Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cutie's Activiities

Cutie has been eating all over town. I guess he is a growing boy, so he is always (and I mean always!) hungry.

He went to the petrol station near our place, and while i was settling the bill, he very swiftly helped himself to a pack of biscuit sticks, made himself comfortable on a low shelf, and started eating.

Luckily the staff at the petrol station know him well and really like him, so no problems with his "eat first, pay later" style.

He tells the cashier, "I am so hungry you know, I have no food". SIGH. People are going to think that we ill-treat this kiddo, and starve him.

Brought Cutie bowling. This was a kiddy event and mommies brought kids there. Cutie was the youngest though. He couldnt bowl very well (not strong enough) but he was very enthusiastic about cheering for his mommy.

He also decided to eat more food at the event. Even though this was after his own dinner at home.

Then we also went to east coast park and he rode on a scooter. We're avoiding crowded areas now, so no more east coast park for the time being.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Dim Sum Lunch @ Crystal Jade Dining IN

lunched with DC and PC, both classmates from my secondary school and JC days. It's so funny how we have really grown up since our carefree days in school.. and yet, we aren't really that grown up!

Spicy squid. I thought it was going to be calamari, but this is even better. I liked squid generally for its chewy texture. This was also very tasty, with generous bits of chili. I liked this very much. Eat it quick though. It turns hard when it gets cold.

Siew Mai was ordinary. I am not a fan of siew mai. I find it too stodgy.

Spinach dumplings. I liked this for its fresh and tasty filling.

Char Siew Pastry was a winner because it contained lean char siew meat (please dont put fatty bits into it, i dont like that.. and its really not necessary to put fatty bits in order to get tasty char siew). It also has bits of century egg. Not a lot, just a little bit to make it more interesting.

Har gow was smooth and fresh, one of my favourite dim sum items.

fried carrot cake, this was smooth fragrant and superb. This is my 2nd favourite dim sum item and is a must order every time I eat dim sum.

Cheong fun with prawns is my favourite dim sum item of all time (it;s right up there with chicken feet!). I like this because it is smooth and savoury and healthy.


birds' nest dessert. Cutie is learning to take some too. He asked whether it was egg white, since it tasted so eggy.

And I made sandwiches for DH. This is honey baked virginia ham with lettuce, tomatos and brie cheese. Improvised from a cedele sandwich that I had during the week.

I made a version with dressing (honey mustard and french mustard mix) but DH seems to prefer the plain.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tokyo Tastings Part 6

Day 3 Breakfast
On the very last day, I was due to fly back to Singapore at 1130 am. So, any normal person would have slept in, had a good breakfast and then headed off to the Narita airport right?

Well, not me.

I cajoled my friends into waking up at 6am with me, and we headed to THE FAMOUS Tsukiji Fish Market for a sushi breakfast!

So happy because I have never ever been there, despite all my frequent trips to Tokyo.

When we arrived they were already clearing up... Not much to see.

We went to the various sushi restaurants within the market.. there were some with really long queues, like sushi daiwa and sushi dai (both very well reviewed on foodblogs and travel guides).
Many of the people in the queue were foreigners, caucasians and tourists. I would think that it is because they dont really speak japanese and can only rely on food guides, so they would head for these tried and tested restaurants rather than elsewhere. So the queues means that these places are visitor-friendly, and may not be a testimony to the standards of sushi here.

I say this because, of course we didnt have time to queue, so we ended up at a sushi joint in between Sushi Daiwa and Sushi Dai, also on block 6, called Sushi Yamazaki.

I took the sushi set for $80. The sushi is served as the chef makes it, so here they are in order:

egg and tuna sushi.

scallop and fresh prawn sushi.

sea urchin sushi

He was nice enough to substitute some of the items in the set upon request. He gave me this glass eel, a seasonal delicacy that I have tried in Singapore in place of something else.

So, above you see glass eel and crab leg sushi.

NC had the chirashi bento. Same price, same stuff, except with sushi rice in a box.

The stuff was so fresh. He took out an abalone, and showed us how it was quivering. Very good marketing gimmick.
I ordered one. and also a toro sushi.

NC ordered toro sashimi. I think it cost $30.
I think it was sliced too thinly. Proper sashimi shouldnt be so thin surely?

Anyway it was fun to finally visit this place after having heard so much about it.

Then we cabbed back to the hotel and I managed to make it to the airport with time to spare.

This was what I had for my airline meal.

Starter: tender warm satay with peanut gravy.

They always serve satay on SQ. It's boring, but nice.

I chose the japanese bento option.

I liked all of them, although some were really too cold.

Chilled cha soba was nice, since it is meant to be eaten cold.

Sakura ice cream dessert was a little harder, and less creamy than what I had at takashimaya food hall basement.

And a cheese platter to round off the meal!

I watched Twilight (a vampire teen romance movie) and quite enjoyed it. The boy isn't good looking in the movie, a little too pale and a little too thin. He looked pretty ok in Harry Potter though. I still quite liked the premise of this movie... all-consuming love (in every sense of the word). Maybe I will watch the next movie when it comes out.

