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Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day Gathering @ Take Eat Easy Modern Bakery and Café

There’re several cafes opened nearby my living area such as Take Eat Easy Modern Bakery and Café which is popular for the fruit juices squeezed in light bulbs. Some neighbors have told that the breads are freshly baked and tasty, yet I haven't tried their breads before. Take Eat Easy Modern Bakery and Café is located at the ground floor of Wisma Fiamma. Upon arrival, I noticed there’s purple alien mascot at the right side of the café with short description of pastry chef consultant, Frederic Oger being displayed. 

Take Eat Easy Modern Bakery and Café

However, upon arrival on the Boxing Day, there weren’t many cakes available. At the entrance, there were rows of bakery with various types of pastry, donuts and loaves of breads. One of the cinnamon twists with sugar sparkles like snow on top of them caught my attention. As shown in the photo below, there weren't much selection of pastry left.

Christmas Gingerbread house

Pastry and breads

Cozy environment which is suitable for group chat and gathering.

The navy jeans covered menu with some meaningful words: Take Your Time, be happy , live mighty

The service was friendly, albeit the delay in food and drinks. As most of my friends had their foods served after almost half hour of waiting time, I thought my ordered pasta would be served late as well. Unexpectedly, my pasta (spaghetti with tuna, crab meats and fried prawns) had served shortly after I placed order. A sumptuous meal for me! The foods I took costed me around RM40, which considered quite pricey yet the quality of food was up to my expectation. 

The fresh fruit juice squeezed into a light-bulb looked container with an interesting name i.e. fat killer.

A great 4 hours spent with the bunch of old friends and look forward to meet again!

Ground Floor-2, Wisma Fiamma, 
No.20, Jalan 7A/62A, Bandar Manjalara, 
52200 Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Delectable Pizza, Pastries and Macaroons @ Bread Lounge; GTower Kuala Lumpur

If you're looking for some peaceful and quiet with good quality of desserts for brunch or afternoon tea, Bread Lounge at G Tower fits the bill. The freshly baked breads, gourmet sandwiches, pastries, macaroons and cakes here are delectable have proven Bread Lounge to be another noteworthy hidden gem in Kuala Lumpur. Bread Lounge is a bakery slash cafe on the ground floor of the GTower in Jalan Tun Razak, famous for the pastries, croissants and artisan breads from Chef Eugene (Tanzini/Upper Deck) creations. 

It was my friend's birthday today and we thought of having brunch and afternoon tea at somewhere with good food and exclusively dining ambiance for cozy chat. She was attracted by Bread Lounge which had the high ranking of best cakes in KL featured in TimesOut.com and the photos of artisan breads and cakes in Bread Lounge website were appealing. It's like a hotel lounge for me and Bread Lounge was easy to be spotted with the giant chilies sculptures seen in the center of GTower lounge. 

Bread Lounge; GTower Kuala Lumpur

Stepping in Bread Lounge felt like stepping into a hotel or airport lounge as the overall design looked very high class. We passed through the display counter filled with assorted slices of cakes and flicked through the menu before we seated. It was almost 4pm and there weren't crowded due to it was a busy working day. I felt very delighted to indulge on afternoon tea to relax while others were still on the midday of work.

Each of us chose a cake and each priced at RM 14.90.
Raspberry Yogurt mousse; marble cheese; green tea and bunga kantan opera were our choices of pastries. The raspberry yogurt mousse baked with a handful of fresh raspberries and coated generously with raspberry icing with velvety texture and dark chocolate pieces as design. The design of raspberry yogurt mousse had attracted us to order this and particularly suitable for non-sweet tooth as it has some hint of raspberry sourness.  The marble cheese was well blended with mild chocolate tasted very buttery, soft, melted in our mouth. The taste was pretty straightforward in the sense that the flavor is reminiscent of cheese! This smooth, white appearance or powder-liked marble cheese pastry had the highest vote among us although it looked simple. Green tea and bunga kantan opera; renowned as the signature cake in Bread Lounge which was recommended by the staffs there. The typical combination was chocolate and coffee or vanilla and chocolate, but instead of coffee, green tea was used here.  I never know bunga kantan could be used as one of the ingredients of desserts as it was popularly used to cook tomyam. It's a  fluffy layer cake rich in the bitter-sweet essence of green tea with a subtly fragrant with the scent of green tea powder and flowery note. It is really an interesting flavor combination. Chocolate had a deep and strong sweetness but green tea helped making the cake became having mild bitterness. Green tea and bunga kantan opera - the ideal cake for green tea lovers and also for not-too-sweet cakes lovers.

