Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Awesome Canteen at Sekeping Victoria

Awesome Canteen, which has roots in KL, has just set up its first Penang branch in one of my favourite places: Sekeping Victoria. Think faded paint, sunlight dappled walls and tall, skinny trees growing right in the middle of the place.

This would make a fun place to catchup with friends as you're spoiled for choices of seating arrangements as each piece of the re-puposed furniture is certainly unique.

We had fun wandering about the place. 

While Bubs preferred to focus on his Lego. I've to say, packing bits and pieces of Legos into a small tub has since resulted in a less fidgety and impatient Bubs.

There's a gorgeous coffee bar right at the entrance. Look at the cool, wire-framed bar stools!

Plus a very sleek open kitchen right in front of customers.

How did the food fare? I've to say that I'd really high expectations considering my KL friends have been raving about the place.

Hubs thought the Swiss mushroom burger (RM22.90) was decent but nothing to shout about. As the cashier didn't ask for meat doneness, we assumed that it'd be well done, so we were a little surprised that the patty came very cooked on the outside and pink inside. The fries and coleslaw were okay but not something that we'd eat on its own.

Pulled meat, when slow cooked to perfection, is usually tender and and easily shredded. The pulled beef sandwich (RM26.90) was a little tough (and a tad charred on the outside). It came wedged with chunks of juicy mango and wasabi mayo, served on a bed of fries I found it to be mediocre for the price as the flavours didn't gel well enough and would have preferred a side salad or at least, something green to go with the fries. Bubs on the other hand, didn't complain about all the fries he pinched from us and drenched them with mustard and ketchup.

The key lime pie (RM11) had the right amount of zest and the texture was just right: moist and not too crumbly. We did find it to be on the pricey side a little given the portion.

Awesome Canteen, Sekeping Victoria, 164, Lebuh Victoria, Georgetown, 10300 Pulau Pinang, Penang, Malaysia

Friday, June 26, 2015

Foam Party

During the previous school holidays, we were supposed to look at options for either a beach holiday or a stay-cation but hotel room rates were sky high so we had to set our targets a little lower. Given that all we really wanted to do was to enjoy the sun, sand and surf, it was fitting that we found out Hard Rock Hotel offers a foam party the first Saturday of each month :D Non guests are allowed in with ticket prices going at RM20 for children and RM30 for adults. The children's party is from 4pm - 7pm and the adults party starts after that. The only difference between the kids and adults' version is that the foam in the kids' party is half the height of adults.

Popping on a pair of goggles on Bubs, we cheerily waved him in and boy, did he had a blast! He promptly dived right in with the biggest grin.

The foam pit is enclosed with only 1 entrance/exit right next to the DJ booth so it was easy to keep and eye on him. And yes, you read that right - there was a live DJ spinning tracks out, kid friendly of course. I may or may not have embarrassed Bubs by moving just the teensiest little bit to the beat of the music *shifty eyes*

"Back in the old days before I met Daddy, I used to dance like this at parties."

"Mummmmmmy, stopitttttt, you look silly!"

It was so hard to watch Bubs have so much fun with the puffy, white foam that I was tempted to go buy a ticket for myself to hop right in. I'd have loved to just lie there on a soft pile of cloud like suds. All of the kids there looked equally enthralled with the foam. Look at that kid just standing under the foam machine and letting it blanket him with suds.

After what seemed like ages, Bubs came out. I couldn't resist helping him clean up just so I could wade around in the globs of foam for a bit.

"Mummy, foam is like shampoo right? So I don't need to bath at night since I'm clean now?"

He had a quick run around Hard Rock's supremely fun mini water park.

Followed by a dip in the wading pool which had *gasp* sand at the bottom of the pool. Bubs went nuts trying to scoop them out with his hands and flinging them around with joy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Canteen at Moh Teng Pheow, the Nonya Kuih Factory

Moh Teng Pheow, a nonya kuih factory right in the heart of Georgetown, has been churning out colourful little bites of delectable kuih for more than half a century. It recently opened up a space at the back of its space to serve foodies with tasty treats such as assam laksa, nasi ulam and mini pizzas.

There is limited parking around the area and it's controlled by a jaga kereta. Look out for the distinct red building. Do note that it's old school, so there isn't air conditioning but the place is well ventilated with ceiling fans.

