Monday, December 31, 2012

The Twelve Cups at Whiteaways Arcade

For those that can't get enough of mille crepes, there's a new kid cake on the block.

The Twelve Cups is a trendy cafe offering mille crepes, drinks and an overall cool spot to relax for a while. It's located within the newly restored Whiteaways Arcade, a charming, colonial building.

There are lots of cosy spots to settle down for a slice of cake within the cafe.

We had a slice of the Hokkaido Milk mille crepe (RM10.90). It was nice, not too decadent or rich but had a very pleasant, creamy taste. I'd have loved to sit there and peel layer by layer off but Bubs and Hubs insisted on less talk, more cake. Hmmmph.

We walked around the Whiteaways Arcades which was where the first departmental store in Penang, Whiteaways, was located. Granite slabs from part of the original building are used to form stone benches and a makeshift stage in the open air courtyard. Isn't it amazing how the past and the new can co-exist so happily and doesn't restoration of old buildings make so much more sense than just demolishing everything flat to build new malls? It might not be exactly cheap but these reminders of our history doesn't come with a price tag :)

The Twelve Cups

12, The Whiteaways Arcade, Beach Street, 10300 Penang.
04-2626 812
Business Hours: 8am-10pm (Sun - Thurs), 8am-12am (Fri & Sat)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ben's at Gurney Paragon

The wait is finally over - Ben's has landed in Penang, yay! Hubs, Bubs and me totally loved the food and ambiance at of Plan B and Ben's General so we were more than excited to head over to Gurney Paragon when Desmond told us that Ben's has opened an outlet there.

Ben's is located at St Jo's, Gurney Paragon (boy, that was a lot of sss!) and I couldn't help but feel that the yellow of the building was a perfect match for Ben's. There's ample space for dining outside but as it was raining that evening, we eschewed the wet seats and moved promptly indoors.

I was a little surprised at how small the inside dining was with only just a few tables so to be safe, better call for reservations. Can I tell you how much I loved the contrast of the funky furniture (you have got to check out those drops lamps) and the pre-war geometric tiles? I felt like doing a happy dance inside but Hubs was already giving me the you-better-behave look.

It wouldn't be Ben's now, would it, without its signature black and white framed photos against a sunshine-y yellow wall and breezy rattan furniture? Though I must admit my heart skipped a beat when Bubs ran pretty close to those giant glass table lamps.

The menu has a pretty standard mix of sandwiches, salads, pasta, pies and Asian fare such as curry laksa. And lest you get bored waiting for your food to be served, there's a wooden box filled with small cards with thought provoking questions designed to get you and your companion talking and also recipes should you feel the urge to create some dishes back home. Perfect for those awkward first dates, no?

We decided on the vegetarian options: portabello mushroom burger and mushroom salad. The mushroom salad was good with chunks of cheese and sugar encrusted nuts giving it a nice twist. Hubs said the mushroom burger was good though it looked a little on the petite side to me so I didn't want to deprive the poor guy of his food and left it alone.

Saving the best for last ... desserts! It is utterly cruel to tempt people with such a dazzling array of cakes when you only have a limited tummy capacity. The serving size for the cakes are generous so better not be greedy. 

Bubs and I picked their classic chocolate cake which was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the lemon meringue pie. Please excuse me for this blurry shot because Bubs couldn't be bothered waiting and grabbed my hand, wailing "caaaaake, mummy!". The chocolate cake was nice and balanced, not that rich or too sweet to the point where you'd get turned off easily. If you're a fan of tangy desserts that leave your mouth puckering and drooling for more, then the lemon meringue will be your thing. I loved it, Hubs hated it, Bubs took one mouth of the lemon custard (my bad, I couldn't resist feeding him that just to watch his reaction) and his whole baby mouth just twisted up in disgust. He is not one for lemony desserts ;)

Did we like the food there? It didn't wow us as much as Plan B or Ben's General did but we still think that the food is great and prices are decent for the quality and service. The staff are friendly and experienced which is rare for a newly opened restaurant. Desserts are their strong selling price and already I am tempted to go back for their afternoon set to try their scones. 

