Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Okuya Japanese Restaurant, Naga City

Arriving Naga after quite a long drive, we had a good lunch at Red Platter, and then proceeded to check-in at a hotel. Afterwards, we proceeded to meet with our contacts there and brief the people who would be conducting field work with us. Still quite tired from the travel and wanting to have an earlier dinner, we decided to go to a Japanese restaurant we spotted while making our way to our hotel. We wanted to have some comfort food before we called it a day and Okuya presented us with our favorite in the form Japanese food.

Entrance to the restaurant
Salmon sashimi is among those we regard as comfort food
They have a lot of items on their menu including bento sets and other combos
Restaurant interiors - clean, orderly, well lighted
Chicken teriyaki box
Tempura
Yasai itame
Their version of shoyu ramen
Tuna maki
The food at Okuya was okay. We thought the quality and presentation was generally at par with the Japanese restaurants we usually eat at around UP. The ramen though was average so perhaps that's one item that you're better off with the better known ramen restos. The sashimi, teriyaki, maki and tempura were enjoyable. The service was also very good and the prices didn't hurt so there's value for money here.
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Red Platter, Naga City

We were quite picky in the restaurants where we ate at while in Naga City. We opted to consult with Trip Advisor for recommendations and found a top ten list we could refer to. Our first meal in Naga was lunch at Red Platter. My friends ate there a couple of weeks back and recommended the place.

Impressive display upon entering the restaurant
Interesting motto on display at the restaurant
There's ample space for people waiting to be seated
Decor in one of the dining area
Lamps dangling from the sun roof
The tables are easily reconfigurable for large group
We were so hungry after the long drive from Manila (though we did have a breakfast stop in Plaridel, Quezon) that we forgot to take photos of the food we ordered and ate. Needless to say, the food was good so we definitely enjoyed that part. We observed that the restaurant can get crowded as it is popular in the area. It took some time before we were seated but the service was efficient as they were able to take our orders as we waited for our table. The food was served almost as soon as we were seated. Red Platter is highly recommended.
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Chocolate review: Tony's Chocolonely 51% dark chocolate with pecan

Last March's trip to the Netherlands yielded several chocolate bars that I got to bring home. Among these was this chunky bar that's got quite a name to it.

I take it that Tony's Chocolonely refers to a longing for chocolate?
Details on the chocolate at the back of the package
Most of the information though were in Dutch but looking and attempting to read it actually gives you some sense of what is being described. For example, it's easy to determine that this chocolate contained 51% cacao.
Nutrition information

The inside of the wrapper gives a story of the maker
Close-up of the wrapper's upper part
Close-up of the wrapper's lower part

I forget how much exactly I got this chocolate for but surely it didn't exceed 3 Euro from the convenience store where I got it. It is a very good chocolate and definitely one to enjoy and something to pick-up the next time I see it in a shop.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Chocolate review: Seattle Chocolate Hiker's Trail Mix

The Clairvoyant brought home a couple of these bars from here trip to Seatlle last summer. She got it at the airport on her way back home. At first, we thought this was just like any souvenir chocolate like those you find in the form of elephants at Suvarnabhumi Airport or those in the shape of the Merlion in Changi Airport. This turned out much better than those.

This is an interesting dark chocolate bar because of the trail mix and truffle.
Details on the chocolate at the back of the wrapper. I don't know know if the wife noticed it but the manufacturer of this chocolate is supposed to be "Women Owned" based on the
Here's the wrapper when spread out. I thought this was one of the good designs I've seen on a chocolate bar's packaging.

The chocolate bar retailed for about 240 pesos at the time (based on the prevailing USD:PHP exchange rate last May) and we both could say this was a good buy. The trail mix part of the choclate proved to be something enjoyable as you have something to chew that makes the tastes linger in your mouth. I would imagine, too, that the chocolate would be a good energy booster for people on the go including hiker's or those who like to walk (e.g., commute). This is definitely another chocolate we'd want to pick up the next time we see it.
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Thursday, July 26, 2018

On inlfight meals on Thai Airways

I always opt for Thai Airways for flights between Manila and Bangkok, if I had that opportunity. No, its not an unpatriotic thing that I don't fly Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. I do when I'm on a tight budget. But given the sponsorship (I was invited as a resource speaker at an international workshop.) and seeing that Thai was (surprisingly) less expensive than PAL, the decision was easy. Service, for one, is better and then there is the food. Inflight meals are notoriously lesser quality on-board PAL and CebPac. PAL experienced a resurgence of sorts the months it was managed by San Miguel but reverted when the beer conglomerate quit the business.

