Friday, August 31, 2007

Aston's prime ribeye extra cut


Having tried the grade 5/6 wagyu at Aston previously, I thought it would be interesting to check out their regular steaks. I've never actually had anything else before and the word was that steaks at Aston's is pretty good and the prices are quite unbeatable for what they offered. The extra cut ribeye is a larger cut of their regular ribeye and weighs 300g. Which to me is a decent weight for a steak. I would think that anything smaller is a little tiny. For $15.90, I'll have to agree that it is probably the cheapest around for size and standards. That being said, I found it also quite unsatisfying. There were no complains here on the meat or the cooking. Anyplace that manages successful medium rare steaks properly takes their cooking serious enough. The taste of the beef was just too flat and unflavourful. Which reminded me of the ieat burger with its tasteless dry patty.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Small Potatoes Make The Steak Look Bigger : Year One


Glancing back in retrospect at the past 365 days, it looks a-pretty-mazing how much I have eaten and how fast time has quietly slipped by beneath my attention most of the time. This blog began with honestly, very humble and personal intentions to serve as a personal food diary and place of perspectives. That means that, apart from the literal meanings of the name of this site, it is also a metaphorical expression for perspective. Bet most of you never knew that. You might have noted that it's grown to much more than that. Change after all is the only never changing constant. I cannot really say what's more to come except that this blog will thrive on as far as I can help it. It's always more exciting to trudge into the unknown sometimes. Stay tuned as always.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My four cheese ravioli (home made lazy edition)


I work late sometimes and eat only when I'm back home. So occasionally, I stock the larder with things that I can whip up in short order for dinner. Usually it will be just pasta because they're easily available and probably next most convenient to instant noodles to prepare. I prefer the soft pasta in vacuum packs because they cook faster than the common dried ones. Also they're probably the next best to the freshly made ones. This will of course limit what you can buy or where you can buy them. Buitoni which I'm using can be found in Marketplace or selected Cold Storage supermarkets. As the title of this post suggests, it has four cheese stuffings.


The sauce that I use for it is the tomato and mascapone which I discovered a year or so back at Marks & Spencers. They tomato flavor in this sauce is more subdued than the standard ones because of the mascapone. That's really fine with be since I'm not big on tomato bases sauces and it probably has to be really fresh and well made to be good. That means that generally, they aren't great. That's my reason for avoiding them. I don't dislike tomatos. Although the label on the bottle says that it's perfect for creamy pasta, the sauce is really not that creamy. Appearances can be deceiving.


The first step would of course to bring a pot of water with a bit of salt and oil to boil. When the water starts boiling, you can add in the pasta. These raviolis are recommended by the instructions to be cooked for about 6 minutes or so, but I did them in a bit lesser time. I don't like them to soft and soggy.

bubble bubble toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble

The raviolis will expand abit as they soak in the boiling water.


The next step is optional, but I like them firm so the raviolis take a bath in a bowl of ice water. Having done this, the sauce that is to be used should be heated. Since the pasta is no longer hot, it is important for the sauce to be so unless you like everything cold. What I do is to just heat a portion which is about 2/3 of the jar in the microwave for about 2 minutes for about 2/3 of the pack of raviolis.


Add any garnishing that you fancy and here goes your pasta dinner that can be done in about 20 minutes with minimal cooking skills involved. You probably would have to estimate the cooking time for the pasta if you're picky about the consistency like I am. It should be easy after a couple of tries.



Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lazy Garage Sunday



Sunday brunches tend to be an uncommon event for me. I'm either tired out from fatigue and dehydration the night before (read high, dry and almost wasted) or that I find it a Herculean effort to peel myself off the bed just to head out someplace. A day without work is the only time I get to forgo the regimental reminder of my alarm clock and since there is precious little of that going around, I would usually prefer to lounge the morning off in bed or just at home. I'm just back from a mind numbing obligatory cruise, courtesy of work so the early check out hours meant that I'm wide awake on my normally lazy Sunday morning. And since I'm up, there's no reason not to make the best out of it. Yep, it's a brunch, not a jog or a walk in the park.

Wine Garage (30 Merchant Road, Riverside Point, #01-07), a upmarket restaurant opened by the group that does Brewerkz just next door does a very tasty brunch offering which I've never had the opportunity of having because of my usual indoor Sundays. A selection of wines are available at a noticeable discounted price along with an array of modern European culinary offerings. Alright, that's enough introduction from me at this point. The short of what I want to convey, is that the food is supposed to be good and it comes coupled with a matching service. Wait a minute......I think that last statement didn't sound quite the way I wanted to say it. I had meant that service at the restaurant was great.

