Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff

Last Thursday, I had a lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff. Decided to go here because I was in town, and just finished with my window shopping. Also, because I got a CAD 15 meal voucher. Thank you The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff for the CAD 15 meal voucher! :)

The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff

I'm going to be real here. This was my first time seeing the entrance to The Old Spaghetti Factory because I have never been to the second floor of Cascade Mall πŸ˜† Anyway, I was surprised when I came in because the restaurant was totally different from what I expected. I thought the restaurant was small and such but in reality, the restaurant was quite big though I'm not sure because I didn't get to scan the whole place. It looked like they divided the dining area into 3 sections and they also had a spacious bar.

The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff

Service wise, it was excellent. I was greeted and got seated by a kind host at the entrance. After that, a server came to the desk, introduced herself as my server and served me a glass of water. I also didn't have to wait for a long time before my food was served though they had quite many customers that afternoon. So, that's a happy news.

As for the food, I ordered Bam Bam Shrimp as my appetizer and Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo as my main. In all honesty, I meant to order Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo only but a poster of Bam Bam Shrimp at the counter made me order one. #mudahterpengaruh

Sourdough Bread @ The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff
Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic
Included in the entree

All entrees at The Old Spaghetti Factory come with Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic and Plain Butter; Minestrone Soup or Crisp Green Salad; Vanilla or Spumoni Ice Cream; and Hot Tea or Coffee. I chose Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic; Minestrone Soup and Vanilla Ice Cream to accompany my Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo.

The Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic was so good but I only ate half of the bread because I'm not a big fan of a hard bread. Also, because it was too big for one person.

Minestrone Soup @ The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff
Minestrone Soup
Included in the entree

The Minestrone Soup was better than what I expected which honestly quite surprising because I'm not a fan of minestrone soup. Managed to finish almost the whole bowl. The only leftover was the kidney beans. I don't eat kidney beans, so there's that.

Bam Bam Shrimp @ The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff
 Bam Bam Shrimp
CAD 9.50 plus taxes

Bam Bam Shrimp was my personal favourite and pick of that day! It was so delectable! I can see myself eating this everyday! #nakmakanlagi

The shrimps were fresh, the breading was just nice; not too thick and most importantly not too salty, and the sauce was tasty though I'm not sure if it should taste like that. On the menu, it says they use spicy Sriracha sauce but it was not spicy at all. In fact, it was quite sweet; a kind of sweet that I like #notcomplainingbecauseilovedit However, I think the dish will be better if there's more sauce #iwantmoresauce

Tip: If you're not too hungry, you can always order just appetizer because The Old Spaghetti Factory have generous portions. 

Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo @ The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff
Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo
CAD 18.75 plus taxes

By the time my Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo was served, I have started to feel full. So, it felt a little bit like chore to finish off my Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo. Think it took me about half an hour to 45 minutes to finish off the whole thing.

The Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo itself was good and I loved it! It probably will taste even better if I was hungry. If you know me, you should know that I'm not a fan of pastas. So, I found it interesting that I loved the Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo. I think it was probably due to the sauce. The sauce was creamy but no to the point that you will get sick of it.

Anyway, if I were to pick only one good thing about the Seafood Fettuccine Alfredo, it will be the generous portion of the seafood. I counted the shrimps and I think they put more than 10 shrimps. I didn't count the scallops but there were a lot of them. The other good points, they were fresh and not small.

Vanilla Ice Cream @ The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff
Vanilla Ice Cream
Included in the entree

I know I said I was almost full before but there's always a room for desert, no? So, I concluded my meal with a bowl of Vanilla Ice Cream. Even the Vanilla Ice Cream here tasted good! It didn't taste like the other vanilla ice creams that I have ever tasted in Canada. What kind of sorcery is this?! Hahaha.

Portion-wise, everything came with generous portions. They didn't hold back at all! Price-wise, I think it was average? Not really sure because I don't really go to Italian restaurants here. Having said that, I believe any meal here will worth every cent! My final bill came up to less than CAD 30 for all these! Can you believe that? Though I paid less thanks to the CAD 15 meal voucher :p

Conclusively, I was so happy to have my lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory, Banff. Everything went beyond my expectation. Am so thankful that I got to experience this goodness of The Old Spaghetti Factory before I leave for good. Alhamdulillah,

Saturday, April 27, 2019

My Songs of April 2019

April was all about me trying to rationalize my decision to travel in Canada for a bit before going back to Malaysia for good. On top of that, I was busy planning the itinerary as I want to fully utilize the allocated time frame without breaking my bank account. I was also busy figuring out the best way to transfer my money from my Canadian bank account to Malaysian bank account.

