Friday, June 20, 2008

Pietrasanta @ Portsdown Road

My turn to host lunch with the girls today, and I decided to take them to PietraSanta, at Portsdown Road cos I thought it would be interesting to try a new restaurant.

However, I should have heeded the general sentiment of other food bloggers about this place - they really weren't equipped to handle the crowd, so we ended up waiting too long for our food. On a weekday lunch, that was unacceptable because we all had to rush back to work afterwards.

Me and PC and our basket of complimentary bread.

Camera-Shy PL looks like she is making roti prata with her napkin.

The well-reviewed and highly recommended Trippa - cow tripe in rich tomato and cheese sauce. Chewy, well-infused with the taste of fresh tomato. I liked it. No strong smell of offal either.

This is escargot - cooked in some sort of vegetable tomato soup I imagine. I think it costs the same as the tripe. It's quite nice, but I prefer the tripe.

PC's choice. We expected a stew of liver and red onions served with bread, but instead it was served like this. Oh, I see, you mean they are canapes. Well, they were still very nice. Sauteed Chicken liver pate is always nice. The onion was tangy and cut through the richness of the liver and the other dishes. My favourite starter of the 3.

This is the squid ink pasta. Originally supposed to be served with crab meat but they ran out of crab meat so they substituted with scallop. The scallop, if I recall, were rather tasteless. Not sweet. PL also said so.

The expensive osso bucco risotto (SGD45). Rich tasting and quite nice. but not meaty enough.

This is the sausage pasta - and surprisingly our favourite main. It was also the cheapest and doesn't look like much. But the sausage was very tasty and flavourful and the pasta (I cannot remember what it was) was thin and chewy. We all liked this best.

The lunch in total cost SGD150, which I thought was pretty expensive since we didn't have any drinks or dessert. I didn't realise the osso bucco was that expensive either. Most of the other stuff on the menu cost between SGD25-35.
Food wise, it was quite nice and I liked everything. Only thing is, we waited a really really long time for our mains, because the kitchen couldn't cope with the full house. It was a weekday afternoon, and for a restaurant in such an ulu (out of the way) location, I was surprised to find that all the tables were FULL. I mean, no buses or mrt station here! you gotta drive to find this place! wow.
Postscript: PL went back to the restaurant with her hubby and friends... and she tells me that the wait for food was still very long and that they lost her reservation, and that the drinks list (although comprehensive) was misleading cos all the drinks were not available except house white and house red cos they haven't found a suitable bartender yet! So, all in all, you might want to wait for them to settle in before you come.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Weekend Eatings

Seafood International Market and Restaurant @ East Coast Park

Playground @ Big Splash is very child friendly with lots of kiddy things to do, like ride on motorised scooters for SGD2 (5 minutes).

This restaurant faces the open area where the kids ride, so it was ideal for us, while Cutie spent our hard earned SGD10 on a 3o min ride.

Fried Rice - SGD 16 - this was fried with crab meat. It was ok. Cute shape, but otherwise unremarkable.

Peking Duck - SGD48 - We waited a really long time for this, can you imagine? They asked us how we wanted our duck meat to be served and as there is a 10 surchargfe if they cooked it with noodles, we said, just cut it up and serve it. After a 20 min wait, they served the Peking duck all chopped up like at any roast duck stall in Marine Parade.. We're like: "??!!" where is the peking duck skin? If I wanted to eat roast duck I could go anywhere and eat it for SGD20 what? So we sent it back. Another 20 min later, our duck arrived, correct this time, but we were ravenous! They served the skin with pastry made with egg, it was yellow in colour and a bit tough. We like the steamed round white pastry things better.

All in all, nothing fantastic, but maybe we didn't order the right things, this is a Seafood restaurant after all.

La Forketta @ Dempsey Road

We came here on a Sunday afternoon so that Cutie could play at Go Go Bambini's... he hadn't been there for some time so we decided to give him a little treat. This was before our trip to Tasmania, and before the HFMD thing proliferated. We haven't been near this place since the HFMD epidemic started.

Generally the food was ok, but a bit heavy. The wait staff were however, very clueless about service. I asked for a table, and she said yes there is a table available but please wait as we set it up. See, the thing is, their maitre'd counter is set up OUTSIDE the restaurant, where it is hot and sweltering. There were some seats inside the restaurant, obviously meant for waiting customers, BUT instead of ushering us inside to wait, she stood there like a statue, blocking our way in. Finally, in exasperation, I asked whether she minded if we waited inside, since it was in the prime heat of the afternoon sun and I had a baby with me. I can't imagine why I would need to tell her this. Basic service standards are lacking here!

Appetiser Platter

Pretty generous selection, and I liked pretty much everything.

I ordered the canonnelli. The cream sauce was too rich for a hot day. So, not really enjoyable.

The pizza that DH ordered. We always order the parma / proscuitto with rucola (wild rocket) but that is getting boring, so we tried this one, with olives and artichokes. Interesting vegetable, the artichoke. I understand only the heart is edible, thereby making it so expensive. This was pickled, and tasted quite nice.

