Monday, March 30, 2009

Pine Garden's Cake, Whampoa Drive Food Centre, Ghee Leong Bakery,Geylang Lor9 Porridge, Beancurd City

It was an early Thursday and Kelly's last day at emed so she bought cakes for her tutor and I got an equal treat too! We each were armed with a drink from Mr Bean (Kelly's peach soya milk and my hot soya milk) but we raided the sofa seats at Starbucks and blatantly had our cakes from the box =P - well we tried the staff lounge (but there was a function) and Kopitiam was far too crowded choice ! (at least our table had evidence of bought drinks heh)

These cakes are from Pine Garden's Cake (Block 529 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 01-2369) and have been raved about by both URBAN's Posh Nosh and the food bloggers alike. Both of us shared the following cakes and it feels like my birthday cake platter all over again =) Best thing is, cake platters have always been expensive with each cake averaging $6 plus but here at Pine Garden, each slice is $2.40 so these sweet treats are inexpensive. Stopping at one slice of cake is just too boring.

Lychee Martini - Layers of lychee cake with martini presoaked lychee fillings

All of the Pine Garden cakes we tried were sponge cakes and were all really light and fluffy - even the cream was really light. This was a fruity cake indeed with a strong lychee scent perfusing the cake - we couldnt really taste much martini in it, but it was rather unique. We were wondering what those orangey puree within those cream layers - any clue? lychees are certainly not orange in colour..

Blackforest Cake

Again, this is a chocolate sponge cake with cherries and cream - I prefer more dense layers of cream and alcohol soaked cherries though - this cake has a greater sponge - cream/cherries ratio.
Zest Chocolate Cake (Orange)

There are also the mango and lemon flavours but Kelly chose the orange. Well, I'm partial to orange flavoured foods cos they taste like artificial vitamin C Redoxon tablets - the first taste of this orange flavoured sponge and orange cream cake tasted like an overdosage of Vitamin C but the orange taste grows on you - however I still prefer my orange dark-chocolate instead! Orange in real chocolate in much nicer than when eaten alone ( I don't like oranges) or in cakes.

Triple Layer Chocolate Cake
We couldn't finish the last cake so I brought it home, but my sister and mom attacked it before I got to it the next morning =(

Well amongst all the cakes, if I had to choose one, it'd be the lychee martini. Even though I'm not a fan of sponge cakes.

After that we were craving rojak from Whampoa Drive Food Centre so we ended up here slightly after the lunch hour but the carpark was still packed but with some patience, we managed to find a space... this was our second time here - the first time was a fail cos the Hoover Rojak was closed !! (It closes on Tuesdays, take note ok)
There are 2 blocks at the Whampoa Drive Food Centre. We walked around Block 91 first - most stalls here were closed - I think they open in the morning till lunch only.

We bought a peanut pancake ($0.60) from Granny's Pancake - the peanut filling is one of the most crunchy and nutty and gritty fillings I've tried! It is unlike the peanut paste you get in most soya bean chain stores where it is more creamy and buttery. Here it is like a fried peanut bits - real fragrant - and tasted rather good with the thick doughy pancake. If only the pancake had a pandan flavour - like the Pancake from Maxwell Food Centre!
Then we went over to Block 90 where most of the stalls were open.

We finally made it here! Many people were eating the rojak all over the food centre so we were working up an appetite receeing the place. The auntie was also trying to promote her otah.

Rojak, $5
We just ordered the largest portion - came complete with the full works including cuttlefish. The rojak was not too bad - but bordering on the average side because the prawn paste sauce was just not thick or fragrant enough for us! Lacked the chilli punch too. And the youtiao wasnt toasted so it turned out to be rather soggy with the sauce. There was alot of fruit in this rojak too - many many pineapples and occasional mangoes. What was different was the parsley on top of the rojak instead of kangkong. We prefer the Toa Payoh Rojak at Old Airport Food Centre - the sauce there is really power!

