Welcome to WorkingWithGrace! :)

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Hi! I’m Grace. Welcome to my blog, WorkingWithGrace.πŸ™‚ I have interviewed a number of inspiring people for my blog, many of whom are celebrities, millionaires and entrepreneurs. Here’s one of them…

Meet Peter Buffett, son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.Β Peter was one of my former interviewees, and here’s a quick clip for those who have never met him before:

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Since 2013, this blog has received awards and recognition from many brands. I’ve been blessed with awards such as these ones:

2013 Best Individual Blog WINNER at the annual Singapore Blog Awards
2013 Aries Gold Watches’ Blogger Contest WINNER
2013 Zespri Blogger Challenge WINNER
2013 StarHub Blogger Challenge WINNER
2014 BRANDS’ Blogger Challenge WINNER
2014 Influr Blogger Challenge WINNER
2014 rolleyes x Panasonic Blogger Challenge WINNER
2015 SingSaver Blogger Contest WINNER

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I’ve been blogging since 2010, and I’m currently putting together a list of my best blogposts from these 5+ years of blogging. In the meantime, here are two of my favorite posts published in January 2016:

#1: Volunteering at a Cambodian Orphanage

Cute Cambodian boy

#2: 4 Tips For Learning Bahasa Indonesia FAST

Β traditional javanese wedding

Continue scrolling to read more of my latest blogposts!πŸ˜€

Movie Review: A Street Cat Named Bob

A Street Cat Named Bob

When I first read the book, I thought that James Bowen’s the guy on the cover. But that guy is apparently the actor who stars in the movie. Pretty good-looking, no? (I’m talking about the cat now. Haha) Knowing that I’ve read the book (and reviewed it), my darling actually bought tickets for us to watch the movie on Sunday, instead of getting tickets to ‘Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them’ which is what he has been wanting to watch. It came as quite a surprise, really. *muacks* What’s more surprising is how the movie has adapted certain parts of the book instead of following it *ahem* faithfully.

The first half of the movie was like a long drawn out sigh for me. First of all, I didn’t like the camera trying to film from the perspective of the cat, Bob. And secondly, many scenes seemed out of focus or nausea-inducing shaky. Handheld cam, maybe??? And yes, I know it’s a movie and perhaps a female is required somewhere but deviating from the book by incorporating a love interest in a neighbor? Not cool. I preferred the duo (cat & human) against the cold, brutal world storyline versus the I’m-supposed-to-be-living-hand-to-mouth-but-lets-have-some-tea-together scene in the movie. And the whole rubbing wrists part was kind of lame.

By the end of the movie, I had tears flowing due to the scene in which James gets clean from drugs and finds out his father actually kept a picture of lil James in his wallet all along. The next scene was a little abrupt, and left me crying and laughing at the same time… Fish screensaver, anyone? I guess the producers wanted the movie to end on a happy note.

All in all, I’m super happy that James Bowen had his life turn around so dramatically, thanks to a fantastic feline and an astute publisher. Miracles really do happen. I do hope people don’t decide to purchase ginger cats just because they’ve loved Bob in the movie and the book. (Actually the book’s much better) Thanks to the movie ‘Nemo’, the demand for clownfish soared. Keep your fingers crossed that Bob doesn’t cause the same for ginger cats. If you just cannot resist getting one, please adopt, not shop!

Because of the book, I became more aware of the buskers that I used to turn a blind eye to. You might think they aren’t lonely as they’re playing some musical instrument, aren’t they? But I guess no one really likes being thought of as ‘invisible’, or being treated as such. Show them you appreciate them as human beings, and that they don’t need to have an attractive animal around their shoulders for you to begin paying attention to them.πŸ™‚ And please… if your child is not for sale, don’t ask people like James to sell their companions to you, ok.πŸ˜›

O’Parl Cafe At The Arts House: BEST SALMON EVER!!!

When my more Groupon-savvy half buys food-related Groupon vouchers, it can either be a great hit or a really awful miss. This time, we struck culinary jackpot with awesome salmon at O’Parl Cafe Bar & Bistro that is located within ‘The Arts House at The Old Parliament’. The yummy dinner set the tone for an enjoyable Friday date night.πŸ™‚

It was our first visit to O’Parl Cafe so we were keen on sticking to the “Chef’s Recommendations” on the menu. SO… we went with a starter of Spicy Basil Prawns, and he picked the Seafood Laksa Pasta – both Chef Recommendation items.

