We planned to visit both pavilions (Kinkakuji and Ginkaku-ji) on this day but rain changed our plans significantly. We didn't get to see the Ginkaku-ji (silver pavilion) as it started raining really hard after we left Kinkakuji so we ended up relaxing at the mall.

Sun, Dec 22, 2013 (Day #13)

I woke up a lot earlier than the time that I had set on my alarm. However, my boyfriend was still sleeping and I didn't want to disturb him. So instead of doing nothing around the hotel room; I decided to go across the street to eat at Yayoiken again. It's so great that they serve meals 24/7; love it!!

Yayoiken (lunch)

It's open 24-hours a day.
Plastic models of the food outside of the restaurant.
pork cutlet meal set.
Yayoiken has multiple locations throughout Japan, and is a great place for a quick meal. It's a restaurant chain where customers select their meals and pay using a machine. The prices are amazingly affordable and the food actually tastes really good. My fried pork cutlet meal was ¥900 and came with thick cutlets, white rice, miso soup, tofu, and hot tea. There is also a rice cooker at the front, so customers have unlimited access to rice.

Backpacking and staying in hostels was never an option for us. We knew from the start that we were unable to do that as we have never done it before, and that I couldn't fit everything in one mid-sized backpack (haha). Therefore, we opted to stay in only hotels throughout our 3 weeks in Japan ranging from 3 to 4.5 stars. It was rather expensive as we moved around a lot from city to city (a total of 10 different cities), so luckily there were a few affordable lunch options available.

I went back to our hotel after eating, and got ready to explore Kyoto.


Kinkakuji

Map of the Kinkakuji grounds.

The entrance fee for each person is ¥400.
Doesn't the scenery surrounding the Kinkakuji look magnificent?

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) is a gold-leaf covered Zen temple in Kyoto, and is one of the more popular tourist attractions in the city. The three-story structure stands in the water and one can see its golden reflection in the water. 

Address: 1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Hours: 9 am to 5 pm (daily)
 Fee: ¥400 (each person).
Transit: Take the Kyoto City Bus #101 or 205 to the Kinkaku-ji Michi bus stop.

It started raining quite hard when we left Kinkakuji, so we decided to head back to Kyoto Station to have an early dinner. The rain really dampened our plans to visit the district of Gion and see Geisha, and eat dinner in the area. I was rather sad about this as I was looking forward to checking it out.

Porta Mall [udon] (dinner)

Porta Mall is an underground mall located beneath Kyoto Station. There are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants inside of the mall.


Udon restaurant (unknown English name) inside of Porta Mall.
Shrimp tempura udon (¥848).
Cold udon set (¥839).
This was the first time that I have tried cold udon, and I am not a fan. I actually ordered it by accident as I thought it was fried chicken (hot) udon but it wasn't. I didn't like the udon noodles so I just ate the fried chicken as at least that was warm. I don't often waste that much food, but I really couldn't swallow the (very) cold udon noodles.

Lotteria (dinner)

As I didn't eat my entire dinner at the previous restaurant; we stopped at the Lotteria inside of the mall. Lotteria is a fast-food chain in Japan and has hundreds of franchises in East Asia.

Cheeseburger combo (¥550).
Vie de France

Last treat for the night was two baked goods from Vie de France. They were near closing so the selection was quite limited.

Twist stick cinnamon (¥137) and chorizo sausage with tartar sauce & cheese (¥168).

Day #13 in Japan [Kyoto]

by on Tuesday, June 10, 2014
We planned to visit both pavilions (Kinkakuji and Ginkaku-ji) on this day but rain changed our plans significantly. We didn't get to s...
The Oasis Rooftop Patio is the name of the patio belonging to Wayne Gretzky's Toronto. They have recently undergone renovations earlier in the year, but it's now open for business. I believe that the patio is only open from May to October. The patio has a 200 person capacity so it's a rather spacious space upstairs. The decor is summery with a fountain and comfortable furniture. Dress code is casual, and it's a nice place to sit down for a drink during the hot summer months.

