Sunday, January 23, 2011

22 Jan 2011 - Dinner at The Mushroom Pot

She knows the best time to eat out... just after payday. Bugging him to go shopping and eat buffet when he was trying to make notes for his PMP exam. Working overtime makes absorption on weekdays very difficult, and weekends are for the family, what a tough juggle. Never mind, let's move on to the food...

Took a photograph of the logo on the menu while waiting for the hotpot to be set up.

The chilli dip for the hot pot.

There was a starter portion on the menu where diners could only select 5 dishes. And after debating over what to order, here are the candidates:

Mushroom salad was a tasty mix of mushrooms. Nicely done, not mushy, had him finishing up every bit of it.

Crispy squid with wasabi cream dip - nice and crispy, but probably not for the health conscious. He dredged up the wasabi heavily for full impact. Yummy!

Fried prawn fritters came in fours. Pipping hot, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.

Sichuan shredded chicken made up of chicken breast meat which tasted a little dry. Still tasty anyhow, but the tongue had some numb treatment a little while later...

He has to apologise once more for forgetting to take the picture of the fifth side dish of house special beef. Hunger pangs got the better of him yet again.

Here comes the main character... mushroom soup and spicy soup side by side. Both soups were very tasty, but the spicy one had a thick layer of oil. This was something he regretted when it made his stomach complain a few hours later.

As he was the prawn peeler, he was not able to take pictures of the variety of their selection. But if you happen to visit, the sliced beef brisket and pig's liver are commendable. Both were very thinly sliced, and the pig's liver tasted especially good that way. He had tried it and knows how difficult it is to slice pig's liver, especially such thin slices.

They had also ordered prawns, but the size and freshness seemed inconsistent. Some of the prawns had shells that seemed to have grown into the flesh while the others were fine. Mussels were quite fresh too, half-shelled and no bad smell for those that they ordered. Picked the meat from the shells to cook in the soup to avoid any sand getting into the tasty soup.

For dessert, they ordered the Fried Buns. Golden brown and warm, so satisfying when dipped in the accompanying sweet syrup. She said it was condensed milk, but he was convinced that it was some sort of corn syrup. Too busy placing orders they forgot to clarify with the waiters. Next time, perhaps.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

14 Jan 2011 - Cruising on SuperStar Virgo (Part 3)

Slept in on the last day, when the always-hungry-one who wanted to eat breakfast woke up last. By that time, lunch was the only meal left. They decided to try out the western fare at Bella Vista.

Dining area near the window.

Inner dining area.

Lunch menu of the day.

Munched on the bread and butter from the basket on their table to appease the growling stomachs.

Nachos as starters for her.

His healthier choice of salad, with a delicious sprinkle.

Her main course of grilled chicken, a surprise when she wasn't the greatest fan of poultry.

His mains of flounder fillet which she didn't like. Thoughts of the fish with eyes on the same side of the body put her off. She doesn't know what she's missing out, each flake of the meat was succulent.

Tutti Fruiti for his dessert.

Sinful mango and coconut mousse for hers.

Returned back to the room to do the final packing before checking out. Last view from the balcony before leaving the room.

13 Jan 2011 - Cruising on SuperStar Virgo (Part 2)

Had a good warm shower and headed to Bella Vista for breakfast to avoid the crowd. Looked through both the Chinese and Western sets and opted for the Chinese for better variety.

A bowl of porridge each - didn't taste like it was cooked with soup base.

Some fried rolls and buns with a spicy dip.

Pork dumplings (siew mai) that looked peculiar, each had a pea pressed into it in the middle.

Some other dim sum that came with black fungus as base.

As they couldn't have more food from the menu, they had to settle for the buffet stations of bread and pastry.

Pastry with icing for sweet toothed ones.

Visited the viewing gallery on Deck 13 and also relaxed on the sun chairs for a bit. The sun got a little too hot, so they went to the promenade on Deck 7 for a stroll and enjoyed the breeze. Time cruised by and it was time for... lunch!

The Pavilion Chinese restaurant was only a short walking distance away from Deck 7.

Fried was well received by the hungry people. The waiter still asked if they wanted steamed rice but he wasn't sure if they could finish the spread.

