Sunday, March 29, 2009

California Pizza Kitchen - Suria KLCC

CPK - Soups, Salads, Pizzas, Pastas and DessertsCPK - Huge grotto of an oven parked in a prominenet place for all to see.

Getting to Suria KLCC and finding parking seems to be very easy with the current downturn. We were going to the British Council's Education Fair since we have pretty much settled for a British education. The downturn didn't prevent us from looking into the education for my fifteen year old. There were some upside to the current banking mess. We needed to start early to beat the waiting list for a good school as well as gather enough info to plan ahead as well as compete for a scholarship. My wife did a recce yesterday and got us to go today.

Due to the southward trend of the British Pound it has lost 25% of its value since its height of about RM7 to a pound. There is demand once again for a good decent IGCSE and A-levels education. Besides good exchange rates, there is also some sweetener thrown in. Scholarships of up to 45% for those who do well in their IGCSE or Malaysian SPM are available. For those who do not qualify they get at least 700Pound discount (14%) per term from the Friendship Fund.

Its fun to see my son getting into the thick of action speaking with the foreign reps with his British accent acquired from his stint with an International School while we were in Bangkok. Yes he is taking responsibility for his own destiny. By getting him motivated and involved half the battle has already been won. And hopefully that will be translated into a 45% scholarship.

I was wearied from the punishing schedule set by my wife who has the benefit of her 1/2 day recce yesterday. I was also worn down from carrying the catalogues and also the very cold Convention Centre. We trudged our way back to Suria to look for dinner. Still having energy my son took charge and decided on his favourite pizza here. My meal flew by. I was so reluctant to operate my E90 as I was not in the right frame of mind to frame my shots. But I did try my best:)

My day was not over after dinner as my son wanted to get some books from Kinokuniya. Getting out of the car park the Touch N Go did not work on both the exit lane and I have to back out my car to the consternation of those behind me. Then I came home in the rain, tired and grumpy as I missed 2 interchanges, caught in a jam due to stalled cars stuck in a flash flood.

So if I don't blog this meal immediately I will lose it. Here it goes....
My Pina Colada - Pineapple juice without the rum but with coconut cream. A must for me though not very healthy.Sedona Tortilla Soup Bowl - A healthy cereal (corn based) coarse and thick soup. Satisfying and filling with pepper, chili, onion.... Glorified dhall, though much tastier. RM15.Garlic Bread served with GarlickyTomatoey Salsa. Salsa would be excellent if tart is stronger. Dough is chewy and elastic. Just love it esp. when hungry. RM12.
Main Course - BBQ Chicken Pizza. RM30. For the price I would expect better quality ingredients instead of the usual ingredients from the bottles and cans. Strong BBQ flavoured sauce. Preferred more cilantro, onions as well as chicken cubes. Above average pizza .Hot Fudge Brownie - Extra creamy ice-cream, whipped cream, brownie with thick syrupy choco sauce. Quality all the way. Not cheap. RM18.Apple Crisp - Hardened top layer gave the crunch. Sweetened to the point that I felt like eating coagulated sugar. My son requested for caramel to be drizzled on it. Apple was soft but has not lost any of its texture. Firm, sour and sweet. RM19.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nyonya Food @ Restoran Familiar Faces - Seri Petaling, KL

Restoran Familiar Faces (Nyonya and Noodle House
37, Jalan Radin Anum 1, Seri Petaling
HP: 0122954483, 0123346379
Familiarity breeds contempt. But it seems that this shop gets better with each of my subsequent visit. After having lunch here over a few occasions this one must be the best. Lunch hour was packing in the crowd. All tables were taken up and the kitchen was firing on all its pistons. Our food arrived after a 15-20 minutes wait.

We have a total of 7 Nyonya dishes all of medium size except for the fish which is big. The fish costs RM40.00.

Total bill: RM126 with tea for 10 pax.
Chicken Fillet with Tom Yam Sauce. As usual I was overwhelmed by the thick and aromatic sauce. The additional herbs added more flavours. What do you expect from tom yam sauce?
What do you get when you crossed a chicken with a fish? A Chicken Meat Fish. This Deep-Fried Chicken Meat Fish was at least a kilogram in weight. Set on a piece of banana leaf and finished off with some green cilantro and fresh lime juice squeezed on it. Delicious, so fresh, the fish deep-fried just right. Meat was firm, sweet and so white. We were literally vulturish, picking off every morsel of meat still on the fish and plate. A total wipe-out. This fish is also popularly used in Ikan Bakar joints.
Butter-Fried Calamari. For some strange gastronomic reason some go for the huge pile of buttery, fluffy threads that yield and break at the slightest crunch rather than the calamari. These caramelized strands when done well and with complex flavours trapped within are a favourite for the young and the old. Don't get me wrong, the calamari was fresh. The curry leaves gave it a subtle finish. We polished off the whole plate.
Deep-Fried Seafood Tofu in light and fluffy batter. Layers of thin crust (wu kok style) complements the well-textured tofu and seafood mix. The crust made this dish almost pastry-like. Enjoyed sinking my teeth into the crust releasing the fragrance of freshly fried batter. The oil must be fresh. Toppings and garnishings made it more Nyonya. Our usual Omelette but with the Nyonya twist. Average.Vegetables Curry. I missed having some powdered salted fish added in. Average.A Nyonya meal will not be complete without Pucuk Paku in sambal belacan. Subtle and mercifully not overwhelmed with bird's eye chili so that the glorious sambal could stand out to claim all the glory.Directions:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Best Pan Mee @ Restoran Meng Heong - Bandar Sri Damansara

Meng Heong Pan Mee was a child born out of crisis. With no place to lay its feet it was left wandering as a refugee. Previously, it existed as a stall in Kedai Kopi Jalan Tanjung and was very popular. My friends told me that they can't live without it. Some exaggeration here for some melodramatic effects but the fact remains it is the best in Bandar Sri Damansara.

