Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cavalock and The Baking Acceleration

It appears that we were in a bit of a baking frenzy recently. After our last batch of Rilakkuma cookies, we got busy with another order. Instead of the usual cupcakes, we had a request for this rather unique cupcake ice-cream cone combos. Colors, flavours, toppings, we had quite a task coming p with the correct match-ups. You can see the finished goodies here, complete with rainbow sprinkles, Pocky sticks and mini-Oreos.




Now this is probably the closest I'll get to a food blogger/media invite kinda thing. My friend's place Sunday Folks finally had their official opening a couple days ago and I got a front row invite to the event. As it's still Chinese New Year, there was a Lion Dance troupe and the usual festive trappings that come along with such celebrations.


Famous for their soft-serve ice-cream and waffles, their cakes are a blast too. Had a slice of the above Hummingbird Cake. Reminiscent of an excellent carrot cake if you ask me, but I just can't detect any hint of pineapples. I also had their Macha Cake which remains my favourite. The place is terribly crowded on weekends and most evenings so I'll most likely stick to my (rather infrequent) weekday afternoon visits. Which is also an excellent time to take advantage of their $10 cake and coffee/tea sets.



Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cavalock and The Rilakkuma Request

We managed to get these Rilakkuma cookie orders out of our tiny apartment kitchen just before the Chinese New Year and we heard all the kids and adults at the party loved them! The original plan to just have one cookie in a bag but we thought it was a little too small and unflattering to have only piece, so we decided to go with two in a bag.








Like I said earlier, it was a very quiet Chinese New Year long weekend for me. Hardly any visiting to do but did meet up with a few of the guys for a couple of boardgames. Also tried to continue where I left off on some unfinished stories. My 82-year-old Dad dropped by with some of his latest wildlife pix from all around the island. So far, this year he must have snapped over 5,000 shots cos he gets bout an average of 1,000 a week.






Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cavalock and The Chinese New Year Observation

Decided to drop by Meidi-Ya supermarket earlier today and just as I expected, it was a repeat of last year's Chinese New Year rush for shabu shabu meat. At their gourmet meat counter was a winding queue that's at least 20 deep. All lining up for those thin delicious strips of beef and pork that are so popular for reunion dinner hotspots. When your run-of-the-mill Australian beef or Malaysian pork from NTUC FairPrice aren't good enough, this is where you go for the upmarket Wagyu beef or Kurobuta pork slices. No reunion dinners for me, reasons below.

Well, look at what else is sold out at the supermarket. Damn! Wish I could have at least grabbed a couple of cans (yes, the wine came in cans!) before they were all gone and also spotted a buncha tempting treats that I really shouldn't ... and I didn't.





So it's Chinese New Year again and like the last few years, it has been a quiet affair. This year even more so since my aunt's passing. Funny thing is, ever since I was a kid Chinese New Year has never ever been a huge family thingy like what I often hear or read about. All that family drama, nosey relatives, hours spent traveling across the island etc. never encountered any of them. My aunts and uncles were my only other relatives here and I used to visit them almost every week so seeing them again on Chinese New Year wasn't a big deal and we don't have other guests or visitors dropping by either. I guess I'm saying that since they are now all gone, I do miss them. I suppose it would be nice to have some guests over at my tiny apartment, maybe play some boardgames.







Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cavalock and The Carrie Bradshaw Connection

It ain't often that I get excited over a pork dish that ain't Japanese or Chinese but the blackened pork collar at The Beast really impressed me. Imagine strips of tasty 'char siew' buried in a mountain of equally delicious mashed potatoes and fine beans. The thyme and garlic cream sauce kicks the dish up a couple of notches. Downed it all with a couple of bottles of hipster craft beer and I'm good. Also ordered the southern fried chicken and unfortunately that didn't work for me. Too oily for me and the flavor took a little getting used to.


Believe it or not, I'm still trying my damn best to clear the old family home. Here are two rather interesting items I found this week that I'm guessing belonged to my late mom or aunt. The first is a vintage Christian Dior bag or purse or something from the 1970s maybe 60s. It came with a deep crease in the middle so I thought the bag was halfway ruined but later found out that you are supposed or allowed to carry it folded. Apparently it became famous after Carrie Bradshaw used it in the first episode of season 6 of Sex and The City. But the kicker here is that it's going for over a grand on ebay?!? Check out the pix here.


