Tuesday, September 16, 2014


It's wonderful to hear that Andre Chiang is opening his second overseas outlet - RAW in Taipei. This sees the talented chef returning full circle to his native roots, bringing a new interpretation of Taiwanese flavour and produce. Andre is intimately familiar with Taiwan's traditions, foods and seasons and he will use his global perspective to introduce these to the world stage.

In partnership with the Hasmore Group, RAW will feature a bistronomy approach - a total lifestyle experience through culinary artistry, decor and culture. It's a new casual fine dining philosophy. Quality cuisine with a stylish but relaxed ambience. I agree that's the way to go - most of us want good food but not the stuffy environment of fine-dining.


Photo courtesy of RAW

RAW will open on 19 November 2014. The grand opening will be highlighted by "The Celebration of Taiwanese flavour", comprising "A 3-day only Exclusive Menu" with Restaurant ANDRE from 20-22 Nov, and "A Symposium of Taiwanese Flavour" featuring cultural innovators in art, design, music and fashion.

The restaurant, located on the 1st floor of the new Hasmore Building in Dazhi will seat 56 and serve cutting edge lunch and dinner set menus in a modern atmosphere. Reservations now available via the official website (http://www.raw.com.tw/) or phone at 02-8501-5800. The address is No. 301, Le Qun Third Road, Taipei City, Taiwan.

Photo courtesy of RAW

I am a huge fan of Andre's culinary mastery. I can't wait to see what he will whip up over there in Taiwan, with the abundance of produce right at home!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Photo courtesy of St Regis Singapore

How were your mid-autumn celebrations this year? Hope everybody had fun!

We got to make mooncakes at the St Regis Singapore, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The St. Regis Singapore invited business partners and their families for A Cherished Mid-Autumn Fete, A Family Traditions at St. Regis Festivity. It was a family-oriented mooncake-making charity event on 30th August 2014.

With the aim of giving back to society during the Mid-Autumn Festival, The St. Regis Singapore made contributions to international aid organisation, UNICEF, Check Out for Children (COFC), a Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ adopted charity, as well as to more than 250 elderly at local beneficiary NTUC Eldercare Co-op Limited.

They raised a total of S$3,800 for COFC from the event, which was sponsored by business partners. Their families participated together with associates of the St Regis Singapore.

The Mid-Autumn Fete is one of the many projects that the St Regis Singapore has established to add to the Starwood Group's global efforts to benefit more than 9.3 million children in over 190 countries that are part of the COFC.

More than 500 pieces of mooncakes and other charitable gifts were donated to more than 250 elderly at one of the NTUC Eldercare Senior Activity Centres. The associates also joined the seniors for entertaining activities and games.

By the way, families that stay at the St Regis can enjoy welcome amenities and turndown rituals designed to showcase the uniqueness of Singapore: delectable treats, strollers, baby wipes, diapers, cribs and rollaway beds on request. It's part of the Family Traditions programme.

Guests below 13 receive a welcome gift bag that includes gifts like coloring books, board games, story books, caps at time of check-in.

Next time you feel like giving the family a big treat, consider the St Regis Suite (S$780++) or Caroline Astor Suite (S$930++) and get these inclusions:
+ St Regis Suite or Caroline Astor Suite
+ Welcome children's bag
+A treasured family experience (a picnic lunch and nature tour to Singapore Botanic Gardens: kids will love the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden with Tree House and Waterplay Area)
+ Legendary St Regis Butler service
+ Epicurean breakfast at Brasserie Les Saveurs
+ S$80 worth of F&B credit
+ Complimentary access to the wet lounge at Remede Spa and 24-hour fitness centre
+ Late check-out at 4pm
+ Wi-fi access

Here are some of the event photos of me and my girls. We had such fun making snowskin mooncakes for the first time. Somehow we managed to eke out 31 mooncakes! Obviously only fit for self-consumption, and not gifting!










Many thanks to Jackson Sim of St Regis Singapore for the invitation

First photo courtesy of St Regis Singapore

Other photos taken with the Canon 5D MkIII kindly loaned by Canon Singapore 

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Spain's hottest culinary genius Quique Dacosta will grace the Sofitel So Singapore for a one-night dinner on Thursday, 18 Sept 2014. His eponymous restaurant is three-Michelin starred and has been on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list for three years.

