Sunday, July 30, 2006

as you like it

Ok after that slightly (or more than slightly) bitch of a post, I suppose I should add that I'm happily settling in.

I like waking up and not having to go to work on Sundays, I like turning on the TV and catching trashy TV like Queer Eye, I like walking around Walmart marvelling at the aisles of junk food, convenience food etc that you never get to see in Singapore.

Most of all, I like being here with R.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

I'm a survivor

As I sat lashed into a tight, tiny bucket of what passes for a seat on an airline, having been barked at by disgruntled flight attendants and served greasy e-foo pork noodles that tasted faintly of cardboard, I wondered what possessed me to fork over money for this torture.

And then I remembered... oh right, I'm on holiday.

So why does this holiday somehow make me think of prison: shitty food, a confined space, hardly any natural light, unruly haggard "guards", the communal screen showing not-so-current movies.

That's United Airlines for you.

Somehow, the flight did start out a bit more promisingly. The SIN-HKG leg had rather pleasant flight attendants, who were polite and actually greeted you when you boarded the plane (vs the curt, point you to your seat reception from HKG to Chicago).

But all in, I survived the torture, the possibility of death by Deep Venous Thrombosis, and even emerged victorious after the fight with Jet Lag.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

ta for now

well in a few more hours, before the crack of dawn, I'll be up and loading up the car and heading to the airport. I can't believe it's all happening already.

What a year this has been, what a year this will be.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

monday monday monday

I fought the temptation of stoning in front of the TV watching yet another already-watched ep of Will And Grace and instead decided to come online and update you good folks about the whos, whats, wheres and wherefore art thous of the past few days of my mundane existence.

Let's see... today's Wednesday.

So if we start from Monday....

I chilled out. I took it easy. I didn't do anything until later at night when I met up with a good friend for dinner at the always reliable, always yummy, always ice-cold En where we had the delicious tangy sashimi salad, the cold beancurd with seaweed paste, the assorted grilled yummies (with my no. 1 favourite - cartilage, although it wasn't as nicely grilled that day), the beef tacos (its under the Okinawan dishes) and the leek pancake. And of course Asahi all around.

Although we were stuffed, it was still early. So having passed by this intriguing bar in the same building earlier, we ventured in.

The well lit, well stocked bar just dazzles and draws you in. Then you notice how well dressed the staff are. And how well groomed. Then you realise, ah, they are Japanese. All of them. The staff, the customers. And you two are the only locals in this bar.

Oh I'm sorry, how terribly impolite. This place is called Coffee Bar K and this is its first international outlet. Curious, we asked the impeccably polite waiter about the name. He first corrected my pronounciation. It's not kaw-fee but ka-fey, according to Japanese pronounciation. And started out in Chiba as a coffee joint by day and bar by night. And now it's just all bar. Only at night.

When we sat down, we were handed a warm towel and informed that there is a seat charge of $15 per person. Steep but it was something I wanted to give a try so we shrugged and continued sitting.

The drinks menu is mindblogging. With pages after pages of alcohol, how does one choose? Well you could pick one of the award-winning original cocktails, or as the nice waiter suggested, tell him what you like.

What's your preferred alcohol? Gin
Strong or not too strong? - Not too strong
Sweet or sour? - A bit of both.

And he whipped up a lovely gin-based cocktail with hints of lemon and a berry liquer. It was not too sweet or too sour, and with the right touch of gin. Applause all around.

Oh, in case you are wondering, the seat charge includes Japanese bar snacks and a plate of fresh fruit, decoratively cut up.

Throughout the two hours we were there, there was the sound of ice being chipped at the bar. Yes, they actually chip the ice for the whisky by hand - bare hands to be exact.

207 River Valley Road
#01-57 UE Square
Tel: 67352212

Coffee Bar K
205 River Valley Road
#01-076 UE Square

Sunday, July 23, 2006

weekend edition

That was my last weekend here in Sg and I must say I have been doing quite a bit of eating.

