Monday, July 28, 2014

Cheers to our 4th at Rise, Marina Bay Sands

As a man of few words, Paul is truly the kind of guy who can keep a secret and a surprise really really well.  Take for example our recent 4th wedding anniversary celebration, who would have thought that he has been planning and saving up for a nice dinner date at Rise in Marina Bay Sands for months leading up to that special day. No amount of hinting or bugging from my end would make him spill the beans. The only hint he gave me was "to eat light for lunch" on that day. I did was told by just having a bowl of soup and a couple of pork siomais to go with it. At exactly 630PM I sprung out of my office chair and forced myself to close my laptop and to get ready for my dinner date. Work can wait but my date won't be very happy if I kept him waiting. :P

We headed to Shoppes @ Marina Bay Sands and quickly headed towards the hotel where Paul has made reservations at Rise. Ohhhh I was so excited! After watching an episode of Mega Food in Nat Geo on Marina Bay Sands we've been planning to have a staycation at MBS for months now.

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Rise is the all-day international buffet restaurant of Marina Bay Sands. Located at the center of the ground floor, it has a big capacity as this is also where hotel guests can have their breakfast here. I have to admit that the choices are quite limited but hey, it's truly quality over quantity.

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Here are some of the sections that you should check out: Cheese and Tapas, Japanese (Sushi/Sashimi), Bread, Olives and Mediterranean dips, Soups, Asian, Western (Steak), Indian, Chinese, Pasta and Dessert. I particularly enjoyed the cheese spread as well as the wide variety of olives available. Yum!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Traditional Hakka Rice at Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and Food Centre

Here's another Singapore hawker find! 

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Lately, I've been challenging myself to eat more green! From pesto pasta to salads, even green bottled water (haha!) and if possible green tea or a whole kiwi after every meal too. On some days, I think I went overboard with my green lunch but that's alright. 

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Anyway, I stumbled upon this stall while checking out the Tanjong Pagar Plaza Market and Food Centre --my new go-to hawker centre since we moved to our new office recently. It's a stall called Traditional Hakka Rice and it serves one main thing: Thunder Tea Rice

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Shopping Finds: Spice Island Trader in San Juan

Look what I found! While driving along J. Abad Santos on our way to grab some milk tea, Paul and I chanced upon this new specialty shop that took the former location of Ristras. Seeing that they got jars of cookie butter and other interesting looking spread, we decided to check it out first before satisfying our milk tea craving.

Welcome to Spice Island Trader. A nice catchy name, I must say. 

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Inside, you can see a mix of imported and local food finds that will surely make every foodie squeal with happiness. Well, it had that effect on me! Paul literally had to pull me out of the store as I just want to stay there all afternoon and to go through each and every product. 

Here are some of my finds:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Roots Market Bistro in Greenhills Promenade

No matter how many days our visit to Manila may be, we always fly back feeling that it was too short! As they say, time flies when you're having fun and our recent 5 day trip zoomed by so fast that I couldn't believed it when it was time to us to say goodbye to Manila once again. I have to say that among all the other visits that we've had so fast, this was the BEST. Why? Well, it's simple because we were able to see the people whom we wanted to see. Just our closest and dearest friends and family.

Take for example my friends B and K, it has been a year since I last saw them and I really made it a point that no matter what happen, our planned lunch should push through. After all, the next time I'll see them, B will be a mommy while K will be a blushing bride. Oh, I'm so excited for them! Since I told them that I was to try a new restaurant this visit, we decided to check out Roots Market Bistro located at the new Greenhills Promenade.

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Outside, they're selling a couple of items such as herbs, organic items, nuts and more. I was easily able to get a table as the lunch crowd were almost done eating. B and K arrived shortly and we quickly proceeded to order. The menu was quite simple with a couple of options per category. We started our meal with a bowl of Pumpkin Soup with Jalapeno Cream (Php. 116) each. I love how it came in a pretty French looking iron pot. The soup was creamy and very flavorful. I enjoyed every spoonful down to the last drop.

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We also tried the Chicken Paprika Pasta (Php. 620) to share. For the price, I was honestly expecting more but I'm not quite sure if this is the common price for pasta dishes in Manila nowadays. To be fair, the pasta was cooked al dente, the chicken was very tender and the flavor was spot on. I enjoyed this dish very much but I just can't help but wonder how come it's so expensive. :o

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mentore Coffee + Bar in SM Aura

I told you about our first meal in Manila when we visited last June, now let me tell you about the last meal that we had before flying back to the Lion City. Don't worry as I will be telling you all about the meals that I had in between. :)

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Since our flight was at 8 in the evening, Mommy suggested that we go to SM Aura to have coffee and maybe some snack since we didn't avail of any in-flight meals. As soon as I heard "SM Aura", I took out my trusty Evernote as I checked my list of restaurants to help me make a choice on where to eat. Aha, I saw Mentore Coffee + Bar. Finally. I've been wanting to try this since late last year.

