Thursday, 31 January 2008

FT Day weekend.. Club Med here I come

It's Thursday today but it sure as hell feels like a Friday! That's cos tmrw is the Federal Territory Day! And the next day is my dad's birthday.

This year's present: A 6 disc compilation of country and western songs complete with a songbook so he can sing and play along with his guitar.

Mom has planned a small party at home for some godsiblings and a couple of close friends. She ordered Indian food from Bombay Palace.. Yum..

Unfortunately, I will not be home for Dad's birthday this year. We are having a Malaysia office offsite in Club Med Cherating. I'm dragging Rommel along so he's driving.. Hey, free flow of all house pouring drinks 24/7! I think we might just be stuck by the bar the whole time. Haha..

I've been super duper busy the past few days so today, I feel like just taking a break and chill.

Am not in the mood to work, although I have organised everything I need to do, done everything that needs urgent attention and made the necessary arrangements for everything else.. I think..

I've even made my list of things to bring to Club Med for quicker and stress-free packing tonight. I've emailed the list to myself so I can check it via my Blackberry too. I know I know, how much more annoyingly organised must I be??

Since Rommel and Geraldine's husband Ashraf are driving there, we were thinking of meeting up beforehand by the public beach to have a picnic (we can only go into the resort after 2pm so we have time to kill).

Our current picnic menu:
Egg and mayo sandwiches
Tuna sandwiches
Cocktail sausages
Cupcakes or cookies if I have time to bake tonight

I initially thought of getting drinks but we can just buy on the way... at least then it'll be nice and cold (I hope).

Also, I've just read on Jen's blog that she's in SG already. Shd be coming back to KL soon I hope! I havent yet met up with Yee Leng.. I dunno.. She must be busy I suppose. I'll try and call when I get back.

Okay Im getting a bit random.. Maybe cos Im feeling restless.. Too much coffee and tea today I think. Turrah!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Busy week, deadlines.. but I started working on a scarf

In the midst of rushing to get my work done and sort things out, I managed to start on a scarf. This is for my good friend Huei Suen who is leaving to work in Hong Kong soon. In fact, she flies off on 9 Feb so I dont have much time to finish it!

She wanted a chunky white scarf but I didnt have any white yarn which was thick enough. I have, however, a whole stash of yarn left over from my baby blanket project (I think 4 or 5 balls to be exact). The yarn isnt chunky so I'm knitting together 3 strands of yarn at the same time. I havent really decided what sort of pattern but I am incorporating some cables, some lace mesh pattern from one of my books.. let's see how it turns out!

Pictures soon... when I have time...

Oh and Shen, yup Im feeling better now.. It was just that Friday night that was bad really!


Sunday, 27 January 2008

Restaurant review: Rick's Cafe Casablanca, One Bangsar, KL

Restaurant: Rick's Cafe Casablanca
Location: One Bangsar, KL
Verdict: I may not go back, after what has happened. But Rommel says we shd give the place another chance and try the a la carte stuff. Read on to find out!

It was Friday evening and we couldn't decide on where to eat. So I thought, hey, we haven't tried that Casablanca place yet!

When we entered the restaurant at 8.15pm, practically everyone in there turned to look. Not that we were wearing anything spectacular/flashy so I felt really unwelcomed from the glares we were getting... We found out that they were having some wine pairing event so no a la carte menu that night. It seemed we had gate-crashed their party or something.

Still, they said we can have the wine pairing set if we wanted. I said, "That's fine, I don't mine trying out some wine." The waiter then looked snootily and said, "Oh but the meal is RM150 per person." I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes at him. Like "Hello you idiot?? Are you trying to say that we look like we cant afford that?" Of course, I decided to be nice and replied, "Oh that's fine with us. We'll have the set."

When we were getting seated, again the stares from everyone in the place. As we were served the first glass of aperitif and the starter, the same waiter comes back to table and says, "You do know the dinner costs RM150 per person right?"

It's been a long time since I wanted to kill someone but last night, I could have killed this guy by just staring at him.. I mean most of the people there weren't dressed that great and looked like they were ppl with some wine-related job and probably were getting a free meal from the sponsors. Here we are, 2 walk-in customers, eager to try your restaurant to see if what has been written about it is really true. I'd think you would treat us with the same amount of service. (Note: I am NOT asking for better service, just the same as everyone else.)

Anyhow, enough ranting cos I sound like a brat (Okay maybe I am one, but I hate it when ppl look down on others as if they cant afford things.) You'll never know that the next guy that walks in your restaurant in an old tee and shabby jeans could potentially be your best customer ever - Uncle Lee, my parents' godson is someone like that. He doesnt dress up, is very down-to-earth, looks like a typical Cina-man... But he is super duper rich and loves to spend on food. Never judge a book by its cover.

Alright, enough... Here's our dinner menu:

Hugel Wine Dinner
Goats Cheese Beetroot and Walnut Terrine, apple puree and green peppercorn vinaigrette
paired with: Hugel Pinot Gris Tradition '04
Comment: Surprisingly, I liked the goats cheese and beetroot combo. I cant remember now what this wine tasted like which means I didnt like it or dislike it. Just wasn't worth remembering about.

Tagine Spiced Consomme with poached chicken mousseline
paired with: Hugel Gewurztraminer '05
Comment: Very little consomme but that's okay, chicken mousseline was alright only.. If my dad were there, he's say they over-processed it. I liked the wine cos it was sweet and had a nice rose-water aftertaste to it. Rommel hated it.

Lobster and Scallop Ravioli, braised fennel, basil, tomato and sage burnt butter
paired with: Hugel Riesling '05 and Riesling Jubilee '04
Comment: I always love ravioli (I love any form of dumplings really). They were generous with the lobster and scallop portions. We have tried one of the Rieslings previously. Uncle Lee brought over a bottle once. We agreed that we'd rather you give us a bottle of NZ Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc anytime.

