Archive for the tag “cheese”

“Powered by Bacon” – Bacon Bros. Public House, Greenville, SC

It’s taken me a week to write this post, and it’s a shame, because this meal was one of the most wonderful surprises I’ve had in a long time! I was back in South Carolina to visit with friends and to see my Clemson Tigers win their sixth game of the season, and we decided to grab lunch in Greenville after I landed at GSP! It was my choice – uh oh! So, I turned directly to the Yelp! app on my iPhone.

I scrolled through the list a bit, and one name stuck out to me – Bacon Bros. Public House. I’m not going to lie…it stuck out because so many of my friends, and in particular the guys I was to be meeting up with the next day, are bacon fanatics! (hashtag #BACON)

I knew that the restaurant’s name alone would inflict a little pang of jealousy! Aside from that, this fairly new establishment averaged 4.5 stars and had some very positive reviews. My friend Cindy, who was my hostess, taxi driver, and friend extraordinaire, was all in for Bacon Bros., so we headed in that direction. We were meeting up with our friend Greg for lunch on Friday since we weren’t sure if we’d be able to meet up at our tailgate the next day (Greg is a reporter for Clemson and has a pesky job that gets in the way of tailgate fun). ūüėČ

We found Bacon Bros. Public House in a small strip mall. We would soon discover that this is a hidden gem on Pelham Road!

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We waited for a few minutes for an outside table, and for Greg to arrive. As we waited, I was able to check out a bit of the restaurant’s atmosphere. The meat locker immediately caught my eye.

Bacon Bros Meat Locker

Bacon Bros Meat Locker

It was nice to be able to see the (locally sourced!) pork, beef, etc that would be served up. Not that I’m generally suspicious of restaurants, but transparency like that really inspires confidence in my mind.

I’d also like to give shout-out to the beautiful sink in the ladies’ room. I didn’t take a picture, but it was a very nice sink/faucet.

When we sat down, we were warmly greeted by a gentleman who poured us water. His voice was so calm and sweet that I found myself (somewhat jokingly) asking him to sit down and join us! He politely declined, since he was at work, but he clearly had a good sense of humor about it.

We were then greeted by yet another gentleman (hey, this is the south, y’all!) who “threatened” to sit down and join Cindy and me if Greg didn’t show up soon.¬†Greg did show¬†up just moments later.

In the meantime, at my request, a third gentleman, in the form of our server, Tanner, chose a red beer for me. From start to finish, Tanner proved to be a really engaging and attentive server. He added to the overall experience in a very positive way.

Boont Amber Ale (Anderson Valley Brewing Co)

Boont Amber Ale (Anderson Valley Brewing Co)

He then chose my lunch. Tanner was very cool about the whole process – not a single flinch. It was clear that he and the other gentlemen that work at Bacon Bros. not only know the menu well, but are confident in the food that’s being served.

Tanner chose what he called the sandwich that “is becoming our signature sandwich” – the B.E.T., with a side of Farro Verde.

The B.E.T. and Farro Verde

The B.E.T. and Farro Verde

Y’all, this sandwich…maybe it should be called the O.M.G. instead of the B.E.T.! The sandwich consisted of pork belly pastrami, Swiss cheese, fried duck egg, green peppercorn mayo, arugula, and yellow tomato. A fantastic combination – and expertly prepared! Note: the sandwich can get a little messy due to the runny egg yolk, but it’s worth a little finger licking to clean up!

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A close up of the B.E.T. and Farro Verde

The side is definitely not one I would have picked out on my own since it’s centered around boiled peanuts – a snack I never really developed a taste for when I lived in SC. I’m here to tell you that when boiled peanuts are mixed with field peas, tomatoes, and hominy, they are DELICIOUS!

Cindy and Greg were more than happy with their respective choices as well. Cindy chose a burger and onion rings (perfectly battered), and Greg chose the Pulled Pork Shoulder (served with waffles that have country ham in the batter!).

And, I couldn’t resist taking a piece (or two – Bacon Bros.¬†recently increased their dessert portions – the one thing about this restaurant that I would change – revert back to smaller servings of sweets) of Orange Dreamsicle pound cake home.

Orange Dreamsicle Pound Cake (top), burger (left), Pulled Pork Shoulder (right)

Orange Dreamsicle Pound Cake (top), burger (left), Pulled Pork Shoulder (right)

I didn’t end up eating the pound cake until Sunday, and by then it was more dry than I would have liked. However, the flavor was very good – not too overwhelming with the citrus, but light and tasty.

So, in addition to being amongst great company, Bacon Bros. Public House offered fantastic service, a unique and comfortable atmosphere, and spectacular Southern style food. We all agreed that it’s a place to go back and visit.

