Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 3)

Sightseeing in Tokyo…

Just a note: the captions belong to the pictures above them.

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Tokyo street @ sunset.

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Imperial Palace, Tokyo

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Traditional Japanese women

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Ginza area, Tokyo

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A local buying breakfast at Tsukiji Fish Market.

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Corn on the cob, anyone?

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Really crowded at Tsukiji Fish Mkt in the morning!

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Yummy breakfast!

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Sedap!!

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Asakusa, Tokyo

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Love the trinkets on sale!

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The temple at Asakusa

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More pics taken from the temple grounds.

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Tokyo Tower

More pics coming up in Part 4!!

Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 2)

Continuation of my favourite pics from Japan.  Sigh.. seeing the photos make me want to go Japan again!

(Captions are below the photos)

Hakodate & Hakone

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Goryokaku Star Forte at Hakodate.

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I really love the autumn leaves!

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Check out the generous serving of ikura!!

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Hakodate city at sunset.

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I just thought this was really smart – a baby seat to free up mothers’ hands while they do their biz.

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Yummy Japanese curry rice from this shop at Shinagawa JR Station.

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Food stall along the streets of Tokyo.

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Train to Hakone

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Hakone’s really beautiful!

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Taken at the onsen where we stayed.

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Stingray being grilled!

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Cable car to the top of Mt Hakone!

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That’s Mt Fuji in the background.

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Temple gates

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Temple (forgot the name)

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The obasan getting ready our dinner at the onsen!

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Mt Fuji at sunset

That’s it for Part 2!

Japan, Nov 2010 (Part 1)

This post has been long in the making.  I know I’ve said a few times that I will eventually post my Japan photos… but never got down to it.  Problem is that I took loads and loads of photos and after uploading them to FB, it just became too much effort to post the photos here.

That said, on this hot Sun afternoon, I’ve decided to just pick my favourite photos & share them here.  I originally wanted to diarise my trip my doing a day by day post of what I did in Japan… but like I said… it’s just TOO MUCH EFFORT!

And for those expecting the last instalment of my HK (Mar 2011) trip photos.. sorry lah.  Change my mind.  Hahahahaha.

(Captions are below the photos)

Sapporo & Furano

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Pokemon plane!

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Another cutesy plane!

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First taste of ramen in Japan.  My favourite combination – scallops, butter, corn & char siew!!

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Even the construction work signs are so cute.

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Sapporo Clock Tower

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Pretty leaves & berries.

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Tiny houses at the Shiroi Koibito chocolate factory.

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Pretty wedding cakes!

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More pretty cakes!

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Patience enjoying the view at the cafe at the chocolate factory.  (Well, she was enjoying the view before taking the pic).

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Yummy chocolate!!

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Love the reflection.

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Choo!  Choo!

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Love the colours of this pic.

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Char siew being flame grilled (Sapporo Ramen Alley).

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The end product – the best char siew I’ve ever had in a ramen!

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Squid ink cheese from Sapporo Cheese Factory.

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I’ve always liked this sort of long paths framed with trees. Smile

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Lavender scooters at the Furano Lavender Farm

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Lavenders at the green house at the farm.More photos coming up in Part 2!!

Hong Kong (24 – 28 Mar 2011) – Part 2

More food photos!!

 

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I hardly hardly eat street hawker food in HK… the one and only time was when I shared this erm… flour egg balls thingy with Azure last year.  After trying the curry fish balls, however, I’m totally in love with it!  Yummy!  I prefer those that just come with the “curry sauce” rather than those with peanut gravy mixed in.  🙂

 

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Tried the spicy pork cube noodles from some random Cha Chan Teng.  Paled in comparison to my now defunct Kam Moon Kok.  *Sad*.

 

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My friend’s pork chop bun… looks not bad… but the slice of pork was a little small I think.

 

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Booze Queen’s breakfast.  The Polo Bun with 2 slices of butter looked sooooooooooooo delicious!

 

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Happy to share that the French Toast at the random Cha Chan Teng was as good as the one from Kam Moon Kok.  The secret is to spread a bit of peanut butter inside the thick toast before dipping it in egg & frying it.  And I eat it by pouring tons of syrup on top.  YUMMY!

Ok… Gonna leave the last set of photos from Tai Ping Koon Restaurant for another day… Heh.

Hong Kong (24 – 28 Mar 2011) – Part 1

The trip was extremely fun despite the terrible inconvenience and distress caused by Jetstar (they kept sending me SMSes & e-mails saying my flight itinerary changed, despite me logging into their system to confirm the amendment to my return flight 3 times.  Then on the night before my  flight to HK, I got an erroneous SMS saying that even my departure flight was changed when it wasn’t!)

