Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Triple O's Burger in Asia Square, Singapore

My friend T and I have known each other since the very first day of college. Somehow, we instantly clicked and later on both became part of a group together with my best friend L and 4 other girls. We were inseparable all throughout our university days despite taking different specializations during our junior year. However, just like in any relationship, our friendship has experienced some bumps along the way that we somehow lost touch for a couple of years. I guess we're really destined to be good friends again as fate brought us together here in the Lion City to pick up where we left off. Yay!

When you're living far away, you learn to treasure the ones who makes you feel right at home. It's a good thing T and I work close to each other that we make sure that we meet up over lunch at least once a month. During one of our lunch dates, we agreed to check out the much talked about food court at the Asia Square Building. It's the office building of Citibank and I've been hearing how nice their food court is. Well, it surely has matched my expectations as it's one of the classier food courts that I've seen. How lucky for all those working in this building!

triple o's
I initially wanted to order from Aston's Steak & Salad but the queue was so long that I was worried that lunch hour might be over and I would still be waiting for my food. We decided to grab some burgers for lunch instead. It has been months since I've had a burger and for some reason, I was excited to have one. It was also perfect timing since I just read about Triple O's, a Canadian burger brand, having a branch in Asia Square Tower 1!

There was a wide variety of burgers to choose from that it took me a couple of minutes before I finally stepped forward to place my order. I decided to go for the most basic one in order to really see how yummy Triple O's burger is. Therefore I got the Original Burger Meal (S$9.90) and upgraded my regular fries to their famous Sweet Potato Fries (S$1).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Green Pastures in Shangri-la Plaza, East Wing

"Let's eat out when you're home!", this was the SMS that my little sister Pan sent me weeks before our recent visit to Manila.

My response was: "Okay, can we try Green Pastures?"

She SMS backed to say: "Galing! I was just thinking of that."

We may be miles away but my sister and I sure do think (and continue to talk) alike.

green pastures 2
I've been hearing and reading about Green Pastures from fellow food bloggers and knowing that this is Chef Robby Goco's newest baby, all the more I was so excited to give it a try. Being a big fan of Cyma and Charlie's, I was pretty certain, Green Pastures will also be a winner. Just to ensure that we get a nice table as we planned to eat there on a Friday night, I called to make a reservation. I'm sure glad I did as the restaurant was packed at 7PM and there was already a waiting line outside.

Whenever Pan and I are excited to try a new restaurant, we tend to over-order. Here's our dinner menu good for the 5 of us:

green pastures 1
Autumn Sunrise (Php. 550)
Whenever we're with my parents, we always make it a point to start our meal with something healthy. Thinking of Cyma's Roka Salata, we chose Autumn Sunrise as it consists of mesclun, baby spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, blue cheese, baked onions, organic bacon, farm egg, candied walnuts, pears and balsamic vinaigrette. Somewhat similar due to the candied walnuts but this one had a more savory and fruity taste. We all loved it and found it to be very light and refreshing. Definitely a perfect starter to our meal.

green pastures 3
Home Made Ricotta (Php. 255)
As we were ordering, the server suggested that we also try their homemade cheese and right there and then, he has successfully "sales talked" Pan and I into ordering the Ricotta Cheese with Onion Jam, Roasted Garlic and Bread. It was good but nothing spectacular. We even followed the server's recommendation which was to brush the roasted garlic onto the bread, spread the cheese and top with the sweet onion jam. It was very creamy alright but I guess we just had too much food that this one paled in comparison to the others. Will try the Stracciatella Cheese next time.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

On our 10th year... A Paul and Fran Story

Exactly 10 years ago, I committed to a relationship with a guy whom, to me, I felt most comfortable with. Just like in any courtship, there were those kilig moments, surprises that left me speechless and revelations that more and more tell me that he could be the one. I guess, of all the things that I like most about him is that we get along really well. Examples would be having similar childhood memories, sharing a similar set of interests and most especially having the same intense love for food. More than being with someone I'm romantically linked to, I found a best friend. He's the kind of person whom I really look forward to spending every single day with. Thus, from that day forward, we instantly became inseparable. As a friend has pointed out, we're our own love team most popularly known as -- Paul & Fran.

