Friday, February 17, 2017

Free At Last!

Curry Noodles

After a whole month of babysitting, mum and I finally had the chance to go to the market. The first visit of 2017. With all the year end holidays out of the way, it finally dawned on people that the Lunar Chinese New Year was less than a month away! Start the panic buying! The earliest merchants to start the ball rolling were the those who sold religious paraphernalia. They had already started stocking all sorts of special paper offerings, fancy joss sticks, and even the stuff needed to Pai Ti Kong were already on sale. Breakfast was our favourite curry noodles in the alley.

Dragon Joss Stick

In the afternoon, KH came over to my place to chill (kind of like a chaperoned type of  paktor). We would just laze on the sofa and chat. Sometimes, we would play our current addiction-- LINE Rangers. So cute, so pointless, and yet... Haha. Received a call from SK and we were out to The Coffee Sessions. More updates from SK regarding her family issues over a cup of mocha and a side of fries. People never fail to surprise. When you thought that they've hit rock bottom, there seems to be more to go!

Hand Cut Fries

SK stayed on for dinner while KH returned home. Just a simple meal at nearby Restoran 83. A very satisfying dinner of pork noodles, grilled stingray, fried rice, and chicken soup. Remember when it was such a craze to have Portugese style grilled stingray at the Midvalley Megamall Food Court? Ages ago...

Chicken Soup

Pork Noodles

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

NYE

Kagami Mochi

For mum and I, church is the best place to usher in the new year. Bilingual mass started at 10:30 PM and ended fifteen minutes shy of midnight, giving parishioners enough time to find a good location to watch the fireworks display outside (some places actually started the fireworks five minutes before midnight). And a snack box was provided too. By the time we got home, it was past 1:00 AM and we had mass to attend on the 1st of January too! Not that it was mandatory, just that I had traffic warden duties to perform. A thankless job that nobody wants to do. You have to come to church before the crowd, and leave only after everyone does. And its not pleasant when the weather is hot. And drivers are a cranky bunch. Basically, traffic wardens are disconnected from what happens in the church.

Been a while since we ate at Nihon-Kai, so we gave it a try for lunch on New Year's day. Got there at 1:30 PM and it was still crowded. Had to sit at the bar counter. Interesting to experience the Japanese way of celebrating the new year. Right at the cashier counter, they had a plastic kagami mochi, which translates to mirror rice cake. Basically a snowman made of rice cake with a bitter orange on top. Not too sure about the traditional symbolism though. Since they had a special set for the day, we ordered it. Perfect for sharing with a little bit of everything-- tempura moriawase, grilled Saba, tamago, maki, inari, arrowroot chips (a Chinese touch), and ozoni which is a special mochi soup that is prepared during the new year. Also added on some nigiri sushi to complete the meal.

In the afternoon, I played Mr. Plumber. Tried to fix mum's leaky toilet. That attempt really taught me a thing or two about the 'anatomy' of a toilet. LOL. Managed to fix the leak, but I had to run out to the hardware store to get the right spare parts. Unfortunately, I discovered a more sinister problem with the plumbing. Something was definitely screwing up the pressure in my mum's bathroom. Probably some pesky leak. That's a job best left to the professionals.

At night, we had a BEC gathering at KM1 West. Everyone had a fun time trying to get to the multi-purpose hall due to the security measures. Visitors with no access cards could not access the lift lobbies and it was raining heavily outside. The problem with all these 6-tier security condominiums. A hell when you have a lot of guests coming over. At the venue, we were experiencing blackouts because the power was overloaded. Goodness. When we got all of that ironed out, we started the festivities. Stress levels were a little high because both parish priests came for the party. Luckily for us, they didn't stay long. Plenty of food and games. The hostess looked very happy because her husband joined in for the first time ever. Perhaps he wanted to cheer his wife up, who was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. A simple gesture but brings deep joy.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Boxing Day Dim Sum

Crispy Roll

On the last day of the Christmas long weekend, I finally managed to spend some time with KH. Normally, Gratitude would cook Christmas dinner, but fears of water disruption, and a lack of a maid to do the clean up made him change his mind. Instead, he invited us for a dim sum brunch at Mayflower Restaurant, Le Garden Hotel (not to be confused with KK Mayflower nearby). It was a nice reunion with KH, Gratitude's mum, my mum, Apollo and QueerRanter-D. The dim sum was pretty good, with a larger portion. They had all the standard varieties, but KH was disappointed that they didn't have custard buns. I liked their siew mai and egg tarts.

