Saturday, June 28, 2014

[Gadgets] Microsoft Surface Pro3 , XBoxOne

Let's talk about tech, this time round.

Fancy an oversized tablet? How does 12 inch sounds to you? How about an i3, i5 or i7[1] core processor in that set up? Great! It can even replace a laptop. Yes, it definitely can. How about, if it is super just 9.1mm thin and super lightweight at 800g?

------ (this is about 9mm)

Was at the Microsoft Surface Pro3 Launch Preview recently, and got the chance to preview the said device.

at Red Dot Design Museum

The opening address was by Ms Ngiam Foong Chee, Director of Marketing & Operations, Microsoft Singapore. Again, we hear about connected devices, working anywhere, anytime if once chooses so.

This is where work and play merges. Through technology, others are aware of your online presence. Ultimately, one still has the choice of attending to that work activity or not. 

Then, it was Mr Ian Tan's turn to show us the Surface Pro3. Ian is no stranger to Microsoft hardware business in Singapore.

Mr Ian Tan explaining on Surface Pro3 'infinite angles' Kickstand

From where I was seated, the Surface Pro3 screen looked good. Beautful body in silver Vapor Magnesium casing and for its screen, Surface Pro3 uses ClearType Full HD display.

Surface Pro and Surface Pro3

If one needs to do work on this device, no worries. Just snap on the keyboard via its Surface Pro Type Cover or take out the Surface Pen.

Surface Pro3 with Surface Pen and keyboard

Surface Pro3 is also equipped with two 5MP cameras capable of capturing 1080p HD video. Storage space from 64GB to 512GB, and RAM from 4GB to 8GB. With Windows 8.1 Pro3, it is also capable of running of all Windows software. Price ranging from $1,108 to $2,698, with accessories sold separately.

Pre-order is avaible now at Microsoft Online Store.  Expects to be available for retail before end of August 2014. There is an Education discount where students from certified MOE institutions will enjoy a 10% discount.

Also got a glimpse of Microsoft's next generation console, the Xbox One that day. It is expected to launch in Singapore on 23 September 2014.

entertainment box

Expected retail price is about $739 with Kinect set.

With the Kinect sensor bar, it looked so much more fun with gesture recognition!

gesture recognition

Xbox One's Kinect Sports Rival allows users to create avatars or 'champions' of themselves. Body and facial scanning, and some intelligence in learning some moves of the player sounds like a great great ingredient for semi-realistic virtual fun!

Watch a YouTube video of the avatar building process:

Quite cool. Previous generation of Kinect sensor bar, was not able to detect half-body and apparently with this new one, it can! Nice. Healthcare apps developers, you might want to get your hands on this one.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Real Food 真食 Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant @ Novena Square 2

Located at B1 of Novena Square 2, this place is usually packed during lunch hour. Not surprisingly as it offers vegetarian and vegan food choices, in a nice ambiance and conveniently located a few steps from the MRT station.

Only grouse? Long wait for the food. But that's ok as the service staff would've forewarned the patrons with regards to waiting time, especially if it is anticipated to exceed 30 minutes.

Order at the counter, make payment and grab a seat and have patience.

cutlery hidden below

Best if one have something to drink first while waiting.

Daylesford Organic
Carbonated Drinks - Lemon Lime & Bitters @$5.90

First time having lemon lime and bitters. Wonder what went into the bitters for this version? According to wiki, the bitters part is handled by Angostora bitters which says it has botanically infused alcoholic stuffs. wonder it tasted so agreeable!

Moving on the food, I spied lots of office workers having spaghettis, soup noodles and pizza. Looks like those are popular choices. Tried their All Day Breakfast menu of Rise & Shine Breakfast @$9.80.

Rise & Shine - eggs omelette with bell peppers, zuchini, mushrooms, some greens and toasted bread with cheese and tomato

Though the omelette wasn't fluffy, but that's alright. Loaded with ingredients and the bread was good. It was rather filling too!

Also tried the fried dumplings (@$7 for 8 pieces). Rather thin, fried till deep brown but fragrant and tasty because of the minced mushroom fillings. Yums but remember to request for their chili. It's not chili sauce but natural chili paste. Nice.

Unless you're there really early, otherwise the wait for food will likely be about half an hour during weekday lunch time, mainly due to the office crowd.

Expect to spend about $16 ~ $20 per pax for a meal with a drink.

Friday, June 20, 2014

[Shopping] Getting a Backpack

Is it GSS already? Was wondering if there're any good bargains on bags? Been looking to get a backpack for the longest time but just can't decide which one. How does one decide on their bagpacks? For myself, guess am more of a utilitarian, but would also love to have something that's good looking! Sounds like a dilemma, ya?

Out there on the streets, been seeing a lot of Herschels and lately, alot of Kankens! And boy, these do cost quite a bit! Am all slings and satchels these days. And, totes. For light travel, there's the duffel. Just haven't gotten that backpack... yet.

