Bob’s Donuts in San Francisco

While I certainly don’t give my kids processed or junk foods on a daily basis, I do live a little and allow special treats once in awhile, especially when traveling! My son and I are big foodies in the sense that we really appreciate flavors and textures when eating. We’ve also got a sweet tooth so I just had to go give Bob’s Donuts a try in San Francisco.

bob's donuts san francisco

The donut display is enough to make your mouth water for some!

bobs donuts sf

Oh, yum! The Raisin Maple is sugar-y perfection! If you’re going to break your diet, have a cheat day or celebrate with something sweet, this is the place to go!

bob's donuts san francisco downtown

Bob’s Donuts
(415) 776-3141
1621 Polk St, San Francisco 
CA 94109
www.bobsdonutssf.com

 

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10 Kid-Friendly Things To Do in Monterey, California

  1. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium – This has got to be the most famous family attraction of Monterey. It certainly is the most fascinating and educational place for your children to spend the whole day in Monterey. Admission fees help fund their non-profit organization’s care for the animals. We actually were surprised to see so many elderly volunteers the day we came to visit! Talk about an active and loving community! Prices at $24.95 for children ages 3-12 and $39.95 for adults.

monterey aquarium foto

monterey aquarium

2. Watch Pelicans from the boardwalk sunbathe and hunt for fish. We came on such good weather and was able to enjoy a leisurely walk on the boardwalk spotting Pelicans strut their stuff for the kids!

monterey boardwalk

monterey chowder

monterey

monterey photo

3. Look for the odd beat up piano at the boardwalk! Have a treasure hunt and ask your kids to look for the piano on the boardwalk just for fun!

monterey piano boardwalk

4. If you have the time (and extra money!), schedule a whale watching boat ride which costs about $44 per person. Note that children under the age of 5 and expecting mothers are not allowed on the cruise for safety reasons.

monterey whale watching

monterey boats

5. Have fresh clam chowder at one of the Monterey Wharf restaurants. You can also choose to try the free samples and choose which one tastes the best before deciding to eat.

monterey clam chowder

clam chowder monterey

6. Eat sweet treats at Wharf Chocolate Factory! We can never say no to chocolate!

wharf chocolate factory

7. Find  your fortune from an old pirate for $1. We love cheap thrills and I wanted my son to experience this as seen in the old movies. Too bad we lost the ticket with his fortune soon after. It would have been a great memorabilia for the trip.

fortune monterey

8. Rent a family bike for $20-$30 dollars per hour from Adventures From The Sea. We saw this group bike at Solvang but I wasn’t able to take a snapshot of it being used in action. When we return with more family members, we will surely do this next!

bicycle monterey

9. Take a lovely evening stroll at Cannery Row. After dinner in one of the many restaurants lined up on Cannery Row, take a walk with your (most likely hyperactive) kids to settle the food and move their limbs!

cannery row monterey

10. Drive the 17 Mile High for stunning landscape family portraits.

17 Mile High Drive

Did I miss out on anything interesting in Monterey? Do share your recommended activities for kids and families! I’d love to hear them.

 

A Time Out Stay in Monterey Marriott

Traveling families do get tired.. A LOT. This never stopped us from traveling. On the contrary, we’ve wisely adjusted and planned our itineraries to have lots of bathroom breaks, eating stops, rests and naps from long drives precisely because of the known fact of exhaustion from traveling with tots in tow!

A time out stay in Monterey Marriott is just what we needed after the grueling hours of being in the car and listening to my little one cry from her car seat. Now parents, before judging, please empathize. In my part of the world, car seats are almost never used. So, for the first few days in the US, it took a full 20 minutes of non-stop crying before my darling doll realized she wasn’t going anywhere and finally settled into snooze mode. Note that only happens for 2 hours at a time, beyond that timeline, it’s non-stop wails all over again.

car seat blog

Upon checking in, we quickly headed over the balcony for the fresh cool breeze and the view!

marriott view monterey

Ocean views are always so calming for frazzled nerves of tired travelers.

view monterey marriott

My husband (and son) was happy about the tube, of course!

marriott monterey

I, on the other hand, was just pleased to have ample bed space enough for 2 adults and 2 kids.

hotel marriott monterey

Yay, bathtub!

marriott monterey bathroom

At the end of the day, after many hours at the Monterey Aquarium and walking home in the cold, it is very comforting to know you’ve got a (warm) room like this to fully recuperate in! See my son adjusting the room heater?

monterey marriott photo

Monterey Marriott 
350 Calle Principal
Monterey, California 93940 USA
http://www.marriott.com

 

Spectrum’s Sunday at The Ranch

 

Last Valentine’s Day, our foodie family had a sumptuous brunch at Spectrum’s Sunday Ranch in Raffles and Fairmont Hotel, Makati. My husband definitely looked forward to this holiday treat as the Ranch-inspired menu is definitely a feast fit for a king. Featuring premium steaks, barbecued ribs and fresh seafood, specially dished up hot-off-the-grill, we were ready to get stuffed! While the boys enjoyed all the meats he could chow on (because I don’t purchase meats for meals at home), I went to look for non-meat yummies and found tons.

