Loving Life

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The right way to end the work week..a party!

Friday morning started off badly with a F2F meeting with the "good" folks from the Agency. It was the 3 of us facing the five of them but numbers is not an issue as long as you have A at the table..she gave such a performance that I have never seen a more sorry sight..she had the 2 big guns from the Agency bowing their head in shame at her truthful statements. Felt really bad for the Agency but I have to say they deserve it seeing how much angst they have put me through for the past 3 months and oh no, I have another 3 more months to go with them..save me! sob sob sob.

Thankfully I had Cheryl's party to look forward to..that dear lady decided to splurge her well earned "award" $$ on a les amis catered event. My initial plan was to drop in early to watch the set-up but of course got delayed approving copy (due to Agency sending me the stuff at 5pm and then had to have an hour conversation with them till wayy past 7...and the nerve of the new agency girl - she was giving me such a trying time on the phone..she goes : "but sometimes more is less and less is more but more does not mean more..do you know what I mean?" - Gosh, I really had to practise my yoga breathing techniques to keep my cool!! I just replied - "Look, it's Friday evening, I am so late for my appt that it's not even funny and I don't really appreciate riddles like this after such a long day" - I hope she got the hint :).

Anyway, I arrived to the sound of laughter and wow, a lovely scene of candles and "survivor" torches. Les Amis did up the place really nicely. The menu consisted of duck pate, salmon and prawn mini bruschettas - all done pretty well. And there was a bar set-up with a good range of hard liquer. I quickly forgot about work and immersed myself with good company and dinner. Here's Cheryl and me before I had to make a quick dash home to accompany Jin for his late dinner..poor guy waited till past 10 to have his mutton murtabak from across the street where we live.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Lin chose Bonta, to Bonta we go

Celebrated Lin's bday 2 days earlier as she was off to KL. Gave her a list of choices - Original Sin, Macaron, The universal and Bonta. She wanted comfort food so opted for italian at Bonta. We chose to sit in the al fresco area and not wanting to be very adventurous, stuck to the items which had been reviewed. The bread was excellent - made with a combi of walnuts and tomatoes and a dash of cheese in the middle.

The sashimi trout was a excellent starter and the considerate chef split the portion into 2 plates - a nice gesture. My mains was the roasted seabass fillet and I found it a bit too bland - can't complain too much as it did taste very healthy. Lin's lobster was yummy but the angelhair pasta could have been a bit more al dente. Too stuffed for dessert so I owe Lin a bday cake :).

It was a nice evening but spoilt a bit by this particularly rude waiter..I did not manage to catch his name but his arrogant behaviour cheesed me off...he brushed off my questions and walked away with the bill despite me mentioning several times that I have not signed it..he kept saying that there was no need to sign..and when he realised it did indeed require a signature, he did not even have the decency to apologise for his mistake..what an idiot!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Crabs galore at Ming Kee

Weekday bday celebration with the two Serene's last night. Initially the plan was to eat at Seafood Paradise (Defu Lane) but after hearing rave reviews on Ming Kee (MacPherson Road) come separately from two friends who are seafood fanatics, we decided to check out this place.

We ordered the signature crab bee hoon, pepper crab, cereal prawns, brocolli shoots and a tofu, brocolli and mushroom dish. The crab bee hoon (pictured above) was the dry kind unlike Mellban's. Pretty good but Sin Huat's still tasted richer (but with tons of MSG - what can one expect ;). It was a good thing we ordered 2 portions, otherwise there would not hv been enough crab to go around. My fav of the night was the black pepper crab. All the crabs were very fresh and huge ($38 per kg). Feeling rather greedy, we ordered a plate of mussels. Mussels were quite yummy but sauce was really oily. Gave dessert a miss as there was talk about heading to geyland for durians and bean curd. Overall, a relaxing good meal at reasonable prices. Here's the group - I insisted we take a group photo seeing we missed taking any at the last gathering for Andrea's big day at Sage Restaurant :p. Everyone in black except me - totally forgot we were eating crab..sigh, I blame my work!!!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Barnacles - Good seafood all round

Got to enjoy a mid-week holiday this week. It's Vesak Day today and we started off the lazy morning heading to Vivo City for an early lunch with Lin and RY. Unfortunately, they were running late so we headed to Food Republic on our own. This place is probably the prettiest food court in Singapore and with its good range of stalls was packed as usual even though it was not even noon yet. Jin had a hard time choosing between bak kut teh, kuey chap and claypot laksa. He finally decided on the famous Depot Road claypot laksa ($6.90 a bowl) and was very very happy with his yummy choice.

