Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tapas at El Faro

Hubs usually takes me out to a buffet dinner for my birthday - he knows that I have the appetite of a monster - so this year, I was surprised when instead of heading to our usual haunts, he took a different route with a mysterious smile on his face.

El Faro is a quiet, small Spanish restaurant and quite possibly the only one serving tapas in Penang. Think of Tapas as the ang moh version of dim sum where a plethora of food are available in small sizes so you often end up with a variety of dishes to nibble and pick at. Most of the menu items are available in 2 sizes: tapas and dish and the chef's specials are marked up on a board. I spotted pigs ears (RM15) - which a friend had once told me that they taste a lot better than they looked!

I was blown away by how attentive the wait staff were, they were very polite and rushed to our every request. As parking space is limited there, most of the cars were double parked and each time a car woner wasnted to go out, the wait staff actually remembered who the owners were and would request them to move their cars.

As paella (RM45) usually takes around 20 - 30 minutes to get cooked, we ordered it straight away while we slowly read the menu. Our biggest mistake was not ordering the larger version of this dish :( The flavours were stellar and it came topped with a generous serving of seafood. Even Bubs was crazy over this dish.

The pork jowl with apple kimchi, maple sour cream and rocket (RM30) was a promotional dish and it was amazing! The tender pieces of pork went nicely with the crisp, slightly spicy apple chunks. I couldn't really taste the tang of sour cream but the smoky sweet maple was the perfect complement for this dish. Bubs couldn't stop spearing the pieces of "siew bak" with his fork and popping them into his mouth.

I could never say no to a glass of sangria (RM14). Bubs was pouting because we refused to order a glass of orange juice for him and when he looked longingly at the sangria, I told him it was chilli juice (helped that it was red) and he backed away fast ;) The portabello mushroom dish was served in a tomato based sauce and the strong flavours of this simple dish won us over.

Be warned that tapas size is small so when dining with voracious appetites, don't be surprised if you end up ordering more and more. The bikini with truffle honey (RM18) sandwiches sounded boring but turned out to be a pretty good nibble. Stuffed with cheese and ham slices, the truffle honey added that extra "kick" to the dish and bizarrely reminded me of cempedak! The chorizo sausage was served drenched in a sofrito sauce of tomatoes, herbs and olive oil (RM19) and given that we still had a lot of rich gravy left from the portabello mushrooms, I asked the waiter if they had any bread for these. I was pleasantly surprised when he appeared a few minutes later with a plate of freshly pan fried baguette slices for us. The last dish for the night was the tender pork belly (RM18.90) and although Hubs said it was okay, I thought it was a little meh. The pork belly was overly salted and the shredded cabbages didn't really add anything to the dish.

El Faro's wait staff went all out to serve the mille crepes that Hubs got on a nice plate for us and even prepared fresh dessert plates with cutlery. To say that I was impressed with the service is a huge understatement!

We had a really nice dinner, yes, on the pricey side when you add in the service charge and tax but it was worth every single cent. The sangria was potent after a glassful of it and I couldn't stop giggling in the car. Bubs was on a sugar rush after the chocolate peanut butter mille crepes and laughed hard each time I giggled. It was a fun car ride back for Hubs, the only sober person ;)

El Falro
231, Jalan Burmah, 10050, Penang.
Open for dinner on weekdays, starts at 3pm on weekends. Closed every Wednesday.
Telephone: 604- 227 2310

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Small & Cosy Birthday

The older *ahem* I get, the smaller and more intimate birthdays seem to be. Less mass party celebrations but more cosy dinners and chats with family and friends. Some of the things we did together included ...

Dinner with EL a day before. This girl has been my shopping partner in crime since college days - I still have fond memories of braving sales together and sharing fitting rooms. Since she was the one that taught me how to wear heels, I find it so ironic that this time, we were shopping for supportive comfy footwear. This pic was taken right in front of the birks outlet :D Yes, we have reached that age.

Hubs and Bubs made this birthday card for me ... awwww. Bubs enjoyed making this so much that the next day, I found him sitting quietly in a spot, making a card for himself!

My birthday present from Hubs this year is a One Line a Day journal. I love the idea of scribbling a couple of lines a day everyday for the next 5 years and then reflecting back upon the past. The writing space is kind of cramped so this works best for people with small handwriting. ps - Book Depository ships for free!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

3 Things

I went on a shopping splurge again recently ...