Panfried Foie Gras on Caramelised Duck Breast, sweet turnip, leek and potato gnocchi
paired with: Gewurztraminer Vendange Tardive '02
Comment: Again, I love foie gras. Rommel and I agreed that while this isnt the best foie gras we've tasted, they certainly were generous with the portion. Duck was quite good too but not as good as Max's (Max Fine Food and Wine of Tengkat Tung Shin). This was again a sweet wine so Rommel didnt like it. In fact, he said he's rather have the second wine (i.e. the other sweet wine). I also preferred the second wine to this.

Star Anise and Vanilla Bean Flan, passionfruit poached pear
Comment: Nothing great or spectacular. And I dislike the taste of Star Anise.

Ambience: Too noisy, definitely not fine-dining to me. There was another event going on upstairs that included karaoke so you can imagine the amount of noise. I give the place a 3/10.

Cost: Actually, not too expensive at RM150pp given that we had lobster and foie gras. The wine wasn't worth it though. (6/10)

Service: I give this a 2/10. The managers never came to check on us. The waiters were snooty (except for this waitress who was pleasant). The dude who was introducing the wines actually spoke with his back to us most of the time. Extremely rude and I dont care if you're bl**dy French. You should at least have some manners and glance at everyone in the room when speaking. Uncle Lee has actually eaten at Rick's before and he had the same complaint too, poor service.

Oh yes, I remembered that one of the Chinese waiters looked familiar. It took me half the meal to recall where I'd seen him before. He used to work at Le Francois - the French restaurant just a few doors away. I remember I used to ignore him cos I hated the way he spoke and acted and cos he was rude. His attitude and my feelings towards him definitely have not change.

Post-dinner "events"

Right after leaving the restaurant, I began to feel funny. Not quite drunk cos we didn't have a lot to drink but I nearly fainted outside while walking to the car. My stomach started to hurt really bad too. I was rushed home, vomited, had diarhhoea and blacked out in the shower. Wow... what a night. I couldnt really breathe too and slept quite uncomfortably the whole night. Rommel had an upset stomach too but nothing else other than that.

I told my dad about this and he thinks it could be the lobster and white wine combo. He said he had a similar experience in the States a number of years back after eating lobster and drinking white wine. It also doesnt help that I am actually allergic to raw lobster. (I can take cooked lobster but only in limited amounts before I start wheezing.)

Blacking out again was pretty scary. I haven't done it in years. Come to think of it, the last time it happened, I had white wine the night before. Anyway, this time, I was getting ready to shower and felt the room spin. I leaned against the wall, closed my eyes and the next thing I know, I woke up to find myself lying down on the floor. I dont know how long I was lying there for.

Okay, that's it. Enough. Did I make you feel like trying this place out or will you steer clear of this restaurant forever? I cant decide for myself. Rommel says we should go back another time and try the a la carte menu... to give it another chance. I dont know. It disappointed me this time around and cost me RM300 for a meal which mostly ended up going down the sink. With so many other restaurants which offer much better food and definitely superior service, perhaps it's a no for me. Ta.

Friday, 25 January 2008

New restaurant to try: The Yogitree, Gardens at Midvalley

Restaurant: The Yogi tree
Place: F237-B, 1st Floor, Gardens at Midvalley
Tel: +603 2282 6163

Walked past this restaurant while in Gardens last night. Looks interesting but one can never be sure until one has tried the food!

Someone from the restaurant noticed Rommel and I peeking at their menu and gave us a card which gives us a 15% discount on our first visit. Here are the highlights listed on the card:

  • Full English Breakfast (RM28) - Am not too sure how nice can this be without proper pork sausages, proper black pudding and good freshly brewed English Breakfast tea. But, the picture looks good!
  • Duck and Pear Salad (RM20)
  • Tagliatelle Carbonara (RM19)
  • Steak Sandwich (RM26)
  • Nasi Lemak (RM19)
  • Kampung Laksa (RM19)
  • Scones - served fresh at 4pm. I forgot to check if they serve it with clotted cream or just normal cream. It can never be authentic if not served with clotted cream. Best clotted cream I've tasted in this part of the world: The Fullerton High tea buffet. Check out my previous entry on this.
Am hoping to find time this weekend to try.. Perhaps will head to Gardens again. I cant really think of what to eat at Gardens anymore. Have tried most of the places there or have not bothered to try places which have branches elsewhere like Alexis, Chinoz, Italiannies etc..

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Level 1 down, 2 more to go

I just realised that I forgot to mention this morning that I passed my exam! Got my results yesterday but the website was really slow to upload so I only managed to check this morning.

I first started blogging during the 2 weeks of leave I took to study for this exam.. Hehe.. Shows that a little bit of blogging didnt have a negative impact on my studies.

To celebrate, Rommel and I went to Yuzu at the Gardens cos I wanted somewhere casual, where I didnt need to dress up or put any make up on (I'm really tired today). Our dinner:

  • We had a sashimi set of toro, salmon and hamachi...
  • Then a tuna tataki dish which wasnt on the menu but recommended by our waitress... Not too bad but Im not sure if I'll order it again..
  • Next was the wagyu saikoro steak.. quite good but I prefer the wagyu saikoro don which comes with the beef on top of rice.
  • And we ordered the Hokkaido nabe - a nice hotpot of veg and seafood in miso stock - as the finale... I've always liked this. Nice, simple, light.

A small note to Yee Leng: Yes yes we shd meet up! Let me know when you're free!

I would also like to add that my lilac top is in good progress for the front portion. Next is to do the back..

