Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 1 Sydney: Cooking Class at Quarter Twenty One

UPDATE: This place has closed.

What greets you first at Quarter Twenty One
I love the strikingly macabre sight that greets you near the entrance of Quarter Twenty One in Sydney. Will you choose to view this display of carcasses as deathly or delicious? Mmmh, know what I'm thinking.

Destination NSW arranged for the media arriving on Scoot's inaugural flight to Sydney to visit Quarter Twenty One for a cooking class. It was the first thing on our itinerary after landing in the morning.

Quarter Twenty One in Sydney
Quarter Twenty One is a gourmet store, a restaurant, a cookery school and external catering/take-home meals. That's the four quarters that "Feed the Soul", and the Twenty One refers to the weight of the soul (that 21g that mysteriously leaves the body upon death).


L'Oreal Paris White Perfect Laser: I Already See Results in Week Two!

I have been using the L'Oreal Paris White Perfect Laser products for two weeks now (see first post here on product background and the trial involving non-beauty bloggers).

The twice daily routine is simple. First the L'Oreal Paris White Perfect Laser Anti-Spot Brightening Essence (S$39.90) which features Ellagic Acid to correct spots, and then the L'Oreal Paris White Perfect Laser All Round Protection Whitening Cream SPF19 PA+++ (S$32.90) to protect against sun exposure and suppress melanin production.

I'm supposed to wait eight weeks to see full results, but I do have to say there is already a visible difference. I noticed it even during my first week of use when I was in Sydney (Scootin' around!)

So this is the end of week two: freckles and pigmentation seem to have reduced a little, and skin does seems softer, fairer and smoother. My friends have also commented that my complexion looks healthier and more radiant.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Next DBS Underground Supperclub is with Chef Alvin Leung of Bo Innovation

Chef Alvin Leung of two-Michelin starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong will be in town for the next DBS Underground Supperclub! Get up close with the Demon Chef as he interprets "Food for the Soul" in his signature style of combining innovative techniques with tradition old recipes. Seats are very limited as the Supperclubs are kept small and intimate.

Date: Thursday, 5 July 2012 (RSVP closes 2 July)
Time: 8:30pm - 12:00 Midnight
(*Note: Registration starts at 8:00pm)
Venue: The China Club Singapore, 168 Robinson Road, 52/F Capital Tower, Singapore 068912
Cost: S$250++ per person (DBS/POSB cardmembers only)

More details and registration form at the AFC website.

For an idea of what DBS Supperclubs are like, see my posts on previous sessions with Andre Chiang and Anthony Genovese.


Monday, June 25, 2012

KF Seetoh Storms JB in "The Food Surprise" Tonight 10.30pm on TLC

Catch KF Seetoh tonight as he surprises street food masters in Johor Bahru in episode 8 of "The Food Surprise" 10.30pm tonight on TLC (Starhub ch 427). I hear there's bone marrow noodles, mud baked chicken, and some personal saga over a meal of rice.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dean & DeLuca Gourmet Store Opens Tonight at Orchard Central

Dean & DeLuca at #04-24 Orchard Central, Singapore

The day is finally here! Many of us have been eagerly awaiting Dean & DeLuca opening on our shores. The New York gourmet and fine food purveyor will welcome its first customers 8pm tonight (22 June 2012) at its first Singapore store (#04-23/24 Orchard Central). The first 50 guests will get a S$25 goodie bag, and you can start queueing from 7pm onwards (yes, folks, it's Singapore - so queue up!).

The 3,200 square feet store is an emporium of epicurean treats. Most of the goods here are items you will not be able to find in other stores. The store features artisanal products sourced from around the world, a bakery and signature cafe.

Right upfront they have placed their cheese and charcuterie counters - these are star products that will they expect local customers will be most attracted to.

The cheese and charcuterie counters are placed upfront to entice customers
Oh I spy one of my favourites - the Brillat Savarin among the soft cheeses! There's also White Stilton with apricots, St Maure, Robiola in leaves and Triple Cream. The semi-soft cheeses include Wensleydale with Cranberries, Smoked Northumberland, Morbier, St Nectaire, and Double Gloucester.

Hard cheese lovers can pick from Comte, Mimolette, Bella Lodi, Reyoenaer XO Reserve 30 months, Quickes Goat Cheddar and Stripey Jack to name a few. I'm looking at the blue cheeses too - St Argur, Fourme d'Ambert and Gorgonzola (Dolce and Picante). Fresh cheeses like burrata and mozzarella are also available, as well as washed rind cheese like Epoisses, Langres and Red Square.

