Food Adventures

Yeah, for one post (and maybe another later), this is going to turn into a food blog haha!
I am a college student, but I really love to explore local restaurants and try different things. I’ve found that a great way to do this on a budget is to pick around 1 place/per week to share an appetizer and entree with a friend or significant other. Many of the places I go also have super affordable prices. Here are a few in the Daytona Beach area that I enjoy!

  • Hi-Pot: hot pot & ramen
  • Pho Saigon: pho/Vietnamese
  • Mama’s Kitchen: Vietnamese
  • Rice Bistro: various Asian cuisines
  • Asian Sauce Box: various Asian & dimsum
  • Leanh’s: various Asian
  • La Perla: really legit tacos & menudo
  • Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta: Italian
  • Larry’s Subs
  • Wayback Burgers
  • Pasha: Turkish/Mediterranean
  • First Watch: brunch
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • Taco Bell
  • BJ’s: American
  • Tijuana Flats: fast texmex
  • Masala: Indian
  • Pollo Tropical: Caribbean fast food
  • Ocean Deck: American
  • Red Robin
  • Miller’s Alehouse
  • Wild Ginger: Japanese-American
  • Ford’s Garage: burgers/American
  • Panera
  • Panda Express
  • Pizza Hut
  • Moe’s
  • Domino’s
  • Ichi Ni San: Japanese
  • Landshark: American
  • Culver’s: burgers & cheese curds
  • Takara: hibachi
  • Giuseppe’s: Pittsburgh Italian
  • Gabbie’s: Italian
  • Lan Lamoon: Thai

Restaurants & Grocery Best List!

Happy late February everyone! I’m currently blogging from Daytona Beach, FL, the weather is getting hotter and there’s only eleven weeks until graduation!

I am hoping this week I will find out my base assignment and my estimated arrival date for when I am supposed to go to my base post graduation and commissioning. In the mean time, however, I’ve been reflecting on all my favorite spots in Daytona that I’ve come to know and appreciate over the years. Since it is my last semester, it’s time to go over my Best List for must see/do/experience food related while at ERAU-Daytona Beach!

First on the list is Tia Cori’s Tacos! A must visit if you like Mexican food! Chips and salsa is probably one of my favorite meals (does that count as a meal?), and Tia Cori’s is the best quality for the lowest price.

Next on the list is Smoothie King for their $5 medium smoothies on Fridays! Friday is typically my run day, and my favorite post-run activity, especially when the weather is hot as it usually is in Florida spring, is to get a cold smoothie! I love smoothies, and they’re so refreshing and for $5 you can’t beat it!

Another budget friendly idea for a group of friends is lunch at Sushi King! Sushi King has daily lunch specials and all you can eat sushi! I recommend going with a large group so you are able to order a lot and try different rolls without the pressure to eat them all yourself. A favorite if you’re particularly hungry, a bonus is that the sushi arrangements are always very pretty too!

Up next is my favorite pho place! Phở Saigon is located right across the bridge if you’re heading towards the beach, and their soup and fresh spring rolls are so yummy! If I’m ever feeling a bit under the weather I always order take-out. Pho broth is super nutritious! Soup is also my favorite go-to for rainy days or cozy evenings.

In terms of yummy lunch/dinner options another fun spot to try is Evolve Modern Vegan Kitchen on Seabreeze. Evolve is the ultimate vegan comfort food and is one of my favorite post-PT test indulgences! If you’re looking for a healthier vegan option though – Kale Cafe is delicious, vegan, and great post beach day-vibes.

Local favorites would not be complete without breakfast/brunch and coffee at Cinnamon Tree Cafe! Cinnamon Tree serves a variety of sweet and savory crepes, giant pancakes (the cinnamon roll one is the best to share with friends), and my personal favorite – croissant breakfast sandwiches! They also have amazing iced coffee. If you’re in the mood for something savory be sure to order their homemade blueberry hot sauce on the side too, you won’t be disappointed!

