Archive for the tag “Asian”

Singapore! Day 9: Golf in Indonesia and Fish ‘n Chips in Boat Quay

Steve was finally able to take a day off today, so we woke up early to meet his friend, Jeff, and catch a ferry to Indonesia to golf on Batam Island in Indonesia.  We were in a taxi, and on the road by ~6:30AM. It was still dark out, and I think Steve was still half asleep!  🙂

At the station, Steve ordered Laksa noodles for me for breakfast (served with egg), and then we caught the 7:50AM ferry from Vivo City to the Sekupang terminal on Batam Island, Indonesia.

This was supposed to be a meal of spicy noodles, but they weren’t really spicy.   Steve had a HUGE “dollop” of chile paste added to his meal, which caused him to break into a  small sweat.  Mine, not so much.  It was tasty, don’t get me wrong; it just wasn’t as “hot” as I imagined it would be.

At 7:50AM, we took the ferry over from Singapore to Batam Island – about a 45 minute ride.   And, I’m telling you…this was the most well-organized, easy-going trip – ever!  Try as I did to tick Steve off by having “blonde moments”!

Once we arrived at Batam Hills, from the moment we stepped onto the golf resort grounds, every woman – to a T – said I looked like a doll, Barbie!  Ummm?? But, it sure was nice to have women saying something nice to me!

This was not on the course, but pre-golf game, this is what my hair looked like…very “Barbie”! LOL

It was the curls (thank you Pamcakes and TK), and the color (thank you, Michael!) that had them complimenting me at every turn!

The golf was superbly enjoyable, thanks to three fantastic caddies – of whom I did not capture a collective picture.  But, I did manage to get a picture with my caddy (after a round of golf – “Barbie hair” was not looking good!)

Me and my caddy for the day, Riyama.

After that extremely fun round of golf (if not a “good” round of golf), we grabbed lunch at BHGR.  I was served the “Batam Hills Sandwich” – which included chicken, beef bacon, tomato, cucumber, egg, and mayo – I suppose it was an Asian version of the Club Sandwich.  I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it, but it was quite tasty.  It was unexpectedly refreshing with the cucumber and tomato.  I finished the full sandwich easily.  I also dug having the french fries with chile sauce (they have a nice, spicy chile sauce at the club).

After lunch, we headed back on the ferry toward Singapore.  The return route was a bit more choppy, thanks to this guy…

He was making waves for us to cross over.

Steve and I had ~an hour to regroup before heading over to Boat Quay.  One problem…thunder and lightning struck about 10 minutes before we had to leave.  I admit that I was a bit of a pansy, and after giving Steve crap about getting a taxi to take us places earlier in the week, I (more than once!) asked “are you going to make me walk through the storm??”  He did (though it wasn’t storming yet).  We grabbed umbrellas and headed through Robertson Quay to Clarke Quay and over to Boat Quay to “Smith’s Fish and Chips“.

And…we beat the rain!! VICTORY!!

Once there, I was reacquainted with Bryan, whom I had met Friday night, and I met a few others – great people!  And, as the night progressed, I was reacquainted with more and more (now) familiar faces!  We also watched an incredible thunderstorm (with brilliant lightning) from the deck of the restaurant.  I’ve never been outside in such a storm, but nobody else flinched, so I powered through it!

Steve ordered me fried cod for dinner.  Holy I-can’t-finish-this-portion dinner!  Quite tasty, mind you. The fish and chips (fries) were delicious with vinegar and salt.  But, dear gosh… a HUGE portion!

It took me forever to even get through a third of this portion, mostly because I was chatting up a storm with Steve’s friends. Again, really cool men.

It was ~9:30PM by the time we left. AKA: way past Steve’s bedtime. No judgement…dude knows he needs sleep.

As we walked home, I couldn’t resist the urge to take a picture of the view of Clarke Quay at night – it was beautiful!

I know Steve loves his sleep, so I was grateful to Bryan for going out and grabbing a beer with me at Harry’s (Steve’s local “haunt”).  I have a hard time going to bed early, and it was nice to spend the evening chatting with a friendly man.  Bryan is a gem to be around.  He’s a hunter,  a beer drinker, a cook, and a family man…we shared stories about food, family, and Steve.  😉  And, now I know that I have a second home to stay in when I go to Baton Rouge (IF I go to Baton Rouge again).

Another great day in Southeast Asia!

Cheers!

Ker

Singapore! Day 7 – Chilli Crab (Clarke Quay) and Sashimi and Maki ( Robertson Quay)

Since Steve had to go into work this morning, I spent the morning walking around Robertson and Clarke Quays.  There wasn’t much to actually see or do, because very few things are open in the morning, but it was nice to wander, rather than sit in the apartment.  Mind you, it was seriously crazy hot and humid too!

That walk allowed me to further explore areas Steve had taken me to earlier.  So, when he came home shortly after noon local time and suggested we set out for lunch in Clarke Quay, I felt comfortable that I knew where he was heading.

We ended up walking over to Clarke Quay to dine at Jumbo’s Seafood. Our mission that day: take on the Chilli Crab challenge! And, we did.

We were seated with six other people at a table set for four twosomes. One twosome ordered the Chilli Crab, one ordered the Pepper Crab (boiled in black pepper) and one ordered duck (???). Steve ordered us the fried baby squid, stir-fried asparagus (shockingly, cooked in garlic!), and Chilli Crab.

