Monday, December 31, 2012

Cavalock and The Last Post of The Year

Oh wow, it's almost the end of the year and let's see if I can squeeze in one more post before the stroke of midnite. Now if you have been following my posts, you'll know that I'm clearing out my old family home and in addition to the tons of retro stuff I uncovered, I also found countless reams of cloths and fabrics dating back to I believe the 1970s or even 1960s.

So I passed all of them to my ex-colleague and friend Audrey who's a local designer and just this afternoon, she sent these images of her latest creations, using the materials I gave her! You can check out more of her designs at The Girl's Kaksh.

One more last thing before the year ends, thanks for reading all my rants and ravings this year. I can only hope that next year, I can finally be a real food blogger. Also starting early next year, I'll be putting up some of the retro/vintage stuff from the old family home for sale but I'll put them on my Facebook first. So if you know my real identity you can check it over there first or maybe drop me an email. <^;^>

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cavalock and The Food Review Mythos

Here you know you are reading a real, honest-to-goodness, non-sponsored food blog when I tell you that I have never ever received any invites to any restaurants in my life. That may or may not have anything to do with how I sometimes weave great Cthulhu into my food write-ups. But in my defense, it was a seafood restaurant! Alright, now that we got that outta the way. ;) Here's the latest joint I visited over at the new Plaza Singapura wing, Hoshino Coffee.

Reading bout this place really brought back a ton of memories of having breakfasts or just chilling out on a lazy afternoon back in Tokyo. So did this new place measure up to my oh-so-long-ago Tokyo memories? Well, not exactly. Food was alright but a little too pricy for my liking. But the service ... arrgghhh!... more on that later.

I had the S$12 Classic B.L.T. and frankly, you can't go wrong with something as simple as bacon, lettuce or tomatoes. I like the bread too cos it was pretty soft and not toasted till it was rock hard like some other places. So I could easily press down and grip the loaf with both hands then shove it into my mouth, not unlike how mighty Cthulhu devours all who are drawn into the impending chaos! Ok ... maybe I shouldn't have said that.

Gawd knows I can never get enough of ice royal milk tea and this one here passed the test. The spoonful of cream was a pleasant touch and I especially liked how it comes with its own little pitcher of sweetener. Was told that matcha souffle would take like 20 mins to prepare. So was it worth the wait? It was served nice and hot. The green tea was strongly alluring and it looked like it raised to a good height. The inside wasn't too gooey and I suppose if you like green tea and souffles, you will like this too. 

So how comes the less-than-satisfactory service I received. I understand they could be short-handed that day or a dozen other reasons for the subpar service. Just stating the facts, starting with how another sandwich took almost 30 mins to arrive and when it did, the bread was cold. When asked why my B.L.T. came ages before someone else's pasta while this second sandwich took forever, we were told cos it was from a different kitchen. Now I know how it feels like to be like cosmic Cthulhu in the forgotten city of R'lyeh at the bottom of the ocean... waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting for his awakening (Damn, I did it again!). And then they forgot my other dessert, the creme brulee. Maybe this was partly my fault cos when they returned with the receipt shortly after taking my order (like most Japanese restaurants do), I didn't check to see if they got everything down correctly until much later.

There you go! An honest food post unlike all them other sponsored blogs out there. And I promise if anyone invites me to their joints, I won't mention Cthulhu, Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep or any of the other Great Old Ones in my future write-ups. Thank you in advance. My people will be standing by to hear from your people.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cavalock and The Ice Pop Experiments

Merry Christmas everybody! Yah, I know I'm a day late but I got kinda caught writing something else. Hope everyone got to stuff their faces silly. It's a weird feeling this year. I mean being a caregiver also means I can't leave the country. So now I tend to stay away (as best as I can) from reading my Facebook and (sometimes) Tweets for obvious reasons. Hmmm.... alright it's the holiday season so none of that sad stuff! ;)

So a quick little update on the Zoku instant ice pop maker I got earlier this month. Managed to whip up a couple more new flavors with the help of one of my favorite after-dinner drinks, Yakult!