I expected each cake served in a smaller plate, nevertheless this was much presentable.

Pizzas with cakes of our choices

Margarita Pizza (RM15) was the only pizza that wasn't often seen in other restaurants' menu. The description of the menu stated the ingredients included Mozzarella cheese, olive oil, tomato concasse, cherry tomato & basil pesto. We decided to give it a try although satay pizza sounded nice as well. The Margarita Pizza was served hot and it's not circular in shape nor square shape. A thick layer of dough baked to a crispy yet chewy perfection with the toppings were fresh cherry tomatoes, Mozzarella cheese and basil pesto. The ingredients were simple yet each bite of the pizza was really flavorful.

 Delectable pastries, the beauty and chilies sculptures
Birthday girl :)


Group photo with a big smile :)

Macaroons with RM6 each 
The macaroons here reminded me of Laduree's famous French macaroons which were not over sweet and chewy at each bite. The coconut flavored macaroon was very delectable and had firmed texture with hint of pandan. Lemon macaroons were very fresh and tangy, The sugar content of the macaroons here were less and nice to be paired with the hot coffee.

The oat loaf I bought home - photo taken from Google Image.
It was said to be without preservatives.

Bread Lounge; GTower is a highly recommended place to check out.
It's a well spent day lifting up the spirits and cheerful mood with a warm cup of coffee, good company, and some scrumptious cakes on a peaceful afternoon.

Bread Lounge
GTower Hotel
199 Jalan Tun Razak
50450 Kuala Lumpur; Malaysia
[Opening hours: 7am-8pm]


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Salmon Fish Fillets Noodles @ Norway Salmon Fish Head Noodles (behind Brem Mall Kepong)

Ever since my mom has changed to have haircut at a new barber shop, we have more choices of meals around the housing area. Norway Salmon Fish Head Noodles at Kepong (挪威三文鱼头米粉) has been recommended by the barber and we have chosen to have our breakfast on this Sunday morning. 

Salmon fish head noodles are the main dish here. However, you could opt for salmon fish fillet, fish cake or fish paste noodles to get rid of the hassle of picking out bones of fish. For non-fish eaters, prawns could be opted as main ingredient. There are 4 choices of soups such as original flavor (milky), curry, hot and sour, and bitter gourd. There's only a choice of noodles i.e. thick rice vermicelli.

Big display of the main dishes

The menu for the Norway Salmon Fish Head Noodles. 

Hot and spicy salmon fish fillet noodles
The blend of light spicy-sourish soup with crispy, tender salmon fish fillet is appetizing. Overall,  for a bowl of fish fillet noodles, a good slurp of spicy and sourish broth alongside with sliced ginger, sliced tomatoes.the salmon fish fillets are in satisfying portion and fresh. 
Fried salmon fish fillet with mayonnaise was served in a separate plate.
As it's not dipped inside the bowl of soup, the meat remains tendered inside yet crispy at the bite.

The original soup-based fish fillet noodles comes well with the thick sourish and peppery soup which is added with evaporated milk in it. Slightly sourish, yet pungent. However, my mom still prefers the original type as salmon fish is not favorable.

It's a simple yet satisfying meal, but considering the price, I am expecting for more ingredients in a bowl of fish fillet noodles. Anyway, salmon fish fillet noodles have been added in gastronomic checklists and I shall try the curry flavor next time.

Norway Salmon Fish Head Noodles,
Jalan Jambu, Taman Batu,
52000 Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur Wilayah Persekutuan

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Taiwanese cuisines @ Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant (蓬莱茶房台湾料理); Desa Sri Hartamas

Fong Lye is a chain of restaurants which serves Taiwanese cuisines and most people has compliments for the signature dish i.e. three cups chicken. The first visit of mine was at Mid Valley branch three years ago. Upon the celebration of my dad's birthday, we chose to treat him a hearty chinese-style meal in Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant. We went there around 8pm and the restaurant was very crowded and luckily no queue was seen lining outside.

