Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy 51st Merdeka!

Celebrations have been pretty low key this year. Hope that there would be more happy merdekas to come!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Healthy Vegetarian Sandwich

Nice lightly toasted sandwich for breakfast or lunch.

Serves 1

3 large button mushrooms (sauteed) recipe here
1 cheddar cheese slice
sliced cucumbers
sliced tomatoes
2 slices of white/wholemeal bread

  1. Arrange cheese, mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes on a slice of bread.
  2. Put the other slice on top of the ingredients. Toast bread on pan til lightly brown or put into oven toaster.
  3. Serve hot as cheese is melted.
*Soak cucumbers after it is sliced to make it more crunchy. Before arranging on the bread, pat it dry.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

San Francisco on a Budget Day 3

San Francisco's pride, the Golden Gate Bridge is a magnificient structure and it was a mean engineering feat. Cold, strong currents and technology was still at an early stage, made it nearly impossible to bridge. We walked all the way to one end of the bridge and back. There were many cyclists who rode on the bridge, surfers below the bridge and suicide preventive signages. Apparently, many people committed suicide by jumping off the bridge.

The Golden Gate Park is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. They have a Rose Botanical Garden,

Golden Gate Park - Rose Garden Botanical Gardens

Haight and Ashbury

San Francisco on a Budget Day 2

The next day, we woke up early to get ready to go Alcatraz. We bought and printed the tickets online beforehand so that we do not need to buy it via the counter. Alcatraz have a lot of history as it is one of the most famous high security prison. It is infamous as it is believed that it impossible for inmates to escape because the water surrounding Alcatraz Island is very cold, strong currents and infested with sharks. Alcatraz was formerly a fort, a prison and formerly an Indian occupation site. Now, it is abandoned and designated as a National Park.
The 15 minute boat ride was good but I had to put on the strap that prevents sea sickness. It was really breezy and there were sea gulls accompanying us on the boat ride.

The ticket comes with a free audio tour. You can get a map on the island itself for USD5 but it is not necessary. An interesting note is that I do not see any recognition of Malaysia in San Francisco except one part in Alcatraz that says Malaysia is the top 5 countries with the most inmates! You get to see how inmates lived, the tiny cells, escape attempts, profiles of famous inmates, security measure and do you that that the prison wardens' family lived on the same island?

The Alcatraz Rose, Alcatraz Cruises, Alcatraz Island from far

We walked over to Pier 39 which is near to where the Alcatraz boats dock. It's more of a commercialized area. There we sampled Boudain's Clam Chowder in Sourdough bowl. It was not that good because I think the bread was not really fresh compared to the Boudain in Fisherman's Wharf. An interesting thing to note is that the place is not a Pier rather a plaza of seafood restaurants and souvenir shops. The place is also made from recycled wood.

Hearing an audible and repetitive sound of "honk honk honk" made us curious and followed it. We came upon a huge colony of sea lions sunning on floating pieces of wooden platform in the water. It's my first time encounter with sea lions and so many at one go!

Look who's honking!

We took a bus to Coit Tower. It has a very beautiful view of the San Francisco skyline.You can get into the Coit tower which I believe have beautiful mural walls and a 360 degree view of the skyline but you have to pay USD5-6. We skipped that cause too kiam siap! haha

Coit Tower

We took the bus to nearby Lombard Street and walked quite a distance *big mistake, we were so vertically challenged because the area is so hilly. Also known as "Crookedest Street", Lombard is a very famous street in San Francisco. I even saw a driver driving her car on the with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding a web cam filming her drive! And she was driving pretty fast! However, there's an even more crooked street called the Venice Street but maybe because it is not so well landscaped, it is not so popular.

We took the wrong bus down and ended up at the Maritime Museum but we did not step in as we were late. We then stopped over at Venice Beach which is known as Little Italy. We asked a local lady on where to dine. She recommended Monalisa which was really good! After that we head over to an Italian bakery to get some breakfast for the next day and head back to the hostel.

