An American breakfast in the Lion City

22 04 2013
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Good morning, Singapore!

I WOKE up to an overcast Sunday sky morning.  When clouds hover overhead this way, I long to be gastronomically comforted.  When this mood hits me, I prefer to have the flavors of the familiar for breakfast.  Being deeply committed to a romance with places I call home, I decided on old-fashioned freshly baked bagel with a good schmear of cream cheese.

For a year and a half in Folsom, California, this was exactly my breakfast.  Clearly, my choice of the first meal of the day today is in honor of the States, which in the past few days has shown the world stories of courage, heroism, and hope.

Here in Singapore, I get my bagel and cream cheese fix from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  I would ask that the bagel be cut across, then thrown to the toaster to just brown ever so lightly.  Onto the fluffy, chewy center, I smear a generous amount of cream cheese, the more it slides down to the sides, the better.  While most approach it like they would a sandwich, I actually deal with each slice separately.  Unless I find myself within the walls of my office cubicle, I see no need to rush the pleasure.

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Breakfast is served! Old-fashioned sesame seed bagel and cream cheese, with hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

 

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This is a surprisingly affordable plate! The bagel costs only S$ 3.50 and the cream cheese, S$ 0.80. The butter and the jam are complimentary!

 

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The perfect bagel has a shiny crusty exterior and dense chewy interior. I asked for it to be cut across then lightly toasted. Just how I would do it at the office cafereria in Folsom for a year and a half!

 

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I’m always all the more so excited the moment I peel off the top of the cream cheese mini-tub.

 

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I reckon that this small-ish tub is always never enough. Hahaha!

 

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Nothing like hot chocolate with marshmallows on a cold morning.

I take a bite through the crusty outside all the way to the dense, doughy interior, unperturbed by the cream cheese moustache that would form with each bite.  I lick this tasty smear around my lips, take a sip of my hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, look outside the window and see that the sun is slowly breaking free from the clouds.

Indeed, there is still more good in this world.

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I just love this photo of the Merlion from my archives. I took it during one of the many breakfasts I’ve had here.

 

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The Singapore skyline in the early morning.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Today on dates

14 02 2013

SPOTTED AT Royce’ at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.  And then at Montblanc.

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Blushing pink with joy at Royce’

 

 

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There’s a ribbon in the sky – or at the window display at Montblanc – for our love.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Happy birthday, Brenda!

4 02 2013
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One of my most favorite photos! We all like this one because it shows we really look great even when “bagong gising”. Hahaha! Morning Run Breakfast, McDonald’s, 03 December 2011, Singapore.

THE WORLD has shrunk.  Technology made that happen.  While that is true, nowadays it is normal to not share the same country code with people closest and dearest to your heart and to your life.  But that is no excuse to forget – and charge memory gaps to brain cells being fried as old age sets in.  Trust me, I am old.

Old but not yet that forgetful.

Today, the fourth of February marks the birth of someone with whom I have always been close to from prior our own moves to Singapore.  But now, I think of her as someone I didn’t expect I could still manage to be closer to just when I thought we were already as close as we could be.

Together with her husband, they’ve become just two of the very few people who I don’t need to impress – people with whom I can just be myself and know that I am loved and well taken care of.  I have to say that emphasis is on being “well taken care of”.

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Cookout at Brendarryl’s Place, 01 August 2012, Singapore.

 

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The requisite wacky shot. Haha!

Even I miss their “home” here in the Lion City.  It had always meant to be a place to share with friends; to celebrate in; whose walls had always reverberated with hearty laughter; and whose kitchen has become both hearth and heart of a home where food was never considered only as nourishment but also – if not more importantly – an expression of love.

Happy birthday, Brenda!  I miss you.

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Brenda and eNTeNG, Morning Run Breakfast, 24 February 2012, McDonald’s, Singapore.

 

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Darryl & Brenda, with eNTeNG, Community Sports Center, Singapore.

 

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Loradel and Brenda, Singapore Zoo Fun Run, 05 February 2012, Singapore.

 

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Darryl & Brenda, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2011, 04 December 2011, Esplanade Starting Point, Singapore.

