Tuesday, October 28, 2003



There's something very clean about Scandinavian food -- well the little of it that i've tried i mean.

It reminds me very much of Japanese food -- and I'm not the only one who thinks so!

Recently featured in the New York Times Magazine, Ethiopian-born Swedish chef MARCUS SAMUELSSON will be opening a Japanese restaurant in NYC soon.

Here's what he said to this question: "Is there anything the slightest bit similar about Japanese and Swedish cuisines?"

Aesthetically, for sure. You have clean lines, minimalist. Also, the way we eat fish. Swedish people eat several different pickled herrings. Japanese several different sushis. And we compare them -- how's this pickled versus that pickled?

I guess it is true. Both cuisines involve a lot of fish. Although consumed in very different ways.

Anyway, I am getting to my point and that is the new-ish Scandinavian restaurant at Wheelock Place called SKAL. I have no idea what that means so don't ask.

It opened.... a couple of months ago, is my guess. Taking the place of that organic cafe opposite Olio Dome.

They don't have a very extensive menu and there are the usual Scandinavian suspects like Swedish meatballs and gravlax.

Their set lunch and dinner are pretty good value for money. For $12.90 (lunch) you get a two course meal with coffee/tea. Not sure how much the dinner costs but I believe you get a dessert (but some of the main courses are the same for both)

Here's what I had: A herring cocktail to start and panfried salmon for the main.

And I must say, it was the best salmon (not counting sashimi of course) i've had for a while. It was nicely done, still, well, juicy. Juicy's not exactly the right word cos it sounds like í had steak but the salmon wasn't dry so juicy is the opposite of dry... sort of.

Anyway, the salmon rested on a bed of cabbage and sliced apples. And some new potatoes, just boiled, were scattered around. Not a colouful sight, as you can imagine but I did like the combination of apples and cabbages. It was quite tasty, the apples adding a nice sweet touch.

Going back to the starter, the herring was quite nice, but then again I do love smoked fish. It was more like a herring potato salad thing with some sort of a mayonaise-ish dressing. Placed in a martini glass.

My dining companion started off with the gravlax, which an article on FoodTV Canada explains as Gravlax is a special kind of preparation that uses a salt/sugar cure and aromatics to both preserve and flavour fresh uncooked salmon. The cure penetrates and removes a great deal of moisture from the fish, and introduces just enough salt to effectively "cook" it.

The result is "cure-cooked" fish with a firm texture and a delicate and delicious flavour. It is quite a bit milder than smoked salmon.

But a quick taste of the gravlax told me that it was a little too salty for me.

I had to say the same for the steak (also part of the set lunch menu). It came with some root vegetables (ie carrots and potatoes) and a brown gravy. not terribly inspiring and I'm not a fan of a flat piece of steak.

(my idea of a good steak, in case you are interested, is a juicy thick piece of ribeye -- medium please. And the best ribeye steak I ever had was at Morton's. But that's a place I'll probably never go to again -- because of the price. sigh...)

All in all, it was a good lunch. And a nice alternative to the mad crowd at Ikea for sure. I'd like to go back again. Maybe try their meatballs or that interesting platter of open-faced sandwiches. Smoked fish and bread? Mmmm I'm there!

On another note, I visited the newest branch of the Baker's Inn chain at Paragon.
It was the usual, service wasn't very good, cakes were good. But I definitely hated the location. Itwas one of those in the middle of the shopping corridor types, if you know what I mean. Half of the seating was inside, with some fascinating Philippe Starck-like plastic chairs and fuschia! (fuschia!). The other half was outside (but not outdoors I hasten to add!) and people wandering the shops of Paragon would walk past us. Making for interesting fodder for people-watching, although everyone who ventured past seemed mostly to be boring families with bratty kids.

I think I prefer the Plaza Sing branch but haven't dared to head that way ever since Carrefour, Best and all those other big boys opened up there.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

mucha gracias

I've been blogging for a while now and it still amazes me that people enjoy reading blogs.

i dunno about other people's blogs, but on my blog, i just post a whole lot of crap that i am currently thinking about or obsessing about at the mo (like the flaming lips - yeah!!) and people still read my posts! i am amazed really. of course not like i have a big audience, if i were to be ranked among say the bloggers of singapore (which are a pretty decent number for a small island, i think) 'my hits would probably at the bottom few.

so anyway, after all the rambling i have finally gotten to the point.

