Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year 2015 everyone!

& we kick the year off with a "hang".
Jing Epic (Original Sauce: EDMW)
A caucasian (local term: ang mo) decided to share his joie de vive with the rest of the crowd at Marina Bay Sands by swimming in the nude at the indoor fountain. It'd be amazing if he doesn't catch anything for his exuberance, because I am pretty sure they don't clean the water (no reason to... until now of course. LOL). Anyway I am not surprised that he did this, because I had an Austrian Company of Heroes teammate who told me that he and his friends would hang in the new year by leaping into their freezing cold lake (in town centre). But this is *bleeping* Singapore, sweetheart. Please respect the land you are standing on.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

益和云吞面 Yit Foh Wanton Noodles @Taman Century, Johor Bahru

Decided to enjoy the perks of the exchange rate by asking Mutter and Siyi to visit JB one day last week. I initially wanted to take Montag off but because something cropped up at work (as it always did), we went in on Dienstag instead, which turned out to be a win-win because Siyi could go that day. Mutter brought along her friend N, from her Bukit Timah trekking group. Even though they were all at least 60+, I spent Dienstag chasing these three ladies (though I'd have to shamelessly congratulate myself on having better stamina nowadays).

Before we went, I decided to locate some famous eateries on my google map. At first I had some problems with the GPS at home, so I decided to do screenshots of the map instead.  That was how we ended up using static map images for finding 益和云吞面.

It is located at Jalan Harimau, near KSL city. So we took S1 from the Causeway Bus interchange to KSL. Getting off at the hotel bay, I walked over to ask the security guard where was Jalan Harimau. He suggested that we cut through the hotel to get there faster, which we did, only to discover that there was no exit on the other side. So having now discounted his advice, we walked out of the hotel and asked around.

Turned out Jalan Harimau is a super long windy road that goes up and down the hill that KSL is standing on. Suffice to say we walked a super long distance from the hotel bay down the hill before we found the other intersection meeting Jalan Harimau, where we met two men on bikes. They told us to walk along the road to find the restaurant (which was near the 4D shop, they said), as they realized that it was pointless to tell us to walk back up the same way we came then turn left. 
So walking up the road, we discovered the security guard was 80% right after all. 益和 was super near KSL, and we ought to have either cut through KSL or walk around the hotel to get there. Luckily the ladies were in fitter shape than me and were pretty tolerant of my booboo.There were multiple 4D shops on that same row of shophouses though.
The restaurant seemed to be made up entirely of that one stall, where the cook stood over a great flame at the threshold of the shop, tossing noodles into whirling hot water, letting the lovely aromas beckon hungry customers in. It was obviously a family establishment with the two children playing at the counter. 

Being the only person who didn't have breakfast, I ordered fried wantons. Wantons are not sluts in South East Asian context, they are dumplings, little nuggets of marinated pork wrapped in flour skins before boiling or frying to awesome mouthfuls. 

We had the fried wantons with Made-in-Malaysia chilli sauce *yum* before we were served the wanton noodles. The noodles were chewy with the right amount of Q. While I still preferred the wanton noodles at my favorite ABC market stall, I liked the textures presented in the dish. They made everyone's preferences to correct order, mine and Mutter with no chilli, N's with some chilli. And Siyi's noodles came drenched in bloodthirsty red.
No kidding. It was so damn spicy that I needed my milky hot tea to lower the fire it ignited on my tongue. The boiled wantons were as wonderful as their fried counterpart. Neatly packed into flour parcels which skins did not break in the steaming, whirling liquid. I would go back there again just for the perfectly formed fried and boiled wantons. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Weihnachtfest 2014

This year we got the party started early on Christmas eve where the family congregated at Mutters. Bruder, Mutter, SIL and I played mahjong while the formerly CaptainAdorable now EnfantTerrible sulked in front of Disney channel after getting yelled at for knocking over our tiles.  Bruder commented drily that this was how gambler's children begin their paths to ruin.