You already read my post on the lovely Teochew feast at Guan Hin (I still dream of that crispy suckling pig) on Friday.

And on Saturday, after picking up various accesories for the new Macbook at Funan with my dad, and after dropping my sis off at a class reunion at a friend's house in the east, we ended up driving (although at some points more like crawling) around East Coast Road, looking for a place to eat.

I think we were supposed to eat some porridge somewhere but ended up at Kim Choo a Peranakan place, where we had babi pong teh (pork stew), bakwan kepiting (crab and meatball soup), chap chye (mixed veg) and ngoh hiang (prawn and meat roll). Not too bad, except for some rather hard rice and bland chap chye.

On Sunday, with my Australian aunt's family in town, we went to Chin Chin Eating House at Purvis Street for some chicken rice for dinner.

And not only chicken rice, but fish maw soup, stir-fried beef with kailan, Hainanese pork chop, battered prawns and once again, ngoh hiang.

I must say I'm not exactly very impressed by the food. The ngoh hiang wasn't very tasty and instead tasted more of flour than of meat. As for the chicken rice, I always prefer the one at Wee Nam Kee at Novena. That's still the best in my book. But boy, was I full after!

two for one

One advantage of a laptop is that i can watch tv downstairs .... and be online at the same time! Talk about multitasking. (ok so tv sucks at the moment - Sideways just ended and there's nothing to watch besides CSI: Miami)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

hello world!

And this is my second post written on the new Macbook. ok so the first proper post, as the previous one was really more of a cutpaste job.

So I'm now first and foremost, a laptop owner (no more sharing of the PC for me!) and second but equally importantly, a mac owner!

Thrilled! And some great people bought me an excellent Manhattan Portage bag for carrying it in. Thanks!

Oh and those great people (and a few more) joined in a Teochew food feast at Guan Hin at Whampoa West.

There was:
- suckling pig! *crisp and er...succulent*
- two cold crabs *always the best way to eat crabs and these had plenty of creamy roe too*
- kong bah pau *kong bah pau always completes a good feast!*
- braised goose meat with tofu
- some er...deepfried prawn and meat balls? *well whatever it is, it's good, esp with the sweet sauce*
- orh lauh or oyster omelette *fluffy eggs with a good serving of oysters*
- cereal prawns *way too little cereal, the coating was more eggy batter than cereal*

Think that's it! They however close at 10pm so we decided to cancel our orh nee and head out to town to make a failed attempt at watching a movie at The Cathay, ending up at Coffee Club instead.

Guan Hin Teochew Restaurant
#01-01, Block 34 Whampoa West

your turn

I'm a Porsche 911!

You have a classic style, but you're up-to-date with the latest technology. You're ambitious, competitive, and you love to win. Performance, precision, and prestige - you're one of the elite,and you know it.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

tuck in

And when I'm at home with nothing to do, I cook dinner.

I never know the name of this veg but it's got long thin stems and leaves that look a bit like arrows.

Some fish I don't know the name of (er yeah, I suppose I should go learn the names of these things) steamed with slices of ginger and dried mushrooms.

Long bean omelette - ok so it didn't come out of the pan perfectly

one of my favourite things to make - roast chicken.

now that's more like it

I've made the downstairs couch my semi-permanent lounge area. The remote controls for the TV, cable and DVD are within easy reach. The pot of tea sits on the coffee table. A magazine and a book are on standby in case the TV gets boring. But then that's what remotes are for.

And that's what it's been like the past couple of days. Ok I have a somewhat legitimate excuse for lazing around - I'm still sick. I hit up the doctor for some cough medicine today, after reaching the clinic bright and early at 830 (I was not even the first in line) to get a basic health screening done. (I know I should've done it when still Employed, but I was so not ready to do an early morning visit to the office at that time)

So in two days I'll find out. My knees are knocking with trepidation, that is, when they can be bothered to move from their slackerly comfortable position up on the sofa.