So yeah, I was busy and a lil bit overwhelmed. Hence, less blog posts for this April. Probably less blog posts or none in the next three months as well as I'll be busy with other stuff after this. We'll see.

Sweet Sorrow X The Barberettes (μŠ€μœ—μ†Œλ‘œμš°X바버렛츠) feat MIGHTY - It Would Be Good (쒋을텐데) 
Original song by Sung Si Kyung

A late birthday present from my top favourite group; Sweet Sorrow. They released this song few days after my birthday and I can't stop listening to this song ever since they released it. The fangirl in me was so happy because it felt like ages since I listened to their a capella. It reminded me of my first time discovering their existence 9 years ago :)

Jung Seung Hwan (μ •μŠΉν™˜) - The Snowman (λˆˆμ‚¬λžŒ)

Jung Seung Hwan (μ •μŠΉν™˜) - Shall We Walk Together? (사뿐) 

P.s: I'll be skipping my songs of the month for May 2019 because it'll be Ramadan and I usually avoid to post anything related to entertainment in Ramadan :)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"In the end, it won't be how you walked in the sun - but how you handled the storm - that will determine your success."

Quote by Yasmin Mogahed

In the end, it won't be how you walked in the sun - but how you handled the storm - that will determine your success.
How you managed the darkness inside and outside yourself.
It won't be about how you ran.
It'll be about how you fell, then got back up.
It won't be about your wins.
It'll be about how you took defeat.
Not about how you performed when strong,
but how you did while bound and broken.
It won't be about your ability to walk.
It'll be about your willingness to crawl - even when you're hopeless.
Not about how you did when you won.
But who were you after you lost.
Because character isn't made on shore.
Character is born in the waves.
The crushing kind.
The kind that tell you to give up because what's the point of trying and falling again.
The kind that tell you the ocean's too mighty for you, and you don't stand a chance.
You see, heroes aren't know by their trophies.
They're known by their scars.

Beautifully written by Yasmin Mogahed. See the original post here :)

Monday, April 22, 2019

SMTOWN @coexartium

I was a huge fan of Super Junior and EXO few years back. So when I was in South Korea, I thought I would like to visit at least one place related to them. However, SMTOWN @coexartium was not on my list. It was all by chance and alang-alang approach that brought me to the SMTOWN @coexartium. 

I got a ticket for a Music Bank concert at Gangnam and the concert took place at the road opposite the SMTOWN @coexartium. So, I thought to myself, "Okaylah. Dah alang-alang sampai sini kita pergilah tengok ada apa dekat SMTOWN @coexartium ni. Kata K-pop fangirl :p"

SMTOWN @coexartium

Disclaimer: While I do call myself a K-pop fangirl (or K-music fangirl, to be exact), I would like to think that I'm not that fanatic. The only thing that I am willing to do for my favourites is to attend their concerts and showcases (I usually think about 100 times before buying the tickets, though this does not apply to Sweet Sorrow). I don't really buy their albums, merchandises, products endorsed by them or whatnot. Having said that, I do own maybe 2 K-pop albums (LUNAFLY and SEVENTEEN) and a set of Sweet Sorrow's postcard. That's about it.

SUM Market at SMTOWN  @coexartium

After the concert ended, I went straight to the SMTOWN @coexartium. Unfortunately, it was not a wise decision because other hundreds people were thinking the same thing as well. SMTOWN @coexartium was crazy packed that night. I was so overwhelmed with the number of people that I decided to leave after visiting the SMTOWN GIFT SHOP: SUM.

SUM Market at SMTOWN @coexartium

Tip: Few staff at the SMTOWN Gift Shop: SUM were quite rude and judgmental. My advise is try not to make any eye contact with them. lol

I think the SMTOWN GIFT SHOP: SUM would be heaven to those hardcore fangirls cause you can find everything that is related to the SM idols. Y'know those outfits wore by your oppas and such. Stuff like that. As for me, I didn't buy anything because I was short of money and nothing fancy me. 

