Monday, April 30, 2007

Nero Vivo

A little Italian place in the Bukit Ceylon area...

The Dinner
This little Italian restaurant is tucked away in a cosy one storey bungalow just before the main Tengkat Tong Shin area (next to another restaurant called Bijan):
Restaurant exterior....

That night, we dined in the open air area:
The open air dining area....

The open air area is nice and airy, with a simple but sophisticated ambience.
I prefer this greatly to the indoor dining which is very well decorated but has horrible acoustics - there are so many hard surfaces around that it becomes very noisy with everyone's voices trapped inside the room.

Looking at the menu, I thought the starters were pretty pricey at first (they're all around 30 bucks) but the serving sizes are pretty big so I don't think anyone will feel cheated (although they are not cheap):
The Vitello Tonnato and the Salmon Carpaccio....

That night, we had the Vitello tonnato (RM28++) and the Salmon carpaccio (RM28++).

The Vitello tonnato was pretty rich - thinly sliced veal in a creamy tuna sauce with capers. I know it sounds like a weird combination but it actually tasted pretty good, although it was just a tad too salty for my taste.

The Salmon carpaccio on the other hand was light, tangy and refreshing. It comes in a chive vinaigrette with capers, olive, cherry tomato and zucchini. There's a really generous amount of salmon slices but Pat and P both agreed that although it's very fresh, it was probably farm salmon because it didn't taste as flavorful as wild salmon.

For the mains, we tried the Penne carbonara (RM28++), Roast lamb shank (RM44++) and the Pizza Capricciosa (RM24++):

Clockwise from top: The Penne, the Pizza and the Lamb Shank....

The Penne was ok - served with creamy and fragrant carbonara sauce and a few bits of beef bacon and mushrooms.
(Soo Jin complained that it wasn't a big enough serving but then again, he's a big guy)

The Pizza was nice - I liked the crispy thin crust and tart artichoke slices.
(Hmmmm,... the garnishings - mushrooms, beef bacon and artichokes - were not as generous as I would have liked though)

The Lamb Shank on the other hand was a bit of a disappointment.
It was pretty tasty but definately not tender enough - specifically, it tasted like meat that was taken out of the freezer, not thawed out quite enough and thrown into the oven to cook.
(Oh, and I just couldn't figure out what sort of vegetables were served with it - it was nice but tasted like Chinese preserved vegetables)

They have many other interesting looking dishes on the menu like the Stewed Rabbit which I hope to try the next time I go there.

As for dessert, we had the Homemade Gelati (RM7++/ RM12++), Chocolate Flan (RM18++) and Creme Brulee (RM14++):

Clockwise from top: The Chocolate Flan, Creme Brulee and Gelati....

The Creme Brulee was nice. There was nothing wrong about it particularly - a crisp thin layer of caremelized sugar with tasty and smooth creme underneath - but it just wasn't earth-shatteringly great.

Also, after tasting the real deal in Italy, gelati in Malaysia just doesn't taste nice in comparison.... It's just never creamy or flavourful enough somehow. Still, the one at NeroVivo is not bad. There are about 6 or 7 flavours you can choose from.
(The one I tried was the Bacio aka Hazelnut flavour)

My favourite of the 3 is definately the Chocolate Flan.
*drool*
Served hot, it's spongey but moist with a mouthwatering chocolate sauce in the middle.
(Bliss!)
(Do share though - it is too sinful and heavy to eat alone, I think)

So, it's: Ok food for the price, wide range of food and wine and nice open air dining area (outside) BUT noisy dining area (inside) and service drops drastically during peak hours (eg. getting a water refill became harder and harder as the night advanced).

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Nero Vivo @ Bukit Ceylon, KL
(Near the main Tengkat Tong Shin area)


Taste: 6.5
Ambience : 7
Service : 6
Price** : RM70++ per person
Parking: Painful (unless you jockey or park in the neighbouring parking lot)

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2070 3120
Opening Hours: 12noon - late

NO PORK SERVED



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Killing Time

Lalalala....

Just fresh from the weekend and less than 24 hours more till the public holiday.
And I totally don't feel like working today!
(Isn't that terrible?)

