Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cavalock and The Return to Old Treats

The Baker-At-Home was adamant that we repeat our Tokyo pilgrimage to the acclaimed patisserie Hidemi Sugino at Kyobashi, just like two years ago. So off we went instead of heading to Ueno to check out toys and Star Wars stuff. We reached the narrow alleyway where the patisserie was located around 3pm, just in time to pick the three of the last seven pastries on display.

Yah, this one below was the same one we had two years ago but beggars can't be choosers. So really, if you snooze, you lose. You gotta be there early or them cakes will be gone real fast and the place is always packed.

Speaking of return visits, we also stumbled about a Marufuku coffee joint on the 6th floor of the Tokyo Ginza shopping mall. I was smitten by their famous pancakes back in Osaka but since it was afternoon teatime in Tokyo, I opted for an equally enticing fruity swiss roll instead. Geez, there's just so much to eat and enjoy here that I already miss the city.

Now while I was Tokyo, the temperature hovered around the lower single digits. Thankfully I had a new North Face winter jacket with me. A little pricer than your average Uniqlo heat tech and jacket but I thought it was a worthy investment. If you are gonna be walking in and out of buildings or shops in single-digit-temperature Tokyo, wearing a heat tech is gonna kill you. Sure it might keep you warm when it's cold outdoors but once inside a building at room temperature, you'll be sweating like a turkey on Thanksgiving. Hey I like Uniqlo but I don't think most of their winter wear gear can really keep you warm for long outdoors especially if it hits zero degrees.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Cavalock and The Tokyo Tartine Treat

We didn't expect to find this little culinary gem when we went exploring the new Newoman mall next to our hotel. A little bakery and patisserie by the famous Joel Robuchon, Le Pain de Joel Robuchon and its being hailed as his first specialty bakery. Needless to say, we made plans to have breakfast there the next morning.

Just look at the above seasonal mushroom tartine! I can definitely get used to waking up to this every morning. Since it's strawberry season in Japan, I had the very yummy strawberry croissant instead and the baker at home had the tartine. And between the two is a very delicious sweet potato danish.

Presenting this trip's boardgame haul from Japan! I only managed to hit one game store this trip and it's the Yellow Submarine in Shinjuku. I still have yet to play some of the games I bought last year! So if anyone wants a game, just let me know.

Speaking of games, I was in Tokyo on the first day of the Nintendo Switch launch. This photo was taken at 7pm in the evening and there's a queue for it in Shinjuku.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cavalock and The Shopping Bane

I believe it's only a matter of time before we get Zaku Zaku Croquant Chou here in Singapore. Or maybe they already do? I dunno, it's hard to keep up with what's new in town these days. Hah! So anyway we stumbled upon this outlet at Shinjuku station, Lumine Basement One. Needless to say, there was a queue which meant its gotta be good. Well, they aren't exactly new and have been in Shinjuku for at least a couple years.

Each is a crisp chou croquant almost 30cm long that's sprinkled with almonds and filled with rich creamy custard. Super tasty snack that I'll gladly queue again the next time I'm in the neighbourhood.

Whenever I spend just a day shopping or even just window shopping in Japan, I'm instantly reminded of how delightful the experience is compared to how infuriating it is back home here in Singapore. And I don't even speak Japanese. I know I did a bit of a similar rant here.

For starters, I'm almost immediately turned off by how ridiculously jacked up prices are over here especially when you do your homework, and are aware of the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Then there's the excellent quality of Japanese-made items and how they cheap they are in Japan, plus there's a whole wide variety of them including limited editions and other hard-to-find stuff.

Sometimes when I read about how some of our malls are now empty, there's a little voice inside of me that says, "serves them right" for overcharging us all the time. Even the malls in Tijuana Johor Bahru, just across the causeway, are cheaper.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cavalock Spends Saturday In The Park

Just like that Chicago song, we spent Saturday in a park in Tokyo. Weather was a little cloudy but nice and chilly. We took the morning train to Daikanyama for breakfast. My love for pancakes started when I was a kid back in the old family home when my late aunt would make me some Bird Eye's pancakes. So the baker-at-home did her research and came up with Ivy Place at Shibuya-ku.

Their classic buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and fresh fruits were as good as I hoped they would be. Thick and fluffy, I was stuffed when I finished all three. Great ambience, probably the one I loved most for this trip. You got this spacious restaurant in the middle of a lush green setting. A cute little dog park, an amazing book store, bike shop, just to name a few cool outlets around the area. I think if anyone coming to Tokyo should at least spend one morning having breakfast or just strolling through the suburbs here.

Ah, homemade hot apple cider. I can't tell you how long I waited for this. The last time I had real hot apple cider was in New York about 20 years ago. This is soooooo good. Had to savour it a little sip at a time.

This eye-catching Shaun Shibuya exhibition was a photo favourite among everyone at the park. Yah, that be my sneakers and I heard they caught the eye of some locals too. <^:^>

Monday, March 13, 2017

Cavalock and The March Mochi Madness

Oh yah, this is how you kick off a vacation in Tokyo. Yup, time to take a break from my break from the rat race. We were in Tokyo in 2015 and last year saw us in Osaka so this year, the baker-at-home and I figured it's time we headed back to Tokyo for just a short week-long stay.

We touched down at about 5.30pm, reached our hotel in Shinjuku at a little past 7pm. Immediately headed out to an izakaya for dinner and grabbed dessert on our way back. Of cos, we looked for the latest Haagen-Dazs flavours available and we found these two, kinako kuromitsu mochi ice-cream (introduced in 2015 but I missed it back then) and the newer black sesame walnut ice-cream.

