Latest Posts

Food Photo Friday #35: Dinner @ Happy Boy

Food: Pork burger, KFC and Peach Iced Tea Slushie/ Consumed at: Happy Boy, Royal Oak, Auckland/ Date: 22.07.2017

Royal Oak was the busiest I’ve ever seen it on a Saturday when I stopped into the brand new Happy Boy last Saturday. It’s difficult to miss with its neon lights pulsing from within. Walking inside is like being transported straight into a video game, it’s uber cool.

The place was buzzing, there was a massive line of people waiting for tables which almost put us off, but after being told it would only be a half hour wait (which turned out only being about 20 minutes,) we were happy to wait around and soak up the atmosphere.

We got there just after 6.30pm and the place was filled with young families digging into delicious burgers and sides. When we left, close to around 8pm the crowds had died down and there was no wait. So if you want to be seated quickly, best to go a bit later.

I’d already decided what I wanted before heading there (I’m one of those people who takes an age to decide what to eat because I generally want to try everything) – the pork burger, with a side of KFC (Korean Fried Chicken, duh and the perfect way to complement my current Korean-exclusive music playlist).

 

The food menu is pretty minimal (which is a good thing). The burgers, all served in bao buns are a nice light alternative to your traditional burger bun (I’m a sucker for bao buns in general, so I was all for it). My pork bun was filled with a free range pork bun patty, kimchi, fancy lettuce, smoked cheddar and black sesame mayo.

And now to get to the Korean Fried Chicken. Man, oh man. Hands down the best chicken wings I can remember having in (perhaps?) forever. It was inevitable that I’d get deliciously sticky sauce ALL over my hands, but every drop was worth it.

 

To be honest I could’ve eaten just the wings as a main, as they came in a decent size with about five wings. I didn’t end up finishing them, so took a couple takeaway to enjoy in the comfort of my own home (where people wouldn’t judge the fact I probably looked like a five-year-old with all the sauce I got everywhere).

This was all washed down with a peach iced tea slushie (they have some amazing sounding alcoholic slushies, but I couldn’t quite justify a $15 slushie over a $6 one). I also had a taste of the squid rings (deliciously crunching on the outside and the right amount of soft and chewy on the inside,) and a few of the shoestring fries.

All in all, with ever popular Nanam just down the road, the food scene looks to slowly be on the rise for the humble ‘burb of Royal Oak. I’ll be back to Happy Boy very soon for a bite of a different burger and of course, the soon to be famous KFC, because maaaaaaate.

Advertisements

Shop ‘Til Ya Drop | Washington DC Day 4 and 5

After trying to jam in as much as we could in the first few days, our fourth and fifth days in the capital were much needed chill days consisting of (window) shopping and seeing more of our new favourite city on foot. If you haven’t already, you can check out Day 1 here, Day 2 here and Day 3 here.

Our last couple of days weren’t very eventful in terms of checking out iconic landmarks, but it did cement our love for DC. We were both quite exhausted by the previous day, so being able to take in the sights and sounds of DC at our own slow pace was a nice change.

This included window shopping at malls and shops, trying a handful of cute cafes and getting our internet fix.

 

A few quick observations during my visit:

  • Something that really stood out to me was how easy it was to walk everywhere. The whole time during our stay in DC we never had to take public transport of any kind. I guess we were lucky weather-wise, to always have clear blue skies every day we were there, otherwise that would’ve been trickier for sure.
  • The compact size of the city also lent itself to being very walkable, and is definitely a plus because all the iconic sites are situated within walking distance to each other.
  • I found Washington DC very budget friendly. From memory, food (and the movie) was the only thing I had to pay for. Entry to all the museums and art galleries was free to all visitors and accommodation was very affordable also. If you’re blessed with wonderful weather, public transport won’t need to be paid for either. And being an absolutely gorgeous city, in the heart of all the political action, it’s really a no-brainer.

Anyone been to Washington DC before? I’d love to know your favourite places to visit, eat or stay. Let me know in the comments!

Culture Vultures at the Smithsonians | Washington DC Day 3

Day three in the capital consisted of a lot of museum and art galleries, a must for me when visiting a new city, even if it’s just a quick peek. And if you haven’t already, you can check out Day 1 here and Day 2 here.

It’s no secret that I’m not about early rising. Except for very special occasions, (read: occasions that happen no more than once a fortnight,) so it was no surprise that we left our hotel just before noon for our day out exploring a few of the Smithsonians.