Been to shops to look around, but most shops with interesting backpacks look like they are targeting the younger crowd. Of course, there are online shops that carries women's backpacks, so that could be one option.

The young-at-heart me would want something like this:

Then, was thinking of whether to have backpacks with laptop compartments....
American Tourister

Or perhaps this? Something wild!

Girls Street Punk Rivets

Hmm, I know what's the issue. Needa actually see myself in-front of the mirror with the bag. Main reason? Big butts. Sighs.

And so, the search continues...

On a side note, have you seen the queues at post office lately? Especially for parcel collection. Seems like many are really into online shopping nowadays. Shopping from the comfort of your home, with so many more choices as compared to normal shops and often times, it's cheaper too!

Either way, the parcel collection at post office definitely have room for improvement. Queueing an hour+ for a parcel collection on a weekend morning is no joke.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ju Shin Jung @ Guillemard Village

Located at 102 Guillemard Village, near Mountbatten MRT station. Mountbatten is about 18 minutes away from Bishan Interchange Circle Line. Once reached, take Exit A and head straight right out of the station. It's about 4 to 5 minutes walk before turning right to Guillemard Village.


This place was actually chosen because our party of many, has young children. Ju Shin Jung has a play area for the kids.

for the kids

Best to inform service staff on which table having buffet and which are doing ala-carte before ordering. Children above 1.2m are counted as adult in terms of buffet pricing.


BBQ buffet items are unlimited portions of pork belly, pork collar, marinated beef bulgogi, marinated chicken and prawns. Each buffet pax is entitled to one soup (choices are clear beef rib, bean paste, kimchi, spicy tofu, bibimbap or noodle with beef soup). One can have unlimited rice too.

private rooms

Barley tea and plain water are placed on the table, so please feel free to help yourself.

roasted barley tea 보리차

The side-dishes are brought out once orders are placed.

side dishes 반찬

Two sides are recurring per pax, while the rest are shared amongst the table. In total about 7 variants of side dishes.

very chewy cuttlefish

The side dish that I liked most, was the seaweed/kelp like thingy in tangy cold soup.

very appetising

Requested to John, the friendly service staff that attended to our table, to start us off slow. Hence, the meat portion that he brought out was a smaller portion (maybe a 2 pax portion for the 3 of us).

pork collar, pork belly and 2 mushrooms
marinated meats (pork and beef), marinated chicken and tiger prawns - waiting for their turn in on the grill

While waiting for the grill, am having the clear beef rib soup (galbitang 갈비탕). First time having this, hence there wasn't any yardstick for comparison. Soup was very clear and light. The ingredients included thinly sliced radish, one red date, one small ginseng, spring onions and few pieces of beef. There was a bit of vermicelli inside the soup as well.

galbitang 갈비탕

clear beef rib soup

Ju Shin Jung provides table service where their staff can assist in grilling of the meat. However, they tend to get busy hence be prepared to grill your own as well. Didn't mind as it was quite fun to do so.

pork collar and pork belly sizzling away
copious amount of greens and garlic slice

The meats are placed at the sides of the grill once it's done. Diners can then pick it up from there to eat.

ready to eat

Pick up one sizzling hot pork belly, smear on lots of bean paste, one slice of garlic, some kimchi and wrap it all up with lettuce. Lovely.

yummy meat vege wrap

Go for the marinated chicken. Juicy thigh meat, well marinated and grilled till skin attained that smokey char. wOOohOOO!

grilled chicken on the left

After all that's done, and bills paid, the digestion tea was brought out.

digestion tea or omija 오미자차

BBQ lunch buffet per adult is $29++ and towels are chargeable. Didn't mind though as the towels were fun to do, especially the kids were pretty amazed by it.

magic towel
add water to 'grow'

Saturday, June 7, 2014

天晴 Appare Udon & Tempura Japanese Restaurant @ Novena Square 2

Yup, am back at Appare again. This time round for dinner with an old friend, dear Flo. Sharing this place with her, since she stays nearby.

Walk near the store, and one will be greeted with "いらっしゃいませ!" 

shop's sign

tempura, made to order

Started with a small glass of cold draft beer. Nothing beats an ice cold beer after a day of work.

Kirin draft 300ml @$8++

As usual, made it a point to try something new at this place.

potato salad @$4.50++

Potato salad nicely seasoned and mixed with some cucumber for variety in taste.

Since one of Appare's specialty is tempura, suggested to Flo to try one. "So that we can eat it with the salt." I said.

pork ribs and prawn tempura (@$2++ and $3++, respectively)
flavoured salt

The tempura sauce here is abit different. Dark coloured, akin to soy sauce. Made with kelp and actually quite nice to eat with the deep fried meat. Pork ribs tempura was tender with a bite. Could've mistaken it for pork belly though.

deep fried chicken wings (@$8.50++)

Am lamenting the fact that nowadays, more and more shops are being less generous with the wings. Just 2 full wings for this price, well, pricey lor. Unless of course, if these chicks were flown from Japan then can understand. But maybe one can have the option of local wings so that we can have more of a good thing?

