January 28, 2014

Restaurants in Phnom Penh: StoneGrill

The dining scene in Phnom Penh is so diverse it's becoming hard to choose where to eat. Our family has a couple of "default" restaurants which we go to when we are not in the mood to explore new restaurants.

Last Saturday, we were in an adventurous mood. We gave StoneGrill a go.

If I am not mistaken, this dining concept is a first of its kind here in Phnom Penh. You grill your food on a very hot rock/stone. These natural volcanic stones are oven-heated up to 400°C and they can cook the food up to 30-40 minutes.

StoneGrill has a very extensive menu. For variety on our table, we only ordered one "on the stone" food and tried their Japanese food as well.

{I like this decor}

{Gyuniku Teppanyaki - Angus Beef with Garlic Rice $12}

{Fries $3.50}

{Seafood Combination on The Stone $23}


We also ordered Teppanyaki Rice ($5) and Kaisen Teppanyaki - combination seafood with garlic rice ($12).

The food was great! But I find the portion to be small (particularly the Kaisen and Gyuniku Teppanyaki). I liked the fries because even though the cut was large, it was still crunchy.

The place is very nice with a view of the Tonle Sap River. And the staff was attentive and very pleasant.

We planned to go back and try the Alaskan King Crab but when I checked the price ($160 for about 6pcs of claws), I almost fainted. Hahaha!


STONEGRILL
www.stonegrill.com.kh
#649 Preah Sisovath Quay
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel: 023-999950

January 24, 2014

Radio City Christmas Spectacular: Magical!

When you are visiting New York during the Christmas holidays, one of the highly recommended itinerary is to watch the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Some people, I've read, have watched this show almost yearly and they have nothing but good excellent reviews only. 

I bought our tickets through their website. There are a lot of tickets sold online from different agents but  you cannot choose your own seats. From their website, you get to select your seats and view the price differences. The earlier you buy the ticket, the better chances you have of getting the cheaper and better seat.


Radio City Hall is just walking distance from our hotel. I'm really glad we chose Sheraton New York Times Square because we get to save on our transportation expenses.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular was magical for me. There were some parts which I think were a little long but over all, I thoroughly enjoyed the show. EJ loved it as much.

To be honest, I got teary-eyed at the start. I don't know. I just felt so lucky, so blessed to be able to watch that show. The video introduction actually did it for me. You have to watch the show to know what I mean.

Here are some of our pictures:









If we find ourselves in NYC again during the Christmas holidays, we will definitely watch this again.

January 23, 2014

Back to Normal

I got my macbook back last Monday and it's working again! Thankfully there were no damages to the battery and other parts of the macbook.

Things I learned:
1.  If you're a little clumsy like me, never work with your macbook and have coffee at the same time. Or be extra careful when you have coffee (or any drinks) while working on your mac.

2. If you spilled coffee (or any liquid) on the macbook, dry it out immediately. If it shut down, wait for at least an hour before you turn it on or plug it in. You can use a blower (fan mode) to dry out excess liquid or you can put it in front of a fan.

3. If you know how to open your macbook, try to open it and see if there's excess liquid inside. Clean and dry it out carefully.

