Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Expiry date of furnitures

How long would you keep a piece of furniture before discarding? When you get sick of the item and want to change a look? When you move house? Or when its already falling apart?

This cabinet has been sitting in my parents' living room for perhaps 20 years. I know the condition has been bad, but it is only after we dump it and I take a last shot that I realise how badly damaged it is. It certainly didn't end up in this state over night, over the years, it aged and wore off gradually.

Perhaps it is just like people we face everyday, gradual changes do not register in the mind until something strikes.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Coffee or Tea. 19 May 11

Brunch at Food for Thought


Doesn't taste or look like the usual brioche, this is a bit too sweet to me.

Blueberry pancake

The pancake is nice and a bit crumbly. Unfortunately, the berries, combined with the sauce tasted too sweet for me too. Perhaps I should go for savoury food next time.

I like the flat white though...

The glass walls let in abundance of natural light and created a relaxed atmosphere.

Perhaps the only fault we could find with the interiors was the white tiles, which we feel doesn't match the overall deco. Doesn't it remind you of the old HDB kitchen and bathroom tiles?

By the time we finished our brunch, it was lunch time and full house.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Coffee or Tea. compilation

main pic: Flat white from The Plain
Left of main pic from top: latte and cappucino from Papa Palheta, piccolo latte from Joe & Dough
below main pic from left: flat white from Room with a View, Food for Thought and Robert Timms
last row from left: piccolo latte and latte from Black Cafe, cappuccino from cafe at National Museum and black coffee from Heart Bistro

Lots of nice coffee...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Coffee or Tea. 15 May 11

It was a hot afternoon and I was dozing off in front of the computer. Rather than dragging through an eventless afternoon, I decided to meet a friend for coffee. We headed for Papa Palheta, a name that I've heard many online raves but have yet to try. By the way, this is also on my to visit list.

This is not a typical cafe. Firstly, you got to enter by the back door.
view from back door entrance

Secondly, you do not pay for your coffee, you give tips instead. Techically, this is not a cafe, but a coffee beans retailer, so that probably explains why they work by tipping. (Does that mean the service staff gets all the tips rather than the boss? But perhaps the staff are the bosses.) I didn't quite know how it works till I reach there, just simply tip as you please for the coffee you have tasted.

latte vs cappuccino

Perhaps it was a crowded afternoon, it took a bit of time for the coffee to come. I ordered latte while my friend cappuccino. The coffee tasted fine, not spectacular, but satisfactory to the extent that I do crave for a second cup.

a hot but leisurely afternoon

The seats aren't really comfortable (but they do not claim to be a cafe). The vintage and retro pieces do however give the place a nice feel, certainly something unique and unpretentious.

a surprising find, an old Mac

It was only after we left that my friend said he wasn't exactly satisfied with the coffee and the service. I felt something amiss but couldn't quite place it till much later, when I was wondering what was the coffee bean used. Given that they are retailing beans, it would have been nice if the staff give us some information on the coffee bean. Perhaps it was really a very busy afternoon for them...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Crepes & Coffee. 14 May 11

Flat white @ Keen on Crepes

Average but of course, we're here for the crepes:

The portion are really big, this is only half of the crepe, the other half I shared with a friend. Taste healthy, with lots of vege, eggs, cheese and mushroom. Didn't quite taste the mushroom though.

The chocolate isn't overly sweet and I could taste the rum in the raisin. Nice...

Coffee or Tea. 12 May 11

We meant to go Joe & Dough for lunch but ended up at Black Cafe due to insufficient seatings at Joe. I've passed by Black Cafe at Somerset area many times but have not tried so far. The Raffles Place branch is much smaller compared to the one at Somerset, but we are happy to get a seat.

I ordered a Piccolo Latte and cheese and tomato sandwich while my friend a Latte and smoked salmon bagel.

The Piccolo Latte is comparable to Joe & Dough's (though I still prefer Joe & Dough's).

It is really a very small cup, as compared to a latte.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

King & King Wong

Today, I finally visited King & King Wong, one of the furnishing shops I've been thinking of visiting. I like stuff that looks old, the clocks, the trays and even some of the chairs (which I think are on the ex side).

