Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My First Flight on Continental Airlines

The Chef's Selection of seared pork chop with morel mushroom sauce

I don't think I've ever flown Continental before. So I was kinda looking forward to seeing what this leg out to Houston was going to be like, especially since they didn't seem to be fully integrated into United yet. Indeed, even requesting an upgrade required going through an "integration team," but fortunately they got me into their so-called BusinessFirst cabin.

As I walked to the gate at Narita, I noticed that the plane was already decked out in United livery. When I got on board, I realized that it the seats were still from Continental. And I actually liked them a little better than United given all of the little areas they had for you to put your stuff. Sure, the headphones were flimsy, the entertainment system didn't hold your spot for you, and the service that I experienced on this flight wasn't that friendly. But otherwise I liked the soft and comfy seat, as well as that thick bone-in pork chop with morel sauce above that they put into an Executive Meal service for me (otherwise known on United as Express Dine).

It will be interesting to see which bits of Continental legacy emerge after the integration team's work is done. In the meanwhile, there were still some amusing differences here and there. For instance, the in-flight magazine was from United, but the duty free catalog was from Continental. The coasters and chopsticks were branded United, but the toothpick and amenities kit were branded Continental. United CEO Jeff Smisek was still giving his usual spiel about the merger before the safety video, but the menu was amusingly just a few photocopied sheets of folded white paper stapled together rather than that thick stock that United uses with a color cover. Not that anything as trivial as the quality of the menu's printing should really matter.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tohato Boukun Habanero from Japan

Tohato Boukun Habanero

In retrospect, I probably should have just combined this with the previous entry for a broader junk food post. Anyway, I spotted this just as I was walking out of Daiso this afternoon, mainly because these were habanero-based. They weren't nearly as hot as one might have thought they would be, but eventually the spices caught up to provide a little more of a burn from those processed potato rings.

Monde Pola Snack from Indonesia

Monde Pola Snack

I'm not exactly sure what this thing is supposed to be, but the label says that it's from Indonesia, and that it has the "most authentic taste." The ingredients also specified sugar, spices, salt, and caramel, which was pretty much what it ended up tasting like; an ever so mildly combination of sweet and salty crackers made to resemble little animals. Are these basically the Indonesian version of animal crackers?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ebi Seiro from Ootoya Singapore

Ebi Seiro

Here's an ebi seiro that Ootoya has added to its menu. These little fresh shrimp over rice were served in a little bamboo steamer over a flame along with a serving of simmered veggies on the side. It was all fairly mild in flavor, but it was also definitely the guilt-cleansing that I needed given all of the burgers and ramen I've been eating over the past few days. I think I'm going to have to eat salads for lunch every day next week too.

Iroha's Mala Miso Ramen at Isetan

Mala Miso Ramen

Interesting - Menya Iroha had a temporary stand set up at Isetan again this year, despite having a proper stall over at Ramen Champion, where we were last night. And Kurihara-san himself was here this afternoon, perhaps because it was the last day of the fair.

The only thing they were offering here besides his signature black shoyu ramen was this mala miso ramen. I'm not sure if it's the same as the spicy version available at Ramen Champion, but I was a bit bummed to find that it was just miso ramen with some dabs of red chili oil on top (the word "mala" suggested to me that maybe it'd be something more sansho-flavored instead).

Well, the good thing was that it was still that high Iroha-quality miso ramen underneath. So in that sense there was nothing to complain about. But just throwing a scoop of simple rayu on top doesn't do it for me; it's for that same reason that I was so disappointed with the red version at Keisuke's Tonkotsu King too.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spicy Ramen Fiesta at Ramen Champion

God Fire Ramen

It looks like Ramen Champion is running some kind of spicy ramen promotion through the end of the year, with every stall offering its own rendition. The one above is from Ikkousha; its appearance was more tame than its "God Fire" name suggested, but it still had a respectable burn at the end, all while still letting that lovely rich broth underneath shine through. Unfortunately, Tetsu's spicy version was mild enough that it really wasn't that interesting. And neither of these could hold up to Kusabi's gekikara uobushi, although I guess that's not really an option in Singapore anymore.

