Loving Life

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The last of this year's bday postings...

Greenwood Fish Market & Bistro

Charmaine found out it was my bday last week and treated me to lunch at Greenwood Fish Market today. UOB had a great 1-for-1 offer for November bday boys/girls so I suggested that we hv lunch there (good deal for an othewise too expensive fish n chips place :p). We ordered the calamari as a starter and dory fish and chips as mains. The calamari's were a tad oily but very fresh and went especially well with the thai chilli dip.

The fish came with 2 generous portions, chips and salad. Again, freshness was the key to the tasty meal. After finishing the fish, C still wanted dessert and I asked to share with her but she said we shld each hv one so we could try 2 desserts instead of one. Heehee. Hence we ordered the apple crumble and chocolate fondont which needed 20 minutes of preparation time. I think I must be tired of eating chocolate fondont which is another name for the molten lava cake. This version was not bad..again, you can't go too wrong when using Valrhona. The apple crumble served with a scoop of vanila ice cream and drizzled with some raspberry sauce was actually a refreshing change from having chocolate for dessert. It was not too sweet and baked quite well as the insides were just nicely moist and not too dry.

C and I had a pretty good time catching up. Am def going to bring Jin here to try out the food..service is good and food is pretty decent once you get over the prices ;)..am keen to check out the seafood platters as well..they hv 2 versions, hot and cold priced at $80 each..ouch!

Peach Garden @ Novena

Last week, I finally got to try the food at Peach Garden with the girls. We had the eggplant with floss, wasabi prawns, pork ribs, venison with noodles made from fish , soupy spinach with egg and the house speciality dessert of pulut hitam with a scoop of ice cream served in a young coconut. The dessert is truly a meal in itself and we were so full we were semi-comatose after the dinner. I really liked the wasabi prawns and noodles which were quite springy and tasty! Found the pork ribs a tad too porky for my liking and the eggplant was wayy too oily. Pulut hitam dessert should only be eaten on an empty stomach in order to allow oneself to walk steadily after :p

Humble House @ Esplanade

On another night, I visited Humble House. Have not been back for 2 years and vaguely remembered a really good spinach tofu with enokki mushroom dish and the wasabi prawns served with macademia nuts. We ordered these 2 dishes and some herbal soup, soft shell crab and a deep fried beef dish. The tofu and prawns were still as yummy as I remembered them to be. The other dishes were so-so and pricey! Beef tasted like expensive bak kwa :p. Service for such a supposedly classy establishment was downright poor..the staff hardly spoke English, served us a wrong order and did not clear our finished plates. Have informed Jin that we won't come here again..will check out Club Chinois and do a comparison soon :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bday lunch at Au Petit Salut

My work colleagues are such a sweet bunch...they got together to buy me lunch at Au Petit Salut @ Chip Bee Gardens today..the set lunch offered a $22+++ was one of great value. On the appetizer list were a number of good choices : half dozen escargots, cold platter, soup, salad etc. For mains, the team had venison stew, chicken cordon bleu, pan seared beef, tuna and seafood risotto. Dessert choices were creme caramel, chocolate ganache, choux buns with vanilla ice cream and chestnut mousse. I was pleasantly surprised when the chestnut mousse came with a bday candle and my dining companions sang Happy Bday to me :)))..Ended the meal with a cup of strong coffee (also part of the set) and very very satisfied. My choice pick would be the escargots as starters, beef for mains and the chocolate ganache to end.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The best wedding meal to-date..Ipoh

When Seong Jiun first informed us that his wedding lunch was going to be held in Ipoh on a Sunday, we initially had doubts on whether we could attend it - mainly due to the distance (no direct flight to Ipoh from Spore and driving would mean at least 6-7 hours one way)

However, Seong Jiun has always held a special place in our hearts and we consider him one of the best friends one can ask for in our short time in planet earth..so Sunday saw us driving up from KL to attend the wedding. Made a quick stop before lunch to visit Jin's aunt, cousin and nieces and nephew before lunch. Here's Shawn, Emily and cutie Alexis with mummy Ah Ling.

