Monday, September 15, 2014

Food Trails: Mr. & Ms. Cafe

Fat people unite, because I'm coming around with yet another food post. I might as well be calling my blog "Fat Shneep" pretty soon.

A visit to Mr. & Ms. Cafe with Mr. Chin.

Because I'm making the most out of days with this person right here, it's only normal if we go on food trails to odd places and do things that we haven't quite done before like Mini Putt in Citta Mall then a swerve to Mr. & Ms. Cafe in Oasis Square, Ara Damansara. It definitely was not the first that I've heard of this cafe with their desserts being quite a shout for and I figured it would be worth a try. 

Introducing the unsightly Mr. of this buddy-hood.

Muchos gustos, senor Terrance Chin.

A walk into Mr. & Ms. Cafe proves that the place is of a typical cafe set up that does not differ itself from any other with the wooden tables and chairs, alongside brick wall set ups and open spaced bars for beverages. Lighting isn't of an abundance so picture taking does prove to be a little bit of a challenge unless you're a huge professional but whatever I've taken of my food does tell you that I am not.

Hot mocha.

So it did not cry out "Divine Mocha" like the one from Three Little Birds Coffee and neither did I have that great an expectation but I could have well gone with a latte instead. I didn't particularly like the tinge of chocolate to it nor the bland coffee they served and I think the latte would have put me on a better track. 

The Benedict.

Poached egg done right...with a strand of hair.

So I decided to go for the eggs benedict dish that they had for the decent price tag it had but the sauteed mushrooms were cold to taste which was a disappointment. It was only when I was adding on my watermark to the picture that I noticed a strand of hair in my eggs benedict...and I'm really hoping that someone from Mr. & Ms. Cafe could see this picture. I've eaten it off anyway but if this is the standard of your food, it leaves something to be desired, yes? Overall, The Benedict wasn't too bad but unless you're really craving for runny eggs, this isn't your order for sure.

Mr. Chin's beef burger. (That's not the real name of the dish, by the way.)

Glorious beef patty alongside beef bacon with a sunny side up and cheese.

While I didn't try the patty because I'm not a big beef lover, the aioli is something I would like to rave about. It's the bomb, people! It's super delicious as a dip and the fries that they have weren't that bad either. 

There's always space for desserts.

A cupful of sunshine?

Mango and raspberry mousse.

Regardless of how full you feel there's always space for desserts, okay? We picked up one of each from what there is off the menu and these were our choices. Before we went to Mr. & Ms. Cafe, I was promised by Terrance there would be a "A Cupful of Sunshine" when  we arrived so I guess he didn't lie. It was basically a good blend of passionfruit custard with vanilla crumble, something that wasn't overly sweet and had a pinch of sourness (Of which I believe is from the passionfruit custard) to compliment. The best way to have it is to dig your spoon straight down the cup, picking up everything from the bottom layer to the top so it doesn't get too sweet nor too sour.

The mango and raspberry mousse was chided a favourite by all mango lovers and I could see why in the most definite way. The first spoonful was a burst of mango flavours, presumably made of fresh mangoes that were really fragrant yet not overpoweringly sweet. As we got to the middle where the lump of raspberry jelly was however, we didn't enjoy it quite as much anymore as there were layers of sponge cake (?) inside that took away all the smoothness of the mousse and tarty taste of the raspberry.

I guess as an overall, the place isn't quite as I expected for it to be and I would rather take the car down to KL's Main Main Cafe if I needed a mango fix. Desserts weren't a plenty although the menu had at least 6 of it printed out and food wasn't all to be shouted about either. If you do go however, my biggest recommendation would really just be a cupful of sunshine and nothing more.

Mr. & Ms. Cafe
B-G-3A, Block B,
Oasis Square, Jalan PJU 1A/7,
Ara Damansara.

Open Tuesdays to Fridays: 10 AM - 6 PM
Open Saturdays and Sundays: 9 AM - 5 PM
Closed on Mondays

Friday, September 12, 2014

Movie Review: Planes: Fire & Rescue

And still I fly...

I don't think there is a better way to scroll through this review than to also listen to the song above because seriously, it's all about the feels and the amazing thought that you can achieve something as long as you put your heart to it.