I am such a naughty minion.
Muahaha.
:)

Anyway, the weekend was good:
- I went to the gym,
(Yay for me!) (Only once though - Boo....)
- Had a nice dinner at NeroVivo on Saturday night with P and some friends,
(Will post up review as soon as I can)
- Went to view a condo on Sunday,
(*sigh* Had my hopes pretty high but the place was in pretty bad shape)
- Lazed around and watched DVDs on Sunday
(Miss Potter rocks! If you like whimsical love stories with very good acting, that is)

Hope you all had a great weekend too.
(I'm sure many of you are on leave today anyway)
:)


Hugs,
J

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Beautiful Like The Moon

F**k you!
... and YOU and YOU.
*growl*

Yes.
This chocoholic is having a bad day.
... so much so that she's resorting to some very unladylike language.

I was hoping that it would be a nice relaxing day (relatively) so that I can catch up on the things I've been meaning to do instead of just following up on the endless barrage of "urgent" emails that keep flowing in on a day by day basis.... Unfortunately, today is actually worse than others because there is a larger barrage of "urgent" and even some "super urgent" requests due to people trying to rush things out before they go on leave next week.
*sigh*
That, and my company's IT people seem to be getting on my nerves even more than usual.

The worst thing is: all the stress seems to have banded together and recreated itself as a stress pimple growing on my cheek.
*sniffle*
:(

Stressed Out + Pimply = Very Bad Combination, don't you think?


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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fatty

It's scary.
I was going through an old photo album over the weekend.... just flipping through and thinking back fondly on times that have passed when it suddenly dawned on me:
OH MY GOD.
I USED TO BE SO SKINNY!
:(

My self image has always been a bit skewed I suppose, thanks in no small amount to:
1) a bunch of high school friends who called me "fatty" for fun even though I was thin, and
2) my father who also called me "fatty" since I was young to motivate me to keep thin (I know he means well but I really question how healthy that approach is).

Now, years later and roughly 15 pounds heavier, I have gone right past the "slightly overweight" category, reached the "plump" category and am slowly inching (ha ha - how punny) towards the "fat" category.

Strangely, I am pretty comfortable in my own skin now - I really don't care so much that I am not longer that skinny.... but I suppose it would be healthier for me to put a little bit more effort into losing some weight.
(I've more or less fallen off my "go to the gym" resolution for 2007)

So, see you at the gym!
(I'll be the one who almost faints after 15 minutes on the treadmill)
:)


Cheers,
J

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Friday, April 20, 2007

The Tale Of The Strange Links...

Haven't done this for a while but what the heck:
Was going through my Statcounter visitor links (Yeah... I like to keep an eye on how ppl end up visiting my blog once in a while) and came across a few weird word hits:

1) The Damn Pub Lamb Shank
Erm, ok.... I'm no. 15.
(Ok lah - it's sorta food related so it's not SUCH a shocker)

2) kluang hotel address pr0stitute girls
Shit.
Now, I'm no. 6!
o_O

3) making love to indian aunties
Wah.
I'm no. 57.
There's someone out there with VERY specific preferences....

4) wifes toyboy
Ai yai yai....
WTF?
I'm no. 13??.

Man.
I suppose it's not such a HUGE surprise considering how you can find pretty much everything on the Internet nowadays.... Besides, after reading about sexy table top dancers in a Malaysian hawker centre, I really believe that anything's possible.
(Malaysia Boleh, btw... *lol*)


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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mediterraneo Cafe

A lovely cafe in the Tauranga area on the East Coast of the New Zealand North Island....

I was sorting through my computer and I came across these photos from my New Zealand holiday many moons ago. It's little late but well, better late than never, right? Anyway, this is a nice restaurant (albeit a little expensive due to the NZD to MYR exchange rate) so it's worth checking out if you are in the area.

Mediterraneo Cafe is a simple and cosy little cafe, located in the main Tauranga area, just a few doors away from the Hotel on Devonport:
The restaurant....

Open from about 7am to 4pm, there is a wide array of tantalising food (quiches, pies, crepes, cakes, etc) displayed in the glass case near the main counter:
Plenty to choose from....

