Saturday, August 29, 2009

as a new school year approaches

(for me at least)

it's good to remind ourselves why we go through the difficulty of educating people...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

argh THE sandwich

Just found out recently that Quiznos has set up shop in Singapore.

Oh please let them come over to Malaysia. Subway is great but Quiznos > Subway, anyday!

Please please please :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

on the plate - Popeye's Fried Chicken & Seafood

This post has been long in coming. Yeah I know lately all my posts have been about food. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Anyway, one fine day when I heard that Popeye's was making an appearance here on Malaysian shores, I was really glad. For too long all we've had was KFC, which would make me feel sickly almost everytime after eating it. Oily, greasy, and overall just nasty (and the chicken pieces have been shrinking steadily year after year as well), it wasn't really a place I would really like to go to on a regular basis.

Enter Popeye's. I remember having this when I was back in Canada, and it was good. Miles better than KFC in fact. I silently prayed that the locals wouldn't screw this up like they do many other franchises.

The first branch opened at Taman Tun (or TTDI for short), and I duly went to try it, and wasn't disappointed. Granted, my memory of Popeye's was a bit better than what I had there, but it wasn't bad at least, and it was significantly more pleasant than KFC.

Anyway, some shots of the food.
the Three piece chicken combo. Note the chicken is significantly larger than the typical KFC chicken.

the mashed potatoes have chicken pieces in the gravy. It's smooth, creamy, and definitely tasty & yummy.

Even the coleslaw is wonderful, something even those who don't normally eat vegetables, would turn to. Not too creamy, not overpowering, just fresh and tangy.

To me, personally, I found the chicken to be much more tender, juicy, and much less oily than KFC. It's also much bigger than KFC. Some people have commented on the price, but hey, a 3 piece combo at one place will cost RM11.40, and leave me full but bloated, sickly and feel like puking. The other place will cost me RM11.95, and leave me full and contented, and with the good feeling of having had a good, hearty meal. I know which one I would pick. Also, Popeye's uses Coke, which I prefer miles over the Pepsi crud that KFC serves.

I tried the fried fish on another occasion. It's very nice, juicy and tasty on the inside, crispy on the outside. The fried shrimp is fresh, however, it's nothing to shout about, especially if you've been to Bubba Gump recently before that.

Popeye's has opened their second branch at Sunway Pyramid already (right beside Dunkin Donuts, where Delifrance used to be) and is in the process of opening their third branch in Midvalley (where Shakey's used to be, they're gonna share the space with Domino's, they're under the same franchisee).

Food: 7.2
Drinks: 6.5 (standard fast food options)
Service: 6.7 (many are still trainees, but it's alright. What else do you expect from fast food?!)
Value: 7.9

Monday, August 10, 2009

on the plate - Sushi Tei, Tropicana City Mall

I'll admit it, I really like Japanese food. Granted, it's not the most affordable, but it's something that can be done on a budget if you order wisely.

Given that Sushi King is really, really bad, and Genki Sushi has died a slow, painful death, the main Japanese restaurant I would have gone to would be Sakae Sushi. Although, it has gone down in its quality (check that though, I hear they've made efforts to up their standards again). Enter Sushi Tei, another Singaporean chain, with its first outlet in Tropicana City Mall.

Tropicana City Mall is fast becoming one of my standard hangout places, mostly because it's near my house and also because it's never too crowded and I can easily find parking (please don't let that change).

Sushi Tei is a decent place that's not really the cheapest around, but it's quite value-for-money considering what you get. Some of my favorite dishes:

Chicken Karaage (RM6.80), juicy, succulent pieces of chicken lightly battered and fried, and it even comes complete with a side salad.

Salmon Sashimi (RM9.80), my perennial favorite. It's one of the most ubiquitious dishes in any Japanese restaurant, and can probably be used as a yardstick of the quality of the place. The salmon sashimi here is top-notch, definitely fresh, with thick, juicy cuts that please the palate rather than the miserable skinny cuts that you get at many other places.

It's firm, juicy and has got nice marbling, and it's very fresh, absolutely no hint of any fishiness at all. This is a close-up look.

All in all, it's not the cheapest, nor would it lay claim to be the best, but to me it's a happy medium of quality and value that is an elusive combination to the F&B industry here. It'll remain one of my favorite hangouts for the forseeable future.