Our first port of call was the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Georgie studied American history and politics at university so she had a particular interest in stopping in for a quick nosy and to be honest I’m always up for museum visits of any kind. I was in awe when I saw the Star Spangled Banner in real life. Other highlights included the First Ladies exhibition where you could see a lot of the famous outfits the First Ladies have worn and getting a peek into Julia Child’s kitchen, was pretty cool. What can I say? I just love food.

Speaking of which, lunch was the next thing on the agenda. We skipped the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (in most instances I would definitely stop in, but with limited time and a certainty that we’d visit the one in NYC we both decided we’d leave it). The Pavilion Café at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden did the trick for us. It was right next to the National Gallery of Art (figures,) which was going to be our next stop.

Out of all the places we visited, this was probably the place we spent the most time. I may know very little about art history, but I love learning about it when I can.

The Smithsonian Castle across the Mall wasn’t quite what we expected as it served mainly as an information centre for all the Smithsonians more than anything, so after just a quick stopover for a snack, we quickly headed elsewhere. Namely, a look around the Enid Haupt Garden, just outside the castle.

Our final stop for the day was the Hirsshorn Museum which had an amazing collection of modern art (and a few that you literally had to squint at).

Despite having sore feet and feeling drained we decided a bit more emotional draining via rom-com was needed. Specifically, via the film Me Before You. Georgie cried, I cried, we were a mess, but it was a great, relaxing (??) way to end a full-on day. Safe to say we slept like logs that night before our final full day in DC.

Anyone been to Washington DC before? I’d love to know your favourite places to visit, eat or stay. Let me know in the comments!

 

Food Photo Friday #34: Lunch @ Gerome

Food: (featured above) Roasted cauliflower and oysters/ Consumed at: Gerome, Parnell, Auckland / Date: May 2017.

There are definitely a lot of perks to my job, and one of them is going to media and PR events where many times you’re treated to a delicious meal while you learn about the latest beauty products, important news, or new innovations.

This time in particular we had a PR event at the newly opened Gerome in Parnell, housed in the same building that the famous Iguacu used to be. I was instantly impressed by the classiness of the place. Plush seats downstairs and a nice and open, loft-like space upstairs. We were treated to a delicious cocktail on arrival, from memory mine was a bright turquoise margarita that had caught my eye as soon as I’d seen it.

Next came the presentation (which was really interesting by the way, it was about gems and I definitely walked away with a whole lot of newfound knowledge – and a very full tummy,) which took place while we ate. And man, the food just kept coming and coming.

We were first treated to a platter of breads and dips – “buttermilk pita bread, taramasalata, greek fava & capers, house olives, sumac” to be exact, and plates of fresh oysters. The taramasalata was absolutely amazing. Everyone commented on how freaking delicious it was.

Next came a very interesting, green and pink dish which I soon discovered was a kind of avocado mousse on top of salmon. Not the weirdest ingredients to put together, but the flavours (due to the sauces and ingredients used in the mousse and tossed with the salmon,) were very different to what you’d expect. I can’t seem to find it on the menu – it was definitely an interesting combination of flavours and textures, that’s for sure.

Also brought out with the mystery dish was probably my favourite of the day, (with the exception of the exceptional taramasalata,) the roasted cauliflower. It was nicely roasted and sprinkled with capers and pomegranate seeds and drizzled with a sour cream vinaigrette. So so good!

Another highlight was the seared saganaki (a Greek cheese) with peppered figs and northland honey. The combination of the saltiness of the saganaki and the sweetness of the figs and honey was divine, and the contrast of textures from the soft and juicy figs to the firm cheese was a winning combo.

There’s so many other delicious sounding dishes on the menu that I’d love to try, so I would love to go back! I think I’d definitely order the cauliflower dish and saganaki dish again and the platter of breads and dips, just for that delicious taramasalata.

Have you been to Gerome or want to visit? Let me know in the comments what you thought of it, or what dishes you can’t wait to try!

 

Day on the Mall | Washington DC Day 2

Day two in the capital saw us visiting the White House, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial just to name a few. If you haven’t already, you can check out Day 1 here.

I’d like to say we woke bright and early to make the most of the day, but that would be a lie. Instead, we left the hotel closer to lunch time and made our way to the mall (no, not the National Mall, that would come later, but an actual shopping centre). Window-shopping for a wee bit we made our way down to the Monument’s Reflecting Pool, the scene from Forrest Gump playing in my head. By this time the hot summer sun was already beating down on us, but we persevered.

