Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

ALL HAIL THE KING OF FRIED CHICKEN! No one does fried chicken better than the award-winning Yardbird Southern Table & Bar from Miami and i've heard no end from Jr on how they are the best fried chicken he has tried.

Thankfully, there's no need to fly all the way to Cali for a taste of the bird as they have opened an outpost at Marina Bay Sands! Have a taste of Southern U.S. classics at The Bird Southern Table & Bar which includes their famous 100-year-old recipe Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken, Shrimp 'N' Grits, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Butter Lettuce and Grilled Mango Salad. 

Get started with The Bird's extensive beverage program which serves quality hand-crafted cocktails, including Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade, The Bird’s Old Fashioned with Bacon Infused Bourbon, and the Watermelon Sling. 

My Watermelon Sling ($24) is a refreshing blend of Death's Door white whiskey with fresh pressed watermelon juice and fresh lemon, balanced with Aperol and rosemary. I preferred Jr's Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade ($27) as it is more tangy. This punch is made with Wild Turkey Bourbon, blackberry puree, fresh lemon, cardamom and Angostura Bitters. Special to Singapore are some other specially created cocktails with local elements. 
The lunch and dinner menu differs slightly but their signatures are available all the time. A must order is the Fried Green Tomato BLT (3pcs, $18) which i almost passed over because it sounds so meh but the burst of flavors was a party in our mouths. The savory house-smoked pork belly and panko crusted juicy green tomato were brought together by a smokey tomato jam and creamy pimento cheese. The Deviled eggs ($14) are a-ok but i'd rather have a side of Skillet Cornbread ($10) or Buttermilk biscuits.
Of all the brunches in the world and all the breakfasts that i've eaten, Jack's Wife Freda (New York City) is up there at the top of my list and it certainly lists as the best in NYC. It's not your regular brunch food and the cuisine is a lovely mix of exotic from the likes of South Africa, Israel, and Jewish comfort food.
You know the funny thing is that i chanced upon Jack's Wife on Instagram and that is how i was led to this cozy spot in SOHO. The queue can be crazy as they only take reservations for larger groups. I only managed to get in on our 3rd attempt and it was a reward for an 8am run on the Williamsburg bridge. So highlights here for breakfast/brunch- Grilled Haloumi, Green Shakshuka with challah toast, Rose Water Waffles with Lebanese yogurt (labneh), and their secret weapon, the DUCK BACON.   
The New Yorker weekend begins in hipster enclave Williamsburg NYC with a quintessential hipster brunch. Or if you are the free spirited artist, that's how you begin every morning. Five Leaves is where i'd be headed to for a great start to the day. This small neighborhood spot draws the crowd from Manhattan and the wait could go up to 1.5h easily. Some interesting history with this one- it was opened with the backing of the late Heath Ledger in 2009 (he died before the cafe bar was opened).
We waited for a bit despite it being a weekday but was rewarded with the smell of strong brews and delicious breakfast food when we stepped into the cosy cafe bar. Expect refined Australian comfort food (very similar to NYC comfort food) made from fresh, organic, sustainable, locally sourced products. Of course it has to be, it's hipster.
The brews are made with Wandering Goat Coffee Co. beans from Eugene, Oregon, a small specialty coffee roaster. The huge and strong cuppa, which was served promptly, made my eyes light up at once.
Wanting the best of all worlds, I ordered the Big Breakkie ($13) which came with 2 eggs of my choice (organic, free range), hash browns, whole wheat toast and choice of 2 sides. I choice my favorite avocado and gave the thick cut bacon a go. This was perfection on a plate. Beautifully folded scrambled egg that looked like a yellow rose in full bloom, addictive home made hash browns that were the best i've tasted and bacon steak (not crisps)! As much as i wanted to finish it all, i could hardly get through half the American sized portion! 
S had the Ricotta Pancakes ($13) with honeycomb butter, banana, blueberries, strawberries served with 100% maple syrup. This dish is so absolutely decadent! Plump fluffy disks of batter complemented by that ZOMFG honeycomb butter. Nothing in Singers is comparable to this stack of heaven. We only managed 1.5 pancakes between the 2 of us!

