My first month in Österreich!

***As I have had more culture shock here, the content of my ramblings are a bit different than what you saw from me in Singapore.  Not to worry, I am still eating and drinking my way through the continent.***

4 May

Künstlerhaus Museum-i put the Steiermark season pass to work.  Small, but thought-provoking exhibit on words as a window to film. 

3 May

Bier Baron-average Austrian beer; burger was awful.  I am sticking with my transition to wine.  

2 may 2014

So my Euros have come in, so I can finally move into the new apartment. The agent confirms earlier in the week that power is on.  So we go to the house for the formal key swapping; of course the power has been cut off.  The agent has forms for two power companies that can supply my building.  Given my shitty German, I decide to pay a visit to the utility that has an office in Graz instead of trying to speak over the phone.  I get in to that building, where there is no reception and wander into a room with people. They finally understand that I am looking for new service; however, they so not provide service to my building.  They give me the name of the correct company. 

I make it to the office of this utility and set up my new utility account.  I inform them that I need power before the end of the day.  That is not a problem but a guy has to come over to the unit.  He will come by between 15:00 and 17:00.  So, I will not be able to go to work at all today.  At 17:00, no one has called or showed so I call the utility company.  They have no record of my appointment.  Luckily, this person understands some English and sets up a new appointment for 18:00-20:00. 

Afraid of getting hosed twice, I call the utility company with half an hour to go in my window.  At this time, customer service is down to their B squad.  This means no one speaks a lick of English.  I hang up in mid sentence, since my three months of German lessons did not cover how to deal with a utility company.  I call again hoping maybe the next person to answer will speak English.  Fail.  Luckily, between my terrible German and Google translate, she is able to confirm the appointment and that someone will be there in the time allotted.  The guy showed up in the last 10 minutes of the window, unlocked a panel, and flipped a switch.  That is it.  At least I had power.  It only cost me ten hours of my life.

I did not go to work after all that BS.

1 May

Schloss Gamlitz-the first place I have been to that does wine sampling.  Why do more buschenschanks and gasthauses do this?

Liebnitz has a cute little hauptplatz

Römermuseum Flavia Solva-in a word (or two): half-assed.  This site in South Styria was the only Roman city in Austria.  That sounds promising, right?  WRONG. The museum is just some displays of coins and pots in the window of a decentish cafe (Koppitz).  You can wander the former excavation site, but the interesting stuff has been pilfered off to other museums.  Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Silberberg Wine discovery path – everything is in German.  Fail.  I put on my hiking boots for this?  I gave up a hundred meters in after it started raining. 

30 April

Stainzerhof-Real Madrid destroys FCC Bayern.  A lot of players fell down and grabbed their shin (including Mssr. Ronaldo).  During player confrontations, there is a lot of gesturing and yelling-maybe even a shove.  I have never thought that I could go mano y mano with a professional athlete, but I am thinking if a soccer player does not have a medic to spray water or that magic spray for them I may have a puncher‘s chance.  Is it true that soccer players do not even bother training upper bodies?

The food and wine were both fantastic. 

26 April

Gasthaus Lindenwirt

Steirisches Backhandl (Styrian Fried Chicken FTW!)

YES, I went to the Arnold Schwarzenegger museum and YES it was amazeballs!  The only other patrons there were American tourists who were also having a good laugh.  It was, of course, ridiculous, but I had a great time chitchatting with the guy working there.  He actually works out at the Governator‘s old gym in Graz, AND Arnie‘s old training partner is there a lot.  Arnie‘s coach makes sporadic appearances at the gym, as well.  I will have to check this gym out!

25 April

Irish cappuccino can have non-alcoholic whiskey.  Why would I put up with the lactose and excessive sweetness, if there is no buzz at the end of the rainbow?  Turrible.

On the 23rd, I went to an expat happy hour.  I have spent a lot of time today reading about the adjustment phases of being an expat as I am deathly afraid of repeating the experience I had in Aberdeen (over a decade ago!).  In Singapore, there was no real culture shock as I initially lived with foreigners and had an expat crew right off the bat.  I am beginning to appreciate that the Europeans I meet outside of their home countries and those in their home countries are different animals.  While in Singapore, I did not spend too much time with super expatty expats.  Here, I think that will be a useful crutch given the cultural differences and at least until mein Deutsche ist funktionert mehr.

23 April

Internations Happy Hour at Hemingway’s, Graz

Yup, still lactose intolerant  ☹

21 April

I am beginning to think that people that have interacted repeatedly with me see me as a stupid kid or dog.  Whenever I master a new aspect of the German language, they all but pet my head and give me a treat.  I cannot tell if they are impressed that this dumb Amurrikan is absorbing culture or if they are being patronizing.

Mauthausen

Cafe Am Kai-I asked for a „speisekarte“.  The waitress said that food is served next door.  What I needed to ask for was a „getrankekarte“.  I guess a menu is not really a menu, and I was supposed to ask for a drink and snack list (and not a menu).  Who‘s bright idea was it to make German such an unnecessarily complex language?

Mauthausen concentration camp-wow, that was real.  This is one of the few concentration camps in existence that was not completely destroyed after the war, although the retreating SS tries to destroy as much evidence as possible before the Americans liberated the place.  We think of the automotive companies in Detroit as part of the Arsenal of Democracy.  How should we look at the German and Austrian auto companies (including the one I presently work for)?  Life is certainly complicated.  Another interesting aspect was the engineering of the complex and sourcing of suppliers (something I could certainly relate to).

20 April

Hotel Post, St. Valentine-so the bathtub is in the bedroom.  I managed to take a shower without soaking my bed – I will take the win.

Madame Wu‘s-so much tea!  And xiao long pao (which I was too full to try).  Again, the staff here is trilingual.  I am too timid to break out my Chinese.

Abbey, Wilhering-beautiful ceiling artwork (frescoes?). Well worth the short drive from Linz

Pöstlingberg Schlössl

Frohe Ostern Alles!

I just beat the Easter rush.  One advantage to rolling solo all the time is I can usually squeeze in somewhere even when all tables are full.

19 April

Why did I think it was September all this time?  I am a moron.

Jindrak Cafe

The Linzer Torte was spectacular-better than the Sacher Torte.  The „omelette“ (like a dessert taco, with a soft cookie shell filled with strawberry cream and strawberries) was also superlative.

Being around Austrian drivers is putting soccer floppery and theatrics into perspective.  I will need to continue to develop a hypothesis around this.

Neuer Dom-simply spectacular.  2nd tallest church in Austria and lots of stained glass art.

Cubus

Cool riverside view and clever Asian fusion menu.  Asian fusion may be a thing in Linz.  Pretty decent music.

ARS Electronica-a very worthy use of time.  The animation shorts were very entertaining and I had no idea how much more serious about privacy they are here.  Somehow, second-hand smoke wafting into my lungs is not an invasion of my personal rights (but I digress).

Royal Bombay Palace

They are desi and I am pretty sure their English better than the „locals“ and they still have their native tongue and German.  How did they end up in Linz?

Like every other place,  they have a full liquor license.  Those must be easier to obtain when your country is not run by people who think they are on a mission from God.  How was the US founded by people looking for religious freedom, but we are more religiously conservative than the country our ancestors came from?

BTW-second highest Rated restaurant in Linz on Tripadvisor, and it is hard to disagree with.

Gelbis Krokodil (in the culture quarter-artists and musicians culture, not lederhosen culture)

18 September

Linz

Cook

Asian-Scandinavian.  The place has the simple elegance you expect from all things Nordic and a open kitchen set up like an Asian hawker.  awesome.  I hate liver, but this place reeked of greatness so I gave it a whirl.  They made liver taste palatable and damn near good.  How is it not packed?  This place in a large cosmopolitan city would have a butt in every seat and a line stretching down the block waiting for a table.  Wonders never cease.

Stieglitz

The Stiegl here is way better than the garbage I had in Toronto.  That bar in T-dot was pretty blah, so I do not regret forgetting its name.  The weisse here is pretty solid.

The Old Dubliner

They have a decent bottle selection-more Belgian beers than Irish.  They even have the proper glassware for Kwak ale.  Unfortunately, there is no one here for me to speak English with.  :-(

17 September

Dubbing non-German stuff on TV is bad enough, but Lion King?  C‘mon! The guy who did German Mufassa had no where near the same gravitas as James Earl Jones (RIP).

16 Sept

Real Madrid vs Barca was entertaining.  The B-list drama and flopping was kept to a level that did normal end turn the tube off.  Of course commentary was in German.

14 Sept

Ugh-they have the same agent dipshittery with apartments they had in Singapore.  ZERO VALUE ADD.

13 Sept

Rauch-hof, Stainz

Make a reservation; otherwise, you will be lucky to be stuck at the bar.  Otherwise, this was one of the great eating out experiences I have had in Europe.  I wonder if the guy serving bar, Willi, was one of the owners.  He was spectacular.  Usually, sitting at a bar is super uncomfortable and generally no one does it at restaurants.  Here, Willi made it worthwhile.  He walked me through the menu (get the veal cheeks-lightly fried but so tender) and was impressed with my interest in local wines.  He said his daughter saw me at the wine festival last week at the Stainz castle.  Being the only brown person for miles, I suppose people will remember me.  He even served me wine that he got from a neighboring vineyard that was not even on the [short but great] wine list, some sort of white blend whose vintage I will unfortunately never remember.  All of the food is sourced locally.  While I am no locavore (I am Amurrikan), the freshness of the ingredients really added to the meal.  Compliments of the chef, I received an amuse bouche of fried veggies – DAMN.  Willi asked if I had room for dessert.  I told him if there was something he liked, I would find room.  BAM!  Carrot cake with lemon icing.  Spectacular.  I will be back . . . . SOON.

The Schilcher trails are pretty terrible.  Without a good map and GPS, you will get lost.  Plus, there are lots of climbs and drops so you will most definitely break a sweat.  If you do not mind stopping every so often to consult a map, it can be entertaining mountain biking.

Wait-Why can I not watch movies online here in Österreich?  What kind of BS is that?

12 Sept

Casa Rossa, Stainz

Why do they beer and then actually add head to it?  Does anyone actually believe that the foam tastes good?  Is it purely for aesthetic reasons?  Turrible-I am the idiot for not ordering wine.

Asparagus is in season

Cafe Parkhouse-sweet location in StadtPark.  The park is chill with cool statues and stuff.  They seem to have a lot of beers, too.

“Wow, nature is cool.  Let’s ruin it by smoking.”-says everyone here

Checked out my first apt-it is a definite step up from the Buschenschank.  Never swing at the first pitch.

11 Sept

I have a bank card!  (But 0 Euros in the account)

10 Sept

I have a residence permit-it only took two tries.

But I still am not allowed to work.  I hate that I left a day of boarding and a night at the hotel on the table like that-at least it was a good deal.

orange Cafe-close to work, nur pizza für essen

9 Sept

Arkadenhof (partners with Pub O’Cino), Leoben.

Pub O’Cino had a cool crowd, but my tapeworm needs food.  I think they have all the same beers at Arkadenhof, so no compromises here.

Cake day at johannahof!   Homemade tiramisu FTW.  Great way to say good bye to the Kitzsteinhorn.

Whiteout!  It took all day, but I can ride reasonably comfortably without being able to see past my board.

Alpincenter-seeing the glacier is a fail do to visibility (obvs)

Back to work -

8 sept

Tauern Spa: The spa to end all spas. Shelling out extra for the sauna is the way to go.  The spa downstairs is dominated by super annoying kids and teenagers, although the outdoor heated salt pool has a cool view of the adjacent mountains.  The young‘ns were too much so I retreated to the saunas.

Yup, I did it.   I took the naked sauna plunge.  I was kind of expecting hippy hollow meets Turkish bath.  That was not the case.  Obviously a lot of old folks.  In the naked area, I was one of the younger people there.    I have to say putting yourself out there like this is super liberating.  Plus, the steam room did wonders for my cough.  I cannot wait to do this again.

Pizzeria Paletti’s-music and Paulaner

7 Sept

Pavillion Après Ski

The staff drink and the patrons smoke.  Holler

Hilberger’s Beisl

Authentic local food, Hofbrau on tap, die Wiesse Salzburger bier.  YUM

Intersport Superstore-Superhelpful, they found a binding solution for my crappy board and gave me a discount in the amount of the rental.  End of season sale was an added bonus.

Alps 1, Bindings 0 (at least I now know what off-piste is)

I think I have mastered the damn T-bar without making as ass of myself.  

Gletschermühle

This place is not as much of a madhouse as the Alpincentre and seeing how I hate people, this place was perfect.  The food was spectacular and they have legit veggie options-I will vouch for the Spinatknockerl (spinach spaetzle).  Their pastry display was pleading with me, but I stood strong.

Kaprun-this is a cross section of Europe.  From England to Eastern Europe, they are all here to ride the glacier Kitzsteinhorn.  That means people will speak English!

6 September

Tafern, Kaprun

Laundry was a two hour affair, and my clothes still had to be hung up to be dried.  As soon as all my clothes were hung out, it started raining.  Of course.

Benedictine Abbey, Admont

I really came for the library.  Thanks to the whole laundry affair, I only had 20 minutes to spend there.  That was still worth the price of admission, a sprint through the fine art museum had me wishing I did not care so much about clean draw’s.  First world problems.  The chapel is free to enter and was of course stunning. I highly recommend a visit through the whole complex here.

5 September

Restaurant Mediteran

The mixed souvlaki platter was unremarkable.  The Styrian salad that came with it was spectacular.  I had Edelweiss for the first time-these guys have been at it for over 3 ½ centuries!  It shows-probably the best Austrian weißbier I have had so far.

Cafe Lex, Stainz

After a bit of wandering and photonerdery, i needed to refuel with some melange (a sort of Wiener cappuccino) and some dessert that tasted as beautiful as it looked (Schoko Weidselfoilchen?).  Chocolate, cake, and mousse . . . topped off with jam?  Yes, please!

Between the Yelp and Tripadvisor apps, I never have to have a game plan for how I want to entertain myself.  While I understand that the websites serve two purposes, I am one of many who would be better served if the two sites merged and kept their constituent functionalities.

Schloss Stainz

When I cruised through Stainz last night, it seemed so nice I had to come back and visit it twice.  The Schloss seemed like a logical point, especially since a colleague recommended it.  This is THE dominating landmark of Stainz, and the castle sits on a hill overlooking the rest of the town.  There are free agricultural and hunting museums-the vast majority of content was German but it is still worth a quick wander (especially given the price is right).  I had more fun wandering the grounds taking pictures of the towers from various vantage points.  The church is absolutely stunning; just wander in and stand in awe of the splendor.

2 April

Having come to terms with the fact that I could not start working, as my residence permit had not processed, I made the next logical move.  I went snow boarding!  Because of its more comprehensible website, I ended up at Gerlitzen in neighboring Kärnten state.  The sun was out and it was definite spring skiing, but 2000m was more mountain than all of the hills I have been to in Michigan stacked together (by like 3x).  The only black run open was not really challenging (I am obviously an expert), but I was thoroughly befuddled by the damn T-bar that gets you to the top of that run.  F that thing!  The terrain park had more features than my feeble capabilities would allow for, but was on par with Pine Knob in Detroit (Michigan hills are underrated for how they actually use their terrain).

Their is one run that tells you your speed, but I kept losing my momentum right before the radar gun (as I am a wimp).  I think I topped out at 40 km/hr, although I definitely went faster on other parts of the mountain.  All in all, it was a great time as I only had to share the mountain with only a dozen or so other people.  Next time, I will have to check out the nearby Villach Brewery for après ski.  C’est la vie!

Life is crazy . . .

So after long last, I have moved back to Detroit, Mi.  I will discuss that on a later date (or you can go old school and call me).  I kinda stopped blogging in between legs of the Filipino trip discussed below.  Stay tuned for a later update.

8 December
Subhani Family Stall (Clementi Ave 2)-everyone was eating radioactive-looking mee goreng.  I had sup kambing.  Everyone is a winner.9 December
Food for Thought-I will say it: I love fruity beer.  Their fried curry chicken is ginormous and delicious.  Their red velvet . . . Not near as much.  The au gratin potatoes were wonderfully cheesy.  The pesto pasta was also tasty.

Usman’s-the grape shishah is not as potent as the apple, but my lungs probably appreciate that.

Prague-the dark lager is quite tight.  Why does this place close so early?

Youtube/beer pong combos are always welcome.  Shooters keep shooting; I keep missing.

10 December
Keppel Rd-the masala thosai is pretty tasty

Prive, Keppel Bay-for the second time this weekend, we found that “all day” breakfast stops at 5.  There is nothing bad here-we end up eating the whole menu and struggling through a bottle of wine-my liver hates me.  There is no sunset view, but the marina is both baller and romantic.

11 December
LRT to Karu’s Banana Leaf Curry.  The LRT is like a radio control van that runs on a fixed guideway.
Karu’s does not skimp.  The fishhead curry is delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed tearing into the soft, flaky cheek meat.  There was enough flesh to generously cover my lunch the next day.  The chicken curry was also tasty and will provide fodder for lunch for the day after that.  It was too beautiful not to order.  In asking for more rice for the takeaway, we unwittingly were charged for a briyani set.  No matter, as that meant we got the cabbage and the curry vegetables that came with it.

12 December
Khansama-I finally got my hands on some daal ghosht.  Mutton – check, daal – check, delicious curry – double check!

13 December
Pinnacle@Duxton Skybridge-at 50 stories up, we have a solid view of the downtown skyline and the Tooth Relic Museum.  Unfortunately, we could not see much of the Marina Bay Sands (just the tip).  Sunset was somewhat disappointing thanks to cloud cover and probably pollution.  For $5, I support this.  We were reprimanded for having wine, though.
Street ice cream-only a buck and it freakishly does not melt.  The mocha chip was tasty.

Thai Accent-the green curry was delicious while the stir-fried basil minced chicken was a bit off (under-cooked, perhaps?).  Plus, they were out of mango sticky rice.  Double boo.

14 December
Rong Guang BBQ Seafood-mmm – sweet and sour pork.  The chicken fried in curry leaves is also good.

15 December
Toast Box-the peanut toast is cooked over charcoal and has no butter.  YUP!

The Circle Line is delayed for the second time in a row . . . Ahhh growing pains

Clementi Mall Food Court, Beef noodle stall-Beef kway teow is rich and no doubt artery clogging.  My colleague tells me it is overpriced, at a whopping $6.  Eh
The guava at the fruit stall is suspect and not what I imagined at all.  Have I been bamboozled?

17 December
Lucky Plaza-I jammed my toe on every corner coming out of the escalator.  Bullshit!  The mall is sketchier than the glitzier ones elsewhere on Orchard Rd.
Ria Ayam Penyet-so much hype.  The chicken tasted okay, but the quality of the cut was not so good.

7-legged race/pub crawl
Of course we pit stopped at Senor Taco-they love us

18 December
Wild Honey-I [of course] had the sweet breakfast which was mango-stuffed french toast with mascarpone cheese and berry compote.  This would have been epic without the mango.
The Tunisian breakfast was also tasty, but I would have preferred scrambled eggs to the fried variety.
I had a bit of buyer’s remorse in not getting the traditional English breakfast.  The bacon looked like the dank.

