Short trip to Orlando: Universal Studios and Seaworld

Hey everyone! It’s been a while that I haven’t blogged. Even though summer is over and my post was way past overdue, I still wanted to share my short trip to Orlando with my boyfriend during the Quebec day weekend.

DAY 1 – Revisiting Philadelphia

At around 7 am we left Montreal to Philadelphia for our lay over and arrived at around 9 am. We had about 11 hours there so we decided to visit the city again. We had another chance to visit downtown this time and go where our bus tour didn’t go when we went there a couple months ago(see my older post here when I went to Washington).

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We took the train Septa to downtown and turns out that we were in Chinatown. Starved as we were, we tried to find something decent to eat. We stopped at a café and beer resto and turns out that their food was served like a buffet. I was in awe of all the choices they had. We took a plate with General Tao chicken, chicken skewers, soft noodles with soya sauce, and some dumplings. The food was okay and some were not hot enough even if they were just putting out the food. It was expensive for one plate (about 14$USD) including a bottle of green tea and of course it was by the weight. It’s a place close to the Bloomingdale’s Outlet which I would not go back to.

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Chinatown
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Walking towards downtown

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Beer café place close to Bloomingdale’s Outlet

As we were still hungry, we found a bagel breakfast place named Manhattan Bagel. We took a bagel sandwich with bacon, cheddar cheese, and eggs. The bagel’s bread was really different. It was soft, less filling and seemed kinda fatty. Nevertheless, it was still very good. Anything with bacon is good.

After breakfast, we continued strolling in the city and went to a Nordstrom rack store. We didn’t find anything. We were both looking for shorts since I was wearing leggings and he was wearing jeans on a super hot and humid day. It was like 36 degrees and 100% humidity. A while later, we went to the Bloomingdale’s outlet. It had nothing interesting. It was weird having a Victoria’s Secret there, it made no sense compared to the less expensive shops they had. It didn’t have many shops and it was definitely not an outlet.

We continued walking in the city and by around 2 pm, we decided to have a sushi burrito in Chinatown (it was tasty and fresh), some curry fish balls and finished our meal with a bubble tea at VIVI bubble tea where we had previously gone on my first trip to Philadelphia. Then, we decide to go to the Spruce Harbour. It was really empty, not crowded at all. The little amusement park was even empty. We wished we went there during night time since there were some cool green and blue lights located in the hammocks zone to relax with music from the stage that they were preparing during the day.

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Burrito Sushi at Oishii Poke

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Subway exit
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Spruce harbour

As we walked back to downtown. It started to rain but not enough to get rid of the humidity. We finally found shorts in a Century 21 store. I got 2 dresses and a pair of shorts from Angie’s brand. I really love the bohemian style. We walked all day… I was already dead and exhausted since I only slept 2 and half hours the night we left. We stopped into a hotel again to refresh. Then we took the train back to Philadelphia’s airport and left to ORLANDO WOOHOO. We arrived at midnight in our hotel which is 12 mins walk from the Universal amusement park.

DAY 2 – Sea World and City Walk

We weren’t sure what we wanted to do on the first day in Orlando, so we decided to drive in the city in a convertible that we rented and looked for a place to eat in the Kissimmee area. We ate in a place called Chipotle. We took a bowl with rice, salad, diced beef, beans, spicy sauce, guacamole and sour cream. It was healthy and delicious.

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At Chipotle

After we wanted to see how Disney World looked, but turns out we can get in there unless you pay for the parking lot. We decided to go Seaworld instead since my boyfriend never saw or touch dolphins. What another hot and humid day ahhh. Once there, we went to the dolphins’ area and paid an additional 15$ each to meet the dolphins up close. Waited about 20 mins to actually see them and touch them. Got splashed big time by one of them. Felt more refreshed afterward ahaha. Then we saw a dolphin show, then a Shamu show and ended with a bubble pop show. It was nice and magical. We relaxed in the waiting area of a shark restaurant. Yes with real sharks in front of you. Too bad the restaurant was seafood only cuz we would have eaten there.

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After a little break, we went back to our hotel and prepared ourselves to go the City Walk to discover their nightlife. Apparently, it seemed to be the best nightlife that you could get over there which has huge entrance area before actually entering the Universal park. Plenty of lights everywhere that lit up very nicely the area. It was like an ideal nightlife on a little island that never ends with a perfect view of reflecting lights on the lake. It had a Hard Rock Café, a Chocolate Emporium, some clothes shops, nightclubs and some other restaurants.

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DAY 3 – Visiting Universal Studios

We took a buffet breakfast at TGI Friday’s which was about 2 mins away from our hotel. Then we headed to the Universal Park. We waited only about 20 mins to get in. Once in, we automatically walked towards the Harry Potter’s Dragon Alley.

