Archive for the category “Singapore!”

Singapore! Day 5 – Sentosa Island and Roberston Quay

After enjoying a wonderful, traditional Indian dinner with his coworkers, and then sitting at Wine Connection gabbing over a couple of bottles of wine last night, I knew Steve would be sleeping in so I took advantage and slept in myself.

We caught a late morning cab ride to Vivo City (another shopping mall, but Steve prepped me that it was only a launching point for our day!). We stopped at the food courts there for lunch and enjoyed fried noodle lunches.  Mine was Fried Hokkien Mee,
which was good, but only when I mixed in a couple of spoonfuls of the chile paste (seen at ~1 o’clock in the pic).  I think servers see that I’m American, and play things safely.  I appreciate that, but I inevitably end up “doctoring” my meals to get more flavor.  Steve, on the other hand, has been around enough to know how to order things to his liking.  His Fried Kway Teow were quite tasty, as served.
From there, we headed toward the Sentosa Island boardwalk and made our way to the other Singaporean island – on foot. (I love to walk places, and Steve is great about walking and talking about the surrounding areas)
We spent the day sightseeing. We went up in the Merlion statue, rode the Sky Tower, walked to the beach, saw everything the aquarium and bird/butterfly/insect areas had to offer. It is an absolutely gorgeous, if very touristy area. Plus, we had beautiful weather!
The only thing I really want to go back and do is the zip line! I was foolish and wore my staple outfit – a dress. Totally not conducive to zip lining, trapeze stunts, rock climbing, or any of the other activities offered on Sentosa. 😦
Once we got back and walked along Clarke Quay (I figured out the MRT route home pretty quickly!), we set out for dinner.
Steve has wanted me to try one of his favorite Thai places, so we walked downstairs and had dinner at his local joint.  [link]
It’s a nondescript and small restaurant, but the food was delicious! Steve ordered spring rolls to start (we were both hungry!), red curry with pork for me, and green curry with prawns for himself.  He had Singha beer and I had a white wine to pair with the meal.  Perfect for a hot meal on a warm night!
The red curry is supposed to be mild, and the green hot.  Steve had a small sweat going by the end of his meal, but the spoonful I had of his dish did not burn the way I had anticipated. Yet, it had great flavor, and I really enjoyed it!
The red curry tasted bland to Steve, but I thought it had a nice (mild) kick to it.  I couldn’t finish but half of it – only because I was full! I really did like the curry at this place.  Very tasty!
We retired to his apartment early, since we have to be on the road for golf at 5:45AM.  Steve is sound asleep (dude has always been able to fall asleep faster and more deeply than anyone I know!!), and I am back downstairs writing this post. I love the vibe in Robertson Walk – the area of bars, restaurants and shopping just outside of his apartment building. There’s great energy with all of the people, and yet it’s super safe.  Better than sitting in bed writing!
Status, day 5: Steve = alive, Ker = alive, therefore, all is still good!! :). Again, kidding, we’re having fun, and I’m getting to see a lot of the area, and have met several of his coworkers and friends.  And, I’ll be meeting a few more tomorrow morning.  So, time to retire for the evening (again) soon.
One last note…
Go Clemson Tigers!  Beat the Gamecocks tonight!
Cheers!
Ker

Singapore! Day 3 – Steve Made Thanksgiving Happen!

We got a late start today, and as we were walking to grab lunch, Steve asked if I would like to have Thanksgiving dinner.  The last time we had Thanksgiving dinner together, I cooked the meal at his place in Baton Rouge, LA.  We had a pretty fun adventure grocery shopping and shopping for the “tools” necessary to make a proper meal.  And, the meal turned out pretty well, as Steve will attest.

Here’s a picture from the last time Steve and I had Thanksgiving dinner together.  His kitchen isn’t a bad one in which to work!

turkey

Tonight, we decided to head over to Dan Ryan’s Chicago Grill for a four-course turkey dinner.

We paired the dinner with another bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not quite as good as the bottle we shared the other night, but still a nice wine.

First, we were served pumpkin soup and a house salad.  Neither had much flavor, but both were easy enough to eat.

Then came the grandaddy of them all!  The turkey dinner.  I’m talking about enough food to feed a family of four!  And, with each bite, Steve and I discovered more and more food on our plates.

