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Tim Foolery

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Tag Archives: International

Need Advice: Argentina Trip

Each year, we travel somewhere for Thanksgiving.  We find it a great time to leave the country as no one is traveling for business that week and most Americans are traveling domestically.  We’ve traveled to Ireland, Mexico City, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Colorado, and Oregon for Thanksgiving.  This year, we are heading south to Argentina.  This will be my first visit to the country, while it will be Mike’s second.

Thanksgiving in Argentina

Thanksgiving in Mendoza, where to go?

So far, we’ve book airfare down to and back from Argentina as well as flights inside the country.  We’ve chosen our cities to visit and the hotels in which to stay.  We’ll be staying in Cordoba, Mendoza and finally a few days in Buenos Aires.  I’ve only made reservations for one meal while we are there too – our final night in Buenos Aires, we are hitting a lovely fine dining restaurant as we celebrate Thanksgiving.

I need your help though.  I’m looking for advice from travelers and locals who can tell us great places to eat and wineries to visit.  Frequent readers know that I love a good bike tour, so any recommendations on who to ride while while in Argentina, let me know.

What is the one thing you wish you had done while you were in Argentina?  What about the one thing you wish you hadn’t done?

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Michelin Dining – No Really, They Have a Star!

Casual dining in Singapore is truly defined by the Hawker Stall. These Singapore equivalent of a food court in the mall are found throughout the city. You can get everything from grilled meats, noodle dishes, seafood and more. Singapore is also home to two Michelin Starred Hawker Stalls.

These stalls offer the cheapest Michelin starred meals on the planet. Generally, Singapore is a pretty expensive city, but you can easily eat some amazing food for less than $5USD each meal.

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

We visited both Michelin Starred Hawker Stalls on my 68 hours on the ground. The first was immediately after the great bike tour. I swung by Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle, in Chinatown. These guys are known for the ubiquitous dish of Chicken and Rice. You are probably thinking how can a simple chicken and rice dish be 1) the national dish of Singapore and 2) earn a Michelin Star. Well, it isn’t because of the service or the ambiance, that’s for sure.

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

Exterior of Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

Menu at Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

Interior of Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

This place looked like a fast food joint in a mall. I arrived around 13h45 after the lunch rush and still waited in line for 30 minutes. I ordered the Chicken and Rice and a beer. The beer blew the budget as I spent S$10 on this meal.  The dish was perfectly fine. Nicely cooked and mildly seasoned. I was lost as to how this was so highly rated. Then I saw the condiments. Simple sauces and peppers. Adding these to the meal was phenomenal. Loads of flavor, a little spice really kicked up the dish. I loved it.

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

Chicken and Rice from Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

The second Michelin Starred Restaurant we visited was Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. It was right near the bike tour shop too. Arriving around 14h00, we didn’t miss the line today. We waited for nearly an hour in the very hot Hawker area. Most of the fans were not working either.

Michelin Starred Hawker Stalls - Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle – Single Star Michelin Restaurant

Neighboring Hawker Stall of Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

Most of the neighboring stalls were quiet.

Pork noodle was the famous dish here, so of course that was our selection. We grabbed a beer while we waited in line and another once we had our food. We loaded the dish with all the recommended condiments and paid S$7 per person.

The tables were pretty full, but we lucked out and snagged a four-top the second we had our food in hand.

Neighboring Hawker Stall of Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

Full tables – everyone enjoying Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

Kitchen views at Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

The kitchen hard at work Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

The pork noodle was just the perfect dish. Spicy, salty and savory flavors made me want to order a second dish, but I couldn’t handle the line.

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle

Our pork noodle and soup was totally worth the wait.

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle - Close up

Noodle Close Up – It was delicious!

So, we managed to knock a couple of things off our Singapore must-do list. Enjoying street food and hitting Michelin Rated Restaurant.  Have you visited either of these Michelin Starred Hawker Stalls?  Did you think the food was worth the wait?  What other places would you recommend who want great food, but can’t handle the 30-60+ minute wait for it?

Singapore Hawker Stalls

When people talk of Singapore, you’ll often hear of the Singapore Hawker Stalls. These casual dining shops are all over the city.  While I wouldn’t call this street food, per se, it’s pretty damn close.  When I think of street food, I often think of less permanent establishments.  These Hawker Stalls are home to some of the best food I’ve had while traveling.  These are really the best place to eat if you are traveling on a tight budget too, as most of the meals cost me less than S$10 ($7USD) and that often included a beer too.

After my bike tour with Let’s Go Singapore, I stopped off and had Singapore’s national dish – Chicken and Rice.  This simple dish, was pretty bland at first, then I added the various condiments and it really kicked the flavor up.  At first, it seemed like something you’d get while in hospital, but then it was so flavorful. I really wished I had a chance to grab another portion later on.

