On one of 105

7 11 2011

A can of Campbell's Tomato Juice all to myself.

I WAS so well taken care of by the ground and inflight crews of Singapore Airlines on my last flight back that I swear, I did feel staring at the precipice of falling in love.  One slight further nudge could have done me in.

When my agent made the internet check-in for me, they weren’t able to secure the seat I had been eyeing.  But I had them put a comment in.  And as it is always with “comments” or “special instructions,” nobody really cares about them.  So I had totally dismissed it from the get-go.

Check-in at the NAIA was a breeze.  And quite pleasantly full of surprises.  They let me go over my check-in baggage allowance.  That was not a first, though it was definitely something I would look forward to with breath that is bated and with fingers that are crossed.  But what was even more surprising was that they totally allowed, with a smile, my packed 12 boxes of honeyed banana chips and my couple of Starbucks paper bags full of Manila demitasse souvenir cups to be part of my carry-on.

At the boarding gate, I was greeted by someone with the line, “Are you Mr. eNTeNG™©’s MunchTime™©?  We got you your preferred seat.  Let me change your boarding pass, Sir.”  And by the time he said, “This way, Sir.  Let me accompany you,” to walk me to the front of the boarding area, I knew there was a point to taking all those SQ flights in the past.

On board the plane, the ultimate affirmation of Singapore Airlines’ excellent service took the best form that appeals to me – FOOD.  I had the most sumptuous Chicken with herb cream sauce, seasonal vegetables and potatoes and Chicken adobo Sa Gata (chicken braised in coconut cream) with yellow rice and vegetables.

I love it everytime the meal arrives! This is the dinner on my flight from Singapore to Manila.

 

Chicken with herb cream sauce, seasonal vegetables and potatoes

 

This piece of boneless, herbed chicken was so flavorful and tender!

 

Roasted herbed potatoes

 

Roasted vegetables – carrots, baby bok choy, and young corn.

 

Marinated Chinese seafood salad

 

The light meal on the Manila-to-Singapore flight finally lands on my tray.

 

I've started to ask for a second roll on my flights!

 

I love French butter!

 

I would tear the roll into pieces, each of which I smother with lots of the French butter.

 

Chicken adobo sa gata becomes fancy, served with fragrant yellow rice and vegetables.

 

This chicken dish was just so scrumptious!

 

Tomato and eggplant on the side

 

Chicken and pineapple salad

 

Chocolate truffle gateau for dessert

And between flying to Manila and back, a total of eight cans of Campbell’s Tomato Juice.

“Would you like apple juice or wine, Sir?”

“Do you have tomato juice?”

“Would you like a whole can to yourself?”  S–W–E–E–T.

There was Bloody Mary on the cocktail list. But I'd rather have just Campbell's Tomato Juice every single time!

 

It's time for dinner!

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





Amazing grays

19 09 2011

A wall of clocks, ArtBox, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands

“GRAY’S ANATOMY initially appealed to me.  However, I later realized that none of the pieces I captured on stills for this post has a sapphire crystal exhibition case back – unlike the Hamilton Automatic I had since handed to my youngest brother a couple of weeks back.

But “Amazing grays” does sound appropriate and succinct.

This is only my third post since I decided to rise from above the ebb that was my couple months’ hiatus from blogging.  I thought that the last one (all about my fixation with Formosa Delightstomato noodle soup) had taken care of the “Munch” part of what my blog stands for when I conceptualized it.

To really signify my return, I think it’s high time to talk about – what else?! – Time!

I have been so blessed and so grateful to be able to indulge in my passions.  And while we can never attach any material worth or price tag – yes, this is your cue to sing “that song” – to all the things that really do matter in life, sometimes we need something tangible, concrete… something we can perceive with three or four of the five senses, to help us mark the moment.

I do that through wristwatches.

Here’s a reveal of what I have chosen to mark my move to Singapore.

I shall never forget the circumstances, the sentiments, and the sleepless nights that went with each purchase.  I won’t admit to any of these being an impulsive buy – except for that one wristwatch that I saw on someone on board the MRT ride to Somerset.  Right there and then, I just had to have one for myself.

Here’s my first ever investment timepiece that I bought on my own – the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King in all-stainless steel.  It costs right around how much I was willing to fork over for my first real luxury wristwatch.  The “Air-King” is sought after for its history, reliability, movement, classic design (I love the simplicity), and of course as with ALL Rolexes, collectible value.  I made the purchase at The Hour Glass at Takashimaya S.C. on Orchard Road.  Days after, I received in the mail a personal letter from the store, signed by the manager and the sales associate who attended to me, thanking me for my purchase.  Let’s just say that they’re now on my Blackberry contacts list.  Hehe.

I could hear and feel my heartbeat when I laid the box out to open it for the first time at home.

 

Be still my beating heart...

 

I love all the paperwork that goes with a wristwatch.

 

Now it's really getting closer to the reveal...

 

Meet my new Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air-King! Ta-daaaahhh!

 

This one deserves a closer look.

 

A tight shot of a thing of such beauty.

