The Dark Knight Rises

28 05 2012

THE DARK Knight Rises, the movie, is yet to hit cinemas this coming July 2012.  But the real Dark Knight in my life, my best friend Batman, has risen above all others in his latest endeavor in life.

The Dark Knight and I, somewhere in Greenbelt 5!

He just finished his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of the Philippines Diliman, arguably my country’s foremost educational institution.  He graduated with a general grade point average of 1.1548!  As a student I’m used to getting “flat ones” – grades of “1.00” – myself, but that kind of average is just beyond my wildest dreams.  I graduated at the top of my class.  But not with that kind of grade.

What is more remarkable to me is that he did this while keeping a full-time job, and at a time when he welcomed his and his wife’s first bundle of joy into their lives.  How he juggled all of those aspects of his life, I really couldn’t imagine.

Some say you can’t have it all.  But I guess, in Batman’s case, you can almost.  He does almost have it all – if not already.

Congratulations, best friend.  I’m so proud of you!

One of my send-off lunches before coming to Singapore was with Batman.

 

He presented me with yet another one of the toys from his personal collection. This one was specifically tasked to watch over me in the Lion City. Haha!

 

eNTeNG and Batman. For the record, that’s my happy face. Hahaha!

 

See, he was already doing what he was tasked to do. Watch over me! Haha!

 

Batman, waiting for boarding at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, 29 June 2011

 

Batman, a collage…

 

Batman, ION Orchard, Orchard Road, Singapore

 

Batman, in Black & White, Kinokuniya, Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Orchard Road, Singapore

 

Classic Batman, painted on Chucks, Converse, Mustafa Department Store, Farrer Park, Singapore

 

The Dark Knight Rises, move poster, Golden Village Cinemas, Marina Square, Singapore

 

See Batman, you’re even the image on my MRT card! Haha! (Photo taken by Yong Run, who has always been so patient and gracious to snap my likeness whenever I strike a pose… and not scream at the top of his lungs at me and say, “eNTeNG, would you please get yourself an iPhone4?! Geez!”)

 

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





Awfully Chocolate

28 09 2011

Awfully Chocolate, ION ORCHARD, Singapore

ON MY list of next must-try places is Awfully Chocolate at ION ORCHARD.  They have an extensive handwritten menu on boards outside the store and on their wall that when I first read, made me feverish enough to convulse.  How could I not shiver upon reading a seeming culinary paradox as scrumptiously sounding as “cold poached chocolate”?

That may be fancy, but it was the sight of the seriously chocolate cupcakes that pushed me over the edge.  I got to go back.  Soon!

Care for cold poached chocolate, anyone?

 

Truffle cake! Kahlua bar! And the best? It's "chocolate by weight"!

 

 

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





Good eats

26 04 2011

“ONE IS enough.  Two is too much.  Three is a poison that can kill a person.”  That’s one of the rhymes that my mother would tell us whenever we would try to push our luck in getting our ways.

I got reminded of it once more as I recollect my gastronomic adventure in Singapore.  For specific dishes and places, I think I could o.d. before I get satiation.  I could get to “three is a poison…” easy.

Here they are, in no particular order.  (I forgot the details of the hawker center that Partner brought me to, where I had this amazing Fish Head Curry dish!)

CareShop de Café

70 Bendemeer Road, #01-05 Luzerne

Singapore 339940

Tel: +65 6293 9298

www.careshopdecafe.com

Will go back forMushroom Soba with lots of steamed Japanese Rice

Mushroom Soba, CareShop de Café

 

 

Culina Bistro

Blk 8 Dempsey Hill,Dempsey Road#01-13

Singapore 249679

Will go back forDe Cecco Penne Crab Meat (with the penne replaced by angel hair) , and all the complimentary bread rolls I could handle!

De Cecco Capellini Crab Meat, Culina Bistro @ Dempsey Hill

 

Complimentary Bread, Culina Bistro @ Dempsey Hill

 

 

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge

The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

B2-89/89A, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018972

Tel:  +65 6535 1837

Fax: +65 6221 1837

Will go back for1837 Black Tea (tea number T6033), French Onion Soup, and all the complimentary bread rolls I could handle!

