Amazing Race Makati

4 04 2011

"I shall guard this with my life. The lone piece in all of Makati!"

“IN A hurry?”  I could hear the lady I just passed speak under her breath, her comment punctuated by a toss of her hair that shook her navy blue Le Pliage by Longchamp medium handbag with prints of the Eiffel Tower.

I didn’t mind at all because I was, clearly, in a hurry and that I was dashing through the escalator, on the right side and not left.  I thought that was understood – the right side is for those in a hurry.

That was when it occurred to me.  “You’re no longer in Singapore eNTeNG,” my conscience told me, “and this is not Dhoby Ghaut interchange.  Did you even hear ‘Berhati-hati di ruang platform?!’”  It was just the day after I had arrived and quite obviously, I hadn’t shaken the lion city out of my system.  Besides, the first world trappings of Greenbelt 5 sure reminded me of where I just was.

I was running through walkways, escalators and halls of Makati because I was in search of one elusive item – the Philip Stein Signature Large Black Rubber Strap.  It was for Green Lantern.  And while he didn’t seem to be in a rush to get his hands on one, I was.  Sometimes, I’d think that I was either a chef, gemologist, horologist, or personal shopper in a past life.  And when it comes to my best of friends, I wouldn’t ever want to let any of them down.  So when they ask for a favor, I would not only prioritize it, I’d actually work on it.  (Brother, I’m still putting together the box I promised you.)

I had been to four stores that had the item I wanted already sold out.  They said that a lot of people had actually been looking for it and they had the waitlist to show for this claim.  I wrote my name on a couple.  It was almost 7:00 PM – and I know wristwatch stores close earlier than mall time – so I was really down on my luck.  That was when I remembered about Adora, the luxurious department store in Greenbelt 5!

“Good evening,“ I breezed through the door, straight to the wristwatch section, a sales associate barely being able to catch his breath and respond to my greeting.  I stood in front of a vitrine that houses Philip Stein wristwatches and calmly said, “I need a Signature Large Black Rubber Strap.”  I enunciated my words well, knowing that should I fail miserably on this fifth attempt, I at least made a good impression with the sales person.

“I believe we have it in stock, Sir.  One piece.  The only one.”  I launched with my monologue on how frustrated I already was looking for it and being told, “sold out” four times in a row – on one night.

Miracles do happen.

By the next couple of days, this coveted item was well on its way to being delivered in person to Green Lantern, courtesy of two of my closest friends, Darryl and Brenda.

Adora is the ultimate in luxury shopping! I bought only a wristwatch strap but the treatment I got was as if I bought an actual wristwatch. The sales associate who attended to me even offered me a drink. Ice-cold water was perfect!

 

Adora occupies such an expanse that it does feel like the ultimate in luxury shopping.

 

With this purchase, I had Green Lantern enroled in Adora's rewards / membership program.

 

Dinner is the reward for a task accomplished!

 

Five stores and a successful find at the last one, I was done and ready to munch at 7:20 PM!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Dine and care at CareShop de Café

4 04 2011

Brother's Grilled Salmon Steak at CareShop de Café (All three photos on this post are courtesy of Brother's iPhone4! Nice!)

THERE ARE a couple of things we look forward to at dinner – or any meal for that matter – the food and the company.  Exactly two things worth the breathless anticipation when I treated my friends to lunch at CareShop de Café at 70 Bendemeer Road, #01-05 Luzerne, Singapore.

I’ve been in the country for six days and very much in keeping with the belief I espouse and share with new travelers, you will only get to really know people when you spend time with them beyond office hours or share an apartment with them.  You would, because just like what Chandler said in the series finale of “Friends”, and I paraphrase:  “In the city, when you’re single and living alone, your friends are your family.

And Brother, Giant, JohnG, and Green Lantern took care of me like family would.  So it was natural to express my appreciation the best way I know how.  Which means either one of two things – wristwatches or food.

CareShop de Café has the look of a small- to medium-scale family-owned café that could have started off as a purveyor of fresh organic produce and choice meats before opening a dining establishment to best showcase their products.  The moment I was inside, I felt like whoever are behind this cozy establishment are not in it for the money, but are doing so for a greater good.  And reading about their shared values of respecting and protecting the environment and caring for the poor and needy proved my hunch correct.  Though one wall display dedicated to a host of health and beauty supplements afforded me a light chuckle.  But seriously, it all fit into a theme.