A breakfast classic of Daytona Beach is Steve’s Diner. Steve’s is your typical, super budget friendly, home style diner, and has the best diner coffee in town. Breakfast is my favorite meal, and Steve’s is a consistent classic that never disappoints!

My top grocery store picks are as follows:

Perrine’s Produce – They offer the best priced, freshest, and local fruits and veggies! They also have an ‘ugly’ produce section for cheaper prices! Additionally, Perrine’s sells bulk nuts, seeds, and dried fruits and veggies. Their coffee section, and spices are the way to go too!

Love Whole Foods Cafe & Market – While Love’s is an amazing, amazing place, they are a bit on the pricier side. I highly recommend visiting for the experience though and checking out their super delicious chocolate section. They also offer a wide variety of fresh mushrooms that are gorgeous! Love’s is the fresh, Whole Foods, earthy crunchy vibe that I love, and visiting always puts me in a good mood! They have the best vibe, particularly if you’re wanting a treat yourself experience. Love’s is my recently discovered local favorite!

Yummy chocolate from Love’s!

Publix – sale items, general packaged grocery items, and all else that you wouldn’t typically buy specialty. My grocery shopping usually includes Perrine’s for fresh produce, Love’s for specialty items, and Publix for all else. Publix also has fresh ground nut butters which are great, and $5 fresh made sushi rolls on Wednesdays!

Recent sale buy from Publix for a fun snack option during the week!

I hope this list helped give you some local breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas, along with fun grocery shopping experiences to try out! Keep on keeping on folks, will report back soon!

Perks of Being a Flight Student

This past month, I had the chance to go on a long cross-country flight as part of my multi-engine add-on course. It is my last required flight course that I need in order to graduate and we fly our Diamonds (DA42) for this training. Me and my instructor decided to go up to Charleston, North Carolina on a calm Sunday.

The cockpit of a Diamond 42

The Diamonds are faster than our Cessnas so they allow us to cruise at much faster speeds. We could cover the distance of near 300 miles in 2 hours so when we left around 4pm, we were able to enjoy some breathtaking sights during our cruise up north.

The actual flight path of our XC flight

It is always quite an experience when we get to go on these long cross-country flights. Often times, I am able to enjoy the view and have a friendly, yet professional chat with my instructor, getting to know them personally on these long journeys. We were enjoying cruising over the clouds, flying over cities like Jacksonville and Savannah. Before I realized how quickly we were cruising (about 200 knots groundspeed if you need a reference), we were starting our descent into the Charleston area.

Charleston is a cool airport as it borders an active C-17 military base as well as the Boeing factory where they build the B787 Dreamliners. As we made our landing and taxied to our ramp, I could see the line of C-17’s and B787’s parked on the other side of the airport. Me and my instructor quickly secured the aircraft, grabbed a crew car and headed to one of the most popular destinations for Charleston XC flights, Lewis Barbeque. It was perfect as my instructor and I were both getting hungry near dinner time, so we decided to fill ourselves up before heading back to Daytona.

Lewis BBQ in Charleston, NC

After some good BBQ chow down, we headed back to the airport for our return leg. It was now past sunset so the cruise back was gonna be in the dark. We started up the aircraft and cruised up to an altitude that was the highest I’ve ever been at. The Diamond aircraft performance allows us to cruise at higher altitudes than a Cessna so we decided to cruise at 10,000ft in order to clear the clouds and the turbulence.

Making our way down to the cloudy Daytona Beach area, my instructor and I parked the aircraft back at our ramp around 10pm and we were able to safely complete the flight. I went home and crashed right after as it was a long flight, but it will remain as one of the most memorable moments from my flight training here. I get to experience what life as a commercial pilot is going to be like whenever I go on one of these cross-country flights. I get to work with different co-pilots (my instructor in this case) whom I may not know personally, but we still do our best to maintain a safe and professional environment in and outside the cockpit. Of course, I can’t forget about the breathtaking views during the cruises and the delicious local food at our destinations.