The green beans were delicious – crispy and flavorful, the turkey was tender and moist, the stuffing had a good, hearty flavor, the mashed potatoes were cooked perfectly, the cranberry sauce had a good texture and tart bite to it, and the yams were nice and tender.  Mind you, I only had a couple of bites of each, and had the server “pack it” for “take away” (aka: leftovers).

We finished with “pumpkin” pie.  I put that in quotations because Steve and I each had one bite of the pie, scrunched our noses and tried to figure out what was wrong with the pie.

My assessment…it was sweet potato pie, not pumpkin pie.  I only had the one bite, but once Steve finished his piece, he agreed…not pumpkin, but likely sweet potato pie.  Later, as we continued chatting and finishing our wine, we laughed at the reactions of other patrons as they bit into their desserts.  So many funny and perplexed faces.  Some folks even checked the tent card to verify that they were supposed to be getting pumpkin pie.  At least we weren’t alone in turning our noses up at the pie.

My mission now is to find Steve pumpkin pie – because he was VERY excited to have a slice and didn’t get one. If I can’t find, or make one, I’ll likely make my famous orange juice cake again.  He became a big fan of that cake during the last Thanksgiving we had together. Can’t blame him…it’s good stuff!

Now, I know I’m going backward here, but I’ll share what we had for lunch as well.  As I mentioned, it was late, so Steve thought it would be a great time to check out a hawker station.  There were two reasons for this: 1) it provides a variety of ethnic options, and more importantly, 2) nothing else was open at the time!

We did one lap to check out all of the options (SO MANY OPTIONS!), and then circled back to order.  We could choose from duck, ramen, Indian cuisine, Dim Sum, or fruit, etc.

I chose to get traditional Chinese food – 1 meat, 2 veggies.

I got a spicy fried chicken with spicy garlic green beans (which actually were not very spicy) and eggplant.  The green beans were tasty, as was the eggplant (though I didn’t like the mushy texture of the eggplant), and the chicken was fine.  Nothing to write home about, but it did the trick!

We also stopped to get freshly juiced fruit juice.  I was served a mango/pineapple drink.  Very refreshing!

And, Steve chose Cendol, both because he really likes it, and so I could try another “staple”.  This place served it as more of a dessert, rather than as a drink like many other places serve it.  With the coconut milk and shaved ice, it was also very refreshing!

So, while I missed seeing my family on Thanksgiving (and cooking up a storm), and I miss my dogs, I’m very grateful to have the opportunities in life that I have.  I’m also very grateful that I’ve been able to keep Steve as a friend in my life for 16 years now!  Thanksgiving (obviously!) is not a big holiday in Singapore, but Steve made Thanksgiving dinner happen, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it!

Day 3: Steve = alive, Ker = alive

We’re on a roll!

Cheers!
Ker

Singapore! Day 2 – China Town, Little India and Robertson Quay

As impressed as I was with myself, (and Steve was too), for staying up last night until 11:30 or so, I was as much surprised that I awoke at 6AM this morning and stayed up pretty much all night again.
“Pretty much”.  I did take another cat nap on Steve’s couch before we set out for a late dinner. But, more about that later…
After leisurely enjoying fresh fruit on the patio for breakfast, I wrote the last blog post, caught some rays by the pool, got up to date on email, and watched a few “Friday Night Lights” episodes (highly recommended by friends) – all while Steve went into work for a few hours. My mind told me that I should have gone back to bed, but my body just wasn’t tired enough to do so.
When he got home, we set out (on foot) toward Dhoby Ghaut (a short walk), through the beautiful artists’ park, Istana Park.
We hopped the MRT over to China Town.  Please let it be known that Steve enjoys testing me, and I am becoming well-versed about the train routes already, as I’m confident Steve will confirm, and I’m equally confident that my friend Dennis will, rightfully, question – DT, I’m getting MUCH better these days! We then hit the town, so to speak.
I have been to China Town in Manhattan many times, and I was anticipating something similar.  While the concept is the same, Singapore’s China Town was much more grand in scale, in my opinion. Beautiful architecture, not only in the temples, but in the buildings in general. Still very “touristy”, but with a bit more Chinese influence in the surrounding areas…IMO.
We walked the streets and checked out the shops; I bought my friend the obligatory “cheesy [insert city] magnets I always buy him, as well as a couple of other carefully chosen trinkets for friends and family.

