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Day 4 Paris: Saturday chill shopping day. Lafayette, Palais Garnier, Angelina Hot Chocolate

I woke up feeling really, really tired so no running this morning!

Portuguese tart as morning snack.

We went to a farmers market but it wasn’t ready yet. Not all the food stands were open yet.

So we settled for a small cafe next door for breakfast. Croque Madam and cafe creme please!

Gum jar…. So nostalgic, it reminded me of my childhood gum with temporary tattoos of Donald Duck on the wrappers.

Galeries Lafayette for some shopping.

Terrace was pretty nice

Bought a little something

Palai Garnier opera house. Gorgeous inside.

Especially this room. It took my breath away.

Today was what I called a “free day” to do whatever we want without an itinerary. So we took it pretty easy. We went to Angelina because we keep hearing about it from friends and tv shows.

They’re famous for their thick, rich hot chocolate made with wild African chocolate.

We decided this is gonna be our big meal of the day.

Little pastries to start with hot chocolate.

Onion soup (omg forget the onion soup we had last two nights, this was the best) and croissant sandwich with egg and ham

And last course was some kind of brioche toast soaked in creamy milky broth and caramel sauce.

After getting our sugar fix, we decided to walk home. Google Maps says half hour walk. It took us nearly 2 hours because the route home had so many shops to browse. We had nothing left on agenda today anyways.

We passed by Louvre and it was a zoo.

I saw this perfume at a department store and it was the only high-end perfume available in Burma when I was young (I think) and my mom had a bottle that she kept in her closet to make her clothes smell good 🙂 Another nostalgia.

We went back to air bnb for rest again! It was that peak high temp time of the day again.

Then we went back outside for grocery and food. We got dinner takeouts from an asian place, rotisserie chicken from a butcher shop, and salad and smoked salmon from Monoprix supermarket!

It’s gonna be an early night! So tired! (I hate hot temps and too much sun)

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Paris Day 3 – Double prix-fixe meals on a museum day

We woke up early for runs again, this time we ran separately. I ran 5.5 miles total and ran to a croissant shop called Ble Sucre which I’ve seen/read online as one of the best croissant shop in Paris.

Good croissants are easy to come by in France so I was thinking, how much better can it be?

I got croissant, pain au chocolat, and chaussons aux pomme (Apple turnover). I can honestly say it was the best croissant I’ve ever had in my life. It was so flakey and buttery of course but also slightly sweetened. I wanted more.

V got 2 more pastries from our air bnb downstairs bakery to compare.

Those were good too but I could tell Ble Sucre were superior! More crispy and flavors.

Then we went to Montmartre district to look at the wall mural with “I love you” in 250 languages. I spotted THREE Burmese phrases on the wall with different variations for I love you.

Next, we went to Sacre Caeur and climbed up the dome. It’s a really really pretty view from up there.

It was a hot day and we did a lot of climbing in Montmartre. My legs were already shot.

We went back to air bnb to change. [insert story here for another day lol 😅]

We had a 12pm lunch reservation at a Michelin star restaurant, Auguste.

Lovely meal and lots and lots of food.

Because it’s lunch time, it wasn’t even that much of the damage (37 euros without drinks per person). I highly recommend any Europe travelers to do lunch time specials at nice restaurants for like 1/3 of the dinner price! Fancy lunch works better for us than dinner since the last thing we want to do at dinner time is to dress up in a stuffy restaurant and be proper after a long day of walking.

The Auguste restaurant was conveniently located next to Rodin Museum. (Auguste Rodin was the artist’s full name which we found out later, ha)

I don’t know about other visitors but we are kind of fast at museums. We don’t do audio guide or try to learn history. We walked through exhibits in under 15 minutes.

Let’s just say we try to enjoy the art from the purest/most innocent point of view. Just from looking and not knowing a thing about it. (I have read a little about Rodin’s work at prior visit to Musee D’Orsay and that’s about it)

Next stop was to Napoleon’s tomb aka Invalides. People have been so nice and offered to take our photos without us having to ask for it!

Went back to air bnb at 3-4pm ish and took naps! We came back out at 5:30pm for dinner and strolling in Friday night crowd.

Nintendo at the first place we stopped for Happy Hour.

We walked to Latin Quarter a mile away to see our favorite dinner and people watching spots. We chose a restaurant with another prix fixe menu. We went all out today!

Onion soup and escargots as starters.

Steak and cheese fondue as main entrees.