Good night. I was so tired in the afternoon that even a cup of strong Aik Cheong coffee didnt help. Time to get some zzzzzzzzz....

Sad past 2 weeks...

So weird.. over the past 2 weeks, 2 actors whose careers I've followed since my tween years have suddenly passed away.

The first was Brad Renfro, who passed away at home in LA last week. Then yesterday, I heard on TV of Heath Ledger's passing which again is very much a shock. Lots of "theories" have emerged regarding both their deaths but nothing confirmed as yet.. So, not speculation on my part, just sadness for their family's losses.

Anyhow, I am back in KL. Same ol same ol..

To answer Jen's comment on where else to shop in Singapore, well, you can usually stick to the usual Takashimaya-Atria-Paragon area and still find decent things to buy.

I used to really like the Heeren cos they have pretty funky stuff and there's a couple of local Singaporean designers who have their collections in there. I say used to because Heeren's main target market are teens so sometimes I find the stuff a bit too "young" or too "Sg Wang" for me. BUT, you can still get really nice and unique things in there.

On our trip to SG last Christmas, we found a shop in Hitachi Tower called "Blum". They have outlets elsewhere too but I've only been to this one since its really near the Fullerton where we stayed. Great suits and evening dresses..

Jen, are you back in KL or something?? Let me know!!

To my sis, Shen, yes I went back to Blum again.. I bought 3 suits, Ma bought 4 huge bags full of suits (I couldnt count how many). Needless to say, we bought a lot. Okay will see how are we gonig to send the stuff over to you.

Okay best to get back to work! Busy busy!

Monday, 21 January 2008

Shopping in Sunny Singapore

Hello, I'm blogging from Sunny Singapore today. Am here for training and have some free time. I wanted to put some pics and had some stuff to write yesterday but I didnt manage to cos:

1) I needed to pay for the internet connection in the hotel which I was unwilling to do.
2) I forgot to bring my camera cables so I couldnt upload the pics into my laptop.
3) I was too tired after hectic shopping (will elaborate in a while)
4) I was busy knitting and watching E! all evening.

Now shopping first... I arrived in SG at about 1pm, checked into the hotel at around 2pm, washed up a bit and took pics of my room ( I have a HUGE room btw, I can do cartwheels in it).

Went out ard 3pm, first walked around the area trying to find the way to the office. So funny, I made a long long route.. But its okay, I managed to familiarise myself with the area... I think..

Took the MRT from Raffles Place to Orchard (4 stops). It's been years since I took the MRT in Singapore. I usually come with my parents so my dad will drive. Or if I'm with my mom then we just take cabs (I doubt you'll ever catch my mom on the MRT unless absolutely necessary).

I got lost in the Orchard station cos I remembered there was a connecting link to Wisma Atria. Well, that link's been closed and under some construction works. I had to walk outside in the rain to get to Atria.

Here's what I bought yesterday:
1) a new LV limited edition bag which I pre-ordered and paid for during my Xmas trip. It was pretty cool cos there was a long queue of people waiting to go in to the shop and I just had to walk up to the door and say I was here to collect my bag. Voila, I went in.. (Okay okay I can be such a brat sometimes). Anyway, it's not my bag. I was just picking it up for mommy.

2) Nike running shoes. I needed a new pair of sports shoes. My old ones were training shoes and so not really suitable for running per se. Got it in Ngee Ann City, 40% discount, white with a hint of bronze/brown... sort of..

3) More lingerie from Une Nana Cool, Ngee Ann City. The shop lady is such a danger.. she makes us try everything and then buy everything!! Haha.. Shen, I got you something too. And she gave me a member's card and 2 free pjs - the nice and comfy kind!

4) Baby yellow coloured pointy shoes from Heeren. Since I was alone, I could slowly shop in Heeren as there isnt anyone waiting for me to finish. Nice shoes for the office. S$23.90 only so it was a good buy.

5) 2 tops and a bangle from Future State. Took pics, to post later.

I think that's about it. Not bad for 2 hours of shopping. I then went back to the hotel and pretty much stayed in my room the whole night.

Ordered room service for an early dinner since I didnt have lunch - the chesseburger as usual. Have I ever mentioned this thing I have for ordering room service burgers. The best I ever had was the one in Andaman, Langkawi. Of course, that one burger cost RM60.. So anyway, the Fullerton burger, I must say, is almost as good. I also had a smoothie, a bananacado.. quite nice.

I also ordered breakfast in this morning since our room rate doesnt include breakfast. Simple wholemeal toast with butter and honey.. and a Morning call smoothie. I'm into my smoothie phase from the looks of it. Ta!

Restaurant review: Abeno Too, London

My sis' friend Mel took her to Abeno Too in Covent Garden and so she's written a review on it for here. The Abeno chain are okonomiyaki bars (that's how I call it anyway) where the staff cook the okonomiyaki in front of you on a hot plate.

(Courtesy of my sis)

Location: Very convenient - It's located on Great Newport Street, which is just off Charing Cross Road. Extremely easy to find - just across the road from Cafe de Hong Kong! There is also a sister restaurant called 'Abeno' which is on Museum Street, near Tottenham Court Road station.

Ambience: Clean, bright, warm, friendly people, overall a 'good' feel to it

What they serve: The main highlight is okonomi-yaki (Japanese pancake), although they do serve other stuff, like this thing we tried... It's like omu-rice but instead of flavoured rice inside the omelette, it's got yaki-soba in it!

Selection of food: Not many different varieties, but for what they have, there are many different flavours/mixes! The okonomi-yaki we had was called the Oosaka mix, and apart from the cabbage, there was squid, bacon and kimchi. It wasn't spicy at all and really delicious!