We were lucky to be seated as the seats were fully occupied after then. After glancing through the menu, we had ordered the following dishes which were shown below. The Pu-Er tea were served while we waiting for our food to be served. 

Yam chunks with minced meats
The yam chunks were stir-fried together with minced pork meats, small prawns and dried shrimps. Flavor and aroma were inextricably linked together for this firstly served dish, making our stomachs growling louder. Well, as usual, cameras "taste" the food first.

Claypot Eggplant with Minced Meat 
Another homely dish which tasted similar to the one cooked by my mom. So, that's nothing much special about this dish, and I would prefer it to be in Sichuan style with some spiciness. Anyway, it's still a succulent dish and surprisingly the dish was not oily.
As green dragon vegetables were not available, the waitress had introduced another similar vegetables to be stir-fried with sliced chickens. It's simple yet delicious. We thought the tastiness was due to MSG, but we weren't thirsty after eating the dishes. 

Bean curd in Claypot with Abalone Clams 
A simple dish comprised of Japanese bean curds, shiitake mushrooms, abalone clams, fish maw, sliced carrots and sweet peas. The gravy was plain and rather plain, yet good to be matched with rice.

3 Variety Supreme Chicken/ Three-cup chicken

The last food served in a bobbling pot was the popular three-cup chicken. After the waiter stirred the chicken with fresh basil leaves, then we started our feast. 

The dish derived its name from three cups of sauces that required to cook this dish including a cup of rice wine, a cup of sesame oil and a cup of soy sauce.Fresh basil leaves, chilies and garlic were added to this Taiwanese culinary triumvirate, contributing an irresistible combination. The chicken meats were tender and flavorful, accompanied with fragrance induced by basil leaves. It's a mouth-watering dish and I had lost my counts on how many chickens I had eaten.

It was a pleasant dining experience and I missed the three-cups chicken.

Busy schedules of both parents and children make it harder to have family dinner nowadays, it has become a precious moment whenever we gather to have a meal home together and celebrate each family member's birthday. There're certainly few things that currency has no value, especially the time spent with family.Well, spend more time with the priceless loved ones!

Happy Birthday, dad!

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Slight Twist of Concentration to Embrace Sadness of Grief

Each of our heart has an inner room where we hold our greatest treasures and the deepest pain which are resulted from sadness of grief. Both sadness and grief are inextricably linked. Sadness is like an anchor dragging down any momentum of joy. The life becomes upside down when being engulfed by the grief, consequently the physical, cognitive and emotional self is being affected. Ever experienced restless nights with insomnia and tears accompanying you while you are trying hard to wallow the pain and heal the wound by yourself? The on-going process of grieving wholeheartedly, wallowing the pain and healing the wound could be taking much longer time than what's expected. Sadly, there are people who are unable to step out from the misery of grief where these people might choose to end their life.

Saying this from my own experience, it's a difficult process of struggling over the sadness of the loss of loved one, the betrayal, upsetting life, work stress, and etcetera. The mind and feeling have non-stop battles, consequently you have hundred or thousand of times lingering around the same question " Why this ever happen to me?"," Why is he/ she does this to me...?"," Is that the karma?", etc. This is exactly the same as the 1st stage of grief framework. Next stage will be overwhelming with denials of the truth and engulfed with anger, following by bargaining. The heart swings back and forth between the need to be determined and the urge to escape. There comes the depression where my mind is engulfed by the picture in my brain how things are supposed to be. Yea, my life is screwed up by own expectation. The cruelty of reality has to be accepted finally whereby you have to master the art of the broken pieces of yourself.

14th July, a remarkable date of this year that I have received two bad news. A respectful ex-principal has passed away due to cancer, while an ex-schoolmate has committed suicide due to depression. Perhaps the video above could let us picturing how depression affects a person physically, cognitively, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. While death as a result of depression exhausts the grief self , there are many ways to alleviate the pain and embrace sadness. In other words, we need to find ways to change the emotional states:

