Bowling for Kebab

25 09 2011

The bowling carnival was all about fun. Brenda was part of Team "I'm Bob"!

WHAT KIND of friend am I if not to cheer my closest friends on as they pursue their own passions or reach for their dreams?  Or just like yesterday, throw some ball.  And in the case of Brenda, a seven-pound orange bowling ball.

When I actually learned that Brenda was participating in our company’s annual Bowling Carnival, I just had to free up my Friday night and Saturday morning to be able to get up and make it to the meeting point at 7:30 AM.  I found it funny that I ended up forgetting to enable my four alarms – yes, four! – to go blaring on a Saturday morning.  They happen to all be set on “weekdays” mode only.

But that’s the thing when something has been preoccupying your head for days, your body will tell you something’s up.  So I made it, though five minutes late, and off we went to Marine Bowl at the Marine Cove, East Coast Park.  I just find the ride through KPE (the Kallang–Paya Lebar Expressway) kind of soothing.  I could hear Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” playing in my head.

Approaching KPE...

 

We're in!

 

Nearing the final turn...

The day started with registration and breakfast.  Since Brenda’s hubby, Darryl, wasn’t playing as well (he did the weekend prior), we stuck with each other and lined up at the counter.  I’m not a McDonald’s regular, and this was my first meal in the global food outlet, ever since I got here.  Not having any favorites at all, I settled for the Sausage McGriddle with Egg, served with a hash brown and coffee.  I was so surprised that I liked it.  A sausage patty, a sunny side up, doused in melted cheese, in between two pancakes – what’s not to love?  It felt so Southern (American) comfort food to start the morning – sausage and waffles with maple syrup.  Yum!

A breakfast sandwich, coffee and a hash brown.

 

Not exactly what I would have for breakfast, but was I so glad to have asked for it!

 

Simply delicious!

 

As if anybody needed any reminder he or she was in McDonald's!

When my Mama learned that I was cheering Brenda on, she had to dole out a wise piece of motherly advice – “don’t shout or scream too loud and too much,” to keep my Achilles’ heel, tonsillitis, at bay.  Good thing that the refreshment kiosk at the bowling alley offers “ginger water,” scalding hot.  At SG$ 1.30 a pop, not bad at all.  It’s Sunday morning and I don’t feel even a slight scratch behind my throat.  Haha!

Alvin, Darryl & Brenda, and Melisse

 

Brenda, the orange ball, and a spare!

 

Two of my favorite people – Darryl and Brenda.

 

Melisse and her Staff is "Team One Thousand."

 

Team "I'm Bob" is Brenda and her colleagues that include Alvin and "Bob" himself.

Brenda wowed the cheerer in me with a four bagger, making me scream at the top of my lungs.  But the ultimate treat of the day turned out to be lunch.  Right across the Marine Bowl was the Marine Cove, a stretch of quirky shops and restaurants.  We surveyed the length that our starving tummies allowed, before turning back for the Kebab Station.  It was Brenda’s choice and when it comes to food, I totally trust her.  Her roasted chicken with cumin and oranges left an indelible imprint on my mind.

From the Kebab Station’s wide selection, I gravitated towards the Kofta, with the faintest of idea what it was.  The generous scattering of tomato wedges on the photo did it for me.  And at the counter, upon placing my order, I just had to quip, “Extra tomatoes please?”

Beef Kofta, The Kebab Station, The Marine Cove, East Coast Park, Singapore

The chef was just so glad to oblige and the very amiable staff proudly announced the advent of my request, “Beef kofta with extra tomatoes.”  Like a kid in school wanting to earn a star at recitation, I just had to raise my hand.

The chef at the Kebab Station was so cool!

 

I was that that's lamb on the left and beef on the right. The chef thinly slices from this rack and collects the sliced meat from the pan and makes the food to order.

Kofta turned out to be this traditional Middle Eastern meatball (or meatloaf) made from either beef (like what I had) or lamb, infused with spices.  The dish came with fragrant rice, a mound of crisp iceberg lettuce leaves, wedges of pita bread, and in my case, lots of tomatoes.  A couple of dressings were drizzled on to the plate – a garlic aioli and I think, tomato ketchup.

Melisse succinctly summed up the meal – delicious and authentic!

A kofta with a wedge of tomato

 

Lots of extra tomato wedges!