 

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Brenda & Darryl, with eNTeNG, Brenda’s Birthday Dinner, TODAI, The Shopped at Marina Bay Sands, 02 February 2012, Singapore.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Long-shum

28 11 2012

The Longchamp Parisis Men’s Cross-Body Bag in lambskin leather, trimmed with cowhide leather.

ONE OF my brothers gave me a genuine calf leather cross-body bag of French provenance that I have been wearing out like crazy (read: pinanghaharabas in the Filipino vernacular).  One lazy day, I emptied it of its contents, looked at it, and realized that I wouldn’t be able to stand to see it literally fall apart.  For purely sentimental reasons.

So what I did was reach for one of my many Kinokuniya (plastic) shopping bags – I must get at least 10 magazine titles from them every month – tumbled all of my daily essentials in and resolved that from that point hence, I would take the incarnation of a literal bagman.  A blue plastic Kinokuniya bagman.

Kinokuniya Shopping Bags

But to borrow the name of that game we used to play as kids – hide-and-seek – delight in the pleasures of natural hide and one shall find one’s self seeking to have it back.  So I had decided to get myself something I would be willing to wear out.

Before long I found myself overcoming my fear of the price tag in some of the shops here in Singapore, walked past their imposing, triumphal archways for doors, approached the first available sales associate, and in a calm voice asked, “Do you have this bag?… But in all natural leather?

Every time, my worn-out Kinokuniya (plastic) shopping bag would endure the stare before it (the stare), in all its expressionless botoxed glory, would move to me.  Often, I got a flat out “Sorry, but no.”  In a few instances, I got treated to a veritable run through of everything in the “spring summer” or “fall winter” line-up before I would just lift up once again my Kinokuniya and say, “Thanks but just like this.”

Then it was time to pay one of my Mama’s favorites a visit – Longchamp at Paragon Mall on Orchard.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t need to ask for a sales associate’s help.  Because it was there at the top of the shelf at the back of the store, the section elevated by a short flight of steps.  I took it from its all-stainless steel display stand, got immediately captivated by the supple leather, and knew that it was the one.

The Longchamp Parisis Men’s Cross-Body Bag in lambskin leather, trimmed with cowhide leather (and goatskin leather per the sales associate) with palladium hardware.

I absolutely loved it at first sight.  Though I did find the price a bit prohibitive.  So after quite a lingering admiration, I decided to let it go.  But as with all things meant to be, I ended up losing sleep over it.

So one night when there was just simply no way of getting transported to dreamland with persistently nagging thoughts of lambskin leather, I got out of bed, showered, changed, and hopped on the Purple Line, changed to the Circle Line at Serangoon, and in minutes found myself at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands – at way past 10:00 PM.  I know the stores there close at 11:00 PM.

By 10:40 PM, the only piece they had in store was mine.  Happily so.

“LONGCHAMP” perfectly heat-stamped on to the lamskin leather, two handles in cowhide leather, enhanced by two small Russian ears, snap button enclosure also in cowhide leather.

 

 

On the back, the epic brand’s epic equestrian logo heat-stamped on to the lambskin leather.

 

The bag, perfectly slouchy, in the canvass bag bin at Din Tai Fung.

 

At the Orchard MRT Station

 

At the Malaysian Food Street beside Universal Studios Singapore

 

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





Sister and the City

24 07 2012

BEING BORN to a brood of four brothers, I’ve become cognizant of the fact that while I may not have a biological sister, life has the fondest thoughts of me in mind when it sent some people my way.  I always feel this whenever I think of Agnes – make that, “Sister”.  After all, I see her as one of the sisters life forgot to give me.

Back in the Philippines, she, Brother (Edu) and I started off as officemates, and in time forged a bond only real siblings do share.  It’s the kind that transcends and as a matter of fact, celebrates idiosyncrasies, varying points of views, evolving passions, and different circles of other friends.  Our friendship is nowhere near perfect.  It has weathered storms, hurdled obstacles, and in the process emerged beautified by adversity.