Oriole Cafe-I am not enough of a coffee drinker to confirm or deny if the latte is Singapore’s best, but it does pack a punch strength-wise.  The art in the froth sure is pretty.

Erik’s Wuesterland-the cheese sausage and the bratwurst are the dank.  The pretzels are best when they are fresh.  I prefer them just barely over the onion rolls.

19 December
Seah Im FC, Aspirasi-why is this the only fish-free sambal I have come across in Singapore?  The tomato fried rice [in the tomato sambal chicken rice] is generous and delicious.  The golden fried chicken and fried floss are the star attraction of this all-star cast.  I am not sure why the workers are weird about having pictures taken-this is a Singaporean thing I will not understand.
The phad thai at Thaksin’s next door is rather fishy-consider that curiosity satisfied.

20 December
Old Chang Kee-they are down to only a handful of things for the day.  The chicken curry puff was not one of them, so I went with a chicken mushroom puff with low expectations.  BOOM!  It was piping hot and tasted like delicious English pub food.  You cannot spell rock without OCK.

Zamzam-no holy water here.  They are out of deer biryani, the lamb shank (yes, a whole shank) biryani is a more than acceptable substitute.  The rice is proper biryani rice, even though the lamb is not cooked in it.  The deer in the deer murtabak is not discernable from their mutton.  That said, this is the tastiest murtabak I have ever had.  There will be an internal debate in my brain regarding whether I go back for the deer biryani.

21 December
Thai Street Food, Keppel Rd-I love that hawkers are a rare illustration of flexibility in Singapore.  Olive-fried rice instead of steamed rice with basil chicken: no problem.  Along with the green curry chicken, it was all delicious.

Waiting for the 191-50 minutes of my life gone.

Holland Village FC-the grilled skate with sambal may be the best in Singapore.  The special fried rice (only Taz knows how to order it) is equally good.  The deep fried wings from the western/nasi lemak stall are also special.

22 December
Marche-strawberry crepes with mascarpone and sausage rosti; both are amazing!  The apple crumble cake was too dry-more apple and less crumble would have sealed the deal.

French Stall-My expectations were way too high.  The garlic pesto bread and cauliflower soup were delightful.  The escargot were good, but not particularly memorable.  The sea bass would have been much better grilled so that the skin would have been crisp.  At least we ended on a high note with the chocolatey profiteroles.

23 December
Chinatown, Smith St Complex-we wondered if the cramped design with overwhelming layout was on purpose to scare off non-Singaporeans/Chinese.  No matter, down to business.
Xin Xuan Pancakes-fresh peanut pancakes.  No surprises here.
Hong Kong 101-noodles and standard fare . . . Eh
Hong Kong Mongkok Tim Sum-char siew bao: possibly the best evar!  Soft, pillowy crust oozing with char siew goodness.  Love it!
Char siew chee cheong fan-I initially wanted the prawn variant to mix things up, but was swayed by the guy making the bao to go pork.  He is a wise man.

On the way to work, I see two friends running to get on the MRT.  One makes it as the train closes its doors and the other gets left behind.  Way to be a team player.

Bakerzin-chocolate Souffle (Singapore bucket list).  A supplemental dosage of raspberry mascarpone was also very yum.  The carbonara linguini made the meal a bit substantive even though we were not even a little hungry.

The Ides of March-The movie was great.  Politicians are scumbags.

24 December

Peramakan (Singapore bucket list)-DIZZAMM!  Everything is dank.  The ayam buah keluak and lamb SHANK rendang are both so tender you can eat them with a spoon.  I also end up sopping up all the curry with extra steamed rice.  The sambal fried seafood rice is also a solid accompaniment.  The banana (fosteresque) apom desert was an excellent (excessive) cap.

Marina Square-serious billiards, not so serious bowling.  Why would the bowling folks give us cacophonous children’s party favours?  Terrible (GREAT) idea.  Any of the Singaporeans that think they can bowl seriously may be a bit mistaken.

Zouk, Ferry Corsten (bucket list?)-dude brought old school back.  Aditim thought his set was too Tiesto-ey.  Whatever-still a great show.  The club is pretty dope with a great light and sound set-up.  This is how I should be spending my last weekend in Singapore.  There is so much Asian red face here.  The capper has to be two Singaporean friends passed out on the sidewalk outside the club puking all over each other.  The sidewalk in general was not passable due to the puke.

25 December
Paulaner Christmas brunch (bucket list)-I definitely prefer the lager to the Munchen, at least for breakfast purposes.  They brought their A-game pork knuckle, which is greatly appreciated.
A strategery that worked for me is:

  1. Grab a beer
  2. Grab a plate of food
  3. Finish the food
  4. Finish the beer
  5. Repeat until stomach explodes

Normanton Park tippy cup (sans relay)-the antagonistic Malay security guard was not there.  Bummer.

Nasrin’s (Arab St)-ordering 2 nargileh was a bad idea.  The hummus shwarma was a great idea.  I shall miss springy, tender kampong chicken.

26 December
Wild Honey (unfinished business)-I had to go back for the English breakfast.  Bacon this good must be experienced.  The scrambled eggs were runny like I prefer them.  The New York breakfast is also tasty, but they are a bit too liberal with the sturgeon for my taste (fish!).  The bagel is formidable, though.

Hunting for monitor lizards on Sentosa.  FAIL-the Sungei Buloh reserve would have been a better bet.  I had a good time snapping night shots of the Merlion and navigating around timid tourists on the luge.  The best was someone that came to a complete halt in front of me on a fast stretch.  The consequences of indecision in a soapbox flying downhill are greater than those coming off an escalator.  It is all annoying, though.

We revisited the much-hyped (and imitated) 328 Katong Laksa (bucket list).  The laksa without cockles was far better than I remembered.   Even more fascinating was the conversation between my Indian girlfriend and my Chinese language speaking partner-really uncanny how similar their experiences in Singapore and abroad were.

Awfully chocolate-big ups for selling to us after they closed, a rare instance of customer service.  The poached chocolate was spectacular, although I could have done with much less topping.

27 December
West Coast FC-claypot tofu with vegetables.  A welcome healthy change of pace.

Why are so many bus drivers here in such a hurry?  Do they get a bonus for not stopping for passengers and returning home?  I wish they recognized the middle finger here, so I do not look line an idiot gesturing madly (too late).

Chako’s-what I forgot about this place is that only the matriarch cooks here and that she makes everything by hand.  If there is someone other than you in the joint, you will be a-waiting for your food.  It took about an hour to get our first dish, and she literally makes one dish at a time.  That said, this is the best Japanese cooked food I have ever had in my life.  The chicken katsu curry was dank and the miso mackerel was just delightful.  The gyoza were a bit flat (nothing a little soy sauce and chili oil could not cure), but the outer shell was superlative.  The handmade ice creams are worth trying, too; the banana is better than the mango.  If I lived here, I would make it my mission to work through the menu.  (Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time.)

28 December
Before I go to restaurants, I usually check out a website called HungryGoWhere-a sort of poor man’s Yelp!  My favourite review I have read where a couple went to a beer bar and reviewed the food.  Neither of the two even bothered with the beer-which is not surprising, since there are probably Muslim countries with higher rates of alcohol consumption.
Every commenter on the site has a food blog.  This is not surprising since Singapore is such a great food destination.  Every blog sight is identical-pictures and a few lines about the food.  Also, the bloggers generally do not know anything about food-only that they liked something or they didn’t.  The only food blog that transcends this is IeatIshootIpost; his hawker stall reviews are how I have learned about this cuisine even though his restaurant reviews are hit or miss.

I love the Cafe l’ Cair stall at NUS’ Business School canteen.  $2.70 for delicious mutton, fragrant rice, salad, and an Arabic samosa.  Huzzah!

I figured out that the reason I can never catch a good sunset in Singapore is because it occurs out west, where my view is blighted by the pollution generated out in Tuas and Jurong Island.  Hopefully, I will catch a good one in Tioman this weekend.

La Baroque-not as “hype” as insomnia, but I rather enjoy not having to box out to get drinks during free flow.

Senor Taco-I am legend

29 December
Mughal Sweets (bucket list), Little India Arcade-ras malai, pakora and samosa

Tekka Centre-
Pisang goreng-this would have been superlative out of the fryer.  The perfect banana and breading were let down by virtue of being left out.
Appam-this fermented rice whatnot is seriously growing on me.  Crisp on the edges, but soft and pillowy in the middle.

30 December
Senki-fresh salmon sashimi, soft shell crab rolls, curry udon . . . It is all good

Winebos-I love the new location (just around the corner from the old one in Kampong Glam).  At free flow, the wine is really good and my glass never goes empty.  Huzzah!

Ya Mahyuddin-they do not have daalcha.  SKIP.

Brinda’s-mutton keema at 3am.  Boom!  Thosai also can.

31 December
I have never been happier to eat at McDonald’s (which may be one of the better offerings at the Changi Budget Terminal).

The Tioman Airport is tiny, easily the smallest international airport I have been in.  We grab a sea taxi to Kg Paya and are excited by the break in the monsoon rains and the tropical paradise scenery.
We get to Paya and it is absolutely dead; I am reasonably certain we were the only tourists in the village.  We try our hand at snorkeling: nature 1, us 0.  The choppy swells and murky waters (monsoon season) defeat our best efforts.  We give up and make our way back to Paya Beach Resort to catch the sunset, easily the most glorious exercise of the day.  We grab dinner from the limited restaurant menu (they do not even have steamed rice!) and then catch a nap before a private NYE.
There is literally nothing to do in Paya.  Even in the peak season, there would be the hotel bar and a few food stands more than is open now.  The beach is slightly above average here, so I really do not know what the draw is here.  Lonely Planet warned that Paya is the one place in Tioman overrun by KLers and Singaporeans.  The village is fun only because of the company.

1 January 2012
We decide to eat the transport costs and head to Juara for the seasonal surfing-brilliant decision.  We had to hire a boat to get to Tekek and then a 4WD to drive a pretty treacherous path to Juara-about $70 round trip from Paya.

Juara was amazing-I would recommend staying here if you go to Tioman in the off-peak season.  I am not sure if I see the value of going anywhere in Tioman during the peak season, other than for the diving.

The surf was slightly choppy (it is raining pretty hard) but very ridable-I do end up actually catching a few waves once I remember what I am doing.  Between bouts of being tossed around by the waves, we hang out at the Surf Shack Beach Hut.  The owner, Jim, is awesome.  He is an Aussie who has lived/surfed in Malaysia since he was 7.  He drank with our ragtag bunch of backpackers and kept us fueled with cheap food and booze.  Even renting boards was cheap (I think 60 ringgit for 2 people’s worth of food, beer, and one surf board rental).  All in all, good times.

3 January
Cafe Le Cairo-
Adas bil Hamod (lentils)
Gibna Mahrus (feta cheese)-this was really weird, too cheesy and tasted like something I would find on the salad bar of a fast food place.  The other two appetizers were pretty tasty.
Hummus bil Tomato (chickpeas)
Chicken Bukhari-this was good, but not near as epic as I remember or built up in my mind.  The chicken had hardly any meat on the bones, despite being well seasoned and prepared.

4 January
Ayer Rajah FC-I was looking for the murtabak that a friend ordered but instead I happened upon “Probably the Best Briyani in Singapore”.  Of course these were delusions of grandeur, but this could have been good . . . Really good.  The flavours and seasonings were okay, but the meat was cooked at too high a temperature and not for long enough.  This is pretty inexcusable given that meat in briyani here is cooked separately from the rice.  I did get a nice workout trying to slice through the mutton, though.
While we are at it, the mango juice from the fruit stall across the aisle was a disappointment, too.  The sourish mango was masked by an overabundance of sugar.
Hate hate hate . . .

Pepper crabs (bucket list), Spottiswood Park-I have not eaten crabs enough in Singapore.  This is not on the level of Mellben’s or Joo Chiat, but the taste is up to par.  The claws were a bit wimpy, though.  The claypot veggies and fried bee hoon were standard fare.

5 January
You see tons of Maseratis here, tons, but I have only seen one Aston Martin since I moved to Singapore.  I wonder why there is so little love for James Bonds’ ride?

1-Altitude: what sets this rooftop bar apart is that it is in the middle of the skyline, has fun music, has a loungey feel, and is very reasonably priced.  We ordered a bottle of Yamikaze whiskey to keep the going away party going.  This was a great idea.

6 January
Chili Padi-I was guilted into going here.  The curry chicken set met my abysmal expectations.  My colleagues seemed really enthralled with the Peranakan buffet.

What an interesting last day at work.  I got taken out for lunch two days in a row by colleagues, but the exit process is virtually non-existent.  I wanted to call one person out, and they deprived me of that pleasure by not being there.  At any rate, I am convinced that good-byes are necessarily awkward.  Luckily, I was not so attached to this place.  The best one was one colleague who hoped that I find what I was looking for.  Off I go in search of my sunset.

7 January
Again, we find ourselves at the McDonald’s at the budget terminal.  Terrible and great all at once.  We make it to Cebu to connect to Legaspi.  In the Philippines, long metallic objects have to be checked in: goodbye umbrella and camera tripod.  Unwittingly, I leave my phone at security-the fourth phone I have lost or broken since moving to Singapore if you are counting at home.

We make it to Legaspi, whose airport affords incredible views while you are walking on the tarmac from the plane to the building.  My understanding is that there is absolutely nothing cool about Legaspi except attacking nearby Mt. Mayon.  We hop on a tricycle (tuk tuk/auto rickshaw/etc.) to the bus station.  The bus is a minivan packed to the gills, and once it can hold no more people, off we go to Donsol.

We knew Donsol would be pretty undeveloped, but we were still shocked when we got there.  We took a tricycle straight to the resort area near the Butanding Tourist Center.  While we were mulling our hotel options, we chowed down on some food at Mommy Nem’s in the Woodlands/Vitton Resort.  Mommy Nem’s can fry a mean chicken!  This would be the first of many trips to this delicious Filipino eatery.

After checking in, we catch the early sunset.  Even though the Philippines are pretty far east of Singapore, they are in the same time zone.  Weird.  We then head down to the river crossing to try to catch the fireflies by the water.  Fail-it starts pouring, so we give up and head back to the resort to drink by ourselves.  We ate there, too, but the food was salty and generally forgetable.

8 January
After waking up, we grab breakfast at the resort restaurant.  This is our last meal at this place, as not being able to fry an omelette is pretty inexcusable.

After rustling up some other tourists to share a boat (or rather getting rustled up), we embark on what we came to do in the Philippines: find whale sharks.  Fail-after cruising around the boat in light drizzle, we see nothing.  I am pretty sure that the “Butanding Interaction Officer” does not actually know anything about the creatures.

We are taken to Giddy’s by this overzealous/creepy tricycle driver.  Giddy’s has significantly more people, and it is nice to be around humans.  We even run into one of the couples from our boat.  At the restaurant, we order dinner, beer and appetizers (all delicious) for two and a bottle of Moscato-grand total was like $30 SGD.  Insane, and the restaurant manager thinks we are ballers.  The creepy tricycle driver returns to take us home.

9 January
After the morning boats did not spot any butandings, we were advised not to go out.  We meander back into the city.  Village is really a more apt description.  Despite the lack of development, everyone is so happy and helpful here – exactly the opposite of Singapore.  Most everyone speaks at least rudimentary English, too.

We stop at a forgettable bakery and then stroll through the market.  I snap a few photos of fruits and fish and then we head back to Giddy’s, where they remember us from last night.  After more yummy adobo, we head back to the resort for cheap sunset beers (~1 SGD!).  A father is assisted by his two precocious children in driving his tricycle in taking us home.

The creepy tricycle driver returns to take us back to the river for firefly spotting.  I am pretty sure he is on the take from the river boat operators.  No one else is there to share the boat with us, but it is not too excessively priced so we just shoulder the whole boat cost.  Having missed butanding two days in a row, we were determined to see something of the famed wildlife.  I highly recommend the boat tour IF you are already in Donsol.  The fireflies light up many of the bushes like Christmas trees.  Since we are on a swaying boat, I cannot take good pictures in the dark.  The tricycle driver even comes along and snaps some pictures on his phone.

The driver then takes us to Amor Farm resort so we can eat at the restaurant.  The food there is stellar-there was a grilled fish dish and some sort of chicken dish in white sauce.  Way better than at our hotel.

10 January
Before our flight back to Cebu, we take another stab at the whale shark interaction.  Fail.  After getting to Cebu, I decide to check in with airport security there.  Holy hell, they have my phone!  AMAZING . . .

Once again I have waited too long to post my musings . . .

Highlights

  • So many delicious buffets (I am rethinking my views on buffets)
  • Deepavali
  • Jakarta/Hari Rayi
  • Singapore bucket list (mostly food) is on like Donkey Kong!

 

22 October

Todai-being in the Sands, the quality (and price) far exceeds the one in Houston.  The sushi rolls are average, but the cheesy scallops on the shell are brilliant.

 

24 October

Spize-apple cinnamon prata with ice cream was pretty clever

 

25 October

Spize-briyani, mutton soup, whatever … It is all good.  I need to try the pineapple fried rice.

Curry shot=1 part mutton curry + 1 part Mumbai Sapphire=deliciousness

 

Taboo

“sounds like zucchini”

“pickle?”

“YES!”

 

26 October

Subho Diwali Preeti!

Homemade mutton daalcha for a culinary celebration (sans lights)

 

27 October

Haji Daliman Korner, pisang goreng-the breading is right, but the banana is not right.

 

28 October

Tanjong Pagar Complex, Indonesian food-the kway teow, curry beef/rendang combo is oily goodness.  Along with Millington’s favourite bak kut teh place, this complex is oozing with deliciousness.

 

Why do people here feel the need to share their terrible taste in music on public transport?

 

5 November-JAKARTA

So much going on here

On the one hand it is far less developed than even KL or Bangkok, but on the other hand the glitzy new malls are over the top.  The rich folk here are retardedly rich.  Entertainment (bars and restaurants) are even more mall-centric than Singapore.  Asia loves them some malls.

English is a rarity here as even the ethnic Chinese speak Bahasa at the expense of Chinese.  I wonder if Singapore would be better with a single unifying national language instead of several mother tongues.

People here are super friendly.  A security guard at the Istiqlal Masjid (big but otherwise underwhelming) gave me his chuppals when mine broke.  Numerous times, our tuktuk drivers would pull over and get directions from random people.  None of this would ever occur in Singapore.

The food is not near as exciting as Singapore’s.  Stick with President Obama’s favourites-nasi goreng and bakso.  The street food is diarrhea on a stick.  The food at our hotel was epic, though, and 4 star hotels are a steal in J to the K.

 

8 November

My Windows Mobile 6 phone locked up for the first time.  I am frankly stunned it made it this long.

 

9 November

I guess one thing is the same the world over: immigrant labourers and illegal immigrants are treated like garbage.

 

My love/loath relationship with the Economist is veering back towards love.  The seasonal Intelligent Life is . . . Well . . . intelligent.  The debate on the best place/time to live in history is rather thought provoking-especially since it considers that not everyone is an affluent white male.