Oasis Rooftop Patio has a small menu offering the typical bar food such as burgers, chicken wings, fries, salad, and a few more items. As for price-wise, it's on par with the surrounding patios in the Entertainment District.


The Southwest Chicken Quesadilla ($14) - seasoned chicken, corn, tomato, cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack cheese with chipotle, BBQ sauce, salsa and sour cream, was disappointing. This dish fell particularly flat as the chicken inside of the quesadilla tasted rather bland.



The shrimp tacos ($15) - Mexican spice marinated grilled jumbo shrimp, flour tortillas, jalapeno mayo, crisp lettuce, avocado salsa, and cilantro, was a lot smaller than I expected. The shrimp was small but plump with a spicy flavor.

I don't think people really go up to Oasis Rooftop Patio for the food, but more so for the lively atmosphere and alcoholic drinks. Their bar menu consists of signature cocktails, bottled beer, draught beer, wine, classic drinks like martini, cosmopolitan, and margarita, and frozen cocktails.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$

Address: 2383 Yonge St. Toronto, ON, M4P2H5

Wayne Gretzky's Toronto on Urbanspoon

Oasis Rooftop Patio

by on Sunday, June 08, 2014
The Oasis Rooftop Patio is the name of the patio belonging to Wayne Gretzky's Toronto. They have recently undergone renovations earli...
South St. Burger Co is a fast-food chain brought to you by the people behind New York Fries. There are a few locations scattered throughout the GTA and uptown including Toronto, Mississauga, Markham, and a few other cities. Based on the information on their website; they tout themselves as a gourmet burger joint serving burgers with fresh ingredients, no additives or preservatives, and the beef is grilled to order.


I ordered their 6 oz burger combo ($10.95) which included a regular fries and soft drink. They have a few condiments (cheese, bacon, sauteed mushrooms, ginger glazed pineapple) that you can add to your burger for an additional $1 each. I opted to add a slice of cheese for $1 to my beef burger. Unfortunately, I fail to see how their burgers are gourmet, but I have to say that the beef used is fresher than other fast-food chains. Additionally, the beef was tender and seasoned well. The one thing lacking was their presentation, as my burger wasn't presented that neatly. The fries were crispy and weren't overly salty. Actually, the fries are the exact ones that are served at the New York Fries fry stands found in malls or movie theaters.


One of the standouts of the is probably the assortment of toppings that are available for customers. These condiments include garlic wasabi, ketchup, curry mayo, gourmet dill pickle relish, hot pepper relish, jalapeno sour cream, Dijon mustard, and etc. ...


My brother opted for a hot dog ($4.75) which looked delicious on the menu backboard. However, he thought that the hot dog was only decent, and wasn't worth the price that they were charging.



 My brother also got the solo 6 oz hamburger ($6.75) with no additional toppings. He liked the burger beef, but unfortunately his burger bun was cold so it wasn't too appealing.

Lastly, the staff at this particular location were fast, and friendly. Overall, South St. Burger Co is a good alternative if you're sick of the usual fast-food joints in the GTA. It's appealing that they do grill their burgers when it's ordered instead of cooking pre-cook meats. I was also  looking at their menu, and their The True North burger looked appetizing (double cheddar, extra bacon, maple syrup infused onions, and signature sauce), so it's something that I'd definitely try.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.6/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $

South St. Burger Co. on Urbanspoon

South St. Burger Co. on Urbanspoon

South St. Burger Co

by on Friday, June 06, 2014
South St. Burger Co is a fast-food chain brought to you by the people behind New York Fries. There are a few locations scattered throughou...
Golden Griddle is a chain of casual family restaurants with multiple locations throughout Ontario. It was on a rare occasions that I woke up earlier than I usually do, and went to dine in at Golden Griddle during breakfast hours. I usually eat at home before work, or get my food to go to eat it in the car (I am a passenger so I am not driving and eating at the same time *smiles*). The Golden Griddle that I went to is located on Carlton St & Church St, and it's open 24 hours a day. The restaurant was relatively large inside, and the decor was minimalist with multiple tables. Golden Griddle's menu is rather extensive, and prices range from $5 to $15 per dish. 


