Bay Area Vacation: In-N-Out Burger

I did not count on driving that far. On the map, Yosemite to Santa Clara does look near and I thought it would be Interstate road conditions all the way. A big part of the trip are on windy, narrow roads until I get to the valley.


Dang … California sure had so many fruit plantations. It was delightful driving through so many fruit stops. We stopped at one place to get some strawberries. The strawberries looked so good — big and bright red. They are very good and cheap too. We asked the guy at the stall to wash a basket for us to eat in the car but he said it’s already cleaned. We did not trust him. Since we had so much bottled water from the road trip to Death Valley, we gave it a thorough rinse before we set on our way.

Two years ago when we had our Disneyland vacation, we noticed a lot of burger joints called In-N-Out. We did not try any that time and so made it a point to drop by one … one more food place to blog about, you see.

In-N-Out is basically a California burger place. Although they do not have as many outlets like McDonalds, Wendy’s, DQ, etc, they are very popular among Californians.


What we like is their menu — it is so simple. They have only three, as I recall. There is the Cheeseburger and the Hamburger … and then there is the Double-Double. Off hand, you would know what burger size you want. You know, in McD’s, it’s kind of confusing sometimes making the difference between a BigMac, Big Xtra, Quarter Pounders and what nots. See that menu above the cashier’s head? Well, the menu is that simple. I like it.

The major difference in In-N-Out is their focus on freshness. The burgers and fries are made to order. So, you see a bit of a wait while they prepare your order.

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Summer Vacation 2007: McDonalds Breakfast in Bellingham

Here it is everyone … our new series of our summer vacation this year. For the next few weeks, we will be blogging about our travel, and food adventures in our journey around Nevada and North California.


We started off very early in the morning. It was 5AM when we started off from Vancouver and headed to the Bellingham, WA International Airport to catch a flight to Las Vegas — our first destination.


There were just six cars ahead of us at the border crossing at Peace Arch. On our last crossing a few weeks ago, it took us 45 minutes to cross the border. This is kind of spooky … immediately after we passed our passports to the immigration officer, he actually knew the name of the hotel that we are staying in and the number of days we have bookings for! The only way he would have know it is that they have access to Expedia’s records … or maybe it was a lucky guess.

I asked how he knew … and he told us that he works for the US government and the US government knows everything. He gave us a wink and sent us our way. What do you think? Was that a lucky guess or he actually have records like that.


We couldn’t think of anywhere else other than the McDonalds nearby the airport that is opened before 6AM. We had decided to skip lunch and then hit the Las Vegas buffet for Lunch-Dinner.

Now, for Breakfast-Lunch you call it Brunch. What do you call Lunch-Dinner? Lunchner? Dunch? Dinch? LOL!


It was just standard fare we had … Suanne and I shared a Big Breakfast … or at least I think it was the Big Breakfast. It consists of some scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage and biscuits. I’ve never knew why they call the patty like thingy a sausage. Shouldn’t sausages be long?


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Tim Hortons on No. 3 Road

It sure was a scorcher the past few days here in Vancouver. I guess I shouldn’t complain because it’s still less than 30 Celsius. By this time tomorrow, am gonna be in Vegas which hit 47 Celsius!! Gosh! I sure picked a lousy time to be in Vegas. What more, am gonna drive thru the Death Valley from Vegas to Yosemite. I am having second thoughts of that right now.

Back to Vancouver, it’s so freaking hot, we decided to pop over to Timmy Ho for a cup of our favourite iced cap. We went to the one on No 3 Road in Richmond. As you can see below, the Skytrain Canada line construction had reached the Aberdeen station now. Traffic had been a nightmare nowadays here.


Did you know that there are more Tim Hortons’ outlets in Canada than Mickey D? Yup, kind of hard to believe it but it’s true. I believe that McD still had more outlets here in BC but in the east, Timmy Ho reign supreme.

We simply love Timmy Ho’s Iced Cap … more than the other iced cappuccino from other places like Starbucks, and Second Cup. This came in three sizes.


They had a new iced cap on the menu. The Iced Cap Supreme is available in four flavours: Butter Caramel, French Vanilla, Hazelnut and new Strawberry Shortcake. I chose the Butter Caramel.

I remember reading in the papers comparing Tim Hortons’ Iced Cap with Starbuck’s Frap, Dairy Queen’s Chillate and 7-Eleven’s Slurpucino … and Tim Hortons’ won hands down in number of calories. I can’t recall exactly what it was but it seems something like 1000 … give or take 500. 🙂

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Ikea Restaurant & Cafe

We blogged about Ikea’s $1 breakfast here. This time, I’m going to blog about other menu items offered by Ikea Restaurant & Cafe.

Polly, Ching Ching and I brought our kids to the Zone for bowling during the spring break. After bowling, we went to Ikea Restaurant & Cafe for a late lunch. The restaurant is always busy as usual.

Nanzaro and I shared the Swedish Meat Balls combo which consist of 10 Swedish meatballs served with boiled potatoes, cream sauce and lingoberry jam.


The combo also comes with a kind of like Minestrone soup. This combo costs less than $6 (cant recall the exact price).

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London Series: Eurostar from London to Paris

I thought I had everything planned out for the day. It’s St Paddy’s day and I had planned to go watch the parade in London before taking the EuroStar to Paris in late afternoon.

However, the day before I was supposed to leave for Paris I heard on the news that there was a fire inside the Eurostar tunnel and that the tunnel had been closed for at least 24 hours. Initially, I was not concerned because the tunnel was supposed to be opened at 4pm while my reservation is not until 6:30pm. Well, it turned out that to be a day wasted in waiting … and it just had to happen to me!