Siew Mai

Malai Gou

For coffee, we moved to Brew and Bread. Now, they operate upstairs with the kitchen located in a nearby lot. Compared to last time, this arrangement gives them a whole lot more space to play with. With windows along the whole length of the back, the whole place is spilling with natural light. However, their furniture arrangement is a bit unconventional. A big round tables are quite out of place in a cafe. Why would people want to sit around it especially when there's a huge centerpiece in the middle. Then there's the super long table at the back. Reminded me of the school canteen. In terms of coffee, they now have two blends to choose from-- Driver and Sugar Daddy. Can't imagine why they chose those names. If you're into cold brew, they have something called a Bombshell that actually tastes like its spiked with alcohol. Their croissant is pretty good too, buttery and flaky.

Whale

Chicken

Before leaving Kota Kemuning, we stopped a while at AEON Big but that turned out to be a big disappointment. Not well-stocked at all. Walked into a Nagoya as well, a place which brought back memories of my childhood. When I was a kid, mum regularly brought me to fabric shops. As a seamstress, she sometimes had to source for fabrics. While she was choosing, I would be exploring the 'forest' of cloth rolls, running my hands over the cold, silky material. Sometimes, I would scrutinize the price tags attached to the cloth rolls with safety pins. They were usually stamped in blue ink with a small sample of the cloth taped to the tag.

Rolls of Cloth

Later in the evening, KH and I had a dinner date with QueerRanter (the real deal!), Jin, Apollo, and QueerRanter-D. KH had no luck choosing the dinner venue in Publika.
  1. Plan A - Episode. Not open.
  2. Plan B - Silver Spoon. Not open. 
  3. Plan C - Two Sons Bistro. A random choice based on what was open. Halal. 
Two Sons is a place famous for its mussels and clams. Sixteen varieties to choose from. We ordered a full size (900 grams) of lemon garlic butter mussels to share. Delicious with two portions of garlic bread to lap up the gravy. KH and I shared a Supreme Stuffed Chicken. Stuffed with what you may ask? Jalapeno peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and cream cheese. Spicy and creamy at the same time. Not a very good feeling.

Mussel Pots

Supreme Stuffed Chicken

Dessert and coffee was really at Plan B. We reminisced about the days of drama in the heyday of the BFF. So much nonsense from nonsense people. "My birthday party is better than your's"  nonsense. "I'm manipulating your feelings" nonsense. "It's all about me" nonsense. "I'm a hypocrite who talks shit" nonsense. The list goes on. But without them, it would have been a bland existence with nothing to reminisce about. Haha.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Christmas in Cheras

Presents under the Tree

I did not wake up bright and early on Christmas morning. Just as I hit the send button on What's App asking my sister whether the kids had woken up, I heard a commotion downstairs. No mistaking it-- it was The Tribe. My sister had moved all the presents to my place. And it was a lot of presents. Combined with presents from SK and I, it was truly a formidable heap! The excitement and anticipation from the kids was palpable. However, they had to wait a little while longer. All of us donned our customized Christmas T-shirts and took a group photo first. Before we began, I brought out a laundry basket to contain all the discarded gift wrapping. The kids went through their presents like locusts. They got toys, shoes, clothes, bags, and water tumblers. Guess they were on Santa's Good list else they would have received white envelopes filled with cash from Sump'n Claus.



Got some pretty nice stuff for Christmas this year:
1. Black Herschel laptop bag from The Tribe.
2. Lego Technic Drag Racer from KH.
3. Akemi bed sheet from mum.
4. Key hook from SK.