Oh what was exciting was that we saw Chew Chor Meng queueing to buy rojak here! Kelly says he lives quite a distance away so he must be a real fan =P and she observed that he looks thinner on tv (but again, we havent seen him in a while) - must be the steroids from his Kennedy's condition.

After that we walked across the road to Sing Hon Loong Bakery (4 Whampoa Drive) - also known simply as Ghee Leong. This bakery is open 24 hours and supplies bread to most traditional toast places - so as far as freshness goes, you can't beat this. They don't use preservatives in their bread either.

It has been in operation for many many years. Oh no occupational hazard - can you imagine all the collection of microcrumbs in their lungs? I love the smell of bread, but after doing respi med.....hmmmm...we always tend to think pathologically...
They sell loaves of bread, baguettes, and bread with fillings such as coconut and red bean.. check out those blackened ends! You should check out the huge, blackened ovens man - many many years of toiling you ovens.

To ensure your toast doesn't have the unsightly ends (though I like those crispy ends )

We bought a baguette ($0.90) and topped up $0.60 to add fillings of planta margarine and peanut butter on one half and kaya on the other half. This is really old school and you can only have this style in neighbourhood bakeries.

We then walked over to Whampoa Drive Food Centre again to eat our bread.

I felt like I was eating a Subway but with more conservative fillings =P The kaya was real sweet but did not have the eggy feel (a good eggy one is like Good Morning Nanyang Cafe's). The plantar margarine kinda overwhelmed the coconut taste.

The bread has a really thick crusty layer and was rather hard to bite into when the bread cooled down. But I liked the crust - the bread was not really crumbly at all, very unlike toast.

The peanut butter was creamy - again the planta margarine to peanut butter ratio was great and overwhelming but since the peanut butter taste was stronger it was actually good to eat. Funny thing is it was the first time Kelly was eating Planta margarine on bread. Planta margarine taste really good with bread when you sprinkle sugar on top of it all!

It was a really hot day so we bought soya bean mixed with grass jelly drink from this corner soya bean stall at Whampoa Market (Block 91). This stall has been around for 28 years! The auntie is super chatty.
Try the soya bean-grass jelly concoction. It is fanastic! sweet beany taste with the chewy slightly bitter grass jelly.
Soya Beancurd $0.60
The tauhuay here is in a class of its own. It just melts away...into nothingness. Very very smooth!

We saw a grandmother and her primary school going grand-daughter enjoying tauhuay - and the grand-daughter ordering from the chatty stall auntie. The grandma yelled if she had enough money, and the grand-daughter so cute, ferried the tauhuay over! The granddaughter even manged bits of dialect in their conversation - sweet indeed...

Then 2 deep voiced people walked over and the ever chatty auntie blatantly asked them if they were tai guo ren....heh that was hilarious - they moved to sit near us and were interesting indeed...
Time spent hanging out at hawker centres people watching can be interesting indeed - from celebs to trans - you really see the world of personalities in these humble hawker centres.

We then drove to Plaza Singapura, intending to catch the 450pm show, Detroit Metal City. We intended to enter the cinema only at 510pm (Golden Village has a standard ad time for 20 minutes =( ) so to kill time we scouted around for travel money pouches - Carrefour, travel shops on level 4 and 6 - Carrefour has the cheapest at $3 but was sadly uncomfortable whereas the travel shops was sadly overpriced. sighh....
We were again very excited when we saw popcorn (Large, $6) in the popcorn machine so we were fooled to thinking it was fresh (actually I think either the display one is full or they too lazy to scoop over) Today's had many chunks of popcorn stuck together. But the rest tasted like styrofoam!
Detroit Metal City was HILARIOUS, we havent watched a comedy together ever before (amazing since we've prob watched over 40 shows in the past year) but we laughed so hard it was so uncomfortable because we were SO FULL so carbo loaded from the cakes and bread that the food almost threatened to pop out..
The actor with the dickhead hairstyle was amazingly plastic! He really swings to extremes of the super cheesy-sweet-childhood-dreamy prototype to the Saturnic Death Metal cursing alter ego in his band - the stunts in the show esp the ones where he hanged down towards the audience was really hilarious! His costume was such a get up and the way he parades it obliviously when he got confused between his childish demeanor and his domineering alter ego was really funny! And him chasing the (REALLY GORGEOUS) girl, trying to hide his real job, highlights again - like in Departures - how certain jobs having a kind of stigma. Japanese films do seem to focus on this. Ooh but death metal is so extreme - female death Saturnic music was even more extreme. Go laugh your head out and watch this movie. Cry your hearts out at Depatures first then laugh at this one.
After the movie we wanted something soupy (it was carbo overload with that half - baguette each and all the cakes) so we drove to Sunshine Plaza and parked there (the Prinsep Street public lots were full, period) intending to eat at Victor's Kitchen. But it closes at 8pm so we didn't make it. Then we wanted to eat the Tom yum noodles in Burlington Square.