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The Harry Potter Dragon Alley was so awesome. Everything looked so real like the movie. We tried their butter beer which had a lot of caramel flavor and sweetness to it. I personally didn’t like it since I don’t like things that are too sweet. We did the Gringotts roller coaster just like in the movie when Harry and his friends are going down the bank. It’s the best ride I ever had, it’s nothing like the La Ronde that we have in Montreal. It has 3D visuals, music, and sounds. It is much more entertaining than regular roller coasters. There’s one part where you go down and you are in total darkness for about 10 seconds which was bit scary but fun! We waited about an hour for the ride which is a bit too long. For a speed pass, it’s like 90$USD per person which is freaking expensive, so we decided to not get it.

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Dragon that actually throws fire

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A talking Gringott

After a while, we went to eat in the resto that looks exactly like the Poulard’s dining room, only much smaller. I chose wrongly for the food and ended up with lots of cheese(which I detest), bread, a salad and two cut fried whiskey boiled eggs.

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Then we took the Poudlard train with an hour of waiting to go the second Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade park. It was showing movie parts in the window frames of the train. It was quite hot in there, not much of air conditioning and no windows during a super hot day. When we arrived at Hogsmeade, it felt like winter due to the fake snow on the houses. We checked some stores and headed to the Poudlard castle. Then it started to rain like crazy with thunderstorms. Everyone rushed to the roller coaster in the castle and it was chaos. It was hard to get a locker to put our stuff in it because we were all crammed like sardines.

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It took almost 2 hours to finally ride the roller coaster. When we finally reached into the insides of the castle, plenty of frames were hanging on the walls. Some were still and some were talking framed images just like in the movie. The ride was crazy. We had to walk fast to sit on the ride because the floor was moving. We were sat in a closed bench that looks like an old church bench. The ride gave me a headache because we were being shaken a lot, from all sides. At some point, I was afraid that I was going fall upside down.

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After the ride, we decided to walk back to the Dragon Alley. In the meantime, we saw some superheroes rides, the King Kong entrance and much more. Seeing the Dragon Alley at night, was totally different, mysterious and even a bit scary. We walked all around the Orlando park to check everything and ate in the Simpsons food court.

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We arrived at our hotel at around midnight super dead. Barely slept again to go back to Philadelphia, then Montreal.

We had an exhausting trip but it was fun. I would not go back to Universal Studios. We only did three rides which were plenty enough. The Harry Potter rides seemed the most decorated and fun to do, thus why we did them. It was so well done that it looks real for example the Gringott’s bank, fake marble looking and the building itself is all designed from scratch. It’s a great place for kids or anyone who wants to get involved with magic. You can cast a spell, point and stand at the right spot to make the water fall from a statue or move objects. And of course, you need to buy a magic wand(that costs about 50$USD made from special kind of wood…pretty expensive) to cast a spell.

If we had another day we would have gone to the Daytona Beach. We would have also visited some more of Orlando like the Eola park, the Millenia Premium Outlet, Orlando’s downtown and much more.

Here goes the end of my post. Hope you all enjoyed it. Have you ever been to the Universal Studios? How did you find it? Which one was your favorite ride?

Thanks for reading and have a great week 🙂

My 4 Day Road Trip to Washington D.C.

Hi everyone,

How have you been all? I’m good! My today’s post will be about what I did during my Easter break. Sorry, this post was long overdue, anyhow I still wanted to share my experience. I went on a 4-day road trip to Philadelphia, Washington, and Baltimore with Wonder Travel.

DAY 1

Once arrived in Philadelphia, we decided to go our own way, we didn’t want to go on a tour bus since we wanted to experience it first hand instead of just sightseeing. We were also tired of being seated. We’ve walked to their Chinatown. Their gate looked like ours in Montreal, except nicer since it looked renovated and shinier. It had more restaurants and the Chinatown area was more spread out. We ordered bubble teas at VIVI Bubble tea. The tapioca bubbles were really good. The flavor I had was decent for a black tea bubble tea. I would go back there simply for their bubbles. They were soft, honey taste like and not too chewy.

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One hour later, we had to go back the bus and head to a seafood buffet called Flaming Grill & Supreme Buffet. Our tour guide sold us on the crabs and snow crabs, but once tasted… it was meh… We only had one hour to eat which was not enough. Their ribs were good. The food overall was okay.

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Food from Flaming Grill & Supreme Buffet
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Leaving Philadelphia

DAY 2

After barely 6 hours of sleep, we went to Washington D.C. to visit the first cemetery made in the United States named the Arlington cemetery.  Not very exciting huh? It was although a very nice place except knowing that we were among the dead.  The place was huge and circular shaped. The areas were well maintained and clean. We saw about half of it, which is immensely enough. At the top of the hill, we could see the Washington monument from there. Lots of people were visiting it that day but it didn’t seem too overly crowded since it was a huge park.