 

Ayer Rajah FC-the mutton soup stall is closed-oh noes!  Hopefully, this is not permanent.  The pisang goreng from the rojak stall is a good bet, as always. I try a new briyani stall. The owner says they have only been there a month and asks if there is good briyani in the US (does my Mom’s count?).  The meat/curry was pretty decent, but the rice was a bit flat. I hope it indicates a minimal usage of ghee.

 

I am not sure if the folks at Subway know what bell peppers are; I ordered capsicum to be safe.  I also figured out the difference between cheddar and American cheese.  Cheddar is a mixed blend of shredded cheese, and I am not sure what American cheese is.

 

I am on a crowded (mostly university students) bus that pulls into a stop where most people will get off.  Logically, there are a half dozen students standing in the doorway with no intention of getting out of the way of the 20 or so that need to alight.  It is comforting to know that there will be continuity between present and future generations.

 

10 November

The Cafe l’Cair stall is back at the NUS Business canteen!  Yay for Crispy Chicken!

 

A few things wrong with a scene I saw on my way out from work:

  1. Huskies with a thick coat out for a walk in an equatorial climate
  2. One of said huskies dropping a deuce without the owner picking up afterwards

 

11/11/11

Outback Steakhouse-Why am I just now trying pork chops for the first time? I am missing out on life.

 

Winebos-I was shushed at $12 free flow.  Apparently, we were interrupting a couple’s romantic SMS discussion.  Sadly, this was not the first time I have been shushed at a bar.  However, Winebos is not as nice as the hotel bar in Boston.

 

Usman’s-Serious Pakistani food and HALEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEM!  The only black eye on this place is the very subpar ras malai.  The mains and the sheeshah were the dank.

 

12 November 2011

Sabar Mementi II-Jackfruit curry whatnot rocks my socks!  It is the national fruit of my peoples.

 

Rum Diaries-It was not bad, but it was not great.  I wish it would have included more oon the Puerto Rican socio-economic angle.  It paired very nicely with the No Reservations episode of Cuba.  As far as places like Jakarta have to go to bring up peoples’ standard of living, at least some Indonesians can enjoy the “good life”.  In Cuba, you will not see locals at bars and restaurants.  Bourdain’s handler’s are awkwardly conflicted about having a restaurant and entertainment industry that locals will never be able to go to.

 

13 November

Treehouse at Krish-the open air set up is really nice.  It is set in this elevated patio in the midst of dense foliage and loaded with fans.  There is even an area of couches and porch swings.  Really beautiful.  I was a bit sceptical of the Indian fusion brunch concept, but it works.  The fruit juices are divine. The curry crab cakes benedict were overwhelming; there were far too many conflicting flavours going on.  The idly was really good, with a nice tofuey texture.  The lamb bowl was just sick with the different types of preparations of the meat all in one bowl.

 

Riverside Indonesian BBQ-the conveyer charcoal machine nailed it.  The chicken was as tender as that at Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester (do not laugh!).

 

German Film Festival, “Girl Called Rosemarie”-deceipt within deceipt.  It was a fascinating view of a call girl’s life in post WWII Germany.  Her clients are a bunch of “high society” industrialists.  It took a while to develop and the ending was kind of weak.  The premise of a woman falling for the wrong guy combined with blackmail is a fascinating one worth checking out.

 

14 November

I read today that there have been incidences in the SE Asia games in Jakarta.  Considering that it is a stepping stone to the Olympics, that is pretty crazy.  Considering that it is Jakarta, it is not surprising.

 

I am in the kitchen sorting laundry and talking with my roommate when I catch an old man staring through the window.  I say high and smile at him.  He just continues to stare at us.  So I do it again . . . Same results.  So weird . . .

 

15 November

West Coast FC, Hup Seng Heng Vegetarian-I was lured by the claypot but went for the economy rice.  It was not bad, but I should have followed my gut.  The bean sprouts were not as tasty as I would have hoped.  I should try the roast meat stall next time.

 

On the way home, the bus driver tries to avoid stopping at our stop even though there are a half dozen of us waiting and it is a well-utilized stop.  Where people are in such a hurry to is beyond me.  You do not get a cookie for finishing your job first.

 

16 November

The NUS Science Canteen has bakso!  I will have to come back for this!

 

Commonwealth MRT Koufu-this place is hopping and it appears all 15 or so stalls are open.  The Thai-style chicken at Jia Jia Le Kitchen takes a while but is not too shabby.  It is more fried breading than chicken, but I will live.

Added bonus: the Best Bake has blueberry cheesecake tarts for $1.30 and their taste far exceeds their quality!

 

17 November

Khansama (Science Park)-somehow, I escaped this place without any of the food ending up on my clothes.  Miracle!  They did not make the daal ghosht available on the buffet, but they make up for it with the only butter chicken I have ever liked; it had this wonderful smoky aroma to it.  The pappadom is also the best I ever had.  Even the service is good, here.  At this price ($12), I shall be back.

 

Beer Market-I thought it had this name because of its wide selection. It is actually because of its gimmicky fluctuating market prices that change every 5 minutes.  By gimmicky, I mean clever!  I fully support this.

 

A friend is in town from the States, so we take him to Chinatown Food Street.  The German hot dog guy is not there, so we just order Chinese food.  It was a bit overpriced (for the tourists), but still tasty.

 

I love seeing Singaporeans run to catch the lift designated for handicapped people.  Terrible.

 

18 November

Lunch Shuttle=Clementi food court. Laksa with chicken=the dream.  Maybe not.

 

We get into a cab driven by an old Chinese uncle.  Not to fear, he is polite AND knows how to use his GPS.  Amazing!  I was beginning to think GPSs were just for show.

 

German weekend begins-grabbing beers with an Ang Moh of German descent.

Archipelago Beer: Summer Lager is hawt

 

Senor Taco-Bone Thugz . . . And Harmony . . . Shit got real . . . They jockin our style

Random affirmative action moment-the missus and I have been requesting songs on YouTube TV (maybe the greatest invention since the mp3 jukebox) and said ang moh is asked for a tip when he makes request.  Or was it just the tip?

 

19 November

Why do they give out plastic bags like they are going out of style, but paper napkins are nowhere to be seen?

 

Ali Nachia Briyani-these guys are not messing around.  The mutton is most certainly the dank.  These guys relocated to Tanjong Pagar from the Malaysian KTM rail station was ceded back to Singapore.

 

BBQ with A to the D’s labmates.  The 4th Reich will be advancing through medical research.  How did so many Germans end up at Duke-NUS?  Why are the PhDers so much cooler than the med students?  Singapore is bizarro world.

 

20 November

Mandarin Court at Mandarin Orchard-of course you have to walk through a mall to get here.  By whole duck, they actually mean just the skin, which is served with crepes.  As my first ever Peking Duck experience, this rocked my world.  The skin was amazing!

 

Two Groupons, one day.  Popeye’s for the win!

 

German weekend comes to an end with the German Film Festival.  Vincent goes to the Sea was amazing and a refreshing change of pace from the traditional WWII Nazi-themed movies.  On the one hand, the ending was not all too surprising.  On the other hand, there are sufficient twists to keep your mind running.  The psychological disorders were treated with respect.  This is the best movie I have seen since moving to Singapore.

 

21 November

Sin Kee-the chicken rice is every bit as good as expected.  One of the owners explains how to properly sauce up the chicken and rice.  No need, lah!  The chicken and the rice stand on their own.

 

23 November

Why can airlines not adopt a douchebag business model?  How is a flight from an Asian hub city to LA more expensive than a flight that connects through said hub to LA?  F those guys.

 

Ayer Rajah FC: Ar-Rashidun Khan is open.  Whew! Order is restored.  The stall next door has BAKSO.  Next time . . .

 

I wonder if they are showing the UT-A&M game somewhere.  I just saw an older uncle decked out in burnt orange.

 

24 November

This week in diplomacy: I told a high ranking US Embassy official that I would toss his baby out the window and I called out a Singaporean Government Scholar (the so-called best and brightest).  Maybe next week I will punch a UN Envoy in the face.

 

25 November

Ayer Rajah

Rasa Sedayu-the bakso has some kick!  Whew nelly!

The murtabak my friend ordered was pretty dank-I wish I saw where she got it (Masmerah?).  Same for the kangkong veggies, which may be the best I have had.

Fried Hokkien Prawn Noodles-the namesake dish is not bad, but not striking.

 

Puss in Boots is pretty eh.  On a related note, the Erdinger Dunkel is not bad at all.  I still prefer the Weiss, though.

 

26 November

ABC Brickworks, YRA North Indian Pakistani Food-the Tandoor may be the best I have ever had.  They have a Tandoor oven!  Even the chana and aloo palak were tasty.

 

Thanksgiving #3 (I actually had a 4th invite on Facebook, does that count?): each dinner was more fun than the one before.

 

27 November

Senki-the GroupOn made this place an absolute steal!  The tempura and sashimi were the dank.  I cannot believe that I used to eat farm-raised salmon back in the States – terrible.  The soft sshelled crab and salmon skin rolls were also amazing.  The tomato omelate rice dish had a smokiness that I did not care for.

 

Hokkaido ice cream-anything berry is delicious.

 

28 November

Cut (Wolfgang Puck)-Does it live up to the hype?  Let me preface with the fact that this is the most expensive meal I have had in my life.  I do not know if I have just gotten to accustomed to shite Singaporean service or if their’s was over the top.  Apparently, every selection we made was superlative.  The bartender’s knowledge of beer was pretty impressive, nonetheless.  The wagyu cut is the best steak I have ever had in my life and the marbling truly makes it.  The USDA prime is also really good.  These two overshadowed the kobe.  I had higher hopes for the bone marrow flan (reconstituted/deconstructed bone marrow beautifully presented), but it was overshadowed by its mushroom sauce accompaniment.  On the other hand, the highly recommended pork belly was amazing, with an amazing smoky/bbq flavour.  At this point, we were stuffed (the wide assortment of breads and delicious butter, the first time I have ever seen the bottom of a butter dish, did not help).  However, dessert was a must.  The chocolate souffle, which was assembled before our eyes, was not bad.  I think the one at Bakerzin is better, though.  All in all, my first celebrity chef experience was pretty solid.  At celebrity prices, it will probably be a while before I do it again.

 

29 November

Mr. Bean papaya soya . . . Eh . . .

 

West Coast FC, Roast meat stall with Chinese name-the beauty of sio bak lies in its combo of crispy skin and tender, fatty pork.  I love this stuff.

 

30 November

Cheese Prata Shop-I got my usual, egg cheese and banana; but I found it rather unsatisfying.  Bummer

 

1 December

There is another Ayer Rajah FC!  This one is smaller and a bit more rundown, though.  Nasi Padang Nora has a bit of a queue, so I join in.  The curry vegetables have no fish sauce or bee hoon, they have whole chicken breast, and the rendang is not so bad.  The pickled veggies definitely pack a punch, a punch that is quickly quenched by teh peng (teh tarek in ice) from the neighbouring stall.  All in all, I wholly approve!

 

2 December

Clementi

Koi-I always see a really long queue here, so I must see what the fuss is about.  I had the honey green tea (with pearls).  The queue goes by fairly quickly, and the tea is definitely good.  I may give the plum tea a go next time, maybe less sweet.

Srisun .com (space intentional) Prata-this is where I discovered the greatness that is banana prata.  Today, they have a ginormous pot of briyani out-of course this is what I get.  The rice is amazingly flavourful.  They were already out of mutton, so I had to “settle” for chicken.  Dizzamm!  It was a huge chunk of breast meat; even when I ripped the skin off, the white flesh below was still flavourful.  The cherry on top was the curry.  Curry is something added on the side to Briyani only in Southeast Asia; I usually do not bother with it.  This may have been the best curry I have had in Singapore.  It begged to adorn the rice and the chicken; naturally, I obliged.  I love happening upon greatness.

 

3 December

After being hungover all day, I muster the fortitude to get to the new diner/bar Lucky 13 at 111 Somerset.  Drinks are very reasonably priced (for Singapore: less than $30 for a pint of Erdinger and a gin & tonic).  Plus, they are dropping all sorts of 80s/90s hip hop-SNOW and Kris Kross.  What?  The crowd ebbs and flows as there is not a lot of nightlife on Orchard Rd, but this a fun little oasis.

 

So we skedaddle to Orchard Plaza for Thai disco action.  I am not sure if what happens here is any different from the Towers, but it kind of seems like the Thai version of a Hindi lounge.  There is definitely a ladyboy singer.  Good times.  Hooray for the $38 jug of gin and tonic.

The Thai food stall just outside is pretty tasty.  The green curry definitely has a kick.  By the time we have had our fill of the Plaza, the sun has come up and we have spotted a friend running in the marathon.  Good times!

 

5 December

I am Keen on Crepes!  Healthy and reasonably priced.  Sweet, savoury: it was all pretty solid.

 

50/50 – serious and funny, they pulled it off.  So many thoughts.   I should call my mom more.  What would I do on my last night to live?  Crazy.  Of course Seth Rogen’s character smokes up in the movie.

 

Thai on Circular Rd-I have never had yellow curry before.  I am definitely glad I popped that cherry.  Added bonus for being open past midnight.

 

5 December

Seah Im FC-there is a precise and quantitative means of measuring how delicious a meal is.

  1. Weigh your clothes.
  2. Dress yourself and eat your meal
  3. Disrobe and reweigh your clothes

Shi Ji Noodle stall-They threw every piece of seafood they could find into the Tom Yam.  The hell broth base was delicious, but man it had my nose running.  Much of this soup found its way onto my shirt and pants.

Soon Cheong-Fruit juice and customer service . . . Wah!  The lady not only fought through a crowd to deliver my juice, she also apologized for taking so long.  Seah Im is selfishly hoarding fruit/juice stalls, and this one deservedly has the longest lines.

 

6 December

When the cat is away, the mice shall play.  After sleeping in late enough to catch lunch, we go the Ben Kei Japanese stall next to the Pinnacle (which is never open when we go).  The chicken in the katsu curry lets down the curry sauce.  The kaya toast from the neighbouring stall is even sadder.

 

Insomnia-free flow may be the best $20 you can spend in Sin.  The cover band is good but playing the wrong music for this crowd.

 

3am Ya Mahyauddin al Jailani run-worst experience here evar.  We got the server that does not speak English, they are out of mutton dhaalcha (the piece d’resistance), and everything is generally mediocre.

 

7 Dec

Slept in past lunch-terrible.  Keppel Bay Tanjong Pagar Complex

Outram Park [something something in Chinese]-some of the best bak kut teh in Sin.  They have a pretty serious all girl operation with computer-printed receipts.  With you tiao it runs me almost $9, though.

Andra Curry-spicy and GOOOOOOOOD.

Globetrotting

Highlights:

  • First ever Singaporean wedding (apparently, those throwing the wedding get the attendees to pay for most of the affair – no gifts or registry here)
  • Understanding the disrespect of Indians
  • Mutton soup
  • Formula 1 (the only night event on the circuit – bucketlist worthy!)
  • Inglorious return to rugby
  • Loads of Tex-Mex in Texas
  • Atlantic coast airport delays
  • RUDY!  RUDY!  RUDY!!!
  • Watching 2 UT football games and seeing 2 defeats by 2 Oklahoma teams

13 September

West Coast Plaza

Braised duck-the longest line at the food court.  The porridge is not a bad way to go as the porridge masks the duck texture. The braising sauce seals the deal.

CKT/carrot cake stall (a few stalls down)-the white carrot cake is damn tasty.  The radishes really make it.

 

A little girl on a bike and a car both approached an intersection.  Of course the car took the right of way and made the girl wait in the middle of the road.

 

14 September

Who is the idiot sodcasting Katy Perry on MRT? F-that is my alarm.  My bad, ya’ll.

 

Ayer Rajah FC, A Rashid Khan Mutton Soup (01-58)-mee siam.  I should have just stuck with the namesake dish.

Abdus Salam Rojak-I had no idea what stuff is and conservatively picked random items out.  The sauce is warm, sweet, and has a kick.  Most people drench their items in the sauce, but I enjoyed gingerly dipping the constituents (the bready/vadai thing and the potato were tasty).  This was healthy and kindof tasty, considering it is a sort of salad.  Rojak is like a SE Asian garbage plate.

 

Fusionopolis-is it an innovation hub or a mall? It is a beautiful building, though.  The food court and restaurant selection rival most malls.  The sweet and sour pork at the Miniwok stall is quite solid.

 

E-Sarn Thai Corner-the red curry is quite tasty, but a bit pricier than Thai Fusion.  The Thai iced tea was also delicious.  I may have to come back for their lunch sets.

 

17 September

Queenstown Library-They have free Wireless@SG, but they charge you to use their computers.  Like they always say, subsidize the rich and make the poor pay.  They have lots of periodicals for browsing.

Cafe Galilee-This may be the best Western food that I have had at this price-an avocado sandwich on focaccia bread with crisps for $4.  Yup.

 

First ever Singaporean wedding.  With no dancing, open bar, or cake, this was definitely not a Western affair.  The food was good, there was free flow wine (I may have been the only one taking advantage of this), and there was both English and Chinese commentary.  We will file this under “cultural exchanges”.  Hopefully, the American weddings I go to will be a bit more boisterous.

 

Hooters-They had local and imported waitresses and the wings are pretty tasty.  The ice cream waffle was average.

 

18 September

Ananda Bhavan-”The stamina of a camel, the strength of an elephant and the beauty of horse are all sustained on a vegetarian diet.”  Ideology aside, the vegetarian food is all good.  Vadai, appom and putu mayam are wonderfully complemented with sambar and coconut chutney.  The pav bhaji was the dank.  I would have been okay with substituting a more “desi” bread for the pav.

 

What the Little India is going on?  The place is packed with Bangladeshi males.  This experience certainly sheds light on why so many Singaporeans have such a negative response to South Asians.  I really feel like I am no longer in Singapore.

 

Sagar Ratna-finally, a place that has vermicelli kheer in Little India.  Not too bad.

 

Balaji Bhawan-kulfi on a stick.  The folks at the Texas State Fair need to develop a deep fried version of this!

 

19 September

There is a dude on the bus sporting an Astros hat!  I wonder if he knows what the Astros are.

 

Sheng Ji-the sweet and sour pork is crispily good,  but the mixed meat fried rice is even tastier.

 

20 September

Remember when your mother warned you not to make faces because your face would get stuck like that?  The older generation did not heed their mother’s warnings.

 

Chilli Padi-I did not expect them to pull off the ayam buah keluak, but they rocked it.  I did not see any nuts in the dish, though. (Was I supposed to?).  Hooray for simplifying your menu, but boo for forcing us to get sets.

 

I am sitting at the bus station . . . next to an Ang Moh . . . that casually dropped “lah” in conversation.  Wonders never cease.

 

The Leng Kee Community Centre actually has a decent basketball court, but no gym.  The Queenstown Community Centre has both.  The gym is supremely weak and an accident waiting to happen.

 

Zion Rd Food Ct, 28 Chinese Cuisine-Kway teow brings a smile to my face.  The grilled beef makes me yearn for grilled fajitas-this is pretty well cooked.