If you are looking for recommendations, a maƮtre fromager will be on hand to guide you with recommendations.

The charcuterie section at Dean & DeLuca
The charcuterie is small but will still set hearts racing with items like Jamon Serrano Reserva, 5J Iberico, Coppa Sweet, Artisan Spanish Chorizo Bilbao, Saucisson Pur Porc, Big Sopressata Sweet, and Mortadella with pistachios.

Dean & DeLuca breads
Dean & DeLuca will also have a bakery where you can pick your breads and pastries to go with your cheeses, meats and preserves.

Wines - mostly from California for now
Here's Mr Kenneth Low, Director of Kitchen Language, showing us the wines. Most of these are specialty labels from California for now, but they will expand the selection to include artisanal wines rarely found in Singapore.

Jams, jellies and preserves, including Oprah's favourite - Sarabeths
Lots of breakfast goodies here. Jams, jellies and preserves, including Oprah's favourite - Sarabeths! There's a nice maple syrup here too, along with honeys, American Spoons pumpkin butter, Rosebud Farms Mint Jelly and Oregon Shippers Vanilla Pear Butter.

You'll also find all kinds of herbs, spices, dry rubs and premium salts. Looking for sumac, ancho powder, nigella, or za'atar? Wild porcini sea salt, Murray River salt, Sal de Ibiza, Japanese Ancient Sea Salt? Gold and silver flakes for garnishing? It's all here.

Gourmet coffee including Papa Palheta
There are various private label gourmet coffee blends. They also have Papa Palheta here!

Palais De The - teas from around the world
Here's the "Palais De The" featuring a collection of 12 teas from around the world - great as a sampler, and so very pretty too.

Fleur de Geisha Tea and Kusmi Teas
So exotic and beguiling - a tea named "Fleur de Geisha" - I want the cherry blossom container! Next to it is a gift set of various Kusmi Teas.

Lovely breads in the cafe
You can take a break while shopping - the 50-seater cafe has lots of baked goods, cakes and pastries. Enjoy these with gourmet coffee, tea and juices, or some of their more unusual drinks like the aptly named Dirty Chai Tea Latte, Green Tea Chendol or Mango Sticky Rice Shake.

Pick and compose your own set meal
You can have a full meal here too. Pick the mains and sides you like and compose your own set meal. Or pick from sandwiches like BBQ Chicken Panini, Italian meatball and cheese, Honey Roast Ham and Gouda.

The cafe also serves all day breakfast! Choose from American Country Breakfast, The Belgian Stack, The New Yorker, Eggs Ibericho, or Sauteed brioche French toast wtih caramelised bananas and fresh berries. Brunch and high teas are available weekends.

Coloured sugar, including rainbow sugar!
Back to the goods - there are some quaint items like coloured coarse sugar. The rainbow one looks like crystal sprinkles.

Chateau D'Estoublon oil and vinegar table duet
Here's the Chateau dEstoublon oil and vinegar table duet - they look like perfume bottles.

Giuseppe Giusto aged balsamic vinegar, just S$220 per bottle
And the oldest one of the aged balsamic vinegars - the Giuseppe Giusti - yours for just S$220 a bottle.

All sorts of Dean & DeLuca tinned goodies
Dean & DeLuca has lots of tinned goodies too - sweets, nuts and dried fruit. These would make great little gifts.

Dean & DeLuca can also do customised presents and corporate gifts
Speaking of gifts - they can customise packages for individuals and corporate customers alike. They do baskets, boxes, hampers, bags. Ask for their catalogue. Dean & DeLuca also supplies to hotel minibars.

I like their kitchen accessories and equipment too.

Dean & DeLuca test tube spice rack
Absolutely love the test tube spice rack. And they have a cookbook too (it's all black and white though, no photos, but still interesting).

English jams - quince, fig, lime and chili
So that's a quick preview of the store. I hope you enjoy going even if just to see what kind of unusual gourmet goods are available and how to use them. But bewarned: It's hard to go there without picking something up!

181 Orchard Road
#04-23/24 Orchard Central
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6509-7709
Open daily: 11am to 10pm

Monday, June 18, 2012

Scootin' to Sydney: Scoot's Inaugural Flight

First to Scoot to Sydney!
Yes, folks, Singapore's newest low cost carrier Scoot has officially started flying!

