Monday, November 28, 2011

25 Nov 2011 - Genki Sushi, Orchard Central

Met 2 ex-classmates for dinner, with the intention of having just 2 servings of sashimi. Bumped into two colleagues in the queue, and they were subsequently allocated tables just next to each other.

One would usually expect the food to be circulated on conveyor belt, but this restaurant had an interesting concept. An iPad for each table, where one may place an order of 4 items maximum at one go. The orders would then be delivered by train, a refreshing play on the conveyor belt system. 3 levels of tracks, the lowest level was the regular conveyor belt to circulate the wasabi, while the upper 2 levels were the railway. When you had retrieved the food from the train, you're supposed to send the train back to the kitchen, so that they may deliver food to others.

Had some chutoro (medium fatty tuna $15.80++), salmon ($5.80++), kajiki toro (swordfish belly $5.80++) and must say that he's really impressed. The slices were thick, firm and fresh, so good that even the two ladies enjoyed the sashimi.

Had some sushi, but the rice was not well pressed and fell apart easily. The one with prawn roe was also loosely topped, ended up spilling quite a bit of them.

No pictures, because his mobile went dead. Why? Played too much FIFA...

Monday, November 21, 2011

20 Nov 2011 - Dining on Harvest of the Sea at Spices Cafe

Read online about an interesting "Harvest of the Sea" buffet at Concorde Hotel, priced at $48++ per person for a weekend dinner. Coupled with 15% discount for some credit cards, the pull factor just got stronger.

Checked out the inclusive a la carte menu for crabs while waiting for the single serve of lobster halves. He would go on to eat 5 different styles of crabs, cold, chilli, black pepper, steamed and butter.

While the lobsters were taking their time, he drew first blood. The salmon sashimi was really delicious, probably of the better variety. The crab was probably mud crab, claw was good, but the torso piece he had was a little mushy. Nobody can guarantee a perfect crab though.

Next plate was of smooth and juicy oysters. They would have another round of plumper ones later on. Bit into some sand/shell bits, but hey, it's seafood alright.

For the sweet toothed. He would be too stuffed with crabs and miss the fondue.

Her platter of cold seafood. Prawns were fresh and had crunch.

Then came the order of butter crab. Those shreds were probably egg wisps. The dish was very tasty, and was still dripping with butter.

Steamed crab was done with Chinese wine and egg whites, he liked it that the meat was moist and flavorsome. Notice that they were served the torso, but it would be claw-fest later on.

The lobster halves arrived, spicy sambal for him and cheese for her. Spoke to the manager and found out that these were from Indonesia, probably spiny lobsters. They didn't do Maine or Boston lobsters. Nevertheless these were succulent and went well with their toppings and had them wanting for more. Unfortunately, these were single-serve, and would cost ~$29++ each for additional orders.

From eyes of the other half.

Flipped the cleaned out cheese lobster for a mugshot.

Beef rendang, soy chicken, stir fried clams and lamb. Turf after surf for her.

He continued with his seafood feast.

Another shot of the pastry spread, about to be attacked.

Shot of the seafood counter, sporting an intermittent blue glow from under the ice.

She returned with slightly healthier stuff from the salad and cold cut counter.

He too, felt that it was time for some salad... with maybe some salmon sashimi, maybe some chicken, and perhaps also some smoked duck...

Crab and scallop soup, she was starting to engage the brakes...

Or so he thought. She sprung a fruity surprise. Kiwi and strawberries were really sweet, he seldom got any that tasted this sweet from the regular supermarket.

Tried some cheese, and heaped on a few slices of freshly replenished braised sea cucumber that was still steaming. Sneaked in 2 pieces of ebi tempura on the way back to the seat.

Felt that it would have been a wasted trip not to have black pepper crab and chilli crab, so those were placed on the order.

Black pepper crab that warmed the stomach. This time round, they were given 2 or 3 nicely cracked claws, as compared to just 1 in the previous crab dishes. An incident occurred here when he was trying to twist the pincers apart. The swollen meat snapped towards him and dirtied his shirt a little, but his mind was on the claw on the floor. What a waste.

She continued with another round of dessert while he took his time to polish off the crabs.

Was trying to catch his breath from downing the fiery black pepper crabs when the chilli crabs arrived. It was all meaty pincers, probably 4 or 5 of them.

