The Marina Bay Sands Hotel deserves its own post. It’s an impressive building and currently the most expensive in the world. You get near it and your jaw drops at how expansive it is. There are three (tall!) towers and what looks like a ship on the top. On our last day, Ben, Abby, and I ventured all the way up. When I say venture, it means we paid a nice fee to have an elevator quickly take us to their Sky Park.
Once you get to the top, you have to pause to catch your breath, especially if you’re afraid of heights. You’re just in awe of the gorgeous view and how extremely high up you are. Then you get close to the glass ledge, and you get a little freaked out when you look down. If your imagination starts going wild, like mine was, you slowly inch your way back to the center. Ben couldn’t even get himself to the ledge, and I needed to coax him for the pictures. We planned our trip to the top right around sunset, so we could we enjoy our last evening in Singapore by having a bird’s eye view of this special country. The view was absolutely breathtaking and it was the best way to spend our last evening there. We didn’t ride the Singapore Flyer in favor of spending our money to go to the top of the MBS, and I’m glad we made that decision.
One thing we really wanted to do was to go to the infinity pool of the hotel, but you have to be a guest at the hotel to go. We looked up what one night might be, and yeah… not in the budget. We didn’t want to go that badly.
The hotel also puts on an impressive light show in the evenings. While we were on the Sky Park deck, people were just waiting on the around for it. I’m sure the view from the top would have been beautiful, but we wanted to spend our last few hours in the city eating, so we skipped out watching the light show. Plus, we already saw it a few days prior from the Esplanade Plaza. I’m sure the view from the top was better, but we were still awed by the spectacular light show from where we were.
If your local, or visiting Southern California, spend an afternoon apple picking in small town, Julian, about an hour east of San Diego, and two hours south of Riverside. There are plenty of apple orchards for apple picking, but you will want to make sure and check their sites online or call ahead because some might already be out of apples and closed for the season. We went to Volcan Valley Apple Farm because they are an organic apple farm and their apple trees are all trellised, so Ben wanted to check that out. They charge $10 for a 5lb. bag.
Once the girls set foot in the orchard, they just wanted to take off running. We found an aisle that was free from other pickers and we let them run wild. Soul loved it the most and kept running up and down the aisles. The workers at the farm told us we were free to eat apples as we pick, and boy we made sure to get our fill. I think each of us ate about 4 apples! The kids were loving that so much. You can see True above doing her best impression of Apple Jack (one of the My Little Ponies). The varieties found at this particular orchid were Pippin, Empire, Jonathan, and Golden Delicious. They had other varieties (Gravensteins) that weren’t available yet, but they should be now, and some other varieties (Gala and Fuji) were already done for the season.
We picked a lot of apples. A LOT! Another wonderful thing about this particular apple farm is that since they have dwarf apple trees, there are plenty of low branches for the little ones to pick from. Glow was initially hogging the apple bag, but once it got too heavy for her to carry, she gladly passed it off to us. People were in awe of how many apples we picked! I think we came home with 15 lbs. We put them in the fridge and they have all kept pretty well. It’s been two weeks, and they all still taste absolutely delicious.
After we went apple picking, we went into town and strolled Main Street for a bit. I really wanted to go to the Julian Pie Company because of the reviews on yelp, but they had already closed for the day. I read that their cinnamon ice cream is amazing, so we may have to make another trip back one day. We did end up getting a slice of apple crumb pie from Mom’s Pies (they had pretty good reviews on yelp too), with a side of cinnamon ice cream. Here’s a tip, the pie shops on Main Street have really long lines, but if you go to the ones on the way out of town, you’ll likely avoid the lines.
I would have loved to check out more of the historical sites in Julian, but we were running out of time. This means we will just have to go back again someday.
I’m a little late in sharing this, but if you were in the D.C. area this summer, they had this cool BIG maze exhibit at the National Building Museum. It was a little pricey, especially since most D.C.museum things are free, but it looked like a lot of fun, so in we went. Ben did put up a slight hissy fit about how expensive it was, though I think the fun was well worth it. We got a little lost inside, and it feels a bit dizzying and claustrophobic to be lost in there. Ben was the first to spot the way out, so we let him lead the way. The girls were loving it so much they went through it again, but I stayed out and went up to try and get an aerial view of them going through it. If you live near there or were visiting this past summer, did any of you get a chance to go through it?