paul fran 10 years
My old blog post in my now hidden blog. Back when I still call him JP/Jayps short for John Paul
On that fateful night when I said "yes" to Paul's "will you be my girlfriend" proposal, I prayed for one thing. All I wanted was for him to be the one for me. I never asked for a perfect man as that would be boring. Also, I know that I will never be the perfect woman either. Simply, I just want us to be perfect for each other which includes all our flaws, boo boos and quirks.
paul fran 10 years
Meet Nene and Totoy
Looking back at all those 10 years, I can't believe really how time flew by so fast. I can still vividly remember all the big milestones that we've celebrated in our lives -- our first monthsary, our anniversaries, my graduation, his graduation, our career and business achievements, his proposal, our wedding day and the list can go on and on.

Our journey has just begun and I'm pretty sure we will continue to celebrate more milestones in the coming years and decades to come. I can't wait!

Happy 10 years to us, Paul! I ♥ You!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Breakfast at Cafe Ysabel in San Juan

Growing up in San Juan, I've seen how it has slowly transformed from a quiet municipality into a fun and vibrant city. Back then, the only commercial area was Greenhills Shopping Center which continues to be our go-to place to do our grocery, to eat good food and to do some bargain shopping. There were other restaurants and commercial spaces around the area but you can basically count them with your fingers as they weren't a lot.

Cafe Ysabel is one of those that has been around for as long as I remember. However, I haven't really gotten around to dining there as I always thought it looked a bit creepy especially at night. Once, Paul took me to Cafe Ysabel for dessert, as their Strawberry Shortcake is to die for, and I really couldn't get myself to go to the loo thus I just forced him to quickly finish our dessert and to take me home pronto. It must be the vintage-feel as well as the dark lighting that reminds me so much of those horror Filipino movies that my yaya would watch back in the 80s. Sadly, being a scaredy cat has hindered me from dining at Cafe Ysabel...but that has changed last week.

You see, for almost a year, Pan and Mommy have been raving about the breakfast fare at Cafe Ysabel. They love it so much that they would have breakfast here almost every weekend after working out at the gym. Since I would rather bond with my bed then, I would always miss out on these breakfast dates with my mom and sister. Little did I know that I have been missing out not only on the potential bonding session but on what could be the yummiest breakfast fare in this side of town.

During my recent visit home, I made sure not to miss out anymore. One morning, we decided to have breakfast at Cafe Ysabel. We got there a little past 9am on a weekday and the restaurant was busy with groups of mommies and daddies having their morning coffee. We were led towards our nice table for three by the window which gave us good lighting and a nice view of the relatively quiet P. Guevarra street.

cafe ysabel 1
Mommy has been raving about the Tortang Talong Sarsiado with Chicken Rice. I initially find it quite odd that they'd pair it with chicken rice (the same one we'd have with Hainanese Chicken here in Singapore). Won't this go well with garlic rice instead? Well, let's just trust the chef shall we? The Tortang Talong Sarsiado is a simple but very flavorful dish. I was quite surprise at how they can make eggplant so yummy that even picky veggie eaters like myself ended up enjoying a good slice that morning. The chicken rice was fragrant and spot on but once again, I think I'd prefer to have this very Pinoy dish with a cup of garlic rice.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mad for Garlic in Suntec City, Singapore

Halloween is just around the corner and this is the season of ghost stories and spirit sightings. Being the scaredy cat that I am, I cringe whenever I hear scary stories and try my darnest to stay away from spooky-looking places. Did you know that garlic is said to keep vampires and witches away? True or not, I am not taking chances. Of course, I won't go around town munching on plain garlic as my breath won't only ward away all those spooky elements but even my friends, family and Paul will stay as far away as they could from me too.