I replied that at least the tv was playing its role as Babysitter, in other households his life would be devoted to bringing us ashtrays and clearing away empty glasses *lol*. Tante remained unresponsive though she smiled when we engaged with her, it was pretty disheartening to see how stroke has diminished my larger-than-life, active aunt into a sullen cripple. Mahjong used to be her thing, and now she could not even articulate her name. 
On Christmas day, Mutter and I broke in our new trekking shoes, that we got on sale during our JB trip, at the Reservoir. Unfortunately neither of us wore socks that were thick enough, and the sides of the shoes rubbed deeply against our skin. The second I got home, I dropped off at the town centre to buy thick socks!
We opened presents in the afternoon, before celebrating with Xmas dinner with Bobo and Vater at my place. We had Ham with homemade applesauce, roast pepper chicken, some horrible pig cheek (which only Vater consumed), mesclun salad with honey lemon dressing, cherry tomato and cucumber sticks with wasabi mayo and buns.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vater's paintings

Even though we ended up with engineering degrees (against our Vater's advice - sometimes children have to make mistakes in their own way), Bruder and I have exhibited some little artistic interests and aesthetic growing up. Bruder favored clean lines and streamline designs in his artwork, and I always thought that he would study furniture design (though that didn't happen. I guess we are too practical somehow. I did not pursue cooking as a career despite my Home Econs Teacher's advice). As for me, I dabble in 三分钟热度 interest in arts and crafts. My brother no longer draws in his free time, what with my Neffe and acquiring his Masters, but you can definitely observe the difference in  his and my aesthetic in the way we decorate our apartments.
Bruder's chic and simplistic. Mine is... Bobo suggested that we call it "Shab Shack" when I was thinking of making a sign to hang over our front door. Probably because I always whine "why is our house so shabby?!" whenever we watch Amazing Spaces, Tiny House Nation or some other home renovation program.
Anyway our interest in art had to come from somewhere. Mutter is definitely the practical one in the family, not given to creative outlets so I had always been puzzled who my Bruder and I inherited this from. Didn't think it was Vater, even though it was obvious by process of elimination.
Vater was the typical distant Chinese father when we were growing up, slogging in harsh environments to put food on the table, leaving most of the upbringing to Mutter (except when special forms of discipline has to be executed on more stubborn characters).

Now that he was retired, he has started dabbling in watercolors, taking lessons from YouTube instructional videos.

The children and parents in this family are each other's harshest critics (refer: sardine can). We are also not a family given to praise either. Though I didn't tell him, I like the mountain scene the most.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Vegan Burg

We were in Chinatown today so that I could buy wholesale seeds at Ban Lee Huat. The uncles were pretty charming and friendly, giving me loads of advice. Anyway they also sell chinese tea leaves so I am pretty sure I will visit them again.

It was lunchtime so Mr Bear said he would bring me to try vegan food because I have been feeling even more lumpy than usual. After my initial enthusiasm, I got bored and hungry walking because the walk was so far and I could see the Raffles office crowd spilling out of their office and into nearby eateries. I was worried that we'd have to wait very long for a table and food.

But thankfully Vegan Burg wasn't that crowded. After realizing that I was a total noob, the counter staff took pains to explain what are the flavors and ingredients. I chose creamy mushrooms, so did Mr Bear, so when I turned my head to face the cashier, I was excited to change my order to the new seasonal offering, wasabi mayo edamame burger with alfalfa.
We had them with seaweed fries (no taste of seaweed) and broccoli florets. Mr Bear also insisted on ordering the Granny's soup, which was a very nice tomato soup with a dash of herbs and a smoky aftertaste. I liked the flavors of both burgers alot, especially the wasabi mayo (I use that on my tomato salads at home) even though I think the soy patty didn't agree with my tummy. I felt really bloated after the meal even though it was a rather healthful meal (discounting the patty).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