Failed again!!
Disheartened, we decided to settle for the Lion City Geylang Lor 9 Porridge at Peace Centre. We passed by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts on the way and we realised it was really very new and gorgeous! There seems to be an event going on because there were art exhibits, peoplke drinking wine at a platform, and even a strings quartet performance.
This is part of ....
a very long sentence..
and it was a sentence about a cow who appealed NOT to be eaten up...
This art was on one of their walls...
And on further walking, we found out there was a block of HDB flats right next to NAFA! It is so strange seeing flats in the middle of the city!
Thank God the Lion City Geylang Lor 9 porridge (Peace Centre) was open!! This was our second time here in a few weeks. We ordered one frog ($8), and the meat was as smooth as ever, with the warm salty spicy Kung Pau sauce, it tasted awesome with the porridge...
It was one pot of yummy smooth congee...
We then walked back to Selegie towards Sunshine Plaza where the car was and we stopped by the other tau huay shop - Beancurd City (4 Short Street) - not the Rochor Original Beancurd that everyone goes to.
I think the tauhuay here is smoother - I think the Rochor Original Beancurd's is too dense and grainy plus maybe the sensation of eating it in a plastic tupperware and plastic spoons ups the synthetic feel. Here you get a good old bowl and porcelain spoon.

The grass jelly is cut up into cubes (just like the way Kelly doesn NOT like it) and I think the Rochor Original Beancurd has a better, firmer version (and is not cut up!)
The next time I come here, I shall order the tauhuay from Beancurd City and the grass jelly and youtiao and sesame ball from Rochor Original Beancurd. Question is, where I should sit?

We walked back to Sunshine Plaza and spotted this funky bag shop...
Which is your favourite food label? I love the corn flakes one and Kelly picked the Pretz one.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ice Monster, A-Roy Thai, Ah Chew Desserts

Kelly and I took the train to Dhoby Gaut MRT cos we were desperate to get out of TTSH and we were trapped in by the rain. And by the time we reached town to catch the 225pm show (Departures) at Plaza Singapura only front row seats were left - this was our second attempt in 2 weeks - so we ended up buying tickets for the 340pm show at Vivocity (where there is no students discount!)
Before setting off for Vivocity, we decided to go for desserts at Ice Monster (Basement 1, Plaza Singapura) - this is our third time here so we are really quite a fan of their icy desserts though we found something more interesting today.