Rotated the serving dish to be sure. No assistance of any sort was rendered to him, and she was laughing at him while he struggled with the claws. The numbers nearly overwhelmed him, but it was he who prevailed in the end. OK, no more mud crabs for a long long time....

Sunday, November 20, 2011

19 Nov 2011 - Universal Studios Singapore

Woke up at around 8am but dilly-dallied before heading for breakfast at around 10am.

Had McDonald's Breakfast Deluxe with latte (~$6+$3) and Sausage McMuffin with Egg and Coke (~$4+$2). The drink upgrades brought the total damage up by around 50%, how dumb.

Arrived around 12pm at the Sentosa Express platform only to have the tram close its doors on them. Had to wait for the next one.

Battlestar Galactica, one of the rides they did not go on. Visits for the day included WaterWorld, Shrek 4-D, Madagascar Crate Adventure, Monster Rock, Transformers simulator. All with well-hidden long snaking queues.

After several hours in and out of the glaring sun, they had to find somewhere to rest and relax. Made a pit stop at Celebrity Cafe and got Oreo Cheese Cake with a cup of tea ($9.90), and Lemon Meringue ($4.50).

The cake looked really good from the display, but they were served a lopsided slice. It was also served in a paper holder instead of a proper plate. Disappointing presentation. Taste-wise, it was fluffy yet rich.

This was decadently sweet, but the refreshing lemon base balanced things out nicely.

Hunger set in just a while later, and they settled for the Chinese restaurant opposite the merchandise shop.

Grand decor of the dragon and phoenix on the wall.

Had the set dinner for 2 ($48.80++). First up was soup of the day, some pork ribs melon soup. Tasty stuff.

Then came the fish fillet with celery. Thick slices of fish which one could pull off flake by flake. Good stuff.

Barbecued platter of chicken and pork. Allocated the chicken wing portion, glad that the drumlet part was not too dry.

On the other side of the plate was the barbecued pork. Tasted different from what he was used to. Meat was more tender, but it was of a different flavour. She left this largely untouched.

Stayed around for the Lake Hollywood Spectacular at 9pm, basically just a show of fireworks. Passed by the Starbot cafe and just had to snap a picture of the futuristic interior.

Walked around to Ancient Egypt in a failed attempt at the rides. Ended up with a night shot with Battlestar Galactica in the background.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

12 Nov 2011 - Mushroom Pot

Craving for seafood and hot soup, it was a tough choice between Kiseki and Mushroom Pot in town. Had initially wanted to try out Tims Restaurant and Cafe at Braddell/Toa Payoh, but the rain brought about a change in plans.

Requested for best of both worlds, spicy soup and mushroom soup all in one pot.

They got to select 5 dishes of cooked food from the menu, while the rest would be steamboat/hotpot buffet. Covering only the cooked stuff here, as they would be too busy gorging themselves to take any pictures later.

Teriyaki scallops, missing American portions already.

Looks like sweet and sour pork, but it's actually Monkey Head Mushroom, Sichuan style.

These were the first three dishes to arrive, Sichuan Monkey Head Mushroom, Monkey Head Mushroom in cream, and teriyaki scallops.

Group photo for all five. Those on the left were the last to arrive, breaded shrimp and calamari with wasabi cream. Shrimp came piping hot, crisply breaded and the filling was crunchy.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

15 Oct to 07 Nov 2011 Mashup

For the first few days, he suffered badly from jet lag. Totally knocked out once it was rest time, it was lucky that the colleague had packed dinner from Hong Kong Buffet for him. Gratefully devoured this at around 1am. Yeah, that's dinner.

Stocked up on groceries. Cheap beer that worked out to about 50c a can, 1L bottle of Perrier at 1USD odd. All from K Mart which was within walking distance. It just was difficult without the car.

A&W Root Beer with aged vanilla. Couldn't find the original to compare against, so he wasn't able to tell if there was any difference.

$7.99 Domino's for late lunch. This deal was only available on Mondays to Wednesdays, for large pizza with 3 toppings. Chose Philly steak, pepperoni and spinach. The staff were a happy bunch, singing, dancing and playing while at work. Not forgetting the exuberant black lady at the counter who had eyes that smiled.

Saw tall cans of this peculiar drink. Haven't tried any green tea mixed with ginseng before.

Finally got the local mobile activated. Check out the difference in screen size. Needed some time to get used to texting on it. Was entertained at the AT&T shop by the iPhone-Android exchange between a Sgt Fuller and Kari, the store personnel.