Also uncovered were ten (yes, 10!!!) black vintage Jim Thompson handkerchiefs. All neatly packed and unused. Guess what the thing in the pix is! I couldn't tell what it is until I posted it on Facebook. Anyway, I'm trying to sell the bag and the handkerchiefs, so if anyone's interested, drop me a line.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Cavalock and The Golden Yolk Classification

They descended like swarms of ancient grey locusts, stripping every stall in their path for sweet and  savoury New Year delicacies. Elderly retirees from this side of the border on an unstoppable festive rampage, crossing into sunny Tijuana Johor on a single-minded mission. A juggernaut force to be reckoned with, armed with phone calculator in one hand and familiar NTUC FairPrice shopping bag in the other. The weaker ringgit has made it a most profitable venture for them to do their Chinese New Year shopping at the neighbouring Malaysian malls. I was just across the causeway and couldn't help running into hordes of aunties and uncles speaking Singlish at every turn but I was there for another reason besides shopping...


So I spotted this online Malaysian ad bout their KFC's new chicken that's allegedly "coated with golden yolk". Immediately mouth-watering images of glorious salted egg-coated prawns and pork ribs one always finds in Chinese restaurants began popping up in my mind. And I knew I had to find out if this was anything close to that. A little history bout me and KFC first. I dunno why but KFC in Singapore makes me physically ill whereas KFC anywhere else is fine with me. I have had KFC in Johor and Kuala Lumpur several times and pretty much enjoyed them. It's tastier and much less oily than here.


Now as for this new "golden yolk" version, well, it's alright. Note that it doesn't say salted egg at all so I guessing it's just regular eggs here. There is definitely a faint yolky taste to it and there's still a tiny bit of spicy kick to it like their regular chicken. You are not missing out on anything. I guess I'll stick to Church's Texas chicken here.


Hey, check this out! Looks like in Tijuana Johor, they really believe in the medicinal properties of Bovril and Marmite! I remember devouring bottles of Bovril back when I was kid and back when it was a real beefy brew and not this pseudo veggie yeast. 


With a little help from my 'friends' below, I managed to build the Lego's ambitious Ultimate Collector's Series Slave 1 that I bought from Legoland Malaysia (at 25% discount!!!) a couple weeks ago. It worked as sort of a grief therapy after my aunt passed away which I mentioned in my previous post. Got my mind off things although I should get back to my half-written stories real soon.




Monday, February 02, 2015

Cavalock and The Family's Eldritch Secrets

This kopi tiam stall serving Thai-style wanton noodles along Syed Alwi Road has been mentioned more than a couple of times in food blogs but apparently I picked the worst time to visit BaaMee Bangkok, in the afternoon right after it was featured in a TV spot earlier that morning. Well, at least that was what I was told when I had to wait almost an hour for my lunch but I was fine with that. So was it worth the wait? It was hearty and at only S$4.50 a bowl, I can't really complain much. I did enjoy the dumplings which I felt were nicely marinated and full.


But even though I'm willing to pay the place a return visit especially since it's just a ten-minute walk from my apartment, I have heard and seen ... er... other viewpoints. There was another customer who returned his dish cos the pig trotters was still a little too hairy for his liking and a friend who went on another day wasn't terribly impressed bout the food and service either.


My 93-year-old aunt, the matriarch of the family passed away last week. I was her caregiver for almost three years. I was also extremely fortunate that despite being bedridden, she was still fully alert and we shared many hours talking about family and stuff. When she first went to the hospital (yes, at 89 years-old it was her first time being admitted to a hospital), I didn't think twice about quitting work and taking care of her full-time. It was really a no-brainer that I would or should take care of her. I mean, she took care of me when I was little kid so of cos it's my natural duty since there was no one else to do the job. I have to admit the first two years weren't easy, it was emotionally and mentally exhausting. Seeing all your ex-colleagues enjoying life on social media wasn't fun. But I have absolutely no regrets about it, yup, ain't gonna trade them for anything. Over the months, we have already said all the things we wanted to say to each other and when she finally passed, there were no regrets and it was peaceful.

Like I said, my aunt could still put up a good fight and was fiercely independent right till the end. I was still in my own way, afraid of her. She spoke fluent English and was constantly surprising healthcare professionals. One foolish youngling dared asked her where did she learn to speak English. My aunt snapped back at her, "In school of course!". Among her many mantras to me was to take the money and spend it on "good food", not to comb her hair like Hitler's and that "only farmers wear jeans!". From her many stories, I found out that there be World War II loot in the house and far-flung relatives. I guess it's also partly cos she was still sharp and perceptive that I didn't feel it was such a chore to look after her. I suppose if she wasn't responsive, things would had been different.

