Saturday, August 30, 2014

Paddington House of Pancakes

After collecting my Color Run (it's tomorrow!!!) race pack last weekend at City Square Mall, I convinced the parents to give us a treat at Paddington House of Pancakes (PHOP) hehe! I've heard lots of good reviews about it, and all the decadent-looking pancakes plastered over advertisement boards around City Square Mall whenever I go there for lunch with the Nav people had landed PHOP on my list of to-try places! Boy, was I excited to finally get the chance to try it!

We already had lunch at the food court (the Thai stall at the food court is THE BEST please go try it!!! especially the omelette rice!!!), so we zoomed straight into the desserts upon receiving the menu. Good thing, that, since there are 101 pancake choices in the menu! After much deliberating, we settled for the Treasure Pot ($15) and the Chocolate Roll ($13).



The Chocolate Roll was absolutely amazing!!! I loved how the pancakes were rolled up (min jiang kueh style) into a Chocolate Roll will peanut butter, chocolate sauce, Oreo crumbs and nuts. To say that the chefs were generous with the ingredients would be a gross understatement, as each forkful was bursting with chocolate-peanut-butter-y goodness. The chocolate ice-cream and strawberries were unnecessary but a welcome addition.



The Treasure Pot comprised of dollar pancakes mixed with assorted fruits such as peaches, longans, strawberries and bananas, with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream to top it all off. The pancakes were really cute and easy to eat at first, but it did get rather jelat after a while, especially after all the ice-cream and fruits were gone. The pancakes at the base were basically normal, dry, plain pancakes which started to become a chore to finish. I don't think this justifies the price paid for it, but dollar pancakes are always fun to eat, so you might want to opt for the other dollar pancake pots available!


Overall, I had a good experience at PHOP and wouldn't mind coming again (for that Chocolate Roll, yes a thousand times over!!!) It is also a fun way to learn more about the origins of the pancake and also its different variations across the globe (pannekoeks, American stacks, poffertjes, blitzes, galettes etc. etc.!) Oh yes, the waiting time could be a bit long since all their pancakes are flipped upon order! But trust me, it's well worth the wait :-)



Paddington House of Pancakes
180 Kitchener Road
City Square Mall
#02-3/36
Singapore 208539
Tel: 6612 9029
10.30am-10.30pm daily



Sunday Folks

I'm sure you've all seen the generous swirl of ice-cream more times that you would have liked to on your Instagram feed recently. The people behind the uber successful Creamier have opened up another shop along Chip Bee Gardens, serving soft-serve ice-cream swirled generously atop the crisp eggy waffles Creamier is known for. However, having been fairly unimpressed by Creamier's waffles on my previous visit, I opted to have my ice-cream in a cone instead. Also, there was hardly any sitting space available when I visited on both days, even though their shop space was rather spacious (seating capacity of 30!). :(

(Tip: Do visit on rather odd hours if you'd like to have a relaxing experience! The queue on a Sunday night is just...ridiculous. I heard some had to wait an hour for their waffles!)



Sea Salt Gula Melaka with mochi balls, gula melaka syrup and a sesame biscuit

The gull melaka flavour in this was very subtle, and the sea salt hardly there at all! I was quite disappointed with this because it really did have the potential to be a really awesome kick-ass flavour! The mochi balls, though rather bland, were chewy and fun to eat.



Dark chocolate with chocolate sponge bits, toasted marshmallows drizzled with chocolate sauce

This was phenomenal. The rich, intense flavour of chocolate was deservedly brought out in the ice-cream, balanced by the sweetness of the marshmallows and chocolate sponge cake cubes to make it the perfect dessert to end the night with.



Earl Grey Lavender with bata de coco, blueberries and an almond biscuit

The ice-cream was, well, easy to eat, in the sense that it didn't leave me feeling overly indulgent as the lightness of the tea flavour was, well, rather light. I guess it was all right, but nothing too mind-blowingly fantastic to warrant multiple tries.


Summer Berries with lemon cheesecake cubes, strawberries drizzled with strawberry sauce (unpictured)

The ice-cream was rather ordinary, but the lemon cheesecake cubes made it infinitely better! Again, it wasn't as great as I had hoped it to be, but still satisfying enough to placate that sweet tooth.


To be honest, the one thing that keeps me going back is the waffle cone. It's a charcoal cone (which is all the rad right now) and it is so unbelievably crunchy/crisp (?!?) and has a really special flavour which I cannot pin-point right now, BUT IT IS GOOD, trust me.

All the ice-cream cones cost $7.20, inclusive of the standard toppings which vary from flavour to flavour. It is definitely a bit pricey but average-tasting ice-cream, but it's worth a try (maybe not regular tries, but still, one try would be good enough)

If you ask me for a recommendation, I say the dark chocolate wins hands-down.