I saw this next one on someone’s wrist on board the short train ride from Dhoby Ghaut interchange to Somerset.  I was initially attracted to the very Franck Muller Hindu-Arabic numerals on the white dial.  Once off at the station, I frantically searched for a watch store that has this brand’s counter.  It’s one of those ‘I’ve got to have it!’ moments.  Hahaha!  I found one at Eastern Watch, on the ground level of 313@somerset.  Sadly, they – as with most, if not all, other watch stores on the island – didn’t carry this style in their usual store display.  So what was left to do?  Get it on special order, to be delivered overnight!  So here it is, my Tissot Heritage Prince I wristwatch.  This was first released in 1916, noted for its curved body that hugs the wrist snugly but comfortably.  It was re-issued in 1991 as the Classic Prince, and now, as the Heritage Prince I.

My new Tissot Heritage Prince I!

 

A closer look... I do love the very bold numbers on the dial! It doesn't register well on this print but the hour and minute hands are in a nice shade of blue.

 

This gorgeous timepiece has a luxuriously stamped genuine leather strap and snaps in place with a deployment clasp with buckle.

 

I think this shot somehow captures the "blue-ness" of the hour and minute hands. I love this wristwatch!

Before making this move to the Lion City, I decided to let go of most of my wristwatches.  I don’t think I needed all of them with me.  By the time I hopped on that flight in late June, I had only decided to keep a few pieces, those with sentimental value.

Here’s my three-year old Philip Stein Signature Large – my first of four – fitted for the first time with an all-stainless steel bracelet, sourced for me exclusively by the wonderful team at Chronos in Alabang Town Center.  The bracelet is meant for use just on my wrist but it cost me an arm and a leg.  Hahaha!  It’s well-worth it, anyway.

My Philip Stein Signature Large sports a new look with an all-stainless steel bracelet.

 

The new bracelet locks with a double deployment clasp.

 

The beauty and ease of Philip Stein bracelets and straps is that you can replace them with just a quick and simple (sidewards) pulling action on the clasp that is underneath the strap.

The oldest piece that I carried with me – I’d already handed down to my nephews my first three Casio wristwatches (a Classic, a Data Bank, and a Solar battery-operated one) – is this Swiss Army Automatic, with the beautiful sweeping second hand in orange.  This one is easily about a couple of decades old.

My decades-old Swiss Army wristwatch! I brought it to Singapore, from home, the last time I went back. My brother had it go through maintenance check with his trusted jeweler-horologer friend.

 

This watch has a "paper" face. So classic.

 

I love the orange sweeping second hand. (I didn't realize I captured it here at the 12 o'clock position. Nice.)

And that to me really is the allure of timepieces.  It is with you as you make your travel through time.  More than their monetary value, the appeal of wristwatches that have lasted through time is more emotional.  It’s like a real, trustworthy, will-never-leave-you friend.

And clearly here in Singapore, there’s more room in my life for them.

Me and my Rolex, on board a Singapore Airlines flight, September 2011.

 

 

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





New babies

14 06 2011

A couple of new ones – "The Private" and another Time Teller in "Blue X", both by Nixon – get acquainted with Philip and my Green Lantern wristwatch.

 

I THINK I’m spoiling myself rotten.

But lately, there were just some wristwatches that had to be added to my collection.  I saw them in the shop windows and I couldn’t help but give them a home.

So here are some of my new babies.

Nixon's "The Private", white dial. Clean lines, uncomplicated display, substantial height to the solid stainless steel case, uniform width stainless steel bracelet, "enameled" crown.

 

"The Private" shares laptop top space with a Nautica.

 

Philip Stein and "The Private" on the way to dinner.

 

I debuted "The Private" at this dinner hosted by Mike & Thea at Restaurant Uno on Tomas Morato.

 

I've worn to work ALL four, all at the same time.

 

My new Nixon Time Teller, in the elusive "Blue X" color, aginst a backdrop of food and wristwatches (my laptop's wallpaper).

 

Wore my Nixon Time Teller "Blue X" with my 200-peso The Simpson's "Game Over" shirt.

 

 

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





Yes, that many Time Tellers

26 05 2011

Wearing two Nixon Time Teller wristwatches to the coffee table book launch!

I THINK I have the makings of an obsessive lover.  I mean, if I’d go by my fixation for certain wristwatches.

Ever since I got back from Singapore, I’ve been fascinated by the Nixon Time Teller wristwatch.  I got on my flight back home with the Green sharing wrist space with my trusty Philip Stein Signature Large, which at the time had a lizard strap in Yellow.  That was enough for the three time zones I was closely keeping tabs on – Manila, Sengkang, and Orchard Road. (Hahaha!)  Otherwise, I would’ve still put on the Matte Navy that was bumping and grinding with a Technomarine and a TW STEEL in my carry-on.

Philip Stein Signature Large and Nixon Time Teller in green

 

Lizard in Yellow. Polyurethane in Green. That's Nixon's patented "locking looper" strap design.

The Nixon Time Teller boasts a truly minimalist dial, numberless and quite clean with only the brand name appearing on the 3 marker.  Being ultra lightweight belies the strength of durable polycarbonate from which it is crafted.  A smooth polyurethane strap in a patented “locking looper” design finishes the sleek look of this wristwatch, which is water-resistant to 100 meters.

I want it in more colors!!!

Philip Stein, two Nixons, Mickey Mouse, and the red string bracelet (with Austrian crystals) from The Boy Wonder.

 

Philip Stein, three Nixons, and the red string bracelet from The Boy Wonder

 

Nixon Time Teller in Bright Blue

 

Nixon and Philip

 
Nixon in Matte Navy and Philip Stein

 

Time Teller Family

 

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.





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.





Amazing Race Makati

4 04 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miracles do happen.

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dinner is the reward for a task accomplished!

 

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

 

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