To me, at that moment, CareShop de Café meant “munch time with a purpose.”  I couldn’t help to see it that way especially after learning about their involvement with World Vision.  (Friendship could so relate.)

We placed orders at the counter, and this being my treat, not even the sky was the limit.  Hahaha!  I wanted my friends to be able to eat to their hearts’ content.  Brother asked for the Grilled Salmon Steak.  Giant had his appetite whetted by the image of the Soft Shell Crab Bento Set (the special at the time!).  JohnG thought the Spicy Unagi Ramen was special.  And as for Green Lantern, he started with The Caesar (salad) and then had for his main entrée the Beef Bento Set.  To share, I asked for 12 pieces of the BBQ Wings and eight pieces of the Vegetable Spring Rolls.

BBQ Wings

As for me, I was craving for some good soba and lots of rice, both of which I found prominently in the menu’s “Made in Japan” section.  The Mushroom Soba had a generous portion of soba noodles whose generous amount was overshadowed by an even more generous motley crew of the freshest wild mushrooms – shiitake, button, and enoki – doused in natural “umami” goodness with the robust earthiness of a seaweed soyu broth.

My Mushroom Soba! So so sooo good!

One sip and I knew I had to have perfectly cooked, plump grains of Japanese rice to soak up all that wonderful flavor.  Which I didn’t hestitate to ask for.  Thrice.

Usually I would caution myself from eating too much lest I be charged with one of the seven deadly sins.  But when I know I was doing it for a cause bigger than myself, I wouldn’t mind at all.

Now that I’m back home, I think that three or so more months is quite a long wait to go.  I just console myself with the thought that each day that passes is a day closer to a trip back to CareShop de Café.

CareShop de Café business card, together with a few other memorable ones.

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Crazy over Fou de Fafa

4 04 2011

eNTeNG at Fou de Fafa (photo by The Boy Wonder)

PARTNER COULDN’T stop raving about this quirky café near her office and had insisted I should visit it before my couple of weeks in Singapore would’ve come to an end.  The place doesn’t serve traditional Singaporean cuisine.  But I guess after ticking off chili crab, fishball noodle soup, oyster omelet, and Hainanese chicken rice on my list, it was time to get crazy over something else.  And Fou de Fafa at #01-05 Capital Tower, 168 Robinson Road, proved to be perfect.

Fou de Fafa's extensive menu. There are sections for "The Sandwiches", "The Hots", "Les Flats", "Feel So Gooders", "Les Salades", and "See Me, See Me Not!"

Partner’s invitation couldn’t have come at a better time.  Most of my earlier plans fell through and Friendship was running late with meetings.  So, I took Partner up on her offer to have dinner together.  Only thing was, I had to go all the way to Tanjong Pagar.  Partner, who together with Friendship, could very well be employed by the Singapore Tourism Board, sent me complete directions thru text.  Obviously, there wasn’t any excuse not to make it to Robinson Road.  Of all three options she presented me with – cab, bus, train – I took the last one.

I would always take photos of myself on board the MRT. Hahaha! This was the one time I got stares while doing so. I realized that I was on a "reserved seat" (for the physically challenged, pregnant, the elderly). I quickly moved to the next space. Good thing the train wasn't even half-full.

 

Yey! I made it to my stop, Tanjong Pagar. Robinson Road is Exit F.

 

I love this quote! "There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy."

 

See, I take photos just about everywhere. Cam whore!!!

 

Tanjong Pagar underpass.. Yeah, I was the only person there at this time.

I must’ve been staring at this building on Robinson Road for a while – all the window lights would change colors (too bad none of it was green) – that I had already missed one text message and one call from Partner before I realized I had to pick up.  A couple of pedestrian crossings and I was at Capital Tower where Partner picked me up.  On the walk back to her office – she still wasn’t done for the day! – she told me that we’d pass by the night’s dinner place.  Before she even managed to raise her hand and point it out, I had spotted it – Fou de Fafa, red hot in lights.  But honestly, noticing the lights was secondary, it was the smell of deliciousness that wafted through the door that got to me first.

That Robinson Road building in blue! I took this snapshot as blue is The Flash's favorite color.

 

I was waiting for the lights to turn green, but they didn't. It was supposed to be for Green Lantern. So I just took a shot of yellow, for myself.

 

Finally, Capital Tower!

