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Monday, 22 September 2014

The Flirt Store - Online Shoes Shopping cum Concierge Delivery

Photosource: http://www.theflirtmobile.com/
So... I chanced upon The Flirt Store and checked out some of the shoes on its website. Note that I am not a fan of online shopping, despite the fact that technology has evolved greatly, and most people I know are already shopping from the comfort of their homes / offices / on the go.

One of the reasons that I demur from online shopping is that we are unable to try the items on for feel, look and most importantly, size. For full list of reasons on the why not, read on here.


Anyway, I decided to give The Flirt Store (claiming to supply "luxurious shoes") a try, since they offer concierge delivery service. As in, their concierge would bring the shoes personally to your place of convenience, let you try on them for sizes, design and comfort, before you decide if you want to get anything at all.

I selected three pairs (because another two pairs were either sold out, or did not have my size). I was a little displeased that they kept asking if I was a size 34 or 37, because they claimed I chose 37 - no way, not via email or phone correspondence such a mistake could have been possible.


The concierge guy was friendly and polite. So he took out a few pairs of shoes for me to try on. I had deliberately worn my comfortable Pazzion rhinestones-studded high-heeled slippers for ease of trying on shoes this day.


I tried on the first pair that I had selected - black and silver peep-toes high heels. It felt rather comfortable as I walked about a litte, and I had to admit it looked good on me (and with most of my black outfits).


Next, I tried on the electric blue,  satin-like peep-toe heels with rhinestone designs at the front. They felt rather all right as well, on the plush carpeted floors, and looked good. Plus, I have not owned a pair of shoes in this color before.


Finally, I slipped into the final pair I chose - black peep-toes heels with wavy lines and purple soles. It looked good, but was uncomfortable to walk in because of the wavy lines - I kept feeling like the shoes were going to come off.


I also tried on a pair of pink ones that I did not like. I did not ask what were in the other 4 boxes, since he brought 8 pairs of shoes along (different sizes of the same designs, perhaps?). I decided to take the first two pairs because they looked and felt quite good (though nothing like when you slip into a pair of Nine West's soft cushy heels), and because he'd come all the way to deliver the shoes.

He also promised that if the rhinestones dropped off or something we could always let them know and they would fix for us.


Payment could be made by credit online, but it was my first time ordering and I wasn't sure if anything would fit, I selected cash option. He also brought along a Nets machine, just in case we decided to buy more, or did not have enough cash on us.

While the concept was good, service was quite efficient and polite, and I did receive a nice percentile discount, I do have to write an honest review:-

(i) I finally worn the shoes officially a few days later. While still comfortable, I think they are seriously overpriced for the quality. They are like the kind we could get for $50.00 or less in , say, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc, and these shoes are MIC (not meant as discrimination, but let's all be practical).

Each pair costs between SGD$99.00 - SGD$119.00 but I believe that a large portion of the costs goes to the concierge service.

(ii) The soles were somewhat slippery, which plays down to its quality once more. I guess I could not make an informed decision because I was walking on plush carpeting the other day when trying.

(iii) I received many calls before the delivery, to confirm, and re-confirm my orders and meeting date. It was as though they were afraid I would not show up or anything. As mentioned, I also had to keep repeating my shoe size, despite having replied them via email (in black and white) that I am a 34. After the sale, there was no thank you email or text, which I felt was a small letdown - don't delivery services usually have these?

Let's see what is the lifespan of each pair of these shoes. I shall update again accordingly. For my current shoes regardless of brands (could be anything from Charles & Keith to the Aldo / Nine West range), all have a lifespan of about a year.

EDIT (four days later, my second time wearing it)

Note that the side (the silver grid) has already been torn off. Mind you - these heels are high, I don't wear them to dance or run or fight wars, neither have I stepped into any muddy puddles. Hence, conclusion - quality is very mediocre despite the prettiness and initial comfort of wearing these shoes. I wouldnt buy again, nor would I recommend my friends or colleagues to do so - no point paying 60% of the money for concierge service.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Dinner at Jewel Coffee Cafe & Bar @ Rangoon Road


129 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218407
Tel: 6298 9216


The Beau and I decided to go to Jewel Coffee for dinner this evening. We tried once, but parking was impossible, hence we headed elsewhere. Tonight we managed to find a lot nearby, hence Jewel Coffee it was!