San Francisco on a Budget Day 1

After touching down, we took the BART train that cost us about USD4-5 to the Powell Station which is the nearest station to USA Hostel. It was quite a walk from the BART station in Powell Street to the hostel because the roads are hilly! We stayed in a 4 bedroom dorm there with a bathroom en suite with another girl from England and Germany. Feeling hungry, we wasted no time to find food.

In the BART

The walk to Chinatown takes about 15-20 minutes. We had lunch there at one of the Chinese restaurants. Here, there are many cheap and affordable souvenirs. You can get key chains, magnets, bags, shirts or anything you can think of. There is even a tea specialty shop from Taiwan called Ten Ren. The cost of our set meal with one soup, fried rice with a dish and some fried sides is about USD11 each. The portions are huge and you are welcomed to pack your food if you can't finish it.

Chinatown, Food, Views....

My friend YH noticed a pyramid shaped building from far. Being curious and having some time to spare, we walked to it by following its direction. We found out that it was the TransAmerica building. Later, we found out that there were some controversial issues when the building was planned out. There was even a terrorist threat to the building in 1995!

TransAmerica Pyramid

On our way back, we went over to the Union Square. Surrounding it are shops and departmental store that are more upscale. Union Square itself have scupltures, cafes and seating areas that are beautifully decorated with flowers.

Union Square

San Francisco on a Budget

I have been procrastinating about blogging this for a long time. I transited via San Francisco coming back from my
business trip in Dallas, TX in May. Spent 4D/3N in San Francisco from 21 to 25 May 2008.

San Francisco Airport

Although San Francisco is one of the more expensive cities in the US, you can still get a decent holiday with limited budget with good planning. There are very nice parks where you can walk around for free. Or during certain days, some museums offer free entry or local residents conduct free walking tours. The schedule can be found here. Public transportation is affordable and convenient in San Francisco. Nearly all interesting places in San Francisco is accessible via train or bus.

USA Hostel Entrance

We stayed over at USA Hostel San Francisco. It was cheaper to reserve directly through their website and the location of the hostel is good. Moreover, I do not need to pay any deposit. Total, we spent about RM300 each for the three nights we were there. You can make free pancakes in the morning and free internet. Lockers are provided but please remember to bring your own locks and towels. Towels can be rented out at USD2 and locks can be bought from a convenience store nearby.

Corridor, Bedroom Views

Toilet View, USA Hostel Porch

Simple Sautéd Mushrooms on Toast

A very simple dish to whip for breakfast. Takes approximately about 5 minutes from ingredients preparation to dishing it out. Chanced upon it while eating at Fogal. So much cheaper to DIY and tasty too.

Serves 1

3 large white button mushrooms
a dollop of butter
a pinch of salt
black pepper
* Optional: mixed herbs

  1. Slice button mushrooms. Meantime, toast a piece of bread in the oven toaster
  2. Heat up the wok/pan. Put in butter and let it melt.
  3. Put in the sliced mushrooms.
  4. Lightly sauté it until it turns soft and caramel brown. Add in a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Optional: Add a pinch of mixed herbs
  5. Remove from wok/pan onto the toasted bread.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

SS20 Fish Head Noodle

This afternoon, I tried the fish head noodle in SS20 or also known as Damansara Kim after reading reviews from some other food blogs.

The portions are big and they also serve huge pieces of fish meat. I ordered the Soong Fish Head noodle with Lai Fun that cost RM7.50. I was disappointed with the taste of it as the soup is bland and the fish meat has a very strong fishy taste. Being a little ignorant, thinking that lai fun is the coarse vermicelli, I ordered that. It turned out to be the noodle commonly used in assam laksa. In my opinion, the texture of the noodle is not suitable for fish head noodle.

Soong Fish Head is normally chosen for this dish because the head has a thick layer of skin and fat on the head. The Soong fish head is more prized than the meat itself due to this reason.

I guess I should not rely too much on food blogs on whether the food is good or not. Or probably it's just of different tastebuds.


Today is the 10th of August.
Today is the 2nd day of the Olympics in Beijing.

Today Marks the Birth of My Blog :)