Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Magnolia Bakery at Chicago

ABBEY: Magnolia Bakery is recommended to us by Nylene. It is famous for its banana pudding. Not a fan though but need to try. 

In the shop, I had Vanilla Chocolate Cake and coffee. It became our comfort since it is a rainy day and cold.  

We had banana pudding to-go and ate it at home. It is delicious; not too sweet and can immediately make you full.

Magnolia Bakery at Chicago's Banana Pudding

Magnolia Bakery at Chicago's Cake Design

Magnolia Bakery at Chicago's Vanilla Chocolate Cake

Magnolia Bakery at Chicago' World Famous Banana Pudding
WILL: Before going to a place we should gave a habit to research on what to and where to dine. In many blog and YouTube videos we have looked upon, Magnolia Bakery is always in their list. AND, it was recommended by Nyleen. Who are we not to check that out. :) 

To grab a bite before we head back home, we headed to the famous Magnolia Bakery in State Street. The lady at the counter gladly roam me around to show the cakes and pastries they are offering. I ended up buying for Vanilla Chocolate Cake and Cream Cheese Brownies (to share) and a tea. 

The cake is mmmmm! I am not into icing but this made me scrape all the icing on the side of the plate. Haha! The cake is not too sweet and blends well with the tea. 

While eating and chattering, we keep on hearing people getting a banana pudding. I am not into pudding but since we are there we decided to buy some for people at the house. 

We ate it as a desert! And hell yeah! It is addicting! I think I ate the whole big tub of those all by myself. Now you know how I acquired 5kgs in 17days in Chicago. 😝

This is a must! But be warned.. Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding is dangerously addictive.

Magnolia Bakery
(A) 108 N. State Street at Block 37 Chicago, IL
(H) M-Th: 7:30am-9pm / F: 7:30am-11pm / Sat: 8am-11pm / Sun: 9am-8pm
(T) 312.346.7777

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Korean Pork Bibimbap Recipe


Pork marinade:
500g pork (thin slices)
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup scallions (chopped)
2 tbsp minced garlic
Sesame oil
Sesame seed
Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients and let the sugar be dissolved. Put in the pork and marinate for at least an hour. Fry and set aside.

1 medium carrot sliced into strips
200g soy bean sprouts
1/4 cup scallions
1 bunch of spinach
200g shitake mushroom (thin slices)
1 medium cucumber (thin slices)
1 tbsp chili pepper paste
3 (2 & 1 tbsp) rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
sesame oil
sesame seeds
pepper flakes
Salt & pepper

Fry carrots with 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Put a dash of salt then set aside. Do the same with mushroom but don't put salt.
Blanch spinach and drain it. In a bowl mix it with sesame oil and sesame seed. Set aside.
Blanch soy bean sprouts, drain and put pepper flakes, scallions, and sesame oil. Set aside.
Mix 1 tbsp of rice vinegar, salt and 1 tbsp sugar in a bowl. Put the cucumber and pepper flakes. Set aside.

Mix chili pepper paste with 2 tbsp rice vinegar, sugar, water and sesame oil.

Put a cup of rice in middle of bowl. Surround it with pork and vegetables. Top it with sunny side egg and pour the chili pepper paste mix. Enjoy.

Easy to Cook Korean Pork Bibimbap 

WILL: If you will see the YouTube subscriptions of Abbey you will see tons of cooking channels. And now you know where Abbey get those easy recipes. 

Hubby prepared Pork Bibimbap! And it outrageously yummy! And! It is healthy! 

The sweetness of the pork, the spiciness of chili paste and the distinctive taste of different vegetables will give you a flavourful blast! 

Thanks Baby! More, more dishes to come. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Best 7 HOSTELS in Singapore (Prices Included)

Because everyone is asking what hostels we can recommend.. here is our top-top and cheap (but quality) accommodation for you guys!