Wine Garage cheese slate

This cheese platter is literally served on a wooden slate. The options for the cheese comes in one ($7), three ($18) or five ($28) different cheeses. These ones are the Montgomery Cheddar, Grana Padano and Stilton Blue (left to right) with accompanying buttered toasts, sliced green apple, white honey and fig jam. The cheddar was rich and of full bodied flavor, Grana Padano fruity and the blue was pungent the way I like it. 

Pumpkin hotcakes with mascapone and maple syrup ($18)

These hotcakes were a reminder of the pretty good banana pancakes which I've had from Graze. Excellent comfort food to be eaten served hot.

Zucchini fritters with smoked salmon, feta and mint ($19)

I didn't really know what to expect out of zucchini fritters before this arrived and I had imagined that they might be battered and fried whole zucchinis. Much like goreng pisang. Lol. This however was a flour based patty like tapioca cakes made with mashed zucchini and it turned out pretty damn good. The medium done smoked salmon bits with crumbled feta cheese topped really well on the zucchini fritters with their tangy, smoky zest.

the "Garage" burger




This burger was awesome. A awesome. I mean, it's going to be on the tops in this blog. Here's a little description I shall plagiarise from the forums of Makansutra by a poster who claims to have received it from Wine Garage's chef Travis Masiero

"160 gr. freshly hand ground chuck (pre-salted the night before), homemade sesame bun, aged Irish cheddar, homemade zucchini pickles, French's mustard, Best mayo, dill pickle relish, shredded cos lettuce, and diced red onion.
They griddle the burgers in american diner fashion to "crust" the outside, lightly toast the bun, and use only whole chuck they grind themselves (never frozen).
That's the standard burger and it costs S$21 and come with a side order of hand cut fries which have been double fried with sage leaves and sea salt.
For $4 extra you can add homemade bacon, which is homecured Kurobuta (Black Pig) Pork that has been cured for seven days and then smoked over hickory chips."

The description alone, I found was tempting enough, so I really had to try it myself. Here's a burger that is excellent with an E. The waiter had made mention of a slow cook process for the patty to preserve the juice in the meat which was also tender enough. This is a world from the poor, bland and /or crumbly attempts like my home made ones, and comes with enough of a bite to satiate beef-lust. I went without the Kurobuta pork bacon option since I'm not so sure that baconized Kurobuta was how it was intended to be eaten. And I like my burgers beefy. This is truly, a good one. And one of the best.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The crazy fried chicken burger from Changing Appetites



No, the name of this is not crazy fried chicken burger. But the size of the meat in the bread iw pretty crazy. Changing Appetites at Marina Square has a small selection of huge double burgers. This one is the fried chicken option which comes with 2 large pieces of battered and fried chicken that even old man Sanders doesn't have. The chicken is encased in a semi-spicy batter and fried so this comes quite like the spicy crispy option at KFC. I didn't actually order this as a burger since I couldn't eat it like one, but I felt like having fried chicken and this actually doubled up well with generous drips of Tabasco sauce.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Back in Brotzeit


Actually, I've been back here a couple of other times. I didn't take any photos of those occasions and thus didn't write anything up. This time round, I have some better pictures than the first visit. So far, out of about four visits to this place, this would be the first where the service was actually adequate. The previous occasions as I remember were pitiful attempts at waiting topped with unasked for mediocre attempts at jest which I felt was totally uncalled for and definitely not appreciated. Management needs to really prioritize what the wait staff should be doing first before trying at lame jokes with the customers. That aside, I kinda like this place for the salty food and beer.

Obatzda

The Obatzda comes under the bread section which is basically a plate of multigrained bread that came accompanying with a bowl of Bavarian cheese based dip, caraway seeds and paprika. The dip on the whole wasn't anything remarkable, but the accompanying warm bread is pretty good and would have been better if it came in more generous portions. There's a lot more of the cheese spread/dip than there is bread to go around.



I do not remember the name of this salad, but I was told that it translates directly into seafood salad in German; which is basically what it was.....I guess. I don't know if this is atypical of German salads or if seafood salads are common in Germany. Interestingly there was seared tuna. Gone are the days of cheap shredded tuna in salads. I've certainly no complains.me were the sun dried tomatoes.