Couldn't resist this photo of Bubs admiring the Xmas tree at G hotel. Ho ho ho, someone was on a sugar fueled rush that night :D


St. Jo's, Gurney Paragon, Persiaran Gurney, George Town, Penang.
Telephone: 04 228 8909

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Xmas!

Hope everyone had fun this Christmas :) Bubs was royally spoiled with all his pressies. He was so chuffed that he could say "Merry Christmas" to people but still insisted on calling Christmas trees as "Christmas Houses" because he believes that gingerbread men live on them!

On Christmas eve, we had dinner at my parents' place with my great aunt and her family. It was an amazing spread: steamboat, roti jala with chicken curry, lor bak and pie tee. To top it off, Mum made tang yuen though I pointed out that it was a week too late for it. Bubs couldn't get enough of the roti jala and happily polished off 3 pieces right after his dinner.

 If he wasn't reading his pressies, he was wearing them ;)

Leave your mum alone with your kid for just 15 mins and this is the end result. I was a little stunned to see him holding onto a helium balloon that was 3/4 of his size. We tried teaching him the Smurfs theme song but Bubs is just singing "la la laaaa" tunelessly.

At risk of sounding like a bad ad, nothing says Christmas better than a tin of Quality Street! I kept looking at Hubs with puppy dog eyes asking him if I could get the tin of Quality Street when I saw them at Cold Storage. These bring back soooo many memories of my granny buying a tin every year and me sneaking pieces off every other day until the tin was half gone. I'd then blame it on my brother *angelic look*

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house ... Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ...

 Can't wait until tomorrow before a certain little gremlin is awake and tearing off the wrapping ;)

This Christmas, I've learnt so much. Having Bubs reminds me to view the world more often through a child's eyes. That it's better to give than to receive and the simplest things in life can be the happiest. From plump little cheeks to kiss to mischievous grins, I count my blessings. 

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and have a happy new year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Baby Bro's Graduation and Muntri Mews

Congrats to my Baby Bro who has finally graduated. I nearly choked up watching him in his black gown - can't believe this is the same kid that I used to torment by taping over his Ultraman video tapes with X Files episodes.

I missed his speech because a certain 2 year *ahem* couldn't keep still in the hall and I'd to bring him out for a walk and feed him with snacks to stop him from kicking up a fuss. Bubs spent a loooong time learning how to say his first 5 syllable word and it came out quite decent - "cong-gwa-choo-lay-shensss". He was very proud of his long word and kept repeating it.

Met up with SY and her friend and they wanted to do tea time at the heritage area. I gave her a couple of options and we ended up at Muntri Mews. Unfortunately it was pouring cats and dogs by the time we reached so we didn't get a chance to sit in the lush garden and watch the world go by. Boo :(

The inside is small and cozily lit with very basic furniture to give it an authentic kopitiam look, complete with marble topped round tables and vintage style chairs. Check out the amazing sketches of familiar Penang scenes framed high on the walls.

Since everyone already ate we just ordered something light - ginger tea, sago gula melaka, scones and the berry crumble. We were a little stumped at how fusion everything was. The ginger tea (which tasted like the sort of teas you get at spas) was served with a side serving of milk and sugar, the sago gula melaka was incredibly thick and almost kuih-like while the scones had a soft, almost bun-like texture. Interesting :)

A colleague mentioned that they sometimes have live, jazz bands in the evening. It's a nice place to chill and we'd be back ... as long as the weather is sunny.

Muntri Mews, 77 Jalan Muntri, Georgetown, 10200 Penang
Phone:04-263 5125

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End of the World Conversation

Hubs: If the world really ends tomorrow, what do you want to do tonight?
Me: Eat ice cream.
Hubs: How about I don't sleep and play pc games the whole night?
Me: If the world doesn't end, you still have to look after Bubs.
Hubs: Oh noes ............

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Heritage Walk and Ais Tingkap

After a heavy lunch where Fairy Godma was tempted to just sit and relax, I insisted we do a mini heritage walk much to her protests. "It's hot and stuffy ... people in KL walk in air conditioned malls, not under the hot sun ..."

Pfffttt ... to think that just moments ago she was proudly telling me that she's still a Penang lang. I waved her complaints off and dragged her around.