Enjoy your vacay here in Singapore! :)

ultimate list of the best hostels in singapore


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The 5 Best Museums In Chicago

ABBEY: We've toured five museums in Chicago and I don't know how long we walked but still there are lot more things to see. We purchased Chicago City Pass for 199USD for the following visitor attractions:

1. Shedd Aquarium
2. Art Institute of Chicago
3. The Field Museum
4. Museum of Science and Industry 
5. Adler Planetarium 

Adler Planetarium:
This is our first stop. We were there way before it open and we're on a full battle gear against cold. We were greeted by the exhibition of the man on the moon; how US President John Kennedy on 1961 challenge the nation to step on the moon before the decade ends. And the rest is history. Since it is all about Earth and other celestial bodies, it has abundant displays of instruments used for the studies like armillary spheres, telescopes, maps and solar system models. 

Shedd Aquarium:
We did revisit Shedd aquarium after our first tour as the tickets for the show is already sold out. The museum is curated in circular form and I find it easy to navigate and see all the exbitions. Creatures from the Amazon, Carribean, Asia, and all over the world will amaze you like beluga whales, penguins, crabs, turtles, and exotic fish. The presentation of each aquarium is great as you can see what's there on the tank. Make sure to plan your visit and to be on the show on time.

Field Museum:
Field Museum is the home of Sue the T-Rex. She's the most complete fossilized skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was incredible. Her head is rested at the 2nd storey and cannot join with her body as it is too heavy. The process of extraction of fossils were also told in the museum. One of the exhibit is about Species; how it is being classified and its evolution. There is a display of a number of birds wherein at first glance they all look the same and belong to same specie but reading at the writeup, they weren't. Another exhibiton shows more knowledge about Chinese trade history.

Museum of Science and Industry:
This museum reminds me of Science Centrum Philippines. It engages the visitors to their experiments. And I was hooked. The scientist in me is jumping for joy. There is a video and display how a baby was formed from first month to delivery. Another is to see your veins at a beam of light. Then compete using only your brainwaves to move a ball towards your opponent. Wow. Truly, less stress and more happy thoughts goes a long way. There is also a large tesla coil that generates thousand of volts. You can also see simulations of avalnce and storm at the museum. Our visit here is so much fun and great.

Art Institute of Chicago:
Ok, this is for the "serious and refined" ones. And there is a lot of walking to do if you want to cover more ground. I was told that I need to deposit my bag at the counter for a dollar fee. It became free as I don't have any during that time :) Art Institute of Chicago was proud that one American returned to its fold:  Whistler's Mother. There are also works of Van Gogh on display.

The 5 Best Museums In Chicago - The Field Museum 
The 5 Best Museums In Chicago - The Art Institute of Chicago

The 5 Best Museums In Chicago - SHEDD Aquarium

The 5 Best Museums In Chicago- Museum of Science and Industry

The 5 Best Museums In Chicago - Adler Planetarium

WILL: Whenever you will search for "What are the things to do in Chicago" google will always come up of the with their prestige museums. They have a lot actually but you must not missed this top 5 colossal buildings. 

1. Museum of Science and Industry. This is our first stop and we enjoyed it with Austria Family. We didn't manage to look all of it because it is really huge. You need a whole day to check and try, yes try, because there is interactive displays, all of it. My favourite, the real submarine of Germans, The U-boat (U-505) and the show of Tesla's Alternating Current. Don't you dare miss it. 

2. Adler Planetarium. This is my first time to a planetarium and it justifies that we are just a speck in this this universe. USA, NASA determined to learn what are the history, the composition and even studying if we really can live in our neighbouring planets. We spend almost 3hours in Adler (without watching any shows). 

3. Shedd Aquarium. OMG! This is the time we decided to buy the Chicago CityPass ticket. For us to be qualified on express (VIP) lane. Why? I can't stand the freezing wind. We thought the queue will be fast enough to accommodate us but we are wrong! We stand waited for almost an hour. 