Creme brûlée and some kind of whipped cream and milky sauce dessert

Oh we ate well yesterday.

Strawberry Nutella Crepe after dinner.

People watching in LQ.

We walked back to air bnb past 8:30pm. This was late for us!

Gelato to end the night

Day 2 Paris: L’Orangerie, Picnic at Eiffel Tower, having 6 meals, Notre Dame, Saint Chapelle

We started out with a 4.5 mile run to Louvre and Tuileries garden this morning. Weather was perfect!

I was just posing 🙂

Then washed up and went to get breakfast. We had croissants at this Jewish bakery but almond croissant was the only good item here.

Still needed to fulfill my croissant craving, we went to another cafe for a mini croissant and it hit the spot. Look at the size of that “medium” latte though. It’s much smaller than Starbucks “tall” size.

A metro ride later…

Our first stop was Musee de L’Orangerie which houses a bunch of paintings by Monet and other artists from Impressionism era.

Our next stop was to Rue Cler (street with many food vendors and stands). We stopped by 4 or 5 places to pick up the picnic essentials: bread, cold cut meats, cheeses, sparkling water, etc!

We walked to Champs de Mars park by Eiffel Tower to picnic. But because neither of us love sitting under the sun, we sat on a bench in the shade lol. Everyone else who were picnicking sat on the grass in the sun.

The picnic items we got were perfect! We had some leftovers.

Then we took approximately 50 selfies in front of Eiffel Tower because… when in Paris!

We walked over to the exact spot where we got engaged and took more selfies (tip: use the timer for best selfies but make sure no one will snatch your phone and run)

Paris is having issues (strikes) with public transit. It took us a while but we made it to Notre Dame next.

Cherry blossoms!

So tired from walking all day so we went back to air bnb to nap and snack (chicken rotisserie and potatoes from Franprix supermarket…. we had been meaning to try this since our last Paris trip) Another side note: 2 chicken legs and potatoes were 3.9 euros. What?!! It’s like Costco price.

After a nap (jet lag), it was about 4:30pm and we went back out into the heat (83 degrees at that time) to walk to Saint Chapelle.

We both literally said wow when we saw the massive stained glass windows.

Saw a flower market/nursery nearby.

Then we walked back to La Marais for dinner. I wasn’t hungry after that chicken but still wanted to eat. We shared a falafel pita pocket. This wasn’t from the famous place but actually tasted A LOT BETTER. It’s from a place called Chez Hanna.

We had 2 sugar/butter crepes for dessert.

Husband still wanted to eat so he got a lamb shawarma but I was done with eating after crepe tonight.

This was a long tiring day but we did a lot and ate a lot so it was a successful 2nd day in Paris!

Back at Paris – Day 1: La Marais and Latin Quarter

Back to blogging and back at Paris 🙂

I don’t think anyone really follows me here anymore except for email subscribers. I still want to document this trip so I can look back later.

But I am too lazy to write tonight since it’s been a long day of travel. Pictures speak a thousand words right?

United International feeds good amount of food. For 10 hour flight, they fed us 3 times.

Andddd we are back in Paris! It was 80 degrees hot today!

Made a pit stop at the famous falafel shop for a quick hearty lunch

Grocery shopping

I love Paris’ old buildings. So romantic!

We walked and shopped for a few hours until my feet hurt and had to look for flip flops at souvenir shops.

We are staying at La Marais district (Jewish Quarter) and we walked over to Latin Quarter for dinner.

Dinner at this place called La Ferme du Roi which isn’t famous or anything. But we ate there on Dec 31, 2015 after we got engaged so this place is special to us 🙂

Small half bottle of red to share since we both were too tired to drink and just wanted to taste some with the entrees.

Duck confit and steak

Creme brûlée and tiramisu

Then we trekked our way back to our air bnb about a mile away.

This is cute:

Sun was still blaring as we headed back to air bnb. People were out picnicking by Seine river.

Time for bed! 8:28pm

2017 half -yearly goal updates 

Hello!  I’ve been away from blogging just because I haven’t gotten much interesting stuff to share.   I thought I would pop in here and update on how I’m doing with my goals for 2017.

