Sunday, June 29, 2014

OUR FREE FUN IN LAS VEGAS (PART 1)

If you are planning to go on a trip to Las Vegas, you should remember that it is ALSO another CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS. Why? Because there is just a lot to do!!  Besides the casinos that are open 24/7, restaurants, shows, and events, LAS VEGAS loves the people so much that it also gives out entertainment for FREE!

Yup! You read that right!

Of course, you could still save money if you want to watch  Las Vegas' popular shows such as Cirque De Soleil, BEATLES' LOVE, David Copperfield, etc. etc. BUT do know too that there are other activities for you to enjoy that won't cost you a dime.

And that's what my little family did for an extra enjoyable time at LAS VEGAS that cost us nothing!



WE L-O-V-E Las Vegas!



On our first day in Las Vegas, we did not immediately go to the strip. But even if we did have an enjoyable dinner, we felt it calling out to us.  And yes, the lights of the strip may be so alluring but we have another thing planned for the next day!



And yes, we were up so early for it! 

Like our hats?


Thursday, June 26, 2014

BLUEBERRY HILL (US TRIP)

My eldest brother and his wife went to the US last year where they also dropped by Las Vegas for a short visit. Of course besides the casinos, shows, and hotels, my brother cannot stop raving about the food. Though he already had his fare share of food trips in various restaurants in the Philippines and around the globe (he's more of a traveller than I am), he has always been yearning to eat in a true blue American diner -- the type that you would find in the movies where the waitress comes up to you by the counter and asks "More coffee honey?"

My brother was so happy that my cousin brought him to BLUEBERRY HILL, a 24 hour diner that was every bit of how he envisioned it to be. Not only was he able to get fluffy pancakes at midnight  but yes, a waitress did offer him coffee while holding a steaming pot. Believe me was one happy guy right there and then (it doesn't take much to make us happy... he he he he).

So when THE YAPPY BUNCH went to Las Vegas, I was also counting the days till we eat at BLUEBERRY HILL. Finally, after we checked out from our wonderful NEW YORK HOTEL staycation (SEE HERE) we were able to do just that. Like my brother, never again will I be curious of how they serve things at a real US diner. We ate what we wished for AND with a LOT of extra cups of coffee on the side. :)



BLUEBERRY HILL FAMILY RESTAURANTS!!




BLUEBERRY HILL seems like your typical Las Vegas restaurant on the outside built with red hued cement walls and pillars. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

PANDA EXPRESS (US TRIP)

While we were planning our US trip this year, I immediately suggested... no demanded..... wait, hold the phone, I force choked Yub into submission rather, that we should eat in PANDA EXPRESS with the boys. I mean, yeah I'm sure that he would agree without the need for my "masochistic love" but I was not taking any chances right?

And I know that with just the words "ORANGE CHICKEN" you might even help me in pinning the Chinese Adonis down.

Oooh... (Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye)...

KIDDING A-SIDE. Yes! Though I know there is an abundance of steak, burgers, ribs, etc., etc., in the US, I also know that sooner or later we will look for rice, noodles, stir fry, soup, and yes, rice again. We cannot NOT have our daily dose of Asian food and the one that I feel that would be up to the task, besides Filipino food, would always be PANDA EXPRESS.

It was my favorite then. I'm sure it will be my little lords' favorite now.

And I was right!



PANDA EXPRESS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

NEW YORK HOTEL AND CASINO LAS VEGAS STAYCATION

Before I start, let me give you a warning that this is a PRETTY long post. Longer than usual actually (is that possible??) because I wanted to record the great time and special memories that we had in our first US staycation!

If that doesn't bother you, then carry on. He he he he!

=====

While the Chinese Adonis and I were planning our itinerary for our trip to the US, we agreed that we will be having at least one overnight stay at a Las Vegas hotel so that the kids will experience a staycation at the other side of the globe. Of course, we made the usual criterias in selection: the hotel should be kid-friendly, with free wifi, pool, should be clean and in a very safe environment.

After scrutinizing the choices, the winner for us was NEW YORK HOTEL AND CASINO in LAS VEGAS. Not only did it have all those I mentioned above, but it was also located right at the Las Vegas strip! Now what could be more thrilling than that?

Ooops.... sorry. Can't tell. You know the drill -- what happens in Vegas, STAYS in Vegas! He he he he!

Except body odor. That'll go with you EVERYWHERE. Ha ha ha!



