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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Serenity Spanish Bar & Restaurant

So far the type of food I eat has been restricted to local food, Japanese, Thai, Italian as in pizza and pasta and western which is mainly steak. I haven't got for any thing exotic apart from the occasional German food. But recently my taste bud went on an overdrive and I found myself eating Costa Rica (more of that later) and Spanish food. 

One evening we found ourselves at Vivocity and not knowing what to eat, decided to try out this place.

One reason I don't like to eat at this type of place is that I don't know how to pronounce the name of the dishes. And I don't want to end up ordering weird food that smell like somebody shoes. And the serving staff are no help most of the time, the way they rattle off the name in double quick time over the loud music.

Fortunately for us, at Serenity, the menu comes with English translation. The music was also not too loud and the friendly staff was able to recommend suitable dish for us. Still, we play it safe and ordered some familiar food.

We started off with this Salteado de SetasSaut√©ed (see what I mean about the name? which is actually mixed mushrooms with garlic & extra virgin olive oil. This is good but more than good, M believes she can reproduce it.

Next we had a sopa. No wrong spelling here. It is Spanish for you guess it soup. And it comes with a fancy name to boot Crema de Mariscos which is actually Seafood cream soup with mussel, prawn, dory and squid rings. Some sort of like Tom Yum soup but in cream base. 

Our soup looks nothing like the picture in the menu though:
But thankfully the ingredients are all inside the soup. 

The waiter said paella is the staple food of the Spanish so we die die must try. Imagine our surprise when what came before us look much like our claypot rice just that this one that we ordered had loads of seafood instead of chicken on top. What we had is the Paella Valenciana (Valencia Paella) which is Saffron, chicken, Spanish chorizo, tiger prawns, squid, half shell mussels, rice.

I must said it is a very filling dish. And looks pretty easy to prepare too. I think I will enjoy eating Spanish food.
For drinks, we had this "mocktail" which is nice expensive juice. Nice to try once in a while but give me a beer any time! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Star Cruise Virgo Trip to Pulau Redang

Went for a short weekend break on the Star Cruise Virgo. The last time we were on this ship was so many years ago that I can't even remember when it was.

The magnificent lobby is still there with the beautiful stain glass on the ceiling

The most colorful part of the ship - the main reception deck with shops and lifts and fake windows

There are 3 giant bronze horses.Very gaudy but everybody seems to be taking photo there so I took a shot as well

We are non gamblers so we didn't even step into the casino which means the time on the ship can be pretty boring. Both night we went to the theatre to watch first a musical and then a ventriloquist. But then I felt asleep and miss all the nice parts.

Apart from the theatre, there was the swimming pool but it rained most of the time so we didn't get to soak in the pool or the jacuzzi.

There is also a children playing pool but our kids are too old for that.

The other thing that we do a lot is of course eat. But we were cheapskate so we eat only at the free outlets which means the buffet dinner at the Mediterranean Cafe. The food there is forgettable. For breakfast on Saturday we went to the Pavilion Chinese Restaurant. Breakfast was semi buffet comprising 4 type of dim sum and unlimited porridge and youtiao. The coffee was not free though. For dinner we decided to go to the Bella Vista a slightly high class looking place serving both Chinese and Western food. But the place was so crowded we were given a queue number to go back 1 hour later. But it was worth the wait as we had some nice food plus a bottle of wine.

The highlight of the trip was a day trip on Saturday afternoon to Pulau Redang.

The water there is gorgeous. Clean and calm. And we could see fishes everywhere! And we didn't even have to snorkel or dive to get pictures of the fishes. Definitely a place I don't mind going back again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Paul Bakery

Singapore has been seeing a influx of high class "artisan" or in local speak "atas" bakery from overseas. There is the weirdly named Tiong Bahru Bakery by an ang moh master baker from , a Korean outlet called "Paris Baguette" and several others scattered all over. And then there is Paul at Ngee Ann City.

When it opened early this year, it was perpetually packed. Despite its hefty prices, people flocked there to eat and be seen eating high class bread.