1) Read 25 books this year 

I’ve read 18 books so far in 2017 so I’m definitely on track. I love how easily I’m reaching this goal. I have been lucky with discovering good books lately and when a book is good, I finish in a couple of days so this goal has been pretty easy to reach.  A few friends have asked me how I find time to read books… I don’t watch TV so that frees me up for reading!   I have a few favorite books from past few weeks:

1) Dark Matter.  Read this if you like actions and sci-fi.  It’s about a man who travels through parallel universe, it’ll really make you THINK what your life would’ve become if you had chosen certain paths.  I could not put this down and couldn’t wait to read it each day.

2) Orphan Train


It’s not as depressing as it sounds.  Trust me!   It is actually a feel-good read!  If you like Angela’s Ashes, you WILL love this.  The story takes place around the depression era and I admit, that era really really fascinates me and I love reading anything, everything about it.   Read this! This is not a depressing read!

2) Take 15000 steps each day on average 

I’m doing very well with this goal since I’ve been running 30+ miles a week.   Also I walk a lot on my commute to work.  I don’t feel like I even have to think about this goal.  It just happens with my lifestyle.  

I lost my Garmin watch recently.  After much much much comptemplating (do I really want to complicate my life further with another gadget?), I decided to buy an Apple Watch.   Literally a day after I got my Apple Watch, I found my Garmin in a purse I hadn’t used in a while  😭

Average steps this month = 17000 (or 8.5 miles a day on average)



3) Try a new Instant Pot recipe each month

Major fail on this goal.  I’ve been using my instant pot to make beans but not trying new recipes.  I have not been in the mood to explore new recipes. I’ve been sticking to the basic recipes like soup/stews and stir-fries where I can just throw in a bunch of random stuff.   Also, I’ve been seeing lots of Instant pot recipes for meat dishes but our household (my husband and I) rarely cooks meat at home.  I’ve bookmarked some meat recipes to try in instapot though. It’s just that we don’t crave or want to cook meat at home,  is it weird? We are omnivores.  We do enjoy eating meat when we eat out but we just don’t cook meat at home. Instapot is amazing to cook meat dishes. I should really try some new recipes!  I still love having instant pot at home to make beans.  They taste much better than canned beans.

Some updates from past few weeks or months:

We went to Portland (I shall write a post about this fun-filled weekend). 

Bay Area stuff:

Fourth of July at A’s game


Poutine!

Eating with the fam bam:

Cooking at home:

My cousin’s baby shower (I made the diaper cakes to add to the existing beautiful decorations – she’s having twins so TWO CAKES :))


Some trail running:

Damn I lost so much fitness. This route was a breeze 2 years ago but I was dying on this run.  


See you on next post 🙂

Touring D.C. and White House 

We had our first and only full day in DC today!  First time in the whole week, we ran.  We ran from our hotel to National Mall and back, totaling 7 miles.

It was 6am and we totally beat the crowd.

Running was the best way to tour this morning.  We ran by White House, WWII Memorial, Reflection Pool, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Korean Memorial.  This gave us the rest of the day to tour the inside of buildings and museums.

Lincoln Memorial had no crowd at 6:30am! Here is an awkward self-timer selfie.  We circled back to this area in 15 mins and tour groups were arriving already.

Korean Memorial

We got back to hotel after running exactly 7 miles.   Pit stop at Au Bon Pain for breakfast.

After washing up, we came back on Metro back to National Mall.  The Capitol looks magnificent close up.  It blows SF city hall out of the water.  It is the US Capitol after all.

We had a reservation for 1:30pm to tour the Capitol but the time conflicted with the White House tour time we got.  

The line without reservation was too long, we decided against visiting the inside. I heard the rotunda looks beautiful.  We will have to save it for next time!

There is a tunnel that connects the Capitol to the Library of Congress.  Inside of the Library looks like something you would see in old time Europe.  Such a beauty.

Historic books on display

A couple was doing a wedding photo shoot! So pretty.

Next, Air and Space museum.  Nothing here caught my attention really.  I heard the Air and Space museum in Virginia is much better.

For lunch, we went a mile away to Nando peri peri chicken.  It was SO good!  We need this chain in SF!

Good spices and sauces to complement the moist chicken.

During lunch I found out that I am not allowed to bring my purse inside White House.  So we went back to hotel to drop off my purse and went to White House to tour INSIDE!

We went through a few layers of security.  Then we got inside just past East Wing.   Many photographs of recent First Ladies were displayed in this room.

This display shows china sets used at State Dinner Services by various presidents.

Obama’s set.  Good color!

Green Room

The rooms we toured today are still being used for events.

And my favorite part of the tour was coming out of the front door of the White House! 

