Monday, 27 May 2013

Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar

Ok, it's about time that I blogged about the sweets and chocolates I bought in Dallas. I bought quite a few but have given most away to friends who were very keen to try them out! ^_^

Here's all of them, but I am going to split these into several posts.
Never had these before, so I'm trying them all out!
So first off is Hershey's Milk Chocolate.
Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar... The King Size one

It looks nice. It smells ok, but unfortunately there is a very sour aftertaste, and it lasts forever. :(
Looks like chocolate to me!!
Mr Bear had this a few weeks ago, and his housemate wanted to burn it and never taste it again! Hahahahah. Well actually the chocolate tastes like chocolate but it is made with sour milk, and there have been posts saying it tastes like vomit. Sorry about that.

I have tried refrigerating it and tasting it afterwards. It tastes great at first, but then there is that everlasting aftertaste of sourness in your mouth...Yeek!!

I don't think I'll be buying this again, but you can find them in UK stores. My brother Mr Stingy found the Hazelnut one in a local grocery store I believe...

You have been warned!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Simple Spring Rolls

I'm writing this post for my friend Mrs Hen who LOVES spring rolls. Prawn ones. Vegetable ones. All the spring rolls in the world! Hahahah!! ^_^ 

These are real basic instructions that you can just follow (and I'm sure there's millions of posts and videos out there that will show you the same thing). The ingredients do not have to be exactly the same as the ones shown here! My friend, who I will call Mrs Travels, used cheese and prawns, and they were delicious (she's Chinese as well, and married to a Frenchman a.k.a. Mr Travels)...

So basic ingredients needed are as follows. You can use vegetables alone if you don't like to add meat or seafood. The wrappers cost £1.50 and there's 50 wrappers in the packet. Pre-cut vegetables for £1. Cooked shrimps were £2.50 (from a stall in East Street Market) and the egg - I guess this cost a few pennies but they came in a box! ^_^ So this Chinese snack cost just over £5! Not bad. In most restaurants and takeaway stores they will sell 2, 3 or 4 spring rolls for £1 or more!! Shocking!
My ingredients
Here's the picture instructions and full instructions are below (sunlight was in the way for the first few pics, whoopsie ¬,¬")...

Friday, 24 May 2013

SPLAT! Magazine

Have you got a child who needs a magazine to read? Why not try out SPLAT! Magazine, which you can purchase online via iTunes. It's currently available for the iPad, and unfortunately I don't have an iPad... But not worry! I got to use Miss Pinky's!! Lucky me!! (Don't ask me how I got to look after it... it's a long story...). So I logged in using my login details. I know you are thinking - I don't like Apple and I'm using iTunes... The Apple app is not a problem it's just the hardware and their ridiculous pricing... But surprisingly the iPad is ok for me! I'm slowly getting into Apple things... Very slowly...

Well, anyway, here's a few sneak peeks with the owner's permission of some of the pages he had sent me, (well there are not many sneak peeks, as I would be spoiling it for you!).
Opening the app on the iPad
It is quite interactive with some special buttons on some of the pages that you will need to press to get some sounds or pictures. 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

aobaba in Longdan Express - Elephant and Castle

I am being a lazy blogger... I'm playing Candy Crush and I'm on level 117... I hate this game by the way. It becomes frustrating when you've almost finished a level and then you don't have any more moves left!

Er... uh-hm, what? Oh. Am I supposed to be talking about aobaba? The cafe / restaurant that has FINALLY opened in Longdan Express. Uh well yes I am!! Whoopee!! ^_^
Outside aobaba

Inside aobaba

Another view

The leaflet

The other side
So last Friday after work I went to have a look at it. I was dying to have a taste at their bubble tea, and see if it is good enough as those other places that serve bubble tea. It's funny how bubble tea has become so famous in the UK all of a sudden. You can see shops of them all over the place i.e. China Town...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Ping Pong Restaurant - London Southbank

Following on from the Tate Modern post, Miss Pinky and I went to find food. We passed a few restaurants, Miss Pinky said her favourite food is Chinese food. I eat it all the time, so it's second nature to me. I actually enjoy other Asian foods, Indian, Japanese, Korean... and even the odd Vietnamese or Thai food... So what to eat? We passed Feng Sushi, which I have never been into before, and then it was decision time... It was Ping Pong in the end, which wasn't very busy... ¬,¬... Should've persuaded Miss Pinky to eat Japanese...
Outside Ping Pong in Southbank
I have dined at Ping Pong in Southbank a few times, and I never seem to learn my lesson when I'm there! The concept of Ping Pong's dim sum dining is ok for those who have never tried out dim sum before, and they serve this all day long. But to be honest I actually dislike dining in Ping Pong. It is a very different style from an actual yum cha experience. So take away the Chinese waiters and waitresses but keep the Chinese chefs, and order food using the piece of paper that they give you...

