Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We will miss this!

We're flying to Manila for a few days. Fif is helping me blog at the SQ lounge while waiting to board. This is our second to the last trip on business class. We have been spoiled.

We will miss this! Just saying.

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- Sofia

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ippudo: The Best Ramen in Singapore


Sometimes you just crave for good ramen. When you're in Japan, it's easy because you can just go down to the 24 hour ramen places even at 3am and you can be sure that the meal you get will just hit the spot. If you're in Singapore, as long as you're willing to queue... you can satisfy your ramen craving at Ippudo Ramen as well. I've been to the place twice, once for a really late dinner at 9pm and a late lunch at 3pm and even at those odd hours, we had to queue, it wasn't too long a wait though.

i love ippudo ramen.
The entrance from the outside.
You line up around the bar so you can get a drink while waiting if you want.
Tim arrived first so he lined up for us.
We made us walk so we were so tired and sticky.
Buti we were next in line na.
Sofia's cheeks get red when it's hot.
Ninong brought out the "let's play while waiting" card.

Ippudo has a nice, cozy and modern glam feel.
There are also bar seats where you can see the ramen made.
I knew it was going to be a carb cheat day so I also ordered the Ippudo Salad.
I think this was around SG$12 (Php400)
It was ok, but there was NO MEAT but it made me feel less guilty I was enjoying the ramen.
I even attempted to dip, not pour the dressing.
Sofia wanted to hold the chopsticks while I took the picture.
Sofia brought her own baon because she doesn't really like this place.
Late lunch/dinner is perfect because I can feed her first.
Our yummy Akamaru Tamago Ramen.
We just ordered the one with the richer broth with additional egg.
SG$16 (Php530) for the Ramen with pork only.
Additional Egg SG$3 (Php100)
Then it looks like this once mixed.
This was my first low-carb serving.
Hahaha, I know, the fatty pork belly mocks my good intentions.
Tim gave me my half of the egg.
A bit runny pa on the inside so it mixes really well with the soup.
Tim was complaining to me that his ramen was more like pasta because we were doing an experiment.

The experiment was all about how to make a bowl of ramen go a long, long way because the other time we were in Ippudo, the Japanese guy in front of us ordered 2-3 noodle refills!!! As in, that would be 3-4 times the normal carbs! So Tim and I jokingly said that the next time we eat in Ippudo, we will just order one bowl of Ramen and have the noodles refilled 5 times. Hahaha.

This was our first noodle refill.
They even ask you if you want your noodles soft, medium or hard.
Extra Noodles SG$2 (Php70) FTW! 
You just need to ration your pork and egg together with the soup. Hahaha.
This was my second low-carb serving, but atleast it's the same fatty pork.
It was at this soup level that we were deciding if we could go for a second noodle refill.
I told Tim I was on a low carb diet anyway so he would eat most of it
so we decided to order popcorn at the movies instead.
This was my last serving of carbs.
We were finally able to enjoy it without rationing the soup.
Ippudo Ramen is at the 4th Floor of Mandarin Gallery, 333 Orchard Road.

Lunch for two, with a salad and a bowl of ramen to share and one noodle refill to share was SG$38 with taxes.

I love Ippudo Ramen. Like Big Mama's Chicken Rice, they're carbs that are worth it! Just Saying.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sofia's First Movie (Date)

Sofia Milestone: 
Sofia watched Madagascar 3 in the cinema last weekend for the first time (the cinema! not Madagascar... though actually that was a first too! we haven't seen 1 or 2) because her favorite (thin) Ninong brought her. 

Sofia, Ninong and Pooh + the popcorn to share.
Sofia chose to sit on the side. That was a good choice.
Sofia was happy because her godfather insisted on carrying her because
We were going to be late na!
but there's actually a lot of buffer time from the scheduled movie show time.
Sofia loved the popcorn.
We got the salty and sweet mix.
Movie's starting.
Can you spy the sloth on the cup?
After the movie, they both tried to shop.
Sofia was successful.
Then we called yaya to feed us dinner kasi Sofia's feet were tired na.
At home, she made Ice Cream Bear lie on her ninong then she went on top of both of them for story time.

She loved it. Ninong loved the fact that he now has a way to entertain Sofia for 2 hours without running after her. Hahaha. 

There's a reason why (thin) Ninong Tim is her favorite. (oh, but that's a secret). Hahaha. Just Saying.

Almost Paradise... NOT


I am a sucker for a sale. We all know that.

Though unfortunately, because I travel a lot, I am not able to buy as many GROUP ON discount vouchers as I want. I only had one experience buying a Group On voucher before which I asked Tim to buy, we went to Batam (which did not turn out as good as expected), but for what it cost us, I guess it was still a good deal.

Spa and Nail services are VERY expensive in Singapore, so I am normally interested when I come across attractive deals from places that are centrally located. When I saw an offer for 90min Spa Manicure Pedicure for SG$20 (educated guess, since I bought it a long time ago) from SG$106 at a place in Raffles Place (implying it's POSH), I just could not resist.

