Monday, October 31, 2011

Umeboshi Soba from Shimbashi

Kishu Wakayama Ume Seiro

Shimbashi Soba had this plum-flavored version on its menu today. But aside from the mildly red tint, I really couldn't taste the difference. Perhaps the more noticeable change was the new staff, which still seemed to be trying to figure things out: the senior manager working today didn't even know how to take an order and had to get one of his staff to come over instead. They got the order wrong a few times, but they were eventually a bit more attentive with the refills at least.

London Epilogue: Some Packaged Goods

Oasis and Supermalt

Here goes another roundup of various packaged goods that I picked up last week. The malt drink on the right was probably the most interesting. Despite looking like a beer bottle, it was mildly sweet, non-alcoholic, and tasted a bit like liquified bran flakes. The drink on the left wasn't anything special; there was another orange drink called Tango that I liked a lot more. I think it's supposed to be a competitor of Fanta.

McCoy's Crisps and Border Biscuits Shortbread Rings

And no, normally I'm not one to go buy junk food like this. But I needed a bit more food one night and wasn't in the mood to sit down for a curry. So I grabbed some shortbread and chips (or as they say in England, crisps) from a convenience store. I didn't feel good about eating them, but I suppose that they did the job as advertised.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Qantas Derailed My Lufthansa Upgrade

Lufthansa Economy Class Breakfast

Yup, that's an economy class meal. My upgrade request didn't go through today, as the long haul was heavily overbooked thanks to Qantas passengers scrambling to find other flights. Sure, they are on a different alliance, but Heathrow and Singapore are some of Qantas' busiest hubs. It's just my dumb luck that the decision hit on the day of my flight going to and from exactly those cities. All of the LH staff were pretty apologetic at least.

I believe that LH starts its new A380 service to Singapore tomorrow; I wonder if the seating capacity on that would have made a difference. I incidentally overheard a purser telling the airbridge staff upon arrival at Changi that they were the last 747. I thought I heard him say that he hopes that they go back empty but I wonder if they will take stranded Qantas people.

At least I got an aisle seat just in front of the galley, which not only allowed me to put stuff under my actual seat (rather than the seat in front of me), but also allowed me to recline my seat without worrying about cramping anyone behind me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cheese Sandwiches from Lufthansa Again

Cheese Sandwich

LH was giving out cheese sandwiches again on the leg out of Heathrow, with this one featuring Gouda on dark bread. It sure beats those lame bags of peanuts that one usually gets on other one hour flights.

Oysters From Borough Market in London

Oysters

I wasn't originally planning to come here today. But I was short on time and needed a quick lunch before checking out of the hotel, so I made a quick stop at Borough Market to see what I could get. I ended up getting some of these very briny but tasty local oysters along with a cup of soup and a fruit juice. I need to remember *not* to come here on a Saturday at lunch time again though; it's just way too crowded.

The Butcher & Grill, Wimbledon Village

Deviled Kidneys on Toast

Friends of mine down in Wimbledon took me here for breakfast today (33 High Street, 020-8944-8269). It was a short menu, but there were a few things that piqued my curiosity, like this plate of deviled kidneys on toast. It certainly tasted like organ meat when I first bit into it, but eventually it grew on me, especially when discovering those peppercorns on the side that helped spice it up a bit. I don't know if it's something that I'll rush for again, but I liked this place, and I'm glad that I tried those kidneys.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Swan at Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside

Elwy Valley venison stew & celeriac mash

That plate probably looks like some kind of roast beef and potatoes with gravy on top, yeah? Well, on the menu here (21 New Globe Walk, 020-7928-9444), this thing was listed as a "venison stew," so I was expecting some kind of a thick soupy thing instead. But it still worked for me, especially with that deliciously aromatic sauce and tender local meat. It's too bad that they ran out of the grilled calves liver though. Even if I haven't been a big fan of that organ (outside of ducks, anyway), I was hoping to try something different.