How to Food @ ERAU

You’ve learned about the academics. You know about the Daytona Beach area. Maybe you’ve visited campus so you know all about our state-of-the-art labs and fleet. You’ve followed Embry-Riddle in the news and on your social media. But do you know all the ins and outs of eating on campus? Luckily – Lonnie has the low down. Watch as our newest blogger fills you in on How to Food at ERAU.

President’s Day Weekend!

I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend – I sure did!

For my President’s Day weekend, I went to San Francisco! I left on Thursday evening after class (I had to miss my one Friday class but my professor was very flexible) and returned Tuesday morning. During my trip I stayed at a friend’s house. That’s one awesome thing about college – you meet people from all over and build cool connections, like being able to stay at their place!

The reason I went to San Francisco is because my boyfriend, Chris, is in the Air Force and  goes to school in Monterey, California. Note: for those who are curious about long distance relationships, trust me when I say they are completely possible (I’ve been doing it for two years)! We loved the city so much!

Here is what we did –

Arrival at night: Chris came to the airport to come get me. He took a shuttle from the DLI (Defense Language Institute) to SFO and then we Ubered to In-N-Out!

Day 1: On our first day we went to Pier 39 and to the famous Boudin’s bread. We then took the ferry to Alcatraz and spent Chinese New Year in China Town! People were launching fireworks in the streets to celebrate.

Day 2: We woke up, got breakfast – which consisted of us putting our name on a list at one restaurant, then going to get a smoothie, avocado toast, and coffee all while waiting. You get a blanket when you eat some places too, which was a first for me! We then took a scenic route and walked to the Mission to get tacos and also saw Lombard Street (a super curvy road).


Day 3: I went to Union Square and the Westfield Mall. Chris and I love to eat. We travel by eating our way around the city! Every morning we try a new restaurant and coffee shop! We also had Pressed Juice and it was so good! Then I tried a charcoal latte, iced foam cappuccino, and a “make your own” tea blend machine! I also had super great toast with mascarpone and fruit – you’ve got to try it! We try to eat local and try recommendations from the people we meet or use Yelp. To get around, we use Uber Pool. This is a fun way to meet interesting people and it’s very inexpensive as long as you’re not in a hurry! It took about 20 minutes to get across the city but only cost about $5!


Day 4: Chris and I found a very cool breakfast sandwich place, got butter coffee (it’s actually really good), and then biked across the Golden Gate Bridge! On the other side of the bridge, we visited the tiny town of Sausalito. We toured the cute town and had really good Mexican food! Then we had to say goodbye and it was sad, but these trips are definitely worth it!

This weekend I went to Savannah, Georgia with Women in Aviation to tour Gulfstream! It was all paid for by the club and orchestrated by the school. Alumni gave the tours and bought our lunch! These opportunities are so amazing and unique to our university!

I encourage you to take any chance in college to take a break and explore! The nature of Riddle is that everyone is either at the beach, space station, or traveling on the weekends! Before you say college is too serious for trips, the week before my trip to San Francisco I had five tests, two quizzes, a paper, and a presentation. I was able to get A’s in all, so carpe diem!

Two Cities: Two Weeks

Wow, so a lot of stuff happened in the past two weeks, so let’s get started!

Two weeks ago, I traveled to Montreal and it was an amazing experience. But first, I had to endure a 10 hour train ride.

Everything about the city was perfect. The people were nice, the sights were breathtaking, and I was relatively comfortable traversing the city since I’ve been to New York City so many times.

I was staying with my friend, who generously allowed me to live with her for a whole week. We’ve been pen pals for the past five years, so it was amazing to finally meet her.

The city has some really interesting quirks, like the architectural headache that is Habitat 67 and getting Costo applications in the subway.

I got to try some delicious food as well…because that’s important!

Like all things in the world, my little adventure had to end at some point. I was extremely depressed to leave such an amazing city. But I will return…some day. More photos can be found on my Instagram: billynguyentm

Almost as soon as I got home, I had to get ready to travel once again. Destination: Metlife Stadium.