Then it was off to Sun Lee How Fook restaurant at Jln Kampar - opposite The Store supermarket (+6016 540 8218). BOY, are we glad we decided to attend the wedding!..besides finally getting to meet the lucky bride and share in the occasion with SJ, the wedding lunch was beyond excellent. I seldom take pictures of food at a wedding (it's quite embarassing to make a table of 10 semi-strangers wait for you while you go trigger happy) but I really could not help myself.

We had crabs, lobster, soup, suckling pig, sea cucumber, 2 kinds of cod fish and dessert was hasma with soya milk. Although there were only 6 dishes instead of the usual 10 I can honestly say I have never eaten a better wedding meal elsewhere. We also managed to catch up with Ming Ming and Heng Choon and made the wedding couple kiss long long while we did the dragged out "yam seng" cheer.

Had to rush off for our 6 hour drive home to Spore right after lunch but not before stopping to stock on famous Ipoh biscuits. Am going to be biscuit happy for many weeks to come :)

And Mitsu gets a new resident...

Good buddy Li Ling gave me a Harrod's bear for bday pressie. Rather than stuff another stuffed bear in the cupboard, I decided that he was so handsome that he deserved a permanent seat in Mitsu (my car) next to the other resident who's been a feature since Day 1 - Bunny aka Rabbit.

During yesterday's 6 hours drive back from Ipoh to Spore, Jin and I brainstormed through a list of potential names for our new friend....so, here's introducing William Wallace the IInd (aka Wally for short) - named after Mel Gibson's character in Braveheart the movie. We decided to name him after the Scotish folk hero based on his kilt...starting to regret it though...poor wally, lots of people have been molesting him to check out what's underneath that dress ;)

More bday post - dedicated to Jin :)

DH finally came back from HK, night b4 my bday. His plane touched down about 10nish on Friday night and I was surprised at midnite with 2 slices of cake from Coffee Bean..heehee..poor hubby..had to drop off his luggage at the guardhouse and run to Coffee Bean to get cake and then have to sneak cake into home without arousing suspicion..I was really really surprised when he started crooning "Happy Bday" at midnight. Mushroom deco on top of cake was specially dedicated to me!

Went for a yummy expensive Jap dinner at Menara Kek Seng in KL. We had a sashimi platter, teppanyaki beef, king prawns, cod and garlic fried rice. Sesami ice-cream ended the meal splendidly.

After dinner, went over to M&M's place for drinks with Piggy and to see her wedding pics/video. Was surprised by another bday cake (this time a 1.5kg chocolate sponge from La Manila) - again planned by DH...wow, he really went all out this year to surprise me..must be feeling bad that he deserted me for 2 weeks in HK :D

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happiness is...

... definitely a weekend spent with special friends and family. As Jin has gone MIA in HK (editor's note: there was a very legitimate reason for this) for 2 weeks, leaving me stranded in Spore all alone, I quickly planned my weekend getaway to home sweet home across the border. It was a busy weekend - managed to have my usual Penang chee cheong fun at OS restaurant, met up with Lilian (finally- like after 11 months of not seeing her!!) for coffee, attended Piggy's wedding dinner, squeezed in a haircut, pedicure and walked up the hill near the house. The highlight was the cook-in dinner cum bday celebration held for me at SC and CW's house, where I got to play with Ethan and baby Nicky :). Here's a happy pix of him at 4 months!

The dinner was fun - Marc showed off his amazing skills in the kitchen by whipping up mushroom bruschettas and one yummy creamy carbonara pasta. Then it was SC's turn to hold the limelight with her lemon glazed grilled chicken with amazing tasting grilled veges. I managed to send some people to chocolate heaven with some molten lava chocolate cake- this time, I used the 70% valrhona cocoa..I liked it as it was much more bitter but I think the 62% one is better suited for this cake. Cheryl got quite addicted to it and finished up 2! Talking about Cheryl, she made a very good honey rock melon sago which I need to get the recipe off her to try out.

