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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

Friday, October 28, 2011

Singapore: Chilli and Black Pepper Crab

You can find crabs in many parts of the world. But Chilli Crab and Black Pepper Crab? No where better to find it than in Singapore! According to Wikipedia, the chilli crab was created in 1950 in Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant. Now, I never knew that it originated from there! 9 years later, the black pepper crab was born in Long Beach seafood restaurant.

You may think that KFC's chicken is finger lickin' good. Let me tell you what finger lickin' good is. THESE CRABS ARE FINGER LICKING GOOD.

Well, chilli crab is not really spicy, more of a tomato base. It is a rather thick sauce, with ginger, rice vinegar etc added into it. It is ranked 35th out of the World's 50 most delicious foods. The first picture is a picture of a crab from a restaurant. The subsequent two may not be as appetising- home cooked!

The black pepper crab is with, surprise surprise, black pepper.

An equally good part of the meal is where you mop up the sauce with the deep fried mantou (bun). Look at the mantou seep the sauce up, coupled with the crispy exterior of the mantou.

Some good places to have crab: Basically you can comb the East Coast area. There are lots of places that sell these. But if you want to have the liberty of choosing from a wide number in the same area, you might want to go for a seafood meal after a day of fun at East Coast Park.

1018 East Coast Parkway
Tel: 6445 8833

Blk 1206 East Coast Parkway #01-07/08
East Coast Seafood Centre
Tel: 6442 3435

Blk 1202 East Coast Parkway #01-02
Tel: 6448 9959

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The lack of updates is due to impending doom to such a thing called exams.

Nonetheless, here's a recipe on pancakes. I used to buy the mix from boxes, until I realised that it doesn't require much effort to make pancakes. Pancakes can be eaten as breakfast, as brunch, or as dessert. Just remember to down it with plenty of maple syrup!

Nothing speaks of happiness more than the blissful combination of fluffy pancakes and tonnes of maple syrup! (I know the pancakes are ugly. But don't judge- they taste good!)

Recipe from allrecipes.com

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    1 1/4 cups milk
    1 egg
    3 tablespoons butter, melted

1) In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
2) Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
3) Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.
4) Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.
5) Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mont Royal (Montreal)

Mont Royal in Montreal- Left my footprints there in the mud. It was raining heavily the day I was there. Armed with an umbrella which was too weak to withstand the winds. But it was a pretty quick climb, with a great view of the place, even though it was raining. Sometimes, you don't need the most perfect of views in order to get a perfect view. It's all in the mind.

The Road not Taken (Robert Frost)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Coolidge Corner (Boston)

They say, the grass on the other side is greener.

I say, the skies on the other side are bluer.

This is Coolidge Corner, a place that's not at all like downtown. But just so homely. Lots of eateries, shops selling random knick knacks, and just good ol' Trader Joes and all their organic food!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Jean-Talon Market (Montreal)

Here's the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal.

I vaguely remember how it was so nice to walk alone in this market which was largely quiet because it was a weekday evening. Just the fruit stalls and the flower stalls were open. So tranquil, so perfect.

This world saturated in shades of grey need to be infused with some colour.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trattoria Lafiandra

Well, the Restaurant Week in Singapore was a bit of a letdown overall. There's always a basis for comparison. And here, I'm comparing it to the Restaurant Week in Boston, where I chomped away at a few places, including Atlantic Fish Company, probably one of the best food I've eaten, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

If the standard of the food today I had at Trattoria Lafiandra today was anything to go by, it's still a long way to go for a Restaurant Week of world class standards. In the first place, it's so difficult to get a reservation and card holders have special priority, while the rest of us are left trying to take the leftovers of other's- eating's supposed to be an inclusive affair, no? In any case, the menu has very limited options as well- things that normally don't appear on the menu- an attempt at saving costs?

Pumpkin soup was not overly creamy and sweet.

This was the linguine with fish. I suspect the fish must have been swimming somewhere else in the Atlantic ocean, because I only ate two minute pieces of fish, and spent the rest of the time hoping that some fish would miraculously swim to me. The sauces and linguine were cooked well, but this feels like a slipshod attempt in cooking something with fish as its focal concern. In any case, the fish was soft and very ordinary.

Panna cotta was the only dessert option available. And I don't eat panna cotta because of its overwhelming sugar and milk. But that's my personal bias, so don't take my word for it.

Overall, this place has a nice atmosphere. The service wasn't as bad as what other reviewers had described, perhaps because we had different servers. But the selection and quality of the food was a letdown- better luck next time!

71 Bras Basah Road
Singapore Art Museum
Tel: +65 6884 4035

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Novus Restaurant & Bar

The lack of updates have been partly due to the amount of crap load I have on my hands now. But anyway, since it's Restaurant Week, it's about time to try some good food.

Novus is conveniently located in the National Museum, with a very cosy interior. I loved the effort put into the details of the decor of the restaurant- the black and white photographs, the mirrors, the lighting- perfect!

So, this was the three-course meal that I decided to get! Their attention to detail is impeccable. They would put these mini cards on your table so that you know the process that went into preparing the dish, as well as the ingredients.

A bread basket is served first. For me, as long as you serve bread that doesn't taste like overnight bread, with a soft and cushiony interior, I will give full marks for bread.

There was the mushroom soup, which had a dense mushroomy texture, but the picture looked a little too gross, so there, no pictures for mushroom soup.

This wasn't on the menu, but apparently is tuna with sea urchin plus a list of other things. Most importantly of all, wasabi. I do not like wasabi. Period.

