Monday, June 23, 2008

Flying Saucer

Note: Acknowledging ManagerP for the catchy title :)

If you read my previous post before, you would have known that 2 months have passed since then. Now is the time, more than ever, to share with you all what is bound to happen very soon that would take away my happiness and joy. Truth is, Saucer is my happiness and joy. Looking forward to meet him after work is one of the little joys that I embrace daily, just for me to vent out my dissatisfactions of the day, or to announce my good news (if any) or just to share a plate of rice for dinner when I'm not hungry. It has been more than 2 years now and I would be lying if I say I never took him for granted. Because I did. Many times. Only because he's around whenever I'm upset- like that time when I needed a hand with my dying car, and that night when I wanted so badly to pump petrol before the fuel hike even if it meant queuing up for hours, and most definitely when I'm sick. Even in the middle of the night, if I feel unwell and wanted to see a doctor, all I had to do was ask. All these and many other little things made me realize that Saucer has been a big part of my life and sometimes, I take for granted that he will be around whatever happens. Indeed, I was ungrateful. And now, I have to pay the price. Saucer is going away for his new job in another state. When I heard that news, it took me a few days to completely comprehend the extent of the situation. In fact, I didn't want to stomach it at all. I was selfish at one point, only to realize that I was actually childish. Eventually, I gave in and embraced. There was really nothing much to be done except that. I have to be happy for him because he finally found what he was looking for, his calling. I have to force out a smile whenever he talks so excitedly about his new job just so he knows how happy I am for him, while ignoring the feeling of a deep cut down in my heart. It's for the best, he always said. I just nodded and smiled again, thinking of the times we went for weekday movies, which would not be possible anymore. And the times we argued extensively over the smallest matter, just so I could get him to persuade me afterwards. After this, there would be no more petty arguments, because the time we spend together would be so limited to be wasted on things as such. There would be no more of me complaining incessantly whenever he's late, because, again, time is precious.

And there would be no one sharing a plate of rice with me.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Free flow of ice-cream at Mizi Bistro

Did you know about this place called Mizi Bistro which is located in the new establishment called New World Park, Penang? I was at New World Park once, before many new restaurants mushroomed. Right now, it has many new and nice restaurants as well as quaint shops that look really attractive. One of the restaurants that caught my attention was Mizi Bistro, simply because it was the most crowded restaurants among all. I'm not sure about you but I always tend to choose restaurants with more people even if it means having to wait for a table. At least, so many people can't be wrong right? :) Luckily for us, a table was available shortly on the night that I visited.

Salt and pepper shakers

I ordered the set dinner, which cost RM19.90. Unlike other set dinners which allow you limited choices of main course and soup to choose from, the set dinner at Mizi basically allows you to choose your soup and main course from their extensive ala carte menu. In other words, you get to eat what you would have ordered ala carte, just that at a more reasonable 'package' price. I thought that was a good idea because there were really many interesting dishes in the menu! After ordering, each table would get a serving or french bread and wholemeal bread. This was nothing too special because the french bread wasn't toasted and the wholemeal bread was exactly like Gardenia's.

Gardenia wholemeal bread

Pretty soon, my first course of soup arrived. Was I glad I chose the mushroom soup! It was very creamy and flavourful. You know there are soups which are just starchy and full of Ajinomoto (think Pizza Hut soup) right? Well this one was not starchy at all and it had many tiny bits of mushroom well blended in.

Mushroom soup
Mushroom soup

Apart from the set meal I ordered, Saucer also ordered a Caesar's salad as he was feeling fat that night. :P The salad came in a really nice presentation, I thought. Definitely enticed my palate especially with the delicious-looking garlic bread! The combination of the salad and chicken meat was not bad, but definitely nothing too special. But I would say that the portion was rather huge so it would definitely be a good main course to those who want to stay off fatty food. :)

Caesar's Salad
Caesar's salad

Then my order arrived! I do not really remember the exact name of my fish, because there were just many funny names of fish that they had. Anyway, you could see that the dish did not look very appealing in picture, eh? The fish they used was definitely fresh, and each piece I cut came out as a perfectly nice flake, if you know what I mean. The sauce, however, was nothing very special but it wasn't bad either. I loved that their portion was rather huge, considering the price that they charge.

Poached fish

Finally, it was dessert time and according to the menu, dessert = dessert of the day. We were waiting for the waiter to serve us the dessert, until I realized that no one seemed to notice our missing dessert! It prompted me to ask the waiter there, only to be told that dessert was self-served ice-cream at the ice-cream bar! Gosh.... Couldn't they have informed us in the first place rather than let us wait there unknowingly? Well, that aside, I was very thrilled with the fact that the ice-cream serving was free flow! And it came with many colourful and nice toppings as well, just perfect for people like me. :) Unfortunately, by the time I finished my first bowl, I was already too full to get a second. Next time I shall go with an EMPTY stomach to make full use of the free flow of ice-cream. *LOL*

ice cream @ Mizi Bistro
Ice cream

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The secrets to a superb steamboat!