When I got to the Waterloo Station, I can see that this is gonna be a long day. There was already a huge crowd and the Eurostar officials were trying their best to attend to each and every customer. What they told me that despite me having a confirmed reservation, they will NOT honour it — it will be a first come first serve and to add to the uncertainty, they refuse to say when the service will resume or if Eurostar will even operate on that day.

First, I tried to find an alternative way to get to Paris. There were no flights between London and Paris. Every flight was booked solid — I am not surprised at all. I thought I just grab a bite while trying to work out an alternative way. I went to Burger King to get a sandwich.


I was not particularly hungry but remember how thirsty and tired I was. I had been lugging my luggage all the way from Heathrow for about 3 hrs now. This gave me a chance to relax.

My other alternative was to take the train and ferry but I could not get real help at all from the Information counter and ticketing office. Basically they told me to get a train to Dover and then a ferry to Calais but cannot tell me how to get to Paris. I know it must have been a frustrating day for them too because of the crowd but hey, they are supposed to be there to help. I was really disappointed with them.

I also took the tube to another station to try to get on a coach. Tough luck as the earliest coach is not leaving until after 11pm and the journey takes 7 hrs! No siree … I went back to Eurostar to take my chances.


By the time I got back to the Waterloo Station at 3pm, the queue had already stretched all the way to outside the station on the overpass. There must have been hundreds of people already ahead of me.


I was on the queue for almost 1.5 hours as it slowly inched the way back into the station.

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London Series: A Night Out at the Theatres

Thursday … last day of training and what that means is the training is over and my real vacation starts! The class ended earlier than normal at 4pm and so, I decided that I’ll go to the city and catch a theater show.

I had planned to watch Les Miserable while I was in London. A few days prior, it was advertised on that it costs 29 GBP for the show PLUS a dinner at Planet Hollywood. I never got down to the place to book. By Thursday, the 29 GBP deal was no longer available.

So I went to Leicester Square to get the ticket. I thought that the best way to get a ticket would be to go to the the “tkts” booth. But when I got to Leicester Square, I saw a lot of places selling tickets too. Anyway, not knowing how all these work, I thought I better get it from the “official” source. The price for Les Miserable had increased to 40GBP … and without dinner too.

Not wanting to spend so much money for a show, I went for a show called Jump. That one costs only 19 GBP.


I was quite awed by the whole place. When Mama Mia came to Vancouver to perform about two or three years ago, Suanne and I caught that show. We enjoyed that show a lot and told ourselves we should catch these shows more often. Here, in and around Leicester Square there are 60 such show! The place was teeming with people and it is not even the weekend.


The show is at the Peacock Theater which was quite a walk from Leicester Square. I had a lot of time. Went looking for food and found a place called Caffe Amici.


The place is really busy. I guess there are some who are there waiting for the show to start. They basically serves coffee, sandwiches and pasta.


I had the Spaghetti Bolognese (minced meat, tomato and herbs). It’s “only” 5.50 GBP.

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London Series: Breakfast at McDonalds

After a couple of mornings of breakfasts at the Hotel’s Al Dente Cafe, I decided to take a 5 minutes walk down the street to the McDonalds for a change. I could not see any other food outlet or restaurants serving breakfasts than this Golden Arches outlet.


I had the very familiar Bacon & Egg McMuffin meal. Like the McMuffin at home, this included the sandwich, a coffee and a hash brown. It’s 2.40 GBP … definitely much cheaper than the 19.00 GBP for the breakfasts at the hotel.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: ABC in Suria KLCC

Sorry about this folks. I just realized that I had not blogged about food for the past three days. OK, here it is … am slowly going back to food starting with a small food review today and back to full food blog tomorrow. He he he … Suanne is enjoying herself the past 2 weeks because she did not have to post anything until my series on my Singapore-Malaysia trip is completed. Suanne had a lot of recipes piled up. Bear with me — I think I have about 1 week of blog materials left on my trip. Anyway, back to the blog for today …

At the base of the Petronas Twin Towers is a shopping complex called the Suria KLCC. The Suria KLCC is perhaps the most upscale shopping complex in KL. There are a total of 6 levels which each level laid out in it’s own distinctive style and character.


It was the Ramadan month when I was in KL and so the Suria KLCC was decked with Malay decorations. At the lower lobby were displays of Malay culture and cultural performances. There was a man playing the angklung which is a traditional Malay musical instrument made of bamboo.

This is the first time I see a 1-man angklung performance. I recall seeing angklung played by a large group of people, each playing an octave — very much like how musical bells are played.


Walking around the complex, I came across this sign below — PREMIUM paid toilet. Oh yeah, Malaysians called washrooms toilets. That is daylight robbery. In Canada, no one pays to use public washrooms but it is quite common in Malaysia to pay 20sen — but RM2.00 is too much.

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Singapore-Malaysia Trip: East Coast Lagoon Food Centre

I met up with Keng Choong, Chee Ming and Eng Keong one of the nights I was in Singapore. In my secondary school days, we always hangout together after school and were serving in the Boys Brigade for many years. We were close — we sat next to each other in class too. After secondary school, we each went our way — one went to the US to study, another went to Singapore. We had only met once in the past twenty years.

We have remarked how little each of us had changed. I was really glad to catch up with them and learning how successful they had become. Needless to say, we talked about the good old times in school, and the Boys Brigade.

We met at the East Coast Lagoon Food Centre. It’s a hawker centre where there are stalls serving a host of variety of cheap food. It was really hot and humid that night. I was so thirsty. I ordered a cup of iced cendol.


The shaved ice was refreshing and cooling. The ingredients consist of white coconut milk. thin worm-like pea flour noodles and palm sugar. In addition, they added red beans and jelly.


We ordered some traditional Malay satay to share.

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