Liberty & Phoenix Swing 2014

Gosh!  June has gone by in a flash.  Was probably one of the busiest month at work and the 2-week trip to the US meant I was extra busy before (to clear as much work as I could before I went on leave) and even busier after (as I sought to go through 1000 unread e-mails).

 

The US trip was great though.  This being my first overseas West Coast Swing (WCS) trip, I was pretty thankful that I was travelling with a group of easygoing folks.  Having my longtime friend and instructor, Zee, also helped!

 

Here’re the highlights of the trip!

Liberty Swing (New Jersey)

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Sleepy-eyed, 5 of us set off from Changi Airport on 26 Jun 2014.

 

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I got an entire row of seats to myself on Delta! Heehee.

 

Singapore had a table to ourselves!
Singapore had a table to ourselves!

 

I got into the semi-finals of the Novice J&J... was quite happy with the result... though when I viewed the video.. I was quite appalled!  So many things to correct!
I got into the semi-finals of the Novice J&J… was quite happy with the result… though when I viewed the video.. I was quite appalled! So many things to correct!

 

Food portion in the US is bigggg.  And one wonders why the people there are so obese...
Food portions in the US is bigggg. And one wonders why the people there are so obese…

 

Elements @ Camelback Mountain (Phoenix)

Joyce, one of the ladies I was travelling with, did good research and found this restaurant called Elements.  It scores on both the food as well as the views!  (I think it’s one some travel list’s Top 35 Restaurants with a View or something).  It’s DEFINITELY worth going!

Beautiful view of the pool framed by mountains!
Beautiful view of the pool framed by mountains!

 

More views!
More views!

 

I love the light of setting sun against the mountain!
I love the light of setting sun against the mountain!

 

Honeydew Cucumber Sour - super refreshing!
Honeydew Cucumber Sour – super refreshing!

 

Tuna tantare - this was really delish!  The fresh tuna with the different herbs - there was an assault of taste!
Tuna tantare – this was really delish! The fresh tuna with the different herbs – there was an assault of taste!

 

My diver scallops main - the succulent scallops combined with the flavourful couscous was heavenly!
My main – the succulent diver scallops combined with the flavourful couscous was heavenly!

 

This was my favourite of the desserts we ordered to share.  I think this was the salted caramel ice-cream & laval chocolate cake.
This was my favourite of the desserts we ordered to share. I think this was the salted caramel ice-cream & laval chocolate cake.

 

Nightfall at Elements.  I really like the pic of the crescent moon (taken with my Nokia 808).
Nightfall at Elements. I really like the pic of the crescent moon (taken with my Nokia 808).

 

Phoenix 4th of July Convention

JW Marriott Camelback Resort & Spa - really beautiful hotel.
JW Marriott Camelback Resort & Spa – really beautiful hotel.

 

My wonderful roomies at Phoenix!
My wonderful roomies at Phoenix!

 

The balcony offered fabulous views!
The balcony offered fabulous views!

 

Such pretty clouds!
Such pretty clouds!

 

My first experience with a dust storm!  The thundering wind was quite an experience.
My first experience with a dust storm! The thundering wind was quite an experience.

 

The representatives from Singapore!  Cheers to everyone!
The representatives from Singapore (and 1 Korean – haha)! Cheers to everyone!

 

Will I go on another dance trip again?  Yes I would!  But first, I really need to brush up on my dancing.  Felt quite inadequate at the socials though at least I take comfort that my following was good!

Two Blur Guys

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Tried out Two Blur Guys for lunch yesterday.  The restaurant itself is rather small – think it seats only 15 people or so.  The 2 waitresses holding the fort were relatively efficiently I guess. 

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I had the smoked salmon & avocado blurger.  Prety good!  The blurger comes with salad with balsamic vinegar dressing (very good, not too sour) and a really delicious potato salad (it’s just a tiny blob of potato salad – hidden by my blurger in the pic).  Wouldn’t mind going back there again.

Pandamania

I guess everyone’s really excited (or not) about Jia Jia & Kai Kai coming to Singapore to breed for 10 years. Foreign talent, they say.

Anyway, I had lunch with clients at Sichuan Douhua (UOB Plaza) on Fri and guess what the restaurant gave for complimentary dessert?  Yeap, you guessed it – little pandas! 

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There was a PRC in our group & I think he was the only one who didn’t eagerly tuck into the cute little red bean panda.  Someone joked if it’s cos it’s a national treasure so he’s not eating it.  Hehe.

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The table (for 12 pax) had this really huge tea cup too filled with tea.  Couldn’t resist taking a pic (well, we were early so my boss & I took pictures before the others arrived.  Haha).

Hong Kong (30 Aug–3 Sep 2012)

Can’t believe it took me till 3Q 2012 to go HK!  So glad I went.  Love the food & the shopping!  Realised Esprit’s pricing in Singapore is really expensive.  If you see the price tag, it lists the item’s price in HKD & SGD (among other currencies).  The thing is, even though the exchange rate is now about HKD6.2 to SGD1, the price tag still uses a rate of HKD5 to SGD1!  I guess Esprit didn’t bother to update their Asian pricing policy since it’s in their favour anyway.

Apart from eating & shopping, I also did a bit more touristy stuff like visiting the Avenue of the Stars & watching the HK Harbour Light Show.  The last time I went for this was in 2007 but it’s been a long time since I saw the harbour without haze (think the last I had a clear view was in 1998!)  It rained on & off while I was at the light show but it’s ok.  Had some rather decent photos anyway. 

Here’re some selected pics from my trip!

Love the fresh & tender kai lan and springy wanton noodles from Mak’s Noodle:

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The zha jiang mian from Mak’s Noodles is good too. The gravy’s slightly sweet but with a spicy aftertaste:

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Never saw such huge Po Chai Pills before!

