Friday, September 30, 2011
Given all that rich, artery-clogging food and copious amounts of wine I consume, I'm afraid I have only myself to blame for my recent pimple outbreak (arghhhh). So it's time to detox. Spring clean the battered body, so to speak.
Nothing drastic, of course. I promise to cut down on the indulgent meals BUT not completely. This blog needs material!
So I'm going to do a series of posts on detoxing - for the lazy girl. No juice fasts, colon cleansing or similar horrifying activities. Just plain, (very importantly) convenient things we can do to eliminate/neutralize the toxins from our bodies. "Improved energy, clearer skin, regular bowel movements, improved digestion, and increased concentration and clarity" - sounds good right?
Today, I am going to talk about ABC. Apple, Beetroot and Carrot.
Based on my research, this is one power-packed juice! Beetroot, in particular, is supposedly good for treating anemia (I am slightly anemic), good for the immune system and proper liver functioning (!). Due to the beetroot, the juice is reddish and it rather reminds me of watermelon juice. I know beetroot sounds very erm "grassy" but do give this a try, it's surprisingly tasty.
I'm too lazy to make ABC juice myself so thankfully there are stalls around the CBD which sell it freshly made. Where to find it:
1. Lao Shen Fresh Fruit Vegetable Juice (Amoy Hawker Centre #02-105)
2. Cheng Xing Fresh Fruit juice (Seah Imm Hawker Centre #01-40)
Try to have it on an empty stomach (at least 2 hours after food) and wait 30 minutes before eating anything else. Good luck!
Btw, if you have any detox tips please feel free to share)
Thursday, September 29, 2011
I had jumped at Vino Shifu’s invitation to attend Luce Della Vite winery’s dinner at La Barca. It was the perfect opportunity to check out the new neighbourhood Italian joint.
I was struck by how out of place La Barca seems in the middle of, well, nowhere. Almost like an elegant woman seated on a haystack at the back of a truck (erm, no idea why that came to my mind). It’s the same concept as Hosted on the Patio and District 10, but for some reason I think La Barca’s setting is much lovelier.
La Barca means “the boat” – check out the multi-layered roof that resembles flattened sails. The indoor dining space is warm and inviting, but I prefer the covered outdoor deck – It was so surreal hanging out there sipping the welcome glass of Attems Pinot Grigio 2010, nibbling on the amuse boche of Salvia Fritta, Verdure Fritte, Crocchette di Patate (Fried sage leaves and vegetables, potato croquettes) the wait staff came around with. Service was excellent, efficient and personable.
I wish the lighting was better so I could have taken some food pics. The cuisine at La Barca is Tuscany-based and I thought all 4 courses were quite unique. The starter of Le Quaglie Brasate con Uva Fresca (Braised Quail with Fresh Grapes) was a tad cold (some guests were late) but I liked how the grapes, quail went beautifully with the Lucente 2007 (50% Merlot, 35% Sangiovese and 15% Cab Sauv) – a soft explosion of cherry fruit. Some parts of the quail were a bit tough though.
The pasta dish was I Ravioli di Manzo con Salsa di Cipolle (Beef Ravioli with Genovese Onion Sauce). Now, THIS, was delicious. Generous pockets of beef and pasta was done perfectly. The Luce 2001 (45% Sangiovese, 45% Merlot and 10% Cabernet) was a much bigger wine and complimented this well – deep rich cherry and oak. I will definitely be back to try other pasta dishes.
Dinner ended with dessert of Marquise al Caffé & Cantuccini con il Vin Santo (Coffee Mousse & Almond based biscuit). I surrendered after a bite – it was nice but I was so stuffed! There I was, holding my stomach and the nice waiter comes around with a bottle of grappa. “Some dessert wine, Miss?”
Heh, you know I don’t say no to wine.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I used to do the hamster-mill three times a week, but my knees need a break from all that running. What’s the alternative? Well, I recently started doing hot yoga and sweating it out is nice. But I miss that adrenaline high of pushing past physical pain.
Then I hear of the Power Plate. It’s a machine with a vibrating base that 'intensifies whichever exercise you do on flat ground', including sit-ups and squats. “Fat and efficient workout”, “Burns a lot of calories”, “Reduces the appearance of cellulite” – exactly what I need!
Selective Fitness is a boutique gym housed on the third level of a shophouse along Tras Street and they specialize in Power Plate (and soon, Power Bike) workouts. I made an appointment for a free trial with Chris, director of the gym during one of my leave days.
It’s not where I’d imagine a gym but I gotta say, nice use of the space. There’s the reception, the Power Plate studio with 6 machines, a (soon to be for) Power Bikes studio and 2 showers. The target crowd is definitely the corporate woman, seeing the Malin + Goetz toiletries provided (I like).
My trial class was a total body workout and it lasted about 45 minutes. Class size was small, which was good. We started with some light jogging and jumping on the machine. Easy does it. Then, we moved on to a mix of exercises targeted at the lower body muscles, the upper body muscles, and the abs. Pretty intense stuff!