Best thing is, for the okonomi-yaki, the waiter will come to your table with a mixing bowl filled with the batter and little mounds of the various ingredients used in the dish. They then mix it on the spot for you, and fry it on the griddle on your table right in front of you! They do all the cooking too ^____^

Warning: The place will stink up your hair and clothes!!

Highly recommended for a visit, for those who are in London!! Will remember to bring Patty there - he seemed really interested when I told him."

(Thanks Shen!!)

Well, now my own comments: Yes I've been there before and I believe that I've mentioned this place to you, Shen. We've walked past this place numerous times but I suppose you didnt notice. I think I've even shown Pa the restauran before!

But yea, food's interesting and good but after I learnt to make my own okonomiyaki, I never went back cos I could just make it at home!!

Yes take Patty there and see what he thinks. I think he'll like it too.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Yarn porn

I read the phrase "Yarn Porn" in someone else's blog and she'd put up loads of pics of her yarn collection... and I've always wanted to document the amount of yarn I have in my drawers. So here are just a few..

There were more but they were either not so pretty (those were the stuff I'd bought on sale in Shrewsbury but later wondered why I got them as I have no idea what to make with them!!), Or I have not got round to taking pics of them.

Nice black yarn.. And I cant decide what to do with 10 balls of it... Bought in Shrewsbury during my last trip back to England. Maybe a shawl or a vest or something... I dunno... Will decide maybe after I finish my lilac top! Gosh, I'm slow..

I used the yarn above to make some fingerless gloves for myself but those didnt come out too nice (I'd used an Irish moss stitch for the main body of the glove instead of the stockingnette stitch shown in the pattern cos I thought it'd be nice but somehow it didnt come out as how I like it.) Ah well, practice makes perfect!

This yarn in the picture above was used for my baby blanket.. I'd made a very guesstimate assumption on how much yarn I needed and overbought by maybe 4 balls. Lovely yarn thought and not too expensive.. And versatile cos its white in colour... :)

Lovely yarn above bought in Singapore last August. I cant remember the name of the shop at the moment for the life of me (my brain's really tired this week remember?).. But it was the one in Tanglin Mall. Bought 2 colours cos I was planning to perhaps make a shawl with them..

Anyway, I'll try to take pics of the rest of my yarn.. And perhaps start on another project as well.. Hehe.. We'll see.. Ta..

Glorious ham - courtesy of Aunty Rubyann

We have always known that Aunty Rubyann was a great cook. But Shen and I remember the first time we tried her ham.. This was when they were still living in the old place, before they moved to the current house. We visited with the parents for Xmas and the two of us were practically stuck to the food table munching on ham all night!! At the end of the night, Aunty gave us the remaining bits of ham to take home, which we happily accepted. YUM..

So whenever Shen and Pat come back, we are always kinda thick-skinned and ask her if she could make it for us. One of the key things with this dish is that it is difficult to get a good cut of gammon to make it. This Christmas, this was our Christmas present from Aunty.. best present ever I'll say. My dad planned it so that for the dinner after we got the ham, all we had was ham sandwiches - with some rocket and salad leaves and a slice of cheese, toasted using the panini maker I brought back from London.Random pic of the fireworks at Midvalley on New Year's Eve.. I got a great view of it from my home since we're on top of a hill.

Finally it's Friday..

At last the end of the week arrives. You have no idea how much I want to go home, crawl into bed and zzzzz.. But, it is just after lunch and there's a couple of hours more to go before I can go home.

Today we catered from Bombay Palace for lunch in the office and I think we all over-ate. Then again, what's new! Haha.. Am feeling REALLLY sleepy now. It doesnt help that I've not had enough sleep for the past 2 weeks. Oh yes, I took pics when the rest were setting up the stuff for lunch but I dont have the thingy to connect the camera to my laptop right now.

I've not had time to anything on my lilac top and I'm actually thinking of bringing something else to work on in Singapore. Something easy to knit, fast and hopefully done in those few days that I'm there. Maybe a hat? A scarf? I can start on the shawl I always wanted to... Or the black vest in one of those books I got from Kinokuniya... I dunno.. tbc..

Anyway, I'm to read this book called "Who moved my cheese?" for our offsite next month.. Yummy, short book and there's even a parody of it.. "Who stole my cheese?" which I bought as well..

Speaking of books, I was reading the Malaysia's 2008 Best Restaurants book from Amex/Tatler last night as bedtime reading (Okay okay I know this type of reading may not really constitute as reading a book but I just wanted something I neednt use much of my brain).
So anyway, I've decided to perhaps list down the restaurants in there and tick off where I have tried, and what I want to try..

Back to work now! Ta!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

A short note... busy day.. I'm tired

I think the title pretty much says it. Been really busy at work cos of our conference. I finally have some spare time now as Im burning data into CDs, my brain isnt really functioning well and I dont want to do anything else right now..

I got home ard 9.30pm last night.. Rommel and I then went for dinner at Kajitsu Nihon Ryori, a Japanese restaurant nearby to my house. I had a Nabeyaki Udon (not too bad, something any restaurant cant screw up) while Rommel had the Sashimi Moriawase (quite sad and tired looking, but then again, you cant compare it to the likes of Kampachi, Wasabi Bistro, Gonbei or Iketeru).

I couldnt sleep after such a late dinner so I knitted a few rows before turning off the lights. Really should post an update on my lilac top but it's going so so slow. Hopefully I get to do more knitting while in Singapore next week..

Anyway, I'm hungry.. Gonna eat some cake! Ta..

Monday, 14 January 2008

My restaurants wishlist

Just back from dinner with Paul and Angela, an Irish couple, my dad's business contact. We've been having dinners with them for a number of years now and I always enjoy talking to Angela, especially since we're both foodies. Always great dinner company..

