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Lake Toya, Japan

Spot of Tranquility.

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Little India, Singapore

Spices, gold and splashes of colour!

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Singapore Flyer, Gardens by the Bay

Garden City, City in a Garden.

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Bryce Canyon, USA

Thor's Hammer

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Chocolate Test, Singapore

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." -Charles M Schulz

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Gills N Shells

We dropped by Gills N Shells one Saturday evening. The foot traffic was pretty low and I think this place certainly deserves more customers. 

We ordered the Hae Bee Hiam Pasta with Soft Shell Crab ($18.90). Sometimes, creating fusion dishes may result in disasters but this was not one of those. The pasta, coated with a generous amount of flavourful and spicy hae bee hiam, was a perfect combination with two relatively large pieces of soft shell crabs. If you are one for spicy and deep fried food, this is for you.

We also ordered the Truffle Infused Cod ($24.90). The pan-seared cod was doused liberally with truffle oil, with chye poh on the cod. While the chye poh added some welcome saltiness to this dish, I felt that it was a little over-fried, resulting in the preserved radish losing its distinct crunch. There was a choice between pilaf rice, fries or mashed potatoes. Since fries and mashed potatoes are so common, we decided to go with the fragrant pilaf rice.

To round off the meal, we ordered a Gills N Shells Tiramisu Jar ($10.90). I was initially a little skeptical when I saw the glass jar as it seemed to consist mostly of cream. To my delight, there were abundance of lady fingers soaked in coffee liquor.

While the service was attentive and the food generally good, we found the portions a little small. 

Gills N Shells 
Hotel Boss
500 Jalan Sultan #01-19
Singapore 199020
Tel No: 6493 2238 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Journey to Infinity: Escher's World of Wonder

When I was in primary school, I used to receive emails from friends on optical illusions and I remember being intrigued by these. So, when I saw a newspaper writeup on the exhibition, Journey to Infinity: Escher's World of Wonder, I decided to visit the exhibition. 

There are several exhibition themes: Early Works: Art Nouveau and Nature, Tessellation, Metamorphosis, Commercial Works, Exploring Infinity and Escher Mania. 

I wasn't too interested in Escher's early works, but things got more interesting as we walked through the exhibition. 

I am not sure whether they still have tessellation in the primary school mathematics syllabus but that used to be one of the rare areas in mathematics that I found fun. This exhibition is of course a lot more high level. 

Credit: Marina Bay Sands
If you thought that Escher stopped at mere tessellations, you couldn't be more wrong because he decided to level up again by morphing his tessellation. In this part of the exhibition, the tessellation morphs from one object to another. I was trying to figure it out at the beginning and it became clearer as I walked on. 

Credit: Marina Bay Sands
Escher also created a number of drawings with impossible objects. In other words, structures which may seem plausible, but upon closer inspection turned out to be impossible to create. I spent some time look at Ascending and Descending. He must have had quite a brilliant brain to figure these. 

Credit: Marina Bay Sands
Of course, there are bound to be people inspired by such art. And one of my favourites was Donald Duck by Hans Kuiper. 

Credit: Marina Bay Sands
Art Science Museum, being Art Science Museum, wouldn't forget about "interaction", the buzzword for museums nowadays. Besides The Relativity Room and Tessellation Puzzle Activity, there are tables and chairs situated at some spots of the exhibition for some DIY activities. For example, you can punch holes into some strips of paper with music notes and slip it through a small device and music will be generated. 

An interesting exhibition if you are into tessellations and impossible objects. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Face to Face Noodle House

Face to Face has a history of over 100 years, when the founder's great grandfather learned the art of making Jook Sing noodles. With over 30 outlets in Malaysia, the Singapore branch is its first overseas foray. 

I ordered the value meal because it seemed too good a deal to pass. At $10.90, you get a main, a drink and a side.

I ordered the Traditional Sarawak Noodles. Minced pork, char siew and wanton sat on a bed of incredibly springy handmade noodles. Add a bit of the dried chilli at the side to up the oomph of the dish. As side, I chose the juicy Fried Taucu Wings.

Value for money and delicious!

Face to Face Noodle House
City Square Mall
180 Kitchener Road
Tel No: 6509 0182 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Chrisostomos (Chania)

When we asked our Airbnb host for food recommendations, without batting an eyelid, he recommended Chrisotomos. Although he said that it has one of the best food around, he also said that its view is one of the worst. By that, he meant that the restaurant was facing a car park, unlike many of the restaurants which were facing the sea. The crowds filled up pretty quickly. 

