Sunday, January 25, 2015

Kai's 18th

It was Qing Kai's birthday last Monday, so Wei Ze, Xiao Feng and I decided to throw a mini surprise...thing for him! We originally planned to invite his secondary school friends to RJ and surprise him after school, with cake, huge-ass balloons and all the works. Sadly, due to conflicting schedules, we weren't able to get his friends to come so it was just the three of us.

JW: Who are his close friends?
XF: In class, it's Wei Ze and I. In band, it's the 3 of us.

HAHAHAHAHA but that made planning the whole thing much easier. We reached school around 7.15am to ~lie in wait~ for Kai, anticipating that he would walk into class from the staircase nearest a certain block.

After 20 minutes, he still didn't show up, despite us arranging with his classmates to tell him to report earlier as "his CT wanted to make an announcement"...but that was to be expected. It's Qing Kai, after all, haha!

I love this photo!!! He looks so mysterious hahaha, poster-worthy, in my opinion.

Okay so after waiting for about half an hour or so, Qing Kai walked towards us from the opposite direction from what we had expected with a really confused face, asking "Eh what's going on?" Aw man, I didn't even notice him until he spoke HAHAHA what a failed surprise...

Being the ever-resourceful and persevering ninjas we were, we managed to somehow pull off bits of our original surprise plan on him while he was still in his dazed and confused just-got-out-of-bed state. We sprayed women's perfume on him and Wei Ze pounced on him to get the birthday board over his head! Xiao Feng managed to take a (very very very bad) video (in which you can hardly see a thing) but it captured the atmosphere of the moment really well. :-)

I think he was a bit surprised lah hahaha and it was really fun doing it, so it wasn't all for nothing!

We made this huge board for Kai to wear/carry around school throughout the day (what a pity it was tutorial day for him) and apparently some random guy came up to him to give him a hug!!! Nice haha that was my original intention, believe it or not. I didn't even think of it being like a hint for me to hug him or anything!!! (which I didn't even get to, so)

After hastily packing up the stuff from the surprise, we ran back to class/lecture theatre because we were just bordering on being late.

After his H3 lessons ended, we went to d'Good Café at Holland Village because giant birthday frappés!!! Xiao Feng went to the post office to collect some parcel so we went off without him first!

"Eh help me take a photo"
"Eee not nice, take again!"
this went on like more than 10 times...and to think I was the only girl there, sigh

editing his selfie LOL

I had quite a good time talking with the boys, I feel like one of them already! (of course it's not anything to want to be, but...) In fact, I remember when we were walking past some random girl who Xiao Feng stopped to talk to, Wei Ze teased him about her and said she was his "girl friend". Then I jokingly asked if I was his "girl friend" as well and they were both like "No!!! You're a man-friend man you're like a bro" HAHAHAHAHA

Happy 18th, Kai! Thank you for existing- I can't (and don't want to) imagine my world without you. (yuck)

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters is a welcome addition to the stretch of eateries along Upper Thomson. They were previously OZ Specialty Coffee in another building in Thomson (Thomson V? I'm not too sure) but relocated to the more prominent corner-unit of the Upper Thomson stretch, just beside Fat Boys. They now have a much bigger seating capacity for diners to enjoy a leisurely brunch, instead of being cooped inside a tiny shop space previously.

As you walk in, you notice a few things. 1) The hipsters with large spectacles, cut-off chinos and fitted shirts and gelled hair/intentionally-messy-but-still-nice hair; 2) white spaces!!! and 3) natural sunlight shining through the entire café. In other words, I love the decor here haha. There is something elegant in being minimalistic, yet not sparse.

This was the first third-of-third (Chow and I decided quite some time ago to meet every third Wednesday of the month for food and talks haha) but were in a bit of a hurry, so we quickly placed our orders, though not without an agonising few minutes of deciding and deliberating.

The food came pretty quickly, after about five to ten minutes? Anyway, it only really matters when you're in a hurry. Otherwise, how fast you're served doesn't really make a difference because the whole point of meeting someone for a meal is to talk and enjoy each other's company, no?

The couple seated next to us purposely leaned backwards so they wouldn't be in our photo hahaha how nice of them :-)

Truffle fries ($8), which were okay as being ~things~ to munch on, but the truffle wasn't very apparent here. I would be sorely disappointed had I been expecting very much of it. Truthfully, we only ordered this for the sake of it, and everything else was either too filling or too expensive haha! We were saving ourselves for...

