Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cavalock Says Thanks

I have always loved writing and being able to blog has been really fun and therapeutic for me. I get to get stuff my chest. One of my recent posts had me talking bout making some major changes in my life, taking a risk with leaving my old job, stepping outta my comfort zone and all, so like seven moons later, geez, I am in such a much better place right now, that I’m actually honestly afraid to believe it. It’s like a too-good-to-be-true situation. My friends are happy for me and I'm grateful for that.

But you never know, things are always changing. Right now, I’m just gonna enjoy the ride while it lasts and see where it takes me.

Whew! Just passed my 300th post and I wanna say a big thank you to everyoneand anyone who has ever dropped by and a nanosecond of his or her life reading my ramblings.

Figured I’ll try something different now. Got some of these really cool and official Pierre Herme phone straps from toy company Bandai, Japan. I got bout four or five of them, drop me an email at with your mailing address and I'll send one to you. Thanks again for reading! <^;^>

Latest update 14 Dec, well, looks like I gave my last PH phone strap out. Stay tuned, if things turn out the way they would, I'll have more stuff to give away! Thanks again for dropping by!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cavalock and Two Weeks in Britain

So I'm here with 300th post, its been a crazy ride. Thought of doing something different but really dunno what yet. But first, a wrap-up of my U.K. trip with some 'observations' and a bunch of random pix.

Cool thing bout the place is the chance to buy a bunch of stuff that you can't find here in Singapore and I'm not just talking bout stuff that gets high during breakfast. Got this and this from Whittard of Chelsea, they closed their Singapore outlet sometime ago.

Now, I always thought Moleskine notebooks and pads are a ripoff, too expensive and could never see myself buying one. Until I walked into the biggest bookstore in Europe. Moleskine notebooks are so much cheaper in London and they got notebooks that I have never seen before in Singapore. Like this one that ought to come in real handy for my work. Bought it immediately.

Was truly blessed with some good weather most of the time.

The Heathrow Express (below) is great, only a 15-min ride to Paddington station and then it's just ten minutes of dragging the luggage to the 2-star, teeny weeny hotels along Sussex Gardens.

One of the coolest places in London, the one and only British Museum. I sure wish I had spent more time here, so many exhibits I wanted to see but was overruled. * sigh * one of the drawbacks of a democracy I guess ...

Ohhhh, who am I kidding, here are more food pix! Hah! Here's afternoon tea at Cafe Liberty in Soho London. Had Lady Grey tea for the first time, I like it.

Great roast chicken from Little Chef (again), on the way back from Edinburgh to London.

And here's a famous London feature that I have heard so much about. Read about it numerous times. As British as fish and chips. A must-see like the London Eye, only a lot cheaper. It's the inside of a London telephone booth and its famous hooker ads. <^;^>

The one and only Stonehenge, came in real handy when working on one's thesis on ley lines and mystic runes. Heh!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cavalock Gets Trippy on Breakfast

Gosh, I sure hope I'll not boring anyone with my U.K. pix. Hah! Anyway, so it's back to London after like four days in Edinburgh. Cool thing bout London ... you see lots of people reading! Books and magazines are so much cheaper there, I mean here in Singapore, a three pounds book or mag would cost like S$14 or more! It's crazy!

Besides books, I got some stuff that I could never ever find here. Like this, a very yummy poppy seed bagel for breakfast! With cheese, eggs and bacon of cos.

Yup, poppy seeds, the kind used for baking, are banned here. Naturally, I wolfed it down like a junkie just out from rehab. So folks, don't narc on me! It was all perfectly legal!

Saturday morning at the famous Borough Market. Was freakin' crowded, kinda like Chinese New Year's eve in our Chinatown ... should have gone on a weekday, maybe next time I guess. But the weather was good and so was the food.

Cheap, good and very, very fresh oysters. Sure miss them...

Hey wow, this is my 299th post and I thought maybe for my 300th post I'll do or post something different. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cavalock and The Hidden Graves of Edinburgh

Alright boys and girls, lock the windows, light the candles and get ready for a special pre-Halloween post.