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Tate Modern - London Southbank

Last Monday was Early May Bank Holiday, and so what do people do on a bank holiday. Some go out, some work (and get the 1 and a half or double pay) or some people just stay home... For me, I was going to stay home and do some spring cleaning. But that didn't happen (and still hasn't ¬,¬"). I was invited by Miss Pinky's little brother Master H to go to the Tate Modern for his school project the night before. I have been pass Tate Modern many times, but never went in. You see, it's sometimes good to have a younger sibling... Unfortunately, on the day, Master H didn't come with us. He got a better offer and went to Madame Tussaud's  So Miss Pinky and I went instead.

First off we stopped by Southbank Food Market to eat lunch. So we looked around the stalls before deciding to have some Caribbean food. Just to let you know the one at end (the red looking one) is very spicy, like Korean spicy food. I had the medium one, which was the one closer to me, and had it with Thai white rice.
Caribbean food
We sat upstairs where I knew there was a bench (from one egg hunting experience), as the bottom seating area was practically full!! That's how busy Southbank was that day. :D However that bench was already occupied by a family, and so we sat on the snake (you would know what I mean if you have been there)... After eating, we went to find a bin but we didn't want to go downstairs to throw our stuff away, and at that point, Miss Pinky spotted the American director Tim Burton and his wife Helena Bonham Carter who were out with their children...! "Who?!" I said to Miss Pinky. "You know, Tim Burton that director, and Helen something" she said... Who?!! That went on for a few minutes, before it registered. Tim Burton was looking at us in his sunglasses probably thinking we were crazy! But stick a famous Chinese star in front of me or someone who I adore like Benedict Cumberbatch, and I would be like WHERE?! Hahah. My friends also thought I was crazy... ¬,¬"" I don't seem to get star struck either! I have met a few Hong Kong stars in my lifetime and never gt star struck. I took a quick pic of them walking towards the bridge. People were stunned, shocked, gasping and amazed... But no-one bothered them as such.
Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter and their children
out on a sunny bank holiday! ... it is them by the way!!
Now onto the Tate Modern!! 

Saturday, 11 May 2013

World Photography Awards Exhibition 2013 - London Somerset House

I seem to find out loads of information about exhibitions, shows and many exciting things from my colleagues. Well, one colleague of mine shouted out about the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition 2013 in Somerset House, and what do you know, I love photography. So I decided to go. Unfortunately it isn't free. Ticket cost £7.50. I purchased mine online, but that meant I had to join the WPO World Photography Organisation's website... That's quite cheeky I think. Once I had purchased my ticket it stated that I could go on any day until it ends on May 12th.

I have always passed Someset House, but I have never went in to have a look. I'm a Londoner who has never been into Somerset House? Yep that's right. I'm sure many Londoners have never been in there before, as a majority would see no point or they may lead busy, busy lives to even go in and have a look around it... Here's just a glimpse of it from the outside as you enter into the centre area. :D The Geek becomes Tourist Geek again but in her own hometown! ¬_¬"
This is as you enter from the Strand End

People enjoying the sun last week!!

I went on a Thursday after work...
Now on with the photography! Well, it's a smallish exhibition and I managed to go through all the rooms within half-an-hour, and this was straight after work. Not bad!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

New World Restaurant 新世界 - London China Town

It was Sunday. My mother wanted to go out. So we went out. She wanted to pay for my 'lunch' (my breakfast really) of noodle soup. I didn't want noodle soup, so I kind of persuaded and convinced her to go and yum cha at New World Restaurant 新世界 (san sai gaai, lit. New World). I haven't been in there for many, many years!! I used to go there quite often with my mum and brother when I was a kid, my dad often worked on weekends so he didn't come along with us (that's what happens when you're a Chinese chef. Work very long hours in the old days!!). Meeting my parent's old friends, grandparents friends and discussing family stories. It was a meet and greet time, plus eating time!
Outside New World Chinese Restaurant
We got there just after noon. The waiter started pouring our tea for us. That's kind of a new procedure for someone to pour my tea. Usually the waiter would ask what type of Chinese tea we would like, but the waiter didn't on this occasion! This restaurant serves dim sum on the traditional trolleys which you would see in most Hong Kong restaurants that serve dim sum. In the old days New World Restaurant had mainly Cantonese speakers but nowadays they speak in Mandarin, whereas the waiters/waitresses speak both Cantonese and Mandarin. I'm actually quite happy for going to Mandarin classes now!! But definitely speak slowly for me. I think the lady in the cheung sam (long dress) at the reception desk has been working there for many, many years. I think she even still remembers us! :-S