 

A wedge of pita bread

 

Couldn't help but love this kofta!

 

A wedge of pita bread cozying up with a kofta. Nice!

 

Lunch buddies all! Me, Bob, Alvin, Melisse, Brenda, and Darryl.

 

The Chef and a blogger

 

 

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





Not clamming up about my clams

25 09 2011

Nothing can come between me and my clams.

WHERE I work nowadays, I can’t bring in a camera with me.  It’s a little sacrifice, especially since I do have a “shoot-first-eat-later” policy whenever I go for my meals.  It took a lot of getting used to because back home in the Philippines, it would be second nature to me to whip out my trusty Canon IXUS 860IS and shoot to my heart’s content.

That’s why sometimes, I tend to forget all about my “policy.”  Like when my best friends, the then-affianced-now-married Partner and The Boy Wonder, brought me to Sushi Tei for the first time.  Probably it was forgetting all about my need to snap photos, or the fact that the three of us just literally shopped ‘til we dropped, doing the rounds of Cartier (where they brought me along to their appointment to have their Cartier Love wedding bands engraved and where I salivated yet again at the sight of the Ballon Bleu de Cartier), Louis Vuitton, and Chanel.

But I wasn’t too forgetful or too tired to photograph my most favorite sea food – clams!  I asked for the item on the menu that has it, some kind of miso-based soup.  Or it could very well be miso soup!  And to make up for whatever limitations my Blackberry Bold 9780 has, I more than made up for by styling my food.  I put five of the plump (they were the same size as their shells!), juicy, sweetly briny clams on top of my perfect cup of Japanese rice.

Salmon sashimi

We actually had quite a spread.  My meal alone included salmon sashimi, cha soba, and another cup of Japanese rice.  And to cap off a perfect day and evening?  A bowl of five nama chocolate pieces, quite pretty in the shape of large spongy marshmallow, filling up an earthen bowl.

These nama chocolate pieces give the perfect ice-cold kiss on the lips.

 

 

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





Laksa is the love

25 09 2011

Katong Laksa at 328 Katong Laksa (This photo and everything else, taken with my Blackberry Bold 9780)

I’VE BEEN told that you’ve never been to Singapore if you didn’t have Laksa.  I think I want to amend that to “You’ve never been to Singapore if you didn’t have 328 Katong Laksa.”

Welcome to the Famous 328 Katong Laksa!

 

There's no question which one I'd order!... Do you see just how affordable this delectable dish is?

 

The place offers porridge too, and a host of local thirst- or spice-quenchers.

Laksa is a spicy curry noodle soup, with a coconut milk-based broth, and usually garnished with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves.  Here in Singapore, all the bowls that I have had – at various ToastBox outlets, at the airport, at hawker stalls – had fish cake and shrimps.  When I first ordered it, I expected to get a bowl full of mee kia (the Hong Kong-style, thin, yellow egg noodles), only to get one with thick bee hon (rice noodles).  Yes, there was a hint of disappointment – I think I wasn’t able to delay my reaction and the pursing of my lips gave me away – but nevertheless, I came out of that first experience awash with a sense of comfort and calm.  Laksa is the love.

The laksa has landed!

 

I just had to have – and had to ask – for another dollop of the finely chopped coriander leaves!

At 328 Katong Laksa, the first thing that struck me was that the noodles were cut up.  I knew I kept glancing to my left and right to see if anybody was as surprised as I was.  Apparently, that’s what is unique to the “Katong” version – the noodles are cut up so you could do away with chopsticks or forks and just use a spoon.  Anything to cut to the chase of my gastronomic pleasures, I’m all for it.

See, the noodles are already cut up. All you have to do is spoon... and maybe, slurp.

I did notice too that the shrimps were plentiful, a fact that I remember blabbering about.  And that the coriander leaves couldn’t have just been chopped carelessly, but rather pounded to almost be a pungent, fragrant paste.  I could use it to spike the whole bowl, or for a more intense sensation running down my spine, I could stain one spoonful at a time and be lost in the flavor explosions in my mouth.