 

We slowly made our way from the Monument end of the pool, up to the Lincoln Memorial, where I was weirdly more interested in the ceiling – don’t ask. It was an amazing view from inside the memorial looking down across the pool and to the towering Monument in the distance. Lots of photographs were taken.

 

In search for food we found ourselves at the George Washington University Campus, which was actually very pretty. There were a lot of really lovely townhouses and hipster cafes around the campus. Despite this, being the basic bitches that we are, we headed to Starbucks. Wifi had been very patchy at the hotel so we needed a good internet fix for an hour or two. Armed with a sandwich, coffee AND a smoothie, we were sorted.

Wanting to see the sunset from the Lincoln Memorial (I’d recommend it,) we strolled back down slowly to National Mall. We spent the rest of the late afternoon people watching (we witnessed an engagement just a few metres in front of us,) and then watched the beautiful sunset.

We’d planned to head out to a restaurant for dinner in Bloomingdale, but after a quick look around, everything looked very busy, so it was back to Whole Foods for us (why do these not exist in New Zealand?) and resting up for a busy day of being culture vultures at some of the Smithsonians the following day.

Anyone been to Washington DC before? I’d love to know your favourite places to visit, eat or stay. Let me know in the comments!

The first taste of DC | Washington DC Day 1

This time last year I was finishing off my USA trip (in NYC to be exact,) and getting ready to settle back down to the realities of job hunting at home, here in New Zealand.

Naturally I’ve decided this is the perfect time to heighten my thirst for travel by re-living the past (read: I’m terrible at actually writing these blogs in a timely manner, so a one-year throwback is just an excuse to make it look like this was planned all along). So on that note, here’s what I was up to a year ago…

DAY ONE:

Up before the crack of dawn, I farewelled by apartment and housemates at Chatham (one of the four complexes you can stay at while working at Disney World,) goodbye. It was a teary one, that’s for sure, but I also knew that these were people I would see again, and no doubt very soon. (I was right by the way, about six months later I’d seen 5/7 of them, so I haven’t done too badly.)

Onto a plane Georgie and I hopped, headed for the capital of the USA, Washington DC.

We’d booked a shuttle (Super Shuttle is my best friend,) to pick us up from the airport which would then take us to our hotel. We got in before our check-in time, so dropped off our bags and decided to take a wander and familiarise ourselves with our new surroundings.

Our hotel, The District Hotel, was in the uber cool area of Bloomingdale. The small neighbourhood was lined with trees and adorable Victorian-style townhouses (which have even featured in the opening credits of House of Cards). Rainbow flags blew in the breeze outside every shop, restaurant and café we passed (I don’t know if this was a direct reaction in support and solidarity for the victims of the horrific Pulse night club shooting that had occurred in Orlando just days before I left, but I don’t doubt the same flags would be flying loud and proud all-year round). It was a fairly quiet area during the day, but there was an underlying buzz about the place.

While the majority of important and touristy landmarks and activities (think National Mall and Capitol Hill), were a decent half hour walk from the hotel, we found, over the coming days, that we enjoyed the walk as much as we enjoyed checking out the destination and with majority of the walk being fairly flat (something you don’t have the leisure of being from volcanic city, Auckland) there were no complaints from us.

Tummies rumbling, we stumbled across a place called Rice Bar that served create-your-own bibimbap (weirdly, the first time I’ve actually tried bibimbap ­– time to go to Korea?? I think yes). Bellies satisfied, we got our wander back on, slowly making our way to Lafayette Square. On the way we came across Renwick Gallery, where we popped in for a good look around and a lie down (see the last photo, below).

After a fleeting look at the White House (we’d be back), we headed back to our hotel to check-in. We discovered a Whole Foods a few blocks up from us, (score!) so scurried up there for some cheap (but yummy) dinner to take back to the hotel for an early night so we could chill and plan out our next three days in Washington DC.

Anyone been to Washington DC before? I’d love to know your favourite places to visit, eat or stay. Let me know in the comments! 

Busing around Los Angeles | Vlog

Last month you may have spied my blog post about my first full day in Los Angeles and now I have a lil vlog to accompany it.

