Monday, March 15, 2010

HCMC French Restaurant "Ty Coz"

I don't like things French but I was pleasantly suprised when I went with some friends for a rooftop dinner at this local French place. Good, inexpensive, almost-American style French food right in the heart of the city - but in it's own little world. Hard to find on the one-way Pasteur Street and on then on the sidestreet right before Schneider's German bakery.

The best deals are either their 2-hour lunch set-menus or dinner (195,000VND). Dinner comes with your choice of appetizer, main, and dessert - add wine/tip comes to 300,000VND each. I liked my salad, 1/2 chicken, and coffee dessert (w/a little espresso, coffee ice cream, and a brownie). The chef's brother comes out to talk about the menu (but service can be so-so). The tables look like a local Vietnamese restaurant; very casual.

Ty Coz, 178/4 Pasteur, Tel: (84-08) 3822-2457

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where to Live in Washington, D.C.?

Unless you're living in the expensive area near the Zoo - Embassy Row, Woodley Park, Cleveland Park - D.C. is noisy city-living. A lot of transplanted young people choose to live in high-rise apartments along the Orange line in the northern part of Arlington County (Metro stops: Courthouse, Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston). These are convenient to the Metro - outdoor shops at Clarendon, and the shopping center at Ballston. But the Orange line is always jammed - and the Pentagon City shopping center is larger/better.

It's better to live on the south side of Arlington County - on the Blue/Yellow lines at Pentagon City/Crystal City!

River House Apartments
1400 South Joyce Street
Arlington VA 22202
Phone: (703) 271-8011 • Fax: (703) 892-5652

Charles E. Smith Apartments has a bad reputation because they're so huge - and they also add up all the utility cost for the whole place - then divide by square footage. So it's much more expensive for most folks...however, their rent can be cheaper than a luxury apartment like Lennox Club/Warwick House - and Charles E. Smith has a one-time $600 move-in fee. So if you want to move into any of their apartments around - you don't have to pay a yearly fee - like most places.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Eating in New York City

Corner street vendors are good for $3-6 food. But I had stomach issues after eating at the halal vendor near Park Ave/49th...had the $6 rice and lamb...not sure if it was the spicy sauce or the ranch sauce which didn't sit well.

It seems most delis in Midtown East aren't worthwhile...semi-empty counters with tired-looking ingredients.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What's New York City cost?

$ 2.00 Subway Fare
$ 2.95 Bagel and Cream Cheese
$ 4.00 Toll to LaGuardia Airport
$ 4.00 lb. for Longan (127B for .45 kilo)
$ 5.00 lb. for Lychee (160B for .45 kilo)
$ 5.00 Street Vendor Pretzel and a Hot Dog
$ 5.45 Regular Deli Sandwich
$ 6.00 Starbucks Coffee
$ 9.00 Deluxe Deli Sandwich
$ 10.00 Tea, Hot/Sour Soup, Calamari
$ 20.00 21-minute Foot Massage
$ 30.00 Taxi to LaGuardia - plus toll and tip
$ 31.00 Chelsea International Hostel
$ 44.00 Discounted Broadway Ticket
$ 78.00 Cheap One-Way Aifare b/t NYC-DC
$220.00 Residence Inn by Marriott - Times Square
$450.00 Waldorf-Astoria

Monday, October 01, 2007

When's the Best Time to Visit Washington, D.C. and New York?

The best time to visit Washington, D.C. and New York is between Labor Day and Halloween. It's still sunny, not humid, and less crowded. Near Labor Day it will still be humid and crowded with families - but not with the large tour buses of school kids as in the summer. Closer to Halloween - might be rain.

Another time is mid-March thru mid-April.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Most Famous Hotel in New York City: Waldorf-Astoria

The Waldorf-Astoria is huge - and has a ballroom-sized lobby. It's an easy walk to Rockefeller Center to see NBC's Today Show, get a few pics with the flags, and then walk over to 5th Ave to shop. There are a few cozy eateries near the Ritz-Carlton and the south part of Central Park. It's also a short walk to the East River for a quick morning walk.

The hotel does have irons/ironing boards and refrigerators in the rooms. But unless you're in a suite, there isn't any bathroom counter space - just a small sink/plastic box on top of the toilet, and a bathroom medicine cabinet. It gets a bit confusing with the two East/West elevator banks, and then the separate bank for the Waldorf Towers. Lexington Ave. has more places to eat - basic sandwiches start at $6-9. A quick meal is McDonald's to get their $1.39 wrap.

If you take the 6 subway to Grand Central Station, you can look for the red signs for the Shuttle train to Times Square. It all takes $2 and around 15 minutes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Washington, D.C. Harbor and Riverview Restaurant

The view is great from this riverside outdoor restaurant. It's a relaxing way to people watch, see the boats coming in, and watch the planes and helicopters above the Potomac river. Just be sure to know, that as you take in the Watergate, the Kennedy Center - and Rosslyn - you'll be paying a premium.