Sunday Folks
44 Jalan Merah Saga #01-52
Chip Bee Gardens
Singapore 278116
12-10pm daily, closed on Mondays

Saturday, August 23, 2014

津津冷热饮品 Jin Jin Dessert

This little shop at ABC Brickworks Food Centre has been on my go-to list for the longest time! I finally got a chance to try it and found it so delicious I had to keep returning for more! I have visited on three different occasions, and I felt it was about time to write a proper post about it here. :-)



On the first visit, I tried the Power Chendol ($2) and the Gangster Ice ($2.50) (mango ice with a scoop of durian ice-cream/puree)!

I heard lots of people raving about the amazing homemade gula melaka which was sticky and sweet and basically contributed to ninety percent of the food porn. However, I was a bit disappointed I suppose. I had my expectations so high up that what I received seemed paltry, in comparison to what I had imagined such a Power Chendol to be. As you can see from the photos, the gull melaka was nice-looking, but not absolutely heavenly fantastic-kind of nice. Still, I enjoyed the chendol, even though I did find it a bit overrated.

I was also convinced to try their signature Gangster Ice, which is a hybrid of mango and durian. Mango and durian in Chinese actually "spells" liu mang which translates to "gangster", for those of you who don't know! The generous cubes of mango were just a bit sour, but the scoop of durian ice-cream/puree (I really can't tell...haha!) made up for that. It was rather ordinary, but satisfying nonetheless.



My second visit saw myself ordering a Mount Fuji ($2.50) and a Power Chendol.

Boy, was I glad I gave the chendol a second chance! As you can see, the thickness of the gull melaka was much more gooey than during my first visit! Though this may hint at consistency issues, I'm more than willing to let that pass and take my chances because this is really the bomb diggity! The gull melaka really makes a big difference in the chendol. The sticky palm sugar gives a pleasant contrast to the rich coconut milk. However, towards the end, the gull melaka settles along the bottom of the bowl and it does get a bit cloying when you eat it at a (uh) high concentration. (Is this an indication of too much chemistry?!)

The Mount Fuji was essentially green tea shaved ice piled high with delectable red beans. The red beans used here were sweeter and more paste-like than the red beans in the chendol, but not so pastey to the extent of being similar to those in red bean paus. It was really delicious! The green tea fragrance was also sufficiently brought out, contrary to my initial skepticism. It is a great alternative to the Power Chendol for days when you don't feel like having something so "heavy".



Finally, on my latest visit (which was last night, actually), we ordered 2 bowls of Power Chendol and finished it within minutes. As you can see, the gull melaka looks simply glorious. It was amazing. I can't wait to try more desserts from this stall! :-)


*Of course, with all popular hawker stalls, Jin Jin Dessert has a perennial long queue in front of it, even on weekday nights! But the wait isn't that long as service is brisk, so don't be put off by the long queue! You won't regret it, that's for sure!*



Jin Jin Dessert
6 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-20
ABC Brickworks Market /Food Centre
Singapore 150008
Open daily: 12pm – 12am

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An August Ariosa


My final performance for this concert season ended with the Singapore National Youth Sinfonia (SNYS) chamber concert, An August Arioso at the SOTA concert hall! It was more of an ensemble concert, with a brass ensemble, woodwind quintet (with 11 players, because that is what a quintet calls for, right?), strings ensemble, percussion ensemble etc. It was pretty fun!

We had to be at SOTA at 2.30pm for a soundcheck in full concert attire. The guys' attire is generally fine, but the girls' concert gown is really inconvenient. No way is a maxi heavy skirt easy to run around in! So anyway, after our soundcheck, I went to Starbucks with Ashley and Samuel!

Chilling with them over a cinnamon raisin bagel (me) and drinks (them) was rather relaxing and we ended up chatting. I actually intended to do PW there but...hahaha!
(I made up for PW after, I'm not a burden!)

After Starbucks, we still had a bit of time left because our item was after intermission, so it was about 6.10pm! We strolled around Plaza Singapura for a while to kill time and to "burn off the bagel" (imagine that in Mean Girls!). We went into La Senza for fun because it was literally just calling out to us!!! Hahaha the stuff there is absolutely ridiculous and impractical, I feel, but there's a market for that I suppose.


Sam was too awkward/embarrassed to be seen in this hahahahaha

After walking about aimlessly, we found ourselves walking into the Yamaha music shop haha! I like how we naturally gravitated there, almost as if there were an internal music compass programmed inside of the GPS of our brains. Tinkled with the pianos and looked around at stuff we could never afford ($40,000 grand piano ahem) before heading back to SOTA!