[CHIJ 160TH] The IJ Bazaar

CHIJmes, formerly convent, now houses retail businesses and high end eateries
This year IJ celebrated its 160th with a MUCH smaller scale bazaar (contrast this with the one held at CHIJmes in 2004 with all the IJs), a Brunch, two art performance, the IJ link (where the new and old girls held hands around CHIJmes *did not take part, not sure if they made up enough girls) and the gala dinner.
Alumni stall
I wanted to watch the performance so arranged with Mdm Bear to watch it with me after Ms Bear vetoed watching it. I was quite annoyed that Mdm Bear was 1 hour late, though Operation Tact rendered me unable to display my displeasure (it also helped that my pain could be used as a means to explain my grimacing). Thankfully Ms Bear was more magnanimous than me and didn't mind having to wait for Mdm Bear as long as we grabbed something to eat. Then while we were having lunch back at Raffles City (where we met Mdm Bear), Mdm Bear explained that the school didn't receive her cheque so she was of a mind to skip the art performance (think my fuck face really showed up at that point. I have been told that I have a terrible poker face). Ms Bear also explained to her that it would cost S$30 to cancel her S$20 cheque, so that was how Mdm Bear agreed to go to the event to check on the status of her cheque and lucky me got to watch the sold out performance *yeah!*.
this is Miss Bear's. I am helping her buy while she's overseas. Mine has a yellow badge because I have one with red badge already. Ms Bear helped to change the bear because the earlier bear had a twisted nose. This one now smirks knowingly, but we tried our best! :D
So while waiting for Mdm Bear, Ms Bear and I checked out the bazaar. We immediately went for the alumni stall where Mdm Bear and I each bought a bear (S$25) wearing the IJ uniform. As usual, modesty is ensured with its matching bloomers (I looked under the pinafore *lol*).  I thought the bear didn't look as expensive as the one Miss Bear and I bought 10 years ago at CHIJmes, but this one is certainly cuter. 
The "spots" are smaller versions of the same little girl!
I was also massively tempted by the customized school bag (S$12), which came in black and gold colors. Ms Bear was right, gold was nicer. I agreed with her aesthetic after spending the entire art performance debating whether I ought to buy it. Admittedly,  I had withdrawn S$140 in case I wanted to buy alot of memorabilia, but there wasn't much, other than this really dubious black curved wang-looking thing that Ms Bear whispered "looks like a tiny dildo" from where we were standing at the back of the stall. Walking up to the stall, we realized it was a tiny wooden figurine of Mother Mary and the infant Jesus. OMG, we ARE horrible people.

Other than the alumni stall, there was a stall selling pre-loved books, prayer accessories, cupcakes and macaroons (ex IJ girl of 2001 and her friendly mommy running the stall together, shout out to SUPPORT her entrepreneurial endeavor!)
Art corner
The bigger tent holding the rest of stalls
Alumni practicing outside before their performance
Performing at the bazaar
The IJ bazaar

Mr Bloke's latest Goodwill Parcel

Two Sundays ago while I was at MacRitchie Reservoir, I fell on some slippery gravel and cracked my butt. People, this is a public announcement. If you have a choice between mud and slippy gravel while on a downwards slope, make the clever choice and walk in the mud. 

I am reminded of the ditty that Crayon Shinchan sang in the doctor's office once, while shaking his butt:
医生医生怎么办, 我的屁股变两半!

For those of you who don't understand Mandarin, I have it in English now (pain is the mother of creativity, ask the starving artists):
Doctor Doctor what to do, my butt has split into two!

So I have been pretty miserable, but thankfully Mr Bloke's Goodwill Commiseration Parcel showed up, alleviating my pain for quite a bit. The man always gives such thoughtful presents. Unfortunately for him, I can't measure up in return. :D

Mr Bloke's Goodwill Commiseration Parcel
I'd say that I love love the Rose Book (read a few times, still hadn't figured out what are the rose varieties I have in my garden), Pu-Erh tea (it's an acquired taste, Mr Bloke, and things that taste bitter bad are good for you, that's what we Chinese say, ie. 良药苦口利于病). You see how thoughtful the man is? Not only does he send me tea, but a mug to brew it in! Though I am more of a:

I also appreciate the German dictionary. Less painful to lug around than my giant ass dictionary which is ironically too heavy to refer to, and I don't need internet connection now to access LEO whenever my German friends write me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[backdated post] Replacing the buttons on my dress

I bought these buttons while out with Bobo for FURY that afternoon. Luckily I bought 6 buttons, because I forgot that the dress used 5 itself (just nice, one for back up).