But in line with my goal to buy as little as possible for this limited space, I only bought a glass container. My good excuse, this is to reduce cluttering.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Encounters with locals

"He turned corners, choosing the narrowest unlighted lanes, and then we stayed on dirt roads. I suspected he was going to rob me, and when we came to the darkest part of a bumpy track- we were in the courty now - and he pulled over and switched off the lights, I was certain he was a con man: his next move would be to stick a knife in my ribs..." from the Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux.
at Kathmandu International Airport

It seems that no travel tale is complete without an encounter with locals trying to cheat you. Although nothing as scary as Paul Theroux's experience, I had encountered a con trishaw driver in Chiangmai, who tried to drive me to somewhere desserted for massage, travel vans who try to over charge ridiculously at Ho Chi Minh, taxi drivers who had "better" hotels to recommend than what we originally booked in Danang. The worst was probably at Kota Tinggi where the taxi driver drove me to a factory when I told him to go to a temple.

In a more recent trip, an overly zealous local at Kathmandu Airport volunteered to contact my travel agent who was no where to be found at the airport. A short conversation over the phone in Nepali language and he has it settled, "Your travel agent will be here shortly. Please wait for a while." I was sceptical, did he really called our agent? Would he get his own guy to come pick us up and try to get us stay in some other hotel, sign up a sightseeing package with him, etc? Fortunately, nothing like this happen. Our agent came, and he demanded for S$20 as tips. We gave him a S$2 note and our driver drove us off to our hotel.
the Eyes that appear on many stupas in Nepal

It was an unpleasant start but for the rest of the trip, things were not as bad. In fact, we met many nice locals. In Pokhara, a family invited us for dinner on their New Year Eve; in Lumbini, a hotel manager escorted us to the airport and helped us settle our lost air ticket from Lumbini to Kathmandu; in Kathmandu, a monk we met at Boudhanath subsequently helped us find accomodation in the temple as I forgot to book our last night's lodging. Such pleasant surprises!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Coffee or Tea. A mix of local and western

I never stopped my caffeine in-take, but I got busy and lazy...

Some shots I took before my overseas holiday.

Let's sweet weekday promo, coffee and desserts are average only...

cup looks nicer than the coffee, at a local eatery

My friend was late and I decided to have a cup of tea and read the papers while waiting.

At Obolo cafe, the cake is good but coffee very average.

at a local kopi tiam

a new drink that was too sweet for me.

at Coffee n ToastCheese & Tomato Crossiant

one of my favourites for teh c & kopi c

late lunch of hot lemon tea with prata

Seriously, I think it is hard to find good western coffee. Most often, when I just order from some place out of convenience, they usually turn out average or even below average. I guess its the same for local drinks too, but usually I stick to kopitiams I'm familiar with.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A train ride to Kluang

"Nothing is expected of the train passenger. In planes the traveler is condemned to hours in a tight seat; ships require high spirits and sociability; cars and buses are unspeakable. The sleeping car is the most painless form of travel." from The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Recalling all the short and long journeys I've made, the train is indeed the most comfortable mode of travel. Although I've not been on a sleeper train before, I remembered having a good sleep while on the overnight train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok, merely on a train seat.

A month ago, I went on a short ride from Tanjong Pagar Station to Kluang. Its been more than 10 years since I took this rail. Gone are the worn off seats, decaying window frames and broken windows, replaced by comfortable seats and modern cars. I would have preferred a non-air con seat but there are none now.

There is even a dining car within the train.

While on this trip, I did not forget to take some coffee/cafe shots.

at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station Canteen

at Kluang Rail Cafe

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Finally I've moved back. It was a more painful process than moving out. Over the years, I've accumulated so much stuff that its unimaginable that one can squeeze so much things into a small bedroom. I must have 10 boxes of things and carrying them down the stairs repeatedly, and staying not at lift level is literary a pain in the neck.

My resolution for the rest of the year:
no more shopping, no more hoarding

My goal for my next move is just to pull a luggage and move to a new place. Wish me luck.