I opted for their french toast with sausages ($7.29). The dish consisted of two thick sliced of french toast, and three sausages. In regards to the presentation; there's really none as it's just placed on a white plate with no concern of aesthetics. The french toast was edible and decent, but it's nothing to write home about. Golden Griddle pretty much offers home style breakfasts, so don't be expecting anything more or fancy if you eat here.


The Egg Benedict with thick cut peameal "style" bacon ($9.49) was served with home fries. However, for an additional $1, you can substitute it with sweet potato fries.They do give you a lot of home fries, but they were kind of dry in texture.

As for service; our waitress wasn't personable, but she was quick to seat us, took our orders, and the food arrived in a timely manner. This particular breakfast trip was a quick one. We ate in a matter of under 40 minutes, and paid the bill.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 2.9/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $

Address:  45 Carlton St, Toronto, ON, M5B 2H9

Golden Griddle Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Golden Griddle

by on Wednesday, June 04, 2014
Golden Griddle is a chain of casual family restaurants with multiple locations throughout Ontario. It was on a rare occasions that I woke u...
I was recently contacted by Turo (Formerly RelayRides), a peer-to-peer car rentals service based in the USA where owners can rent out their vehicles to other people. It's a good service if you want to rent out your car (to make some extra money), or need a car rental to get to places. The company even provide rentals from the airport. They asked if I was interested in participating in their "Road Trip Essentials" campaign; which was to create a post about my must-haves for road trips. I thought that it would be fun to create a list since I love going traveling when it's nice out. The following is a list of items that I must always bring on any trips.



Iphone5S: I cannot leave on any road trips or long trips without my iPhone 5S. My phone has everything that I need – at least technologically-wise. I use my iPhone 5S as a phone, video recorder, music player, camera, Google maps, and surf the internet. I always download maps onto my phone before I go on my trips, so that it doesn't require internet access to load them.

Crossbody bag: For short-term road trips; I like to use my crossbody bag. It’s small enough to bring everywhere, yet large enough to fit my essentials (wallet, keys, pen, hand sanitizer, etc ...)

Snacks: Before any road trips; I usually head out to the nearest grocery store to grab some snacks. Snacks that I'd bring along for my road trips include chips, cookies, and candies. I prefer to bring the smaller snack-sized rather than the larger ones to save space in the car or luggage.

Coffee: I usually don't need any caffeine unless I am functioning on less than 8 hours of sleep. However, when I do want a cup ... I have the Starbucks app on my phone, and I can

conveniently pay with my gold card on my app. However, if it's a hot day then a cool frappuccino is always nice. The app also allows me to make purchases even without wifi; as I don’t always have data everywhere.

Travel-size toiletries kit: This kit carries my beauty essentials (all travel-sized) BB cream, chap stick, sunscreen, deodorant, antibacterial wipes, oil sheets, and concealer. I just need to bring my essentials to stay fresh, and not my entire make-up collection cause I don’t think it’s necessary.

Flip flops: I love heels, but they really don’t cut it when you’re walking a lot. I usually wear flip flops on trips where it requires a long period of walking or hiking. I recently got a pair from Tommy Hilfiger, and I love them. I was able to walk 10 hours each day (for 3 days straight) around Disneyworld and downtown Orlando without my feet hurting. A pair of comfortable shoes is a must for any road trips!


Sunscreen: This is a must for me, as I burn easily in the hot sun.

Hand sanitizer: If it's a long trip then I'd bring along a full-sized one. However, on short trips or camping; I like to bring the travel sized one as that would last me about a week. Hand sanitizer is useful when  I do not have access to a washroom or soap/water. The brand that I use often would be Purell as I find them to be quite effective, and the scents are not bad. 

Zip-loc bags: I like bringing along a few zip loc bags on my road trips. They are very useful for storing things, and pretty versatile. I can fill the bags with snacks, supplies, garbage like wrappers and gum. Additionally, the zipper seals it up easily, so nothing drops out.

Bon Voyage :)