Sunday, May 24, 2015

EATs London: Crosstown Doughnuts

After our lunch at Burger and Lobster SoHo we decided to take a walk.  And walk we did, I honestly had no idea where, but we walked.  I was glad that I wasn't navigator that day so, it was just follow where everyone else was going.  I was just pushing the stroller with Kailee in it.

We then walked this food street, I honestly forgot the name.  And then we came across this chocolate store on the corner.  But it wasn't the chocolate store that caught my eye - it was the doughnut store next door called Crosstown Doughnuts.

I am a sucker for doughnuts and so I decided to check it out.  The shop was small (for my standards) so it was a bit crowded inside.  I decided to wait outside, but it was taking a while.  And then I saw a lady behind the counter wave at me and invite me in.

The smell of the shop was marvelous.  My eyes were treated to so many different doughnuts.  I was too excited and happy that I took too few pictures.  Forgive me for them:


This is what the inside of the store looked like.



I ordered these little doughnuts and they were so good!  They were really soft and yummy!
I was happy that the doughtnuts did not have the taste of the oil that they were cooked in!
Major plus points!  Also, the lady behind the counter said that they make the doughnuts FRESH everyday!  Hooray!!



I ordered the sugar doughnut and the cinnamon roll.  Both were good.  The sugar doughtnut was really simple, if you like plain ones - then this is for you!!  The cinnamon was absolutely delicious!  I ate it the next day and it was still soft and very good.  I was so happy it did not go rancid as other doughnuts do. 


I'm glaad that I was able to try these doughnuts.  Well, the curious cat in me was too greedy and wanted to eat and enjoy homegrown London food!  Their packaging was also very nice, they're plastic lined paper bags that is perfect for a piece of doughtnut!  It was refreshing to see that they don't scrimp on packaging like Filipinos do.  It adds to the luster of the brand - very nice!!  I liked it.  My Panget liked it, Kailee liked the Strawberry Mixed Berry doughnut I got her.

Here is their Facebook page:  Crosstown Doughnuts


Friday, May 22, 2015

EATs London: Burger and Lobster SoHo

My SIL (Sister In Law) told me that her friend recommended that we eat at Burger and Lobster.  I researched and found a branch near our place, but the it didn't have reservations.  Since I was with my in laws, my daughter and my pregnant SIL - I looked at another branch that was willing to take reservations.  I saw that Burger and Lobster SoHo accepted reservations during lunch and dinner for parites that are more than 5.  Perfect!  So I sent them an email.

I had to send them another email because my first email didn't go through.  I corresponded with Alan and he was really nice and funny.  They had two lunch seatings - one is 12:30 - 2:30 and another is 2:30 - 4:30.  We only had 2 hours to gobble up everything we ordered, that's their condition with reservations.  I thought 2 hours were good enough, so I booked the 12:30.  I was also told that they only gave 15minutes waiting time, or they'll give away my table if a walk-in party of 7.

We were getting a bit late because we couldn't decide how to get to SoHo from Westminster Abbey.  Finally we split into two groups one taking the taxi and another taking the bus.  I called Burger and Lobster SoHo on the way to tell them we were running late - and we arrived exactly at 12:30, goodie!!  Alan welcomed us and showed us to our table.

When I asked for the menu, one of the staff smile at me and said *I guess this is your first time, we only serve three (3) things - a whole lobster (steamed or grilled), a lobster roll (cold lobster sandwich) and burgers (and fries).  How very simple, noh?  We we all ordered our preference.   Our table had at least one item on the menu, and I was lucky that I got to try all of them.  


This is the BURGER.
The size is just right for my Panget and it was really good.  We were asked how we wanted the burger cooked - we said medium and it was.  It was quite messy to eat, but it was really good!
Kailee loved the burger, she asked for more from her Dada.  This was the only burger in the table.  Hahaha!!