I heart fruit stalls, and there are two right next to each other.

Great World Centre and River Valley Rd is right up the street.  Maybe I will try Spize sober!

 

Yang Hua Cake House-$1 Moon cakes.  These are probably leftovers from autumn festival.  At this price, you cannot complain.  I am a fan of lotus paste.

 

23 September

I scored free Formula 1 tickets in the 11th hour!  I wish knew what was going on, because then I would not have missed Massive Attack, whom I have wanted to see live for like a decade.  Why were they not headlining tonight instead of the calypso cover band (who was a lot of fun) or the K-pop group?  As you guessed, this is more event than sporting.  This is still a bucket list event as this is the only event on the Formula 1 calendar at night.  The scenery is amazing as this takes place on the streets of downtown.  My seats rock as I have view of a turn where I can see brakes glowing red with heat.  I can of course take in the Flyer, Sands, and the Skyline.  Big ups to my friend that hooked me up!  He is actually a big F1 fan, while all I can surmise is that Michael Schumaker nabbed 6th place in today’s practice run.  They even let us wander onto the track after the laps are done.  That was pretty awesome!  Even though Singapore allocated more time to the “side” events than actual racing, I wish I knew better what was going on.  I must expand my horizons past American sports if I want to keep myself entertained here.

 

24 September

Queen’s HK Bubble Tea-cheap, good, and on the sweet side

 

Mushiya Steamers-$1 steamed muffins at close.  We nabbed the last raspberry, for the win.

 

Go India Express (Orchard)-Unfortunately, they were closing.  However, they did offer paneer tikka and roti.  I wish I knew that the paneer tikka came with a delightful rice.

 

25 September

7-11 mashed potatos are not too shabby!  The machine spits out liquid that quickly emulsifies into the proper consistency.  Hooray for technology!

 

J. Co Donuts-yum yum.  Always a hit with the peoples.

 

26 September

So the Bedok Kings practice on an artificial surface.  It is okay, I could probably use the aggressive exfoliation.

 

Ya Mahyuddin Al-Jailani-daalcha and prata are always a good bet.  Fruit juices are also refreshing.

 

27 September

I am living the dream!  I have just experienced the Toto washlet.  No messy hose or nozzle, just a direct jet of water to wash your sphincter.  Now, I have to somehow get my ass on the Toto with temperature settings and massage features.

 

28 September

Ayer Rajah-just thinking about this place gives me the warm and fuzzy tinglies.  I decide to have a wander through Ang Chee Sia Ong Temple across the street since I am never here during the day.  There are lots of dragons.

A. Rashid Khan-why can’t I quit you?  Their sup kambing may be one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted.

Shenton Way Power Stall-there is no excuse for soggy pratas.  I understand preparing the dough in advance, but you should fry it fresh to order.  Never again will I buy food from a place that needs touts..

Mesmerah Food-a tale of two pisangs.  One is fresh and ginormous and the other is smaller and has been sitting out a bit.  Both are breaded nicely.

 

One of the refineries is spitting out a plume that looks like South America.  Uh oh . . .

 

$1.50 lychee pearl tea at the MRT station-a little sweet, but as good as anything in the States but cheaper

Redhill FC-there is a lot going on here considering it is 9 at night.

Redhill Curry Rice-luckily the aunty doused everything in curry (despite me wanting to limit the curry to the rice), because she scooped the kind of veggies with the bee hoon noodles that I do not like.  I think the Chinese are the only ones that do curry pork and that is a shame.  It is also a shame that these Economic Rice-type places cannot scoop different items and keep them separate on the plate.  There is a was a lot of flavours going on.  The aunty is very sweet and offers me free chicken curry and rearranges all her dishes when she sees me whip out my SLR.

I have no business stopping at the pancake stall.  You cannot offer strawberry pancakes and not expect me to take a pass.  The pancakes are fresh, but the filling is more syrup than fruit.  I should have went with a native filling.  I know better.

 

29 September

I cannot wait for the Circle Line to open up as I am tired of jostling for the 200 bus.

 

It turns out yesterday’s plume was just Shell’s largest refinery in the world.  Why do I keep volunteering to live in these refinining towns?  Is my next move to Rotterdam?

 

Why are there so many huskies in Singapore?  Those poor guys must be miserable in this climate.  Man, their fur sure is pretty, though.

 

Middle East Day at NUS catered by Cafe l’Cairo.  Too bad they closed their stall in the business canteen.  There is lots of yum afoot.

 

Coffee shop by Saint Andrews Junior School, pork rib noodles-servicable but I would have liked more ribs.

 

30 September

You would think that I have learned not to waste my hate on people here, but I have not.  Today, someone in a car actually hit me.  When I turned to scowl at them, they were locked in their tunnel vision and just motored off.  Typical.

 

Johnny English 2-not terrible, eh. I never saw the first one, but this was hardly plot-driven so I doubt that it added anything.

 

1 October

Adam Road FC-such a small footprint but it packs a punch.  Unfortunately, the two legendary nasi lemak stalls are closed.  I am betting the sisters that own them are duking it out.

Bahrakath Mutton soup-the leg bones are 100 percent fat, but the broth rivals that of my boys at Ayer Rajah.

Hoo Cheng Big Prawn Mee-the prawn are on steroids, but the noodles are just too fishy for my taste.

Taj Mahal-the teh hahlia was definitely tasty, but I may be getting over ginger now.

 

Osteria Mozza-the Burrata Bacon presented on the cracker was delightful.  Primi is right as it is hardly a real main.  The pork loin was the dank even though it was not fatty.  They pulled off the pepper crust without going overboard.  The Borsellino was apple deliciousness!

 

Bazin-sublime skyline views!

 

2 October

Hooked on Heads-The a la carte buffet is the way to go.  I am officially a fishhead curry aficionado!  The pineapple fried rice also knocked my socks off.  The rendang was average, but the Thai green curry and chicken curry were solid.  The banana fritter (extra) was superlative.

 

Mouton Cadet-I cannot believe the landlord left a 1988 Bordeaux for pipardoojane.  It appears that it was actually purchased in 1988 and still has the duty free label on it.

 

3 October

Deepavali Festival-they had the same vadai stall as the Hari Raya Festival (but not the wing vendor, booooooooo).  This is more about the clothes, and even the men’s clothes are shiny.

 

Usman’s Restaurant-they still do not have the haleem, but they make up for it with the chana daal, ladyfingers, and tandoori.

 

4 October

L’Entrecote-Do one thing and do it well.  They do steak.  I suggest getting the sauce on the side since a good cut of beef stands on its own.  The sauce more than makes up for a slight lack of flavour in the beef.  The pomme frites are ridiculously tasty and free flow.  The 2008 Carmes Cantillac is like the Bordeaux I had earlier and super smooth (almost watery).  I cannot say I cared for the pate-it was like a salami that has gone bad (to be fair the texture did not suit me).  The escargot was amaaaaaaazing.  The half baked cake was perfect.  Although this food is hardly local, what a last meal in Singapore!

 

5 October

Changi Airport, Terminal 3-Even though the butterfly garden underwhelms, this terminal is ridiculous with a GYM, lounges and plenty of comfortable places to sleep.

United to Tokyo-I wish I had not force fed myself breakfast at 6 in the morning, as they served breakfast shortly after takeoff.  The flight is half empty so there is plenty of room to stretch out and get some zzz’s.

 

Inglorious Basterds-I am not afraid to say again that I love Brad Pitt movies.  This is pretty brilliant.

Hangover 2-I am not sure whether this is brilliant for recycling the first movie’s plot or if they were too cheap to write a new script.  A different role for Mike Tyson is hilarious.

 

The Continental entertainment system is generally the dank, especially considering the budget Asian airlines I have been travelling on.  On demand movies, TV shows and music all rock.  I just wish I made it through the Last King of Scotland.  Some day . . .

 

7 October 2011

Cutten BBQ-I am so glad I discovered this place near the ‘rents’ house

Chicken sandwich-after scooping off the mayonaise, this was brilliant

Sliced beef sandwich-wonderfully fatty and they do not skimp on the brisket

Baked potato-we had no business getting this, but we did because my mom and I are gangster.  Sliced brisket on a loaded baked potato is ridiculously over the top.

 

Teotihuacan-returning to the barrio

Queso fundido

Beef fajitas-I love the slightly charred tips of the beef and the greasy flour tortillas

Margarita

Fried cinnamon ice cream-it is like sopapillas with ice cream.  Dessert before dessert.

 

El Bolillo-this place made living in the barrio worth it.  I am still having trouble getting used to the expanded digs.

Flan-this is damn near identical to the egg custard Mom makes, equally unhealthy, and equally delicious.

Tres leches-I hate that they adulterate a great base product with whip cream and strawberries.  Luckily, that stuff can be scooped right off.  The cake soaked up the three milks wonderfully.  Who knew soggy would be such a desirable attribute in a cake?

 

8 October

Ruby Tequila’s-iT is what you expect when you see the suburban get up and flair (go watch Office Space) everywhere.

Tortilla soup-eh, unnecessary filler

Fresh guacamole-I am stunned that they made this tableside.

Chicken enchilada-this was not bad at all.  I am also a fan of the dry Mexican rice.

Fried ice cream-solid

The fajita beef was not bad, I would have liked it grilled a bit longer.

 

Cadillac Bar

Guacamole-I am a sucker for their tableside preparation and their four serving size does not skimp.

Chili con queso-free courtesy of Foursquare. Yup

Sopapillas-topped with honey and cinnamon, it is as delicious as you would expect.

 

Agora Cafe-I miss this part of town. No Frapaccinos here.

 

9 October

It turns out that OU does not suck this year.

 

Chocolate Bar-if you walk out of here without a smile on your face, you may be dead.

Frozen berry ice cream-yum

 

10 October

Daal puri-why does this not exist in Singapore?  Mom and I innovated a healthier baked version that is not bad at all.

 

Lupe tortilla

Beef fajitas-why is this so wrong when you leave border states??

Queso

 

Laphraig Scotch-this is very different from any scotch I have ever had.  It has zero bite and has a very strong smokiness (likely from the aging cask).

 

11 October

Goodson’s Cafe-this is what is good in Texas.  Good folks and good food.

Chicken fried steak-not minced meat, but real steak

Chicken fried chicken-like the steak, it is breaded with corn flakes and has the gravy on the side.  I prefer the chicken, and it may be the best I have had.

Macaroni and cheese-creamy and oozing with cheese

Fried okra-ranch dressing as a dip is actually brilliant

 

12 October

Han’s Bierhaus-how have I not been here before.  It is small and homey, but you are more than spoiled for choice.

St. Arnold’s Oktoberfest-I only like St. Arnold’s Amber Ale and their Christmas Ale.

 

BB’s Cafe-how did I live down the street from here, regularly stagger past this place on the way home from bars, but I have never even seen this.  I love their small and low-priced options so you can try a few different things.

Boudin balls-more deep fried goodness

Abita Purple Haze-you can me a girl for drinking this and I would not care.

Gumbo-wow, I missed this more than I thought I would.

Crawfish etouffee-if mudbugs were in season, this would be epic. The crawfish were smallish, but the base makes up for it.  Etouffee is easily my favourite Cajun dish.

 

Cheesecake Factory, Red Velvet Cake-why would you mess this up with whip cream? Is it not good enough?

 

13 October

Chilling at ATL-”I am from New York!”. Thank you for letting us all know, hahahahaha!

 

Katy Perry comes to the Big Apple with DJ Skeet Skeet. Could this warrant a trip back?

 

Mama’s Cafe-eat everything here.  The serving size is twice as big as I would like, but no one seems to mind.

7B-Where is it? 7th and B.  Real simple.

 

14 October

McKenna’s Pub-closed, I am wounded

 

Poppyseed bagel on the corner of 14th and 8th-the vendor gives me shit for me being a tourist with my camera.  Who cares? Him dousing my bagel with cream cheese makes up for it.

 

It is nice to be able to get on public transport without getting manhandled.  Asia, this is not.

 

High Line Park-this is the kind of clever reclamation of wasteland that you would never see in Singapore.

 

Nerd Con-that is why everyone is in sci-fi costumes.

 

Union Square Farmer’s Market-what a pleasant surprise.  I grab a delicious scone.  The vendor makes the same tired joke about charging me to take pictures.  Real funny.

 

14 October

Flight out of JFK delayed due to weather-shocking.  Delta makes it worse by hassling me for not showing up at the scheduled time.  I received an email alert stating that the flight was delayed by an hour-why should I show up on time if they do not?  I get hit with a fine if I am late; should I not get credit if they inconvenience me?

 

Buffalo-how I have missed you Upstate

 

Free warm cookies at check-in at Hampton Inn.  I tear into cinnamon raisin before realizing there is one last chocolate chip-DAMMIT!

 

Drinking with Grandma and the rest of the groomsmen’s family: Paint stick from Home Depot modified to deliver 2 cans of beer in well under a second.  These guys are brilliant and I am clearly outclassed.

 

RUDY!  RUDY!  RUDY!

 

15 October

Gameday-grey, dreary and sideways rain.  A perfect day to get married!

On a random note: Buffalo has some cool architecture.  Even Frank Lloyd Wright has work here.

 

The wedding was way more religious than I cared for.  I suppose it is not about me.  The highlights:

1.  Being preemptively reprimanded by the deacon (?)

2. The priest referencing the “social establishment” where the couple met

3.  The flower girl turning around and waving vigorously in the face of a man kneeling in prayer behind her.

 

Pre-game/Aardvark reunion at Salsaritas: the food is average but there is no arguing with $3 margaritas that are actually tasty.

 

Wedding reception:

1.  RUDY!  RUDY!  RUDY!

2.  Another damn Oklahoma team beats us

3.  Prom pictures

4.  The rest is a little hazy.

5.  RUDY!  RUDY!  RUDY!

 

16 October

Post-game breakfast

1.  Heckling the old lady trying to use the waffle iron

2.  Piecing together the reception

3.  “Our wedding party is way more fun than the other party at the hotel.  They do not look hungover at all.”

4.  RUDY!  RUDY!  RUDY!

5.  Telling the bride I forgot her present in Singapore and her threatening to kill me.  The two events are unrelated.

 

Anchor Bar at the airport-nothing special.  The Anchor Bites with the spicy BBQ sauce is pretty common fare and hard to mess up.

 

17 October

A day of my life has disappeared thanks to crossing the International Date Line.  Flying Air China was not as bad as I thought it would be.  They do, however, use planes from the Cretaceous Period.  The entertainment system consists of a projector from the 80s showing commercials.

Beijing Capital Airport is spotlessly new (I am guessing thanks to the recent Olympics).  International transfers (as in Tokyo and Singapore) are a snap.  They do one better than Singapore by not forcing you through security twice.  I cannot seem to connect to the free wi-fi, even though I was able to register successfully (the Chinese monitor internet usage).  The airport does offer free water dispensers and plenty of places to take a nap.

 

18 October

Il Siciliano-why did this place have to open up AFTER I moved out of this building?

The eggplant parmigiana and prosciutto di parma were both stellar; the latter was still fantastic the next day.  I was not all that impressed with the risotto funghi porcini, but risotto in general is kind of average for me.

 

20 October

I am beginning think my strategy of showing up to rugby practice once every 3 weeks and working out at a similar frequency will probably not serve me well in this weeks debut for the Bedok Kings.

 

Hawker centres are seriously the best thing about Singapore: cheap and mostly freshly made food and cheap beer.  Plus, people are their nicest around food.

How the food court at Potong Pasir has eluded me during my time in Singapore is beyond me.  Today, I started with the pork pie and xiao long pao from the Chinese stall.  Both were all sorts of epicness.  The pork pie was probably the closest I will get to daal puri in Singapore.  I will take that.  All that plus a can of hTwo0 set me back a cool $6.  Yessir!

I still love food, but now I want to paint you a picture of Singapore.

Again, I have gone well over a month between publishing my notes.  Sorry for overwhelming whose who actually read this.  Highlights:

  • more food (shocking, I know)
  • Food Festival
  • Hong Kong with a buddy from university
  • more terrible Singaporean service
  • Iftar masjid hopping during Ramadan
  • Tri-nations (I have since figured out how to watch this stuff online so I do not have to continue to buy $10 Heinekens at pubs)
  • I have not figured out how to watch NCAA football online (nor even get up in time to do so).  It is sad, really.

13 July
Ya Maiyuddin al-Jailani-mutton daal cha (make sure they understand that you want the mutton in it-weird) and prata-always a good bet.  The mysore chicken is also stellar-I ended up eating every last drop of the curry base with a spoon (I ran out of crispy prata)

14 July
Chilli Padi disappoints even more today.  The rendang was just plain boring and the meat was of awful quality.  Some of the vegetables were replaced with a different fish-tasting vegetable.  I do not support this.

Niqqi’s Cheese Prata Shop-I decided to give the chocolate banana prata a whirl.  It actually works . . . well.  Dousing it in curry is too much, though.  The egg onion prata is also solid.  We ordered the tissue prata without sugar or butter, and that was still good for sopping up curry.

15 July
Another Friday at Winebos

Sufi’s – you have to pay extra for bread . . . not cool (even though
Doner Iskender-this actually bordered on bad.  The kebab was overwhelmingly salty.
Doner and hummus – it was aite, definitely not special.

St. James Power Station-the student discount . . . is actually not a discount.  Usually, cover gets you two drinks free (cheaper than regular price).  With waived cover, you get stuck paying full price. Boooooooo
they played Rebecca Black-that means they actually paid for her dreadful music.
The sports bar is very cool.  $15 Heinekens are not.

16 July
L’Espresso, Goodwood Park Park, High Tea-boom finally, I knock out a high tea.  There are so many good things going on here.  The blueberry scones and creme brulee are the dank.  The creme brulee might be the best I have ever had-the caramelized top layer did not require an ice pick (as is usually the case), yet was sufficiently hardened.

Spice it Up Tiffin Cruise (food festival)-for the price, it was stellar.  Yes, there were tourists, but they did bring us pretty decent food in tiffin carriers.  The river cruise was nice, going from Clarke Quay to Marina Bay.

Food festival village
Durian penget-cold, sweetened durian and no pungent after taste.  I am trying so hard to like durian.

17 July
More Food Festival Village
Tomo Izakaya, California Maki-and we get a free libation when we visit the actual restaurant.  I am a fan of the roe!
Westlake Kong Bak Pau, pork bun-this is pretty serious.  Why have I not had this before?
Kinara North Indian-eat EVERYTHING here!
Fisherman’s Market-$1 Tiger with edamame
Aunty’s Lamb Curry-chappattis and curries.  nothing spectacular nor regrettable.
Moroccan Kebab Delight-an integral part to a good shwarma is fluffy pita bread.  These guys serve tortillas.
Spice Sutra-kebabs and fluffy rice were not shabby.

18 July
Ya-Mahyuddin al-Jailani (these guys must get a shorter name).  Appam!  Fluffy in the middle and crisp on the outside.  So good.

Seah Im, Country’s Flavour Herbal Soup-Nasi Lemak, ginseng chicken soup.  This tastes like it is good for you.