Me, after waiting for the hullaboo to end, I tabao home some bread including its most famous croissants. And I must said I am impressed with the flavour and texture but unfortunately not the price.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tree Top Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir

I goes to MacRitchie Reservoir so often sometimes I forget that there is more than the running trails there. Like the tree top walk which I have been up only once. So when the Princess wanted to go there over the weekend, we gladly went. To get to the treetop walk, the nearest carpark is at Venus Drive (the road leading to SICC) instead of the main park at MR. From there it is a short 2 km trek through the trails to reach the tree top walk.

Our objective was to spot birds but sadly there was none to be seen although we heard plenty. The walk across the 200 metres long suspension bridge was over pretty soon as we were forced to keep moving so as not to block other people from crossing the narrow bridge.

The view from the tree top walk. We can see the forest canopy and the reservoir beyond that and on a clear day, the housing estate in the horizon.

On the way down, we spotted this beautiful plant. I think it is an orchid. But I am not too sure though. Any expert out there who can enlighten me?

But we hit paydirt on this trip when we came across a rare sighting. Snakes! According to the Princess, this is a Twin barred tree snake. Don't ask me why it is not on a tree but on the ground. In fact, it was on one of the wooden boardwalk when M spotted it. And it didn't move and just let us snap away.

The other snake was a venomous juvenile Wrangler Pit Viper. This one also didn't move at all and modelled for us!

We also saw the usual monkeys, a tree "dragon" which is actually a type of lizard and some butterflies. All in, a very productive 3 hours there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Maekhong Thai Cusine

One of the find while walking along Tanjong Katong Road. This little Thai place at one of the corner.

It serves the usual Thai food plus a steamboat set. Being greedy fellas, we ordered both.

The steamboat which comes with a plate of vegetables

A plate of mixed food stuff

And a serving of some special beef. I think we had to pay separately for this

We could have a combo soup so we went for the Tom Yum and the herbal

Of course for M, no Thai food is complete without mango salad so we ordered that as well

Believe it or not, the kids have tried the Thai style crabmeat chicken wing so we ordered it specially for them

We also choose to have some fried rice instead of the usual white rice. This is pork floss seafood rice

The Princess must have her tungfen and this came with big prawns.

And I must have my Thai otah. This came aluminium wrapped and was filled with seafood.

Price is reasonable and food is fairly good. No complaints here. A great place to go for nice filling dinner.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Poor Teachers

By now everybody will have heard about the mother, the teacher, the $60 haircut and the police report. Seems like nowadays parents seem to think that the mata very free and file police report for all the slightest reason. Just like this guy. Daughter kena scolding by teacher - file police report. And if it is not the police, then its the Ministry of Education. And there are more. Like this case.

Poor poor teachers. I really wonder how teachers can do their work nowadays.

Most teachers I know are really dedicated and went beyond their call of duty. In my primary school days, there was this teacher who was so sweet. She invited us to her house during Hari Raya. Another teacher took a bunch of us poorer kids to the movies. In secondary school, there was this teacher who was so kind to us especially the kids from the poorer household. In JC, I had a tutor who was widely deemed to be a tyrant but actually had a heart of gold. Despite my bad behaviour in my 2nd year, she did not scold me but counselled me.

Of course, not all teachers are angels. 

I remembered when I was in secondary school, we have this lady teacher who used to throw chalks at us. Another male teacher walks around pinching anybody who didn't do their assigned work properly. I can't imagine how many police reports would have been filed against these 2 teachers if they are still teaching today. And when my kids were in primary school, there was this teacher who threw the children's exercise book out of the window when they failed to do their homework.

In the good old days when parents were not so educated, the parents will gladly let the school take over the discipling of their children. Child misbehave in school? Go ahead and cane. Child hair too long? Go ahead and cut. And the children? They will be too ashamed or too scare of the additional punishment they will get at home if they go home and complain they been punished by the school!

Now teachers not only cannot discipline the children, generally they do not get the support of the Principal and the Ministry. Students are now more like customers with the parents the paymaster. Is it any wonder that teachers are leaving just barely a few years after teaching, disillusioned by the reality of teaching in Singapore.

Anyway, to all the poor teachers out there. Take heart for every foul mouth police happy parent, there are 9 other parents who are grateful for the valuable lessons you teachers impart to their children. For every child that misbehave, there will be 9 others who will be a joy to teach and will remember you many many years later for your dedication.

Finally, to all my relatives, friends who are teachers past, present and future,  happy Teachers Day. Enjoy your day and these jokes: