Monday, October 16, 2017

Cavalock and The Kombucha Experiment

My first taste of the fermented tea drink Kombucha was at a Real Food outlet couple months back. It's like drinking cider vinegar as the one from Real Food comes with a fruity flavour. It's sweet with a sour kick. The Baker-at-Home and I liked it so much we began toying with the idea of making our own. The health claims are out there and whether you are a believer or not, I think the pros outweigh the cons here.

And by some incredible coincidence, one of her friends has actually been brewing her own kombucha  for awhile now and has a slice of scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) starter to pass to us! You'll need the scoby to start your own jar of kombucha. So we did, brewing ours in the above jar and that photo is actually our second batch, having enjoyed the first one. Yup, drank and we still alive here!

Been clearing up cupboard space in our tiny apartment cos of numerous incoming boardgames, cookbooks and Lego sets, and saw this little note. Believe it or not, I actually kinda enjoyed my NS days. I always tell folks that's the first place I learnt how to lie with a straight face. A skill that came in real handy more times than I can remember.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Cavalock and The Hokkaido Melon Extraction

It was just another Japanese Hokkaido food fair at the supermarket basement but we happened to be at Takashimaya that Friday afternoon so why not drop by to see what they got. Melons!!! Gorgeous juicy Hokkaido Raiden melons for sale at $25 each on the first day of the fair!

The Baker-At-Home mentioned that they were slightly larger than the ones we bought earlier this year. Each melon comes individually boxed and we bought two almost immediately. If you like melons and if you like them really, really juicy sweet, this is something you gotta try at least once in your life.


The guys finally got their work leave approved and we all headed to play the epic Civilization boadrgame (with expansions), that's based on the old PC game. Each player takes on a role of a famous leader in charge of various historical civilizations, each with their own abilities. Players then explore a module game board, build cities and buildings, fight battles, research powerful technology and attract great people by advancing their culture. With different pathways to victory and options every turn, this is a brain-burner that could easily go up to four hours.

And then if one plays with us, one would have the privileged of gaming with the most politically incorrect bunch of gamers ever. Especially when you make us heads of state of countries like China and India, well, I know better than to repeat our jokes or comments online but we almost died laughing.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Cavalock and The Lone Red Erget

Good news bout the Media-Ya supermarket renovation is that it's finally done and it looks all nice and spiffy. Bad news is their selection appears (to me at least) a little more mainstream. I see less Japanese and foreign merchandise like beer, snacks and cereal. Maybe it'll be different in the coming weeks? Anyway the Baker-At-Home did notice that they have brought in more Japanese baking ingredients and stuff, with the below small section devoted to them.

Check out the new lighting above the kid's TV section. Pretty neat. Now even though the selection now appears a little more like what you would find in NTUC FairPrice or Cold Storage, there are still more than enough unique Japanese products to make me wanna drop every couple weeks. Fingers crossed!

So my 83-year-old Dad heard bout this lone red erget roaming the fields around Chinese Garden last month. He finally found the time to head down there one morning, almost couldn't find the bird until a drink vendor told him where it was last spotted. Real friendly little bird that wasn't shy at all bout walking right up for its closeups.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Cavalock's Date Night with A View

We were in the mood for something with a view last weekend. Somewhere new that the Baker-at-Home and I haven't been before. Decided on the rather new PS.Cafe at One Fullerton with a view of Marina Bay Sands and the surrounding area. My chicken parmigiano (chicken breast, chunky tomato sauce, garlic ciabatta croutons, roasted rooms, spinach, mozzarella and grilled lemon) was pretty much what I was expecting. It was good but nothing worth shouting about. I made the choice simply cos of the healthier chicken breast that I remembered I ought to be having more of. I dunno, I think when you start making these kinda conscious dietary choices at joints like PS.Cafe, things are starting to get a little serious. Gym days are tough.

Now here's something we weren't expecting. Little complimentary PS. Cafe soap packs! Didn't know they even made them. Plus couple shots we took during our stroll to the MBS bus-stop.

And so it ends, not with a bang but with a whimper, my almost two-decade long love affair with the mooncake. Yah, almost two decades, that's longer than some marriages. I have been a mooncake-loving eater since I started my first real job at SPH a lifetime ago. I was the youngest guy in the newsroom and during every mooncake festival the office would be up to its neck with free mooncakes from media and PR companies. Most of my older colleagues back then would shy away from the ones with salted eggs and shove them in my direction. Why not? Growing up, my family was never into mooncakes so this was kinda new to me. I soon developed a serious McLoving for that ... that lotus seed body of sin. They became my tea break snack while the snowskin ones were my after-dinner desserts. Well, later jobs in advertising and media saw the same yummy annual ritual.