Monday, July 17, 2006

golden goose

When my dad said to give Imperial Treasure a try, I thought he meant the Nan Bei outlet at Ngee Ann, as I've walked past it many times and have been meaning to give it a try. But no, he meant the more fine dining version downstairs.

It's a lovely place, done up with a modern touch. We were seated at a booth, which made it a bit tricky for the waitress to change plates and top up tea, but she did it with much aplomb.

And I must say that the excellent service added an extra touch to the very enjoyable meal. The plates were changed quickly, even the towels were changed midway through the dinner. And although our soup took a while to come, she spotted that problem and told someone to get the kitchen to hurry it up. Bravo.

We kicked things off with a cold crab ($24), served with a vinegar dipping sauce. Then a sauteed green bean with pork ($12) - one of the better versions I've had, as it was definitely not too salty or too oily. We also had a fantastic roast goose ($18), with an excellent crispy skin and tender meat, with little fat. A steamed soon hock ($42) was very fresh, as my dad remarked later. And then a Chinese fillet steak ($20) which was a bit too sweet. My mom opted for a plain congee, while the rest of us just had some rice. My sister and I shared a seafood beancurd soup ($6).

And for dessert (my dad and I cannot end a meal without something sweet) - walnut cream ($3) and orh nee with pumpkin ($4). The desserts were done with a nice light touch and as a result, I didn't leave the restaurant feeling too heavy.

As my dad said, definitely a place to return to.

Imperial Treasure Teochew Cuisine
391 Orchard Road, #04-20A Ngee Ann City
Tel: 6736-2118

Sunday, July 16, 2006

me? unemployed?

Well it's been a busy week.

I've been helping my mom at the International Physics Olympiad which she's been helping to organise. As a result, the past week I've been whiling away my time at the lobby of Orchard Parade Hotel, waiting for delgates to pay up. And also trying to help sort out several rooming complaints from some rather damn fussy foreigners.

But most of the time, I was sitting there, bored. And trying to while away the time reading. I did manage to finish several books, including Miriam Toews' A Complicated Kindness, a story about a rebellious 16-year-old Mennonite. Its pretty funny and is surrounded by sadness. But somehow I just couldn't get into liking the main character, Nomi.

I had an even harder time with Ali Smith's The Accidental. It's been critically reviewed and gushed about, but I gave up about 1/4 of the way through. Once again, I felt no connection with any character, more so than the previous read.

With Maureen Dowd's Are Men Necessary? I was left grasping at thin air. Dowd writes like a more serious Carrie Bradshaw - with supposedly witty concluding sentences sprinkled about. She does however state first of that she does not have any answers. So I'm not entirely sure what the book is about. Musings perhaps. But there is too much generalisation, sensationalism. It's really more of Her World material. Light and relatively fluffy, with nothing very much new.

Also, besides reading, I managed to catch up with some dear friends, including finally indulging in the Chef's Table at Ember with j and eps. Then getting sick with a flu and sleeping a lot. But catching up with some uni classmates, first on Friday at N's house in Boon Lay where we enjoyed a simple steamboat dinner. Then on Saturday, where I watched as the others devoured pepper crab and yue guang he at Sin Hoi San, while I sipped tea. But I did manage to down a bit of beef soup and tea at TCC later at Great World City.

It was really less about the eating than the hanging out with the people, whom I'll probably not see for a year or so. Good friends whose company I'm gonna miss!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I had a little birthday dinner with my family at Aburiya - I've written about it twice already so I'll only say that I ordered my favourites but please never order the kimchee soup.

After dinner, we went home to share four little cakes from the lovely Cafe Rosso next door.

There was a coffee/chocolate one, a sweet potato pie, a fruit tart and a custard puff. Not too bad. And oh so pretty.

Monday, July 10, 2006

it's that time of the year again

I turn 27 today. 25...26....27....28... it's all about the same nowadays, isn't it.
At least that's what I thought until this weekend when helping my mom at an event, I meet uni students and some waiting to go into uni. And I realise that these people are so young!