You won't need to fly to Valencia to try his "techno-emotional" cuisine. Dacosta has incredible flair for creating edible landscapes that evoke the aroma and texture of the environment. The specially designed five-course menu (S$538++) will be paired with fine wines from Spain's Castell d'Encus winery. There are only 100 seats for this dinner at Xperience. 



The dishes include:

The Haze – a dish that recreates the taste of humidity and warm of the earth after a storm – featuring pine nuts, raw peas, pig crackling crumble with mushrooms, black truffle and small flowers – paired with a Taleia 2012

Cuba Libre of Foie Gras – a Dacosta signature of melt-in-your-mouth foie gras with cream, veiled with coca-cola and rum and granita of lemon with brioche on the side – paired with Ekam 2012

The Hen of the Golden Eggs – a poached egg cooked at low temperature with a broth of chicken and vegetables, coffee and gold – served with Ascup 2011

Ashes Rice – soft senia rice with smoked black truffle, braised pigeon, chanterelle mushrooms, inspired by the rice of Valencia after harvesting and burning – paired with Quest 2011

Chocolate Sand – a signature delight of textures and tastes of chocolate – paired with Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Blanc 2006

Feted amongst legendary chefs including Ferran Adria and the Roca brothers, Da Costa is part-chef, part-botanist and designs dishes that are masterfully minimalistic while embracing bold flavours. He often focuses on two or three key ingredients, allowing for clarity of flavour to shine through. 

Dacosta spends months researching and perfecting his menus and is renowned for presenting plates that are avant-garde and artistic. 

It sounds like a phenomenal dinner! Tickets are selling fast. Call +65 6701-6800 to reserve your place.

Top photo courtesy of Sofitel So Singapore

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Wow, I have always wanted to see Egypt and its wonders. The Pyramids of Giza have stood for 5,000 years, a testament to the ingenuity of the people who built them.

Now I can see them without a plane ticket or pissing off some ISIL terrorist on the way!

Google Street View is now bringing us captivating images of the Great Pyramids of Giza, necropolis of Saqqara, the Citadel of Qaitbay, the Cairo Citadel, the Hanging Church and the ancient city of Abu Mena. Starting today, wherever you are, you can experience these ancient monuments!

This is from their press release, with direct links to the images:

"The Giza Necropolis is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, and is home to the last standing wonder of the ancient world: the Great Pyramid. Built as a tomb and a symbol of eternity for the Pharoah Khufu, it stands 139 meters high (the height of the world’s highest roller coaster!) and was the tallest man-made structure on Earth for 3,800 years. Beyond it to the west, and you’ll see the pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure, built by Khufu's son and grandson.




Now turn east to the Great Sphinx, the oldest and largest known monumental sculpture in the world. With the body of a lion and the head of a human, it measures a grand 73 meters long and 20 meters high. Literally translating to “Father of Dread,” this mythical creature is believed to resemble Pharaoh Khafre, who was the ruler at the time of construction.

In addition to the Giza Necropolis, you can explore The Pyramid of Djoser, the ancient site of the world’s very first Pyramid designed by the great Egyptian Architect Imhotep in the ancient burial ground of Saqqara.

It’s not just the Pyramids that are available now for the first time in Google Maps. Other sites that may pique your interest on this Egyptian virtual tour include Abu Mena, one of the oldest sites of Christianity in Egypt—the church, baptistry, basilicas and monasteries, the Hanging Church, one of the oldest Coptic Churches in the world, the Cairo Citadel, a medieval Islamic fortification and historic site, and the Citadel of Qaitbay, a 15th-century defensive fortress perched atop the Mediterranean coast.

If wandering through the imagery of these historical sites has piqued your interest in Egyptology, head over to the Google Cultural Institute, where you can explore the treasures of ancient Egypt through a series of drawings, historic photographs and artifacts from the famed sites."


Some other tidbits about Google Street View

·        Street View covers more than 7.2 million unique miles across more than 59 countries and a slice of Antarctica (featuring penguins!). This includes Burj Khalifa and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque last year.

·         They have driven more than 7.2 million unique miles of road since the project began in 2007.