The front part is still being used to make nonya kuih and we were lucky enough to spot some workers churning the giant vats. This is a tray of freshly baked kuih bengka with its distinct charred brown top.

The back is termed as the "canteen" where it's chockful of nostalgic bric a brac. Bubs was fascinated with the trishaw.

Hubs has a tough choice narrowing down his nonya kuih selection.

I love that the tables are re-purposed from discarded bits of old houses. This striking yellow and green trimmed table used to part of an old door! The must haves: a mini assortment of kuih (50 cents each): from clockwise: pulut tai tai, kuih talam and sri muka in addition to spring rolls (RM1.50 each).

We've heard so much about the assam laksa (RM5) so there was there was a build up of anticipation when we took our first mouth. The rich, fishy flavours were strong, well balanced but be warned, the spices was extremely fiery! This is something that you will need a tall, cold glass to wash the heat away.

Nasi ulam (RM7) is a bit of an acquired taste. If you like your greens, this is something you will fall in love with. It's a healthy dish loaded with lots of fresh herbs and sliced onions. I thought that this dish could have benefited from a tad of fried salted fish just to add some oomph to the flavours. The gu leng peng (milk with bandung/rose syrup - RM2.50) was something new to Bubs and me. It's Hub's staple during his high school days so that makes it a really old school drink ;) I liked the light, sweet taste flavouring the creamy milk, almost like a liquid version of ais kacang.

Moh Teng Pheow
Address: Jalan Masjid (Off Chulia Street), 10200, Georgetown, Penang.
Opening Hours: 10am to 5pm. Closed Mondays.
Telephone: 6012- 415 2677

Friday, June 19, 2015

3 Things: the Shopping Edition

3 things that added a bounce to my step and made the looooong week seem worth it.

I've recently discovered this shop at Gurney Plaza (another branch is at Gurney Paragon) that stocks clothes at rock bottom prices. The caveat is that you're not allowed to try on the items so you've to got to take a risk before buying as it's strictly not exchangeable. All of the items don't have sizes so it's just guessing if they'll fit you or not. It took me quite a bit of sorting through the racks before finding this gem - a bright strawberry and raspberry printed dress - fully lined with a stiff tulle underlay too! - for just RM38.

My colleagues and I have sort of fallen into a pre-weekend lunch routine that involves procrastinating at Uniqlo. The trick is to look out for red tag items, such as these Relaco pants that were RM10 off. Just look at them: who could say no to pineapple prints plus Mr. Men and Little Miss pants? I couldn't help squealing at how adorable the Mr. Men prints were and showing them off to Bubs.

These flats were a bit of a splurge because all my friends that have a pair of Melissa's keep raving over how comfy they are and my curiosity was piqued. There isn't a Melissa retail outlet here in Penang so I took a stab at my shoe size and ordered them from Zalora which have decently fast shipping. The signature bubblegum scent is heady - these remind me of the scented My Little Ponies back from the 80s and Bubs is tickled blue pink over how cute they feel on.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Fresh Pasta

Hubs has been on a fresh pasta making kick lately ever since he saw how easy it was on TV. He has been making it for a couple of days in a row, trying out different resting times and Bubs and I are the happy recipients of his foodie experiments :D

This is the recipe he uses for both pasta and ravioli, both of which we adore equally.Whenever he makes a batch, he hand cuts some noodles out (he's that into it that he's considering getting a pasta maker).

The leftovers get turned into ravioli and yes, you're not seeing things, Hubs put the free pizza cutter we got to good use. Wheeee ... he found it therapeutic slicing through the sheets.

Followed by different ways of folding the ravioli by hand. To think this is the same person that left the piles of clean clothes on the sofa for weeks and told me he was too tired to fold them ;)

I requested for thicker cut noodles and dressed them with a simple squished tomato sauce topped with meatballs. They were so delish that Bubs wolfed everything down, mushrooms (his nemesis) and all!

Friday, June 12, 2015

At the Park

During the school holidays, both Hubs and Bubs have been looking at me expectantly for me to come up with a game plan to keep everyone happy and tear-free. I've racked my brains, read lots of blogs (what's new :P) and even Google-d for things to do in Penang - yes, I'm a sorry excuse for a Penang lang.

Then I realised something super obvious: all children want is to just play.

So we headed over to the Penang Youth Park where generations of children have romped and frolicked. Hubs have fond memories of playing there together with his siblings.