Just one month ago, Stan invited all of us to his new place to have a steamboat gathering cum house-warming. It had been quite a while since we, the 4 Sickawans (modified from 4 sekawan, get it? :P) met up for a group outing. After all, steamboat is always a good choice for group outings because it's self-service and it's fun! For those of you who have not had a wonderful steamboat session before, let me share with you the secrets to a superb steamboat outing!

Look at our steamboat spread and soup! All that you need are on that table, well within good reach. :)

Steamboat spread

Behold... Secrets Revealed!

1. Magnificent soup
For those who are new to the steamboat idea, especially those from the Western countries, steamboat is actually a method of cooking where one boils his own food in a big pot of soup, shared with everyone else on the table. Then, when it's cooked and piping hot, you dip the food into any special sauce and put it inside your mouth and experience the burning sensation on your tongue. *LOL* The point to make is that, it is of ultimate importance that the soup is made from the best ingredients that you can find, because it will be the determining factor of whether your steamboat experience is zero or hero. Luckily for us, Stan is an awesome cook! He can whip up an amazing meal even with limited resources. :P Anyway, the soups that he prepared for us that night absolutely scored a home run, especially the one with tom yam paste.

2 different soups - Tom yam and chicken

2. Marvellous sauce
As I mentioned in Secret 1, after cooking your food, you're supposed to dip it into any sauce of your liking, to flavour the food before eating. For this special occasion, our dear friend and fellow Sickawan, chiaoju, actually took the trouble to prepare for us this amazing sauce. It was a mixture of garlic, cili padi, onions, vinegar, etc etc which was a great complement to our food. Chiaoju you should put up a post on how you prepared this sauce and share with us! :)

Special sauce by chiaoju

3. Variety of fresh seafood and meat
Of course, when you have the soup and sauce ready, the only thing left would be the food! It is of utmost importance that the seafood that you buy to be fresh! You wouldn't want stale fish flavouring the big pot of soup and spoiling the whole steamboat experience for everyone, would you? Look at the myriad of raw meat and vegetables that we prepared for the occasion! There were fresh fish slices and fish brain (eww!), squids, loads of different balls, (fish, meat and even stuffed balls!) crab sticks, sausages, variety of mushrooms, nicely cut slices of pork, and lots of vegetables.


Of course, you must not leave out the lovely dumplings (sui kow) that are filled with fresh prawns and meat too! They go very well with soup, especially the tom yam soup. :P Yes, I'm biased.

Lovely prawn dumplings

4. Reliable multi-cooker/steamboat pot
Getting the ingredients ready is not enough to guarantee a satisfying steamboat experience, unless you have a reliable and fast-cooking steamboat pot. Many people sometimes overlook this important fact and take things for granted, you see. There was a time I went to Cameron Highlands with my family and relatives and we were all looking forward to our steamboat dinner since it was so cold up there. It turned out that the multi-cooker that we brought up took such a LONG time to boil! Every time we put in some food, we had to wait for an eternity before we could see bubbles forming. So it really kinda spoiled the mood for some. Therefore, one must make sure the steamboat pot/cooker to be in good condition, like the one shown below. :) It boils like a darling, no kidding.

With ingredients

5. Fabulous company
Finally, when everything is in place, the one last thing to ensure a memorable steamboat experience is the company! It would be best if you could invite friends or family that you're most comfortable being around with. This way, you could eat your heart out without anyone judging you and have a great gossip session afterwards. :) My fabulous company that night:

Yen and Mei Kuan

Chiaoju and Hooiju

Chiaoju and witch

Stan the only picture I have of you is a topless one! :S Not advisable to put that in a blog. :P But Stan is the one who prepared the marvellous soup for us, so much so that he did not want to share his secret! :( I could only take a snapshot of the soup remainder in the pot. Stan, quickly tell me how to boil this soup!

Secret ingredients to Chicken Soup

There you have it! The secrets to a wonderful steamboat experience! I bet you are planning to have a steamboat outing soon eh? :)

Save whenever you can

As mentioned in my earlier post, the Malaysian government has increased our petrol price to a whopping RM2.70/liter, which is a 40% increment from our previous petrol price. Certainly, this is not a small amount to be taken lightly. Just look at the newspapers daily and you'll see many small traders having a hard time to make ends meet. As a result of this increase too, the crime rate is indirectly affected. More people are having a difficult time to survive, and some of them are resorting to illegal means just to get an extra dollar or two, even if it means robbing others. Just today, there was a man who was beat up by a gang of four just because he was flagging down passers-by to send his dying mother to the hospital. What has the world become? Is there no mercy anymore? Even if you want to rob, you shouldn't target helpless people who are asking for your help! Anyway, my point is, times are hard now and especially so for people who have mounting debts, which is common among credit card holders. Since the standard of living is increasing, I'm sure the amount that one can afford to pay back will reduce drastically. Therefore, for those who still have large amount of credit card debts, it is advisable for you to transfer your balance to other banks to reset your interest rate. In order to do so, I strongly advise you to search for the best balance transfer credit card deals either in the internet or from your local banks. At times like this, even a small percentage of interest can mount up to a large amount without you realizing it. We could definitely do away with these unnecessary expenses now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

All About Shoes!