The cafe itself was not big, but they managed to make it appear spacious with a huge table on one side and smaller ones at the other side. I like the deceptively rustic decor, and service was good even though we chose to dine outdoors.


Well, anyway there's level two (see above the "jewels" hanging on the ceilings). If not for my recent injury I would've made the climb up.


We browsed the menu and made our decisions rather quickly. Unlike other cafes where there's always a shelf of cakes and pastries for us to check out for potential desserts selection before actually reading the menus.


My Soy Mocha (SGD$6.50) came first - a large mug of chocolately, nutty, frothy delicacy with pretty foam art. The use of soy has always been one of my favorite perks, and my coffee was smoothened in flavor and texture.


Then my main course of Umami Prawn Capellini (SGD$23.00) was served. It consisted of capellini pasta, grilled prawns, crustacean oil topped with Umami "magic dust", fish roe and fish flakes. The coloring and ingredients looked really good but see the video before we proceed.

video

The dish was piping hot and there might have been a little breeze, thus fanning the very-thin fish flakes about - but the flakes were moving in a rather animated way (to quote the Beau), and to me there looked like live coral wriggling about on my plate. I was a little hesitant and wondered if I should eat it.

Anyway, I did after the very friendly Adrian himself that this was merely fish flakes moving in the wind, and that his grandmother used to tell it they were alive ...lol.  The pasta was tasty, infused with all the goodness of the flakes, roe and succulent grilled prawns. The flavor was a marriage of savoury and spiciness, texture enhanced by the crackling ingredients.


The Beau chose to have the Southern Fried Chicken (SGD$20.00), satiating his craving for junk food - crispy fried chicken marinated in milk and special spice mix, then deep fried; served with side salad and fries (we added another SGD$2.00) to upgrade to Truffle Fries.  The chicken was indeed crispy on the outside, and tender on the inside (because of the milk?), and the amazing thing was that this fried chicken dish was not greasy at all.

The truffle fries were so-so, merely crispy fries infused with truffle oil.


For desserts, we managed to share a Pan-Seared Watermelon Steaks (SGD$10.00) - with pineapple sorbet, basil leaves, balsamic glaze, chocolate sauce and sea salt. It was merely warmed water-melon slices topped with some flavored ingredients, disappointingly. The only refreshing item was the pineapple sorbet with its distinctive flavor, and we thought it was a little overpriced to be paying SGD$10.00 for three (albeit thick) slices of water-melon.

Nonetheless, the overall ambience and dining experience was lovely. We liked how this place was not overly crowded on weekends, and one could simply kick back their heels and relax over a slow meal.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Dreams within dreams

Prelude
I recall a quote by the great late Edgar Allan Poe before, "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream".

Or is it?

In this seemingly long and realistic dream, I met a faceless stranger, and that chance meeting soon proved to be more than I dared ask for.  In the dream, this person was epitomised as the perfect being, the ideal that I have been searching for, for the longest time.

And trust that I have been searching for the longest time, indeed - oh well, maybe not before the Stone Ages or the Golden Ages, but certainly long enough. One may say that I have too high expectations, and that I would never be able to meet someone who could fit my requirements to a T.

Yet I fell in love with his utter perfection in my precognition dreams.




Plot
It was Daphne's birthday and we had planned to meet for a small celebratory dinner at her favorite restaurant. I went all out to dress up because the restaurant was frequented by the movers and shakers of our time, so it was the best place to see and be seen.

I spared no expenses when I bought the Valentino dress, and the Tiffany's charm necklace, and the pair of Chanel dangling earrings. It wasn't often that we got to dine there, mind you, so I decided to seize every minute I had to flirt with opportunities.

Anyway, Daphne brought along a friend, *M.

She had insisted over the phone that *M was not a date, that they were not romantically involved at all, and that *M was really merely a platonic friend. So I acquisced to this additional dinner companion, and hoped that he would be charming enough to impress.

The pair had already seated when I stepped into the elegant French-Italian restaurant, brought over to the table in the quiet corner by the snobbish Maitre'd.  Daphne introduced us, and I sat down across from her, sneaking sidelong glances over at *M meanwhile.