O'Parl Cafe Arts House Old Parliament

This picture doesn’t do justice to the food – I was hungry, and the lighting wasn’t the best for picture-taking so I didn’t bother with taking too many shots. You should go to O’Parl Cafe yourself and try the food there!πŸ™‚ The prawns were fresh and utterly delicious. #ForgetAboutThePricetag

I wanted to try the Grilled Seabass instead of the recommended Fish & Chips (because, well, F&C is F&C no matter how fancy the setting, ya?) but the Grilled Seabass wasn’t available. So I settled for Pan Seared Salmon instead.

O'Parl Cafe Pan Seared Salmon

And my goodness! Never in my life have I tasted salmon that (to quote MasterChefs and LadyIronChef) was so “well executed”. Crispy skin outside, and tender, almost-buttery salmon within. How does one pan sear salmon so well? Was it done sous vide then seared quickly? I guess I’ll never know. And the mash was served really warm and it hits just the right spot in one’s belly, like a good bowl of steaming hot soup would. I wish I knew what that sauce by the side was – spicy like sambal belachan yet with some nutty texture and fragrance to it. All in all, perfect.

I sure did enjoy the dish. Yum. Yum. Yum. Best salmon ever. I really have to head back there again soon.

If you need a recommendation for a dinner venue that looks atas but isn’t too crowded (such that you don’t need to make a prior reservation), and where the food is superb, O’Parl Cafe is my pick. Here’s the menu ( I hope the print isn’t too small )…

O'Parl Cafe Menu

You can also play a game of darts here. I was simply too full after the meal. Love that they serve (free) water.

O’Parl Cafe isΒ located at 1 Old Parliament Lane. Tel: 6255 6048.

Olivia & Co at Sengkang’s Compass One

olivia and co singapore review

I’ve been to Sengkang Compass One a couple of times lately to check out its eateries that do not have outlets at Waterway Point.πŸ™‚ Olivia & Co is one such restaurant, or bistro if you’d like. Dining there before noon on a weekday is GREAT as you can have your pick of any table.

Here’s what I enjoyed about dining at Olivia & Co:

#1: Really good ambiance – very cosy and inviting

I think ladies will really love this place as a venue for catching up over quick bites and drinks. Guys might also enjoy the section that has a TV – watch your football matches here!

I guess this is why two ladies decided to meet here this afternoon. They sat at the table next to mine – and the one carrying a baby had a little mishap. More about that later in this blogpost.

Olivia and Co Sengkang

FREE water!πŸ˜€ Always a plus point. And each table has a buzzer for you to press to get the attention of service staff.

#2: Good customer service, though not from the entire crew

When I first walked past the outlet in the morning (while I was not feeling hungry yet), I decided to stop and peruse the menu. One of their staff just stood there and (kind of) glumly stared at me, waiting to see if I’d like to take a seat. I was actually the one to offer a greeting first. Decided to do my shopping elsewhere in the mall before coming back for an early lunch.

When I returned, she was less glum – I attribute this to the fact that she’s probably not too comfortable with speaking English, preferring to speak in Mandarin to her colleague – and I got my choice of table and managed to get a confirmation from her that my order of their Black Forest Burger would come with fries (as it’s not clearly stated on the menu).

While I was eating, I observed that the other female wait staff was more friendly and welcoming. She’d give people a cheery greeting even if they were simply looking at the menu outside the restaurant. She also refilled my glass with water, asking before she did so too! After she got me the bill, she also took the time to explain that there’s an ongoing promotion in which I can get a lucky draw chance at winning a 2D1N staycation if I accumulate a spending of S$50 with a maximum of 3 receipts. Wow. I found out that her name is Maureen. I was impressed enough to send an email to Olivia & Co when I got home.πŸ™‚ Staff like her are hard to find. I sure hope she gets a bonus or promotion.