Having tried most of the stalls here, I opted for something new which was the Korean beef bibimbap at $8. It was surprisingly good (I am always a bit wary about Korean food court stalls since they typically fall short on authenticity) with lots of veg topped with a fried egg. Stomachs full, we met up with our MIA lunch buddies to watch Shrek the 3rd, which btw, was corny and def a dvd movie (what else to expect from a Hollywood sequel) :p

Ended a rather easy-going day with a lovely dinner at the newly opened 2 month old Barnacles restaurant located at Rasa Sentosa Hotel. Jin read reviews about it 2 weeks ago and decided to give us both a nice treat to celebrate since that we did not have plans to get out of Spore (which incidentally felt kinda weird as we are almost always away over long weekends / public holidays)

The restaurant is located on the edge of Silso beach with views of the sea and container ships in a distance. The weather tonight was pretty cool after the rain and very pleasant. We got a table in the alfresco area outside and munched through a fresh bread basket while deciding what to order. The menu was relatively simple so we did not take too long. Appetizer was the 'ying yang' which was a combination plattter of 4 good sized mayo prawns and deep fried baby squid. The prawns were good (wished they had wasabied the mayo though :) but the squids were wayy too baby and Jumbo's version definitely tops this one.

Next came our mains - Jin choose the mixed grilled platter which came with servings of beef, lamb and 1 tiger prawn accompanied with mushroom sauce, salad and fries. I have to say for $38, it was very generous, good value and all 3 meats were pretty nicely done. I kept eyeing the beef which Jin generously shared 3 bites with me :)

My choice of main was the grilled seafood skewer which came with 2 portions of salmon, 1 red snapper and 2 prawns. The salmon was a bit bland but the prawns were excellently marinated and the snapper grilled just right, tender and tasty. My only gripe is that the kitchen had not properly cleaned up the prawn - something one would have expected an establishment like this to have paid more attention to!

We were too stuffed for dessert - Our total bill came up to slighty below $100 and with great service, lovely views - Barnacles is really worth checking out and I can already foresee us coming back :) The nice service staff even helped us redeem back our $2 Sentosa entrance fee which you get back for every $28 spent.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Good grief - S$20 prawns at hawker centre

Got a nasty shock during dinner at Newton Circus on Sunday night when Jun ordered 8 tiger prawns and we were served with a bill of S$160!!! That's S$20 a prawn which boils down to S$5 a bite..and trust me, it's definitely not worth S$5 a bite! I mean, I would pay $5 for one chocolate but for a chew size bite of a prawn?? and at a hot local hawker centre too :p

Here's a link to IZ's post for the full details and pictures of the small sized tiger prawns.

Lesson learnt - don't ever order from the prawn uncle who wears a cap hovering around the newton circus open air section..(actually, to be fair, the guy wasn't an uncle yet la..:) Good point to note though - one of the island's best maggi mee goreng can be found here - Din's muslim stall serves a mean and yummy maggi mee goreng with beef bits and 1 sunny side-up egg for just S$3.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jin's dad's 67th bday...

Last weekend, we headed back to KL for a quick trip to surprise Jin's dad as it was his birthday..made mom my partner in crime..she splendidly pulled off the whole plan without arousing suspicion of any kind :). We arranged to meet at Boathouse restaurant and surprised dad after he sat down..heehee.

The food at Boathouse was wayyy below expectations and rather expensive. Thankfully the service was at the very least - good.

Met up with the usual KL gang for dinner at Mrs Reed's Delicious cafe - see how big Nicky and Ethan have grown!

Next morning, to satisfy Jin's bak kut teh (BKT) craving, the group gamely accommodated and Keat introduced us to a shop in the outbacks of Sungei Way. Here's the big bowl of BKT we all shared. Yum!

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's May? US trip - vegas, san diego, LA

How time flies...i just realised that I hv not updated my blog since March!..gulp..my new role is really eating up into all my spare time for blogging :(. anyway, it's time for a quick update..to start things of, this is a quick recap of my recent US trip - got to go 'cos of the award nomination for one of the campaigns wee hoon and I worked on last year! Spent 4 lovely days in San Diego - perfect weather, food and fun. Above pix shows the glorious sunset that greeted me on Day 1.

Prior to the event at San Diego, I also spent the weekend in Vegas. Pic above shows the wonderful display of flowers at the Bellagio hotel. Did not gamble much so fortunately, only lost $10 :P..but it was fun to watch others gamble and win some :)
The HP Circle Awards - was a bit sad not to have won it but then again, was up against the HP board scandal nominee :p..Here I am at the awards night with the HP China team.
La Jolla resort and spa - the luxurious venue where the Circle awards event was held and where I stayed for 3 nights. There were some cute bunnies running wild in the premise and tons of roses blooming..very pretty!
Managed to find time for a quick run the on the day of the awards..it was much needed work out after all the rich cheesy food! The hotel's quite near the beach and following the running map provided by the hotel, I found myself seeing amazing views..Jin and my retirement plan should definitely include getting a home here! :)

And of course, no visit to San Diego is complete without a visit to La Jolla town area. This is my 3rd visit here and I am still captivated by the scenery and great weather. I got to feed the seagulls, see the seals and eat my lunch while people and sea watching.

