Monday, September 15, 2014

Cavalock and The New Grub Revelation

I must confess to having a culinary checklist of sorts when I was planning my trip to Indianapolis. Yes, the food truck experience was on it and so was the desire to sample an honest-to-goodness pulled pork sandwich, something one can't find here in Singapore. The fascinating thing was how I stumbled upon it one afternoon.

So after another morning of unrestrained boardgame purchases, it was time for lunch again. My friends wanted to grab a quick bite in the convention center but I was vehemently against the idea, having read numerous articles on how sucky and expensive convention food is. But I finally relented. Joined the shortest queue around and ordered the above pulled pork sandwich as I haven't had one yet. You can imagine my surprise when I took my first bite out of it, geez, definitely my top three best eats in Indianapolis! Can't believe how moist and flavorful the pulled pork shreds were. Even the bun and gherkin were delicious. I wish I could find something similar back home but it's just impossible I think.

Since the only four or three Mexican meals I have ever had in Singapore turned out disgustingly foul, I have stayed the hell away from them. So in Indianapolis, it was with much trepidation that I stepped into a popular Chipotle outlet for the very first time that fateful afternoon. I must have stared at the order board above the counter in a most baffling manner for at least five minutes before deciding on the burrito. I had mine generously stuffed with grilled chicken, black beans and white rice, can't remember now what else went into it. I thought it was a decent meal, at least much better than what I had in Singapore although it was rather massive and I couldn't finish it no matter how hard I tried.

After the last three food posts, let's not forget why I was in Indianapolis in the first place. It's to attend the biggest gaming convention in the world, Gen Con 2014 and I have blogged about it extensively at local geek site Here Be Geeks. I was fortunate to snag some pretty good buys. My friends are much more dedicated gamers than myself and they bought at least two or three times more than my loot below. But then again, you really only need one copy of a boardgame to play in a group.

Er... yah, that is My Little Pony you see there. My friend and I took part in a My Little Pony collectible card game demo and after that, they gave us a couple of freebies like a booster pack which contained a rare foil card and an exclusive My Little Pony Indy Con card. Also, the above boardgame Splendor has turned out to be a huge hit among us and I have been carrying it to all our boardgame sessions since I got back.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cavalock and The Food Truck Enlightenment

Food trucks! Read about them, salivated over them on TV but never actually seen one in real-life until last month at Gen Con in Indianapolis. With over 56,000 gamers descending upon the convention center, I thought it was a brilliant move by the organisers to have about a dozen food trucks prominently stationed round the building.

We were actually looking forward to our first taste of food truck cuisine but when we saw the extremely long lines during lunch, we figured ... hmmmm... maybe not just yet. Cos we already spent most of the morning queuing for exclusive stuff like limited edition boardgames and accessories, plus our hands were full and we didn't wanna stand and eat by the sidewalk. 

Also, our hotel was just a ten-minute walk away so we decided to dump our morning purchases back in the room, lunch around there, then head right back to the convention center. Makes sense, right? Anyway, the food trucks were offering a lot of quick fried options and sweeeeet desserts that we don't really have the stomach for at the moment.

But... but .... but I did finally had a food truck dinner experience in the end. It's a monstrous turkey leg which I devoured standing by the side of the road. The weather was cooler in the evening making it less of a chore eating while standing out in the open. The meat was gratifying but dry and we didn't have anything to drink. So after that, we headed straight to this little fruit juice shop run by a middle-aged Korean couple in the mall. Far as we know, it's like the only place to get any fresh juice in the area so it became our regular after-dinner stop. And speaking of drinking, something unusual that I noticed was the complete absence of any liquor shop or convenience store selling booze in our area. Oh, you can still order alcohol maybe only in restaurants however I could be wrong. Was kinda thinking of kicking it back in the hotel room with a cheap brewski or two but no such luck.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cavalock and The Breakfast Bagel Bounty

One of two things that I was clearly looking forward to in Indianapolis was all new games at Gen Con 2014, and the other being the food! Its been almost 15 years since I been to the US and back then, I wasn't much of a foodie. So I figured it'll be interesting to see and try some local favourites now that I'm slightly more aware of what's out there.

Breakfast has always been my fav meal of the day and in Indianapolis it's still is. My friend and I were fortunate to stay just across the road from an Einstein Bros. Bagel outlet. It became our go-to breakfast joint on most mornings and where my new love affair with bagels began. My usual would be a bagel, a banana and all the coffee I could drink. Tried a few different bagels on the menu but the above "Thintastic Eggwhite" quickly became my fav. You got a nicely done spread of eggwhite, melted cheese, asparagus and mushrooms all in a thin bagel. It was so good and more importantly, filling. And their cherry pastries are damn tasty too!

An interesting thing I noticed with food in the US was the liberal amount of cheese that goes on top of just about everything we ordered, even salad which was almost the last thing we expected to see covered with cheese. As much as I love cheese, I don't think I can stomach copious amounts of it with every meal.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cavalock Goes To Indianapolis

Whoa! I'm back here at last. After zero updates for so long, I'm not sure if there's still anyone reading this but it's good to be home after a couple weeks in the US, or Indianapolis and New York to be exact. I was actually back around the end of last month but was busy writing about my once-in-a-lifetime Gen Con 2014 experience for local geek site Here Be Geeks. You can read the 5-part article I wrote here.

I'll probably repeat the same old things as my geek posts but I don't care. Hah! I had an amazing time there, good food and everyone I met was extremely gracious so where do I begin? I guess it'll be more personal and foodie stuff here.

First up is that Indianapolis was a blast. Even though I stayed around Monument Circle and only ventured within a tiny part of the city, I enjoyed every minute of it. Just across the road from the hotel was a row of restaurants, a Starbucks and most importantly, a comic book store!