Its inaugural flight made it from Singapore to Sydney two weeks ago, and I was really honoured to be invited to take part in and witness this bit of history, along with a host of broadcast, print and online media.

Michelle Chong of The Noose was there along with Chua En-lai, plus radio personalities too
My fellow passengers included Michelle Chong (above) and Chua En-lai of The Noose, both of whom entertained us on the flight later on. We also saw radio personalities from YES 93.3, and Class 95FM. I also made nice friends with people from the SPH and Mediacorp stables.

Scoot crew in their uniform
There were lots of crew and staff dressed brightly in yellow at the check-in row welcoming the full load of 400 passengers. Here are some ladies (and one gentleman) in their official crew uniform. After check-in, we were ushered into the boarding gate area immediately.

Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson giving a short speech at the departure gate
CEO of Scoot, Campbell Wilson and Guest-of-Honour, Choi Shing Kwok, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, both gave some short speeches. Mr Choi says almost a quarter of Changi Airport passengers now travel on low cost carriers. Mr Wilson (or "Call me Campbell") says Scoot will be flying to seven destinations by end October.

Ribbon cutting ceremony
Ribbon-cutting ceremony - a must for most official launches...

Followed by something more snazzy...a dance routine by the actual staff and crew! They did one at the check-in row, but treated us to an encore at the departure gate.

Scoot is all about chill, casual yet vibrant energy. Some of their crew are former Singapore Airlines staff, so they're all well-trained, but now they can let down their hair a little too.

OK, onto the flight itself!

The interior of the Boeing 777-200 used by Scoot
This is what the retro-fitted Boeing 777-200 looks like. Decent seat space and legroom.

Some of you may have heard of the delay we had taking off, due to technical issues. But it was good that they were extra particular about safety. The CEO was on board too, but he was very calm. After we took off, he went around to every single passenger, toasting a drink to them and apologising for the delay with a cheerful smile. Nice.

The rest of the flight went fairly smoothly.

The Bloggers Who Went Scootin' Off
Here are the four bloggers who were on the trip - Dawn, Brad, myself, and Alvin. Interestingly, all of us would jump out of a plane a couple days later at 14,000 feet. But not this plane! More on skydiving in another post - it is awesome!

Tablets (iPads) loaded with movies, TV shows and games offer entertainment on the long flight
On such a long flight (seven hours Singapore to Sydney), you might be craving some entertainment even though the best thing is to sleep through the night flight. They have tablets (iPads) loaded with movies, TV shows and games available for rent at S$22. These are really nifty because they save the plane a lot of weight from all those built-in video systems. More eco-friendly too, I reckon!

Scoot's Online Menu
Also optional are the meals - you can pre-book online too, and there might be more options listed than on the inflight menu. Scoot also has a shopping catalogue, a movies/TV guide, and an inflight magazine.

Reaching Australia at dawn...
Oh we finally reach Australia at dawn...but still a bit more to go before Sydney!

Scoot plane touching down in Sydney on 5 June 2012
(photo by James Morgan)
Finally we touch down at the Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport! Safe and sound!

CEO Campbell Wilson waving
(photo by James Morgan)
CEO Campbell Wilson waving from the cockpit. Flight TZ2 has successfully arrived!

It was a beautiful morning, and we started our day immediately with a full itinerary by Destination NSW - come back and see the three amazing days they arranged for us!

So that was the milestone first flight. Would I fly Scoot again? Absolutely. With some flights as low as S$98 (or about S$158 with taxes all in), it's really good value. I'm already planning to bring my girls to Sydney to see their cousins! And I'm extra excited that Scoot will also be flying to Taipei and Tokyo!


What's Sleepytown Sekinchan's Secret? KF Seetoh of @Makansutra Reveals All On The Food Surprise 10.30pm Tonight on TLC

What on earth is it!? KF Seetoh talks about a culinary secret at Sekinchan. OK, I didn't even know where Sekinchan is, until now. It's a small town in the major rice-production area of Selangor, and a fishing village. But what's the food secret here? Guess we'll only find out tonight at 10.30pm on TLC (Starhub ch 427).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Carnivore 1-for-1 Weekday Lunch Promo

You probably have heard about Carnivore's weekday 1-for-1 lunch promo at their Marina Bay Sands and Vivocity branches. It's a pretty good deal at S$34++ per adult, S$15++ per child (noon to 3pm), so we only paid about S$20 nett per person. Promo is on until 22 July 2012.

