Friday, June 30, 2006
La Strada was a combination of 2 concepts - the ristorante, catering to the upper-crust much like Garibaldi, and the pizzaria, located next door, occupying the space of what used to be the Lazy Gourmet Deli. At the pizzeria, the menu was kept primarily to a selected few pizzas of the usual combinations and even fewer pastas for those who so wish to have that in a pizzaria. The pizzas offered was in a standard size of 12" and fixed prix at S$18.
I got the napolitana (tomato salsa, olives and anchovies) to satisfy my craving for salt, while my friend got the prosciuto and rocket. After 8-10 minutes, our pizzas arrived. The first bite, I went "ok, why is the pizza so lukewarm?" Then I thought "wow, the crust is really thin!" But I did not feel blown away by that fact. In fact, I started to question if there can be such a thing as "overly" thin because the wedge of pizza was already limping downwards sans the outer-and-unadulterated-by-sauce crust. I also noticed there was NONE of that yeasty aromatic that never fails to whet up an appetite for me. Not surprising, I only ate 3 slices leaving me not so full. In comparison, I easily ate 5 slices of pizza at Papi, even with their slightly heavier crust (and could have eaten more). The salt-craving was satisfied though. Haha, I was needing some water when I got home.
La Strada is up against heavy competition and not looking good. We were one of the 2 tables occupied in our hour at peak period (7-8pm). Service was good; how can they not when there were only 2 customers? Between Papi and La Strada, I will pick the former hands down. Sadly, I do not wish to say this, but really, I don't see a reason to return to "the street".
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
After reading an article from Straits Times a couple weeks ago on this new Japanese soft serve ice cream, Uzumaki (meaning "swirl") located at the basement of Bugis Junction, I could not wait to give it a try and finally I did!
While trying to find the place, I actually walked past the green make-shift stand at first. Anyhow, I managed to find it - it is right across Corochan, and got myself a wasabi soft serve in a waffle cone.
There was a promotion going on for wasabi flavor (u.p. $3.50, now $2.80) but really, I chose that because I was intrigued by the sound of "wasabi ice cream". Besides the waffle cone, you can get your ice cream in a cup or a regular cupboard-like cone.
As with most Japanese products, the way the icecream was served was rather interesting. The server will take a cup of ice cream of your choice, peel off a sticker at the bottom to reveal a hole, place it in this contraption and press down to squeeze the icecream out of the hole at the bottom, into the vessel of your choice and creating a swirl at the same time.
I must admit the artificial green hue was slightly disturbing initially but once I got past that and tasted the ice cream, I thought it was really was good! It was surprisingly sinus-clearing (I did not think I can still attain a "kick" out of the wasabi in icecream) and the cone was also a rather creative and localised take on our Chinese New Year love letters, very crispy and slightly flaky (in a good way).
This made a good post-lunch dessert though I was definitely stuffed in the midst of eating it. But it was quite good to let it go to waste so I still ate it all up, albeit too slowly. A really unique offering and I recommend it as a definitely must-try for all icecream and wasabi lovers!
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Monday, June 19, 2006
Since then, I checked out various supermarkets to see where I could possibly get saba. There are a few places - Cold Storage at Takashimaya, Isetan Supermarket, as well as the very convenient Jason's supermarket right at my office block.
Today, I went and bought a piece, which is already pre-salted. When I got home, I gave it a rinse before slapping it onto the grill. Viola, less than 15 minutes later, I had a piece of fabulous, skin-blistering piece of saba. Wonderful aroma and deliciously fatty as well. A squeeze of lemon helped to cut the oilyness. I really could eat a few more.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Since we have not had cake, I baked him his favourite, butter cake, made slightly decadent and a little fancy with a strawberry crumble topping. My dad is such an easy-to-please person. Something so simple like a butter cake with a good cup of local kopi can satisfy him. While the cake was cooling, the entire house was scented with cinnamon. I know this will be good and I can't wait to dig in tomorrow. After dad has his share of course.
Friday, June 16, 2006
These slightly soft and chewy cookies are the ultimate - wonderful cinnamony aroma that never fail to burst out everytime I open up the box.