This was my voucher.

It was valid from the time I bought it in November 2011 until the first week of May 2012, however, every time I tried to book a slot on short notice, they were always FULLY BOOKED!

Raffles Place is at the heart of Singapore's Central Business District. 
Almost Paradise is at The Arcade. It's a bit difficult to find. Look for this sculpture and One Raffles Place because it is right across this.
The building also has another entrance.
It's right across Fullerton Bay Hotel with a good view of Marina Bay Sands.
My toes pre-pedicure.
The Arcade was probably once nice.
Location is where the POSHness ends. This is Almost Paradise NOT.
They don't even have a proper sign. I think there was a sticker that said Salone
If this were in the Philippines, I would NOT enter. Just Saying.
I can't for the life of me figure out why every single day I called to ask for an appointment "They were supposedly fully booked!!!" There was no one there when I arrived early for my appointment. Not even the manicurists (though I think she's the lady in the picture, eating outside the shop). Hahaha.

They also had NO english magazines, so I bought one from the vendor in front of  Raffles Place MRT. I chose the one with the free Scarf.
They ask if you want a coat of Quick Dry, but you need to pay an extra SG$2. If you say no, then they bring out their Nail Dryer. Uhmmmm....
Like every over-priced Manicure I've had in Singapore, it only looks good from a far.
Had I been in the Philippines, I would have asked her to re do it till she got it right.
My free scarf came in handy on my way home. Buses in Singapore are always freezing.

I will not give you any details of Almost Paradise. I don't recommend it. I don't even know how they can claim to charge SG$106 as the original price for the service I received. It boggles the mind. Maybe Group On vouchers are not meant for me. Hahaha. Just Saying. 

Now, let's just see if I can pass up the next good bargain that comes my way ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Annie the Musical at MBS

When I saw the flyer for Annie the other day (while I was looking for GSS deals to call out to me) I knew I wanted to take Sofia to watch it. 

I wanna watch!!!

I loved Annie so much when I was Sofia's age that all my Annie memories came flooding back. I remember I used to sleepover at my grandparents house every Friday night and I would beg my aunts to watch Annie (the Movie) with me. I'm pretty sure we watched it every Friday night until all of us them got sick of it because I remember watching Mary Poppins too. I'm pretty sure my aunts were trying to convince me to watch something new, but it was never as good as Annie.

I have been convincing Sofia that she wants to watch Annie by showing her songs from the musical on youtube. Since tickets are quite pricey (SG$125 for decent seats), I told her we'll only go if she wants to watch. I described Annie by telling her it's mommy's Mama Mia (which is her absolute favorite movie/musical, she even squealed to me that her grandfather lied about her age so she could watch the Mama Mia production in Manila). 

We even found a full movie on youtube. The funny thing is, I think we found different version from the one I watched so often so many years ago. Sofia's glued to it now just as I was at her age. Success!!! 

Do you know that Sara Jessica Parker (in Broadway), Catherine Zeta Jones (in West End), Lea Salonga (in Manila) and Me (in the shower) all played Annie?  

I even managed to find a deal on the tickets if you pay by paypal. You can save 25% on the Reserve B (SG$125) tickets if for every pair you buy (technically the scheme is 50% off the second ticket). Since I am such a sucker for a sale, I am definitely watching this play!

Annie will be showing at the Marina Bay Sands Theater from 10 July to 5 August 2012.

The sun will come out tomorrow... bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun...  
Just Singing Saying.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Hummus Project

I've been desperately craving for hummus since I ordered a really bad version of it in the Turkish Restaurant we went to in Ho Chi Minh (I think it's called Pasha in District 1). Ever since my friend, Talha, told me it's easy to make, I've been nurturing that idea at the back of my head while googling recipes in my spare time. It seemed easy enough as the recipes normally tell you to just dump all the ingredients in the food processor... and voila! You have hummus that you can flavor any way to want.

My first attempt at making hummus from scratch was a success!!!

The main ingredients you need for hummus are chickpeas and tahini (or sesame paste). You can find chickpeas or garbanzos in any supermarket but tahini is more of a challenge unless you are willing to go to Mustafa, the 24hr super store in Little India. I wasn't sure I wanted to make my own hummus THAT much, so I only searched for tahini in my general surroundings which include 1 FairPrice, 2 Cold Storage branches and 1 Japanese Grocery (Mediya). In fairness to Mediya, they did have Goma (sesame) Paste - but I wasn't quite sure that they were the same.

I decided to search online for where to buy it by typing "Tahini Paste + Singapore" and one of the blogs I found directed me to a "Turkish Food Supplies Warehouse at 100G Pasir Panjang Road". I also found a post that said you could buy it from an Organic Store at the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market, but when I did further research it seemed like the Pasir Panjang Wholesale Market was more a (BIG) Fresh Foods Market which had an Organic Store so I opted to go to the Turkish Store instead.