SUM Market at SMTOWN @coexartium

Tip: I was told that you are not allowed to take picture (?) and video in the SMTOWN Gift Shop: SUM. Not really sure if this is widely implemented or not because I still saw few girls were recording videos and taking pictures when I was told off not to by one of the staff.

I didn't get to see the other floors because I was there about an hour-ish before the closing time and they put a notice that no more visitors allowed beyond second floor. I was quite bummed because I didn't get to go to the SMTOWN CAFE and SMTOWN MARKET. Honestly, I was far more interested to see these two places than the gift shop. However, luck was not on my side. Kita redha sajalah kan :)

If you were to ask me, would I go to the SMTOWN @coexartium again? My current answer is no because I'm no longer invested in any SM idols like I used to. Also, I think SMTOWN @coexartium does not have a pull factor that makes me want to go again.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Gwangjang Market (κ΄‘μž₯μ‹œμž₯)

Gwangjang Market (κ΄‘μž₯μ‹œμž₯) was one of my favourite places in Seoul, South Korea simply because I love the vibe. I would say there was nothing special about the place but I just loved it there. Maybe because it gave an idea how regular Korean's life looked like especially the elder ones'.

Gwangjang Market (κ΄‘μž₯μ‹œμž₯)

I think most people would go to the Gwangjang Market to taste the traditional Korean food like bindaetteok (λΉˆλŒ€λ–‘) and mayak kimbap (λ§ˆμ•½κΉ€λ°₯) or to shop for hanbok (ν•œλ³΅). At least, that's what I saw or what I have been told when I was there.

Tip: You might not want to spend too much time at the food alley in the Gwangjang Market if you're the kind of sensitive about anything pigs. This is because there were a lot of stalls selling jokbal or pig trotters (쑱발)

Gwangjang Market (κ΄‘μž₯μ‹œμž₯)

I didn't get to explore the whole market so I had no idea how big this market is or whatnot. Honestly, I did not even spend too much time here. I only strolled around few alleys. The first alley that I went to was the food alley because I wanted to see what kind of food they offered. The food alley tends to be crowded especially in the afternoon or at night. I knew this because I went there few times at different times. lol :p

I also strolled along the hanbok and clothing alley (?) but didn't walk until the end because most of the shops were closed and the alley was quite dark even in the afternoon #penakut

Besides that, I went to this one alley that sell banchan and live seafood. Some sort of wet market. Like the hanbok and clothing alley, I didn't walk to the end because the floor was wet and it smelled fishy. Had to avoid it because I planned to go to other places that day and I didn't want to smell fishy.

Gwangjang Market (κ΄‘μž₯μ‹œμž₯)

Anyway, this is one thing that I noticed. The vendors at the food alley were not as friendly to  all passerby, however their hospitality towards their customers was commendable, while the vendors at the banchan alley / wet market were really friendly to all passerby.

For example, the imu-nim in the picture above was calling me non-stop to try their banchan. I politely declined and told her that I have diet restriction. However, she kept persisting while holding my hand and said, "No pig. No meat. I give you octopus." At the end, she successfully fed me one of the raw octopus banchan.

I honestly wanted to cry at that time because I don't eat raw food and I don't even know what ingredients that she used to make the raw octopus banchan. I can only hope there's no haram ingredients.

So yeah. That was an interesting experience of mine at the Gwangjang Market. Something that I still remember until today.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

HI New York City Hostel

As I mentioned in this post, HI New York City Hostel was my first HI hostel. Decided to stay here when I went to NYC years ago because the rate was relatively affordable. If I remembered it correctly, I paid about USD 250 for 6 nights for a bed in a 12-bed Economy Female Dorm. I considered it as a steal because if I were to stay in a hotel in the middle of Manhattan, the cost can easily go up to USD 1200.

HI New York City Hostel

Another reason why I decided to stay here was because they gave a detailed direction to the hostel from the LaGuardia Airport (LGA). It was a huge plus point because almost all other places only listed the direction from the JFK Airport. I landed at LGA so, I was instantly sold.

