Ms Skinny Fat.

Skinny.Fat. Sophisticated.Fun. Adventurous.Grounded. Material.Zen.

I'm a Caffeine Addict

Sipping on my 4th cuppa at Seven Seeds. Melbourne, Australia.

Breakfast Any Time of the Day

Perfectly cooked Sous Vide Eggs Benedict. Skyve Wine Bistro, Singapore.

A weakness for sweet things

My love for cupcakes. It all began at L'uisine. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

Itadakimasu

Colours of Autumn: Omakase Hidden Find at Giro Giro Hitoshina. Kyoto, Japan.

Wanderlust

The World is my Oyster. Home is where my heart belongs.

Frozen in Time

Shooting old school muscles on our off-the-beaten-path trip. La Habana, Cuba.

Riding into the Purple Sunset.

Decadent villa getaway complete with black golden sand. Alila Villas Soori, Bali, Indonesia.

Bagism is my religion

Latest addition to my bag family- The Proenza Schouler PS11 Mini Classic in Textured Brown. 2013.

Monday, September 1, 2014

St. Regis Yan Ting Mooncakes

Yan Ting is back with its elegant mooncakes this year and this time it is housed in a distinctive turquoise lantern box which imo is a Chinese Tiffany box!

This time, there are 5 flavors in Yan Ting's snowskin mooncake assortment. Once again, there's the Pure Mao Shan Wang Durian Indulgence ($118/box of 8). You can only imagine the decadence.
Of the other 4 flavors, my favorite was the Red Dates and Wolfberries Delight which draws inspiration from traditional Chinese desserts. This was very fragrant with a light sweetness. Kinda like Cheng Tng! I could also taste the distinctive dried longan taste in this one. Certainly a light but refreshing spin!

The Black Sesame and Melon Seeds Crunch and Chestnut Cravings were adequate i guess but not mind blowing ($68/box of 8). I guess the good thing is that they aren't too sweet.

The new Chocolate Royal Liqueur Truffle ($70/box of 8), supposedly the highlight, was sadly disappointing. The liqueur was full bodied but the chocolate filling simply fell flat. It tasted like those cheap waxy chocolate of a long long time ago.

Other than the snowskin collection, there's of course the traditional baked ones and i'd go for the Reduced Sugar White Lotus Paste with Macadamia Nuts ($68/box of 4). Porky fans could have the White Lotus Paste with Assorted Nuts and Yunnan Ham ($75/box of 4).

Gifting packages are also available and starts from $142. Mooncakes are available till 8 Sep 2014.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Anti:dote Drinks and Tapas

Hotel bars are getting a revamp these days (finally) and we headed to Anti:dote for their innovative tapas and reinterpreted classic cocktails crafted with premium spirits and house made bitters, liqueurs and sodas.

The bar is now helmed by Tom Hogan, previously from Bernard’s Bar at Chicago’s Waldorf Astoria, and his partner in crime Bannie Kang, from City Square in Swissôtel.

Anti:dote’s cocktail menu offers ten mixed drinks ($23), each classified by its potency and refreshing flavor. These drinks are made from artisanal pours of rum, vodka, rye whisky and gin balanced with fruits and spices, mostly of which from the hotel's own garden.
Corpse Reviver #2 with level 4 potency and refreshingness. This would revive any corpse. 
A seemingly healthy drink with beet, rosemary, honey, lemon and tequila- Blood of Dillinger
Refreshing seemed to be the theme of the night as my friends all went for fruity and sweet. Here's the citrusy Remedy and Treat of Kings
There are about 24 items from the Tapas menu which is served till 10.30pm. We were fortunate to make the last order!
The Crisp parmesan pizza ($12) is a must order at Anti:dote. This minute cracker is made of paemesan crust with dollops of flavorful pesto and powdered tomato as its based. Topping it off, you have the olive oil caviar, melty cheese snow and micro basil. Hearty pizza flavors in a small bite. Lovely! 
Crisp anchovy sticks with garlic aioli ($8) are the perfect snack to go with drinks and by that i mean cider but cocktails can do too! I love the salty and buttery puff sticks and also that strong and pungent garlic aioli.

Have you seen a huge gua zi before? Well here it is and it's spiced and sugared.
The Caramelised foie gras and vinegar glazed leeks on crisp puff pastry ($18) were little sweet morsels, kinda too sweet for my liking and there was quite a fair bit of leek/onion glaze. I could do with a slightly more seared/cooked foie gras but that's a personal preference.
We could smell the Black Truffle Bao ($20) before we could see them. For a hotel bar, i must say the bao (Steamed Bun) skin was done very nicely and it had a nice fluffy bounce to it. 
It was nice seeing sliced Perigord black truffle but somehow the taste of the truffle didn't come through. Perhaps it was the strong flavors of the veal cheek and caramelized shallot with Madeira that overpowered it. The foie gras in the bao might as well have been a piece of tofu because it didn't give the bun any flavor at all.  
We would have gone for more items if we weren't so stuffed. Other must tries are the 2-hour braised short rib ($18), clam sphere ($14) and the Paleta iberico de bellota done tomato shabu shabu style ($18).

