My favorite Words with Friends opponent Tita (D)Arlene invited us to the east coast for the holidays so we gladly obliged. We arrived at night in Newark and my cousin Emily picked us up in the airport and took us to Stuff Yer Face for dinner. According to her (and Wiki also confirmed it), this place is where Mario Batali started out his career. Stromboli is their specialty food and they have a number of alcoholic beverages. I got the steak and mushroom stromboli while Pop tried the roni stromboli and Game of Thrones themed beer. We also had potachos (nachos made of potato) to share for appetizers.
The next two days was spent celebrating Christmas with relatives which means lots of eating. Christmas eve consisted of a trip to the mall with Tita (d)Arlene for last minute onesie pajama (more on these later) shopping, onesie pajama decoration (while Popy had to work) and dinner at the house. Christmas Day is in Tita Olive's house to celebrate our Ninong Dan's birthday as well.
Favorite foods from the feast: bistek by Tito Dan, lechon kawali by Tito Rody, sansrival by Tita (r)Arlene. There was also puto bumbong, and sapin sapin.
There were also a lot of people who came and Topeng had his first wave of trying to figure who is related to who and how they are related to me. Parang Game of Thrones lang sa dami ng characters. :))
Before gift giving, we joined in their Christmas tradition of making a funny thing to wear. For this year, the theme is onesie pajamas. Mine was inspired by the Marty's afro circus attire from Madagascar. Topeng wanted to do Batman but the stores where we went didn't have them on stock so he had to make do with one that matches Tita (d)Arlene's red wig making him look like a creepy clown. :))
To compensate from all the eating, we decided to do some productive walking in New York nonetheless. From New Brunswick, we took the NJ Transit to New York Penn Station. A view of the Empire State Building can be seen from there. After a Boro Burger lunch, we continued towards Rockefeller Plaza to see the Christmas-y attractions and to use the Top of the Rock tickets that my cousin Em gifted us for Christmas. On the way, we passed by Bryant Park and Times Square. Bryant Park also had some Christmas attractions while Times Square (as always) had a lot of people.
After Top of the Rock, we were about to head home but found out that the 9/11 Memorial/Freedom Tower was on the same subway line back so we decided to check it out. Unfortunately, it was under construction/already closed. Back at the Penn Station, we were on a search for New York style pizza but unfortunately we couldn't find any of the places the Trip Advisor app was pointing us so we ended up getting pizza in the station. (Later on we found that we could have had better luck finding on Yelp app. Oh well, better luck next time.)More pictures here.
Rest and Travel Days
To compensate from the walking this time, we spent our rest day watching a movie (47 Ronin) after grabbing lunch at the mall. Pop's movie review: It sucks! he was hoping there was more action but it almost has the same action as the trailer. The following day, we went with my cousin Arvin's family on their way back to Maryland.
Arvin drove us around Washington DC with his son Anthony who is so daldal.:)) Unfortunately, it was raining hard and cold so it was kind of hard to take pictures. Our first stop was the White House (front and back). The Washington Monument was nearby. We took a quick look by the World War II Memorial but it was useless to get down of the car and take pictures due to the rain. Our next stop was the Lincoln Memorial/Reflecting Pool. Too bad we didn't go there at night without the rain because the lights were already closed. The rest of the day was spent in the Smithsonian Museum to keep warm and explore. Thankfully, after the museum, the rain stopped.
We picked up from his DC condo building my Lolo Ernest then headed to the Georgetown neigborhood. We checked out the famous Georgetown Cupcakes which has an infinite line of customers and was treated to dinner by Lolo at Chipotle. To make up for the rainy morning, we went back to White House to take some night pictures and see the lighted Christmas tree nearby. On the way back to the condo building, we passed by the Iwo Jima War Memorial. Another pictorial ensued in the condo building lobby and had some drinks in the apartment. Very tiring day!
|From Lolo Ernest's album and more|
After being dropped off, we took the Washington DC Metro Rail from the nearest Maryland station to Union station where we took the bus to Philadelphia. We arrived at the 30th Street station where we took a restroom break, some pictures, and sent our traditional postcards for our project fridge. Then, we took the subway to Reading Terminal Market where we got a lunch of steak sandwiches and banana honey nut crepe and met with my high school friend Kathleen, his husband Corey and their two son Kyle and Connor. Before taking us to the Comcast Tower where he works, we passed by the nearby Love Park. Side story: there was a crazy lady who was posing in front of our camera and trying to sell us candy...city of brotherly love, eh?:))In the Comcast Tower, there was a holiday presentation in the lobby and a skyline view in their cafeteria.
To cap the cold night, we stopped by the Liberty Bell and Museum of Art/Rocky stairs.
After spending the day resting to recover from the last two cold and tiring days, we spent New Year's eve in Tita (d)Arlene's sister's sister-in-law's house. Whew! They said in the US, Christmas is for family while New Year's is for friends thus the lack of relation. May all acquaintance be forgot I guess:)) Elements present: food, videoke, and waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square on TV. Pictures here.
On New Year's Day, Em and her boyfriend Rory took us Liberty Park for the new year. Afterwards, we went to Jersey City relatives (my maternal grandfather's sisters family). Favorite foods from the feast: kare-kare, green mango with bagoong, halabos na hipon, spring chicken, turon. We also watched some Eat Bulaga.:)) Afterwards, we went to Tito Rody's house to catchup and he generously gave Topeng a center speaker for his 5.1 home theater setup (Topeng: Weeeee!!! \:D/\:D/\:D/). Happy new year indeed huh? :))
Snowy Last Days
The snow finally made an appearance in our last days there. We ate and walked around Princeton with Em and Rory. Food stops: House of Cupcakes, Small World Coffee, Triump, Halo Pub ice cream bar