When we got our CityPass confirmation online, we immediately went to the express lane and sadly to say on that afternoon, all shows were booked. So we just went there and catch a glimpse of fishes. Oh! They have this "Amazon River" portion which you will be gladly see the huge fishes and ANACONDA! Yep! There is live anaconda in that area! Scary! 

We went back on the following day to see the shows. Tell you frankly, I am disappointed on their Aquatic Presentation. I am proud to announce that there is a hall on showcasing the Philippines' reef. And the 4D show, as ever, it is exciting. Highly recommended! 

4. Su! I want to see Su! She or he? I am not sure but "she" is the most complete trynosaurus rex ever excavated. That is why The Field Museum is a must visit to many tourists. There is so many artefacts and new displays that you need to check to. Honestly, you cannot finish this is on half day if you wish to see all of it. 

I love the live-in-action scientist who are doing their job and you are just on the other side of the glass panels, you can look on what they are doing. Please, do not knock or get their attention. You do not want them to ruin anything right? 

Oh! They have this bugs, that it as small as you cannot imagine. Haha! 

The Field Museum made me think that, me, while doing non-sense activities in life, there are scientists that is studying these small details to learn the history and make the future better for all the species on Earth. 

5. This! Yes! The Art Institute of Chicago made my feet sore. This museum is the home of not hundreds but thousands of paintings, sculptures and work of arts!

I find it weird that there are people interpreting the works of others. They are in conclusion that maybe this, maybe that painter feels this,feels that while painting this or painting that. What if the artists just want to do that? What if there is no meaning at all. Just thinking out loud. 

I love some of the happy paintings that I want to take them home. Haha! "Gloomy" arts are there too. Of course. There is a way of "dot-dot" painting that is really proves the patience and artistry of its maker! I love get that for our future home! 

Now I have somewhat glimpse of what should I buy. :)  

Thank you Ate Abigail, Kuya Victor and Donna for the free tix to Adler Planetarium and Museum of Science and Industry. And the rest, we bought Chicago CityPASS worth US$99.75 each. 

Happy Chicago museum hopping! :)

Adler Planetarium
(A) 1300 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
(T) +1 312-922-7827
(H) 9:30AM - 4PM

Shedd Aquarium
(A) 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, USA
(T) +1 312-939-2438
(H) Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm

Museum of Science & Industry
(A) 5700 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
(T) +1 773 684 1414
(H) 10am-5pm

The Field Museum
(A) 1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL
(T) +1 312 922 9410
(H) 9am-5pm

The Art Institute of Chicago
(A) 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL
(T) +1 312 443 3600
(H) Mon-Wed 10:30am-5pm, Thurs 10:30am-8pm, Fri-Sun 10:30am-5pm

Chicago CityPASS 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Portillo's: Beef. Burgers. Salads.

ABBEY: There is one item that we wanted to get from Portillo's: their chocolate cake shake. So after a day in Downtown Chicago, our Kuya and Ate treat us for dinner at Portillo's at Harwood Heights. And yes, the chocolate cake shake is available. 

But first I indulged with big bites on their Italian Beef and Sausage combo; beef and sausage in a sandwich. It was so delicious and packs a lot of flavor. No need for any condiments like ketchup or mustard. 

Then came the dessert. It is literally a slice of Portillo's famous chocolate cake put into a blender. You can still feel the cake texture in every sip. Just be moderate with this. Lots of sugar and calories my friends.

Portillo's: Beef. Burgers. Salads. - Italian Beef and Sausage Combo

Portillo's: Beef. Burgers. Salads. - Menu

Portillo's: Beef. Burgers. Salads. 
Portillo's Famous Cake Shake

Portillo's: Beef. Burgers. Salads. - Italian Beef

WILL: Portillo's is one of the pride Chicagoans. And of course, our hosts dropped us there for a dinner after our first "all-alone" tour in downtown.  