It took me nine years, but I finally got to see Coldplay live! It was so awesome seeing your childhood idols right there in the flesh. Aside from the concerts Touch-N-Go put on campus, this was my first legitimate concert ever!

These two things were easily the biggest highlights of my summer. I don’t honestly think anything can top them, but with school just three weeks away, I’m open for anything. Until next week!

Kia Ora!

Summer vacation has finally started for me. Gladly, I am here to tell you all about my travel plans this summer. Currently, I am traveling all over New Zealand and I can not wait to share my experiences with you. So without further ado, pack your bags and follow me to this amazing trip! Kia Ora!!! (A traditional Maori language in New Zealand).

Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand with the population of 1.4 million, the city comes to life. Surprisingly, Auckland is very diverse. There are many students from places like India, China, Europe, as well as South Africa. These students are actually a part of the three biggest universities in Auckland; which are, Auckland University, Auckland University of Technology, as well as, Embry-Riddle’s New Zealand partner, Massey University. Auckland is very rich on history, food, and art. There are many museums and world class dining experience around the city.

The first place that I want to take you guys is called Viaduct Harbor. Viaduct Harbor is very famous in Auckland because it is known to be the best spot to see the Auckland skyline. Below is a photograph that I took while I was strolling down the harbor. This is perhaps the best view to see the Sky Tower.

Sky Tower Auckland, New Zealand

Sky Tower Auckland, New Zealand

You can see the that the atmosphere around the harbor is very relaxed. Around the harbor there are many bars and restaurants. Surprisingly, during day time, there are many people reading books and many joggers. In my opinion, Viaduct Harbor is an amazing place to destress.

Auckland is also known to be called The City of Sail. Why? Well, in Viaduct Harbor, there are precisely 2,500 boats. There are many Catamarans and other small vessels. There are many people who are practicing for the America’s Cup in Viaduct Harbor. America’s Cup is a competition that is held every year and it is basically a race of two yachts. Around the harbor, there are private companies who owns and operate a similar yachts that are being used in the America’s Cup and with a sum of fee you can experience the difficulty of the America’s Cup.

Earlier I mentioned about Sky Tower. Sky Tower is the pride and glory of Auckland, it rises from ground to 1,076 feet tall, making it the tallest building in Auckland. Inside the Sky Tower there are two restaurants; Sugar Club and Orbit 360. Fortunately, I had the chance to dine at Sugar Club Fine Dining Experience. I was shocked at the quality of the food. It was an unforgettable experience. There are a lot of varieties of food on their menu; such as, Asian cuisine, French cuisine, as well as, Italian. For myself, I chose a 5 course meal. My favorite dish was the Pan Seared Tuna. I can tell you that the combinations of flavor truly set the bar high for this restaurant. Here are some pictures that I’d like to share with you.

Hoisen Duck Breast, Sky Tower.

Hoisen Duck Breast, Sky Tower.

Pan Seared Tuna, Sky Tower

Pan Seared Tuna, Sky Tower


During my time in Auckland, I stayed in Sofitel Hotel. Sofitel in Auckland is known for many things. However, the location and the view is unbeatable. Sofitel is located in the heart of downtown. There are many restaurants and bars nearby. My favorite would be Restaurant 88. Restaurant 88 is a Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in modernization of traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Below are some dishes that I ordered. I have to say, the tossed beef was a bowl of explosive spices and flavors.

Tossed beef with papaya salad.

Tossed beef with papaya salad

Viaduct Harbor, A view from our hotel room.

Viaduct Harbor, A view from our hotel room.

