Weekends are meant for family meals together. My dad enjoys buffets; we grew up being familiar with most hotels layout because of my dad's obsession with buffets so that now he's a senior citizen, he's chuffed that he gets half off and still eats the same amount. Here he is being entertained by Bubs whom he spoils rotten.
Bubs and me - he's such a wriggly little thing now, it's hard to get him to stay still for photos. Here he is doing his "roarrrrrrrrrrrr" sign.
We dropped by Mon Delice to place an order for Bubs's birthday cake and I was seduced by all these tempting sweet treats. For times when I'm too frenzied and worked up, I need to remember this. And also, to de-stress with desserts. Lots of good desserts.
So I went out from the shop carrying jars of layered desserts: berry napoleon and tiramisu. A very sweet afternoon indeed :)
I have been hunting for a copy of Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi ever since I saw it on A Cup of Jo. I couldn't find it stocked in bookstores anywhere and was tempted to purchase it online when I finally struck gold at Borders. It's my first time in quite a while reading a graphic novel and I was swept away by the stark monochromatic and simple lines. Persepolis (my copy covers both Persepolis I and Persepolis II) is an autobiography of Marjane Satrapi growing up during the Iranian cultural revolution and her story is, at times, utterly raw and gripping. I confess, I'd tears in my eyes at the end of Persepolis I.
We finally got to try Rakuzen at Gurney Paragon after a month or so or trying to get a spot. There's always a long line of people outside so we were daunted. We were confused by the 3 restaurants grouped together: Sushi Zanmai, Rakuzen and Pasta Zanmai. I know that we've tried all 3 in KL before but I couldn't remember which was was the one that we tried and really liked. Since there wasn't a line for Rakuzen, we went with that one and ...... ta-daaaaa ... it WAS the one that we fell head over heels with at KL. The view offered inside Rakuzen is really nice, we got a beautiful view of the sea all the way to Straits Quay though I found the ventilation inside the room to be a tad stuffy.
I don't know why Hubs and I even bothered to look at the menu, we were there for one thing only: the sake oyako don. It is by far the best salmon sashimi and vinegar rice we've ever had. The salmon belly is soft, fresh and delectable. I asked Hubs if I did enough good deeds in life, would I find bowlfuls of this waiting for me in Heaven?
Hubs couldn't resist ordering a place of sushi rolls so we settled on this ... sorry, I can't quite remember the name but it's pressed salmon-something, it reminded me of a sandwich with rice but although it was pleasant, it didn't wow us. I think the next time we're there, we would skip the sushi rolls and have an extra plate of salmon to go with our salmon don.
I was really keen for Hokkaido ice cream and crepes like the one at Gardens, Mid Valley but Rakuzen Gurney Paragon had a smaller dessert range so we settled on green tea ice-cream with red bean and cheesecake. Again, it was yummy but I thought it was a little overpriced for the tiny slices of cheesecake (though very rich and decadent) and the green tea ice-cream was dense in flavour.
Prices are on the high side though I'd say, the quality of the food makes up for it. I love that Rakuzen is now available in Penang so that's one less reason to go down to KL. Now if only Ikea and Zara can open branches here ...
The only thing Hubs loves more than his car is us his camera so when my colleague and lunch buddy, Siew, asked him if he could help take some family photos and a cake smash for Jaz's 1st birthday, he was more than game for it. Bubs and I tagged along as well since her place had a nice playground.
My glittery jelly flats that I found at a store for only RM12 - so pleased with my find though Hubs thinks it's another fashion trend which he totally doesn't get.
Behind the scenes of the Siew's family photos. Bubs was in love with the wide open space and new playground so he was running amok.
Bubs found a red hibiscus for his daddy.
The skies were getting dark and threatening so we went back to her place. Bubs had a taste of being a big brother for about 30 minutes ... I don't think he liked it, he was unused to the concept of sharing and kept snatching books from her.
A couple of shots from the cake smash ... and in case you were wondering, Bubs and I snuck bites of the leftover cake, haha, while she was bathing Jaz after that. Siew kept calling us gross but it tasted really good!