...this!!! The Truffled Eggs Benedict ($18) was amazing. Perfectly poached eggs atop wilted spinach and ham, all resting on a slice of toasted brioche, with truffled hollandaise sauce generously poured over the whole ensemble.

I was in heaven even before breaking the egg yolk. In fact, it was so good, I almost forgot about the egg yolk (which is usually the bit I look forward to most). The buttery brioche was perfect, complementing the savoury thick slices of ham and hollandaise sauce. The wilted spinach, though not very distinct in taste, added a bit of...sophistication to it all. Every bite was sublime.

and when we got around to breaking the egg yolk, this beautiful mess happened. Scooping up runny yolk with brioche and savouring every bit of it was our main occupation for the next few minutes, before our plate was clean and our tummies duly satisfied.

I'm definitely coming back again someday, when I'm less broke, for the lovely Truffle Eggs Benedict. I'd also love to try the salted caramel french toast that's so highly raved among food bloggers. It was a very lovely dining experience and though pricey, I feel that the positive externalities are well-worth it. (lol)

[Edit: So yes, I did "come back again someday" haha which was for brunch on Mama Wee's birthday!!! We were one of the first customers to arrive, bright and early at 9am, and were rewarding with choice seats and speedy service. There was a queue forming slightly after 9.45am, so yes, they do fill up rather fast.

This morning, we ordered the Salted Caramel Banana French Toast, Sweet Potato Fries, Truffled Eggs Benedict, and a flat white.

The Sweet Potato Fries ($8) were really yummy!!! I didn't really like them at first, but after munching down a few fries, the sweet potato taste started to come through. I also loved that the fries were very crisp on the outside (bordering on hard!!!) yet soft-ish and mealy inside. The saltiness from the fries made an excellent appetiser or snack, preparing our tummies for the main courses (if you can call a breakfast item that...)

Truffled Eggs Benedict wasn't as wonderful as I had remembered it to be...could it be a drop in quality, or just a one-off thing? Or maybe, just maaaaaaybe, it didn't taste as great because it paled in comparison to another dish we had...

yes, that must be it!!! The Salted Caramel Banana French Toast ($16) was probably what brunch was made for. I don't remember much about the toast itself, beside from it being thick and soft enough the absorb and mop up the absolutely divine salted caramel sauce!!! Their salted caramel sauce is made in-house and is really something! It complemented the banana coins and sweet granola clumps so well...I was really tempted to finish the whole thing by myself. (but of course I exercised self-control...ahem)

'twas another pleasant experience at Pacamara! I don't really like visiting the same café twice (lol) because I'm always for trying something new. However, Pacamara has proven itself to be worthy of multiple visits, except for the steep prices haha but I guess dining there really does feel like a treat, so I would go back again. :-)]

Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters
185 Upper Thomson Road
Tuesdays - Sundays: 9am - 11pm

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Aroy-Dee Thai Restaurant

The Bugis area has become somewhat of a regular haunt for me, since it's where my brother goes for tuition every week, and I'll usually study in the National Library near-by! (life of a Singaporean student...) However, the bright side is that Bugis is also walking-distance to a few cheap and good Thai restaurants! Arrayed happens to be one of them.

The Thai Iced Tea was a bit too sweet for my liking, but then, aren't most Thai iced teas meant to be really sweet and milky?

Aroy-Dee is well-known for their Phad Thai, and it certainly did not disappoint! The noodles were just chewy enough and the sauce was not overly sweet, preventing it from getting too jelly after a while.

We also enjoyed their Green Curry Chicken (which we practically inhaled!!!) and Pineapple Rice. The pineapple rice. Oh man, I cannot even begin is THAT amazing!!! Somehow, everything falls into place, with the fragrance of pineapple gracing every spoonful.

The Pandan Chicken was mediocre, not so worth the price we paid for it (I can't exactly remember how much it cost now, but it was more expensive than Nakhon's, haha)

Aroy-Dee is really a no-frills restaurant but I would patronise them again for their wonderful pineapple rice and green curry if I am around the area! It also happens that Le Confectionary (beancurd tarts!!!) is right next to Aroy-Dee, so a trip there would be doubly justified!