These little wings are actually tasty, marinated just nice and had a homely feel. Though it was deep fried, it doesn't felt too greasy. The pile of greens at the side, was good balance for the meat.

Definitely need some carbs by now.

seafood chirashi (@$16.50++)

Fresh seafood from Hokkaido. Thinly sliced salmon, scallops, tuna and cooked prawns topped with small mound of ikura. The amount of rice was just nice for one female. For guys, think you'll need to order something more.

Rudy, the friendly guy in the shop, divulged that his chef is from Osaka and the boss is from Tokyo. Recent addition to the menu included sashimi (not printed in menu) and chicken shabu-shabu. Chicken is imported from Japan, it seems.

Geen tea is complimentary. Service was always courteous.


ps: thanks Flo for the meal!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Fat Cat @ Lorong Liput Holland Village

Was first acquainted with Fat Cat @ Jalan Riang, way back in 2011. Here is the evidence. Fast forward to 2014, it is now located at 17D Lorong Liput.

Getting there was easy. Hop onto Circle Line and alight at Holland Village station. Take Exit C, and head towards Holland Village Mall. Walk downslope, and look for the green sign with the cat backside.

da cat sign

Was invited to The Fat Cat Official Opening Party (thanks Sarah!), and since it is now nearer to where I stay, there wasn't any reason not to go.

Fat Cat's new premise is small and cosy. Much like going to a friend's place. Fat Cat @ Holland V has Thai Yai, Masala Mantra, the French Onion and Fat Cat Bar. Hence, one could get Thai, North Indian and western fare under one roof, plus plenty to drink.

Since it's a party, let's start with some alcohol. Would've gotten Long Island, just like good old times but it wasn't on the party menu that day. Never mind, Mojito Classic will do. Refreshing on a warm night.

Mojito Classic

Had an array of party food, which also acts as sampler on items found in their regular menu.

mango salad
fish tikka

Fish tikka was rather nice. Moist and chunky, and best eaten with all its accompaniments. Very mild herbs and spices.

still moist

Sampled a shot of mushroom soup. Strong mushroom flavour, creamy and with a hint of bitterness.

mushroom soup

How about some wings as bar snack? Mantra wings from Masala Mantra. Looks like prawn paste chicken but tasted of mild Indian spices. Served hot and juicy, and with crisp outerside. Yums.

Mantra wings
Santero Moscato

Wondering about the actual portion of food? Had the same thoughts and voila! Here are some that we tried. For starters, a plate of Hot Pot Clams. Slightly spicy, tiny clam meat had mild sweetness but unfortunately the white wine sauce was a tad too salty.

Hot Pot Clams @$12++

Taking the heat up a notch, was Thai Yai's Clear Tom Yum Soup. Tongue tingling and the heat lingered quite a bit. Ingredients include lemongrass, blue ginger, straw mushrooms, tomatoes, kafir lime leaves and one could choose a choice of meat (prawns, chicken, pork, beef, fish). Wonder if they could do all sorts of meat in one pot.

Clear Tom Yum @$14++

Done with starters, now moving along towards main dishes. North Indian food, anyone?

aloo gobi, chicken masala and garlic naan

Am used to the likes of Butter Chicken and Rogan Josh so perhaps that was why the Chicken Masala gravy felt a bit watery for me. However, it was a pleasant combination to eat. Garlic naan was fragrant and served hot. Chicken was tender and its gravy was non-spicy.

Garlic Naan @$3++

Still feeling peckish? Pineapple rice from Thai Yai would cure the hunger pangs. Purist may frown but I quite enjoyed this plate of rice. Yes, it was pretty sweet (was it the raisins and pineapples?) but the good sized prawns were nicely translucent with firm flesh. Cooked just right. The sprinkle of pork/chicken floss was good too, providing that bit of crunchiness.

Pineapple Rice @$12++

Sweet pineapple rice with slightly tart and cold Coldstream Apple Cider. Perfect.

Apple Cider @$10++ during Puuurfect Hour

First time tasting Panang Curry. Ingredients stated yellow pumpkin and coriander, giving it a mellow sweetness. Totally non-spicy and strangely, found it to be leaning more towards the taste of very light peanut sauce.

Panang Beef Curry @$14++

Final two dishes were the Chef's Specials from The French Onion.

Lamb Shank @$24++
Sea Bass @$19++

Would say that the pricing for the Chef's Specials was good for the portion that one gets. Lamb shank was quite a huge chunk. Tender enough but the ome that we got that night, was perhaps too gamey for some.

For a safe, clean healthy taste, the Sea Bass dish would fit into that category. This was a plate of moderation.

Puuurfect Hour happens from 12-2pm and 530 to 9pm. 2 pints of draft beer (Stella/Hoegaarden) for $22? Nice.

Special thanks to Gina. Great to see you again after that many years!

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