Bike Bin Bike!

7 10 2012

THE CUTEST OF BIKES. This bike traveled 2361.90 miles to roam the beautiful streets of Singapore. It traveled neatly folded in luggage!

HINDSIGHT REALLY is 20/20 vision.  I should’ve learned how to bike.

Because if I did, then I would probably be somewhere along Yishun – halfway on an eight-hour trail – spending a great time bonding with my friends Kiddo (Kia Leh), Claudio and Bin.  But I don’t know how to bike and never paid attention to anybody who attempted to teach me as a kid all those summers I spent vacationing with Mommy (my grandmother).

Claudio, Kiddo and Bin

 

Deciding on the bike rentals

 

Kiddo and Claudio

 

Bin and his Bike

 

Of course I’ve got to have a photo with the bike!

 

Bin did the rounds of the shop thinking to get a mountain bike in place of the one he has.

 

In the end, Bin chose to stick it out with his own trusty, foldable two-wheeler.

 

Bin inquiring or negotiating something at the counter

 

Kiddo eventually decided on this bike. It has the number “1” on it!

 

Helmet for sale. Anyone?

 

Time check at the shop

I volunteered to just run behind them.  Clearly, it was a case of either unequivocal evidence of my faith in my own capabilities, or I was just too embarrassed to feel left out of the party, so to speak.  When I look at it another way, I feel our hanging out together is a microcosm of international understanding, of that world without strangers – Kiddo is Malaysian Chinese, Claudio is Italian, Bin is Chinese, and I am Filipino.

But true to the wise words of The ShenJun the day before, if I would trail them, I’d better be on a bus or a cab.

So while the three of them must’ve by now burned off the thousands of calories we stuffed ourselves with at Burger King, I have on the other hand reduced myself to yet again being a receptacle of all things sinfully delicious – a bar each of 3 Musketeers, Milky Way, and Ritter Sport in Espresso.  And as I write, everything in my head is looking forward to breakfast with them in about three hours.  My own love handles would soon think that I am too much for them to handle.

I couldn’t wait to hear about their stories biking in and around Singapore.  Kia Leh and Claudio on overnight rentals from a store at East Coast Park – where Bin’s planned eight-hour trail starts and ends – and Bin on just the cutest of (collapsible) bikes, something that traveled 2361.90 miles to get here.  In his luggage.

My Burger King Meal (except for the juice and one of the onion rings, which were Kiddo’s). And I wasn’t the one biking!

 

With Claudio

 

With Kia Leh a.k.a. Kiddo

 

As I was going to run, I saw it fit to change into a running shirt. And I decided on this one, my Water Cube shirt from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as I was hanging out with Bin!

 

With Bin

 

Now that’s an appetite!

 

Bin brought a couple of maps of hours-long trails!

 

Here’s the other route.

 

Ready to hit the tracks!

 

See you at breakfast!

 

Me, my SMS and I

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

 





Off to the far East

16 01 2012

Footwear in the sand, By the 15-km shoreline, East Coast Park, Singapore

BRENDA & DARRYL are one of the five couples I’m really close to.  They share a lot of their interests, themselves and their home with their friends.  And Brenda, in true Barefoot Contessa fashion, whips up meals that are so good they could only be cooked with love.  Whether whipped up in minutes or really slaved about over a hot stove, her cooking has always been superb.  I would raise my feet if only to let her know that meals at their place have always deserved more than my two thumbs up.

The requisite wacky shot at our Mexcian Christmas Party at Brenda and Darryl's place.

I still have vivid recollections of the Mexican Christmas Party we had at their Singapore home.  She rolled out a spread that appealed to the shameless recipe requester in me.  I just had to learn how to make her Mexican Rice (I’ve a feeling this is her original, based on her understanding of what Mexican flavors are), Pan-grilled Pork served with freshly made Pineapple Salsa, and Chicken Fajitas.  For dessert, she made Churros con Chocolate, spiking the chocolate with a little chilli, making it oh so wicked and oh so Jacques Torres.

Darryl and Brenda

The Mexican spread – Tacos with the works (tomatoes, onions, lettuce, jalapeno) by Vel; Fresh Salad by Kwai Han; Mexican Rice, Chicken Fajitas, and Pan-grilled Pork with fresh Pineapple Salsa by Brenda; Almondigas by Vel, Brenda, and eNTeNG; Fresh Tomato Salsa by eNTeNG.

Mexican Rice

Chicken Fajitas

Pan-Grilled Pork

Fresh Pineapple Salsa

The pan-grilled pork, topped with the fresh pineapple salsa.

The tacos had the "works" – diced tomatoes, onions, shredded lettuce, and jalapeno peppers.

Fresh Salad

Fresh Tomato Salsa

The churros got a dusting of confectioner's sugar before being served.

It was paired with wickedly good chocolate.

Churros con Chocolate can put you in the holiday spirit!

Yesterday, a Saturday, they organized a day of recreation at East Coast Park.  The original plan said we would have breakfast at Old Town White Coffee, the one at Playground @ Big Splash, and then we would have the whole day to “unwind.”  It was the unwind part that I was so breathless in anticipation of.  There are just weeks when you just wish there would be a time to exhale.

I shall now refer to Old Town as the most leisurely luxurious meal of the non-fastfood, non-hawker kind that can be had here in Singapore.  It rings true to their trademarked tag line at the back of their receipt, “take your time™”.  I had the Old Town Soup Egg Noodles, Kaya & Butter Steam Bread, a Basket of Sausages, and a cup of Hot Mocha White Coffee.  The egg noodles were swimming in a most flavorful broth, almost with the hint of the sweetness of corn.  I fell in love with the bread, so delicate and tender after being steamed.

