Friday, August 29, 2008

Hooters @ Clarke Quay

Oh no! Oh no!
What has he done??
He has no one to blame but himself.
Please forgive him for he had disappointed you.

For he couldn’t resist.

As the endless booze they had made them happier and laughed harder.

As the absolutely professional and pretty Hooters Girls attended to their polite demands. Yes, the guys were no horny b*&#^%&s.

As he made a fool of himself (thanks to his friends like James and the rest of the Aussie gang) by taking part in the hula hoop contest. He could barely make 3 full turns to save his bellyful life. It doesn’t affect his other performances though. Yes, he meant karaoke.

As the crispy, “Almost World Famous, Often Imitated, Hardly Ever Duplicated” Hooters Chicken Wings were so flavorfully savoury (despite the darkened bones), he had to gulp more of those Sol with lime. Followed by a vision of everything winged.

As the Philly Cheese (beef) was filled with flavourings and onions to add a little sexcitement to their game.

As he tasted a moist, juicy piece of meat. Yes, the flaky, sweet/sour/savoury BBQ Baby Back Ribs. Mmmmm, he said and shook a bit, to say the least.

Please forgive him for he had been good.

And let him in, once more.

3D River Valley Road
Shophouse Row
Clarke Quay
Singapore 179023
Tel: (+65) 63321090

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tell-A-Tale (Part 17): Lemon Yoghurt Pistachio (With Toasted Sunflower Seeds) Cake

Not too shabby.
For a beautiful day.

Like today.

Click here for the original recipe from the fabulous FatBoyBakes (aka Guffawing King).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thai Food @ Restoran New Neighbour (and Kay Tse)

There are times when one finds a something so mesmerizing, it sticks in one’s mind for a good few weeks. Just like underwear, one will wear this recollection to carry out one’s mundane routine, providing comfort and support in more ways than one.

In the past few days, I’ve been wearing two such interchangeable supports. So much for hygiene, eh? One is 謝安琪 or Kay Tse’s 喜帖街 (loosely translated as wedding invitation cards street). When I first heard it on the radio, I had no idea whom this pretty voice belonged to. And what soothing melodies it brought. Oh, on a rainy day, at that. With the wonders of the internet (and a few Chinese words I managed to catch from that DJ), I found the video and title of the song. Some might call it stereotypically sweet, but I guess that’s just the trend in Canto/Mando pop these days. Like Ivana Wong, Janice Vidal and Vincy Chan. We have to evolve with the times lor, I guess. I miss the 90s! Oh, interesting, slightly gray lyrics as well, by the eccentric genius, Wyman Wong.

The second support comes in form of a Thai food stall, in a coffeeshop called Restoran New Neighbour in Bandar Menjalara. I have been coming back to the same stall for the past 3 weekends. Unless one reads Chinese, it could have easily been mistaken for a typical soupy noodle stall. Heck, even the owners (whom speak minimal Cantonese/Hokkien) look local. Ever-friendly, nevertheless.

I have been told that the Tom Yam Noodle here is good. Very. At RM5.00, the portion was huge. Upon seeing the fiery stock, I began to perspire. A sip of the soup revealed an aptly sour and sweet taste that screamed salivation. The generous amount of ingredients, including prawns, squid rings, onion slices and oyster mushrooms gave the dish an extra boost of flavour and texture. The bee hoon was al dente and rather fragrant as well. Perspire I didn’t, relatively, as heat was kept minimal. If Kay, I mean a date craves for tom yam, I’ll know of a place where I won’t have to embarrass myself. Now.

Cooling down the heat with a glass of herbal tea, infused with winter melon cubes, from the drinks stall. Kay’s song comes to mind again.

There is also the Braised Pork Rice, another Thai staple. Flaky meat meets flavoursome gravy. Yummy. Value for money as well, given the big chunk of meat. Unlike the dark, heavily spiced version, this stall’s was rather mild and sweet as well. A dish that complements the compulsory white rice.