1837 Black Tea (tea number T6033), TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge

 

French Onion Soup, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge

 

Complimentary Bread, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge

 

Fou de FaFa

168 Robinson Road

#01-05 Capital Tower

Singapore 068912

Tel: +65 6327 9418

www.foudefafa.com

Will go back forPizza Fou’d Flewed, and that bluish green drink that’s a concoction of pineapple, grapes, and mint

Pizza Fou'd Flewed, Fou de FaFa

 

My fave drink, a concoction of pineapple, grapes, and mint, Fou de FaFa

 

Jumbo Seafood Gallery

20 Upper Circular Road

#B1-44 to 48 The Riverwalk

Tel:  +65 6534 3435

Fax: +65 6536 3836

Will go back forChilli Crab with lots of Deep-Mini Bun, Cold Fresh Barley Juice

Just the apron!, Jumbo Seafood Gallery

 

Wee Nam Kee

275 Thomson Road #01-05

Will go back forHainanese Chicken Rice, Cold Fresh Barley Juice (which they always run out of!)

Hainanese Chicken Roasted and Steamed, Wee Nam Kee

 

Hainanese Chicken Rice, Wee Nam Kee

 

Cold Fresh Barley Juice, Wee Nam Kee

 

Tung Lok Seafood OC

#11-05 Orchard Central

181 Orchard Road

Singapore 238896

Will go back forBraised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw Soup, Poached Baby Kai Lan served with Chinchalok

Braised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw Soup, Tung Lok Seafood

 

Poached Baby Kai Lan served with Chinchalok, Tung Lok Seafood

 

Marché at 313@somerset

313@somerset, 313 Orchard Road

Provisional Unit No. #B1-39-45

Singapore 238895

www.marche-restaurants.com

Will go back forMushroom Soup, Calamari, Calamansi Juice with Sour Plum

Mushroom Soup, Marché at 313@somerset

 

Calamari, Marché at 313@somerset

 

Calamansi Sour Plum, Marché at 313@somerset

 

Food Opera at ION Food Hall

Basement 4, ION Orchard

2 Orchard Turn

Singapore 238801

Tel:  +65 6509 9198

Will go back forOyster Omelet (FattyWeng Fried Oysters, #B4-04M), Fishball Mee Kia Noodle Soup (Li Xin Fishball Noodle Soup, #B4-04B)

“FattyWeng Fried Oysters” Oyster Omelet, Food Opera at ION Food Hall

 

"Li Xin" Fishball Mee Kia Noodle Soup, Food Opera at ION Food Hall

 

4 FINGeRS Crispy Chicken at ION Food Hall

Basement 4, ION Orchard

2 Orchard Turn, #B4-06A

Singapore 238801

Tel:  +65 4274779

Will go back forChicken Wings

Crispy Chicken Wings, 4 FINGeRS Crispy Chicken at ION Food Hall

 

Nando’s @ Tanglin Mall

163 Tanglin Road

#01-14/15 Tanglin Mall

Singapore 247933

Tel:  +65 6235 3555

Fax: +65 6235 5581

Will go back forPeri-Peri Chicken, Portugese Rice, Grilled Vegetables

Peri-Peri Chicken, Portugese Rice, and Grilled Vegetables, Nando's @ Tanglin Mall

 

White Dog Café

No.1 HarbourFront Walk

#02-131/132 Vivo City

Singapore 098585

Tel:  +65 6235 3555

Will go back forLobster Pasta

Lobster Pasta, White Dog Café

 

Shimbashi Soba

290 Orchard Road

#B1-41 The Paragon

Singapore 238859

Tel: +65 6735 9882

Will go back forGoma Tare Seiro Sesame Soba

Goma Tare Seiro Sesame Soba, Shimbashi Soba

 

Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts

25 Scotts Road

Singapore 228220

Tel:  +65 6589 7788 / +65 6589 7819

www.royalplaza.com.sg

gourmet@royalplaza.com.sg

Will go back forEVERYTHING in their international buffet

Soon Kueh, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts

 

Roasted Tomato, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts

 

Bowl of Noodles, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts

 

Macarons, Carousel at Royal Plaza on Scotts

 

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





Farewell my Merlion

25 04 2011

Yes, I shall see you again.

 

WITH UNINTENTIONAL peremptory shortness, I told Brother, “Bittersweet.”

He had just asked me how I was feeling.  It was the eve of my departure from Singapore after what I would play down – cliché as it may sound – as a two-week whirlwind affair with the city, an intimacy that could put “isang linggong pag-ibig” (one-week love affair) to shame.  I truly had a great time in the Lion city that with every second I took to sip the potent miso-flavored broth of my ramen, I knew it was one second that inched me closer to daparture time.

Farewell dinner was at Aoba Ramen Restaurant at Ion Orchard.  While it was yet another recommendation by Friendship, it was I who insisted on the place.  I’ve been meaning to devour their ramen from when Friendship first pointed the place out to me from our vantage point at Muji, a level below.