I don't know if it's just me or did all my shoes work on an evil plan to give up on me at the same time! :( Just 2 weeks ago, I was wearing my pretty sandals bought all the way from Bali, Indonesia. Those were my favourite pair of sandals because every time I wore them, I never failed to get praises! Even when I wore them to my facial appointment, every time a different girl saw my sandals, she would go "Where did you get those sandals?? You should have bought more!!"

Bali sandals
Bali sandals

And then, on that fateful day two weeks ago, they decided to give up on me. :( Oh yes, and it had to happen when I was rushing to have lunch before my class. Right in front of the public. I kid you not. I had to drag my feet across to the nearest store to get a new pair. It was no easy task, mind you. There was a point I actually tried removing my sandals and walked barefooted but then it created too many unnecessary stares that I didn't need. I ended up spending a good half an hour (which was supposed to be my lunch time!) shopping for shoes! It didn't help that my feet were extra large too, so I always had trouble finding the right size! *LOL*

Bali sandals
Broken :(

Finally, when I almost gave up hope and wanted to get sandals with a size smaller, I saw these.
Crocodile sandals
Crocodile sandals

They might not look very nice but my God, they're comfortable! I slipped into them and felt like I was walking on clouds! Haha.. I might be exaggerating but they're really comfortable! Plus they came in my size, which helped to seal the deal. :)

Now, one week later, I went hiking with my friends to Kerachut, which is a beautiful beach in Penang. If you read my previous post before, you would have noticed my shoes were halfway giving up on my at that time. However, my dear father helped to glue the outsoles again so they were good to go next time around.

Nike shoesNike shoes
Good as new

Unfortunately for me, the "recond" pair of shoes didn't manage to survive my subsequent Kerachut hike. :( Look at what happened at the end of the hike! Bare as a bald guy - almost. At first I was still willing to wear these shoes to go for another round of hike, but I realized that with such bare soles, there were a few times I was on the verge of slipping! And that certainly wasn't a very nice feeling to have at the middle of the mountain.

Nike shoes
Bad soles

Eventually, I told myself that it was about time for me to get ANOTHER pair of shoes. Why did they have to wear out at the same time?! Thankfully for me, there was a sale going on at the Royal Sporting House, so I managed to get a good discount for my sports shoes. I vowed never to buy Nike sports shoes anymore because that was my 4th pair dying on me, and dying the same way! Their outsoles are very badly adhered to the shoes, I tell you. I have heard from many good friends who recommended Asics to me so I decided to give it a try. Apparently, one has even worn a pair of Asics for 3 years and they're still good and sturdy. After much searching, I managed to find one nice pair with a good discount and my size. :P

Asics shoes
Asics shoes

Look! It even has a recommendation by the Sports Medicine Australia! How great is that? I can now exercise with a peace of mind while never worrying about bad soles. Tell me the shoes look great! :)
Asics shoes
Recommended by the doctors!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A date with Nicolekiss at Tasting Room

As mentioned earlier in my previous post, I was honoured to score myself a date with the popular Nicole of fame. It was 6.15pm when Kok Leong came to fetch me to The Tasting Room in Bangsar. Poor Kok Leong had to be my driver during my stay in KL! But he was fantastic at that! Before long, we were already in Bangsar area, trying to look for the restaurant. The careless me forgot to print out the map from the website, and was recalling what I saw based on memory alone. I suppose my memory wasn't really great, because we ended up no where near the restaurant! After some calls to Nicole and her friend, we managed to find the place and luckily I wasn't that late. Once I sat down, I was presented with this glass of white wine, recommended by our friendly companion that night, J-Sern. He mentioned that this was unwooded Chardonnay, although I didn't know what "unwooded" meant... But it tasted really good. It's one of those very few wines that I wouldn't drink and cringe my face. :P

First glass of wine

Soon we moved from the comfortable lounge area to the dining area, where we were presented with an extensive menu from The Tasting Room. Nicole was going on about how I should try the Carbonara, but J-Sern had some other recommendations for us. In the end, he did most of the ordering and we shared the food. By the way, J-Sern is this sweet and charming guy working as an Executive Wholesale in Wine Cellar, which is just located downstairs from Tasting Room. :) My first picture with Nicole and her fiery red/orange hair dye. I didn't realize my hair was that black before!
Nicole and Witch!