I'm loading up with garlic in style and the best way to do so is at Mad for Garlic which recently opened a new branch at Suntec City. I heard that Mad for Garlic has also opened a branch in the Bonifacio Global City in the Philippines and I have yet to pay them a visit. Meanwhile, let me share with you the garlic-loaded dinner that I had with my cousins-in-law at Mad for Garlic, Singapore.

mad for garlic 1
Dinner began with Mad for Garlic's signature pizza called the Garlic Snowing Pizza (S$ 22.50). We loved this thin-crusted pizza topped with shrimp, pineapple bits and crunchy garlic chips. Look how generous they were with the toppings! The pizza could hardly hold everything up as it was too heavy already. The shrimp was plump and juicy, the garlic chips not too overpowering and definitely blended well with the sweet Hawaiian-like flavor.

mad for garlic 3
We were with baby B that evening and we made sure that we also got something that she likes. For kids, the no-fail choice would be the Garlic Carbonara Pasta (S$21.70) which she happily ate. The serving was quite big so even us, adults were able to have a good portion of it. Cooked with herb garlic cream sauce and bacon, this is a simple yet totally comforting dish.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hayop na Degustacion at Pepita's Kitchen

Back when I was still in Manila, I got to admit that the local Filipino cuisine was never one that I'd really crave for. As the saying goes: "You'll never know the value of what you have until you lose it..." perhaps a more apt saying would be "Absence makes the heart grow fonder..."

pepitas lechon 14
Being miles away from home and not having the luxury of eating our local cuisine whenever I want to, I've grown to love it more and more. You have no idea how our eyes would sparkle at the scent of garlicky adobo or how our heart would do leaps and cartwheels at the mere sight of a shiny, crunchy roasted lechon. Thus, whenever we're home, we make sure to make up for lost times with our favorite dishes. One of the highlight of my recent visit was during a private dinner hosted by my favorite "lechon diva" D of Pepita's Kitchen. Note that I was burning with fever that evening but I made sure that I didn't miss this gastronomical experience. Of course, another reason is because I am excited to meet up with old foodie friends too.

leslie jin franny
Here am I with my two favorite food bloggers -- Leslie and Jin

pepitas lechon 7
Dinner began with this martini glass filled with pink cotton candy called Pepita's Magic Potion. Looks like we'll surely have a fun dinner ahead. For once in our lives, we had the chance to channel our inner Harry Potter / Hermoine fantasies as we turned the pink cotton candy into an interesting fruity cocktail. Yum!

pepitas lechon 5
Following the drink was Pepita's first creation -- Tendon Chips with Dip. This is perfect for all chicharon lovers out there. Pepita has created one that's just as addicting but not as sinful. What caught my fancy though was the dip. It's a sinigang with gabi dip. I couldn't get enough of the slightly sour and creamy dip that I ended up licking the spoon clean even after consuming the tendon chip.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

[CONTEST ALERT!!!] 60 (FREE) bowls of Ramen in 60 days!

Meet Chef Him.
nomama japanese restaurant

He's one of Manila's most sought-after chefs who's known for his creativity when it comes to his gastronomical creations. Don't believe me?

Here's an example:
nomama japanese restaurant

I met Chef Him a couple of years back as I got him to cater my very first work event for Summit Media. We corresponded via email and the first time I actually saw his work and was able to taste it was during the event day itself. To say that I was impressed would still be an understatement. I literally had to restrain myself from standing beside the buffet table else my guests wouldn't be able to have those delicious risotto balls delicately placed in ceramic Chinese soup spoons. It was THAT delicious.

Thus, when I heard that Chef Him was opening his very own restaurant called Nomama, I was one of the first to troop over with friends in tow to try and to show my undying support. How time flies as Nomama is now celebrating its 2nd year anniversary and they're running an exciting contest. Imagine, getting a free bowl of ramen every single day for 60 days! That's 60 free bowls of ramen for you!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Back at Cafe Publico in Greenhills Promenade

Do you believe in giving second chances? 