Brother and Sister

Another Brother and Sister

After almost seven years of not seeing each other, we finally met up again when she came over for a series of important meetings with her counterparts in our company’s Singapore office.  As it is with real friends, it seemed like no time has passed between us.  It was just like one of those long nights or sleepovers that Brother and I would spend with her and her family in Makati, where we were always constant, well-received guests.  Except now, our little “Sister” is actually the loving wife of Jim, and the loving mother of just the cutest, prettiest toddler Kailey.  I’ve been totally remiss, inactive on facebook for about a year at least, but that much about Sister’s life I know.

It was just like the good old days.  We shared a lot of food – to this day, I acknowledge that my recipe of tortang talong (grilled eggplant omelet) came from her family’s kitchen – and quite expectedly, a lot of conversations.  And true to habits that are just hard to break, we hung out till the wee hours of the morning, reminiscing about the past and catching up on one another’s affairs.

Sister, it was so nice to see you again!  I hope it won’t take another seven years!

This was the image of Clarke Quay that greeted Brother and me as we emerged from the MRT station.

I’ve never been to Swissotel Merchant Court Hotel. But as is always the case here in Singapore, it is hard to get lost. There’s always something pointing you to the right direction.

Found it!

I saw this Hublot wall clock and immediately fell in love with the hotel. “How much is a night’s stay?” I almost asked! Haha!

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror…”

 

Of course, it is requisite to have this photo with Sister and that Hublot!

 

Brother and Sister on the yellow line.

 

Sister has arrived at the Sands!

 

The Angel Wears Prada

 

Sister shows me how to properly take a shot at the poorly illuminated Louis Vuitton storefront. Here she is working on ther settings of her compact camera.

 

Sister at Rasapura Masters

 

I had the fishball noodle dry. Sister had the soup version with kway teow instead of my favorite mee kia.

 

Braised Tofu

 

Brother had on his plate the most amazing, sweet, succulent grilled squid. Sister and I ended up picking on his food. Haha!

 

He also had a huge serving of Beef Caldereta, which is essentially Filipino beef stew. This one was almost perfect.

 

Louis Vuitton always has amazing window displays!

 

Coffee or tea?

 

Of course, on the eve of Sister’s departure, I just got to be there. Here, together with Philip Stein, Glycine and Blackberry.

 

Now on the Circle Line, just a station away from Bayfront.

 

I was late to dinner. When I enquired for directions, Iron Man simply told me to follow directions the moment I alight from the train. “Follow everything that says Gardens by the Bay.”

 

I saw this and realized it was going to be a long walk. I told myself, “this is Alay Lakad.”

 

Not even the escalator ride is spared from “self-portrait” moments. Hehe.

 

I still see signs pointing the way to Gardens by the Bay. So clearly, I didn’t feel any rush. Did I mention I was already running late? Haha!

 

I saw this colorful wall and suddenly, “‘Pop!’ goes my heart!”… Clearly, I wasn’t alone in admiring the burst of hues!

 

But I still had to have my alone time against this backdrop. I chided myself for deciding against wearing my colorful Ralph Lauren shirt for which I earned the monicker “Gummy Bear” from one of my friends at work.

 

One of those present at dinner is my good friend Mitzi.

 

For dinner, I had wantan mee. This was delicious!

 

This soup came with. It looks pretty plain and simple but it was full of flavor.

 

We walked from Gardens by the Bay to Marina Bay Sands for coffee and cake.

 

But you know me, I won’t stop at coffee and cake. I’ve got to have something substantial. I espied Aglio Olio at the next table but eventually decided on the Caesar Salad.

 

Not the best Caesar Salad I have ever had but simply scrumptious just the same! i finished everything on this plate!

 

I will definitely come back for this Red Velvet Cake! Deep-red, undeniably laced with delicious vanilla, this cake has a good crumb that’s moist, with hints of cocoa in the background. The cream cheese frosting was divine.

 

The gang bonding over coffee (that was yet to come). Clearly, you see all are all ears to what Mario was saying.

 

Back at the hotel, I asked for the Chicken Congee on the In-Dining Overnight Menu.

 

The Chicken Congee was very delicately flavored and served as the perfect blank canvass for the fixin’s it came with. Sister sure couldn’t help but comment that my appetite hasn’t changed in the seven years we haven’t seen each other. Haha!

