Friday, February 15, 2013

on the plate - El Fresco @ Jaya Grocer, Empire Shopping Gallery

A really short post today, about something I really love.

I love beef. I really do. I don't get to eat beef much here since it's really expensive, but once in a while it's worth splurging for. And this was most definitely worth splurging for.


That, my friends, is a massive cut of medium, juicy, tasty steak. Me loves :)

The best thing is that this place is right in Jaya Grocer itself. Why is that good, you might ask? What you do, is you go to the butcher (or fishmonger if you're into seafood), get what you want, bring it to the restaurant counter and pay RM6 for them to cook it for you and give you a side (salad, cooked vegetables or pasta). Simple as that. That massive steak which would have cost me easily RM120 elsewhere only hit me for RM38 or so. Incredible value.

They do other Italian classics as well, such as wood-fired pizzas and a really good wild mushroom soup. Highly recommended.

Food: 8/10
Drinks: 6/10 (mostly standard stuff)
Service: 6/10 (decent average service, nothing extraordinary)
Value: 9/10 (for steak and seafood lovers, you can't get better value than this unless you cook it yourself)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

on the plate - Fa-Ying @ Paradigm Mall

After many moons, another food review!

This time it's Fa-Ying, at Paradigm Mall. Fa-Ying is actually located on the Boulevard part of the mall, which is actually outside and offers some alfresco dining options (which I dislike in this tropical heat) although there still is an indoor air-conditioned section.

I'm not the kind to whip out my camera and snap away at anything and everything, so I apologize for the lack of pictures at the moment.

Anyway, Fa-Ying was opened by the good people at Rama V, an upscale Thai restaurant in downtown KL. However, Fa-Ying serves more of fusion or modern Thai, although they do have some traditional Thai favorites.

Enough chatter, let's get on to the food.

First up, Belacan Fried Rice. This was tasty with marinated stir-fried chicken, fried egg strips, cucumber strips, dried shrimp, onions and birds-eye chilies that you can mix into the rice that was fried with squid. About RM20 if I'm not mistaken, it was good but I feel it was slightly overpriced.

Seared scallops with spinach and manow sauce was good, it was under a section of the menu called Thai Tapas. You make your own conclusion from that. The scallops were a bit on the small side but tasted decent. Anyone who knows me well knows that I love scallops. Lemme say that again. I LOVE SCALLOPS.

Mushroom soup is one of the things that make this place fusion-y, like I mentioned earlier. Nothing to shout about, this was ordered for a child at the table so she wouldn't have to suffer with the spiciness of the tom yam soup.

Cod with manow sauce tasted quite decent, but at RM42 was a bit of a luxury item. The piece of cod was actually a bit bigger than it looks in this picture, and it came with some asparagus, grilled eggplant and peppers. It tasted pretty good, the fish was grilled well with a slightly crispy exterior and skin, while the insides were moist and juicy.

Lemongrass Creme Brulee turned out very average. The strawberry and peanut brittle was a nice touch, but although the creme brulee tasted okay, they neglected to caramelize the top with a blowtorch or in the oven, which would have elevated this dessert to a much higher level.

I didn't manage to take photos of all the food as some of it went to the other end of the table since we were there in a group. We had pomelo salad with prawns (very good and tasty), lamb satay (tasty and juicy), vegetarian satay (which turned out to be a few triangles of fried tofu with some satay sauce), tom yam soup (decent and not too spicy) and vegetarian green curry (which came with rice, the green curry is a goodly portion and was as good as any good green curry you can find).

Overall, Fa-Ying is a decent place with good food, although prices prohibit it from becoming a regular hangout place unless you're rolling in the cash. They do have set lunches at the moment for RM10+, although there's only one menu item for set lunch on any given day. The bill for 6 (+1 child) adults came up to about RM370, not cheap for what we had, but an acceptable price for a special occasion. Service was a bit strange, some of the newer servers can get confused (we ordered a Caesar salad with fried catfish which never came, and thankfully didn't show up in the bill, and they were confused with some of the drinks), but the manager was very good and helpful.