Shopped quite a bit & ate even more!  Only sad news is that my favourite cha chan teng, Kam Moon Kok, has closed.  Learnt from a neighbouring Chinese medicine shop that they sold the shop to this real estate company and closed.  I guess they cashed out.  Sob.

Anyway, I didn’t take much photos of my companions nor me this trip… my photos are all of… FOOD!  Here’re some selected shots!

 

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Saw this on Jetstar’s menu.. poor chicken.. had its balls crushed and laughed at?

 

Che’s Restaurant

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Fried fritters in cheong fun.  Not bad.  The fritters were light & crispy, cheong fun skin was thin.

 

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Custard & salted egg bun.  Really love this.  I like the balance between the sweet custard & the salted egg bits.  There is also a generous amount of filling!  Slurp!

 

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Siew mai.  I’m not a fan of the siew mai at Che’s ‘cos I find the meat a little fatty.  It’s tender & tasty & the skin is thin… but I don’t like the bits of fatty meat inside.  Heh.  Personal preference.

 

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Har gow – I love this ‘cos of the super fresh and crunchy prawns.  The skin could be thinner though.

 

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I didn’t order the beef tripe but was told it was pretty tasty.  It comes with some dried beancurd skin that’s hidden below the tripe. 

 

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Egg tart.  This really has to be eaten when it’s fresh out of the oven so that the egg in the middle is still gooey and the flaky crust melts in your mouth!

 

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Char siew cheong fun.  I’ve always liked this ‘cos the char siew is lean & the soya sauce makes the entire dish very tasty.

 

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Dumpling in chilli oil & vinegar.  First time I tried this at Che’s.  Average… Booze Queen says the one from Din Tai Fung in Singapore is better (will try that soon!!)

 

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Che’s signature crispy char siew pau.  This is the epitome of crispy char siew pau!  The crust is crispy, sweet & buttery at the same time.  The texture sort of reminds me of the Rotiboy bun that took Singapore by storm a few years ago.  The char siew inside is tasty & moist with gravy.  Excellent!  This never disappoints!

 

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Lotus leaf rice.  Looks normal right?  Wait till you see what’s inside…

 

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There was a fresh scallop, baby abalone, dried scallops, mushroom & meat!  Super tasty!  Probably the best lotus leaf rice I’ve ever tried.  Yummy… Will definitely have this again on my next trip!

 

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I can’t remember the exact name of this dish.. white sesame & black sesame ball or something.  Anyhow, it was good.  Really like how the black sesame inside flows out the minute you bite the ball.  *Slurp!!

 

Yat Lok

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Tried the highly recommended roast goose from Yat Lok.  I really liked the skin – super crispy & tasty even after being soaked in the soup.  The meat, however, was smelly!!!!  Only ate some parts that were less odorous and gave the rest to Iceman.  Bleah!

 

Tim Ho Wan

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This is an apparently well known 1-star Michelin dimsum place.  It opens at 10am but Azure got us there at 9am and she obtained pole position in the queue!  Well done!

 

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Check out the losers in the queue behind us!

 

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The dimsum was pretty good… but I didn’t like it more than Che’s… the pricing, however, definitely deserved that 1-star!  Super cheap!  The 4 of us paid what 1 of us paid at Che’s!  (In other words, the price was like a quarter of Che’s!)

 

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Funny English. Heehee.

 

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Phoenix claws aka chicken feet.  Hehe.  I didn’t (and don’t) eat this but I recall those who ate saying that the way it’s done is pretty different from Singapore… so… maybe it’s not not nice… just that it doesn’t match our expectations.

 

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Char siew cheong fun.  The parsley (“yim sai” in Cantonese) inside totally ruined this for me.  The only thing I thought was good was the super thin cheong fun skin (better than Che’s).

 

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Har gow – average.

 

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Siew mai – I didn’t really like this.  Somehow the taste wasn’t that fantastic. 

 

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Crispy char siew pau – there wasn’t enough crispy bits on the skin.  The char siew was also a little too sweet so the blend between sweet & buttery/ salty wasn’t there.  Really paled in comparison to Che’s.

 

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Pan fried carrot cake.  Bland.  Tasteless.  🙁

 

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Lotus leaf rice… I can’t remember much about this except it was super salty and we couldn’t finish it.

 

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Steamed pork ribs.  I think this was not too bad.  Tasty.

 

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For dessert, we had this osmanthus flower & wolfberry seed cake.  It was good.  Light & refreshing, I like the bits of flowers & wolfberry inside.  Good!!

 

Tong Tai Seafood (Temple St)

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Sweet & sour pork ribs.  Not that good.  I wouldn’t order this again.

 

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Kangkong in bean paste.  I thought this was average only.  The kangkong was a little “old”… would have been nicer if it was more tender.