·         Street View began in 2007 in 5 U.S. cities with 5 megapixel cameras. Now Street View is on every continent and uses 75 megapixel cameras.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

PAUL at Tanglin Mall also has a cosy tea salon
I must get out more often. I had not known that PAUL had opened in Tanglin Mall and Westgate. I had only been to the flagship outlet at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, and seen the one at Ocean Financial Centre.

We visited the Tanglin Mall outlet, and it's got a lovely section at the back fashioned like a library with plush red seating. Cosy place for tea with friends or an afternoon alone with coffee and favourite book.


PAUL at Tanglin Mall
There is also a restaurant section upfront decorated in a more masculine grey.



Affordable weekday lunch and dinner sets
But we were here to try the affordable S$13.90 lunch and S$18.90 dinner sets. You get a main course and complimentary coffee, tea or iced tea. Dinner gets you an extra course of soup (clear veggie, French onion, carrot or potato leek soup). These are available exclusively at the Tanglin Mall and Westgate outlets on weekdays except public holidays.



Lunch: Cuisse de Poulet Rotie
For lunch, the options include a hearty Cuisse de Poulet Rotie (roasted chicken leg served with salad and roast potato). It's fairly tender and moist, not overcooked.


Lunch: Salad Nicoise
Those who prefer a light salad for lunch can go for the Salad Nicoise (tuna salad with olives and eggs). The ingredients may seem simple but are quite refreshing, and the dressing is very light. Probably the most low-carb option.



Lunch/Dinner: Roulade de Daurade
The Roulade de Daurade is available for both lunch and dinner, and I can see why. Paprika-spiked Pacific Dory is pan-fried and rolled up, doused with a creamy tomato sauce. It's just a tad salty for my liking, but some may prefer it that way. My photo doesn't quite show it, but it is a really hefty chunk of fish.


Dinner: Saute de Poulet aux Champignons
Also for dinner: Saute de Poulet aux Champignons (roasted chicken chunks in a creamy sauteed mushroom sauce, served with generous slices of PAUL's country bread. It's quite rich but not too salty. I can imagine this going well with pasta too. The bread seems a bit too dry and cold by the time I finished taking pictures.



Dinner: Traditional Beef Stew in brown sauce
Dinner: Traditional Beef Stew in brown sauce comes in a huge portion, but it was the most bland of the main courses. Well, we tend to cook very savoury stews at home, so maybe we're not used to this. It might be good for kids or elderly who want something not too strong-flavoured. Nadine loved the bread somehow.



Coffee, tea or iced lemon tea to go with the lunch or dinner sets
Coffee, tea or iced lemon tea comes free with your set meal. That alone is worth about S$4-5.

The food in general is fairly decent, and the portions filling enough. At this price, nobody is expecting Joel Robuchon standards, but it's a nice option for a sit-down dinner in a cosy place.



The patisserie is probably the highlight at PAUL
But the main highlight at PAUL is probably the patisserie. Oh the delightful spread of tempting pastries, eclairs and tarts. The baskets of croissants too...mmmh.


Millefeuille Mango
We ponied up for a Millefeuille Mango (strawberry one sold out) and were not disappointed. The mango cream is decadent and yet light on the palate. It's set off by tangy slices of mango and crispy pastry.



PAUL

#01-16/17 Tanglin Mall
163 Tanglin Road
Singapore 247933
Tel: +65 6736-3257

#01-05 Westgate
3 Gateway Drive
Singapore 065832
Tel: +65 6369-9080



Photos taken with the Canon 5D MkIII kindly loaned by Canon Singapore

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Battle of Hoth saw the Imperial army eventually destroying the Rebel Alliance's power generators

LEGOLAND Malaysia today opened a brand new section - the Star Wars Miniland! Featuring seven beloved scenes from the Star Wars franchise, this RM6 million attraction is the first of its kind in Asia. It's got over 2,000 LEGO models for you to gawk at, from tiny Yoda to the largest LEGO model of the Millennium Falcon ever built.



With Master Jedi Azfaren Aznam, Entertainment Coordinator at LEGOLAND Malaysia

OK, it's official, I want to be a LEGO builder. I love spending insane hours fiddling with the tiny pieces. And to build Star Wars stuff? I'll never sleep!