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Little Orient 小東方超市 - Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre

Isn't Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre supposed to be knocked down by now? I'm sure there were plans many years ago to close it down and rebuild it...

But anyway, surprisingly Mr Bear spotted this Chinese supermarket one Saturday evening and had informed me when I got back from holiday. My holiday posts have taken a long time to put up so I have only just been able to blog about this now.

Little Orient Supermarket 小東方超市(Canto: siu dung fong chiu si; Mando: xiao dong fang chao shi). This is located on the first floor in Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre. If you're heading towards the train station, and you use the escalator on the ground floor, you would find it on your right hand side. It's very noticeable!! (Sorry for some fuzzy pictures... was taking them with my phone).
小東方超市 Little Orient Supermarket
It is a medium-sized store. It is not as big as Longdan Express which is not far from this shop, but they sell items at a very reasonable price!! This is a good Chinese supermarket for people who don't like compact Chinese stores... It's quite spacious!! Plus it's probably good for a first-timer shopping in an Asian store...

Monday, 6 May 2013

Hawthorne Suites by Wyndham/Love Field Airport - Dallas, Texas

Before I move onto the confectionery that I bought in Dallas (will be in a future post), I'm going to first post about the hotel Miss Pinky and I stayed at.

First of all, it is in a very good location. It's located about 25 minutes by car from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and about 10-15 minutes depending on traffic from Dallas Love Field Airport. Not a bad location at all.
Outside Hawthorne Suites
The apartment / suite they gave us was very satisfying!! There were two queen beds as I had requested in a non-smoking apartment. One bed was downstairs (the bed below is the one I slept in) and there was one upstairs, but Miss Pinky asked me not to take a picture until later (when she tidied up!)...

Downstairs bed
So here's the stairs instead.
The stairs
There were two bathrooms!! Two!! Wow. I feel like I'm in someone's house. Didn't take a picture of Miss Pinky's... She was too busy telling me not to take pictures...
My bathroom area
We had a small kitchen, but I forgot to take a picture of that. It has a microwave. An electric stove with an oven. Kitchen sink. And there was a massive fridge and freezer. You can even make ice in the freezer by pulling the lever up. An ok kitchen, but it needed bigger pots and pans. A toaster is available, as a coffee machine... But there's no kettle!!

Here's the desk by the door.
Desk by the door
And here's the outside near the entrance. There's a free shuttle service which you would need to notify the reception an hour ahead or the night before, that you need to use it. They only cover a 5-mile radius. So find out where you need to go first!!

Parking area

The shuttle

Bus stop 526 - there is another one further up the road
Food there was not the best I'm afraid even if it is free. I advise to actually go and find food. American breakfast is not my thing. Biscuit, sausages and egg (scrambled or boiled). Waffles you have to make yourself... And they also have cereals! The coffee is the best stuff they've got by the way. I think they have a routine of what they serve for dinner every week, like pizza on Monday, pasta on Tuesday, fried chicken on Wednesday. Main dinners are served only on Monday's to Thursday's. You will need to find food from Friday to Sunday!! If you like walking I advise to go to Pappy's or the McDonald's... It's about a 15 minute walk to either place! Otherwise take the bus or a get a taxi.

Wi-fi was excellent! But you may have to enter the password from now and then. So remember the password!!

Laundry service - there's only 2 washing machines and 2 dryers. Washing machine costs US $1.75 and drying costs US $1.50.

Parking is free I think and there's a small swimming pool plus a tennis court!

So all in all, it was a satisfying stay. The noise level was a little bad. We had some noisy weekend stayers partying, mockingbirds that would not be quiet throughout a few nights (use ear plugs), and you will also get to hear a few toilet flushes from somewhere! all the piping is connected.

Also house-keeping is usually every 2-3 days... So don't expect a clean apartment after you have been out all day long...