I was uhm-ing and ahh-ing about uploading this, as I’m slightly self-conscious/ wasn’t particularly feelin’ myself this day haha, but in the end, because my camera stuffed up and I have no footage of my time at Disney, I thought I’d make up for it with everything I filmed from Los Angeles. So here you go: Enjoy. And definitely check out my blog post about this all for a more in-depth run down.

 

1 Year Since Walt Disney World

It is absolutely mental to think that it has been exactly ONE year since I landed in Orlando, Florida to begin my unforgettable six month adventure working for Walt Disney World.

I’ve gushed endlessly about how amazing my time there was so I won’t say much more. But what I will do is share a few of my Disney World highlights with you, thanks to some help from my ‘appy mate Instagram. If you have any questions about the Disney College Program don’t hesitate to drop a comment down below or get in contact with me directly! I’d love to help! Warning: This may take a wee while to load!

JANUARY

Chillin' (literally) with Scar and the hyenas at our resort 🦁

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

Yup, exactly one year ago I landed in Orlando and hung out with Scar and the hyenas at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort! I stayed in one of the Little Mermaid Rooms.

CS 13201 ✌🏾️

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

First night with all the Kiwi and Aussie roommates at our CP apartment in Chatham Square.

Yesterday we braved the rain to explore the new workplace 🐭😍

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

It may have been pouring down with rain but THIS WAS THE DAY OF OUR TRADITIONS AND ALSO OUR FIRST DAY AT MAGIC KINGDOM. Can you tell that we were excited?!

 

FEBRUARY

Cutest photo ever ❤️🐭

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

We met Minnie Mouse for the first time at Hollywood Studios and she was the cutest.

Sweet day eating around the world before work today ☀️🍃

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

My first time exploring my home park: Epcot, just chilling in Germany 😉

*fist bump* "Da-la-la-la-la"

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

Also paid a cheeky visit to Baymax.

Spent Valentine's Day with this Scottish babe 🌹🐻

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

Can never get enough of that accent, aye.

Doing the "in the mood for food" dance with our new friends 🍎

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

Just having a wee dance with Pooh Bear, Tigger and Rabbit to celebrate Easter.

Fab first night out in Downtown Orlando with these lovely ladies 💃🏽💃🏽

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

Left the Disney bubble for a bit of fun in Downton Orlando.

You've got a friend in me 🌠

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

Meeting new friends with these friends was the best.

 

MARCH

🐍🐢🌵

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

This green army man kept stalking us so we asked if he wanted a photo haha.

Before beginning our drink around the world… 🍹

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

My first legal drink in the USA – drinking around the world for my 21st birthday.

And after… 🍻😂

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

And this was the rather blurry aftermath.

🍾🍸Belated birthday night out 🍸🍾

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

Russell and Dugg are the cutest! @typhph 🐶🌲

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

I finally made it to Animal Kingdom… it only took me about 2 months.

That weekly trek to frogs 🐸💃🏽🍸

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

The start of a weekly tradition.

 

APRIL

The Epcot CP Park Greeters crew, minus a few. 💎

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

When it's hot af but Christian's casually sippin' on that hot chocolate like "mate, what of it?" 💁🏽 #disneycp 💦☀️

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

My beautiful Epcot family.

La vie en rose 🎀 🇫🇷

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

The Flower and Garden festival at Epcot also had A+ food and drink. Exhibit A.

 

MAY

Graduated from my Disney College Program with these lovely ladies 🎓 #disneycp

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

I graduated from my DCP with my beautiful roomies and got a pic with the boss and his Mrs for proof.

Gaston never drops his game.

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

 

JUNE

The Puerto Rican fam x Anya 💛🇳🇿🇵🇷 #throwbackthursday

A post shared by Anya Truong-George 🥑 (@anya_linh) on

With one a few weeks left and so many people already gone I was really missing everyone already.

My last day at work. Heartbroken but grateful for one of the best experiences I could’ve ever asked for!

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles by bus: Hollywood and Beverly Hills

My first full day in Los Angeles had me busing around Hollywood and Beverly Hills with stop-offs at cool places like the LACMA and The Grove and we also caught our first glimpse of a Hollywood celeb or two!

The Bus

Waking up bright and early after a good sleep, my anticipation rose as me and my Aussie mate discussed our plans for our first full day in LA (the first of just two). Carless, (neither of us were game enough to brave driving the LA roads,) we opted to scope out the area by bus. One of the main stops for the Starline Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off bus was just a ten minute walk up Hollywood Boulevard from our hostel (Banana Bungalows Hollywood), and after a quick stop in Starbucks for a much needed coffee and bite to eat, we crossed the road to the Pantages Theatre to hop on the bus.