4. If you're not confident about opening the macbook yourself, bring it to the repair center immediately.

I paid $25 for the cleaning of my macbook. It's an expensive fee for clumsiness. But it's definitely cheaper compared to buying a new macbook. I am lucky. And I am grateful.

~~~

On another note, hubby and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary last Friday. We celebrated it by stuffing ourselves silly again at Sofitel Phnom Penh's La Coupole Restaurant.


A week before our anniversary, I tweeted Sofitel to ask what kind of buffet they have on a Friday. When they replied, it's Fish Market (Seafood buffet) on a Friday I requested them to book us a table for three. We were celebrating our anniversary, I said.

They not only booked us a table, they also surprised us with a cake when we were having our dessert.

{Thank you Sofitel Phnom Penh for this lovely surprise!}

{EJ volunteered to blow the candle}

I don't think anybody has ever said marriage is easy. It takes hard work on both parties. But in my opinion, when there is love, respect, trust and friendship between married couple, marriage isn't such a chore. 

Once again, happy anniversary hon! I look forward to every step of our journey together. Mwah!

January 16, 2014

Spilled Coffee on my Mac

I'm so clumsy!

Last Tuesday at breakfast, I accidentally spilled coffee on my macbook air. It suddenly shutdown. I wiped it dry immediately and after a while I tried  to turn it on but it won't open anymore. I also tried to charge it but it won't charge.

I had no choice but to bring it to a repair center.

They opened it and the battery inside was still wet with coffee. They also said the battery was a little burnt. They will try to clean everything and hopefully the battery is not dead. Otherwise, I have to use the macbook with the charger on, much like using a desktop computer. They will call me later today what the result is.

My macbook is only 2 years old. It still runs perfectly prior to my clumsiness. Ugh!

I googled and found out that I'm not alone. Spilling coffee (accidentally of course) on the macbook is pretty common. But somehow that fact doesn't comfort me. Haha!

So here's an advice: put that coffee away from your macbook/laptop (if you can).

Just when I was excited and motivated to blog again, this happens.

Sigh. Silly, silly me. 




January 10, 2014

Fun Visit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

I was a little selfish when choosing which museum to visit in our NYC trip. I chose Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) over American Museum of Natural History. Why? Well, I am more interested in art over science. Haha!

EJ likes art but he likes science more. He is our walking science dictionary at home! I know he would enjoy visiting the American Museum of Natural History but I thought it's time to introduce him to some great art.

MoMA is just walking distance from our hotel, lucky us!

I bought our admission tickets in advance through their website. If you are visiting during the Christmas time like us, I highly suggest you buy the tickets through their website because the line at the ticket booth can get very long. You don't want to be queueing in a frigid temperature now, do you?

Prior to our visit, I prepped EJ to make our visit is smooth, interesting and fun for him. I told him what to expect and we agreed on some rules: no running, no shouting, no touching and always stay close by mom and dad.

I don't pretend to know art or love art for that matter. What I know is that I like looking at beautiful things like paintings and sculptures. And MoMA has a lot of that.

{Reminding EJ the rules we agreed on..} 

{He enjoyed looking at the paintings, he really did!} 

{Light moment with EJ} 

{How the internet works captured his interest} 

{Intrigued with the design} 

{Was drawn to this piece..} 

{Three Women at the Spring by Pablo Picasso} 

{According to my brother, hubby is looking every inch an Engineer in this photo}

{Mom, is this an art?} 

{The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh}

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
11 West 53rd Street, NY
(212) 708-9400

Tickets:
Adults - $25
Seniors - $18
Children (16 and under) - Free

January 7, 2014

NYC See it All Tour by OnBoard Tours

When planning our NYC trip, hubby and I agreed we'd do an organized tour on our second day. Our first day (arrival day) was allotted for resting at the hotel because we were arriving late in the afternoon anyway (which later turned into early evening because of delayed flight and traffic). That way, we'd get a feel of the place and see those other places we would not otherwise include on our own sightseeing plans. I had a choice between a hop-on hop-off and a guided tour.

A hop-on hop-off is not an organized tour. But I like the idea because you get to do your own sightseeing in your own pace plus the benefit of a guide who will tell you anecdotes of each building, place, etc. When I read the reviews however, I changed my mind. Some say, you'd have to wait a long time for a bus to arrive. And some even complained about the guides literally asking for tip every time you get off the bus.

I found a guided tour on tripadvisor with good reviews - OnBoard Tours. So I checked their website. Although the price is a bit expensive compared to hop-on hop-off, I chose this because the tour promises to bring you to places which we really wanted to visit (and more). The tour is only 5.5 hours, meaning it's not too long and it's not rushed either.

They have two schedules: 10am-3:30pm and 12:30pm-6:00pm. We chose the afternoon schedule so we could sleep in as late as we wanted. But guess what, we all woke up that morning at 5am. It was either jet lag or excitement or both.

