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 steak. I've never actually had anything else before and the word was that steaks at Aston's is pretty decent at affordable prices. The extra cut ribeye is a larger cut of their regular ribeye weighing 300g. 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. That being said, I found it quite unsatisfying. There were no complains about how the meat was done. Anyplace that manages successful medium rare steaks properly takes their cooking serious enough. The taste of the beef was just too flat. 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 meant 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. 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 is the tomato and mascarpone which I discovered at Marks & Spencers. The tomato flavour in this sauce is more subdued than the standard jarred variety because of the mascarpone. Which fine by me since I'm usually not big on tomato base sauces. Unless they're fresh and well made. Most of the time they aren't great. That's my reason for avoiding them. I don't dislike tomatoes. 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 too soft and soggy.

bubble bubble toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble

The raviolis will expand a bit 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 there goes a 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 for me. Usually tired out. Sometimes fatigued and dehydrated from the night before from late night and too many drinks. A day without work is the only time I get to forgo the regimental reminder of my alarm clock. 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 managing Brewerkz just next door makes tasty brunch. Service at the restaurant was great.

Wine Garage cheese slate

Their cheese platter was literally served on a wooden slate. The options for the cheese are in one ($7), three ($18) or five ($28) different cheeses. We got the 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 flavour, 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 delicious banana pancakes which I've had from Graze. Comfort food best eaten hot.

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

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. The actual fritters looked like patties. Similar to tapioca cakes but made with mashed zucchini. Turned out pretty damn good. The medium done smoked salmon bits with crumbled feta cheese paired 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 so tempting so I had to try it myself. The waiter had made mention of a slow cook process for the patty to preserve the juice in the meat which was also very tender. This is a world apart from the poor, bland and /or crumbly attempts like my home made ones. Came also 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 was truly a good one. And likely 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

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. Out of about four visits to this place, this would be the first time when the service was actually adequate. The previous occasions as I remember were pitiful attempts at waiting topped with unasked for shitty 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.


The Obatzda was from the bread section. It was basically a plate of multigrained bread that came with a bowl of Bavarian cheese based dip, caraway seeds and paprika. The dip wasn't particularly outstanding but the warm bread was pretty good. Would have been better if it came in more generous portions. There wa a lot more of the cheese spread/dip than there was 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.


This was goose liver sausage with spätzle and boiled red cabbage which a Dutch friend claimed to be better than what they do in Holland. The last part of the last sentence was about red cabbage if anyone was wondering. The spätzle were pretty good. Smaller in size than the ones at Paulaners Bräuhaus. They tasted more eggy and the cheese was definitely more fragrant and salty. Again, I thought the portions were a little small.

Brotzeitflade Bayern

Schwammerl mit Semmelknodel

This wild mushroom stew with white wine sauce was probably the best substitute for any mushroom soup I've ever come across. I generally view mushroom soups with suspicion, but this stew was flavourful with generous amount of mushrooms. The white stuff on the top are what were described on the menu as napkin dumplings. 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 good since Yummy Crab was around. Now, I'm not sure if there was any connection between the crab that's being used for both stalls. But I've finally tried the crab murtabak and it was a major letdown. Quite disappointing because I was hoping they would be good. I imagine they could have taken off well if it were.

The person 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 $6 crab murtabak didn't even have a third of the portion of crab that the fried rice had. On top of that, the crab meat was minced. With only a handful of the meat thrown in with some shredded cheese, fresh green chilli slices and loads of raw onions, I couldn't really taste any crab. It was mostly cheese and onions. Totally unspectacular. This stall also took a long time to process the orders and gave an attitude that showed they didn't care if you weren't happy for the long wait. I did also unfortunately ordered a serving of Indian rojak and requested for a re-fry to get the food heated. When the rojak arrived, I was sure 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 was one uber lame service. I was sure I didn't waited that long that the food had turned cold. This is where I'll tell myself 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. Got the same impressions as it did the last time, which I thought is still a good thing. It was good because there was consistency.

Managed to get better photos of the Mezze plate and the Bosco misto. Still 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 previously. 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 good with the dips. I had to ask for more servings of the bread since there were much more dips than the bread.

Bosco misto

magic mushroom

Was 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; pretty much the bulk of the filling on top of the portobello cap. It's also pretty filling for something from the starters. Would love to have it again. 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), a Hong Kong styled noodle restaurant has been around in the secluded back of Centrepoint for many years. Tends to be overlooked by many because of the location though that did not seem to be a deterrence against queues of the initiated waiting for seats.

One of the highlights of Noodle Place is their selection of roast meats. Which includes roasted chicken, steamed chicken, roasted duck, soya sauce chicken, roasted pork belly, barbecued ribs and char siew. The quality of the mixed roast meats were evidenced by the number of tables that ordered them in some combination or another. Enjoyed the duck, pork belly and char siew that came with some fat. 

Another dish I found enjoyable was the crispy fried cod which was available without sauce or like this one which was done with egg white and teriyaki sauce. Fish was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The starchy gravy didn't particularly add much to the dish but I found myself enjoying it. Might be because of the egg.

Mayo wasabi prawns are on the menu. This dish consisted of battered fried prawns that are coated in a sauce that was a mixture of mayonnaise and wasabi paste. Tasted okay, the mayo wasabi cream was quite mild and leaned towards the sweet side. Think a bit more of the wasabi flavour would be nice. That made the ones I had at Peach Garden a notch better.

The beef brisket noodles from this restaurant were pretty good. Generous when compared with the portions of the briskets that are served at Crystal Jade. Meat was succulent and tender.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Molly Malone, 56 Circular Road

Molly Malone, Circular Road

Molly Malone, strongbowIf 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 (who was here with me) mentioned that Molly Malone's is in Holland too. And while I haven't any measure on how Irish the food here might be, the portions were pretty generous without being overly expensive. If not anything else, food 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 was hearty rather than sophisticated. Expect not the subliminal layers of complexity. Simple fare that's good with beer here. Yes! There is Strongbow.
Molly Malone, fish & chipsfish & chips

Molly Malone, calgary stampede burgerCalgary stampede burger

Molly Malone, tuna melttuna melt

Thursday, August 09, 2007

A sandwich for your thoughts?

Food For Thought
New diner-esque place town just across the road from the National Library at Bras Brasah. They're called Food for Thought. Menu is small and there was an excruciating slow wait when the place was crowded. Place really doesn't have much of floor estate - it was difficult to even walk in when we were there. We didn't eat much, just tried a sandwich of theirs.

It was a pretty decent slow roasted pulled pork sandwich ($7.50) which I thought wasn't bad at all. The pulled pork tasted like meat from pork knuckles and is packed together with sliced sweet potatoes. Not bad. What I liked especially about the sandwich was that the focaccia warm and moist. Better than what O'Briens offers at a similar price point.