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Mentore Coffee + Bar is part of the UCC Coffee Group and this was just perfect as my family is a big big fan of UCC. Sitting was quite limited as there was just an outside al fresco sitting and an "outside-the-restaurant-sitting". We chose the latter which entailed a bit of a waiting time. It's a good thing that we were handed the menu to review so as to speed things up.

What makes Mentore Coffee + Bar different is that they offer not one, not two but five different types of brewing procedures: Syphon, Pour Over, Drip, French Press and Espresso. This is dependent also on how strong you want your coffee to be. Tip: the espresso and French Press are the strongest and more potent ones as it uses less water and it really makes the coffee more concentrated. I personally like Syphon brewed coffee but I recommend for you to be creative and to try them all!

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Normally, I would go for the Mentore House Blend as I love UCC's House Blend but before I could order this, a picture at the lower portion of the menu caught my eye. Perri-Espresso (Php. 180) -- A shot of espresso mixed with a bottle of sparkling Perrier and served on ice and with honey syrup. Immediately, I thought of the traditional Vietnamese coffee with a modern twist. I love Perrier so I was drawn towards trying this.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shinkansen Singapore : Lunch on the Fast Track

Ever since we moved office, I've always been excited to go in work and also to have lunch. This is probably because I'm really enjoying exploring our new neighborhood and so far every discovery I make have been a good one. A couple of weeks ago, D and I chanced upon a newly opened stall in 100AM, our very cool mall that's located across our new office. Named after Japan's high speed train, Shinkansen serves salad and a couple of hand-rolled sushi and sashimi too.

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The drill is to choose what "size" would you like to get: 
Transit (S$7.50) comes with 1 Base + 5 Toppings + Sauce
Station (S$10) comes with 1 Base + 5 Toppings + Sauce + 2 Add-Ons
Terminal (S$12) comes with 1 Base + 5 Toppings + Sauce + 2 Add-Ones + 1 Meat

Quite simple isn't it? After you choose how you want your Shinkansen bowl to be, you move on to choosing your base -- do you want to have Sushi Rice, Brown Rice, Soba Noodles or Mixed Greens? We went for the Mixed Greens as we were both staying away from carbs. 

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After, you choose your toppings. There's quite a wide variety to choose from. I always go for the mushrooms, tamago, black olives, pickled seaweed and croutons. Yum! Next are the add-ons. These are basically what gets sprinkled on top of your bowl -- I love having some Quinoa and Cashew Nuts to add to the crunchy texture of my salad. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A paradise called Shangri-la : Dine and Play

Here's the third and final installment for our amazing weekend staycation at Shangri-la Hotel, Singapore. Throughout our 3 days, 2 nights stay, Paul and I actually decided to just stay in the hotel and to make the most of the amenities and dining establishments found inside instead of joining the busy weekend shopping crowd of Orchard Road. Well, that's what staycation are for anyway. We really enjoyed every moment of it and for once, I even didn't bother checking my watch so I was totally clueless of the time.

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For those who needs to go to Orchard Road, the hotel actually has an hourly shuttle service that can take you to various drop-off points: Traders Hotel, Orchard MRT Station and Takashimaya Shopping Centre to name a few. This is available everyday including weekends. For the business travelers though who's coming to Singapore and will be having a couple of meetings in the CBD area for instance, Shangri-la also has a weekday morning shuttle that will take guests to the Central Business District area (Shenton Way) and even to the Harbourfront/Alexandra Road area.

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Whenever we're staying at a hotel, I'm most excited for breakfast. This is probably the only time wherein I don't mind waking up early just to be able to make it to the buffet line with ample time to enjoy the food. For guests of Shangri-la Hotel's Valley Wing, we had two options to have our breakfast in. First was at the Summit Room, a private dining lounge for Valley Wing guests only. Given that this wing caters to mostly the business travellers and guests, there's a dress code of no shorts, slippers and sports attire when dining here.

They serve a small buffet spread of grains, nuts, fruits, cheese and some desserts then guests can order a la carte should they want some omelette or a full breakfast platter.

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