The old button was spoilt in the wash, and I couldn't find the replacement, so now I replaced the old silver buttons with gold buttons instead. Sewed them while playing Company of Heroes Stonewall. *lol*

Monday, November 10, 2014


Mookata is a form of Thai BBQ where you BBQ the meat at the center of the hot plate, and the fat flows into the surrounding trench, making a supposedly tasty broth (didn't like it). Bobo was explaining the concept to me one day, and it was pretty strange, the next day I saw a huge banner advertising mookata near the library.

It was quite cheap. S$20 for a decent amount of meat, and you could add on more ala carte items. I found that I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Maggi Seasoning marinated chicken. Have you tasted this magical sauce before? I try to cook from scratch but I have a massive weakness for this seasoning...probably because this bottle used to feature in my family's cooking but I hadn't had it for YEARS. The familiar umami taste *melt*

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fury (the movie) and other mundane events

Took leave on Monday. Wanted to play with my new scooter at the Park, but didn't because of the stupid rain. It kept raining on and off yesterday. Sigh, didn't manage to capture enough rainwater for my roses, I need to build a contraption to capture rain water off the roof. All that wasted water!

We ended up at AMK nursery (next to library) because I wanted to get bamboo sticks to support my crazy white rose (came back to life again after the spider mite nonsense. However my purple rose never recovered from my doctoring, but when I bought it, it already had yellowing leaves. I couldn't resist getting purple roses, hello, PURPLE).  

There must be a massive demand for bamboo sticks or something. The Thomson nurseries are selling them at S$1 a stick (daylight robbery), whereas I got a bunch of them for S$2 the other time at AMK garden. The lady said they have run out of the sticks. Sucks. I did notice that they were selling the Daiso (everything S$2!) gardening supports (the one I buy for my roses) at a marked up price of S$5.20. Very cunning. They have removed the packaging that easily identifies the item as a Daiso product, but retained the green wire that comes with the packaging. OMG.

So we continued onto the central area, with Bobo whining that he wanted to zombie at home, instead of being dragged around AMK. In the end we decided to watch a movie before getting my salmon (S$63 for a whole fish, eye watering!) and some buttons for my dress. 

We watched FURY. Being a massive CoH fan, I was instantly attracted by the promise of a Sherman tank (btw the Tiger tank used in the movie is the last working Tiger in the world. Amazeballs!). It was gory, violent and horrifyingly captivating to watch. I was sufficiently traumatised, so it has achieved its purpose. Too much talking though, same complaint that we had with the CoH movie.  Yak yak yak, fight fight, Yak Yak, sex with a german girl, yak yak. Everyone dies except for that moron.

Bobo and I were disappointed with the ending. He thought that it was going to be like most American war movies, the air support/ backup will show up at the critical moment to save the day and everyone's life would be spared. Instead everyone got picked off one by one like a horror movie, except everything happened in the eponymous tank.

I thought that the stupid moron was going to be injured and Brad Pitt was going to shoot him between the eyes to put him out of his misery like what Gonzo described about mercy killing the horses used in the war (when they were sitting around the dining table). I liked that poignant ending. Instead the movie used another poignant ending. The moron didn't want to shoot the hitlerjugend at the beginning of the movie, and in the end, he was spared by the mercy of a young german soldier when he discovered him alive and well under the tank hatch. So expected...

*realized I sound pretty cheerful today. I must be coming down with something*

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bedrock Bar & Grill *drool*

Bär and I coined this term "lavish lunch" to commemorate the rare milestones in our miserable lives. It's been a long time but we have two this month.Yeah! *Jersey Shore style fist pump!*
Brain Freeze worthy!
We started off with Bedrock Bar & Grill, which I read about in Some like it Haute. If someone mentions it 5 times in a blog, it must be a definite 5-star. So I suggested that we try out its set lunch menu for our first celebration. I decided to make reservations just in case, which was a good idea, because even on a Monday afternoon, the restaurant was soon decently filled (at a glance, > 70-80% tables occupied, considering the price, it was a testimony to its quality).