There's quite a fair selection of healthier eats like fruit salad, house made granola toasted perfectly, muesli and oats. Breakfast is served till past noon. Those looking for something more substantial, word is that the Five Leaves Burger ($15) is so insanely wicked. Packed with grass-fed beef, house pickled beets, harissa mayo and sunny up egg, it is impossibly hard to tackle even with bear paws but that hasn't stop anyone from trying. 
Come nightfall, hit the bar with oysters served w/ rice wine mignonette ($15 for half doz) and all sorts of alcoholic concoction. Five Leaves open till 1am daily so your cravings will be satisfied anytime.
Would certainly be headed back to Five Leaves for more hipster breakfasts!

Five Leaves
18 Bedford Avenue (Lorimer Street), Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NYC
Tel: 718 383 5345
Daily: 8am - 1am
It has come to my attention that the whole world is gonna be descending/has descended upon my favorite city (NYC duh) this holiday season (as always). So here's 5 things to do in New York City during Christmas!

1. Iceskate at one of the open skating rinks. This is quintessentially NYC. Top spots are the Central Park Rink at Rockefeller Center and Winter Village at Bryant Park.

Of course, Central Park's Trump Wollman and Lasker rinks are extremely popular as well. Which brings me to my next point.
2. Chill out in Central Park
Whether it's a picnic in spring, sunbathing in summer, chasing squirrels in autumn or building snowmen in winter, there's always to do in Central Park. And it's always magical. 
Just remember to layer up and keep toasty.

3. Drink Hot Chocolate. Lots of it.
We burn lots of calories during winter so an energy drink every couple of hours is absolutely justified. Judging by the long queues at Max Brenner (841 Broadway), I guess everyone shares my same philosophy. The rich chocolate elixir will keep you warm and provide you with enough juice to go on the whole day. I love the one with the chocolate pops! And it tastes better than what we get in Singers, like seriously. With that energy boost, you're now ready for the next activity.
4. Christmas Market Shopping 
Is there anything that spells Christmas more than Christmas markets? I love the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park (Sixth Ave. between 40th and 42nd Sts.). If you're in a rush for time, you can do item 1, 2 and 4 here! This open-air European inspired market is open daily until 5 Jan.

Hunt down unique preloved at Brooklyn Winter Flea Market [1 Hanson Place (at Ashland Pl.), Fort Greene]. There're antique furniture, vintage preloveds as well as locally crafted artisan jewelry and art. When you're done, pay tribute to your tummy with the hot and fresh food available.

With over 100 red and white booths at the annual Union Square Holiday Market (Union Square Park, bordered by Park Avenue South, Broadway and 14th Streets,), you'd definitely be well fed, entertained and occupied. The market stays open through Christmas Eve.

If you're afraid of the cold, head on to the indoors Grand Central Holiday Fair (87 E 42nd Street).Kill two birds with one stone as you soak in the atmospheric air of the Grand Central Station's historic Vanderbilt Hall on top of your shopping. The fair runs daily from 18 Nov to 24 Dec.
While you're at Grand Central Station, be sure to check out The Campbell Apartment, a hidden cocktail lounge that would throw you back to the Golden Age of train travel. 

Sip on the Prohibition Punch or Kentucky Ginger and lose yourself in the glitz and glamour.

5. Be enchanted by The Nutcracker 

Regardless of your age, The Nutcracker by the New York City Ballet will enchant you and make you believe in Christmas once again. This is way better than any mass market Hollywood Christmas movie with no substantial plot. This is the best way to celebrate Christmas really!

So yes, 5 things to do in New York City during Christmas. Tell us what else you'd do. :) Have a merry holiday!
First Singaporean review on Dominique Ansel Bakery's Cronut fever! By S, the Mr. Cupcake

Summer is in the air, and the city seems to have caught a fever. A ‘Cronut’ fever that is. Created by pastry chef Dominique Ansel, this deep fried donut-croissant hybrid perfection has hordes of New Yorkers dragging themselves up at the crack of dawn to get their hands on these buns since its debut on 10 May. 
In a craze last seen with Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes a decade ago, the obsession seems to grow daily as the queues in SoHo snake along Spring street and wraps around the corner onto Thompson street as early as 7 am.