This is the LOBSTER.
I was expecting something bigger since we were seated beside the aquarium.  But this was the usual weight that was served.  It was really good!  I needed to share though with my Panget, haha!  I chose the grilled one and it was very flavorful.  When I say flavorful I meant it tasted like the sea - and sweet!  We were given neck aprons to protect our clothes and also some crackers to help us get most of the meat out of the shells.  I enjoyed picking out the meat (as I usually do) and eating it with my hands.  There was a sauce that was served with it and complimented the lobster very well.  We had Kailee try it and it she liked it too!!



This is the LOBSTER ROLL.
It was a cold sandwich lobster sandwich.  My SIL commented that it was very buttery, and I had a bite and it was really buttery.  Something I really really like.  I learned that lobster rolls are made with lobster soaked in butter - so that's why it tasted buttery.  It wasn't as messy to eat but if you don't fancy butter, then you may opt to get something else.  I would get this next time if I had the chance. 

Each dish costs GBP20.00 + tax

My BIL was very happy that we decided to push through and eat here even if we were running late.  I think it was worth it too.  The food was good (and simple!), the staff is very friendly and accommodating too.  The place is kid friendly in terms that they can provide high chairs and place you in a more quiet space of the restaurant.  They immediately thought of where I could put my stroller conveniently.  They were serving Kailee with endless chips (fries) to her delight.

I highly recommend trying this place out when you're in London.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Goodbye my Jacob, thank you for the love!


(I wish I can make this image bigger, if I made this image bigger, it would be grainy)

This is my favorite photo of Jacob.  I love it so much that I've used it as my profile pic in the past.  Jacob has been with us since 2005.  He would have turned 10 this year, and I was excited for that.  Jacob is not my baby, he is my little brother.  I was very drawn to him when I first saw him.  I took care of him when he was given to us.  Jacob made me love dogs more (Jenna made me like dogs) and appreciate their loyalty.

When I got married, I took Jacob with me.  He was my protector, then he became the protector of the house.  My Panget loves him too because he was always alert and barking.  When I had kids, he protected them too!  He was very protective of Kailee and Connor with house guests.  He would sleep outside of their room and play with them.  He has a temper you know, but with Kailee and Connor he was very gentle with them.  I know I've spent less and less time with him since have kids, but nevertheless - I would still speak to him and hug him and spend time with him.  I even told him to watch over the house whenever we're away.

I've written about him here many times, I searched it and saw these posts - here, here, here, here, and here.  Last week, we received a message from our helper - that Jacob was bitten by our other dog a Labrador.  I was worried because we were told that he was looking 50/50.  I immediately called family to ask them to look after Jacob.  He was immediately sent to a 24hour Vet (who in my opinion shouldn't be one because since it was an emergency, he was already asking for a P2,500.00 deposit! Grrr.)  I was told that Jacob was able to survive the next 24 hours, but on the 25th hour, he started to vomit blood.  In a few hours, I got a text message saying that he was gone.

I couldn't believe it.

I was in shock.  I was so sad, disappointed.  I was feeling bad that I wasn't there to hold his paw and tell him to hang on.  I didn't even say goodbye properly.  I was in shock.

He was really gone.

Jacob, I'm sorry that I wasn't able to say goodbye properly, but know that I loved you so very much.  If I only was able to go home, you know I couldn't.  I'm still away.  Thank you for being one of my little brothers.  Thank you for making me smile, listening to me rant and just being with me when I felt so alone.  I will never forget you.

I love you forever Jacob.  Forever.

I told Kailee that Jacob passed away - she was immediate to comfort me.  She was telling me how nice Jacob was to her and how much Connor enjoyed playing with him.

Sad.

Wherever you are Jacob!  Know that you are loved by us.