On the third visit, I tried the braised chicken with rolled rice sheets. The purpose was of course, to get a feel of the sheets. Well, I must say it’s quite interesting to slide the smooth rolls into the mouth, together with a tasty soy sauce/five spice powder infused stock. Perhaps a little too sweet, but that aside, a good alternative to the usual clear broth.

And what better way to end breakfast than with a bowl of hearty barley/ginkgo/soy concoction. Again, wedding invitation cards street comes to mind.

This particular street in Bandar Menjalara boosts a few good coffeeshops that I absolutely love coming back to. A few restaurants can be found here as well. Across the street is that heavily lit Goldhill Club restaurant. Check out Bernsy’s review. I saw Kanna Curry House too and wondered if it’s a branch from the infamous joint.

Above, above all, I hope to come back to some comfort this weekend.

On the street of coffeeshops.

With that street of wedding invitation cards in my mind.

And Kay's voice, of course.

Thai food stall at Restoran New Neighbour
Cornershop along Jalan 9/62A (damn those a*#$holes who stick adverts on signboards!),
Bandar Sri Menjalara
55200 Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Roof Terrace Café

Impetuosity got the better of me. After placing our orders, I hurriedly excused myself and headed for the garden. Elaborated with colourful flowers, Asian-influenced ornaments and music from the streaming fountains, it was obvious why patrons preferred to dine al fresco. For me, it was a time to flex my toy, after a stressful week at work. A little piece of haven, if I should be more exaggerative as this garden is literally, located meters above the ground. Bring your date there for a nice, romantic meal and I’m sure you’ll score, big time. With the ambience, at least.

I chose to sit inside as I believe romanticism is long dead. Somewhere between dial-ups and broadbands. Forget sense and long live sensibility. Orgasm too, of course. Ok, the truth is, I was with friends (not dates), the lovely Js pair, and it was a hot evening. The interior, though minimal, was cozy. And that’s good enough for young, old adolescents like us.

Remember Duplo? Those Lego blocks for children between 1 to 2 years old? That’s how I would describe my Caesar Salad (S$9.80). The chunks of dressed crouton and bacon were unrefined, in my humble opinion. As much as I appreciate the generous size of things, there should be a standard for accessibility and munchability. No complain on the shaved romano cheese though.

I turned to the Spaghetti Marinara (S$17.50) with anticipation. The colour red was created for a reason, to turn on our tastebuds in more ways than one. Alas, the tomato-base sauce was rather bland despite the generous amount of mussels, squids and prawns thrown in. Is it just me or has the marinara pergi sana (go somewherelse, in Malay)? I can’t remember the last time I had a really good, luscious bowl of this tomatoey seafood wonder. Tell me if you know of one, ya!

There’s not much difference in the Spaghetti Vongole (S$16.00) either. Generosity ensured with a good amount of clams and other flavouring ingredients like chili and parsley. But the white wine sauce was disappointingly bland. Then again, with an array of more exciting dishes (I assumed, from the descriptions) to choose from, I (me, me) would have skipped the Vongole. I hope the Js are not reading this. Hehehe.

Now, my choice. The Seafood Risotto (S$17.50). With a rich tomato cream sauce (and parmesan cheese), it was the most flavoursome amongst the rest. Dense, tangy and slightly sweet, it was good. Perhaps too good (or rich) as I almost withdrew halfway doing the rice. The selection of seafood, including squid and prawn was fresh while the rice was cooked to perfection.

No desserts for us as we believed the tasty luck was not on our side that night, tenths of meters above sea-level, despite the attentive service. Adjourning to the nearby, topographically lower Coffee Club for their invincible mudpie proved to be a bad decision as well. The pie fell short of expectation with its shape and size and taste. But let’s keep that for another day, ok? It is afterall, the beginning of the weekend.

Despite the food, I guess the evening turned out to be a rather fun one. For what’s important besides mouth-watering food is a good company, a wise sage-like (as in an herb) individual enlightened me yesterday.

As for the roof/garden, I’m serious. Definitely a nice place to chill out or date (yes, yes, yes) or spend some quality time alone.

Really one!