What I absolutely love about Indianapolis (at least in my vicinity) were the wide open spaces, no high-rise buildings and the relatively tranquil surroundings. There was also hardly any traffic around and I can imagine if not for the convention, the streets would probably be almost empty most of the time. I can honestly say that I like the all-round slower pace of life.

Just look at that! How can you say "no" to clear blue skies like that?!? I gotta admit I was pretty apprehensive about the trip like I mentioned in my last post before leaving the country, but am really grateful that everything turned out, not just fine but fantastic.

Friday, August 08, 2014

Cavalock and The Biru Sake Distraction

Now it's not every day that I admit to a culinary misstep, well, probably cos I only commit them every other day. But this is one that I think is worth sharing as it involves the dangers of alcohol abuse. Yes, as in it's simply abusive behaviour to deny me more of this drink. So I saw this bottle of Japanese booze on sale at Isetan and don't ask me why but I immediately assumed it was biru or Japanese beer. A couple of things drew me to it, that it's deviously Yuzu-flavoured and that it goes down well with fried freakin' food.

A few days after I bought it, I finally managed to get my hands on some quality fried chicken drumlets and took a swig of it. First thought I had was 'this is great, the Yuzu flavour is really refreshing but this sure as hell doesn't taste like beer!'.

So after a week sitting in the fridge, I finally took a closer look at the label and guess what it says. Sake! Hah, I suppose the words 'High-Ball' would also had been a dead giveaway. What's more, see how it's labelled 7% alcohol on the bottle instead of 6% like in the ad. Er .... that's a good thing, right?

Time to check out more oldie vintage stuff I found. The collection belonged to my late mom and is very similar to this other set that I posted awhile back. Pretty cool eh? I honestly don't recall them being used at all. Anyway they are all made in England and I reckon at least 40 years ago. Now these days they outsource the manufacturing to India and Indonesia, that's what I have been told. Still haven't figured out what I'm gonna do with them. I guess if anyone's having a Downton Abbey viewing party, I could loan them out. ;)

Is that a sugar bowl? It seems a little too big for one.

Soooooo there's a tiny little chance that I might be heading to the US, or Indianapolis and New York to be exact, next week. I'm quite wary about it but my 92-year-old aunt and almost everyone else insist that I make the journey. It has been almost 15 years since I was in the Big Apple, I'm sure things have changed, from what I'm hearing it ain't all for the better. I have asked a couple of friends about stuff like SIM cards (T-mobile seems to be the fav) and taking domestic flights, both things that I have never done before in the US. I'm also mentally prepared for a ton of racist encounters. Its gonna be pretty crazy as I don't know a single person there. Yikes! For better or worse, it will be an unforgettable odyssey.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Cavalock and The Rainbow Cake Sensation

We had a kid's birthday order a couple weeks ago for an M&Ms and Kit-Kats rainbow cake. And when you look online at how colourful and attractive they are, it's no wonder why they are so popular right now.

Once again, I wanna say that I just take the pix, the baker in the house did all the amazing work you see here, not me. So we noticed that in all the Internet pix, you got Kit-Kat bars surrounding the cake. But since we are doing a rainbow cake, it's gotta be pretty tall for the different brightly colored layers to show. That means we can't use Kit-Kats cos they are too short. We hit the supermarket candy aisles searching for substitutes and finally decided to go with Kinder Bueno bars.

Also, instead of a sponge cake, we had to bake layers of pound cake as we were afraid that the weight of the numerous M&Ms would cause the sponge to collapse into itself. Well, the baker did her usual work in our tiny apartment kitchen and as you can see, it turned out beautifully. The birthday boy loved it, the other kids freaked out over it and all the adults took photos of it.

Time to geek out with an update on the fake Lego minifigures scene and it's a doozy! It's Marvel's Fantastic Four with a giant-sized Thing! I kinda doubt if we'll see any official Fantastic Four Lego minifigures before their movie next year. Plus with the troubled relationship right now between Fox (who owns the movie rights to the FF) and Marvel, I don't think an official Lego set is even in the works. But thank the Master Builders that the folks in China came up with these fake ... I mean, customised Lego minifigures! They even came up with 3 different costumes or colored pants that the Thing wore over the years as a member of the Fantastic Four.

What size pants does Thing wear?

Size 4! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Cavalock and The Soft-Serve Supremacy

I first heard of my friend opening another joint several months ago. Her first little eatery or ice-cream parlour as I like to call it, Creamier, is already pretty popular and almost always packed. Called Sunday Folks, the new place opened couple weeks ago and is located right in the middle of Chip Bee Gardens in Holland Village.

For starters, Sunday Folks is much bigger and more spacious than Creamier. I kinda liked how it feels more like a proper restaurant than a hipster cafe. It's a different dessert concept although it's still another place to try their famous waffles if you haven't already had it. But here in the west, you get their new blend of soft-serve instead of the regular ice-cream that they serve at Creamier. An interesting change but I actually prefer the regular scoops cos I thought the soft-serve melted a little too fast. But I still wanna try all six soft-serve flavours (salted gula melaka, dark chocolate, Earl Grey lavender, roasted pistachio, Madagascar vanilla and summer strawberries) one day.

They also got a whole buncha other kinds of tempting desserts such as matcha cakes as well as rows of handmade toppings to choose from, like marshmallows and sesame thins for their soft-serve. In fact, I snapped quite a few shots of the restaurant but they didn't really do the place justice cos of the lighting and wrong angles. Maybe next time.

So my 80-year-old Dad has discovered a new park to shoot some birds. Here are some shots he took at Bishan Park recently. Not really similar to his previous photos, these birds seem rather contented to just perch around and let him snap away.