View from Sofitel Hotel

View from Sofitel Hotel


Jamaican Cobbler & Bedford Summer Cup

Jamaican Cobbler & Bedford Summer Cu






Since Auckland is a culinary hub. I’d like to take you to a place a little bit outside Downtown Auckland. Outside of Downtown Auckland there are many restaurants, particularly, Ponsenby Center. Ponsenby Center is a small town that has all the restaurants and bars in one street. There are shops like The Chocolate Botique, Argentinian BBQ (El Sizzling Chorizo), and last but not least, Bedford Soda & Liquor. Ponsenby Center is designed like food court in the U.S. However, it is outdoor seating. Ponsenby Center is decorated with many trees and flowers, making it very relaxing to dine and drink there. My girlfriend and I tried a few drinks from Bedford Soda & Liquor. Though it was a bit pricy for a few drinks, we walked away with satisfaction. We ordered the Bedford Summer Cup and The Jamaican Cobbler. Both drinks are full of flavor; a mixture of mints, lime, lemon, peach, and pineapple. Again, what an unforgettable experience.

Finally, for the final chapter of this blog, I want to take you a historical place in Auckland called One Tree Hill. Yes, it is similar to the TV series. One Tree Hill is a monument that was built because in the past there were arguments between the Maori people and the British. Maori people is the native New Zealander. Apparently, before the monument was established, there was one big sacred tree that stood up on the summit of the hill. It was worshiped by Maori people at that time, but the unfortunately, one night the one white settler cut that tree and the Maori people were very upset which caused a war. However, today, it is widely known as a tourist destination. Below are some photos on the summit of the hill. Standing on the summit really gives you the bigger picture of Auckland’s sky line. On the top you can see all 360 degrees view of Auckland.

Eden Park (Stadium for All Black, A Rugby Stadium) A view from One Tree Hill Summit.

Eden Park (Stadium for All Black, A Rugby Stadium) A view from One Tree Hill Summit.


One Tree Hill Monument

One Tree Hill Monument

Well, that was it for my first blog. I hope you enjoyed our journey through Auckland city and its surrounding. Stick around for more blogs from me as I head down south to Queenstown and the famous Hobbiton! Until next time lads!


First sunrise in the world! A view from Hilton, Auckland! Until next time!!

First sunrise in the world! A view from Hilton, Auckland! Until next time!!

See you next time!

See you next time! KIA ORA!

January 13, 2009

Well, hello to everyone out there! It has only been a week since I wrote my last journal but I sure have quite a lot of new things to share. Classes here at Riddle are in full swing and the days seem to be flying by faster and faster. So far, I really enjoy going to my classes, which is more than I can say about any of my previous experiences with school. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I always went to class and tried my best in high school and last semester in college. But I can’t say that I truly taken pleasure in attending most of the courses I have been forced to take. Here at Riddle, it’s different somehow. Even though some of the classes I am taking are pretty generic and specialize upon some boring topic, the professors here are top-notch and really know how to make the course material relevant and practical. For example, my calculus professor is an Aeronautical Engineer, so somehow he always finds a way to relate what he is teaching to aviation. He knows the specific ways how vectors and derivatives and all those fancy terms are used in the real world, which is reassuring to see that the topics aren’t completely pointless. That factor to the education here at Riddle is something that has really stuck out and shown me how this college separates itself from other universities.

In my last journal, I gave you my list of classes but unfortunately, they have changed. At least some of them have. As it turns out, the math classes I took prior to coming to ERAU did not line up with courses in the outline for my major. This was a huge problem because I had already spent two semesters trying to knock out my required maths, but all the money and time I had invested in those classes was going to be overlooked. Luckily, I was able to take to Math Placement Exam which basically evaluates your overall math skills and places you into the correct math class. After taking it, I placed into the math I needed to be in and I got credit for the math I previously took. So in the end, it all worked out. Also, if you read my last journal you will remember me talking about the pains of registering as a transfer student. Because I couldn’t register for my classes until I got to campus, all of the ATC courses were full. But as it turns out, there were several other students in my same predicament. The director of Air Traffic here decided to open up another class of the entry-level ATC class, and I was able to jump into it. Unfortunately, that class was scheduled at the same time as my Aviation Safety class so I was forced to drop Safety this semester.