First was Pokka Blood Orange juice with orange-flavored Yakult. Exactly half portion of each. Turned out not bad but also not as sweet as I would like it to be. The Yakult helped thicken the popsicle adding a richer flavor to the whole thing.

Next up was grape's turn and we have a winner here! Enjoyed this concoction of equal parts Ribena and Yakult grape way more than the orange one. The grape taste was more flavorful and intense. I definitely enjoyed this a whole lot more.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cavalock and The Headshot Offensive

Whew! Managed to sneak in more than a couple of nerdy activities before the end of the year. Marvel Comics' C.B. Cebulski was in town as one of the speakers at the Asia TV Forum and like the last time he was here, we got to squeeze in a few hours, checking out the local culinary delights. You can read about some of his latest Singapore experiences here and here. Plus you can read Grub Street New York bout what he eats when he's back home in NYC.

We hit the Chinatown joints like the Hong Lim Food Court and then took shelter from the thunderstorm at the one and only Good Beer Company. Loved the above cider and Gawd knows how much I luv me ciders. Plus I do believe it's the same brand that's available at our Ikea, right?

The other nerdy, geeky thing we did was taking aim at each other during a 2-hour session of paintball! Yup, that's me with a not-so-nasty headshot. I say it ain't that bad cos some of my friends had it way worse, like bruises that tore the skin surface or falling down and having your palm ripped open. We played 3 capture-the-flag missions, and my job was to provide suppressive fire and pin the enemy down so our guy can go capture the flag. Heh, we won 2 out of 3 missions. ;P

It's also that wonderful time of the year when folks are clearing their annual leave which means more time for boardgames! Two new and very exciting games this month, the above Legendary: the Marvel deck-building game and the award-winning Village below. If you are a Marvel fan, I would definitely recommend the Marvel game cos there are so many ways you can customize the game to fight different villains and scenarios. The Village is your typical Euro management resource boardgame with a twist, that being the workers in your village do die and the game ends when the graveyard is full.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Cavalock and The Gunpowder Noodle Legacy

Well, this brought back some memories. Been several years since I had Eng's Noodles House's famous wan ton noodles and the last time I was there, it was supper with the guys after one of our regular boardgame sessions. So as you can see from the pix below, Eng's is famous for something besides their noodles. Now since I ain't a chili fan, I passed on the chili but everyone else had at least a couple (small) spoonfuls of the infamous magma. Yup, back then we already knew bout its fiery effects.

What was different that night was us having it for late supper. The next morning I was awaken to a flurry of SMSs (yes this was before Whatsapp), apparently almost everyone who took the hot sauce had to go number two in the middle of the night! The only guy besides me who had a blissful night's sleep was the chili connoisseur in our group and he's has a cast iron stomach for the hot stuff. Till today we still talk bout it. We now have a name for that hot sauce too, we call it the 'gunpowder'.

On to the noodles! Man, you just can't find wan ton noodles as springy as these and I really luv them. They may seem a little dry but the texture's just fine and it tastes great. And the wan tons are equally tasty too, both fried and non-fried ones. The place to head to is Eng's Noodles House at 287, Tanjong Katong Road.

P.S. Yes, this is yet another shameless attempt to be a bona fide food blogger by only writing bout food in this here one single post. We'll return to our regular broadcast of (maybe) food and something else next post.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Cavalock and The 500th Post Blowout

IT'S MY 500th POST! 

Can't believe I actually got soooo much blogging crap to post that it lasted this long. Well, off the top of my head, I can only think of doing a meme post now since the last one I did was back in 2007 and it does go quite a bit into my secret origins. Gosh, I was so simple bout some stuff back then. So for my 500th milestone post, I'm actually gonna do another Top 8 Meme just to see how much I have changed.

