Toys”R”Us Is Finally Coming To Waterway Point :)

Waterway Point ToysRus

The unit opposite Pizza Hut at Waterway Point has been vacant since the mall first opened its doors to the public last year in January. But the hoarding has been done so well that I think many shoppers didn’t even realize there’s an empty unit there! πŸ˜€ Now the hoarding is in bright red, announcing the arrival of Toys”R”Us. I think Toys”R”Us will do well here as there are lots of kids living in this neighborhood. And I think there’ll be spillover benefits for PizzaHut as well – kids can have a whale of a time in Toys”R”Us while tired parents can sink into seats next door and enjoy a pizza (you know you deserve it).

I never knew how awesome Toys”R”Us is for parents, until I got to hang out with friends who have young kids. The kids get to play with all the toys in-store (I wonder how many get damaged this way) while the parents get to chill for a while without fearing that their children will run towards escalators, for instance.

And oh… I noticed that a magazine store got replaced by a florist. And isn’t it amazing how the space under the escalator can actually be shop space that brings in rent for the mall? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Waterway Point ToysRus

And while I’ve been a customer at just about every store in Waterway Point, there’s one I only got to try recently. I guess I’ve been avoiding it since they sell mainly deep-fried stuff. πŸ˜€ This time, we caved in.

Waterway Point i love taimei

The mushrooms are good – have a bite and you get whisked back to the night markets in Taiwan. And the smell of those fried mushrooms ($4) – OMG – you don’t want to be in the same lift as someone carrying those, or else your stomach might start growling. The tofu fries are simply a novelty item (fewer calories, maybe, but not that great value for money). The extra crispy chicken (at $4.90) is worth a try but share it with someone or else you’ll feel like you should go for a jog along the waterway in other to burn it all off.

i love taimei waterway point

I Love Taimei is at B1-K5 of Waterway Point, not too far from Koi bubble tea πŸ™‚

Do visit Waterway Point if you haven’t already done so! πŸ™‚

CNY Floral Arrangement at Bright Hill Evergreen Home

Bright Hill Evergreen Home

When a local florist contacted me regarding a sponsored Chinese New Year flower display, I asked that they donate it to the less privileged and spread the festive cheer. They then outdid themselves when they invited me to a floral arrangement workshop they organized at Bright Hill Evergreen Home which is within my neighborhood. Interestingly, I’ve gone past the home before, but didn’t know it’s a nursing home. I thought it was simply a foreign workers’ dormitory located just next to a Chinese temple. And even though I was (and still am) greatly hampered by my inability to speak dialects, I truly relished the opportunity of spending an afternoon with some elderly folks who like floral arrangements.

Channel NewsAsia did a documentary about nursing homes not too long ago, and television host Anita Kapoor spent two weeks living in a home. She described it as being as if you were “in a hospital for the rest of your life”. While Bright Hill Evergreen Home appears to be a well-run home, I’m sure it’s still tough as long as you aren’t staying with family and if you don’t get frequent visits from family members. I hope the flowers, and the company of the volunteers, brought the elderly folks some joy that day.

Here, I help hold up the spongy base that had been pre-soaked in water while one of the elderly residents puts a rubber band around the wrapping paper to hold it in place:Bright Hill Evergreen Home punggol

The company was also very generous in sponsoring fresh flowers and other leafy plants so the elderly could put together their very own floral arrangements:

Chinese New Year Floral Arrangement

Aren’t they simply gorgeous? πŸ™‚

floral arrangement class

Floral Arrangement workshop

While I did not spend two weeks in a nursing home, what little time I spent there had me decide that being old and living in a home other than my own is not much fun at all. So, whenever possible, I hope to spread more cheer to those who are without family… and perhaps I might be able to pick up some dialect after all. πŸ™‚Bright Hill Evergreen nursing home

Many thanks to Floral Garage Singapore for sharing the joy with the elderly at Bright Hill Evergreen Home and to Hearted Moments for the lovely pictures.