Food: 7.6
Drink: 7.0
Service: 6.4
Value: 7.3

on the plate - Fong Lye, the Gardens

one of the places I enjoy hanging out at is the Gardens at Midvalley, mostly because it's a lot quieter than Midvalley next door, and also because there's plenty of good, decent food options there.

Fong Lye is a Taiwanese food chain that people tell me also has a branch in Sri Hartamas, however, the branch at the Gardens mostly only does set meals. Most of them are pretty yummy, although, seemingly, the Taiwanese like to have spare parts (internal organs, like liver, intestines, kidneys). I don't like them, so there.

The food is pretty good, the sets generally come with the main dish, rice with some meat topping and sauce, some appetizers and a bowl of soup.

Baked Taiwanese sausage - this is the generic Taiwanese sausage, it's also not really as spicy as the ones in the night market. Okay but rather bland.

the set looks like this. The main dish is kept warm with a burner underneath the little wok. Not bad, eh? This is the 3 cup chicken dish (RM19.80). It's got basil, chillies and garlic in it. Although, the heating isn't always a good thing. The chicken eventually gets burnt if you leave it in there for too long.

A close up of the chicken. It's pretty yummy, with a nice gravy to go along with the rice, and the chicken pretty tender and juicy.

Not everything here is really great, but it's a good place for something a little different from the norm. Just a word of warning though, if you want to dine here, you'll have to go at off-peak hours. During regular meal times it gets jam packed and has a long queue.

Food: 6.9
Drink: 6.0
Service: 6.8
Value: 6.8

Sunday, August 9, 2009

on the plate - Ribs @ Oasis

Ok, so I finally got my rear in gear and actually brought my camera to a restaurant! Last night we celebrated mine and Yennie's birthdays at this tucked-away-in-a-corner restaurant called Ribs @ Oasis.

It's in a very short row of shops in BU4, right near the new wing of 1Utama. It's easy enough to find, with some directions. Someday I'll put up GPS coordinates like my neighbor KY. That will require more effort on my part though :p

Anyway! This place is a simple, no-frills and pretty unassuming joint that serves simple, unpretentious fare. It makes no pretence at being high-class, or haute cuisine, just hearty, tasty food that is pretty good. Without further ado, here's how the food went.

An appetizer of sausages fried with onions and chilies. Be cafeful, these are birds-eye chilies (or cili padi locally). They're spicy. The sausages weren't anything to shout about.

The ham and pea soup. Generally I love ham and split pea soup. This didn't really taste anything like it, although it was decent, it just wasn't really thick enough and I didn't really taste enough of the peas or the ham to really enjoy it.

The mains were the stars though, so here we go -

Fishermans Platter - it was good, had crayfish (or slipper lobster as they called it), pan-fried fish, prawns, scallops, calamari, with bread to soak up the juices and corn. For RM33, it's a pretty good deal. The seafood was fresh and succulent, although I heard the calamari was slightly chewy.

This was the OMG platter. Reverse Pork Burger (RM29) has TWO huge pork patties sandwiching a slice of toasted bread with cheese, bacon and other fixings. The last time I came here I saw someone else having this and I thought to myself "I gotta try me one of those". So I did. And it was good. Very good. The pork patties were juicy and the whole thing was an explosion of meat that went very well with the provided mustard. It was so good that I was absolutely full by the time I finished it.

The Pork Loin Chop (RM30) was what I had the previous time I was here. Now, I really miss having good pork chops, and when I had this, it was like complete bliss. The pork chop is grilled till it's slightly charred on the outside, pink on the inside, and with a nice layer of fat on one end that keeps everything juicy and moist. It's served with a lovely applesauce (apples and pork go together like... hand in glove, horse and carriage, well, you know). and some fruity salsa that complement the pork wonderfully. Honestly, this was the best restaurant pork chop I've ever had in this country (home made ones excepted). By the way, if you think that you've got a healthy appetite, this chop is huge. And I mean it.

My drink, the Ribsdelicious (I think it was) - blue curacao, lime and soda. Very thirst quenching (RM6.50)
And for dessert, Apple and Banana Crumble (RM9.90) with vanilla ice cream. It was one of the better crumbles out there, with the banana complementing the apple very well (much better than the ubiquitious raisins that always accompany apple stuff here). A burst of contrasting flavors & textures, warm & cold, smooth & crunchy. Just lovely.