Food festival, day 3
Galta, mango gelato-of course this was delicious
Old Town Favourite Popiah-1st ever popiah.  Healthy and palatable
Indian Restaurants Association stall-everything is delicious
Ice rocks-the fruit drinks are boss.  The nasi lemak burger (I went sans ikan bilis) was stellar.  The rice buns were tasty like the rice from chicken rice.

19 July
Thai Express-the red chicken laksa was fiery good.  I am so glad we sat in air con.  The fried squid was also awesome.  With a side of steamed rice, this easily becomes enough food for two.

20 July
Pizzeria Giardino-very reasonably priced (for Chijmes) and right near Insomnia.  The margherita and prosciutto were both servicable options.

21 July
Doh!  The “Texas” Chicken is not in the budget terminal.  I was soooooo looking forward to this.  Instead, I am stuck eating at the eh noodle/rice stand.  That was rather blah.  Next time I am in this terminal, I may “splurge” on O’Brien’s or something.

The budget terminal does not have the redundant security checks that the other terminals have.  Of course I did not remember this and will now go without water for a four hour flight.  MORON.

Aw man- the little bundle of joy next to me has woken back up.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled crying, kicking, and screaming.  Terrible 2s, indeed. . . .

4 hours later . . . The kid next to me has decided to focus all his energy on crying.  That is a welcome development as the kicking was keeping me from sleeping.  What is he so upset about?  What does he want?  Human progeny are so useless.

Oops-spoke to soon.  The kid has maintained a diverse portfolio that also includes kicking and screaming.  I feel terrible for the little terror’s poor mom, who is travelling by herself.

I love the flight attendant’s attempts to “help”.  Typical unempathic Singaporean service.  They sure love their rules.

Wow, customs and immigration at Hong Kong Airport are effortless.  No muss, no fuss.  The Airport Express train is baller-no wonder it is so much pricier than the regular MTR.

Chungking Mansions-everything they say is true.  Touts-check, South Asian restaurants-check, guesthouses that bungle your reservation-CHECK.  I did eat here.  I did not get the diarrhea.  I am happy about this.

Temple St. Night Market-either a lot of sexually frustrated women live here or visit here, because there sure are a lot of vendors selling vibrators.  There do not seem to be as many tourists here.

Avenue of the Stars-I saw Bruce Lee (dude is cut) and Jackie Chan (both facsimiles.  Why is everyone fishing on the waterfront?  I must not have gotten the memo.  I did end up with loads of terrible pics on my broken phone.

22 July

Mega Eight Dessert-Mango pudding in mango sauce with ice cream.  You really have to be terrible to mess this one up.

Perfect Vegetarian-we might have crashed a bingo party.  Even in Hong Kong, anything that comes in a clay pot will be delicious.

Victoria Peak
The tram is a bit dodgy but it makes it to the top with no problems.
I am in Hong Kong, at a Bubba Gump’s, eating onion rings.  Of course the view is epic.

Next meal-nachos at the Hotel (Intercontinental).  This might be the best guac I have had in Asia.  The view in the bar is what everyone says that it is (utterly epic).  Even if you are not staying here, you owe it to yourself to come in and take in the view.

Lan Kwai Fun – a largely expat scene
Rayne-dope, great crowd, great music
Liquid-apparently, we got on the platform with the dancers

23 July

Tim Ho Wan-Who knew Michellin dining was like this?  I did not have to wear a jacket and you cannot make reservations.  Plus, they have a full staff of soup Nazis.  Downside:this is not a place for vegetarians.

Ladies Market-definitely more tourists here.  This is ginormous and has all sorts of ridiculous (including the vibrators).

Knutsford Terrace-much more of a local scene and very few expats.
Mama’s-tacky attempt at Mexican theme.  They repeated the same five or six songs over and over.  We liked it, but that may have been their way of telling us not to stay too long.
All Night Long-fun cover band, good times
I love that drinking in Hong Kong is not as expensive as in Singapore.

Jen Kee Noodles-this either saved my life or made it hell.  The All Night Long Manager and random Toronto dude we assimilated into our crew recommended it.  I finally got my hands on some shrimp wonton noodles.  It was not too bad.

25 July

Mr. Bean-the peanut pancake is not half bad.  It is not overly sweet.

Orchard Rd stalls (@ Cavanaugh)-
Singapore Famous Hainanese Chicken Rice – the chicken ipoh hor fun was not too shabby
Hong Kong Style Famous Roast Delights – the BBQ pork had been sitting out a while, but the roast pork.  Man, the roast pork was phenomenal!

Miz
sake promo-This is just silly-a shot glass overflowing into a box overflowing into a saucer.
salmon sashimi-one thing you notice about salmon here is that it is not perfect in colour as in the States.  I can do without the agricultural runoff and hormones and am absolutely okay with this.
Cold Garlic Butter Udon with Caviar ($12)-highly recommended on HungryGoWhere, I did not really care for this.  I like garlic, but not this much.  The caviar added absolutely nothing to the dish.
Grilled Salmon Belly ($12 for 5 pieces)-This dish is the continuation of Japanese fish dishes that are making me reconsider my views on eating scales.  This was truly stellar.
Gindara miso yaki-this was the dank.  The flesh just melted in my mouth.  The fried and shredded potatoes take this to the next level.
soft shell crab roll-the second time I have had this, this is a winner
spicy tuna-seasoned and flavoured, what makes this is you can taste the heat
crispy tuna roll-as with the crab roll, anything crispy is a must try

I never really noticed how old the Insomnia crowd is.  Even the Asian women look old.  I may actually be bringing the mean age down.

28 July
Flames of India-Unwittingly, I went all vegetarian, or I thought I did.  There was a chunk of chicken in my chili paneer.  I was most happy with sopping up simple daal with paratha, even though it was nothing exciting.  Maybe I am more Bengali than I think.  Next time, if there is one, I will go either briyani or save a few bucks and go buffet (the quality is about the same).

Hand in Hand Beijing Restaurant
bacon curry fried rice-yes, it is as amazing as it sounds
xiao long pao-short on presentation, but really long on taste
belly(?)-I think this was literally a pig’s stomach.  It was not bad.
apples with sugar-an interesting concept, uber-sticky and deep-fried apples that need to be dunked in ice water to have a palatable texture.  The execution did not really work.
The ugly-they forced us to leave right when they closed.  I would have a lot more sympathy for them if I had not just gotten out of class after a long day of work.  It also did not help their cause that they could not speak English. This was a really garbage way for them to end a really good meal.  Hooray for Singaporean service.

Dear sodcaster, thank you for not using headphones and playing terrible music for everyone around you to hear.  Singapore majulah!

29 July
Clementi Central, Juz Bread-Blueberry and cheese roll-not bad but not quite blueberr-y enough
Blk 448 Clementi
Snow Mount, Pisang Rajah Goreng-terrible.  It was way overbreaded and the banana was overripe or something.  I am learning new ways how cooks are messing up simple dishes.
Yong Fa Hainanese Curry Rice and Curry Fish Head-mmmmm, pork chops.  Curry chicken wings-like the curry my mom would make for my dad (who has a severely restricted diet) except it is probably still terrible for you.  Curry vegetables-ugh, it is that fishy stuff with the ew bee hoon.  Steamed vegetables-roughage.

I remember being very excited about moving to the East Coast of the US because I would be able to get my mean on.  In Singapore, I need to raise my game to a whole other level.  Gotta get ‘em!

Ayer Rajah FC, A Rashid Khan, mutton soup-gawd, I love this stuff.

Appanjala-like mini appam rolls.  I tossed some back bacon in leftover chicken curry (I might be on a bit of a bacon curry kick).  The challenge will be to keep the bacon crispy while still getting the curry flavour.

30 July
Artichoke-lamb sausage, egg and couscous-YES, oh my, YES!
maple bacon-man, how do you mess this up?  But they did.  The thick cut was cooked at too high a heat and rubbery and over salty.
Date pudding-the custard and all of it was solid

Boomerang-Tri-nations and the site of an epic cat vs dog fight (the dog sauntered off with his head hung in shameful defeat)

Laurent Cafe & CHOCOLATE BAR-they have a smelling room!  There is so much goodness going down here.  The black forest cake was the laggard amongst the group and the “pure” cake was best in class.  The tart and chocolate  truffle cakes were solid.  The raspberry cheesecake was pretty good.  The cheesecake part was a super fluffy texture, but the raspberry bit let it down.

Fisherman’s Market-$1++ Tiger per pax.  No longer includes edamame, though.

Ya Mahyuddin al Jailani-fried chicken briyani.  This was bland and had to be doused in curry.  They were out of mutton, and the chicken just pales in comparison.

Rebel-The club scene in Singapore always bugs me out.  Dress codes are in consistent and upscale does not quite workout.  If you are Singaporean DJ, your life is easy-just play pop music for a drunk crowd.  He picked some terrible songs to run out and cut short great songs like from Ludacris.  Muslim-fest is good times nonetheless.  The police raid (are they so hurting for crime here, that the police have to stop a club in its tracks?) was just absolutely ridiculous.

31 July

328 Katong Laksa (51 East Coast Rd)-I have a love/hate relationship with cockles.  These days, I am veering towards hate.  But man, this laksa is not too shabby.  It is not as fiery as other laksa I have had, but I do not mind having snot and sweat drip into my food.  The curry is thick and creamy-something I would not expect from Asian food.  I wish there was a chicken version of laksa, but this one may be overhyped.
The Joo Chiat/East Coast Rd intersection in general is dope, although the current Ghost Festival means everyone is burning things that make the air quality pretty garbage.  There is a mix of all sorts of cuisines including Western and boutique-ish chocolate places side by side.  This was what I hoped the whole of Singapore would be like-unfortunately, no such melting pots exist outside of foreigner circles.

1 Aug
Le Chasseur, beef Kway teow-um, super yum
Claypot chicken rice-although the burnt rice bits at the bottom do not appeal to me, this was also excellent
sambal lady fingers-I like that the okra was crisp and not gooey

2 Aug
Curry puff uncle (Clementi MRT)- 3-for-$1.  Solid Iftar and still warm after rush hour.
Clementi mall
Ban Mian Ramen-fried chicken dumplings.  I heart dumplings.
Korean-kimchi fried rice.  The accompanying broth is incredibly watered down but the rice is pretty good.  It had no meat save the fried egg on top.
BBQ Delights (basement), honey pork ribs-considering that they were closing down and the meat was starting to cool, this was not bad at all.  I miss Interstate BBQ (Memphis).

3 August
The bus driver said “good morning” to me.  I was absolutely blind-sided by this unheard of pleasantry.

Brinda’s-it is like a much nicer mamak cafe.  Vadai with the vegetable curry is very solid.  The coconut chutney that came with the thosai was boss.  The real winner was the chicken keema.  Why has my mom not made this?  She always makes keema with minced beef.  Grocery store minced poultry is so much more tasty than minced beef.  I love that everything except the keema came as a set including a drink.

I think I am witnessing Sinaporean domestics next to me, except more nagging flavoured.

Whew, back to normal: the bus driver welcomed me with the standard icy glare.

4 Aug
Ahhh, apartment hunting . . .  where Singaporeans show their discriminatory stripes in print.  My favourite listing is the won disallowing Mainland Chinese.  I love that Singaporeans do not consider themselves Chinese and am especially tickled when they say how cultured they are.  Singapore majulah!

I love that you have to purchase tickets to see National Day festivities on the Marina Bay float.  At least the webcast is free.

Plaza Singapura
Chippy-cheese curry chicken.  If by curry, they meant salt then they nailed it.  This is no substitute for Sonic.  In hindsight, why would I even think this could be good?
Mos Burger-the rice unagi burger tastes really good.  I support the rice buns.  It is tiny, though.  The sweet corn soup is not bad, either.

6 August
Hannibal-the only bar on Robertson Quay showing Tri Nations rugby, but not overflowing with peoples by the time we made our fashionably late appearance.  They had sound for the game and happy hour prices during the day.  That is all I can say since I was Ramadaning.

Ramadan Bazaar-they closed off part of Kandahar St and set up a bunch of Iftar stalls right next to Muhammad Sultan Masjid.  The date stall was pretty comprehensive-I definitely stocked up.  At the Indian Masala Food Zone, we loaded up on pisang goreng.  The briyani stalls were out of food before adhaan for Maghrib-I am not sure what was happening there.  The Ramly burger was disappointing.  It is actually not a burger and is a processed chicken patty.  There has to be one with an upgraded meat option.

Zam Zam-the deer briyani is serious-price and meatwise.  It has a chunk of tender flesh and the phenomenal rice.  The mutton shank briyani is also spectacular, but they skimp on the rice.  The chicken murtabak lost out, but was no slouch with nice pieces of chicken.

7 August
Siloso Beach is not a shabby place to catch sunset.
Tanjong Beach Club-very cool scene with the infiniti-ish pool, beds, bar and decent music.  The burger is solid and the quesadilla is the best I have had in Singapore (for whatever that is worth).
I think Sentosa is a fail because they go overboard in catering to the tourists and isolated it from the main island.  Some of these bars could be really cool and successful if Sentosa were more accessible.  There are hardly any cabs and the public transport stops at midnight.  If only the government did not think fun was immoral.

8 August
Plaza Singapura, kopitiam, ayam penggang.  This place has a ridiculous queue and is the only one in the kopitiam to have one-well worth the wait.  The chicken is uber tender and the penggang sauce is sweet satisfaction.  There is also a fried omelet, so they do not skimp on the protein.  They douse the rice with curry (shocking), which is solid.

9 August (National Day)
Fullerton Water Boathouse-How did they bungle this so badly?  I pay $50 to get in.  I give them more money on top.  They give me drinks and food.  It sounds like a simple arrangement to me.  First off, my reservation was not for a table.  It was for the open area on the deck, which still is a fantastic view of the marina and the fireworks and away from the crowds.  Then, why would you call me back several times to confirm the size of my party and when we would arrive?
We received our welcome drinks quickly, so that was a good start.  Then, we tried to order food.  When there is a crowd of 40 or so people and a staff of 7 or so people, you would think this is no problem.  I like to be proven wrong, but not on stuff like this.  One waiter rudely brushed off my friend and mumbled that he was too busy.  After four waiters, we were able to order our appetizers.  It turns out this person was the only competent person there.  After an hour, we tried to ask where our food was.  After attempting to ask where our food was, we finally found the competent waitress.  They ran out of calamari and our potato wedges were on their way out.  When were they going to tell us that they ran out of what we ordered?  I will say this.  The supervisor was certainly on top of getting our bill as soon as our food came out.  Like in Malaysia, they may not open on time but damned if they do not leave on time.  This is not what I have come to expect from anything associated with the Fullerton.  I would like to hope that other people received superlative service at my expense.  Maybe?

BK Eating House
Muy Thai Food
Phat see eu-this is always a winner.
Green curry-the curry had a sweetish tinge and a solid kick.  I support this.

10 August
Song Fa Bak Kut Te (across from Central)-the ribs are really tender and the broth is great (not over-peppery, I drenched my rice with it).
I fully support this and the air con is a bonus.  Even the leafy/stalky vegetables were a delight.  No silly oyster sauce here.

11 August
Plaza Singapura, Da Sheng Mushroom Minced Pork Noodle: Bak Chor Mee

12 August
Durty Nelly’s-good times.  Singing with the band was good times.  The food is not bad, either.  The apple crumble could have been better if the apples were cooked longer in cinnamon and sugar.  The crumble bit was superlative.  The bacon-wrapped chicken was genius and having mashed potatoes for the first time in ages was a treat.

Super Bowl-bowling for the second time today.  Learning curve, baby!  The games place across the hall lubricated And1 Bowling.

Geylang-practicing Chinese at 3 in the morning was not as bad a fail as you would think.  The dim sum is not the best, but what do you expect at this time of night?  The xiao long bao had no soup, kind of critical.  The char siew bao had fluffy bread but no one thought highly of the char siew.  The stuffed chee cheong fans were pretty clever and delicious.  The pork dumplings were not overstuffed with filling as the picture suggested.  There are far better places to eat in Geylang than this place.

13 August
Banana Leaf Apollo
Fishhead curry-the fish is definitely intimidating, all chilling in a ginormous bowl of hellbroth with its teeth showing (fish teeth are so creepy).  But man, their signature dish was on point.  The curry definitely had a kick, but not at the expense of flavour.  The flesh was white and flaky and wonderful.  There were some small bones, but it was not too bad at all.  Ordering the rice with vegetables is the way to go, as the vegetable are legit and free flow.  Next time, I will decline the curry on the rice as it fights with the curry from the fish for attention (an unnecessary distraction).  I am a believer!
Mutton vindaloo-it is hard to follow the fishhead, but this does okay.
Baingun Bhartha-this is also pretty good.

Khulfi Bar, Madhka Khulfi-claypot full of khulfi in a really cool setting (they have games and sell art whatnot).  After the fishhead curry, this is the second thing I am a moron for not trying earlier.

Harry’s-Tri Nations: while I was disappointed in the past by their steak sandwich, I had a really good time here.  They had a really high quality projection of the rugby matches and the service was subtle (not obtrusive).  Even though they closed at 1 or 2, they let us chill, continue watching the games, and finish our drinks.  Good on ya!

14 August
Golden ticket at Golden Village-the ratio of nice to proportionate is not right.  Why do they want you to pay for food/drink orders before you get the food?  Are they going for upscale or fast food-type service.  There are far fewer seats than a regular theater, they all have good views of the screen, and they are plush bark a loungers.  However, I am not sure if this justifies the $30 ticket.  When all was said and done, this cost well north of $100 for two.  I miss Alamo Drafthouse. . . .
Horrible Bosses was not too bad.  Charlie shone as expected.  There were not as many laugh out loud moments as I would have thought.  Fairly entertaining, though.

15 August
Plaza Singapura Kopitiam, Vegetarian stall-the food is cold even though the Kopitiam is packed.  Maybe freshness would help.  Maybe.

16 August
Thai Fusion (man, I am going to miss living above this place)
chicken pad thai-the flavour is a bit flat, but that is remedied quickly with some sambal
creamy strawberry rice/ice cream-unfortunately, they were out of strawberries but mangos were probably a bit of an upgrade.  Ice cream on warm sticky rice is brilliant!
These people make me forget that I hate coconuts.
I love that they not only remember me, but they remember what I ordered.  Thai Fusion, you are good people.

17 August
Cha cha cha-the guac is awful, but the sour cream is pretty good
nachos-the beef was not crisp like off the grill but maybe cooked in sauce.  also, the chips are really oily.  This was average for Singapore (not a ringing endorsement).
enchiladas de espinaca y papas-the rice that came with it was superlative-fluffy and flavourful.  The enchiladas were also okay-the mashed potato stuffing was a tasty twist.
chalupa-tostada shell+frijoles fritos equals safe bet
margarita-maybe I have been out of the States awhile, but this works.

New York Dessert Cafe
Red Velvet-all sorts of not right.  I miss Cakeman Raven.
Chocolate with ice cream-molten cake with ice cream for the win

18 August
Carl’s Jr.-$15 for a burger and shake is just not right.  The teriyaki chicken sandwich did taste healthy (or maybe like the frozen patties I used to buy from Sam’s), for whatever that is worth.