I did learn a lot of about old family home over the last couple years. Gawd, where do I start? Since my aunt wasn't living there anymore, I started clearing the house. Geez, the vintage retro stuff you see on my Facebook and blog is only bout 0.01% of it. It's a freaking House of Mystery! An endless labyrinth leading to weirdness after weirdness. I must have thrown out at least a hundred trash bags of junk but it's the other possessions I found that I don't mention simply because I know that no one on Earth would ever believe me. Relics I found that bear no description known to men, locked artefacts that I dare not liberate lest the secrets they hold return to lurk and plot in the shadows. They are still safely secured in the old family home and there they shall remain until I learn of the proper ways or rites to dispose of them.

I will miss my aunt just like I miss all my uncles, other aunt and mom.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cavalock and The Serious Raid at Legoland

Thank gawd for friends with cars, we get to visit joints in faraway hideaways on elevated highlands like Dempsey Hill. Japanese cafe Henri Charpentier was the venue of an after-dinner rendezvous and it was our first time there. Classy decor, great service and an enticing baked selection. Clockwise we had the lemon tart, mille-crepe, strawberry shortcake and mont blanc. All the desserts were as gratifying as hyped up to be and we were already making plans to return for lunch soon.


Their French signature flaming crepe suzette was good but I ain't exactly a Grand Marnier fan, bit too tangy for me. If you had enough of hipster cafes, then this is a relaxing alternative place to hang out or maybe impress a date. We are definitely looking forward to exploring the rest of the menu some day (two words!).




At last, I crossed the border to Legoland Tijuana Johor Bahru but this is not like any other Legoland Malaysia guide, this is how to get in without buying the entry fee and go on a madcap 45-minute shopping spree. Yes, I'm talking bout a serious freakin' raid!

So here's the deal if you just want to shop at Legoland and not visit the theme park. You need to pay a 155 ringgit deposit which you'll get back when you spend 100 ringgit or more, yeah I said 'when' instead of 'if' cos we all know what's gonna happen. And you'll have only 45 minutes to do your shopping.

Right now they have the Chinese New Year Lego sheep/goat/ram figure promo but only if you buy certain sets or themes like Ninjago. I bought a buncha Star Wars sets so I didn't get it but I got packs of Lego ang pows instead. :(. Price wise it's almost the same as what we are paying here and if you factor in transport charges and the hassle of carrying the big boxes on the buses like I did, then I would strongly suggest you just get it in Singapore. BUT if you can get some kind discount then it's worth a trip. :)

Their build-a-minifigure selection is pretty good. I managed to build nine different ones and could have easily made a dozen. It's almost as good as the one I went to in NYC Times Square IMHO. Cheaper too if you consider the current exchange rate! Their pick-a-brick wall looks a lot better than any wall we have here. Now 45 minutes ain't a lot of time cos if you plan to pick bricks and build those cute little minifigures, you won't have time for much shopping.

There you go, if you are a Lego collector, there ought to be something at Legoland Malaysia that you can't find back home in Singapore or cheaper in JB than at our local stores. Good luck!





Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cavalock and The Super-Hero Cookie Creation

The first bake order of the year from our tiny apartment kitchen is out! So we had an order for a friend's 5 or maybe 6-year-old boy's birthday party. We asked him for his cookie choice of comic book characters and among those he picked, there was Cyclops from the X-Men. Now if you are a comic-book fan, you would understand when I ask, "Seriously? Cyclops?!? You really want Cyclops butter cookies?!?". Well, he also picked Wonder Woman which I believe is for the little girls coming to his party. Yah, I know it ain't the kinda gender representation we like to see but that's what the kid asked for.



A look at a tray of very rare Scarlet Spider cookies before they all become Spider-Man! I always get a blast whenever we get an order for comic-book cookies like last year's the Avengers and Batman.







So I told myself I hope to get more writing done this year and the crazy thing is I am but just not on this blog. My writing therapy has me churning out a couple stories that I hope to self-publish one day. In the meantime, I have also busy with mixing and matching the new official Lego minifigures Series 13. And no, this little scene wasn't created cos of any new ban on public drinking. ;)