Chicken Garlic Ramen

Iroha, interestingly, also also had a special non-spicy chicken menu on the side. This basic chicken and garlic version wasn't too salty nor greasy, and hence wasn't anything particularly striking either. But that was also exactly what I needed, as frankly this was probably the healthiest thing that any of these stalls were offering. If I were really going to pledge myself in that direction though, I'd rather go to Keisuke for his refreshingly thin shio ramen.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Triple O's by White Spot from Canada

Original Burger

No, this wasn't meant to be a streak of burger chains from overseas. But there was a suggestion last time to check out this place, a burger chain from Canada that has recently opened a stand at a food court in Singapore (8 Marina View #02-14, 6336-0002).

When I first bit into it, I was shocked my how much sauce there was. Seriously, the thing was practically swimming in some kind of a mayonnaise-based sauce (I'm not sure if it's just coincidence or not, but last time I had a Canadian burger, it was also loaded up with sauce). Fortunately, it didn't mask the taste of everything else in the burger, including a beef patty and also a respectable bun. I suppose that the placemat *did* warn me that this was going to be the sauciest burger around - apparently the name Triple O's is in reference to the order-taking notation of loading up on everything.

If that's the case, then hopefully next time they will let me tell them to take it easy on the sauce. Yes, I liked the quality of the ingredients enough to want to come back, especially when they are so considerate so as to shove a thinly sliced pickle in the top of the wrapper. What a nice surprise.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Kraze Burgers is now at Liang Court

KG Burger

I've been wanting to go to Kraze Burgers from Korea ever since they opened up shop at the Marina Bay Sands. But it never seemed worth the hassle of having to go there, so when I noticed that they had opened up another outlet at Liang Court (177 River Valley Road #01-09, 6333-5389), I finally had my chance to give it a try.

Unfortunately, it looks like they brought their casino-like prices along with them. Seriously, S$15 (US$12) for a Tiger beer...at a casual burger shop?? And S$6 (US$5) for a glass of orange juice, even if freshly squeezed? Burgers were generally up to about S$15 (US$12), making this much more expensive than next door neighbor McDonald's. Well, they did say upfront that Kraze was *not* fast, even if the casual brightly-lit decor suggested otherwise.

Either way, I didn't think that much of my KG Burger, which aside from some bulgogi marinade and mushrooms, really wasn't that remarkable (and in the case of that strange corn/bean/pineapple garnish, it was rather off-putting). I'll come back here to give one or two others a try, including a spicy version and a "naked" one too, but to me, this place is not unique enough to be worth the money yet.

L'Angolo Ristorante Italiano at Maxwell Chambers

Scallop Pasta Special

This place was surprising (32 Maxwell Road #01-03, 6224-0978)...both surprisingly expensive and yet surprisingly good. I mean, I knew that it was the former grounds of another Osvaldo outlet, which meant that it might be a tad upscale. But its spartan wood-floored decor suggested that it was more casual than its poshed-up neighbor Otto down the street, and yet many of the pasta dishes here were S$30 (US$24) or more.

Granted, the food was excellent, particularly the quality of ingredients they used. Today's special above featured perfectly firm noodles with delightfully seasoned scallops. We've all seen TV episodes where Gordon Ramsay yells at kitchen staff for overcooking their scallops into "rubber," but these delicate beauties were far from that. Still, the high prices mean that I won't be coming here again regularly, especially without any lunch sets available.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh, Rangoon Road

Bak Kut Teh

My perception may be a bit skewed seeing how it's been ages since I've had any bak kut teh, but I loved this place (208 Rangoon Road, 6291-4537). The pork was tender and full of tasty fat while the broth was peppery and fuller in flavor than I recall Founder and Ya Hua to be. I thought I detected an extra herb in there, but it was so mild that it wasn't anything like the Malaysian version.

I'll easily come back here, especially since they have a wide selection of leaves to use in your kungfu tea. They recommended xiao yue gan, which had a delicately sweet aftertaste to it. If the pork broth doesn't bring me back here, then the tea leaves will. I just have to remember that this is more of a breakfast place than one for a late night snack given its 7 AM - 10 PM hours.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Absolute Thai, 313@Somerset, Singapore

Green Curry Chicken

Here was a green curry chicken that we picked up from Absolute Thai (313 Orchard Road #01-29, 6509-6623). Considering its heavily-trafficked train-station location, I was expecting totally mediocre food, so it surprised me when this turned out decently good and spicy. Of course, that prized location also meant that they could charge unnecessarily high prices, like S$9.90 (US$7.80) for a single serving of tom yum soup. So I'll probably stick to those places up at Orchard Towers instead, as long as that venue is suitable for the occasion, of course.