Meet my Fellow Gingerbread Girl!

Weeks ago, it seemed like Christmas was just around the corner. Today it's finally here, brought some joy among us. Though I don't celebrate Christmas religiously, I do love the holiday. Bakeries everywhere are selling the festive's goodies, which makes me more excited. Sugar loaded cookies and baked goods are the best stuffs to boost happiness, am I right? This gingerbread girl that I've got from my bestfriend had passed away by now, rest in peace in my stomach. Don't blame her for being scrumptious, it's me who couldn't wait til the 25th to eat her. Anyway, have a wonderful Christmas!! =)

What's Cookin'?

Yeah, you heard me right, I cooked this for dinner: grilled salmon with warm spinach salads. What's more surprising is that it was so easy to be made. Maple glazed salmons are great when they're grilled and topped with some lemon-pepper sauce. I have used no recipe for it, just relying on my knowledge and some information I've read somewhere about grilling fish. For the warm spinach salad, I mixed some baby spinach, feta cheese and caramelized onions with olive oil and lemon dressings. When putted together, the pair was actually great!

Gusttimo di Roma

Hmm..Who doesn't love gelato? I do love 'em very much. If you think that this gelato has come from Italy, you're wrong. The concept itself came from there but this gelatteria is owned by a Korean guy who has mastered the art of making gelato. Picolo, the menu says, enable us to pick three different flavours to be served in a cup. Choosing them itself is a pretty hard decision to be made, for the double fridges displayed the most wonderful arrays of eye-catching gelatos. I had the combination of walnut, fruit of the forest and green tea yoghurt. Every cups are crowned with a cute little cone, standing adorably on top of the gelato mountain. I fell in love with every scoop of them: nutty walnuts, refreshing green tea yoghurt and sweet and sour berries. Each has gave different combinations that had me smiling. They're soo good. Go on and have some, and prove me right.

Gusttimo di Roma
Level 1 ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn #01-15/17
Tel: 6509-9380

Bakerzin- not a dessert post

Who says this place is just great at desserts? Our visit last night had proven that the claim isn't quite right. A and I wanted something quick before we met with his cousin that night. Every other places have people queuing up infront of the entrances, leaving us to choices of snacks or coffee shops. We've seen some changes in Bakerzin's menu and decided to give it a try.

A picked his favourite: Braised Pork Belly.  Aren't the addition of flavoured hard boiled eggs just cute? Best of all is the sauce; sweet, not too runny nor jelly-like, absorbed well by the tender pork. Nevertheless, according to A, he had a better version in his previous visit.

The long, extended pasta menu has drawn up my curiosity. Whether pastas are their specialties, I was not sure when I chose that seafood marinara. The taste was, surprisingly good. They were mixing white wine with the tomato based sauce and gave some pretty generous portion of seafoods.

I didn't expected at all that the kitchen could do some other cooking besides baking. I mean, their baked stuffs are just fabulous, but this mains gave them another applause. I've seen other tables having the pizza flakes, which I ought to try next time, which is coming soon.

290 Orchard Road
#02-09 The Paragon
Tel: +65 6333 6647

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

After the concert ended, we decided to have some drinks before we headed home. I've been wanted to try Max Brenner's famous chocolate creations, so off we went to his cafe. It was kind of late, but still the very small group of staffs were kept busy by the crowds. We had to wait for around 10 mins to be allowed to sit at one of the remaining empty tables. The menu was equally disappointing, lots of items were not available anymore so we were left with less choices.

I had to pick the one with the least milk products in it, as I've just discovered that I'm lactose intolerant (unlucky me). I didn't really take notes of the names, I think I was having the Belgian dark chocolate drink. It was in between dark chocolate fondue and hot chocolate milk, with a little foam on top. Warm and soothing, suits well with this rainy season.

T decided to be more adventurous. She had the Mexican hot chocolate, a blend of chocolate, cinnamon and, wait for it..chilies. The first taste was a little tickling in the tongue and hot at the throat. I found it very unique, the taste was stronger than the chili chocolate bar I had before. Halfway through it, T had a difficulty in gulping the rest down. She said the spices gave an uneasy feelings to the stomach, a common case if you're not familiar with the combination of cocoa and spices.

We ordered some churros from their special threats promotion to be dipped in our chocolates. Spanish (or is it Mexican too?) style! The churros are great here, not too much sugar coatings, crispy on the outside but soft inside. They absorbed liquids well; we were having good dunks and bites (hehe).

On top of everything, we really enjoy the mugs. They are cleverly designed for us to comfortably hold our drinks, really something that we enjoy. Besides chocolate drinks, there are other sweets made from chocolates too: crepes, pancakes, cakes, ice creams, and so on. But as I said before, lots of them were not available anymore.We'll try our luck another day.

