so I’m sure it can become slippery – but there’s another bath mat to help with that!

To get a better overall look of the room we stayed at, feel free to visit the room walk through clip below! We enjoyed the 2 windows with the window seats a lot! The view is pretty good, although there is some obstruction! There’s a column in the middle of the room, but it’s hard to miss – you won’t walk into it at night!

Overall, this is still our favourite hotel with the best rooms, view and the food at the hotel is amazing as well! We did all our dining at the hotel and it truly was a Fairmont experience! What a perfect weekend!

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

405 Spray Avenue
Banff, Alberta, Canada
403 762 2211

Cafe Orchid – Millbrae, California

November 23rd, 2014

We went for HK Style food on our last day before we went to the airport to come home, and went to Cafe Orchid in Millbrae – which is pretty close to the airport. Parking for this restaurant is a little tricky, but we’ve been here before and both times we’ve lucked out.

I ordered one of my favourites for HK style Chinese breakfasts, which was the Preserved Vegetables with Pork Noodle Soup but with Lai Fun. It’s really typical and you often get it with a drink in the mornings. This isn’t my first bowl of noodle soup from here as I like it so much, it’s what I ALWAYS get!

Then, we got a order of their Jook with Fried Noodles as I really wanted some fried noodles. The jook was pretty good, but the noodle was the highlight of that breakfast!

With these breakfast combos, it comes with their fresh baked buns and hot drinks. The food here is always fresh and amazing and at a great price! We will definitely be back as we love stopping at this place when we get off the plane and before we get on!

Cafe Orchid

9B El Camino Real
Millbrae, CA
(650) 697-3988

New Gold Medal – Oakland, California

November 23rd, 2014

It was a late night before we had time to go have dinner. By the time we were ready, I just wanted some simple Chinese food and so we went to New God Medal Restaurant in Oakland Chinatown. It’s opened until late, and I hear they open early as well – so they’re always opened for business!

I ordered the BBQ Pork Lai Fun which is something I always love. Here, it was so good I ate everything and even finished the soup. Although the BBQ Pork was in soup, the meat had tons of flavour and the soup was really tasty as well. The Lai Fun was really nice textured and wasn’t soggy at all.

My husband ordered one of his old time favourite which he hasn’t had in awhile, the Beef Stew Ho Fun. This bowl was amazing and the beef stew was well flavoured, tender and juicy. They had some tendons which was a treat as well!

We then decided we needed a plate of greens, which is typical that you order a plate of veg when you’re out eating noodle soup. We just don’t do it all the time, but we had an order of Garlic Yu Choy and the choy was really nice, a little over cooked but it was decent! It’s very standard and not something you really can mess up on!

Overall, everything was amazing! The food was excellent and we still talk about the dishes from here as it was a recent, very satisfying dinner! The prices are priced well, the location is pretty good and like I’ve been mentioning, the food has been excellent!

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New Gold Medal

389 8th Street
Oakland, CA
(510) 465-1940

Pho Ao Sen – Oakland, California

November 23rd, 2014

We went for some Vietnamese while our visit to California and met up our family Pho Ao Sen and it’s located right on 12th Street. This restaurant is so busy and they have parking both beside the restaurant and across the street.

We started with the standard, some salad roll, which they call Goi Cuon- Spring Rolls, which looks really impressive! The taste was quite amazing as well, even their dipping sauce was pretty unique and very delicious! These huge salad rolls were stuffed with both shrimp and pork, and the standard stuff like vermicelli, mint, bean sprouts and lettuce.

We also got another standard appetizer, the Cha Gio- Egg Rolls which was the crispy/fried version of the Vietnamese Spring Roll. They call it an egg roll here, which is quite different from a Chinese Egg Roll, but a lot of people use these terms interchangeable. These Egg Rolls was a mixture of ground pork, shrimp, vegetables, cellophane noodles, and wrapped then fried to perfection. It was actually really tasty without the dipping sauce!

I was still fighting the tail end of my cold on this day, so I ordered a nice hot bowl of Pho Gai which is their Chicken pho. The bowl of noodles was huge and there was a huge amount of chicken. The broth was tasty!

Then, my husband ordered the Beef Stew soup, what they call Pho Hoac Mi Bo Kho which was really fragrant and flavourful. The soup was really quite thick though, it was unique and very different from the ones we have here! This bowl of soup and tons of everything which made it extraordinary delicious!

Overall, this place was pretty amazing! No wonder it’s a favourite of so many people! I’m sure we will be back some day!

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Pho Ao Sen

1139 E. 12th Street
Oakland, CA
(510) 835-5588

Lungomare – Oakland, California

November 17th, 2014

We decided to take a walk in and around Jack London Square where we decided we wanted to sit down and have an early lunch. We walked into Lungomare as there was a lot of people sitting on the patio – and we wanted to be there as well.