We were first served some delicious and piping hot home made bread.

As I had a late and heavy lunch, I decided to order the Green Salad with Mushrooms (9.50 Euros), which consisted of lettuce, spinach, rocket, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, pine nuts with sweet and sour dressing with honey and vinegar.

The salad was huge, felt light and had a very appetising dressing. I enjoyed this because it had plenty of my favourite ingredient- mushrooms!

The specialties at Chrisotomos are the meat dishes, in particular, lamb.

The waiters served complimentary loukoumades. They are bite sized, very addictive, a cross between a donut and a you tiao (dough fritter) because of its crispiness. Some sweet syrup is then drizzled over these little jewels with sesame seeds sprinkled to give each bite some crunch. What a nice way to round off the meal!

Service was warm and friendly.

Deukalionos & Ikarou Str
Anatoliki Tafros
Chania, Crete

Kki Sweets

The first thought that I had when I stepped into Kki Sweets was, this place is so Muji-esque. Light wood with gentle lighting, so welcoming and warm. 

You have to place an order first before they will allocate a seat to you. 

I ordered the Little Red Riding Hood ($9.80), which consists of a dark chocolate mousse with a raspberry centre. No doubt, the dessert looked dainty and exquisite (look at that beautiful shine). There was also nothing to complain about the taste- rich, smooth dark chocolate, with a tinge of raspberry. But I can't help but feel that this is a little overpriced. Perhaps I was looking at a dessert that would surprise me, like the desserts at Mad About Sucre.

Kki Sweets 
#02-01 School of The Arts
1 Zubir Said Drive
Tel No: 6225 6650 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tempura Kohaku

I seldom spend more than 15 minutes queueing for food because there are so many food places to go, why waste your time queuing? 

I have been waiting for the queues at Tendon Ginza Itsuki to die down. But nope, it never did. No matter what time of the day it was, there would always be a queue stretching down the little alley.

If I am going to wait, I might as well wait in an air-conditioned place. So, one Sunday night, we decided to go to Tempura Kohaku

Despite my husband's plea at the 10-minute mark, "How about if we still don't get in within 15 minutes, we go somewhere else?" "No."

After half an hour or so, we were finally in.

You could choose between the Tendon or the Set Tendon. The Set Tendon is basically Tendon, udon and Tsukemono. The types of Tendon include Kohaku Tendon (vegetables, chicken, prawn and other seafood), Vegetables Tendon, Kohaku Tendon Spicy Flavour and Vegetables Tendon Spicy Flavour.

I got the Kohaku Tendon Spicy Flavour ($15). When we saw the amount of ingredients heaped on the bowl, we knew that this meal was definitely value for money. The rice is imported from Hokkaido- every grain so plump and delicious.

The batter was not oily and coated with a spicy sweet sauce. It got a bit numbing by the end of the meal, such that all I tasted was the spice. The ingredients included prawns, chicken breast, crabstick, calamari, mushroom, french bean, maize and pumpkin. Each item was fresh although I found the chicken breast a tad try.

Although the food is value for money and is pretty good, this meal was definitely artery clogging. I think coming here once is enough (bearing in mind the queue as well).

Tempura Kohaku
Suntec City Mall Tower 1
Eat At Seven
3 Temasek Boulevard
Tel: 6333 4386 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Uncle Chua Ice Cream

Recently, there was a mini hoo-ha in the internet sphere when a Buzzfeed editor included the ice cream bread that Singaporeans love as  one of the "21 of the Absolute Worst Sandwiches that have Ever Happened".

His article was blasted and he later edited the article, with an apology, "So it appears that an item originally in this post at #7 (an ice-cream sandwich) is in fact a Singaporean delicacy. In which case, I'm sure it's delicious! A version with English bread and ice cream would not be nice. Sorry for the mistake in including it." Nice try.

I loved the response by Your Singapore- so passive aggressive!

These ice cream bread- $1 but offer so much comfort.

For my wedding, I was deciding between having an ice cream man or yoghurt and decided with the former.

I contacted Uncle Chua Ice Cream and he responded very quickly.

They were prompt in responding, punctual, efficient and friendly. The ice-cream, needless to say, was cheap and delicious! Many guests also remarked about how they enjoyed the ice cream bread. Instead of having a fancy dessert table, how about an ice cream man at your next event?