 

The sides include pickled vegetables (behind the dough fritters), salted egg, crisp-fried shallots, spring onions, and as mentioned, dough fritters.

 

Parting shot… Sister, I miss you already!

 

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





TODAI for

9 02 2012

The Birthday Girl Brenda, with husband Darryl, and your blogger.

I ATTACK an eat-all-you-can buffet with the arsenal of skills built from years and years of packing my luggage.  If Louis Vuitton parlayed the mastery of this art – I read somewhere that he used to pack luggage for French aristocracy – into one of the most recognized luxury brands in the world, I at least would like to make use of it in maximizing the potentials of a sumptuous international spread.

It has to be paced, never rushed.  It has to cover all the basic needs.  And everything has to fit into only one check-in and one carry-on.

Welcome to TODAI at the Marina Bay Sands!

TODAI at the Marina Bay Sands, right at its very entrance, told me that I had to muster all the courage I had to stuff myself up.  Touted as an international seafood and sushi buffet restaurant at its opening in March 2011, TODAI has come to establish itself as one of Singapore’s “upscale” – their word, not mine – “all you care to eat” buffet restaurants on the island.  Eleven rounds of their spread – rather smallish portions, not really plates running over – and I wouldn’t argue with either of those quotable quotes.

I snapped this photo on 19 March 2011, vowing to eat at the place the soonest possible time. It took all of 10 months and it was so worth the wait!

 

I was again fashionably late. But my friends were so understanding, gamely flashing their best smiles for the first group shot.

 

"Chicago" ... I snapped this shot because this city happens to be my favorite in the States. In TODAI, they have VIP rooms. Apparently, Chicago is "V. VIP". That's VERY VIP!

 

The Sushi & Roll section. This photo doesn't do justice to just how extensive the spread is!

 

Ready to attack the buffet! (Photo by Darryl)

The common pitfall of most buffet restaurants is the attempt to mask substandard culinary offerings with the sheer number they would roll out in their spread.  I surveyed TODAI’s offerings a couple of times – from end to end – before zeroing in on what I personally would consider as the determinant of the place’s quality.  I wanted to start with a particular cold noodle dish in mind.  I saw it unassumingly set up in a small corner – the zaru soba, buckwheat noodles served chilled with a dipping sauce.

I fixed myself a bowl by taking one mound of the noodles – the last one at the spread at the time so even if I wanted more… – topping it with a little of the grated daikon radish, lots of chopped spring onions, and a heap of crushed seasoned seaweed (nori).  I ladled onto it a little of the dipping sauce and excitedly went back to my table.  I dug my chopsticks in and enthusiastically, albeit quietly, slurped.  I closed my eyes for a second and got reminded of that time I got to spend in Japan.  I tasted the dried kelp and the fermented dried fish that infused the dipping sauce.  I got the arrest of the robust roasted goodness of seaweed.  I chewed on the buckwheat noodles, still with a little give to them.  Before I opened my eyes, I told myself I wouldn’t be surprised if I would look up to a surrounding filled with cherry blossoms.  The dipping sauce alone, if it was watered down, wouldn’t be able to conjure up that image.

My first bowl of zaru soba

I found the perfect dish to start my meal with, punctuate every few couple of rounds with, and close it.  I did intend to finish the evening with one more bowl of soba – yes, after I would’ve had dessert.

Round two – a plate of sushi (crabstick, eel), steamed mussels on the half shell, and poached shrimps.  The mussels tasted fresh in spite of obviously being shipped from some far-flung place like Australia, but the real winner on this plate was the shrimps.  The head burst with roe so sweet and so juicy I kept asking if there was steamed Japanese rice to stain with it.

Round Two – A plate of sushi

 

A squeeze of lemon brightens up the seafood flavors!

 

Pickled ginger tempers any strong fishy taste, if any.

Round three – a bigger bowl of the zaru soba.

Round Three - A bigger serving of the soba!

 

Something about thoughts of snow and making things "snow-capped" made me put a dollop of grated daikon radish on the noodles.