I want to say a big thank you for reading. And a bigger thank you for all those who bother to post a comment! I truly appreciate it!!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

eyes wide shut

my two trial daily disposable lenses rest in a nest of tissue paper on my desk, reminding me of the 10 or so minutes i spent trying to remove them from my eyes.

Yup. My first try at wearing soft lenses. Not too good ay.

I've always been a RGP (rigid gas permeable) or hard lens user. Ever since Sec 2 i think. Might surprise some cos my degree is pretty low. (I've been wearng glasses since Pri 6 and my degree is 175/150 with astig of 100)

Yeah alright, I'm a vainpot. I never liked to wear specs. But these days I always wear them.

I think it all started during the 6month internship. I'd never spent hours in front of a computer before but with the internship at SCV, doing video editing, I had no choice really.

And that was when my contact lenses, perfectly fine until then, started becoming real uncomfortable.

Mostly because when you stare a computer screen, you blink less and in an airconditioned environment, your eyes get real dry. So it didn't work out. I wore specs a lot. But school began and the contacts beckoned.

Now, working here and staring at two computer screens (one a mac, the other a pc) for what... 8 hours a day, it's the same deal. So my specs never leave me. I don't wear them all the time but I always make sure I bring them.

I decided though that I'd like to get some lenses, for weekend use maybe. (yes vainpot again). So I've got a few trial pairs. acuvue toric ones. and will see how it goes. hopefully the next day i put them on (tomorrow maybe?) taking it off won't be such a problem.

I know some people think that puttig them on is much worse but not in my case. I've never had problems with putting contacts in or putting eye drops and stuff. But taking them out?? OUCH!!! The thought of 'pinching' the lens from my eye kinda freaks me out a little. sigh....

Friday, October 24, 2003

best bands

Whoo hoo! The Flaming Lips have topped The Guardian's list of The 40 Greatest US bands today!

This is why:
"1. The Flaming Lips
There is something cheering about the Flaming Lips, who are hitting their artistic and commercial peak 20 years after their debut album. But it is not just their long career that makes the Oklahoma trio unique. Their most recent albums, The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, have made them possibly the most experimental band ever to reach the Radio 2 playlist. Their warm and inclusive sound has developed from a feedback-laden din to a kind of compressed Americana: folk rock, Broadway show tunes, hip-hop beats, 1960s pop, Disney singalongs and Detroit techno are brilliantly condensed in an epic, joyful psychedelia. Coyne's cracked, off-key vocals are the final piece in the jigsaw, lending their songs a rare emotional power. He may not always hit the right notes, but he always sounds as if he means every word: no mean feat when you're singing about a robot invasion of earth.
Sound: 19
Songs: 20
Gigs: 20
Style: 16
Attitude: 19
Total: 94 "

Others that made it include the Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, Pink, Wilco, Beyonce, Dolly Parton (???), Bruce Springsteen, The Strokes. But Numero Uno still belongs to The Flaming Lips.

The Guardian also (of course) have a list of the top 40 bands in Britain today.

Friday, October 17, 2003

not that fantastic

Much has been said about Whitebait & Kale that Australian-styled restaurant at Camden Medical Centre.

Asiacuisine gave it an overal rating of 88/100 which is pretty good.

But on my visit there I was disappointed.

We started with the whitebait, which according to Charmaine was pretty yummy. But it wasn't crispy enough instead it was chewy. But it still managed to be pretty addictive - -just couldn't stop.

The bread that was deposited in front of us was disappointing. It was a little damp and uninspired. It was at room temperature and didn't really seem too fresh.

I chose the panfried barramundi with cannelli beans and pesto. I really do like the fish but as I found out yesterday, just not panfried. I thought it spoiled the taste of the fish really. Leave the panfried-ing to salmon! (oh then again, just leave the salmon - it's best raw!)

My dining companions (as they like to be known in restaurant reviews) had teh linguini with mud crab and the speciality - the snapper pie.

I didn't try the pasta but here's a word of warning: prepare to get your hands dirty.

The first sign was the nutcracker placed not too discreetly in front of her, and then the large empty bowl ('for the shells'). Last came the finger bowl, which the waiter thoughtfully explained to us as he laid it on the table.