Uncle Chua Ice Cream
Telephone No: 9108 4203 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lexis Hibiscus (Port Dickson)

The hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia. Not only is this hotel called Lexis Hibiscus, it is also arranged in the shape of a hibiscus. 

A coach was arranged for us from Singapore to Lexis Hibiscus. It took around 6 hours, including a 45 minute lunch break. 

1) Room

We got an Executive Pool Villa, located at the hibiscus leaf area. To get from the hotel to the rooms at the hibiscus (i.e. at the sea), you can queue up for a buggy. However, as we stayed rather close to the main block, it was more convenient for us to walk directly to the main block. 

There was free wifi, 2 complimentary bottles of water and some snacks. What made me roll my eyes was when I went to the reception to ask for an extra bottle of water because there were 3 of us in the room, the receptionist responded, "You may buy from the lobby shop." I said, "You mean I can't get free bottles of water?" And he said yes. 

There were plenty of pillows, which was great. However, the pillows all felt a little too soft. Many of the cushions also had pen marks on them. Is it because they are worried the guests would bring these cushions home? 

If you want a bigger room, you may wish to consider getting those in the main block instead. 

2) Toilet 

I loved the toilet. It was spacious, had strong water pressure, and you had the choice of using the shower head or the rain shower. Using the shower was also idiot proof- you have no idea how many complicated shower devices I have seen. Plus the temperature is consistent, unlike some places where the temperature suddenly changes.

There were also free toiletries provided. They smelt really sweet, one of the ingredients referred to something about hibiscus.

There is a partition between the shower area, the toilet area and the basin. There is a glass door which leads to this area. There are no locks to the glass door, the shower and toilet area. So you better be comfortable with who you are staying with.

There is a small part of the floor where you can look through and see the sea below. On their webpage, it says that this glass panel is for you to view the marine life. Marine life? Dirty water more like it.

If you step out, there is a sauna area and a dipping pool. If you are looking for privacy, do not stay at the hibiscus leaf area, choose somewhere further. Anybody from the main block or on the buggies can see you enjoying in the dipping pool.

3) Breakfast

Limited variety of food. For 2 days, I had nasi lemak because that tasted the best. I have my doubts about their food handling methods. One night, we saw a trolley of ham, wrapped in plastic, left outside in the warm weather.

Their mini muffins are Horrible, yes with a capital H. I haven't eaten such bad muffins before that I ate a quarter of it. My friend didn't believe me and took a bite- and the rest is history.

For food options, there is a cafe, a Japanese restaurant and Hibiscus Walk, a stretch of stalls selling hawker food along the beach. While I didn't try the food at Hibiscus Walk, the smell of the char kway teow was really tempting.

4) Overall

The houseflies. So many houseflies. Houseflies were a common sight throughout the resort. I was waiting in the lobby for my bus and the flies just kept coming. That kept me busy for a while until my bus came.

Overall, the room is pretty good but everything else can be improved.

Lexis Hibiscus (Port Dickson)
12th Mile Jalan Pantai
Pasir Panjang 71250

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Xenonas Iresioni (Arachova)

We wanted to go to Meteora from Athens, but as it was a four hour drive, we thought we would just stay somewhere midway, where we could also visit Delphi. We decided on Xenonas Iresioni

1) Location 

Finding the parking lot was not easy, even with the instructions that were given. We lost our way and driving a manual car down and up the slopes was a nightmare (don't trust google maps either). 

It is a 10 minute walk to the food places and a 15 minute drive to Delphi. 

2) Rooms 

We got the Double Room (62 Euros). Not sure if it was the yellow lights or the yellow walls but these made the room feel a little dated even though it was really not.

The bed was comfortable and they even had these little sachets placed below the pillows, apparently to help you relax. The rooms are clean.

3) Breakfast 

The breakfast area was so charming, it could be christmas all year long! I loved the decor of the dining area- so homely and cosy.

Pastries, bread, cereal, and juices- there is certainly enough food to keep you full!

4) Service 

The guy at the reception desk was very chill and friendly.

This hotel is value for money. 

Dellas Boutique Hotel (Meteora)

1) Location 

We wanted to visit the Meteora, after hearing from friends how it was an absolute must-do (yes, it is!). 

The Dellas Boutique Hotel is located at Kastraki village, next to Kalambaka town. It is no more than a 10 minute drive to the Meteora and is very close to food options. 