Round four – tuna sashimi, some white fish sashimi, more poached shrimps, and snow crab claws.  The snow crab claws are a priced delicacy, the “deadly” fishing of which being the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary.  I would often stare at crab claws at the Japanese grocery at the basement of Takashimaya and marvel at their size – and their price.  I have always been too cheap to actually buy.  The claws were packed with sweet, juicy flesh that they can claw on me anytime they want to.  Or me on them.

Round Four – Snow Crab claws, sashimi, and poached shrimps!

 

The sashimi was fresh, obviously not a cheap cut.

 

These seem lean, but you'll be surprised with the meat they're packing!

 

The claws were intimidating at first. I got by with a little help from my friends!

 

eNTeNG lorded it over the claws! Hahaha!

Round five – fresh live oysters on the half shell and steamed snails.  I would’ve wanted more of the oysters but they would only serve two at a time.  But you could always go back as many times as you want.  The snails were uncharacteristically huge and daunting, enough to elicit a loud, denouncing “eww!!!” from those standing behind me.  I looked at them with a smile, and holding on to the two biggest snails from the pile, calmly said, “You mean escargot?”

Round Five – Oysters & Snails!

 

These oysters were fresh. And snails, daunting in their size, were so sweet!

 

Look at how huge the snail is!

Round six – Barbecued Korean beef short ribs and Prawns Au Gratin.  Yummy, safe, delicious, not exotic at all.

Round Six - Korean Beef Short Ribs & Prawns Au Gratin

Round seven – Caesar salad and Seafood Ceviche.  The salad attempts to be authentic, I could taste it in the dressing.  I particularly loved the fact that the hearts of Romaine were left torn into big pieces.  The ceviche is a mélange of the cold seafood station, dressed in a citrus vinaigrette.  I fell in love with the baby octopus halves thrown in for good measure.

Round Seven – Caesar Salad & Seafood Ceviche

 

That has got to be the sweetest mussels!

 

Too bad I wasn't able to take a good shot of the half of an octopus that was in this pile.

Round eight – another big bowl of the zaru soba.

Round Eight – Soba again!!!

Round nine – a much bigger bowl of the zaru soba, along with a cup each of the cream of mushroom soup and the abalone congee.

Round Nine – A much bigger bowl, yet again.

Round ten – Korean strawberries and Chocolate Ice Cream.  The former were sweet, the latter velvety smooth and creamy.

Round Ten – Korean Strawberries & Chocolate Ice Cream

 

Korean strawberries are the sweetest. This chocolate ice cream, the smoothest.

Round eleven – the final bowl of the zaru soba.

Round Eleven – The perfect bowl to cap the night off!

I’ve been meaning to pay TODAI a visit.  But I guess something so good can be worth all the wait.  And this dinner, being one organized on the fly in honor of the birthday of one of my best friends, couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

I spoke about the skills I came armed with whenever I would attack buffets.  And I mentioned about the limit to one check-in and one carry-on.  But whenever I would find my luggage bursting at the seams – as it has always been the case lately – I wouldn’t be ashamed to reach for the zipper to release the expandable portion.  Which to me, at that night at TODAI, meant loosening my belt by at least a hole down.

Jossel & Vel, the Birthday Girl, Loradel, and eNTeNG

 

We asked Darryl & Brenda to "table hop" ... Parang kasal lang (As if it was a wedding). Hahaha!

 

Hey, hey, the gang's (almost) all here!

 

Vuma-Vanity Fair... Happy Birthday!!!

 

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





‘Twas the night of Christmas

26 12 2011

“STAR BRIGHT / First star I see tonight / Could you or would you please shine your light? / Shine it so I can see / My Savior smiling at me / Star Bright, I hear you once proclaimed / This is the way, keep on followin’ me / and at the end of the road will be, a baby…”

I spent Christmas Day by having dinner at 313@somerset, a little shopping, walking on Orchard Road, catching whatever remained of the “Christmas is Love” show, hopping on the train to Esplanade, planning for high tea while passing by The Fullerton Hotel, walking to the Merlion, seeking some peace and quiet, and having coffee at Starbucks at One Fullerton.

It was a lot of walking amidst a seeming City of Lights.  It was like following that Star.