There's a new addition to the park called the Accessible Playground. The word extension is a misnomer as it's not right next to the existing Youth Park grounds itself but a far bit before it. Look for the sign Accessible Playground on the left while you're driving through and turn there. You could walk but it's going to be weary for little legs.

Looking at the new playground makes me proud of how inclusive Penang is. It's designed for easy wheelchair access with ramps across a large and very colourful area. The only downside that I could think of is that there aren't any trees to provide shade (thought you could argue that the roots might trip children over).

Bubs eagerly climbing through the playground. It got hot quickly so Bubs was told to only play a round here before we headed over to the old children's playground.

This time around, Bubs was attracted to all of the huge climbing structures in the playground. He was hesitant at first as they require a fair amount of dexterity with netting and frames much taller than his own height.

Hubs helped him out a fair bit at the beginning and left Bubs to his own devices while I hovered around, reminding him to to grip tightly and DO NOT LET GO. Helicopter mum, much? ;)

It was a beautiful morning and the sun dappled grounds were filled with families. I've always loved the massive trees that tower above us and feel hugely appreciative towards the groundskeepers that put in a lot of effort into maintaining the cleanliness of the place.

On the way back to the carpark, we walked past the reflexology path. Recalling how much it $#!@# hurt the last time I walked on it, I dared Bubs to go on it, dangling the promise of ice cream.

"Without shoes, Mummy?" he looked wide eyed.

"Du-uh, what do you think?" I felt gleeful that the tub of Baskin Robins would be all mine.

He immediately peeled off his shoes and stepped onto the stones, making a full round.

"Look, Mummy, it doesn't hurt." he shouted excitedly. "I want ice cream now!"

What the ... I took off my shoes and joined him for a few steps before screeching in pain and hopping off.

Looks like I now have to share some ice cream :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yella Fork

We've been stuck in a food rut lately, preferring familiar tastes and convenience over venturing into uncharted territory. I know, we sound frightfully middle aged :(We decided to snap out of it and try somewhere new. Chow Thye Road, filled with rows of bustling eateries, is a somewhat love-hate for me, you're guaranteed to find something yummy there to eat but parking is near impossible. We chanced upon Yella Fork, an Australian inspired cafe, that offers *thank goodness* free parking inside.

The interior is modern with hues of grays and blacks livened up by pops of cheery yellows. I was glad to see the familiar green speckled marble flooring from the 70s untouched.

The layout is spacious with utilitarian wooden tables that reminded me of Ikea for some reason and beautiful wooden bench seats that had colourful, soft cushions. Service was prompt and very friendly with the waitress taking pains to explain each dish and recommendations for us.We found the dishes on the menu to be decently priced and had a touch of Asian fusion to most of them. The portions are just right though if you're a big eater (*ahem Hubs*) you might want to top up with appetizers or another dish to share.

We were highly recommended Pork You (RM10), an appetizer of slow roasted pork belly served with the chef's home made sauce.

"Siew bak!" Bubs exclaimed happily the moment he saw his favourite-st food in the world placed in front of him. And yes, that's his finger pointing at the piece he wants.

This dish was a winner with us, the pieces of pork belly were juicy and the crackling went perfectly with the tangy dipping sauce that had finely sliced bunga kantan (torch lily) sprinkled. I could happily eat this for the rest of my life!

Bubs and I love our carbs so can I say it was the assurance of home made pastry that drew us to the Pie in the Sky (RM20), a creamy chicken filling topped with the most gorgeous twists of fragrant pie crust. It has been years since I last tasted pie crust this amazing and I'd happily pay for extra slices of this. A dash of the tomato chutney (homemade, what else!) added some zing to the soft chicken pieces. It comes with a generous serving of side salad drenched in a yummy balsamic vinegar dressing.

I thought the Redny's Sensation (RM15.50) was a very well balanced dishes. The chilli flake flecked honey-sweet sauce, veggie pieces and generous pork belly chunks complemented the pasta.

Yella Fork
Address: 27A, Jalan Chow Thye, 10050, Georgetown, Penang.
Business Hours: 11.30 am to 10 pm. Closed on Mondays
Phone: 011-1256 8528

Monday, June 8, 2015

Fun Science: Dry Ice

Having seen a couple of awesome dry ice experiments for children (namely here and here), I was eager to try this with Bubs. If you're wondering where I found dry ice in Penang, I nicely asked for extra pieces from Baskin Robbins and the very kind staff willingly obliged :)

You'll need:
Some dry ice
Bowls to play around with
Bubble solution (generous squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed with water)
Rag wide enough to rub over the bowl

I popped the dry ice (do not touch it with your bare hands: always use gloves or tongs to handle it) into a bowl and it began to "melt". Instead of a pool of water, it disappeared into air. Bubs immediately went "Oooooh!"