 

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Salt & pepper squid with vinegar dip.  Super love this!!!

 

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Pomfret steamed in soya sauce (Cantonese style).  I really hate pomfret ‘cos I find the flesh very smelly but this one was actually not too bad (I pinched a small piece).  Maybe ‘cos it was taken fresh from the tank… or maybe pomfrets in HK are less smelly… I don’t know… but my friends agreed this dish was the highlight of the night for them.

 

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Claypot bittergourd.  The gravy was tasty.  (Can’t say much ‘cos I don’t eat bittergourd.  Haha).

 

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Razor clams cooked in black bean sauce.  This was not bad.  Would’ve liked it more if it were spicier!!

 

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Ah… beer… Tsingtao… one of my favourite…

Ok… that’s all the pics for now.  Just way too many food pics and my stomach is churning like crazy.  Will post the rest another time!  *Drools*.

Picture credits: Nokia N8!!

Hello Canteen Once Again!

I’ve not gone back to Canteen (aka Il Fiore) since my company moved out of Singapore Land Tower in Nov 2009.  Some of us decided to revisit it for old times’ sake.  Pics below!!

Remembering 31 Dec 2010…

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Our office was only opened half day, after which Napkin, Booze Queen & I grabbed a quick drink at Blarney’s @ Icon.  That’s my Guiness looking kind of stunted next to Booze Queen’s Erdinger… just like how my handbag looks stunted next to hers.  Hehe.

 

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Booze Queen & I adjourned to “Canteen” after that. It’s been more than a year since I visited canteen – last time was on the last day our office was at Singapore Land Tower (Nov 2009). 

 

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Some other friends arrived before us and ordered the above food.  Tip – the weird squid thingy is not nice.

 

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I ordered my usual drink from canteen, vodka cranberry.  Sadly, the bartender who recognises us has left to be a money broker.. and I was given this super weak vodka cranberry.  No alcohol at all man!!

 

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My favourite potato chips!

 

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The otak-otak is fantastic!!

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Canteen gave out these free jello shots which I think we deserved, after the weak drinks I had.

 

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Anyway, here’s a toast to the year gone by.  May we all have a better 2011.  God bless!!

Christmas Lunch – PS Cafe, Ann Siang Hill Park

Had a Christmas lunch with Booze Queen and Azure just now.  We went to PS Cafe at Ann Siang Hill Park.  Really fantastic place.  I’m super full now!  Heh.

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Here’s a pic of my iced mocha in Sepia tones.  Nice retro looking pic.  😀

 

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I had the caesar salad with blackened salmon.  It was delicious!

 

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Azure had this egg crab tart.  There were strong hints of lemongrass in it… so the dish was very “Thai” to me.  Heh.

 

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Booze Queen had this chicken for lunch though the name of the dish escapes me now.  The spinach cooked with garlic was really good.

 

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The 3 of us also shared this friends fries with truffle oil… salty… but darn yummy!

After the super filling lunch, I thought I would be full & sleepy in the office.. but I was wrong.  ‘Cos I’m being irritated and kept awake by a colleague who brought his baby to office YET AGAIN.  I seriously don’t know why people bring their kids to work.  If your kid can shut up, fine.  But it’s damn blardy annoying to have a wailing baby in office.  I don’t want to take any calls now ‘cos it’ll be so embarrassing for clients to hear a crying baby in the background – not professional at all!

I saw this sign outside PS Cafe.

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I think we need to hang something like that at our office too!!

(Pictures taken with the Nokia N8!!)

Manila 2010

Realised I never got down to posting about my Manila trip this year.  This is very likely to be my last business trip to Manila as I will be handing the 2 Filipino accounts I handle over to another unit within my company.  Yeap.  双手奉上.  I’m not going into the details since I have photos of myself on this blog, least to say that it’s not something I necessarily agree with.

In any case, I’ve always enjoyed going Manila.  Though it’s not the safest place on earth and the air can be quite bad, the service is good and the hotels I get to stay in are always excellent.  Of course, my favourite part of the trip is always to eat the oysters at Via Mare!!  I think I made a mistake in my last blog post… I mentioned Via Mare is at Greenbelt 4 but it should be at Greenbelt 3… not too far away…

 

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I stayed at The Peninsula this time.  Yup – that’s the hotel where the army tanks rammed into the lobby a couple of years ago when some poor army general tried to stage a coup but it flopped badly due to lack of support – the one where the general was later seen crying on TV when he surrendered.  *Sigh*. 

 

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Staying at The Peninsula is more of a prestige thing I’m told because of its magnificent history.  I, however, felt that the rooms were a little old and small.  My favourite hotel remains the Shangri La Makati, which is just across the road from Peninsula.  The food at the Peninsula is great though.