The Golden Hind, Marylebone, London

Small Cod, Chips, and Mushy Peas

It's a bit of a cliché to go to the UK and get some fish and chips. But this place (73 Marylebone Lane, 020-7486-3644) totally blew past my expectations. One could tell just by looking at it that the batter was delicately thin, and yet it was crispy enough that one could hear a crunch before releasing the steam keeping the cod warm inside. I gobbled this thing down in seconds. It was much better than that Rock & Sole Plaice.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Roast Bone Marrow at St. John in London

Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad

Finally...I was able to get my hands on the roast bone marrow at St. John tonight. See, last time I was here, they had already sold out. So I looked forward to plopping myself down at the bar tonight to get a couple of pints and bar snacks.

Those snacks included not only this deliciously rich bone marrow, but also a pork skin salad, pea and ham soup, and even some snails and oakleaf. Yum...this place is awesome, not to mention surprisingly fast with the food too. I left here extremely happy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Standard Balti House, Brick Lane, London

Chicken Phall and Rice

Once again I needed something more substantial to sit in my belly for dinner, so tonight I went back to Brick Lane to try to finally get that spicy phall. And oh yes, it was spicy. It was basically a habanero-based curry, with that distinctive habanero taste making it a delight to eat with rice. Admittedly the burning sensation got a bit old after I finished all of the cuts of chicken inside; by that point, I might as well have just poured habanero sauce over a bowl of rice, even though this was mildly richer to give it a bit more heft. I'm definitely going to feel this tomorrow morning on the other end, if you know what I mean.

To my surprise though, not many of these shops down here were offering phall (in case you're wondering, the name of the dish apparently comes from the word "phallic" in the spirit of the masculinity required to consume this beast). After having gone from shop to shop to glance at each menu, only these Standard Balti guys (71 Brick Lane, 020-7247-5855) and Aladin had it on their menus. Other than that, pretty much all of the shops on the street seemed to be offering nearly the same stuff - and perhaps more amusingly, all of them had some sign claiming to have won some curry of the year award, not to mention trying to tout you with what seemed to be an industry standard 20% discount.

Oh - and just to settle a discussion that I was having with a few people earlier: it was no problem eating out here tonight despite it being Deepavali. It was just business as usual, most likely since these guys were technically Bangladeshi rather than Indian. Either way, this phall was unique enough that I'll come back for it, perhaps after a night of heavy drinking...or maybe I'll take it down a notch and settle for the merely "very hot" vindaloo that pretty much every shop on this street seemed to offer. Either way, I'm glad I finally got the piece of English culture that I was looking for.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Preem and Prithi, Brick Lane, London

Balti Chicken Tikka Masala

I needed a more substantial dinner after some drinks tonight, so I hopped on down to Brick Lane to try to hunt down some proper English curries. After walking up and down the street to check each shop out, I finally settled on these guys (124-126 Brick Lane, 020-7377-5252), in part because they seemed the most casual without linens, but also it was jam packed with locals. And even though I originally thinking of getting one of those super spicy phalls, I ended up instead with the national dish of England: chicken tikka masala, served in a balti bowl, which has become a bit of a novelty here.

As I waited for my food, I was getting excited. The smells coming out of that kitchen were deliciously aromatic, and I was looking forward to getting mine. Unfortunately, when I finally tasted it, I was taken aback by how darned sweet it was. Granted, this stuff is probably supposed to be this way, and probably also explains why it has been so popular around here. But it was almost like candy, and I really wish they cut back on the sugar and loaded up on the spices instead, especially since the ones that they did use were respectably fragrant. Well, this won't stop me from coming down to Brick Lane again though; that phall has still eluded me to this day and I'm going to get it one way or another.

F. Cooke Pie and Mash, London

One Small Pie and Mash

I wanted to get some cheap yet traditional English food while I was here, so I stopped by this old school shop (150 Hoxton Street, 020-7729-7718) to grab one of their pies and mash. It was a lot lighter than I was expecting, especially with that green parsley-based "liquor" on top, helping me gobble this down quickly. I was kinda curious about those jellied eels that they had too, but instead I exercised restraint, seeing that I had eaten another meal just an hour or so before this.

The Exmouth Market in London

Lining up for food

I went into the city for a quick lunch today - specifically, to Exmouth Market. Unlike the much larger Borough Market with its huge varieties of goods, this was more of a little side street with a bunch of food stands set up, as well as proper cafes and restaurants lining the sides too.

