Loving Life

Friday, October 13, 2006

Justin Crap? lunch at Snappers

We had eagerly reserved our table about a month back when we heard reknown home grown chef, Justin Quek (of Les Amis fame) was bringing his whole team of staff from Taiwan to host meals at Snappers, Ritz Carlton for 3 days. Therefore, our expectations for the set lunch at $64 were pretty high..and I guess perhaps why we were even more dissapointed when the food turned out to be on the whole quite ordinary.

The entre on the set was a herbal duck consomme with herb cream foie gras dumpling. While waiting for that to arrive, the bread tray came along and all of us choose the good-looking olive buns..Sprinkled with rosemary and other herbs and topped with halves of olives, the bun was yummy :)

The starters finally arrived in time to stop us from finishing the whole lot of olice buns...I confess that until today, I am still not a foie gras fan and so, did not enjoy the super-rich foie gras filling in the dumpling. On the other hand, I found the soup quite enjoyable, tasty even..but M and A thought it was rather salty :p

Next came the seared romaine lettuce with king oyster mushroom and autumn dressing. Anything with mushrooms can't really go wrong..however, definitely more taste could be added into this dish - maybe it was supposed to be more on the subtle side so that it did not affect us from enjoying our mains?

For mains, we had a choice of poached ocean fish with ginger nates and fresh herbs OR grilled seared stirloin with bordeaux sauce. I choose the meat and the other 3 ladies went for the fish. This took really long to arrive and until today, we are still not sure if the fish was overcooked or is ocean fish supposed to have the texture of white steamed chicken? is was so tough that you needed the use of the knife to slice it. The herb sauce was the saving grace of this dish. My beef was ok, not much to shout about and even presentation wise - was unimpressive.

After the unsatisfying mains, we looked forward to dessert and were pleasantly surprised to be told by the waitress that there were 2 desserts which will be served and one was a "surprise" dessert..wooo..that sure piqued our curiosity. Shortly after, she came out carrying a plate with 2 open egg shells sitting prettily in a base of black sesame seeds. We took a shell each and under the layer of foamy froth, we discovered an excellent chocolate mousse and when we dug into the bottom of the shell, there were bits of hazelnut..YUM!

The 2nd dessert was a jasmine infused jelly with bits of pomelo and sides of a yogurtish sorbet. I found this a bit too sweet and something I could get from any of the local HK cha chan tengs.

Trying to end this with some good things to say..well, the wait staff, all flown in from Taiwan were a pleasant polite lot..always smiling and very accommodating (although service was really really slow!). And that choc mousse was really something else :).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Hing Hwa meal @ Pu Tien

Started off the week meeting up with Andrea, Mad and Angeline for dinner. We initially planned to eat at Majestic but Andrea mentioned that the standards have dropped since we were last there...So it was a choice between Taste Paradise or Pu Tien. The later became the choice as I was feeling a bit poor and Pu Tien's much more affordable! hee..

Having read up reviews on Pu Tien, we knew straight away what to order. The famous Hing Hwa mee hoon noodles, yam deep fried with duck, pork floss with eggplant, drunken prawns and house speciality beancurd. The eggplant dish I liked the most as the sweet taste of the floss mixed with the more bland fried eggplant gave each crunchy bite an interesting aftertaste. The noodles tasted rather bland but had generous ingredients of veg, prawns, seaweed, peanuts, tofu and somehow, even though it's fried, you don't see a speck of oil..it had a wonderfully dryish texture - I was quite impressed :)

I found the duck overcooked and tough so only managed to eat the yam part which was stuck to it. Not much of a steamed prawn person so drank more of the wine soup which was not bad..could do with more wine! The beancurd was good - but it was precisely what one would expect. Mad and I love the chilli in this place..I think we practically dipped anything and everything into it and finished up the container at our table! We concluded that this was a place to try at least once :). For dessert, we headed to Selegie for yummy Rochor beancurd at just 80 cents a bowl.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Busy Sunday!