"It takes a special kind of plane to become a firefighter."

To be honest, I had least expected to catch Planes: Fire & Rescue with the reason being that I never caught the first one that was aptly just called Planes. While it did get my attention when the trailers came on screen during other movies, going for the premiere screening just wasn't in my mind until a surprise e-mail came from ChurpChurp telling me that I had won the #ChurpremiereVIP Tweet Review Giveaway on Twitter and I was given a pair of tickets to catch the movie...VIP style.

Now, onto the movie. I was glad that it didn't seem to have a lot of relation to the first movie (Or even if it did, I wouldn't have known...) because there were significant explanations as to who this Dusty Crophopper was and why he was so famous in the beginning. But like every other winner, there will come a day when something goes wrong and in the case of Crophopper, it was that his gearbox was failing. Sure, the best bet would have been to get it changed but the issue was that they had stopped producing it which meant that he couldn't get a switch; new or old.

No parts for a plane? That's...the end I guess.

Determined that he could still take flight and be a world champion, Crophopper decided to push his limits and fly again but when trouble came afloat, it was then when he finally realized he couldn't be selfish. Then again, this is a Disney movie where everything is about a lesson learned and what Planes: Fire & Rescue taught me was courage. It wasn't just courage to let go of what you used to be but also courage to fight your inner battles; your voice inside that tells you to just believe. The soundtracks used in each scene brings out a different kind of setting to the run times, so much so I didn't even want to get to the end of the short 1 and a half hour movie.

And when you believe, magic happens.

My verdict of the movie is that I absolutely loved it. Granted, I do enjoy animated movies a lot with the likes of The Lion King, and Pocahontas being my top picks but Planes: Fire & Rescue in some ways did make me rethink life's situation. While to children below the age of 12 it may just be a film with cool planes fighting fire and chilling in bars,  I do think the likes of others will understand the meaning it hides underneath. I would definitely throw a 7/10 on my personal scale of movie enjoyment with points taken off for minor details such as how it's not as intricate as films by DreamWorks (Cue examples like Monsters University!) and the casting of who voiced the character Dipper. I couldn't stand her voice, I'm sorry.

Currently, YouTube plays the entire Planes: Fire & Rescue soundtrack for me on loop because I can't quite get over how meaningful each song has become. It's hopeful, it's encouraging and most of all, it is extremely pleasing to the ear. If you're looking for a short animation to catch up on your needs for non-human acts, you should definitely put Planes: Fire & Rescue into your list. Because how else will you be a hero and fly in? Planes: Fire & Rescue has been a movie dedicated to all firefighters, be it current or the fallen. Thank you all for risking your lives in order to save ours. I hope you are all flying high wherever you may be.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fat Diaries: Epicuro

The most common question out there in life nowadays stands as this: Do you eat to live, or live to eat? My pick is the latter which is why on occasional day, I would pick out places that serves food that's a little different from the usual taste of chicken rice and fried koay teow.

Epicuro @ Uptown Damansara.

I first heard of this place from Tania or Isabel; I've forgotten and we've been planning since months ago to drop by for a visit because everything sounded really good when we read reviews that people had posted. Our visits never materialized until last Thursday when we thought we've had enough waiting and just went ahead with our long wait for good food.

Epicuro's table mat, while not environmental friendly does makes for an interesting food photo backdrop.

 A cozy area purely for pictures and nothing else. I like the drawing though.

Specials are also written on the blackboard in what I presume is chalk so they can erase it from time to time and change on menus.

Like every other eateries places that I visit beforehand, a brief read up is always good so I don't pick the wrong foods and shout profanities over something that isn't delicious. I mean, I did pay good money for this and I wanted it to be worth something! We were also lucky enough to have been at Epicuro during their lunch promotion whereby you could pick a main and get a free glass of iced lemon tea or top up RM 5 for a milk based coffee or tea from the teapigs selection. A choice of black coffee is also available for RM 3 instead.

Lunch for the day: Pulled pork sandwich with a sunny side up and latte with an extra shot.

Oh, glorious pulled pork.

