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Saturday, 27 August 2016

Afternoon Tea at Passion Cafe @ Trinity at Paya Lebar

247 Paya Lebar Road #02-01, Trinity Church, Singapore 409045
Tel:  None Supplied
Website:  None Supplied
Facebook:  None Supplied

There is a passionate cafe nestled within a church building in Tai Seng area - Paya Lebar, and whenever I passed by, I always wondered about it. Opportunity presented itself today and I had a meeting here.

The signboards at both front entrance and alfresco areas are boldly done in a bright fuchsia tone, as though announcing to passerbys and church-goers to come in for food.

The interior is spacious and simple, classic coffeehouse decor with vases of flowers adorning each tabletop. Menus consist of finger food such as pastries, curry puffs etc to mains like rice, noodles or Western sets, as well as desserts of fruits and cakes.

I had myself a Cappuccino (SGD$4 00) - machine made, foamy enough with bittersweet coffee taste and no cocoa powder. I was not expecting much - the service of the counter ladies was good.

The pastries are miniatures - assorted box of 3 costs SGD$3.00, assorted box of 2 costs SGD$2.00, cups of 2 Passionfruit Parfait cost SGD$3.00, etc. Even a decent-sized slice of Pandan Cake was merely SGD$1.50! Too bad stomach volumes do not adjust according to prices of food.

The Raspberry Mousse Cake was soft, moistened and slightly tarty - good enough in their smallness and better paired with a stronger beverage such as my bittersweet coffee.

The Chocolate Mousse Cake was smooth, soft and creamy, a tad too creamy for my liking though, blocking out the rich flavour of cocoa. But I absolutely loved the tiny chocolate pops at the top and huge cherry at the bottom of this dessert. It could have been a Blackforest concoction.

Finally, Passionfruit Parfait, 2 tiny glass jars of distinctive, zesty desserts bursting with aroma and taste of passionfruit - the best of the lot, and probably the 'signature dessert'  bearing the name of the cafe.

Overall, quaint, quiet environment perfect for hanging out at or work. I would like to come back to try their mains soon.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Poem: Missing the Rhythm

Had to write this for you, 
'Cos it doesn't leave my mind, 
Am glad you're back in poetry, 
Seems your heart is a-skipping, 
Or is that you escaping, 
Well we would never catch the rhythm. 

The merry posts of love, and cheer, 
Peanut butter sandwich being a bliss; 
Vacations taken with camera-ready smiles, 
Giving way to tears behind the scenes 
What are the pretences for? 
You're not a celebrity. 

You threaten of death and depths 
In sleep which you wish not to wake; 
Between your facade and face-saving 
Realities, we cannot extract the trapped, 
Cannot help when we no longer believe, 
Cannot enter when you hide it all. 

Copyright © 2016 thearcticstar

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Afternoon Tea at Big Street Restaurant @ Jalan Besar

104 - 106 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208828
Tel:  6100 2661 / 6100 8853 / 9229 2796

Eyes were riveted to the prominent Big Street  Restaurant sign from afar, so I had to cross over to the 3-storied unit along Jalan Besar shophouses for my afternoon tea, curious about what was in-store at this restaurant spanning across 2 units.

The first level has a few tables and a minimalist decor, with piped lights arranged artistically, and a prominent Udders ice-cream cart at the front. They choose to use Udders for ice-cream because it jibes best with Big Street's "very local" offerings.

Level 2 has a lovely retro European chic to it, mainly created due to the box windows which I so love. Thatched ceilings and a tiny loof area sit atop (I didn't get to visit the topmost loof) this rather elegantly-furnished restaurant, allowing sunlight to brighten up the interior.

Service at Big Street is personable, jovial and steadfast, the crew strive to maintain professionalism and warm hospitality even despite peak hours.  Erin was especially knowledgeable about the menu, and gave the term "hospitality" a brand new level. While I was informed that lunchtime and nighttime are more vibrant here, I appreciated the quaint quietness of the afternoon amongst the spacious settings.

Well-known for their Chilli Crab Prata Wrap (SGD$12.90) and Salted Egg Prata (SGD$6.00), Big Street is also home to a multi-cuisined dining haven. On their extensive menu are creative Prata Dishes (Indian cuisine) as well as Mushroom Soup (Western cuisine) with prata roll, Crab Fried Rice and Chicken Rice (Chinese cuisine) etc. A variety of coffees, teas, juiced, mocktails and alcoholic beverages are available as well, making this place perfect for groups of diners with different preferences to gather, and enjoy the best of all worlds.

A cool, tall glass of Iced Mint Green Tea (SGD$5.00) chased away the sweltering heat, as I sat by the window people watching, waiting for my next appointment. Loved the refreshing concoction sliding silkily down my parched throat.