HI New York City Hostel is located at the Amsterdam Ave, the upper west side of Manhattan. According to the website, it's only few blocks away from the Times Square and Central Park. Couldn't affirm this fact because I used subway all the times when I was in New York. However, what I can say is, the hostel is a block away from the nearest subway station; 103 St and you can easily go to the Times Square and Central Park (to name a few) using the subway line at the 103 St.

PSA: I personally found that the neigbourhood quite sketchy so I would recommend any solo travellers to start your day after 8 AM (in winter) and go back to the hostel before midnight, or before 10 PM.

HI New York City Hostel

Unlike any other hostels that I used to stay, HI New York City Hostel don't offer a free continental breakfast to all guests. Instead, they only offer free continental breakfast if you booked a Deluxe Premium dorm. Additionally, I know they have other amenities like kitchen, laundry, and in-hostel cafe but I couldn't comment on that because I didn't use the said amenities.

The bed and room themselves were quite spacious and comfortable. You won't have problems to put your stuff even if you over-shopped :p And what made it even better was even though I booked a bed in a 12-bed Economy Female Dorm, the maximum occupants when I was there was around 6 people?

12-Bed Economy Female Dorm @ HI New York City Hostel

The washroom on my floor was squeaky clean as well. I think they had about 4 or 5 shower stalls and toilet stalls. I didn't have to wait for a long time to shower or to use the toilets everyday. The only problem that I had everyday was when I had to become an ass whenever I wanted to wash my face and brush my teeth. Everyday, there was a flock of insensitive girls trying to do their make-up in front of the sinks without giving a way to other people who want to use the sinks. So yeah, there's that.

Tip: You probably want to wake up early if you don't want to wait in line when using the washroom, especially if you can see a bunch of girls who wear heavy make up staying in the same floor.

HI New York City Hostel also offers free and paid tours. When I was there, they offered free tours such as Pub Crawl Tour and Central Park Tour. I joined the Central Park Tour because I didn't want to get lost exploring the Central Park on my own. Thankfully, I enjoyed the tour. Probably will talk about this tour on another post.

PSA: I just checked the website, they offer quite a lot of interesting tours. Most of them are free with some of the paid tours start with USD 10

Overall, my stay at HI New York City Hostel was an okay experience. I did enjoy some of the things that they offered but I believe there's always a room for improvement.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (λ™λŒ€λ¬Έλ””μžμΈν”ŒλΌμž) & DDP LED Rose Garden

I went to the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (λ™λŒ€λ¬Έλ””μžμΈν”ŒλΌμž) few times when I was in South Korea. I went there few times mainly because I used the nearest subway station exit and I went shopping and people watching at few malls and market nearby. Unfortunately, I didn't get to properly go into the building because it didn't cross my mind.

All the pictures that I uploaded here were taken on my last night in South Korea. Dongdaemun Design Plaza has distinctive charms both during day and at night but I would suggest you to go at night so that you can see the ever famous DDP LED Rose Garden.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (λ™λŒ€λ¬Έλ””μžμΈν”ŒλΌμž)

Tip: Go to the Doota Mall and have a seat to see the Dongdaemun Design Plaza from above. You'll enjoy the view. Also, this is one of the best spots for people watching.

On this particular visit, my aim was to see the ever famous DDP LED Rose Garden and alhamdulillah, I've managed to fulfill my goal. There wasn't many people around when I was there so that was a happy news. Less crowds means less photobomb when taking pictures :p

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (λ™λŒ€λ¬Έλ””μžμΈν”ŒλΌμž)
 The ever famous DDP LED Rose Garden

Tip: If you have hati tisu, please don't come alone as you probably will fee like a loser because most of the visitors here come with their friends or significant others.

The DDP LED Rose Garden is quite big in my opinion. You probably will need about 45 minutes here if you're the kind of person yang setiap ceruk pun nak ambil gambar. Otherwise, 20-30 minutes would be enough, kot? I spent about 45 minutes here because I'm that kind of person yang setiap ceruk pun nak ambil gambar. lol. Also, I spent that long here because I was people watching the visitors.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza (λ™λŒ€λ¬Έλ””μžμΈν”ŒλΌμž)
 The ever famous DDP LED Rose Garden

Tip: Some parts of the DDP LED Rose Garden are quite dark and isolated so please be extra vigilant.