My dad wanted to bring them to try the Angus steak house in Pavilion.. they said it was good steak and apparently its the same standard at Prime in the Le Meridien Hotel. Now, Rommel and I have been talking for the past maybe one year now about going to try Prime but we somehow never got round to it. I guess we should. Anyhow, Paul mentioned that he'll take us there next..

I then started thinking of all the places in KL that I've said I want to try but have never seemed to find the time. Here's my list:

1) Cilantro - French-Fusion food, located in Micasa service apts but when I last called the number, it's been disconnected. I knew that they were going to close down there because Micasa is undergoing refurbishment. I guess they've closed. Checks on their website said that they've moved to the Gardens at Midvalley but when I tried calling the number, no answer. Cant confirm if they've open yet cos I've not called again. And mind you, I called last week.

2) Prime, Le Meridien - Numerous ppl have told me that this place has the best steak in town but of course, it comes at a price. I also know of ppl who've had food poisoning after eating there but it could have been a one-off thing. Anyhow, I'll never know until I try it.

3) Nerovivo - somewhere near Frangipani, Italian food, apparently good but somehow I am never one to pay for Italian food here which is why I have never gone. Yes its good in Italy, but I dont quite fancy Italian food here.. esp when I can have French. or Japanese. or Chinese. But again, I'll never know until I try.

4) Suzy's Corner - The cheap but good steak place in Ampang - quite a number of ppl have told me about this place and Angela is one of them. Rommel apparently knows where it is but I have no clue. It's outdoors, nothing fancy, but apparently for the price you pay, the steak is good.

I know there are other restaurants I can certainly add to this list but I cant think at the moment. It's been a long and busy busy day in the office.. My neck hurts, my head aches and my brain doesnt want to think anymore.

Mental note to oneself: I need to make a list of restaurants in London too. Shen and Patty, you guys are suppose to do more reviews on London restaurants for me and take pictures!!

Heck, let me just make a short list of some of my favourite places to eat in London:

1) Dimsum - Imperial China, on the street parallel to the main Chinatown street, Gerrard Street. Sorry cant remember the name of the road. But yea, this was my favourite place for dimsum esp after a late night out and Im recovering from a hangover the morning after.

2) Belgian mussels - Belgo Centraal, Earlham St, Covent Garden. My dad's must-go place whenever he's in London. My current fav sauce for the mussels are the Thai Green Curry but the Classique and Provencale ones are pretty good too. Always packed, pretty noisy, not fine dining.. but hey, its pretty much the only place where I do eat mussels.

3) Beef steak sandwiches - Farmer Brown's on New Row, Covent Garden. Another of my dad's favs. I love their bacon, mushroom and cheese sandwich.. Yum.. This place was literally 5 mins away from my Covent Garden flat (I used to live on St Martins Lane opposite the American Hotel). Was one of my usual haunts before or after classes and one of the reasons for my weight gain that year.

4) Helen's Kebabs, Edgware Road - from what I can remember, it was only open in the middle of the night. More of a takeaway place, not much seating but good kebabs that ppl are willing to queue up in the bitter winter for. A great post-clubbing supper, my flatmates and I frequented Helen's when we stayed on George St, off Edgware Rd.

5) 1997 Restaurant, Wardour St, Chinatown - more commonly known as "97" - for your post-clubbing in Soho supper. Good after a bit too much alcohol, order their laksa which I must say is pretty authentic Malaysian Chinese-style laksa. But hey, the workers are mostly Malaysians.. My flatmates befriended some of them so we used to get good service there. The laksa is also good for a monrning after hangover cure.

6) Ubon by Nobu, Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf. We flatmates went there once for Joyce's birthday. It was a surprise for her as well as we told her it was a farewell for Suen who was going back to KL for Xmas - and she believed us! It took much planning between the 3 of us flatmates so I was to bring Joyce there while Suen and Nadia went earlier to bring the birthday cake. Lovely meal, had the best black cod with miso in my life, superb desserts as well. BUT, of course its not cheap. It's the sister restaurant of Nobu in Mayfair where all the celebs eat but Ubon has a much more casual setting with great views of the River Thames. I later brought my family there for a meal too. My dad's verdict: Very good quality of sushi but yea, pricey..

Okay okay I said I was going to sleep. I will now. Ta.. Shen, let me know if I missed out on any of our favourite London restaurants.

Friday, 11 January 2008

A long week this was..

So many things have happened this past week. First was the news of ShuZanne's passing.

And we in the office were busy with our report which finally came out on Friday.

Thursday was a public holiday - Awal Muharram - so we were at the Gardens.. I felt like eating something Indian so we went to Annalakshmi.. not bad food and you pay how much you want.

Thursday dinner was Cafe Cafe - my parents finally decided it was time for them to go try.. Main issue for my dad was the fact that there were quite a lot of mosquitos in the restaurant.. and that they charged us corkage for our bottle of wine. Big no-nos in my daddy's book of what makes a restaurant good. My mom seemed more interested in the hawker shop outside Cafe Cafe (which apparently has really good Hokkien mee so we'll try that next time). But my dad said he liked the foie gras reduction sauce used in his steak. Rommel and Dad took the tenderloin which they both said was good. Mom took the lamb which came in a really huge portion so pretty value for money. I took the wagyu beef cheek that Rommel had the last time and that was good.

As we were finishing dinner, we got a call from Uncle James and Aunty Irene that their daughter Celine was in hospital. We rushed there after dinner, found out that she started vomiting on Sunday but things got more serious so they first took her to a local GP.. Wednesday night it got worse so they took her to SJMC where she was admitted. She also had fever and kinda looked like she was possessed or something. Tests had ruled out dengue fever which was the first thing you'd suspect. As of this afternoon when I asked my parents, they still hadnt found out the cause of her illness. I prayed for her in church this morning..

