Thursday, June 28, 2007

sleepless in singapore

It's too hot to:

Sunday, June 24, 2007


As most of my time in London was spent in the confines of the British Library (although I must say, quite a pleasant place to sit and read, with some three cafes/restaurants to choose from, and some rather nifty armchairs out front with sockets on the er... arms to plug yr laptop into, oh and soap that smelled like coconut! And of course tons and tons of books - so many that you have to get on their catalogue and request for them and a display at your desk lights up when it's ready to collect).

Sorry, as I was saying, a lot of my time was spent hard at work doing research for the dissertation, but thanks to Ching and Sam, managed to see some sights and have some good food. The list was posted previously. I suppose I should really write about it, but my mind is full of thoughts of other things, like whether my bag's too heavy. However, I shall say this: warm chocolate and green tea cake, grilled tofu with yuzu marinade, grilled aubergine with miso, moist carrot cake, strawberries and dark chocolate ice-cream, pho! But unfortunately, I didn't lug the camera along much so I can only show you the above photo of a lunch at a lovely little French cafe, where I had a duck pate sandwich with some elderflower presse.

And now I am back in Brighton, to stare at this. (and add more post-its, and move them around so they actually seem to have some cohesive theme running through)

It's Sunday and I haven't been out of the flat at all. Not at all.

Can you blame me? It's been raining almost non-stop since last night.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

quick update

Hit London from Tuesday to Friday, which involved two days of solid work at the British Library's Humanities Reading Rooms, as well as food glorious food at: a French cafe for baguette sandwiches, the surprising Roka, Coffee Cake and Kink at Covent Garden, Song Que in Shoreditch, Ten Ten Tei around Chinatown and Addie's at Earls Court. A quick stop at Foyles, a couple of hours at the new Hockney on Turner exhibition at the Tate Britain, Kowloon Bakery for the usual, a pop into the new Whole Foods at High Street Kensington, and a stop at the Gap sale.

More details another time (if ever). The research continues. Can't believe I'll be in Singapore next week. Where does the time go?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green
Waiting in a hot tureen

Check out DSD's pics and post on The Mock Turtle, a quaint little cafe in Brighton.

No mock turtle soup though.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

In good company

My dear friend DSD came to visit for a week and visitors are always an excuse to eat good food! So, true to form, just an hour after her arrival at Pool Valley, we hit Henny's, a little cafe at Brighton Square, for a brie and chutney sandwich, and for me, a pear and almond tart, washed down with some earl grey tea. The pigeons were hovering a bit too close for comfort though...

One must-eats is the Regency Restaurant on Kings Road - I had the cod and chips.

And dsd had the seafood platter - which had some calamari, whitebait, cod, and a 'tiger prawn'. And of course, chips.

For lunch another day, we ta-powed quiche and an eclair from the always delightful Real Patisserie in Hove. We tried the chorizo, tomato and chili quiche, the smocked haddock and corn quiche, and the beetroot and sweet potato quiche. The haddock disappointed but the others didn't, especially the eclair, filled with a luscious chocolate cream. The plan to enjoy this meal outdoors was marred by the rain, but the food was still good eaten indoors.

A katsu don and a Japanese beef curry was on the menu on Saturday as the sun finally broke through the dangerously grey sky. Pompoko is probably the cheapest Japanese place in town, although, unfortunately, they do not use Japanese rice. The katsu don was still tasty though and a nice filling lunch, readying me for a walk from Brighton Pier to the Marina, to look at the undercliff walk.

From one end of Brighton Marina, there's a link to...

the Undercliff walk, which leads all the way to Saltdean.

Roedean School

And back through Kemp Town to Brighton.

On Sunday, the feast was on at Bills , waiting for nearly half an hour for a table (there were seven of us as some of DSD's friends had popped down from London for the day). But it was worth it! The hazelnut meringue with banana, raspberries, passionfruit was delicious and not too sweet. Good latte too.
I'll leave dsd to fill in the gaps (and lack of pictures!)

One cannot eat out all the time (especially without a regular income) so dinners were often homecooked, such as this feast of bah kut teh and eggplant with chili and garlic, washed down with some jasmine tea.

And on DSD's last night in Brighton, a homecooked feast with everyone contributing something: I made a sweet potato and potato mash, DSD stirfried courgettes and my flatmate Yukiko made a clear vegetable soup, and to top it all off, we had a roast chicken from Somerfield (just 1.64pounds!). We ended the meal with a platter of English strawberries and cherries.