Due to disagreement over off days they came out. My friends were left in a lurch like lovers spurned and for a few months at that. Until they re-emerged as Kedai Kopi Meng Heong business owner. The leap was successful. They have done well in this double lot. Despite not facing the main road the Pan Mee business is back to its roaring best. My friends are fulfilled again as possibly the way to the man's heart is through the stomach.

A lesson to learned: there are opportunities in crisis.
Back to their old location at Kedai Kopi Jalan Tanjung. It is now shuttered and a new tenant are taking over. A little bird told me that the landlord raised the monthly rental to RM15K from the previous RM10K for this corner lot.

A lesson learned: Good locations/businesses will always be prime target for predators. Have a Plan B.
Good stuff - Al dente Pan Mee style at RM3.80.
The endlot plus adjacent intermediate lot are airy and spacious with industrial and exhaust fans for the customers' comfort. And 5-6 stalls like YTF, chicken rice etc to complement the eatery.
Directions: Jalan Tanjung SD13/1. From RHB and Maybank turn right at the 2nd alley. The corner shop on the right is Meng Heong.

Anugraha - Pulai Springs Resort, Skudai, Johore

The beautiful golf course from our balcony.
Driving is a chore. And I am not good at it. But the reward of this drive held great promise. So I soldiered on. If needed a Tiger Balm is nearby to renew my senses. This huge resort boasts some of the best restaurant, golf course and suites around. It is also children friendly.

However, after 8pm there were insufficient nocturnal activities organized to make this place come alive with the intention of expanding sales on the F & B. It kind of shut down and corridors and footpaths get dark and creepy. You need to get the resort staff to organized a buggy ride home. You can zip from A to B in no time. In fact buggy ride is the norm for those who don't like to walk.

So where does most of the Malaysian and Singaporean guests go to at night? No prize for getting it right. We loved to go out to sample the night life. Driving downtown JB was less than 20 mins at night.
Caught this Singapore-plated Rolls-Royce at the resort! That is driving in style.
Anugraha is sequestered on the fringe of this property and very near to the golf course. No kids (Primary school) allowed. A mix of modern motifs wall papers and rich wood paneled walls and flooring.
A huge Panasonic Veira with Kardon DVD player and sound system and my son cannot be separated from his Ibanez and Line 6 tech machine.Fruits plate and frangipani and nice table wares.Roman blinds and wood framed windows.Daily tea delivered to our room - Western cheese cakes or chocolates together with local kueh.Slide the door to reveal the luxurious bathroom.Bath stall in glass, bathtub, long and elegant marble counter top, embraced by the warm marble walls with shelf stocked with spa toiletries.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Best Nasi Lemak - Desa Melawati, Ulu Klang

RM2.50 - 1 cup of rice and the usual peanuts, anchovies, egg, cucumber and sambal (I asked for less0. Delicious cockles cooked Malay style with coconut milk, lemon grass, onions, kaffir leaves....The makeshift outdoor next to the drain stall. Morning only.
In times past (27 years ago to be exact) I have to thank these makciks and pakciks for their delicious, stomach-filling and nutritious breakfast. Of course today you can have this favourite Malaysian breakfast at any time of the day at Sakura, KopiTiams and mamak stalls.

Mind you we were really taken care off because in those days. They use the ladle and up to 2 big scoops of humonguos pandan and ginger infused aromatic nasi lemak will go into the newspaper lined with banana leaf. I will just go for the biasa which is RM0.80. Sotong pieces is a luxury. Packed it home and make a cup of thick Milo you have a common college students' breakfast. It is no wonder my generation always yearns for nasi lemak when overseas. I wondered if this sentiment is seared into our soul due to taste buds imprinted with the smell and taste of this wonder food or is it a celebration and remembrance of our survival?

Students' life back then is different and with RM250 a month of allowance I got to stretch it for rental, fuel, motor maintenance and chap fan for lunch and dinner. McDonalds' outing was just a meager once a month thing. My favourite - strawberry milkshake, yeah the good ole days.

I am wondering whether my son's generation will remember this dish when overseas given their consumption of a wide variety of gastronomic delights available. With no sentimental taste and smell roots and survival instinct honed by budgeting they will be a global citizen. And I believe it is a good thing.
Directions: Alongside Jalan 5/4C, Desa Melawati. MRR2 from Cheras. From Cheras passed the zoo and Tmn Melawati, then pass Wangsa Maju Petronas junction (left turn). Still on MRR2 you will reach flyover (Genting Highlands). Do not take flyover, take left and then keep right (under flyover) and will be at traffic lights junction. Turn right and go straight. Take 1st left turn and you will see a row of shops. ituated at the left most of the row of shops.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Restoran Singgah Selalu - Danga Bay, Johore Baru

This restaurant in Danga Bay is popular with Johoreans and have good food served late into the night. It is directly popular the Danga Bay. The parking is adequate and it is packed to the brim at the alfresco area on weekday night! We have tons of stuff from their extensive menu. My buddy picked the best for us.
We decided indoors with the air-con is better.
Some starters with otak-otak.Deep-fried tau pok with peanut sauce gravy and crushed peanut toppings.
Prawns deep-fried in batter.
Grilled Stingray in chili and spices. Sweet flesh mingled with wonderful a wonderfully concocted coating.
Hot plate prawns in spices.
Deep-fried caramelized sotong. Crunchy sweet and lightly salted. Good stuff.
Chicken Sate.Lamb and beef sate.
Mamak noodles. Tasty.Char Koay Teow - mamak style.Fried mantou - sweet pastry with a nice aroma.
Dip the mantau into the creamy spices laden gravy. Excellent.