Food: 7/10 - tasty and good for the most part
Drinks: 7/10 - a decent selection, unfortunately, they were out of a lot of things, including fresh coconut. How can you have a Thai restaurant experience without coconuts?
Desserts: 6/10 - quite average
Service: 6/10 - manager did well although the other servers do need to buck up a bit
Value: 4/10 - expensive for what you get, but it does taste good so at least it's not wasted calories.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

another dawn...

Again, an attempt to resurrect my blogging exploits. I know, there have been many false dawns, of which this may be one, but I just thought of writing something for the time being.

Fatherhood might have something to do with that.

Caitlyn is 2 and a half months old. She's learned to smile, and coo and make funny noises (other than her farts and burps). It's enough to melt this grizzled old heart, that's for sure.

And yet, it just seems really daunting, you know. I still don't feel old or mature enough to take care of myself, let alone be responsible for another small, tiny human life. The whole concept just seems pretty wild to me.

But, how could I say no to those eyes?

Anyway, I'm rambling. I hope to 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

of beginnings and endings

And so, just like that, my summer break ends, and a new academic year is upon us. IGCSE results have been posted, and although there were some nice surprises, I don't think the results were as good as I would have liked them to be. Nevertheless, everybody passed, which was more than I thought would happen, so hopefully this years batch will be better. We can only hope.

This past summer holiday has been good. I managed to laze around a fair bit and still got work done. I didn't manage to create any new recipes though, sadly enough. I did, however, find a new good place to eat... and remembered another one from last time that still was good. I will post about El Fresco Jaya Grocer and Andes BYO some other time, though, if I find the time.

This summer also marked the end of my World of Warcraft subscription. Blizzard, it's been a good 4 1/2 years (has it really been that long?) but all things must come to an end, and as they have been listening to the hardcore gamers more and more and neglecting the casual gamers like me a fair bit, it was only right to finally pull the plug. What am I playing now, you ask? I eagerly await Mass Effect 3 and Diablo 3, but in the meantime, I've been playing a combination of Torchlight, Dragon Age 2, Civilization 5 and Football Manager 2011. If Blizzard does come up with another expansion I might consider going back, but we'll see.

Finally, Unifi has arrived at my place. We have been harping at them for not bringing it here, right in the heart of PJ, especially since Streamyx service had gone down the drain. I'm happy to say that it is finally here!

Oh, and let me introduce you to the latest (possibly temporary) addition to our furry family. Please welcome Happy!

Yes he as a Jack Russell Terrier. And you know, two JRTs don't double your problems, they quadruple them. I never knew how true that statement was until I actually had two JRTs. But he's an adorable furball of goofiness and naughtiness.

Story about how we found him later on.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

and June winds down

it's been a busy month. Lots to do at work, and in church and my personal life as well.

On a stranger note, we just picked up a dog, a Jack Russell terrier who was wandering along the road in Mutiara Tropicana, he was on the verge of getting run over, so we stopped by the roadside and picked him up. He's a cute fellow, we're going to try to find his owners. Right now we're trying to guess his name too, he doesn't seem trained at all, and none of the names we use seem to work on him. At first, the name Ah Wong seemed to work, but now we figure it was probably his excitement that caused him to respond.

And then, just as I thought that things in the NHL would get rosy again, with the Vancouver Canucks powering their way to the Stanley Cup finals, they go and lose in the most infuriating fashion. Blown out in their own home ice? I bet the commissioner who's pro-US and anti-Canadian had something to do with it. The refereeing simply was abysmal through the series, always favoring the Bruins. Oh well, four Canadian teams made it to the finals in the past few years, all failed. Good on you, commissioner Bettman, you really shouldn't be working in a Canadian game.

Latest restaurant tried - Mai Ramen. Review will come next time when I bring a camera. If I remember.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

of sports and such

So, the majority of the major sports leagues are winding down... Manchester United just won its 19th Premier league trophy, congrats. Barcelona are again doing the business in the Spanish league, while in Italy, it's AC Milan again.

I know most of the world has a love of soccer (football) bordering on the fanatic. Here it's always the usual suspects, people will support Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea or (shock & horror) Liverpool. People who genuinely support other teams are usually looked upon with disdain and a sneer, as if to say, "what has your team won lately?". Seriously, if it borders on the hostile or snobbish, then I really don't see any enjoyment in following such a sport.