$9.90 Sirloin Steak Set Lunch at Jack’s Place

jacks place promotion

I’m not sure about you, but I think $9.90 for a sirloin steak set lunch is a steal. And the set lunch comes with a Soup of the Day, wholemeal garlic bread, Dessert of the Day and coffee/tea. I think I’ll be eating steak a few times this month at Jack’s Place. πŸ˜€ And if you don’t fancy steak, how about a FREE Cheese Fondue Sampler Platter* (worth $16) with any main course / set lunch? (*If you have one of their mailers)

Just $9.90 before service charge and GST…

jacks place set lunch

Previously there was a Grilled Chicken set lunch, and after the Sirloin Steak one, it’ll be the Fish Fillet set. But I do still think that the steak offers the best value-for-money. πŸ™‚

As for the *Free* cheese fondue, I was surprised at the portion size. It was a yummy starter for us. It has portobello mushrooms, which you can dip in their very generous serving of nacho cheese. And there are onion rings, which I thought were calamari at first glance. And what I liked most were those chicken mid wings, which were well marinated so they are tasty throughout. Did not find the salad appealing but thought the fried crabsticks were interesting – not your usual addition to such platters.

jacks place singapore menu

As my fussier half prefers combos, he went for a steak and fish combo. And the staff at Jack’s Place are so nice – they come over with the condiments so you can decide how much goes onto your baked potato.

Thumbs up for the service πŸ™‚

jacks place halal

Also enjoyable were the soups and garlic bread. Soup of the Day today was cream of broccoli. It had some shredded crabstick on top. I’m not sure why Jack’s Place likes using crabstick in their food. πŸ˜€ But I have no complaints.

jacks place review

The Dessert of the Day was a slice of their fruit pie. I didn’t want us both to have pie since we’d always share our food. So I upgraded my dessert to Mango Pomelo Udders Ice Cream. πŸ™‚

jacks place cake

I was very impressed by the staff at Jack’s Place, SAFRA Punggol. Besides being friendly, I thought I saw the manager mopping the floor before the restaurant opened at 11am today (I’d popped in to check if they were ready as the sign still read ‘CLOSED’ outside). Their part-timer, a mother with a 30+-year-old son, was friendly and had a full face of makeup on, which I found made her look very presentable (I don’t usually see part-timers looking so good in F&B joints). And when staff emerged from the kitchen to serve us our food, we smelled cologne instead of ‘oil’.

If I had to offer recommendations for improvement, it’ll be to ensure there are no vegetable ends served. I found the sharp spiky end of a french bean on my plate, and also a small piece of spring onion on the dessert spoon that came with my udders ice cream. Spring onion ice cream might be a new flavor. Somebody tell Udders now! πŸ˜€

The $9.90 Sirloin Steak set lunch can only be enjoyed this month. Come February, it’ll be Fish Fillet. So pop by Mondays to Fridays and dine in to enjoy this offer. Apparently, there are only 50 sets per day so you don’t want to be the last in store. πŸ™‚ *Not available on eves of/and on Public Holidays!

Head over to SAFRA Punggol to enjoy everything listed here. πŸ™‚

*Present your SAFRA card for 10% off regular priced items on the menu.

Oblong: Ice Cream Cafe at Serangoon Gardens

Oblong Ice Cream

Cream cheese between waffle layers? Jackfruit ice cream with actual jackfruit bits? Rum-and-raisin ice cream that seems like it has actual alcoholic content?Β Yup. That’s what we had at Oblong Ice Cream cafe at Serangoon Gardens. If you’re craving for some waffles, brownies or ice cream, this is one cafe I’d recommend.

The first thing I saw when I stepped into the cafe was their brownies sitting pretty in a cake stand. I asked if they served the brownies warm (the staff said they can heat it up for me) and my mind was set. My pals ordered the waffle… and here’s their kiddo trying to telepathically communicate his desire to have some of that ice cream:

πŸ˜€

Waffles Serangoon Gardens

And you don’t say ‘no’ to those eyes.

Apparently, the mao shan wang and chocolate ice cream here is good (according to my pals). I went instead for the jackfruit and rum&raisin – both of which we’d sampled before deciding on what flavors to order…

Oblong Serangoon Gardens

The brownie is moist and tastes good when served warm. It’s not the sticky or chunky kind, which some people may like. It’s more like a light, sponge cake that’s not overly chocolate-y. The kind that won’t give you a sore throat too quickly. A good size for sharing too.

As a couple, I like to have us pick one ice cream flavor each when we’re out for dessert (that’s fair, no?) and this time, he went for rum&raisin (didn’t tell me why till later) and I thought jackfruit was such a ‘rare’ flavor for ice cream that I just had to order it at least once.