To cope with the demand, Mr Ansel has limited the number of Cronuts each person in line could buy from 6, to 3, to only just 2 now. This would ensure that the first 100 crazy people in the queue would get their hands on the much sought after confections.
After hearing so much about it and procrastinating for a month, i decided to check out the hype myself. When i got there at 5.50am, i was already #10 in line. The first guy at the head of the queue had started queuing at 4.30am, and within the next half an hour, another 50 people materialized behind me.

Next came the reporters, who have picked up on this craze. They hail from countries as diverse as Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong, India and even Australia, all wanting to write a story about the latest fad that has gripped New York City. Even Hugh Jackman himself, who lives right up the road in the West Village, was seen queuing up for these babies a few weeks ago.

It is worthwhile to note that a shady parallel industry of Cronut-scalping has sprung up, and people have reportedly been offering $150 per Cronut, or a 3000% mark up on the selling price. This is Manhattan after all.
At 8am sharp, with the crowd getting restless, the doors to the bakery were flung opened and everyone cheered, as if they had won the lottery. The baristas did a fantastic job in moving the queue along, and in 45 minutes, all 200 Cronuts packed in pretty gold boxes were gone.

Now down to the actual thing. The Cronut tastes exactly like what it sounds. Covered in a deep fried outer skin, the rich flaky layers of dough broke apart easily like a croissant, yet had the yummy sweetness of a freshly fried doughnut.
The closest comparison i can think of would be a mix between a 油条 and a churro, except that it is not that chewy. Beard Papa-esque cream can be found inside the filling, but the lemon-maple sugar coating whilst giving a nice zing to the whole creation, was a tad too sweet in my opinion.

Why the craze over this new invention? As one writer aptly put it across, “The Cronut has turned into the ultimate grand gesture, appropriate for any occasion, and a burgeoning form of social currency — an object proffered in a bid to ingratiate oneself with a potential business partner, perhaps, or in atonement.”

Overall, the Cronut is close to perfection. However, it will be extremely unlikely for you to find me queuing for a pastry on the streets of SoHo at 6am again.

S, Mr Cupcake
Clinton Street Bakery serves the BEST Breakfast in New York City. There I said it. Even though i haven't tried all the breakfast places in NYC but it about tops all the breakfasts that i have had in my entire life. That's gotta be something considering i do Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast-Breakfast for my meals. And NYC agrees with me, because practically everyone in the city was there queuing to get a table at this coveted bakery/cafe/bistro/restaurant.
Despite our best efforts to get there early, the starving and jet-lagged us (mainly S) were told the wait was 2-3 hours. Desperation called for some random breakfast around the corner (which turned out to be decent), just so we could have a taste of the best blueberry pancakes in NYC (crowned by New York Magazine twice) and more.
The wait and additional calories consumed prior were all worth it when i took that first bite into my Eggs Benedict (US$15). Perfectly poached cafe free organic eggs sat on top the maple cured ham and the signature toasted buttermilk biscuit and given a generous pour over of a creamy, cheesy and full bodied hollandaise sauce. This is THE orgasmic combination and i think we should only do Eggs Ben on Biscuits from now on.

It isn't the most traditional Eggs Benny but who cares? Clinton Street Bakery is part Jewish deli, some Mexican stop and the rest American take out, but the best qualities of them mixed together, as said by owner/chef Neil Kleinberg. It's that kind of hearty food that comforts and warms the tummy when one is exhausted and starved, just as we were that morning.
Great ingredients maketh a good meal and Clinton Street Bakery sources their products from organic and quality farms so that means cage free eggs and chickens, seasonal and local produce, as well as prime quality meats and high grade maple syrup.
Their Award winning pancakes also had Martha Steward singing their praises. Their Wild Maine Blueberry with warm maple butter ($14) are so recognizable i could identify it anywhere. Texture-wise, it's like biting into a slightly salted and buttery cloud dusted with snowy icing. And that warm maple butter is simply divine. This is an excellence case of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

And guess what?! The above mentioned items are served ALL DAY. YESSSS! Even for dinner. That's how good and popular they are. The other 2 breakfast items available all day include The Clinton St. Omelette ($14) and the Huevos Rancheros (Mexican breakfast tortilla, $14).
I guess i'll never do lunch or dinner at Clinton Street Bakery. I'm sure that they do some good food as well but nothing can trump breakfast. If you wanna do the other breakfast items, they are served daily from 8am to 4pm.