The snapper pie which I did try, wasn't as good as it sounded. It was just an ordinary puff pastry covered broth type thing. Ok that doesn't really explain it too well but I don't like the idea of a fish pie really. Pies should be more.... meaty. Like those delicious Australian beef pies (which you can even find at the Sydney airport!)

The desserts did fare better. We had the bete noir and the white chocolate mousse. Although I'm a chocoholic and a white chocolate hater, I prefered the mousse.

The bete noir is like a moisty chocolate cake (teeny slice though) and it comes with some cinnamon ice-cream, a slice of pear and peach. The fruits seemed a little out of place and cinnamon with chocolate? please.

The mousse came with some berries n had a sour-ish berry sauce thing over it. My friend said it was like something from Jamie Oliver. Yeah it did look like something he'd do. But it was quite a large portion so best to share really.

Price? We spent about 35 each. shared starter, mains and dessert. No drinks although I was tempted by the Kit Kat Martini (one of about 25 varieties I was told).

Service isnt too bad but they could be nicer when trying to clean the table and remove your plate.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

oh what a beautiful morning

now that is something you'll seldom hear from me but I was just admiring the serenity, the calmness of Singapore in the wee hours of 5 am.

I was on my way to work in a lousy old bus with a cranky bus driver. But as I stared out of the window in my half-numb state, I realised that I like going to work at this time. It was such a different Singapore then usual. The roads were empty, except for some taxis prowling. The air was cool and breezy. And it was quiet. Peaceful. Words one would hardly use to describe this country most of the time.

But those words work for the morning.

Some peole think it's a little crazy to begin work at 530 AM. Yeah I thought this way too when I first started but I've since changed my mind. It's a gorgeous time to start work, that is provided you are an early riser.

The hard part for me isn't the waking up. Sure I grumble and am pretty cranky at 5. But the problem is getting to sleep, especially when switching over from the night shift.

But unfortunately, I will be heading back to the PM again next week. After only a two-weeker in the AM. On the bright side, I get to sleep in again!

On another note, The Guardian has an award for British blogs. Have a look at the judges' sites! here

Monday, October 13, 2003


with the flaming lips (see column at left). must go buy CDs!! must get Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - i mean how could i resist a title like that?

i just wish i had listened to them earlier - sad.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Ooh cheap music


got 2 cds today for six dollars. that's three dollars each.

ok so they're secondhand-ers.

but hey they work fine and they are: Dave Matthews Band's Crash and 10,000 Maniacs MTV unplugged, which i've been meaning to get for ages. (yes i know they have disbanded a long time ago)

my new favourite band - The Flaming Lips! Go to their site and have a listen to their new album Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. (How could you not love an album titled that?)

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Intolerable Cruelty

The Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan) are in my opinion, the best pair of filmmakers Hollywood has ever seen.

I mean, have you seen The Man Who Wasn't There, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo and The Big Lebowski? Those are deliciously dark humorous shows. Unfortunately haven't managed to see the rest of their films but did manage to catch their latest, Intolerable Cruelty, for free of course.

It's a decent movie. I would rate it much higher if it was a movie by someone else actually, if that makes any sense.

But coming from the Coen brothers, i kinda expected more.

Don't get me wrong, it's a great show. It was funny, wickedly funny and you get to see George Clooney play a bit of manic yet still charming divorce attorney. Man is he good!! I'm not a Catherine Zeta-Jones fan but she did a nice turn as the golddigger type.

Geoffrey Rush was a bit wasted in the role, he was only in the first 10-15 min and then disappeared until the end. And so was Billy Bob Thornton, in another supporting role (watch him in The Man Who Wasn't There - brilliant!!)

Might make more comments later but i oughta get back to work.

My rating- 7 out of 10. or a B-. whichever u prefer - numbers, letters, symbols..

Sunday, October 05, 2003


.... and improved? i hope!

yup the monomania has undergone a change, an update, an improvement?

i think the previous design didn't really work cos it looked like it was had frames but it really didn't so that sidebar was so wrong. This one looks a little cleaner, but i have to admit, i took it off the blogger site so there must be thousands, millions even, looking the same. How sad.

