Thursday, February 9, 2012

swing cafe and taipei 101

Once again we headed to Taipei. We're going so often that the How Tai bus workers recognize our faces. We keep having to run in order to make the bus and every time Phil is screaming the fact that it must be the black dragon curse. He really wanted to eat some bread but How Sweet wasn't selling any bread just their gift boxes of cakes and such. Since we got to Taipei so late we just grabbed food at the bus station. In Taiwan there is a fast-food chain that is open 24 hours just like McDonalds called Mos Burger. It originated in Japan and what makes this place so special is that they have burgers made with rice buns. Since I've never been a fan of burgers I thought I would like the burgers here since it would just be like eating a rice meal.

There is an English menu, you just need to ask for one. The meals here are expensive relative to meals you can find in Taiwan. We all ordered Yakiniku Rice Burger which is basically grilled strips of beef with lettuce sandwiched between two rice buns. According to Wiki, the Yakiniku Rice Burger is no longer offered in Japan Mos Burgers. Phil slipped up and pronounced this place as "MOSS," when we thought this place was called Mo's, and we caught on and started calling this place "Moss Burger." However looking it up online I see that there is no apostrophe so I'm guessing it would be pronounced as "Moss" which ruins the fun of us calling it "Moss" previously. 

The rice burgers here are small! I didn't actually expect it to be so small and now it makes sense why the Japanese are so skinny... For $70 NT for just the burger it was so not worth it. I still felt hungry afterwards and we needed to continue to scout for some more food. The beef was very delicious and flavorful and it was nice to finally eat some veggies. A large amount of the conversations we had involved the lack of veggies in our diet, constipation and taking a deuce. Haha. Such a gross topic to bring up after talking about food but that is a peek into my life with Erica and Phil hanging around. Anyways back to the meal, I felt the ratio of meat and rice wasn't balanced at all, too much rice and not enough meat. Also because of the way it was put together, taking a bite meant taking a whole big chunk of beef with it which either had to be swallowed or shoved back into the burger with your fingers. In the end I had a whole bunch of rice left that without the meat wasn't flavorful or particularly delicious on its own so I just threw it away. Since we were all still very hungry after that and we weren't willing to pay the price to buy more we headed over to a cafe in Shilin with swing chairs. The whole time my sister was here she kept going on and on about visiting the restaurant with a toilet theme, which we managed to do, and visiting a cafe with swings for chairs. Well the sad thing was that I had brought her to Shilin to buy candy and opposite the candy store was a cafe with swing chairs, we just never turned our heads in that direction so we didn't see it. However one time while hanging out in Shilin I happen to turn my head just as I was exiting the station and spotted it so I thought it would be a cool experience to have with Phil and Erica and they were down to do it. I love hanging with people who are pretty much down to do whatever, it makes it easier to find things to do and because I don't have to deal with a-holes.

I think this place might either be called Country Bear House from the sign above the cafe or it's called Tea Time which was what I saw on the menus...

The food and drinks are expensive here and there is also a required minimum each person needs to spend. All the info is mentioned in the menu above. I was hungry but didn't want to spend over $200 NT on a plate of food. I got a hot Hazelnut Milk Tea which was recommended by the waitress and cost $130 NT!

My drink came in this cute little setup. The tea is in the pitcher and is being kept warm by a little tea light! The tea isn't sweet at all so you have to mix in your own sugar. I liked the hazelnut flavor but I still prefer the milk teas from Cocos. For the hefty price tag I would prefer my tea to be sweetened for me instead of having to do it myself. Customization be damned! They should just ask what percentage of sugar we want in our tea like the drink store chains instead of letting us approximate it ourselves with the packets of sugar. Erica ordered a hot green milk tea and a chocolate waffle ($110 NT) while Phil ordered a ice cream coffee ($130 NT).

Despite the prices the variety of fruit and flower flavored milk teas were very tempting. The prices not so much, more than 3x the price of milk teas you can find in the drink chain stores. You gotta pay to sit on those swing chairs so I swung the heck out of those chairs. Bashing against the walls and freaking Erica out. All the creaking from the ropes is scary especially since if your swing falls down it will probably bring the ceiling down onto us. However if the floor collapses we will be safe, swinging over the debris.

There are a whole bunch of pictures of us really "enjoying" the swing chairs but most of them aren't for public eyes. I do have some lovely myspace photos of myself with Erica giving me some fug faces in the background but I won't embarrass her on here. I'll just put those in my scrapbooks for better perusal. Other moments captured on film but not to be shown are of me acting "care-free or girly or some crap" in order to fit the swing char mood. I'm not sure since Phil was giving out orders and all I have of pics of me flipping my hair and doing crazy gestures. Since I was still hungry we hiked a couple of blocks to grab some McDonalds, the person I ordered from knew English so I finally know how to order McNuggets in Chinese without having to order the meal. If anyone is interested you want to say the Chinese words for "fast chicken." Hanging out with Erica and Phil, I've eaten at McDonalds more so than I've eaten here in the last 6 months. Since it was raining we didn't do much and just headed straight over to Taipei 101 so they could go up on the observatory deck. I opted not to go up since it was raining and I didn't want to spend so much money to not get a great view especially since I live here and could come back whenever I want. The bottom levels of the Taipei 101 building are a bunch of shopping levels so I just browsed around until they finished. After that because of all the rain, we just decided to eat whatever was convenient which was the foodcourt at the bottom of the Taipei 101. The foodcourt was so big and had such a variety of food! It was hard to decide on just one thing but I finally settled on some Italian food.

I ordered the Tomato Meat Sauce Gratin with Penne for $140 NT. I loved how much cheese is on my dish and it was super yummy. The plate wasn't as deep as it looked which sucked but it was still delicious. I like how all the food court restaurants in Taiwan serve their meals on actual plates with actual cutlery rather than just take away containers because it give a more restaurant feel to eating and possibly a little bit more environmental? After dinner checked out the Eslite Bookstore nearby. This one is massive and contains several floors, one dedicated to just stationary, arts and crafts! Since there is so much space, products were arranged in floor displays that were so cute! They also had a bunch of scrapbooking related products like stickers and embellishments.

As always I had to check out their washi collection. Can't wait to go to Japan and see if I can score some cheaper washi tape before spending most of my paycheck buying the ones here.

While inside, Phil and I played the "Guess the Price Game." Some of these items were so ridiculously priced like a wooden Hemingway bookend that was priced at $1500 NT! That is one bookend which is a made of a wooden cutout of Hemingway glued onto a metal base! Another was a bag made of recycled paper or something that went for over $4000 NT. We had a great time laughing about the uselessness of the products and the absurd prices for them. On the way home we saw this sign inside the bus and the advice it gave us was hilarious.

The Details
Country Bear House or Tea Time or Cafe with Swing Chairs
Didn't grab the address but take the MRT to the Shilin Station and as you exit it is on your right hand side. Super close to the exit stairs, just turn your head immediately as you exit and you will spot it. 

Taipei 101 Observatory Decks
Cost: Adults $450 NT if you have a Youth Travel Pass the cost is reduced to $350 NT
Hours: 9am-10pm; last ticket sold at 9:15pm
The outdoor observatory is only open if weather condition permits.

A Youth Travel Pass is open to Taiwanese or international youth aged 15-30 and is free. Just bring a valid ID, passport for international visitors, to obtain the pass. There are several locations where you can obtain the pass around Taiwan. I know the information booths at the MRT stations have them and also the tourism booths in the airports. I got mine at the Jiantan Station information booth. It only takes a few minutes to sign up and you get discounts for tourist attractions, hotels, transportation, and stores in Taiwan.

Check out their website for more info

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