The Salted Egg Prata (SGD$6.00) was served prettily with a wedge of fresh pineapple and whole maraschino cherry. I thought the big, round prata resembled a huge Tau Sar Piah (Chinese bean paste pastry), but a slit of the knife told me otherwise.

Prata was firm but yielded easily with knife and teeth. Thick, luscious salted egg yolk lava cascaded out like melted gold - sweet, with the standard 'grainy' texture amongst creaminess, and utterly delicious. Strangely I managed to polish off the entire dessert without feeling sick or "gelat" (overwhelmed by rich creaminess). That was a marvellous creation for certain.

Naturally, I lost track of time, relishing in my delightful drink and prata. I would certainly love to be back to try their Chilli Crab Prata and other local delicacy.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Time Management : why do I always seem to "not have time"?

The Scenario

Do you constantly find yourself strapped by work or chores, having no time to tidy up the house, meet a friend for dinner to unwind or find yourself telling people "I have no time / I am very busy"?

Are you avoiding meetings simply because you are really busy, are not interested in meeting up, or maybe financially-strapped?

If it is the first reason, unless you are managing multiple businesses, have 3 kids or travel extensively, then perhaps you are not managing your time right.

The Tried-and-tested
I wanted to try to feel "not having time", so that I could turn down more social meets. Ok, weak excuse. But anyway, let's see what I did these 2 weeks alone.

I currently hold a 9am-6pm full-time employment, by the way. Business development, yes, so like many of you, that's 8 hours of my day gone.

I have established partnerships for 3 products / services (thats for the side business I own), drafted a 21-pages business plan, worked out lists of prospects and venture capitalists for both streams respectively, completed a small advertising campaign for my food / beauty blog, and have spoken to various travel agencies as part research for my upcoming Europe tour. On top of that, I try to eat with my family at least twice a week, my husband's family around there, and meet a friend a week for catching up / exploring new restaurants.

Let me break it down further.

Today itself. I am on half-day leave so I could attend a business seminar at RELC. Wasnt aware that refreshments were provided so I chomped down a lousy sushi takeout lunch. In the large theater absorbing what the speakers were presenting (mainly repeating themselves), I sent out proposals to a few more VCs, generated a fresh list of potential clients, filled out a form for another upcoming seminar, made a small regular donation to charity of choice and coordinated 2 meetings with clients.

Those were the easier, happier aspects of the day. On the side, one of the business partners just sent me an email that I felt faint reading, and immediately I realised I had to meet him to iron out the discrepancies. So correspondences to attempt matching each other's schedules. Then a colleague and I were discussing solutions to an issue at work as well, so some brainstorming while I scribbled some notes from the current seminar I was sitting in. Finally, sent a chaser to our shortlisted tour agency of choice, to ask for the answers to our questions.  I am also hoping to get started on The Honeymoon Series for the blog (now that The Nuptial Series is over).

Is it lucrative?

I should think so. I managed to fulfill my duties for the dayjob and hit required results. The advertising campaign went through so now I can concentrate on the new product (thats the one for Partner C).  The 2 meetings fixed were for Partner B, so we could present a refreshing concept to spas. Finally, Partner A messaged to say 2 cases were sealed and I can start to prepare the invoice.

I almost never do things without a purpose, even though it might appear a leisurely event. How do I do it?

How do some people hold a full-time job and still scale mountains over the weekends? How do career moms juggle jobs together with the mommy's role? How could your average IT manager trade his stocks on the side and that pays more than his job? How does a marketing exec manage an online apparel shop well enough to have been able to sell it off for a handsome profit? Or simply put, how do full-time employees complete a Bachelor's or Masters in their free time?

Why can't you do it / why do you think you can't do it then?

8 Methods of Juggling Time Effectively:
1. Change Your Mindset
You'll need to get out of the fear or mentality that you cannot do it, cannot multi-task, cannot manage or will be tired / stressed out easily. We are all made up of the same soul and flesh - the only things that differ are really the minds. If you are determined to do it, you will be able to.

2 . Start Small / Practice Makes Perfect
You don't have to start with 5 or 6 activities at a go. Start with maybe 1 or 2 more, pace yourself, and then when you get better at handling them with more ease, add on 1 or 2 to the plate gradually.

3. Maximise your Time
Sometimes, our ongoing and pending tasks seem overwhelming because we set aside a fixed slot to do it, such as weekends or evenings. So it might look like, within a span of 3 hours on, say, Thursday evening, you have to finish the ironing, bought the groceries, finished reading the book on Investment for Dummies and finalized flight bookings for your family trip. Yeah, that looks a little trying.

Instead of cramping the to-do lists all into a day and appearing overly-ambitious, spread them out so that you can check your flight bookings over lunch, or while commuting between office and home. If you drive,  get the audio version of the Investment for Dummies learning series, so that you get to complete a chapter a day while on the road.