So did I have a supernatural encounter in Edinburgh aka world’s most haunted city? No I didn’t, sorry to disappoint anyone. Stayed in Bruntsfield Hotel and then hung around the town of Leith. Which just so happened to be one giant mass grave!!! Bwah-haha, really.

According to Edinburgh’s Dark Side, numerous victims of the plague were buried here and one time ‘the plague was so aggressive that half the population of Leith was completely wiped out’. And today ‘bodies have been turning up in private gardens in what was the Burgh Muir area ever since.’

A breathtaking view, grassy plains and freezing winds, they are all waiting for you at the top of bright and sunny Calton Hill. So what’s the spooky angle? ‘It’s said that witches of old would dance nightly upon Calton Hill, with a fairy boy from Leith as their drummer, and modern witches and pagans still do, once a year.’

There’s more! ‘At least eight murderers are buried in unmarked graves on Calton Hill.’ What a great place! <^;^>

And for the last food pix from Edinburgh, it’s a hearty hotel breakfast and my first taste of haggis. Was ok, found it kinda bland actually. Anyone else ever tried one before?

Next, it’s back to London, that means more food, buying stuff that I can never find in Singapore and yes, I do have to say ‘Don’t narc on me!’ to that one. :P

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cavalock and The Oak Aged Beer

Alright, so we are still Edinburgh and here are two of the most memorable lunches I had over there.

First day in had us hanging out at Edinburgh castle and then lunch at Amber, a 'traditional Scottish restaurant' right outside the castle, next to the Scott Whisky Experience shop. Great place, friendly staff.

Go click on their 'menu' link. See each item is classified as 'Substantial', 'light but filling' or 'light'. I think that's a cool idea!

Anyway, was introduced there to my favourite drink for the entire trip. Innis & Gunn, oak aged beer! Tastes different from any other beer I ever tasted. Don't really know how to describe it, it's a little more malty I guess and fuller I think, well, its been over a week since I had it but I really liked it.

Good ol' Wiki says 'Innis & Gunn Original is brewed in Edinburgh before being matured in Bourbon barrels for 30 days and is then a further 47 days an a marrying tun, and so it is matured for 77 days in total. It is 6.6% alcohol by volume.'

I asked/googled and I don't think I can find the beer on sale here...

More mussels, this time with Islay whisky and spring onion sauce. Like I said, mussels has become a group favourite.

Lunch the next day was at The Shore Bar and Restaurant. Picked it out of a Frommer's guidebook. Came highly recommended.

I had more than a couple of fish and chips meal during my stay in the U.K., but the one at The Shore was the best.

The peachy keen dessert was pretty good too. Yums!!!

Next up, one more Edinburgh post before I head back to London and it's gonna be a spooky one. More spooks and less food!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cavalock and The Favourite Fudge

Oh, bout that last conversation bout work-life balance, all of us agreed that there is NONE of that here in Singapore. It's impossible to find that here.

OK, now back to more food stuff. The stay in Edinburgh was great. Weather was fine and foodwise, I got try, taste and fall in luv with a whole new bunch of stuff.

Fudge Kitchen. Incredible fudge, I finished a whole big slab of rum and raisin fudge almost all by myself. Must-buy if you like sweet stuff. Was never a big fudge fan until this, unfortunately they don't seem to have a shop in London.

You get to see them make the fudge and everything.

Now this just occurred to me, I'm thinking, if I had to choose between the fudge and these macaroons, I might just pick the fudge as the best sweet stuff of the trip. Really! Cos they are sweeter (duh!), cheaper (although I can't exactly remember how much right now), the flavours tend to be richer and you get to savour each mouthful all that longer! <^;^>

Well, it wasn't all food in the world's most haunted city. Dropped by this comic book store to two (yes, just two!) comic and sci-fi figures. A 6-inch Dalek figure from the Doctor Who series (almost impossible to find outside UK) and a small lead figure of Marvel villain Kingpin to complete my Marvel villain collection.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cavalock and The Road To The World's Most Haunted City

One of the highlights of the trip was the 12-hour, 1,000 miles drive from London to Edinburgh. An upgraded Volvo, an excellent driver and an amazing GPS got us all in one piece to the world’s most haunted city.