I could see crowds of people by the fence, taking pics of the White House.  I’m not gonna lie, I felt special standing on the front steps of the White House and seeing the crowd!

It was such a cool experience to set foot in there and see it up close!

I highly recommend this tour.  You just need to book it 2 months in advance through your Congressman. 

Our next and finally stop was Museum of Natural History. 

Hope Diamond… a rare blue diamond with so much history.

But I found this sapphire to be a lot prettier and shinier.  Love this!!

We came back to hotel after the museum and it was already 4pm.

Later, we went out to dinner with husband’s friend who lives in DC.  Nice bar bites at a British pub called The Alibi.  My first time trying Scotch Egg and it’s good!

Beef Wellington with filet mignon was my fav.

Random sign 🙂

We hung out til 9ish which is pretty late for us 🙂


Tomorrow we are going back to NY>SF!

Washington DC trip from NY — Visiting Georgetown

We checked out of our air bnb at 8am and said goodbye to Brooklyn.   We went to the BoltBus stop in Manhattan for our 9:30am ride and spent half hour before boarding looking for restroom in the rain 😑

The bus ride was decent yet uneventful. It was comfortable enough and took exactly 4 hours to get to D.C. today.

I love how clean DC metro station and trains are!

We had a late lunch at a fast/casual Korean fusion place near our hotel.  It’s called SeoulSpice.


Then we checked into our hotel and rested for a couple of hours.  Then we headed back out for dinner in Georgetown.  First we rode metro to DuPont Circle.  

Last time I was in DC was 13 years ago.   The only thing I remembered about DuPont Circle was its super tall escalators at the metro.  I was glad to see today that it’s still the same as I remember it to be!


We walked to the Circle. The weather was in low 70s and slightly humid.  Pretty comfortable temps to walk.


So we decided to walk to Georgetown from there. It just took under half hour.


The red-bricked sidewalks and walls were beautiful and very east coasty.  We popped into some stores for shopping.


Then it started to rain so we decided to have dinner at Clyde’s.  

 

The restaurant has an old-time feel to it.  The food was delicious.

Squid appetizer


Ribeye steak


Crab cake (mostly crab meat and was bigger than appeared in pic) — best thing we ate today 

After dinner, we went to Sprinkles cupcake shop a few blocks down and shared two cupcakes.

Then we called a Lyft to go back to our hotel.  Our driver was a really nice man and gave us a tour of D.C. while driving through the historic buildings and monuments.  


It’s been a pleasant stay in DC so far and I’m looking forward a good nights sleep without the sounds of the train!!!

Day 4: Last full day in NY (Bushwick murals, Statue of Liberty crown tour, Katz again)

Today was our last full day here in Big Apple.  We’re still working on the dozen bagels from Zucker 😉


I tried going for a run this early AM but it was sprinkling and chilly and I started shivering so I turned around after 3 minutes. No point in running on vacation if I can’t enjoy the run. I will run when I CAN enjoy it.

Later in the morning,  we walked over to the murals in Bushwick neighborhood (Thank you for the suggestion!!) since we are staying nearby!  

Amazing outdoor gallery!

We stopped by one of several hip(ster) cafes.  

I just wanted to use their bathroom… but we came out of the cafe with some delicious pastries! At AP Cafe:

Then we said our goodbyes to Diana and the gang.  They went back to Chicago today.

DH and I set off on our own to the ferry terminal to visit the Statue of Liberty.  

It’s never easy pushing through the tourist crowds at world famous sites like this one. We had to test our patience more than a few times in lines and with annoying people without common decency.

We had a reservation to go up all the way to the statue’s Crown.  (I strangely felt touched to see the statue up close again.  I was an immigrant after all ;))

We were lucky enough to snatch some tickets 3 months ago for crown access.   

The coolest part of this experience was the narrow spiral staircase that got narrower as we reached to the top.  I felt slightly claustrophobic while climbing because it was so narrow and dark.

View from bottom.

The crown itself was pretty small. It can probably fit 6 standing people.  There was not much to see but to look down by the window.

We spent not more than a few minutes there and came back down.

The view from the Pedestal was almost the same as ground level.  I think most visitors were just like us, they just wanted to see and touch the statue up close.

On a random note, do you remember how hard it was to take pics of tall towers before the selfie mode was invented? 😉 Now it’s a breeze.

I ❤️ NY!