All in, this place is a good, simple place to have a hearty meal, and also won't destroy your wallet too much. One thing though, don't expect extremely fast service. It's a simple operation, and although the waiters and all are very polite and courteous, they may take some time to get things going and worked out. The chicken thermidor is a case in point, I don't have any pictures of it simply because it came so late that I was already hungrily devouring my burger by the time it arrived.

But don't let that stop you from trying this place out. The portions are also very hearty ones, so small eaters may want to share :)

Food: 7.8
Drinks: 7.5
Service: 6.5
Value: 7.6

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Google Chrome

Have been trying out the new browser from Google, called Chromium (Chrome for short). It's not bad, a very clean look, and the address bar doubles as a google search field.

Also, it offers a unique feature - each tab is individually coded, so if one of the tabs hangs, the other tabs won't be affected (in theory anyway... I managed to get the entire thing to hang before)

One of the little niggles that I don't particularly like is that it doesn't seem to handle Shockwave Flash very well. Then again, what does? (don't say Internet Explorer. I left that junk behind a long time ago)

Not bad. Will keep trying it out.

Friday, August 7, 2009

more food at Sunway Pyramid?

There was a point of time where I didn't go to Sunway Pyramid for a few years. Honestly, it was a hangout for students and other 'fashionable' people, had very limited food options (basically, McDonald's and KFC) and the only thing that would have attracted me seriously at that time was the Hartz Chicken Buffet (which is still good and cheap by the way).

A few years later, add another wing, with more relevant tenants (at least to me) such as Jusco and Marks & Spencer, and I started going there again. Nicer, cleaner, less 'beng' (okay, there still is a section that caters to maximum bengness, but I try to avoid that area as much as I can).

And the food options mushroomed. Sakae Sushi, Ajisen Ramen, 1901 Hot Dogs, Carl's Jr., Pasta Zanmai, Pancake House International, Wendy's, Bubba Gump, all entered the picture. Suddenly the mall without much food, had almost all the food.

The latest interesting chain to open an outlet there is Popeye's. Yep, Louisiana fried chicken. In all its goodness. Beats KFC hands down in every single way, from the chicken (which is much more tender, juicier, and less oily), to the mashed potatoes, to the coleslaw. And the fried fish is pretty good as well. Crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.

To top things off, I saw that Papa John's is gonna open at Pyramid too. I've been wanting to try that for a long time but never had the energy to go all the way downtown for it. I definitely will if it's nearby at Sunway Pyramid.

It's interesting how many of these chains are coming back, or coming in for the first time. (Carl's, Burger King, Wendy's, all were here a long time back, but died out due to several factors) So what's next? I'm guessing maybe Whitecastle or Chick-Fil-A?

on random things

Now that I'm on holiday you'd think that I have lots of time to blog, eh?

Well, you thought wrong.

Not that I really have lots to do, I mean, I do have work to do to prepare for next term and all, but I really should have some free time now.

Anyway, screw that.

I know I put up a lot of food reviews on this blog. It's not really set out to be a food blog, there's a gazillion Malaysians who already have food blogs and they're plenty fine. I don't generally do many food-related posts, and besides, I'm too frickin' lazy to carry my camera around and take pictures and upload them, you know that takes lots of time.

Well, what else is there? I'm not a big fan of politics, I don't watch many movies, or buy many CDs, or play many games, or go to many plays. What I guess I do is my random thoughts.

Of which most are too dark to actually put into print (or cyberspace, whichever applies)

But I digress. Tomorrow we're going to Ribs @ Oasis for PORK. Yeah, to celebrate mine and Yennie's birthdays :) I don't know how excited the others are, but I can vouch that the pork chop with applesauce is lovely, absolutely the best pork chop that I've had here in Malaysia, in a restaurant. (not counting home cooked, fire barbecued ones)

But tomorrow, tomorrow I aim for the reverse pork burger. What is it? You know how in regular burgers, the meat is sandwiched in between two slices of bread? This is the other way around, a slice of bread sandwiched in between two meat patties. Sounds so interesting that I have to try it.

And they'd better have my ham & pea soup this time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

sweet moves - the evolution of dance

found this on Youtube... it's pretty good, this guy has pretty sweet moves and he takes us through a range of different dances, from different eras. Quite worth the watch :)

and then, there's the sequel