The gang at Old Town White Coffee, Playground @ Big Splash, East Coast Park, Singapore

Alvin, Jossel & Vel, and Loradel

Jossel and Vel

Brenda & Darryl, and eNTeNG

There was no doubt where we were having breakfast. The paper napkins say, "Old Town White Coffee". Here it is photographed with my and Darryl's Blackberrys, and my old, beaten, yet still trsutworthy Canon IXUS 860IS.

Soup Egg Noodles

A tight shot of my new favorite noodles. Okay, it's one of many. Haha!

A bucket of sausage

Kaya & Butter Steam Bread

Kaya & Butter

Delicious butter slathered thick on tender, delicate, really soft bread.

Hot Mocha Ipoh White Coffee

Dry Ipoh Chicken Hor Fun

Hainanese Chicken Chop Rice

Ipoh Lum Mee

Steam Rice with Mushroom and Chicken

A Kaya Toast

Two soft-boiled eggs

After a full breakfast, we rented a couple of four-seaters at the bicycle shop.  I was so excited with the thought of taking in the view of the famed 15-km. shoreline that 7.5 million visitors see each year.  When the ride I shared with Loradel and Alvin made it past the initial downward slope, Brenda handed me a print out of the shore line and said that we should take a photo in front of each of the land marks identified on the map.  It was one of those moments that made me look up in the sky, scratch my head and say, “I didn’t see that coming!”  But how could I not, when every event Brenda and Darryl have organized has some sort of surprise twist to it, or sometimes, just the best “special effects” and props like those for the games during our Christmas Party.  Their 40+-inch TV was perfect for providing the slides and the backdrop to our party.

On board our four-seaters. Super excited!

Making it past the first downward slope... snapping a shot of the other team.

Taking another one

Brenda & Darryl

The Young Married Couples' Team, in front of one of the requisite stops, Burger King.

Alvin & Loradel

Loradel & eNTeNG

The young married couples, in front of Long Beach, another required stop on Brenda's map.

The singletons struck a pose too.

We had to resume pedaling like crazy. I could still hear Loradel screaming at the top of her lungs, "eNTeNG, mag-pedal ka!!!" ("eNTeNG, keep pedaling!") Hahaha!

Vel & Jossel... and a four-seater. And oh, that's Brenda too in the background!

From time to time, we just had to park our four-wheel-drives. Haha!

A shot of our competition right before we passed them.

Sorry, but we had to pass you guys. Hehe.

Good job to my team's driver, Alvin, and navigator, Loradel. Haha! It felts like some real race.

East Coast Park really has amazing views.

Alvin and Darryl had to get drinks for the girls.

We had to stop for a shot at one of the "lighthouses". I haven't figured out all the kinks of my brand new camera so the lighting wasn't what we wanted.

Jossel subbed for Darryl, and took this second shot.

Finally, the family of the 4J's made it to the race!

Julie, Jasmin, Julia, and Jack

The girls wanted more laps around the park with Daddy.

The race is done! Loradel and Alvin.

This was so much fun! Here, Loradel and eNTeNG.

Negotiating the stretch of the shoreline was much more challenging than I had initially hoped.  Haha!  So when we had completed most of the necessary photo stops, we took our sweet time at one of the free barbecue pits (they could be reserved for a fee, online), soaked in the amazing view of the water, and even got our feet “dirty” in the powdery sand.  I’ve never been a beach person.  But the little time spent at East Coast Park made me reconsider.  Especially when we decided to take more than a kilometer’s walk back.

eNTeNG by the bay

By the shoreline – Jossel & Vel, Alvin, Darryl & Brenda, Loradel, and eNTeNG

"All my life, it's always been my shadow and me."

What's out there in the horizon?

I couldn't look at this lifebuoy and not hear in my head, "Some people stand in the darkness / Afraid to step into the light..." Hahaha!

My red TOMS in the sand

You couldn't get too close to the water without getting yourself wet.

The sand had an exfoliating effect.

Another wave was about to come in.

Of course, we had to have group shots taken!

Getting ready to jump!

Almost there!

Yehey!

I like this group shot for the pensive feel I get from it.

eNTeNG was here.

Vel & Brenda

Brenda tagged Kate Spade along. Hehe.

Brenda reviewing the group shots.

One more shot!

A Walk To Remember

Another Walk To Remember

The 1-km. mark! Whew!

Lunch was at McDonald’s, before we headed to Marine Bowl for a couple of rounds of friendly but competitive pin tumbling.  All the pedaling and walking didn’t take a dent on our energy levels.  Each one bowled for the win – losers were to pay, after all.  Haha!  The final tally?  It was even.

Marine Bowl

The balls that came into play!

eNTeNG

Alvin

Jack

Loradel

Brenda

Darryl

Jossel

We had a blast!

From East Coast Park, we took a taxi ride to Velocity Mall at Novena to claim our singlets, bibs and runner’s kit for the Safari Zoo Run 2012.  If us enduring the day’s busy and physically demanding schedule is any indication, then I have a good feeling that I’d make it through the 6km Zoo Fun Run I signed up for.

The line for the Safari Zoo Run'12 was so long, it snaked all the way outside Velocity Mall.

Yey, getting closer to the end of the line!

This setup was quite efficient. We didn't take as long in line as we had feared.

Of course, the Fun Run is yet another one of Brenda and Darryl’s influences on me (though I used to run back in the Philippines).  And for that and a really full-packed, fun Saturday, thanks!

Can't wait to go back to running!

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





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.