And here we are.... 



NEW YORK HOTEL AND CASINO, LAS VEGAS!

Valet parking was free for hotel guests. You could even go to NEW YORK HOTEL early to leave your bags with the valet and they will just issue you a ticket. When you are ready to check in, just present your valet ticket to the front desk OR call them from your room so they'll bring up all your bags. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

IN N' OUT BURGER (US TRIP)

One of the usual "pit stops" for tourists going to the US is IN N' OUT Burgers. What is it about this place? Even if it was not a themed restaurant, a hotel buffet, or a Michelin starred bistro, almost everyone I know goes to the very simple eatery for some of their no frills burger and fries. Come to think of it, it's not just the tourists -- even the locals would swear by their loyalty to the fast food joint. To think that their menu is very limited compared to other US diners -- egad, they don't even have fried chicken! But go here we did (I am Yoda) because of that very reason -- we just wanted some effin good burgers. And I guess since IN N' OUT has been serving the same kind of burgers since 1948, a superkaduper number of their loyal loving diners will agree with me (for once).

So to IN N' OUT we will eat. There is no try. (He he he doing the Yoda voice again.)



IN N' OUT BURGER!

The place with the golden arrow! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION 2014

It's June 12, 2014, a national holiday for all Pinoys alike and my family will be celebrating our independence the YAPPY way! I know, I know, that you may (or ARE??) already be tired from hearing this over and over again but the Chinese Adonis and I have agreed on having little traditions for our little family for various events. EXAMPLE! For the Chinese New Year it is already tradition for us to go to Binondo (SEE HERE), for our New Year we do our annual Hotel Hopping (SEE HERE), for Valentime's every year my little lords take me out on dates (AND HERE!!!).... Etc... Etc... In fact I remember somebody telling me already "Tradition again??" Ha ha ha ha! Oh well... Maybe it's just really important for me to instill these practices on my two little lords so that they'll do the same with their own children when they grow up to rule the world or something. He he he he!

Anyway, last year we celebrated Manila day by going to Baywalk, Rizal Park, and the Planetarium (See HERE). This time around, my husband and I planned to take the kids to different museums in Manila. Unfortunately when I called to make inquiries, most of them were closed because of the holiday. So we came up with another route for the kids which still gave us a grand yet educational time!

So Manila, here we come! Mabuhay!!!! 



THE YAPPY BUNCH are going to Manila!!!

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY everyone! 

Wait a minute... We seem to have an extra kid..... Hmmm

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

JOE'S CRAB SHACK

For THE YAPPY BUNCH's trip to Las Vegas, I vowed to do 2 things: One, to take my little lords to all the theme parks that they wished for, and Two, to eat in my favorite restaurants that we do not have yet in the Philippines.

Yes, the second one may be a little selfish on my part but I could always justify it by saying we all need to eat right? He he he he!

So  one of the restaurants that topped my list was JOE'S CRAB SHACK. I remembered that for the many times I have been to the US, my relatives would always take me to Red Lobster, another seafood restaurant that is popular there (I think). But for the many times that I have eaten there, I was still not a fan. I just don't like the food that much. As for THE SHACK, it was a different story. I often see it many times going to and from my cousin's  house and when we finally ate there, it was what my taste buds were craving for. With that, I promised that for every trip to Las Vegas, we would always have one night reserved for it. And thus, my family was introduced to JOE'S CRAB SHACK. 



JOE'S CRAB SHACK!




JOE'S CRAB SHACK is very casual and vibrant. It's like a restaurant where surfer dudes would hang out.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

A LE BOUCHON LYONNAIS EXPERIENCE AT BRASSERIE CICOU

My husband and I have been already going out for 15 years and have gained tons of pounds from all our food trips... 

Wait a minute, has it been 15 years already?? It seems just like yesterday we had our blind date at Chili's! Hi hi hi! Eww kidding. I'm just being nice since we just had Father's Day yesterday... Tee hee!

Anyhoo, we always pig out on Chinese, American, Filipino, Japanese, Italian, Korean, etc etc, but it just dawned on me that we never set foot at a French restaurant or even a bistro at that! (Does Delifrance count? He he he he) We always get this notion that French restaurants are snooty and they might not let the likes of US in since we could get too "comical" for comfort. But then we received an invite to BRASSERIE CICOU to experience a meal like what they served in Le Bouchon Lyonnais, and suddenly, we were "sacre bleu-ing" at what we have been missing all these years.