I can't remember how much this meal cost, but I do remember it being very hot, even when seated inside. Maybe because the place had lots of glass windows, causing a greenhouse effect.


I think I should deliver soon, so maybe fewer posts in the next few months.

But do check regularly... If I have time you may get to glimpse pictures of Baby!

In the meantime, I really should learn how to do the blurring thing on my photos... DH doesn't seem to enjoy being featured on my blog... He can't seem to adjust well to being a celebrity!

Plus he thinks I should also learn to photoshop... DH's friend reportedly told him that DH looks fat in his photos on this blog.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Weekend Eatings

Lunch on Friday - Frens(c)h @ Vivocity

I had a late lunch, and wanted something quick and light. This was from the French Cafe, and their tagline is Fresh and French - that's why they have that witty name.

I always go for the Avergnate, as it has everything I like - mesclun, mushrooms, ham, blue cheese and croutons.

Lunch on Saturday

I've been saying that I want to eat crab for some time... but there was just no chance for us to hit a crab joint..

Anyway, DH goes to work on Saturday morning and then calls home to ask what our lunch plans were. As it turned out, I hadn't made any lunch plans, so his options were to buy lunch home for both of us, or I could run out and buy something from the nearby eateries.

DH promises to buy something home. "Nothing too spicy!" I reminded him... I felt like I had a sore throat coming on.

DH returns with: Crab Bee Hoon Soup from a famous shop in Balestier and Herbal Jelly (Gui Lin Gao) from Original Herbal Shop in Balestier.

They were super yummy! The crab bee hoon was full of umami sweetness and the herbal jelly slid down my throat smooth as silk. I didn't take any photos because I was too busy gobbling the food up.

He bought crab bee hoon soup because he knew I'd been craving crab, but shouldn't eat anything with pepper or chilli because of my sore throat... and then bought herbal jelly to soothe the throat... Isn't DH such a sweetie?

He does the sweetest things when I least expect it... :)

Dinner on Sunday - Roland's Restaurant - Marine Parade Central

Anyway, the lunch was fantastic... so much so I wanted more of this crab bee hoon... so the following day, for dinner, we went to Roland's Restaurant @ Marine Parade Central #06-750. It's pretty old school and the furniture is garish, but the food is consistently good, and I have always liked it very much.

Signature Honey BBQ Pork Ribs (SGD8.80) - It's rather expensive, but it's very meaty and smoky tasting.

See, it's not fatty at all.. it's just tender meat.

Home-Made Tofu (SGD12) - Super Good, it's wobbly and tasty and slippery. I can taste the soya beans. Loves.

My small bowl of crab bee hoon (SGD28 for 1 claypot with 1 crab, good enough for 3) - it's full of roe and is oh so sweet. Loves.

And then, to replicate my sweet lunch of the day before - Gui Lin Gao (Herbal Jelly). Not as good as the one that DH bought for me from Balestier... not as herbal tasting. But it costs only SGD5, whereas the Balestier one cost SGD10!

Monday Dessert - Donut Factory

DH is super sweet these days. Look, he bought donuts home for dessert. I like the ones with nuts and chocolate.

DH wonders how a donut can be called a donut if there is no hole in the middle.

DM didn't fancy these donuts, she thinks its full of processed sugars and preservatives and bicarbonates. Donuts in her time didn't use to have such a soft texture, so she is very suspicious. She reckons that they add bicarbonates to the donut flour and then have to mask the taste with lots of extra sugars and cream. She said her tongue was stinging after a few bites, which confirms her suspicions. DM is a kitchen sleuth.

Typical Activities

Usually, after dinner, DH, Cutie and I go for a walk. We used to walk to the petrol station nearby or to the community centre across the road. But since Cutie really loves buses and all other large vehicles like garbage trucks and fire engines, we now take a bus (must be double-decker!) to the shopping centre nearby (3 bus stops) and then walk around the supermarket, and buy some groceries.

We then end our excursion with a short stop at McDonald's with an ice cream cone for Cutie. Once, Cutie accidentally knocked his cone over, and DH said, uh oh no more. too bad. You should have seen poor Cutie! His eyes turned red, the corners of his mouth drooped and his heartbroken wail was so sad... DH can be so tough on Cutie sometimes. He cried and cried... Anyway I told Cutie, it was an accident right, so you have to be more careful... let's see if daddy will get you another one. Daddy did, in the end... but sigh, I wish it could have been less traumatic.

here are my 2 favourite boys, waiting for the bus!

Cutie at home, he's still in his pajamas, so I think he must have just got up.

And here is video of Cutie, taken maybe just after he turned 2. He can spell lots of words now. Here are some of them.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Kha @ Hort Park

Kha Modern Thai Cuisine @ Hort Park, 33 Hydrabad Road #02-02 is a newly opened restaurant.

PL gave us girls a treat! Thanks!
This is the fried banana flowers (SGD10) - a recommended dish by PL and was seen on almost every table. It was very good, very light and crisp - like eating air.
This is the grilled chicken skewer salad (SGD16) It was good but expensive for the small portion.

Tom Yum Soup (SGD16) - again, nice and tasty, 1 big prawn but for that price, I thought it would have been a bigger portion. This portion could only feed 1.