Apparently, the rum is pretty strong. I wonder if this ice cream can even be fed to kids. Adults will no doubt have a kick from eating this. Yumz. Yes, that’s why he wanted this flavor.

I like how there are the chewy bits of jackfruit in the ice cream and how it’s a fuss-free way to savor jackfruit. If you’ve eaten the fruit before (using your hands), you know it leaves a kind of sticky sap(?) on your fingers that goes away only with multiple washes. And oh… you get jackfruit breath after, too. πŸ˜€

Also, stalk Oblong on Instagram and you’ll find that some of the local radio DJs, Mediacorp artistes and famous Youtubers have been to Oblong for some “waffle lovin'” as they call it. πŸ™‚

Oblong is @ 10 Maju Avenue, Serangoon Gardens.

NEX: Auspicious Cupcakes, 18-Herb Bak Kwa & Ltd Edn Champagne

Twelve Cupcakes Singapore

Image Credit: Twelve Cupcakes SG

If you didn’t get enough of Twelve Cupcakes during their recent S$2 promotion (I sure didn’t), then look out for the auspicious-looking ones this Lunar New Year. The mandarin orange-lookalike has got my vote for being most creative. And I’m sure the taste will be pretty good, as always. Near my home is NEX where they don’t just have cupcakes, but also bak kwa and Ernest Rapeneau Limited Edition Champagne.

nex mall

I sure didn’t know that Fragrance’s bak kwa has been marinated with 18 Chinese herbs. (Thanks, NEX) That’s A LOT. And I guess everyone has their favorite bak kwa brand. I did a taste test of several brands one year… [ find out which is the best bak kwa here ]. I’m not about to do it again because it’s just wayyyy too many calories and the prices have likely already shot up. πŸ˜‰

Anyway… about the cupcakes, if you’re *not* getting the CNY ones, I’d recommend you go for the ones with brownie cubes on top. Because you get cupcake + brownie for the price of one. πŸ˜€

Twelve Cupcakes Brownie Cupcakes

*I just wanted to do a post about their awesome cupcakes. πŸ˜€ I hope the brand continues doing well even though the founders have split.

New Year, New Linen: Linen House Singapore

My favorite 'brands' from Australia :)

My favorite ‘brands’ from Australia πŸ™‚

While I’m a foodie who likes uncovering new makan places in Singapore, I’m also a ‘homebody’ most of the time and I love changing up the decorative elements at home. After all, home is where we spend lots of time with our loved ones, and we have to ensure it’s not just cosy and inviting but also allows for creativity and inspiration. A lovely little surprise arrived in the post this week from the fantastic crew at Linen House Singapore. It contained a paw novelty cushion, a madeleine cushion as well as a colorful, round towel.

Paw Cushion

In this picture above, you see theΒ paw novelty cushion which is almost as big asΒ kitty – how cute is this? Not only does it add some real character to my living space (it would also be perfect for a kid’s bedroom), it’s so soft and perfect for leaning up against – does anyone else ever get a really sore back leaning up against a hard-backed chair for too long?

Speaking of adding life to a living space, the madeleine cushion adds so much character to any area. I love the soft cotton knit, the color combination and the cute pom-pom corners.

Linen House Singapore

Always be hungry for knowledge πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

My last little gift from the team at Linen House Singapore was a round towel. I just love how this isn’t just your average, boring, ordinary towel – it’s definitely a statement towel thanks to its wonderful array of colours and its crisp, white-fringed edging. What I love about this towel is that it becomes a real talking point for any guests you have over. People definitely notice the bold colours and their geometric form.

Because it’s been raining almost every single day here, I have no plans to bring it to the beach yet so it’s now the living room “carpet” at home. But I just might take it with me to my next beach vacation. Woohoo!

I can’t wait to see what else Linen House Singapore has to offer. I’ve already had a quick browse and I think many will love their duvet covers and bed sheet range. If you’re looking for a few items to give your home or office an instant lift, look no further than Linen House Singapore. (*I really do appreciate how they include a piece of cardboard on top of their products when they’re packing them into the box, so that you won’t end up ‘cutting’ the products accidentally when you’re opening the box with a penknife, as the cardboard acts as a protective layer. Much love.)

