Tag Archives: Tourist Attraction

Review: Gourmet Chinatown Food and Culture Walking Tour!

Dim Sum Go Go
All Photos By Gail Except Where Noted

Whether you have lived in NYC all your life, are visiting for the first time, or are a local looking for a fun and unique activity to entertain out of town guests, I can’t think of more worthwhile daytime activity than going on a Foods of New York Tours’ Gourmet Chinatown Food and Culture Walking Tour — which I took a couple weekends ago and had the best time ever!

The Gourmet Chinatown Food and Culture Tour is NYC’s only walking tour that includes multiple sit-down food tastings as well as an unequaled opportunity to learn so many fascinating things about the Chinese people and the amazing heritage they bring to New York City (which is home to the largest Chinatown in the US)! During this tour, you get to taste a diverse selection of dishes from three acclaimed Chinatown restaurants and one of Chinatown’s favorite bakeries, so you will enjoy several varieties of Chinese cuisines. You also get to celebrate the tradition and etiquette of this rich culture by searching out historical and cultural landmarks of the area on your way from tasting to tasting. Let me share a little bit about my experience of the tour.

Dim Sum GoGo Interior
Dim Sum GoGo Interior

You’ll start your tour by meeting up with your group and guide at Dim Sum GoGo (located at 5 East Broadway near Chatham Square), and this where you’ll have your first tasting. Our host and tour guide was a super friendly and knowledgeable guy named Raheem, and he was just fantastic.  Dim Sum GoGo served us a selection of five different Hong Kong style dumplings over the course of about 45 minutes, during which time Raheem told us all about the history of Dim Sum, which was fascinating.

Three Dumplings

Unlike the Ballroom Dum Sum places, where servers wheeling carts of readymade dumplings and other dishes will circulate around the dining room, all dishes at Dim Sum GoGo are made fresh to order. Raheem described the ingredients of each dumpling as we ate it. I appreciated the food vibe, which made each bite taste special!

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A Visit to the New England Aquarium of Boston

New England Aquarium Signage
All Photos By Gail

No matter where I am, I love having a new adventure. Just last month, I spent a few days vacationing in Boston (my first visit) on the back end of a cruise to Bermuda (recommended) and was a bit overwhelmed by all of the fun things there are to see and do in this historic, seaside city. If you find yourself in Boston and want to make the most of your time there, I suggest making a point to check out the New England Aquarium, a destination which is fun for all ages! Continue reading A Visit to the New England Aquarium of Boston

Japanese Garden, Balboa Park, California

Japanese Garden Signage
All Photos By Gail

Even though I grew up in Southern California, there are a lot of tourist attractions I never had a chance to see when I lived there. These days, when I go back to visit my family and friends I try to check out some of the places that especially showcase what a naturally beautiful area California is (which of course I never appreciated until I moved to the concrete jungle of NYC).

Small Pagoda

On my most recent visit at Christmas, I had a fun time with my friend Sue at the Japanese Garden, located in Balboa Park in the city of Van Nuys. If you’re a fan of the fun Tattoo Artist reality competition series Best Ink, then you might recall the Japanese Garden from this season’s episode where the Best Ink contestants visited it to get inspiration and sketch during the “Design an Asian Tattoo” challenge.

Sculpted Tree

While the Japanese Garden is an ideal place to spend some quiet time enjoying nature, it has a constructive purpose as well as being beautiful to look at. The Garden is actually built on the site of the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant, which was designed to produce reclaimed water that will meet the requirements of the California Department of Health Services and the County Health Department. The filtration process takes a total of about 11.5 hours, producing reclaimed water can be made available for specific reuse, with any excess being discharged to the Los Angeles River.

Garden with Stream

Japanese Garden Hot Pink Flower

These photos were all taken in December, just a few days before Christmas (during the spell of 75 degree, sunny days that Californians refer to as “Winter”), so you can imagine how much more lush and floral this place looks when things start to grow again in the spring.

Foot Bridge

In the uncropped version of the above photo, you can clearly see the reclamation plant in the background.

Stone Pagoda Statue

The Garden is also an ideal spot to practice your amateur nature photography skills!

Japanese Garden Tatami Room

This photo was taken from inside the on site Tea House.

Reeds Reflection

Waterfall

Bamboo
Wild Bamboo!

The Japanese Garden is Located at 6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, California, 91406. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sunday from 10:00AM until 4:00PM (the last gate entry each day is at 3:15PM). The Garden is closed to the public on Friday and Saturday, on all LA County Holidays and if it rains within 24 hours of opening time and during open hours. It is suggested that you call (818)756-8166 on the day you wish to visit to make sure the Garden is open. Admission to the Garden is only $3.00 per person, $2.00 for Seniors 62+ and Children under 10. Exact change is appreciated.

Japanese Garden Koi Fish Mural
This Koi Fish Mural is painted across the walls inside the Visitors Center.

Interior Shots of The Queen Mary, Long Beach CA

Queen Mary Hull Exterior
All Photos By Gail

It was a very hot and sunny day in late December when my sister and I visited the Queen Mary, docked at Long Beach, California. Formerly a luxury cruise liner specializing in North Atlantic crossings (between US and England) for the Cunard Line, the ship has been retired since 1967 and now has a permanent home at the Port of Long Beach, where it does a brisk business as a luxury hotel, special exhibit venue, event space (get Married on the Queen Mary!) and one of Southern California’s most popular tourist attractions.

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