Roof Terrace Café
211 Holland Avenue
#04-01 Holland Road Shopping Centre
Tel: (+65) 6462 6194

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tell-A-Tale (Part 16): The Silence Of The Beans

Okayama, 2008.

Shiori was never a friend.
But I was slightly hungry.
And mostly curious.
So, I ate her.

I remember our hot bath.
She looked helpless.
Submission is such a delicious word.

Run? Hide?
These hands will be gentle.
Caressing with a lullaby.

Beautiful adornment.
That smooth touch of epidermis.
That ever slight friction.
Kimi no perfect tone.

I could have done it at the kaiten.
But it would have been less fun, wouldn't it?
I'm glad you came.
For my little game.

Hush now.
What you can't see scares you the most.
But the melodies of the blades will sooth you.
Twirl to the rhythm of the rotation.
Dance! Dance! Dance!
Don't scream, for it's painful to my ear, dear.

It’ll end soon, I promise.

Your blood never felt so fresh.
And silence was that sweet taste of you.

Arigato, my Shiori-chan.
You were oishi.

(Blended, boiled Edamame milk with syrup)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tell-A-Tale (Part 15): HairyBerry's Delhi Belly

Recently, after my trip to India, I discovered the meaning of a Delhi Belly. Rather unpleasant, I must say.

But did I get myself a Delhi Belly when I was there?

I was awed, yes, AWED by India’s thalis, vegetarian or not. It was all about the variety. Tasty varieties. From the very touristy version to the Rajasthani’s, every set was an explosion of colours and flavours. Consisting of tangy starters, flavoursome mains (rice included) and sweet desserts (imagine gulab jamun…with ice cream!), it was completeness at its best. I’m still AWED.

Familiar sights. The ever-filling rotis; naan and parantha. But don’t expect anything lesser than those with fillings like mashed potatoes, mint, onions, mixed vegetables and paneer (cottage cheese). A good complement to the spicy curries.

Some snacks to munch while awaiting the mains? Gladly. Pyramidal samosas filled with minced lamb or chicken, decorated with crunchy vegetable cubes and a generous amount of spices. Too spicy, say you? Perhaps a milder, smoky vegetable sheekh will tantalize your tastebuds. Remember to dip it into that chilled, mint raita (dahi) for a taste of culinary juxtaposition. Or perhaps some juicy momos, crispy-skinned fried paneer...or simply, savoury papads?

Delving into the mains, the all-time favourite briyani rice is the best bet. Saffronized long-grained rice, laced with aromatic spices and purified butter. The taste lingers. But of course, one should never forget the pulaos as well. Dig deeper, and one may find pieces of chicken, mutton or simply, eggs for added flavours. And how is it possible not to complement the rice with the rich, spicy, crimson-hued Mughlai Chicken/Mutton? Let the combination of cinnamon, cardamom seeds, garam masala, star anise and yoghurt bowl you over. There’s also the familiar soft, charred tandoori chicken for the unconvinced.

We can’t possible neglect the ubiquitous yet distinctive South Indian cuisine. The endless sides including dahi vadai, onion bajji, appam and ghee paper masala dosai will keep one entertained. When it comes to rice, specials like bisi bela bath (a blend of spiced rice and lentils), pullogare (tamarind rice) and chitranna (lemon rice) sure provide a good exposure as to how interesting life is beyond the plain, white rice.

Youngsters (or youngeesthanis, they call it) prefer to be hip. And hipsters eat what’s cool. And happenin’. Like the Maharaja Burger from I’m Lovin’ It. Think Big Mac, where beef is substituted with curried chicken patties. Pizza? Yes, Indianized with toppings like kadai chicken and murg mussalam. The masala lemonade’s definitely for the adventurous at heart. And Khan ChaCha at Khan Market got the huge crowd goin’ with their snacks like the mutton seekh kabab roomali roll and chicken tikka roomali roll.