Spring-Cleaning? Donate Your Pre-loved Books to Dignity Mama

dignity mama

Credit: Dignity Mama

A former student of mine is doing volunteer work at Dignity Mama, a social enterprise which helps kids with special needs, and he reached out to me to help spread the word regarding the good work that Dignity Mama does. And since many households are doing their spring-cleaning ahead of the Lunar New Year, I believe it’s a great time to round up those books we have lying around at home collecting dust, and give them a new lease of life while helping the less privileged.

Your donated books will be sold at the Dignity Mama stalls manned by youths with special needs. My pal volunteers atΒ the outlet in Ng Teng Fong Hospital and this stall sells used books and muffins. So do pop by if you live or work near the hospital and send them some love in the form of your used books, donations, or purchases of their muffins. πŸ™‚ The outlet is located at Tower A of the NTFGH Clinics, at #02-10.

Opening Hours:

Mon to Fri 10am to 9pm

Sat 10am to 6pm

*They are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

~

Some background about how Dignity Mama started:

DIGNITY MAMA is a second-hand book store started inΒ 2010 inside Dignity Kitchen by Mr Koh Seng Choon, founder of Project Dignity Pte Ltd. It aims to equip challenged young people and their parents with entrepreneurial skills to run and manage a stall within the public domain.

Their mission is:

β€œTo build and return dignity to the disadvantaged and disabled through vocation with passion.”

The first outlet was a pushcart at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. This was followed by a stall at National University Hospital. The third outlet is at Ng Teng Fong Hospital.

All donated books are sorted and priced reasonably for sale to generate income.

So, instead of throwing away your used books, why not donate them to Dignity Mama? πŸ™‚ And while you’re at it, you may even find some pre-loved books at low prices that you’ll want to bring home.

For more information, please visit http://www.dignitymama.sg.

 

Flame Cafe: The One Famous For Its 4-Tier Steamboat

the flame cafe tai seng

Did you know that The Flame Cafe at Tai Seng is famous for its 4-tier pagoda steamboat? Well, I found out only after getting there and spotting the folks at another table and their legendary steamboat setup (really WOW). Meanwhile, we tried the mains and dessert at Flame and here’s a quick review so you know what to order when you’re there. πŸ™‚

In the first picture above, you see the Salmon I ordered. It’s about 2cm thick with miso slathered on top. Quite nice. Would be better if the flavors had been infused into the fish as it tastes a little bland if you remove the salmon skin first. The roast potatoes were good, as they should be.

As for the Chili Crab Pasta, I think it looked a little sad…

the flame cafe singapore

Using the same ingredients, a different presentation would have wow-ed. Maybe serve it on a platter, like a deconstructed version of this dish. Pasta twirled in one corner, poached egg in the middle and chili crab sauce in a little jug. And IF one whole crab claw (deshelled or otherwise) is served together with the dish, I guess I’d be willing to pay more. This costs $13.90 before service charge. πŸ™‚

We also tried the Sambal Escargots. Nice mix of portobello mushrooms and escargots – the colors turned out rather similar so it was hard to tell which was which. I would order it again.

 the flame cafe singapore menu

Sneaked a pic of the folks with their pagoda steamboats:

flame cafe steamboat

I need to round up some friends before coming here again for steamboat. πŸ™‚

Love the decor, especially those industrial style chairs and interesting feature walls that must be a pain to dust. The cafe is big and airy. I also like how thoughtful the staff are. As much as possible, they leave alternate tables empty so you get all the privacy you need, until more customers stream in.

flame cafe tai seng

As for the dessert, I felt it was a letdown both in presentation and taste. Here’s the Waffle For One…

flame cafe singapore review

It looked like someone had torn a whole waffle into 4 quarters, using his/her bare hands. Yikes! Quite shocking, I have to say. I’ve seen mini waffles before, and those were served whole (at other establishments), and not torn apart like this one. The taste left more to be desired as well, but for $4.90 I guess I shouldn’t complain.