We saw the SNYO woodwinds there as well, as they were performing a woodwind sextet (with 6 people) for the concert as well! I got to know some of them (Rui Xue, Benny, David) through the previous SNYO concert and also through the recent OMM concert (David haha) and they are really friendly people! I actually felt quite accepted in their company haha that's a good thing, right? :-)

Pretty soon, it was our turn to perform! We were the first act after the intermission, so when we were backstage, just about to go up, the lights and all were really really dim! I felt like I was just about to go on a roller-coaster ride. The ten minutes passed really quickly! I didn't break down on my running note bits and wasn't too grossly out-of-tune (I'm pretty certain the SOTA concert hall experiences a different climate from the rest of Singapore), so I guess I felt pretty relieved. :-)

We went back to the dressing room to pack up to leave but Jaben had to stay on to perform for the brass ensemble haha, which is also why he isn't in the group photos!!! (the bojio was not intentional)




Mrs Teoh was helping us take the photos, and told us to "shout BRASSES!" and totally did not realise her error until about two minutes later HAHAHA. Perhaps its because the brasses were performing and their performance was broadcast on the television in the dressing room so she got ~influenced~. It was really funny, though haha. So technically, Jaben was in the photo...hm.




Thank you guys for being my sources of sanity in YS :-) I don't feel so old with you guys around HAHAHA. It was really great getting to know y'all and I think it's kinduv a good thing y'all were in YS first because otherwise we wouldn't have met and all our great memories wouldn't have been created/shared!!! I look forward to seeing you guys around in YO in the near future hur hur hur :-)))))



Thanks Jaben the half-woodwind for playing similar parts with me so the bass line is not totally inaudible!!! I really am glad you aren't fourteen and I look forward to playing with you more! :-)


This sums up my SNYS performance! There'll be another one in November so...yep nothing is ever really over (ha..ha)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dodgy



I posted a photo on Instagram yesterday at non-Instagram-primetime and actually felt like I was committing a crime...this thought led me to think more about what Instagram has become in our lives, to the extent that there is a sense of obligation (?) to post photos during a specific period of time each day.

For all the Instagram-hermits out there, here are a few unspoken "Instagram rules" that anyone seeking social security (not literally) should abide by, or else you pretty much are committing social suicide.

***
1. No posting more than two photos a day (two is already stretching the limit)
2. No using Instagram filters (VSCO or Afterlight is a safe choice)
3. No using hashtags such as #followme #likeforlike #followback because that only exposes your desperation
4. Post during Instagram peak hour (which depends on the demographic of your followers)
5. If you don't get at least eleven likes on a photo, it's time to delete it.
***

I can't really think of any more at the moment, but these are the more...pertinent ones I suppose.

Anyway, so with all these unspoken rules (which ultimately is the result of an obsession with the number of "likes" each post gets), Instagram is becoming less personal and more of a image of yourself that you want to project to others! Let's be honest, Instagram is more often than not our first line of contact with new people (for our generation, at least). You probably clicked on someone's Instagram profile (after intense creeping on friends of friends of friends of a friend) before you actually met the person in real life. Thus, there is a need to paint our reputation in a way that people who stumble upon our feeds will have the impression that we are pretty/handsome/cool/popular/whatever-you-want-people-to-think-of-you.

Remember the days when we literally posted whatever the heck we wanted on Instagram? Photos of the randomest objects like trees, layered with Hefe or Walden, posted within ten minutes of each other. When 30 likes could make us feel like Instagram celebrities/we can actually take good photographs. Well, those days are long gone, unless


So the other day, I was wondering out loud on Twitter whether or not I should start up a new private Instagram account to post all my #100wenderfuldays photos and also various photos that document my life, but didn't really want to share it on my main feed. Megan replied to my tweet and encouraged me to go for it, and that she was thinking of starting an private account as well! That's how @dodgynwen (I hope y'all get the play on words...) came about!


JINWERM (^) vs. DODGYNWEN (v)



I felt a lot free-er, being able to post whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I only accepted follower requests from people I knew personally and trusted not to judge me, so it was safe. After a few months (which would be now), I realise a lot of my other friends and their friends have started dodgy accounts as well. I did feel a bit annoyed at first, because it was...I don't know, it felt like my thing I guess. I've gotten over that feeling now, though.

Anyway, my point is that, since so many people are starting up dodgy accounts, it only goes to show that many others also feel restricted and limited by the unspoken Instagram rules. It kind of defeats the purpose of Instagram, which is "To capture and share the world's moments". So what happens when the "world's moments" are all on dodgy accounts and the main accounts are basically heavily doctored and filtered images of such moments, calculatedly planned to "capture" (lol bad pun sorry) the most likes/comments?