Where did my Sunday go?! Let's see :

9am : started golf lessons at Keppel Club today :)!! Our coach - Jo- is Aussie and seems to know what he is talking about..first lesson was all about getting the basics right - grip, stance, mid-swing. He took a video of us and am happy to say that my stance is very alike to Tiger Woods..lol...next lesson in 3 weeks time..can't wait!

10.30am : checked out nearby Caribbean apartments - lovely compounds and love their jacuzzi with views of the open sea. Too bad it's leasehold and over 1,000 units :p

12pm : rushed to Gilstead Brooks and 38 Barker road to view cluster homes. Gilstead reminded us of the townhouses in US. very nice development..now, where to find the mullah? :p

1pm : dropped in to check out Residences @ Evelyn (just launched) - fantastic views of the city, great location - have to start buying lottery!! :D

1.45pm : finally -time to feed growling stomach. went for a 1-for-1 chinese feast at Mouth restaurant @ Safra Toa Payoh. Here's what we had :
  • double boiled shark fin's with avocado and chicken soup (they ran out of avocado and replaced with mushrooms instead - no complaints from mua the mushroom lover here ;) - soup was very flavourful - good start to the meal
  • braised bamboo pith w pumpkin & spinach sauce (found this quite ordinary - sauce no oomph)
  • steamed black chicken w tang gui & black fungus (this was yummy - the chicky meat came off the bones and the soup gravy was soo sweet from all the good ingredients - polished this off easily and jin's portion too ;)
  • steamed crab with DOM liquer & egg white (how can one not like this? :)..we got all our fingers dirty digging the meat out and sucking the claws clean..the egg white was a great compliment to this dish)
  • braised abalone with brown rice (only one eenie meanie small piece of abalone but the rice was tasty with some nice gravy so that it was not too dry)
  • double boiled pear w lily bulb & fungus (this dessert was ok..a bit sweet but the fungus and lily bulb gave it a nice crunchy taste)

We also got a bonus dessert of their house speciality - durian 'mochi'..very yum! and this got us very very FULL....*burp*

3pm-5pm - can't remember what we did - must be due to food overload (oh, yeah, chatted with michelle - sweet gal called from KL..sigh, i do miss our friends back home:(

5pm onwards - worked on presentation slides for monday and tuesday :( , wanted to to watch Lara Croft on local tv but realised we have watched it before. stole some of jin's yummy jap instant noodles and had a huge choc shake for dinner :D

11pm onwards - update blog while chatting with little sis in US :)

Busy week ahead - looking forward to lunch with gf's at Ritz with celebrity chef Justin Quek who's in town. Then off to India to visit the lovely Taj (urgh, forgot that there's work too!) and then back to KL for flight to Nepal..woohooo..am really pumped up for that trip..Little sis flying back with hubby and bro-in-law to join us for this trip along with mom! It's going to be a HaPpY 3 weeks in October :)))

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Mooncake - back to original

It's that time of the year again where our office pantry is filled with boxes of mooncakes. Every year I look forward to getting a bite of the snowskin mooncakes - sadly, we got fewer this year compared to last year and I only managed to try the white chococlate truffle snow skin mooncake from Raffles once :p. YL mentioned to me she liked the baked ones from Ritz so imagine my delight when I received a box of Ritz Carlton's mooncakes and yes, she was right, the lotus paste really was excellent..just the right mild sweetness wrapped in delicious pastry! Of late, we have had all sorts of flavours hitting our shelves - Baked peach mooncake with macademia nuts and white lotus paste, baked mooncake with ginseng, wolfberries & melon seeds - to name a few, but despite all these new flavours, I still like the original flavoured ones - plain lotus without any yolk - especially when they are made so exquisitely like Ritz's....simple is best! :)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happy birthday Jin Jin :)