Friday was a pretty stressful day.. Actually Im not sure if it was stressful but it sure was tiring. At about 7pm, I was kinda hungry and in need of a good drink. Since most of us were still in the office and were all hungry, we decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe - a place we've all not been to in a while. Rommel and Sunaina's husband Lakshman joined us. Food was so-so, typical Hard Rock fare.. expensive drinks esp after Happy Hour was over at 9pm. But a plus is they have veggie burgers so Sunaina can satisfy her cravings - she's been complaining that she cant find veggie burgers in Malaysia.

Saturday morning started early with a facial appointment for my mom and myself. I needed to relax so I had a good sleep in there. Then I went and got my hair coloured and my fringe cut (Shen, I REALLY look like you now.. Ahhhh). Rommel says I look like a China-doll now and I dont think he likes it. Ah well, this is how my stylist Florence cut it so I'll just leave it like this for now.

Rommel and I went to his friend's house for dinner on Saturday night.. we played Black Jack and Im hoping my lucky streak stays with me until Chinese New Year.. I got at least 6 Black Jacks last night!! Haha.. but we were playing small.. RM1 per round only.. Just for the fun of it. Shen and Patty, remember those days we used to play RM100 per round with Ma? It's like my mom was making us earn our angpao money rather than just give it to us directly.

One thing I've done a lot this weekend is catch up on sleep. I've just woken up from a nap actually. I've been so so so tired these past few days that I really knock out when I sleep and its been so difficult to wake up. This coming week is also going to be tiring as we're having our annual conference. Early night for me tonight!

But first, I need to get to Gardens cos mommy wants me to get something from Robinsons for her. A gold vase for the living room. Shen's we've started putting up the CNY decos - I'll take pics when I can.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Rest in peace, Shu Zanne

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

-Psalm 23. 1

It was just the usual check-what's-happened-on-facebook-overnight routine that I do on most mornings. Then I saw that one of my friends had joined a group "Prayers In Loving Memory of Shu Zanne". I only know one person which such a name but thought "No, it cant be!".

True enough, a simple search on Google led me to other people's blogs where I found out that she was in a hit-and-run accident, that her boyfriend was with her walking along the road, that the bitch (yes it was a female driver) who did it was racing with a friend and that she got caught. I dont have any other details and I wont speculate.

Then I saw the obituary in today's Star. Confirmed.

I never really knew her. She was a good friend of some of my high school friends. I've met her at times at clubs with those friends over the years but we never really spoke. I have spoken to her parents though at church a couple of times.. How odd that we were from the same church but I'd never bumped into her there. Anyway, the obituary stated that her funeral is at 11am tmrw at SFX, PJ. May you rest in peace, Shu Zanne (Oct 1983- Jan 2008). To your parents, have faith, the Lord will protect her.

The shock of such a thing happening to one so young makes me rethink my life. Like they always say, life's too short. You never know what can happen and when it happens.

My first experience of someone close almost dying was my cousin and childhood bestfriend, Celine. She was 10 and I was 9 when she too was hit by a car and the driver sped off. Her brother Adrian was with her and he was only 13 then. I remember it was a Sunday morning, Feb 2, my dad's birthday. We had already planned a family gathering to celebrate his birthday but all of us ended up at the hospital to keep vigil. Celine was in a coma for 3 weeks and had amnesia when she first woke up. Thankfully, she is now fully-recovered and doing well.

Another scare came in 2005, one of my bestest friends Yee Leng and her boyfriend Dinson were involved in a bad car accident in Melbourne. I was still in England at that time but when I could, I went to Melbourne to visit her. She's also, thankfully, recovering. I've not seen her in a while but she's coming home for Chinese New Year so I'll catch up with her then.

Today's news brought back memories of these incidents in my life too. It reminds you to appreciate what you have, especially family and loved ones. Remember, life's too short.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Kinokuniya shopping spree

Place: Kinokuniya book store, Suria KLCC

My sister's heaven on earth, I believe this place is. In fact, I can say it's my next heaven after John Lewis' haberdashery section in its Oxford Street, London store. Anyhow, its one of our favourite haunts in KL.. during this one trip we made before my sister went back to London, we spent 2 hours just in Kinokuniya and didnt bother going anywhere else in KLCC. (Mind you we had just come back from Singapore then and bought loads of clothes so there was not much point shopping for clothes)

Enough words - I just wanted to post pics of my new books. Some day I'll include pics of my other craft books as well. I've already started documenting my yarn - took pictures and all so I'll post them up soon. Next will be the books...

Anyway, here they are. Sorry, no description on the books since I cant read Japanese and my sis isnt here to translate!

But first: my current project - a lace long-sleeved top in lilac - made from cotton yarn so that I can wear it in KL. Still WIP - still doing the front part so far..

My new books:

This first one I can comment about cos its a English book. I love the name.. Romantic knits. Author: Annie Modessit, Publisher: Potter Craft. I love collecting these books. Whether I actually do any of the projects is another matter. I just like reading them.
(This is similar to how my sis and I buy loads of cookbooks but never really cook)

I think this last one is my favourite of the lot cos its all just crochet motifs which you can make loads of and stitch up together to make something larger. I love it that I am allowed to use my imagination and come up with something totally unique. My first project using this motifs will have to be a shawl.. I need a nice one for the office. That can go in my "projects I want to do" list. G'nite..

