Thursday, March 31, 2011

Island Escape

Photo heavy post on a recent trip to Langkawi with friends....

Just a relaxing (non-food) post, inspired by a recent trip to the Langkawi (Taj Hotel Rebak Island Resort)...
:)

Are you feeling gloomy? Maybe it's time to fly away:
Zoom zoom....


Quickly - Jump into your getaway boat and zoom off into the horizon:
Making waves along the way....


Make an escape into your hideaway home:
Loved the hotel villas we stayed in! Wished my house is this nice....


... but don't get too tempted by its comforts:
The room interior was nice too - very comfortable....


Find a spot on the beach, under the clear blue skies:
Sunny days are a beach holiday essential :)....


Time to RELAX! Sitting around, doing nothing is such a rare bliss:
BLISS....


When the sun starts to wane, enjoy the quiet moments, the tranquility:
The beautiful marina next to the island resort....


Savour the last lingering rays of the sun, before it takes a rest for the night:
Sunsets - always beautiful....


I love beach holidays.
.. and this was one that felt very long overdue - Really enjoyed taking the time off (just a long weekend) with friends to enjoy the wonderfulness of doing nothing** by the beach.
(** By doing nothing, what I really mean is: chit chatting, eating, drinking and relaxing to our hearts' content)


Slightly more tan,
J

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sage @ The Gardens Residences, KL

I finally visited the Android's Temple of Love....

I had heard so much about Sage, one of the venerable Android's favourite lunch spots, his Temple of LURVE:
The doorway to the Temple of Love....

Indeed the environment inside was calm and tranquil with an air of grace (but somehow, still without feeling pompous or too "atas"):
Casual yet classy ambience inside....

Like it's "sister" restaurant, Cilantro, Sage has a fusion Japanese-French set lunch menu which changes every week, expertly prepared by their Chef Daniel.

However, unlike Cilantro, the lunch menu is available from Monday to Friday (instead of just Fridays), at a lower price of RM 100 nett (instead of RM 150 nett) and does NOT come served with a glass of Kir Royale. Anyway, while waiting for the food to arrive, I attacked the bread and truffle SEAWEED** butter:
(** As corrected by a certain illustrious Android. LOL at self. No wonder I thought "Hmmm. Why the black truffle bits kinda salty and not enough aroma wan?" - because it WASN'T truffle. /FAIL)
Freshly baked bread with truffle butter = happiness....

Strange - although it was nice, it wasn't nearly as creamy and to die for as the truffle butter that I had tried in Cilantro.
(Still, no complaints, really. It was good truffle butter)

For my starter, I chose the Consomme of Hokkaido Scallops with Shiitake and Wakame Broth:
Simple but lovely dish....

Perfect! The scallops had been thinly sliced (but not too thin, so there's still adequate bite) and were ever so fresh, with a lovely natural sweetness permeating through. That, accentuated by the umami flavours of the warm broth had me happily enjoying the juicy mix till my plate was completely clean.

Next, for my main I had the Two Way Preparation of Duck with Foie Gras and Daikon:
Fairly delicious duck....

The Duck Confit and seared duck breast were tender but not quite falling off the bone. Still, I found it nice as the flavour of the savoury duck meat and rich foie gras against the crisp flavour of the daikon radish was well balanced.

For dessert, I had the Green Tea Bavarois with Azuki Beans and Milk Ice Cream:
Light dessert....

Such a simple combination but well executed, with the smooth and creamy bavarois (which is sort of like panna cotta I guess?) delicately flavoured with green tea and accentuated by the light ice cream and sweet azuki beans.
(Of course I would have preferred something chocolatey but this was a nice, relatively less sinful and light way to end the meal)

This post is (sorry) a little delayed so you can't try out this exact menu right now... but do check the Sage website for details on what's currently available.

So it's: Classy yet unpretentious ambience, lovely food (although the starter was much better than the main), friendly and knowledgeable staff BUT again, *sigh* it's not very cheap, is it? :(....