*M was very good-looking, in the way that I had imagined the perfect dream lover to look - all deep set eyes with that soulful, poignant expression in them; cheekbones that could cut glass easily and full Poet's lips. I could not help but dart my eyes over at *M throughout dinner, occasionally catching those amazing eyes holding my gaze with magnetic forces.

*M was a high flyer in the microbrewery industry, with a family name that reeked of old money. Even the way *M moved was calculated, elegant and graceful, with an air of confidence that *M worn like a second skin, easily.

Besides all the physical merits, this exotic creature had the quick wits of a journalist, able to quip back with playful but impressive rejoinders. *M's knowledge was extensive as well, and we managed to discuss everything from our favorite authors to politicians to the current fashion trends, injecting some sidetracked talks about our shared mutual interests (not limited to painting, shopping and diving).

Throughout the night, I could feel the sparks flying between us, like tidal waves of sensuality that were being swept close enough to our physical bodies, but never close enough to actually caress the flesh. This electrifying sensation was startling, to say the least, because I have not felt this way before, not since college days, I reckon.

Oh, have I also mentioned that *M's voice was a deep baritone, smooth and low in a soft flow of rich, upper crust accent, that when *M talked, it was like liquid silk draping over the skin, awaking every sense in the listener's body?

On top of that, *M was single, never divorced, had good business acumen, enjoyed my jokes, had the airs of a true gentleman and even converse in three different languages.

Was *M a dreamboat, sitting across from me singeing my nerves, challenging my own doubts that I would never meet someone who was everything and knew everything I wanted?

Oh, have I also mentioned that "M was incredibly fashionable as well,  decked out in clothes that were obviously tasteful in an expensive way, but worn so comfortably on *M's tall frame, like the clothes were merely painted on?

In between merry chatter, polishing off bottles of wine and chewing daintily on food meant for decoration more than actual ingestion, I came to understand a great deal about *M. Everything was fascinating, from start of dinner to the end.

When *M gave me one of those trademark intense stares with the jeweled onyx eyes, I felt the impact hitting the solar plexus and below. It was like I was being fondled by merely a look from this mysterious being, quivering ever so slightly with the want for more. I looked at those long pianist's fingers and my heart skipped a beat - would they ever dance across my body to create the rhythm that angels could weep upon hearing?



Pre-position
The evening had ended eventually, and the fire that had been burning in me that night was still fluttering away in my body's hearth.

*M did drop hints at meeting up (with me) again; I believe that this flawless creature wanted me as well.

Could it be, could it be that my dreams had come true, and that this Demigod has been a gift from the gods themselves? I don't know, because I have never had a dream come true.

Yes, *M was everything I had ever dreamed of - as though every single prayer and wish of mine has fallen into place and forming this creation meant to fulfill my wildest dreams.

The thought of a date with *M was dizzying; the mere discovery that *M had felt the same way was startling. Yes, startling, like a storm that hit rather suddenly, but spell-binding as the pieces slowly began to fall into place like raindrops from this storm.

There was one slight problem with the entire picture though.

The one problem that prevented my Picture Perfect.

Even though I seemed to have met The One.

Well, should I classify it as nightmare?

Or a sweet dream gone very wrong?

Because, well, you see, actually

*M is not a male, however perfect, however real or surreal.  *M is a very gorgeous lady with the most sensuous figure. *M stands for Madeleine -   I just didn't know if she was made (meant) for me ...

"Dreamers must dream on as long as the nightmares wake them up to greet them with a bucketful of reality" - Munia Khan, Author of "Beyond the Vernal Mind".


Copyright  ArcticStar 2014. All Rights Reserved. No part of this may be reproduced in any form without explicit and written permission from the author herein. All and any resemblences borne are purely coincidences.




Friday, 19 September 2014

Dinner at Wimbly Lu Cafe @ Serangoon

Wimbly Lu by day
15-2 Jalan Riang, Singapore 358987
Tel: 6289 1489

Wimbly Lu by night
I have heard about Wimbly Lu for sometime, but haven't had the chance to try it out. This day, I finally did get to come here for dinner.