Restaurant review: Angus Steak House, Pavilion KL

Restaurant: Angus Japanese Steak House
Cuisine: Japanese-style western food
Address: 6th Floor, Pavilion KL
Tel: +603 2145 6015/6
Verdict: We took my parents there after our first visit since my brother really enjoyed his wagyu tenderloin.. Worth going to.. Wagyu is never cheap but then again, anything that tastes as good as their melt-in-your-mouth beef ought to be expensive.

You get a choice of either taking the set or a la carte. I'd suggest the set cos its worth it and the portions are not that big, despite the fact that it is a 5-course meal.

Firstly: you get a choice of bun n butter or rice - they will serve the rice together with the beef. My mom loved the bun so much that she asked for another.

First course: lightly pan fried cod with braised veg. Nice and light. Perfect prelude to the steak.

Next course: Soup of the day - for the 2 times we've been there, it was carrot soup, which tasted like it had pumpkin in it but we couldnt make sure.

3rd course: Salad with bonito flakes and a light balsamic dressing.

Finally, the steak....

Below is Shen's Tornado steak - normal tenderloin with beef bacon wrapped around it and accompanied by a mushroom sauce. She didnt want the set that day so her meal was about RM50+.

Next, Patrick's wagyu tenderloin - with the set it cost us RM260 for this 250g chunk. On our second time there, I took this but the 200g cut - cost RM220.

Rommel had the normal ribeye 200g (below) which was really good too but paled in comparison to my wagyu tenderloin (also 200g, the following pic). But of course there was the price difference... His cost RM87 for the set while mine was RM200. Like I always say, what you pay is what you get. We purposely ordered different ones cos we wanted to see if the difference was really evident or not.. It definitely was..

Dessert came last of course - tiramisu.. a teaser though since its a small portion but after the other 4 courses, it's just nice..

Angus also has pastas too, which Evelyn tried on our second trip there - she had Abalone and Salmon Roe pasta - again the Japanese influence is pretty evident.

Worth going, I think..

Note: All steaks were cooked to medium cos that's how we like it and it came out just right.

Tip: You really need a good bottle of red wine to complete the meal. The first time we went, we didnt bring our own bottle and I didnt want to take the house wine - didnt sound interesting. But they do have a pretty decent selection of wines (my dad's comments). Anyhow, a glass of red wine or two is perfect with the meal.

Eventful week

Firstly, okay Ive figured out what I did wrong with the settings which was the reason why my paragraphs went wonky on me.. *phew*

Anyway, this past week summarised:
1) We had the office walls repainted over the weekend.
The wall facing me is now peach which is alright I suppose. Not a bad choice.. The wall in the corridor leading to the pantry on the other hand, has been the subject of debate since this morning when everyone saw it for the first time. Some liked it, most hated it.. Prem referred to its shade of green as the colour of boogers. It is now referred to as the "booger wall" in research. Haha.. I think we'll be getting that part repainted.

The other departments also had a repainting done. CF was being boring and painted all the walls white. But I quite like just plain and simple white. The backoffice is now cream, which I prefer to white.. The dealing room did not make any changes, but then again they already have a fiery orange on one of their walls so I think that's enough.

The paint fumes are the cause of my headache and bad mood today I think.. Hopefully things improve, air quality-wise tmrw.

2) My sis and bro went back to London - nothing really big since they go back and come back to KL ever so often. But the house is much more quieter since they've gone..

3) Prem's wedding reception on Saturday - it was at Bangles in Ampang. An Indian restaurant with sufficient garden space to have a party. A casual affair.. Only minus was that it rained so the floor was all wet.. Pretty much ruined my Itti Otto goldish silver leather shoes.

4) We went out clubbing with my cousin-in-law Allen, cousin Leong Jr, Jenny and Kok Keong on Friday night. First time out with them and we went to Beach Club, Rum Jungle and Aloha.. Certainly eventful but no one got too drunk or anything. Ended with a nice mamak session behind Menara IMC - this was the mamak I frequented with the Credit Suisse bunch when I interned there 2 years ago. Pretty good nasi lemak..

5) My house is covered in a layer of dust... and there's a smell of cement in the air... We finally tore down the inner wall that separated the dining hall and the kitchen.. Everything's all dusty and dirty now. Cant wait for the kitchen to be completed though.. I was checking out Nigella Lawson's new book, Nigella Express and am dying to try some of the recipes. I like such books cos the recipes are not too complicated and the ingredients are mostly obtainable. Scallops with chorizo sausages.. yum (Im imagining)..

6) Super busy in the office although I managed to squeeze time to write this. My headache may be due to me staring at Excel spreadsheets all day. I just realized that I have not had a single drop of water since lunchtime which is most probably why I have yet to visit the loo since.. It 7pm now.. Lunch ended at 2.. This is bad for my body.

Okay I wanna go home now. Most probably will bring the laptop home to continue.. I dunno.. Im too tired.. We'll see... Ta.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

What's wrong with the formatting?

I've just realized that the formatting for my blog seems to be off, as in when I click to look back at the old posts, it's all in one long paragraph instead of how I typed it out... Help, Shen?

I thought of doing a review of Angus Steak House in Pavilion since I've got the photos and all with me but Im too tired. Got back at 3am last night. Was out with my cousin-in-law Allen (it was his birthday), cousin bro Leong Jr, Jenny, Kok Keong and of course Rommel.. Tonight was Prem's wedding reception so just got home and I want to sleep... *yawn*... Night..

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Shopping spree in Singapore

Finally, here are some shots of some of the craft items I got in Golden Dragon Store, People's Park Centre, Singapore. Am definitely planning to go back there when I next go down to SG... which should be in 3 weeks! Yippee..

Scraps of Japanese cloth, bought by my sis to make accessories or komono for her kimono collection... Bought by me to use as the lining for bags I hopefully will knit in future.. Or I can sew up accessories using these gorgeous cloth too. At S$2.90-5.00 per roll, I'd say they were a good buy..