Well before you answer that, let me tell you a little story. *puts on her lola glasses and sits on the rocking chair* *ahem ahem*


cafe publico 5
Once upon a time, there was this girl whom we shall call FW. She went out with her best buds one evening for some delicious sushi and wagyu beef. Over their favorite Japanese choices, girly chit-chats and stories were exchanged back and forth. Dinner came to an end and not wanting to call it a night, FW suggested that they go get some ice cream. Feeling all grown up, the three girls decided to have some gelato instead. Off they went to Cafe Publico which was just a few steps away from their original place.

cafe publico 7
It was raining hard that evening and they found a certain calmness inside the store. The rustic Italian garden interiors felt old yet comforting. The chess table in one corner looked really interesting.

cafe publico 4
The place boasts of serving good gelato and so the girls made their choice. FW went for a scoop of Red Velvet, Salt Butter Taffy and Cafe Mocha. Three safe flavors which she knows she'll surely love. The three girls ate their gelato in silence. "The gelato was good, it was creamy and sweet but something wasn't right", FW thought. Perhaps the taste was just ordinary and the gelato was not the kind that would make FW daydream about. Needless to say, the experience was not quite memorable that a return was never made since then.

Fast forward a year later...

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hey Gourmet! Ensaymada

A lot of you might have been wondering why the sudden silence for the past few days. Well, it all began late last week when I came home feeling feverish. We initially thought it was just stress or lack of sleep. I quickly brushed the panic away and made sure I got more than 8 hours of sleep that night. Well, I woke up still feverish and this went on for days. It lasted for 6 whole days which brought my temperature up to the 39 degrees level and down to 37. I was chilling at some point and sweating so much after. CBC tests were done to rule out dengue which thankfully came out negative. It was a viral case but what made me so sad was the fact that it coincided with my much-awaited visit home. I've been planning for this trip for some time now as I was so excited to meet up with friends, spend a lot of time with family and to try the newest foodie places in Metro Manila. With my fever in the way, the only thing I bonded with during my trip was my bed. *sigh*

hey gourmet 1
Well, as they say. If you can't go to food...let food come to you. One afternoon, I received two boxes filled with colorful ensaymadas from Judy of Hey Gourmet. My mom was the first to see it and initially thought that these were giant cupcakes. Well, can't blame her as we're used to seeing the regular kind of ensaymada with which is topped with sugar and cheese..nothing more.

Before I continue, let me give you some Ensaymada 101. Made with flour, eggs, sugar and butter, ensaymada apparently originated in Spain and has became a breakfast/merienda staple in the Philippines. I grew up having all sorts of ensaymadas from the ones with quezo de bola to the savory kind with ham and cheese. While I'm not a big fan of bread or buttery pastries, ensaymada remains to be one of my favorite afternoon choice most especially when paired with a steaming mug of hot chocolate. Ohh...the thought of it is making my mouth water.

hey gourmet 3
Peering into the box, it took me a while to make out what some of the flavors were. I can see the regular cheese ensaymada and a couple with pork floss but I had to make use of her menu list to help me figure out what the others were. We tried the Household Favorite (Php. 60), Purple Yam (Php. 50) as well as the Creamy Floss (Php. 70). Following Judy's recommendation, I popped these into the oven to ensure that they come out warm and a bit toasty.

Finally, it was time to dig in. I just have to say... these are the fluffiest, yummiest ensaymadas that I've ever had! I love the Household Favorite as it was just so melt-in-your-mouth cheesy good! The Creamy Floss was also perfect and I will surely be ordering a box of this when I go home in a few months. As for the Purple Yam, Paul had this piece all to himself and said that it was very good!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Hokkai Ramen in Sogo, Hong Kong

Remember I mentioned that Paul and I coincidentally share a lot of similar Hong Kong memories. One of the most remarkable one was our fondness for this particular Unagi Don at the basement of Sogo Department Store in Causeway Bay. It's so funny how we found out about this shared love for this Japanese eel rice dish. As we were walking around Causeway Bay, Paul suddenly brought up how he would excuse himself from his family shopping routine to be able to head straight to Sogo Department Store to have his Unagi Don box. While my Papa wasn't that lax to allow me to roam free on my own, I told him that we would also go to Sogo to have the same Unagi Don and I can also remember how good it was. A trip was definitely not complete without it.