We went back to Manhattan after that.  We walked by Charging Bull at Wall Street.   Can you even see the bull in the crowd?!  

NYSE…. where the bell rings at 6:30am PST every weekday.

We went back to Katz’s for lunch today!  Yesterday after eating half a pastrami sandwich from there (and still hungry), I couldn’t stop thinking about it for 10 blocks.  We had to go back for more 🙂 and this time we each got a sandwich! 

Whole sandwich was a lot for one person though. We managed to polish off the plates.  I felt so stuffed afterwards.

It’s 4pm when we finished our late lunch so it was almost like dinner. I had Crack Pie when we got home and DH had fried chicken (whyyy, howwww…??). And that was the end of our hurrah in NY… for now.

Now, we will enjoy the rest of our stay in this $1.2 mil Brooklyn apartment! (Not exaggerating about 1.2 mil)

 

Off to D.C. tomorrow!

Day 3: Eating tour in Manhattan (Central Park, Katz, East Village, Little Italy)

Our journey through Manhattan continued on our Day 3.

We got a dozen of bagels with lox and shmear from Zucker the day before. So we had that for breakfast.  We might have gotten too many bagels for 4 adults, a toddler, and an infant 😉

We first took subway to Central Park.  My DH snacked on chicken kebabs in a bun from a stand.

And we visited CENTRAL PARK

Beautiful green scenery in middle of a busy city.  I would’ve loved to run here today but we are staying far from Central Park on this trip.  I love NY running culture… a lot more runners than SF and it just seems like a united and welcoming community.

After walking in Central Park for some hours, we got hungry and subwayed to the famed Katz’s.  The lunch crowd:

Their pastrami was melt-in-mouth juicy!

I only wished we ordered more!

On the same block, there’s Russ & Daughter (a famous bagel shop) and they also sell candies fruits.

We got a few bags of fruits including those:

Today’s weather was so beautiful.  We enjoyed walking for hours.  After Russ, we walked about half hour up East Village to Momofuku Milk Bar.  Their softserve was really awesome (I had cereal milk and birthday cake flavors swirled together)

Thanks for the pic, Diana 😉


And we got some treats to eat after dinner.  (Their cookies are better than the pies, btw.  I think that was our final verdict after eating them)

We literally snacked our way through the city.  Nutella filled churros….Mmmm…

Papaya King’s hotdog (I didnt have any)

Baohaus buns

Walked through Little Italy

Shared a cannolo (singular for cannoli but who knew?) 

Little Italy is really cute!

It was past 5:15pm and we walked all day since 9:30am. It was time to pick up dinner and relax back at our apt. 

We yelped a halal cart close by in Soho and got our food to go.   The original Halal Guys would’ve tempted us if it weren’t for all their franchised locations all around the US now. This cart was as good as the original Halal Guys!

I got chicken and lamb over rice and I loved it.

There’ve been so much walking past 3 days. Time to rest my feet!

Day 2: Visiting Manhattan (Chelsea Market, Time Sq, NY Public Lib, Grand Central Terminal)

Our second day’s itinerary was a visit to Manhattan.  So this included taking the subway with the little ones.  We (or was it just me) didn’t know that subway system here is not stroller- and handicap-friendly.  Most stations had no elevators or escalators.  So the adventure.

We got to Chelsea Market by 10am.

It’s quiet at 10 (people started pouring in after 11)

It’s a food market so we snacked our way through the vendors.

Seafood market 

Lobster bisque… oh so rich.

Pies from Tuck Shop.  One pie with Guinness steak and another with chicken green curry. Both were very good.

A place called “Very Fresh Noodle” that serves very fresh handpulled noodles.

It’s one long piece of noodle in the bowl!

Walked and walked and walked….

The weather was so icky.  My shoes were soaked the whole time.

Thanks to the shower, Time Square was not crowded!

We came across Wafels and Dings by Bryant Park so we had to get some Belgium waffles with spekaloo spreads.  I love them!!  

Bryant Park was lush and green.

Next stop was NY public library.

It was such a zoo inside with so many tourists (like us) taking pics, how are these people even studying or reading?  Visitors were not allowed to enter the reading area but were allowed to stand by the door to take pics (like how I took those pictures)

 

Marble columns on first and second floors 

A quick visit to Grand Central Terminal

And a visit to Grand Central Market

And we subwayed back to Brooklyn to our apt and got some Mediterranean food to go from a neighborhood takeout place.

Yes!!!