I always find crumbling bits of old buildings with exposed brickwork really pretty.

We walked past these two really old, grungy looking shop houses that I didn't give a second glance to until Fairy Godma pointed out that this was the famous Sekeping Victoria.

Look at the gem we found: Step by Step Lane with two kids on a swing wall mural by artist Louis Gan. It's in a little back alley at Chulia Street opposite the old Kwong Wah building close by the jetty.

All that walking about under the scorching sun calls for something icy and refreshing. Fairy Godma took me to the famed ais tingkap (window sherbet, literally) stall at Tamil Street. It is a concoction of shaved ice, herbs, rose essence, basil seeds and coconut slices.  This is a Penang classic as the stall has been in business since the 1920s and is still family owned.

There is a slight medicinal tang to the sweet, rose scented drink and among slurps of the basil seeds, I've to admit I've never tasted anything like this before. For RM1.20, this is a steal compared to fancy bubble milk teas! Who knew there are so many hidden gems amongst the tiny, dusty streets here?

Monday, December 17, 2012

China House Revisited

A friend told me that China House's service had improved so even though I had misgivings, I grudgingly followed Fairy Godma there for a leisurely long lunch.

China House boasts of a gorgeous, gorgeous decor with each dining nook completely different from the other. It also has a massive shelf of good reads (I spotted the Book Thief and Five Quarters of the Orange there), board games and you could always ask for boxes of crayons and blank paper, guaranteed to keep you occupied for a loooong time.

The sparse, lopsided branches of the Christmas tree was oddly beautiful, I was more drawn to it then any of the lush ones I've seen. In case you're wondering - the tree is artificial. I know because Fairy Godma gave it a good tweak to see if it was real ;)

The eclectic eating areas.

Fairy Godma showing me her wonderfully festive mistletoe earrings.

Eying the rows of delectable cakes on display.

The wait staff were friendly and the nice waiter we had helped us narrow down our choices. Fairy Godma's pick was the Big Breakfast - 2 fried eggs, sauteed mushrooms, lamb sausage, beef medallions and a rack of toast. The beef medallions were absolutely stellar! Mine was the mushroom bruschetta. Comfort food at its best, though a little pricey.

Along with the lime sponge cake. I thought it was so-so, like a green lime squeezed over a normal, bakery style sponge cake but Fairy Godma loved it and said it reminded her of sugee cake.

What is amazing about China House is that at every corner you look, you can always spot a piece of thought provoking art.

In fact, the top floor is an art gallery by local artists.

I don't usually understand modern art but thought that this piece was insanely cute. Anyone has a spare RM10,000 to buy this for me? ;)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Egg Sandwich

I get stuck in a rut over cooking sometimes, it seems that recently, we're surviving on nothing more than pastas, roasts and porridge so I decided to try something different for a weekend brunch when I found this amazing recipe for an egg sandwich.

Forget about grating cheese. It's going to end up melted anyway, right? We had parmesan and mozzarella blocks in the fridge so that was sliced thinly.

An egg for each of us. Add a teaspoon of water to thin it out a little and beat the heck out of it. Bubs gets a kick watching us beat eggs and always begs to help. 

Pour out a little of the egg batter into a frying pan, as though you're making a thin crepe. Place the cheese in the centre, fold the egg around the cheese and cook. The photos in the recipe showed a beautifully folded egg parcel in the shape of a square. When I pointed this out to Hubs, he promptly used the spatula and cut out the sides of the eggs. Cheater!

Place the cooked egg-cheese-yumminess between slices of bread. Tadaaa, toddler approved quick lunch without any fuss. He looked at me as though I was the coolest mum on the earth to serve him bread for a meal :D

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Meeting Santa

Someone met Santa Claus for the very first time and freaked out massively ...