I really wanted a Hot Tea and they have a nice assortment of teas to choose from. They give you a nice tea pot for you to steep the tea to your liking. I got their Breakfast Blend which is pretty standard – but I was looking for something basic on this morning.

I ordered their Bagel Sandwich which was a bagel with house smoked salmon, eggs over well, cream cheese and other various toppings with a bed of potatoes on the side. It was really good and the house smoked salmon was fantastic! They do a lot of in house smoking according to the menu and I’m sure they’re all very tasty!

My husband got their Shrimp & Grits which was really seasoned quite well. The shrimp was huge and very tasty – excellent texture and cooked to perfection. He got a side of their house smoked bacon and that was magnificent! It was really nice, the texture was fantastic and it wasn’t overly salty!

Overall, we had a fantastic experience here and would return as service, atmosphere and food was all very good and memorable.

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Lungomare – Jack London Square

One Broadway
Oakland, CA
(510) 444-7171

Saigon Seafood Harbor – Richmond, California

November 16th, 2014

We went to celebrate family members birthday and they choose to go to Saigon Seafood Harbor as they’re regulars there – always good food and service at a great rate. I’ve been here a few times for dim sum and dinner before as well and we never have a complaint.

We decided to order their special, a 10-course meal for 10 people. It started with an order of Jelly fish, Seaweed, Octopus, Beef shank and Chicken which is a great take on your traditional cold starters! We really enjoyed the octopus and I’ve always loved Jelly fish!

Afterwards, an order of soup came and they split it up into individual bowls ahead of time to save some space, which was pretty brilliant! We had the Crab Meat & Fish Maw Soup 蟹肉魚肚羹 which was tasty and pretty standard at the same time.

In no order that the dishes came (as some of them came all at the same time), we enjoyed tons of good food where all the plates was something special! There was an order of Braised Cod fish with Roasted pork & Tofu 紅燒斑腩煲 in a clay pot. This was without a doubt one of my favourites as seafood (fish) is something I always crave when I’m away from home!

One of my husbands favourite of the evening was their Honey Glazed Walnut Prawns 蜜桃蝦球 which was giant shrimp deep fried and glazed with some glazed walnuts on the side. I’m sure together, we finished this plate – leaving only a little for the rest of the family!

Then came a dish with some fish and bok choy. We’re not sure what it’s called, but the fish was cooked really tenderly. We assume it was cod as it was a nice white fish, mild in flavour.

Some greens came too, there was a plate of Green beans with Spicy Pork and it was really good. It was spicier than expected but delicious and addicting from the flavours.

Another dish of greens came out which was Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas and it was sauteed with garlic and scallops. It was pretty tasty and the food was really fresh.

A neat thing that came was their Peking Duck and we loved the wraps it came with. It’s very different from the style we’re use to with the thin pancakes – but these you can stuff a lot of duck into and it absorbs the flavours. It was a little strange that there was bones once in awhile, but it must be their style.

From there, we got our Fried Rice which they splited into individual bowls again to save space. I always love fried rice, so this one was pretty good!

The last course was the dessert, where we didn’t actually eat their Red Bean Soup as we showed up with a birthday cake instead. Our overall experience here was excellent. The food was fantastic, the portions was huge and the price, I was told was really a good deal for what we got.

Saigon Seafood Harbor on Urbanspoon

Saigon Seafood Harbor – El Cerrito

3150 Pierce St
Richmond, CA
(510) 559-9388

Ole’s Waffle Shop – Alameda, California

November 16th, 2014

We have been going to Ole’s Waffle Shop for many years now and the place is always packed. I love this place as it not only had the best breakfast food, it’s in an old fashioned style diner with the long bar, swivel seats and booths! Located right on Park Street, you won’t miss it at all as there’s always a line and street parking.

Once we sat down, we ordered their fresh squeed orange juice which is one of my favourites. They have really good orange juice as there is a juice extractor. Plain and simple, really fresh and tasty!

I ordered their Waffle Combo which comes with a waffle, eggs and I ordered mine with a sausage patty. It was the perfect amount of food and everything tasted so delicious. They even warmed up the syrup which was really a nice treat as no other waffle/pancake place has ever done that!

My husband ordered his favourite, the Corn Beef Hash thinking there was hash browns in with the corn beef hash, but it was more just flat grilled corned beef, no has.. and we got grits on the side. It was still really good although not what either of us was expecting.

Overall, this waffle shop has been a favourite of ours for many years and we will always continue to go here. It’s close and convenient and delicious. The staff is always friendly even though they’re really busy!