If you ever see plugged me into my earphones, it's a 99% chance I'm listening to a podcast and not music. Most likely I'll be laughing to The Danny Bonaduce Show. It's a daily morning talkshow from Seattle. Been listening to the DJ for like four years now, since he was in Philly. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to listen to professional DJs who aren't afraid to speak their minds and be really funny at the same time. Trust me, download the podcasts for a week (it's on iTunes too), listen to them and you won't want to listen to any of our local morning crap ever again. FYI, they took out the songs for the podcasts so it's all just talk.

Depending on who's asking, I'm ...
A) A caregiver
B) A freelance (fill in the blank)
C) Retired
D) Unemployed (specially reserved for pesky telemarketers)
All the above are true to a certain extent. There is however an option (E) but I'm just too polite to attempt a humblebrag. ;)

I'm a very politically incorrect person. And I think I better leave it as that before I get into any trouble. Gone are the days when a guy can make a joke, and not worry about some nutcase taking it too seriously and gathering a lynch mob to tear you a new one.

I honestly believe that women are the stronger sex. After seeing the women in my life handle some of the worst crisis life can throw at them, I just wish I can be as tough as them when the time comes.

I have lost count of the number of Apple products I have at home right now.

I'm serious bout this. If you are married and planning to have kids, do your maths first! Make sure you have enough $$$ to support yourself and your living family members during yours and their coming twilight years before you start raising a brood. In this country, most can't afford to do both.

After all the decades of reading comics, I still think what Peter Parker (Spider-Man) said to his wife Mary Jane is the best damn piece of dialogue that I have ever read in a comic book.

Still do not have a favorite Japanese or Italian restaurant in this country. The ones I been to are either too expensive or ... er ... not that great. Yah, I'm fussy. Looking for suggestions!

Wow, looks like I went on for a little longer than I wanted to. Hah! Got more but figured I'll keep it to just eight like the last time.

Now it's not a celebratory post without something bout food. Check out my latest buy, the Zoku Quick Pop Maker from Tangs.

You can read in more detail how it works and all at the above link.  Bought the big set plus almost all the accessories including a recipe book. But I was a little to anxious to try it out so first thing I did when I got home was to toss the pop maker below into the freezer for 24 hours, like it says in the instruction manual. So when you pour your mixture in the next day, it'll only take mere minutes to freeze!

Next nite, decided to whip up some very simple coffee-flavored pops. Didn't look at the exact recipe measurements that I found online but come on, can't be that hard right? Picked the new Nespresso Macadamia and Hazelnut flavors, added some evaporated milk, mixed them up and gently poured into the slots.

I guess cos I didn't follow the exact measurements, the pops came out all right but just not as tasty or sweet as I wanted them to be. The ice and everything else held together nicely. It took a few more minutes than the recommended 7 to 9 minutes for them to freeze. Maybe it's our weather.

I think it's still a pretty good buy despite the slightly lackluster results. The whole thing works fine and it's real easy to use. Just need to pay more attention to what you want in. And when I do, you bet I'll post it here. :P

One last thing to end my 500th post! A quick run to my fav supermarket Meidi-Ya and look what I found. Was very tempted to get the Guinness one (but the price! Yikes!), can't imagine how that's gonna taste like.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cavalock and The Senors Rios Parapraxis

"Senors Rios?" "What? Are they a mariachi band?" Yah, that was the first thing that ran through my mind when I heard bout folks here heading to a Sigur Ros concert. Well, after reading the tweets I think I know who they are, they are a hipster band from Mexico! Hah, the night after that I was out watching The Jersey Boys and the scary part is I know almost all the songs in it. I just thought it was pretty strange or ironic that years ago I used to cover the music beat for a local rag, even though I wasn't totally into the scene I was familiar with the gigs and who's on the charts and all that. My taste in music is kinda stuck in the 50s and 60s then I sort of skipped past most of the pre-Sat Night Fever 70s (I can thank my family for all that), before falling heads over heels into the 80s scene.

Alright, back to food! Finally had a 'proper' Vietnamese meal here in this country. Reason I said 'proper' is cos the only other time I ever stepped into a Vietnamese joint here was to have a cup of their coffee. But I have had full meals in Vietnamese restaurants before, just not in this country.

