Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cavalock and The Arkham Horror Acquisition

Just as I promised a couple posts ago, I made my second trip to Basilico last Saturday right after posting bout my first visit.

The set-up's a little different for dinners. There's still a buffet but that's only for appetizers and desserts. Lotsa nice cheeses and salads but no soups apparently. You choose one main course from the menu below and I picked the baked cod fish.

Not a bad choice as the fish was sufficiently moist and not too salty. I was at first suspicious of the citrus salad but realized that it went down very well with the sauteed mushrooms. Just stuff portions of both into your mouth and it's yummy! Yah, I know, I'm using the word 'yummy' when describing food! I'm sooooo not a food blogger! ;)

Not a very clear pix of the my main course but can't be helped as I was seated in the back of the joint where it's pretty dark.  There's always the crowd favorite, prosciutto and melon for starters, and for dessert, there were no canoles spotted but I got a scoop of canole ice-cream!

Geekout time! Was at a boardgame auction this afternoon. Now I think this is like my third or fourth boardgame auction over the last couple years, bid on a couple games never won any. As usual, interesting selection of brand new and secondhand games.

Now anyone who knows me well enough will know that I'm a total hardcore Call of Cthulhu fan. So when I saw one of sets up for auction was a (complete?) Arkham Horror core set with 8 different expansions, with a starting bid of only S$100, hell I ain't gonna let this one go. Retail price for the whole lot should be about S$400.

Fortunately, there was only other guy bidding for it, we went back and forth with S$5 increments. When the auctioneer yelled the other guy's bid, "S$110, going once...", my paddle shot up again. "S$115, do I hear S$120?" Inside I was going, "that's it. I ain't going higher than that!"

Then ...dead silence... no other paddle was raised and the next thing I know I'm the proud owner of a (complete?) freakin' set of Arkham Horror games for only S$115!

Now not everyone in my gaming group is a Cthulhu fan or enjoys cooperative games like Arkham Horror (most of us prefer very 'non-cooperative' games). Looks like it's time to start 'looking for party members' real soon. ;P

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cavalock and The Beckoning Beer Blog

Lookit this! Just in time for Oktoberfest are these two cases of Trappist beer from Europe that showed up at my doorstep on Saturday morning. Now I'm not a beer expert so what I know about Trappist or monastery beer is all from the Internet.

Some cool facts about them, according to wiki:
  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by the monks themselves or under their supervision.
  • The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and it should witness to the business practices proper to a monastic way of life
  • The brewery is not intended to be a profit-making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the buildings and grounds. Whatever remains is donated to charity for social work and to help persons in need.
  • Trappist breweries are constantly monitored to assure the irreproachable quality of their beers.
Pretty neat eh? It feels like I'm doing a good deed while getting piss drunk! Some of them alcohol levels are over 9%, now that's gonna hurt after four bottles!

As of this posting, I haven't tried any of them yet. Heard that they actually age better. Maybe I'll hang on to a couple for awhile.

Tried for the Lego blind pack minifigures again last week and look what I got! Just in time for beer fest, some random Alps dude eating a giant pretzel!

Was downloading my Dad's latest wildlife pix the other day and I thought this was pretty cool. My fav shot of that lot. Wish I could make it bigger so you can see the details but it kinda overlaps to the right if I enlarge it too much. Gimme a tick below if you like any of the pix! <^;^>

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cavalock and The Italian Birthday Buffet

Believe it or not, as I'm writing this post about fancy Italian joint Basilico at Regent Hotel, I'm getting ready for my second visit there. Needless to say, I absolutely enjoyed my birthday buffet lunch there last Saturday and looking forward to dinner next.

I was really impressed by the spread of "authentic regional Italian cuisine". Started with some seafood soup that really hit the spot. Followed by that mixed plate of goodies you see below.

Now over the last couple years, I had good gnocchi and I had bad gnocchi. I'm so glad to say that the gnocchi I had at Basilico was great gnocchi. Whew! I was really worried that the spoonfuls of gnocchi I grabbed at the buffet bar was gonna sucked but thankfully it didn't.