And here’s what I’d like to see from the restaurant / bistro the next time I dine here:

#1: Sturdier chairs

A mother (carrying her baby in a sling in front) took a seat opposite her friend at the table next to mine. For some reason, the chair slid backwards and the mother and child ended up on the floor. Thankfully, they were fine. I’m not sure if the chair was too light, the flooring too smooth, or if the mother hadn’t positioned her bum just right, but it was pretty shocking to see her “seated” on the floor in the blink of an eye.

If it was an elderly person with brittle bones, I’m not sure what would have happened. I’ve already sent my feedback to Olivia & Co, so hopefully something changes.

Olivia and co review

#2: Better burgers

I ordered the Black Forest Burger but ended up liking the side of fries more. It’s no Omakase Burger for sure, but I think improvements can be made to the beef patty which crumbles too easily. Love the tempura mushrooms though.

I thought I saw that there would be some sauteed mushrooms as well. But the product served didn’t seem to reflect what was stated on the menu. I might be wrong; will check the next time I’m there.

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Olivia and Co Compass One

If you’re wondering why a restaurant would place a vehicle right at the entrance, taking up precious ‘prime’ space which could possibly fit another table and 4 chairs, well, I found out there’s likely a good reason for it.

A mother pushing a pram with two kids was ‘directed’ to Olivia and Co. by the young ones, who wanted a go at the “ride”. They’d thought it was one of those kiddy rides that can be found in almost any mall!πŸ˜€ Too bad this time the mother gave the menu a glance and decided to head elsewhere. I’m sure others would have gone right in and snapped some photos, just like I did.πŸ˜€

Olivia & Co is located at #01-13 Compass One. Tel: 6384 4995.

Frunatic: Possibly The Most Nutritious 9-Course Meal Ever

Frunatic Singapore

I had a really good meal with my pal a few months’ back and by ‘good’, I mean super nutritious. And you’ll see just why in a bit. It’s not often that I have a meal that was designed by a nutritionist.πŸ˜€ Frunatic usually works with companies such as major beauty brands and designs lifestyle retreats for them, but individuals can also drop by for special therapeutic wellness meals (Detoxifying, Anti-fatigue, Weight Management, Athletic Sport Performance, etc). And my pal could certainly use a lifestyle retreat simply for looking severely underweight just standing next to me! Ha! Little did I know that this meal wouldn’t add on the pounds for me either, consisting of about 700 calories only. And it WAS a 9-course meal. However, this nutrient-dense meal was enough to get us sailing through the week.

Let me take you through what we ate that day:Frunatic Amuse Bouche

First up was the Amuse Bouche, which is a complimentary dish served by a restaurant for any particular day. Just a quick bite, with hints of what’s to come…

Next, we had some 200ml of Longevity Herbal Tea. It contains 8 ingredients: wolfberries, red dates, chrysanthemum, rose, ginseng, dried longan, green tea and licorice that’s brewed with alkaline ionized water. I know that alkaline water is great for the body, and all those other ingredients just make it pack more of a punch. It’s nothing like the sugary bottled ‘herbal tea’ I’ve purchased from shops. It was an eye-opening experience: so this is what herbal tea can taste like!Β Or rather, what it should taste like.

Frunatic Longevity Herbal Tea

Then there’s the Tropical Energizing Smoothie – the smallest serving of a smoothie that I’ve ever had – which contains mango and banana with a hint of cinnamon and ginger. If you usually enjoy your smoothies in large cups like I do, then here’s the bad news: you’re possibly ingesting too many calories. I usually add lots of mango and avocado into my smoothies, and it’s only at Frunatic that I found out that, oops, too many calories.

Frunatic Tropical Energizing Smoothie

The Southwest Tofu ScrambleΒ features heirloom tomatoes and brown mushroom stuffed with a combination of red onion, red bell pepper, tofu and turmeric sauce. Turmeric is a spice with lots of health benefits such as its anti-inflammatory properties. And if you’ve not noticed yet, what’s being served is largely vegetarian / vegan and in small portions. What I learnt here is to eat a variety of food in small portions each so I get all the nutrients my body needs without getting an excess of calories.πŸ™‚

Frunatic Southwest Tofu Scramble

And here’s something you might be familiar with: cold-pressed juice. They call this the “Green Punch Juice“. I’m not sure why people go ga-ga over juice cleanses in which a company sends over a batch of juice and you slowly consume it over 5 days, perhaps. Cold-pressed juices should be consumed immediately for maximum benefit. Don’t let it oxidize or ferment! Frunatic’s Green Punch Juice is made from green pepper, kiwi, green apple and peppermint. Do ask them about the special powders they include, prepared by a naturopath.