Outside the Esplanade Mall, I couldn’t help but hear “Star Bright” in my head as I took in the view of the amazing Singapore skyline.  Everything was lit up, everything was festive.  Everything was cheering me up.

And just like me, everybody has a silent wish.  Some of them brave enough to commit these wishes to paper – to be more accurate, plastic actually – as they wrote them on the shining diamonds that hung from posts outside the mall.

 

Star light, star bright,

The first star I see tonight;

I wish I may, I wish I might,

Have the wish I wish tonight.

 

Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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





Promises not made to be broken

23 05 2011

Partner and The Boy Wonder. They make such a beautiful couple!

PARTNER AND I collaborate excellently.  And it was not something that developed over the course of several years.  It was instantaneous.  The chemistry – vital to a co-hosting job as it is essential in an intimate relationship – was there from the get-go.  We first met on the morning of our first event together, yet something told me she would be a friend for keeps.  That hunch was undeniable in the subtle gesture of her telling the hair stylist when we were getting made up, “Honey, put some of this on his hair.”

While I did recognize the apprehension as to how my hair, so used to being wash-and-wear with the occasional treat of a-few-pesos-a-pop “clay doh” wax, would acquaint with Kérastase, what I picked up more was the birth of an amazing friendship.  It has been over four years since.

She has always believed in my talent that whenever she would have her own gigs, she would never fail to recommend me or tag me along.  Most memorable was this beautiful December wedding we co-hosted.  One day, at some point after that, she looked straight into me and said, “Partner, when I do get married, I want you to host my wedding reception.”  I remember smiling not because I found it amusing – sometimes people blurt out spur-of-the-moment declarations not necessarily because they mean them but because they need to articulate an emotional build-up impossible to contain – I smiled because I knew she meant every word of it.

Little did I know that it would come sooner than I would have hoped.  Little did I know that it was to become one of her “non-negotiables.”

I did know, on her birthday this year.

We’ve constantly communicated.  She being in the Lion city for close to three years now and me being here at home has proven futile in making us lose track of each other.  And of course there’s my usual birthday greeting for her here on my blog – never the best gift she receives, but my best effort to make her feel special every single time.  Each one would be followed by a flurry of e-Mails, phone calls, or text messages.  What she revealed to me on this last one – her birthday falls in April – turned out to be the best birthday gift to trump all birthday gifts.

The promise to grow old with someone who loves her and actually loves her more (than she does him – which should be the case, if you ask me).  I couldn’t be happier that the guy happens to be one of my closest friends, The Boy Wonder.  Two of the best people in my life coming together in love?  What else is more beautiful?  And the surprise proposal, done way up The Marina Bay Sands, was nothing short of cinematic, yet deeply personal.  Just a moment between two people in love.  And a ring.  THE ring.  Of course after Partner and I had gone through the nuances of the proposal, talk shifted to the bling.

One ring to bind them both. Well, at least until they put on their wedding bands!

 

Both from The Boy Wonder... Partner's engagement ring and my red string bracelet bought in Korea.

So you could imagine how breathless in anticipation I was when I went to meet them up last Tuesday.  They took a short break to come back home and work on some of the details of their wedding.  Details being, as they unfold, a list of some of their own “non-negotiables”.  Again, at least from Partner’s end, my role happens to be one of those.  I’m so honored.

Fresh from their facials and couple’s massage, we met up at Town for dinner.  “You really have to wear from the same color palette?!”  And with that line, Partner knew I had already seen them.  And with shrieks of “Partnerrr,” hugs and kisses all around, off Partner, The Boy Wonder, and I went.  “Where do you want to eat?”  “Your call, Partner.”

From the many options on the second level of Corte Delas Palmas, I led the way to Cibo.  It actually just seemed I led, because Cibo happened to be the unanimous choice.

Listening intently to Partner's updates.

 

Finally, The Boy Wonder asked us to look his way.
 

Partner came toting her new Goyard which she bought online and had shipped to her hotel room during a recent trip to the States.

 

Partner and her Goyard!

 

Goyard!