Offering a cosy ambience with a large, spacious main foyer leading into a narrower alley of seats, Wimbly Lu with its brick walls and glittery lights does exude a quasi Old-World charm of its own. Service was a little lackluster because it was hard to get the crew's attention, but other than that, the cafe was rather lovely to begin with.



Well known for their chocolates and pastries, it is not surprising to see a large array of delectable desserts on display, as well as an assortment of pralines in all tempting forms.


We took a seat at the back, a newfound friend, *Justin and I. Drinks came first. There was the Iced Chocolate with Baileys (SGD$12.00) exuding the richness of sweet alcohol throughout a dense layer of rather-diluted chocolate drink.


Then there was the Chai Latte (SGD$5.00) which carried with its the hints of chai's aroma, and also the cinnamon-alized fusion since one stirs with the cinnamon stick. It was lightly-flavored, and I still prefer the bolder taste at Working Title Cafe.


Nonetheless, there was a small bottle of Pink Moscato (SGD$25.00) served after dinner to go with desserts, and also for chilling out slowly to.


For mains, *Justin had the Beef Cottage Pie (SGD$13.00) - which was basically baked gratin with tender beef cubes baked with a thick coating of cheese. The flavor was just nice without being too heavy and the gratin was tofu soft; as well as beef baked to a lovely tenderness.


I had the Seafood Baked Rice (SGD$12.00) because I heard raves about it. The thick coating of cheese and softness of the rice was what lent credence to the otherwise rather bland dish. The seafood comprised merely of a few shrimps merely - or at least that was all I tasted amongst the baked concoction.


For desserts, I had the Flourless Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce (SGD$6.00) - a very rich slab of sticky, solid chocolate that clung to the insides of the mouth where it melted slowly into a delicious sweetness, like gold caressing the palate in a mellow fashion. The salted caramel sauce was diluted and weak in flavor though, and we didn't think it went well with the thick chocolate dessert.


*Justin had the famous Waffles (SGD$6.00) served with maple syrup and butter. They were fluffy, crispy and melted in the mouth, exactly like the way good waffles should be, the kind we imagine slapping a large scoop of ice-cream onto. It stayed crispy even after dousing maple syrup over it, and was not too sweet overall.




Thursday, 18 September 2014

Name-mesis (nemesis)



What does it matter,
That we do not know each other's names?

When we pass by, the soft scene is enough to warn my senses that you are nearby.

Oh, and the look in your eyes - so dark and beguiling, rooting my soul to these windows, on the outside looking in.

And your voice, I'd know the silken drape of dark rich tones anywhere... 
What I don't know is, how would this voice sound in laughter?




Oh, what does it matter,
That we do not learn of each other's names?

You know my face and I know yours, and by a look and smile,
We know they weigh more than gold spun by identities alone.

I would not address you anyway,
Nor would I hear your lips whispering my name.

But in dreams and thoughts and faraway worlds not meant for us,
I probably knew you by another name, in another time.

What is in a name anyway?
A glass of wine by any other name, would allure as much.

copyright © ArcticStar 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Lunch at House of Robert Timms Bistro



321 Orchard Road #01-01 / 02 Orchard Shopping Centre, Singapore 238865
Tel: 6733 0609



The chosen lunch venue today was The House of Robert Timms, which is an Australian Restaurant / cafe serving gourmet coffee and wholesome Australian-styled food cooked with only the freshest ingredients (at least that's what their website proclaims).


This restaurant / cafe / bistro has a casual chic decor, epitomising the warm, friendly and down-to-earth nature of its people, reflecting the relaxed culture they enjoy - and thus inviting patrons to come in for a cuppa , wines or food in this lovely setting.



Over here, the service staff are rather friendly and helpful as well. As we were walking past the bar counter seats, we passed by these rows of gourmet coffee and extremely koala bears on sale. Anyway we had initially wanted to try the kangaroo and curry crocodile dishes, which I'd seen in the menu before, only to realize that they have just changed the menu.


Well, we still got to try my kangaroo. This is the Kangaroo Loin Steak (SGD$40.00), served with zucchini, green beans and carrots with a side of mashed potato. The meat is not very tender, and tastes to me like a cross between veal and pork. It had the same sweet overture and chewy-ness, and the red wine sauce we chose sweetened the dish up further, sealing in the red meat's natural delicious flavor.