My story in Makanation tells you more about this Brazilian churrascaria experience. But be warned - places are fully booked way ahead. But try and score a late seating (like 1.30pm) and you might still get a chance (like we did).


L'Oreal Paris White Perfect Laser - Clinically Comparable to IPL?

Starting ground - all those freckles!

This is not a beauty blog, and never will be. But everyone has health and beauty concerns, just as everyone has to eat. And I know lots of my readers are women, so this might be of interest to them.

In an unconventional move, L'Oreal Paris picked three non-beauty bloggers to test out over a period of 8 weeks their new White Perfect Laser range of products. As the name Laser suggests, it offers whitening that is clinically comparable to a session of IPL (intense pulsed light). Now that is a bold claim, but oh, what hope! God knows I need help with my stubborn freckles (this is a shot of all my freckles in full glory)!

I took the Skin Analysis test on the L'Oreal Paris Facebook minisite (see right) and my result was (as expected):

High risk of skin pigmentation
"You are likely to have skin that is fair and sensitive to sunlight. Signs of pigmentation may already be noticeable; or if not, then they are likely to appear sooner rather than later! You may also feel like your skin lacks the radiance you crave for.

Fret not, because it is never too late to start on a proper skincare regime to minimize the chances of those unsightly marks. Use a gentle scrub twice weekly to remove any dead cells. 

Control the melanin production in your skin by using an essence that fights pigmentation at the source! Also, moisturize twice a day to keep your skin is soft and supple. And always remember to protect against UV rays with a full-spectrum UV sunscreen. Treat your skin with that added TLC and you will not regret it."

But to be honest, I have always been skeptical of whitening products because you can't really achieve that much whitening, and most of them contain artificial brighteners that may make you look fairer but  just washes off.

So how does this one work?


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Winners of Happyboxes!


Hi guys! I'm back from Sydney!

Here are the winners for the Happybox giveaway! I'm glad to see so many of you actively participating. Thanks much!

The Wine & Dine Happybox goes to Elaine Chang
The Beauty Delights Happybox goes to Natalie Cheang

I'll be in touch to arrange for the Happyboxes to get to you.

Sorry I took a while. Am possibly down with dengue - broke a high fever with aches, chills, drowsiness and all the other symptoms (short of vomitting blood). It's really not fun! But as with all tough things in life, I'm gonna lick this and come out stronger!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Makanation: Five Finds at Havelock Road

Another one of my Makanation stories to share with you while I'm away in Sydney - Havelock Road has some interesting stuff for hungry people - a good roast meat stall, a no-name but ridiculously popular Hainanese curry rice, Hokkien Mee that's lard-blessed, sinful and slippery cockle-laden Char Kway Teow full of wok hei, nice chunky fried fish with tom yum soup. Full story here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Staying at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore

The welcome gifts were amazing - bowls of candy, platter of frosted donuts, fruit bowl and two cuddly lion mascots!
We had a blast staying at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore last weekend. The kids, my helper and I got to try out their Summer Celebration staycation and we had an upgrade to the Premier Suite with Club level privileges. Right off the bat, the hotel made us feel very welcome. Look at all the goodies - fruit platter, lollipops, jellybeans, chocolate bunny, frosted donuts and two cuddly mascot lion plush toys!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Camemberu Wins Super Blogger Award, In Running For Best Food Blog in #SBA2012

It's awards season again. The Singapore Blog Awards are back for the fifth year. This time they have singled out five new age wordsmiths as Super Bloggers. I'm absolutely thrilled to be one of them. Just hoping they will not make us wear any superhero costumes for the big event!

You can also see the finalists in the various categories, especially the Best Food Blog one. It's a nice little group there, and we pretty much all know each other. Best thing about the awards are the friends you make. But hey, the awards would not be anything without voters. So head on over to support your favourite writers and who knows what prizes you might win. You can vote every day, once a day.


Ep.5 of "The Food Surprise" 10.30pm Tonight on TLC: KF Seetoh of @Makansutra Goes to KL!

Catch Episode 5 of The Food Surprise 10.30pm tonight (4 June 2012) on TLC (Starhub channel 427) and watch KF Seetoh scour Kuala Lumpur's food scene. He finds comfort food, a child-like food delivery system and experiences a Bollywood moment over a banana leaf curry meal.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Giveaway: Wine & Dine Happybox Romantic Dinner for 2!