The Chocolate Lava Cake ($8.90) was a little flat – half the height of usual lava cakes. But since the chocolate flows out, nothing else matters. πŸ™‚

the flame cafe review

There are a couple of promotions you might want to take note of if you’re heading over to The Flame Cafe. We used a Groupon voucher for this meal so we had the ala carte items.

the flame cafe menu

the flame cafe promotion

Here’s the address and opening hours:

the flame cafe address

Vegan Fast Food @ nomVnom & Christmas @ Botanic Gardens

nomvnom menu

A Malaysian pal was in town recently and I brought him to try vegan fast food at Clarke Quay. At Central, which is linked to the Clarke Quay MRT station, is nomVnom which serves up decent meals – I don’t even mind that they’re vegan, which is rare. Then we went to the Botanic Gardens where I (happily) got to clock my 10K steps, equally rare these days too. πŸ˜€

In the picture above, you see my favorite nomVnom “burger” which features the blue pea flower. My pal told me that this flower can be found right outside his home. So he wasn’t inclined towards eating it here. πŸ˜€ It happens to be my favorite item there as the burger “buns” are actually potato patties, like hashbrowns. YUMMY!

nomvnom clarke quay

nomvnom promotion

I love their truffle fries and avocado smoothie too. I don’t usually order avocado smoothies as they usually come laced with gula melaka and I think it tastes horrible. But here at nomVnom, they use banana, coconut, etc to add to the otherwise bland taste of avocados.

There’s a promotion at nomVnom right now in which you can purchase their vouchers ($10 each) and get one free when you buy nine. Our meal for 3 cost just over S$50.

As for the Botanic Gardens, I love how there are so many Christmas trees there right now. The trees are decorated unlike your usual Christmas trees, some using very interesting materials, such as this one with roses made from plastic bags:

Plastic Bag Rose

And here’s a novel way to upcycle your (bubble tea) plastic cups and straws πŸ˜›

Plastic Cup decorations

And since my pal is a yoga master, I brought him to the famous Botanic Gardens gazebo and had him do some yoga poses while I snapped pictures for him. πŸ˜€

We also found a “new” attraction at the Botanic Gardens: this guy with his canine buddies. I think I counted nine of them. I suspect he’s a dog walker, because I cannot fathom having this number of dogs at home. OMG. Pretty cool occupation too, if he’s indeed a professional dog walker, since he getsΒ paid to exercise. πŸ™‚

botanic gardens dog walker

If you’ve enjoyed your Christmas feasting, maybe today’s a good time to head out and burn off some of those calories! πŸ˜€

Tamako Meal: Truly DELICIOUS Japanese Food @ Casuarina Road

Tamako Meal Saba Shio

Tamako Meal is located at Casuarina Road (if you haven’t heard of this road, I don’t blame you… it’s somewhere near the Lower Peirce Reservoir Park) and not that accessible unless you drive. But I’m quite sure it’s worth the journey there, especially since… wait for it… there’s a Groupon promotion going on right now (weekend groupons are sold out already!). This business was started by a Japanese grandmother and now her grandchild is running the show. I suspect standards haven’t dropped at all as I really enjoyed the meal here.

For starters, we had salmon sashimi (which came in thick slices) and saba shio as I love grilled saba fish. The saba fish served at Tamako Meal is seasoned just right, so you can even eat it on its own withoutΒ rice! I really do appreciate how there’s a pop of color on the saba fish platter: the red tomato, yellow lemon slice and a bit of green garnishing. It’s not atas Japanese dining, but more of the homely fare which I adore to bits.

I love salmon sashimi:

Tamako Meal review

As for the mains, I had the Una-Tama Don which, as you can probably tell, comes with unagi (yummy!) and egg. I love the mushrooms, sweet onions and peas too. It’s one dish which I can truly eat everyday without getting tired of…

Tamako Meal singapore

He ordered the Curry Udon, and I do approve of his choice. The noodles are really thin as you can see in the picture below, and the curry is the sweet Japanese sort. He was expecting something spicy like our local curries, but this one can be enjoyed without having to ask for a glass of cold water. πŸ˜€

Tamako Meal Casuarina

Besides free flow hot tea and free wifi, you can also get a small serving of this seaweed if you like Tamako Meal’s facebook page and check-in while you’re there (just let the staff know).

Tamako Meal groupon

The entire meal cost us just S$22.20 with a Groupon voucher ($20 for $40 worth of food). It’s such good value, especially when we didn’t have to pay full price. πŸ˜€

Pop by Mondays to Thursdays and you can enjoy these items at just $10 too.

Tamako Meal menu

I’m so tempted to buy another Groupon voucher and head back a second time but my wiser half tells me to avoid the ‘curse’ of the second visit – food usually tastes really good on the first visit, but strangely disappoints on the next. Oh well. Why don’t YOU go and give the food at Tamako Meal a try then. Let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. πŸ™‚

Tamako Meal is located at 128 Casuarina Road. Tel:Β 6553 4128.