19 Aug
Iftar @ Masjid Dar-us-Salam – solid iftar spread of tons of fruit, rice, and daals.  The altar is this well-maintained wood carving.  I need one of these as my throne/bully pulpits.

Evertop Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice-this place is what I love about Singapore.  Boneless + skinless : delicious!  To make this perfect, the rice needs a few grains less salt.

The majulah continues!  Chinese uncle at a 7-11 gives me tape to seal an envelope.  You do not get anything for free in Singapore, so this is a rare display of customer service.

20 August
Malabar Muslim Jama-Ath Mosque: I was going to mosque hop but I got stuck in a downpour with my dSLR, so I ducked into the middle stop.  Tamils go hard with the food-porridge, some sort of curry macaroni, ghosht, and teh. Khutbah was in Tamil, English and Hindi.  Muhammad Sultan Mosque’s interior remains out of reach. . . .

Din Tai Fung-
xiao long pao-anything you end up wearing is by default delicious
pork rib noodle soup-the broth was shiokalicious and the meat just fell off the bone
veggies in oyster sauce and garlic-pretty and delicious
pork bao-nothing special but not bad
pork chop fried rice-I saw another table order this and I had to pull the trigger.  I am glad I did.

Wala Wala-curse the Glenmorangie special.  Killing a bottle with one other person after fasting all day was a terrible idea.  On a side note, it looks like the All Blacks took the night off.  They got the pill into the red zone early and often but had no points to show for it.  They missed a point blank penalty kick, too.  Next week is pivotal.  The second half was a bit of a blur.

21 August
Thai Fusion-not a bad way to shake off a hangover.
red chicken curry-yum, as expected.  Even the veggies were tasty.
shrimp cakes-I do not like seafood, nor do I care for minced meat.  I only got this because it looked pretty.  I need to stop doing that.
bbq pork-dude, I mean DUDE!  Just eat this fatty cut plain without the dipping sauce.

Al-ameen Makan House: I hate that I am too hungover to make curry for Curry Day. This will have to suffice.
Shahi paneer-I have never tasted anything like this.  It is a symphony of deliciousness.
Kadai chicken-devoured.  This poor dish did not stand a chance.
naan-some of the most fluffy naan I have had in a while.
avacado shake-the marshmallow and chocolate was overkill, but man this would be a money maker in the States.
The teh was far too milky, though.

22 August
Aunty Anne’s – the pretzel-wrapped sausage was solid

laoshi zuo de jiaozi – zui hao de!  everything made from scratch.  Added bonus: everyone loved the wheatgrass juice (aka windex) that I briught.

23 August
Ramadan mosque hopping continues: Masjid al-Mujahideen.  They went full out with the nasi lemak at Iftar-hooray for ayam goreng.  The interior was simple, but elegant.  Too bad a good picture is obscured by the poly clinic and pedestrian bridge.

Yes, I went to Long John Silver’s and ordered extra crunchy bits.  Don’t judge!

24 August
24 hours later and that LJS is still sitting in my stomach like a rock.  LJS and I have a troubled history.

Masjid Ahmad (iftar)-cozy (small) and very contemporary.  The spread was all Malay food.

Mr. Bean-the soya was not bad.  The pearls tasted what Freaky Fan and I tried to make ages ago (no flavour).

25 August
Plaza Singapura Kopitiam
Chicken rice stall, sio bak-half fat, half meat, all delicious
Original delights,tom yam fried rice-you have to wait because they make it fresh.  I would have liked more of the fiery sour tom yam kick to differentiate this from standard nasi goreng.  The seafood were of the smallish variety, but otherwise this was not bad.

26 August
I finally knock out the main stop on my masjid crawl-Muhammad Sultan Masjid.  So many pictures.  My hypothesis is confirmed-the briyani from the Ramadan fair outside is diverted for Iftar . . . and it is delicious.  Iftar is coed here-I fully support this.  There is also no silverware-I am a fan of hands only affairs.  The masjid is both packed and beautiful.
The lady sitting on the bus in front of me reeks.

Bakerzin-pasta stew
fish with mashed potatoes
chocolate souffle-honestly, do not fiddle with the food.  Dessert is why we are here.  The souffle was soft, fluffy, and delivered by angels.

27 August
Il Siciliano-the latest addition to the Faber Dr expat enclave
Molten lava cake-of course we started with dessert, and this was the big winner.
chocolate profiterole-this was not bad, but it did not completely suit my tastes.
spaghetti bolognese-I never order spaghetti at Italian restaurants.  This was most certainly the dank.  The sauce was amazing.  The pasta was cooked just a hair past al dente like I love.

28 August
Hari Raya Puasa Festival, Geylang Serai-this is just overwhelming with the amount of stalls.  I am perfectly content with just wandering through the food.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner-the “bbq’d” chicken wings were easily the best I have had in Singapore.  They were huge, juicy, and wonderfully spiced.  The different spiced Malay pastas, including another appearance, Mr. Mac(aroni), were also superlative.  Most everything else was decent, but ruined by overdousing with that sweet kecup/cili/Idunnowhat sauce and mayonaise (yes, mayonaise).  why would you do that?

O’Riordan’s Irish Pub (pure Irish, lah!)-very chill with Setanta.  This may be a Rugby World Cup venue.  No Guinness on tap.  You cannot win them all.  My whole “there is not enough scoring in soccer” argument is completely out the window.  Man U put an a$$ whooping on Arsenal.  I am a fan of domination, and Man U seems to be dishing it out liberally.

29 August
Plaza Singapura Kopitiam, Mixed Vegetable Rice-the curry vegetables were awesome, the green beans were solid, the fried chicken were an absolute fail.

Marche-plum pudding on egg tart.  Plum + tart equals goodness
Mascarpone crepe with fresh strawberries-oh my, yes!  Mascarpone is always a solid bet.
Apple streudel muffin thing-eh . . .  there is a reason why this is cheaper than the full out streudel.

Brotzeit-love the outdoorish setup.  There is a lot of Asian red face going down here.
Longdrink-I taste the vodka and the Sprite.  Where is the beer?
Affensaft banana-the beer is adulterated with banana juice.  I really hate that this is delicious and refreshing.
Weissbier-this seems watered down compared to the dunkel.
Dunkel-back to normal. Awesome Bavarian beer.

30 August
Aidil Fitri/Hari Raya Puasa
Masjid Jamiyah Ar-Rabitah-how is there no food?  This is truly tragic.

Redhill Mall
coffee shop, Malay pancake-the lotus was fresh, but the pandan was not.  Both were pretty alright.  They were the thick and fluffier version.
Hua Kee Chicken Rice-50 cents more for double chicken and skinless.  Yeah, baby!  The chicken is so soft and the rice is pretty on point.
If the kopi at the next stall does not wake you up, you are already dead.
Fritters stall (Chinese name?)-pisang goreng.  It is fresh and still terrible.  The banana was not ripe and the breading was dreadful and powdery.

I am loving my new Queenstown location.  4 minutes walk to the MRT and about 10 minutes to Anchorpoint.  In the citaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!

Bakerzin-cheesecake ice cream thing with a macaroon.  Yes, yes, and yes!  The cheesecake is pretty solid.

Harry’s (HV) – we own the place.  We have the TV playing rugby with the volume turned up and we are bringing in dessert from across the place.  Which brings me to . . .

Everything But the Fries-the Nutella Chocolate Tart is the truth.  Full stop.
It is a shame because the strawberry cupcake is not bad, with the chunks of sweet strawberry and creamy frosting, but the tart stole the show.

31 August
2am and I cannot sleep because I am suffering from Ramadan hangover (where my tapeworm is insatiable).  So what to do?  Char siew!  This stall at the BV coffee shop (Commonwealth at Holland Ave) is one of two open anywhere near BV and actually has people.  The hawker is starting his roasts for the day and everything is pretty fresh.  I am giving up on Sio Bak-the fat to flesh ratio is too much and this place makes it worse by oversalting it.  The char siew is not bad, but it is drenched in sauce.  Less is more.

Cake history-chicken curry bun and “blueberry” cheese roll (blueberry apparently means raisins covered in blue sauce).  Nothing mind blowing here-just a quick breakfast stop.

BK Eating House, Muay Thai Food-basil leaves chicken-solid Thai food at hawker prices.
Ice lemon tea-kindof like sweet tea.  I fully support this.

Aye yay yay yay
Canta y no llores . . .
Yes, they are playing the muzak version of Cielito Lindo at the Ministry of Manpower office.

Alexandra Village FC
Avocado Exotic Fruit Juice-best avocado juice imaginable-better than any avocado shake I have ever had.
Star Yong Kang BBQ Seafood-pretty good skate and the mushroom spinach is tasty, too.
(Chinese name) dian xin-pork bao: this is a nice change of pace relative to char siew bao because it is not drenched in sauce.  Nice chunks of flesh and the uncle was negotiating hard to get rid of his last pieces before he closed for the night.

1 September
Mos Burger, yakiniku rice burger-this could be pretty good with just a little attention to detail.  The meat tasted okay but was rubbery.  To make it worse, they put the rice buns in the wrapping and tried to stuff the meat afterwards.  Thus, the meat was all on one side and all came out on one bite.  Here is a crazy idea: finish making the burger before you wrap it.
Spicy teriyaki chicken burger – eh . . .

3 September
Bonifacio-
Pork knuckle-crisp on the outside, tender on the inside with plenty of fat.  Sooo good
Pork belly soup-has a sour kick.  I am a fan.
Stir fried kang kong-what makes this for me is the lack of oyster sauce or prawn paste

3 Sept
Citylink Mall
Canele, rose macaroon-delicate flavour and creamy filling. I certainly support this.

J.Co-all are fresh and not overly greasy
chocolate crunch donut-the chocolate is pretty nice
Al Capone: almond, cream donut-eh
Blue Berrymore-blueberry topping with cream cheese filling.  This is brilliant.  I am usually not a fan of filled donuts, but one can make exceptions.
Glazzy-the true measure of a donut place is its simple glazed donut.  This one stacks up.
Omelet sausage sandwich-really egg with pork bits, but the bread makes this work.

Marketmall grocer, sushi-the set with salmon, tuna, and omelet is not bad at all considering this is pre-made.

Smokey’s-after hearing all the hype about the pulled pork, we all had to order it.  Either I have been away from the South for too long or this actually lived up to the hype. The accompanying french fries were also not bad.  The sampler platter is a great way to get your fix of deep fried goodness-I especially liked the mozzarella sticks and the jalapeno poppers.  There were a few service hiccups, but we got to meet old man Smokey (the man, the myth, the legend) so we can let them slide for now.

4 Sept 2011
I just saw an Asian guy wearing an Affliction shirt.  Odd, he does not look like a Jersey Shore reject. I will still refer to him as “brah”.

Awww . . . another couple wearing matching clothes . . . so cute (vomit).

Ghim Moh Market
7th Heaven Curry
Egg Appam-the center egg bit is a bit undercooked for my taste, but both that and the egg thosai are pretty solid.  The cocunut chutney and the daal certainly does not hurt.  Why do they serve the putu mayam and plain appam with sugar instead of something savoury (like the aforementioned daal or chutney)?

NYDC
lime soda-mojito plus calamansi equals winner (adding rum would just take this over the top).  Super refreshing.  The chocolate chip ice cream was also stellar.

Cake History-the almond chocolate croissant is pretty solid

Sour sally-the chocolate frozen yogurt tastes more like gelato than yogurt.  Walnuts are key.

Food Republic-air conditioned hawker food!
Huat Huat BBQ Chicken Wings and carrot cake-alas, these wings are not as magical as those from the Geylang Hari Raya festival
Indo Padang-it was the only place that was still serving food.  Of course, someone rudely cut in front of us as we were trying to order.  Dick.

5 Sept
Saybons French Food
The bacon/avocado crepe was not bad and the tuna capsicum crepe was more quesadilla than crepe, but that is okay.  This is the mall food court version of French food.

6 Sept
The Manchester United listing on SGX is really intriguing.  Many believe the club was overvalued and that SGX bent too far over backwards to land the listing.  What is also contentious is the dual class share structure allowed for Man U that is not allowed for companies incorporated in Singapore.  Coming from America, I guess I take the availability of class B shares for granted.  Otherwise, how else could I buy into Berkshire Hathaway?  However, I never bothered to vote in shareholder elections and do not care about minority rights.  Maybe my favourite Aggie could enlighten me on this topic.  An even more intersting question for me is what is the fine line between being flexible/accommodating and giving away too much to secure a deal.

I am not really sure why people queued up for the H&M grand opening.  The store will still be here next week.  Oh em gee, Western clothes!

Narambi (Duke-NUS Canteen)-the beef rendang is some of the best I have had in Singapore.  The cheesecake is not bad, either.

Great article in today’s Financial Times, Metaphorically Speaking.  The use of military and other metaphors at work is out of control.  It points out that there is no such thing as an 800# gorilla.  These metaphors often obfuscate discourse in a place where clarity needs to prevail.  Furthermore, they have become unneces

Dawson’s Place Koufu
Roasted Delights-the char siew is sweet and sour-ish (I was not ready for that).  the oyster veggies were quite tight.

7 September
The HDB playground is kindof weak. Why turf instead of the usual sand? Is cleanliness more important than safety and fun. Booooooooooo

Back to Dawson’s Koufu
Everything at the dim sum place is pretty decent. I am not sure if butteradds anything to the kaya bun, though.

Alexandra Village Food Centre
Zhen Shan Mei Claypot Laksa-laksa nirvana! This one has chicken.
Fritter stall-in ball form or oblong. I prefer the latter, but it would be better to have either when they are fresh.
Green grass garden-I meant to order the soya with chendol, but I got grass jelly instead. It was okay, but I really would have preferred the former.
The search for the mysterious Queenstown tandoori continues.

The Connoisseur Concerto-it never occurred to me that Italian Soda would have soda water in it.  The lychee jazz is refreshing, nonetheless (alwaysthemore).

Ricciotta
Caprese-they do not skimp on the cheese and I love them for that
Le Roche Sauvigniose (sp?)-it is a softer red wine.  It is actually okay despite being so delicate.
Gorgonzola/chicken/basil/tortellini thing-YUM! I have been hankering for a pasta with cream sauce and this does nicely.
Crab/red/something or other pasta-a bit fishy for my taste. This was left behind.
Warm chocolate cake a la mode-warm and soft cake with chocolate chip gelato. Of course this is delicious.

8 September
I am fairly certain that the Queenstown FC no longer exists. Oh well, at least my search led me to this place:
Sin Kee Famous Chicken Rice-My friends and I were bemoaning the fact that the Chinese destroy curry chicken by leaving the skin on.  This place gets it right. They do leave a little bit of skin, but they make it right by serving it in a claypot.  I am sure the claypot is a gimmick, but I have never had anything bad in one. (I forget stuff . . . often). This stuff is the right amount of flavour and spice (it had my nose running, I cannot front).  The watermelon juice was overpriced, but it did not have any sweeteners.  It seemed a bit watered down, though.  I will have to come back here for the steamed chicken rice, which everyone else seemed to be enjoying.

Bengawan Solo Cake shop, pandan moon cake.  Whoever decided to put an egg yolk in the middle of a cake needs to have his ass kicked.  The lady assured me this one had no yolk and that she liked the flavour.  I am not 100 percent sure what pandan is, but it sort of tastes like my mom’s but’er daal halwa.  That is a very good thing.  This is a cheaper one, but it still costs $8.

I find it very ironic that Singaporeans consider themselves well travelled and wear “World With No Strangers” shirts yet think all brown people with black hair are Indians that speak Tamil.

Living in Asia has given me all sorts of insights into my parents.  Asians from across the continent have more in common than the Singaporean Chinese would have you believe.
Dude, Bjorn Borg has a clothing line beyond headbands? Dope.

Marche-first time I have gone out for a decent salad in Singapore.  Raw veggies are such a rarity outside of Western establishments (outside of garnishes). They also have a swiss hash brown with sausage thing that is solid-the sour cream is key.  The strawberry mascarpone crepe is always a winner.

9 September
Pasir Panjang FC, Seng Huat Hokkien Mee-fresh out of the wok.  Why did I wait so long to have Hokkien mee? This is really tasty!

I gave into my curiosity and tried a traditional mooncake-salted egg yolk and all.  It was not terrible.  The lotus paste was tasty like the pandan one I bought earlier, but the salted egg yolk was a bit off.

Dover Rd, Northern South Indian food: Briyani was pretty special.  The sambar that comes with thosai is also solid.  We then tried to buy a piece of cut fruit (already cut).  FAIL.  The aunty was closed for the day and could not be troubled with simply taking money for fruit that was in her display case.  Typical.

10 September
Song of India-The set up is spacious and gorgeous and the service is slow but courteous (so no one rushes to clear your plate until you are ready).    However, the food is very Ang Moh friendly (as my Ang Moh  friend noted).  That is spice and boldness are lacking, as far as I am concerned.  The buffet set up was nice with it really being like a free flow a la carte sort of set up.  Nothing was bad, but nothing was good either.  For the price, it is not really worth it.  The idea of buffet as hangover cure is promising, though. I still need to do champagne brunch at some point.

Singaporeans, can you please let me off the MRT/bus before you stampede on?  seriously?

Kim Dae Mun (Concorde Hotel)
Kimchi fried rice and Mundu (fried dumplings)-both are fried fresh and are really tasty.  The dumplings did not need any sauce as the filling was really tasty.

11 Sept
The new NYC memorial looks beautiful.  It is still staggering that some assholes used planes as bombs.

Tarbush Restaurant-LEGIT $10 lamb shank mandi is the deal of the month.  The hummus and soup (daal-ish) are also super tasty.

12 Sept
Seah Im, Aspirasi-I just noticed that they have the breaded crunchies as a garnish.   How did I miss this in the past? Next time, I need to ask for more chicken.  Hopefully, it will be longer on meat and shorter on skin and fat.

Malacca-who knew?

I am trying to go from newest entries to oldest entries, but I may have been inconsistent within the days.  Bear with me here.

12 July

Hong Kong Roast Meat, Ayer Rajah FC-At night, it is mostly the Mamak stalls that are open.  I rarely go in the morning, so I chose this Chinese stall that does not open at night.  The Chinese stalls typically open earlier in the morning and do not serve late dinners.  This stall even offered to skin the roast chicken of my chicken rice.  The rice was nothing special, but the chicken was delightfully tender.  They probably just cheaped it on the rice storage.

 

11 July

Pho Hoa-Bún Gà Nu?ng (I think).  It was four or five times the cost of what I could get in Vietnam (this is Holland Village, after all), but still very good.

 

10 July

Riverine Cafe-

apple juice-fresh juices are the bomb-diggety

nachos-imitation Doritos with imitation Hormel chilli.  Next. . .

ayam buah keluak-how can I say no when they printed out the Wikipedia entry? Well, they said no-they ran out yesterday.

Ayam pongteh-this had a combo of sweet and spicy that was not bad at all

kari ayam nyonya-the winner of the day.  I am a fan of all things curry and this was splendid.

kobis goreng kunyit-turmeric plus cabbage: what is not to like?