There are multiple ticket options for the Hop On Hop Off bus which are valid within different time slots; 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours. There are also 6 different routes around LA that you can take, each with on-going commentary in a handful of languages that fill in you in with interesting facts and information about notable places you drive past and stops for you to hop off at. We initially bought the 48 hour pass which we then decided to extend to 72 hours, on our last day (I may write a pros and cons blog post about taking the sightseeing bus on a later date).  For our first day we wanted to travel on the Red Route (approx. 2 hours), which included stops at the Dolby Theatre, Chateau Marmont, Santa Monica Blvd, Rodeo Drive, The Grove and the LACMA.

The first stop was the Dolby Theatre, which just happened to be holding a very special ceremony for a very special someone – LL Cool J ring any bells?! Yup, our first day out in LA and we spotted LL Cool J getting his hand print down on the Walk of Fame and also saw none other than Queen Latifah getting chased down Hollywood Boulevard by a pack of hungry paparazzo. For a girl from little ‘ol New Zealand, this was pretty surreal! (Check out my upcoming vlog to see the blurry footage haha).

Millions of Milkshakes

Our first hop off was to visit Millions of Milkshakes to grab just that, a milkshake. Endorsed over the years by a stream of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Pamela Andersen, it’s a create-your-own milkshake heaven, which is now unfortunately no more! After being open since 2008, the store closed it’s doors at the end of last year. So unfortunately you won’t be able to pop in for a milkshake anymore. Sad face. Plus side? They were pretty pricey!

The LACMA

It was then back on the bus for us, with milkshake in hand as we cruised through the streets of Beverly Hills and dreamily peering through shop windows of all the beautiful stores on Rodeo Drive, housed with items we could never afford. We hopped off at the the Farmers Market but after a quick look around decided we wanted to see the lamp post art installation at the LACMA (Los Angeles Country Museum of Art) (hello, every romantic film based in LA). So we trudged back the museum to have a squiz and take a few photos.

A big regret of mine was not actually going inside LACMA to have a look at the art. I love museums and art galleries and I know that many friends get frustrated at me because I spend too much time looking at everything, it’s one of my favourite things to do while travelling (just try stop me every time I go to Paris, you can’t). I’m not too sure my travel buddy was too keen to go in though, and at the time it was getting late and we wanted to see The Grove before it got too dark. So after a few snaps we walked back to The Grove to check out the shopping area I had heard so much about and seen many a vlog of.

The Grove

We made it to The Grove in the late afternoon, where a cool January breeze had picked up – a relief after a fairly warm day. We wandered through all the shops (Topshop was a must for me,) including my first peek at an American Girl Store and I’m not going to lie, I was a little creeped out, but that’s just me. We satisfied our sweet tooth with a trip to Dylan’s Candy Bar and then headed over to the Farmer’s Market to fill our tummies. I grabbed an impressive looking and great tasting hot dog from the food marketplace area.

We finished eating, headed over to Trader Joe’s to buy snacks for the following day and then waited for the next bus to take us home-bound. We drove down Melrose Ave by night and decided to get off the bus by the Chinese Theatre to check out the atmosphere at night. We also checked out Ghirardelli’s for some chocolate and browsed some of the stores for late night shopping.

With hungry tummies we headed back down Hollywood Boulevard towards our hostel, stopping in a cute little Japanese restaurant for dinner (and trying to figure out the whole tipping business). It was on our way home from dinner that we spotted our next celebrity. None other than Aussie guy, Luke Hemmings from the band 5 Seconds of Summer, who was paying a visit to the famous Fonda Theatre, just up the road from our hostel.

🎈🎉

A post shared by Luke Hemmings (@lukehemmings) on

Yeah. That guy. Haha.

Feeling exhausted from our big day out we headed back to our room to rest up for another early start the following day!

READ: My flight from Auckland to LA 

WATCH: My flight from Auckland to LA

Flying to Los Angeles | Vlog

At the beginning of the week I posted a blog post giving a quick run down of my flight from Auckland to Los Angeles and now I have a vlog to accompany it.

It’s mostly just a collation of footage of me in the plane and bus, but there will be a couple more in-depth vlogs of my few days in Los Angeles coming up soon. In the meantime check this one down below and be sure to check out some of my other vlogs during my time in Europe.