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:


Sage @ The Gardens Residences, KL

The Gardens Residences, 6th Floor, The Gardens, Mid Valley City, Lingkaran Syed Putra, 59200 Kuala Lumpur


Taste: 8
Ambience : 7
Service : 8
Price** : RM 100 per person (for this lunch)
Parking: OK
Website: Click HERE

** Discover Lunch set - 3 course meal and Coffee/Tea

Telephone No.: 03-2268 1188
Opening Hours:
Lunch (Mon to Fri) - 12noon till 2pm
Dinner (Mon to Sat) - 6pm till 10.30pm (Closed on Sundays)



NO PORK SERVED



MAP:
View Larger Map

OTHER REVIEWS:
- Paranoid Android
- Cumi Dan Ciki
- A Whiff of Lemongrass
- Lots of Cravings
- Babe in the City - KL

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Restoren Highland Fish @ Bandar Menjalara, KL

Venturing to Menjalara/ Kepong for some fish fresh from a hill(??) :) ....

Note: Apologies - I don't have the receipt/ exact prices for the meal below, but it only cost around RM 25 per person (including drinks and a few shared desserts).

I don't venture much into the Kepong/ Bandar Menjalara area because despite how near it is to where I live, the (EVIL) RM 1.60 per way toll has been a bit of a deterrent.

Anyway, there's actually tonnes of new and not so new restaurants around there serving a variety of yummy food, one of which is Restoren Highland Fish in the general Medan Putra Business Centre area:
Outside Highland Fish....

The food they serve is mainly Taiwanese and the environment is simple but comfortable - love how it is clean, brightly lit and air conditioned:
Inside the restaurant....

The speciality here (as highlighted on their name/ signboard) is the Highland Fish, Tilapia, which has been specially bred/ raised in fresh spring water somewhere in a lake on Bukit Tinggi. There are 3 preparation styles for this, and we tried the one with Basil sauce and one with Ginger sauce:
Fish with Basil Sauce....
Fish with Ginger Sauce....

Both fishes were a bit on the small side, but tasted fresh, accentuated by the simple sauces. I preferred the Ginger sauce though, as that was more flavorful....
(The basil sauce was interesting, but a little on the bland side)

Unfortunately, I was not very impressed with the Seasoned Mutton - although it was tender, there was a fairly strong gamey aftertaste that many would not like:
Tender Mutton....

Luckily, the Sanbeiji (3 Cups Chicken?) which we ordered was really, REALLY good, redeeming any flaws in the previous dishes:
DELICIOUS!....

This is a popular Taiwanese dish, but many restaurants can't get the balance of the 3 ingredients (sesame oil, soy sauce, Chinese wine) right. Here, not only was the chicken perfectly tender, but the slightly sticky sauce was fragrant with a great balance of sweet and salty, with an added complexity from the fresh basil added in.

Another dish that I really enjoyed that night was the Wintermelon Scallop Soup:
Hearty soup....

It had been lovingly double boiled with lots of quality ingredients like scallop, melon and cuttlefish, achieving the perfect balance of sweet and savoury. (Yummy!)

The other dishes we had were also worth ordering:
- Beancurd with Minced Pork:
Tofu....

Simple preparation but yummy - Smooth cubes of tofu lightly fried and served with a tasty, savoury pork mince sauce.

- Simmered Pork:
The pork....

Tender pieces of pork, not too lean/fat in a savoury sauce.

- Deepfried Crispy Eggplant:
The Eggplant....

Lightly crisp thick slices of eggplants, complemented well by the fragrant pork mince sauce.

- Stirfried Teenchat with Kei Chi:
Interesting, healthy vegetable dish....

This was an interesting dish, lightly sweet flavour from the kei chi (wolfberries) and the leaves had a crunchy but slightly gummy texture (akin to ladies fingers) - it's supposed to be good for your health (liver, I think?).

Overall, (other than the mutton) it was a really lovely meal. Even now, weeks later, I am having cravings for the Sanbeiji and the soup, served with some rice.
:D

So it's: Simple setting, friendly service, good range of Taiwanese food for reasonable prices BUT nothing bad really, just that I heard that parking/ traffic in the area is a PAIN on weekdays - so, go check it out on weekends?......


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Restoren Highland Fish @ Bandar Menjalara, KL

No. 61, Jalan Medan Putra 1, Medan Putra Business Centre, Bandar Menjalara, Kuala Lumpur

Taste: 6
Ambience : 6
Service : 6
Price** : RM 23++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-6272 4492
Opening Hours:
Lunch - 10am till 3pm
Dinner - 5pm till 10pm

NOT HALAL



MAP:

View Restoren Highland Fish in a larger map


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Restoran Langkawi Sunshine @ Kuah, Langkawi

Good food in the middle of a tourist trap (Langkawi)? Wah...