Tiny treats from Mabel Savonnière. She makes the nicest cold process soaps and is a creative genius when it comes to concocting blends. To top that off, the handmade fabric gift bags are gorgeous - just take a look at this sushi print. This round, I tried a full bar of Marmalade (formulated from nut oils, yogurt and tangy essential oils such as lemon and lime) which sounds good enough to spread on bread and feels heavenly in a shower. The Baby Mango Milk soap came in a cutesy teddy bear shape was a gift for a friend's daughter so I didn't get a chance to try that. Bubs and I did enjoy the Fancy Fun Lippie Sticks. I loved the fact that it comes formulated with all natural ingredients and the chocolate scent drove us in a frenzy to keep rubbing it over our lips because of the luscious scent. We had such soft and kissable lips for the past month or so, haha!

It would be positively criminal to not take advantage of the 20% birthday discount at Dorothy Perkins so I skipped happily out of the store with these.

I couldn't say no to this blush coloured sleeveless top with a jeweled neckline though I'm terrified to eat curry noodles in this.

Found this fit and flare garden floral dress with a lace trim back.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bubs Speak

My sweet little baby is becoming more and more grown up to the point that every time he gets annoyed with me, he tells me firmly "mummy, you go work, I'm playing now, okay?"

Whenever Bubs mispronounces a word, I shriek like a banshee to stop Hubs from correcting him and destroying what's left of his baby-hood.

Bubs' talk: Pink-kaboo
What he means: Peekaboo

Bubs' talk: No-thing
What he means: Nothing

Bubs' talk: Efferfesser
What he means: Professor

When he gets excited, he goes "Oh wow oh wow oh wowww!"

Once he bawled for no reason and why I asked him why, he spluttered out "My tongue bit my teeth!" :D

And the most heartbreaking one during bedtime "Mummy, you don't need to pat me to sleep, I'm a big boy now" :( Where did that infant with the soft, milky breath and squishy nom-able thighs disappear to?

Monday, April 21, 2014

24 Hours in Ipoh

Given that we treat Ipoh as our tiny haven, we thought it'd be a nice treat to spend a night there at a small, boutique hotel - M Hotel. There had been so many glowing reviews about it so I was really keen on having a retreat there and yes, it sure did live up to our expectations.

From the moment we stepped into the lobby, our jaws dropped. Snowy white blooms nestled in tall vases, Hacks sweets offered in gigantic glass jars, stacks of vintage suitcases; it was decadently luxe. During our stay, we counted at least two wedding couples having their wedding photos taken there.


Taking advantage of the many photographic opportunities at M Hotel.


The room was a little on the small side but nicely done up with an exposed brick wall on one side, a cement finishing on the other complete with paintings. Bubs was delighted to find a missing number from the framed number prints and then made himself comfy in front of the TV.

The little spice jars of muruku was a welcome treat to sit in bed and munch on while watching (what else) Superman Returns.

Dinner this time was at the Bougainvillea City Cafe where prices range on average at RM24 or below for a fusion twist on favourites like pasta. The quality of the dishes plus the creativity that goes into it surpassed our expectations and we bookmarked as it as a must-return to place for future Ipoh trips.

Duck lovers will love the smoked duck wrap, which reminded me of an Asian-Mexican twist with generous strips of gamey, rich duck, mixed salad leaves, basil leaves and sliced onions. The mixture of textures and flavours was intense and this was my favourite.

Home made ravioli? Why yes please! These delectable squares of chicken filled pasta dumplings came with a serving of two sauces: cream and tomato. The ravioli was beautifully done, soft with a slight resistance. I felt that the chicken filling could have done with more spices, or maybe with a different filling like sun dried tomatoes to add a little kick to it. Hubs, on the other hand, thought that this dish was stellar and proceeded to polish this one off.

The bacon wrapped chicken meatballs was highly anticipated - adding the slice of bacon was a genius idea, though the meatballs were a little on the salty side for us. It was nice but after being wow-ed by the previous dishes, we thought it didn't stand out.

Bougainvillea City Cafe
21, Jalan Lau Ek Ching, 31300 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Tel: +605-241 3782
Opens from 12 pm – 10 pm, closed on Tuesdays

Headed off to Plan B for dessert and we were surprised how quiet that area is on a weekday night. The dessert bar looked a little empty and we settled on a giant slice of Blackforest to share. Bubs loved the meringue shards that accompanied the chocolate-y and cherry filled cake.

Complimentary breakfast at M Hotel is hosted at either at Myth or Old Town. Again, both options looked equally fabulous but since we wanted to try somewhere new ...