Here I am with "Master Jedi" Azfaren Aznam, Entertainment Coordinator at LEGOLAND Malaysia. Gosh, they have such fun jobs!




The staff's children are especially cute in padawan gear

See what I mean?



Mark Germyn (General Manager) of LEGOLAND Malaysia

Mark Germyn, General Manager of LEGOLAND Malaysia, says the Star Wars Miniland took 1.5 years from concept to reality. The models were built in six months, with half done in Malaysia, and the rest shipped from Germany and the Czech Republic. The Master Builders team took about 8,000 hours to complete the 1:20 scale models using 1.5million LEGO bricks.

This is in conjunction with their upcoming second anniversary.



Dato' Dr Ong Hong Peng, Secretary General of Tourism, was guest of honour but the little boy behind him stole the show

Dato' Dr Ong Hong Peng, Secretary General of Tourism, was guest of honour but the adorable little boy behind him stole the show, wiggling about. Must be chafing in the heat. Which is why it is a major relief that the Star Wars Miniland is indoors and fully AIR-CONDITIONED!!! That also makes certain lighting and sound effects possible.

The LEGO Star Wars Miniland is housed in an octagonal building, with a floor size of 900sqm divided into eight areas - seven iconic scenes and a retail area that includes hard-to-find LEGO sets.

NABOO


Battle of Naboo pits Gungans against Trade Federation battle droids
The Battle of Naboo pits Gungans against Trade Federation battle droids. This is from Episode I: The Phantom Menace.


The royal palace of Naboo
The royal palace of Naboo weighs 63kg and is made of 25,000 LEGO pieces. There's also a hangar in which Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn battle it out with Darth Maul.


GEONOSIS


Geonosis
From Episode II: Attack of the Clones, we have the grand clash between Count Dooku's droid army and the Grand Army of the Republic. Geonosis is the most populated scene with 247 models.



The Geonosis execution arena
The Geonosis execution arena: Watch Padme Amidala, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker battle ferocious creatures - the massive reek, the acklay and the nexu.

This arena was built to 1:80 scale because it would be 29 feet high if it had been built at 1:20 scale like the other Miniland models.


KASHYYYK


The Droid Army's amphibious assault on Chewbacca's home planet
The Droid Army's amphibious assault on Chewbacca's home planet Kashyyyk. The Wookiees stand ready to face battle droids and dwarf spiders. The massive clone turbo tank you see This is from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.


Look at the rust detail on the bricks!
Look at the rust detail on the LEGO bricks!



MUSTAFAR



The fateful duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker
Also from Revenge of the Sith, the volcanic planet of Mustafar. We see the fateful duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker that eventually turns the latter into a cyborg.



TATOOINE


Tusken raiders and a Bantha. Where's the poodoo?
Hey! Tusken raiders and a Bantha. Where's the poodoo?

Oh the desert planet of Tatooine, childhood home to Luke Skywalker....and his father Anakin Skywalker too. Funny how Lukey could stay hidden so long on the dad's very own hometown planet without detection!


The largest ever LEGO model of the Millennium Falcon: 19,200 pieces of LEGO and 143 hours to build
And here it is! The largest ever LEGO model of the Millennium Falcon: 19,200 pieces of LEGO (gimme gimme!) and 143 hours to build. It is 1.8m long and 1.3m wide. This 37kg thing lifts off the ground with a pulley and counter balance system.


Han and Chewie in the cockpit
Han and Chewie in the cockpit!


Can you see Greedo and Han in the Cantina?
Take a peek inside the Cantina at Mos Eisley. Can you see Greedo and Han in the corner?



HOTH


The AT-AT Imperial Walker is one of my favourites!
Ah the frozen planet of Hoth (also first photo). The Empire tracks down the rebels here, and they are forced to flee, despite a brave fight. The AT-AT Imperial Walker is one of my favourites!


An X-Wing fighter on Echo Base hidden on planet Hoth
An X-Wing fighter on Echo Base - the rebels' hideout on planet Hoth.



ENDOR


Ewoks live in villages built high among the trees, with wooden bridges connecting the huts
On the forest moon of Endor, we have the Ewoks who fight against the Imperial forces alongside the rebels. With Wookiees already tall and technologically advanced, George Lucas made Ewoks short and primitive (but with great fighting spirit nonetheless).