Anti:dote
80 Bras Basah Road, Fairmont Level 1, Singapore 189560
+65 6431 5315
Daily: 7.30am - 2am 
Bar: 5pm - 2am

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Market Grill Lobster Roll and Burger

A lobster craving sent me searching for the best lobster roll in Singapore. It's funny how i've not had any in Singapore but i didn't want to set myself up for disappointment after having some really awesome ones in NYC and Boston. So when the option of The Naked Finn failed me for dinner (they only serve the rolls during lunch), i headed to Loh Lik Peng’s The Market Grill with Stupidgirl for our usual night of overeating.
As with Loh's other restaurants, the Market Grill doesn't take reservations (which annoys the hell out of me). Seriously only kids don't make reservations. Anyhoo, MG may seem like a burger/seafood joint but it's more a grill masquerading as a whimsical diner, which churns out lobster roll after lobster roll, followed by burgers and steaks.
We took the bar seats and that gave us a good insight to how Executive Chef Colin West and his team works. That man is a tough one, having cut his teeth at Les Amis, Le Saint Julien, Braise, and Swiss Grilland.

Well Stupidgirl was gunning for the Most Adventurous Diner award and she ordered the Crispy Pig Ear ($18) behind my back when the Buttermilk frog legs were not available.
This is a dish i would never order because i was duped once by S's grandmother into eating the cartilage. EEKS. Well thankfully it only tasted like fried skin and the soft bone wasn't that hard and crunchy.

I should have simply insisted on having the Cod Croquetas ($19) from the start. They're these sinful balls of Spanish paprika spiced Atlantic cod and fluffy potato balls that are battered and deep fried. I liked that it has a nice spice to it and it's paired with this wicked and pungent aioli (which is amazing).

Fluffy center! I got a spike in one of the balls though. Be careful when you eat this.

Of course, the highlight of the meal... LOBSTER ROLL!
The Atlantic Lobster Slider ($45) is made from a whole steamed live lobster of approx 500gm. The meat is chilled first and then tossed in herb mayonnaise before being served on a perfectly buttered and grilled crustless brioche bun.

I found the roll a little bland on the first few bites. Perhaps it was the claw meat which wasn't quite coated with the sauce. I'm a fan of the salty buttered hot roll at Neptune Oyster in Boston (that is in a league of its own). That said, the light touch on the seasoning allowed the sweetness of the lobster to come through. It's not as perfect as Neptune's but it's ok. The fries were ridiculous though. I mean who doesn't know that the fries hold almost an equal weight as the lobster! Tsk. These were cardboardish and the equivalent of a fat MacD fry.

The Chargrilled Whole Lobster ($45) 500gm seems like a pretty good option too if you would like to get your hands dirtied. This is served with clarified butter lightly infused with garlic, brightened with a squeeze of lemon, and sides of salad and mashed potatoes. 
The burgers are all the rage at The Market Grill as well but i was kinda disappointed with the lack of seasoning on the patty. Granted that my CW Breakfast Burger ($23) came with 150g chuck meat hand-formed patty was faulty and grilled to medium rare perfection and a patty could hardly go wrong with bacon, sunny side and cheddar cheese but somehow just underwhelming compared to the lobster roll. 
More overeating ensued with desserts and we went with the Rum Banana Pockets ($15). 
Think gooey dark rum soaked bananas encased in a crispy pastry and topped with a crunchy nut crumble. Of course there must be ice cream and the rum and raisin was satisfying with the hot mix.

Overall a decent dinner at The Market Grill. Will head back for lobster roll minus the fries.

The Market Grill
208 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068642
Tel: +65 6221 3323 (No reservations)
Mon - Sat: 11.30am-2.30pm, 6-10pm

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bread and Hearth Bakery Cafe

You have my heart at baked anything, and i can never say no to freshly baked breads, pastries, cakes, you name it. It's the smell of butter and sugar probably, both of which i cannot resist and that resulted in a shopping spree when i stumbled into Bread and Hearth, a new artisanal bakery in the Keong Saik/ Chinatown/ Ann Siang area. 
Bread and Hearth prides themselves with using pure butter and quality ingredient. There is absolutely no shortening used, as highlighted by the friendly staff. French Normandy butter and flour goes into making these quality pastries.