That's right, we went to Allegra at the KPJ Hospital for breakfast. I know, we actually went to a hospital for a culinary adventure ;) The people behind Allegra are also the geniuses behind Burps & Giggles, Missing Marbles and Buku Tiga Lima. On that morning, we even spotted owner Julie Song having a cuppa there. Allegra's cosy little nook adds a touch of whimsical cheer and colour to the hospital, not to mention its wide range of mouth watering croissants, bagels, desserts, good coffees and a fun range of hard to find nibbles (Dill Pickle Pringles, anyone?)

The chicken curry pie was a fiery hit with Hubs and me; there wasn't anything mild or bland about it even though it was served in a hospital and the strong spice was a very welcome wake-me-up breakfast. Bubs thoroughly enjoyed his strawberry pastry, needless to say.

Allegra Cafe
KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, 26, Jalan Tambun/Raja Di Hilir, 30350 Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia 
Opens daily from 8.30am – 6.00pm, half day on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.


Before driving back to Penang, we had to sneak in another quick bite - if that was even possible -  at Burps and Giggles with a couple of burgers. The strawberry crepe filled with tangy hibiscus curd and topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream was the highlight and a must order.

Can't wait for our next trip back! :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Bubs has so many scribbles and pieces of art that I felt they'd be wasted just stored in a folio so with Fairy Godma's help (only 5 more years until Ikea opens in Penang!), we now have an art wall nook :) I was inspired  from a brilliant post and enjoy

Fairy Godma carted over heaps of red Ikea frames and it was a joint effort. Bubs and I curated his favourite pictures - boy, did I had fun going down memory lane - and Hubs did the artwork arrangement onto the wall. Since neither of us are handy with a drill, we resorted to using 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips, which can be easily found at Borders or Popular bookstores.

Looking forward to more pieces of art by Bubs :)

Hungry Caterpillar toe prints amidst his colour pencil scribbles.

Quite possibly the cutest family portrait of us. Hubs is the one with the giant green head looking down at his toes, Bubs is the red robot in the middle and it's obvious I'm the short and stumpy orange figure. To make it even more complete, he added in his baby pillow in yellow :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tag - You're It!

I was reading SSG's post with interest and saw, heyyy, I've been tagged! *happy little dance* Reminds me of those mini bios that girls used to pass around during primary school, plus it would make for a cool recap at the end of the year.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 

8.30am. I get a fair bit of late night conference calls so I  tend to sleep in the next day.

2. How do you like your steak? 

Medium rare - working up my courage to try blue.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? 

The Lego Movie, thanks to Bubs. We now have "Everything is Awesomeeee" stuck in our heads.

4. What is your favorite TV show? 

The telly in our place broke down and we never go around to replacing it. Though CSI and House (do I sound very ancient) are old time favourites of mine.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 

In my wanderlust moments, I fantasise about living in a crumbling old chateau in the south of France

6. What did you have for breakfast? 

image credit
Nasi lemak - breakfast of champions!

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

Indian & Italian. A friend remarked that I have a penchant for strong flavours.

8. What foods do you dislike? 

 Tofu. Long beans. Ironic that I make Bubs eat these because they're good for him.
9. Favorite Place to eat? 

Pulau Tikus night market. Cheap and totally underrated, it's a place I'd gladly bring tourists (with an iron cast belly) to.

10. Favorite dressing? 

Blue cheese ... though if I'm making it myself at home, I'd go with honey mustard as it's fuss free.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? 

I don't drive, hah! I have a driver's license but usually car pool with Hubs. 

12. What are your favorite clothes? 

My grandma's Nonya kebayas. They are older than I am and the amount of work that went into them is mind boggling.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? 

Venice, to wander about the brightly coloured houses amongst the canals.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 

Empty - I'm such a worrier!

15. Where would you want to retire? 

Somewhere close to the people I love. 

16. Favorite time of day? 

Late evening/close to night. Best time of the day to kick back, relax and reflect upon the day. 

 17. Where were you born? 


18. What is your favorite sport to watch? 

Don't laugh - my Dad loves watching WWF wrestling and I grew up watching it. Probably not a sport but the theatrics make up for it.

19. Bird watcher? 

Only if I so happen to walk past them.

20. Are you a morning person or a night person? 

Night. Bubs prefers waking up Hubs for his morning brekkie - he has a much better response rate.

21. Do you have any pets? 


22. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? 

Bubs can recognise his name a little.

23. What did you want to be when you were little?

A princess complete with a sparkly tiara and a glittery pink ball gown.

