Monday, November 21, 2011

Congratulations, Susie!

Ok, I'm bushed.

My dear cousin finally got hitched and her wedding was over the weekend. There's really no excitement like the wedding of a close family member/relative. Especially in a community which believes in getting together and strengthening ties.

My cousin Susie here, she's of my age so it's no surprise that we're close. We grew up together, so I believe there must be a point in time where we will daydream about our future and discuss our dream wedding...

I got my Javanese-inspired dream wedding and I can see that you got your dreamy red & green-themed wedding!! Feels so Christmas-sy! ;)

Dear Susie,

To have you finally step onto this stage, I can never be happier.

Oh, another thing. You and your big mouth. If I can recall, there was one time when we were discussing about our dream weddings, you did say this, "Hmmph, who knows, during my wedding, you will be running after your child already..."

Thanks, eh. That can never be more true. I was literally going after my kiddo most of the time, can? :P

So much for trying to be glamourous for once (I finally wore my bling-bling engagement suit, ok?).

Anyway, may you have a blissful & blessed marriage that lasts till' Hereafter. And hopefully see some cute Susies & Hans coming soon!

Enjoy the peeks of the gorgeous couple!

After the solemnisation

We made him go down on his knees, as he put the wedding ring on her finger. Haha!

Eh, looks more romantic this way, doesn't it??!

The reception

See what I mean?

Dreamy red & green-themed wedding...

The reception

Kawaii couple.

The reception

Wacky! Check out their shoes!

The wife in her tough Dr Martens & the hubby in his geeky school shoes. :D

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chi-chi coffee

Not taking into account the Nespresso machine in the office, here are my experiences at 2 different 'chi-chi' or 'atas' coffee places - Papa Palheta & L'etoile Cafe.

On both occasions, it was my colleague Jim who brought me to these quaint locations. He, who acknowledged me to be a fellow coffee lover; with whom he regaled tales of his adventures in finding a good cuppa'.

So that afternoon after having lunch, he remarked, "I think we still have time for some coffee."

Thought nothing of it, until he turned into Hooper Road.

Well, as you may know, Hooper Road remained pretty nondescript, until the appearance of this particular coffee place; which can only be accessed from the obscure rear entrance.

I was very enthralled by the idea that such a quirky place exist and was really curious about it. The idea that I was headed there, made me feel like Charlie waiting at gates of the chocolate factory!

Papa Palheta

Coffee-lover's haven.

Check out the odd pieces of (almost) mismatched furniture. The whole place has some random bric-a-brac here and there. They were quite a novelty to see.

FYI, this place serves coffee and only coffee.

The fella

My colleague who brought me here.

Not sure what the room beside him is. Might be their roasting room? I saw the word 'Lab' on the door. Hmm...

Drip brew

We sat at the bar (the sitting area is pretty cramped). The barista was preparing filtered coffee when I was there. Sure is interesting to watch. Looks time-consuming but that's because everything was meticulously executed. Every detail taken into consideration.

The whole get-up reminds me of the contraption that my bosses bought when they came back from Vietnam. People there are more laid-back and can spare time to wait for their coffee as it drip through the filter.

My colleague strike up a conversation with the staff above (as he waited for the dripping to be done), in what I was sure sounded like 'coffee language'. Something about the beans for that day, their origins, the gadgets, machines, methods etc. You can sense how passionate these people appear to be and how pleased they are to mingle with those who share this similar passion, namely coffee. Hmm…

Two words: Coffee. Geeks.

My latte

My colleague ordered a plain ol' Long Black and I chose latte (seems uncool to get a cappuccino). Sure glad I did. I never expect any coffee-art so I was taken by surprise. So ecstatic about it but I kept it cool up-front as I contain the elation inside.

Gorgeous, isn't it? Reminds me of the popular Korean drama, 'Coffee Prince.'

And the coffee itself… The aroma. The initial taste. The after taste. WOW.

The whole experience brings me back to this tv show, 'Living Coffee With Paul Bassett' on Discovery Travel & Living channel. 100% passion. About coffee.

One more thing. There's no fixed pricing for the coffee served here. It's all tips-based. You tip according to what value the coffee you just had deserve. My colleague gave $5 for each of our cuppa'.

Well worth it.

Quirky, vintage artefacts

Very cute, very vintage red FIAT toy car.

As you can guess, after seeing that limp mop in the background; this car is 'parked' in front of the toilet. -___-

Other entries on this place HERE & HERE.

~~ Moving on to the next location.

L'etoile Cafe

That's French for 'star'.

Came by here on another day, for pre-lunch coffee. I was already so taken in by the simple layout on the 1st story (esp. when we got to snag a cosy corner by the window), that I thought nothing of it when my colleague asked if I want to check out the upper level. I easily declined.

BIG mistake!

Go HERE to see what I missed out on. Gah!

This cafe is gorgeous, la!

Read somewhere about the owner re-creating the place to be very much like the French-concept cafes in Japan with added touches of local vintage.

L'etoile Cafe

The coffee itself is good, too. Had the cappuccino and it came served with this itsy-bitsy honey biscuit which reminded me of my childhood years, somehow.

Nice place to chill out in. Cosy enough for you to snuggle up with a good read (when it's the off-peak period). For spontaneous visits, you can always choose from the numerous books on the shelves (not just for display). My friend warned me though, of inconsiderate students who adamantly remain to study despite the crowds (yes, during peak hours).


I was also introduced to this 'Be Disloyal' card by the same fella.

"…Be disloyal. Go to any of the 8 cafés – enjoy your favorite coffee, receive the disloyalty card and try out the other cafés. Once the card is full, go back and claim your free coffee from your starting café."