Ewoks live in villages built high among the trees, with wooden bridges connecting the huts. Each tree took three days to create, and are moulded from a real tree.


Classic scene on Endor: Han Solo says "I love you" to Leia when pulls out her blaster. She says, "I know" - it's a reversal of what happened on Hoth
Classic scene on Endor: Han Solo says "I love you" to Leia when she pulls out her blaster. She replies, "I know" - it's a reversal of what he first said to her on Hoth.



The Sith lord Vader arrives on Endor in his Imperial Shuttle
The Sith lord Vader arrives on Endor in his Imperial Shuttle, another gorgeous vehicle. Nearby is a massive shield generator weighing 72kg.


CHRISTOPHSIS


This scene is from the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars"

The Battle of Christophsis (see the video clip at the link) is from the animated series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars". Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead the Republic clone troopers in a vicious fight against the separatist army. Anakin single-handedly takes on the Octuptarra droids - yeah, the huge three-legged machines with balloon head, and lasers. Lasers!! Pew pew!



Separatist droid army - Armored Assault Tanks (AAT); B1 Battle Droids; and B2 Super Battle Droids
Separatist droid army - Armored Assault Tanks (AAT); B1 Battle Droids; and B2 Super Battle Droids. It is rumoured that the battle droids numbered in the quintrillion at some point in time.


Retail Heaven

Once you've relived all those scenes, and marvelled at the versatility of LEGO bricks...you can take some LEGO Star Wars sets home and continue the joy. They really are 3D puzzles.


I so want the Millennium Falcon and R2-D2...these are rare box sets limited to one unit per customer per day

I so want the Millennium Falcon (RM850 or US$267) and R2-D2 (dang, forgot the price)...these are rare box sets limited to one unit per customer per day.




Ewok Village and Sandcrawler for sale!

Fancy an Ewok Village for RM1,120 (about US$352) or a Sandcrawler for RM1,425 (about US$448)? Oh LEGO, why are you so out of reach?



I have this! It's amazing when you build it and find that it's a functional toy with interactive parts
But I have this! I so enjoyed putting it together. It's amazing when you build it and find that it's a functional toy with interactive parts in each section. Pulleys, lifts, swivels, doors, detachable ships, and even a spring-loaded cannon.


Well, after all the intense gawking, we got hungry. Fortunately, LEGOLAND has over 20 restaurants, food stands and food carts.


Nasi Lemak (RM12 or US$3.77) from the Asian Deli
Nasi Lemak (RM12 or US$3.77) from the Asian Deli, just nearby.



Penang Assam Laksa (RM12 or US$3.77) which was surprisingly decent
Penang Assam Laksa (RM12 or US$3.77) which was surprisingly decent!



LEGOLAND Hotel
LEGOLAND Hotel also opened 29 Nov 2013, making the theme park and resort complete.

So now with the LEGO Star Wars Miniland, there's a lot more to see at LEGOLAND Malaysia, in addition to the 70+ rides, slides, shows and attractions already present. And don't forget the LEGOLAND Water Park that opened in Oct last year.

Getting to LEGOLAND Malaysia:
By car:
- 10 mins from Singapore's Tuas Second Link
- 15 mins from Johor Bahru City Centre
- 20 minutes from Senai International Airport

By bus (see bus service details here):
- dedicated coach service by WTS to and from Singapore Flyer (S$20 per pax)
- public bus services run by Causeway Link, from Second Link checkpoint



Here is the full slideshow of the other 45 photos that I did not include here. Pity it doesn't show captions, but you can see the whole set on Flickr here.



LEGOLAND MALAYSIA
No.7 Jalan Legoland
Bandar Medini Iskandar Malaysia
79250 Nusajaya Johor
Malaysia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LEGOLAND.my
Twitter: https://twitter.com/legoland_my
Instagram: http://instagram.com/legolandmy
Reservation office: +607-597-8888


Many thanks to LEGOLAND Malaysia for the preview


Photos taken with the Canon 5D MkIII kindly loaned by Canon Singapore (except for this one on the right, which was taken using the iPhone 4S)
 
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