Frunatic Green Punch Juice

Probably the highlight of the meal: Matcha Truffles with Raspberry Surprise. More surprising was my eating just one ‘truffle’. I usually pop a few.πŸ˜€ Inside each truffle ball is a mix of almonds, cashews, coconut, dates and raw cacao. It’s almost like an energy bar, no? It’s then coated in matcha. To vary texture and taste, there’s a yummy raspberry center, which you’ll see in the following picture…

Frunatic Matcha Truffles with Raspberry Surprise

Frunatic Pineapple Dill

Yup, they weren’t kidding. There is indeed a raspberry surprise. And by the way, the dehydrated pineapple chip tastes SO GOOD. A pity it wasn’t sold by the bag when I visited. But I did send them feedback that they should, so maybe now you can pop by and get a bag of these yummy fruit chips that are so, so healthy. The process of making these chips is a tedious one. Depending on whether you are using a dehydrator or an oven, making chips out of fruit can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.

And if you’re wondering about the price of the meal, well, for $128 nett, you get a “Michelin-style” dining experience, complete with a nutritionist explaining what goes into the food you’re eating. It’s quite interesting, really, as it’s usually the chef who does the explaining.

And here’s the Chef Special: Quinoa Beetroot Risotto

Frunatic Quinoa Beetroot Risotto

This particular risotto has dehydrated baby beetroot, tri-colored quinoa, cauliflower, truffle mushroom and carrots. Wild rice and quinoa are high in protein, and the carrots provide a natural sweetness to the dish. And that sauce by the side? It’s a therapeutic sauce featuring vinegar which has been aged for 8 years. Apparently this dish will help in athletic performance as the ingredients used actually help ‘increase the time needed to reach exhaustion’. I’m not too concerned about athletic performance per se, I just want low-calorie good-tasting meals that can help me lose weight!πŸ˜€

And finally, there’s the Pumpkin Flan. It’s a vegan dessert made from pumpkin juice, cashew, ground cinnamon and topped with crunchy-buckwheat brittle and hazelnuts. I love pumpkin, but didn’t know that pumpkin juice has electrolytes, calcium, potassium, magnesium and all that goodness. With a nutritionist explaining what goes into each dish, you will learn nuggets of information such as how there’s synergy between Vitamin C and zinc.πŸ™‚

Frunatic Pumpkin Flan

I love the concept of being able to sit down to a 9-course meal without leaving the table feeling as if my stomach is about to burst (such as at wedding dinners)πŸ˜€ As the food here is largely vegan in nature, it’s light and wholesome at the same time. I’ve also heard that some wealthy entrepreneurs come here regularly for meals that help them maintain their weight, blood pressure or blood sugar at optimal levels. If you so desire, you can also get the meals delivered to you, sans nutritionist, of course.πŸ˜‰

To find out more about Frunatic, head over to their website at http://www.frunatic.com.

StarHub: Putting ‘Conscience’ Back Into Business

Starhub Recontract Eligilibility

Pic Credit: starhub.com

I only recently found out about the My StarHub app (no, totally not being paid to write this) and even though I hate downloading apps as storage space in my phone has largely been ‘eaten up’ by photos, this is one app I think StarHub subscribers cannot do without. It’s not just useful for things like converting your rewards points to cash vouchers or bill rebates, it helps you prevent bill shocks by tracking your data usage, call time usage and the number of SMSes and MMSes you’ve sent out (and shows you how many remain too)!

I think there are way too many apps in the market. There’s an app for everything – from booking your next manicure to tracking your menstrual cycle. I also have an app for tracking the number of steps I take daily so I can take part in the Health Promotion Board’s Steps Challenge (for more free vouchers to shop at NTUC FairPrice). But I think the My StarHub app is a must-have in any phone because of these features:

StarHub Data Usage Tracking

This is my actual data usage for the month. I’m impressed.πŸ˜€ And I really do need to call more people and send more SMSes.