After much deliberation, me and P settled on the simple but delicious mushroom, cheese and ham crepe. The friendly waitress then grilled it and served it to us quickly (Well, it was more or less ready made already so the preparation time is cut short):
Voila! The crepe we chose....

YUM!
It was light and cheesy and tasty, with generous amounts of ham and mushroom inside.
(Mmmm, I wish I could eat it again...)
(Ooh, btw, I highly doubt that this place is Halal)

To accompany our lovely breakfast, we had a couple of freshly made coffees:
Our coffees....

The cappucinno and cafe latte that we had were both lovely - smooth and fragrant.
(I thought that the little chocolate piece they served on the side was pretty crap though - to my dismay, I found out that it was actually Made In Malaysia chocolate!)

Like I said before, it's not cheap (the food ranges from NZD$7 to NZD$20) but it tastes great!
:)
Besides, enjoying the local food is part of the whole holiday experience, right?
(Hope you enjoyed that very quick food post)

So, it's: Simple and cosy cafe which has a variety of great light breakfast and lunch food on the main street in Tauranga BUT NZD to RM forex hurts soooo bad! *ouch*

Summary Information:
Mediterraneo Cafe @ Tauranga

Opening Hours: 7am till 4pm.
Phone: +64 7 577 0487
Address: 62 Devonport Road, Tauranga, Bay Of Plenty (A few doors down from the Hotel on Devonport)

NOT HALAL


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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bloody Flu

Can't bweathe.
*sniffle-snort*

It seems that there is a minor epidemic in my office.
*sigh*
2 of my colleagues feel sick very suddenly yesterday and this morning, I woke up with a really heavy head and just couldn't stop sneezing.

Being the trooper that I am, I decided that I just cannot miss out on the meetings I set for the morning/ other urgent work so I forced myself out of bed and trudged to my office.
(I figured, with all my in-depth medical knowledge, that it was probably just a really bad case of the morning sniffles)

A little later, I was feeling a tad feverish and my nose alternated between being totally blocked and leaking in a very embarassing manner....
(Shy lerr...... It's really not very attractive to walk around all bleary eyed and red nosed with a damp tissue in hand)
:(

Anyway, after:
1) half a day in the office snorting and sneezing,
2) my very nice manager saying "Go see the doctor and then go HOME - if not you will INFECT us all.. You already work very hard everyday so go rest today lah, ok?"
(Which I appreciate greatly as opposed to the "What? Sick again?" line and glare that I've gotten from managers of years gone by)
3) a trip to a doctor
4) a quick drive home, and
5) a good dose of hibernation,
.... I feel a lot better.
:)

Great!
Just in time to go back to the office tomorrow and catch up on an extra half a day's work!
YAaaay.....
*half hearted cheer*

Hmmm, I do hope that I haven't infected anyone else in the few hours I was at work though - everyone's so busy that falling sick is something no one has time for (including me, actually *sigh*)...

Well, if I have inadvertedly infected anyone, I suppose I'll find out tomorrow when a bleary eyed, snotty person attempts to strangle me in the office....


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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Voices In My Head

My darling bf thinks my taste in songs is pretty questionable....
Too "drama" and eclectic, apparently...
*sigh*

Oh well.
I do seem to like a strange array of songs and always seem to go through the same cycle of getting addicted to a song and listening to it over and over again....

The latest ones on the list are:
1) Not Ready To Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks
I've never been one for country/ western type music but this song by the Dixie Chicks is melodic and powerful...

2) Grace Kelly by Mika
Mika is SO campy!
:)
... but there's something just so cutely 80's and addictively joyous about this song.


On another note, I am having a pretty bad bout of Tuesday blues.
The bloody weekend is just so far away....
*pout*
... and there is a growing number of people being added to my List of People I Would Have Eliminated If I Could Get Away With It.
*growl*

I don't think that I am a particularly impatient and unforgiving person but some people just seem to get on my nerves like a cheese grater.
Anyway, I do hope that I won't resort to homicide anytime this week.
:)

Hope you all have a great week ahead too.


Hugs,
J

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Holy Cow

A new restaurant in the Kelana Jaya area opened by Donald Trump's ex-chef...