Side note:  One of Steve’s coworkers (a Brit) happened upon us on the streets of Singapore and mentioned that I must be Steve’s sister – y’all….we don’t look ANYTHING alike! He’s Italian. I’m Irish-mix. He has green eyes, mine change color daily. He’s dark. I’m not just light, I’m white! And, on from there.  However, despite our distinctly different backgrounds and looks, we have an uncanny knack for liking the same things.  Very similar tastes and even mannerisms.

Back to Jumbo’s…just as the food was being served, I tied on the provided bib. I’m no dummy! Everyone else at the table (except Steve) wore their bibs too.  There was no shame in doing so.

The baby squid were delicious and served with a chile sauce (reminiscent of spring roll sauce). Crispy and easy to eat.

The asparagus was amazing! Bright green, cooked to perfection, and piled atop a delicious garlic sauce.  Steve and I found ourselves doing the same thing, pushing the garlic to the corners to try to soak it all up with our asparagus!  And, we devoured the veggies!

Then came our Chilli Crab, which is boiled and served in a delicious chilli pepper sauce that is the consistency of a heavy soup or stew.

Steve served me a claw first and I broke the meat out with ease (and no mess!).

I think I impressed us both equally – as I had anticipated wearing the red pepper sauce all over. Granted, my bib was quite covered, but my hands, arms and dress were not!  I will say that I tired of using my chopsticks by the end of this meal.  It’s so messy that it becomes difficult to use them the whole time – plus, it’s totally appropriate to use your hands and just eat the meat.  We proceeded to suck every last piece out of that pot, and then proceeded to eat the sauce by the spoonful.

We certainly did not leave hungry, and we managed to leave clean!

We then set off to Little India to visit the Wet Market – fresh fish, meat and produce vendors galore!

Most of it was closed by the time we weaved our way through Little India, but the stuff that was left was still amazing!  The seafood alone would have me visiting several times a week!

We rushed home to beat a rain that never came. Both Steve and I were convinced that it was going to pour, but the threat was idle. Regardless, we used the time to relax and watch “The Hangover 2“, set in Thailand – one of Steve’s favorite places, and one we were going to try to visit, but couldn’t make happen.

Then, off to a small Japanese restaurant, Yume Ya, for sushi dinner. We both had a tough time ordering, because there were so many things we wanted to try! We ended up having Shake (Salmon) sashimi, Kanpachi (yellow tail) sashimi, Spicy Tuna Maki Temaki (spicy tuna roll), Soft Shell Crab Maki Temaki (soft shell crab roll), and the Yumeya Special Maki (house special roll).

The sashimi melted in our mouths – it was so good!

Neither of us were huge fans of the spicy tuna roll, as the flavors were overwhelming since it was topped with a 12 spices blend. The house roll and the soft shell crab rolls were a different story. Both delicious!

We managed to finish all of the food and went home happy!  I was especially happy, as I was FINALLY able to pay a bill here.  Steve has been so very generous, and I had to sneak one in while I’m here.  🙂

I’m on my own in Singapore Tuesday since Steve has work commitments. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do since we’ve covered so much ground already.  But, I’m sure it will be a splendid day 8 on vacation!

If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to chime in as to how I should spend my day!

Cheers!
Ker

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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

Big Fish, Dearborn, MI

It was 88F and sunny when I got home today, so I decided to go down the street (literally ~a block!) and have dinner on the patio of a local restaurant.  Big Fish is a Muer restaurant – a chain – but it has a good selection, a nice atmosphere, and it’s close, so I don’t care that it’s a chain.

I had barely settled into my seat at a patio table when Tyler, my server for the evening, came by to take my drink order.  He suggested a lovely Chardonnay (and a glass of ice water!). While he was there, I handed him my little “blog card“, as I call it, and asked him to surprise me with an entrée.  Tyler gave the card a once over, and when he gave me a small questioning look, I let him know that I write this blog.  He looked back at me, and said “my pleasure”…and off he went.

My little “cheat sheet” for the servers.

I wasn’t extremely hungry, so no appetizer or salad, but he did bring me fresh bread, accompanied by whipped butter and salmon pate.

Fresh assorted bread, whipped butter, and salmon pate.

The bread was so good it deserves a close-up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that Tyler is one of the smarter servers I’ve had recently, or he simply has an expensive palate himself.  He brought me the broiled Alaskan Halibut, covered in an Asian inspired sauce, consisting of cream cheese, Sriracha (calling @dsap24!), lump crab meat, mayo, and basil pesto.  The fish was served with a wonderful ginger + something (;-) )rice, and grilled vegetables.

Alaskan Halibut with Zesty Asian-inspired glacage; drizzled with basil oil.

It was a fantastic choice – really delicious, but it may mean that the next few posts are about Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Arby’s!  Just teasing.  However, I did walk out of Big Fish having spent a good $60 on the meal (+ one glass of wine).

The smart server chose…$38.99 + tax! I don’t treat myself all that often, so it’s all good…

But, what the heck…today is pay day!  I can afford the treat!

Thanks to Tyler for being a good sport, choosing a delicious meal, and being a great server in general.

Cheers!

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