Buses: 404, 526 and 527
Nearest train station: Inwood / Love Field (take the 404 or 526)

Address: 7900 Brookriver Drive, Dallas, TX 75247 United States
Telephone: 1-214-688-1010

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 14: An almost nightmare journey home

Friday 19th April - Final, Final Day!!

First we got up early. I had thought we were going to have breakfast at reception, but we didn't go... That was good because I didn't really want to eat the food there... We had already booked the shuttle for 9 am that morning, and so we was all ready to go!!

We got to Love Field airport within 10 minutes! Hawthorne Suites is THAT close to the local airport!! We could've walked it Miss Pinky  said... ¬,¬" We checked in. Miss Pinky had overweight luggage again. Went through security and sat in the only cafe in the airport where I had a coffee and a not so good tuna salad sandwich and listening to the news about Boston. Miss Pinky had a problem with her luggage, so she had to back to the luggage area. Apparently her padlock was not safe for the flight... How can that be? She flew to Dallas with it on there!!
Inside Dallas Love Field Airport
Suddenly we then heard our flight was cancelled. What?! Not again... This happened when we was in Dublin but that was with BA!! Reason for this flight cancellation: bad weather conditions around Houston. ¬,¬ This isn't funny!!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 13: Bored

Thursday 18th April

Not much happened on this day even though it was our last full day in Dallas... It was pretty much a boring day of packing, laundry and sitting around...

When I did my laundry, which took me a while... I forgot to press the start button for the dryer... Wasted a dollar!! Klutz!! :) Actually wasted a couple of dollars because I thought I bought washing powder. But I didn't. It was one of those bounce fragrance things you put in the dryer... I think reception may have thought I was a trouble-maker... Heheheh ¬,¬"" Whoopsie!!

We suddenly went out for a walk around Inwood. Miss Pinky had a cold and she wanted to try out some fried chicken from Church's Chicken but it was closed due to a power failure, so we were destined to eat food from Jack In The Box... Yuck!! The breakfast stuff actually looked horrible... it's served all day. Miss Pinky's pancakes were ok... She liked hers.
Pancakes, sausage and eggs from Jack in the Box
But my waffle sandwich... Bleuh!! Hash brown was ok though...
My breakfast from Jack in the Box
My geeky rating for breakfast food at Jack in the Box: 2/5

And here's just a last minute walkabout picture...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 12: Fort Worth, Stockyards, Drinking and UNO

Wednesday 17th April

Blimey! Why didn’t we decide to come to Fort Worth earlier?! I have no idea why. Miss Pinky had actually wanted to go on a Medieval Times night out on this day... ¬_¬”” Is she serious? We came all the way to Dallas to go on a Medieval night? I think she knew I didn’t want to go... But thankfully when we went to get more information about the TRE trains she suddenly changed her mind. Yay!!

Started early! Yay to that too!! ^_^

We took the bus to train station as usual (I felt so familiar with the Inwood area that I almost thought I was living there!). We hadn't realise that you could actually purchase a regional pass on the bus as well as at the station which we didn’t know. Thanks to the driver we actually saved US $2.50!! :D A regional pass takes you through to Dallas International Airport. You can also use it on DART trains and buses.

We stopped at Victory Station and changed for the TRE train, which is the black line. We didn’t know which end to get on at...And some of the people there didn't know either... Strange. One thing that's really different in Dallas is that they hardly have any train staff at the stop. You really have to rely on the public and some bus drivers (not all).
Victory Station

TRE train
The journey takes about 35-40 minutes to get to ITC Fort Worth Station, which is the main tourist site! Not bad.
TRE means Trinity Railway Express
Then we took a bus. We asked the driver to tell us where to get off in Downtown, but she was too busy talking... And we ended up far, far away... So we got on another bus back thanks to the driver who stopped the other bus in front. But Miss Pinky saw a cowboy like town, so we stopped off and told the driver we’ll go back into town later...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Dallas, Texas - Day 11: Pappy's and Primo's

Tuesday 16th April

Started late once again. We actually didn't do much on this day. But first we walked all the way to Pappy’s Old Fashion Hamburger - you guessed right, a hamburger joint. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk from Hawthorne Suites and also from the Park Inn Hotel. Not a bad walk. We didn't have breakfast so we went here for breakfast and lunch at the same time... It was way after 12 pm!!
Pappy's Old Fashion Hamburger

Inside Pappy's

So many posters!

The till area