 

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





In shorts at the Sands

18 04 2011

When the light afternoon drizzle finally cleared, Friendship and I thought that it was necessary to take a photo in front of one of the internationally recognized symbols of the first world. Hehehe.

MY COMMUNICATIONS mentor in the office will not let me hear the end of it.  Up until last week, he would still allude to the red shorts I wore to many of my adventures inSingapore.                  

So for sure, posting these photos of my day at Marina Bay Sands wouldn’t keep all the allusions at bay.  Hahaha!

This pair of shorts is from Folded & Hung’s latest summer collection.  I got them a couple of days before I flew out.  I was dreading a scolding from Friendship the moment I’d have landed.  You see, Friendship has always been impeccably dressed during travels that she would always get considered for an upgrade.  And I do remember one time when she commented in horror, “That’s what you’re wearing?”

But my fears were unfounded when, upon bursting through the airport door I attempted to apologize for my ensemble’s seeming lack of length only to be dismissed with, “Your shorts are right for this weather.”  And then the unforgiving heat and humidity of the lion city hit me in the face.

I had the shorts immediately laundered at the hotel, and five days later, put them on for my day at the Sands – Marina Bay Sands, that is.  Captain America (Yes Sagewin, you have a superhero name now) was horrified with the shorts but later regained calm when he saw that I had his gift, the UC Davis shirt, on.

Almost all these snaps were courtesy of Friendship’s brand new Canon compact camera, in purple!  She patiently indulged my being a tourist.  Besides, she knew that my own three-year-old Canon IXUS 860IS was on the brink of a breakdown, it’s LCD screen badly damaged by piercing knifelike thrusts from ballpens it was thrown in with in my bag.

My “day at the Sands” actually started at Paragon Mall on Orchard, so there are a few of those photos in the mix.

Watches of Switzerland, Paragon Mall

 

Muji, Paragon Mall

 

Public Art at Paragon Mall

 

Arriving by cab at Marina Bay Sands

 

The hotel lobby is imposing and ginormous!

 

I felt so tiny in this lobby!

 

There are a lot of street signs at Marina Bay Sands. Rightfully so. It's so huge that even I could get lost.

 

I saw the signs... And they opened up my eyes, I saw the signs!

 

On the way to theaters, museum, and skypark, one has to take this hallway paved in luxury.

 

In front of famed chef, Chef Daniel Boulud's "Bistro Moderne".

 

Daniel, eNTeNG, and Philip

 

Daniel, eNTeNG, Philip, and Muji

 

In front of the store that Partner, I, and Friendship plan to raid soon. Hahaha!

 

Still imagery doesn't do that Chanel (electronic) board justice.

 

I don't know what they are called. But I just had to have my photo taken with him.

 

I left a five-dollar tip in his basket and suddenly, he sprung to life to say thanks! More like, shake my hand in thanks!

 

Chanel from indoors

 

From a distance, my long lost friend Franck!

 

Franck & eNTeNG

 

Finally... made it to the "ark"!

 

Where they say "restaurants," there i'll be!

 

Friendship, Partner, Brother, Rizzie, Green Lantern... We have to raid this place!

 

Bathed in sunset, with Marina Bay Sands behind me.

 

Across the waters is the historical Fullerton Hotel.

 

At the mall near Esplanade, there was a music festival going on. The band behind me was awesome. They sounded like early Matchbox 20 to me.

 

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





High tea at TWG

14 04 2011

Soup of the Day – French Onion Soup at TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

“FRIENDSHIP, HERE there is high tea,”  Friendship told me nonchalantly, almost as unconcerned as her nonchalant glance at the headlines of The Straits Times that I carried with me from my Singapore Airlines flight.

Any comment or reference to food – and the chance to put it in my mouth – doesn’t get lost with me.  So I ended up counting the days until I could sit down for this meal steeped with tradition.  On the seventh day, Friendship brought me to Marina Bay Sands.  Once at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, she brought me to the the TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge and declared, “This will be my treat to you.”

In front of the huge Chanel signage, the rooftop of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

I look back to that conversation and am trying to recall if she said, “Order away (to your heart’s content)!”  Hahaha!