Siew was contemplating baking her own cake but figured frosting it nicely would be a total pain so she went with a store bought cake.
Jaz had so much fun with the cake, she grabbed it, discovered that it was soft and creamy and proceeded to pull out baby fist sized chunks full of cake to cram into her mouth. So cute!
Can't believe we're at the last day of the glorious, long stretch of weekend :( Less than 24 hours to get back to the daily grind. On the upside, at least the streets will be more sane a bit. Traffic in Penang was horrendous with cars clogging up the roads, particularly at the biscuits shops and outside Gurney. What do you guys think of the new one way streets at Kelawai Road? It makes coming out of junctions even more hair raising with cars zipping by so fast.
Okay, enough whining. Let's focus on the best bits of the week.
Aunt D was back for the holidays and again, we were soooo lucky that she invited us over to the Golden Sands at Batu Ferringghi. Can anyone say beach play again? :D To make it even more fun, Bubs had playmates in the form of the 2Ts: Big T and Little T. Throw a bunch of kids with a ton of sand, some spades and a bucket and they'll be entertained for ages.
This is Big T with the sandcastle we were trying to build. Here's a mind boggling fact: even though Big T is older by Bubs by just a couple of years, Big T is actually considered Bubs's uncle ... in a weird way. Auntie D is my Mum's youngest sis, which means that Big and Little T are my cousins, that would make them ... Bubs's uncle and aunt? I've no idea, LOL.
Sandcastles didn't last long with them mucking around. Every now and then, they'd get bored of trying to make it taller and just pour buckets full of sand over it.
Then it was back to the pool again for more splashing before calling it a day.
I spent most of the long weekend in jeans and a tee. Here's my attempt trying to be hipster-like by cuffing them up. Hubs's verdict: you look like you're about to go paddy planting. Hmmmph.
Bubs feasted on all sorts of sweet treats. Here's him polishing off the slice of that delectable, rich chocolate cake at Ben's. We made him share so he figured sharing means whoever eats the fastest, gets the most-est ;)
The chilled tau foo fah at QBean at Queensbay Mall is our go to place for a quick afternoon snack. We prefer ours old school by eschewing the fancy toppings and going with just a drizzle of gula Melaka.
Remember my love for all things stinky and pungent, eg: durians, petai? Here's another one of my weird cravings which is sadly not shared by either Hubs or Bubs: natto (Japanese fermented soy beans). This dish is so simple yet fab - natto okura (ladies fingers) spaghetti at Isaribi Tei. If you're dining there, you must leave room for the rare (unbaked) yoghurt cheesecake which is tangy, rich and leave you craving for more.
Wishing everyone a safe and very happy Raya this year!
I was excited to see so many lemang stalls this year :D If you've never tried one before, you're in for a treat. They're made from glutinous rice, coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves, stuffed into a hollow tube of bamboo and slooooowly roasted next to an open fire for what seems like ages.
It takes a lot of patience to get this done to perfection, if the flames are too hot, you risk charring the rice, if the embers are burning too low then the rice will be undercooked. Prices are usually charged based on how big the bamboo is. Considering the amount of work and the fact that the tubes of bamboo can't be re-used, I think it's pretty decent.
Most sellers will help you use a huge knife to whack open the bamboo to remove the creamy, smokey fragrant rice inside. Lemang is traditionally eaten with curry or dried chicken/beef floss but I enjoy it with kaya.
Remember Red, that extremely talented Malaysian artist that made worldwide news by "painting" a portrait of basketball player Yao Ming with ... what else, but a basketball? She has also wowed the world by using coffee cup stains to ink out singer Jay Chou, kilos of sunflower seeds for the portrait of China artist Ai Weiwei.
Fairy Godma recently sent me the link to Red's blog and there are so many mini works of art there. Red crafts stunning scenes using nothing but food and don't get me started on how she paint-stakingly (pun intended) pieced out birds with flower petals.
The idea of using something as something and classic as a Victorian sponge and turning it into a total work of art for these gorgeous wedding cakes. They look incredibly rustic and comforting at the same time.