I thought I was pretty fit, but at the end of the 45 min, I was left huffing and “Oh, my muscles are so going to hurt tomorrow”. The cool down exercises were good, especially the stretching ones on the machine, which massaged the muscles. I could have laid there all day.
I was a convict by the end of the session. Sign me up please, I told Chris. And guess what, I was the 100th customer! (yay 2 complimentary sessions) You also get Strip, Browhaus, Spa Espirit, Qi Mantra and even Tanjong Beach Club vouchers upon signing up.
So far I have been back to Selective Fitness for the abs class (which was good too, though less painful - i like pain) and next week I signed up for the CRX (cardio) class. Can't wait!
Monday, September 26, 2011
Royal Room is a new bar/lounge concept by the same folks behind Filter Members Club. It’s in the same space as the old Stereolounge, but if you ask me, I think Royal Room looks more chic – I am so in love with the designer Philippe Starck, Tom Dixon and Kartell lamps.
It was pretty quiet at 10pm on a Friday night (F1 weekend) but the crowds soon filled up the place. Not that we needed a crowd, given the party mood our group was already in. Like at Filter, music was great. And it got better as the night progressed. Some of my friends started dancing on the sofa, thanks to the Magnum Belvedere Vodka Bottle we ordered.
Ever the glutton, I got hungry midway into the party. “Can we order some food?” I whined. The kind manager passed me the menu. Fwahhh. Definitely not your usual pub grub – forget nachos, chicken wings and fries. The offerings here included Blackmore Full Blood Wagyu Beef Tataki, Fresh Canadian Oysters with Caviar, Seafood Ceviche, Seared Hokkaido Scallops, Octopus Carpaccio, Unagi Kabayaki with Ikura (“Kaba-what?”).
I decided to order the least atas sounding items on the menu – sausages and mash, and the crab cakes. They weren’t very cheap but to be fair, the food was really quite good! I love the caramelised onions that came with the sausages and mash. The crab cakes too, hit the spot – kudos for the generous shreds of crab meat.
Happily satiated on supper, I proceeded to dance the rest of the night away. Great place to hangout, I like it better than Filter. At least over here there’s space to dance. And yes, the crowd here is pretty hot looking haha.
Friday, September 23, 2011
The food was, in short, EXCELLENT. As you may know, I am a Japanese food-fanatic. And Italian, well, doesn’t everyone love it? Whatever they are doing with this “Japanese-Italian” cuisine, I say: please don’t stop.
It’s been a while, since I gushed. Forgive me.
We had two starters to share. There were the reliable sushi rolls which calmed our stomachs and left us wanting more. Then came the seared scallops with mushroom sauce, yums very fresh, every morsel was a delight.
The mains were impressive. I can’t decide what was the best of the trio but I really loved my salmon dish with the Chinese sauce which accompanied it. Also cooked perfectly was the beef Judy ordered. Check out that gorgeous pink!
I couldn’t resisted trying Andy’s ebi capelli – it looked so delicious and was calling out to me, haha. Sooo good, how did they get that lovely sauce to coat every strand so perfectly?
The wine list was limited, but competent. Wines by the glass, in particular, were poured generously into huge glasses. No complaints there! It’s also interesting, how they had a selection of about 5-6 types of sake, simply named “red”, “blue” and “green” etc. I couldn’t resist asking them why. “We don’t know our sakes, so we name them by the colour of the bottle” they replied.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
That’s the thing about expectations. It’s best not to have them. We had all these high hopes to be wowed by the food but whilst it was an overall enjoyable meal, nothing really stood out.
I ordered the traditional set dinner menu at $78++ and the rest had the menu du jour ($68++) and Degustation menu ($88++).
We all liked the egg cocotte, it was perfect runny goodness, although I would have preferred a stronger truffle taste. The second course for me was the lobster bisque and that was good too, I wiped my plate clean. The rest had oysters and escargots, which they said were good.
The main was a major disappointment. My pork chop was not tasty at all – the pork was way too fatty and the sauce was not flavourful. I left most of it untouched. The wagyu beef and duck confit the others had fared better, but nobody was impressed with anything in particular.
I never thought I’d say this because I have a sweet tooth but the chocolate fondant dessert was wayyy too sweet.
Disappointed! The meal came up to $130 for each of us (we bought a bottle of champagne from them and paid corkage on 2 bottles @$40 each) which was pricey and didn't really justify the food.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I read about this Jap joint on some other blogs so last Friday I gathered some of the homies to check it out. Sangokai is located on Beach Road near Sultan Gate Road, quite non descript so look out for it. Simple décor, almost like dining at home. For some strange reason I felt encouraged simply because the place just felt so erm homely.