(1) Data Usage Tracking

I like that data usage is one of the first things I see when I use the app. And I think this really shows that StarHub is in the business of listening to its customers and helping them improve their lives. It actually makes more ‘cents’ for telcos to NOT show us how much data we’ve used, and only send us the bill once a month to tell us to pay up. With this app, I can track my data usage every day if I so desire, and if I do still exceed the 6GB limit, and end up paying for the excess, well I have only myself to blame.πŸ˜‰ [PokemonGo users should really appreciate the knowledge of how much data they’ve consumed each day in search of Snorlax and what-have-you]

(2) Rewards Redemption

StarHub Rewards

I do not know how many thousands of points people have forfeited (yes, those points expire!) simply because they don’t bother redeeming them. If you have many contracts with StarHub, you might have a lot of points. Go check! I know of someone who regularly exchanges his points for Gold Class movie vouchers. As for me, I don’t spend that much with StarHub so what I’ve gotten is enough for a few S$5 vouchers for places like BreadTalk, bill rebates, etc.

And I love how StarHub allows us to exchange our points by gifting to charity. For instance, you can use your points to send a family of 4 to the movies. I think that would be an awesome gesture to spread some love to underprivileged households this upcoming Christmas season.πŸ™‚

(3) Checking When You Can Recontract

StarHub recontract

My actual recontract eligibilityπŸ™‚

If you’ve ever tried to dial a telco’s hotline, you know that the wait to speak to someone can be a really, and I mean REALLY, long one.

Wouldn’t it be great if you can simply click on the app and see (immediately) how far you are into your current mobile contract and when you can recontract and get a new phone? And oh, I switched from SingTel to StarHub as the latter gives me vouchers when recontracting so I pay less for my new phone. I think M1 does that too. SingTel… maybe they do now, I’m not sure. But I was a SingTel user throughout my school days and much of my working life, so I guess they’ve earned a fair bit from me alreadyπŸ˜›

And if you’ve been tracking your data usage (and it is LOW) and your contract is up, perhaps you want to save some money by switching to a lower-priced plan.πŸ™‚ That hasn’t happened to me yet. I just keep on adding more data allowance (@_@) I thought 4GB would do, then I exceeded that regularly… and so now it’s 6GB *fingers crossed*

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So there you go… my reasons for downloading and loving this app from StarHub. It has no fancy bells or whistles, but it gives you just about everything you need. I do like dealing with businesses with ‘conscience’. Hard to describe what that means but… it’s the knowing that yes, they are earning my money from the services they provide, but they also do want to help me avoid over-spending. Also, in their own quiet ways, encouraging me to do my part for charity. Hey, if your StarHub points are going to waste anyway since you cannot be bothered to redeem them regularly, why not send some folks to the movies? I heard there are a couple of good movies recently. Dr Strange is one, and Lulu supposedly is pretty hilarious.πŸ™‚

Sakana at Waterway Point: Order the Salmon Sashimi Don and DESSERT!

Sakana Waterway Point

Since Sakana opened at Waterway Point, I’ve always wanted to visit. It looks like the kind of Japanese restaurant I’d enjoy dining at. Having visited twice in less than a week, yup, I was right. You’d hardly think that a Japanese restaurant would serve good dessert with toast but they do!πŸ™‚ And in this post, I’ll share with you what to order when you’re at Sakana…

Sakana Waterway Point

If you have a sweet tooth, definitely order the Mango Shibuya Toast. And even if you’re feeling greedy / hungry, don’t get one for yourself. It’s for sharing! If you’ve had a full meal with friends or family, just order one to share among 3 or 4 pax.