That said, we made sure to include the search for that particular Unagi Don during this trip. A lot of things have changed and to be honest, we had a hard time trying to recall where exactly that Unagi Don was as even the supermarket has a new look now. Finally, we spotted a Japanese restaurant at the basement with a long waiting line outside. We felt that it could be the one.

We took the chance as we were really craving for Unagi Don already, we fell in line and within minutes, we were ushered to our table for two. We wasted no time and agreed to order two set meals to share. The first was no-brainer. We got the Unagi Don with Pork Gyoza as sides. Since it was a bit chilly outside, we also got a bowl of Tonkatsu Ramen too.

Hokkai Ramen Hong Kong
We were really hoping that this was the right Unagi Don that we love. Well, sadly...it wasn't. However, it wasn't so bad. We love the sweet-salty basting and the fish was very tender and boneless making it so such a breeze to bite into. The Japanese rice underneath was fragrant and sticky just the way we like it. While eating though, we realized that the Unagi Don that we would get was found inside the supermarket. It's okay though, no loss as we found a pretty good alternative.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Afternoon Tea at Le Salon De The de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong

Bonjour!

If there's any language in the world that I would like to learn next to mastering my Mandarin, it would be French. Oh how I dream of having the French accent similar to that of Celine in the movie "trilogy" Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight. She speaks in such poetic tone that is just so nice to listen to. The same is true for my colleague G who's fluent in French. From him, we learn the proper pronunciation of certain words and while I still struggle to say the word "escargot" properly, I really do enjoy learning a new word each day.

robuchon hong kong 1
Speaking of French, one of the highlights of our trip to Hong Kong last year was when we had the chance to have a very French Afternoon Tea at Joel Robuchon's restaurant. Believe me, I was so giddy while lining up that I couldn't keep still. Joel Robuchon has 3 types of restaurants located all at The Landmark -- Le Jardin (contemporary fine dining at the roof top garden), L'Atelier (the most popular of the three, a restaurant bar known for its degustation menu) and Le Salon de The (a French tea salon). Just recently, he opened a second branch of the Le Salon at the IFC Mall also in Central.

robuchon hong kong 2
Finally, we were led to our table. Sadly, we were a bit late for Afternoon Tea thus most of the hot sandwiches have been sold out. Not wanting to let this pull our spirits down, we ordered the only sandwich left and that was the Le sandwich jambon gruyere (HK$ 58). Let me put this in English layman terms -- we got a Ham and Cheese Sandwich and it was a classy and pricey one. The sandwich was toasted and I love that they were very generous with the filling. The ham slices were thick and slightly salty complementing the melted cheese that was oozing out of the baguette. It was good but I got to admit that a Ham and Cheese Sandwich is still a Ham and Cheese Sandwich. I will definitely get the Afternoon Tea set next time to get more variety.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Where to stay in Hong Kong : Ibis North Point

Looking at this year's calendar, I suddenly realized that Paul and I haven't had a single trip. Sure we have been flying back and forth Singapore and Manila but to really go somewhere far away from our two homes and to call it a vacation, this has not been done so far. The year isn't over so I'm still feeling a teeny bit optimistic. Oh, how I miss those times wherein we would have a trip abroad or out of town almost once a month. Traveling keeps me sane and it's pretty good that I haven't gone nuts for not going on a vacation this year. Guess I'm still happy exploring this beautiful city to mind.

That said, let me open this overly delayed Hong Kong travel series that I've been meaning to blog about for more than a year already. I'm so sorry as my bloglag is terrible!

Prior to our overnight stay in Macau, Paul and I had a 4 day break in Hong Kong. We both grew up frequenting this lovely cosmopolitan that's just an hour and 45 minutes flight away from Manila and every single time we're there, we try to revisit our childhood favorites (well only those that are still around) while discovering new ones in the process. As we excited share those wonderful memories with one another, there are moments wherein we wonder if there was a time back then that we may have been at the same restaurant, eating the same food, at the same time. Hong Kong is a popular summer destination after all and it is just so cool that we have the same secret food finds amidst the endless food choices that one can find in this city.