Here's another movie-related site that i thought was really good. Empire's Turkey Dozen (translation: worst films). Read it here

here's a gorgeous example of an excellent movie review of a really terrible show (altho i haven't seen it, i technically shouldn't comment on it. but then again, i wouldn't pay to see it.)

"Ach. Oy. Woe and poo, bleccch and uck! ZZZZZ-zzz."
Washington Post on Gigli.

In the meanwhile, I am so bloody tired. slept at about 1230, woke at 2something with the feeling that it was already 5 something, convinced myself i was just dreaming, slept until 4 and then just couldn't get back to sleep again.

And to top it all, the bus was supposed to pick me up at 505 and it only came at 515. Ten minutes of sleep I could have spent more wisely!

So kinda cranky and zoned out right now. the medium cappucino from spinelli's upstairs (only $3!) wasn't good enough.

how will i get through the rest of the day????

feel incredibly spacey. yet alert enough to check over my shoulder to see if the boss is near!

Friday, October 03, 2003

All caged up

I have a new found respect for Mr Nicolas Cage.

It wasn't just after watching his latest film Matchstick Men, but also becos I saw him on Inside The Actor's Studio, which is always a great show.

I guess i never knew how far his acting career has stretched. I always think of Cage in the post-The Rock/Con-Air era. I've forgotten that he's been in Raising Arizona, Honeymoon in Vegas and of course, Leaving Las Vegas, for which he won an Oscar.

Unfortunately I missed out on Adaptation, and hopefully will get my hands on the DVD soon.

but he is a real versatile actor, although he still doesn't impress me as much as Chris Cooper, whom I think did a fantastic job in Seabiscuit.

What I do respect Mr Cage for is changing his name. Staying away from the name of Coppola which means a helluva lot in Hollywood. Yup Francis Ford Coppola is his uncle and that makes Sofia Coppola his cousin. Apparently he chose the name Cage becos he likes the composer John Cage, whose music he admires for its adventurous feel.

And I have to admit, i like the way he talks, kinda casual, low.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

where does the time go?

It's been a busy week at work for me. On top of the usual stuff like copyediting, copytasting, putting up pictures, checking the mainsite and managing my site, I've been working on three preview/reviews (have to call them that as we still use the Lifers reviews) and doing this timeline on Mahathir! (woohoo - everyone's favourite prime minister!)

It is of course for his stepping down this month. Hope i can get it done on time. Might have to go borrow something from the library! And read up on him!!!

Movies this week
I've already mentioned the American Wedding one i saw on Monday.

On Wednesday i caught Seabiscuit, which was a truly amazing show. Of course there were parts that didn't work but I liked it on the whole and that Chris Cooper, he's just amazing!! I really admire his acting and am very glad he won the Oscar for Adaptation altho i didn't get to watch that.

In Seabiscuit he plays the somewhat reclusive horse trainer. Very quiet, reserved, easygoing guy, he somehow comes across the best among the three. (the others are Tobey Maguire as the jockey and Jeff Bridges as the owner)

On the whole a fantastic film. Even if you're NOT into horses or racing and all that, it's a definite must-watch!!

I did get to see Matchstick Men last night. It's the latest from Ridley Scott, if you would believe. Yep the guy who made Gladiator, Hannibal and Black Hawk Down makes a non-action film. It's one of those con job films. NOt as snazzy as Ocean's Eleven but it was pretty good.

Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell star as the 'con artistes', as they like to be called. They do small time con -- cheating people out of hundreds of dollars at a time. And decide to go for the big time, which could net them 80Gs.

But then there's the problem of Angela, Cage's new-found daughter.

So he brings her along and teaches her a thing or two.

To not spoil it all, let's just say that the ending is a little convoluted but it works out well in the end.

The person i really liked in the movie was Sam Rockwell. I've never seen him act before, at least I don't think so. He was supposed to have been real good in Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, which was his big break i believe. Should try to get my hands on that DVD along with a whole slew of other stuff.

Scorsese on Scorsese
After reading this book, I realise there are so many films that I have not seen! And that I should see.

I would go out and get the DVD/VCD. With prices falling it's not too expensive. But what I don't want is to spend money on it, go home and watch it and find out that the censorship board have been a little too eager (as usual) with that trimming shears.

I'd like to say more but this blog's getting too long and I"m getting hungry.