With a price tag of RM 16.90 (If you ask for it without the egg, it's RM 15.90!), this is definitely something that every sandwich lover should order. Ingredients were abundant and the sunny side up was served just atop the perfectly lean pulled pork, lying in between a piece of fluffy bun that wasn't overly dry nor was it soggy to death. The pulled pork had just a hint of spiciness to it, making it just right when you want something to give your tastebuds a good run on. In the end, this did not disappoint and I am glad because it's decently priced and when compared to other eateries that serves chicken sandwiches, the pulled pork sandwich in Epicuro is perfect.

Spaghetti Carbonara with bacon bits and a slow poached egg.

As mentioned in her blog post before, Tania finally tried out the Spaghetti Carbonara (RM 18.90) that Epicuro had to offer and true to what she had heard, it was really good. The cream sauce while thick was not at a gooey-ly disgusting state at all and you don't get sick of digging in like other carbonara dishes. The bacon bits were also a good accompaniment to the runny egg that gave the carbonara an authentic kick for lovers of this creamy goodness.

Conchiglie with spinach cream.

We've been told time and time again that this was a great pick at Epicuro and we found out why on Thursday. As the name suggests, the cream is made of fresh spinach, giving it the unique green colour that you'll usually find in pesto sauces but it didn't have the "vegetable" smell as I call it. While I only had a little mouthful of the conchiglie with spinach cream, I thought it was fairly good and is somewhat a twist from regular pasta dishes whereby you'll have tangliatelle or spaghetti because conchiglie was used. It serves at RM 19.90 but for the load of bacon bits it comes with, it's quite worth it.

Mixed mushrooms & bacon bits aglio olio.

For those who don't know, aglio olio is usually served with nothing but olive oil and garlic so you get that fragrant scent of sauteed garlic and nothing but. Epicuro's version of mixed mushrooms and bacon bits aglio olio (RM 20.90) takes a twist to that, throwing in brown mushrooms, king trumpet mushrooms and bacon bits with rocket leaves to give it that fine scent and tasty bite to every swirl. I won't lie, I loved this better than the other pasta dishes we had on the table that day. Isabel did think it was a little salty towards the end however so that should be taken into account. For RM 1.50, she also got a poached egg on top but found that it didn't go too well so that's an experiment done and will never be repeated again.

Brownies with homemade dulce de leche ice cream.

While I initially thought (And remembered) dulce de leche as caramel, a quick search showed that it was actually sweetened milk that's been prepared carefully by heating and is a result of the Maillard reaction of the product hence the change in taste and colour that resembles that of caramel. All the same, the brownies with homemade dulce de leche ice cream (RM 13.90) in Epicuro should be on your must-order list if you're visiting the place. The slightly warm and nutty brownies that had a crispy top and chewy bottom paired perfectly to the dulce de leche ice cream that was slightly salty yet sweet to finish with a cold end. Seriously people, no meal is complete without desserts.

In other words, free water.

Our meal ended on a high note to...water. I guess even with great food you should always down it with water so you don't leave with an overly bloated stomach and a mouth that feels like you've just thrown in anything you could find. Water comes by the bottle in Epicuro (As does most eateries right now) and is free for everyone. Now, is Epicuro worth a visit? Yes. Is it worth a revisit? Yes. There are lots more dishes on Epicuro's menu in actual fact, and they all sound just as delicious as it prints on the brown paper. Remember though, that Epicuro may be packed on weekends and other peak periods so reservations are always recommended.

20, Jalan SS21/35,
Damansara Uptown,
47400 Petaling Jaya
P/S: They are facing the LDP with landmarks such as A Pie Thing, Maybank and CIMB Bank being on the same row. The key to Epicuro is also their neighbour; a hardware store with a huge plier hanging outside.

Operating hours:
Tuesday - Friday: 11 AM - 11 PM
Weekends: 10 AM - 11 PM
Reservations can be made at 03 - 7733 3110 or via their online form here.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Dear Borders

Dear Borders,

I don't buy books a lot from your store but once in a while, I do walk in for little necessities such as stationary and gifts. I've never quite put a lot of hope in retail staffs because I too was a retail person during my secondary school breaks but what I had to go through on the 29th of August 2014, Friday, at Borders, The Curve, was something I never thought would happen.

