Today on dates

14 02 2013

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

Royce' - Valentines_021413_00

Blushing pink with joy at Royce’

 

 

Montblanc - Valentines_021413_00

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
Breakfast 120311 00

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”.

DSCN6060 Cookout - Brendarryl Place 080112

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

 

DSCN6061 Cookout - Brendarryl Place 080112

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.

SONY DSC

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

 

SONY DSC

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

 

IMG_0025 Singapore Zoo Fun Run 020512

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

 

IMG_6293 Standard Chartered Marathon 120411

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

 

SONY DSC

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





Xīnnián kuàilè!

2 02 2013
Chinese New Year 2013 - Paragon Mall Ceiling Decor

Ceiling decor, Paragon Mall, Singapore

I LOOKED up the ceiling of Paragon Mall and realized that the Chinese Lunar New Year is upon us once again.  I took my sight back to eye level and swore that I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself on the steps of The Great Wall instead of at the doorstep of Gucci.

This season – for all the obvious reasons – brings to mind all things wonderful and Chinese.  And as I was poring over thousands of shots snapped in the past 19 months, I came across one photo of who could arguably be my Chinese best friend.  It’s set right in front of the Ferrari store at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and with all the red in this photo, it does feel very ‘Xīnnián kuàilè!

Here’s to another great year in the Lion City!  And in Shanghai where best friend is!

100912_Bin&eNTeNG_Ferrari

eNTeNG and his Chinese best friend Bin! Ferrari Store, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

 

Chinese New Year 2013 - Marc by Marc Jacobs 00

Speaking of all things red, I liked this styling on the window display of Marc Jacobs on Orchard Road, 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





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.