And the stands smelled great, especially with one guy grilling sausages on a fire. It reminded me a bit of Portland's street carts, which is probably how I subconsciously ended up choosing a vegetarian stall. It was fine, but in retrospect I probably should have tried the Ghanian food instead.

Breakfast on Lufthansa to Heathrow

Fruit Box and Madeline on LH

This was the breakfast that Lufthansa handed out on the leg to Heathrow this morning. Yes, it was a sealed box of fruit salad plus a madeline, all with a little foldable fork inside for you to eat the salad with. The more memorable thing was looking out the window and seeing all of the air traffic around. I had heard that Europe's skies were really congested so it was interesting to see it right outside my window.

Dinner on Lufthansa Tonight

Black eyed tuna in golden egg wrapper, potato salad, and horseradish

This was the starter in Luthansa's dinner tonight. It was just tuna shoved into an egg wrapper with a knob of potato salad, but those little red peppercorns added an interesting flair.

Reading Materials on LHPerhaps more notable was this huge magazine rack at the front of the cabin; now *that's* a proper selection of reading materials! And it was all conveniently placed right next to the lavatory door, too. :) Too bad that nearly everything was in German though (doh!).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ah Por Ginger Fried Rice from Soup Restaurant

Ah Por Ginger Fried Rice

Soup Restaurant has been running signs for their ginger fried rice a lot lately, and I'd been curious for a while. Well, there was a Soup Restaurant at Changi Terminal 2, so we went there for dinner tonight before getting on my flight. It was a little better than I thought it would be with its smoky aroma, but not necessarily that much different from what one might expect either; after all, it was pretty much the ginger sauce from their signature chicken dish, I believe. I'll stick to the olive rice next time.

On a side note, Lufthansa is running an Early Check-In Desk that opens at 4:30 PM, which should come in handy next time I need to go on a standby upgrade list again (rather than just coming three hours before check-in like I did today). And it looks like SQ has completely redone their lounges in T2, with big marble desks in the SilverKris pantry like at T3. And yet KrisFlyer Gold gets a different lounge, all while still separate from the SATS lounge for other Star Alliance Gold members. Interesting.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Value Meal from Komala's

value Meal

Komala's at Tanglin Mall was not serving pau bhaji today, so I went for this value meal instead, which featured a green coriander-based rice that went down quickly with that salty spicy veggie in the lowermost tray. I wasn't a big fan of that yellow biryani rice in the corner, but hey, at only S$5 (US$4), who's complaining?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Yasai Curry from Bon Goût

Yasai Curry

Here was the vegetable curry from Bon Goût, a place that I haven't been to in ages. It looked better than it tasted, most likely because I've been spoiled by all of those other Japanese curry shops that have popped up around town lately. But all we needed was a quick meal tonight, especially since so many other places were fully booked tonight down at Robertson Quay.

Did Youmenya Goemon Update Their Menu?

Kani to Ebi to Karasumi no Paparonchiin

Something seemed different about the menu at Youmenya Goemon today. At a quick skim, it looked like largely the same thing, with items like the mentaiko karashi takana available as before. But I saw some things that I don't really remember seeing on previous visits, like this shrimp and crab pasta topped with karasumi (think: bottarga, or mullet roe). I liked its fresh and savory taste, especially since they did it pepperoncino style.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Teppei Has Non-Tempura Too!

Maguro Zuke

Cool. I walked into Teppei today when I noticed that the guy was running a daily special. But rather than being his usual tempura, today's higawari was this maguro zuke. The cuts of fish weren't as thick as Meii Sushi across the street, but it was fresh, and you could still load up on lots of rice and countertop otsumami, making it a nice relief from all of the fried stuff that I've been eating otherwise there. A sneak peak at the dinner menu showed a wide variety of other things too, including kushikatsu, which is great considering that we would no longer have to break the bank at Si Bon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Maze-Soba from Baikohken Singapore

Maze-Soba

It looks like Baikohken is doing a special maze-soba right now. They really piled it on though; so much that it was hard to really mix it up to get to the sauce at the bottom. But at least it was relatively healthier given that the bowl was otherwise pretty much unseasoned, not to mention the huge pile of jirokei-like veggies that they put on top. Somehow I'll have to wade through that more effectively next time in order to be able to do a proper mix underneath.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Farewell, Kusabi Singapore (sniff, sniff)

Farewell, Kusabi Singapore

Well, they technically haven't shut down yet. But when we heard that they were shutting down in a few months to head back to Japan, we quickly scrambled down to their remaining Marina Bay location to try to get as much of that awesome gekkikara ramen while we still could.