You see, I walked in with a lot of hopes in buying craft stickers (Or fancy stickers as written on your price tag) for a little handwork I am working on. I was in a little bit of hurry seeing as that my father was actually waiting for me so I approached the information counter to ask if you did carry these stickers. Your extremely disinterested staff not only pretended to not hear me to the first time but also then told me that Borders didn't have such things after I described them to him for better understanding and asked me to try out at the children's section if I wanted to buy stickers.

Of course, my immediate reaction was to run over to another bookstore located at The Curve because I truly needed these craft stickers but they didn't quite have what I had in mind. With that, I ran straight back to Borders AGAIN because I just wouldn't believe that as a distinctive bookstore that has complete sets of stationary being sold, you won't have little packs of these stickers lying around. I searched around aisle after aisle and there they were right in front of my eyes.

Craft stickers.

The best part of this was that the information counter was right in front of this aisle but the staff who was initially there was nowhere to be found. I swear if he was there, I would have taken everything off the shelf and slapped it on his counter. I have no idea if your staff is new; which I doubt because seriously who puts new staffs at information counters, or that he was blatantly lazy to guide a customer to the right aisle because he was comfortably seated behind the information counter...of which by now should be torn apart because it gives no information whatsoever.

My anger subsided just as quickly as it had rise and I took my packs of stickers to the cashier counter so I could join my father again and go home. There was nothing I could do by then but leave myself a reminder at the back of my head to let this issue be heard by someone who actually wants to help in Borders; perhaps your social media page. While I happily expected to be done at Borders, something else as horrific as this happened. Bear in mind this was all on the same floor, in the same outlet and all in the span of 15 minutes; including running to the other bookstore.

There were two young staffs standing behind the cashier counter and I approached the one who was standing hoping to pay immediately. Instead, he merely stared at my packs of stickers then engaged in a conversation like this with the seated staff:

Translation in italics.

Standing staff A: Weih, kau je la you serve. Kau cashier kan? Dude, you should come to service (the customer). You're a cashier.
Seated staff B: Kau dekat je, tak boleh serve ke? You're closer (to the counter), why can't you serve (the customer)?

At this point I was already annoyed by this pushing of responsibility because let's face it, how hard was it to scan the bar codes, take my money and let me be on my way? Apparently, it was very hard because staff A unwillingly picked up the scanner towards the bar code and...that was it. I wasn't told verbally how much it costs nor was I shown at the display that was facing inwards how much it was. Of course then I had to make a mental calculation based on the prices I saw and paid him what was due and expected my change from him.

What he did next is something nobody will ever expect. Guess what, guess what? He held onto my money. He didn't punch it into the system, the money drawer never popped out and nothing happened next. He just held onto the notes I had passed him and engaged in a yet another conversation with the seated staff. AGAIN.

Seated staff B: Weih mana ah, si Anuar? Where is Anuar? (I assume this is another colleague)
Standing staff A: Mana aku tau, tandas kot! I have no idea, probably the toilet.

DID I NEED TO KNOW THIS, BORDERS? Did I need to know where your other staffs were? I just wanted my stickers and change. That's it. I will also assume at this moment that seated staff B could see how annoyed I was in my facial expression because this happened next:

Seated staff B: Weih kau tak nak bagi balance ke? Don't you want to give (the customer) her balance?
Standing staff A: Aku tahu la bodoh, 30 sen je. Kejap la. I know, stupid. It's just 30 cents, just hang on.

So not only did I have to listen in on knowing where your other staff was, I also have to listen in on your staffs verbally abusing each other and demeaning the value of money, however little the amount. I was of course given my change due but not without making disgruntled and extremely unsatisfied gestures such as a loud, "TSK" to them when they were speaking to one another instead of doing their work. I understand how all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy but is there not a more appropriate time for such childishness to happen, such as when there isn't a customer in front of you?

And here I am, Borders. Appealing to you to please keep your staff in check. These are one of the worst experiences I have ever had with retail staffs and don't tell me they're just having a shitty day because I was once in a position like that and I have come to understand that regardless how rubbish a day you're living, a job is a job and there are guidelines to your job that should be followed. Please, Borders, get someone to train your staff properly before allowing them to come out to the store front and tarnish the reputation of your stores. In case you're also asking, no, I do not have their identifications because none of your staffs are wearing name tags but I do have my receipt well kept in my wallet.