I doubt I'll be deleting my main account (@jinwerm) nor my dodgy account (@dodgynwen) after this post (lol how hypocritical right? but that's how life works) but this is just my two cents worth, and I thought I would like to share this with you guys. :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

OMM: The Planets


On Wednesday, I performed with the Orchestra of Music Makers (OMM) for their concert! They needed a bassoonist to fill in the third bassoon part so my tutor asked if I was interested so here I am (was)!!! :-)

I only played The Planets though, so I got to watch the first half of the performance from the audience! I was seated at the balcony and when I went in, I saw Carin there! Apparently her church friend is one of the violinists.

I really enjoyed the Bernstein piece (Chichester Psalms), the choir was really good! The boy soprano was also...mind-blowingly amazing. The second piece was a violin concerto. The soloist seemed really ~in the zone~ haha. His face while playing (I could see everything pretty clearly from the balcony haha) was super intense and he literally had sweat all over his face whoa. He was rly good (no duh HAHA) but I kind of zoned out a bit in the middle haha. I guess I still don't appreciate works solely for strings very well.

Anyway, if you are interested, there are two reviews on the concert here! They might give you a better, uh, critical analysis on the concert than I could.

http://www.flyinginkpot.com/2014/08/omm-the-planets-13-aug-2014/

and 


During the intermission, I rushed backstage to prepare to get onstage (is it just me or are there too many "stage"s in this sentence)! It was pretty unnerving, but after jumping into Mars, the seven movements just whizzed by and before long, the last eerie voice from the choir disappeared out of "orbit".

I felt it was a really fun experience playing in this concert because it really challenged me haha. Okay fine my part is much easier compared to others but my level of skill is much much lower than the average player there hahahaha so it kind of balances out!!! That is not to say I managed a perfect performance though. I did make a few small mistakes and one rly big boo boo (don't ask it's really bad hahaha) ((rly sorry to everyone because now when you hear the recording it'll be...tainted haha :()) BUT it's my first time so I guess things can only get better from here. :-) Overall, it was a wonderful learning experience for me and I feel really blessed to be given this chance haha (yay for the rarity of bassoonists here)! It was definitely worth being crazy busy for a few weeks for!!!



Thank you Victoria and Sang Ah for attending the concert!!! My SMSB-JC band homies hehe. Victoria really enjoyed the concert haha she was asking me to jio her for the next OMM concert HAHA.







Also big thank you to the family who drove me up and down to and from SOTA for rehearsals!!! :-) The flower was bought by my brother, who didn't attend the concert haha. I'm quite touched actually! Mother told me he actually said "Save the money to buy flowers for jie-jie!!!" aww :'-)


Darren!!!!!!!!! Thanks for being my initial-OMM-buddy hahaha it was really comforting to see a familiar face at the start where everything/everyone was foreign to me!

Xiao Feng and Wei Ze also came, but left earlier because the concert ended pretty late (10pm?). THANKS GUYS for your constant support rly y'all are the best :-) :-) :-)







So this sums up my stint with the OMM! :-)

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Farewell for Michelle and Lawrence


Today we had our tribe National Day outing cum Farewell for Michelle and Lawrence at the Botanic Gardens! Michelle and Lawrence are migrating to America next week so we decided to hold a surprise picnic as a form of farewell for them. :-)

It was quite successful and they didn't suspect a thing (even when Charlotte told them to come at 10am instead of 9am) ((so we had time to set up)) all until they were walking towards us and saw us sitting around the mat (tarp, rather). We were supposed to hide behind trees or bushes when Kirsten led them towards the picnic area, then run out to surprise them but apparently we weren't fast enough...hahaha! Oh well :-)

We ended up moving picnic spots three times to avoid the sun. It was really really hot :-(

There was a lot of food!!! I bought pizza bread and the Hades bread from Duke bakery but I don't think it was enough for everyone. :-( Other than that, there were ham sandwiches, fish fingers, seaweed chicken, chicken karage, roasted chicken (so much chicken hehe), sausages, tuna, biscuits, potato salad, potato chips and drinks!!! It was all really yummy too :-)


Preparing the cards for Michelle and Lawrence!



Setting up the food


Michelle and Lawrence being (partially) surprised at our, um, surprise.

 


After eating and chatting, we took photos because some people had to leave earlier!
(myself included :()


Asher playing with Yi Wen's selfie stick (which is remote-controlled!!!)





We took lots of Polaroids as well hahaha it was a fun outing and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves!!! :-)

Photos: I