I found freshly made pasta! These beauties were eaten with much gusto. Knowing that they are fresh and preservatives free, I didn’t think twice about munching on them and sharing with the kiddos!

fresh pasta spectrum brunch makati

There was a DIY Taco station which was awesome because kids can choose whichever they would like to have. I filled my tacos with vegetables, of course!

tacos spectrum brunch

Sushi, anyone? My son is a big sushi roll fan. He quickly trail-blazed to this section of the buffet.

sushi spectrum raffles makati

On any other normal day, I would’ve eaten cheese, however, I was saving some room for dessert.

cheese buffet spectrum raffles makati

You will find grilled corn-on-the-cob, fries and popcorn outside by the children’s section. Obviously, these were a hit with the kids (and adults, too!).

corn on cob spectrum makati

They also had a good salad selection which I failed to photograph. Maybe because I was too excited for dessert…

And then came the time for the sweets, how can we resist?

desserts spectrum brunch fairmont hotel

dessert buffet spectrum brunch makati

desserts spectrum makati brunch

Sunday Brunch at the Ranch is at Php 2,777 per person. Children ages 6 to 12 may enjoy the buffet at 50% off. You can also opt to have free-flowing Margaritas, tequila and American beer for an additional Php 1,000 per person.

For inquiries, please call Restaurant Reservations at 795 1840 or email dining.makati@fairmont.com.

Thanks to Raffles and Fairmont Hotel Makati for inviting us to experience Sunday brunch at the Ranch. Happy smiles and full bellies from the Manzanos!

fairmont makati hotel brunch

What You’ll See in The Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Solvang

We certainly weren’t leaving Solvang without a trip to the Hans Christian Andersen Museum. My daughter was still asleep in her stroller so my darling husband watched her while my son and I took a quick visit to check it out.

the book loft solvang

You will find the museum proper on the second floor of the The Book Loft Building and Cafe. Book lovers can dine and read purchases while their kids can see the museum upstairs.

hans christian andersen museum

Who was Hans Christian Andersen? He was a world-famous Danish writer of fairy tales such as The Princess and The Pea, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling.

hans christian andersen painting

There is a cute miniature house which is a delight to see and touch for the young ones!

hans christian house museum

There are also inspired and more modern versions of the Hans Christian Anderson stories which you can buy as presents for family and friends back home.

hans christian andersen books solvang

Home-schooling moms rejoice! Maps, historical facts and art all laid out in an exhibit for you to see with your children.

hans christian andersen solvang

A vintage book printing machine was too cool to see! I explained to my son how much effort it took for a book to be produced back in the day.

hans christian andersen museum america

And here are some of the awesome bookshop finds at the Book Loft:

These “Where The Wild Things Are” socks are so rad!

where the wild things are socks

I’ve got the original Maps book at home for my kids. This is the activity version to keep kids busy…while in transit?

maps activity book

The cutest book-inspired onesies and shirts for babies and toddlers are found in the shop below the museum!

 

the book loft cafe

Yes, my little man asked for a few minutes of reading time before we had to head back home.

bookshop hans christian museum solvang

Hans Christian Andersen Museum
1680 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463, United States

 

Review: Solvang Gardens Lodge

After our 3 hour road trip from Los Angeles, we were relieved to find a sweet home in Solvang Gardens Lodge.

solvang garden lodge

Located along Alison Road the main street of the quaint Danish-inspired town in Santa Ynez Valley, this eco and child-friendly Inn charms us because of its homey appeal and its open courtyard design so conducive for outdoor play.

solvang gardens lodge foto

solvang gardens lodge bed

Yay for big room cuts! The husband was delighted to find out he can claim the couch with his own TV. He could of course fit in the King sized bed but was just happy to have his own man-cave while I put the kids to sleep.

solvang gardens room

A fireplace is definitely so useful for us who because we aren’t used to winter at all!

solvang gardens room photo

Who doesn’t love a bath tub? For the kids, it is a must! If you want them to spend the excess energy they have before bedtime, a warm bath with bubbles does the trick.

bath tub solvang gardens lodge

Outside, my kids found the garden where they quickly made friends with the neighbors. We found out that they are homeschooled and don’t really do electronic gadgets (I find out they were too young to watch Star Wars). Yay for a childhood unplugged!

solvang garden

They busied themselves for half an hour together doing random things in nature like climbing out of that fence! This game which name I don’t recall is so grounding even for adults!

solvang garden photo

Then I they climb trees, too! It’s amazing to have a wild and free childhood.

solvang gardens lodge eco friendly

 

SOLVING GARDENS LODGE
293 Alisal Road
Solvang, California, CA 93463, United States
info@solvanggardens.com

 

Guest Interview: Kai Lim on Japan with Kids

I have had so many requests about Japan as a destination for kids so here is our first post about it, finally! While I haven’t personally been to Japan with my own tots, I do know someone who frequents this famous and well-loved Asian destination and she happens to be half-Japanese!

kai nakanishi lim

Mommy globetrotter Kai Nakanishi Lim is one of my core friends from grade school up until today. Most of you living in Manila will recognize her graciously attending social gatherings or featured in fashion and lifestyle magazines. In contrast, she is actually a very private person. (I’m actually glad she agreed to this interview!) She is also a doting mother to her children: Yumiko who is 7 and Aki who is 5. Just over a month ago she also birthed her youngest child, Kenji.