Or so we thought. Upon arrival, we discovered that they had changed their menu yet again! It was just the other week when I nearly fainted upon finding out that they had killed pretty much everything that made them unique. And now when we got here, we found the unthinkable: they got rid of their gekikara ramen too. In its place was some lame "spicy ramen" that used one of my pet peeves: a scoop of chili sauce. Ugh.

There was now no more reason to come here anymore...aside from maybe the normal uobushi ramen that originally got me interested in this place the first time. Even the black garlic-based one that they featured today tasted like a knockoff of Nantsuttei. Another one bites the dust.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Returning on One of SQ's A330s

Braised Beef

Thankfully the return leg to Singapore tonight was on an A330, and it was fitted with the new SQ Economy Class seats, complete with power outlets (featuring UK plugs too) and a USB port to charge my phone with.

It was still a pretty full flight, but somehow I lucked out when a passenger asked to change seats so that she could sit next to her sister. It turned out that her original seat was in a completely empty row, even though everyone else around was packed next to each other. Granted, I was all the way in the back of the plane, but that didn't matter. I sprawled out all my gear and got to work without really touching much of this braised beef dinner.

And it looks like I haven't flown SQ to Hong Kong in a while. It was only tonight that I finally visited the updated KrisFlyer lounge in HKG, which was surprisingly cavernous and posh, especially compared to that tiny little hole in the wall that they had previously. But it's too far away from where United parks its planes though to be able to lounge crash when transiting through.

The Black Version of Butao Ramen in HK

Butao's Black Ramen

I came back to Butao Ramen today to try the black version this time, but I was kinda let down. I mean, it looked cool, with a gigantic ball of some mysterious black paste (ground sesame seeds?) plopped in the center. But somehow my broth ended up tasting a bit sweet in the end, in stark contrast with Keisuke's wonderful sansho-based one. Well, it was definitely unique, but next time I'll probably just go back to Mak's for some local Cantonese noodles instead.

Wang Jia Sha, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Some cold starter

Those things in the photo may seem a bit off-putting, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it all - particularly the dark thing in the foreground, which I thought was a sweet pork rib but turned out to be a lightly fried fish that disappeared into my mouth in seconds. Anyway, my teammate took me to this place in Causeway Bay for lunch today (28 Yun Ping Road Shop 115, 2722-6222), and I really liked their light and delicate approach to everything, be it a super tender plate of bite-sized shrimp or a couple of light yet savory soups. They also had hairy crabs from China in season, but we held back on getting those.

Egg Noodles on SQ to Hong Kong

Some kind of egg noodles

This was breakfast on the way up to Hong Kong this morning, the other choice being an omelette. It was better than I thought it would be, even if I ended up pushing most of those chunks of beef to the side (I think I've been spoiled by all of the wagyu tempura that I've been eating at Teppei lately). Perhaps the more interesting thing was that this Singapore Airlines flight was slightly cheaper than United, largely due to the fact that I'm doing a day trip and SQ had removed its overnight stay policy sometime ago.

Yet I kinda regret not having taken United, mainly since SQ is so popular that this flight was nearly full, whereas I probably could have gotten an entire row to myself on United, if it was anything like last time. Sure, this hot meal is better than that lame bag that United gives, but my priority right now is in getting work done, and I could have used the extra space. Besides, this 777-200 was still fitted with the old SQ seats, so flying SQ didn't provide any power outlet benefits either. (I should have remembered to pre-order a special meal!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

My First Daging Salai Masak Lemak

Daging Salai Masak Lemak

No sooner than I had talked about avoiding coconut milk did I find myself back here at KL airport, picking this coconut milk-based dish before getting on the return flight home. And it was surprisingly good. Sure, part of it was the spices but the main thing that surprised me was the paper thin slices of beef inside (I was expecting nasty crude chunks instead). And the gravy was thin enough that it was practically like a soup, which incidentally was the way I started to slurp it up in the end. I'm not sure if this is the way it is done in other places, but I liked this one.