They suggested for us to order certain dishes. For me, I got Italian Beef. The meat is overflowing and so the oil. Ohh men! It is delicious..and fattening..argh! But delicious! Haha! The serving is large and of course I requested Abbey to finish the quarter I had left! Damn those yummy calories! 

Then my favourite, the chocolate cake shake. A slice of well-known Portillo's cake. From there the magic began. Whewwww! Now I am missing this sinful drink! 

If you are going to Chicago! Do not miss to visit Portillo's! 

Portillo's: Beef. Burgers. Salads
(A) 7308 W Lawrence Ave, Harwood Heights, IL 60706, USA
(T) +1 872-484-1919

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Kim And Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dogs Store

ABBEY: On our first visit to Shedd Aquarium, we saw Kim and Carlos Chicago Hotdogs stand. Who can miss their yellow flag? A combo of hotdog, chips and drink costs US$7.00. 

The hotdog comes with pickles, relish, tomato, and chili, and it was delicious. Just beware of the seagulls. They want a piece of that delight too. 

Oh by the way, put only mustard and no ketchup please. It's a "sin".

Kim And Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dogs 
Kim And Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dogs Store

WILL: If hotdog in Philippines is usually served with ketchup, in Chicago its a NO-NO! 

Chicago hotdog is consist of pickle spear, onions, pickled green pepper, mustard, tomatoes and poppy seed bun. Too many toppings! Haha! So when I took my first bite, it seems my taste buds is having a feast of flavors! 

Thanks Kim and Carlos stand for making our first taste of Chicago Hotdog memorable. Why memorable? We are eating those yummy buns on a freezing cold wind in front of Shedd Aquarium. Haha! 

Kim And Carlo's Chicago Style Hot Dogs Stand
S Lake Shore Dr Museum Campus Chicago, IL 60605 
Stands between The Field Musuem and Shedd Aquarium

Friday, May 5, 2017

Chicago USA: Public Transportation - Experience Chicago Without A Car

ABBEY: We're used to take public transport in Singapore so we took up the challenge of riding trains and buses going Downtown Chicago. As a tourist, we opted to buy a day-pass for 10USD. Unlimited train and bus rides for a day. By doing this, we were able to go to the museums like Adler, the Navy Pier, 360 Chicago, Willis Tower, Chicago Riverwalk, Magnificent Mile and a lot more. 

I cannot help comparing the trains of Singapore and Chicago. Not an insult but for Chicago Transit Authority to improve the system or service. 

The trains are just plain dirty; floor, windows, and seats. They have smell too. I even observed that there are people literally "living" inside the train. Safety and health issues. 

The buses on the other hand are clean. Touch the door and it will open just like magic.

Chicago USA: Public Transportation - Bus

Chicago USA: Public Transportation - Train Station 
Chicago USA: Public Transportation - Train Coach

WILL: It will be our fist time to roam around without relatives. No guides. Kuya just dropped us off at Harlem station and we are all by ourselves. Ha! 

Our fist time to buy a Ventra ticket, we had a hard time because the machine is asking for our postal code number and we do not know how to key-in. The officer saw us and indicated to press "0" for international. And voila! Tickets came out from the machine. It costs USD10 for unlimited one day ride (per person) for trains and bus. 

I am quite shocked to see how their trains and their stations are. The inside of the train is dirty. I am wondering if they are sweeping or mopping the floors. Drinking and eating is not allowed but some passengers were doing it. I saw a passenger that her leg is up on the other seat. Imagine, all the dirt of her shoes will be at that train chair. :( There is a beggar in a station asking for alms. Orange Station was guarded by policemen with heavy arms. I am wondering what is there about that line. 

The busses are tidier. The bus drivers were welcoming and polite. 

Overall, now I know many people are buying cars. Haha! But how about people who cannot afford or just do not want the stress of having their own car? 

Chicago Transit Authority - CTA Buses & Train Service
1-Day Ticket: $10
Good for unlimited rides for 24 hours.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Joy Yee Noodle @ Chicago's Chinatown

ABBEY: We dropped by Chinatown for lunch after visiting Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago). We went to Joy Yee Noodle restaurant. 