This was the stuffed rolled organic chicken. I love mushrooms and this dish was a real treat for me because of the congregation of the mushrooms. However, I have to say that it was a little confusing how I should be eating this dish, plus the sauce was a little too salty. There were two pieces of chicken which was moist, apparently due to their i-do-not-know-what technology. I would have preferred mashed potatoes instead of aerated potato creme. Although I reckon that the aerated potato creme would have made the dish less dense, it didn't appear to perform that very function.

You should have seen my jaw drop when this came as dessert. Seriously, I'm supposed to swallow all of this alone? I mean, I'm a chocolate lover. But this amount of chocolate is enough to leave me in a sugar coma for quite some time.

Anyway, this was the Chocolate Test. And it's interesting how the chocolates play with your tastebuds. You're supposed to eat it from left to right, so that it gets increasingly bitter. The fun part (okay, not that fun) is that it alternates between warm, hot, cold and different textures. I'm sure lots of thought went into presenting the dessert this way.

You know how people say that the first and last always matter the most? These two, unfortunately, felt like a birthday cake full with whipped cream smashed into my face. The first had this weird taste which I have no clue what it is. And the last was dehydrated chocolate, which tasted like.. vacuum food for astronauts.

The in between were your usual chocolate suspects which was nothing out of the ordinary, but decent desserts.

Overall, $40++ is an okay deal for this restaurant week menu, although I probably wouldn't spend this kind of money on this kind of food again. Service was excellent, and they gave us each a cupcake which was in a little box, very much like the takeaway boxes in US.

93 Stamford Road, #01-02
National Museum of Singapore
Tel: +65 6336 8770

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Purple Pig (Chicago)

Courtesy of a friend's friend, we were brought to The Purple Pig in Chicago.

Here's arguably one of the best eateries in Chicago. I'm not an adventurous eater and any kind of ingredients that sound like they shouldn't be together makes it feel like I shouldn't be eating it. But sometimes, stepping out of your comfort zone paves the way for a new eating experience.

Prosciutto Bread Balls

Pork Liver Pate

Chicken Thigh Kebabs, Fried Smashed Potatoes & Taztziki

Pork blade steak with 'Nduja and Honey.

By now, you would have realised that I didn't write any individual reviews about the food here, because all I have is a vague recollection of the food. There are just some that leave a very strong impression and some that don't. It's not that the food is not good, I distinctly remember it being very interesting and not that weird after all. In fact, I remember telling my friend about how it's been a good dining experience.

But to keep to the true spirit of the blog of being 100% honest, this is as good as it gets. Maybe it's for the pictorial thrill, or just for the sake of itching to write on my side. I wished I could remember how it tasted!

500 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Tel No: 312 464 1744

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ice Cream Galore

4 tubs of these ice cream cost around the same as 1 tub in Singapore. Is that how you control the population from being fat? Long gone are the days I could grab a B&J on sale from the freezer at USD$2.99. *sad*

Saturday, October 1, 2011

River Palace Chinese Restaurant

Let me get the facts out first: 1) This place is decently priced ($28.80 for ala carte buffet). 2) There are more misses than hits. 3) I don't like the bitter gourd look on the sever's face (He incidentally recommended bittergourd.)

I know other reviews have stated that the service here is good. But on this day, I happen to get a very very bad server, who looked like we owed him $1000 for 10 years and snapped back "k" every time we told him something. Plus, he was very impatient.

Some of the dishes we ordered included (below): the seafood salad, salted prawns with garlic, chilli crab and you tiao with mayo. The seafood salad was simply CRABstick with cocktail fruits- I suppose this is their definition of seafood. The salt and garlic smelt aromatic when served, but the prawns were unfortunately rather disappointing because they weren't fresh. The crab sauce was spicy and dense, but the crabs had little meat in them. Lastly, the youtiao was not bad. Other dishes we ordered include spicy squid (which was more sweet than spicy) and the roast chicken which was not bad but a little bloody.
There are four particular dishes that can only be ordered once in your meal. The broccoli with Ihave no idea what, scallops, black chicken herbal soup and peking duck.

I almost had the wrong impression that this place had wonderful food when they first served the peking duck. Well, it was good! The roasted duck skin was crispy and there was a piece of vegetarian geese in it, a break from the norm.

I reckon the thing the thing that's on the broccoli is an abalone lookalike. Not sure what it really is though.

The scallop tastes like standard restaurant-fare scallop.

However, the desserts are totally not worth it. The chocolate cake was served in plastic plates, which totally dashed any chance of it being good quality chocolate cake. It was ordinary chocolate cake you can probably make yourself. The mango sago was diluted, with clumped up sago. That was about what I tried- I'm not sure if I wanted to waste my stomach space over bad dessert. But anyway, there was yam paste (which was apparently not bad), jelly, some ice jelly etc. Desserts is one of the restaurant's clear misses.

While I don't wish to be back again, I actually suppose that if you have big appetites and don't mind trying your luck at which are the good dishes and the bad ones, you might want to consider this place because it's really not bad priced for a buffet spread like this. But take heed, the last order is at 2 pm, so don't go too late! Maybe my experience has been smeared by a waiter with bad attitude. Better chance next time!

River Palace Chinese Restaurant
382 Havelock Road
2nd Floor River View Hotel
Tel: +65 6349 4865

The Brilliant Meteorological Station

On days like that, I just want to face palm and wish the meteorological station would come up with something better. I also can predict at 940 am that it's raining since 920 am? Plus, in Singapore, there's only rain and sun- 50% of getting it right!