Clinton Street Bakery
4 Clinton Street (btw. East Houston & Stanton)
New York, NY 10002 
Tel: +1 646 602 6263
Many tourists would flock to Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes when in New York (i blame SATC, SJP and her bad taste). Honestly the cupcakes from Magnolia are terrible. The batter is too dry and the icing is just really mucky. So here is a way better alternative Sprinkles Cupcakes. It's my girlfriend's favorite cupcake in US and Mr Cupcake a.k.a. S gave his nod of approval (though that boy eats anything sweet).
Apparently they are the world's first cupcake bakery and it all started in Beverly Hills where the stars shine and cupcakes dazzle. Their sweet treats are handcrafted from the finest ingredients, including sweet cream butter, bittersweet Belgian chocolate, pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla, fresh bananas and carrots, real strawberries and natural citrus zests. It's no wonder why they are so popular. What i love most about their cupcakes is the deliciously moist interior, not too cloyingly sweet frosting and intense flavors. It also helps that they look so simple and pretty.
If you happen to be in LA, visit the Sprinkles ATM to get your convenient fix of cupcakes. Check their video out. 
Definitely gonna head back for more flavors this time round. I would love to try the spiced Chai tea cake with chai vanilla frosting. The Cuban coffee would sure send me spinning with the powerful coffee frosting on top a Belgian chocolate cake. Oh and they have vegan and gluten free options available for their Red Velvet cake too.

Guilt free option of a 'Doggie cupcake' are available too with no sugar and yogurt frosting instead ($2.50) too which is sugar free with yogurt frosting ($2.50). Regular flavors are $3.50 a pop.
Which other cupcakes in NYC do you dig? Tell us! Just don't say it's Magnolia Bakery. I WILL JUDGE YOU. Kidding. No really. Now go eat a cupcake. :) 

Sprinkles Cupcakes
780 Lexington Avenue (between 60th & 61st streets)
New York, New York 10065
Mon - Sat: 9am - 9pm
Sun: 10am - 8pm
Momofuku Milk Bar is the sweet dessert sister of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurant group. Founded and owned by Christina Tosi, the queen of all things sweet and lovely, Milk has been coined one of the most exciting bakeries in the US of A.
The desserts are not fancy schmancy but they resonate with everyone from young to old. It is no secret that Christina has a major sweet tooth but the secret lies in her eye for little details and knowing what exactly warms the heart and tummy. Anyone who have tried her Cereal Milk™ Soft Serve (US$4.50) would agree wholeheartedly. I wouldn't even bother going for the other flavors. 
It is easy to place the taste if you grew up on milk and cereal. The flavor is the essence of the all that cornflakes frosting with bits of honey oat clusters and other crunchy bits at the very end of your cereal breakfast. I'm amazed at how she could replicate all that different dimensions in one smooth, milky and a little icy soft serve. It comes 'bottomed' with cornflakes in the cup and you can add more crunch for a little more. 
The Crack Pie® is as addictive as crack. Perhaps even more. But it's real good stuff. It's sticky and chewy, sweet and salty caramel-ly in the middle, with some maltiness as well. The crust is a nice blend of oats and buttery graham which is my absolute favorite kind of pie base. Get a slice for $5.25. Heck. Get the whole pie ($44). I did. And it is still not enough. Yea.. that addictive.

Was told to try the Cake Truffles (3pcs for $4). These ping pong sized balls are essentially cookie dough. I'm not much of a fan of the Birthday Truffles (shown above), they tasted artificial in some ways. The chocolate malt ones were alright too. I guess i'm not a fan of cookie dough.

If you can't make time for the queues at Momofuku but wanna have a taste of their famous Pork buns , you can get them here at Momofuku Milk bar. Each costs $8 but they are bigger than the individual portions at the store. The texture of the bun is more ciabatta like and this is the pulled pork version. I topped it with a wonderfully slow poached egg for a buck. Absolutely delicious.