As the intensity of this Katong Laksa experience continually built up to a raging crescendo, I felt the need to reach out for a bowl of steaming hot white rice.  A part of me felt that such perfectly married flavors of the creamy coconut milk and the subtly arresting colorful purity of the curry should be honored with heaping spoonfuls of rice.  Lest I fretted, I realized that in its place was the fish paste (“otak-otak”), a cake of fish and spices, lovingly wrapped in steamed banana leaves, and then grilled.  Though resembling the Mexican tamale, the fish paste is something that I found to be more appealing to my palate.  It was love at first bite.  It came to the point that I tried to consume it as slowly as I could, rationing each portion with such drama, almost melancholic as the fish paste disappeared from my sight.

My Katong Laksa shares space with this amazing fish paste.

 

The fish paste may not have photographed beautifully, but it did taste amazingly. The banana leaves, apart from ensconcing the delicate fish paste, imparted a hint of fragrance that was the perfect counterpoint to any expected fishy smell.

I swear I could easily – and quickly! – go through a couple of large bowls of Katong Laksa.  Only the littlest iota of propriety I have in me kept me from ordering another bowl, I mean, in the interest of time and in deference to my hosts.  And yes, in recognition of my expanded girth.

I almost licked the bowl clean. Hahaha!

But definitely, I would go back to 328 Katong Laksa to have my fix.  Hey, if it was good enough for the Anthony Bourdain, it’s good enough for me.  But you know what, I don’t actually need the endorsement of an internationally renowned foodie with two published books (a piece of trivia I later realized wasn’t as popular as anything about Star Wars).

All I needed was to go with a local.  Or an almost local.

On the photo wall, a snapshot that says, "the Anthony Bourdain was here."

 

 

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





Rachael Ray would be so proud

25 09 2011

Angel hair pomodoro in a jiffy!

EXAMPLE’S “KICKSTARTS” had been blaring into my ears – by way of my Blackberry Bold 9780 on full volume – but all that I could really hear playing in my head is Semisonic’s “Closing Time.”  True enough, by the time I got to stand in front of Formosa Delights’ stall at Nex Mall in Serangoon, the staff and crew – much as they love me (haha!) – just couldn’t turn the fire on and put a pot of broth on it to boil.  I guessed, unless I would be so heartless as to let them rinse off all of the foam and cleaning disinfectant they had been scrubbing on the stoves and countertops just so they could accommodate me.

I am not that heartless.  Not at 10:00 PM.

So I said goodbye, still with a smile on my face, though the grumbling in my stomach couldn’t be ignored.

Good thing I’m not entirely at the mercy of the food court or somebody else cooking for me.  Cooking is something that I can do in my sleep.  Unfortunately, on a night like this one when I would have surely dozed off the moment I turned the key and shut the door behind me, cooking would be quite a challenge.  Quite, but not entirely impossible.

So off I went to Fair Price Xtra upstairs, walked through the door, and waited for inspiration to kick in.  It did.  In the form of a tub of hydroponically grown Italian sweet basil.  Pesto first came to mind.  It came to mind just as fast as I threw it away.  For a pesto “purist” like me – mortar & pestle only, never a blender (ever again!) – there simply was no time for intensive manual labor near midnight.

Hydroponically grown Italian Sweet Basil, from Oh Chin Huat Hydroponic Farms PTE LTD, Product of Singapore... my moment's inspiration.

Good thing that one quick scan of the produce section revealed my all-time failsafe option – tomato and basil sauce for angel hair!  With just my bare hands, one actually holding my three mobile phones, I grabbed all that I needed to whip up a quick late supper – a jar of San Remo Tomato, Onion & Garlic Homestyle Pasta Sauce, fresh sweet basil, Millel shaved parmesan cheese, and of course, San Remo Angel Hair pasta!

Grabbed in one go! All the ingredients to whip up a quick pasta favorite.

 

I decided to add a can of Hunt's Diced Tomatoes (I stock up on these) to make up for not adding fresh plum tomatoes to the dish.

With just five to six minutes on the flame to make the sauce – the last couple of which also used to cook the pasta to al dente – no other dish could satiate my soul that very moment and fit to the limits set by the timepiece on my wrist.  I had my red Technomarine on.  How appropriate.

 

*For my recipes on Angel Hair Pomodoro, you may run a search here in my site.

With two pans on the burners... done in six to ten minutes!

 

My angel hair pomodoro, crowned with basil leaves, gilded with shaved parmesan cheese. Wonderful!

 

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