Mixed Fruits

This was a really sweet treat - the fruits which are normally sour are especially sweet when soaked in their puree - there was mango, strawberries and kiwis, topped up with milk and a scoop of mango icecream, this is really refreshing especially for a fruits fan like Kelly =)

Yam and Red bean
This is a repeat try because I really like this dessert - the yam and red bean are thoroughly soaked in the sweet condensed milk and the yam is particularly creamy smooth.
Durian with Chicken Floss Egg Crepe $6.50

After seeing the adjacent table order the crepes, we got curious and consulted the menu. We realised that Ice Monster serves a whole variety of savoury food (like za jiang mian) and there are many permutations and combinations for the sets - for both savoury foods and desserts sets. For example, we should have ordered a crepes and mango ice set, which comes with a drink as well. But oh well, we wanted 2 icy desserts.
There are 3 crepes offerings here - the 2 dessert ones pair fruit (either mango or durian) with chicken floss - doesnt it scream strangeness??- and the third is a more normal sounding beef egg crepe. We ordered the first one- gasp - durian with chicken floss egg crepe.
Check it out. The durian paste (which we like when we tried the mango and durian shaved ice during our second time here) was like the sauce, the meat was the chicken floss, the perfunctory piece of lettuce, and the deep fried egg crepe - its like a version of Subway, Taiwanese style. The sweetness of the buttery durian paste, the salty and crunchy bits of chicken floss, the crunchy lettuce, and eventually the eggy oily thin piece of prata. It was really an interesting mix - gotta give the chef points for creativity! I actually quite liked the odd combination.

Kelly wants to try the mango version but....i think I'd pass..heh.
We walked by Candy Empire (Basement 1, Vivocity) and decided to get these snacks for the movie. I am a new fan of the Sweet Chilli & Lime Dip Stix - it is a longer and sturdier version of the Synders of Hanover Pretzel pieces. It has the texture of pretzel pieces and the intensity of nachos.

The Chilli Pretzels was also quite good- the spicness hits you after you eat your third mini pretzel.
We saw the popcorn popping away in the machine so we got so excited! We bought a large popcorn ($6) and it surprisingly it wasn't scorching (we thought the freshly coated sugary coating'd be way hot).

Departures is an excellent show. There are many elements to the show, death being the central theme - but the issues of passion (the main character's hobby and love for cello - the only connection with his father) versus practicality (how he moved to his hometown when his orchestra dissolved and he fell into the hilarious advertisement of landing the embalming job), and how deaths in different families touch him differently. His first few encounters with the dead made him very emotional and acutely aware of how much he needs to hold on to his loved ones (his wife) and embalming his father who abandoned his paternal duties brought him a step closer to forgiving and eventually accepting his father - the symbolism of the stone was powerful - it embodies the father-son relationship and his eventual duties as a to-be father.

The show highlights the importance of jobs shunned by society - are professional jobs the most respectable? Think about what society be without those people who hold occupations you'd never dream of doing. They guard your condos, keep your places clean, build those swanky shopping centres and IRs rain or shine, clean up bedpans. Did you say your thanks today? Have you ever wondered how there are some jobs you never knew existed? Who will chose and eventually do those jobs?

Death was dealt in a very respectful manner - not in-your face depressing, sombre and grave, but extremely thought provoking because it potrays the different ways of how different people and different families dealed with the deseased - young or old. Some families blame each other for indirectly causing a suicide, or how the course of the life of the deseased could have run differently possibly altering the outcome, others celebrate the love of an elder, and how she has touched the lives of people around her.

At your loved ones' deathbed - are you likely to say Thank you for the wonderful memories you have left behind? Or will you be seeking forgiveness, saying Sorry for taking you for granted, not having the chance to say a Good Goodbye? Do you spend enough time, make enough effort to reach out to your loved ones? Who matters in the end?

There was never a dull moment to the movie - with the opening sequence having bits of humour (he-she confusion, and the maggots were particularly memorable) especially with the boss and lady employee - I will never forget the fried chicken scene and the fish roe scene! Well, after anatomy class in year one, barbequed beef bakwa and jerky never looked the same..

Creme Brulee - Caramel, white chocolate, Cocoa Loco - Mocha
We were thirsty after all that popcorn so we went to Gloria Jeans (Level 1, Vivocity) for drinks. Their iced blended drinks are $3 for certain hours depending on the outlet - the hours vary from the Vivocity to the Cineleisure outlets.