Note to self: next time, I’m going to get one of those “Powered By Bacon” t-shirts! I should have picked one up last weekend.

And, through Twitter, I learned that my colleagues in the Greenville area had also recently discovered Bacon Bros. and frequently visit for lunch. They had been holding out on me!!!

Because this trip was planned around meeting up with good friends to see my Clemson Tigers play, here are a couple of pictures from campus.

L-R, CC: The guns!, beer and egg rolls, Shorter Porter (Frankly Good Beer Co), and my college roommate, Bill and me.

L-R, CC: The guns!, beer and egg rolls, Shorter Porter (Frankly Good Beer Co), and my college roommate, Bill and me.

It was a wonderful weekend – as time in South Carolina always is! If you’re in the Greenville area, I highly suggest finding time to make it to Bacon Bros. Public House. Have you been? What was your favorite Southern style dish?

Cheers!

Ker

The Grog Shop at Muss & Turners – What the Duck?!? (It was Awesome!)

On Thursday evening, a handful of coworkers and I set out on our way to Smyrna, Georgia. ¬†We’re fortunate enough to enjoy the luxury of traveling (at times) via the company jet, so it’s quick, easy, and our flight crews are always awesome! ¬†We arrived into the Atlanta area by 6PM and set off to meet the rest of our group at The Grog Shop at Muss & Turners. ¬†This is a sister restaurant to Local Three Kitchen & Bar in Atlanta, which I previously posted about – and in hindsight, could have easily included it in the the 2012 Faves.

What should have been a very quick ride over to the restaurant turned into a series of small adventures.

Mind you, we received the following comments about this place from the coworker who made the reservations:

photo (2)As you can see, those were her words – verbatim.

So, based on our trusty iPhones maps, when we ended up in the middle of a high-end neighborhood, we were all a bit suspicious, but not totally sure if we were lost. ¬†A coworker re-entered the address into her phone’s navigation system, and we drove throughout suburbia, ending up in another neighborhood. ¬†(author’s note: I was in the third row, back seat, and therefore was totally out of the loop in terms of navigation (innocent party here!)). ¬†At this point, we were about to turn on the charm and just walk up to some unassuming family and invite ourselves to dinner!

We finally tried the street address one last time, and found that we were less than a mile or so away, but had to drive about 5 miles (through suburbia again) to get there!  And, yeah, it would have been a very quick drive over to dinner from the hangar.  Yet, at this point, we were approximately 10 minutes late! We did finally arrive at our destination!

Once we got there, the instructions seemed a bit less intimidating.  We did find the freezer door, and the hidden room, and saw seven of our ATL-based coworkers waiting for us in this charming little spot called The Grog Shop.

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The aforementioned coworkers

The aforementioned coworkers, deep in conversation

I admit that after the drive I was feeling a bit queasy, and after day four of “Insanity: The Asylum, volume 2”, I was feeling sore and tired! I mention this because I was not my typical and engaging self at dinner. ¬†I was BEGGING for UNsweet tea (no, being in the South did not convert me to drink 1/2 tea and 1/2 simple sugar!), and I did not partake in the cocktails, beer, or wine that my coworkers ordered (and reportedly enjoyed).

I did, however, peruse the menu – several times! ¬†And, being tired and simply overwhelmed, I decided to just hand my meal over to our capable and unexpectedly willing server, Scully (apropos, no?). ¬†She took the card I handed over to her, and without pause said “Cool. ¬†I’ll wait to see what everyone else orders, but I think I know what I want to bring you.”

As a group, we ordered Cheese and Charcuterie plates, as we have before. We devoured:

Sweet Grass Asher Blue, raw cow, GA, Cypress Grove Midnight Moon, goat, CA, Robiola Rocchetta sheep, goat, cow, Italy

Chicken Liver Pate’, house made,¬†Olli Norcino, Virginia Sangiovese wine salame, ¬†and¬†Bacon Rillette, house made (it’s a better version of bacon lard than Local Three offered!)

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El’s Wings, which are described as crispy fried chicken wings, ras-el hanout spice, lemon, cucumber yogurt sauce. ¬†They had a strong curry smell, but the flavor was not overwhelming.

Our newest team member was wise enough to order the Beef Cheek Ragout as well.  A delicious appetizer!

I tried to grab a few more pictures, but apparently my group’s treks around the local neighborhoods left everybody (including those waiting on us) famished! Folks dug in!¬†It actually took me over 30 minutes to gain everyone’s attention to raise a toast to the fact that we were all together again! ¬†That’s not typical!