We then poured some water into the dry ice and Bub's surprise increased at the theatrical effect. "There's smoke!" he exclaimed. I showed him how he could wave his fingers through the vapour but warned him not to touch the the dry ice itself.

Dipping the rag into the bubble solution, I then rubbed the rims of the bowl around and across with it. Make sure the area doesn't have any strong breeze and I turned off the ceiling fan for good measure. Sit and watch the fun :)

Bubs gasped loudly when a giant, milky white bubble began to form from the bowl.

Ye gads, What sorcery is this?!

We then tipped over some of the bubble solution directly into the bowl with dry ice and watched as several bubbles began to form together.

Bubs carefully scooped up the bubbles with his hands and squashed them, amazed as they vanished into little puffs of white vapour. I wasn't expecting this either and I had fun playing with him!

Some fun facts: dry ice is made from frozen carbon dioxide, which is why when it "melts", it disappears into the air. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Beauty Game Changers

It's been a while since I last updated what's been lurking about in my makeup bag and I've found some new beauty buys that have been marvelous game changers.

Tarte's Amazonian Clay BB tinted Moisturiser is a little too sheer for my liking but the texture is beautiful: airy and blends like a dream. The faux wood cover is an aesthetic plus. I like that it doesn't contain parabens, mineral oil or phthalates so this is an absolute keeper for me.

Being self conscious about my dark eye circles (legacies of late night conference calls) and freckles, makes me entirely dependent on concealer. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer is God sent goodness in a sleek tube with its creamy yet utterly light texture that does an excellent job in banishing blemishes and pesky dark spots.

Given that we've easy access to all kinds of sunscreen here, I find it ironic that my holy grail sunscreen was purchased online. It met all my criteria: great sun protection, light texture (no white-ish cast!) plus is free of nanoparticles and phthalates. The best part is that it makes a perfect base for my tinted moisturizer and these 2 go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm

We dropped by the Saanen Dairy Goat Farm over the weekend. It took quite a while to find the tiny farm nestled deep within the heart of Balik Pulau and driving there is only for the fearless: the single car only access road was very narrow and there would be a fair amount of maneuvering required, I dread to think what we'd have to do if another car decided to drive out at the same time.

Entrance to the farm is free and each visitor is provided with a stalk of grass to feed the goats. The goats pen were kept very clean with fans mounted high within the sheds. You could smell the goats from the moment you step in but it's not foul and you kind of get used to it after a while.

Around the farm were some fruit trees and a small veggie patch. I'd no idea that dragonfruit grew on cacti like plants.

Be warned that everything is constructed from thin wood planks and sensible flats are a definite must. There are no steps but slopes with wooden grips nailed in so be careful. Poor Bubs slipped once - luckily no goat poo was close by him! He didn't like it when I asked if there was a mean troll below the bridge waiting for him to trip trap by either ;)

If you want to make your stalk of grass last longer, peel the grass blades out from the stem to feed the goats. Bubs found out the hard way that greedy goats will nip your fingers just to get to the last bit of the sweet, juicy grass you're offering them, LOL.

There was a milking station just right next to the pen and we were surprised that the goats knew which way to go back to their pens unsupervised. A cheeky one reached out to Bubs for some grass before trotting back.

Feeding the goats was the highlight for Bubs. Hubs and he were so desperate that they resorted to picking up stray grass from the floor and troughs. Unfortunately no milk bottles were available today otherwise Bubs would have even more fun feeding the kids fresh milk.

At the mini visitor's centre, an array of goodies made from goats milk were ready for purchase. We tried each of everything: pasteurised goats milk, nutmeg yoghurt drink, goats milk pudding and black sugar steamed bao made with - what else - goats milk :D They offer free wifi and some fresh fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, could be bought on the spot.

Saanen Dairy Goat Farm
298 MK 1 , Sungai Pinang , 11010 Balik Pulau, Pulau Pinang,
Tel : 0195163017
Opening Hours : 10am - 5pm daily
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