Tokyo Tastings Part 5

Snacks in Tokyo

Some of the loveliest snacks that I have had, I tried in Tokyo. Such as cream mochi - ice cream mochi in the yummiest flavours, azuki red bean, matcha, strawberry sherbert... and I dont mean the hard frozen icky stuff that you find in the ice cream sections in Cold Storage. No no no. These were sold in mochi galleries, really classy, like an ice cream parlour, in elegant black boxes, and it was smooth and creamy and chewy. Not cheap at S$2.40 each, but I really loved them.

So this time, when I went to Tokyo, I tried some of their seasonal sakura snacks.

Sakura Ice Cream - $5. This was very light, rather fruity in taste. But not really tasting like a bite of cherry fruit, it was more floral. It was very interesting.

Sakura Rice Dumpling - about $2-$3. This was quite interesting. It was glutinous rice, with a filling of sakura paste and a little sakura blossom on top. The blossom itself tasted pickled. A sweet bakchang.

Sakura Pancake - about $2-$3. This was a light pancake, with a filling of sakura paste. It was very pillowy soft, sort of like our peanut pancake (ming chiang kueh back in SG) but a lot softer and fluffier. The sakura paste was light and floral.

Sakura Mochi - about $2-$3. On the leftmost side of the pack, you see the sakura mochi. This was also lovely, with a delightfully light and chewy skin of glutinuous rice flour. I liked all of them, and cannot say I preferred any one over the other.

Sakura Cheese Cake - about $9. I tried Hokkaido cheese cake in Hokkaido, and they were simply divine. They tasted light, with a little lemon and it was creamy and cheesy and melted in my mouth like air. I can still remember the taste, and this is one dessert that I hope to try again and again. So when I saw that they had cheesecake here, I decided to try some. Of the 4 flavours available (original cheese, new york cheese (darker yellow), blueberry cheese and sakura cheese), I chose sakura cheese. It would have been lovely if not for the fact that I forgot to take it out of the bag before eating, so it kinda melted a little and was not as firm as it should have been. It was nevertheless still very light and delicious.

Strawberries - about $9. Wanted to eat strawberries, because I really remembered the last time I ate Japanese strawberries, they tasted like an explosion of sweet berry flavours. So at the supermarket, I grabbed a punnet.

They were sweet, but not quite as sweet as I remembered. Anyway it is always nice to have some fruit after a meal.

Tokyo Tastings Part 4

Day 3 Dinner

Last dinner in Tokyo, as I was flying back next morning at 1130 am. We couldn't decide what to have.

first course - Shabu Shabu

This is beef shabu shabu, a delicious meal to have in cold weather.

First, they served a complimentary starter of squid in a savoury sauce. Quite nice. A little sweet and savoury.

See how marbled the beef was? It was tender and fresh. The restaurant takes pride in its fresh sashimi grade beef. We were asked to first eat the beef fresh, dipped in a garlicky soya sauce. It was tender and light, not a strong beefy taste.

Yup, very very marbled.

You can choose to dip the beef in either a sesame sauce (goma) or a vinegary sauce (ponzu). I liked the sesame better, it seemed to make the beef more fragrant.

The set also came with a serving of vegetables, tofu, fish cake etc. Well, they tasted pretty normal to me, tasted like boiled vegetables.

Then the waitress offered us some udon cooked in the shabu shabu broth. It was served with some scallions, some sesame seeds, and it was very tasty.

We ended with a yuzu ice cream that was more icy sherberty than creamy. It was a refreshing end to a delicious meal.

This meal was delicious but very affordable. The whole meal cost us about $$85 per person.

2nd course - yakitori

There is this little lane, rather cramped and uneven, near shinjuku station that is frequented by locals. All the shops in this lane serve kushiyaki (grilled skewers) and are small little shops with a counter and less than 10 seats around the counter. No tables. DH and I have walked past this place when we were in Tokyo, because we stayed at Shinjuku each time we came here, but we never stopped by because 1. we were with cutie and this place obviously wasn't a baby friendly place and 2. it seemed too local and we were afraid of the language barrier.

Well, this time, I came with my colleague who comes to Tokyo for business so often, she is considered part Japanese already. So she has come here before and is in fact good friends with the proprietress of one of these little shops.

There was barely enough space for us. The 3 of us and 2 caucasians next to me (who helped to take this pic) took up the whole row of seats.

We ordered quite a number of things to share.

some edamame beans. Sprinkled liberally with salt, it was quite a tasty treat, although a bit cold.

Grilled enoki mushrooms wrapped with bacon. Always a tasty treat. My friend tells me that she did this for a family bbq and it was very well received. I think this should be quite simple to make at home. Maybe I will try it sometime.

The grilled giant scallop with butter. Very tasty and chewy. I liked the chewier bits around the scallop, rather than the meaty scallop itself.

We also had tsukune, minced chicken. This is usually served on a skewer, and served with a sauce and raw egg, but as this lady makes it herself, she puts in a bowl, and cracks the egg in the middle instead. Interesting way of serving it, tastewise, it was just ok. Not as smoky or fragrant as I would have liked. I am also a little wary of eating raw egg in such conditions.

Grilled chicken wings, always popular at any party. These were polished off quickly because they were tasty and salty.

This is grilled fish, saba I think. It was very salty but otherwise quite fresh. The lady goes to the market every morning to procure her ingredients and closes the stall once her food is sold out, so the food is freshness guaranteed.

Total cost was about S$80 for 3 of us.