Sakana Mango Shibuya Toast

If you don’t like overly sweet dessert and you’re a fan of matcha, then go for the Matcha Shibuya Toast. The restaurant is too generous with the red beans.πŸ˜€

Sakana Matcha Shibuya Toast

As for the mains, I highly recommend the Salmon Sashimi Don. Firstly, it’s so pretty! We ‘feast’ first with our eyes, don’t we? There’s another Japanese – Western fusion restaurant nearby that served up a really ugly sashimi don for me previously and I just had to send the restaurant some feedback. Here, taste-wise, it’s good too, and that wasabi packs a punch, in case you are wondering why it’s just one small dollop. You might feel your eyes beginning to water and your nose tingle if you eat too much of this wasabi at once. (@_@)

Sakana Salmon Sashimi Don and Lychee Zing

And the drink behind the bowl? That’s their Lychee Zing which my pal ordered. Served with a umbrella and a syringe. Apparently, there’s some kind of syrup within the syringe and you’re supposed to ‘inject’ it into the drink. When she’d picked up the syringe, one of Sakana’s male staff hurried over and tried to stop her – apparently you’re supposed to keep the syringe ‘underwater’ before you release the syrup. Otherwise it’ll squirt all over you. The staff told us that unfortunately happened to another customer recently. Hmm. I wonder why the person who served the drink didn’t warn us.

Anyway, here’s the salmon sashimi don I ordered on another occasion. It’s equally pretty. I like when standards are consistent.πŸ™‚

Sakana Salmon Sashimi Don

My sis ordered their hotplate beef cubes, which came with rice and miso soup. I thought it was rather odd that there were fries too. Let’s just say this isn’t a low carb meal. So if you’re on a diet, well, order something else. The beef could do with a bit more seasoning and truth be told, ordering beef in a restaurant called Sakana (which means ‘fish’ in Japanese) is not exactly the smartest decision. Haha! Order their fish!!!

Sakana Hotplate Beef Cubes

If you’re going to have a meal at Sakana and you already have set your eyes on having dessert there too, then maybe you might want to give the drinks a miss as they look like they have quite a few calories in there too.

My skinny pal ordered the Hojicha Caramel Macchiato, and well he should since he’s skinny and can handle the extra calories.πŸ˜€ Look at that whipped creamπŸ˜€

Sakana Hojicha Caramel Macchiato

And this is their Matcha Azuki Shiratama Latte. It doesn’t look like it’s for one person.

Sakana Matcha Azuki Shiratama Latte

I’m just a little disappointed that the restaurant doesn’t serve (free) water. You can purchase bottled water from them. The desserts are sweet, the drinks are sweet, and without water, it can seem a little overwhelming. Hence, I skip the drinks when I dine here. Maybe the restaurant can earn some money by charging for water, but perhaps they’d earn more if people order these drinks knowing that they can ask for some free iced water when it gets too sweet for their tastebuds. *shrug*

That said, I know I’ll be back for their Salmon Sashimi Don and Mango Shibuya Toast. There’s this pretty cool tea time promotion for the dessert and drinks so anyone who heads there with me can have the drink on my behalf!πŸ˜€

Sakana is located at #01-25 of Waterway Point.

Book Review: The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell

The Christmas Guest by Daisy Bell

I think animal lovers will absolutely adore this book. And while it *might* look more suitable for children, adults will enjoy it too. I even shed tears reading this book, testimony to the good writing. The author, Daisy Bell, writes from the perspective of a young golden retriever puppy first named (an unfortunate) ‘Mr Snuffles’ and then ‘Teddy’.

The puppy ran away from its first set of owners. At that time, he’d been more of a ‘show’ puppy, for stuffing into handbags while his female owner had tea with her girlfriends. Their home, while grand, lacked the warmth of a real home.

That’s how he found himself on the doorstep of a family who came to love him like a family member. It was not all rosy at the start – what with the pup digging up the flowerbed, to taking the blame for what the old family cat had done. Eventually, things took a turn for the better, and you should read the book to find out what happened *wink*

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This book is a really good read – you might complete it in one sitting.πŸ™‚ If you have a child who loves dogs (especially golden retrievers, like I do), this book is great for teaching things like these:

  1. That horridly glum neighbor might be enduring pains you know nothing about. So don’t judge.
  2. That same neighbor might be the answer to your prayers. So be kind.
  3. A pet is for life, just like a baby. So be responsible.

Alps Cafe: Good Food, Drinks And FREE KTV!