Ganseleberwurst

And this is goose liver sausage with accompanying spätzle and boiled red cabbage which a Dutch friend claimed to be better than what they do in Holland. That was with reference to the red cabbage if anyone was wondering. The spätzle were actually pretty good. Smaller in size than the ones at Paulaners Bräuhaus. They tasted more eggy and the accompanying cheese was definitely more fragrant and salty. Again, I thought the portions were a tad small for a hungry person.

Brotzeitflade Bayern

Schwammerl mit Semmelknodel

This wild mushroom stew with white wine sauce is probably the best substitute for any mushroom soup I've ever come across. I generally view mushroom soups with suspicion, but this stew was flavoirful with generous amount of mushrooms. The white stuff on the top are what were described on the menu as napkin dumplings and were basically bread like things made of cheese, egg and flour that made up the filler for this stew. It was quite salty.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Curiosity killed the crab! (murtabak)


Previously when I last visited Taman Serasi Food Garden (1 Cluny Road), I saw that the Indian store offered crab murtabak and I thought that it might be something good since Yummy Crab was in the place. Up till now, I'm not really sure if there's any connection between the crab that's being used for both stores, but I've finally tried the crab murtabak and it was a major letdown. That certainly was quite disappointing, considering that I have not seen any place else that offers crab meat options and this very first one decided that they were okay with doing a extra unremarkable version of it. I could have seen how this might have turned out to be quite unique and a superb option.


The person in the stall that was making the prata actually told me that crab meat was expensive and not to expect too much out of it. Comparing to the $18 fried rice at Yummy Crab, this crab murtabak at $6 doesn't quite even have, a third of the crab that you get from the fried rice. On top of that, the crab meat is of the shredded variety. With the handful of the meat thrown in to a murtabak that contained some shredded cheese, fresh green chilli slices and loaded with raw onions, I couldn't really taste any crab in the end result. It was mostly cheese and onions. And it was really unspectacular. This store took a long time to work on food orders and gave an attitude that said that they didn't really care if you weren't happy for the long wait. I did unfortunately ordered a serving of indian rojak and requested for a re-fry to get the food heated. When I did get it, I was positive that nothing was fried, but the stall owner claimed that it had been and that I took too long to come back for the collection. Seriously, that is one uber lame service and I'll be damned if I had waited that long that the food had turned cold. I know I didn't. This is where I'll say, I'll be back - not!

Friday, August 17, 2007

One man's meat is another's displeasure

Are food bloggers pest to be stomped under a boot or do you think we deserve to continue our opportunities to present you the voyeuristic world of our eating trips? Why are certain people so tight assed about photography in their premises? Privacy is mostly bullshit. There is little of it preserved in the first place since restaurants are open to all in the public. What's the uproar really about on some little pictorial tokens of a visit?

Come in and share your love.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Committing the Original Sin...again


It's been some time since my last visit, and this one gave me very much the same impressions as it did the last time, which I thought is still a good thing. It was good because there was consistency in the experience. The good type.

This time round, I managed to get better photos of the Mezze plate and the Bosco misto. Which I've had previously and they're still good. I was still quite impressed that tofu patties can be made to taste that good.

Mezze plate

I didn't manage to figure out what made the dips on the mezze plate previous. This time round, I found out. There's are hummus, labneh, a pumpkin & carrot mash with some seeds and babaganoush. The pita was served piping hot and was really good with the dips. I had to ask for more servings of the bread since there was much more dips than the bread.

Bosco misto

magic mushroom

I was quite taken in by the magic mushroom which featured a portobello mushroom filled with a creamy ricotta cheese and spinach, topped with a tomato basil sauce and pine nuts. The magic in this magic mushroom for me was the ricotta cheese; which was pretty much the bulk of the filling on top of the portobello cap. It's also pretty filling for something from the starters. Definitely something that I'll want to have again if I ever come back. Magic mushroom did it's magic.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sweet secrets


It's not often that I shovel a spoonful of tiramisu into my mouth and I get that "wow, this is good stuff". The most memorable was probably the first time. 17 years ago at Pasta Fresca. Throughout the next 17 till today, there have been good ones, bad ones and mixed feeling ones and my general take is that everywhere has their standards and some taste better to certain people than another. This dessert is almost upon receiving the award of the most ubiquitous non-local desserts of this past decade and it's something that in recent years I've gotten jaded with and pushed down the preferential ladder.

Last night, after dinner, we stopped by Da Paolo's Gastronomia to check out what culinary goodies was left a little less than an hour before it closed and decided to pick up a box of tiramisu along with some cheesecake. I remember one of the staff in the stall who happed to be nearby saying "You can't go wrong with that". Boy was she right.

