Monday, January 30, 2012

Cavalock and The Magnetic European Mementos

For this post, it's gonna be bout two of my favorite blog topics so far, what else but my last European escapade and my new kitchen aka Stuff-I-Bought-In-France-And-Italy-That-Are-Now-In-My-New-Kitchen! <^;^> And a new fridge certainly deserves new magnets.

This little cup magnet from Paris came in real handy as a stopper as it prevented the fridge from hitting the oven switch. See what I mean when I talked bout making extra space for opening doors etc. in my last post.

Check out this cute magnetic sardine can clock from Italy. Unfortunately the magnet wasn't terribly strong and it kept sliding down the side of the fridge. So I decided a better for it, on top of the new washing machine instead.

But look at what I got to put on the side now! Found it at Galeries Lafayette in Paris and really, where can I find something like that back home? Of cos, I had to get it.

Finally, want to where else you can get Starbucks coffee besides their usual joints? Starbucks instant coffee sachets spotted at Meidi-ya last week. For S$39.90, you can make 24 cups of Starbucks brew at home or office. Used to be a fan of Starbucks but nowadays....nah, the taste, the aroma just don't seem to work on me no more.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cavalock and The Eclair Extirpation

I hope everyone had a great Lunar New Year. The new kitchen is still holding up pretty well so that's a good thing.

The new oven looking all nice and shiny
Like I said in my last post, when doing a new kitchen be sure you make some space allowances in your measurements. When you open your oven or fridge doors, is there still enough space to move around? And also check that the width of your kitchen cabinet shelves are wide enough for your biggest plates and bowls.

I finally have my own island!
Stuff comes in boxes! Don't forget that when they are delivering your big ass fridge, it's gonna be in a box that's naturally gonna be bigger than the fridge measurements so make sure that the box can maneuver through whatever limited space you have in your new kitchen.

I know it's a tiny kitchen but it'll do
A little foodie rant now. So I finally made my way to the new Paul bakery at Takashimaya. Ordered a lemon meringue tart and an eclair to go. Here's the shocker, my tart and eclair were indiscriminately chucked into paper bags. The eclair was ruined, the icing on top was gone. The tart was in better shape as it only cracked at the edges. Simply awful. :(

Now compare that with Maison Kayser and how they do their takeaways. I bought my eclair from Maison Kayser a couple weeks ago and the dessert was placed gingerly in a handy little box. Unfortunately I didn't snap any shots of the box but here's one of the eclair, still in one piece.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Cavalock and The Kitchen Reno Rodeo


Whew! It's finally done. Well, if you have been following my tweets, you would probably have noticed that I have been tweeting bout renovating my tiny kitchen and study. Started just before Christmas and almost three weeks into the new year, it was a excruciating experience to say the least. Mainly because I was still living in the apartment during the entire renovation.

The old kitchen
Where the old fridge was

And where I had my washing machine

After all that, I think I'm qualified to pen a little book on what to do and what not to do when your apartment is being renovated with you still in it.

First up, get ready for lotsa dust. Tons or volumes or whatever metric system they use to measure it, of dust will decent on every square millimeter of your apartment. Especially if you need to demolish your old kitchen. Remember that sandstorm scene in the latest Mission Impossible movie? That was a beach party compared to the scene in my apartment during the first two days of demolition work.
Next thing you gotta know when renovating is that plans will unequivocally change. Deadlines will stretch, somebody's blueprints is gonna be different from yours, materials you picked out earlier will be sold out when you need them and/or your existing furniture will be damaged by someone or something.

One of my biggest bugbears was not accounting for the extra space needed when you open a cupboard door or even the refrigerator door in my case. Bottom line is there will changes and there's not a damn thing you can do to prevent it.

Fortunately everything turned out ok, cutting it really close to the Lunar New Year. I'll post the completed pix in my next post. Meantime some interesting food finds in time for the celebratory period.

On the left, you got Creamy Pineapple Tart ice cream flavor from the best ice cream parlor on the island, Creamier. Every flavor they got is full of rich and natural ingredients, the Pineapple Tart has even got them little bits of tart crusts in it. Wanted to get a tub but they didn't have enough to fill one up, yes, that's how popular it was!

The Limited Edition Winter's Tale Sapporo beer on the right, where else but Meidi-Ya can you find something like that. <^;^>

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cavalock and The Pocky Grahams Encounter

Been awhile since I was back at Meidi-Ya so naturally off I went to my favorite Japanese supermarket. As expected I was greeted by a several new goodies, well, they are new to me.

First up, some new treats from Pocky! Very tempted to buy but I think I passed my Pocky phase a couple years ago. I must say, the peanut one actually looks healthy to me.

And the bestest thing I found there? GRAHAMS FRINKIN' CRACKERS! I have been looking for this at our local shelves for like a year cos of all them baking recipes that needed Grahams Crackers, like pie crusts and s'mores. So finally I found them but they aren't cheap, like over S$7 a box!