We love you!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hearing Sunday Mass

I have this habit of hearing Sunday Mass.  I make it a point to go every Sunday, if I can't - I attend the anticipated Mass the evening before Sunday.  Whenever I travel and a Sunday is included - the first thing I do is look for a Church.  Yes, I am weird that way.  I don't find it an excuse not to hear Mass when I'm away.  I usually hear Mass in English - well, most of the countries I've been - I've been lucky enough that they have an English Mass.  Well, except for three instances - one was in Japan and the other was in Bohol where Mass was said in Bisaya and most recently in French!

I find that Mass is being celebrated the same but the *feeling* is different.  Take for instance in Hong Kong and Singapore, Mass goers were disciplined.  They sat on pews very organized not picking where to sit, it was the same when I heard Mass in Singapore.  They slowly filled up one pew after another.  In Tokyo, Japan - it was sporadic.  I guess the Mass I attended was way too early so we were only a few - their pews don't have kneelers attached to them, instead they have individual foam block just under the pew.  In London, it was all seats - but they had kneelers, in Paris - Notre Dame to be specific, didn't have kneelers at all only chairs.  Churches in Hong Kong and in Singapore were pretty the same to what we have here.

They were all solemn in their own right.  I appreciated the quietness of the Mass being said in Tokyo and London.  I appreciated the gusto of singing in Hong Kong and Singapore.  I appreciated the serenity and awe of Mass in Notre Dame.  I was so used to singing the Filipino way of hearing Mass - I was used to the many ceremonies, the singing coupled with monologues and lots of actions.  In Tokyo and London - they didn't do singing.  And I found it very solemn, it was very quiet and monotonous but very meaningful still.  Here in the Philippines, the priest has a LOT of assistants.  In London - it was a one man show, the priest did everything!  He did all the readings himself and everything else, I was amazed!  I guess priests in the Philippines (or maybe in Asia) are spoiled.  Hahaha!!

I guess when you hear Mass long enough, you'll get the *feel* of the flow of the Mass without even with the language barrier.  I love my Catholic faith, I am not perfect, my faith may not be too, but I am in awe of it.

Here's to more travels and hearing Mass in different Languages!


Saturday, May 16, 2015

MOXX: Staying connected in France

Two years ago, I learned of the convenience of having a mobile/pocket wifi whenever I travel.  In Japan, where roaming fees are exorbitantly high - I was told to rent a mobile/pocket wifi through an online company.  I was at first hesitant, but then the need to be connected outweighed the hesitance and so I did.  And it was such a good decision.  I was connected we all were connected, my Panget, his brother and my sister in law + all their devices.  This way - I didn't need to pay for roaming fees.  All I did was turn my smartphone in airplane mode and turn on the wi-fi, voila - I was connected 24/7.  It was so convenient that I did it again when I visited Osaka last year.

This year, while planning for a trip to Paris - I was also looking for the same thing, a mobile/pocket wifi.  I asked the sister of a good friend who is based in Paris, but she had no clue what I was talking about.  So, I searched and searched but to no avail.  I was already planning to buy a local sim and just plug it on my own pocket wifi, but then I would first need to purchase a sim.  Where do I purchase a sim?  I had no idea, no clue!  Of course, there is the language barrier, I was nervous and worried at the same time.  But then, while I was researching - I chanced upon MOXX.fr in a travel forum, I clicked the link and saw that it was exactly what I was looking for - a local mobile/pocket wifi that is locally(Paris) available! I was so happy that I sent them an inquiry - I got a reply almost immediately, and I was so delighted and surprised at the same time that they wanted to partner with me during my stay in Paris!  

It's very simple really, you just need to know how long you need the mobile/pocket wifi for, fill in the number of days you need it.  They charge EUR6.99/day (PHP356.49/day) and then you get to decide where they will ship the device to you - you can have it delivered anywhere in France.  They charge a fee but if you ask me, it's negligible - if you compare it to the high roaming fees set out by our local carriers Globe Telecom, Smart Communications and Sun Cellular.