Before heading home, managed to spend a day in LA to catch the musical "Wicked"..amazing stage props, OK singing. Also, redid the usual tourist stuff..walk of fame and rubbing tails with tigger :)

Finally, no post is complete without at least showing some pictures of the rich, gargantuan american food we overindulged in..urgh! easily put on 5% fat percentage..gonna definitely have to stay off burgers and cheese for the next few weeks!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Entertained at dinner - Crystal Mirror

Jin gave me a treat on Sunday night by buying us tickets to the Crystal Mirror - a dinner cum show event. Although we got the cheapest (S$160 per pax) tickets, our booth seats were perfect! Bcos there were only the 2 of us, we got the whole private booth to ourselves vs people who bought more expensive tickets but had to sit at shared tables with strangers. The booth seats were also elevated so we managed to get a good view of all the performances.

The 4 course dinner specially designed by World class Michelin Star chefs met our expectations..we had 3 versions of scallops, lobster bisque and risotto, foie gras quail and 4 kinds of Viennese desserts. Can't go wrong having scallops on the menu :).

The show itself was entertaining although admitedly a bit kitsch at times - we saw acrobats, singers, comedians and some amazing skating , hula hooping and the bubble blowing man (this guy was really good)! My only gripe was that the show was really long (4 hours!!) but I guess that's how people used to be entertained in the roaring 20's (before they had TV, internet, PS2 and mobile phones :) Here's a pix I took of Jin while waiting to enter the tent - I love this shot :)

It was a good end to the weekend - having worn myself silly by attending my 1st dragon boat attempt. Met up with some colleagues at 10am on a Sunday at the Kallang Sports Centre and spent the next 3 hours trying to play our part in moving the long boat (don't know who we were trying to kid..I was more concerned about how good I would look after the time under the hot Spore sun!)

However, despite the heat, lots of sweat and hard work, an aching back and butt - I had fun and it was a nice way to spend Sunday morning looking at the Spore skyline from a different view on the (dirty) Kallang river. of course there was a lot of eye-candy for me - Jin even commented that Sporean men in general have nice bods (editor's note: comments like these should not be widely disseminated) ;)..would I do it again? ask me after my butt and back stops aching :P

Monday, March 26, 2007

Desmond & Jeraldine tie the knot :)

Our couple friend who we met during the Egypt trip 2 years ago got married on Sat at Marina Mandarin. Jeraldine such a radiant bride - she mentioned that her wish was to look like a princess and that she did..i loved her blue dress! It was also good to see part of the group again and the first thing most of us said was that it felt like we were back on the Egypt tour as we sat on a round table overindulging just like on many of the tour meals :)

The one addition to the group is of course, baby Francine...who has grown so much since we last saw her before Christmas and super well behaved

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Finally, a trip to the spore zoo with Chloe Luthi

When we found out that we have to move out of our Cuscaden home by end March 07, I informed all our close friends that "Hotel Cuscaden" was closing down so that they could take the final opportunity to stay :). Olivia and family finally made it down this weekend and they have the honor of being the last guests before the end of the Cuscaden era..(sob sob!).

Anyway, it was fantastic to see everyone again and Chloe, being 3.5 years old is at the perfect fun age..Friday night saw us introducing them to Spore's pepperish version of 'bak kut teh' which Olivia really liked. Steph and I drank too much of the pepperish soup and paid for it when our stomachs started protesting big time not long after after :p (editor's note: let's skip the gory details here)

I had promised Chloe in August last year to bring her to the Spore zoo should she visit her Ah Yee Cindy..The spore zoo is small but really a world-class attraction with some of the best exhibits like the polar bear and orang utan open home. Was quite dissapointed that the penguin exhibit was closed and had to tell Chloe that when the penquins get back from vacation, she will have to come visit again :). Here are some great shots taken with Steph's super high-tech Nikon SLR.

And here's a shot of Steph taken with my baby camera ..heehee

Last night, we satisfied Liv's cray fish craving with dinner at the newly renovated Newton Circus hawker centre. I have not been here for ages and was pleasantly surprised with the nice change after the reno works. We ordered a variety of typical Newton fare : 2 kinds of cray fish (black pepper and garlic), 1 chilli lala, fishball noodles, popiah, maggie mee goreng and fried oyster. The maggie mee goreng was close to KL standards..yay, found a place to come to to satisfy maggie goreng craving! Finished off the meal with a durian ice kacang - introduced durian to Chloe and she clearly liked it :). ..Liv was not all too happy about this as she hates durian. haha!