We told Bubs that we would be bringing him to meet Santa Claus and he was excited about it. He talked about "see Santa Claus, take photo" incessantly and kept pestering us when would he get to see Santa. I wasn't very sure if he knew who Santa was and when I asked him what colour is Santa, he said "red and white".  Bubs even rehearsed his version of jingle bells (comes out as ginger bells because he thinks they're related to gingerbread men)

So the moment he saw Santa Claus, his eyes were as wide as saucers and he was silent. We managed to take a few photos before Bubs slid away from Santa and ran away in the opposite direction as fast as his two little short legs could carry him. Usually whenever he's terrified, he runs to either Hubs or me wailing but this was a first!

When I picked him up, he just burst into tears, shrieking "Don't want Santa Claus, throw away Santa Claus". With Hubs apologising to Santa who assured us that no offense taken, most little kids are scared stiff of him, we carried Bubs out of the store.

Poor Bubs was so traumatized that even when he was having his afternoon nap, he woke up crying "Santa Claussssss" ;)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Beauty Haul

Mum just got back to Penang and (after a lot of begging and hint dropping) very kindly got me the best ever beauty haul, yay!

Clarisonic Mia - I have been wanting this forever and when it first launched in Sephora Singapore, it kept selling out. Mum was annoyed that every single time she went, the sales person would tell her that it's out of stock so when she FINALLY found it, she was relieved that I'd stop bugging her about it. I've only used it twice so I'll wait a bit longer before I post a review about it. I'm pretty nervous about it breaking out my skin so I'm limiting usage to once every 3 days.

My staples (from left to right): MAC Cleanse Off Oil, MAC Blushbaby blush and Armani sheer powder blush #2. The Cleanse Off Oil is my holy grail of makeup removers, it gets all traces of makeup off and leaves my face squeaky clean without that annoying over stripped, tight feeling. I originally used Shu Uemura's cleansing oil until MAC released their version which is a lot cheaper, not to mention the bottles are recyclable for Back 2 MAC.

MAC's Blushbaby blush is in its sheertone range which means it's perfect for blush newbies as it's less pigmented (translates to less scary) for people who are scared of a heavy touch. It's sheer and very easy to build up if you prefer a slightly stronger look. This has to be one of its most underrated blushes - its basic pink-nude-touch-of-mocha blend is very flattering on most skin tones and a very "safe" colour for the office or a hint of blush for times when you feel that less is more. I've hit pan on this and was eager for a repurchase.

Armani sheer powder blush #2 is my mostest, favouritest blush in the world! I used to stockpile this up during my annual KL trips but when the counter closed, I was heartbroken. So I'd to beg Mum to get me a replacement from Singapore and again, this thing kept selling out like hotcakes. I'd to call and ask the sales girl to please hide one for me behind the counter and then call Mum to pretty pretty please hurry over to get it.

 Diorskin Nude Skin Glowing foundation - I've only tried this a couple of times as I usually wear Bobbi Brown's BB cream and save foundation for "special" occasions and so far, I've been liking what I see. It's very sheer and has a my-skin-but-better glow to it.

And saved the best for the last - not exactly beauty related but too cute and yummy to be overlooked - Mum got me some mini star shaped cakes from Taiwan stuffed with a very thick fruit jam centre. The cakes are all buttery and crumbly (I left the most awful mess on Hubs's desk, shhhhh) and when you bite into the centre, it's like hitting the jackpot. Massive lurrrve!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Three Things

Snippets of little things that have cheered me up throughout the week.

The gorgeous and sweetest Mariene knows that I collect Hard Rock Cafe city guitar pins and got me this fabulous Dubai pin to add to my collection.

My tiny collection - I love how each city's landmark is built into the guitar.

Just discovered the wonder that is Kindori ice cream at Gurney Plaza. How it works is that you take any fruit of your choice and they blend it into ice cream for you on the spot.

Have to say that I was skeptical at first but I'd to eat my words literally when I took a bite of the cempedak ice cream. It was amazing! Bubs and I were fighting each other for more of this and it was sooo good, we actually had 3 cups *guilty*

They have really fun local flavours like teh tarik, ginger, jackfruit and imported fresh fruits like blueberries, raspberries ... my only gripe is that I wish it came in a bigger serve!

My two favourite tree trolls.

And an after dinner date with just my little guy and me. Figured that since he hates his veggies, it would be sweet irony to get a slice of carrot cake to share. Got my first gingerbread man of the year, yippee!
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