Max Brenner
8 Raffles Avenue
#01-06/08 Esplanade Mall
Singapore 039802
Tel: 6235 9556

Al Dente Trattoria

Today Maxim is giving his fans in Singapore a chance to hear him in Esplanade concert hall. It was a two-day concert but I thought the first day is better as the playing is fresh. It was just an excuse, I know, cus he played perfectly each time. It was starting around 8 so we were having some dinner before that. There are not much that you could choose in Esplanade, but at least some of them are really decent.

We settled for Italians at Al Dente Trattoria. A month before Christmas, the decor was holiday-ish already. It was raining a little, so we sat indoor at the lower floor. The service was very curtious and attentive, reminded that this is a pretty fine restaurant. We shared some bruschettas (or at least I thought there would be some of them), which came in a single toasted foccacia square, topped with some tomatoes, arugula and pesto. I love the combination of arugula and pesto but I think they could do more with the presentation. Everything scattered as we tried to cut it and the pesto weren't distributed evenly.

For the mains, we all had the pastas. A friend of mine had this Wagyu Bolognese Parpadelle. The look was very tempting and he said it was good too. Using wagyu as a substitute for the usual ground beef is genious, I think, as it will bring more flavour to the dish. As the name promised us, the pasta is cooked al dente; meaning it's not too soft nor hard. In other words, cooked til perfection.

The Aglio Olio Linguini appeared differently from what we normally had. It has some kind of watery sauce despite the usual dry combination of chili, garlic and oil. The taste, however was undeniably delicious. Though it was weird to be having it wet, the sauce actually brought an additional goodness to it. The buttery flavor mended well with the garlic and chili, making the dish more aromatic and tasty.

The last dish on the table was Penne Arrabbiata, which is what I was having. It sounds simple: penne and tomato sauces, but came suprisingly rich in flavor. Red crushed tomatoes are mixed with some aubergine, onions, mushroom and parsley, producing the most scrumptious arrabbiata I've ever eaten. All dishes are served hot, which gave them an additional score.

I would definitely visit this place again if my pocket allows me. It was a little expensive for pastas, but are still affordable compared to those high-end Italian dining places. They are currently having this promotion for the wood fired pizzas, priced at $10 each. I'll definitely checking them out.

Al Dente Trattoria
Colors by the Bay #01-13
Singapore 039802
Tel: 6341 9188

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge

Due to the slightly unsatisfied feeling left from TWG, me and T went for another tea time, in the hope that this time it would be perfect. We were hanging out in Orchard road, which was extremely busy as it always does on every weekend. The idea popped as we wanted to escape from the crowds and give our legs some rests. Despite the fact that we've never been to Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge before, we decided to give it a shot since I read a couple of astonishing blog posts about them.

Smoked salmon and prawn open sandwich
We were served by an old lady who was very attentive inspite of the long queue waiting behind us. The place is rather small remembering that it's the only cafe in Takashimaya department, but we quite enjoy the vibe. It's casual enough for us to be comfortably chatting over teas. The only downside was the way they arranged the tables in some areas, so close with one another that I even overheard other's conversations clearly.

The tea in a cute porcelain mug
On to the foods.. We had the afternoon tea set for two, comprises of mini open faced sandwiches, scones, a quiche, a selection of cake and coffee/tea. What were first served to our table really did surprise me. The bread in the open sandiches were buried under huge stacks of seafoods. We had prawns and scrambled eggs rolled in smoked salmon, both are mildly seasoned, just as we wanted them to be. This is tea time, not lunch right? Oh and they're just simply photogenic too!

Fresh creams, raspberry jam and butter

Next up were the scones, served with butter, raspberry jam and fresh cream. These were the plain version of scones, resembled a bread rather than cake. They were lack of that crumbly texture, but they didn't have to be. The dough was so aromatic, with the right amount of butter that they're not dry nor too oily. My favourite item from the condiments was the raspberry preserves. I think scones are best eaten with jam and a little bit of butter.

Quiche filled with spinach and pine nuts.

The set came with a selection of cake that we could choose from the display fridge. I was spoiled by the wide array of scrumptious cakes. If I weren't having my huge brunch earlier that afternoon, I'd be going for some rich chocolate cakes, which are the types they had the most. The green tea cake, however, seemed to be a best seller here since it was what most people ordered. Plus, it just sounds fit to have something lighter than a creamy cake after our encounter with those treats. This cake was marvelous; generous amount of matcha powder was used to produce the bitter-sweet taste in this cake and the pickled plum added some unique overall flavour.

Two thumbs up! I would definitely go back for the matcha cake. This place is surely on my list of visit now. I just need to come at the right time, avoiding Sunday if possible.

Royal Copenhagen Tea Lounge
391 Orchard Road
2F Ngee Ann City
Tel: +65 6735 6833