In lieu of crocodile meat, we took up the manager's recommendation of Braised Short Ribs in Stout Sauce (SGD$32.00) - served with vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side as well. The first thing that hit me when I tasted this dish was the tenderness of the meat. Never a fan of ribs under most circumstances, the meltingly soft texture of this simply blew me away. Then the strong, bittersweet flavor of black beer registered, adding a touch of goodness to the luscious meat.


We took a while to decide between desserts or drinks, and in the end the colleague and I both had an Iced Chocolate Mint (SGD$8.00) - lovely, rich chocolate flanked by the exotic coolness of mint infused.

So, we spent a total of SGD$102.00 in all, and agreed it was a good lunch overall.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Prawn Paste Chicken at Hong Kong Street Chun Tat Kee (香港街珍记)

I seldom post about coffeeshops but here I must share where my favorite Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Kai) lies. After tasting several different ones, I still have to hand it to the first (and best) prawn paste chicken I'd ever tasted at

Hong Kong Street Zhen Yuan Ji @ 412 Balestier Road, nestled amongst a row of shophouses along the main road.

I had come here for the famous XO fish head beehoon before, as well as the Moonlight Hor Fun (Yue Guang Hor Fun) - seafood / beef hor fun with an egg yolk beaten into the center resembling the full moon.


However, nothing beats the Prawn Paste Chicken (Har Cheong Kai) here.  The chicken winglets are deep-fried till a lovely golden crisp, and tastes every bit as crispy as it looks. The flesh is tender and none of that sticky or redness of frozen chicken meat.

The best part of it is the flavor. When one's teeth first sinks into the crackling skin, the first burst of flavor hits upon the palate - the near exact taste of lobster crackers! Yes, one could imagine that they are really munching on the sweet pieces of lobster crackers when they eat this, before they chew on the succulent flesh within. The chicken winglets are not greasy as well, giving it a very pleasant texture overall, easily enhanced by a couple drizzles of lime squeezed onto it.

Forget the rest of the dark-skinned, soft textured prawn paste chicken I eat at many other places after that - they are either too salty or lack the aroma of the prawn paste which this dish's name acclaims so proudly.

I could eat this everyday..... *sinful*

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Lunch at Revolution Coffee @ Infinite Studios


21 Media Circle #01-03A, Singapore 138562
Tel: 6777 2110


When I was first asked to go for lunch at Infinite Studios Building, I had expected it to be a bland building with its own cafeteria or at best, a funky artsy fartsy cafe. Then I was assured that there were proper eateries, and I chanced upon Revolution Coffee (Cafe).


A quaint little cafe with a relaxing, hipster decor, this cafe is nearly the lifeblood (well, one out of two) of this building's inhibitants, supplying quality handcrafted coffee and casual meals and a nonchalant ambience so the busy executives could take a breather over meals / breaks.


While ordering at the counter, my eyes were actually drawn to the seemingly delectable desserts but as it was  a semi-formal lunch I decided to look demure and take up the recommendation of a savoury dish.


While waiting for our meals, we had coffee served to us. I had a Mocha (around SGD$6.00) - a lovely concoction of coffee and chocolate topped with a little foam and simple Latte art. The coffee had a nutty note to it, and was smooth on the palate.


*Angelica had the Latte (around $6.00) - the aromatic coffee flavor was so distinctive that we could taste it above and beyond its frothy layer of milk. She was right - they brew good coffee here.


My main course of Roast Beef Sandwich (around SGD$12.00) was served - with crispy toast clasping lush greens and tender beef slices topped with caramelized onion slivers. The beef slices were so thin they literally disappeared under the foliage of fresh greens, but one could easily detect the taste of the luscious red meat and chewy texture in the midst of the fresh sandwich.


*Angelica had the Mac & Cheese (around SDG$12.00) - a piping hot, gooey homely dish consisting of the rich combination of Mozarella, Cheddar and Parmesan. It was a small pot, but filling and delicious cheesy canopy atop softly baked macaroni. It was also a good choice, and one of the cafe's signature dishes.

Overall, the serene and unhurried ambience of this place was definitely a welcome change from the hustle-bustle of city's lunch crowds, making this place conducive for a relaxing lunch or business discussion.