The other dishes I had were all pretty good too. My only regret was there was no Florentine Steak on the buffet menu. Was so hoping for some. One of the best damn meals I had while in Italy last year.

As you can tell from the above pix, I ain't the kinda guy who piles his buffet plate. I would make a dozen trips to the buffet table then have a messy plate.

Sweet heavenly canoles! Just a little too nutty for me but hell, I still had two of them. ;)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Cavalock and The Toy Whisperer

A totally impulse lunch destination led us to the much talked-about new ramen joint Uma Uma Ramen. It's apparently their first outlet outside of Japan and it's Hakata style with thin noodles (the kind I like) and tonkotsu stock.

Had the Uma Uma Ramen, I have to say that I like the broth a lot. Rich and tasty, and although it says 'spicy miso' on the menu, it wasn't at all. Unfortunately there were a couple of things that could very well deter me from going back. Firstly the portion was terribly small. The Japanese men at the next table had to order extra bowls of rice! The service could do with some improvement too but I can understand especially with the teenage staff that they have. So for that price and that portion, I'll think twice before stepping back there again.

Few months ago I got myself a Lego iPhone case and last week, I found me a perfect Lego minfigure to stick to it! Now how I got this minifigure was something else.

Last week I was checking out the toy section at a local department store when I saw a guy squatting by the Lego section fondling/groping/squeezing every minifigure pack. You see, inside each pack is a random figure. Some more rare then others. The guy was obviously what we in the toy collecting biz call a 'scalper'. Folks like him will grab the rare toys (or any highly sought after toys) at retail outlets and sell them at a higher price at hobby stores.

This guy appears to be regular at the department store too as the store staff was constantly bringing out new Lego packs for him to pick and choose. Anyway we struck up a conversation and I showed him my Lego iPhone case, needless to say he was most impressed. So I decided to ask him if he could be so kind as to use his uncanny skills to pick out a figure for me. He was nice enough to agree to it. I chose Frankenstein's Monster and after just 'feeling up' three random packs, he passed me one and assured me that it's the one I wanted.

Pleased and shocked at the relative ease of it, I asked him how could he be so sure. He pointed out that it's the 'head piece', the flat-top feels different from anything else in the set. He even said that if it wasn't the right figure, he'll exchange it for me. Thankfully he was right! He's like the freakin' Toy Whisperer!

Another reason why Frankenstein's Monster was good choice is cos he doesn't come with any accessories like weapons or tools. That way I can stick him to my iPhone case and not be afraid of any small items falling off.
Rise! My child! Rise! 

Cavalock Goes To The Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Con

First up, let's get this outta the way, this is not a food post. Ain't nothing bout no food here (triple negatives). It's all about this year's Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention that just ended last weekend. Like last year, I'm really lucky to be a part of it again although I wasn't moderating a panel this time.

I had a great time catching up with fellow geeks and bought a bunch of stuff mostly for my friends. Unfortunately I felt that most of the things I had my eye on were a little too expensive. There are lots more pix and articles at sites like Here Be Geeks (a great local geek site that I do write-ups for, under Mel's Muses) and Red Dot Diva. Way more better pix at those sites! ;)

I couldn't believe it but the most money I spent at the convention was for ... not comics, not action figures, not games but cuff links! When I told them there's a booth selling super-hero cuff links, almost everyone wanted at least a pair. So I ended up buying a dozen pairs of cuff links! And nope, I didn't get one for myself.

If I had the space or money, these are the things I would definitely have bought. Giant Star Wars Lego displays and/or the very cool Super Alloy Special Edition Batman figure.

Below we got a wonderful Thor sketch by Marvel Comics artist Tan Eng Huat from Malaysia! Plus another gorgeous sketchbook by Wendy Chew, just like last year.

Finally a shout-out to all the incredible cosplayers at the convention! Deep respect to all of them, who spent countless hours and $$$ putting their outfits together. As a DC Comics fan, I thought these ladies were really the best of the best. You got Power Girl and Supergirl, Oracle and Poison Ivy.