It being a Friday night, I knew all those I would’ve wanted to partake a meal with me could be off to other plans.  But it wouldn’t hurt to wish to have them all there – Friendship, Partner & The Boy Wonder, Rizzie & Bom, Giant Paulo, Brother, and Green Lantern.

Three of eight showed up, a pathetic batting average you may say.  But I couldn’t do anything about Partner having to leave a couple of days prior for business in Connecticut, Bom being in his own trip in Idaho, Giant Paulo choosing to spend quality time with his visiting wife, and Green Lantern having to get on that redeye to Manila, the night before, to surprise his mom on her birthday.

But I couldn’t ask for more, being surrounded by Friendship, Rizzie and Brother.

Corn Miso Ramen

 

Agedashi Tofu

 

Takoyaki

 

Wakame Seaweed Sushi

 

Ebi Mayo

 

Japanese Rice

 

Brother's Salmon Steak

A couple of weeks back, I waxed nostalgic about my time in Singapore, going to as far as describing how I felt to be a mix of bittersweet…  and incomplete.  In hindsight, I find this confusing convolution of emotions to have been brought about by the pleasant surprise that was the Lion city.  I find it to be exactly what my bowl of Corn Miso Ramen turned out to be.

I’ve favored miso-based broth for quite a while, and have always expected it to be quite thick, robust, and even tangy, compared to soy- and salt-based broths.  But it was pleasant to find in front of me at Aoba, a thinner broth that was less salty than what I’ve been used to.  But a change in consistency and relation to seawater didn’t take away from it being hearty.  And – Surprise! Surprise! – there was a lot of corn (it was “corn” miso after all), something I’ve never had in my ramen before.

I’ve always associated Singapore to what enterprising individuals have reduced it to in souvenir items – “Singapore is a ‘fine’ city.”  A kind of structuredness that I thought I would find hard to fit in.  But surprisingly, it was exactly what I need at this point in my life.  And while this is true, much like the burst of color and sweetness that came from corn kernels swimming in my miso-based ramen broth, I came to realize that options to improve myself and may I say, “strive to be happy” are within my reach.

I can’t wait to be back.

Dinner time!

 

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





For love of free gift with purchase

24 04 2011

After four hours of shopping, this plate was my reward.

I DIDN’T realize just how much of a sucker for free gift with purchase I am than when I was standing in front of the cashier supervisor at Takashimaya on Orchard Road, and was flatly told, “No, we’re already closed.  You’re past store hours.  He (the sales associate assisting me) should’ve called in your purchases before 9:30 PM.  We could’ve left one register open for you.”

Takashimaya on Orchard Road

So with the lone sad face I had to make in Singapore in about a couple of weeks, I stared at large bottles of Ralph Lauren Big Pony Scent #4 – declared by leading fashion magazines as the best-selling male fragrance in the country – and Ralph Lauren Limited Edition Polo Blue.  Worse, I had to bid the “gifts” adieu – a weekender duffel bag embroidered with a multi-colored polo player and big pony and a toiletry bag in navy blue.  My love for these freebies is warranted.  I have an all-black Kenneth Cole weekender that has been with me to three countries and served me well for over eight years now.

And my love for these freebies made me spend almost half an hour deciding which between the two scents to get, only to end up settling for both.

The doorman cordially bid me good night and the sales associate told me to come back the following day.  I just managed to crack into a shy smile.  Because the very moment I turned around on my way out of their humongous doors, I knew it would be close to impossible to keep any promises.  The following day was already full of plans, it was practically bursting at the seams.

I found my way back on Orchard Road and with one quick glance on a couple of pages of my kikki.K Daily Notes, I told myself that I wasn’t doing well on my pasalubong (homecoming presents) list.  I knew that shops close at 10:00 PM, so to make the most of the last half hour, I crossed Orchard Road, went into Paragon Mall, and ran like crazy to Longchamp.  I could at least get Mama’s present finally.

When I went into Paragon Mall that night, they were setting up what appeared to me as a stage. A couple of days back, Friendship took my photo beside that "public art" and the floor was so clear.

Something about beating a deadline – in this case, the last 30 minutes of mall hours – could make the the last nudge to move me from indecisiveness to unusual resoluteness.  “I’ve got to get that last piece of the Longchamp LM Metallic in gold, small tote.”  I navigated the escalators only to find out that Longchamp closes an hour ahead of the mall.  Bummer!

My shopping night started at Ion Orchard, then Takashimaya, then Paragon. This shot is up the escalator ride. I just find the view, in person, to be breathtaking. I love malls, I can't help it!