We zoomed in on the mixed sashimi platter straight away. For $50, I’d say it was good value for money! A good variety of fresh, succulent cuts of sashimi very prettily laid out, we couldn’t wait to tuck in. Yum. Sashimi cravings satiated. For now.
We also ordered the signature “flaming dragon roll” ($19.80) , aburi tuna and salmon sushi and a grilled squid. Nothing not to like about the dragon roll, tempura inside with aburi (can’t get enough) fish rolled outside, topped with sinful mayo – best. The aburi sushi was kind of disappointing though, it lacked the taste of the torch, bummer. The salt grilled squid was nicely done, very tasty. I can have it with sake all night haha.
The waitress also suggested we order the “special” Hokkaido tofu. At $12 for a small slab of plain tofu? Sorry, I wasn’t impressed. Felt a bit ripped off even.
Prices here are very reasonable. Well, except for that tofu, anyway. I don’t mind coming back for more sashimi though.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
But I did like the idea of making my own bread.
So I did what I had to. I signed up for a baking class. Just to see how much I liked it. At $42 a class, I have to say the classes at Phoon Huat were a steal. Don’t expect very fancy pancy instruction though – the kitchen’s fully equipped yes, materials all provided, but think back-to-the-basics reliable heartlands education.
Half the class were housewives wearing flip flops and I felt a bit out of place all clad in office attire. They all seemed to know each other, so I was pretty glad Ann was there with me. At least the two newbies could look to each other for help.
Here’s the before and after of our “Mediterranean herbs pizza with tomatoes and tuna.” Heh I think I went overboard with the toppings. But I love how fragrant the herb and tomato mix was, and that pizza crust was seriously good enough to rival Mozza’s (in my opinion, anyway, but I’m biaised)! Tasty and chewy, I have since passed on the recipe to two of my domesticated colleagues.
And here’s a series of pics on the making of the “Cinnamon roll buns.”
Wow the caramelized fruit/nut combination with warm fluffy bread was to die for! This became the breakfast for the office. Reviews were good, woohoo! It was really fun, getting our hands messy with dough. We felt quite proud of ourselves, churning out creations like these.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
I am still adverse to cleaning, of course. But cooking, now, that’s a different story. I love love love food. And I’m darned good at hunting down the best chow around. Surely that is a sign of talent? Haha. Cooking can’t be that hard, can it?
Well, there was only one way to find out. So a few weekends ago I invited some close friends over to the Shoebox for a roast beef dinner. I am told it is easy to prepare a roast beef. Invest in a good cut, marinate well, throw into the oven and pay it some attention while it cooks itself. This was my plan for my 2kg (serves 8) of meat:
5.30pm - Preheat oven to 220c, put beef with halves of onion, sear roast for 30min
6pm - Turn heat down to 160c, baste #1 Parboil potatoes in salted water for 10min.
6.30pm - Put potatoes into oven, baste #2
7pm - Baste #3
7.10pm - Remove roast from oven when middle is 50c. Turn up temperature for another 20min to crisp potatoes.
7.30pm - Let meat stand for 20min with foil over it. Remove potatoes from oven. Serve!
The roast potatoes and onions were simply lovely too. Yellow onions taste fantastic when roasted. Keeping the potato skins on was a good decision too, everyone loved the contrast between the creamy insides and the crisp outside. All that time in the oven soaking up the fat from the roast imparted so much flavour into them.
Friday, September 2, 2011
Well, better late than never.
I like how breezy and open the MBS Waterfront is – lovely for hanging out after work. In case you are interested, there’re a few sessions of a light (laser) and water show every night from 8pm. It’s free.
Me, I was there to check out Yu Champagne Bar. It’s not a very big place and outdoor seating is limited, but we were early and got a table with good “fengshui”. There’s a good variety of cocktails and beers, and Irene (who’s in the wine business) says the wine list is good. Hmm. I’m a very price elastic type of wine drinker. I found the bottle prices to be rather expensive, similar to Oyster Bar pricing. Fortunately for us thirsty types, they do a good happy hour before 8pm. It was $15 bucks for 1-for-1 glasses of the house wines (an easy Chardonnay from dunno-where).
We ordered a whole bunch of bar snacks to share. First we had the fries with spicy creamy sauce. The sauce tasted like chilli crab sauce, nice! But $8 is a bit pricey. Next, we had the crispy tofu cubes. Yucks, not nice.
The two platters we ordered fared better. The dim sum platter came with about 7 types of dim sum, including steamed prawn and pork dumplings, fried spring rolls and this fried sesame pocket thingy with prawn fillings. I really liked the mixed meat platter with a trio of char siu, roast pork and roast duck. Not a large portion but very tasty. I must go try the Chinese restaurant downstairs some time.
Yu Cuisine is owned by the same people behind Bosses at Vivocity, so we knew we HAD to order the crispy aromatic duck. We had mostly girls present, so we ordered conservatively half a duck ($25). Very good! The meat falls apart like pork floss and the skin is crisply divine.
Great night out chilling out with the homies!