This is duck curry with fruit like tomatoes (SGD28) - tasty and rich.

Black glutinous rice pudding with ice cream (SGD12) - it tasted more like a brownie to me. I thought there would be a pulot hitam type dessert. There were some hard bits in the brownie, which is probably the black glutinous rice.

Mango with glutinous rice - SGD14 - ordinary.

Coconut Creme Brulee with pumpkin - SGD12 - best dessert of the lot, the creme brulee was smooth and fragrant.

Generally, I think the food is good, but very expensive for the portions served. Particularly since the place is pretty out of the way, I would have expected it to be cheaper.

Le Tonkin @ Mohammed Sultan

Le Tonkin is a small restaurant along the Mohammed Sultan stretch, which serves elegant french vietnamese cuisine.

Our fried spring roll starter came in this impressive display. It was quite nice too. Not too oily, with a crispy crunchy skin and fresh filling of meat and veg.

I didnt have a good impression of this spring roll; but I can't remember why. I think it may be because it was full of vegetables, and was rather tasteless. The dip wasn't tangy enough so it didnt help.

My main of crab claws with glutinous rice. It was tasty. The sauce had a bit of vinegar in it so it helped to cut through the richness. The glutinous rice was not a mound of stuff, it was a delicate little cake. So classy.

All in all, the prices were not exorbitant, and it was quite a nice cosy place for a meal.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dinner at Brussels Sprout (Robertson Quay)

I think I look chubby in this photo... even for a 7.5 months pregnant lady :(

Date night!

DH and I went out on a date... finally! It has been quite a while... since we have both been so busy... we do spend time together... but date night really helps us to bond and share thoughts that we can't do when we are spending time with Cutie.

DH and I went to watch Sex and the City - the movie. I'd wanted to watch it since I heard it was coming to the big screen... I loved the series... I think it's very clever and funny. Although I don't think it is that accurate in real life... I don't think real women dress like that or behave like that. But DH thinks that the show has its appeal because it is well researched and that most women aspire to be like that... to dress well, and to be self reliant and to not be dependent on men.

I agree with DH to a certain extent... I admit that I sometimes wish to have the Sex and the City lifestyle - having cosmopolitan cocktails, going to fashion shows, meeting and dating new guys every week, having lots of money to spend on ultra cool labels, bags, shoes, clothes...

But, you know, I wonder if these ladies all just want to have what I have - an adorable darling Cutie, a supportive DH, a career that gives me time with my family and gives me positive daily challenges...

SPOILER ALERT: skip this paragraph if you intend to watch the movie...

Anyway go watch the movie... it's quite enjoyable, more so than the usual chick flick. I identify most with Miranda by the way... I liked her story best. She is the one who balances the most - a career, a family, a baby... and their related troubles. Samantha - i really liked Smith Jerrod, the younger guy that she ended up with at the end of the series, and i was disappointed that they broke up at the end of the movie... I mean, I really thought that they had something special together... and he saw her through chemo! and they had great chemistry. Now Samantha just seems shallow all over again. Charlotte - her life seems fine and great now, she has everything she wants - a loving husband, an adopted girl and later, her own baby. Her story in the movie wasn't well developed (no time, I imagine), but anyway in the series, it basically says that, you gotta stop looking for what you want in your pre-conceived little circles - she thought she would marry a presbyterian ivy league educated financier type, and have her own kids, but she married a balding short Jewish guy and had to adopt... but they are so happy... and she does eventually have her own baby girl too. Carrie - I think, most of her troubles are self created. I dont really like Mr Big. I dont find him attractive, I think he is rather irritating. I think she is a nice friend, but I think, she picks too much on little things, so that minor issues between her and her boyfriends escalate into breakups.

Brussels Sprout @ Robertson Quay

We initially wanted to go to Inakaya Robataya, but it was fully booked till 945 pm. So we headed to Robertson Quay / Mohammed Sultan, thinking that we would definitely find good Japanese here anyway. When we arrived, we remembered Brussels Sprout, opened by the guy behind Saint Pierre - Emmanuel Stroobant.

So we decided to check it out.

This restaurant is totally open concept - the indoor area is totally opened up with a bar in the centre of the place. I liked it... because it seemed very friendly. It wasn't the fine dining type of place that you associate Saint Pierre with.

We started with a chilled pork belly with mustard starter (SGD9). It was quite nice, but I prefer my roast pork belly from Lei Garden.

My choice of mussels (SGD18 for starter portion) - Brussels Sprout special - main ingredient that I could taste was black pepper. It was nice and a generous portion of about 15 mussels.

DH ordered mussels too, of course, since they are the specialty here. His choice was Vin Blanc (white wine) (SGD38 for a main portion). He liked this a lot and said it was a classic. I thought the wine taste too much for me. I preferred the 1st one.

OH the free flow of french fries (served with mayonnaise, not ketchup) were fantastic. They come with every order of mussels. They were crisp and yet fluffy... which is so difficult to achieve with home made fries.... I wonder how they did it.

No dessert cos we were rushing back to Por Por's to pick Cutie up, and also cos we were quite stuffed by then.