Lunch From a Mamak Stall in KL

Mamak Stall Food

This was an unplanned visit. I needed a quick bite before my afternoon meetings and was originally planning on hitting up those Middle Eastern places next to the Millennium Hotel to see if they had anything fast there. But just as I approached the building I noticed some plastic stools and canopy-covered tables down in the alleyway behind it. So I went that way out of curiosity and found a few mamak stalls, which are basically Malaysian Tamil stalls.

There was a spread of pre-cooked stuff to pick from, including a bunch of curries that I didn't choose. It didn't occur to me to consider scooping some gravy onto the rice, but in the end I didn't need it, as the veggies, fish, and dried chilies kept me going, and I liked it. Best of all, all of this plus my ginger tea was only RM 6 (US$2), making this thing a steal. If I worked nearby I'd probably come here regularly; one could keep it somewhat healthy by sticking to the greens and avoiding the coconut milk-based stuff.

On Approach to Kuala Lumpur

On Approach to Kuala Lumpur

Yeah, I know. I've been doing more of these scenery shots lately. But when I'm doing these short one hour hops where they don't really serve any food aside from peanuts, this is probably the more interesting thing to see. And for me, this sight was notable since I normally think of Kuala Lumpur as being inland rather than on the coast. But I guess the airport approach is still from the sea. I think this was just south of Port Dickson.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Kusabi Has Revamped Its Menu (Argh!)

Black Tonkotsu Ramen

I was walking through the Central on the way home from work the other day when I noticed that Kusabi had changed into a tendon shop called Ten Restaurant. "Oh no!," I thought, "Has one of my favorite shops in town finally shut down?" But I suspected that the Marina Square outlet was still open; after all, the staff at the tendon shop was still wearing those old black and white checkered Kusabi uniforms, so I presume that the owner merely changed the shop's focus. Fortunately, I was correct, as Kusabi was still at Marina Square.

But the story wasn't over yet. Upon sitting down at Marina Square, we found that they had revamped their menu. That uniquely fragrant kogashi ramen? Gone. That refreshing kasaneaji shio ramen? Gone. The huge jiro ramen? Also gone. Oh crap, this sounded just like the time Keisuke ditched their signature ebi ramen. And just like Keisuke, these guys also created a new tonkotsu-focused menu (not to mention a gimmicky DIY takoyaki), presumably in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Fortunately, the kickass gekikara uobushi survived the revamp.

I was thus a bit apprehensive about the new menu, but I gave in and tried the black tonkotsu ramen above, which came topped with some kind of a grilled onion paste or something. No, it wasn't like Keisuke's sansho-based black one, but it turned out to be a lot better than I was expecting, as it provided an earthy depth that motivated me to keep eating more. (Whew - what a relief!) While I'm definitely going to miss the old menu, I guess that they didn't have much choice but to make this move, as I hardly ever saw any other diners in there in the past. I wonder if it's because long names like marutoku uobushi tonkotsu shouyu ramen scared people away. It's too bad, because they brew some great tasting broths here.

Smiths Authentic British Fish and Chips

Cod & Chips

I'm no pro at proper British fish and chips, but this worked for me (230 Tanjong Katong Road, 6345-9855), as it came out piping hot from the fryer with plenty of malt vinegar and salt at your disposal to douse over the mushy chips. Perhaps more memorable was the deep fried Mars Bar, which was properly done whole (unlike that strange Chippy place), giving it a soft warm oozy center with a crispy batter that made it much more fun to eat than if I had just taken one out of the wrapper from a 7-Eleven. And it looks like they are opening a shop at Boat Quay soon, which will be convenient considering that Fishermen's Wharf is gone.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Teppei Japanese Restaurant, Tanjong Pagar

Ebi Tempura

I love tempura bars. Unfortunately, the only places in Singapore to get a proper rendition has been high-end restaurants like the very expensive Tenshin, thus keeping it from becoming a regular affair. That has finally changed. This guy just opened up next to Keisuke's Tonkotsu King at the Orchid Hotel, and I'm loving this tiny place with counter-only seating (1 Tras Link #01-18, 6222-7363).