For JB, with love (and a nanny, nanny, poo, poo) always,
Ker

And, go figure, in China Town, Steve and I stopped for Bratwurst sandwiches for lunch.  This stand is legendary in Singapore.
The Austrian gentleman, Erich, who owns the place, seen in the center of the picture, has quite the loyal customer base, and is always busy. It was he, himself, who cooked and served us our food. He is a rightfully proud man!
I regret to admit that we dug into our sandwiches so quickly that I forgot to take a photo. The brat was fantastic, though there was too much bun, IMO. Between the bun and the mustard, I felt the brat flavor was a bit lost.  Still, I’d go back there anytime I visit Singapore’s China Town!
Then…the rain set in.  Luckily, Steve and I were near the “yellow chairs”.  I don’t even know what restaurant that officially is, but it has yellow chairs outside, thus, the name. We sat down in said yellow chairs and ordered Tiger beers (my call – it was, after all, 4PM on a weekday. Let’s be scandalous!). Two (large) beers
turned into four,
turned into five beers

Note: these were five split between the two of us…not something I could accomplish alone!

as the rain continued coming down.  We had a great time people watching and chatting with each other whilst drinking our afternoon “dessert”. If I do say so myself, it was a good call on my part!
We then set out toward Little India to stop by Mustafa’s – the local equivalent of a Walmart meets a Marshall’s meets a TJMaxx, etc.  Thirty-eight doors and four floors of ANYTHING you need/want/didn’t know you needed/wanted.
In other words, my personal hell.  Steve knows I hate to shop, but he’s a deal freak, so he “had” to show me this gem of Singapore (mostly so he could do his  own shopping).
This is two days straight he has used the “it’s a must-see” excuse to make me shop with him.  Note to Steve: my shopping fuse is short right now! 🙂
We had planned to go out to eat after coming home from Little India, but that plan got delayed as I played on my computer and Steve fiddled with the new toy he bought in China Town. And, then as he got sucked into a movie and I got sucked into a nap. Fast-forward to 8:45PM, and we’re ready to go.
We decided on Bella Pizza in Robertson Quay. I still wasn’t very hungry, but the menu was expansive and everything looked delicious.  Steve advised me not to do the “She Ordered What?!?” method, but rather to trust my gut. Although, everything is good, according to Steve, it’s best to choose what you really want.
Given that guidance, I chose the Antipasto Bella Pizza, which is the “chef’s selection of cheeses with salami, Parma ham and fresh arugula”.
Oh. My. Goodness…the selection was decadent!  Although…I will say that the arugula was a bit overpowering in comparison to the rest of the salad.  I couldn’t eat too much of it.  Nor could Steve.
Steve chose the Calzone Napoletana, which is described as “a folded pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, salami, and Parmesan”. Can you tell that we’re cheese lovers?? (and, btw, this calzone was enormous!)
His too, was delicious.  I stole a few bites (which he had gladly offered up), and I can only say that I’d have liked some crushed red pepper to add spice to the meal. Apparently, that’s not common in Singapore, so I didn’t press the issue.
Despite the earlier rain, we lucked out again with gorgeous weather and had a fun day of hanging out in Singapore’s “ethnic districts”.  I wish I would have had some of the regional food, but Steve has promised me that we’ll indulge later in my trip.  (I think he’s trying to ease me into the local fair – a kind gesture!)
Day two score: Steve = alive, Ker = alive
Therefore, success!! 🙂
Just teasing…Steve and I have a ball together, but we’re two hard-headed, smart-mouthed, highly intelligent, quick-witted people.  That’s a recipe for disaster! So far, we’ve averted disaster. I hope we continue to do so!
Cheers!

Ker

Singapore! Day 1 – Boat Quay and Robertson Quay

As many of you know, I’ve been silly excited for what amounts to my second “proper” vacation since I graduated college (it’s been a few years, folks!).  After a ridiculous itinerary full of flights on United Airlines (oh, how I miss the days when Continental existed!), including 20 hours of flight time with no wi-fi and no power outlets (rendering my laptop useless inside of 3 1/2 hours), I arrived into Singapore at ~1:30AM local time yesterday (the marker indicates where I’m staying in Singapore).    I’m here for two weeks, visiting with a friend who has been living here for ~2 1/2 years.  We don’t have many firm plans (at least that I’m aware of), but we do plan to golf and eat and drink our way through Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and perhaps Thailand.

Since yesterday was my first day here, Steve (aforementioned friend) wanted to keep things low-key, anticipating that my jet lag would hit on a moment’s notice.  Our plan was to hit most of the “touristy” stuff and to make sure I could snap photos of the “must see” sights of Singapore.