The itinerary looks like this:
Times Square
World Trade Center Site
New York Stock Exchange
Wall Street
Trinity Church
World Financial Center
Federal Hall
Madison Square Park
Flatiron Building
South Street Seaport
US Customs Building
5th Avenue
Rockefeller Center
NBC’s Today Show Set
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Central Park
Strawberry Fields
Dakota Building
Plus: A ride on the world famous Staten Island Ferry and short trip to Staten Island 911 Memorial

If you notice, I've stricken some places. Well, those are the places we did not stop even though the tour promised them. But we did pass through them along with the other landmarks in the city (like Plaza Hotel, Herald Square, Macy's, Washington Square Park, SOHO/Tribeca, Chinatown, NYU, etc) with the guide telling us interesting stories about each place.

Price:
WEEKDAYS
Adults: $89.99 and Children under 12: $69.99 (plus $5/ticket for handling fee)

WEEKENDS
Adults: $99.99 and Children under 12: $79.99 (plus $5/ticket for handling fee)

My review:
We did enjoy the tour. I was a little worried about EJ being bored but the entire tour was interesting and fun. Our guide, Jeff, seemed to know everything! He was very engaging and also funny.

The tour brought us to places which we would have never visited (because of lack of time) or passed through on our own. So I am very pleased we did this tour.

Here are some of our pictures from the tour:

{Our guide, Jeff, with his red and white umbrella directing our attention to Dakota Building}

{Bus meet up, is right in front of our hotel and is a few steps from Late Show with David Letterman}

{At Madison Square Park, perfect place to get a picture of the Empire State Building}

{At Madison Square Park. EJ ran to say hello to a squirrel while I pose}

{Flat Iron Building, one of the oldest building in NYC}

{Strawberry Fields - Memorial to John Lennon at Central Park}

{Aboard Staten Island Ferry}

{"Postcards" Staten Island's 9/11 Memorial}

{NY Stock Exchange, Wall Street}


P.S.
If you notice, we were not wearing heavy coats. That's because the first two days we were there, the weather was pleasant. It was about 7-10 degrees celsius only. But the remaining days we were there, were sub-zero temperatures. Sabi nga tagos sa buto. LOL! 

January 4, 2014

Hotel Review: Sheraton New York Times Square

For our 7day/7night New York City holiday, I booked two hotels. For the first half of our holiday, we stayed at Sheraton New York Times Square and the second half, we stayed at Grand Hyatt New York.

I chose the hotels based on their room rates, reviews and location. To be honest, choosing a hotel is always the tough part of any of our travels because a hotel has the ability to make or break a holiday, at least for me.

For this trip, I spent about a month researching about hotels in NYC. That's a lot of time and a lot of migraines. LOL!

Anyway, on to my review of Sheraton New York Times Square.

Location - 5.0/5.0
It's in Midtown Manhattan (7th Ave at 52nd Street) and it's conveniently located near most of the places we wanted to visit. These places are walking distance from the hotel: Times Square, Radio City Hall, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), etc. A subway is also just behind the hotel making it so easy for us to go to the Empire State building (two stations away).

Room - 4.0/5.0
I booked a double room on a high floor.  The rooms are all newly renovated with a sleek new design.



I didn't take a picture of our room because I didn't think I'd be blogging again. Anyway, the room looked exactly the same as the pictures above which I took from their website. 

Service - 4.2/5.0
We arrived at the hotel at around 8pm after a very long flight. But surprise, surprise! Our room wasn't ready yet (hotel check-in is 3pm). I was starting to get annoyed but I kept my cool. I told the front office agent we'll grab a quick dinner first and hopefully the room will be ready by then. So we had dinner at a nearby cafe and when we came back at around 9:30pm, the agent told me the room was still not ready. I was just about ready to explode then suddenly he said, oh, there's one available now. Thank goodness!

He gave me a complimentary wifi access in the room throughout our stay (wifi access in room costs $14.85/day) for "being patient with the check-in." That was nice!

But there's more to their niceness. On Christmas eve, they sent this to our room. What a pleasant surprise!

{All complimentary with a personalized Christmas greetings from Sheraton Staff}

My Rating:
I give this hotel a  total of 4.4 out of 5. If the room was as clean as my standards of cleanliness, I'd give them an almost perfect 5 score. Our room was not dirty actually but it just wasn't as clean as I liked it to be. Well, I'm a little OC when it comes to cleanliness anyway. LOL! And oh, there's a complimentary Starbucks coffee in the room. That's definitely a plus in my opinion.

January 2, 2014

Cheers to 2014!


We're back in Phnom Penh after a magical trip to New York where we spent our Christmas. It was cold but we love it. Crazy, right?

Here are some of the highlights of our trip..

{Central Park} 

{Radio City Music Spectacular} 

 {Museum of Modern Art}

{Staten Island}

{Subway}

Looking at my blogs, I feel a little sad that I have neglected blogging these past six months. But I promised myself that this year, I will be blogging again.

I have already imported all my posts from my travel blog into mumsified. My next step is to organize this blog because right now it is a mish-mash of everything.

Meanwhile, I wish each and everyone a wonderful year ahead. Cheers to new beginnings!