Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Cavalock and The Tasty Treat Trinity

It's a luxury these days to be able to get out of the house and enjoy a pleasant meal somewhere or anywhere. Well, we were lucky enough to do just that last week, not once but three times! I just can't get enough of this traditional Teochew pork trotter jelly and shark's meat dish ever since I was a kid back in the old family home. Am rather fortunate that my current tiny apartment is just a stone's throw away from Jalan Berseh Food Centre where one can still find one of the last few stalls still serving this Teochew delicacy. That delicious collagen-turned-geletin is such a sinful pleasure. And once you dip that fresh shark's meat in that homemade plum sauce, the experience is just out of this world. All that below for only S$8.

And we managed to venture a little further too! Walked past this place at Millenia Walk numerous times but we finally decide to drop by for dessert at Patisserie G last Saturday nite. The S$8 caramel-glazed chouz puff is my favourite. Hey, it's better than my attempt a decade ago! Not the cheapest dessert joint around but good for the occasional sweet treat. Another restaurant or cafe on our visit list was Do.main Bakery along Tanjong Katong Road. Had the savoury oxtail stew pie which I really enjoyed but could definitely do with a larger piece.

So I was watching the Saturday Night Live season finale the other day and comedian host Louis C.K. was delivering the opening monologue which I thought was simply brilliant and of cos, hilarious. I could so totally relate to the "mild racism" bit and how people were less uptight bout stuff back in those days. Its like how everyone now is so concerned about being politically correct and not offending anyone that is driving folks today crazy. It's simply ridiculous to see people I know and admire wade through a "politically correct" minefield for fear of stepping on someone's toes. Just what kinda life are you living if you are so easily offended by so many things around you? Want to revive the old kampong spirit, then try to develop some thick skin. Growing up, we kids were calling each other names that would be considered politically incorrect or even offensive by today's standards but no cared, we all just laughed it off and remained friends. Try calling someone any of those names now and you'll have a lynch mob at your doorsteps or worse still, HR.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cavalock and The Power Rice Equation

Rice. It's something we all had more than our share of since we were kids. I remember growing up whenever I could eat out, it was always either hotdogs or noodles, just to get away from the boring rice back home. Anyway recently we found a way to jazz up dinnertime with these packs of Rice Booster 15 from Japan. Filled with grains and seeds, it's supposed to be healthier and it definitely does make an otherwise plain bowl of rice a little tastier too. Just sprinkle a couple of tea-spoonfuls into the rice cooker. Damn! I wish someone is paying me for these 'endorsements'. But seriously, if you haven't tried it, it won't hurt to give this a shot. You can find them at, where else but Meidi-Ya supermarket.

Been a little busy with something I found online. This is sooooo cool. Since our dear government is such an advocate of lifelong learning, I figured I'd sign up for one of these. A whole selection of free online courses on Ancient and Medieval History. Hah, guess which one I signed up for. And yes, there are assignments and tests but it's always a good thing if you are studying something you are really passionate about. If only they had such courses here instead of Additional Maths when I was in school.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cavalock and The Stereogram Singularity

Ever since I was a kid, I have always had a soft spot (methinks 'addiction' is too strong a word) for apple juices and I mean all kinds of apple juices, including cider in my later years. As a child, I would chuck away on them back in the old family home until I threw up and made all the adult folks worried. Hah! Good times!

So you can imagine how intrigued I was when I spotted these Japanese apple-flavoured booze at Meidi-Ya recently. Been awhile since I dropped by so I was pretty excited to see them on the booze aisle. Bought the above can and found it pretty good. Not too sweet and the fuji apple's definitely there. Some of the other Japanese fruity boozy drinks including this bottle of cider from Bali, Indonesia. Probably the last place I expect to find cider.

Couscous! I have never seen so many different brands of couscous in any local supermarket before! I think I have only had this rice dish once in a restaurant ages ago and wasn't terribly impressed by it. Not something you normally find in menus around here but I'm willing to give it another shot if anyone can recommend a joint that serves a decent one.

A couple months ago I sold the below vintage stereogram (or as you kids today would call it a "sound system"). It has been a part of the old family home before I was even born. So lotsa fond memories here. Well, it's a good thing I still got the original instruction manual in pristine condition too and I even managed to dig up an old Straits Times newspaper ad online.