Alps Cafe

Located along Prinsep Street is a ‘bistro and tapas bar’ called Alps Cafe. It’s one of those ‘hidden gems’ for KTV that I wouldn’t know about if my friends don’t bring me there. And apparently, it’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this year! The main draws: good food and drinks, darts bar and FREE karaoke! And oh, if you watch football, there’s live EPL entertainment too!πŸ™‚

The boss of Alps Cafe also runs a Japanese restaurant at Mohamed Sultan Road and a number of stalls in foodcourts. Alps Cafe thus has Japanese food items on their menu – I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you visit. *wink* The place looks ‘cosy’ from outside, among a row of shophouses, but when you walk right in you’ll realize it’s a good size for a bar: there’s alfresco dining right after the entrance, followed by a darts bar in the middle where you can also watch football, get drinks and sit around the tables, and then there’s the section at the end where patrons have food, drinks, and indulge in an open karaoke session (each table gets two songs at each turn).

Alps Cafe Karaoke

Located among other shophouses is Alps Cafe!πŸ™‚

Alps Cafe Darts Bar

Seating area on the left where you can wait for your turn while other patrons play a game of darts!

Alps Cafe Prinsep Street

Tip: Head to Alps Cafe before the crowd arrives every evening and you can indulge in a karaoke marathon!πŸ˜€

When I visit a place for the first time, I’m happy to let my (experienced) pals order the food, or I’ll ask the staff for their top recommendations. My pal said the Chicken Rollato ($25) is his favorite at Alps Cafe but alas, it wasn’t available when we visited. He therefore ordered their chicken chop and I asked for recommendations for the rest of the items we ordered. I asked Jess, who works there, what she’d recommend if I’m going for a pizza (preferably Hawaiian), and she recommended a half-and-half pizza with Smoked Duck and Bacon & Egg. I thought it was a great idea, except I really wanted a Hawaiian pizza so I decided to swap the smoked duck for it. Haha!

Alps Cafe Chicken Chop

My pal’s order of chicken chopπŸ™‚

Also, Jess recommended Fish Fingers which was NOT on the menu (yay!) and it tasted really good – eat it immediately when it’s served. I love how it doesn’t taste oily at all, and just the sweet chili sauce dip is enough to complement the crispy-outside-tender-inside ‘fish fingers’. Actually, all of us thought it might be calamari when it was served. But it was fish, no doubt.πŸ˜€

Alps Cafe Fish Fingers

A portion of pizza… and the fish fingers!

I thought the Stuffed Mushrooms ($14) were delightful, mainly because there was so much cheese on top – melted cheese as well as cheese sprinkled on top. I could have eaten all 8 of them myself!

Alps Cafe Stuffed Mushrooms

As for the drinks, I went with Jess’ recommendation of a fruity iced tea (which I loved) and I also picked Lychee Martini. The Lychee Martini at Alps Cafe comes with two lychees and tastes quite ‘strong’ – alcohol lovers (especially ladies) will like this one!

Alps Cafe Lychee Martini

As the pizza and bar bites were delicious, with our appetites whet, we decided to share a final course of seafood aglio olio ($20) – 3 mussels, 3 prawns, and pasta with a generous amount of chili padi that’s not for the faint-hearted. Yum! It’s definitely worth ordering again.

Alps Cafe Seafood Aglio Olio

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The next time I visit, I’ll try the Japanese food on their menu. There are 20 items including ones like Grilled Stingray Fin ($15) and Grilled Puffer Fish ($18). If you’ve tried these, drop me a note and let me know!

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I enjoyed the dining + singing experience at Alps Cafe as it’s so different from your regular karaoke hangout in which you pay for a certain number of hours and then try to sing as much as you can before the time is up. At Alps Cafe, you can stay till they close and sing your heart out each time it’s your turn (if you head there early in the evening, you might get the entire place to yourself!). And the food is good so you’ll likely have dinner there too!

As I’m an absolute newbie when it comes to darts, I was quite happy to pick some darts out of a box for some free dart ‘practice’. If you do pay, you’ll get your scores tallied on the screen above so go ahead and challenge a friend!πŸ˜€

FYI, Alps Cafe is open daily from 5pm to 1am on weekdays but on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays, it’s open till 3am! Time to jio your KTV kakis for a fun night out with good food and drinks assured!