I personally don't think that I'll come here again if I were to go to South Korea again. Mainly because I've been to this place too many times though I have yet to explore the plaza itself. Having said that, I wouldn't mind to come here if I have a solid reason :)

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Funny Realization About How (My) Feelings Work

This is like an open secret to my close friends, but I had only one crush in my entire twenty-something existence. I always said it was a 7-year crush because I decided to stop having a crush on him after 7 years but truthfully, it wasn't a full 7-year crush. He didn't really cross my mind in that 7 years but I was usually reminded that I had a crush on him at least once a year. That's it.

I do, however remember that back then, I always get giddy whenever he liked my Instagram posts or whenever he sent DMs to me though he was asking boring and normal questions. What a smitten girl you are, Farah. Ha. Ha. Ha. I didn't like the way I behave, so I decided to delete all my Instagram pictures and stop liking his Instagram pictures at one point. Plus, I was struggling with my life so taking a break from social media was like the best decision that I have ever made at that moment.

Farah & Sung Jin Hwan
The only (celebrity) crush that matters πŸ’–


Few months ago, I received DMs from him after years, and oh boy, was it different this time around! Instead of feeling giddy, I felt nothing. Or to be exact, I felt quite annoyed with him because he can easily google the answers to his endless questions. It also didn't help when he kept questioning my responses.

From that moment, I had this funny realization about how my feelings work. Everything was like a rainbow, a sunshine, an unicorn when I was infatuated by his existence (or more like by his likes and messages). Now that I have reached this age and have neutral feeling about him, his likes and especially messages mean nothing to me. They were like other conversations that I usually have with my friends.

To the younger Farah,

Thank you for deciding to stop having a crush on him. That's like one of the best decisions that you have ever made at that age. I'm eternally grateful for your decision for I don't think I can do the same if I were in your shoes.

Friday, April 05, 2019

Sushi Bistro, Banff

Sushi Bistro, Banff is my go-to restaurant sushi restaurant in Banff. I always go this restaurant whenever I crave for sushi, which is often. as often as two times in a month. This is also where I have spent almost CAD 2k for this past a year and half-ish. No kidding!

Sushi Bistro, Banff

The reason why Sushi Bistro is my go-to sushi restaurant is because it offers a large number of sushi options at a decent price tag for a tourist town. Admittedly, it is not cheap, especially if you're so used to all you can eat sushi restaurants, but this is somewhat the best deal that you could get here.

Sushi Bistro, Banff

Tip: They have few sushi chefs but I believe the ladies especially Hannah-san make the better sushi.

These are sushi that I have always ordered whenever I come here; Tamago, Inari, Octopus, Squid, Shrimp Mayo, Scallop, and Scallop Mayo. The taste and size will be different according to the sushi chef of the day but again, in my opinion, Hannah-san's sushi taste the best and the size will make you think it's worth your money!

PSA: The sushi below were not made by Hannah-san as she was not working when I went to the restaurant yesterday. Her sushi are always bigger than these sushi.

Sushi @ Sushi Bistro, Banff
1 order of nigiri sushi comes with two pieces of sushi
Price varies with Tamago and Inari being the cheapest and Scallop Mayo being the most expensive.

My most favourite sushi here are Tamago and Scallop Mayo. All the waitstaff know that I always order these two that they will ask me, "Is that all?" if they don't see a tick mark next to these sushi on the order sheet. They also know to put a lot of wasabi for me when it's dine in or an extra cup of wasabi when it's for to go.

Tip: If you're thinking to split the bill, please inform the waitstaff beforehand as it'll be easier for them to calculate the total accordingly.

Shrimp Tempura with Wasabi Mayo @ Sushi Bistro, Banff
Shrimp Tempura with Wasabi Mayo.
Highly recommended but the price is quite steep.

While I do love Sushi Bistro, I know this restaurant can be a hit-and-miss for some people. I've read mixed reviews about this restaurant, mostly mentioned about price, freshness, and service. As for my personal experience, I know the service can be quite slow especially if they are busy. I once had to wait for about half an hour before my first sushi was served. Also, I once had to wait for about an hour and half for my to-go order. However, I love the sushi here so it does not really affect me that much.

Am thinking about going to Sushi Bistro one more time for the last time before Ramadan, insya Allah. Hopefully, Hannah-san will be the one working on that day because I fancy her sushi the most! I know I'm going to miss her sushi after this γ… γ… 
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