 

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I ordered room service the night I arrived (reached the hotel after 9pm).  It may not look that great in the pic but the club sandwich was heavenly!!  The layers of ham and bacon and egg… oooh… I can salivate just looking at the photo.  The fries that came with it were also the best fries I’ve ever eaten in my life!  They remained really crispy even after they turned cold.  So damn good!

 

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Even the sauces that came with the club sandwich looked so cute.  The ketchup is still in my kitchen cupboard.  Haha.

 

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I only managed to visit my favourite restaurant in Manila once on this trip.  But it’s ok.  I made sure I gorged on the oysters.  Just look at the pic above.  They’re absolutely the freshest, best, most yummilicious (yes, I just made that up) oysters I’ve ever tried.  No oysters in Singapore can compare.

 

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The baked platter was equally scrumptious.  5 different flavours.  *Drool*.

 

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This is the French Onion soup.  Sorry if the pics are a little whitish – took them with my hp camera and I’m too lazy to edit the pics.  Hehe.

 

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And to round up the fantastic meal, nothing better than a San Miguel light!  Woot!

 

Ok.  Iceman just bought lunch back for me… so gotta go makan now.  I’ll miss the oysters…

Calories Worth Putting On

The number of food pics I have in my handphone is amazing.  Either I eat damn a lot or I take a lot of photos of the food I do eat, or both.

Ramen Culture at Icon Village

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Ramen Culture opened up recently at Icon.  Booze Queen and I visited them on the first day of their opening.  While I felt that the food was ok, the service was disastrous – the service staff were lost and didn’t know what to do.  Coupled with a mini explosion in the kitchen (some pot exploded – we were seated at the counter and heard the BOOM and the glass shattering).  We gave them a about 2 months to sort things out and revisited a couple of weeks ago.  The pic above was taken on our 2nd visit. 

On the left is Booze Queen’s black pig ramen (sorry, can’t rem. the Japanese name for it).  On the right is my tonkatsu ramen.  Not sure why my bowl was so huge… but both were really yummy so that was calories worth injesting. 

 

NYDC at Tampines One

Iceman & I spend quite a few of lot of our weekends at Tampines ‘cos it’s near where we stay.  Parking’s also a lot cheaper in the east than in town!!  Below are some pics taken from NYDC.

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Meatballs baked rice.  Was pretty yummy from what I recall.

 

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This was previously known as the Posh Spice Baked Rice.  It has since been given a more humble name, Mushroom & Ham baked rice (or something very similar).  Despite its much simpler name, it still remains good.  I like the creamy cheese sauce found beneath the layer of grilled cheese on top.  The cream helps the rice stay moist (baked rice has a tendency of hardening after its cooled down) and the ham & mushrooms are a delectable pairing.

 

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These are the mushroom bites.  I’ve always loved mushrooms though I didn’t think this appetizer was that fantastic.

 

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Ah… what’s a visit to NYDC w/o eating their mudpie?  I really can’t recall the fancy name of this mudpie (Granny’s something) but it was a mix of hazelnut and vanilla ice-cream.  Totally delicious!!

 

Hmm… that’s enough food pics for today.  Haha.  Time to move onto my next post!!

Prive at Keppel Marina

We visited Prive at Keppel Marina to celebrate Azure’s birthday in what Times News would consider her most beautiful year.  There was some level of cam-whoring (which is barely anything compared to younger-sters nowadays).

 

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Booze Queen taking a pic of the birthday girl.

 

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Birthday girl felt cheated in this shot…

 

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So we took another one where she deliberately stuck her head behind Booze Queen.. hehe.

 

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Iceman & I.  I had to commemorate my mushroom hairstyle.

 

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I had some mixed berries shake (on the right) which was recommended by the waitress.  Pui!  Lousy recommendation.  Shake was not good.

The chocolate & banana shake (left of pic) was delicious though (ascertained by Iceman & Booze Queen).

 

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This is the 3 Continents Espresso Shake.  I ordered a 2nd shake ‘cos the first was so unsatisfactory.

 

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Pic of Iceman’s Prive Ultimate Breakfast (at least I think that’s what it’s called).  Pretty yummy.

 

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All the ladies had the same thing – Eggs Benedict.  It wasn’t too bad but I actually prefer the one from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf because I like the cream cheese they use.  Heh.

 

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We also had a bit of dessert.  Left – honey and fig cupcake (moist & good).  Right – apple cinnamon cupcake.  No complaints either.

 

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The prices at Prive are reasonable and I think the ambience is quite nice.  Love of the view of the marina.  Good place to just chill out and have a late late late breakfast.  Haha.