Thanks for the company dsd!

17 Brighton Square
Tel: 01273 711289

Regency Restaurant
131 King's Road

Real Patisserie
25 Western Road
Tel: (0)1273 711 110

Church Street
Tel: 07747 703072

100 North Road
Tel: (0)1273 692 894

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Saturday night's alright

English strawberries.

How small they are compared to the mutant ones found in American supermarkets.

But as with all strawberries, a perfect end to a hearty meal - steak, fries and wilted spinach. Saturday night's alright when you've got steak and strawberries.

Friday, June 08, 2007


In a class last term on transnational migration and diaspora, we were asked what 'home' means to us. And for the first time in my life, 'home' stretches three continents and within the span of the month of June, I'll have set foot upon all three of them.

There I was in Illinois, a rather dingy little town where the drive from Chicago is met with field upon field of brown - corn or soy, not yet in season I reckon. The university sits within the twin towns and while campustown is relatively pretty (definitely much nicer buildings than my own university), the rest of Urbana-Champaign is unfortunately quite dreary (and a bit dodgy). But this is where I spent 6 weeks of 2007 and more than 2 months of 2006. The surroundings didn't matter, it was the company that did.

And here I am in Brighton, where I feel transient. I feel that I've hardly laid down any roots here. I live here but I'm not really here. Don't get me wrong, I love this seaside town. I love its size and its myriad of lanes to wander through, its great little library, and the kindness of strangers. I love opening my curtains each morning and gazing out at that wide expanse of blue. I love its flowers and the parks and looking out at the Pavilion on the bus to school. But there's always something missing - I suppose part of my heart is someplace else.

At the end of the month, it is back home to Singapore, for a couple of weeks. My sister will be home too so that will be great. And of course, to see my parents. I have so many plans to meet with friends, do lots of eating and more research for my dissertation.

So if home is where the heart is, then my heart is in three places.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

flying solo

After a nearly two hour delay at Chicago, I find myself back in Brighton.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Even more well-fed

The last few days in Champaign-Urbana has been about spending time with R and plenty of eating.

One of the best things I've had here has got to be the ribs at Texas Roadhouse. Yes it is a chain with branches across the country, but man that is seriously good food. This is the first time I ate ribs with a knife and fork. Just a slight tug to pull the bones apart and the meat just falls off the bone. It is that tender. And the sauce... I'm not a BBQ sauce fan with many of them being rather too sweet for me, but this was just right.
The mash in the background was also really good with bits of skin and potato in it, and the portion was just right too. Not pictured is the other side of my choice, green beans.

R had the other popular choice - prime rib. It's so popular that it's sometimes sold out before 6pm. Yes you heard me right. The place opens at 4pm and being the kiasu Singaporeans, we were there just after 4. Mind you, we weren't the first customers as there were two other tables already filled and more behind us waiting to be seated. We had learnt our lesson when we tried to get a table on a Saturday afternoon around 5, and there were at least a good 30 people already waiting. We hightailed it out of there (having sat through a three hour commencement without a proper lunch, my stomach was whining).

And I cannot forget to mention two other things: The bucketful of peanuts sitting at the edge of each table to munch on with your cheap beer and $1.99 margarita.
The soft and warm (and freshly baked?) rolls with cinnamon honey butter. Gorgeous.
And generous too: we asked for a takeaway box for the two remaining roles we couldn't finish and the waitress came back with another basketful (and more butter) so we had extra to take with us.

Texas Roadhouse
204 North Country Fair Drive
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-355-9901

In the past week we've had Mexican food, Italian and made our own sushi, including one with crispy bacon and grilled asparagus - yummy!
Movie choices have also been somewhat food-related, with the sweet Waitress leaving me hungry for some pie (luckily there was some pumpkin pie in the fridge). Keri Russell plays a waitress in a pie diner in small town America who has a gift for making pies such as:
I Hate My Husband Pie
"You take bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel…”

Watching Waitress in this country means that I can easily pop out and get some more pie later today. Be warned, those of you watching in places where pieces of pie aren't within such easy reach, you might have to do some baking.

I learnt only after the movie that the director/screenwriter/actress Adrienne Shelly was murdered last October in New York City. So unfortunately, this is her final piece of work.