They're running lunch sets for just under S$20 (US$15), and yet they still fry each item individually in front of you so that they arrive piping hot and crispy, all with the requisite curry and green tea salt at your disposal. They've also got a variety of otsumami scattered on top of the counter for you to grab at will. Granted, the batter wasn't as fine as I was hoping for, but at these prices I wasn't complaining, especially when the quality of ingredients was still far ahead of any of those nasty mass market chains around town.

The only thing to keep in mind is that the smell of grease seeps a bit onto your clothes, so I'm only coming here if I don't have any meetings immediately afterwards. But it's kinda cool that they have a little onigiri stand at the register if you still need a little snack later. Tanjong Pagar seems to be increasingly forming a little cluster of proper Japanese restaurants like Cuppage and Robertson Quay have had, yeah?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Arumanis Mangoes from Indonesia

Indonesian Arumanis Mango

Yes, it's another mango update, and these Indonesian ones that we got from Tanjong Pagar Market yesterday were green yet ripe as well. They were pleasantly sweet and juicy with a touch of richness, although still not as boldly as an Indian alphonso. Its skin hardly gave off any scent either. I'll happily go back to buy more of these though; the lady was selling them for S$8 (US$6) for three.

Japan's CoCo Ichibanya in Singapore

Nasu Kare Raisu

Yesterday morning, we were going past 313@Somerset and noticed that a line was forming in front of the mall. We figured that maybe it was another one of those H&M or Uniqlo openings, or maybe some kind of Apple product finally being made available here, and didn't think anything of it further. It was only this morning that I finally realized what it was for: Japan's CoCo Ichibanya chain of curry shops had finally opened an outlet here in Singapore (313 Orchard Road #B3-25, 6636-7280), and they were giving away some kind of free meal vouchers for the first people in line yesterday.

The vouchers surely were gone by now, but they were still running a 30% off promotion today, and I knew that this place was going to be crowded, especially being a Sunday on Orchard Road. So I scrambled down here just after their opening at 10 AM in order to try to beat the crowds, even though I was still stuffed from having eaten three roti prata earlier. And hence, I ended up trying to get the lightest thing possible: a reduced size 150 gram serving with Japanese eggplant, in case you were wondering what those rather unsightly dark things were in the photo.

Yes, I liked it. In addition to your protein selection as well as your rice quantity, they also allowed you to customize your level of spiciness, which at my Level 2 out of 6 was a tad spicier than your typically mild Japanese curries. Using the tabletop bottle of powdered spices to manually crank it up after that resulted in a mildly pleasant bit of residual heat in my mouth and stomach afterwards. I still like its competitor Go! Go! Curry! upstairs at the food court for its uniquely bold curry taste, but these guys are also fun to go to with their orochon-like experience.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Miz Japanese Restaurant in Tanjong Pagar

Samon Harasu Yaki

Whoa - that was surprisingly good. See, I've been eating some of their fast weekday lunches here in Singapore from time to time (7 Craig Road, 6225-5761), but usually those are just cheap and simple meals that aren't really anything so exciting that I would mention them, even if they were of acceptable quality. But today we ordered off their a la carte menu, which I believe they use in the evenings in more of an izakaya-style setting. And the things that we got were like night and day compared to those plain vanilla lunches during the week.

Ninniku Bataa Udon

This cold garlic butter udon is a case in point. I figured that it was just the noodles that were served cold, but it turned out that the butter was cold too...and more surprisingly, the garlic was raw. It sounds kinda nasty, but it was uniquely satisfying, especially when the rich butter and pungent garlic was counterbalanced with a scoop of caviar. Granted, even *I* couldn't stand being within a 50 foot radius of myself after eating so much raw garlic, but it was good.

Ume Ochazuke

Even a simple ochazuke was presented traditionally with a little kettle on the side, and it was light yet satisfying. Oh - and that salmon belly at the top was from their list of specials today. It was seasoned perfectly and was deliciously fatty, while the skin was grilled for aroma and crispiness. Ordering small plates like this of course got much more expensive, but the food was just so much better this way. I won't even bother with those lunches here anymore; I need to save my money to eat the good stuff after hours instead.