Anyway, thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes and gifts, like Kino vouchers (I've never received any vouchers from Kino before!).

Then there was this lovely bouquet of roses.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Nicer than nice

The fact that I'm no longer working hasn't exactly hit me in the face just yet.

Yesterday was the first day of unemployment. It just felt like a regular day off for me. It didn't feel unusual to be wandering around doing nothing on a weekday, after all, it is something that has happened for the past couple of years.

I went to the visa office in Robinson Road to pick up my passport with my Entry Clearance page all nice and done (except with Ugly Photo that I had found in my drawer and couldn't be bothered to take yet another Ugly Photo)

Then I wandered around the Raffles Place area - might be a strange choice of place to wander around, but then again, I've never worked in the area. And ended up at Tea Spa for the first time. (I usually bypass that and land on the Spins next door)

I ordered a "Summer" blend which was quite refreshing, with er.. dunno what inside lah but it was lovely, a little zesty and had a glorious cranberry hue.

I must say that the place provided a nice respite from the hectic pace outside. It was cool and a little dim, and it was a nice enclosure from all that heat and rushrushrush beyond. However, I must say that for the first half hour I was there, the staff sure chatted a damn lot. I don't mind if patrons chatter, after all, I'd do that if I were with friends, but this place is called "tea spa" is it not? It conjures up images of a quiet calming place. It is so not quiet and calming when your waitstaff talk up a storm behind the counter - the counter is after all, not soundproof. Fortunately, it quietened down a little and towards the end of my sit-down there, it was relatively peaceful.

Then it was off to catch Thank You For Smoking, which the Today reviewer gave FIVE STARS to! I must say that I was expecting a little more, judging from its trailer. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I shall borrow a line from this review I did read.
All fun stuff in a fun, smart film. But you can't help but wish Thank You would bare its fangs a little more. - Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News

That definitely sums up my experience of it. It ended up being a nicer film than I thought it would be. Nothing was torn apart, nothing was ripped in two. The reaction in the end is more of a "oh that's it ah?" rather than a "wow". I was really expecting a "wow". However, I must say that it was a funny movie. The woman behind me sure agreed - she seemed to laugh at almost everything, maybe she was on nitrous oxide. I am to go see Superman later today, and I expect to be disappointed so while I know it's a bit early to say this, I reckon Thank You For Smoking trumps Superman.


I got way sidetracked. The reason I wrote this in the beginning was because I didn't feel like I am unemployed, despite the fact that yesterday was my last day at work. The reason for this is that from later today onwards, I will be helping out my mom with this conference she's helping to put together, so I will be stationed at the lobby of a hotel helping out - and getting paid (but just a wee bit). So technically, for the next week I am Employed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


My last night at work.

I had a grin on my face the whole day, especially when friends asked: So how are you feeling on your last day?

There was a tinge of sadness felt, surprisingly, when I spoke to my former boss (my current boss is out sick, but I'm not sure if I'd have felt that tinge if I had spoken with him), who said many nice things.

The current colleagues had arranged a little goodbye thingy with a chocolate cake, some curry puffs, and I'd made a brownie using Bill Granger's recipe (I am so making that my official brownie recipe).

Of course I had to give that awkward goodbye speech, keeping it as short as possible. Then I said goodbye to more former bosses and supes.

Then I got down to work.

I suppose most other people's last days are different - long lunches, long chitchats, long teabreaks, maybe dinner with friendly colleagues after, all in, little work done. But here, with things operating on a daily basis, work goes on. And into the night too.

So as I write this, it's a couple more hours to go. My desk is cleared, except for a few photos yet to be taken down.

And I will be officially unemployed by the time this post goes up.


Monday, July 03, 2006

eat eat eat

holy macaroons, it's a deep-fried bacon double quarter-pounder

and via slashfood, here's the Tim Tam slam, described step-by-step on esurientes I must say that though I have consumed many Tim Tams over the years, I have never heard of this... However, with that one pack sitting in the fridge, I definitely will!