Lettuce from Walmart provided some fibre respite from all the processed food. Learnt that one should smash and remove the stem to obtain nice whole individual leaves.

Waffle at breakfast. Check out all that syrup in the pockets.

Cheap Ben and Jerry's. Haagen Dazs was around the same price.

Popeye spinach which he didn't buy. Got a small can of Walmart's housebrand instead.

Odd pumpkins, dressed for Halloween perhaps?

Brazil mango which tasted like a peach. Still not ripe even after it had been left for a week in the fridge.

Raisin bread sandwiching the sausage. Nice to eat but never failed to upset his stomach.

BK Stacker for lunch. Beef and bacon for a sinful combination.

He actually also lunched on Church's chicken for almost one week straight. Found it weird that people there preferred chicken breast to legs(drumstick) and thighs. Loved the spicy rendition of the fried chicken, not to mention that it costs just around USD1 per piece. It was interesting to note that they fried the chicken with the buttocks attached. Be careful where you bite. The picture of half eaten chicken was only because he was too eager to dig in.

Re-loaded the fridge.

Had Arby's French Dip in 2009 and loved it since. USD6.85 for medium.

Liked that beef slices were used instead of mince beef patties. No vegetables included, but one may add their own from the condiments counter. Onions, pickles, jalapenos.


IHOP pancakes for breakfast. Fluffy and fragrant. Topping it with the syrup made it all the more heavenly. USD6 for a set of 6?

Good colors at sunrise, something one may not see when the landscape is peppered with buildings.

Chef Mu for dinner, less crowded than Hong Kong Buffet. Similarly priced for dinner (USD8.99?), similar spread, but they still liked Hong Kong Buffet better.

Hong Kong Buffet for lunch, USD6.99? Good place to get his dosage of broccoli, and proteins from seafood and various meats.


Brought the new guy to Wok N Roll for some dinner takeaways.

Had spinach and instant noodles for dinner himself. Heated up the canned spinach in the microwave before transferring to the cup on the left. Didn't like the taste of the spinach, maybe because the tin can itself imparted some other properties. On a side note, really glad that he bought the SGD2 microwaveable bowl from Daiso.

Microwaved egg in the juices of ham right after breakfast.

Lunch at El Chico. Nachos appetizer which they couldn't stop feeding on.

J's Special Mexican dinner, USD9.99.

H's Mucho platter, USD 8.79. It appeared that both of them only liked the rice, and nothing else. The rice tasted a little like saffron rice over here, but was tasty in it's own unique way.

His Combo Fajita for USD13.38. Good choice, they all said. This came with many wraps, toppings, rice and braised peanuts. Wrapped beef and chicken together, throw in some toppings and he had something good to bite. The colleagues started to pick at his onions in attempts to enhance their own meals.

Frozen mango margaritas for each of them, USD1.99, topped up another USD0.75 for the mango flavour.

First trip to Red Lobster in 2 years. Starter of fried platter of clams, calamari and broccoli.

Caesar salad to settle the stomach.

Didn't miss out on the 1 1/4 pounder this time. USD27.99. Steamed whole to preserve all that flavour. Juices spurted out from each claw they cracked, and having to grapple with stripping the lobster tail of its armor made them want to have more lobsters.

Wood-grilled lobsters, shrimp and scallops. USD23.25. H looked a little disappointed that he didn't order the live Maine lobster.

Vege-pizza for dinner because they were sick of meat. Topped with onions, spinach and jalapenos. Got the USD7.99 deal again. Really cheap as compared to Domino's in Singapore.

IHOP's Mega Mushroom, USD8.29. Huge burger. Some half it through the middle and eat with hands for a hearty meal, others painstakingly carve out bit by bit with fork and knife.

J's Monster Cheeseburger, USD8.79. Dual core processors? Nah. Dual beef patties anytime.

H's Tuscan Chicken Griller, USD7.99. Well-marinated chicken breast to make anyone's day.

Large Anthony's pizza topped with tomatoes, green peppers and olives was lunch for the vegan.

BK Big Fish, finally. USD4.99 for the small combo.

Had a couple of frost warnings but nothing happened. The cold front brought several days of strong winds, up to 40mph, before they finally found the car covered in frost one morning. 20odd farenheit this day. The dew drops on the grass patch were frozen solid too.