You do have craft stickers in the store, I do not need to know where Anuar (whoever this is...) is at and 30 cents is still money. Your service sucks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Flossing Essentials: Philips Sonicare Airfloss

Before you start reading this post, do me a favour and ask yourself this: do my teeth feel clean today? In the year 2010, the Oral Health Division in the Ministry of Health Malaysia had found that up to 98.3% of Malaysians were in need of oral healthcare with 88.9% reported to have dental caries, 94% having gum problems and up to 7.3% of locals had already lost their natural teeth. This makes me rethink the amount of smiles I see out there because I would want to know if they are wearing dentures or not now.

Say hello to the new Philips Sonicare Airfloss.

While a lot of people actually think brushing their teeth is clean enough, little do they know that the right way is to brush, floss and rinse with mouthwash. This was something I learned during the days I wore braces back in secondary school days and I've been keeping up with it for a while now. I did fall behind the flossing however because I always thought flossing was a hassle so all I did was brush my teeth and gargle with mouthwash thinking it could fight all the food debris and bacterial plaque.

Dr. Sean Paul with Philips' Country Manager, Mr. Ali Jaleel and Consumer Marketing Manager, Ngan Leng.

According to Dr. Sean Paul, a local dentist in Malaysia with up to 15 years of experience, a lot of people quit flossing because of bleeding gums (Totally guilty of that thought a while back!) but what they don't realize is that continuous flossing can help to reduce the bleeding and also fights bacterial plaque that causes bad breath. Just as I was told in the past, Dr. Sean Paul stressed on the importance of flossing especially for people with braces or have had complex restorative treatments done as it was difficult for brushing alone to get to certain areas in the mouth.

Putting the Philips Sonicare Airfloss to work.

With the breakthrough microburst technology specially designed to make cleaning in between teeth easy, the Philips Sonicare Airfloss works by shooting a rapid burst of air and water droplets to force plaque and bacteria out. It is also directed using a nozzle guidance tip that makes flossing so much easier with just a teaspoon of water for a single cleaning session. It runs on a 24-hour fully rechargable and maintenance free battery that operates for 2 weeks or 14 full-mouth flosses.

Isabel also won a unit of Philips Sonicare Airfloss from the lucky draw at the launch and now she has no reason to NOT floss.

While the new Philips Sonicare Airfloss tips on a pricier side at RM 699 per unit, giving your teeth the ultimate care is always better than spending thousands just for dental visits to make sets of dentures or get them restored with crowns and such, right? Nozzles are also available for sale to change in between a family so everyone has their own unit of floss and a set of shiny white teeth by the end of every floss. More details are available at the Philips website. Happy flossing!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Future In Bags: Terminus Functional & Creative Bags

I guess when it comes to the word bags, a whole lot of thoughts would come to mind. There's roller bags, laptop bags, tote bags, handbags and even body bags doggie bags! I personally like buying different bags for different occasions but none seem to fit all the requirements because I either need them a little bigger or a little know the drill. We're never all too happy with what we have.

And then comes Terminus.

Born and bred in Malaysia, Terminus is all about function, fun, fashion, feel and form. Well hey, I'm talking about bags and not Tania in the picture above!

Say hello to Terminus bags!

 Mr.Liew Bing, CEO of Terminus explains to us the concept behind the company.

Terminus bags are all well designed by local designers who comes up with greatest ideas in making your bag perfect for whatever it needs to cater to, fun to use with its multiple roles to play, fashionable in various colours, feel good when you carry them and remain in great forms so your belongings are safely guarded.

Each bag is designed with care and with an idea of its own.

But fashionable carries are not forgotten.

Newly opened in 1Utama's new wing, Terminus brings forward their award winning bags to everyone's liking so we could all have our wants and needs satisfied in a single bag.

Showing us how the Terminus New Invisible Urban Roller works.

Doubling as a backpack with rollers that will retract when the handle is pushed in.

Jetting away! It appears that Senri doesn't want me to leave, hence the running at the back.