Downed every bit of the leafy vegetables in a bid to stay in good condition for the rest of the cruise. Tastily done, but on the oily side.

Cold dish of prawn salad with fruit cocktail.

She dislikes breaded chicken, so he had to complete the challenge by finishing all 4 pieces.

Steamed fish head in soy sauce was found to have a slight "mud" smell, but sprinkling the soy sauce solved the issue.

Watercress soup seemed to have a complex flavour that gave it the extra taste factor, unlike the clearer one that he always drinks. It was so good that they requested for another bowl.

Her setting for the flower and tea, has a good feel to it huh?

Back to the room briefly for a rest before checking out what was available for afternoon tea.

By then, the cruise liner had already reached Port Klang and seemed to have picked up new guests.

Grabbing afternoon tea was a struggle. Only few stations were open, and everyone swarmed around it. He was queuing for coffee but ended up getting his queue cut and toes stepped on. One old Indian national lady and her son "played tag team", she stepped on his toes while the son cut the queue. The old lady took a while to realise that he was asking her to get her foot off his toes, and then stepped on his slippers next, leaving him without footwear. Totally fed up with such situations, he moved elsewhere to look for sugar. Spotted a cloth tray another corner of the restaurant, and lifted it slightly to check it out. Out of nowhere, a pair of hands snatched the cloth from him rudely and proceeded to help themselves to the find. Is queuing really so difficult? Or maybe it's really just that they have different cultures.

Spent time on Deck 13 again, relaxing on the sun chairs and watching people play with the slides. After that she suggested that they visit the spa, where they had sauna and steam bath for $12 each. The one for men was even better, they had the Japanese hot and cold plunges. It was interesting to note that you could see workmen cleaning the outside of the ship while the patrons were half naked, separated by just the glass window. Not too sure if you could see what's inside while you're outside though.

2 hours had passed by the time they left the spa, and they returned to the room for a proper shower. Felt more relaxed and sleepy than hungry, but they still had to eat.

Swiped their cards at The Pavilion again, and this time it was quite empty, perhaps due to the fact that some guests could have gone on the land tour to Kuala Lumpur.

Starter of seasoned jellyfish, refreshingly cold and spicy.

Braised pork ribs were so good that they had a second serving. The crew also mistakenly sent a third one to them, which they gladly helped polish off.

This was a little weird, prawns in prata curry sauce. Nevertheless, it still went into their stomachs.

This time round, they got the tail end of the fish. Fried fish is her favourite, as she finds that it almost eliminates the "mud" taste that some fish has.

Friday, January 14, 2011

12 Jan 2011 - Cruising on SuperStar Virgo (Part 1)

Off they headed to the cruise terminal on 12 Jan 2011 for their cruise. The queue for check-in at the counters looked quite long, he was thankful that they had decided to do the city-check-in two day before. It was their first time on a cruise, and it sure was an eye-opener for him, especially all kinds of people.

They were standing and observing the night sky and vessel when there seemed to be a commotion. A large group of Indian nationals had vacated the seating area and started an unruly queue at the embarkation gate. The poor auxiliary officer had to repeat himself over and over again, ordering the crowd to be in 2 lines.

The result - a more orderly queue.

Looking at the clock, he felt that they should also join the queue. That turned out to be quite a bad choice, an old Indian national man behind them had no qualms about pressing his huge belly onto people backs, which felt very disgusting. Didn't want to be rude to the elderly, so they shifted formation, and he promptly stepped forward to mash his tummy into someone else back. At that point of time, he didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Still waiting for the stagnant queue to move when a bubbly little Indian national girl came up to him and asked about the queue. Told her 2 lines, gesturing the line they were on and the next line. Then, a group of about 15 Indian nationals appeared out of nowhere, and inserted themselves few places down the line, and the queue started to become messy. Just when he was feeling bewildered how people could so shamelessly cut the queue, he saw the little girl peeking out from the group and grinning at him. He hoped that she doesn't grow up to become like the adults she were with.

Can you see any queue line?