This morning, we managed to convince Steph to play a game of tennis with us..he claims that he has not played for like 8 years but I guess Steph's one of those guys who is good at every sport cos he managed some really good shots and that left both Lin and me impressed :). Lunch was at YhingThai at Purvis..food's always good but a tad pricey (avg $40 per pax).

Our last Cuscaden visitors just left..and I am already missing our guests and feeling a twinge of sadness that we will soon have to move out of our wonderful city home of 4 years. Must remember to take some final pix of our 1st home in Spore before we move. Here's a pix of Chloe taken on the way to the zoo yesterday..,say Cheese :)

Su Korean with korean gal Inya :)

I usually try not to mix work and play especially with the good folks from the agencies (after one really bad experience!)..but have always made an exception with Inya cos' she's one cool agency gal and she's hip korean :D

Anyway, we have not seen each other since last year so some catching up time was required. As with all things Inya, korean's our favourite type of meal together so she recommended Su Korean located at Far East plaza (they hv another branch at boat quay). The wed night crowd was not bad - a good sign that this place probably serves pretty decent korean food as the prices were not exactly for one with a budget.

We ordered the beef galbi, some really yummy bean soup and topokki (korean rice cake with chilli sauce). The beef which we chose to barbeque ourselves was well marinated and tasty (cos it did not have the marbled fat everyone else loves :p) but what was really memorable was the appetizer small dishes..it had a marvelous range of vegetables - I like!

The topokki was not as good as the ones I have had in korea - chilli was too sweet. The soup was very tasty and came with a generous amount of ingredients. All in all, not a bad place to visit if one has korean food cravings.

After dinner, we adjourned to Hyatt - the Bar, for more girl catch up time and delicious cocktails at expensive prices..Inya treated so that made the evening extra nice :).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Brown Sugar Cafe Bistro - just the right amount of sweetness

We celebrated Myra's bday at Brown Sugar Cafe this week. Tucked away along in a non-descript section of River Valley Road, Brown Sugar offers 2-course and 3-course set lunches at $23++ and $27++ respectively. We ordered to share and went with the Penne carbonara, Ribeye sandwich and lamb chops for our mains choices.

All of the selections turned out very well. The Penne was cheesy but not over powering and nicely al dente-d to perfection. The lamb and ribeye sandwich were also very decent. Appetizers were a grilled squid salad and grilled tiger prawns salad. Although they were both yummy, I wished the the prawns were bigger :)

We made excellent choices for dessert : toffee sticky date pudding and bread pudding. Neither was over sweet - just the way all good desserts should be. All in all, Brown Sugar's a great place to visit for a decent good meal with no hassle finding parking :)..very important for people who drive :)..it was Myra's first time tasting toffee date pudding so am Happy that she enjoyed her bday treat! Mental note to self to come try out their Sunday brunches.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weekend with Shih Tzu puppy - Muji

Invited Anne and VB, Ed and Liliane for a simple dinner on Friday night and got to meet Muji, a 5 month old shih tzu puppy that Anne's doggy-sitting for the week. Muji's a real sweetheart - very loving and hardly barks and best thing is, does not shed much hair :). Baby Lucas was not too happy with Muji's social skills and made a fuss each time Muji tried licking him..hahaha :)

Also had a weekend visitor - Keat dropped over for 2 short days to attend a concert at Esplanade with his cousins. We took him for dinner on Sat nite to Uncle Leong's crab stall at Ang Mo Kio. Mellban (the more famous one next door) was as usual super packed with a long wait queue outside even though it was only 630pm..thankfully Uncle Leong had ample seats and honestly, having tried both places before, I personally find Uncle's preparation at least on par, if not better than Mellban.

We ordered the black pepper crab bee hoon and curry paste crabs. The waiter must have taken a liking to us cos he gave us the crabs with the most amount of eggs I have ever seen (editor's note: the curry paste version is to die for..simply superb)..it was soooo plentiful that even the greedy guys could not finish it (sigh..wasted!)..we hid the remaining eggs under the crab shell so that the cute waiter boy wouldn't feel offended..heehee.

Sunday morning was spent running off the crab calories with 2 hours of tennis. But all the calories were replaced with a fabulous lunch at Royal China. The char siew soh was just as good as we remembered it to be..flaky pastry that just melts in your mouth wrapped delicately around succulent honey char siew...yumyum such blissful happiness!! everything else was also really good...We managed to leave space for dessert and discovered that the glutinous black rice with coconut ice cream in pumpkn puree was excellent. I also tried the orh nee and it's not bad..not too sweet, just wished they did not add the almond paste as well :p