  1. Seeing eye-to-eye with own feelings and minds. Sometimes, sadness and grief let you aware the importance of the lost, and of course the real needs of yourself too. Self-love is what I have found out from recent loss realizing that I have cared over those little thing/ people too much than they deserve.
  2. Let the tears flow- Aching heart need tears to be accompanied with. Crying out aloud is an avenue to release negative energy. 
  3. Create space. When being depressed and exhausted, it is imperative that you find times when you can walk away from the place where you are needed most to take deep breaths and recollect your minds.This method works to me most of the time when come to workplace stress and dissatisfied work. People loves to judge and interrupt your privacy. Whether you like it or not, some may claim that this is breaking the ice (they would like to befriend with you/ knowing you more). This is not to say we should be anti-social. Rather, a short period of time where we need to concentrate without being distracted.Turn off social media and keep yourself away from the human interruption. I find that a short getaway or solo trip, a journey to jogging, a retreat on food are great ways when you need to reclaim the sacred space for mediating yourself.
  4. Deviate the attention to work, relationship, sports and etc. While focus is placed on other stuff, you will find that less crying, less over-eating, more space and time for yourself. Japanese lesson has come in time, where I have most of the time occupied in mastering the language. Bakery is also one of the best avenues to keep you busy for the whole day (preparing ingredients, checking the recipes, baking, serving and cleaning up the mess).
  5. Set up goals. It takes months or years for the healing process depending how much the damage is done to yourself. Healing doesn't mean the damage doesn't exist, but it means you're controlling it from continuously devastation of yourself. A twist of concentration to embrace the sadness could be done by having a slight twist of concentration on the goals you set for yourself. Goals to be achieved- career, reduced weight, participate in marathon, experiencing something new, etc. 
  6. Seek for motivational words - Positive words from articles, books, blogs, song lyrics and etc. could help to change your emotional state to calmer, less sadness. Sometimes, you need friends or external parties to talk to when you're in the sorrow. 

When you stop struggling to make something go the way you've expected it to,
you will find ways to start your life anew!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Thailand cuisines @ Friendly Kitchen Thai Food; Hua Hin

After vineyard tour, we headed back to town seeking for lunch. The high ranking of Friendly Kitchen Thai Food had been attracted us hence we provided the map to the driver to bring us here. It was difficult to be found as it's tucked behind a busy area of the bustling town and you might need to ask the locals for the direction towards Friendly Kitchen Thai Food. We were warmly greeted when we arrived Friendly Kitchen Thai Food.

Saw this map shared in Google

We were greeted warmly with the female boss who could speak well in English. The menu had dual language i.e. English and Thai language associated with the photos of food eased us in ordering our meals. The environment was clean and quite many locals dined here.

The foods here were tasty with affordable prices. The downside was the food portion which was smaller than our expectation, but sufficient for both of us. The service was great and I got to know that a free meal (fried rice/ fried noodles) provided to the driver/ tour guide. A pleasant food-ordering process as the female boss was very attentive and friendly. We ordered stir-fried vegetables with chicken meats and cashew nuts, steamed seafood in coconut and green curry chicken. 

Steamed seafood with curry paste in coconut
The very presentable dish with fresh prawns and squids served in a coconut.The combination of coconut fresh meat with seafood and rich curry paste was succulent. Steamed seafood with curry paste in coconut had just enough spicy zing to wake me up from afternoon sleepiness and it's very appetizing to be matched with the rice.

Green curry chicken
The Thailand Green curry chicken we had in Krabi trip was delicious, hence we had this dish ordered as well. It had pungent scent of the coconut milk. The freshness of Thai Green Curry paste really blended well together with creamy coconut milk in this recipe. The chicken meats were tender and this dish was very flavorful. 

Stir-fried vegetables with chicken meat and cashew nuts
This dish was rather bland yet still acceptable as the other two dishes were rich with flavors.
I preferred it to have more cashew nuts and in bigger portion.

The female boss helped us to capture this photo.

Coconut beverage with fresh coconut meats to quench the thirst

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Hua Hin - Wine Tasting, Cozy Chat and Sight-seeing at Hua Hin Hills Vineyard

Ever thought of pairing wines with cozy chat during the afternoon? During our visit to Hua Hin, we decided to experience the different side of Thailand which most people would not associate the country with wine; a vineyard. We visited Hua Hin Hills Vineyard nestled in a scenic mountain valley 45 km west of Hua Hin i.e. the home of Monsoon Valley wines. It was a precious experience for us since we had not gone to any vineyard before. Today was also a special date for my travel partner as it was her birthday. At first, I was quite surprised that Thailand has vineyards as I thought most vineyards were only available in Australia and other Western Countries. Another remarkable vineyard in Thailand was located in Khao Yai which I hoped to visit this countryside years later.