What is your most memorable trip?

niseko kids snow

Niseko last January. It was their second time to see snow. The first was in Whistler, Canada in 2013 but somehow they enjoyed Niseko a lot more. Perhaps they were too young to take skiing lessons in Whistler. 

Why visit Japan?

For me, Japan is the best place to visit if you’re traveling with kids. It’s only 4 hours away, the city is so clean, people are polite and courteous, they have special lanes for adults with kids, food is great, the city is safe, everything is so orderly and again, I can’t stress on how clean everything is. Your trip is stress-free as you don’t have to worry as much. 

japan my little globetrotter

Favorite Cities

Tokyo, Osaka and Niseko

Best Season To Go

cherry blossom japan kids

For Osaka and Tokyo, it would be the Cherry blossom season in April and then again on end of November- December to view the holiday lights, shows and parades for the kids. For Niseko, December – February.

Kid-Friendly Things To Do

Tokyo 

1. DisneySea, of course, which is unique to Japan. 

2. Disneyland

disney tokyo

3. Tokyo Sky Tree and Aquarium 

4. Ueno Zoo and Park

Yumiko Lim Aki Lim

5. Visit parks within the city – Meiji 

6. I like taking my kids to Tsutaya (bookstore) in Daikinyama. They have a wonderful kids section.

tsutaya bookstore japan

Osaka 

1. Osaka Aquarium 

2. Osaka Castle 

3. Universal Studios

4. You can also do day trips to Kyoto for the temples and Narra to see the reindeers.

Niseko

Winter activities such as:

  1. Skiing

niseko ski kids

2. Tubing

tubing niseko kids

3. Sledding 

4. Snow mobile 

snowmobile niseko

 

Places To Stay

Osaka

1. Swissotel in Namba (www.swissotel.com/hotels/nankai-osaka/)

2. Intercon Hotel in Umeda

3. Fraser – They have two bedroom suites which is very convenient for families. (www.osaka.frasershospitality.com/en)

Tokyo

1. Shangri – la Tokyo (www.shangri-la.com/tokyo/shangrila/)

Niseko

annupuri chalet

I highly recommend renting a chalet for families. For those who prefer to stay in a hotel, there’s Hilton Niseko Village and Shiki (www.shikiniseko.com).

Top Eats For Kids

japanese sushi my little globetrotters

Food is fantastic almost anywhere you eat. We’ve never had a bad meal in Japan.

Travel Tips

Plan ahead, there’s so much things to do in Japan for kids and adults that you have to divide your time wisely. From theme parks to trying out fantastic eats, shopping, and simply getting lost and immersed in the japanese culture.

Same as with Niseko, since it’s only in season for 3 months (Dec-Feb), plan and book lessons, activities and restaurants in advance.

Kai Nakanishi Lim is one of the 5 owners of CURA V, a lifestyle concept store with an eclectic mix of under the radar brands, up and coming designers together with established artists in fashion and design. Visit their store in Rockwell, Makati for some of her favorite travel finds.

Just adding Kai’s official Japanese wedding photo because it is pure love.  ❤

bryan and kai lim

 (Photos from Kai Lim and Nicole Whisenhunt)

 

Chomp: A Kid-Friendly Restaurant in Solvang!

We spotted Chomp earlier that day and picked it out for dinner. Glad that we did because it scored high on my kid-friendly eats! You know that an establishment is child-friendly when you see a huge blackboard right by the waiting area. While we didn’t wait too long for a table, it is nice to know that your kids can doodle freely rather than being glued to electronic gadgets while waiting to eat.

chomp restaurant solvang board

My son found a dinosaur after giving our orders to the waiter! How very cool! A conversation starter this one is. This is the area where they make the milkshakes orders which I got for my kids. I guess you sit, wait and watch by dino over there.

solvang burger chomp

This girl didn’t let go of her oversized milk shake!

chomp solvang milkshake

Milkshake for the kids and vino for Mom! Just about right? It was freezing cold that night and a drink was in order to warm up the body and help with digestion, too!

wine solvang

Yay! Momma’s got her veggie burger fix! Initially I was worried I wouldn’t have anything else to eat since this is a burger joint but alas, they’re vegetarian-friendly, too! 10 more cookie points!

veggie burger chomp solvang

Fish tacos for the little girl. (which Mom and Dad mostly ate!)

chomp solvang food

My boy had his beef burger fix, just like his Dad.

chomp burger solvang

chomp solvang restaurant

For their menu, click here.

CHOMP
1693 Mission Drive
Solvang, CA – 93463
(805) 688-7733