24. Are you a cat or dog person? 


25. What was your last drink? 

Iced water - can't live without it. My MIL nearly fainted when she saw me chugging it after delivery Bubs.

26. Always wear your seat belt? 


27. Been in a car accident? 

Yes. Glam Girl surprised me by flinging her arms across me protectively.

28. Any pet peeves? 

People that light up when there are small children around. One of the reasons why I avoided hawker centres when Bubs was much younger.

29. Favorite Pizza Toppings? 

Mozzarella, Italian herbs, sun dried tomatoes ... plus plenty of chilli flakes. 

30. Favorite Flower? 

None in particular.

31. Favorite ice cream? 

Häagen-Dazs green tea. 

32. Favorite fast food restaurant? 

Subway. I could polish off a foot long sub easily.

33. How many times did you fail your driver's test? 

Passed on the first go, no one could believe it!

34. From whom did you get your last email?

My aunt reminding me that we're having a family reunion soon.

35. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? 

 Tiffany & Co. Either that or the Lego store with Bubs. 

36. Do anything spontaneous lately? 

Does planting bean sprouts in cotton wool and a glass jar with Bubs count?

37. Like your job? 

I love working with the people plus there's a great synergy.

38. Broccoli? 

Yes, especially braised with mushrooms. An essential at Chinese weddings.
39. What was your favorite vacation? 

The last KL trip with Bubs and Hubs. It has becoming something of an almost annual pilgrimage and it's fun to see how Bubs grew compared to the previous trips.

40. Last person you went out to dinner with? 

Bubs and Hubs - dinner at Friday's because they have a free kids meal. 

41. What are you listening to right now? 

A work conference call.

42. What is your favorite color? 

Blue in all its shades. 

43. How many tattoos do you have?

None though I'm fascinated with mehndi.

44. How many are you tagging for this quiz? 

Little Tofu Boy - Tag, you're it!

45. What time is it? 


46. Coffee ?? 

Only the iced ones at Toh Soon, plus preferably with kaya toast.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend in Peek-tures

We were having breakfast close to the Pulau Tikus market and I poked around in one of the little stores nearby. It sold a large variety of intricately painted crockery. The ones I really liked (turquoise blue or mint green with tiny butterflies) were all close to RM100 each - yes, I know, I've exquisite taste ;) The shop owner helped me narrow my selection down on this cheerful yellow oval plate which came at a more affordable price tag.

Glam Girl and I celebrated her very belated birthday at Rakuzen plus did a spot of shopping after that to burn some calories. It was such a good girly chat to catch up on old friends and what's new in our lives. Not to mention every single time I go out with Glam Girl, I always end up carrying a shopping bag or two back home!

We were lucky enough to chance upon a small Hindu procession. It was such a colourful sight that we couldn't help but stand at the side to watch it for a while. The cows were adorned with garlands of colourful flowers and look, even the horns and hooves were painted bright green. To our surprise, one of the devotees fed the cows bananas, peel and all and it was munched up in no time.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Making a Spectacle

I realised my past few posts have been very Bubs-centric, mainly because the whole family has been down with multiple bouts of flu/coughs/and other not so pleasant things that go along with it so we haven't been out and about as much.

I'm still waiting for my yucky conjunctivitis to run its course. Part of the reason why I dislike it so much is that I'm forced to wear glasses for a couple of weeks :( I have been wearing glasses since 9 and always feel so dorky in them, regardless of how many types of glasses I've tried on.

Making a mood board to inspire me for the next few days ahead before I can switch back to contact lenses. Once thing helps though ... when in doubt, always put on a dab of lippie and smile!

ps - I placed an order for the One Line a Day journal, it seems like such a fascinating concept. Can't wait to receive it in the post!

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Ordinary

I caught a flu bug, lost my voice (Hubs and Bubs sure did enjoy that :p) and on top of that, got conjunctivitis. Apart from lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself, my cousin Jean sent me this beautiful poem and it sums up the exact kind of childhood I wish Bubs to have.

Make the Ordinary Come Alive  
Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. 
Such striving may seem admirable, but it is a way of foolishness. 
Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. 
Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears. 
Show them how to cry when pets and people die. 
Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. 
And make the ordinary come alive for them. 
The extraordinary will take care of itself. 

By William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents.

We (Hubs kept the eggshells, I gave Bubs the paints and Bubs did all of the painting himself) did Easter eggs painting at home.

And Bubs did this Easter bunny at school.
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