What made this tiramisu stand out is the excellent and almost viscous soft marscapone fillings which does not appear in most tiramisu elsewhere. I don't know how pervasive is that since I do not go around eating that dessert at every opportunity, but this comes quite close to the traditional method of how they are made. In comparison with the poorer clones that comes with hard cream fillings or dry without the slightest hint of liquor which, this is almost.....ALMOST divine. Also this tiramisu comes blanketed with fine cocoa flakes instead of the regular cocoa powder. Does help reduce the choke factor when you eat them fast. There're probably other good ones around that are equally as good. For now, I know where to find one if I need to.

What are your views on tipping for service?

Seeing that there is some interest generated in this topic, I've decided to bring things up front so that you can have your say about what you think about tipping. Let's stay civil with this and keep the conversation trail contained in that link here instead.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Noodle Place Restaurant, Centrepoint


Noodle Place Restaurant (#01-53/56, Centrepoint) has been around in the secluded back section of Centrepoint for many years. Its a place that tends to be overlooked by many because of its location, but that seemed not not a deterrence against generating queues of knowing people waiting for seats in this Hong Kong styled noodle restaurant which serves mouth watering roast meats.


As mentioned, one of the highlights of this restaurant is the selection of roast meats which includes roasted chicken, steamed chicken, roasted duck, soy sauce chicken, roasted pork belly, barbecued ribs and char siew. The tastiness of the mixed roast meats are evidented by the number of tables that order it in some combination or another of differing meats. I enjoyed the duck, pork belly and char siew that came with some fat which went very well with the rest of the fragrant crisps of the skins, especially the sweetened charred bits of the char siew.


Anothing dish I found enjoyable from this place was the crispy fried cod which is available in the plain version or this one which is done with egg white and teriyaki sauce. It's the kind that comes crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The egg white and starch based gravy didn't particularly enhance the dish much, but it's just one of the uncommon instances of those chinese starchy sauces which I found myself enjoying and it was probably because of the egg.


In line with the trend that is in practice by many Chinese restaurants in recent years, the mayo wasabi prawns are in the menu. This dish is simply battered and fried prawns that are coated in a sauce that was essentially a mix of mayonnaise and wasabi paste. This one was quite decent going by the prawns, but the mayo wasabi cream tasted quite mild, leaning more towards the sweet side. I would think that a bit more of the wasabi flavor would be good, but this is purely preferential. That made the ones I had at Peach Garden a notch better on the overall. Even the ebiko garnishes there helped, albeit just a little.


These beef brisket noodles from this restaurnt were pretty good, especially when compared with the portions of the beef that are served at Crystal Jade. While succulent and tender, the portions of the briskets here were noticeably bigger and the generosity was something I appreciated, especially when the noodles in both places are of similar standards. That meant that I'll probably pick this over the latter location if I crave for these things again.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Molly Malone, 56 Circular Road


If anyone was wondering how I spent the hours of the national day parade this year, it was in this Irish pub. Interestingly, a Dutch friend who's in town (and also with me in this place) mentioned that Molly Malone's is in Holland too. And while I have my doubts about how authentically Irish the food here might be, I've to comment that the portions are rather generous without being overly expensive. If not anything else, chow here is definitely filling, from the piping hot fish & chips to the Calgary stampede burger, which I thought was kinda strange an idea for a burger here. What does Canada have to do with this Irish bar? The food of this place works towards being hearty rather than being sophisticated. Expect not the subliminal layers of complexity. It's the simple fried fare that's good with beer here. Yes! There is Strongbow.

fish & chips

Calgary stampede burger

tuna melt

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A sandwich for your thoughts?


There's a fairly new diner in town just across the road from the National Library at Bras Brasah and it's call Food for Thought. It's a site that proclaims interesting ideas despite their small menu and excruciating slow wait when the place is crowded. The place really doesn't have much of floor estate for seats and it's a tad crowded even to walk when there're lots of people. I didn't really eat there, but tried a sandwich which was noticeably different from what many places offers.


This is a pretty decent slow roasted pulled pork sandwich ($7.50) which I thought wasn't bad at all. The filling of pulled pork (whatever it means) tastes very much like meat from pork knuckles and is packed together with sliced soft sweet potatoes. I'm not sure if many people do sweet potatoes in sandwiches here, but really, it's not bad. The really nice factor on the sandwich is that the focaccia that was used for the bread was a warm moist one. Speaking for this particular sandwich, I think it's something better than what O'Briens offers at their places at a similar cost. One little peeve though, it doesn't come as described from their menu.