2) Room

The room is clean and spacious. The decor here may feel a little gaudy, due to the red furniture and the general colour scheme, but generally, the place is comfortable with fast wifi connection.

It makes perfect sense to build doors that can shut (unlike some hotels) so that the water does not splash out.

3) Breakfast

What a spread for breakfast! Lots of fruits, jams, cakes, cookies, eggs, ham- you will be spoilt for choice.

4) Service 

The service here is extraordinary and it is what makes the stay here very pleasant. Not only are the service staff very familiar with Meteora (that would be expected), they were very friendly, very ready to help and very knowledgeable. I like how they are even happy to lend reference books to the guests to learn more about this place.

When we told one of them that the restaurant she recommended was unfortunately closed for lunch, she immediately picked up the phone to give the restaurant a call (even though we told her it was fine), just so that she could explain why.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Good Heart (Santorini)

The folks at Villa Maria recommended The Good Heart for a meal and it did not disappoint. 

We were first given some complimentary bread with different kinds of spreads and different wines to try.

We ordered Mushrooms Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Peppers and Cheese (7 Euros). Juicy portabello mushrooms coupled with the sour and appetising sun-dried tomatoes was a promising start to our meal.

The Spaghetti With Seafood (14 Euros) came in a large portion, with generous and fresh seafood. We had a tough time trying to finish this plate but hey, who's complaining when the food is so delicious! The spaghetti was coated with fresh tomato sauce with a seafood taste to it, with a hint of garlic. The seafood was plump, fresh and succulent.

We also got the Barbuda (16 Euros). This is the first time I tried such a fish. Deep fried with a thin batter, the lightly seasoned fish was fresh and delightful.

To round off the meal, they gave us complimentary ice cream in unusual flavours- one was grape and the other banana.

Warm and friendly service.

After we left the restaurant, we went next door to have a look at the products that they were selling. The lady inside, pointed at herself and said "Mama Anna". She was extremely warm and friendly and kept stuffing samples at us.

When we asked what was grown in their farm, she said tomatoes, eggplants, rabbits etc. While we bought some figs and sundried tomatoes, we later realised that the price of the loukoumis were significantly higher than those elsewhere. While you may want to buy some of the products that are produced in their farm, you may wish to buy the more common products at supermarkets.

The Good Heart 
Akrotiri, Santorini
(between Kambia and Mesa Pegadia)
Tel: +30 22860 82247 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mani Mani (Athens)

We loved this restaurant so much that we had lunch and dinner there on one day and wanted to go back a third time on the way to the airport but decided not to due to the busy roads in Athens. 

Sleek and clean interiors. From Monday to Friday, until 6 p.m., there is an option for you to pay half price for half the portion, a wonderful option for customers to try a bit of everything.

I got the Orzo with four kinds of different mushrooms (half portion) (6 Euros). The broth was very clean tasting, and the mushroom flavour really shone through. Couple that with the four different juicy mushrooms and the subtle truffle oil, I was really tempted to order a second portion.

The Tsouhtes (11 Euros) did not come in half portions. The pasta was accompanied with roasted sour mizithra cheese, mushrooms, siglino (smoked pork) and a fried egg. They are very generous with their ingredients and the ingredients came together really well.

I seldom say that any food item is a MUST ORDER because well, there are so many choices on the menu, what makes something a must order?

But no, this Crispy Orange Pie (5.50 Euros) is a MUST ORDER. After we took two bites of these, all we could say was "Oh my gosh, this is good, this is too good."

Crispy orange pie, three simple words. Yet, it evokes such feelings when eating it. The first few bites, you taste the sweet and sour flavours of the orange cake. The next few bites, you realise how different the texture this cake is from other cakes- it is not a cakey texture, nor a sponge cake. It has little pockets in the cake to retain all that orange goodness. The cake is then sealed with a lightly torched crispy layer. Topped off with a yoghurt ice cream and crunchy biscuit base. A seemingly simple dessert but so much depth.

Because lunch was so good, we immediately made reservations for dinner that night. The food was still good although we preferred the items that we ordered for lunch.

I ordered a Fish Fillet (15.50 Euros). Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, the pan fried fish fillet went well with the bean puree in orange sauce.

Dessert was a Walnut Pie (5 Euros). It was moist but a little too sweet. Order the orange cake instead.

Service was warm and friendly.

Mani Mani 
10 Falirou Str
Acropolis, Athens
Tel No: +30 210 9218180