You can also book the venue for events like birthdays, gatherings, and other celebrationsπŸ™‚

Address: 38 Prinsep Street

Tel: 6333 9068

Book Review: A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen

A Street Cat Named Bob

There’s no other word to describe this book besides ‘heartwarming’. James Bowen had been addicted to heroin, had lived on the streets, was estranged from his family and in his own words, been “selfish” (had not needed to care about anyone else apart from himself). Then this street cat appeared in his block. And in nursing ‘Bob’ to health, James found healing for his own physical and emotional ailments. Life with Bob was better and also worse, as Bob was an asset when it came to James’ busking (this ginger cat is an amazing crowd-puller) however there were people who got green-eyed or simply didn’t like the duo and tried to (in Singaporean terms) ‘sabo‘ them. With a series of best-selling books, plus a movie, I think James and Bob are set for life. Hopefully James never finds himself ensnared by drugs again, and may Bob have more than ‘nine’ lives so he can keep on being a wonderful pal for James!πŸ™‚

Watch this:

One thing which struck me when reading this book was how us busy ‘city people’ would not have given a dirty, ill street cat the time of day. It would just not register on our radar at all. But for James who was recovering from his drug addiction, he didn’t just see the animal’s ‘brokenness’, he thought it reflected his own. Some people might say that he is using the animal to make money, but cats being cats, Bob is unlikely to be so affectionate towards James if the two didn’t share a bond that strangers don’t know about.

It’s hard enough to get a cat to walk towards you for a pat. Try getting one to stay around your shoulders. I do think Bob was sent by the divine just for James. And I cannot be happier for how their lives have turned around! I want to watch the movie!!!

On another note, it would probably have been so, so different for James if his parents had stayed together. James isn’t from a poor family. Quite the opposite instead! But the divorce, and teenage angst (I think), plus the frequent moving and switching of schools (and the bullying) ended in James finding himself on the streets.

Now, with more than half a million fans on Facebook, a series of books, and a film, James is clearly bent on sending a message of hope to not just the readers and the moviegoers, but those who are plying their trade on the streets – never give up!

~

Definitely read this book if you are in need of an inspiring TRUE story. Also, get this book as a Christmas gift for someone who loves cats. I know who my copy is going to.πŸ™‚

Also, here’s the movie trailer!!!πŸ˜€

 

Tuk Tuk Cha Replaces Squeezed! At Waterway Point

Tuk Tuk Cha Waterway Point

Last week, I walked past what was originally the Squeezed! outlet at Waterway Point to find that it had been boarded up and soon Tuk Tuk Cha will take its place. I remember ordering many cups of juice from Squeezed some 7 months ago as they were running a promotion on Groupon. When the promotion ended, it seemed like the crowd stopped visiting too. And now they’ve been replaced by Tuk Tuk Cha. The latter seems to be expanding pretty fast all over Singapore. I’m not sure if they have done their homework or are super confident that they’ll be able to compete with Koi which is located just a few metres away and which almost always has a queue…

Koi Waterway Point

Why Squeezed!’s Closing Matters:

  1. Squeezed left before a year is up. Does Waterway Point’s management allow for flexible lease arrangements? Or did Squeezed simply decide to cut losses and leave?
  2. It’s not about the cost. Cold-pressed juices are expensive? Not really, if you compare them with some of Koi’s beverages – I’m fond of Yakult Green Tea with konjac jelly, by the way. A large cup costs me around S$6. So it’s not really about the money. Taste-wise, about 5 of Squeezed’s creations have my vote but somehow I never felt like returning after their Groupon promo was over.
  3. Promotions must be on an ongoing basis. I think one reason Waterway Point is so popular is because of the many promotions that they run all the time. There’s always something fun for people to visit the mall: movie ticket giveaways, children and family activities, lots of atrium fairs, etc. Squeezed did their opening promo and Groupon promo and that was it, I guess. And when deciding whether to get bubble tea from Koi (which is busy most of the time) or to get juice from Squeezed (which doesn’t usually have a queue), it seems people gravitate to queues. Call it social proof if you will. I think people want to have what everyone else is having too.

And besides, at Waterway Point’s Basement 2 you’ll find a fruit juice stall as well as another one that sells mainly coconut water. And oh… there’s GongCha too! Spoiled for choice are us Punggolians. I’m waiting to see how Tuk Tuk Cha will fare…πŸ˜‰