Since leaving the rat race, I really didn't have a reason to find myself chomping down on a mooncake anymore. Now it wasn't like I was relying on free mooncakes all my life, I used to buy the ones from Raffles Hotel cos I wanted their tins to store my game miniatures. Yah, I was always finding reasons to have them this time of the year. So I simply stopped and never looked back for bout three or four years now. It also helped that the price just got crazy expensive and the cakes too gimmicky.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cavalock and The Mill Deck Win

So one of the guys heard bout Sumo Bar at Waterloo Centre and suggested the gang head there for dinner one nite. The Bar's humongous signature Bone-In Short Rib Ramen was their main target, followed by the tulang below. Now the menu stated that the Bone-In Short Rib Ramen was meant to be shared between two guests but two of my friends were having none of that. They had a bowl each cos that's how they rolled.

The tulang was alright. Am not a huge tulang fan but the guys ordered it twice so I guess they must have liked it so it's good. I had the sashimi dry noodle set which was pretty decent. Wasn't in the mood for anything too meaty. 

Anyway walking to the restaurant that evening, I was waiting for the traffic light to turn at the junction of Waterloo Street and Middle Road and I had my head buried in my cellphone when I heard this thunderous BANG. I looked up just in time to witness an elderly guy flying off his motorcycle and over the roof of a cab. The cab was making a turn so it wasn't moving at a very high speed. The victim was conscious, his legs were busted I think. I called the ambulance and a lot of people came to his aid. Well, I couldn't tell who had the right of way or anything like that as I was looking at my phone.  

*** zzzzzzzzkkkkkkttttttt***

*** Warning, Geek Zone approaching ***

*** Turn back now if you are not a gamer ***

Been absolutely ages since I posted a game tourney that I attended. Longer still with one that I actually had a decent play as in coming 4th out of 17 competitors. So the latest collectible game I'm playing right now is Star Wars Destiny and it's currently one of the newest and best-selling collectible game in the market. It's pretty unique where you play a 30-card deck and there are cards in there that come with special dice that you roll if you draw them or start the game with them. At last Saturday's tourney, I played a Hero mill deck comprising of starting characters Padme Amidala, Maz Kanata and Rebel Trooper.

Was able to mill three of my opponents pretty easy cos I don't think anyone was expecting a mill deck. It was just after the release of the latest expansion Empire at War. Replaced my old Field Medics with the new Medic Droid cards and it worked like a charm. Most memorable game move was me playing Con Artist and Cunning on Padme and with help from Maz, I milled my opponent nine cards in one turn. Guy conceded immediately. Won three out of four matches and the alternate art Electroshock card was me 4th Prize. :)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Cavalock and The Possible, Maybe, Not Maybe Lifestyle Change

You know you are really getting old when you spend your birthday morning sweating it out at the gym. I was told that I needed more protein in my diet and that I am sorely lacking in skeletal mass while putting a wee bit more percentage body fat than I should. Nah, me hitting the gym has got nothing to do with the government's present health agenda. It's more like accounts of guys younger and seemingly healthier than me dropping dead for no apparent reason.

I have been grabbing my meals at places like Daily Cut and Real Food now. I mean I used to but a little more frequent now since my gym gets me a 10% discount at Daily Cut and Real Food's South Beach joint is pretty near my apartment. Sometimes if I finished my gym and it's too early for dinner, I would just grab two soft-boiled eggs from the nearest kopi tiam. That's supposed to be good right?

But if you think I'm on an all-healthy diet, HAH! Guess again! Here's Saturday's lunch at The Bird over at Marina Bay Sands. Been pretty eager to check out the place since I heard bout it couple weeks ago even though I wasn't exactly in the mood for fried chicken. Had the smoked beef brisket sandwich which was good but it could certainly do with bit more beef between the ciabatta bread. The potato and grits just reminded me so much of our local Malay bergedil patty which isn't a bad thing ... just that it does remind me of it. Friends who had the fried chicken said it was all right and that it reminded them of the Colonel's original recipe chicken.

What else do old folks do on their birthdays? Build Lego sets of cos. Got my hands on the long-awaited Old Fishing Shop. An absolute delight to build, I'm taking my time with this one. I'll be posting random shots of it on my Lego Instagram account, ultron8.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Cavalock and The Japanese Beer Bonanza

This is why I constantly remind myself why I quit the rat race and to take whatever free time I have to do the things I like. I was in full caregiver mode again as my Dad got hurt while taking wildlife pix. Don't waste the limited free time I have. Just go do the things you take the most joy out of. Anyway this personal blog is supposed to be bout the things I like, the happy experiences and not all doom and gloom.