Anyway, before I share our food finds with you. Let's talk about the most important concern when traveling -- where to stay. I'll be honest in saying that accommodation in Hong Kong is not cheap. A quick scan at my favorite hotel booking site Agoda.com will show you that a hotel room averages at Php. 5,000 a night. Since we stayed for 3 nights, Paul and I agreed to go for one that's relatively on the cheap side but is still accessible to public transportation. Taking in the reviews posted on Agoda as well as my friends'  recommendations, we decided to book at Ibis North Point.

ibis hotel hong kong 7
We got to Hong Kong past 10PM and after taking the MRT to the North Point station, we were so happy to see that the hotel was located just a few steps away from Exit A. Big points for that! Somehow we were assured that we won't be killing our legs walking to and from the hotel to the nearest MRT station.

ibis hotel hong kong 6
The lobby is located at the second level and checking in was a breeze. All I had to do was to present my confirmation print-out and within minutes, we were on our way up to our room. I'm really happy with this as we both haven't had dinner and we just wanted to drop our bags and head out for a light midnight snack to tame our growling tummies.

ibis hotel hong kong 2
As we got to the room, I will be honest to you. I found it to be extremely small. When I thought our hotel room in Korea was tiny, this one was unbelievably compact. We opened the door and there was the bathroom, a short narrow hallway led us to our bed and beside it was the window. In fact, one side of the bed was pushed against the wall. Paul could even reach out to the side countertop while sitting on the bed. They definitely weren't kidding when they say that everything is within reach. One room is good for 2, there's really no way another person can fit in there without making it feel too cramped. I'm just so glad that there was a big window that overlooks to the sea or I'd feel extremely claustrophobic.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shokudo, Japanese Coffee House at Cathay Cineleisure

Do you know the nursery rhyme that goes like this:
Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.
Sometimes, I feel that Paul and I are just like Jack Sprat and his wife. We can be very different yet at the end of the day, we know that we're truly perfect for each other. Those who knows us both would say that I could talk and talk all day while he can go about a day without uttering a single word. I'm definitely an extrovert while he's Mr Shy Guy. At the same time, I got to admit that I love the limelight and do not mind the attention while he tries his darnest to stay behind the scenes as much as possible. Still, these opposite traits make us get along so well. As the Law of Attraction has long proven -- Opposite Poles Attract.

For Paul's 30-something birthday, he made it pretty clear that he doesn't want a big, highly publicized birthday celebration. All he wanted was to have a simple dinner with me and his cousin J followed by another birthday meal with our friends I, C and O. That was it. He was really serious about it and so there goes my plans to throw him a street party along Orchard Road...kidding!

Sure, we're having dinner but I won't just allow him to choose some side walk kopi tiam to celebrate his special day in, right? He loves anything Japanese and so I began my search for the right restaurant for the birthday boy. After reading up on a number of local food blogs, I finally made my choice. Paul's birthday dinner was held at -- Shokudo.

Shokudo is not your regular Japanese restaurant. One look at the interiors and you'll instantly get a hip and modern vibe. Add to the fact that it's located at the second level of the Cathay Cineleisure building where it's surrounded by retail shops that caters to the teens and college crowd.

shokudo sg 1
I was the first to arrive and while waiting for the birthday boy and our one and only special guest J, I decided to order the Shiitake Karaage (S$5.80). Deep-fried shiitake mushroom done the tempura way. It was served with a creamy wasabi dip which made it so yummy! It's a good thing that both J and Paul arrived just as the appetizer was served. We happily munched on the crunchy mushroom "tempura" and what made it so good was actually the dip. We had to ask for a second refill halfway while enjoying this. I'm so glad this turned out good as I was simply hoping it won't be a tasteless, awfully oily starter.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Kaya Lovin' at Toast Box

This morning I woke up feeling a bit hungry. So, checking what's available in our pantry, I decided to recreate one of my local favorites here -- the famous Kaya Toast with Soft Boiled Egg.