You got a layer of mochi resting nicely on top of the ice-cream. Much preferred the sweeter kuromitsu brown sugar. The mochi is just the right sticky texture. Not too  sticky. The black sesame one was alright and the little walnut chunks in it gave it a tasty little crunch but since I had the kuromitsu first, well, brown sugar won hands down.

First time staying at the Hotel Century Southern Tower in Shinjuku instead of our usual Keio Plaza. Nice view from our room on the 24th floor. Damn it, its been less than a week since I got back and already I miss Tokyo.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Cavalock and The Bedok Hawk Watch

Was introduced to another neat new (well, new to me at least) little eating joint Yuki Onna at Far East Square. It's only a hop and a skip away from the baker-at-home's office gig so that's where we headed for dinner last week. Had the truffle beef yakiniku with onsen tamago. Yah, I know there probably ain't no real fancy truffles in there but the whole dish was a very satisfying meal at S$16.90.

There was an article in Monday's copy of The Straits Times about our avian neighbours that got my 83-year-old Dad kinda excited. He was at some of those locations and managed to also snap more than a few pix of the same birds. Anyway, recently he was at Bedok for the first time in ages as word on the streets is there be a young family of crested goshawks next to some HDB blocks. Two babies with their parents. My Dad was told that one of the two babies fell from the tree but someone nursed the little critter back to health. And he came back with these shots, taken over a couple of weeks.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Cavalock and The Catchup Post

Busy or lazy? A little bit of both is probably the reason for the infrequent posts. And there was this local blog article I read a couple weeks ago bout how no one reads blogs any more. Which made me a wee bit hesitant bout posting then I remembered I'm writing this more for myself, to remind myself of the good times than for an audience (real or imaginary) out there. But I still do wonder if anyone reads this blog.

Now I do need to do some writing. Chapters of a short story that I told myself I gotta finish before the end of the month and planting myself with my Macbook at the public library is one way to be productive. Yes, I'm one of those who tend to be easily distracted at home. Of course board gaming is still taking up a huge chunk of my time and I'm loving every minute of it. Was even introduced to three WhatsApp gaming chat groups recently. Maybe I'll do a post on some of the new games I'm into right now.

Anyway the baker-at-home finally brought me to lunch at Ippin Cafe Bar, down Mohamed Sultan Road. I really like this Japanese Restaurant even though we were the only group there for a better part of the afternoon. I'm sure it's way more crowded in the evenings.

I would definitely go for the Ikura don again the next time I'm there. There's so much in this bowl. Same for the grilled oysters. A most satisfying lunch that we had 'walk off' with a short stroll to Meidi-Ya supermarket. 

Sure wasn't expecting this Disney showcase at Meidi-Ya. Lots of Tsum-Tsum products on sale at the supermarket. I don't think you find these particular ones on sale anywhere else. $10 bottle of Calpis Grape anyone?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cavalock and The Fukubukuro Bag Grab Part Deux

We did it last year so we are doing it again this year and because I could never say 'no' to a bit of gamble or tikam ever since my booster-opening days with Magic: The Gathering. But I digress. It's time for this year's Fukubukuro raid at Isetan. Just like last year, there were lucky bags filled with mystery gifts for sale at Isetan. I got a more detailed explanation of what's it all about in last year's post. When you have almost zero Chinese New Year visitation obligations like me and the baker-at-home, this is what we do. Pros and cons of coming from a very small and intimate family I suppose.

For this year, Isetan listed the contents of their mystery food bag and it was almost the same as what we got last year. I don't know why they did it as it very much took the fun out of it. No more mystery there. Except for a couple of items like the Apple Juice and Japanese beer, we ended up giving away most of last year's stuff, and I think the soap is still somewhere in the drawer. Naturally we didn't wanna go through that again and decided to try our luck with the S$88 household Fukubukuro bag instead. But no, they didn't provide a list here so we had no idea what's inside. So here's our loot.

No complaints here. The Panasonic iron will definitely come in handy right now as ours is on the fritz. The others will be of use eventually, one day, somewhere somehow. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cavalock and The Overdue Post New Year Lunch

Always glad to know that there's somewhere for me to chow down on a plate on good and cheap wanton mee. Dropped by the ever popular Foong Kee along Keong Saik Road couple weekends ago and had one of the best wanton mee I had in a long time. Totally enjoyed the char siew and springy noodles. But I reckon the joint is usually too damn crowded on weekdays so I'll probably be back on another weekend.

I have always loved the Simpsons TV series since they first appeared on the Tracy Ullman Show but I'm sure most fans would agree, the last couple of seasons haven't been all that good at all but we soldiered on and I'm to say that last week's episode "Pork and Burns" featuring the return of Spider-Pig from the Simpsons movie was the best in years. Yes, there's a pig involved so it might not be politically correct for all audiences but it's absolutely hilarious. So many spoofs involving Grey's Anatomy and even Whitney Houston. It's so funny I'm still re-watching that last scene again and again on my iPad. And it's driving the baker-at-home crazy.

I'm also finally catching up on the Preacher mini-series, great show and (almost) as violent as the comic book series. But plot-wise it's quite a departure from the comic. Got the chance to watch the infamous lady Ghostbusters too and it wasn't as bad as the reviews made it out to be but the villain was probably the lamest antagonist in movie history ever. Sure glad I didn't have to pay to watch it. It wasn't terrible but not bloody worth the admission ticket IMHO. Oh, and I have yet to watch the last season of American Horror.