 

UNESCO-St. Paul’s Church-there are Muslims around the world that will not learn about or even patronize sights having to do with other religions.  Then, there are those that run around doing ridiculous poses for pictures with sacred items.  Then again, some of those people probably did not realize they were standing next to a gravestone.  This place is a shell of a building but the trip does result in a commanding view of Malacca.

Portia d’ Santiago-this was largely demolished as colonial occupiers pillaged each other.  There is literally nothing left.  The trishaws are ridiculous/terrible.   Some actually have amps and subs.

 

Muzium Semudara-PIRATES!  Interesting history of the colonial empires that plundered Melaka.

 

Harmony St-mosque, Hindu temple, and Buddhist temple almost side by side.  I support this.

 

Jonkers-more gluttony.  Hey Omar, Danza Kuduro for the elevendieth time.  The pineapple tarts guy (we went with the butter version which was so delicious) that we bought from yesterday recognized us and hooked us up with some sort of glutinous rice/blue flower dessert which was also tasty.  I would love just the sticky rice part by itself.  Hooray for free stuff!

 

Why does the cab to the bus station cost as much as the ride from Melaka to Singapore?  At least the cab driver was awesome and got us to Sentral where the bus home was actually waiting for us (we were 15 minutes late, per my modus operandi).

 

9 July

 

Transformers-Yes, I watched a movie on vacation.  It was fairly entertaining, honestly.

Baker’s Cottage-solid snackage.

 

Pulau Melaka-some day the Arab City will be built.  That day is probably not any time soon.  Masjid Selat Melaka (the “floating” mosque) is the only thing to see here.  To its credit, it is stunning.

 

Medan Portugis-How is this not more prominently marked?  I mean this is the only place to get dabel’s curry (right?)

Restoran Big Benz Fountain (stall)-dabel’s curry was a winner, as expected.  It was a symphony of spices and flavours.  The fried bean sprouts were also solid.  I wish there was still daylight out to enjoy the seaside views.

 

Jonkers-much more tacky than the Friday market, but excellent food along the walk.  Red bean mua chee in powdered sugar for the win!  There are more tourists here.

 

Party Rock anthem is the official song of the Malay peoples.

 

8 July

Malacca

planking at Pure (according to Lonely Planet, the hippest place in Malacca) because it was a great idea

Pahlawan Walk night market-this is awesome!  So much stuff that I did not know I wanted but need to have.  chocolate skewers

 

Newton food court (laksa, apple juice) the laksa soup was desi curryish.  This might be my favourite type of curry.  Full stop.   The use of Tau Ki and kueh tiao noodles is brilliant.

Chicken rice balls-this is pretty solid.  Fresh fruit juices are yumtastic.  Holy hell, random FIREWORKS!  Even the hawkers are out taking pictures.

 

Lok Lok-skewer.  Fried Tau Ki (tofu skin), welcome to my belly.  Why do they not fry it like that in Singapore?

 

Hotel Ninety six (906)-plus/minus.  Kindof far from stuff.  Renting bicycles was an excellent idea.

 

Singapore

Haig Rd Market,

Royal Penyet-ayam goreng penyet, best fried chicken in Singapore?-maybe.  The deep fried chicken floss pushes it into the realm of epicness.

Yuan Heng Cooked Food, Lor Mai Kai-solid glutinous rice

 

Jurong Point is literally at the end of the line, the East/West line.  There is an “alley” of Japanese restaurants and shops.  This may require further investigation.  The mall, in general, is ginormous.

 

7 July

Ayer Rajah FC is back in business (but the Chinese Kopitiam is closed)

Batcha Stall, black pepper chicken rice-I had high hopes for this one, but they were unfulfilled.  The chicken was far more bones than flesh and overly peppered.  The rice was very good and comparable to some of the best rice I have had with chicken rice.

Bismillah Sheik’s Curry, cheese & egg

prata-this would be so good if they used higher quality cheese and could ensure a uniform mix of dough, cheese, and egg.  The curry had been sitting out a while, but had a nice tanginess to it.  This place also has cheese and vegetable murtabaks . . . I am listening . . .

 

6 July

Miz-honestly nothing jumped out at me as spectacular.  Everything was pretty good.

salmon sashimi-reliably tasty. Way better than farm-raised commercial garbage we get at home.

Unakyu roll (eel  and cucumber)-solid

Soft Shell Crab Roll-I love crunchy in a roll

Negitoro Hand Roll (tuna belly)-for some reason, I remember the seaweed more than the flesh

Teriyaki Mackerel-mackerel, you make a fish fan out of me, yet.

Kanpachi (Amberjack)-I am not sure what it is, but I am cool with it

We may have ordered too much food.

 

4 July-Happy Independence Day!

Diandin Leluk (Golden Mile Thai Complex)

Spicy mango salad-good, but I could have done without the anchovies

Basil chicken-two thumbs means a healthy dosage of spice.  The chicken was in sauce, instead of dry.  I am okay with this.

Black olive fried rice-always a good bet.  There is sliced chili on the side if you feel the need to prove your Asianness.  I felt no such need.

Durian sticky rice-no pungent aftertaste.  The durian was very tolerable.  I am betting mango would have been better.

 

3 July

 

Three Crowns, Booze & Grub-They had Wimbledon with the sound.  This is the first time I have gone out in Singapore to watch sports.  (I cannot say that I am a fan of such local favourites as cricket, badminton, or netball.)  Beer specials help.

margarita chicken sandwich-num

truffle fries-these were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  The taste was only subtly discernable from the regular fries.

papaya salad-really tasty with excellent skewers.

pork crack a lackey-very fatty and deep fried(delicious!) with excellent sauce

 

Red Dot Brewery-weizen-very light with subtle fruitiness.  I approve.

English Ale-this was not near as sweet as the wheat beers, but still very good.

 

Sisaket Thai-very good black olive fried rice.

 

2 July

Sabio (tapas)-Jamon . . .  Excellent, but just a hair salty

chorizo picante . . .  nom nom!

calamari . . .  solid

drunk cake – It is not often I leave dessert behind.  This was one of those times.

 

The Marmalade Pantry (Orchard Ion)

Granny’s Apple – The spiced apple and cinnamon cake with cream cheese frosting was pretty spectacular.  The cake, on its own, was really good but the frosting took it over the top.

The spinach omelette required some assembly.  The ginger tomatoes and mushrooms were served on the side.  They somehow made the exterior of the eggs firm while the interior was runny . . . bliss!

 

1 July

 

Ya Mahuddin Al-Jailani: The sup kambing was pretty tasty, but it did not include bread or rice.  These things happen.

 

I ate, I shot, and now I Post.  Dr. Tay is awesome

 

30 June

Breadtalk-mango mousse cake was delightful.

 

29 June

Eighteen Chefs-I had no idea this was just some place in the mall.  Maybe the East Coast location is a better setting.  I guess this is no weirder than shelling out loot at a cze char place.

Cheese baked chili crabs-wow this is spicy, but the combo with the cheese is so good.  For the price, the crab did not seem large or meaty.  This is worth it for the east meets west novelty that so many places try and fail at.  The surplus of included mantou is a definite bonus.

 

Chef Icon-blueberry cheesecake.  Of course it is delicious.  Cheesecake is perfect for breakfast.

 

Chilli Padi-The curry chicken was not bad, very tender (take a shot).  It was definitely healthier than the pork dishes.

 

28 June

Masjid Kassim-it is pretty striking, but I find it ironic that such an imposing masque has stalls across the street serving beer.  Could this be racial coexistence?  The Chinese stalls are far more populated than the Muslim ones.

 

Noor Jannah’s Kitchen-It is many stalls in one.  I wish they would combine each of their menus into one.  The chicken curry was pretty solid.  It tasted like Mom’s, but I am sure Mom’s is far healthier.  Prata bomb with ice cream-I will spare you the “it’s the bomb” pun.  It is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and pretty damn tasty.

 

West Coast FC-

Fresh fruit juice stall-yay, banana juice

Lee Loon Cooked Food-I have been feeling chicken rice for a while and this one had a few people waiting (no place with a queue really struck my fancy).  The chicken was tender (take a shot of your favourite libation every time I use tender), but the rice was nothing special.  They must not have used enough broth to cook the rice as it was a bit dry.  The gravy was novel and helped the rice become pretty decent.  Ginger as a condiment would have been nice, but overall this was okay.

 

27 June

Tiam Hock Guan Seafood Steamboat, watching Transformers in HD because Ayer Rajah FC is closed (booooo).  The garlic seafood hor fun was actually really good.  The sliced fish was a bit bland, but that was nothing some chili could not fix.  I love broad hor fun and the extra $2 investment in garlic paid dividends.

 

26 June

 

Bonifacio-I finally get to try Phillipine food in a nicer setting.  The minimum order on pork knuckle is for four-we were two.  Sinigang na Baboy-the pork belly was super fatty and superdelicious.  This does have a tangy kick not too dissimilar to tom yam soup.

The chopsuey vegetables were nice and crisp and similar (if not identical) to the Chinese variant.

The katipuneros was pretty off the chain.  Once again, the pork may give you a heart attack, but both it and the chicken were deliciously tender.  The sauce was also great.  We went sans liver, however.  The garlic rice was a perfect accompaniment.

 

Science Centre, Planet Shark! – The Science Centre is all about kids, but fortunately Planet Shark is not overrun by the little bastards.  Expensive exhibit ticket pricing prevents that.  It was interesting that the whole exhibit was dedicated to illustrating that sharks are not really a threat to mankind.  Every shark model is annotated with the number of humans that species has attacked and the number of people that species has killed.  From this data, we can ascertain that killer whales are much more efficient than great white sharks at killing people.  Shamu, we take you out of your primitive habitat, domesticate and degrade you, and this is the thanks we get?  Geez. . .

The 3-D movie was not too cheezy and rather informative; unfortunately, it adds on another four dollars to the price of admission.  There were no live sharks at the exhibit and the displays remind us not to support demand for shark products like shark fin soup.  Then, the exhibit contradicts itself by selling authentic shark tooth necklaces.  Fail.

All in all the exhibit is not bad.  I avoided the permanent exhibits because 1) I have a short attention span and 2) the rugrats had taken over.

 

Epicurious-great, fluffy french toast and wonderful orange dressing thing (compote?).  The scrambled eggs came runny, as I like them.  The sourdough bread was drenched in butter, but still really good.  The fresh fruit juices are spectacular, but alas not Lombok prices.

 

Caffe & Toast-mackerel otah: nice fluffy bread and wonderfully sauced mackerel.  I support this.

 

25 June

 

Tandoori Restaurant-methi malai mattar, paneer tikka, butter chicken, masala pappad, naan, puri, kulfi.  I am not a big pappad person, but the masala is quite nice.  The naan is a bit thin for my taste, but still nice.  The butter chicken is really a good entry point for ang mohs, as it is not overwhelmingly spicy.  It is a bit tangy for my taste.  The methi malai mattar was a bit long on mattar (peas) for my taste, but not bad.  One thing I need to get my hands on is a methi/daal combo-that idea has potential.  Now, the paneer tikka was epic.  It was a firm texture with awesome flavor.  One thing that was obnoxious was that this place is a stop for Indian package tourists.  Indian tourists who may be even less adventurous then Chinese package tourists.

 

Thai Fusion-green curry chicken, blachan Fried rice.  The blachan sauce had a bit of a fishy tinge, but it was still rather tasty.  The green curry was awesome, as expected.  The curry was light without too much coconut milk and had tasty vegetables.

 

24 June

NUS Guild House-tofu, fried chicken, samosas.  The samosas were meh, but the other two were super tasty.  Unfortunately, I was forced into drinking Tiger.  Booooooo

 

23 June

Tiam Hock Guan Seafood Steamboat, gong bao chicken rice.  I believe this is what us yanks refer to as kung pao chicken.  It is piping hot and tasty, but I cannot tell if it is any different than takeout back in the States.

 

22 June

81 Curry-I was always very curious about this place, so I staggered in after free flow.  The fried chicken had been sitting out a while and would have been nicer fresh.  The curry chicken was not bad, but it could have used a kick.  Then again, Chinese curry is always a bit flat in this department.   It did have a nice smooth flavor, though.

 

Insomnia-it was actually not maniacally packed.

 

Kinki-cool view and reasonably priced drinks, considering.  Interesting Japanese theme.

 

Chilli Padi, pork ribs.  I wonder if the reason that this place is so cheap and delicious is because they use cuts of meat that are super fatty.  I will have to test this with the beef and chicken dishes.

 

21 June

New Hong Kong Delight-The hotplate deer meat was not superlatively spectacular, although it was piping hot and really tender (especially considering that it is venison).  The meal was not a great deal, although I just polished off two people’s worth of food for $10.  What makes this place is the jovial couple who run the place.  It is not often you see a smiling Singaporean, and certainly not in a hawker centre.  I may have to come back for the prawn paste chicken.

 

Olio (alpha)-the bacon spaghetti was not bad

 

20 June 2010

Sumo House-what a peculiar arrangement, you order food with a waitress (who actually is friendly), pay at a counter, and then get your food at the table.  The curry udon was honestly way better than I would expect at this price range.  I may have to return to give the tempura (a good test of Japanese cuisine) a go.

Chillaxing on the Beach

25 May 2011
I just realized that the Arab stall in the NUS Business canteen is an offshoot of the Cafe l’ Cairo on Arab St.  Now, I definitely have to go back to the Arab St location sober!

26 May
Aw poop, there is only one place in Kampong Glam that sells hookahs.  And the “a” button on this phone is giving me fits.

Deli Moroccan-The server is gruff, but I tricked him into cracking a smile.  Lamb Tajin with Apricots-what a fantastic mix of tender and fatty lamb, french fries, dried apricots (which I was sceptical about), nuts and olives.  The apple iced tea was not surprisingly sweet, but refreshing.  Boom-I am full.  Satiation kind of snuck up on me.

27 May

Jibiru Japanese Brewery- the Euro-style beers are passable, but nothing really grabs my attention.  They actually ran out of all the craft beers on special before happy hour.  Booooooooo.  Very not worth the money ($17/beer).  The food may be promising.  I may have to check out the Paulaner clone next door in 313@Somerset.

Mang Kiko’s Lechon-roast pork belly is always a good call.  The sour spicy sauce is solid, but definitely sour.

Botak Jones-American food cheaper than Mickey D’s recommended by locals.  YOU can guess how it tasted.

28 May 2011
Mughal Sweets
Kachori-this was nothing special
Ras Malai-always a winner
Pakoda-avoid the packaged stuff, as it gets cold and soggy.  Throwing it in the toaster oven helped.

Usman’s-no haleem, booooooooo
Aloo naan-dude, I mean dude this was tasty.
Tandoori chicken-consistently awesome
Aloo methi-I would love this with less aloo and more methi (I usually enjoy leafy greens).  The sauce was really special.
We must come back for the bryani.

Hougang 6 miles Famous Muah Chee – oh my gawsh!  Fresh mocchi for the win!  No gimmicky flavors, just right! This was definitely worth the trip.

RSAF Open House-earlier this week, I read about Singapore’s “queing culture”.  MY A$$!
The flyover was not Blue Angels, but still rather cool

Saizeriya Ristorante E Caffe-Western food in a mall-I should have done my homework.  At least they had rather cheap wines, although I am not sure why they chilled the reds.  The baked spinach, cheese thing was an abject failure.  I could have bought frozen spinach and shredded cheese from fairprice and made something better.  In general, the cheese in any dish was terrible. The garlic spinach dish was much better.  The grilled chicken dorya (spelling) suffered from terrible cheese, truly letting down the rather decent chicken and seasoned rice below.  Also, how did they mess up our order so many times when they used PDAs to take them?

29 May
Chako-
Best edamame ever
Chicken katsu curry-next time I will get the curry on the side, as you cannot finish the wonderfully fried chicken before it gets soggy (analogous to the chicken fried steak conundrum), the potato in the accompanying salad was the most delicious potato salad I have ever eaten
Miso-soaked mackerel-the waitress indicated that this would be good but also warned that it was not for everyone.  This is some of the best fish I have had in Singapore (even considering some of the sushi I have had).  There were no bones and the skin was quite tasty.  The waiter’s mother (the cook) was very pleasantly surprised that I loved it.
Miso soup-not an afterthought, this is so much better fresh
Home-made strawberry ice cream: unlike the stuff you buy on the street, this was not loaded down with stabilizers so it actually melted.  It was also not overly sweet.  I highly recommend saving room for ice cream.

30 May
Aspirasi, Fried Chicken Rice with Sambal-vaguely reminiscent of stuff I got on the streets of Bangkok.  I am okay with fluffy, steamed rice in lieu of sticky rice.  We made mango sticky rice with Basmati rice and that worked out splendidly.  The chicken was golden and crispy with very few bones.  The sambal is more tomato-centric, versus fish-smelling.  It is damn shiok, despite clearing my sinuses.  I just learned a new trick from the guy sitting next to me-dump the broth on the rice.  Brilliant!

Golden Thai Restaurant-
crispy fried chicken-is fried chicken really ever a bad idea?
green curry chicken fried rice-ooh, they managed to make it without it turning completely soggy
chicken phat see eiu-soooooo good

31 May
Old Airport Rd FC
Dim Sum Stall-glutinous rice.  This was tastier than I would have guessed.  Surprisingly the chicken was more glutinous than the rice.

Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee-wanton mee hor fun.  There was a queue so I felt obliged to join.  The char siew was a bit feeble in size and quantity, but this belied its texture and taste.  I may have to make a trip out to Hong Kong for the wantons.

BJ Grill Seafood-ray. Considering the size, it did not have much flesh.  I like that they did not drench the wing in sambal, which often overwhelms the taste and texture of the skate flesh.

Soursop juice-I love the fleshy bits of the fruit in the juice.  This is not sour, and is quite refreshing.

“Go back to your country.”
Man, this xenophobe walked away too quickly for me to respond “you, too” and blow him a kiss.  There is ALWAYS a next time.

1 June 2011

Chilli Padi, babi ponteh-the a la carte here (Singaporeans misuse a la carte, as I have discussed earlier) should be the gold standard for “value for money”.  Unfortunately, this phrase usually implies taking a non-cheap dish, substituting poor ingredients, and shoddily preparing it.  Pork fat in a mild sauce with the side orders of vegetables.  Did you hear that?  PORK FAT as an entree!  It was all brilliant, especially at $4 and change.

2 June 2011
Cheese Prata shop – I am beginning to work my way through the menu.  Unfortunately, I forgot to ask them to make the prata a bit more crispy.  Next time!  The plain prata was nothing special and the banana prata had syrup drizzled on it.  The syrup did not really seem excessive.  The curry was also nothing special.  I really got the plain prata for dipping in the sup kambing.  This is a decent alternative to Ayer Rajah, but for some reason I feel Ayer Rajah is better.  I cannot really put my finger on why, though.

Jia Le Herbal Bak Kut Teh (Clementi 24 hr var nice) – I was drawn in by the bak kut teh, but ultimately went with the braised pig trotters.  How do trotters have so much fat?  Human feet do not have any fat.  This was obviously not fresh, but this would have had potential had that not been the case.  The you tiao had also been sitting out a while.