 

Armani Exchange. Went here for a leather bag.

 

G-Star Raw is my nephews' favorite T-shirt brand.

 

I was so surprised to find Alessi, a personal favorite, at the top level of Ion Orchard. Of course I went straight to the wristwatches.

By that time, the grumbling of my tummy could no longer be drowned by the excitement over a still tick-free shopping list.  So, with the last 15 or so minutes, I ran from Paragon to Ion Orchard, praying frantically that there would still be someone open among the 22 stalls at Ion Food Hall, home of my newfound favorite, Food Opera.

I hit the escalators and was instantly hit by the sad metaphor of my life – everybody was on their way up, I was on my way down.  Hoping against hope that there was still something to grab and bite.  I made about at least a couple of rounds of the place trying to convince myself there would still be one noodle place open.  By the second time, I couldn’t ignore anymore the polite offer of the elderly man at the Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice stall.  All the others had closed.  So many of the chairs and tables had been folded up.

I ordered a plate of three of their “specials”.  I asked for fried rice, braised beef with shiitake mushrooms, and chili tofu (which to me could have very well been “mapo tofu”).  I was really famished so an extra helping of plain steamed white rice was a must, along with curry chicken.  I asked that my rice be topped with curry sauce, the one the chicken was in.  Instead of ladling it onto the rice, the man took a small bowl and with one swift motion of his wrist, made a fresh concoction from six wide-mouthed stainless steel bowls that contained different sauces that ranged from some form of oil, to some form of concentrated curry.  The resulting sauce?  Awesome.

A plate of three specials – fried rice, braised beef with shiitake mushrooms, and chili tofu topped with sautéed Vidalia onions.

 

Curry chicken. Do you see the flecks of crushed fresh red chili?!

I asked if they had drinks and was told, “No.”  Fortunately for me, one of the “Aunties” overheard me, and gestured for me to follow her.  Once at her stall, she removed the covers from the cash register and from some of the fruits and asked what I fancied.  I asked for fresh lime juice.  She made me a tall glass.  She was so kind I wanted to hug her.

Finally, a drink!

In the middle of all the cash registers ringing (everybody was tallying up the day’s sales), all the mopping, and all the wiping, I had my meal.  They would steal glances at my way.  But they let me be.  I found it funny that four hours onOrchard Roadyielded nothing.  Because of too much comparison shopping.  Because of my indecisiveness.

So in between bites of the curry chicken, the crunch of the Vidalia onions that topped the tofu, and chews of the shiitake mushrooms, I resolved to take a vengeace on shopping.

After a dismal night of shopping, I came home to this sight at the lobby of my hotel, Royal Plaza on Scotts. This arrangement of votives and pillars never failed to soothe me.

 

I loved these light installations made from paper. I think it was paper.

 

This grand staircase, left of the lobby, leads to the business center and the hotel's lounge/bar named Heat.

 

What I wore to shopping. The T-shirt is at least ten years old! Got it from Bossinni. The navy blue golf shorts is eight years old. Got it at a Ross outlet in the States.

 

In my multi-colored "not shoes" Sanük, I stopped at this huge mirror in front of Havaianas, and snapped a shot. I wouldn't say I... struck a pose. Hahaha!

 

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





Two superheroes, a brother, friends, an opera, and green tea

23 04 2011

Three Philip Steins and an iPhone 4. I shared this dinner with Brother, Spongebob's best friend, and Green Lantern.

A LINE is always a good sign.  Rachael Ray told me so.  Friendship told me so.  And for the few times I did get another one of Friendship’s recommendations – 4 FINGeRS Bonchon Crispy Chicken at Ion Food Hall at Ion Orchard – there was always a line.

Sometimes, it took quite a while to get to the front especially when some couple would choose to take their sweet time debating on the merits of soy garlic against hot & spicy, with total inconsideration of the people down the line.

Now serving one of Korea's influences on Singapore, Bonchon Crispy Chicken!

Whenever that happened, I’d whip out my camera and would just take photos.  With much care I must say, especially after being told to stop taking photos at a couple of establishments.  So when I noticed that someone was slowly approaching me right when I was trying to establish focus on the restaurant sign, I hurriedly took the snapshot and pretended to just be reviewing my camera’s photos.

“eNTeNG!  Having dinner here?”  the slowly approaching someone asked.  I lifted my head up from my pretend business with the camera, and smiled at the familiar face now in front of me.  The Boy Wonder!

