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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Buffet Lunch @ Lemon Grass Cafe, Shangri-La Hotel

For lunch today, we indulged in a nice buffet lunch at Lemon Grass Cafe, Shangri La Hotel. Took advantage of a 50% discount from a credit card promotion.

Some photos taken during lunch -

Mussels and Oysters

Desserts

Chocolate and Strawberry Fountain

Cakes

Like father, like daughter - both concentrating hard on their food.... :)

From my plate - waffles, ice-cream and cookie, sprinkled with lots of toasted almonds and choc chips

Food selection was above average, but as with most buffets there wasn't any particular item that was spectacularly great either (for this reason, I normally prefer ala-carte). And the thing about buffet is there's this compelling "kiasu" feeling to just eat and eat to get back the money's worth! Ha hahh..

In the end, I think we did justice to the RM100 total bill considering it wasn't just for lunch. In a way, it was part breakfast (we had a very light breakfast in anticipation of gorging) and also part dinner (had a very light dinner cos we were still stuffed by dinner time)! But of course there's the guilt factor for eating so much, so I think I'll stay away from buffets for a while. :)

Oh, it wasn't all about food. There were some fun activities for kids too - balloons, a bouncy castle and sand art.

Elyssa waiting patiently for her second balloon
She's going through a phase where she's scared of clowns and mascots. But she was ok with this cos she said he's an "uncle", not a clown

Admiring the fish pond

Proudly showing off her flower balloon hat :)


Eating and playing must be a tiring affair, cos Elyssa dozed off like this after the heavy lunch!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chinese New Year 2011

Wayyyyy belated but better late than never ;) Blame it on my long-winded Vietnam posts!
I'm too lazy to write much, so just photos from CNY family meals -


Salmon Yee Sang @ MIL's place
This was my second round. My first round was a mini one with hubby and Elyssa. I thought it was a little silly (we were at a chinese restaurant) but hubby insisted that we needed one for our little family. Ha ha.... we got quite a lot of glances from other tables! I think it's gonna be our family tradition from now on :)

Yummy CNY eve lunch cooked by my MIL
(some dishes not in photo)

"Lou-ing" homemade Yee Sang at my parent's place during CNY eve dinner
We had steamboat dinner that night. Totally forgot to take photos

Elyssa in her cheongsam

Kids with the Ipad. I was amazed how quickly they learn!

Elyssa with her cousins, Ah Ku and her two grand aunts
BBQ dinner @ my bro's new house on CNY Day 10

Beef Steaks on the Grill

Elyssa with cousin Justin
That night, she ate 3 chicken drumsticks, 4 cocktail sausages, corn and dunno what else!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Funtime at JungleGym, BSC

Yesterday, we were invited to a birthday party at Jungle Gym in Bangsar Shopping Centre.

We arrived at BSC quite early so we had some snacks at O'Gourmet (read about it so many times before, but it was our first time there). Enjoyed coffee, pastries and baklava there...... really nice! Just loved the ambiance of the place!

After the lovely (but expensive!) snack, we proceeded to Jungle Gym. First time there as well and Elyssa had loads of fun.

I forgot my camera, so here are some grainy photos from my phone -

Climbing up to get to the slide area

Playing balls with the other kids

Waiting eagerly for the birthday cupcakes

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Holiday in Ho Chi Minh City (Day 5)

- Just a short post on our last day in HCMC as we left for the airport around 1pm -

For breakfast, I insisted I wanted beef noodles at Pho 24 again :) I thorougly enjoyed my 4th bowl of Pho 24 beef noodles for this 5 day trip. As usual, hubby said it was so-so only.

Exterior of Pho 24
We normally go to another outlet, just 2 minutes walk away from this one (this one is more cramped and warm inside)
Some of the outlets are really close to one another!

Elyssa, all ready to go "kai-kai" for the day!

As it was only half a day, we just walked over to the TAX supermarket do some last minute shopping. Ha ha..... last minute shopping can be quite dangerous cos there's the kiasu feeling of "if I don't buy now, I won't have a chance to buy again". Besides the planned purchases of coffee packs, I ended up with quite a number of embroidered bags and tissue paper covers. ;)

After shopping, we ordered coffee at one of the popular local coffee chains - Highlands Coffee. Not that great, I preferred the coffee at the other chain, Trung NguYen.

We were still pretty full, but we stopped for an early lunch at Augustin, a place recommended by the guidebook for French food. Didn't want to leave Vietnam without trying out French cuisine! This restaurant was pretty near our hotel and only re-opened that day after a long break for the Lunar New Year.

Exterior of Augustin. Nothing fancy

But interior was warm and cosy

Complimentary warm baguette rolls served with butter. On the left was a Pate dish we ordered. Can't remember the full name

Creamy Clams with White Wine soup
This tasted hea-ven-ly !!!

Pork and pasta dish (can't remember the fancy name)
This was very good too!

Family photo taken by the waitress
err.... I think hubby was still chewing something in his mouth

Lunch was approx RM60. I don't think we can get French food in M'sia at this price!
We were glad that our last meal in HCMC was a yummy one :)

Went back to the hotel for the last time, did some final packing then it was time to go the airport. Bye Bye HCMC!!