Last weekend's hearty breakfast at a friend's estate was something our friends were looking forward to as they had requested for the appearance for our Japanese Balmuda Toaster. We lugged the coveted toaster down to Holland Road and everyone got together for some pretty awesome home-cooked steaks, eggs and toast. Always fun to share a meal with friends that appreciate good food.

Now here's something I didn't expect to see in Cold Storage supermarket last week. Cans of Japanese beer that I don't recall seeing anywhere else, like organic beer and even upside-down cans of beer. Pretty neat selection.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cavalock and The Gen Con Reminiscence

Gen Con 50 ended over the weekend and as it was the boardgaming convention's 50th anniversary, you can bet it was the biggest gathering ever. I was at last year's event and one of the reasons' I'm not there this year is, to be honest, cos of Trump. When it was time to buy the tickets and book the hotel early this year, Trump was making travel to the US a freakin' nightmare for visitors. I took it as a sign that maybe I shouldn't be heading there this year. Non-whites getting attacked were becoming the norm. Today as I'm watching and reading the news, it's the damn Nazis that are more or less given free rein in the US. As a kid back in the old family home, I grew up on a regular diet of WWII literature, history and media, I grew up hating Nazis more than the bully in school. So you can imagine how I feel about the current situation. Part of me is glad that I'm not in that country now but of cos, there's a part that is somewhat crestfallen that I'm not there at the largest boardgame convention of all time.

I had so much fun at Gen Con last year and in 2014, playing all kinds of boardgames, heading to New York after the convention and then wandering around the Big Apple on my own, don't know if I'll ever do all that again. Well, since I'm reminiscing bout my last US trip, maybe this is the right time to mention this neat burger joint, Burgs by Project Warung at the basement of Golden Mile Food Centre or the old army market as the place is commonly known.

Been having the pulled beef brisket with additional caramelised onions for only S$6, quite a steal. The second time I had it, it was less soggy and easier to manage. It's not a very big burger but it's packing a lot in the 'tasty' department. At that price and only a short walk from my apartment, I plan to have this at least once a week.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cavalock and Marina Barrage Shoot-Out

So while we were in Tokyo for a week, me 83-year-old Dad was still roaming across the island snapping thousands (yes, thousands) of wildlife pix last month. Figured I would share a few of them here, the ones he took at the Marina Barrage. A little shameless plug, don't forget to pick up me Dad's photo book on the local bird scene, Taking Flight at Kinokuniya! :)

No, I'm not going into another rant bout how terrible the shopping experience is at home compared to the excellent service one gets in Japan. I know I did that before, and also bout how cheap things are over there. It does get tiresome. But shopping in Japan is always such a positive experience. At Tokyu Hands Shinjuku, I finally found the Startts bag that I have been looking for. Ain't every day you find a good and inexpensive handmade bag from Japan. Man, I could spend an entire day at Tokyu Hands and still, that wouldn't be enough. So many things we'll unlikely see anywhere else outside of Japan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Cavalock and The Social Influencer Dissolution

Hey look! They are opening a famous Luke's Lobster right in your neighbourhood!!! How cool is this?!? Annnnnnd.... this is why I can never be a social influencer. Well, in case you haven't figured it out yet, I was just yanking yer chain. That's not a picture fro Singapore. The kinda prank that I sometimes pull on me Facebook. Posted the picture below on me Facebook with a caption bout Luke's Lobster opening here 'cept I don't say where 'here' is.

I don't post my travels on Facebook except maybe for little pranks like these where I'll show a picture and pretend it's in Singapore. Since I don't feel the need to tell the whole freakin' world I'm outta the country, no one knows. Hah! No, I don't reply to them posts either. And so ends my dream of being a social influencer or food blogger, gone are any hope for meal freebies coming my way. <^;^>

This Luke's Lobster shop was taken in Aoyama in Tokyo and I think it's either opening soon or just closed. Anyway, other things I saw worth a mention. Horse chips! They taste OK, no big deal. One of those things that you just gotta try when you see it, know wat I mean?

This new Haagen-Dazs coconut ice-cream bar is a real treat for coconut lovers. Worth a shot if you are heading to Japan this summer. I guess if in a country with so much seasonal goodies, you can expect exciting flavours almost every other month.

No, this here below is not a honey-flavoured snack. Do not eat this. I love how just about almost everything in Japan can have a cutesy mascot attached to it.