Stopped in for a small lunch: $40 for 2-people with iced tea. The Soup/Sandwich was $12++ - average bowl of soup and a smaller-than-normal tuna sandwich. Free re-fills on iced tea - but they come in these little plastic Solo cups.

Tony and Joe's Seafood Place
3000 K Street, NW Washington, DC 20007
Ph: (202) 944 4545
Sun thru Thur: 11AM - 10PM / Full Menu
Fri & Sat: 11AM - Midnight / Full Menu
Beverage Service until 1:30AM every night

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Best Place to Buy Cheap Souvenir T-Shirts in Washington, D.C.

What to buy for yourself and family and friends from Washington, D.C.? The best souvenir is something useful and that won't stay on a shelf. T-shirts!! And the best deal is 5-for-10 - you can get 5 adult/kid t-shirts for $10. The only stand I've seen offer this great price is off-the-Mall behind the Smithsonian castle's English garden. It's a street-corner stand on Independence Ave SW at the SE corner of L'Enfant Plaza SW (next to the Department of Energy).

The other t-shirts stands around Pentagon shopping center sell t-shirts 4-for-10. And in retail stores, you'll be paying at least $10-12 or more for shirts.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Seoul Airport and Korean Airlines

The new Seoul airport is pleasantly glass and windows with an open two-story plan with plenty of shops on the ground level. There's also a free Korean cultural activity area. Internet is $3/hour - and they sell wireless access. However, if you're a transit passenger then go to the second level. (They have free internet, and a TV lounge.)

The ground level has a crowded and busy (think the old Bangkok domestic departure noodle shop busy) noodle place with lots of Korean dishes for $10USD. I tried the Japanese seafood Udon upstairs and was disappointed that it looked good - but didn't have the right taste. They didn't even have any shoyu!

I don't like the transit experience. You get off the plane - and then walk around this huge hall until you figure out that you have to line up on the right for transit flights (immigration counters are way over on your left). And even though there's always two lines with the same two kids getting your bags to x-ray - it's always backed up.

I've been through this airport three times while flying Korean Airlines. It's a great airline with a huge group of petite, very pretty flight stewards, in their green uniforms (w/2-3 old guys). The service is good and the meals are tastey Korean. On overnight flights, economy gets a little satchel with goodies inside. (Business class gets a larger packet along with some slippers.)

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

April Snow in the U.S.

The middle and east coast of the United States had an unusual cold spell this week with snow from the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas to Washington, D.C. In D.C., the snow was like a heavy dropping of fluffy ice on the top of cars and plants, which burned off in a few hours. Even a few days later, it's very cold! Pics to follow.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

KL Hotels

Kuala Lumpur hotels are centered around the downtown, chinatown, and the suburbs like PJ (Petaling Jaya). The most expensive business hotel is the Mandarin Oriental Hotel connected to the large KLCC-Suria shopping mall, at the base of the world's tallest twin towers. They have a huge locker room with TV lounge, hot/cold plunge pools, and an outdoor pool. The JW Marriott is located right on the busy day/night-time shopping street of Bukit Bintang, as is the more-modern feeling Westin Hotel. The Ritz-Carlton is smaller - and a bit farther down the street. I have never been impressed with the older Regent Hotel.

A nicer long-term stay option would be the Japanese Prince Hotel with its clean, sunny, hard-wood floor hotel rooms or service apartments.

Nicely located in front of the monorail stop is the Crowne Plaza with a small, but hugely popular gym. Another viable option on the monorail stop is the Marriott chain's Renaissance Hotel. It's smaller and by itself but has a huge/shallow outdoor pool and large gym. Also in this neighborhood is the huge Shangri-La.

If you like a smoke-filled lounge with fun live bands - across the street from the Renaissance is the 15 year-old Concorde Hotel. It's hip, a bit older, but along with its lounge bands, it has the Hard Rock Cafe in the lobby. It's walkable to the many outdoor night clubs.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Washington D.C. - Ben's Chili House

This was a huge disappointment!! I've wanted to try this place after seeing it featured on TV shows and reading about it in guidebooks. It's over-priced and resting on its history.

I went out-of-my-way to take the Green Line to the U-Street Corridor. It cost $13 for a small shake/regular chili dog/polish chili dog with potato chips. Not very tasty at all. Yes, the service was friendly and fast. Yes, there's history in the 1911 former silent-movie building - and the business has been running since the late 1950s...but it's still too expensive for what you get.

I was surprised at the regulars who were ordering up a bunch of calories at these inflated prices. It was an interesting walk to nearby Dupont Circle Metro Stop going south on 14th Street...a tiny thrift shop and a couple Pawn Shops. Yes, they were selling Rolex watches and TVs.

See Wikipedia:'s_Chili_Bowl

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