It's called the STRAITS MARINE SUPPLY PTE LTD, and although their office is at 8 Shenton Way, they have a walk-in store in their warehouse at 100G Pasir Panjang Road. I called them before making my way there to make sure that they had tahini paste and I can just walk in to buy a bottle. The lady was very nice and even asked how I found out about them, when I told her I read about it on the internet, she was very pleased. Well, she can be more pleased because I am writing about them again :)

The lessons I learned today are simple:
1. Number 100 is not all that far from number 10 or number 20.
My office is at Number 10-20 Pasir Panjang Road. I assumed that Number 100G would be quite a distance away. I crossed the highway, took a bus, and told the driver to tell me when we got there. He looked quite confused and then he told me to go down approximately 30seconds after boarding. He even let me down even if there was NO bus stop (which is definitely out of the ordinary in this country). 
2. Directions from gothere.sg can be trusted
In hindsight, now I know why the directions for the bus was "no available bus route found".
The mobile version is more frank. It said "Don't be lazy - walk!" 
Now, if they only had a map which shows you where to go. (they probably do - I just haven't figured out how to get to it).

Anyway, after going around in circles, I decided to just walk down Pasir Panjang Road away from the office and after a few minutes later I got to 101 - so I knew that I had to cross the high way again. Quite tricky as I had to jaywalk... but I survived. It turns out that 100 Pasir Panjang is a side street with buildings numbered 100A all the way to 100G and if I wasn't running around like a headless chicken - I could have seen that it was just 2 blocks or 10minutes walk away from my office.

100G is actually a compound and the lady I talked to already told me to just go to the back and look for their warehouse so it wasn't too difficult finding them. There's a small air-conditioned room where you can walk-in and buy anything you want. They had loads of stuff from Turkey including Turkish Delight, Baklava, Tea and even Turkish Tea Glasses, as well as a full range of cheeses which they patiently explain and even let you taste. They also game me Natural Spring Water from Turkey which they told me is so much better than Singapore water (it tastes all the same to me). They told me they supply a lot of Restaurants in the city.

This was my haul.
Jenny asked me to buy Black Olive Spread and some Tahini too
(thinking you could spread it on bread - oops!).

Since there are a lot of recipes online with similar ingredients but different proportions, I went with the recipe with an option for making it by hand! Hahaha...

Here's a step by step easy to follow tutorial of the recipe I adjusted to taste (removing the garlic since I'm too lazy to handle raw garlic).

The ingredients.
Thanks to Tran,
I used Unilever Food Solutions Lime Powder instead of Lemon Juice.
You need to drain the chickpeas.
I divided it in two because I got the big can.
Also so I could make another batch for insurance.
My favorite tip is that you can microwave the chickpeas for 30seconds so they're easier to mash.
I brought out my electric mixer because I figured that's easier than using a fork.
Start with a low speed or beware of flying garbanzos!
As long as you have patience, it will turn into this.
Then you add 2 Tablespoons of Tahini.
Oooops, I thought it would be like the tahini dip in Egypt.
That's why Jenny wanted to buy some too. heeeheee...
I mixed in the tahini first before adding the other ingredients.
Save the water from the canned chickpeas so you can add 1/4 cup
for every 16oz can of chickpeas.
The recipe calls for 3-5 Tablespoons of lemon juice (to taste).
I started with the equivalent of 1 lemon.
Just add 3 teaspoons water.
voila! juice of one lemon.
Then you need to add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.
and half a teaspoon of salt.
I tried it and I decided it needed more lemon.
I added the equivalent of half a lemon.
Perfect! You don't even miss the garlic, or at least I didn't.

Since I am desperately trying to shake off the extra kg or two that I gained from all the forms of rice noodles that I ate and enjoyed for close to a month, I have decided I am going on a hummus diet, and I will only eat it with veggie sticks... since carbs is the enemy!

I decided to use child labor to peel my veggies.
It wasn't really a good move since 10minutes after we started we were still on the first cucumber.
We even peeled the carrots yaya said don't need peeling.
This is the best snack ever!!!
Yaya says all our knives are not sharp because I was too cheap to buy good knives.
I'm sure her thought bubble when I whipped out my camera was
"on no, she might get judged!"
I only got a portion to snack on so I could keep the rest for when I need more snacks.
I'm not a fan of carrot sticks but this was surprisingly good.

I've always been "Bilib Sa Sarili" (it makes self-confident seem like an understatement)... Hahaha. But I guess if you just put your mind to something, you can do it! 

I will live in Paris some day. Just Saying.

TEL: (65) 6248 3108 / 6248 3107
TEL: (65) 6472 1241
FAX: (65) 6221 3975
EMAIL: info@straitsmarinesupply.com / ship@straitsmarinesupply.com
For a detailed price list, you can visit Asia Singapore's blog here.