Before long, our first appetizer arrived and it tasted as good as it looked! This was by far the best appetizer that I've ever tasted. Look at the combination of it all... Mussels, succulent prawns, mozzarella sticks, fresh scallops, fish fillet, fresh salmon complete with fish roe, no less! I would say this seafood platter is fit for the King himself! Oh the glorious cheese sticks... and prawns! According to J-Sern, this was a special dish prepared for us by the chef, so it's not in the menu! I was so honoured. :) The dish that was meant to be served to 4 persons was finished by 3 of us in no time. *LOL* Oh the gluttony...
Chef's special seafood platter!


Fresh salmon

Mozzasticks ... I LOVE

Not only that, Nicole was also keen on ordering the Foie Gras after her previous visit to Tasting Room. This was the first time I tasted foie gras and I did not quite like the taste. Perhaps it's an acquired taste, or perhaps there's something wrong with my taste buds. No matter, I'm not complaining because there are so many other glorious food I love! I don't mind eating one less item. :P
Pan seared foie gras (RM28)

J-Sern also recommended this Smoked Pepper Duck Breast Salad, which I enjoyed very much. Isn't it cute that the salad came with strawberries? But the highlight of this salad was of course the tender duck meat. Look at the picture below, the duck meat was red in colour! All this while, I've only ever eaten roasted duck before, so this smoked duck meat was indeed an eye-opener. Plus, I've NEVER enjoyed breast meat so much! *LOL*
Smoked Pepper Duck Breast Salad (RM24)

Truth be told, after eating the appetizers above, I was already full. That was why we took our own sweet time before ordering the main courses, which was again taken care by J-Sern. The pasta dish was especially ordered for Nicole since she was craving for cheese that night. *wink* However, with our full stomach, we could only finish whatever that was on TOP of the pasta, and left most of the pasta untouched. :(

Italian Rigatoni Bake (RM30)

I chose the cod fish to make up the variety of our main courses ordered, and was I glad I did. It was simply the best cod fish that I've ever tasted before and to prove my point, it was also the only main course that was wiped clean that night. ;) Each slice of cod fish was smooth to the touch of your lips and blended perfectly with the surface of your taste buds. Of course, it didn't hurt that the cod fish was marinated and flavoured impeccably by the brilliant chef. I wouldn't mind eating this again next time I'm there. This is highly recommended. :)
Pan-seared codfish (RM35)

The final main course ordered was this Pan Seared Tenderloin, if I'm not mistaken. It was ordered to be done medium rare and the chef did exactly that. Both J-Sern and Nicole loved this dish to bits, because they were complimenting on how the chef made exactly medium rare steaks, just like how they wanted. I, on the other hand, am not a big fan of steaks, and I shudder at the thought of eating blood. Hence, I shall refrain from commenting on this dish. :)
Pan Seared Tenderloin (RM49)

After completing our main course, we were well on our way on our second glass of wine. Perhaps Nicole was having her third or fourth glass, because she looked pretty stoned here eh? :P

Almost drunk Nicole :P

Before long, our dessert arrived and luckily we only ordered one. The size was definitely huge enough for 3 of us! The tiramisu was extremely rich, soft and creamy, without bordering on watery. The taste was also carefully tweaked such that it wasn't too sweet or bitter from the coffee powder. I loved this even though my stomach couldn't really take much at that point of time.
Heavenly tiramisu (RM12)

Finally, we took our own sweet time in having a camwhore session to ourselves! :P Here is Nicole with her dessert wine and a cigar-like chocolate truffle courtesy of Tasting Room.
Nicole with her gift and dessert wine

Another one with J-Sern and Nicole sharing a romantic drink. *wink*
Drinking with J-Sern

Nicole and I posing with our last glass of wine. Very sweet indeed. Perfect as a dessert. :)
Cheers Nicole!

Nicole insisted on a Nicolekiss pose, which I wasn't good at, but I did it anyway. I totally sucked big time! *LOL*
Doing the Nicolekiss pose

J-Sern was jealous of the cigar boxes that we kissed and he wanted to have one himself! So we gave in and posed with him too! Wasn't he such a lucky dude? :)
Lucky dude!

Three of us taking a group picture.

Finally, some juicy and scandalous pictures taken at the end of the dinner! Perhaps we were drunk or perhaps the Nicolekiss pose was just addictive until everyone wanted to do it, including J-Sern! *gasp*

J-Sern and Nicole
Witch and J-Sern

Overall, I enjoyed myself very much with the great company that was given by J-Sern and Nicole. The food was none other than fabulous and I am beginning to look at wine from a different perspective! :)