So I'm glad to report that the new owners have managed to restore it to working order! It lights up, plays music and everything, just like it first did in the 1960s. Amazing restoration work! Heard that he had to make several trips to Sim Lim to acquire the necessary electronic components. I'm really really glad when something like this happens. When something from the old family home is given a new lease of life by someone who honestly appreciates it. <^;^>

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cavalock and The Lustrous London Loot

From Pierre Herme's famous macarons to the fabled honeyed truffles to the elusive terrine of wild boar, my fridge was stocked to the brim with these goodies that the baker at home brought back form her 2-week London vacation last month. The last time I checked I think we only managed to finish one-third of all that. We managed to cook up a bit of a storm over the next few days since her return, like pasta dishes with anchovies and olives from Borough Market followed by all kinds of fancy cheese dipped in honey.

And yup, I got pressies too! A Lego fan book, more Daleks to add to my collection and a 5-month(?) supply of Molton Brown.

While she was away last month, I also managed to download more pix that my 82-year-old Dad took with his new camera. I swear I have absolutely no idea how an elderly man can spend hours outdoors in this crazy weather. Anyway so he sold his old Canon body last month for the newer EOS 7DII and here are some shots he took with it.

And check out my favourite shot below!!! Yah, that definitely looks like a little pink mouse!!! <^;^>

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cavalock and The Wedgwood Dinner Sale

What an insanely exhausting last couple of weeks! Been criss-crossing the island running a never-ending torrent of errands. One tiny bit of good news is knowing that Baker and Cook has opened a new store just one train stop away from my tiny apartment.

Since their new Bugis outlet at Intercontinental Singapore closes rather early at around 7pm, I managed to sneak in 6.30pm last week for a light dinner. No complaints about their salmon quiche and complimentary dessert. As they open at 8am, I got my sights set on having breakfast there hopefully soon when things have settled down a little.
One of the things I have finally gotten around to doing is clearing my late uncle's residence, not to be confused with the old family home. Found this cache of vintage Wedgwood plates and bowls neatly wrapped in newspapers in a box in my late uncle's kitchen. There are three large plates, six smaller ones and two bowls. Excellent condition and never been used. I have absolutely no space in my tiny apartment for them so I'm selling them all as a single lot for only S$300. Made in the U.K. you sure won't find them in stores here anymore. You'll be the star of your next Downton Abby fan club dinner party! So if you like what you see, leave a comment with your details or drop me an email.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Cavalock and The Gamers' Feast

It took me awhile but I finally found my way to the popular New Ubin Seafood restaurant in the heart of Sin Ming Industrial Estate earlier this week. Our regular boardgaming group hasn't been meeting up for games as often as we used to, which is kinda sad. But at least, we get to pig out together like this.

Let's see now, by the end of the night this is just some of the stuff nine hungry guys can eat:

- 3 crabs in bee hoon soup
- Pork collar
- Crispy pork knuckle German style
- 30 Canadian oysters
- Salted egg squid
- Large squid
- Large Hokkien prawn noodle special
- Large HK Kai Lan special
- 13 sticks of foie gras
- Phoenix chicken
- Signature meat platter

And of cos, the stars of the night... 3kg of amazing US Angus beef and a gorgeous bottle of 17-year-old Hibeki. Truly an unforgettable feast worthy of the gods with a princely price tag of over S$900.

So on my way to the old family home today I noticed for the first time in my entire life, there are no more Gurkhas outside my late neighbour's residence. Instead there's just a lone chubby cop on guard duty. It kinda got me thinking about my old neighbour, not that I haven't been thinking about him for the last couple of weeks.

I guess growing up within 100 meters of his home, my memories of him may be a wee bit different from most people. My late aunts, uncles and mom made no qualms about their political leanings. Like most people their generation, they absolutely admired him and were eternally grateful for all he had done. Now you would think that I have seen him in person numerous times but the truth is I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually seen him up close or in person. Unfortunately the last time I saw him was late last year when his motorcade drove pass and I caught a glimpse of him alone in the backseat looking extremely frail. Yah, now that motorcade on the other hand, I see almost everyday when I was a kid. It would leave Oxley around noon daily and then make its way to the Istana. My most memorable moments were during National Day parades when the motorcade would zoom pass the family home and we would gather at our back kitchen doorway and wave at it. And that's the only time I can recall that he would ever wave back at us.