We had the following options under the set lunch menu:
set lunch menu
Anyone who reads this blog often *fingers crossed* (hope there are some of you out there), will know that Bär has some self-admittedly lousy luck when it comes to ordering from any menu, e.g. the semi-cooked fish at Alkaff Mansion. It also didn't help that he avoids certain foods like I do (though in my case, I gorge on those I can eat -> that's why I am fat) which limits the items he can consume.

I cheekily suggested that he ought to take the Lobster Bisque because the brandy in the soup would intoxicate him enough into a benevolent mood when he met his clients later. Instead he asked the obliging waiter (James) to check if he could change the soup to Smoked Tomato soup on the ala carte menu, while still ordering his main and dessert from the set lunch menu.

The waiter came back and confirmed that the chef was agreeable to the change, which of course put us in an even better frame of mood to enjoy ourselves. Really the excellent service contributed a huge part in our enjoyment. Again, if anyone reads this blog often, they'd know I am the kind who will not pull punches when it comes to either praising/bashing a restaurant. 
ok only
We ordered drinks, I tried their signature iced tea (was a miss), and Bär, a critus mocktail (also a miss). Truly the drinks were not the stars of the show, but they served their purpose of quenching our thirst. 

We were served toasted pita bread, which came warm to the table with an entire roasted clove of garlic (in olive oil) and a round disc of butter. The garlic was ambrosia to our eclectic palates, and we soon demolished the entire clove. Nonetheless vampires needed not be afraid, because the garlic tasted sweet and mellow without a single bit of that soul-destroying sharpness.
Fluffy and warm little pita bread pockets
I think we enjoyed it too much, that was why the attentive staff offered us seconds of the bread (which came this time with a lovely golden brown toasted skin) and another sacrificial garlic. Bär commented that we must look ravenous. On hindsight, they might have realized that we had many vampires to kill back at Arbeit. Oh delicious pita bread, how I wish I could cut myself into bits and stuffed myself into your comfy shell. A further testimony to how good the bread was, Bär couldn't bring himself to finish his main, but he continued to stuff his mouth with the remaining hunk of bread.

Shit, this is becoming an ode to the pita bread, so I better move on. 

Like I mentioned earlier, Bär changed his starter to Smoked Tomato soup with a little dollop of Basil Mascarpone, as explained by James. As the food started arriving, I started regretting not bringing my camera instead of using my pathetic phone camera. If only I could immortalize Bär's rapture as he slowly appreciated the soup. He offered me a sip (ok, he knew I would continue staring at him until he let me), and I could taste the smoky essence in the strained liquid.
Fishy gummy bears
I had smoked salmon (I had to hit my Omega 3 quota), and it had a uniquely chewy texture like salty gummy bears. I only encountered this kind of toothsome quality once at a Japanese restaurant. Usually the smoked salmon I am served is flaky and soft. 
Giant chicken thighs!
When Bär's chicken arrived, we were flabbergasted. That was A LOT of chicken on the plate. After Bär took the heap apart, I was bemused that it comprised of two thighs and chunks of turnip and beetroot. The chicken's juices ran clear, and contrasted delightfully against the crispy skin. Hmmm...

I had a really hard time deciding between the various steak dishes (I quickly eliminated the burger - too much carbo),  minute wagyu, petit tender or steak with fries. In the end I chose the wagyu. My bovine eye candy was delivered on a hot plate (ok, it wasn't really that sizzling hot kind) with little julienned fingerling potatoes and caramelized onions hidden underneath. The only complaint I have is that I wished that the restaurant served a little bit of greens with the dish. I felt like a roly poly cavewoman as I heartlessly carved into my sinful steak. The unctous marbled fat in the steak melted in my mouth and warmed the cockles in my heart. *Swoon*
Make love on a plate
But the pièce de résistance for me was truly the scrumptious brandied berry and almond tart. Warm, and crumbly with that little dollop of creme fraiche melting on the tart, it was a lovely touch to end the meal. It was so yummy that Bär was envious and wished he ordered that instead. Then again his profiteroles were two beautiful frozen nuggets of solid cream. Told him to wait for the damn things to defrost, lest he get brain freeze, but he insisted on eating them. Tsk Tsk.

