Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Eats in the USA: Hungry Hunter Steakhouse (CA)

Three months have already passed but I can still vividly remember devouring the most amazing steak I have ever had in my years of existence. The day started out great as we were on our way to Yosemite, a national park in Northern California renowned for its majestic cliffs and waterfalls. Halfway to the park, we learned that due to bad road conditions, travel time to Yosemite would take about 4 to 5 hours more. So with a heavy heart, we decided to turn around and cancel our booked hotel and look for an accommodation on the way to Las Vegas.

CS was already driving for hours after checking out from Hotel Nikko in San Francisco and even if he says he's fine, I can sense that he's already tired and sleepy. We passed by several towns and agreed on spending the night in Bakersfield as recommended by the Agoda staff I spoke over the phone when I requested to cancel our initial hotel booking at Bishop, California.

After confirming our room at Four Points by Sheraton Bakersfield, I checked Tripadvisor on the best restaurant in town and saw Hungry Hunter Steakhouse on the top of the list.

The lovely staff at the reception graciously welcomed guests and when it was our turn, she asked another lady to usher us to our table right in the middle platform. When we were seated comfortably, the same lady handed us the hardbound menu and patiently answered our queries.

What we ordered

Red Iced Tea

Top Sirloin - $22.99

The 9 oz. center cut Angus top sirloin is flame broiled to its juicy perfection. Included in CS' order was his choice of steamed vegetables, red skin potatoes and crispy onion battered green beans.

Whenever CS travels to the US on business, he always talks about these great steaks that literally melts in his mouth. He even sends me before and after photos of his order just to confirm how good his food was. These great steaks usually costs about Php1,500 and up, which is quite on the same range as the good steaks offered here in Manila. So when the opportunity presented itself, he did not hesitated on bringing me to one of the best steak houses in California.

Prime Rib - $24.99 (Petite cut, medium rare)

Hands down the best prime rib on the planet, Hungry Hunter's offering are hand selected from the finest mid western corn fed beef with unique seasonings and slowly roasted to client's cooking preference. For my choice of side dish, I had crispy fried onion rings and red skin potatoes.

With its outstanding service and excellent food quality, there is no doubt that Hungry Hunter Steakhouse is one of the best restaurants we tried during our US trip. Just make sure you leave some space for dessert when you visit because I heard their peach pie is amazing!


Hungry Hunter Steakhouse
3580 Rosedale Highway
Bakersfield, California, USA
Tel.: (1661) 328-0580

Monday, July 17, 2017

Executive Hotel Lounge Review: Hyatt Hotel

CS and I are certified home buddies. Aside from the occasional movie and dinner dates, we'd rather stay home and watch food or travel shows. Of course, traveling is a totally different circumstance where we are always out to explore. But when we're in town, a change in scenery would mean booking a nice hotel and staying within the vicinity as much as possible. And what's the next best thing from having a comfy bed, full blast air-conditioning and a soaking tub? The proximity of an executive lounge with unlimited food, drinks and desserts all day long.

Hyatt Hotel boasts a club lounge aside from several dining options within the hotel and in the City of Dream's entertainment complex. Among the hotels near the airport area, Hyatt is a top choice among business travelers mainly because of its exclusive club lounge features.

Ambiance and Amenities.

Modern, comfortable and cozy, Hyatt Manila's Club Lounge located on Level 7 of Tower II offers great view of the city and partial view of Manila Bay. The lounge is open everyday from 0600H to 2000H for guests staying at any of the 45 club rooms.

Variety and Abundance of Snack Choices.

Guests can enjoy a variety of light snacks all day and canap├ęs from 1800H to 2000H. For guests who love Japanese food as much as we do, an abundance of sushi is always a great idea. Instead of displaying everything on the table, majority of the food such as sushi, cakes, desserts, cold cuts and salads are kept in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and high quality.

Evening cocktails offer filling snacks that include your choice of laksa or chicken noodles. Both may not the best tasting meals but nothing that cannot be remedied by salt and/or pepper.

Unlimited alcoholic & non-alcoholic beverages.

Fresh fruit juices, soda and imported non-alcoholic drinks are available all day long. Also, top range wines and spirits are offered unlimited to guests between 1800H to 2000H.

Operating Hours.
  • Afternoon tea - 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
  • Evening cocktails - 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Breakfast - 6:00AM to 10:00 AM

Full Breakfast Buffet.