By then, the non-stop chatter and cutting of queues had become increasingly irritating, spoiling the mood already. He was trying to keep it in, lest his actions spoiled her mood. The queue moved along into a snaking barricaded system with width just enough for two, but the chinese belly man kept trying to squeeze beside them. Belly man had space to stand behind them, instead chose to keep bumping himself and his luggage into them. The last straw was when yet another Indian national man clattered into them while trying to speak to his friends in the snaking queue. Never mind that "excuse me" and "sorry" were missing, this rude Indian national bugger could still glare when he was told to be more careful. How could such simple manners be missing?

After what seemed like ages, they went through customs and boarded the ship. They had to walk through a long aisle to the next lobby, and there was another group of Indian nationals standing on either side, whose best effort to give way was maintaining their positions. Imagine the width of the aisle, irritation to the max.

It was a relieve for him when they got into their balcony class room, relishing his personal space. Relaxed, washed up and prepared to go for dinner. A group Indian nationals walked past just as she opened the door, and one of them literally popped his head into the room, moving on only after he spotted the man of the room. Judge the civility for yourselves...

Went up to Level 12 for meals at Mediterranean Buffet restaurant. Still relatively quiet as diners sparsely populated the place. Also, there seemed to be 2 parts to it, the regular section and a vegetarian section. The vegetarian one seemed specially catered to the Indian community, so the contention for food wasn't half as bad as the boarding.

assortment of cakes

some strawberry mousse thing

Met another would be weirdo over at the reception lobby. They were trying to take photographs of the horses, when this cruise photographer came up to them, volunteering his services. They passed him the camera, but he rejected, saying that he's the professional photographer in there. Explained to him that they wanted their own digital copy, but he kept refusing and they spent a bit of time debating right there. She stepped in and said to let the poor chap get some business so that he'd stop the touting. They ended up with no photographs themselves.

Despite the eventful day, they continued with the ship exploration. Went up to Galaxy of the Stars lounge, where only one or two tables were occupied. Game machines were also suspended until reaching international waters. Got a beer and enjoyed the tunes belted out by 2 Filipino singers, supported by their musicians. This was when people started streaming in. The singers were very engaging, and managed to get a group of Singaporean aunties to open up and dance. There was another table of 3 Filipino guests who seemed to be professionally trained in dancing, and they became the highlight of the night, dancing for almost every song.

Monday, January 10, 2011

09 Jan 2011 - Dim Sum and Dessert

Woke up at noon today and she wanted to go for brunch of dim sum at Esplanade Xchange. He took his shower, finished up chapter 6 of PMP and then prepared to go out.

The name of the eatery that they had visited before, Xing Cha Lou,the receipt suggested that it's part of Banquet.

It was easy to get seats as it was empty except for one couple, perhaps because of their bad eating timings.

Then the procurement process started, and the constraint was that the payment was cash terms when he was hoping that it could be paid by credit...

Steamed pork ribs that had tender meat, though the sauce they were in was a little too oily. He is still wondering how they keep the meat tender, as the pork ribs he uses to make soup always turn out to be tough.

Her bowl of steamed mixed meat rice, comprising of rice topped with chicken and pork. Good blend of colors huh.

Soup dumplings (xiao long bao) that were served in cake cups. He's probably mentioned this before, good for catching soup that spill out of the dumplings.

Pork dumplings (siew mai) that had succulent prawns and topped with fish roe. These were different from the usual pork mince dumplings in that the pork used were chunky resulting in a firmer bite.

Close up of the roe, each one is a flavourful burst when you bite into it.

"Claws of the Phoenix" - chicken claws actually, again, stuff that both of them like. Somehow the shin part was omitted.

Next up on the list... she remembered that the dessert shop Ji De Chi was too crowded the other day after they dined at Lai Lai Family Restaurant, and suggested that they head there to try their luck. Arriving at Liang Seah Street...

He had read off a blog about a certain green tea mango dessert and flipped through the menu in an attempt to find it. The green tea roll consisted of the mango fruit and glutinous rice as fillings.

Let's take you closer to the fillings part, mango chunk and glutinous rice within the green tea roll.

Not one to resist the durian temptation, the snowy ice durian dessert also arrived at their table. This is not your regular ice shaving, it was layered in sheets and the ice was really snowy soft, without the irregular ice bits that you have to bite with your molars. Served with refreshing lychee pearls and pomelo pulp.

Close up on the sheets of "snow"...

The damage that left him with 50 cents that you partially see on the left...