Making people happy one box at a time - that's Happybox (see Facebook page).

The Wine & Dine Happybox "Romantic Dinner for Two" (S$169) is a gift product that allows you to choose from nine restaurants to dine at. Right now, the restaurants include Min Jiang at One North, Anar, Indochine, The Cathay, Bodega Y Tapas, Brasserie Wolf, Pavilion Restaurant, Esmirada and Kiraku Japanese restaurant. You can check out my review of Anar here, and Brasserie Wolf here.

Inside each Wine & Dine Happybox, recipients will find a gift card valid for a dining experience for two, and a full-coloured booklet of all the participating restaurants, and what's offered. The meal is usually three courses or more, and often exceeds the value of the gift card. You can see all the menus and partners online.

As an example, here's the menu from Bodega Y Tapas - it sounds quite delish:
Premium cold cuts platter
Cheese platter
Gazpacho Andaluz
Terrine de Foie Gras
European cod fish, Chisturra polenta, cide syrup with creamy boncal sauce
Grilled squid, garlic chips and pimenton oil
Piquillo peppers stuffed with chicken in Spanish sauce
Grilled lamb rack
Pan-fried Chistorra
Garlic mushrooms
This gift is suitable for all occasions and the best thing is - it takes the guesswork out of the giving. And the recipient gets to choose the experience he or she likes, so it's less likely that the gift will be stashed away unappreciated in some cupboard or worse, regifted. The freedom to choose means it's win-win!

Here's how it works after you give the Happybox: The recipient validates their gift card online, and then picks one of the packages offered in the booklet and makes reservations directly with the restaurant. Upon arrival, they present the Happybox gift card and proceed to enjoy the romantic meal.

Buying a Happybox is easy. You can pay online via Paypal or Internet banking or call +65 8353 8264 to order. Corporate packages or bulk discounts are available.

Sleeve examples 001
Customization of gift boxes will be launched very soon. You'll be able to add personalised sleeves, a gift card specially printed with the recipient’s picture with a personalized message, or other interesting customizable items into each gift box, to complement the gift card and guide book that is already in each Happybox. That sounds cool. Call +65 8353 8264 to get your own customization done (additional charges apply, of course).

They also offer a Beauty Delights Happybox (S$59) offering pampering deals from 17 partners and over 29 experiences ranging from massage to facials to tanning and nails. The concept is the same, just that the gift is a lovely experience involving health and beauty. Check out the website to see the partners and offers.


With Father's Day round the corner, the Wine & Dine Happybox might be a gift that makes dads happy. This is also good for birthdays, anniversaries, festive seasons, and even as a gift of appreciation or reward.

I'm glad to say I have 1 Wine & Dine Happybox, and also 1 Beauty Delights Happybox to give away to lucky readers. Here are two ways:

1. Tweet this post or link to this post on your Facebook, and give me the URL(s) in a comment below. Lemme know which Happybox you are interested in!

2. SHARE the entry on my Facebook fan page for a double chance at winning. Just say which Happybox you want to win! e.g. "I want to win the Beauty Delights Happybox!"

I will pick the winners randomly at 10pm on 8 June 2012, and I look forward to making two people very happy!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Going to Sydney on Scoot's Inaugural Flight!

Oh yes! The day is finally almost here! Scoot will be flying to Sydney starting 4 June 2012 and I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the inaugural flight together with other media and bloggers. Thanks to Scoot and Destination New South Wales, we have a few action-packed days where we'll be checking out the best of Sydney and its surroundings.

Scoot also recently named its first two aircraft - Goin' Scootin' and Barry. I like the latter a lot! (Cue Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything"!) The Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which have just completed heavy maintenance, interior retrofit and painting at SIA Engineering Company’s facilities in Singapore.

Meanwhile, Scoot is spreading some holiday cheer even before it starts flying by adding more seats on sale! Tickets (to Sydney and Gold Coast) for Christmas, New Year's and every other special occasion right up to 30 March 2013, are now available for booking.

Check out Scoot's latest promo - all-in fares to Sydney and Gold Coast from just S$158, to Bangkok S$78, and to Tianjin S$188. See all terms and conditions on the website.

Both photos courtesy of Scoot Pte Ltd
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