Notice the huge (half-eaten) raisin on the side? Those raisins were a gift from a blogger and they were really plump and moist. Delicious on their own but even more so as a partner in a perfect marriage with oatmeal in the cookie.
Another couple of those cookies got me through my peckish stomach this Friday afternoon.
Monday, June 12, 2006
This photo may not do the pasta justice but you have to believe me, this recipe is simple and the result is simply delicious, the only caveat being you have to like cheese.
Since I am currently obsessed with cheese of all sorts (sans sliced cheese), the recipe caught my eye when I was browsing the web. Here is my modified version but it is close.
Farfelle with French Bean and Blue Cheese
4 oz farfelle
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp chopped onions
1 tbsp chopped garlic
4 tbsp cream
2 oz blue cheese
20 french beans, cut into diagonal sections
1/2 small tomato, diced
1. Boil pasta accordingly. Set aside with some pasta water.
2. Blanch french beans and set aside.
3. Heat a large shallow pan. Melt butter.
4. Add onions and garlic and sautee until fragrant and onions are soft.
5. Turn heat to low. Add cream, blanched beans, cheese and pasta.
6. Stir around to melt the cheese and coat everything together. If it seems to appear sticky and pasta is not coated, add a bit of reserved pasta water and toss further.
7. When done, turn off heat and add in chopped tomatos. Give it one more toss before serving.
8. Pepper if you so desire but I'd just dig in.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Papi is the new pizza pasta trattoria owned by the same folks over at Oso Ristorante. The restaurant had a open concept woodfired oven in the middle of the room so the smell of fresh bread instantenously greets anyone who walks through the doors. Of course, I left smelling of a yeasty scent too.
5 Mohd Sultan Road
Monday, June 05, 2006
In the morning, after my obligatory breakfast (it is my quirk - I need to have breakfast first thing in the morning), I packed up our belongings ready to check out. Then we headed out to the crowdless streets of Ikebukero and took a train to Tokyo City. From there, we strolled the streets casually, stopping by a police outpost to ask for the direction towards TFM. There was direct trains there but we had time to kill so we walked instead. After 1/2 hour, we found ourselves in the vicinity of the market! My heartbeat started to escalate; I had waited for this moment for ages, since I started watching food-tv and Japan Hour. We headed straight into the heart of the wholesale market, taking everything in. There were many stalls selling fresh fish, tsukemono, bonito flakes and beans of different variety and forms.
Sneaked between these stalls were food stalls, selling sushi, ramen/soba noodles and tempura. A selected few sushi restaurants had a line of hungry folks waiting to get in as soon as the doors were opened for business. But I chose to go with a humble street side stall with only 6 stools fronting the owners while they prepared the food. There was a line of people too, but it was all right for me to wait because I was not that hungry to be impatient. After about 20 minutes of waiting in line, I was finally seated and shortly after, I was given this bowl of kaisen don (JPY900). Every bit of seafood looked so fresh and succulent I wanted to breakdown and cry. But heck, that can wait after. The truth was I did not know where to start. Everything looked good. In case you are a sucker for details, from 12-noon, we have 2 sweet ebi, tamago, ikura, uni on a shiso leave, 2 slices maguro, 2 slices tai (?), 2 slices sake, topped off with a cluster of pickled young ginger slices, a couple slices of Japanese cucumber and a dollop of wasabi. Underneath the fresh seafood was still-warm Japanese short-grain rice, lots of freshly toasted nori slivers and sesame seeds, just perfectly seasoned to go with the rice. The kaisen don was delicious and unforgettable, for the lack of better words. It was my first time eating uni too, and let's just say it is not my cup of tea. But I am glad I tried it although I did contemplate leaving it aside. After this surreal experience, I found myself turning up my nose at sashimi-offerings from our mid-ranged Japanese restaurants. I don't think I can ever go back, there.
Friday, June 02, 2006
When I have a hankering for it, I would go for lunch at Sun or Sun and Moon to satisfy the craving. The one pictured above came from the latter location. If I had time and a date, I would prefer Ikukan, along Club St. because if Sun is good, Ikukan is excellent!
Now I regret sharing that.