Yes, French food is nothing to be feared by your palate, wallet, and personality. It's actually something that could really be enjoyed by everyone who just LOVES to eat. And we were able to enjoy just that very thing plus MORE last Saturday!



BRASSERIE CICOU!



My thoughts exactly!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

PHO SO 1

When we arrived in Las Vegas, we were met by my cousin Kuya Nap and his wife Ate Sheila. Oh it was so great to see them after 5 years!!! I missed them so much! After the usual "HELLOS", "HI'S", and "WE MISSED YOUs", we realized that it was time for dinner. And yes, I was so excited! Will finally start my OTHER mission in the US... TO EAT.

You would think that just because we were in the US, we would be stuffing ourselves immediately with  burgers, ribs, or any American food that you could think of. But NOOOH. My cousin knows me too well being our baby sitter before that I always have to have noodles and soup especially when I was tired (yes, too lazy to chew... tee hee). Oh yes. Some people need to sleep or lie down in order to relax and feel at home with their new place. But for me it's different. It should be FOOD.

With that, he hied us off to his favorite restaurant for piping hot bowls of Vietnamese Pho. And yes, with just one slurp of the flavorful broth I smiled and thought to my weird self "Welcome to America!" :) 




PHO SO 1!!

Now isn't that a beautiful moon? It somehow looks like the same one back home... :P


Thursday, June 12, 2014

EL CANGREJO (EAT ALL YOU CAN STEAK AND CRABS)

Sometime last month, my couple friends and I got together to celebrate the birthday of our very own "Edward Cullen", pareng Jun.

Why refer to him as that handsome vampire who seem to have some constipation issues you ask? Well not only does pareng Jun's gray eyes strike you as that of the undead, but man, the guy eats so much without gaining a pound that you would THINK he burns up any sort of fat cells when exposed with sunlight.

Anyway for his birthday, I suggested that we try out EL CANGREJO's Eat All You Can Steak and Crabs for only P749.00 (net). I have already enjoyed the fresh seafood of the new restaurant in Quezon City (SEE HERE) but to go surf and turf plus appetizers for only P749.00 was such a steal!

So in EL CANGREJO SEAFOOD AND STEAK BISTRO we went for a night of eating and chatting. And WOW... we never expected the SURF AND TURF to be SOOOOO good!

Read on!



EL CANGREJO!

Again, crab in menu...Why so happy when we're going to eat you later?


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CHARLIE BROWN CAFE

Among the siblings, I was the youngest and you might say, the craziest among the group. While they were all reading biographies and classic novels, I was stuck with comics and Archie's Digest. But one thing that we all seem to read up on and watch in "betamax" while we were kids was CHARLIE BROWN. Besides collecting the comic books, we would also load up on toys and items that had the Peanuts gang on it. So you could just imagine how special really that "block head" was to all of us -- we grew up with the gang, PLUS that very imaginative Beagle who, I think, was the first "cool" animal there is.

When we were en route going to Las Vegas, we made a stop-over in Korea to change flights. With that, I remember my friend Albert, telling me that we should pass by CHARLIE BROWN CAFE and try out their pastries. Well we really did not need to LOOK for it as CHARLIE BROWN seem to have found us. Without any effort whatsoever, we chanced upon the lovely cafe, and I got so excited that I almost blurted out the horn like sound effects that the grown ups made in the CHARLIE BROWN specials.

"Kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa kwa KWAAAAH"

Only a true CHARLIE BROWN fan would know what THAT means. Ha ha ha ha!


CHARLIE BROWN CAFE!

We saw this small store while we were on our way to Gate 5 and Gate 14 in the Korean Airport!

Monday, June 9, 2014

KOREAN AIRLINES (PLUS our flight going to US!)

I love travelling! I would DEFINITELY choose it ANYTIME over a ridiculously expensive bag, designer couture, or tons of jewelry....

Come to think of it, I could just sell the jewelry in order to travel via first class, but I'm sure you know what my point is.

Anyway, I am such a travel bug and I'm so happy that THE YAPPY BUNCH is catching the addiction as well. I love that the kids are banking up on experiences and encountering different cultures. They too would choose a trip somewhere with the family rather than getting a new toy or gadget. That's why for Andrei's 7th birthday, he agreed to forego a grand birthday celebration by just having a Mcdonald's party so that we could have a trip to the US.