Hawker Stall Market

Telok Ayer Market

Immediately next to the SO Sofitel Singapore was the Lau Pa Sat Market (a/k/a Telok Ayer Market).  This world famous market is home to more than two dozen stalls with a ton of seating.  The street closes at 19h00 and fills with tables.  We ate here our second night in Singapore – dining outside and getting satay from Stall 7 & 8 “Best Satay Stand”.  It really was great satay.  We had both chicken with peanut sauce and prawns.  Utterly delectable.

Grilled Prawns

Grilled Prawns

Grilled Prawns

Grilled Prawns

When visiting Singapore, be sure to visit the Lau Pa Sat Market (Telok Ayer Market), the sights, sounds and smells alone are worth the visit.  The food is amazing and the prices cannot be beat.

What are your favorite places to grab a bite when in Singapore? Do you steer clear of Hawker Stalls?

Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit

I love Airline Amenity Kits.  A Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit made it’s way to me – after some issues on Austrian Airlines forced a flight change.  Amenity Kits are really hit or miss nowadays.  You’ve got airlines like EVA and Thai who still offer the beautiful Rimowa kits and then you’ve got United who will sometimes provide a tin.  The sign of a good amenity kit for me is two fold: 1) The design itself and it’s reusability and 2) The contents and their immediate usefulness.

The Kit

I love to reuse an amenity kit.  Currently, I’m using a simple Lufthansa Business Class kit to house my various cables while traveling.  It’s compact, sturdy and strong.  The current First Class Amenity Kit is quite a bit larger and is in a strange quasi-heart shape.  The two-toned color looks good at day one, but I’m sure with regular use, the light suede will really start to show the wear.

 

Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit

The quasi-heart shaped First Class Amenity Kit.

As you can see there is a folding snap in addition to the proper zip closure.  The flap appears to be just decorative, which I don’t care for.  It is just another piece to get in my way or get damaged.  It does add a nice aesthetic though.

Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit

Sunburst detail on the flap.

The Contents

Like any good amenity kit – either in First Class or Business Class, I think you’ve got to have an eye mask, ear plugs and socks.  Those are the absolute bare minimums, otherwise it’s just a complete waste.  This kit included those items, of course, and they were quite nice.  The eye mask included a velcro adjustable strap and the mask itself was quite broad, easily covering the area around my eyes.  The earplugs were pretty standard, but they came in a great little carrying case.  I think this case was pretty useless, but I thought it really upped the presentation.  The socks were traditional thin airline socks, but they were much longer than normal – traditional sock size.

In addition to the minimum requirements, this kit also included a plastic shoe horn, a compact brush and la prairie moisturizing creams.  The brush isn’t at all useful for me (have you see a recent picture??), but I love the shoe horn – I keep one in each of my suitcases, backpacks and briefcases.  They are strong, compact and lightweight – you can always use a shoe horn.  The moisturizing creams were pretty creamy and smelled fresh, but they took a while to properly absorb into your skin.  I felt a little greasy.  Nice effort – use these before you pull down your eye mask and take a nap.

Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit

The contents of the kit – even tied so elegantly with ribbon.

Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit

The kit, fully unpacked.

Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit

The interior of the heart-shaped amenity kit

The Results

The contents were spot on for in-flight use, but the kit itself missed the mark for reuse.  It was a bit too big for what I would use it for, plus that extra flap just frustrated me.  After a few weeks of traveling, I am confident that the light brown suede would look a bit dingy.  So unbecoming of a lovely First Class Amenity Kit.

What do you think of this kit?  Do you like to reuse the Amenity Kits you get whilst traveling or do you leave them behind?  What other purposes do you task you kits with?

Separate Vacation From Your Spouse?

Do you ever take a separate vacation from your spouse?  I’ve only taken one proper vacation without my spouse.  My job doesn’t afford me much travel options between Thanksgiving and March, but there is a sweet spot in January that I can get away for a long weekend.  Years ago, my spouse had to be in Brazil during this sweet spot – and the airfare to Brazil was prohibitively expensive.  I’m talking $5,000USD in economy for a long weekend.  No way.  That year, I decided to take a long weekend and visit Stockholm.  I struggled on that trip.

Other than my quasi-bachelor party to Hong Kong, I have not taken another proper vacation without him.  2019 leads us to an opportunity where we will both be vacationing separately.  He has always wanted to raft the Grand Canyon – the whole thing.  This trip is more than two weeks long and is nearly one of the farthest from something I’d want to do.  The idea of two weeks of camping, hiking and rafting just doesn’t appeal to me.  I wouldn’t ever stop him from going, but wild dogs couldn’t drag me to this trip.

Thai Airways First Class

Mike and I taking a break from the movie we were watching to pose for photos during caviar service.

He booked his trip and now that means I’ve got a couple weeks of vacation that I need use without him.  I’ve got a couple of ideas in mind, but wanted to see what you do?  Do you regularly take vacations without your significant other?  I’m not talking about work trips either – let’s keep it to proper vacations.  Do you take a separate vacation from them? How do you decide where to go?  Why do you not travel together?  Is it a regular thing?