Here's the story:
Gary May, Celestial Steakhouse International’s owner and master chef, was Donald Trump’s personal chef from 1984 to 1986....
Although starting off his life with 3 years in prison under his belt when he was young, he turned his life around and became a successful chef in America. Eventually, he married a Malaysian woman, moved to KL and opened a restaurant in Kelana Jaya. Interestingly, the restaurant apparently hires ex-criminals and drug addicts to give them a second chance in life.


After reading such an impressive story in the Star Newspaper, of course my expectations were extremely high when I visited the restaurant (that Nick had pointed out). Unfortunately, my experience that night did not match up to what I expected...
:(

The Dinner
The interior of the restaurant is very simple and no fuss... Wooden tables and chairs with plastic-y blue and white tablecloths:
Restaurant interior....

It's definately not a fine dining sort of setting but it's still reasonably comfortable.... although I swear that there must have been a few greedy mosquitoes in there having dinner with us.
(I noticed that I had 3 bites on my legs when I got home)

Anyway, we started off our dinner with the Stuffed Mushrooms:
The Stuffed Mushrooms....

It turned out to be a simple and nice appetizer - the fresh button mushrooms were succulent and the stuffing of crab meat and breadcumbs was fresh, with a nice sour taste to it.

There was a free serving of either the soup of the day or a small garden salad when you order a main meal there:
The soup and the salad....

The soup was ok I suppose - clear, not too oily and tasty.... but the salad was really nothing special.

That night, Nick also ordered the Mushroom Soup on the side:
The Mushroom Soup....

Overall, it was ok - creamy and tasty.
(Also nothing special though)

It was actually with the mains that we were totally disappointed. That night we tried the Lamb Shank, Lasagna and the Steak:

Clockwise from top: The Lamb Shank, Lasagna and Steak....

The Lasagna was the biggest disappointment.
It was described as an award winning recipe that is a hit with everyone who has ever eaten it.... but it turned out to be pretty tasteless, not very cheesy and just a tad starchy.

I don't have much to say about the steak actually....
It's not that anything was particularly wrong with it. In fact, it was pretty tender.... but overall, it just wasn't that great.
(I honestly can't imagine Donald Trump eating it)

The Lamb Shank was also a disappointment: dry, stringy and mostly tasteless (for about RM26++!). I had to douse it with Tabasco sauce to make it more enjoyable. The highlight of this meal was actually the deep fried potatoes that I chose to accompany the lamb.
(You can choose between a serving of mash potatoes, baked potatoes, wedges or these deep fried potato things for most of the mains)

Oh man!
They were so so good!!: crispy and fragrant, perfect in every way....
(Except that they probably contain a tonne of calories per serving)

I don't know if I was just expecting too much from Celestial.... but I don't think I'll be going back anytime soon....
(Sorry, Mr Gary "I Used To Cook For Donald Trump" May!)

So, it's: Simple ambience, wide range of food and drinks, attentive and friendly waiters BUT strangely, the food just isn't that great for a place supposedly run by Donald Trump's ex-chef.

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Celestial Steakhouse International @ Kelana Jaya
(Near the old Giant in Kelana Jaya supermarket/ in the area behind the new Giant Hypermarket)


Taste: 4
Ambience : 5
Service : 7
Price** : RM40++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-7880 6498
Opening Hours: 11am - late (Closed on Tuesdays)

NO PORK SERVED



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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Where's The Food? (Edited)

I need a break from life and work...
So many things on my personal "To Do" List (filling up and submitting my tax form would be one of them) that I'm just too bogged down to do....

My blog has also been very woefully ignored for the last week or so....
... and that situation doesn't look like it'll change for at least another week, due to work commitments.

I will of course try to update with some food related post/ restaurant review before then if possible but meanwhile, do feel free to pop over to Mei Yen's blog to enjoy her yummy food pics and give her a vote.
:)
She's been nominated for the Blogger's Choice 2007 Best Food Blog!
(Congrats, Mei Yen!)