Many people are simply glory seekers. They only want to support a team that wins things. I don't really count these as genuine fans. For example, before Chelsea became the mega-millionaire club that they are now and started winning the Premiership, how many fans did they really have over in Malaysia? I know I had a friend who was one, and I never heard of any others until... a certain billionaire bought the club and as they say, the rest is history. Now you can see Chelsea jerseys being worn all over the place. Only when they started winning things...

I am an Everton FC fan. I know they haven't won anything since 1995. But I still hold them dear in my heart, and have ever since the 80s, even when they were not doing well and almost relegated. I answer questions of "Why? They're not that great a team" or even "Who are they?" with a smile and "that's just who I am."

Which brings me to the main topic of this post... in European soccer, trophies are almost always won by the same teams, over and over again, year after year. Seriously, it's getting boring. In fact, it is already boring. If you had asked me at the beginning of the year, who would win the league, I'd have simply rolled a dice and taken a pick between Man Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal. And true enough, these three have taken the top three spots in the Premiership, again. Spanish league, just flip a coin. Barcelona or Real Madrid. Similar situation for the Italian Serie A.

I'm starting to think that an American style salary cap might be good. Stop clubs from foolishly spending transfers and wages they can't afford (several clubs almost disappeared entirely because of this). Make it a level playing field for all clubs. Every club can only spend this much on salaries a year. That way, you never really know who will be winning the league that year. With this kind of system, who knows, maybe even one day a lesser known club could win the league. I know this will never happen because the powers that be, the powers behind the super-big clubs, will never allow this to happen because they want to maintain their status at the top of the pile.

Which is why, I still love ice hockey. I still follow the NHL. I wholeheartedly support the Vancouver Canucks (for obvious reasons). In the NHL, your team can do badly one season. It's okay. They get preferential treatment to recruit fresh talent. They can rebuild. And with that, they can make the next season one to remember. Any team can win the Stanley Cup (the ultimate prize at the end of the NHL season). I'm hoping this year to be Vancouver's year. It's about time. But the point is... at the beginning of the year, you can never really tell who's going to be up there at the end of the season. You never know whether a particular team will make the playoffs or not. It's a whole lot more exciting because you never know what can happen.

Here's to hoping that Vancouver can win it all this season. In the words of the Everton FC motto, "Nil Satis Nisi Optimum"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

April just went by...

Gosh it's May... seriously

It's been a hectic few months (hence the lack of posts)... have been busy with preparations for the IGCSE exams, preparing students for the music paper - all the recording, marking, etc. Also had Easter, with a brilliant message taken directly from the Gospel of Luke narrated (acted) by Bruce Kuhn.

Anyway, as usual, Streamyx is crapping itself. In case any of my World of Warcraft friends are wondering where I went, I can't get a proper, reliable connection to play without lagging or getting disconnected using the regular internet service (Streamyx sucks). And I can get a good line with Yes broadband, but that costs. A lot.

So, I've been also entertaining myself with Dragon Age II.
Image dragon age 2.jpg

I've often had well-meaning people sneer at me when they find out that I still actively play computer games. "oh, you're a gamer." So I am. I often ask them in return, "Do you watch television? Movies?" Usually the answer is in the affirmative. The games I love to play also tell stories, just like TV or movies, but rather than just sitting and doing nothing staring at the idiot box, I'm actually interacting with something. I get to choose how the story goes. Whether I want to take a peaceful approach to a problem, or solve it in a slightly more forceful manner. I find that so much more stimulating than sitting around with the remote in the hand and not doing anything, don't you?

Anyway, I digress. This isn't a review of Dragon Age II (I don't think I need to be doing a review of it, there's plenty of them on the internet, and all much more interesting that I could ever manage to do it). But I do want to say, it's an excellent game with a gripping storyline, good gameplay, and very, very fun and witty conversations. I'd play it all over again just to try out new conversation options (in fact I'm in my second playthrough already. Still laughing at some of the jokes)

Well, stay tuned. There might be more reviews coming up, of several restaurants, and possibly of this: Cranberry & Pomegranate Sugar Scrub - Burt's Bees yeah I like shower gels and stuff. Will be reviewing some of them in the coming weeks and as I get new interesting things. In the meantime, stay chill :)