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Ole’s Waffle Shop

1507 Park St
Alameda, CA
(510) 522-8108

Suzu Japanese Noodle House – San Francisco, California

November 16th, 2014

This one evening, we didn’t know where to go for dinner. We were on the San Francisco side as we were doing some sigh seeing, so we decided we would go for Japantown for some ramen for dinner and we ended up finding Suzu Japanese Noodle House inside a little mall. The place was little and packed so make sure you have some patience if you want to try them – it’s worth it!

We started with an order of Gyoza as well all know, I love dumplings. They pan fried the dumplings here really nicely and the pork inside was really well seasoned. It was a thin skin and delicious!

I ordered their Cha Shu Ramen with Shoyu flavour soup and it was actually really delicious! The broth was excellent and the cha shu was tender, juicy and flavourful! The texture of the ramen was really nice and the noodles were really fresh!

We saw a news article outside the window of this restaurant where someone was showcasing their Suzu Ramen so my husband got that! It was quite different as it had karaage, fried gyoza and corn in his soup. His soup was miso flavoured and that was super tasty as well. We didn’t like the fried gyozas nearly as much as the pan fried ones that we got as an appetizer but the noodles are as tasty as it looks!

We also ordered a bowl of Kakuni Ramen with shoya flavour – which was their braised pork belly. It looked and smelled delicious and it was eaten completely withouth a word! So, it was awesome!

Overall, we loved our experience here. We all thought it was worth the wait and we know we could be back! The prices were reasonable, the service was quick and friendly and most importantly, the food was so good!

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Suzu Japanese Noodle House

1825 Post St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 346-5083

Kapok Seafood Restaurant – Alameda, California

November 16th, 2014

We went out for lunch and decided to go for dim sum – somewhere more local with great rates for dim sum at Kapok Seafood Restaurant! All dim sum dishes here were only $2.00 and the place was quite busy for a weekday!

We just ordered a bunch of stuff and shared it at our table, which is the traditional way to having dim sum. They don’t give you any bowls here though, just a plate and chopsticks (which isn’t very traditional). We started with an order of Chive Dumplings that were steamed. It was really quite delicious and the skin was thin and delicate.

Then, we ordered some Fried Taro Dumpling which isn’t something we normally get. But, it looked really nice and light, and fresh here. And, it was! We hate it when it’s cold and hard, but it was delicately fried and the filling was hot and fresh. The pork was well seasoned, so we enjoyed this quite a bit!

We don’t normally go to dim sum without ordering my husbands favourite, lo bak goh and it wasn’t bad. Of course, nothing as good as homemade, but it was still really fresh with lo bak shreds thoughout! We love it when there are noticeable shreds so they are amazing that way!

Some more steamed dim sum for our table, we got an order of Spare ribs and it was really well seasoned here. The spare ribs were not too fatty at all and like everything else, it was really tasty and fresh. The meat was tender and it came off the bones without being over cooked!

Another dish we always order is the Steamed Beef Balls which is another of my husbands favourite, especially with Worcestershire sauce! The balls were excellent here and not made with overwhelming amounts of parsley so it was nice to actually be able to taste the meat balls here!

Just as you would think we’re done, we ordered something quite amazing! It’s their Lobster Noodles for only $8.88! It doesn’t get better than that! It was an awesome little lobster that sat on a bed of yee mein which is one of our favourites and never really order as it’s costly here. With this price, sure it’s little, but it was definitely enough as we’re having it WITH our dim sum!

Everything was amazing here and the price of the experience seems to have made us extra happy! So, if you’re looking for fresh dim sum at a great price, then you should come try here! It’s not clean, service is average, but you get good food and a great rate!

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Kapok Seafood Restaurant

1511 Webster St
Alameda, CA
(510) 865-5405

Sumo Grill Japanese Restaurant – Calgary, Alberta

November 14th, 2014

We didn’t know where we wanted to go for dinner this one evening, but we were checking some stuff out over at Sundridge Mall in the Northeast where we saw Sumo Grill Japanese Restaurant and figured I haven’t been here in ages, we would come back – remembering it was decent food. We did come closer to closing time, but when we were done, they closed the gate off and wouldn’t let us go back through the mall, so we walked back in to take a picture.

This restaurant is ran by Chinese people, so it’s not authentic. We weren’t actually hungry so we decided to order a Sushi and Sashimi Combo which had 7 pieces of sashimi, 5 pieces of sushi, a California roll and 2 pieces of house special rolls. The quality was decent!

Then, we decided we wanted a bowl of udon, and decided we’d do something a little different – so we got their Spicy Chicken Udon which was really different. It reminded us of a Chinese dish, but just using udon noodles. It was tasty actually! They used ground chicken which was interesting as it fell to the bottom of the soup.

Overall, a decent experience. We don’t have much complaints and the nice thing it’s in the mall – which would be ideal for cold days! But, they close the gate before the mall closes.

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Sumo Grill Japanese Restaurant – Sunridge Mall

2525 36 St NE
Calgary, AB
(403) 568-6886