High tea, which refers to the early evening meal, is a tradition alive in Singapore.  Most of the menus I got my hands on carried a section for this special kind of meal.  TWG Tea, per the story printed at the back of their menu, pioneered the concept of Singapore luxury tea and has been celebrating Singapore’s most privileged heritage by offering teas of utmost and unrivalled quality.

TWG Tea Salons have this stylish, classic, wooden tea counter. On display are the house's famous blends and tea accessories.

Apparently, these most precious of elixirs number by the hundreds!  The extensive list presented to me easily had over 300.  I noticed that each tea blend is assigned a serial code – T6xxx.  This brought to mind the historical account that in the year 1834, over 6,000 chests of tea from China, Siam and the Celebes were recorded.

The extensive menu, TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

 

Loved these yellow "wax-like" molded plastic charms that hang fromt he cord that holds the menu pages in place.

 

The TWG Tea List menu logo

 

It's a long list of teas!

Being the first-timer that I was, I knew I needed help.  I politely asked our server for a recommendation, which to me appealed more than closing my eyes and pointing blindly on the page.  He proposed the house bestseller – the 1837 Black Tea, tea number T6033.

Our server enthusiastically recommended T6033, the 1837 Black Tea!

 

Fine bone china housed my 1837 Black Tea. The tea pot came clad in a lined all-stainless steel insulation.

 

My first cup of Singapore's venerable TWG Tea Company's 1837 Black Tea.

 

On each dining table was a fine bone china jar of the purest sugar crystals. I just had to put a little of it to every cup!

 

I was just mesmerized by the sight of sugar crystals dissolving into the tea.

For my rather “substantial” meal selection, I asked for the Soup of the Day, which turned out to be French Onion Soup.  Friendship had a hankering for the sweet rather than the savory so she asked for the Chestnut Crêpe.  The menu desription for this option was such a tease, I felt like I wanted to make love to it: “Crêpe filled with candied chestnut and chestnut cream infused with Yunnan FOP black tea and enhanced with a touch of crème fraîche.”

My French Onion Soup

 

Friendship's Chestnut Crêpe

“Infused with Yunnan FOP black tea”.  That’s when it hit me – TWG Tea Salon & Boutique offers a genuinely creative selection of tea-infused cuisine.  I knew the results could only be amazing.  (The only encounter with tea-infused cuisine that I’ve ever recorded was me peppering my huge bowl of mixed balls noodle soup with crushed green tea leaves at the Fook Ming Tong Tea Shop kiosk at the Departure Hall, Passenger Terminal 1 of the Hong Kong International Airport.)

What my French Onion Soup lacked in drama – I missed the croûton and parmesan cheese crust that would cover the top – more than made up for in flavor.  It was earthy, robust, bursting with slow-cooked onion goodness.  I espied flecks of black and dark green on top of the soup, all the way to the saucer.  I’m guessing the soup I had was tea-infused after all!  (The menu doesn’t say if the Soup of the Day has any royal tea treatment.)

But the pièce de résistance of my first high tea was the pot of 1837 Black Tea.  It was fragrant, sweetish, almost laced with the essence of sweet berries and vanilla – no, caramel!  I kept gushing to Friendship just how much I was loving it.  I poured to the last drop – to the point of wanting to ask for the pot to be replenished with hot water.

Friendship, thanks for yet another amazing and unforgettable Singapore experience!

The French Onion Soup was served with this a-ma-zing bun! For some reason, i didn't meet a bread bun or roll in Singapore that I didn't fall in love with. I'm easy that way! Hahaha!

 

The bread came with this stainless steel dish...

 

...that housed yummy yummy Y-U-M-M-Y butter!

 

TWG Salon boasts an elegant place setting using only the finest bone china, starched linen and sterling silver, all monogrammed.

 

TWG fine bone china cup, saucer, and sugar jar.

 

I really love the monogram on all the china and the silverware. And notice the details on the linen too!

 

Fine bone china sugar jar

 

Sugar crystals so pretty I could munch on them all day long!

 

The requisite solo shot!

 

I just had to have my photo taken beside this lighting installation! I wouldn't be surprised if it was Swarovski.

 

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique on the Bridge at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

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