First, the egg. I carefully boiled a good amount of water and when it started to bubble, I put in the medium sized egg. I even set the timer to 5 minutes to make sure it comes out runny and cooked. After 5 minutes, I shocked it in icy water as taught to me by chef friends. Then, the grand moment finally arrived for me to de-shell the egg and to see if I did a good job. Well, let's just say it was a disaster! Paul just took one look at it and shook his head. *sigh* Feeling disheartened by the failed soft-boiled egg. I didn't even bother to make the Kaya toast. I just ate it with Wholemeal crackers. Days like this, I seriously wish I am a cooking diva. Making soft-boiled egg should be one of the easiest things to cook and yet it came out not as good as I wanted it to be. Guess, I just have to rely on the pros to do it.

Lately, I've been craving for Kaya toast. It all started during the Hawker Heritage dinner that Paul and I had a week ago at Shangri-la Singapore where we had one of the best (if not the best) Kaya toast in the land. I'll tell you more about that fun dinner later on. Anyway, to satisfy our craving, we agreed to have dinner at Toast Box the following night. As you all know, kaya toast and soft boiled egg is really popular here in Singapore and there are two cafes that specializes on this. Toast Box is one of them.

Here's what we had that evening:

toast box 2
Mee Siam -- I wanted something more filling than the Kaya Toast so I opted to try this local noodle dish that reminds me a bit of my favourite palabok. The big difference is the sauce. The Mee Siam has a spicy-sour-sweet sauce to coat the thin vermicelli noodles whereas the Palabok was more on the salty-sweet side. It's topped with slices of boiled egg, dried beancurd and beansprouts. I paired it with a glass of cold barley juice and I happily enjoyed my dinner.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Weekend Brunch at Open Door Policy, Singapore

Finally, after buying my two boxes of yummy cupcakes from Plain Vanilla Bakery, I headed over to Open Door Policy where I've made reservations for my Saturday brunch. I got to the door of the restaurant at exactly 11AM making me the first customer to enter that day.

If you remember, I've blogged about Open Door Policy a month back when Paul and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary here. While our dinner was pretty good, I had this nagging feeling inside me that a return visit is in order and somehow, I just have to try their brunch menu.

So, while waiting for my friends to arrive, I began reading the one-pager menu. Service was superb as always. The moment the server saw that I've settled into my seat, he asked if I want anything to drink. You can actually get some bubbly in the morning but I'm being a goody goody girl and just got a bottle of Fiji water for us to share.

open door policy 2
Finally, A and J arrived just in time and while catching up with one another, we made our brunch choices as well. I followed J's lead and got the Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Eggs on Toasted Ciabatta with Spinach and Fresh Herbs (S$22). It was really a tough decision as I was torn between this or the Roasted Field Mushrooms on Toasted Brioche with Truffle Puree. Well, the scrambled egg and salmon won me over.

No regrets here! The moment my big plate was laid down in front of me, I knew I made the right choice. Look at how big that slice of smoke salmon is! Underneath the salmon is a thick layer of creamy scrambled egg and below is the toasted ciabatta. Everything was just perfect. I love how the flavors all blended together and there's just a variety of texture from the silky salmon to the crunchy bread as well as from the herbs and spinach included. Needless to say, I was very happy with this dish and I am definitely going back to ODP for more. The serving is also quite big that I wouldn't mind sharing this with Paul next time and perhaps get the ODP Pancakes or the French Toast as sides. Now, I'm super excited!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

One Sweet Day at Plain Vanilla Bakery at Yong Siak Street

Nowadays, I do look forward to quiet weekends. Gone are the days wherein my schedule is packed with errands, meet-ups, eat outs and more. Since I've moved here, my life is pretty much on a steady pace. From what used to be like a fast car zooming at 250kph, my weekends now feel like a smooth ride down an easy breezy road. Somehow, I like it that way.