We set out on foot from Robertson Quay (pronounced “key”) and walked through Clarke Quay and over to Boat Quay. Neither Steve nor I are finicky eaters, so the most difficult part of lunch was making a decision as to what to eat!  There are endless seafood restaurants, British pub food, Thai and Indian cuisine, and more.  And, as we walked we got to check out the lunch fare – tanks full of live fish, lobsters, and the most humongous crabs I’ve ever seen – lined the sidewalks.  I’ll save a picture of those for when we have Chili Crab later this week.

We decided to stop at Forum Seafood.  Steve said they have the best seafood along the walk – and who am I to argue with the resident expert?  I surrendered the ordering process over to Steve, and in response to my challenge, he ordered several plates for us to share, and I have to say he did a really nice job!

We’re both pretty skilled with our chop sticks, so we tossed aside the provided fork and dove right into the Baby Kailan (sautéed greens, with garlic and butter).  I’m glad that Steve likes veggies as much as I do!  A good choice.

Then, it was on to the Mango Salad.  It was refreshing and delicious! Full of flavors, including peanuts, cucumbers, onions, red chiles, etc.

As you can see, we also dug into some Tiger Prawns, prepared BBQ and garlic style.  Both Steve and I were laughing about the fact that we’d later be sweating out garlic as we walked in the 88F/31C weather.  There was no shortage of garlic in our meal!

Finally, he had ordered the Bamboo clams steamed in butter and, you guessed, it…garlic!  However, our server came back to tell us that they had sold out of the Bamboo clams and she brought over a Venus clam to show Steve. He ordered one for each of us, and when they arrived…Dear Lord, those clams were huge!

The staff had attempted to cut the clams into pieces to help us eat them, but failed to fully slice mine.  I was left with this huge piece of meat and Steve was cracking up watching me try to manipulate that thing into my mouth.  It’s definitely not something a girl would want to order on a date! That said, although the first bite was a bit tough, the second and third bites were pretty tasty.

I admit that I didn’t help Steve eat enough…I left him with several prawns to finish.  It wasn’t that they weren’t tasty, it’s just that I was comfortably full, and I’m glad I didn’t overdo it.  We ended up walking, and walking and walking around the city/state.  I’ve included a handful of pictures at the end of this post.

After seeing so much, and enjoying a truly gorgeous day, we went back to Steve’s apartment and chilled for an hour and a half or so.  We may have each snuck a little cat nap in there too!

At ~8:30PM, we headed downstairs and scouted out Robertson Walk.  Ultimately, we decided to eat at Wine Connection, at a table on the street.  Luckily, Steve and I have very similar taste in wine, along with open-mindedness about food.  He ordered a bottle of the “2009 Terra Mater Limited Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon” to pair with our “choose 5 cheese and charcuterie” board.

For the meal, we chose Pecorino Siciliano (Italian), Brie de Meaux (French),  Gorgonzola Mascarpone (Italy), and Munster “Val de Weiss” (France) (because the restaurant was out of goat cheese).  Steve also chose Prosciutto de Parma to round  out the plate.

Hands down, our favorites were that happy little accident that was the Munster – a creamy, brie-like texture wrapped in the traditional firm casing, and the Gorgonzola – also somewhat creamy, but with a subtle flavor that kicks in over time.

The Pecorino was fine, but nothing too fancy.  When we caught a taste of the peppercorns, we both found the cheese to be much more interesting.  The Brie…now, that was another story.  Both Steve and I are big fans of Brie, but this one not only had quite a stench, but a taste to match it.  It was unlike any Brie either of us had ever had – and not in a good way!  We struggled to finish that portion.

We did not struggle to finish the wine, and had we had more energy, I’m confident we would have ordered another bottle.  I think we’ll be back before I leave to enjoy another round at Wine Connection.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the sites we saw during the day, including the famous “Merlion Statue“, the Marina Bay Sands, the Botanical Gardens, and a couple of other interesting spots.

The Merlion Statue, Merlion Park, Singapore

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel (yep, that’s a boat on top of the waves and towers)

Botanical Gardens as seen from the Sands SkyPark

The Ferris Wheel (“a ‘couples’ thing” according to Steve, since dinner is served on board!) and part of the Formula 1 race track that goes through the city.

Doesn’t every city have a floating soccer field?

Stay tuned for more adventures in Singapore and the surrounding areas! If you have advice on must-try spots, please leave a comment!

Cheers!

Ker

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