I always thought backpacks with rollers were great because you could carry them when the roads are a bit dirty for you to wheel your bag. Unfortunately it could get uncomfortable sometimes because the wheels tend to give you a "stabbing" feel as they are placed at the back. With the Terminus New Invisible Urban Roller however, the wheels are placed in FRONT of the bag so when you carry it as a backpack, you don't feel anything and can comfortable take your luggage everywhere! Compartments are also aplenty for you to store just about anything you could think of for a good trip. It's also cabin sized so you don't have to check it in or wait for your bag when you leave the plane!

The Bright Tote bag that lights up when you open it. Runs on 2 double A batteries.

Sorting your belongings easily with the Terminus Transformers 5-in-1 bag.

Other innovative bags includes the Bright Tote that lights up when you unzip it to look for stuff. I think it's a great idea because sometimes it could get difficult to find for things in your bag when light conditions aren't too decent and the lights goes off by itself as you zip it up. Aside to that, the Terminus Transformers 5-in-1 bag doubles as a cabin compliant luggage bag and can also be used as a laptop bag with its detachable feature.

Carrying the Urban Dad; a bag for young parents and hip daddies!

Compartments in the Urban Dad backpack.

I actually fell in love with the Urban Dad backpack even if it's specifically for young parents because it's so big and spacious but at the same time very comfortable to carry. There are slots for wet wipes, iPad storage, baby clothes and milk bottle warmer section with aluminum coats and even a portable diaper changing pad; all in one bag! I have however considered to get it because I could use the main section for clothes, milk bottle warmer to put in hot drinks in bottles and the diaper changing pad as a mat to sit on in case I visit places that are a little dirty. This bag is a multitask-er, people!

As a winner of the Red Dot award alongside various honourable mentions, selected Terminus bags comes with up to a one-year warranty and a return policy within 14 working days! In fact, if you have a grand idea that you think would make a great bag for everyone, Terminus is always open to them and listens attentively in creating a masterpiece in your name. So really, people. What's stopping you from stepping into the future in bags with Terminus? Drop by their store in 1Utama in the New Wing (Opposite Sushi Q) and you can find all these out for yourself!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Philips Daily Collection Mini Blender

Hello, people! It's the weekends again and there's nothing nicer on a weekend than to be lazy and only tend to effortless things. Seriously, brunches were made for a reason. Which is why even cooking should be kept to a minimal with preparations going from zero to none.

And bam! There's this. 

I've never recalled owning a blender at home because I don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen (Breaking women stereotypes!) but very often when I see recipes online that makes any kind of food seem like a circus in your mouth, I actually have the urge to make it. But of course, it would require a blender...which I don't even think we have.

A complete set.

The set of Philips Daily Collection Mini Blender comes with the body of the blender, a mini chopper, the break-resistant blender beaker and the coolest thing of it all: the On-The-Go bottle. Bear in mind also that the blender itself packs up to 350W in motor power while its blades goes on to tackle both soft and hard ingredients.

Detachable blender blades.
With detachable blades made of stainless steel, washing and changing blades for different uses is actually pretty easy. Plus there's even a rubber grip to the sides of the blender blade unit so it holds firmly to the chopper, blender beaker or On-The-Go bottle as it deals with everything inside but slips right off to wash really easily.
 Easy directions to attach and detach blades.

All removable parts are also dishwasher safe for people who find it a lot easier to pop it in the machine when there's a full load of dishes to do and can be put away easily without taking up much space in the kitchen because of its size and cool features such as a cord storage at the bottom of the blender body.

Trying the blender out.

In case you think I'm all talk and no do, here's something I've done recently. I made a good serving of orange-carrot smoothie then hid all day in my room catching up on the Hong Kong series that I've been missing out on during work times. I guess you could call me a couch potato smoothie.

Half-finished fresh smoothie.

My bad with the picture above, I forgot to take a picture of my finished product because it was actually REALLY good especially given that it was a hot day. There was no sugar or water added, unlike smoothies you'll get in premises outside that are probably loaded with nasty stuff to seem like you're getting a whole lot out of your money.

You could get more info on where to grab your own Philips Daily Collection Mini Blender and other details such as pricing and what not from this link. Just remember people, it's always better to make your own juices and smoothies than to buy them from outside. It's friendly to your wallet, good for your health and happy for your tummy! If you've got good smoothie recipes, do share with me too! Until then, it would probably be orange-carrot smoothie 80% of the time.