After the appetizers, Scully (whose name was a mystery still) brought an order of the Grilled Hudson Valley Duck Breast for me.  I would say that it was divinely prepared duck over super tasty stuffing Рexcellent flavors!  The menu describes the dish in a much more specific and eloquent way:  griddled farinette cake, turnip puree, bitter green salad, balsamic pomegranate reduction.  Scully told me that this is her favorite dish, and I can certainly see why!  The flavors were just intensely good!

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I also tasted a bite of my friend’s Steak Frites. ¬†It was another dish with outstanding flavor! ¬†Believe me, none of us left Muss & Turners hungry!

I ended the evening with a lovely cup of decaffeinated hot tea.  I so appreciated that Scully presented me with a box full of options, and then delivered tea with all the right accessories.  It was the perfect ending for this exhausted woman!

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I’d also like to mention that Muss & Turners is an avid supporter of Team HIDI, which is just another reason to love the owners and staff. ¬†A beautiful and loving show of support for a beloved community member – you don’t always see that type of action from businesses. ¬†Thank you for a great evening Muss & Turners!

Cheers!

Ker

My Heart Melted at Melt Bar and Grilled, Mentor, OH

Ever since Melt Bar and Grilled opened up in my hometown of Mentor, OH, I’ve been wanting to visit the newest location. ¬†After a morning of being pampered by my long-time hairdresser, Michael, at Ladies & Gentlemen Salon and Spa, and with my long-time girlfriend, Sharon, we headed out to meet another long-time girlfriend (36 years!), Megan, for lunch at Melt.

We arrived at ~11:50AM, and although Megan’s name had been on the list for 20 minutes or so, we still had ~30 minutes longer to wait. ¬†Seriously, y’all…Melt is *that* good, IMO – but, it’s also new, and therefore a novelty for folks who are enjoying vacation time this week.

As with the other locations, Mentor’s Melt has a fun and energetic vibe to it. Here’s a snapshot of the some of the eclectic decor.

Melt Bar and Grilled, Mentor, OH

Melt Bar and Grilled, Mentor, OH

The menus are even quite unique – printed on the back side of old album covers.

The reverse side of my menu

We perused our menus, and as with my prior visit, I quickly became overwhelmed with the choices. ¬†I mean…who wouldn’t be at a loss with all of these sandwiches (and this is just a sampling!)…

MeltBarGrilled

My friends each ordered the “half combo”. ¬†For $8.00, you’re served 1/2 of a Kindergarten sandwich, salad and a cup of soup. ¬†It’s a lot of food!

I asked that Mackenzie, our server, choose her favorite sandwich and surprise me. ¬†I loved that she didn’t hesitate! ¬†Just a simple “okay”, and off she went.

We waited. And, waited. ¬†And, waited some more, but finally, we were served our lunches! ¬†(It probably didn’t help that our orders were likely input mere seconds after a party of nine that was seated near us.)

Here is what I was served…

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Mackenzie had chosen “Mom‚Äôs Meatloaf Dinner”, which consisted of homemade tender meatloaf, chipotle ketchup glaze, garlic mashed redskin potatoes, fried onion straws, muenster cheese, and was served with cole slaw (really good cole slaw – no mayo!) and French fries. ¬†And, all of this was $11.00. ¬†(also, there is an option for a vegetarian version)

As those of you who have followed this blog know, ¬†part of the fun of allowing the server to order for me is that I’m often served something I would otherwise overlook. ¬†I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have chosen a meatloaf sandwich (with mashed potatoes, etc on it) – ever. ¬†However, I did really enjoy it! ¬†Well, at least the 1/2 portion that I was able to scarf down during our late lunch. ¬†I took half of the sandwich, and most of the slaw home with me. ¬†I left the fries behind, reluctantly, thinking that they wouldn’t likely reheat all that well. ¬†Luckily, another friend, Jenny was able to join us for the latter part of our meal, and noshed on a few fries as well.

Seriously, this sandwich was so tasty – and I’m thinking that it’s going to be just as good, if not better, as a leftover! ¬†(do I enjoy it cold, or reheated? ¬†dilemmas!)

I’ve heard people say that they think Melt Bar and Grilled is expensive, but I tend to think one gets a tremendous amount of very good “comfort food” for the price. ¬†You have to go into Melt knowing that you’ll likely wait, but in my humble opinion, the food is worth the wait! ¬†And, the extensive beer list can certainly help you pass the time! ¬†ūüôā

If you’re in the greater Cleveland area and enjoy Gourmet Grilled Cheese sandwiches (or just want to try one), my suggestion is to MAKE SURE you stop by a Melt Bar and Grilled restaurant (in Mentor, Cleveland Heights (east side), Lakewood and Independence (west/south side)).

If you’ve been to a Melt, or a similar restaurant, what’s the best grilled cheese sandwich you’ve had?

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! ūüôā
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!! ūüôā
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 Рand 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 (saut√©ed 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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