When going on holiday (unless it's a trip that had been designed specifically for makan/ eating), I usually resign myself to the fact that I'll end up consuming yucky, overpriced food, especially in the tourist-y areas.

This time, we were in the middle one of the main shopping** areas in Kuah, which is the main town on the main Langkawi island.
(** There were several shophouses selling a mind boggling variety of duty free alcohol (wine, vodka, whiskey, rum, etc), chocolates, kitchen stuff (corningware, etc), as well as other stuff llike souvenirs)

We were hungry and didn't know where to go. So, we just picked the Langkawi Sunshine restaurant because it was the nearest place to where we happened to be standing:
Outside Langkawi Sunshine....

It really is just a simple coffeeshop setting ("tai chow" style), and while they have a menu in English, the friendly waiter will gladly help recommend their specialties:
The "ambience" inside the restaurant....

We started off with the Deep Fried Tofu (RM 12):
Delicious tofu....

Honestly, we were surprised as we were off to a good start = The cubes of egg tofu were not silky smooth, but definitely smooth enough and had a lightly crisp and tasty coating.

We also ordered some Nam Yue (Chinese Fermented Bean Curd) Pork Ribs (RM 30):
Oink oink....

I could never stand eating nam yue just like that, but have always been amazed how this salty, pungent, fermented bean curd could make pork ribs so yummy when it is used as part of the marinade.

Anyway, in some restaurants, the taste can be a bit overpowering... but here, it was balanced well, accentuating the sweetness of the pork. The meat could have been just a bit more tender but otherwise, this was nice.

We had a few very hungry guys at the table that day, so a few orders of carbs were essential. Our carb loading session started off with the Salted Fish Fried Rice (RM 18):
One of my favourites....

Overall, just ok.... Not great but not bad either, with a nice texture of rice (dry-ish and "one piece, one piece"), not too oily but lacking the adequate amount of wok hei to propel it to excellence.

Although we were already pleasantly surprised so far, the highlight of my meal there was the Bittergourd Venison Black Pepper Hor Fun (RM 28)
SO good....

Awesomeness:
- Tender slices of venison (without that bad gamey taste - yay!),
- Silky strands of noodles that were full of that lovely smokey wok hei (wok fried fragrance),
- Fairly thick black pepper sauce that was tasty yet not overpowering, and
- Moist slices of bittergourd that were not too bitter.

I repeat: AWESOME-ness! :D :D

The Tom Yam Bihun (RM 38) recommended was also nice:
Fiery but delicious....

Brimming with fresh pieces of squid, prawns and other goodies, it had the requisite qualities of a good tom yam (spicy and sour) but also with a hint of sweetness (from the seafood) and a slightly creamy texture - all in all, addictively satisfying without being too heavy.

The combination of spicy tom yam + afternoon sun made us feel a bit too warm unfortunately,... but we happily cooled off with a couple of beers (RM 2.50 per can - Madness! So cheap!!):
Yarmmmmmmm SENG!....

To be completely fair, I think the food prices at the restaurant are kind of inflated, which is (unfortunately) pretty much a given since the general area is a tourist trap.

Still, we had a really good meal, and if I'm ever back in Kuah/ Langkawi, I'm going there and ordering a whole plate of that Bittergourd Venison Black Pepper Hor Fun for MYSELF.
:D

So, it's: Simple coffeeshop setting, fairly wide variety of yummy Chinese food (tai chow style), friendly service BUT admittedly, it's pricier than the usual coffeeshop style restaurant - decent for a tourist area though, I think.....


Summary Information:
Langkawi Sunshine @ Kuah, Langkawi, Kedah

Opening Hours: 10am till late
Phone: -
Address: Corner, Jalan Pandak Mayah 6

Map: (Below)

NOT HALAL



MAP:

View Larger Map

OTHER REVIEWS:
-

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

dot com

Saya sudah ber-dot com....

What would a girl do without:
- The voice of reason
"Hey, so how come your blog name is Memoirs of a Chocoholic but your url is chocoholicmemoirs.blogspot.com? - Isn't it kinda confusing?"