They don't have sweet and sour pork so I settled with chicken. And we also have tofu and mushroom and fried rice. Each serving is for 3-4 people. They were all delicious. The coating in the chicken is not thoroughly cooked though. 

We got avocado shakes for to-go. Its serving is also big enough for 2 persons. It is creamy and sweet with no bitter after taste.

Joy Yee Noodle's Chicken Menu 
Joy Yee Noodle's Fried Rice Menu

Joy Yee Noodle's Vegetable Menu

WILL: After a fun rundown in Museum of Science and Industry, Ate Abigail and Kuya Victor drove us to Chicago's Chinatown. They proudly present to us Joy Yee Noodle restaurant. 

The waiter gave us a huge-size menu; no wonder why because they are serving enormous meals. 

Kuya took charge in choosing our food and what I like most is the Sweet and Sour Chicken and the BIG avocado shake. Their sweet and sour is more than of a sweet and for sure kids will love it. Avocado Shake uses real avocado, not a mere colouring or powder type. It is real! 

We visited the restaurant in a weekday and yet it was somewhat full. Oh! The shake takeout counter has a long queue despite of cold weather outside. 

Highly recommended this place for Chinese cuisine lovers.

Joy Yee Noodle
(A) 2139 S China Pl, Chicago, IL 60616, USA

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

NBA: Atlanta Hawks vs Chicago Bulls

ABBEY: One of the gifts that my Kuya and Ate gave us is a pair of tickets for a Chicago Bulls game at United Center. This is a crucial game for the Bulls to win so they can move to the playoffs. The match is against Atlanta Hawks. 

Before going to our seats, we were able to create our cheerboards, got our plushtoy freebie and game coupons. The score was so close which brought more intensity to the house. The Bulls had the homecourt advantage and they won the game. 

The crowd were rewarded with McDonald's Big Mac as the Bulls finished with more than 100 points. 

Congratulations Chicago Bulls.

WILL: Bulls! Go! Bulls! 

OhMyG! Never thought that I will be experiencing a live action of NBA! Specially to see Chicago Bulls to play! A big thanks to Kuya Victor and Ate Gail for sponsorship. Haha. Ahmm, I will tell you a secret. The ticket price is high! 

The United Center arena is enormous for its size. The game had never been boring! The crowd is cheering proud and loud for Chicago Bulls. Of course, I will join the cheer! There is a lot of freebies to redeem if Bulls will win against Hawks. 

And yes they won! Abbey and I are the lucky charm?!? Hmmm?! ;) 

Do not forget to take photo with the All-Time-Famous Michael Jordan's statue. It was just moved inside the building of United Center.

United Center
(A) 1901 West Madison Street, Chicago, Illinois 60612
(T) FOR BULLS - (312) 455-4000

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Asiana Business Class Lounge at Seoul - Incheon International (ICN)

ABBEY: We used our yearly Citibank Priority Pass to access Asiana Business Class lounge in Incheon International Airport as we have a six-hour layover going to Chicago. 

It was early morning when we arrived and waited an hour for the hot food items to be served. They have fried rice and creamy mushroom, cornflakes, noodles, bread and pastries. Coffee, club soda, beer, wine, juices and fruits can also be found. 

The lounge is very large. You can watch news and sportscast on their huge TV screens, edit your presentations for business meetings, hold a conference, take a shower and most of all have a massage. They have a grand piano as a centerpiece but unfortunately no one played during our visit.

WILL: Almost every year, I gave thanks to Citibank Credit Card for their complimentary Prestige Priority Pass. This 2017, we used it at Asiana Business Lounge at Incheon International Airport. 

What are the unbeatable thing in that lounge? They a massive space that was separated in two sections. We opted to stay at the right side but you can freely roam on both place. 

