Month: January 2013

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The Downtown Grocery in Vermont – great meal, great time


I haven’t had that much fun in a restaurant in a long time! The Downtown Grocery Vermont is a ski town during this season, and when I called on Thursday night for weekend reservations, I was surprised that it was already fully booked for Saturday. Fortunately for us, they had a Friday slot available at 745pm. My sister and I arrived early as we were hoping to turn in a little earlier that night, and although we were a little apprehensive about getting seated at the bar because our table was not yet ready, man did we get lucky!

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Best Cookbooks of 2012


I am a cookbook junkie. I have an entire bookcase of cookbooks and food related non-fiction titles. And I have been trying to wean myself from this addiction. Unfortunately, in 2012 there were so many exciting new cookbooks introduced that I couldn’t resist. After reading about so many in my “go-to” food magazines, websites and blogs, I narrowed it down to the top six cookbooks of 2012. These were the most recommended, most blogged about, most inspiring cookbooks of 2012 – and I acquired them all. I simply couldn’t resist and I am glad I didn’t because now I am experimenting with all sorts of cuisines I love but had previously rarely made at home.

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Rice Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

mac and cheese

This is not gourmet macaroni and cheese. This is not mac and cheese with a crunchy breadcrumb topping, made from a roux base, and garnished with crispy deep-fried sage leaves and shaved white truffles (although I have a weak spot for this deluxe version). This is mac and cheese, where a rice cooker does all the work for you; and with a little light stirring, the result is a comforting, kid and baby-friendly meal in just 30 minutes.

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Pistola delivers fusion Asian-Mexican fast food that satisfies in Singapore


By now, almost every food-lover (and drinker) knows Min Chan. The owner of Club Street Social has appeared in The Straits Times countless times since opening her cute lil’ bar and bistro on Gemmill Lane. Fans of this feisty food entrepreneur will be excited to know that Min’s latest venture, Pistola, is now open. And, I’m happy to report, that the Asian-Mexican fare at this tiny little QSR is innovative, awesome and addictive.

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Tsujiri brings its awesome Japanese sweets to Singapore


In the Kyoto guide that I created back in 2009, I wrote about an über-popular dessert cafe called Tsujiri. Tsujiri, founded in 1860, is especially famous for its green tea desserts and cold drinks. The branch that I visited in Kyoto is so popular the waiting time is usually a minimum of 30-40 minutes. But now, thankfully, I neither need to fly to Japan nor queue up for a green tea parfait. Tsujiri has opened a branch in Singapore, located in the 100AM shopping centre on Tras Street.

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The addictive soft pretzel roll

alton brown soft pretzel roll

A couple of years ago, after finishing an exhibition set-up at Marina Bay Sands, my friend M and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner. We dragged our tired souls to DB Bistro Moderne. While we waited for our appetizers, we were presented with the bread basket. The first piece of bread that I chose was this dark oblong roll. The moment I bit into it, my brain screamed “pretzel”. The bread was warm, chewy and savoury. It was delicious on its own and you don’t even need any butter.

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Have you tried the awesome pastries at Overdoughs?

overdoughs cashew and chocolate baklava

Just last week I wrote about some delicious, limited edition bakkwa I had tasted, made from free-range pigs. Perfect for gifting to loved ones during the upcoming Chinese New Year period. This week, I want to share with you what I feel are the perfect snacks to serve family and friends when they come-a-visiting. Personally, I’m not a fan of the usual CNY snack fare. Too much of it is just bad for you or poorly made (as my wife S likes to say about such things, “wasted calories”). This year, I want to serve something artisanal and addictive, something special that’s been made with love and passion. And I believe I have found it: the baklava from Overdoughs

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Pantry Basics: Thai basil laksa leaf pesto


I make this Thai basil laksa leaf pesto in large batches when we have to prune our Thai basil and laksa leaf (Vietnamese mint) plants. It doesn’t contain any cheese, but the fish sauce (I like Red Boat) provides the umami kick that you’d otherwise get from the parmesan in a traditional pesto. I store some in the fridge and freeze the rest so that there’s always some close at hand.

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Happy pigs make the best bakkwa


It’s no secret I love pig products. Gimme a well-cooked piece of pork and I’m a happy camper. So, I was both thrilled and intrigued to receive a little Christmas gift from SuperNature, the organic store that my wife S enjoys shopping at, and does a bit of work for. Thrilled because the little package contained bakkwa (Chinese barbecued pork that is kind of like jerky), which I always enjoy, and intrigued because SuperNature–known to promote healthy foods–was the last place I would have imagined getting bakkwa from.