Their Le Croissant ($2.80) is their signature and it looked visually appetizing with a nice crust and a good height. I didn't give that a try because i was distracted by all the interesting flavors of the other bakes.

The Matcha Orange is a bread roll with a nice matcha fragrance and the flavor is lifted by the refreshing chunky orange peel. The Honey Chocolate bread ($3) was porous and very bouncy. Even though it said Honey Chocolat, it wasn't sweet at all and it actually had a salty taste. That said, i still like how it was flavored nicely with the dark chocolate chip bits. Do add some honey to it after you toast it. I swear it's divine.
The Bacon Focaccia ($6.50) is exactly that kinda bread that i'd want for a breakfast. The fragrance was taunting me during work the whole afternoon and i finally succumbed to my weakness and took several bites and boy was it satisfying. It's the perfect savory snack. I would eat the foccacia even if it didn't have bacon on it. 
The Cream Cheese Sesame ($2.80) turned out to be a sweet treat instead of a savory one! Think dense creamy cheese with a nice sweet pastry crust peppered with smokey sesame seeds. Yummy! Another must try is the Bostock which is more than 50% cake i swear. 
Bread and Hearth also does sandwiches and coffee and they do have a nice enough spot for lunch/tea. 

Bread and Hearth
18 Keong Saik Road Singapore 089125
Tel: +65 6534 7800
Daily: 8am - 9.30pm

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Yufuin Ryokan: Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya

When it comes to picking a ryokan in Japan, i would say that it is hard to find something that sucks. Well, then again just make sure you do some research. For my Kyushu trip, i did my planning really late and little did i know that it kinda coincided with the Japanese long weekend and hence the popular ryokans in Yufuin and Kurokawa were all booked! The horror!

Well, i managed to find something in Yufuin (read my Yufuin travel review here) and it's call Yufuin Onsen Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya (由布院温泉 旅想 ゆふいん やまだ屋). My considerations for the ryokan in Yufuin was that it shouldn't be too far from the train station so that we didn't have to worry about transportation around the town.

Yamadaya is just a short walk away (7-10 mins stroll) from the station. On the way, we walked past the main stream and there are many ryokans along the streams. 

I liked that there are lots of open spaces in this ryokan.
Little garden right in front. 

Another open garden at the back. The outdoor onsen is located here too.

This is our room! Each room is decorated such that it looks like a little house by itself and it is amazingly spacious.

This is our sitting area/bedroom.
We also have another dedicated dresser/sitting area facing our private garden. 

I picked a room with a private hotspring. Well it turned out to be on the puny side. I don't have an issue using the shared onsen facilities but it's nice to be able to go in for a private soak any time of the day. :) The good thing is that there is a little shower by the side and i do not have to use the public one when i need to shower. 
Another awesome thing about Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya is that they have a variety of shared hotspring baths!

Clean facilities.

A mix of indoors and outdoors.

Private Family Baths. No booking required. You just need to lock the door from inside. :)

There is also a rooftop bath!
This is the outdoor garden bath i was talking about. Mandatory yutaka shot. :)
Then it was dinner in our own room! I didn't know what i ordered because i had to make the meal booking with the room and they didn't state what's on the menu other than some generic pictures. So i picked an option that showed sashimi and wagyu. Hee. Our first X course was the fresh sashimi with 6 little side dishes and this amazing plum with miso dish.  There was also a tofu dish.

Meat for our shabu shabu! Yum Yum!
Cold udon with eel. Not a fan of the eel but they had me at the udon.

I really love the meal times at these ryokans because they feed you sooooo well. I woke up early for another soak in the onsen before breakfast and it really helped with the appetite. I obviously don't need much encouragement.

Japanese breakfasts are my favorite because there's always a huge variety! And they served me my favorite pumpkin salad, fresh omelette and some pickled vegetables.
We also had freshly fried bacon. Dayums.
Overall, a lovely stay at Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya. Here are some details on the room that i've booked.
Room: Japanese Style Room (R8) with Shower and Toilet
Meal Plan: Breakfast and Dinner
Price: 18900Y/pax/night including accommodation tax and bathing tax (approx 200-400Y)



If you are looking for other ryokans in Yufuin, these are the others that i was considering. Hope it helps!

Kamenoi Bessou

Yadoya Ohashi

What do you look for when picking a traditional accommodation in Japan? Share it in the comments section!

Yufuin Onsen Ryoso Yufuin Yamadaya
Address: 2855-1, Yufuincho Kawakami, Yufu-shi, Oita, 879-5102 Japan
Tel: 0977-85-3185