Last photo at the hotel lobby

I know I say this every time - but it felt like the 5 days just flew by. As usual, Elyssa was pretty well behaved throughout the holiday. There were of course the occasional whiny moments but most of the time, snacks like yogurt, milk and biscuits did the trick :)
And as usual, I truly enjoyed the time spent with the 2 darlings in my life!

Holiday in Ho Chi Minh City (Day 4) - Bansai Cruise

For our last night in HCMC, we decided to go for a dinner cruise along the Saigon river. We asked our hotel reception and they booked the Bansai Dinner Cruise for us. It was pretty expensive - USD 33 per pax (with a USD 3 surcharge for New Year) but we thought we should still try it out.

Price includes a 2 hour cruise along the Saigon river, buffet dinner, live entertainment, one drink and a short massage.


The Bansai Boat
Supposed to be a replica of the emperor's dragon boat

Just before going up the boat
Elyssa, hubby and I with the "emperor" and his ladies

Food was so-so only (ok, it was bordering on lousy). Not much variety and not tasty either. Most of our previous meals in HCMC were easily better than what was served that night.

Luckily, we were not disappointed cos we had minimal expectations for food - our main aim was to enjoy the atmosphere of a dinner cruise!

We got a nice table on the upper deck

Cheeky Elyssa
(in her new dress no 4)

Enjoying the night scene



Now, our Main Highlight for the night :
During dinner, there was a singer performing on stage. I asked Elyssa whether she wanted to dance and she answered with a firm "yes". I led her to the middle of the dance floor and was pleasantly surprised.................. when she started dancing happily away on her own :)


Our little solo performer

Yup, there were about 10 tables arranged in a U shape on the upper deck, and my little girl was just happily dancing away in the middle. The little Miss Show Off LOVED it when everyone started clapping. Ha hah!!! And she couldn't help smiling when an elderly Japanese man came over to shake her hand at the end of the cruise.

I must admit that I felt sooooo proud of her! Growing up, I was a painfully shy kid so I just love her strong sense of confidence !!! I hope she will remain this confident when she grows up :)

Video clips of her little solo performance



There were other dances that night too -

Traditional dancing

Sexy dancing, to a Shakira tune
But of course for hubby and I, our favourite performance for the night was from our little girl :)

-End of Day 4 -

Monday, February 14, 2011

Holiday in Ho Chi Minh City (Day 4)

For Day 4 breakfast, hubby said "no more Pho 24!". Ha ha... 3 days in a row was more than enough for him. So we walked around and ended up eating - beef noodles. Well, he was happy enough that it wasn't from Pho 24 plus he insisted it was different cos he ordered the oxtail version.


The big BOWL of Oxtail Beef Noodles
This was from a cafe serving Hue cuisine which is essentially Chinese cuisine. I didn't enjoy it that much cos it tasted like noodles we can get at home, but hubby loved it cos it tasted like noodles from home. Duh!

After breakfast, it was time for shopping at Ben Thanh Market again! Bought some boxers, t-shirts and souvenir items, but the main loot was DRESSES. Yup, we went crazy -


Absolutely Lovely and Sweet Smocking Dresses.
Irresistible!

Just look at the beautiful details!

More smocking dresses, in bigger sizes

Lots of cotton dresses!!!

The dresses were actually from 2 separate trips that day. Bought some at first, then went for lunch. During lunch, I kept thinking about the beautiful dresses and told hubby we should buy some more. Ha ha. I was finally contented after the second trip :)

Note : I'm not listing the price of dresses cos I bought extra to be given as gifts plus I'm toying with the idea of putting some up for sale. But main problem I'm facing is that I love them so much that I'm tempted to keep them all for Elyssa and baby!

After shopping, we went for lunch at Quan An Ngon, a place highly recommended by my SIL and the guidebook. The restaurant is in a big bungalow with a ring of cooks at individual stations serving a wide selection of traditional Vietnamese dishes.

It was absolutely packed when we got there, but we were lucky to get a nice table next to the indoor courtyard -

Our table at Quan An Ngon
Elyssa was fast asleep in her stroller
Some of the Cooking Stations

Food we ordered
Spicy noodles, beef & onion salad, steamed rice cakes with chicken wings, pork glutionous rice and Vietnamese pancake.



Elyssa woke up just as we were about to finish eating. She had her yoghurt plus some of our lunch, then we took some photos :)

My princess and I
She's wearing her New Dress No 3


By that time, the lunch crowd had already dispersed so it was really nice and comfortable in the restaurant. We decided to order two cups of iced coffee and just enjoy the surroundings. Aaahhh...... nice! I just love travelling on our own cos we don't get restricted by schedules of conducted tours.

After our long lunch, we mad a quick stop to the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. Nothing much to see actually.


Saw from the guidebook that the museum is popular for couples to take wedding shots. Sure enough, there was a wedding photography session going on -

Elyssa on the same staircase. Errr..... hope she doesn't make her trademark gesture on HER wedding photography day. Ha hahh!!!

We went back to Ben Thanh market for shopping trip no 2 after the museum. Then it was time to sit down again for ice-cream at Fannys, another place recommended by the guidebook.

Our ice-cream

Interior of Fannys


Elyssa fooling around with the orchid and little hat from the ice-cream

-to be continued with Bansai Dinner Cruise at the end of Day 4. Something interesting happened during the cruise! -