Aroy Dee Thai Restaurant
91 Bencoolen Street
#01-12 Sunshine Plaza
Tel: 6336 8852

Monday, January 12, 2015

FATCAT Ice-cream Bar

Getting here was a bit of a stir-of-a-moment decision. Vaguely recalling that one of the Instagrammers whose feed I regularly stalked (because her bakes/food photos are so nice!!! haha) just opened a new café in Bedok, I suggested going there after lunch at Nakhon with Chow! After all, it would be almost a dream come true to get to finally taste what you've only seen in little squares for months.

So our ever-reliable sense of direction brought us to FATCAT Ice-cream Bar, sandwiched between old provision shops at the void deck of a block of HDB flats. Very hipster.

Upon entering, we were greeted with a fridge case boasting an array of ice-cream/sherbets. All the flavours sounded so interesting (butter beer!), and the friendly staff joked that we could "try all if [we] want[ed]"...maybe he wasn't joking, because they kept letting us sample flavours without any hint of irritation/annoyance at our indecision, haha! I guess people were more cheery, because it was the second official day of opening of FATCAT!

Not having done our research properly, (besides, all the existing reviews were sponsored advertorials anyway) we didn't know of the existence of the salted egg yolk sauce on charcoal waffles! Instead, we ordered a scoop of passionfruit and pistachio ice-cream on a regular waffle.

It was so good!!! The passionfruit was tart and tingly while the pistachio was rich and creamy. Not the best combination together, but definitely stellar flavours on their own. The waffle was also crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside - enough to satisfy any waffle craving! The cinnamon sauce drizzled over the waffles complemented it really well too, keeping it from being plain. I really enjoyed every single morsel of it. :-)

FATCAT Ice-cream Bar
416 Bedok North Avenue 2
Singapore 460416
Tel: 8201 1201

Mu Parlour

I visited Mu Parlour this morning for brunch with my Bible Study group in NavTeens! It has been a really long while since we last hung out together as a group outside of Tribe. I think the last outing was pretty early last year?!? Or even 2 years ago?!? It's been that long. Since we didn't have Tribe today, we decided to meet up for brunch!

Mu Parlour is really nondescript. It's directly above Thai Express, opposite the Holland Village Market and Food Center. I couldn't find the place at first, until I looked up and saw the shop name on the glass windows on the second storey haha!

We arrived at 11am, but the kitchen opened only at 11.30am, so we had a bit of time to slowly decide what we wanted to order!

They have a really extensive menu of burgers to choose from, priding themselves on the "homemade every morning" burger buns that are "not frozen, but chilled". I chose the No. 11 Burger, which consisted of a beef patty, streaky bacon, avocado, cheese and a Special MU Sauce. I opted to swap the bacon for a fried egg, and the chef agreed to do it for no extra charge!

Our food took about 15-20 minutes to arrive, despite there only being 2 other customers apart from us. I don't know if it's unreasonable to expect faster service, especially since there is an additional 10% service charge, and there was hardly any other form of service other than being served our food...we had to get the water ourselves, order and pay at the counter, etc. :/

No. 11 burger ($15)

I loved the charcoal bun! It was soft without being soggy, holding the juicy thick beef patty wonderfully. The sauce was all right, though. I guess I would have preferred it to be more on the sweet side. Eaten together with the burger, it was okay.

All mains came with a side of garlic fries, and boy were they delicious! There were even chopped garlic bits on the fries! The fries were also really crisp, and didn't result in the guilty oily sensation. It really hit the spot, and I would've finished the entire plate full of fries if it weren't so heaty.

Carolyn ordered their Eggs Benedict, which was poached eggs on top of two slices of brioche. It was pretty weird how they didn't have ham or bacon as well, as most Egg Benedicts do. That left her feeling a bit...empty, I suppose? Since it was just eggs on bread. She also mentioned that the poached eggs had the vinegar-y taste to it. Other than that, it was all right. Maybe it's better to stick to their prided burgers, haha.

Sadly, we didn't get to try their beautiful tarts because we were really full after brunch. Oh, well, more reason to pay a second visit, then! :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

d'Good Café II

Had a little impromptu meet-up with Chow this morning, and we were wandering around Holland Village before settling at d'Good Café since she's a mega hardcore coffee buff! We lingered around the entrance from 9.45am until someone came around at 9.59am to open the doors! (They open at 10am) Plus points for punctuality, haha.