Lastly, as per last year's set tradition, I was presented with a beautiful bday cake from Bakerzin - strawberry mousse with crunchy crust. It was so good that I took home 2 slices for mom and HM to try :). With bday meals and celebrations like this, how can one not look forward to another bday? heehee... if only Jin could have joined us :p

Oh, after the dinner, I tried my hand helping out SC with some corsages for Piggy's wedding and managed to pull one off! quite proud to see some of the folks at the wedding wearing it! Here's a pix of keat playing instead of working..terrible :P

Here's us at Piggy's big day :

Before I left, took mom to try out Kemaman food (from the state of Trengganu) at a kopitiam in Section 14, PJ. I had the nasi dagang with fish curry and mom went for the curry noodles. The nasi dagang came with white rice instead of the purple one and the fish came with a whole load of oil. After 5 minutes of painstakingly removing the oil, I finally got to settle my craving for nasi dagang. Mom's curry noodles was not bad - nothing like the ones we get at the chinese coffeshop..this one had a lot more curry powder taste. I enjoyed the vietnamese coffee which this place does well..wonderfully thick and black with nice coffee powder texture!

My first HP dinner & dance

Last Friday saw me dressed in a yellow boa strutting embarassingly on the stage representing the Team Yellow for the best dressed contest. Was one of the final 3, got a $20 Tangs voucher which covered the cost of the yellow boa :). Overall - a very planned D&D (held at Raffles Town Club)..kudos to the organising committee! Pix below taken in office fooling around with Myra's costume :D

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Going pepper crabby @ Roland's

Fellow foodie C organised a weekday dinner at Roland Restaurant. I'd never heard of the place before but apparently for all those who Singaporean crab lovers, Roland's is an old favorite food haunt that's been around for ages....Located on top of a multi-storey car park next to Parkway Parade the place was easy enough to find and naturally, parking was no problem :)

We ordered pepper crabs, chilli crabs, asparagus with baby mushrooms, you tiao (chinese dough fritters with fish meat filling) and a seafood noodle. The highlight to me was the pepper crab - just super yum! The sauce was rich and pepperish with a nice, spicy tang. The chilli crab was not too bad but I felt somehow that something was missing from the overall taste...maybe it was because my taste buds have become accustomed to the Jumbo/Long Beach versions.

The asparagus was very good - again, one can't go too wrong ordering anything with mushrooms :). Noodles and fritters were a bit oily but generally OK. The fritters came with a tasty sweet black sauce for dipping...All in all, a pretty good find as far as I was concerned...a good alternative to Jumbo for taking visitors next time!

Me with the Dim Sum Dollies and Hossan :)

Managed to catch Little Shop of Horrors, Spore modified version over the weekend. As we wanted to save some $$, we bought the cheapest tix $40 and sat really far from stage..could not see much but at least the sound system was good :p. The show had a promising start but dwindled in the 2nd half and the ending was totally blah! Managed to grab a pix with the cast - thanks RY for such great photo taking skills ;)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Benefiting from WH's farewell extravaganza...

Gosh..it's been ages since I updated my blog! Actually I've started on quite a few posts but the works in progress pile is growing cos of missing photos, details etc. and MIA editor (you know who!)...anyway, thought I'd bang out this one about Ah Hoon's multi-farewells.

My cubemate of 3 years, Wee Hoon (WH) resigned a couple of weeks back (sob sob)...WH is moving on to greener pastures at Tourism Australia where she'll be driving the come visit "bloody" Australia campaign. Man, this girl sure is one popular person...her send off started 2 weeks before her official last day! No complaints though as I have been a happy beneficiary since as her cubemate I inevitably get invited by default to these festivities...so far, I have been to one farewell thrown by the worldwide folks (we had a good Indian meal at Ivory Kitchen at Clark Quay - good food but pricey! LOVE their Indian bread options and grilled prawns), one hosted by an agency @ Wild Rocket and another one last night with the business team at Margarita's. There's still the finale to go, in 2 weeks, we will be doing a Karaoke session at St James Powerhouse..:p

Not so Wild about this rocket

I patroned Wild Rocket about a year back when they first opened. Despite its popularity with the yuppie crowd, my conclusion then was that the food was pretty mediocare. WH never tried it before and having read good reviews of it recently, we decided to give it another go. There were 4 ladies in our group and we ordered a good range of dishes (recommended by the waiter) to share family-style.