I love the Club Lounge's selection for its breakfast menu. It may not be as varied as other buffet breakfast in the area but since everything that I like is available, I am happy with lesser options.

I love walnuts in my bread, yogurt, waffle, salad, chocolate, cakes and in just about anything!

Everything that we tried were great except for the burnt bacon strips. I may like them crispy but never this dry and bitter. From what I've heard from the open kitchen, they let a trainee do the job and the chef failed to check up on the orders before the staff delivered it to us.

Other Perks & Services Offered. 
Checking out on a Sunday usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes depending on the hotel occupancy and how efficient the front desk staff are, but if you're staying in a club room, there are hotels that offer express check out as long as a credit card is used to pay for incidentals. With Hyatt Hotel, guests are still required to proceed to the club lounge for proper check out but instead of waiting in line, you can grab some snacks and order drinks so you'll never feel like waiting at all.

Overall Service.

It may be hotel standard or you may call it luck but I have never met a staff that were not very eager to serve (without being annoying) during our stay at Hyatt Manila. What's even more impressive is you can feel their sincerity and genuine hospitality that is becoming rare nowadays. Highly recommended and definitely worth your time and money.


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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hotel Review: Hollywood Celebrity Hotel

We Filipinos are known worldwide for our hospitality. When my relatives and friends learned that I am coming for a short vacation to the US, they graciously offered their homes for CS and I to stay to. Sounds tempting as it may save us a few hundred bucks but since we did not want to impose and be a burden, we decided to look for a hotel in Hollywood that's within our budget range. Besides, the car that my Uncle let us borrow already saved us a couple of hundred dollars.

A tourist class hotel in downtown Hollywood, the Hollywood Celebrity Hotel is a bed and breakfast accommodation situated just 10 minutes away by foot from numerous dining options, entertainment centers and the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. From my Auntie's house in Carson, it took us about 40 minutes to reach our home in Los Angeles for the next 5 days.

Check-in was easy peasy. The hotel is dated but well-maintained with the hallway and guest rooms decorated with posters of classic movies and Hollywood icons. Only downside was that there's no lift so guests staying in the 2nd floor are obliged to carry their luggage one flight up.

All guest rooms are non-smoking and suited to cater to all types of guests. Our spacious executive room can accommodate 2 adults comfortably with room features that include a king-size bed, complimentary Wi-Fi, mini-fridge, dining area, HDTV with cable channels and a laptop-sized safe.

Room rate at Hollywood Celebrity Hotel thru Agoda ranges between Php8,000 to Php11,000 inclusive of breakfast for two. Advance booking is a must if you wish to avail of the cheapest rate.

Pros: Old Hollywood charm accommodation (if you're into it), huge and clean rooms, value for money room rates for a fantastic location in the heart of Hollywood, extremely friendly and helpful staff, availability of an on-site laundry machine and secured pay parking.

Cons: Same breakfast menu everyday and the absence of an elevator -- but other than those two, we absolutely loved our stay at the Hollywood Celebrity Hotel.


Hollywood Celebrity Hotel
1775 Orchid Avenue, Hollywood
Los Angeles, California, USA 90028
Tel.: (1323) 850-6464

Friday, July 7, 2017

My Travel Essential: Hydrating Face Mist

For someone who doesn't wear make up, keeping a clear and moisturized skin is no easy task. As much as I wanted to keep a plain and simple beauty regimen of soap and water, aging happens and there's nothing I can do to slow it down. So from a 2-minute basic routine, I now have to spare more time to cleanse, tone, moisturize, exfoliate and put on a mask. I am no beauty expert so I won't recommend any brand; I suggest scheduling a visit to your dermatologist to better understand your skin type and know which products will best work for you.

Airplanes are moisture-suckers and even a few hours of cabin exposure will surely sap the glow out off your face. So aside from making sure that all travel essentials (passport, ticket and pocket money) are secured in your hand carry, a hydrating face mist (and drinking lots of water) will ensure that landing in your destination with a fresh and radiant face is no longer a myth.

With a plethora of face mists available in the market, finding the most suitable one can be confusing and overwhelming. Again, I am no beauty expert but I swear by these two to be the most effective for my dry + oily combination skin. Both comes in travel sizes but since I also use it on a daily basis, I have them in different sizes. Avene Thermal Spring Water is now available locally (saw it in Watson's) but I have yet to find Caudalie Beauty Elixir in Manila. Any recommendations?

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