When it comes to desserts, sweets are seriously sweet. No in-betweens. I can’t forget that cooling kulfi on a summer’s night in Jaipur. Frozen milk, embedded with nuts and candied fruits, it was divine. That hot, firm rawa kesari bath sets a nice, sweet tone to a scrumptious South Indian meal. Like falling into Willy Wonka’s factory, India’s dessert shops are full of shapes and colours. And immensely sweet. From a plain milk cake to the green coconut barfi to a crunchy badam pista to the what I call sweet muruku (syrup drenched deep-fried batter called jalebis), one can be assured of a sugary high.There is also the Swiss confectionary pioneer, Wenger’s, to provide pastries like fig tarts, coconut macaroons and cheesecake tarts, which are equally sweet and rich.

What is a trip to India without a cup of chai? Smooth, aromatic and sweet. A sip of India.

In most restaurants, when one asks for the bill, a tray (or bowl or plate) of cumin seeds and rock sugar is presented. A natural mouth-freshener.

So, to answer the earlier question on whether I developed a Delhi Belly in India.

Yes, I did.

A good Delhi Belly at that.

None of those unpleasantnesses.

But one full of colours, spiciness and flavours.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tell-A-Tale (Part 14): Her, INDIA

Warm were her summer days
Spreading her arms wide
Unto acceptance of the unworthiness
With her colours of life.
O how one sing praises of her songs.
Of her beauty.
Of her grace.

- Sharma S.N. -

Her Jaipur, the Victorious City was a construction of infinite shapes and colours. The majestic Rajasthani city speaks of ancient gloriousness with the majestic City Palace and Amber Fort. Pink and crimson hues steal the daylight from the Old City, only to resonant as one at sunset. Life begins with the first beam of sunlight and the Jantar Mantar (Royal Observatory) is a testament of the superiority of the sun in sustaining the order of the day, and life. Her bustling Johari bazaar sparkles with fabrics that can untangle even the saddest of expressions of a woman.

13 May 2008: Bomb blasts in Jaipur killed 60, injured 150.

A city of love should be a measure of devotion, not the amount of bulbs lighting a lifeless metal structure. Her city of Agra spoke of such with conviction as Shah Jahan devoted his mortality to completing his “teardrop on the face of eternity (Tagore)”, his Taj Mahal, in memory of his deceased second wife.

But is devotion mere beautification of a mausoleum?

Or a startling Agra Fort overlooking the mausoleum and the holy Yamuna River?

No, devotion was his imprisonment in the fort by his own son, Aurangzeb and his last, perpetual glimpse of his love through the window, as he exhaled his last breath.

Her Mughal-reigned Old Delhi humbles the largest of men. Lal Qila, the Red Fort greets its visitors with a stunning entrance, the red-sandstoned Lahore Gate, promising a view of the respected, royal, liberal Mughal governance.

Cleaned and barefooted, worshippers walked on the burning ground to reach the largest mosque she offers. Patience is part of faith. The grand Jama Masjid. 40 metres high, the climb to the top of the minaret further described the vastness of her Delhi, her pride. The wind seemed to guide the eager ones towards the right direction.

The chants and veda inscriptions in the Laxminarayan Temple or Birla Mandir transports one to a state of meditation, and serenity.

25 July 2008: Bomb blasts in Bangalore killed 2, injured 20.
26 July 2008: Bomb blasts in Ahmedabad killed 56, injured over 200.
26 July 2008: Mumbai, Calcutta, Surat and New Delhi were on high alert.

Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, north. The exhaust fume from the "horn, please" trucks spurs a welcoming gesture onto the passengers' face, from Kalka onwards. They were mostly trucks of apples, the in-season fruit. Scandal Point, Middle Baazar, Lower Bazaar; they promise happy faces and beautiful mountainous smiles. The Jakhu (Hanuman) Temple and English Christ Church remind us of guidance we all need. At over 2200 metres above sea level, one can never not be curious to know the Tibetan life beyond the Great Himalayan Range. It often takes a song to greet. And flowers to know.

She had been kind. For the usual, awaited cooling rain did not dampen our clothes or spirit (not even once) during this time of heat.

I left with a melancholic song.
Wrapped with praises and hope.

I wish her peace.
I wish her well.

Her, beautiful India.