The blur me thought the pork bun was different from the ones served at the main Momofuku chain because it looked different. Ordered it again at Momofuku Ssam Bar just to make sure. The taste is the same but the texture is just a little different.

Another must try in NYC. I LOVE MILK!

Momofuku Milk Bar
East Village (around the corner of Ssam Bar)
Mid Town
Upper West Side
Carroll Gardens
I thank David Chang for being such a godsend with his Momofuku brand. You gotta have at least 1 meal at 1 of his restaurants when visiting the Big Apple. My winter gastronomic itinerary was too darn packed for me to squeeze in another reservation at Momofuku Ko and i thought it was lost to me till the next trip. Thankfully there is Momofuku Ssam Bar and their no reservations policy, we tried our luck and managed to get a table on our last day in the city. O the happiness when we saw only a short queue. Whee! 
Momofuku Ssam Bar serves an unpretentious Asian comfort food with a duck-dominated menu. This is a casual joint where you can simply pop in for a quick meal or a snack or 2 for 20 bucks and leave really satisfied physically and emotionally because the food is ingenious and vibrant. Yes eating is an emotional thing for me.

For lunch, there is a 3 course Prix Fixe meal for US$25. I decided not to be greedy and stuck with my own choice of dish while S took this option.
The Striped Bass was picked from a list of 3 appetizers which included Fuji Apple Kimchi and Steamed (Pork) Buns. All are great choices and come recommended. I would say go for the famous Momofuku Pork buns if you have not eaten that before. As we already had that bun at Momofuku Milk Bar, we decided to try something different. The bass was very fresh and the texture was sublime. Interesting rice pops to give the carpaccio an added crunchy texture. This is seasoned with plum, cilantro, green peppercorn. Very refreshing.
Charred Octopus didn't seem like a very good choice to me but S didn't wanna order another duck dish because of my duck rice order. Do not make the same mistake as he did. You should ALWAYS do duck at Ssam. The octopus was grilled to a crispy exterior but i found it very bland even all that stuff going on the plate. Don't remember anything about this dish other than it's plain and you shouldn't order it. I'm sure the Fried Duck Dumplings and Duck Bologna Sandwich options would have been much better.
Now.. How did the Steamed Pork Buns (2pcs for $10) come about if we didn't order it with the lunch set? Well.. blame it on the greedy me. When i saw that the other tables had the kong ba bao version, i wondered if the bun that i had at Momofuku Milk Bar was the same Momofuku Pork Bun (seriously..) The one at Milk is a pulled pork version in a different bun. Not sure if it's because i added an egg with it but you can't blame me for thinking that they were different! Anyway, they tasted about the same with the hoisin sauce, cucumbers and scallions. The textures were a little different and i kinda like Milk's version better as it seemed a juicier.
Now, you gotta have my absolute favorite dish, which is the Rotisserie Duck Over Rice ($14). I felt that the duck was very interesting as a flavored minced duck scallion patty was sandwiched between the caramelized skin and the pink tender meat. Add a little of the sweet hoisin sauce with some chili and the taste is absolutely heavenly and very Vietnamese. I added a chives pancake on the side ($2) and wrapped the meat in the salty flaky dough and it became an interpretation of a modern Peking Duck wrap. I'm so gonna have this again and this time probably the huge ass Whole Rotisserie Duck Ssäm ( with chive pancakes, bibb lettuce, hoisin, duck scallion, crispy shallots, two side dishes) AND the Bo Ssäm (whole pork butt, dozen oysters, kimchi, rice, lettuce).
The Chevre Sorbet was a terrible terrible choice from the lunch set. We should have gone with the safer Lemon Meringue Pie. There's simply too much going on. We didn't finish this and went to Milk bar (which is around the corner) to have our favorite Cereal Milk Soft Serve and Crack Pie. :) 

Remember, whatever you do, you GOT TO HAVE the duck rice at Momofuku Ssam Bar. Do it for supper, whatever. Just eat it. 

Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd avenue, new york, ny 10003 | corner of 13th street and 2nd avenue.
Tel: +1 212 254 3500
Reservations are only taken for large-format meals.