4.  Time Table
A good way of pacing yourself and organizing your to-do list would be to plot a time table. Sounds like the school days, yes, but we got all our learning done, didnt we?  A time table also allows you to fit in slots for me-time, family time and socialising, yet getting the important stuff done.

Now you just need to ensure that you conform to the schedule.

5. Set Reminders
In the event that you might miss an appointment or task, when you forget to refer to the time table, set reminders to self.

6. Breaking it Down
If a certain pending task is tedious or appear uninteresting, break it down into stages. For instance, if you are writing a business plan. Break it down so that you get to do market survey on one day, calculate the projected revenue for the next day, and source for potential investors 2 days later. That way, the assignments are more manageable and allow time for changes during each stage.

7.  Rewarding Yourself
No activities generate results or profits instantly - whether you are starting a small business, starting training to shed some pounds or taking up a new language course.  Set periodical rewards for yourself such a small purchase, a nice meal with friends or a visit to the long-awaited musical. This would give you something to look forward to, as long as you worked hard to complete what you set out to do.

8.  Get Started
This may sound easier than it seems, but believe me, it is easy. Many tasks or assignments "feel" boring, tiring, uninteresting, but once we take the first step to kickstart, it becomes easier gradually, enjoyable next, and rewarding eventually. This applies to anything from crafting the business plan to starting your evening jogs.

Try these tips out - you'll be amazed at the level of discipline instilled, and improvements to the results. All the best in your new ventures!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

[Media Invite] Dinner at Legend Seafood Restaurant (鸿宇海鲜馆) @ Bishan

Block 151 Bishan Street 11, #01-195, Singapore 570151
Tel: 9183 1580

Located in a bustling residential area a couple of streets away from Zion Bible Presbyterian Church and Bishan Home, is where Legend Seafood Restaurant stands. It is a coffee-shop styled Chinese zichar restaurant, boosting a varied menu consisting of innovative seafood items, meat items and vegetables etc.

Service crew are donned in the same uniform and provide good service to all, despite dinner's peaked patronage. I was honoured to be invited for a tasting session here with representatives from Hungrygowhere, as well as a couple of familiar food reviewers / bloggers.

The starter of the evening was Double Flavour Fish (SGD$60.00), giving us the best of both worlds, in the form of a Grouper prepared 2 ways. Loved the battered deep-fried side that's infused with Thai-style sweet chili sauce, but enjoyed the cereal -covered side even more. This one crackles with light hints of sweetness.

Next, Cheesy Crayfish Bee Hoon (SGD$18.00), comprising generous amounts of bouncy, juicy crayfish and a saccharine, creamy broth.  Hearty, and we were informed that it might even taste like the famous dish in your favorite Malacca restaurant - well, I'll let you decide on that.

Then it was Salted Egg Crab Mee Sua (SGD$32.00), served with fried buns. Enjoyed the springy sweetness of the crabs and smooth strands of meesua (vermicelli) but thought the salted egg's taste could have been a little more distinctive.

The Fried Clams with Soup (SGD$12.00) was one of our favorites of the night. Tasty, fleshy clams in a pool of flavourful clear broth - distinctiveness of Chinese wine within, as well as vegetables to give it a nice balance.

Following that, Crispy Homemade Tofu with Pork Floss  (SGD$12.00) - crispy rectangles of deep-fried beancurd stuffed with pork floss, this was a tasty, innovative local delicacy.

Barbecued Prawns (SGD$16.00) - smokey deliciousness of grilled prawns coated with a familiar savoury-sweet sauce. They were so crispy, you could eat these springy prawns with the shell.

Then there were Salted Egg Pork Ribs (SGD$12.00) - succulent ribs, well-doused with salted egg sauce to give it a richer flavour. I loved how tiny chilli and curry leaves were used to give the dish a subtle pierce.

Next, Deep-fried Egg with Oysters (SGD$10.00) served with sambal sauce. From the golden-brown edges to its entirety, the egg was crispy and simply irresistable. The plump, sumptuous oysters bursted in the palate like a dream, easily making this dish a personal favorite of many of us that evening.

The Butter-Corn Crayfish (SGD$28.00) was relished eagerly as well - sweet and creamy penetration to the bouncy flesh of the crayfish.  Loved how the juicy corn added crunch as well.

Last but not least, Salted Egg Battered Mushrooms, a good appetiser for whetting the appetite - earthly flavour blending well with the salted egg's own. Add on to that a crackling exterior, I don't see how one could stop munching on these.

Overall, we enjoyed dinner here very much - this is a place perfect for hearty local delicacies with friends or family, and the owner Jimson and team are constantly looking to get innovative about their dishes, in keeping up with ever-changing times / food trends.  Thank you Legend Seafood for hosting us, and thank you Hungrygowhere for the invite.