And wow, such a vacation it was! Of course, I will blog soon about our numerous staycations plus the restaurants we pigged out on, but first, I will share with you our very smooth journey courtesy of KOREAN AIRLINES.

Let me warn you early though that there are no KPOP groups here, except, US! He he he he!




On our way to the airport!



Our flight was scheduled at 12:00pm but I asked my husband if we could be there way, way, wayyy early since I heard of the horror stories of how the air conditioning of our airport was still broken and that passengers were in it for a looong hot wait. 

And yes, it was true! Jeez. Good thing we were early because that meant we were first in line in the ticketing and immigration. Both sections had weak air conditioning but we were able to whizz past by nicely!



At least it was very cool at the gates so YIPEE! 



KOREAN AIRLINES!

It was peak season so we paid about $1,500.00 each for adults while it was $1,300.00 per kiddie. We did not really mind since it was one of the few airlines with a direct flight going to Las Vegas --  our preferred port of entry.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

BALKAN EXPRESS

Even if it could be so convenient to eat at restaurants located in malls, the Chinese Adonis and I sometimes prefer eating at the ones standing by its lonesome for that extra homey and secluded feel. (Oh yes... we need privacy to play footsie.... Kidding ha ha ha ha!) Of course, if the food is extra, extra good, we will forego a night of shopping and/or movie hustling to eat there. 

Exactly the case that happened to us with BALKAN. It has actually been awhile since we ate there last (SEE HERE) and it started a craving for their Cevapcici burger that cannot be satisfied even by the thickest of beef patties.

On one particular Sunday, the kids were with my parents, and we have finished all tasks needed for the work week. So what to do? You would THINK that we would hie ourselves somewhere to do something naughty but NOOOH... For ERICJAZ FOODIES, it's always about food. And even if we do decide to go somewhere quiet, there should be something going on to satisfy our tummies.

And with that, we returned to BALKAN. 



BALKAN EXPRESS!

This time we tried their San Juan branch since we lived nearer. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

NOMAMA (CAPITOL COMMONS)

At the start of summer vacation, I received an invitation from my Kumareng Gail for lunch at NOMAMA in Capitol Commons, Pasig City.

Our conversation went something like this...

Gail : Mare let's meet up Saturday. We're going to eat at NOMAMA to celebrate Sasha's graduation (her daughter).

Me : Okay! We'd love to celebrate with my god daughter. Are you sure it's fine for us to join you guys?

Gail : Yes mare pero it's KKB ha (Kanya- Kanyang Bayad).

Me : Of course! I don't have a gift ha. We'll just go there.

Gail : Yes mare! See you!


Now I don't know about you but I think THAT'S how real friends talk. Ha ha ha ha!

Come Saturday, we were surprised to learn that Sasha was nowhere in sight. It turns out, we were celebrating my god daughter's graduation in NOMAMA FOR her. Ha ha ha ha!

Doesn't make sense to you? Yeah I thought so.

And THAT'S why me and Kumareng Gail are close -- we have this weird connection and understanding. PLUS, we make whatever excuse just to meet up. Ha ha ha ha!



NOMAMA ARTISANAL RAMEN!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

UKOKKEI RAMEN RON (LUNCH)

Holy Week was done and after our long trip from Cavite (yes to us that is long already), my mini-family and I were famished. So where to eat? Most of the restaurants were closed because of the Lenten Season. But we wanted to end this vacation with a food bang that even if we were all hungry, we found our inner strength to go on and drive around Makati City (our way going home).

And VOILA! 

Good things come to those who wait...
Patience is a virtue...
If you build it (an appetite), it will come...

Oh you know what I'm getting at here.

As we hoped, prayed, and looked, we landed at what I may consider the "treasure chest" among restaurants because it is one of my favorites and yes, it was open during this Lenten Holiday.


UKOKKEI RAMEN RON! WOHOO!

You have pleased us yet again... 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

SAMPLE ROOM PHILIPPINES

Hullo everyone! So sorry for being away too long! I don't know if it's on the news yet but me and my husband were abducted by aliens and it's not really easy to do a blog entry while getting an anal probe right?

Oh yeah. I'm sure it's not so hard to imagine THAT. 

He he he he!

Anyway, obviously I'm kidding. But for our first entry in a loooong time, let us tell you about this very handy online service that also became a very useful travel companion for us for this summer of 2014.



SAMPLE ROOM!
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