Friday, June 30, 2017

Eats in the USA: Reel Inn (Malibu, CA)

As crazy as it sounds, Reel Inn Restaurant is one of the main reasons why we decided to pursue a trip to the United States. We were watching a travel/food show one afternoon that featured this quaint restaurant in Malibu, California that apparently serves the best lobster roll in town. Nowadays, food is becoming a huge influence on our destination preference that we don't mind driving for hours and making a detour to try the BEST food on the planet.

A year after watching Reel Inn on TV and dreaming about all the mouth-watering meals they featured, we were ecstatic that we finally made it here! There were several occupied tables inside but we preferred dining at the large outdoor patio to enjoy the good weather and cool California breeze. Reel Inn is a casual and self-service restaurant where customers must go to the counter to place their orders and pay right away. Cash and credit card payments are both accepted.

After spending several hours lounging by the beach, we made our way to the restaurant across the road for early dinner at around 530PM. But my excitement flew out of the window and my world crushed when the staff told us that all sandwiches are available until 5PM only. Booooo!

Good thing Reel Inn offers an extensive menu with fresh seafood cooked to your liking. Ordering is pretty simple: (1) choose your fresh seafood; (2) decide how you want it cooked; (3) choose 2 sides; and (4) wait for your name to be called and get it from the counter.

Loved the fun vibe and the vintage feels -- just how I imagined it to be.

What we ordered

Grilled Scallops - $18.95

Sea Bass Cajun Style - $18.95

Fresh, simple and unpretentious -- I love how simple everything in Reel Inn is. People may have different opinions about it but I say its worth the travel. Sometimes, less flavor is also good to retain the original flavor of the seafood but for customers who prefer otherwise, there's a self-serve condiment bar of lemons, cocktail sauce and tartar sauce to your liking. Besides, we came here not only for the food but for the experience as well. A dream come true, indeed.


Reel Inn
18661 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, California, USA
Tel.: (1310) 456-8221

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Eats in the USA: Luv2Eat Thai Bistro (Hollywood, CA)

Rice is a staple food in any Filipino household. We all grew up eating rice in the morning for breakfast then lunch and dinner; even in between meals with rice-based snacks and desserts. In fact, its very rare for any restaurant not to serve rice meals because Filipinos cannot live without it and offering unlimited rice is a major selling point in most food establishments.

I'm all for trying something new and different but after eating salad and sandwich for days, my desire to eat rice scrapped our scheduled dining plan on the list. Good thing I found a perfect place to satisfy my cravings with great reviews to back me up. Operated by couple Chefs Fern and Pla, Luv2Eat has been serving delicious Thai food for 3 years now for the picky LA palate.

The restaurant/mini-grocery store that also sells Thai snacks, seasonings and even fresh fruits and vegetables is located in parking lot alongside Subway, 7-11 and Pizza Hut. But what the restaurant lacks in ambiance surely makes up with delicious and authentic Thai dishes and fast service.

What we ordered

Thai Iced Tea - $3.50

Very similar to the ones we tried in Chatuchak Market in Bangkok with just the right amount of sweetness to balance the bitterness of the black tea and loads of crushed ice.

Pad Thai - $9.50

The servings were HUGE! Presentation was unappetizing and the noodles were a bit soggy, not the best Pad Thai but overall, CS enjoyed his authentic Thai favorite and flavorsome meal.

Jasmine Rice - $2.00

Green Curry (Chicken) - $9.50

Though I love Red Curry with all its chili hotness, CS is not keen on eating spicy dishes that's why I settled for the Green Curry Chicken so I can share my order with him. Again, it my not be comparable to the best versions we had in Bangkok but its still good and at very reasonable prices for a Hollywood location. People are raving about Luv2Eat and I totally get why -- authentic Thai dishes, exceptional service, generous servings and affordable menu, its the most appealing combination amid burger joints and fast-food chains in Los Angeles.


Luv2Eat Thai Bistro
6660 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
California, USA
Tel.: (1323) 498-5835

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hyatt Hotel at City of Dreams Manila

One of the three hotels in the City of the Dreams, Hyatt Hotel is your best choice for that ultimate staycation experience. From the vast comfortable rooms, efficient and professional service, the luxurious club lounge and the exclusive hotel amenities like the outdoor pool and the fitness centre, I guarantee that you'd never want to leave the vicinity of Hyatt throughout your stay. 

CS and I were booked in a deluxe room until the gracious staff at the hotel lobby offered an upgrade for a minimal additional fee that we simply couldn't resist. Both deluxe and club rooms were the same in terms of the size and room amenities but with an exclusive access to the club lounge, the extra fee was all worth it! Will discuss it on a separate post but let me show you first our club room, one of the 362 modern rooms at Hyatt, located on level 7 of Tower II.

Guests have the option to book either a king-sized or 2 super single beds -- with 300-thread count linen and non-allergenic feather pillows. No doubt one of the best beds I have ever slept in!

The room features a 50sqm floor area, floor-to-ceiling windows, a 42-inch LED HDTV with interactive interface, complimentary high-speed internet access, ergonomic desk chairs, electronic safe that can fit a laptop, iPod docking stations and complimentary coffee and tea.

Another jaw dropper was the sheer size of the marble toilet and bath. I bet you could place 5 more spa tubs in the vacant space and would still have enough room to walk around. The minimalist bathroom also boasts a walk-in shower, ultra soft bathrobes and a bidet. As most 5-star hotels now forego of the bidet in the toilets, its a relief the Hyatt still manages to include one.

The only thing I dislike about our room were the Portico brand toiletries, a standard for all Hyatt properties, with its unappealing scent, non-absorbent lotion, ineffective conditioner and overall packaging unsuited for its 5-star hotel rating. Hyatt management must consider moving up its game in the toiletries department because this once insignificant items are now considered as "souvenirs" that guests are looking forward to, much like a goody bag in a children's party.

Hyatt and Crowne hotels offer access to its respective private outdoor pools aside from the common pool for all COD guests near Nobu. Another reason why I like Hyatt most among the 3.

Pros: Excellent customer service, spacious and modern rooms, topnotch hotel amenities, great hotel location with free and ample parking space and overall amazing club room experience.

Cons: Apart from the aforementioned below par Portico toiletries, I dare say that Hyatt Hotel is one of the best staycation venues in Manila!


Hyatt Hotel
City of Dreams Manila
Aseana Blvd. corner Macapagal Avenue
Paranaque City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 691-1234
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