[ BEGIN EDIT ]

Looks like Boo_licious of Masak-Masak has also been nominated for the same category in the Blogger's Choice Awards!
(Congrats, Boo!)
:)

I like both their food blogs very much and couldn't decide which one I like better so what did I do?
I voted for both of them!
(Because they're both great in their own way)

So, what should YOU do?: VOTE FOR BOTH OF THEM TOO!
(Not that I'm twisting your arm or anything like that - it's just a very strong suggestion)

[ END EDIT ]

Anyway, till the next update: ADIOS! (And have a good week...)


Hugs,
J

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Nightmare? Or Not?

It's just one thing after another.
:(

First, all that drama with my parents and then, a horrible nightmare that still has me feeling shaken until now....

The worst thing is that it didn't even feel like I was asleep at all:
I was there, lying on my bed sleeping when I was woken up by a stupid dog that was barking and barking and barking.

Annoyed, I grumbled and closed my eyes, trying to force myself back to sleep while the dog continued barking in the background. Suddenly, I felt like I was being pinned down by something really heavy!

I tried to turn my head, but found that I couldn't move at all...
My entire body: hands, legs, fingers, toes and all felt like they were totally frozen!

At the corner of my eye though, I saw the outline of 2 hands in the semi-darkness of my room, pushing down on my shoulders....
BOO!

I tried to scream for help, over and over again but couldn't move my lips...
(Felt SO helpless)
:(

Then, as suddenly as it had started, it ended....
To my surprise (and joy), I found that I could move again... and I more or less jumped out my bed and turned on the lights, heart still racing.
(I then spent the rest of the night sleeping very restlessly in the living room with all the lights on)

I really thought that I had been "visited" by a ghost but my darling P has convinced me that it was probably just a really really vivid nightmare....
*gulp*
I hope that his version is true, rather than mine.


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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Trouble Child

"It's our fault you turned out this way, we've spoilt you rotten."

"You only ever want your way. Why can't you be less difficult?"

"You are always like THAT..."

"What? You want me to apologise to you, is it?!?"

I think I'm getting too old for teen angst but somehow, hearing these words over and over again from my parents still seem to get under my skin.

I wonder sometimes whether I am really such a bad daughter.

It was supposed to be a rare and special occasion.
I had promised to cook dinner for my parents, spaghetti bolognese which my mum likes, and I had been looking forward to it for over a week.
(I don't get to cook very much considering my working hours)

I left the office super early (before 6pm - the first time in all my years of working) and raced back in my car, humming happily to myself.... only to find that my mother had already finished cooking when I got home.

Shocked and dismayed, I asked her (I admit, with a little bit of a tone): "What's happening? I thought I was supposed to cook tonight?"

... and that started World War 1001.

Anyway, I'm being difficult again, aren't I?

Ok, so here goes:
I'm sorry you raised me to have my own opinion... but only when it's not one that differs with yours. Obviously I didn't learn that lesson very well.

I'm sorry that I do get very irritated by your holier than thou, stone age Asian belief of "The Parent can never be wrong so be quiet, listen, nod and smile, you little ungrateful child".

I'm sorry that I looked forward to cooking for you. I won't do it next time.

I'm sorry I don't always smile all the time.

I'm sorry I have turned out to be such a failure.

I'm sorry I'm ME.


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Monday, April 02, 2007

Weekend Withdrawal Symptom

Hrmmmm.
*shivers*
The weekend is over.

It was ok.
I went to the gym on Saturday...
(Yay for me getting off my lazy @ss!)
... and then spent the rest of the weekend vegetating - watching DVDs, reading and sleeping.
(Joy!)
(I don't suppose that totally negated the time I spent in the gym though, does it?)

Food wise?
I think I've hit a rut.
I've kinda fallen off the "Must try a new restaurant every week" wagon and fallen into the "Ooh, let's go to Vintry" one.

What can I say?
I'm a drunkard lah.... and any place that serves affordable good wine and yummy food would naturally become a default location for me.
(Finally tried the Deep Fried Pork there - OMG, it's so mega, MEGA sinful but SO good!)
:)

On another note, I am so broke.
(Bleh)
I'm definately feeling the aftermath of all that credit card swiping during my recent holiday in Italy.
(Ouchie....)

Erm, anyone want to donate to the "J the Chocoholic's Lunch Money" charity?
(Please feel free to pledge any amount, big or small, in the comment box)
;)


Hugs,
J

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