Christmas Presents

Never actually played with Lego Technic before, so it was nice of KH to get me a set. Once we cleared all the debris, it was time to go out for breakfast. BIL wanted to go to a cafe that was Christmas-y. Unfortunately, most of the cafes in Sri Petaling only opened at 11:00 AM. In the end, our stomachs decided that we eat at Poppo Kanteen, a cafe famed for its nasi lemak. If you're not into that, they have noodles and bread too. Plenty of variety and value for money. A suprising MYR8.90 for a big plate with a whole fried chicken leg. Their sambal is pretty good, but the rice didn't quite make the cut.

Nasi Lemak

Right on their doorstep is another nasi lemak stall. That stall has been around for years and the rice is really good. Very savoury and creamy. Much better than Poppo Kanteen, but their sambal falls short. What we did was combine the best of both worlds. Haha. The staff didn't mind. Another thing I liked about Poppo Kanteen was the cham. Great taste and hot! Don't ever give me that lukewarm shit. A drink that makes you go "Ahhhhhh...." after every sip. Big Monster had a very good appetite. He walloped a plate of nasi lemak, roti Planta, and potato wedges!

Roti with Peanut Butter

In the afternoon, we made a visit to Sunway Velocity Mall, one of KL's newest retail spots. Boy, what a mistake that was. The roads were choked and the mall was overflowing with people. Been a long time since I saw such good business at a mall. The escalators were packed and groups of people were seen just standing around. Crazy. Every ten minutes, there would be a public paging for lost kids and disoriented adults. But this took the cake:

"Dear shoppers, please be advised that there is a traffic jam on Jalan Cheras and Jalan Peel. We advise you to continue shopping. Thank you."

Christmas II

Christmas I

The Tribe watched "Moana" there at 4:00 PM, but mum and I had some time to kill before our movie. We did some shopping and had a late lunch / early dinner at Canton Kitchen. Not recommended at all. Lethargic service and lousy portions. They charge prices similar to Foong Lye for their set meals but what you get is a far cry. Lukewarm food with just a whole lot of Chinese cabbage in different forms. The only thing I liked was the Pumpkin Springroll.

Pumpkin Springroll

With an hour to go before our movie at Leisure Mall, I fired up the Uber app. Got a ride on a brand new HRV. The driver remarked that traffic was fine before the opening of the mall. Oh well. The ride to Leisure Mall took less than fifteen minutes. Believe it or not, it was my first time at this iconic Cheras mall. Looks pretty good for a neighbourhood mall. Pretty impressive Christmas decorations. Gave me some Singapore heartland mall vibes.

Christmas III

We watched "Show Me Your Love", a local production with a cast fortified by Hong Kong actors. I expected more tears from the movie, but it fell a bit short. Overall a nice movie with funny and touching moments. The cinema hall was also surprisingly comfortable. Perhaps they had changed the seats in recent years. Got out of the cinema just in time for The Tribe to pick us up. Truly a fun Christmas spent with loved ones.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Another Swarovski Christmas

Xmas Curtains

Unexpectedly, my sister turned up at our doorstep on the morning of Christmas eve. Naturally, the kids were thrilled to see her. We had a day out in Bukit Bintang ahead of us. First stop was Pavilion Kuala Lumpur to look at the Christmas decorations. Like past years, there was a huge tree out front. The only difference was that they had a train that traveled around the tree. In my opinion, its quite a nuisance to have that when so many people mill at the entrance. Swarovski returned as the main sponsors for the center atrium's Christmas decorations, but I wasn't very impressed by it. This time round, the center atrium is dominated by a castle and a crystal carousel. In the overall theme, it's not very attention-grabbing. Mum shopped while I kept the kids in check. The typical running around, and crawling in and out of clothes racks. Difficult to shop in peace with kids around. All that running around helped the kids build up an appetite. By noon, they were asking for food.

Swarovski Carousel

The Chair

At first, we thought of eating at D'Empire, but after looking at how limited the menu was, we walked out. Instead, we ate at Pigs and Wolf located on the Dining Loft. Much better options there. The Christmas set looked like a steal, so we ordered that. MYR60 bought us a soup, main, dessert, and ice lemon tea. They served a cream of potato soup that came with a side of bacon. Both kids gave a squeal of joy when they saw the bacon. For the main, we chose the Prawn and Salmon Pesto that came with generous portion of smoked salmon, and juicy prawns. Dessert was a slice of moist chocolate roll. In addition to that, we got a plate of Carbonara with pork sausages for Little Monster. Big Monster practically polished off a Mighty Piggy Burger all by himself. He loved the thick, juicy patty made from US pork. Since he ordered a burger, his uncle could get a pint of Asahi for MYR10.