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We were brought to the Smithsonian Museums a couple of hours after. I was interested in going there before leaving Montreal, but once there we were really tired of visiting buildings and we were starving like hell. We wanted to do locals stuff and go where local people eat and spend their time. The museums are huge and take up large street blocks. The area was weirdly constructed, no restaurant around the museums, only food trucks.

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We had to walk 30 mins to find a restaurant. We ate at a delicious place called Roti. They serve healthy and Mediterranean food. I had a grilled chicken pita with different types of veggies. I loved it. I wish there was a restaurant like that here in MTL. They even had fountain machines of different kinds of iced tea.

After that, we went shopping at Nordstrom Rack. They had great stuff cheaper than the Nordstrom. I found some Urban Decay makeup. The prices were really cheap. I didn’t get anything since I had enough of lipsticks. I had an eye for a Kate Spade little crossbody bag. It was 179.99$ USD instead of 299.99$USD. In Montreal, they would sell it at its regular price(299.99$CAD) even if it’s an older model. It was a pretty good bargain but I didn’t need it since I’m looking for something bigger.

We found the Chinatown in Washington yes! We thought there weren’t any since my friends looked online and didn’t find it. When we saw the Chinatown’s gate from far we totally got excited. We ate in a great Japanese restaurant called Momiji. I took their Bento box and it was tasty. Every part was good! Then, we went to the bar part of Daikaya Izakaya which is on the second floor. The first floor is ramen. I did not like my cocktail, it was super sour and strong. They even forgot my drink until I asked about it. The appetizers were okay, not wow. I tried the pork belly, the meat was very tender and soft but the sauce was very salty and was bitter due to the black beans inside. The grilled chicken wings were good.

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DAY 3

The next day we jumped on a boat to see Washington D.C. by the water but there wasn’t much to see. Seriously, no cityscapes like NYC. The Pentagon seen from far well it looks dull and flat. The only fun part was seeing tourists taking a bunch of selfies by the water side. Out of boredom, we did the same ahaahha.

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Thomas Jefferson Memorial
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Washington Monument
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The Pentagon

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After the boat ride, we went to see the Lincoln Memorial. Abraham Lincoln’s statue was really tall and impressive to see. The view from the top, inside the Lincoln Memorial, was grandiose. The view of the fountain with the Washington Tower was so peaceful and mesmerizing that I could stare at it for hours. A must see the scenery.

Not very long after, we went to visit the Jefferson Memorial. It was one of the specific spots to see cherry blossoms but there were only 3 trees left with flowers. We were all sad that they were gone since it was one of the main reason that we went to Washington.

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Washington Monument
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Lincoln Statue
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Washington Monument
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Lincoln Memorial
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Thomas Jefferson Memorial
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Thomas Jefferson Memorial
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Thomas Jefferson’s Statue
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Thomas Jefferson Memorial
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Inside of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial

After visiting all the memorials, we went to the Union Station for lunch. Me and my friends we all tried a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. It was really tasty.  I couldn’t finish half of it since I thought I would be hungrier. I would definitely want to try their other types of sandwiches since it was really good the one I had.

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One hour later, we left to go to Baltimore’s harbor. It seemed to be a nice place to be, people playing music outside. There was even a submarine that you could go in and see fishes underwater. There was also dragon-shaped boats which seemed fun. It had a lobster and crab restaurant that looked great to eat at. We tried to make the most of it within 30 mins of visiting. I wish we could have stayed longer. After getting back to our hotel, we wanted to go out on our last night before going to back to Montreal. We decided to go to a shisha place called the Maya Hookah Lounge. It was very well decorated for a lounge with nice couches. Great service and friendly. I was really pleased with their type of shisha. It had iced tubed handle that filters the smoke. It felt like i was smoking a vapor cigarettes because the smoke was clean unlike the ones in MTL. The MTL shisha systems leaves pieces and bits of ashes into the mouth once sucked which is unpleasant and annoys the throat. It makes you want to cough. A spot to go back to.

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DAY 4

On our last day in the states, we visited the West Point Military Academy before going back to Montreal. I expected it to be a normal big school but in fact, it was much much more bigger than I thought with many different departments. We had a guide explaining to us the history of the school and requirements of enlistment in the bus while rolling in the restricted area. They had 3 different churches: protestants, Catholics, and Jewish. We only visited the catholic one. It was really nice and patriotic. She explained to us that many wedding would happen a lot after graduation(4-year program). During lunch time, the students would only have 20 mins to eat. They would start and finish all at the same time to minimize the chit chats. We finished the tour by going to a park showing a part of the Hudson’s Bay which was really nice to see.  It was important to place during the first world war, it was vantage point to see enemies coming from above. A lot to learn from this place, I didn’t remember it all but I enjoyed it a lot. It was an interesting and enriched experience.