Nam Nam's Viet iced coffee tasted like regular ice coffee
Checked out the Nam Nam restaurant in the basement of Raffles City this week. Been there twice and ordered the same pho with beef slices, and pork and prawn spring rolls. Reason I had it again was cos I liked them, lotsa tender beef slices and them rolls were tasty too. Unfortunately everything else wasn't that good. Service was real fast during my first visit. But they misplaced my order during the second visit and I waited for like 20 minutes. First time I ordered the spring rolls, there were 3 in a serving. Second time, there were 4 spring rolls. Here's hoping for 5 the next time.

So I guess the one word to describe the experience at Nam Nam is "inconsistent". Plus the fact that I kept pronouncing 'Pho' as 'Fool' was pretty embarrassing too. :P

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cavalock and The Second Thanksgiving Effect

It's been more than a couple years since I did a thanksgiving post. My life hasn't been exactly going zip-a-dee-doo-dah all the way these days. Being a caregiver can be extremely draining, both mentally and emotionally. But really, there are a ton of things that I am thankful for. For starters, I'm always grateful for every meal I have. Case in point, the new Japanese joint Mitsuba at Central by the same couple behind Wasabi Tei and Chikuwa Tei. As expected, thick generous slices of fresh sashimi that I'm pretty sure everyone here can be thankful for.

I'm also thankful for a whole bunch of other stuff but I'm just gonna mention a couple of them. I do feel very lucky that I can still indulge in my geeky activities despite being a seriously stressed-out caregiver. From meeting with the guys for our regular boardgame or cardgame sessions, to being given a chance to write for local HereBeGeeks site (Mel's Muses), thanks guys! Now I wouldn't mind if there are more opportunities for me to write other stuff like stories somewhere else online or off.

There's always also our amazing local libraries that are always filled with hundreds and hundreds of some of the best comic books or graphic novels in the world. Have been de-stressing by reading all them DC and Marvel goodies for a decade now. And guess what, I just checked out my 1,000th graphic novel earlier this month! With the average price of a trade paperback or hardcover trade going for at least S$30 each, I think it's safe to say I saved about S$30,000 or more on comic books!

Yes, I keep a list of every graphic novel I borrowed, I'm geeky that way!
Thank you too to a family who taught me the virtues of $aving for a rainy day and who left me a real, freakin' House of Mystery to ... to ... I still dunno what I'm gonna do with it. Every time I'm there, I'll find something old that's part of my family, and I'll start feeling weird. But I do know it's gonna be one hell of a logistical nightmare cleaning/clearing up the place.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cavalock and The Stamps That Came In From The Cold

Well, since I didn't really had a chance to dine at anywhere new or interesting since my last post, how's about a baking update? Now besides the Iron Man cookies (and a bunch of other non-Disney related goodies), here's the latest Disney cake to come outta my kitchen and as usual I ain't the one who did it. And yah, those are actual toy cars on top and around the cake.

You got your big chocolate cake there, surrounded by more chocolate buttercream cupcakes. Not a fan of the Cars movies but I'm guessing that the 5-year-old birthday kid is. Snapped a bunch of in-the-making pix below.

Time for another trip to the junction between Retro Lane and Vintage Boulavard! I found these stamp albums a few weeks ago and if I remember correctly, they belonged to my granddad and two of my late  uncles... I think... Anyway, just wondering if kids today know what a stamp is?

One of my uncles worked in the US and there's half an album filled with US stamps from the 1960s and 1970s. They really look cool.

Now it appears that my other uncle and/or my granddad knew folks in or were themselves in a bunch of commie lands back then. I see a bunch of pretty exotic-looking stamps from Cuba, African and Arab nations as well as others from behind the old Iron Curtain.

Curiouser and curiouser. A page from my late uncle's journal and honestly, I have no idea what my family was up to after WWII or during the Cold War ... <^;^>