On one of those lazy Saturdays, I set a brunch meet-up with my good friend A who's back in Singapore for the F1 race. It's really cool that A and I still get to keep in touch even more now that we're both miles away from home. Thanks to the power of social media, we somehow get to be updated with each other's lives or at least our whereabouts from time to time. Also, I really enjoy going out for brunch with A and her beloved J. They're such fun couple who's game to try new places and since I was dead set in avoiding the CBD and touristy areas that weekend since I'm pretty sure traffic will be awful, I suggested that we meet up at Open Door Policy instead along the famous Yong Siak street within the Tiong Bahru district.

Call it paranoia, I left the house more than an hour before our agreed appointment time despite the fact that I live about 10 minutes by away from the area. Needless to say, the ever efficient bus arrived on time and I found myself walking along Yong Siak street way too early that ODP was still close then. It's okay, I made the most of this quiet time to explore what else you can find in this much-talked-about road.

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As I got to the end of the street (believe me, it was a short one), I spotted these pretty bikes with rattan baskets in front. How quaint! I wasn't really expecting something so shabby chic in this part of town.

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Looking up, I let out a gasp. It's Plain Vanilla Bakery! The cupcake shop that I've been wanting to visit for some time! What great luck!

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I entered the shop and caught a whiff of something buttery sweet. Mmm.. the smell is enough to make your mouth water. The sales clerks were busy attending to a group of customers thus I took this time to admire the store and to check out the kitchen items being sold in the rack across the counter. I don't think there are sitting areas inside the store. Seems more like a take-out shop to me. There are benches outside the shop though where about two groups/families can hang out. If I were you though, just take your Plain Vanilla treats home and enjoy it fully.

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Finally, it's my turn. Oh my! Look at all the kinds of cupcakes available. A piece is worth S$3.50 which is a bit more expensive than my go-to cupcake shop. Well, it's worth a try! I got two boxes -- one for A and J and another for my dear Paul who sadly wasn't able to join us that day.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wing Seong Fatty's Restaurant in Burlington Square, Singapore

The food scene has been more active than ever before especially in this part of the world. I can say that every day, one or two restaurants have been opening their doors to the hungry public upping one another in terms of creativity and gastronomic talent. We're living in a world where people are more conscious about the food that they eat. Quality is king, I'd like to believe. Food lovers are taking the forefront as they go about town in search for the newest and yummiest food find. I would know...I'm one of them! Haha!

Recently, I joined a couple of local food bloggers for an exclusive food tasting organized by Open Rice Singapore. Dinner was held at the very popular Wing Seong Fatty's Restaurant in Burlington Square. It was my first time to venture into this side of town thus I got a bit lost and had to walk a few meters more before I finally found the restaurant. How's that for some warm-up exercise?

Wing Seong Fatty's Restaurant, as I was told, was opened back in the 1920s. I was so surprised that a restaurant has lasted this long! Pretty amazing huh? It specializes in Cantonese cuisine but as dinner went on, I realized that it's more of a mix of Cantonese and Singaporean cuisine. Not quite like the ones we would have in Hong Kong.

Here are some of the dishes that we were able to enjoy that evening:

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Jumbo Spring Rolls (S$3/roll)
What a steal right? These spring rolls are huge! Reminds me somewhat of the lumpiang togue that I love munching on during dismissal time back in high school. The only difference is this one has roast pork inside together with the beansprouts. Really good!

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Seafood Horfun (S$14)
Horfun or what we commonly call Hofun is a flat white noodle cooked with thick "gravy" a.k.a. sauce. I normally shy away from horfun as I find it too oily and salty for my taste. My perception towards it has changed though after trying Wing Seong Fatty's Seafood Horfun which was really delicious! They were very generous with the seafood added into this dish and eating it was very comforting. The same kind of warm fuzzy feeling you'd get from a delicious plate of pasta or a bowl of soup. Yum!

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Braised homemade beancurd with sauce (S$22)
This is probably the only dish that I had a teeny tiny serving of as I try to eliminate having soy and beancurds in my diet. From the looks of my dinner companions though, it seems like a pretty okay dish.

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