Warning: this is the longest food post of life. Seriously. When we went to Singapore, we wanted to dive into as much of the culture as possible, and one of the best ways is through food, right?! So we tried everything and anything! Stingray, cockles, mutton (you’re probably saying, “Say what?!”), and the list goes on and on. I’m going to share with you what we tried and some of what we thought. I couldn’t remember what I thought exactly about every dish, but if I didn’t like it, it sticks out, and I mention it below. Otherwise, I liked it! If you ever happen to find yourself on that sunny little island, this should help you navigate what to fill your tummy with, but like we tell our girls, don’t ever knock it until you’ve tried it.
Chendol Cupcake from 40 Hands Cafe. It was different, not moist, but still tasty. There aren’t many desserts I don’t like though.
Carrot Cake from People’s Park Food Centre. It’s not your American carrot cake, this is a vegetable dish, not a dessert. Ben and I both liked it and I’d like to try and recreate it at home, probably with a little less oil though.
Durian Ice Kachang, Cheng Tng, and Bo Bo Cha Cha from People’s Park Food Centre. They all tasted good, but my favorite might have been the durian one. Durian is strong, but after the initial taste, you get used to it. The burps that ensue afterwards isn’t as nice though, fair warning.
Otak Otak from Katong Laksa. Yes, this was delicious! It has a little bit of spice, and yes it looks a bit like spam; it is made from fish (a sort of fish cake) and has a totally different flavor from spam.
Laksa from Katong Laksa. We actually had this twice, so I can’t remember if this was from the first place or second, but both were so good. This was by far my favorite dish in Singapore. Well, it was tied with the Singaporean Ramen from Noodle Story. I have a couple packets of boxed laksa, so I can try to recreate it at home.
Ondeh Ondeh from Maxwell Centre. I wish I could have brought boxes of this dessert home with me! It’s type of a rice flour cake (I think) covered in coconut flakes. I just love how Asian desserts aren’t overwhelmingly sweet like American desserts tend to be.
Ah Balling Soup from Golden Mile Food Centre. This was so good! I loved it so much that I now go to the local Asian market to stock up on frozen peanut balls to have it when I get the craving. My friend Abby shared a recipe here and I want to try it!
Singaporean Ramen from A Noodle Story at the Amoy Food Centre. The presentation and the flavors totally won me. I really miss this dish so much. If I ever find myself in Singapore again, I would head to the Amoy Centre as soon as I was able and get another bowl of this delicious dish. We wanted to go back on our last day there, but they were closed that day.
Dim Sum from Tim Ho Wan. We went to Tim Ho Wan for lunch this day after walking all over the place, and we were starving. I texted my friend Abby our location to see what would be the best place to eat, and this is what she suggested. I love dim sum and this did not disappoint!
Obviously, we ate a lot. Looking at the pictures again, I notice there were some other dishes we ate that I didn’t get pictures of. We had 7 full days in Singapore and we enjoyed every bit of it. Ben, who is really picky with food because he likes to make sure he eats healthy (all the time), was totally game for anything, and he tried everything too! There’s only one dish above that we really didn’t like, but everything else was pretty good. We came home craving some of the food, so I immediately started recreating some of the dishes (with a healthier slant of course).
We were lucky enough to have the Bloesem team to get us started on our food quests, and our friend, Abby, was our personal tour guide 90% of the time, and she took us all over the place. When we did venture off on our own, we used this blog helped guide us (along with some tips a few of you shared too!). Oh Singapore, how we miss your diverse and delicious dishes!
Dear Singaporean friends,
If I got any of the dishes wrong (or spelled wrong), please correct me.
We’ve been busy filling our weekends with adventures of late. They usually involve a trip down south to San Diego, and there are always pit stops to plant nurseries involved. Ben bought two more citrus trees (and he still wants more!), and we picked up some Reed avocados. Oh my guacamole… those things are huge and so creamy! A Reed avocado tree is on our tree wish list, but we haven’t readied the space for any avocado trees yet. Ben’s itching to do so, but he’s always itching to add this or that to the garden all the time. The project list for the backyard never ends, and since we really haven’t spent any weekends at home, that list keeps getting longer and longer.