So what local dish did I miss most while in Europe? Heh, below is my first dinner after touching down, crab noodle from Melban. Followed by an entire white pepper crab from No Signboard restaurant a few weeks later. That's right, I devour an entire white pepper crab by my loneself. <^;^>

Friday, January 06, 2012

Cavalock Says Thanks Again

My little ‘expedition’ through Italy and France wasn’t without …er… missteps. In Rome, I lost my beloved camouflage buff after dinner one night.  Strolled back to my room and then I realized, “Dude, where’s my buff?” This was the freakin' buff that saw me through single-digit weather across Japan and England. Well, that left me no choice but to buy a brown Italian handmade scarf in the small hilltop town of Sienna a few days later. The kind serious adults wear. Otherwise anything above my chest would have been frozen solid before my first week is over.

Another thing I had to say good-bye to was my big ass Swiss Army knife in Paris. Don’t ask me how or why l had to part with it. It ain’t a pretty tale. Would you believe if I told you I lost it in an illegal gambling den run by gypsies at the back of a French restaurant?    

Now if you are into food and in Paris, you must check out the market area Marché Montorgueil. Down the street, that’s where you’ll find numerous bistros, boulangeries or pastry shops. And if you are there in the summer or spring, I can imagine there’ll be much more fresh fruits and vegetables on display. The fruit stall in this post is from the area too.

If you bake or cook, you’ll definitely appreciate finding certain ingredients that you can hardly find back home like 100% cacao chocolate. Outside one of the shops was where a nice French lady struck up a conversation with us and advised us on the finer points of preparing foie gras.

Well, this is my last post on my trip so I figured if you have been reading all this, I just wanna say thanks! And here’s a little something to show my appreciation for sticking around, hey, that’s five minutes of reading my stuff that you’ll never get back! <^;^>

Leave a comment and/or email in my comment box and at the end of the month, that’s January, I’ll randomly (using one them online randomizers) pick one where I’ll then email back to you for a mailing address. And here's what I’ll be mailing to you, four postcards depicting popular French patisseries and bread. Yup, one lucky person will get a set of four yummy postcards. I did a giveaway couple years ago (just so you guys know I'm legit!) and I hope to have another one in the near future too.

Got them from the famous Stohrer Patissier along Marché Montorgueil. So many to choose from....there were lots more mouth-watering food postcards, on all kinds of French food like summer fruits, different sorts of cheese, candies, honey (yah, I never knew there were so many kinds of honey) etc. I bought like ten different ones! 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Cavalock and A Dinner Date with Josephine

I kinda like how the some of the restaurants in Paris are given names like Angelina and Josephine, I think it makes a lot easier to remember. So on my last night in Paris, it was dinner at another famous place, Josephine Chez Dumonet. So how hot was this joint? It was so hot that I had to call and make my reservations couple weeks before flying to Europe.

I made the reservations for 7.30pm, that’s when they open too. But we got there at bout 7.10pm. Place was still closed but we could see through the shutters there were cops in there. Waited in the cold for almost half hour before the doors opened. No cops in sight. What I do see are nice white linen-draped tables and cool 1930s light fixtures. Nothing too fancy but old world bistro charm that you just can’t find anywhere else besides France of course.

Well, it’s definitely more than just the interiors that people are interested in. Their Grand Marnier soufflé has been proclaimed as the best in Paris if not the world, in more than a few reviews. And you got the beef bourguignon that’s also on the must-have list.

Started with an excellent pumpkin soup, followed by an all-star parade of delectable French cuisine including the above-mentioned beef bourguignon, crispy-skinned duck confit, tender piece of veal and the foie gras that we all agreed was better than the one we had at Angelina. 

Then came dessert, what else but the Grand Marnier soufflé. It doesn't collapse like others do and pouring in the liquor, geez it's that good.

Now dinner was the best part of the night but the BESTEST part of the night was me discovering a comic boy toy shop on the way back to the hotel! Bought a bunch of action figures for myself and as gifts. <^;^>

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cavalock and A Lunch Date with Angelina


A new year and I still got a couple more Paris posts to share so bear with me, and I promise you I'll make it all up to you with some of my best food porn to go.

So it was on a wet, drizzy afternoon that I found myself stepping into the famous Angelina Tearoom in the heart of Paris. As expected, the place was packed. But we were fortunate enough to be led into a more private area where we could at least hear ourselves talk.

If you ever find yourself in Paris, I think this is pretty good place to set a lunch date. Their speciality is Mont Blanc or chestnut, which you'll find not just in their pastries or desserts but also in their starters., like their chestnut cappuccino soup.

My soup od the day which if memory serves me right, was mushroom soup
Chestnut cappuccino soup and no, I didn't try it
Now they are also famous for their hot chocolate but my throat was already feeling a little worse for wear so I passed on that. I had the scared scallops served with creamy polenta. Very nice and no complaints. After the scallops, you got the beef fillet served with potato napoleon and below that is the duck foie gras.

Ah finally, zee desserts! Zee famous and much anticipated Mont Blanc. Gorgeous meringue covered with chestnut puree vermicelli. I also had the millefeuille, that's the first pix. Great food, good service but it didn't come cheap. Still, it's one of them once-in-a-lifetime foodie experiences that you just can't say 'no' to.