While I hardly had any direct interactions with him, I do however have some rather brief encounters with his sons. You have to remember that I was probably only seven or eight years-old at that time. From my bedroom window I would spot one of his sons (I honestly cannot remember which) walking towards River Valley Road to ta-pao food, this was obviously before they had bodyguards. I would then yell out at them and then duck out of sight behind the curtains immediately. It was like peek-a-boo with a VIP! Hey, I was seven and bored!

I also figured out a long time ago that I could either blame him and the Government for just about every f**ked-up thing that has happened to me in my life like how their second language criteria royally screwed me of a higher education here, or I could take it like a man, be grateful for all the other economic policies that have tremendously benefited my family and get on with my life. I do respect him and am fully aware of his achievements, contributions, faults, warts and all. When I was sitting alone on the Padang that early Thursday morning at 6am waiting for my queue to move, I was there not just for myself but also on behalf of my late mom, uncles and aunts who I know for sure would be there too if they were still alive.

So yah, that's kinda like what I wanna say bout my late neighbour. While everyone had something deep, moving or reflective to say bout him, I suppose mine was more of the lasting impression he left on me as the all-important guy living down the road.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Cavalock and The Obligatory Tokyo Food College

Wasn't blogging last week for obvious reasons, was contemplating on certain matters and maybe one day I'll write something bout that, but I'm back right now with the one and only obligatory food collage. Did one for New York last year and I figured I'll do another for Tokyo too. It's all so good, I just can't find anything bad to say about Tokyo food at all.

Now I bet the most asked question is "How were the KFC crisps?" Well, they most certainly do have that familiar KFC whiff when you first open the bag but after that, you really can't tell the difference between this and another bag of ordinary supermarket crisps.
A little something that's closer to home now. While in Takashimaya Times Squares over in Tokyo, we stumbled across the ABC Cooking Studio. It's apparently a major cooking baking school in Japan with branches in Taiwan as well. There were dozens of young and middle-aged women doing all kinds of culinary stuff in this one huge open concept kitchen. It was obvious that there were several different classes going on at the same time. It looked rather cool and chaotic at the same time.

Well, guess what! They are going to open a cooking studio here next month and they'll be one of the new tenants over at where the old Kinokuniya used to be in our Takashimaya. Their course brochures certainly look interesting and I'm sure the opportunity to learn how to bake or create all those tempting pastries would be most irresistible to a lot of local foodies.

To be honest, I was kinda hoping that Tokyu Hands would close their two small outlets on the island and just occupy the entire area of that floor in Takashimaya. It would still be like in Tokyo where they got like seven or eight floors in that Takashimaya.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cavalock and The Good Food Requiem

One of the things my late aunt kept reminding me when I was her caregiver was to "take the money and (use it to) eat good food." Well, I certainly did my best to honour that request in Tokyo. After drooling at the tempting images of huge chunks of sizzling beef plastered all over the hotel, we finally decided to drop by the fancy Teppan-yaki restaurant at our Keio Plaza Hotel for lunch.

Yamanami was definitely one of the more posh joints that we been to in Tokyo. Looking at the other patrons, seems like a place for business power lunches too. I have been to teppan-yaki joints back home but this has got to be the most posh one yet. We also knew this was a classy joint cos we didn't hear anyone from China yelling next to us.

Got a teppan-yaki table with a cool sky blue view of the skyscrapers. It was a no-brainer to go with the Japanese beef over the Aussie one. Like the geeky tourists that we were, we were kinda enthralled by the preparation and all. The flavourful garlic rice was also nicely done up in front of us. Another authentic Japanese meal that has us all talking about till today.

Having returned to Tokyo after six or seven years away, there were just so many quirky and fascinating things that were new to me. Well, I mean some of them were probably introduced recently like a PSA sign in the train reminding passengers to NOT PUT THEIR HANDS IN THEIR POCKETS (really!) cos doing that takes up more space in the cabin. I kinda regret not taking a pix of that but we were in the train and I didn't wanna start snapping right there. Others like the bizarre Toilet Brush Xmas Tree have likely been around for a long time and I just happened to stumble upon them now, kinda like this ... er... ingenious toilet. Flush and wash your hands at the same time! I know its been around for awhile but have never seen it in Singapore. Why not?!? And you thought NEWater was a breakthrough in water recycling solutions?!?

Plus can anything top Hitchcock sitting on top of a Japanese restaurant in Shinjuku? Well, at least we know he doesn't suffer from vertigo.