Hua Hin Hills Vineyard is built on a former elephant corral, a sublime place where wild Asian elephants were domesticated. The whole terrain, mostly comprises of loamy-sand and slate, this place about 40-210 meters above sea level is great for cultivation of grapes providing the seaside resort town of Hua Hin with its first boutique vineyard.The vineyard tour package is available here including fresh grape juice, wine and snack pairing. Elephant ride to stroll along vineyard is offered here too. You could also opt for a guided tour through the vineyard to learn how vines grow in their tropical climate via a jeep tour which commence around 1pm and 4pm.

It was about 45 minutes drive from Sam Phan Nam Floating Market. Upon arrival, it was almost 1.30pm and we reached The Sala; a restaurant which located in a modern building facing the scenic views of vineyards. We were lucky to be seated as most informed that The Sala used to be full-house and prior booking was needed. However, most of the tables that faced the picturesque view of vineyards had been fully seated.
The scenic view of the vineyards from the Sala, a restaurant cum wine bar was breathtaking.

The menu of wine and tapas 

The Sala has a world map of wine producing countries and New Latitude wines are served here. 70 percent of its wine production are exported mostly to UK and about 20 per cent are sold locally in Thailand.

It was the 1st experience of wine tasting. We opted for the wine tasting set which came with 3 glasses of wines (75 ml) with 3 choices of accompanying foods costed us around 650 baht – 

  • Monsoon Valley Colombard with Chilled Crab Meat Apple Timbale
  • Monsoon Valley White Shiraz with Lobster with Frozen Red Curry
  • Monsoon Valley Shiraz with Smoked Duck Breast

We had Monsoon Valley Colombard paired with chilled crab meat and apple timbale, Monsoon Valley White Shiraz paired with lobster with frozen red curry and Monsoon Valley Shiraz paired with smoked duck breast.
Smooth wines that run through the throat without causing the choking feel.
Well, I had not much knowledge on wines, but it felt nice to be relaxed and enjoyed the view.

Take a sip of the red wine and forget the unhappy moments
Chill and Relax, birthday girl !
I felt glad to enjoyed the afternoon here, viewing the valley while sipping a nice glass of wine.
Overall, it's a pleasant experience of wine tasting pairing with tapas. However, the hygiene of The Sala needed improvement as flies were flying around after food were served. We had to cover our glass of wines with tissue papers to avoid flies dropping into the glasses. Indeed, there were lots of flies joining our meals session which two flies landed into our half-drank wines. The waiters did help to exchange new glasses of wines after the unpleasant dining experience.

The weather was still great when we finished our wine tasting, hence we decided to have a walk around the vineyard. The staff here was very friendly and they offered help to take photo for both of us. They even showed us the spots where we could get some nice photos.

With the elephant sculpture
Vineyard map which showed New Latitude Wine Trail
Transportation mode: by foot, elephant ride, rental bicycle
We opted for strolling along the trail by foot as we could drop by freely to take photos.
Elephant ride for vineyard tour.
The elephant looked quite pitiful and tired.
A big billboard which showed the vineyard map, introduction to Hua Hin Hills and Monsoon Valley Wines, Grape Varieties, Wine Grape Varities (White and Red), World Wine Map, Propagation, Technique and Soil as well as the annual operation cycle and harvesting. Harvesting month: March; hence it would be better to visit vineyard during January and March for better scenery. A wide range of grape varieties for palates excitation including Colombard, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and eating grapes.

The walk around the vineyard was not long due to the heavy downpour right after we took some photos. The service of Hua Hin Hills Vineyard was impressive as a minivan came to pick up the visitors who strolled along the vineyard. Otherwise we might have been waiting helplessly in the vineyard and got wet by rain.

Hua Hin Hills vineyard is unexpected for those who grow up thinking grapes only grow in temperate climate regions. Price-wise of the food with wines is on a high side yet it's a good opportunity for us to experience wine tasting as well as sight-seeing at vineyard. The atmosphere at Hua Hin Hills Vineyard is very relaxing and suitable to be included in itinerary for whom that need an escapade of busy lifestyle. It would be a more delighting experience if we came during harvesting season. Anyway, the hygiene of The Sala is much desired as nobody likes to dine together with flies partying around.