- Moral support
"Come on. You can do it! :)"

- The helping hand
*HUGS* (You know who you are! Couldn't have done this without you)

- The wise words of experience
"Eh, if you don't go .com then that fella is gonna NAG you for a year..."


Well,... with all this, and a small purchase from namecheap.com, I have now transferred my domain to a dot com last night.
(So, my new "home" is http://www.memoirsofachocoholic.com)
(What do you think? Is it better/ more straightforward?)
:)

It's just a small teeny weeny baby step really, as I have not changed the layout of my blog at all.... but well, thanks to everyone who helped inspire and execute this change - really appreciate it.
*HUGS*


J

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lat Kampung Boy the Musical

My heart is broken....

Let me start off with this: Much love to everyone involved with this, and even more so to Datuk Mohamad Noor Khalid (aka Lat) but this needs to be said (as a warning to all of you who are going to watch it):
Please lower your expectations to ZERO, or you will walk away disappointed.

So let me reiterate, so that we are clear:
- What I'm NOT saying: "Don't watch it".
- What I AM saying: "Watch it with very low expectations".

OK?
Lots of ppl milling around looking at the exhibits in the hall...

Anyway, since this musical is gonna be running for a while, I'll try not to blurt out any "spoilers" but generally: It is an almost 3 hour staging about the famous and much loved Malaysian cartoonist, Lat - from his youth to when he was a struggling reporter to when he achieved world wide fame.
I can't help myself (such a poser, I know :P)...

Overall, I really appreciate the effort (ESPECIALLY since Malaysian musicals are so rare) - they managed to pull together some really good sets, nice costumes, pockets of good laughs, entertaining dancing, mostly** good singing and music...

... BUT the flow/storyline, how certain scenes were structured, the under utilisation of a few characters and the overemphasis on how Lat seems to be The Chosen One made me CRINGE and (in some parts) hide behind my friend's shawl in a desperate attempt to block out the pain.
(** Oof. Don't get me started on the singing - while some of their voices were hampered by bad sound system quality, there were a couple of parts, I won't name names, that screamed "Good, but not good enough for a musical!!!")
:(

I really wanted to love this musical, REALLY I did... However, in the end, I just walked away feeling sad and kinda angry because I invested 3 hours of my life (and some $$) to have it made clear to me that Malaysia is still so, SO far behind other countries in terms of musical productions.
(Maybe I just have myself to blame? I watched Wicked in London, and that really is excellent - hard to even come close to)

All the actors, dancers, directors and Datuk Lat on stage...


Here are the details of the play:
Lat Kampung Boy The Musical:

Director: Harith Iskandar and Hans Isaac
Writer: Harith Iskandar
Music: Michael Veerapan
Dance Choreographer: ?
Costume: ?
Joint Producers: Malaysian National Institute of Translation and Tall Order Production, in collaboration with the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry.

Synopsis:
Lat Kampung Boy the Musical chronicles top cartoonist Datuk Mohamad Noor Khalid (aka Lat)'s journey to stardom.

Cast:
- Actors: Awie, Datuk Rahim Razali, Jalil Hamid, Douglas Lim, Sandra Sodhy and Atilia.
- Dancers: ?

Venue: Panggung Sari, Istana Budaya
(58 Jalan Kuantan (off Jalan Tun Razak), Titiwangsa, 53200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Ticket Price:
- RM 40/ 70/ 100/ 120/ 160/ 200/ 230/ 300 (adults)

Dates: March 16 to April 3, 2011.
Time: 8.30pm daily and also 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays (No show on Mondays)

Ticket info:
- call +603 4147 8600 , or
- refer to ticket2u official website.

If you want more details, refer to Istana Budaya official website.

RAWR :(
J


OTHER REVIEWS:
- HorusPorus
- learning to write
- This is oh so random
- 3 f's: Flashback for future
- bryanlyt.com
- Leonard Chua


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Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Diet Cafe @ Taman Cheras, KL

Cute lil' cafe with a quirky name in Cheras - (What) Do I Eat Today Cafe :) ....

I don't venture into Cheras very much (for fear of being caught in MASSIVE traffic jams).... but of course when given the chance to catch up with some darling, intelligent and funny people, I will travel to where ever, with the added bonus that it was to a restaurant that they love (that I haven't tried before):
Outside My Diet Cafe....