 

Fou de Fafa!

Partner flung the door open and approached the store manager to inform her that we were to come back for dinner.  It was a few minutes past 9:00 PM and the place was to close at 10:00 PM.  So we had to make it back before 9:30 PM.  And we did, with The Boy Wonder in tow.  Partner did all the ordering, and soon, one by one, my NFFs (newfound friends, Partner’s officemates) came.

With Partner, making a quick stop to place a (last-minute) reservation.

 

Back at the restaurant, this time, with The Boy Wonder!

Pizza Fou’d Flewed will shatter any conventions you may have about pizzas.  Using a taco shell (I think) baked to a crisp as the crust (the Indian poppadom actually came to mind), the pizza promises a yummy crackling sound however which way you would approach it – with fork and knife, or with bare hands.  Unlike the usual tomato-based sauce and toppings that could wear the pizza crust down, Pizza Fou’d Flewed is topped with an impressive melange of ingredients scrumptious on their own, but surprisingly light and almost salad-like when put together – shredded poached chicken, baby arugula, tomatoes, avocado, and feta cheese, all laced with pesto.  It was an unapologetic, stunning edible work of art.  Tempting, to say the least.  There were six of us at the dinner table that night that I felt shameless finishing three portions of this pizza.  I just couldn’t help it.

Pizza Fou'd Flewed

 

Shredded chicken, crumbled feta cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped avocado, on a bed of loose baby arugula. I'm in love.

 

One of many portions of the Pizza Fou'd Flewed that I served myself!

 

I love love LOVE baby arugula (more popularly known as rocket).  I’ve loved it in salads, mixed with other delicate greens and dressed with a light honey mustard vinaigrette.  I’ve adored it tossed together with marinated fresh tomatoes and freshly shaved parmesan cheese in a bowl of piping hot capellini.  So relishing it in a new incarnation as Pizza Fou’d Flewed was just awesome, yet another welcome addition as to how I could enjoy this favorite green.

As a fitting homage to The Boy Wonder, Partner asked for the Macho Man (Hahaha!), a salad of delicate lettuce greens, tomatoes, cheese, chicken and sausage slices.  To round up the meal, we had the Organic Pancake Lasagna – both the Vegetarian and Chicken variations.  Though I didn’t get to try this last one, Partner didn’t fail in cluing me in on exactly what they were – layers of pancakes instead of pasta sheets, fillings of vegetables or chicken, slathered with chutney.

After the pizza, it was time for the Macho Man!

 

I knew Partner ordered this in honor of her love, The Boy Wonder!

 

Macho Man, this salad, is chockful with chicken and sausage slices tossed with lots of delicate greens, tomatoes, cheese and shards of corn tortilla chips.

 

This salad was sooo good!

 

One of two Organic Pancake Lasagnas that Partner ordered.

 

By way of pasta, I had to ask for the chef’s latest creation, a Tomato Chicken Cheese pasta dish using penne rigate.  And to wash everything down, I snapped up the store manager’s recommendation.  The name of the drink escapes me now.  But I remember it to be the perfect concoction of fesh pineapple, grapes, and mint.  It looked as blue as the spirulina algae drink I had in the States in years past.  But Fou de Fafa’s was oh so refreshingly good.

Tomato Chicken Cheese on penne rigate

 

My potent drink, a recommendation by the store manager. It had pineapple, grapes and mint in it. Yum!

 

I had my eye on this carrot cake the moment I stepped into the door. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask for dessert!

I’ve put Fou de Fafa’s name under the header of “must-go-back-to” places in Singapore.  And I wouldn’t be surprised to still get “surprised” the next time around.  What with the extensive menu, the creative and inventive use of ingredients, the options to go dairy-free or gluten-free, and not to be overlooked – the cozy ambiance.  Perfect for dinner with friends.  Or perphaps, someone you love.

I-S Maganize’s Restaurant Guide 2011 says that “Fou de Fafa” is French for “just to be crazy.”  And I did feel that way – crazy over the food.  And hopefully next time, crazy in love.

Partner's own "Fafa", The Boy Wonder. I used to call him... Harryboy. Hahaha!

 

Two of my best friends, Partner and The Boy Wonder.

 

The Boy Wonder's Pink Lemonade Snapple, Partner's Cranberry Snapple, and eNTeNG

 

My view when I'd get home at night... for two weeks.

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.