“I’m here with friends.  I’m treating them to dinner.  I’m just here to get chicken and fries.  Care to join us?  No, join us!”

Finally, 4 FINGeRS Crispy Chicken has landed! This was one of three boxes.

 

Clever marketing ploy all over the box top.

So after The Boy Wonder was done with his dinner at 4 FINGeRS, he moved to Food Opera, Ion Orchard’s high-end food court, where my friends and I were at.  It was the second time I was picking up the tab.  I had such a great time having lunch with them at CareShop de Café that I felt we had to have a repeat.  And yes, on me.

Once settled in my seat after having ordered my Fishball Mee Kia Soup (with extra mee kia!) and a tall glass of Fresh Lychee Juice, I made a belated realization that among those sharing the table with me were two of my superhero best friends – The Boy Wonder and Green Lantern – and Brother!  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

My friends, on the escalator ride that would take them to the subterranean foodie heaven that is Food Opera, the high-end food hall at Ion Orchard.

 

Queuing up in front of the Teochew Fishball Noodle Soup stall. The Boy Wonder snapped this shot.

 

Brian's "bee hon" noodle soup was chockful with tofu!

 

Brian and that big bowl of noodles!

 

Patrick, Brother, and Brian

 

The Boy Wonder is in the house!

 

Green Lantern's "mee kia" noodle soup had a lot of vegetables and seafood rolls and meatballs.

 

Green Lantern and that big bowl of noodles!

 

Exactly where I wanted to be... Sharing the dinner table with friends, including two superheroes and a brother! Food Opera was full that night but we seemed to have perfect timing and found this long table just when it was being freed up.

We capped the night off with coffee at Starbucks on the second basement level of Ion Orchard.  “Coffee” actually turned out to be Green Tea Latte over ice for everybody.  Green Lantern asked for it – it’s his favorite! – and everybody else ended up wanting to try the same, save for Syvil who had the lone hot drink.

The verdict on the green tea latte over ice?  Unanimously favorable, with a high chance of repeats.  As to the night overall?  Priceless.

Dinner's done! My friends and I now head from Basement 4 to Basement 2 for Starbucks!

 

That's a lot of Green Tea Latte over ice! It's Green Lantern's favorite Starbucks drink.

 

I clipped the newspaper article that announced Starbucks's re-design of their cups. Before I left Manila on the 13th of March, the cups weren't changed yet. It was in Singapore that I got my hands on the new ones!

 

Patrick, Brian, John & Syvil, Green Lantern, and Brother

 

What I wore to dinner. And how I wore my hair!

 

I met up Brian and Green Lantern at Muji first. Then, we picked up Brother and the rest of the group at Havaianas.

 

Green Lantern and Patrick on their ride home.

 

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





Celebrity moments while in SG

23 03 2011

Ion on Orchard at night

THE LONG escalator ride at Ion on Orchard allowed me just enough time to foist upon Friendship a pressing question I’ve had in mind, “Which Filipino celebrity will make you stop on your tracks (here in Singapore) and go full-on jologs – photos, autograph and all?”

The answer was exactly what I expected:  Kris Aquino.  It’s one of those things I share in common with Friendship.

But unlike Friendship, my list is quite longer.  Actually, unlike her, I have a list.  (I think her consideration stops at Kris Aquino.)

And by today, my eleventh day here, I’ve chalked up a couple of celebrity moments already.  I rarely use the expression “thrilled beyond words” because I do have my way with words.  But these couple of instances?  Words (almost) fail me.

The first one is actually not the photo op-and-autograph kind.  It happened by way of an e-Mail I sent.  March 15 marks the birthday of one of my most admired personalities, the Ms. Daphne Oseña Paez.  A few days later, I e-Mailed my belated greetings which were accompanied by a few photos I took especially for her.  I didn’t expect her to be thrilled enough to post it on her blog.  Now, I think I’m thrilled even more.

The second one happened at the Food Hall of Ion on Orchard.  Whenever I’m there for all the noodles my heart, soul and tummy can handle, the world around me melts into a series of chiaroscuros.  I couldn’t care less about the people I’m sharing breathing space with.  But as it is the case with personalities larger-than-life, their mere presence could permeate whatever force field my being immersed in my gastronomic adventure had surrounded me with.  Last Monday, for some reason, I had to lift my head up from being slumped into my huge bowl of beef noodle soup.  And within arm’s length was the force – the Maria Ressa!  I couldn’t help it that I had to stand up, disturb her peaceful meal, and introduce myself.  And oh, rave about her work and how much I’ve admired her.  She gave me her card.  Gosh, I’m so thrilled.

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