Overslept and missed the dinner date. The nice colleagues bought dinner for him, McRib burger for USD2.99. Succulent meat topped with fresh onions and a tangy sauce.

The party dispersed and with the 2 of them left around town, they decided to go all out. Visited Red Lobster again for lunch. The restaurant was left with only 3 lobsters, and they picked 2 out of those. Unfortunately, the kitchen messed up the order of steaming the lobster whole, so they had to redo it with the last lobster in the tank. Never knew what happened to the other lobster...

Finished the basket of biscuits, and the waiter replenished it immediately. It's a kind gesture, but it would have been less wasteful if they had been asked if they wanted seconds.

Garden salad with vinaigrette. Came with the set. Never knew if dessert was part of the meal because they were always bloated after finishing the lobster.

View of the place while driving out.

Experienced an earthquake on the night of 05 Nov 2011 at around 10.30pm. Was falling asleep already when the bed started rocking, as if someone was trying to emerge from below. Then the whole room started to quaver and the noise just got louder. Immediately dialed reception, but no one picked up. This left him stunned for a moment, was he living out the Paranormal Activity series? He recovered only when the colleague called to ask if he also felt the tremors. Big haha for thinking too much.

The very next day would be their flight to Dallas, but they woke up to a very foggy morning. So foggy you could almost stare at the sun. Had them worrying if the flight could be cleared for takeoff.

Turned out that their fears were unfounded. Upon landing in Dallas, they paged the hotel for the shuttle service and managed to check in around 3pm. Hilton Garden Inn featured the Garden Sleep System, where one could adjust the firmness of the mattress. Couldn't wait to try it out.

Comfy sofa in the corner... where you could just sink in and relax.

Neutrogena amenities.

Crab Daddy at Joe's Crab Shack for very late lunch. USD28.99. This consisted of King crab, Dungeness crab and Snow crab. First time trying the Dungeness crab and liked it best out of the three crabs. The shell was "crispy", cracked cleanly and was easier to remove as compared to the other two. Got some cuts unknowingly while eating the King crab, but it was worth the wounds. The whole process of removing the whole chunk of meat from the leg, dipping it into the butter sauce before eating was pure enjoyment. A bib was provided to avoid messing oneself up with crab.

Had wanted to try the Lobster Daddy set for dinner, but he probably had too much of crustaceans so he settled for the Big Hookup. $20.49.
Whole fried snapper was delicious, tail-on but skillfully deboned. Great balls of fire was actually crab meat and peppers, but he found the meat too mushy for his liking. There were also crab stuffed shrimp, coconut shrimp (found it overwhelmingly sweet), fried oysters and fries. Found this to be overtly salty, should have gone with the fresh stuff instead of processed food. Lobster Daddy, Diablo Steampot or Joe's Classic would have been great.

At San Francisco, they had a late breakfast at Tomokazu. The staff and chef ignored them even as they walked into the shop and checked out the menu. After deciding on what they should order, the chef then informed them that it was still 10 minutes to opening hours. So they waited. From the way they spoke, he surmised the shop was staffed by Cantonese.

His first taste of uni sashimi, USD9.95. Smooth, slimy, with a little odour. Heaped on the wasabi and that solved the smell issue.

House Ramen, USD10.50. Not much pride, with the egg so mutilated. Noodles were springy and generous, however.

J got the sushi set for ~USD12, can't really remember the price.

More events had to occur after breakfast. The flight from San Francisco to Narita had been delayed. No big deal for them, and they were actually looking forward to stays in Tokyo in the event that they also missed the connecting flight. (Un)Fortunately, the delay was only for around 2-3 hours, not even enough for them to claim from insurance.

On the flight from San Francisco to Narita, he had some chicken masala. Tender chicken patty under all that sauce. J didn't like it though.

For the second meal, he had some form of vegetarian noodles. The mushrooms were dehydrated and were very rubbery. Didn't like this.

Sat beside a Japanese lady named Noriko who was in Houston for a silk trade convention. Spoke some Japanese vocabulary picked up from anime with her, and she shared with him quite a fair bit about silk and silkworms. She was into textiles as a hobby, and was from a group called Tama Silk. Couldn't find much about it online though.

Finally, on the last leg from Narita to Singapore, he had penne pasta, but did not manage to finish the salad due to fatigue. The pilot could have lost concentration from the long flight too, as he made a very hard landing. The bump was so clumsy that onscreen images went off for a second before coming back on.

That marked the end of this particular adventure.