As I was meeting another group of friends later for brunch, I didn't plan on buying anything to eat, and Chow had her heart set on the scrambled eggs, until we saw the SWEET POTATO WAFFLES!!! It sounded so interesting and delicious we just had to go for it! It was the right decision.

Check out the purple streaks in the waffle! The waffle was crisp on the outside while being light and fluffy on the inside. The batter had a delicious hint of egg in it, which I absolutely loved. It was really $5 worth of heaven (well, $2.50 because we shared, haha)

As usual, we had a really interesting and entertaining conversation about band, relationships and really anything that came into our heads! I love talking to her because she's super insightful and I feel that we connect really well, so she really gets me. :-) Thank you for being there for me when I really needed someone to talk to and ~offload emotional baggage~ hahaha love you Chow (but love waffles more)

Nakhon Kitchen

I travelled all the way from Bukit Timah to Bedok to have Nakhon Kitchen with Chow last Wednesday! I was going to treat her to lunch as a form of saying thank-you for lending me her trekking shoes to Vietnam and for increasing their wear-and-tear hahaha!

Her dad drove us there from Bedok MRT station, so if I were to go there by myself, I probably would still be quite lost. Anyway, we got there around 11.15am and they just opened not long ago. Hence, we were able to quickly snag a seat in the corner of the restaurant (it was hardly a restaurant, though, more of a very casual eatery) We noticed that there was a steady stream of people coming and queuing as we started eating! So yes, the queue can be quite long if you come during peak-hour.

Thai Iced Tea ($3)
This was really really sweet! I couldn't finish my cup hahaha, but it is very useful for washing out the flames that will arise later on.

The Pineapple Rice ($6) and the Pandan Chicken ($6 for 4 pieces) were superb!!! The Pineapple Rice had generous chunks of pineapple and various ingredients in it, and the rice was lightly sweetened as well, making for a delicious dish by itself. The Pandan Chicken was a bit oily, but the meat was so juicy and succulent! The panda flavour was very subtle, which is fine by me.

The Thai Fish Cakes ($6 for 4 pieces) were a bit too charred, but maybe this is just a one-off thing and doesn't usually happen, because Chow said that usually it's really good!

We also ordered a Seafood Tom Yum (Thick Base) for $6, and it was yummy as well! However, tom yum doesn't exactly go with pineapple rice so we had to drink it on its own. It isn't very spicy, and is actually a bit sweet! The clear version is a lot spicier, so I've heard. It was also very addictive, and it took all I had not to drink the entire bowl!

With nett prices, I would say Nakhon Kitchen is extremely worth the money! It is also rather accessible, as they have branches in Hougang, Ang Mo Kio and Holland Village as well (!!!). I do see myself patronising Nakhon often in the near future!!!

Nakhon Kitchen
136 Bedok North Avenue 3
Tel: 6245 5548

527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10

212 Hougang Street 21
Tel: 6286 8785

27A Lorong Liput Holland Village
Tel: 6469 6862

Avocado Egg Cups

With the activities of the year kicking in in full force, I'm sure we'd all still like to keep to that "Eat healthily" resolution of ours even amidst the busier and tighter mornings, but grimace of the lack of time to prepare a healthy breakfast. Well, here's one option you could whip up in 15 minutes tops!

Let's see, now, an medium-sized avocado has about 250kcal, 15g of carbohydrates, 10g of fibre and 17.5g of unsaturated fat while an egg has about 55kcal, 4g of protein and 3g of unsaturated fat! This makes for an extremely nutritious and filling breakfast that will easily power you through your mornings.

Here's what you need:

an avocado

an egg

And here's what you have to do:

1. Pre-heat your oven to about 217℃.

2. Half your avocado and remove the seed from the pit.

3. Crack an egg into the pit of one avocado, yolk-first, until the pit is full.

4. Fill the other avocado pit with the remaining egg white.

5. Place the avocado halves on an aluminium-lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until your egg whites set (differs based on the size of your egg).

6. Dash generously with pepper or any other herb of your choice and enjoy!

Ta-da! The egg yolk bled beautifully, and I found that adding copious amounts of pepper really made the otherwise bland egg-and-avocado combination much tastier. Do try this with other herbs (thyme, perhaps?) and see if it works for you too!