Still, I have to admit: I was feeling a bit wary as I circled the block of shophouses looking for My Diet Cafe - the area, Cheras Business Centre, had been easier than expected to find with the aid of Google Maps... but many of the shophouses were pubs (with dodgy signboards/ advertising) and I think I even saw some sort of "hotel"/motel around there...
=_='

It felt safe enough though (with plenty of parking available), on that sunny weekend morning, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the cafe interior was very nice - modern yet very cosy:
Inside the restaurant....

Scanning the menu, I thought that there was a pretty wide range of choices, ranging from light eats (eg. salads and sandwiches) to heavier options that sounded very interesting (eg. miso crusted steak).

I was feeling peckish while waiting, so I ordered the Tomato soup (RM 9+):
Tasty tomato soup....

Overall, it was pretty good - thick enough without being stodgy and with a nice tart tomato flavor. :)

Soon after, everyone arrived and there was a flurry of ordering. We really ate quite a lot between the 5 of us, so I'll try to keep the descriptions short and sweet...

APPETIZERS:
- Prawns in Spicy Tomato Sauce (RM 12+):
My portion of the crustaceans....

Not bad. Prawns were fresh and not overpowered by the slightly garlicky and spicy tomato based sauce.

- Sauteed Button Mushrooms (RM 10+):
Bowl of mushrooms....

Also not bad. Mushrooms were fresh and complemented by the fairly light sauce.

- Calamari Rings (RM 8+):
Crispy sotong rings....

Lightly battered and fried till golden brown - crispy yet still with nicely bouncey "meat" within. :)

MAINS:
- Prawn Caesar Sandwich (RM 16+):
Et tu!....

Decent panini texture (not starchy. yay!) enveloping the creamy yet light mix of caesar dressing, cheese, greens and lovely smokey prawns.

- Chicken Parmagiana (RM 26+)
Cheesy chicken! - not so good for waistline? lol....

YUM.
Cheesey, tomato-ey, topped with slices of tender eggplant and fairly tender chicken.
:) :)

- Mushroom Risotto (RM 18+):
Wholesome Italian comfort food....

Very tasty but felt decadent/ heavy as it was very creamy - best to be shared, I think.
(Really liked the crispy parmesan wafers that came with it - complemented the creamy risotto texture well)

- Bangers and mash (RM 19+)
Stack of yummy wieners....

Quality sausages, tasted good but it wasn't my favourite dish as the onion sauce was a bit on the sweet side.
(All just a matter of taste lah - I'm more of a savoury/ salty person)

- Pesto Pasta (RM 16+):
So simple yet so good....

So simple but delicious. Al dente pasta coated with a tasty, fragrant pesto which they prepare in-house (I think I tasted basil and pine nuts in the mix).

DESSERTS:
- Bread n butter pudding (RM 10+):
Dessert 1....

Ok lah. Not bad but would have liked the bread layer to be a bit more moist.

- Warm Chocolate Cake (RM 15+):
Sort of like a chocolate fondant....

Also just ok - found the cake texture a bit too "gloopy" but it was interesting how they served it with a thick, creamy mint sauce at the side.

- Mama Panna cotta (RM 10+):
Jiggly jiggly....

Nice. Fragrant, jiggly panna cotta topped with yummy strawberries.

- Apple crumble (RM 10+):
Tart apple crumble....

Quite nice. Moist chunks of apple that were not too sweet/sour nestled in a crispy "cup" filled with crunchy crumble.

What a lovely day! :)
Got to catch up with some people that I don't get to see quite as often as would be nice, and got to meet a new friend too. *waves to CS*
(Isn't it wonderful how a common interest, in this case food, can bring people together?)

So it's: Nice casual, cosy ambience, friendly service, good range of western food for reasonable prices BUT nothing bad really, just that I heard that parking/ traffic in the area is a PAIN on weekdays - so, go check it out on weekends?......


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:


My Diet Cafe @ Taman Cheras, KL
No. 27, Jln 3/101C, Cheras Business Centre, 56100 Kuala Lumpur

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 7
Price** : RM 40++ per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-9130 1700
Opening Hours:
Mon to Fri: 10am - 12midnight
Sat to Sun: 8am - 12midnight

NO PORK SERVED



MAP:

View Larger Map

OTHER REVIEWS:
- Masak-Masak


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