Dare anyone heading to Edinburgh to read this site first. Hah!

Anyway, the drive up north was peppered with pit stops and here’s my favourite. Little Chef. Now some of these restaurants just got a menu revamp by award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal. What’s more, you can actually catch all that happening on SIA inflight channel, Big Chef Takes On Little Chef.

Now I said ‘some’ restaurants cos we stopped at two of them and both had different menus. One had the winter menu, the other didn't. We much prefer the one that didn't.

Mussels in white wine sauce, a new favourite. Anyone knows where I can find this in Singapore???

Quite possibly one of my fav meals during the entire trip, so good that I had to snap the menu of it. Hah! Braised Ox Cheeks! Again, where do I find something like this here???

And after 834,934 sheep and 129,453 cows later, we finally made it to our little hotel. Reached it bout 10.30pm but this here is a day shot.

Coming up ... more mussels, my new fav beer, London's most famous market and maybe even some totally non-food pix!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cavalock At Jamie's Italian

One topic that kept coming up during the trip was the work-life balance in the U.K. compared to that back home. Shops and offices closing at 6pm, I think I can live with that. Spoke to folks who are working and living in London, the Singaporeans aren't all that eager to come back to our familiar 12 to 14 hour-work day.

Now wanna know where we had some of that conversation? Right here during Friday night dinner at Jamie's Italian at Canary Wharf. Place was packed and a little too dim for my liking but we managed to place a reservation, they only take reservations for groups of 8 or more. Yah, we were a pretty big group.

Not the best shots but like I said, it was pretty dark.

Ordered the marinated sardines to start with. Not too salty, just nice.

Had the crab spaghetti for the main. Most of the mains come in big or small servings, that's the big one. The pasta were kinda thick and tend to be a little sticky together but still very tasty and satisfying.

The tiramisu dessert wasn't as good as I had expected. A little too dry for me maybe cos most of the tiramisu here tend to be rather moist, and I think I prefer that. Plus a little too much orange zest for my liking.

And speaking of celebrity chefs, here's my best buy from the trip! Only six pounds (where's the pound symbol on my mac??)! Been eyeing it at Kinokuniya where it's going for like S$60.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cavalock *hearts* Laduree Macaroons

So here I am, back after almost two weeks in the U.K. Had a good time, met some nice people and of cos, ate some great food. Didn’t get a chance to geek out as much as I did in Tokyo, hard to find those sci-fi or comic book stuff in London.

This was my first time in London so some initial observations bout the place. I heard waaaay more Spanish, Italian and Arabic being spoken than English, of cos that could be becos I was in the very touristy places bout half the time. And also a reflection of how the Euro is doing compared to the Pound.

The Eastern Europeans have pretty much taken over the British retail and service industry. Reminds me of the first time I was in New York (pre-9/11), I was surprised to see so many Latinos behind the counter, I don’t think I was ever served by a white guy.

Speaking of the US, the folks in the London look a lot fitter and thinner than the cousins in the US. Good for them.

Alright, more thoughts later, time for some food pix now! Possibility the best damn macaroons I have ever had. First read bout them here and when I finally bought, I couldn't stop shoving them into my mouth.

The bottom four are all salted caramel, the red one is red rose (I think, can't remember), green is mint, black is licorice and the last one is vanilla. Luv them all, and the cool black box too!

Coming up soon ... Dinner at Jamie Oliver's new joint, sleeping (and eating) in the world's most haunted city and a meal that had me saying "don't narc on me!" <^;^>

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Cavalock Goes To England

Here we go, London and Edinburgh in two weeks. Looking back, this overseas trip is different in soooo many ways. I'll go into all that another time. Right now, I'm typing this, watching TV and packing all at the same time. Hah!

Looks like the weather won't be as crazy as Tokyo. I'll try to twitter if I can find any free wifi around.