Here are my classes now:

  • MWF 8:00-9:00 – AT200 – Air Traffic Management I – This class is the basic, entry-level air traffic control class. The professor was a controller for thirty years or so at Washington Center so he definitely knows his stuff. So far, we have only learned about the history of air traffic control in the United States. The topics are a little dull for the time being, but I’m sure the material will liven up soon.
  • MWF 11:45-12:45 – WX301 – Aviation Weather – This is the second class in the Meteorology sequence. To be honest, weather is usually my least favorite subject in all of aviation and I absolutely dreaded WX201. But, so far this class has been pretty interesting. The professor used to be the local weatherman for the news here in Daytona, so that is really neat. Also, this class is held in very state-of-the-art classroom with computer stations at every desk. This allows the students to pull up the professor’s Power Point lectures up at their own desks, rather than having to stare at a huge screen at the front of the room.
  • MWF 4:45-5:45 – PS103 – Technical Physics I – First of all, this class is really easy so far. I took physics in high school so I feel that I have somewhat of a strong background on this subject and that might be why this class has been such a breeze. The professor is an engineer and he is a little off the wall, but a pretty good teacher nonetheless. I feel that I will be pretty successful in this class and I have always liked physics so I am looking forward to what else is to come. There is also a lab for this class that must be taken as a co-requisite that I have Wednesdays from 2:15-3:15.
  • TTH 9:45-11:00 – MA112 – College Math for Aviation II – This is the second mathematics course in a two-part series, obviously following College Math for Aviation I (MA111). It is a technical calculus class, and so far we have just been reviewing what was covered in MA111 for students who did have not taken it but rather have either tested into the class as I did, or transferred to Riddle from other schools and have taken a course equivalent. The professor (Jan Collins) is absolutely hilarious and I would recommend him to everyone who takes MA112. Anyhow, I usually enjoy math classes and this one seems like it should be fun.
  • TTH 11:15-12:30 – BA201 – Principles of Management – I like this class probably the least of all of the classes on my schedule. However, it is necessary so I am trying to stay interested and I keep telling myself that the material isn’t as boring as it seems. This class is just as its title entails, a course teaching the basic skills required to succeed as a manager in the business world. The professor talks non-stop for the entire hour and fifteen minutes and we just sit there and listen, jotting down the important points of her lectures. Hopefully this class will become more interesting as time progresses. There is a group project in this class, so that might bring a little spice to the party.

Campus life here in Daytona has been a blast so far. My dorm mates and I have been doing all kinds of fun stuff. Last week, my Resident Advisor called a meeting for our section of our floor in Doolittle. The point of the meeting was to introduce the new people, a.k.a. myself and one other guy, who introduced himself as, “King Louie,” or that’s what we thought he said at the time. It turns out his name is Kang Luiz, and he is from another country. It was a pretty funny conversation. Anyhow, the other point of the meeting was to sign up for sports to compete in “The Residence Hall Olympics.” This event is a chance for all of the residence halls to compete against each other in different sports. Soccer and basketball were Friday night and football and track were Saturday. I was on our flag football team, in which we took the bronze medal! I was pretty excited. Sunday was spent recovering from running, jumping, catching, and throwing all day Saturday. My roommate and I were both really sore so we both just rested in our room and watched TV.

I have probably eaten Chic-Fil-A everyday last week and this week for lunch. And dinner usually is spent at the buffet over in the Student Village. I bought some cereal and milk so I can have breakfast anytime, too. Overall, the food here is pretty good. Although, because I am so new here and all of my dorm mates are Engineering majors, many days I am stuck eating lunch in the Student Center by myself. I’m sure as time goes by, that will occur less and less. There was a basketball game tonight, so that was a blast! We played Florida Memorial University and we won, but the game was back and forth for its entirety. That made the game that much more exciting, especially when we pulled out a victory.

Well that’s all for now. My mom sent me a special pot for cooking soup in the microwave, so I think I am going to make some ramen noodles in it. It looks like it is getting ready to rain too so I might go sit in the study lounge and do some calculus homework. As I said in my last journal, if anyone out there has any questions about life here at Embry-Riddle, just send me an email and I’ll be sure to answer your questions as best as I can. Later!