Cake History – brownie for a buck.  You have to try it.  It was not bad at all, although it was much more cake than brownie.

3 June 2011
I just violated a personal rule, never eat at the same place twice in a week.  Especially in Singapore, it makes no sense to eat hawker food on back to back days.  Oh well, here I am back at the Cheese Prata Shop.  I had to try the briyani-it was nothing special.  The kopiccino peng hit the spot given the heat, though.

Jumbo Seafood-
aloe vera juice with lime-tastes like lime juice to me
steamed tilapia with Nonya sauce-I actually ate the whole fish, including the bits behind the eyes.  Even the little bones could not stop me.  The sauce was sooooo good-like chili crab sauce.

4 June
Arts and Science Museum in Marina Bay Sands (the lotus flower looking building).  This is the most expensive museum I have ever been to.  In Singapore, museums are tourist attractions to profit from and not educational institutions for the broader public.  At $30 admission, I can understand why locals would not patronize this.  That said, the Dali exhibit was pretty spectacular.  The museum is only exhibits, there are no base installments.  Somehow, we spent almost two hours covering some of Dali’s greatest works and exploring the themes in his life (and art).
The Van Gogh exhibit was interesting, but overwhelming.  They just threw up his art as projections onto many walls of a room.  It was too much and we were museumed out by then.  The Hidden Treasures (from a sunken ship discovered somewhere in the waters near here) was interesting, too.  That said, Dali is why you pay the $30.

Riverfront festival (by the esplanade)-the tent full of food and drinks was pretty cool.  The Estrella Spanish beer was not bad and neither was the paella (getting an extra portion free as they were closing down did not hurt).  The guy playing a piano suspended from a pole was just weird.  There was a video screen on the piano and the pianist was had his back facing down and seemed to play some sort of interactive video game through playing music.  Definite points for originality, but still very strange.

5 June
Paulaner, Brunch-Even at $65 (after tax, title, and license) this is a spectacular deal.  You can eat sans FREE FLOW beer to save yourself $10, but then I will have earned the right to call you stupid.  The lighter and darker ales were both tasty and reminded me of the greatness of Bavarian beer.  While on the surface this set-up would not seem Muslim-friendly (beer and brats), there are plenty of other amazing German foods to keep you pre-occupied.  Some highlights include the roasted potatos, FRESH pretzels, some sort of orange-colored sausages, spread of cheese and smoked salmon, and tender roasted chicken.  The desserts were epic, too, including apple streudel with vanilla cream, blueberry cheesecake, and other cakes and mousses.  Despite taking breaks between rounds at the buffet, I could not muster the wherewithal to attack the chocolate fountain.  My food baby was a very happy camper!

Al-Ameen Makan House
Dal palak-brilliant,
Tandoori mixed platter-how can you look at the hanging meats in the display and not order it.  I wish they would have brought the heat a bit more.
Sambal fried rice-it comes with a piece of fried chicken!  This will satisfy my nasi goreng cravings and then some.  It far exceeded my expectations.

6 June 2011
Formosa Delights-super buttery Kaya toast for the first time.  I am not sure that this is any better than what I make at home.  Definitely not bad.  The steamed dumplings are also not bad.

7 June
Barossa (HV)-$25 free flow of Archipelago beer.  Why do more people not do this?  The Limited (wheat) and the Czech lager were quite good and the Summer Ale was pretty refreshing.  I postulated that we could do a free flow every day of the week if we so desired.  All of our livers died a little bit.

Al-Hamra-overpriced Middle Eastern food in Holland Village.  Nothing spectacular at all.

Overtime – for the same price as free flow at Barossa, I received one mediocre beer here.  I must remember the name of this place so I never make the mistake of coming back.

Wala Wala-Shevy is definitely on fire.  I am surprised I did not lose my voice with the cover band.  Always a good time here.

On the cab ride home, one of my friends insists on practicing Singlish with the cabbie.  I am not sure why we were not kicked out.  After the friend gets out, the cabbie proceeds to show me pictures of him and his family all around the world (including in the US).  He even had a picture with Lee Kuan Yew.  Random.

8 June
North Korean BBQ-I finally sank my teeth into bibimbab.  This is resolutely delicious!  I heartily approve.  Nothing bad ever comes from a claypot.  The BBQ chicken is pretty phenomenal!  I saw people doing bulgogi bacon . . . next time.  The kimchi soup was not bad, but nothing special.

9 June
El Toro-Easily the best service in Singapore and on par with some of the best that I have had in the States.  I wish they sold alcohol.  They go for too much by trying to encompass so many Latin cuisines (including Spanish).  They would be better served focusing their menu on one or two cuisines.  The Mexican food was of high quality and tasty, but not at all authentic.  Sadly, Senor Taco is still superior in this department.

10 June
Winebos freeflow-”bubbly” is an option, too

Geylang, Lor 9 – I need to come here more often!  Bak kut the was rock solid!  The skate was okay, but the flesh was a bit skimpy.  The beef kway teow was epic.  The noodles were soft, the beef was tender, and the sauce was delicious.

Wow, one French dude just slapped another one on the Clarke Quay bridge.  “I challenge you to a duelle.”

Rupee Room-two hours of my life I will never get back.  I hope I never get dragged here again.

11 Jun
Maxwell Centre
Guang Dong Wanton Mee, Fried dumpling ramen-They had no beef brisket, as IeatIshootIpost suggested.  That said, this ramen is rather tasty.  The wantons were fried to perfectly crisp.  I liked that this was not soupy at all.
Drinks & Desserts corner-I felt so bamboozled when I ordered the mango/longan dessert.  It ended up being an overiced kacang, although the mango and longan bits were tasty
Lim Kee Banana Fritters-rajah pisang goreng for the win!

Asian Civilizations Museum-Free for local students!!!  This is deceptively big and I had to sprint and still did not make it into all the galleries.  I shall be back!

I am going on a week long vacation with only a backpack.  This is even lighter packing than when I went to Oz/NZ.

Changi Airport, Texas Chicken-the tenders were tasty and the gravy was tasty.

Kuta, Bali
Mama’s German Food-decent local food does not happen at 2 in the morning, so we are here.

The Island Hotel is a bit pricy and quite a walk from the more touristed bits of Kuta, but it is well worth it.  Truly “boutique” for a hostel.

12 June
Our 6 hour stay in Bali comes to an end

“Do you only know how to say food words in Malay?”
Well, I know how to say taxi, too (teksi)

Mushroom? . . . Moo???

Senggigi, Lombok
Passed out in a bungalow on the beach at the Beach Club (our hotel).  Life is not shabby.  The room is not too bad, either.

Pura Batu Bolong (Hindu temple on the ocean)-very high level of detail and well maintained.  Not only is it gorgeous, but it was in a picturesque location.  Why do statues all wear real sarongs in Indonesia?
We stumbled onto the locals beach.  Everyone is so happy here.  Lombok – “almost easy”.  So true.  Not anywhere near as depressing as Singapore.
We bought food from some local vendors.  Tofu with sambal, grilled and marinaded corn, sate kambing, lontong (rice cooked in a banana leaf), whatever-it is all good!  The sauce the corn was in was particularly awesome.  I wish they sold that marinade in bottles

New Surya-crazy live music with locals.  Very cool bartender.  Lots of sketch working girls.

Papaya-birthday shots!  . . . of Cuervo-doh!

Oxygen Bar-”strong” long island ice teas-I am well on my way . . .

Happy Cafe-bikini shot, flaming shot of terribleness

Random stall-super hospitable uncle with delicious food that I do not remember.  Even though he said 24 hours, I am pretty sure we woke him up at 2 in the morning.  My tapeworm and I are douchebags.  I cannot believe he has a proper laminated menu sign in full English.

13 June
Gili Meno-
On the public boat out here, we met most of the hawkers and their wares (including raw fish).  We ended up buying trinkets from some of them later in the trip.

This place is easily the most off-the-grid place I have been to.  The horse-drawn tuk tuk was not as awesome as I thought it would be.  I am okay with the prohibition of motorized vehicles.

Amber house-no fresh water, toilet paper, no problems.  Amenities include 2 light bulbs, a fan, mosquito nets, and a squatter toilet.  But the beachfront view . . . EPIC!!!

Ana Warung-not so sweet banana pancakes and tofu/tempeh curry.  Tempeh is like the love child of tofu and rice-not too shabby.

Too bad there is no infrastructure here, as we destroyed quite a bit of coral to wade into the ocean to snorkel.  As long as Meno remains an undeveloped paradise, the corals may be okay.  So many beautiful fish and many sizes and shapes of coral.  I dove right in with several schools and swam with them and they did not flinch.  They were probably like, “eh, check out that retarded big fish.”

at 9pm this place is absolutely deserted
Bibi’s Cafe-ayam pelecing.  Not bad-the sauce has a nice little kick to it.  The chicken consisted of bones with plump pieces of meat, considering the chicken is not fed growth hormones or mechanically processed.

14 June
Contiki bar, mie goreng something or ‘nother-this was not bad.  In Indonesia, they toss a fried egg on top.  I am okay with this.  More watermelon juice for the win!

While running back to the hotel to retrieve this phone, I see two cats mating.  The female cat did not seem particularly thrilled about this.  At least even the stray cats are pretty clean.

turtle sanctuary-we ran into the guy that works here at the internet cafe last night.  He took us around some spectacular places to snorkel and we actually swam with some loggerheads.

Gili Trawangan
Looked for surfing at low tide-terrible idea.  After wandering for who knows how long, we gave up.

Scallywags-amazing “barbecue spread”.  The cheese sandwich was just silly good.  I got swordfish steak and an amazing free flow salad for the equivalent of 1.80USD more.  I am the big winner, although the swordfish reminded me of the swordfish steak I had at Dino’s in DC.  Dino’s version may be the best I ever have.  The watermelon salad and banana tempura were also stellar.
The cats must be well-fed, as they thumb their nose at french fries.  How did they get on the islands?
There are some seriously ginormous cockroaches here.  Although some bugs have made me their b!tch, it is really not much worse than Singapore (which is not bad compared to its less developed neighbors).

Pondok Lita-nice place, convenient location, western toilet . . . but no fresh water. Dammit.

Dude-I see Big Dipper!

Surf Point Bar-It started with some really awesome music: David Guetta, Fragma, etc.  They are on the beach and were doing a full moon party-it was straight out of a beer commercial with a bonfire, people dancing, fire show.  Really amazing scene that just could not happen in the States.  Even in the dark, Lombok looks epic in the distance.  The music started getting poppy as the place started filling up.  The scene started getting weird as local secondary school kids came out and (attempted to) dance around the bonfire.  Very weird. . .

Arnott’s (maker of Tim Tams), cheese cookies – absolutely dreadful.  I tossed these in the trash after half a cookie.  Thank god for the Tim Tams.  Choco strawberry for the win.

Although waking up at sunrise was pretty miserable, it was totally worth it.  Watching the sun rise over the Lombok mountains was pretty spectacular.

Pretty unexpectedly awesome free breakfast at Pondok Lita-omelettes, fruit salad, pancakes.  I support this.

We definitely experienced Trawangan in an untraditional way.  Still, very cool.  We did not think this through.

The process of getting a boat back to Ubud is an absolute pain.  I am tired of all the haggling and middlemen BS.  I miss being able to just compare prices online and click on the best one.    The fact that the two hour ride initiates queesiness is not helpful.

Sweet sesame ball things from the random dude on the street.  Somewhat sweet and not bad.  Ondeh ondeh?

Warung Laba Laba-The cap cay was a pretty healthy alternative.  The vegetables were crisp, but the portions of meat were scant.  It was still pretty tasty.  The strawberry mint shake was the bomb diggety.

There is lots of cool art and handicrafts here.  Of course I bought a new bracelet.

Clear Cafe-hummus triple plate-the avocado/hummus, black bean, and red something or other were all good.  The warm tortillas were a good accompaniment, but the blue cornmeal chips were disappointing.  The cucumber infused water was refreshing.  The strawberry almond cake tasted great, but I was not a fan of the frozen strawberry texture.  I cannot believe they let me borrow a laptop and keep it until after the cafe closed and all the workers left.  The funny thing is we were not the only customers left in there.  This must be a super safe place.

Dewey Anwara-This hotel blows.  How did we not initially notice how dingy it was and the lack of a bathroom sink?  You get what you pay for.

16 June 2011
The hotel breakfast was not too shabby.  Scrambled eggs and fruit are always a safe bet.

You have to love when an art gallery comes to you.  Ida Bagus Svardana came to my doorstep with a portfolio of work.  I ended up getting suckered into buying a battle scene between Rama and Ravayana (?) where a poor deer takes an arrow in the crossfire.  I believe this is a scene from the Vedas.  Ida also gave me a brief introduction into Balinese Hindu art.  Considering I convinced him to sell at half of what he originally wanted, I am overall very happy.
Post-script: I should have paid half for this.  It is hard to negotiate when you have no idea what something is worth.  Plus, the house ALWAYS wins.

Cafe Lotus-ginger fizz: Sprite and ginger ale with a sprig of mint-I can dig it
bebek-The duck was a ton of work and took me forever to get through.  I am not sure that it was honestly worth it.  The leafy vegetable dish was delectable.
The main reason you come here is to sit by a stunning temple.

Blanco Museum – Michael Jackson is a fan of Antonio Blanco art.  The sexually charged themes are in your face.  Dude has skills with the brush, though.  Very excellent garden with lots of large exotic birds.  It is a serene getaway from the main drag.

Ubud Market-Rama and Sita.  What an exciting maze of stuff!  Why did the kimono lady see me and immediately go for the pink kimono?  A little solo shopping spree may or may not have occurred.  I did NOT buy anything from the penis carving store.

Ubud Palace-great exterior design, but nothing really to see.  Is it closed?
Legong Trance and Paradise Dance (by Sekehe Gong Panca Artha)-getting my culture on.

Casa Luna-Indonesian laksa: This is very Thai (and mild) in flavor.  It is very solid.
arak attack-I am thinking that nothing with arak in it will ever make it into my daily repertoire.  I can see this stuff causing blindness.  We shall leave this to the locals.

Returning to Sucik’s House (Bangkiam Sidem, right before the hill with the big goose out front) was a disaster.  It does not show up on Google Maps and a review online with a map was absolutely wrong.  It does not help that transport in Ubud consists of self-powered options or paying a local resident to take you around.  The latter is terrible because the locals (much like elsewhere in Asia) have never ventured off the block they were conceived.  At least I did not pass out in the rice paddies.

Despite, the out-of-the way location, the place is pretty spectacular.  The couple that runs it is incredibly hospitable.

17 June
Bali bicycle eco-tour
Mama Africa-NUS cheap drinks
Kibu, Seminyak
Potatohead-pricy Seminyak
66- righthander, high tide

Ceking Rice Terrace-so much brilliant green!

There was a Jakartan Muslim couple exploring Hindu culture.  Why we travel moment: We later asked the Jakartan couple how much we should tip the tour guide.  They reminded us that it was different for local versus Western travellers.  I forget that this is a very expensive trip for them.

Puncak Sari restaurant on Gunung Batuk-Black Rice pudding with sticky rice, banana pancakes, fried rice
Batuk actually had fresh lava on it.  Nothing here was eye-poppingly good here except for the view.

Grand Bas-Coffee plantation-celebrity/poop coffee
ginger, cacao, mangosteen, cardamon, coffee (balinese, arabica, robusta), green snake, snakeskin fruit, coconut, turmeric, galangal (for sambal), cinnamon, gold crown fruit, jack fruit, papaya
cevit: luwak-coffee bean pooper.  Poop hunters – people who look for cevit poop
Ginseng coffee is quite sweet.
The local tobacco is quite smooth-no awful tar

Village
Betel leaf and nut-narcotic (halal?)
I think I disrespected their holy temple.  Crap . . .

500 year old banyan tree

these Indonesians sure love burning stuff!

“You look like us.”  So many times.  When I tell them that I am at NUS, I get this look that says “you made it!”  I have never been welcomed as one of their own before.

Dreamland, south of Seminyak, is supposed to have great surf/breaks.

I feel terrible for the kampung children begging for school supplies.  I did not have so much as a pen to give.

Uma Kuta Village feast.  Wow, I mean WOW! The bebek here was much easier to deal with than Lotus-much fewer bones and skin and more tender flesh.  The tofu and noodle/vegetable combo were also solid.  I am stuffed.  Game. Set. Match.

Bali Eco Cycling is a win.  The optional uphill bit was murder, but I am glad I chose to do it.

Carnegie’s Bar in Singapore

Pejangaji-noon, cremation, must have Balinese clothes
085237121291 (weda’s cousin, wera)

Our hotel overlooks Gunung Lebah.

I have absolutely no business eating again, but here I am at Naughty Nuri’s.  When Anthony Bourdain said their martini is the best he has had outside of New York, I was stunned to find such a low brow watering hole (in the world’s largest Muslim country, no less).  That man is my idol.  Not only can I see where he is coming from on the gin martini, I would say their ribs might be the best I have had outdise of Memphis, TN (did I mention I was in a Muslim country?).  The meat was so tender, I could have eaten it with a disposable spork.  If you are an unapolegetic carnivore, you owe it to yourself to come here.  I might be ready to die now.  Interstate BBQ, you are on notice.  (I am not going to lie, though.  That was mighty pricy for a developing nation: 213K IDR.)  I am a happy camper, nonetheless!

18 June
My driver is half German and does not have a license.  I am instructed to tell polisi that he is my uncle if we get pulled over.  Oh boy . . .

“Chinese package tourists (which is in fact all Chinese tourists) are like ducks.  Wherever one goes, the rest follow.”

Legian
Made Kolu Surfing on 66 Beach-this beach is not anywhere as nice as the beaches in Lombok, but the surf is not bad.  Surfing here was way easier than navigating the choppy waters caused by Hurricane Katrina.  Snowboarding skills helped a little for carving (do you say that for surfing?) and balance.

I came to the realization that I in fact was redoing a college lifestyle.  I never could afford to get into backpacking and did not want the added debt, so I am doing it now.  At 29, I went camping for the first time.  At the ripe age of 30 I went scuba diving for the first time.  There are still so many firsts to knock out and the bucket list only gets longer.

Carliz Art & Cafe, chicken soup-like Campbell’s with fresh ingredients

Ku De Ta-fundraiser with a band.  I wonder how it normally is.  Seems like a chill ambience.

Kokoya-curry chicken udon.  It is open and it accepts credit card.  Good enough.

Juneteenth
Despasar Airport, Cafe, chicken sandwich-I believe that we have differing views on what passes as chicken.
CNN with some hard-hitting news on Casey Anthony.  My mind feels so nourished right now.  (This is why 24 hour news is terrible.)

This is the second time I have made it through a country after stretching every last dollar without having access to cash.  Whew!

Cugini-they definitely love turquoise here!
Bruschetta – very tasty starter
Lobster risotto – not bad, but it seemed some of the textures were to firm for my taste.  I am by no means a risotto lover.
Lamb ravioli – after growing up on Chef Boyardee, I always love freshly made ravioli.  The sauce was superb!

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