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The Maxim Bakery & eatery at Kimberley Road is not bad too.

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Food from some random cha chan teng around Tsim Sha Tsui area – not comparable to my favourite Kam Moon Court, which has closed since 2011. Sad smile

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Agnes B Cafe @ K11 (Hanoi Rd):

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The curry fishballs from 7-11 are actually better than the ones at Granville Rd!

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Mango dessert from Hui Lau Shan!

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Almond flavoured egg pudding from Australia Dairy Milk Company. This is reeeeeally good!

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Tsui Wah’s famous fish ball & fish puff noodles. Pretty yummy.

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The iced yuanyang (in the background) is the best ever! The toast… was so-so.

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Pork & preserved veg noodles. Looks plain but tastes good.

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Tsui Wah is famous for its curry, a recipe left behind by some Malaysian chef. Gotta say the curry was pretty good & mildly spicy. Slurp!

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Dimsum from my favourite Che’s Restaurant.

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Chicken wings in Swiss sauce, beef horfun & roasted pigeon (my fave) from Tai Ping Koon:

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Statue of Bruce Lee along Avenue of the Stars

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Night shots of the harbour taken from Avenue of the Stars.

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All pics were taken by my trusty Nokia 808 Pureview.  Love the phone man!

Damotory Korean Wine House

Went to Damatory to celebrate a friend’s birthday last month.  The food’s pretty good & they have a wide range of Korean alcohol (beer, various types of makkoli, soju, apple cider wine, etc).

Here’re the pics of the more memorable dishes (truth is, the rest of the food was gobbled down before I could take a photo).

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Pork belly (eat with lettuce & sauce)

 

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Noodles with sea snails, fish cake & octopus

 

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Rice cake!

 

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Food coma…

 

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I love Makkoli!

 

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Clarke Quay in the evening

 

Damotory is located at:

11 Unity Street
#01-30/31 Robertson Walk S237995

Tel: 62356787

Photography

I realise people who take photos fall into 2 broad categories.  There are those who take artistic photos and there are those who take photos to document the moment.  I definitely don’t fit into the former as I don’t have an artistic eye.  Furthermore, although there are many apps that can edit photos & add effects, I’m always very unsatisfied with the results – because I have this strong inclination to reproduce/ present the photo in the most accurate colours as possible. 

I suppose I feel this way because when I snap a picture, it’s to preserve the memory of that moment and thus I want it unadulterated. 

Anyway, had lunch with friends at Dean & Deluca today.  Here’re the photos (taken with the wonderful Nokia 808!!)

 

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Dean & Deluca, Singapore (Orchard Central)

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Sauteed brioche french toast with salted caramelised bananas & fresh berries.  (Really yummy!!)

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Colour sugars

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Iceman bought tomato sauce for making pasta

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Can’t remember what these contain but I really liked the wooden box

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The preserved pears looked really tempting…

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Saw some people rock climbing too…

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Though they were on metal rungs…

Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 7)

We did a day trip to Otaru.  Really beautiful little town.  Reminds me of those towns you see on Christmas cards.  Absolutely lovely!

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One of the shopping alleys in Otaru.

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Winter… one of the rare times Winnie is fully clothed…

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Some eatery in Otaru.

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Otaru Canal by day.

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Chef cooking our tempura lunch!

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I love scallops!!

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Fantastic cakes!

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Beautiful shops.

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Otaru Canal by night.

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One of the best sushi I’ve ever had… from Waraku in Otaru.

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The ingredients dwarfed the rice!

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Loved the tuna!

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Scallop sushi like no other!

That wraps up on long awaited post on Japan. Hahahaha.  Smile

Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 6)

Photos from Shibuya & Shinjuku… more eating & shopping!

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I’ve forgotten the name of this restaurant but they specialised in omu rice. The food was good! Loved the salad starter too!

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Various types of omu rice & baked rice.

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Yummy…

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The famous 4-way crossing at Shibuya

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My first meal coupon meal!

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Tokyo is really pretty during Christmas (Shinjuku area).

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All the shops are lighted up.

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Mosaic Street, Shinjuku

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Delicious tonkatsu!

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I loved this yuzu salad dressing!!!

Ok… my next post will be the last on Japan…

Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 5)

Meiji Shrine & Harajuku… the Japanese love to dress up… whether it’s the traditional way… or in an outlandish manner!

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Entrance to Meiji Shrine

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Lots of kids in traditional garb.

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Love the detail on their gowns!

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Ok.. so some kids were cuter than others…

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Obasans in kimonos

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Saw a ceremonial dance.

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Traditional Shinto wedding

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Harajuku

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Cosplay in action

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It’s crowded on Sundays…

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More cosplay in action

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Dinner at Watami

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Grilling our own stingray!

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*Slurp*

I think I’m going for Japanese dinner tonight…*drools*

Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 4)

The great thing about Tokyo is that there are so many facets to it.  There’s the vibrant city life with all the lights & shopping, and laidback neighbourhoods like Daikayama where there’s this really delicious waffles place, and Canal Cafe, the most scenic cafe I’ve been to ever!

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Daikanyama’s such a pretty neighbourhood!

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Saw this really cute stone house on our way to this waffle place.

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The waffles were DELICIOUS!

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Soooooooooooo good…

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They had savoury waffles too!  (Yes, the 5 of us ate THAT many waffles.  Hehe).

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Entrance to Canal Cafe.  This place looks straight out of a story book!

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Funny sign near the counter where customers place orders.

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Such a peaceful cafe.

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Really love the deck.

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So tranquil even fearsome predators lay back, relax & enjoy an iced coffee.

Hehe.