DH turned 31 today..(but still acts like 20)..heehee..I surprised him with a home made gourmet-style breakfast in bed - omelettes with sausages, banana and peppers; sides of bread rolls smoothered with eggplant dip and sliced strawberries and green grapes. Since I was on a detox program, I did not taste the omelette but Jin was singing their praises (*big grin*)...only downside was he said from now onwards, we don't have to go out for gourmet brunches anymore *horrors* since I can whip up the same :D

Did not manage to go for bday dinner as he was closing the big deal he's been working on for the past month...but, what's a bday without a cake right? Got him a gorgeous looking mango pudding (Jin loves anything mango!) and sang him my one person rendition of Happy Birthday ..whew! the things I have to do..thank goodness it's only once a year ..Hah!

James Blake - Thai Open 2006 winner

Woohoo! fulfilled my dream of watching James play LIVE!! When I heard that Thai Open tickets were on sale a couple of months back, I quickly scanned through the participating players list. Was quite dissapointed not to see Federer or Nadal on the list...but still with upcoming stars like James Blake that sealed our decision to make the trip to Bangkok (also, part of my bday gift to Jin :)

We managed to catch the semi-final between James and Safin which was really exciting as Safin put up a good fight both on court and off (he whacked his racquet several times and even broke one). James managed to pull through at 3-6, 6-4, 7-6. The 2nd semis was equally exciting as home-grown star Paradorn was pitted against Ivan Ljubicic. Paradorn was not in the same league as Ivan but he is soo cute! ;) Ljubicic dented Paradorn's hopes right from the start, utilising his powerful serve to silence the partisan Bangkok crowd and keep the Thai out of the match, eventually winning emphatically 6-3, 6-2.

The finals was quite a shocker with James thrashing the higher Ivan :6-3, 6-1 in 58 minutes. World class tennis from James but Ivan was not himself at all with tons of unforced errors.

Our hosts, Nont, his gf Yui and good friend, Pong really took care of us..fetching us to and fro from matches and buying us good meals and the sweetest thing - paid for our tickets! Ah..what great friends :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Noodles galore in Bangkok

Just came back from a fun-filled weekend in Bangkok. Jin and I went on a noodle eating spree which started with our old friend Nont taking us for chicken noodles at his favourite noodle joint. I love thai noodles at these hole-in-the wall places as they are sooo yummy and you get to mix in as much as you want of sugar, chilli flakes, cut chillis, soy and fish sauce for to taste. The next morning, we walked down 5 minutes from our hip hotel (see below) and found a duck noodle shop.. in Bangkok, everywhere you turn is great food. The final noodle meal was saved for the best. Located at Soi 26 @ Sukhumvit, this place (which Jin's old boss Eric had introduced to him a year or so ago) sells Thailand's numero uno pork noodles.....the testimonial: between us we finished 5 bowls!!!

Stayed at a great boutique hotel - Shanghai-Inn - located in the heart of the ever-bustling Chinatown. This place caught my eye with it's "chinese" decoration theme - big vietnamese lanterns and four-poster bed. I had actually anticipated the place to be quite tacky but it turned out that the folks here do know how to imitate tastefully :). There was even a bird cage surrounded by 2 huge lanterns in our toilet with 2 fake birds in it...cute! Service was fantastic, rooms very clean - for $60 a night and with its great locale (24 hours of food at your doorstep - forget about the free breakfast at the hotel! - and a TOPS supermarket on the ground floor), this is one place I would definitely recommend and stay again on my next trip!

I actually came on my own to Bangkok on Friday night as Jin had work commitments and could only join me on Sat. Arrived into the sparkling new Bangkok airport - took budget airline which had to land really far away from the main terminal and required a good 10 minute bus ride to reach the terminal from the landing spot. Went to check out Khao San despite it being already 11pm - did not like it..very dirty and more wild. Next morning, ventured out to walk the backlanes of Chinatown - stumbled on a wholesale market selling tons of hair accessories..bought a few for fun to give away :).