Kelly's drink was nicely sweet but my iced mocha was way diluted so I went back to change the drink to the one below (they nicely obliged and eventually agreed it was diluted too)
Cookies and Cream

This was much better - sweeter and more creamy, with bits of cookies inside the drink. I guess the Gloria Jeans barista learnt her lesson and loaded up the sugar and toppings!

We met our CG for dinner before everyone flies off to their elective - at A-Roy Thai Restaurant(04-06, FUNAN the IT Mall). Michelle really likes this place so I must check it out!

Crackers $2
They served us two of this, and charged it to our bill. Everyone thought the dip was really potentily spicy.
Spicy and Sour salad with Lemongrass, Basil, Dried Shrimp, Cashew nuts - Small $12.90
This was our favourite dish of the night - usually I'd always order the mango or papaya salad - i almost wanted to order that but I'm glad we gave this a go - they fry the lemongrass very well, and the spices made it very interesting to it. I don't know what is the principle vegetable in the dish but it was meant to be eaten as a wrap we figure - wrapping up the salad mix with the lettuce leaf. It was highly recommended by the waiter and was one of the star dishes that garnered an award for the restaurant.

Pad Thai - Medium $12.90
I liked the pad thai here because the fish sauce it is fried in makes it very fragrant and wet, and alot of crunchy beansprouts. It is also very eggy which I like.
Pineapple rice - Medium $10.90
I didn't like the pineapple rice - not much wok hei and not many ingredients inside.
Tom Yum Seafood - $19.90 Medium
It is clear and really spicy. I thought the soup was good - intense and chokeful of fish and squid.
Green Curry $19.90 - Medium
A PUNY portion, though the green curry was good (although Kumaran and Weixin thinks its not truly potent). It is a really creamy version, with many pieces of smooth thigh meat and vegetables inside the curry.
The steamed seabass arrived naked...

Grilled Seabass with sweet and sour soup $30.90
....and was eventually dressed up in a lemon sauce...The fish was really fresh and there was alot of spices in the soup - without which it did taste like the Tom Yum soup (although the waiter kept insisting it was not, when I asked him when I was ordering).
Beef Kuay Teow $6.90
This was Maria's beef noodles I took some of the soup it is really very beefy!
Overall the quality of the Thai food was good but the portions are way way way way too small to justify the prices. Somehow after Bangkok, I won't wanna pay too much for authentic Thai food! I shall come here another day to try the mango and durian sticky rice. Sheryl went to buy her semi-pro camera so we accompanied her - and realised I am quite glad I didnt go IT show to get fleeced
After that everyone else left so Sheryl, Kelly and I made our way to Ah Chew Desserts (Liang Seah Street) for our usual Chinese dessert fix. This is one too many repeat visits!
Durian Mango Sago $4.80
This is one of their durian menu specials. We loved it! There was real durian meat inside, and the bittersweet pomelo sacs and sago really enhances the sweetness of the mango.

I was quite skeptical to try their durian desserts again after the disaster of durian with yam and sago with Nat and Xueling but I am quite glad I gave this a go (because we saw another table with the mango pomelo it looked damn good!). I shall try the unadulterated mango pomelo sago soon!
Sesame and Almond Paste, Large $2.50
The paste here is rather gooey instead of being grainy, according to my friends - but I still like the sesame paste here.

Steamed Milk Egg, $2.50

This is the first time I am having it hot and it turns out to be really eggy. I think the heat enhances the egg taste more.

Grass Jelly with Carnation Milk

It is chopped up into ice-kachang type cubes - not the wholesale chunk that Kelly prefers. If you order the plain grass jelly itself - you will get the whole slab of grass jelly uncut, judging from a table that I passed by. It was difficult judging the texture of the grass jelly when its sliced up into cubes, so this dessert wasn't particularly memorable.

Flying off for electives soon, many of our CG mates are already half the world away...cant wait!
Have you seen Kit Kat in a dark chocolate version before? Or in a family block version? Find yours at the nearest Candy Empire today! This was awesome.