Snack in the form of salted and roasted almonds and a glass of orange juice
Lunch on board Thai Airways economy class
I've written about inflight meals before and I guess the better ones were on-board Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines and Emirates. I can only say that from the point of view of an economy class passenger. The wife tells me food on business class is definitely much better. :)
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

A lively and living river - the Chao Phraya

The Chao Phraya is a national symbol for Thailand and I couldn't help but be mesmerized about how alive this river is. The river is wide enough and deep enough to be navigable to a lot of vessels including those for commuting and those for freight. Here are a few photos I took from the hotel where I was staying at during my brief travel to Bangkok.

These boats are more commonly found zipping along the many canals that form a network for water transport in the city. I took this opportunistic shot of two including one that was speeding so that water was splashing spectacularly behind it.
The middle part of the river is reserved for the barge trains that travel up and down the river.
Water taxi along the river - there are many of these in the traditional design and most of them seem to be owned and operated by the better hotels in the area including the Peninsula.
If you have watched episodes of the series "Monster Fish", you would also know that the river is literally alive because there are many fishes and other aquatic life here. Sitting just beside the river as I ate my breakfast, I could see some of the big fishes almost jumping out of the river.
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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Back in Bangkok

I'm currently in Bangkok to participate in a workshop on road safety as applies to children. I was upgraded upon checking-in at the hotel; affording me this splendid view of the Chao Phraya and the pool area.

View from my room
Bangkok will always be among my favorite places as I have been a frequent visitor to this city that offers a lot in terms of food, culture and people. It helps, too, that we had our honeymoon in this city about 16 years ago. The last time I was here was 2013 so I want to get reacquainted with the city and friends. But I have to defer explorations until after my workshop is done.
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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Julia's Pasta

I discovered this "fast food" option while going around Amsterdam Central Station. A good friend actually mentioned this but I hadn't come across it while in Enschede or Arnhem. Julia's Pasta is an excellent option for people on the go who don't want the hassle of going to a restaurant to get a healthy meal. I've always thought that you can eat healthy if only the available choices where to get your meal would only exert a bit more effort in providing these options. Julia's, I think, does just that.

They had what looked like freshly made pastas and sauces, and herbs that went into each box of pasta order ready to be plucked from the metal pots.
The staff were engaging and they seem to have everything available for a quick healthy meal for people on the go.
The box reminded me of Chinese food takeouts.
Fresh arugula!
I took my takeout with me back to the hotel where I enjoyed my food while sorting through my loot for the day. I highly recommend Julia's over sit-down restaurants, especially the fancy ones, for travelers/tourists who would likely be traveling on a budget. Its good, healthy food that's wallet-friendly. I wish we had more options like this in Manila though I'm sure there are many holes-in-the-wall types or "aristo-carts" offering good food choices as well. 

Note: I'm sure there are those who would have a different opinion about Julia's but then understand where I am coming from. Good food in Manila is usually associated with pricey restaurants and not all "artisto-carts" or informal food sources/stands sell healthy or even clean food.
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Friday, April 13, 2018

On inflight meals again

During my recent travel to the Netherlands, I decided to take Emirates in order to have more manageable (for me) times in flight. The flight between Manila and Dubai was about 7 hours while the flight between Dubai and Amsterdam was about 8 hours. My layover in Dubai was 4 hours. That meant a lot of time to walk around and get my bearings between long flights. I have also been informed that the inflight meals on Emirates were better than most airlines even on economy. I must agree with that observation and I’m now posting some of the “stolen” shots I took of the inflight meals.