Prawn and Salmon Pesto

Carbonara

Chocolate Roll

Their neighbours, Starz Kitchen and Rocku Yakiniku both had Santa Claus out front to attract customers and spread some Christmas cheer. But not all Santa Claus are created equal. Starz Kitchen obviously had the bigger budget. They actually got a fat gweilo to play the part. The wig, beard, and costume was also much better. The guy from Rocku Yakiniku was Cina-fied version in an ill-fitting SuperSave costume.

Last stop for the day was Isetan the Japan Store. Had to be very careful in there. Porcelain art with a price tag of MYR14,000 located at child level? OK, shoooh, we are going to the other floors. Didn't stay long really. The kids were tired and Big Monster even started sneezing from all the air-conditioning.

Sculpture

Mum and I attended Christmas Eve mass at church that night. There was the usual caroling before mass. During the procession, Baby Jesus was held aloft by the priest and subsequently placed into the manger, and incensed. Everyone was all dressed up and parishioners exchanged greetings to mark the happy occasion of Jesus' birth.

Christmas Choir

Holy Family

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Chew on Some Balls

Dango Style

Tang Yuan come in many styles, shapes and sizes. Kinda like cocks. Yes. above is a dango style that my mum made purely for food photography.

Sweet Style

And this is the typical Tang Yuan that I have been eating since I was a child-- in palm sugar and pandan soup. Delicious enjoyed hot or cold.

Savoury Style

Strangely, I prefer the salty over the sweet like this Tang Yuan in chicken leek soup. Best served hot of course.

Mochi Style

Lastly is Tang Yuan that I had while at work-- with crushed peanuts and ginger soup.

How do you like to have your balls?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Babysitting with KH

Ginger Duck Kampua

In order to make it to English mass at SIC, we had to get up at 7:00 AM. After getting ready, one still needs to fuss over the sleepy kids. At church, we bundled them into the soundproof family room and hoped that they would not be too rowdy. Big Monster asked me a legit question:

Big Monster: Is Jesus dead?

Moi: Yes, but he resurrected after three days.

Big Monster: Oh, someone threw him a Potion of Regeneration.

In case you were wondering, he was talking about something from Minecraft! Obsessed with that game, they are. We ate breakfast at Mian then headed home. Mum needed to prepare for her event in the afternoon. She boiled the tang yuan and packed loads of pots and ladles. There was even a portable stove in the heap of stuff. Sent her out to Happy Garden where she would carpool to Brickfields with her friends.

American Breakfast

It's daunting to handle the two monsters alone so I employed the help of KH. Picked him up and went for a late lunch at Secret Loc Cafe, Kuchai Lama. Although it was already 3:00 PM, all of use weren't starving. Chose kid-friendly items from the menu-- American breakfast, French toast, and pizza. The little one was shouting his head off in the cafe. Buat macam rumah sendiri. When the little ones saw me feeding KH, they exclaimed:

"Uncle KH is not a kid!"

Went home soon after. Switched on the Google Chromecast for the kids then we stole off to my room for some snogging. In the heat of the moment, there would suddenly be a knock on the door:

"Kau fu! I wanna watch a different YouTube clip!"

French Toast

Talk about coitus interruptus. In the end we just gave up and went downstairs to watch "Assassination Classroom: The Graduation" with the kids. The weird story line and even weirder main character, Korosensei resonated with my nephews.



SK joined us for dinner at Restoran Mirasa, a mamak joint near my place. Big Monster finished a Maggi goreng all by himself while the little one only concentrated on the cup of Milo. The idea of waffles was tantalizing to the kids, so we had dessert at The New Chapter. Loitered there as long as we could, but the night was still young, and mum's event was far from over. Decided to send KH home first. On our way back home, received a call from mum. Aha! Duty would be over soon. :P.

Rebecca