In a nutshell,
Bedrock Bar & Grill
96 Somerset Road, #01-05 Pan Pacific Serviced Suites Orchard, Singapore 238163

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Less is More - Ah Bong's Italian

I forgot to take a photo of the stall, so please make do with this (taken from the stall's facebook page)
Mr Bear's sister joined us for lunch today, so I suggested that we try Ah Bong's Italian, which I read about a few days ago. It was supposed to be restaurant quality at kopitiam (coffeeshop) prices. So we decided to give it a try, even though I was nursing a headache. It was the same coffeeshop that houses Two Face at night.

Today we had a few choices, ragu, country style pasta (I think), mac&cheese, aglio olio and creme brulee. The pasta was S$6 a plate, which was ok. We also had the option of adding truffle oil for S$1 to the pasta. The three of us ordered the creme brulee. The food was served on quaint coffeeshop style dishes, unfortunately the portions were dietician-sized.
I tried a little of everything as well as my own mac & cheese, which was delish, but didn't have much other than bacon bits, mushrooms bits and cheese. 
The country style pasta
Miss Bear's country style pasta was very nice, with minute slices of zuchini and mushrooms. Mr Bear's had the same ingredients though his was doused lavishly with oil because it was aglio olio after all. I preferred the country style pasta, though my Mac&Cheese was the best. Bobo being a pasta hater would probably run screaming into the afternoon. :D

In a nutshell, I would say, the taste was very restaurant style, though the portions were also very restaurant style. Perhaps it's because Mr Bear and I were fatty poompooms, but even slender Miss Bear opined that the portions were a little tiny, and we looked longingly at the yong tau fu stall. Wished Ah Bong sold salads, or even sorbet. The pasta settled a little heavily in my still fragile system, would have been nice to have had some lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate a little bit (luckily I ordered 钓鱼 - chinese tea using a tea bag), though the creme brulee was very yummy. The scorched sugar shell was warm, contrasting with the cold inside which was gooey, cold and sinful... hmmm. But oh so tiny.
It was a teaspoon next to the creme brulee (S$3).
I commented drily that it was good in a way that they didn't give us too much to make us feel sick, like we'd have with large family sized portions, because the flavors were heavy. I think if they provided some free greens/salad would have been improved the meal so much more and made us feel more value for money (e.g. air-conditioned Saveur's very popular Saveur pasta only costs S$4.50 and the portion is larger). I suggested to Mr Bear that if we ate at this place again, we should buy 3 pasta to be shared by 2 persons.

Friday, September 26, 2014

TGIF Specials 24: Hot Virgin Oil @ Porn's

Hot virgin oil?!
The fact that the restaurant was called Porn's is an irony not lost on me...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Walking and observing the wildlife

I have been walking a lot more. Trying to pass my health test next month *roll eyes*. I used to study and practise exercises to pass exams, and now I exercise to pass health exam. I downloaded a pedometer (please get your head out of the gutter), and I have been using it to drive myself to walk more. Swimming is out for the time being, so I have to rely on walking. (Yes, I notice that I keep going on and on about it. Must have been effects of too much sun on the brain)

It's pretty fun actually, because I spend the time checking out the wildlife as well. As I was telling Mr Bear, as we were walking, I have seen so far:
  • 3 monkeys
  • 3 snakes (1 live green one, 1 flattened green one, 1 black one)
  • 7 squirrels (2 of them horny males chasing 1 female, plus 4 more eating nuts. Could be the same squirrels)
  • 1 rooster (don't know how he got there. Never saw him again. Could have been in someone's curry)
  • 2 mice (eww)
The squirrels have been quite funny. Here's one eating a nut upside down. I didn't manage to catch another one on camera eating a nut upside down along the stem of a signboard.

Me: Is this a dead snake?
Mr Bear: I think it is a snake skin.
Me: I don't think so. There seems to be bits coming out from the side. Ewww.

See the extremely bright green "rope"?
This was the most disturbing one of all. This afternoon we were walking past the traffic light on our way up the hill, when I saw a bleeping green snake slithering its way up a tree. Less than 2 metres from the pavement. Scary. But I think it is a harmless snake.

Googling it, I found out that it is called a oriental whip snake. Only slightly venomous, but not to humans, according to one site.


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