Breakfast served on the Manila-Dubai leg of my trip
Breakfast on the Dubai-Amsterdam leg of my trip
Menu on the Dubai-Amsterdam leg of my trip
Details on the meals served on the flight between Dubai and Amsterdam

The lunch selection was okay and I always thought that one doesn't have to consume everything served to you inflight. Eat and drink just enough so you won't feel hungry or thirsty on a long flight. Check out the food if the taste suits you. If you don't feel like eating or it doesn't taste right to you then perhaps you should pass or opt for some light snacks. I do recommend drinking more as you tend to become dehydrated especially on long flights.

I refrained from taking photos of my meals back to Manila but they were again alright compared to most inflight meals I've had. I guess the better ones I've had would be those on my long-haul flights to and from the US via Japan Airlines (JAL). Of course, I am sure that other people would have other opinions about inflight meals including those who categorically state these are unhealthy. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. :)
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Monday, April 2, 2018

Hearty pesto and chicken sandwich from Spar

I have had minimal rice since I arrived in Holland. It's actually a welcome development for me as I need to reduce my rice intake and switch to higher fiber options. Bread counts as long as it is not the regular type. And I've managed to eat healthier thanks to the hotel where I'm staying at and the choices I have when I eat out.

One discovery I've made is Spar, a convenience chain that makes excellent sandwiches, bread, pastries and the like. There were a lot of healthy choices including salads and vegetarian meat sandwiches. I spotted their pesto and chicken sandwich and had it heated for a warm meal I took back to my hotel room.

I surely did enjoy this warm sandwich
Spar is a big chain and I found their stores in most cities I visited in the Netherlands.
Pesto and chicken sandwich
A close-up of this pesto and chicken
I have not seen or tasted a sandwich like this the Philippines though the combination of chicken and pesto is not new. Usually, you see it in pasta but not on a sandwich. Maybe there's a restaurant somewhere back home that serves this?

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First meal in Europe - Happy Italy

My first meal in Europe was...Italian! That should not come as a surprise considering this is usually a default choice for me if I am not knowledgeable of the restaurants in the place I am visiting. In this case, I really didn't bother researching about the restaurants in Enschede and based my decision more on what I felt like a restaurant that has a simple menu and many people patronizing it. The other restaurants looked too fancy for me though cost-wise they were okay. I thought, too, that the other restaurants were good if I had company. I had none.

This looks like a good motto for life.
I ordered this pollo a funghi pasta. It turned out to be a big serving and I had to take half home to finish it the following day.
The restaurant's main attraction was their pizzas. They had some good ovens there and all the ingredients were fresh. I also noticed a lot of people ordering meals for take away (take home).
I took home a copy of their menu as a souvenir. This side shows the pizza selection.
This side shows all the other items except their gelato, which was on another card.
Happy Italy is a chain and so at least I have established that they serve good food with very generous serving for pastas. I thought this would be a good reference for future trips to the Netherlands.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Yamanashi wine

About ten years ago, I was gifted with this wine from Yamanashi. I had kept the wine initially at my office where I have reserved an enclosed and secure part of one of my cabinets for a few bottles of wines that I have purchased. I took it home after we moved to our current house in 2014. I have been waiting for the moment to open it and was thinking about what to celebrate until I remembered the 10 years since we got the wine.

A bottle of white wine from the University of Yamanashi. This was a gift from a Japanese professor who is a good friend of ours. He was posted at UP as a visiting professor about 15 years ago and have maintained contact since.
We were wondering if the wine was still okay after 10 years as the wife pointed to the color. I replied that it was stored properly so it should still be good.
Here's another photo of the label. Yamanashi is a famous wine region in Japan with the climates perfect for growing grapes and apples. It is also famous for the mountains and the testing facility for Japan's magnetic levitation (maglev) trains.
Details on the wine in Japanese at the back. It is easy to read the alcohol content at 12%.
The seal on the bottle that we stashed away with the cork.
This was the first time for us to use the nice wine bottle opener that made removing corks much easier. This was a gift from our Ninang on the occasion of our 15th wedding anniversary last December.
Here I am sampling the wine. The color was just right and the verdict on the wine is a two thumbs up!
We still have half a bottle of wine in the fridge. The wife used some of the wine for cooking, which was the main reason we wanted to open a bottle of white wine in the first place. :)
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