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Catholic church
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West Point Academy (the catholic church on top)

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Hudsons’ Bay river

I had a great time with my friends during my trip. I can’t wait to travel again.

Thanks for reading my long post and hope you all had a great easter break.

Zoé Dessert | Review

Hi everyone!

I’ve found a new popular dessert place from my friends that opened about 4 months ago, so i decided that it was my next place to visit. It is located in downtown Montreal on St. Mathieu street, where Nos Thés was previously situated.

Upon arrival, there was no free seated place for our group of 7 people. The waitress inquired the people next to a free table for 4 and came back to us saying that they were going to leave soon and that we can now sit at the free table until they leave so that we can also take their table.

The decor of the restaurant is simple and modern. From the entrance your eyes sits on the light bulbs attached to one another and twisted in almost a lettering shape hanged on one half of the brick wall. On the other half of the brick wall, it was decorated with plated New York photographs. The room is filled with small squared wooden tables with black contemporary funky chairs. The restaurant has a clean and fresh feel and was very welcoming. It was filled with people even on a rainy day. At the end of the room, there was a counter filled with aligned cute emoticon cushions which made the atmosphere very friendly. I saw people taking pictures with them which made me want to do the same thing and post it on Instagram.

To see pics of the place, check out Jeff on the Road’s webpage. There are really great pics!

They serve Hong Kong style cakes, ice creams, bubble teas and hot and cold beverages and special desserts. They even have a Tiramisu Potted Plant cake which is in a pot and looks literally like a plant. it can only be taken once you’ve ordered in advance. I took the most popular desserts which are the matcha layered cake and the egg puffs with ice cream. Both desserts were great. The matcha cake is preferably eaten with hot tea or a drink, since the top is dusted with matcha powder and makes the mouth dry. The cake itself is rather soft and a bit dense but easy to chew. I chose the black sesame ice cream to go with my egg-puffs dessert. I loved the egg puffs which were crunchy and soft, the sesame ice cream was okay and a bit too sweet for me. The ice cream was semi hard. I personally prefer soft ice cream. The one thing that i didn’t like was the fact it had those multi coloured cake sprinkles onto the ice cream, which i hated in my mouth which made me enjoy less the ice cream.

I also tried my friend’s soft vanilla ice cream mixed with diced mangoes inside a bun shape like dessert which was very delicious!!! ;-P

Here are 2 pics that i took of my desserts:

Zoe Dessert- Black sesame waffle ice cream
Black Sesame Waffle Ice Cream
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Matcha Layered Cake

Overall the experience, the service and the desserts were really good! I will definitely return to try other treats.

Here is their Facebook page if you wanna learn more about them: http://bit.ly/2lElVR4

Thanks for reading and I hope you had the chance try or that one day you will their desserts because they are really good.

Long awaiting visit to the Crew Collective Cafe

Hello everyone!

I love finding new places to go to drink or eat, relax and chat. The Crew Collective Café was one of the places that i definitely wanted to see and try their drinks. I finally went there this weekend. Yééé 🙂

It is situated on Saint-Jacques street in the Old Montreal. Built between 1926 and 1928, it used to be occupied by the Royal Bank of Canada and used to be one of the tallest building with ceilings of 50 feet high in the British Empire.

Now it became a co-working place where people come with their laptops and work together or next to each other. The main room contains large wooden tables with plugs under the table and boxed safes with a digit code to protect your belongings if you are leaving for a while. There are individual small rooms and larger rooms that you can reserve for the amount of 25$, if you need to work more privately. There are even inside balconies with sofas available with reservations. The only thing is missing would little lamps on each table for darker days or night times, since it’s a little dark to read or study.

The ordering of food or drinks is done online to minimize conversations and noises for the working people. I ordered a green tea matcha with soy milk. It was not bad, creamy but I honestly preferred Starbucks’ version since i mostly taste the soy milk rather than the matcha. It was also weirdly served, in a large low cup of glass. I mean really? There’s so many nice cups available and it is served in like a regular water glass cup?

I also ordered a scone, which was pretty good. I tried my friends burned marshmallow latte. It was not bad, but the coffee was bad. I don’t like coffee in general due to the fact that it has too much caffeine in it and it makes me shake. I can still somehow handle iced coffee frappuccinos or cappuccinos. Although i’m not much of coffee connoisseur, the coffee was bad. My friend who loves coffee didn’t like it either.

Anyhow, i came there to see the place which was really nice to see. The ceilings embossed with golden patterns and chandeliers all around were marvelous. The architecture is just wow, grandiose! Crew Collective Café kept the place as it was and used the building to their advantage.

Here are some pics taken with my cell phone that describes much better than my words.

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It’s still a nice to place to study or visit, even if the drinks were so-so. I will definitely go back there to shoot pics with my DSLR.

Have you ever been there? What did you think of the café or their concept?

Thanks for reading and see you in my next post 😛