Oh these were not bought in Golden Dragon but the craft shop in Ngee Ann City (take the escalators right in front of the Louis Vuitton and Chanel stores all the way to the top..). I used to make my own greeting cards using my stamps, embossing ink and powders, mainly Christmas cards. I wanted to make some last week after coming back but to my horror, my mom massacred my beloved stamps. I was really upset with her last week for that. She didnt even tell me that she was taking the stamps and the while kit to church for the kids to use.. and didnt bother cleaning the stamps when she brought them home. All my years of collecting wasted just like that. Sis and I spent most of the afternoon cleaning the stamps as best we could but the damage has been done. The inkpads are also ruined, same with the cleaning tools and cleaning pad. Sigh... Now I need to go hunt for that shop I bought it from.. Just hope it's still opened.

More from Golden Dragon.. kits to make pom-poms, flowers and a knitting tool to make rope. I have yet to decipher the instructions since some are in Japanese but in time, I shd be able to figure them out.

Kits to make different types of Chinese knots. There were more kits there for other types of knots but I decided to get 2 first and try them out. Mom's stash - she got 3D stickers which we can use to make greeting cards. She also got loads of iron-on patches for the kids to use in the craft session. I'm happy she got them cos that means a lesser chance of her using my stamps again.. (I know I am painfully obsessive about the state of my craft items but then a lot of these have been "found" in various shops over the years and there is a chance I may not find a replacement.. Money cant buy everything)

Anyway, my sister and brother are flying back to London tmrw. Dad just waltzed by and announced that the temperature is -4'C now over there... I miss the cold.. I really do. This is the time of the year I hibernate and sleep 14 hours a day.. It's been so long since I've been able to do that.

Oh yes, we just got back from the A&W PJ drive-in for rootbeer floats.. yum.. and Im stuffed.. Now listening to some jazz on my new iPod.. this is lulling me to sleep so I better start walking around and bug my sis and bro.. Ta..

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Past knitting projects..

My brother has yet again noted that despite the fact that my blog is supposed to be about knitting AND eating, I seem to focus more on the food bit.. Well, to a certain extent that is true, esp since I definitely eat everyday as opposed to maybe knitting every other day or sometimes even less than that!

So anyway, I dug out my complete projects and took pictures of them.. Unfortunately, most of the nice stuff have either ben given away or I left them in England cos my sis has more opportunities using them there.. This is what I have left with me..

The first is my baby blanket. Took me 2 years to complete (although not all 2 years was spent on this project alone.. I get bored easily and like to do a few projects at a go..) There was no particular pattern that I followed. I just opened my stitch library book, decided on a few designs and started knitting.

I initially intended to make this for my cousin's baby daughter but by the time I completed it, she was already pregnant with her son (who, btw, just turned a year old in Nov). I couldnt bear to part with it after slaving over it for so long so Im keeping it, perhaps for my own baby.. God knows when that'll happen!

Ah my next project was a fun one. My first crochet piece. I bought this "Teach yourself crochet" set and got all excited with it. Finished this in 2 days I think. Simple, easy and I wouldnt mind making a few more for friends. I later got this book called "Sexy little knits" which has loads of patterns for bikinis and other skimpy outfits.. Perfect for hot Malaysian weather! I have a few projects in there that I'm interested in making for my friends since those are more useable here... Soon soon, when I have time!

Next: My first hat attempt. I say attempt cos I didnt bother testing out the sizing and tension before starting on it... so the end result is a bit too big. But it's okay. I plan to try felting it someday soon - since that makes it shrink a little.. Hopefully that helps or one of my teddy bears can have a new hat!

I just made another cap for my brother cos he complained that he needed one for cold winter days in England. Since I have loads of yarn lying around, I quickly crocheted a cap up for him. I need him to pose with it soon so that I can post the pic up.. Has to be done tmrw cos he's flying back to England on Thursday!

Finally, here is my first pineapple crochet project - now happily placed on my bedside table, underneath my table lamp. I took this picture while this was still work-in-progress.

I still have many various projects I've done in the past which I kept - mainly out of embarassment cos I consider those my "learning curves". I plan to take those out someday and reuse the yarn for other projects... in due time, in due time..

My current project is my lace top which I have to complete the front and back portions before I go back to Lily Handicraft in Sg Wang to continue my lessons. My pace is currently VERY slow, I need to speed up.. but so far all looks good... pics coming soon... Ta..

Past food pics - random

I was looking through my pictures folder and found some old pics I'd taken of stuff I baked during the past year.. Here are some of the prettier shots.. I cant wait until our kitchen is done! We are currently refurbishing and extending our kitchen/dining area so I'll soon have my own baking corner to fit all my stuff AND the family collection of cook books (my sis and I make a hobby out of collecting cook b0oks - we may not necessarily bother baking/cooking what's in the books but we sure as hell love reading them!)

Anyway, here's my pics, pls excuse the poor photography and baking skills - to be improved..

Choc cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes - my sis and I were very free that day so we did the decorating..

We wrapped the cupcakes into these rattan baskets which we then gave to our neighbours to try.. Lovely neighbours we have, since they willing became our samplers/critics. I also gave one to my colleague Sunaina as her birthday present.

I think these were choc chip cupcakes..

And plain vanilla cupcakes..

Below: another baking session - blueberry muffins. The frozen blueberries, I suspect, weren't the best quality. These muffins sadly did not turn out as expected so we threw them all out.

Below: Cupcakes again (at one point, I had a craze to bake cupcakes.. But it was good cos trial and error helped to perfect the recipe)

Below: a random pic of my dad's fried chicken marinated with curry powder.. looks good..