We were awed to see that there is a mini office that you can use; a computer, printer and scanner. They have a conference room, shower and grand piano. Whoah! But the nicest thing I enjoyed in our almost 3 hour stay, was the room with massage chair and restroom. 

That was my first time to be satisfied with kneading done by an electonic chair. The pressure is perfect and on the right place. I stayed there for 3 full sessions. Ahmm, maybe more?! Haha! I thought the relaxation was already enough, wait until you will seat on their toilet. It has a heater, best thing for the cold weather. Bidet? No! This toilet squirts the warm water on the right spot. Haha!

How about the food? The choices were meagre but I enjoyed their waffles. 

This lounge is very recommendable. Asiana have two lounges in there. So be careful in choosing.

Asiana Business Class Lounge at Seoul - Incheon International (ICN)
(L) 4F, 119 Gate, West Wing, Passenger Terminal
(H) 06:00 - 00:00

Monday, May 1, 2017

Korean Air (Singapore - Chicago - Singapore)

ABBEY: Korean Air is our airline of choice for our US trip (Chicago). The almost 24-hour flight was made comfortable by the attendants. Blanket, pillow, and slippers and toothbrush were already in our seats upon boarding. 

Food like bibimbap and chicken with carrots and brocolli were served. They were delicious and can be partnered  with soda, white or red wine, beer, tea or coffee. We got aisle seats and they have enough legroom for a tall guy like me. 

The attendants were polite, ready to serve and always wear a smile. We were a little bit over our baggage allowance but was able to check them in without additional fee. 

Speaking of, all our luggages have cracks after the flight. I don't know if this is the trade off when not paying for extra kilos or only a case of mishandling. 

All in all the flight experience is great. I hope we can be bumped up to business class on our next trip.

Our Damage Luggages After Our Korean Air Flight :(

WILL: Korean Air launched a massive advertising here in Singapore. Their billboards are everywhere. They even have commercial in YouTube. Persuaded by cheap fare and advertisement, we opted to board their plane for our Singapore-Chicago-Singapore (SIN-ORD-SIN). 

We went for an early check-in at Changi Terminal 2 for us to roam around inside the World's Best Airport. Yes! There is an early check-in available. 

Upon boarding, we were greeted by beautiful and handsome stewards of KE-?!?. It is a night flight and upon seating my eyes immediately shut down. Sorry! Haha! When we are about to land at Incheon Airport, I managed to woke up when they are distributing juices/water. One of the flight crew smilingly ask if I want my in-flight meal. Still groggy, I just took an orange juice and water and replied back "No." with a smile. 

We alighted my first Korean Air flight and shocked to know that there is super long queue for security checking for transferring passengers. It took us an hour to pass those x-ray machines. 

After a 3-hour lounging at Asiana Business Lounge, we went back for our flight to our destination. Flight number was KE-???. We were abundantly served with food and juices. Their light was fully turned off and will make you feel sleepy. Yes, I slept for more than half of our flight. Haha! And I ate all the food they served this time. 

Nothing special on our way back to Singapore except that Korean Air didn't distribute a pouch that contains toothbrush and disposable slippers on our Incheon-Changi flight. You can find the toothbrush at lavatory. 

So what can I say for Korean Air! Kudos for the job well done by your stewards and smooth landing and take-offs done by pilot. But I have a complain to highlight.

3 out of four luggages were damaged. This is the first time it happened in our years of travelling. I can accept one damage but hey! Three?! Seriously? 

We discovered when we reached Chicago that the big and small plastic luggage have a crack. A huge line of crack. I let that passed way, when we're unpacking our things here in Singapore, I found out that one of bags were slashed.An enormous slash. And my head erupted that time like a volcano. That is unacceptable. But I choose my coolness and rather chose my peace. 

I hope you will seek answer to this complaint. I get it, you give an extraordinary care with the passengers and I do hope you that too in our belongings. 

Will we board the Korean Air again? Well, I am not so sure.

Korean Air