I like that they can meet you in person, it humanizes the transaction - and you can thank them personally.  I was met with JB - he was really really nice, we met at Gare du Nord (train station) and he was very pleasant, even giving me tips on how which taxis to take and not to take!  JB handed me this package:




When I opened it up:

 Package was complete!
Return post envelope, USB cable and charger, Mobile/Pocket Wifi device,
calling cards for you to contact them, and a Welcome note!

MOXX.fr thought about everything!  I liked that they included their cards and indicated where you can reach them.  They also included the a return post envelope, all you need to do is put everything inside, seal it and drop it off in the airport mailbox (a yellow box) or return it to your concierge (they will be the ones to mail it for you!).

You will not need to plug and play, simply just turn the unit on and voila - you are online instantly!  Just don't forget to charge the Mobile/Pocket wifi device!  I always have a reliable power bank with me whenever I travel - to keep my devices charged.  This particular unit has a lengthy battery life, I think it managed to stay on (with a full charge) for about 8 hours, but note that the more devices it is connected with, the less life it has - we had 3 devices connected with it normally, but then when my Panget brings his iPad air (and plays a game) - the life span comes out to about only 5-6 hours.  It's still pretty decent when you think about it.  

Here are some pictures I took and sent them over at Twitter and Instagram:

 Here is Kailee with the Eiffel Tower


This is me staying connected anytime, everytime!


This is still my favorite spot in Paris, Arc de Triomphe 


Paris was getting hot, here is Kailee, frustrated with the heat + the Louvre closing early
We were there for the late closing, too bad it closed early.  Sigh.. 


Since the Louvre was closed, we then went to nearby Angelina
This is the Mont Blanc - it was so good!  The cream made all the difference! 

Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles
Staying connected even outside of Paris! 

Look at that humongous steak from Robert et Louise!
It was soooo good! 


Chilling out on our last day in Paris
This was by Cafe de Rivoli
Staying connected - anytime, every time!


Signal was always very good.  I don't think we experienced any down time!  Whenever we thought we were lost, we'd just turn on our Google Maps app and we'll be walking in the right direction in no time.  My Panget even used his tracker app when we rode taxis - just to make sure we weren't being routed far.  He also has this app for the subways - it was so reliable!  Even in some museums, there would be apps that we could download and use (so as not to fall in line anymore for the free audio guide), brilliant and convenient right?  

Whenever it was lunch or dinner, my Panget would turn to Yelp for recommendations.  This is all possible since we were connected 24/7.  I tell you, this MOXXfr mobile/pocket wifi saves you the time and energy really.  Really!

While at the airport, I was worried that I wouldn't find the mailbox.  It was a really nice staff of Cathay Pacific who pointed me to the right direction.  She said to look for a yellow box at Terminal 2A- and here it was.



I really enjoyed having the MOXX.fr mobile/pocket wifi device because I was online all the time.  Signal wasn't a problem at all - it was always fast!  Dont' expect that you'll be connected in the Metro and when you're in a basement (obviously), but overall - I was very very happy with the service and the signal.  I would send a message to MOXX.fr and get a reply immediately.  They were very friendly, informative and professional.  

I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND you use their service when you visit France, even for a couple of days.  It beats going to a telecom store and asking to buy a sim - there will be a language barrier for sure!  And I think France has a policy of disallowing tethering/hotspot on your smartphone?  With MOXX.fr - you eliminate the language barrier and the tethering/hotspots on the phone (my Panget and I would often get very low mobile phone signal on our phones - look at the image below), they can also  communicate in English very well!  All you need to do is turn the device on (put in the password) and you're good to go!  

Here is the speedtest result of MOXX.fr


Brilliant right?  I doubt you'll get that same speed on your smartphones!  Plus you can share that same speed to up to 10 more devices!  Wonderful, right? 

So if you're going Paris or any part of France - I swear, get this service!  This will save you loads plus the connection is reliable!

The good folks at MOXXfr is offering a 20% discount if you book your rental using my code 20CANDTALE





MOXX.fr
Twitter: MOXXfr
Whatsapp: +3365200659
Email hello@moxx.fr