For starters, we had the cream of mushroom and cream of brocolli, soft shell crab and tofu rocket salad. The mushroom soup came with a generous sprinkle of white truffle oil but the whole combination left a rather bitter aftertaste..This is my first ever bitter mushroom soup! Further queries with the chef confirmed why..seems some batches of the mushroom could be bitter! hmm, and no amends were made despite the feedback....anyway, moving on...

The soft shell crab came with two large crab pieces and was served with black pepper sauce on the side. I found the crab rather oily (they could hv drained of paper towelled off some of the oil!) but the choice of dip was rather unique. It was really pepperish and not something one would normally choose to dip the crab with. The tofu salad was pretty healthy fare - not a bad choice as a starter as it was not overwhelming.

For mains - crusted catfish, seabass, pesto laksa prawn pasta and beef sirlion. The two fish dishes shone - very yummy - seabass tasted like cod and thankfully was not overcooked. The catfish was crusted with tomatoes and other herbs and all in all a pretty good choice from the set menu. I was dissapointed with the pasta as I thought the gravy could have been thicker..it was rather watery. The pesto taste was overwhelmed by the laksa coconut taste - also the prawns felt undercooked. eeww! No comments on the beef as I found it quite ordinary. Morton's to me still serves the best beef :)

Thankfully, desserts were acceptably good. The molten lava cake was just right although I can't be sure they used valrhona :p. Conclusion - still unchanged..pretty good but doesn't really pass muster in the highly competitive Singapore foodie scene...unless I get another surprisingly good review from personal friends on this place, I probably won't come back here again.

A jolly good time @ Margarita's...

There is a little unassuming place tucked secretly away in the residential area of Clementi at Faber Drive. If you are looking for mexican fare beyond the usual fajitas, tacos and quesadillas, this is a great place to explore what other dishes hail from the land of mehico.

Walking in, I felt like I stepped into someone's cosy home instead of a restaurant. Nice ambience created by warm lighting, a mixture of round and square tables and colourfully decorated walls and chairs, mexican style - the whole place felt truly inviting. Our waitress sensed our hungryness (had to wait for WH while she struggled to download her last remaining files) and immediately served us nachos with tomato salsa (do note that this is chargeable and not FOC as I initially thought it was seeing no one requested for it :p). While we nibbled on the nachos to placate our hunger pangs, we decided to avoid the hassle of looking through the menu and just ordered what was recommended by the waitress and a few friends who have frequented this place before.

We had : portobello mushrooms (not listed in the menu), spicy chicken, sliced beef, fajitas with prawns and chicken. The mushrooms were big! and served with one jalapeno and some salad. Grilled perfectly, they retained their juicyness and every bite spiralled me into mushroom heaven :). The spicy chicken (called pollo bibil) was actually not so spicy. It was oven-baked and came accompanied with a bean paste sauce (which tasted like bean humus) which you spread along your warm tortilla and lay a couple slices of chicken to give you a comforting meal. The beef was tender and not overcooked and I liked the sauce that came with it and splashes of sour cream.

Although the prawn and chicken fajitas were tasty (prawns nice and crunchy) - I did wish after we were done cleaning the plate that I had not noticed the globs of oil left on the hot plate. Very stuffed after all the food (servings were big! I can't imagine finishing a dish by myself) ...but as always, somehow there must remain room for dessert. We picked the kahlua tiramisu and mango turnover crepe. Both desserts were OK - the tiramisu was very simply done up and the sponge in it wasn't all that soaked in the coffee liquor - so you do get some bites where in between you taste dryness. The mango crepe was a tad too sweet for my liking but the coconut ice cream which came as a side was a refreshing end to a good meal.

Of course we had maragaritas which explains Wee Hoon's face colour ;). We ordered the
premium version at $55 a jug and although it did not taste very strongly of tequila, mind you..it's strong! so go slow on it :). Would def come back - but only with a big group as that helps spread the portions and give you more variety. Prices a bit on the high side with appetizers starting at $10 onwards and mains at $25 onwards.

The verdict - OLA! (but only with a big group)