The 8 coffee places that partake in this interesting venture are:-
1) Jewel Coffee
2) Smitten
3) Jimmy Monkey
4) Loysel's Toy ---> (so eager to check this one out!)
5) Forty Hands
6) Oriole ---> (and this one too!)
7) Broers Café
8) SOHO Coffee

Here's an informative entry.

Seems like the coffee/cafe culture here is getting to be more interesting…

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ayam Penyet Ria (other items)

Been blogging a lot on this place, haven't I?

No worries. This time I'll focus on the 'other stuff' that one of my curious colleagues was game to try.

Es Kacang Hijau

Literally translates to: Iced Green Bean.

Boiled green bean, palm sugar syrup, coconut milk and lotsa' shaved ice. It was a hot, sunny day that time.

"Too bad the ice shavings were coarse. Would have been a nicer experience, had the shavings been more fine…" words spoken by the man himself. OR maybe the terribly anal food connoisseur in him.

(F) Fried Enoki & (B) 'Ampela' Ayam

This was a new item being promoted the time we were there. These enokitake or golden needle mushrooms were fried, tempura style.

Crunchy outside and soft inside. Makes for fun snacking while waiting for the mains to arrive.

As for the 'ampela' (in Indonesian), also known as 'pedal' (per-dull in Malay). Or simply, chicken gizzard. Battered similarly and also topped with the fascinating crumbs.

This colleague is such a big fan of this spare organ that he tries to order this whenever he eats chicken rice. Or in this case, chicken with rice.

(F) Ayam Penyet & (B) Cumi-cumi Penyet

Let's ignore the ayam penyet shall we?

Sorry that it's not so clear but the 'cumi-cumi' (baby squid) was battered similarly to the other meats in the menu. And colleague declared that the meat is surprising tender and doesn't need some major jaw exercising prior to swallowing.

And oh, this time I'm smart enough to order the milky Bandung drink instead.

And by now, I'm very sure that the boneless ayam penyet has a hint of kaffir lime leaves. Wonder why…

Monday, November 07, 2011

Secret Recipe w/ a Dear Ol' Friend

Now, here are some pictures that I would otherwise forgot about, had I not talked about those Oreo cheesecakes that my dear pal here makes.

This dear pal was my closest mate when I just entered Poly(technic). That 1st year, we move around together; almost inseparable. Things went slightly awry the year after, when we got separated by conflicting schedule/modules and she eventually quit the course to start working at NUH.

Anyway, we never really contact each other much, despite being connected through FB; even when we have each other's hp number!

To cut it short, she messaged me out of the blue, asking for a meet-up; saying that she has something to tell… Honestly that got me all jittery. Who wouldn't be, right?

I was pretty busy at work and can only meet her near where I live, namely the east side. I thought that this Secret Recipe outlet at Tamp1 will be suitably nice & cosy as with my experience there, previously.

As it turn out, my dear pal here wanted to tell me that she'll be off to perform the Haj pilgrimage with her husband and parents! Alhamdulillah! It's really courageous of her to perform it at such a young age. Well, since she doesn't have much commitment, guess it's wise of her to do it now.

As I type this, I realise that by now, she would have completed all the compulsory rites that deem the pilgrimage to be succesfully performed. Insya-Allah it'll be accepted by Allah swt.

Now on to the food that night, as we reminisce the good old days and our lives, currently…

Chocolate milkshake & Green Apple Kasturi

My pal chose the milkshake. Such indulgence!

I took the latter. This drink seem to be a popular choice. Tastes and look healthy. Tangy green apple juice with a squeeze of 'limau kasturi' (calamansi lime). Refreshing, definitely.

Seafood springrolls

We made a point to order one appetiser/starter each. This was my friend's choice.

Chinese springrolls filled with savory minced seafood; most prominently, shrimp.

Thai fried chicken

Ok, I only remembered to snap a pic when there's only 1 pc left.

This taste like any other fried chicken, to me. I can't see which aspect of it that makes it seem… Thai. I can't detect any hint of Thai marinade in the winglet meat.

… Maybe it's the sweet chili dipping sauce that it comes with.

Fish & Chips

I felt almost embarrassed when this arrived for my friend. Talk about poor presentation!

I can't recall having ordered this before, but surely there's some side salad/coleslaw at least? Like this one with the Chicken Cordon Bleu?

Irish Lamb stew

Something was definitely amiss then they served this... Hmm... (browse through past dining experiences…)

Okay… Where's the mashed potato?


These came a little after the lamb shank was served. They were slightly warm, thankfully. Well, not that they're newly baked, of course.

So, now they serve the lamb shank to be eaten with these, eh?

Yes, these makes a good accompaniment to soak up all that delish stew/gravy but I much prefer the mash potato, thank you. Gimme that, any time!

Chocolate cheesecake

And now… Dessert time.

Despite the large number of varieties on the cake menu (separate from the actual dessert menu), I wisened up after the lesson learnt, previously.

So I asked the server with regards to the cakes available that night. Not surprisingly, I'm left with not much choices.

Here, I have someone who makes cakes for her online business so it'll be pretty hard to impress her (she said so herself). This somewhat fell short of our expectations. I wish I can compare this to the one from Cheesecake Cafe but it really was on another level altogether.

The slightly bitter cocoa taste was one thing. But the slightly powdery texture was pretty disturbing. Makes the cheesecake seem dry.

Raspberry cheesecake

I thought this will bring back the nice memories from that day when I had the delightful Strawberry Marshmallow cheesecake. Guess I was wrong.

It came across like plain cheesecake with raspberry jam, to me.

At this point, I wished that I had stuck to ordering those more commonly ordered (safer choice) cakes like the Chocolate Banana or something.

Food may have been mediocre and I sensed some obvious cost-cutting measures were in place. But the companionship is memorable, indeed!