Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The bakery that never stops

Whenever we hit the mall, there's one place that we must absolutely, definitely, totally stop at and that's the bakery. Of the 6-8 bakeries that typically dot a single mall, LB is the chosen one, the one I've been frequenting for years. It's operated as part of a popular Japanese grocery chain but over the years, it's matured into an identity of its own.

What I really like about this bakery is that first off, they have an insane variety of pastries, and second, they're constantly coming up with exciting new, mouth-watering stuff. So it's not like when you walk in, you find the same old stuff that was popular when your grandma was a kid although sure, you may have some well-loved items you hope they'll never stop selling. Here you walk in and you have the perennial favorites, and then you have the trendy fare that they introduce every so often and it's that element of surprise that elicits the oohs and aahs.

The pastry selection we saw recently had us piling our takeout tray faster than you can say wow! On the topmost shelf are the walnut raisin loaves, a well-loved favorite that we've seen going through a 'size down, price up' over the years but that still tastes so good. That said, their prices are reasonable and quality comparable with the other bakeries in the mall, so which would you choose?

And look, we found some new additions in the covered bins along the perpendicular side. This is the fruit cream danish with a cream filling topped with kiwi and strawberry slices and finished off with a drizzle of chocolate and powdered sugar. Looks yummy, will have to try it some time!

This is the open-faced danish topped with almond cream and orange slices.

The blueberry almond cream danish looks good too. Omgosh, what are we going to do? Everything looks so good lol.

In the front of the store are more rolls, muffins and baguettes. Daughter2 has tried their macha cream pastry and likes them. The macha (Japanese green tea) trend has been around for quite a while and is still very popular. Here you see someone with tongs in hand (circled) heading straight for those two-tiered baskets... only to find them EMPTY! OH NOoooo they're all gone!!!

Disappointed, she turns away with a sad face, only to return to the same spot a while later to find the baskets had been refilled with a brand new batch of macha pastries fresh from the oven (OH JOY!)...

 ... at which point, she quickly snags a couple before they're all gone again!! One thing to remember with this bakery is that their pastries go really, really fa-a-ast so if you don't grab' em quick, you'll have to wait for them to bake a new batch.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The mall thing

It's been cloudy these few days and now it's raining quite heavily, just enough to provide some much-needed cooling relief. So that's good, right? Lately the weather's been so unbearably hot and humid we're thankful for anything cool (which may or may not include a McD's strawberry ice cream cone ;). Only trouble is, when it rains, it gets even more humid. So that ice cream will work either way for sure lol.

Rainy days are best spent at home catching an afternoon nap or making up for that workout you skipped missed yesterday. Lately we've been 'hiding out' at the mall often to catch up on new eats under the guise of avoiding the intense humidity outside - shame on us! - which incidentally brings us to an old inside joke that the mall is the best place to be, if for nothing else, for the free air-conditioning.

Of course, there's never a lack of malls to hang out in. While online is predominantly the shopping method of choice in the Western world, malls in Asia are very much in vogue. In fact, trawling the malls may well be the national pastime for the whole family and for good reason...

Here the malls are a one-stop shop for everything from food and fashion to groceries and greenery. Restaurants, coffee shops, fashion stores, bakeries and confectioners, furniture stores, gyms, florists, pharmacies, music stores (some even offering music classes), grocery stores, telecommunication service outlets, pet stores, banks, cinemas, even a post office - pretty much anything you can think of, you can find under one roof.

So it goes without saying that the malls are massive, multi-storey affairs, some with offices and residential condominiums in high-rises above the mall. Some malls have outdoor gardens featuring exotic plants and aquariums. Others boast rooftop gardens and outdoor activity areas for rock climbing, paintball, etc. One mall even has an indoor roller-coaster (what's up with that?!).

So yeah, the mall purportedly has something for everyone so it's not surprising that as the weekend approaches, it starts getting busier and busier (read: crazier and crazier). Parking becomes a nightmare. The trick is to get an early start. I like insist on getting there by the stroke of 10:00 when the mall opens to ensure I get a parking spot instantly without having to circle round like a vulture.

Way back when my kids were younger, we would sometimes arrive at the mall an hour or more after opening time only to circle endlessly and finally leave and go home without securing a parking spot. What a waste of time! So no, we either get there at 10 sharp or we don't go at all, and that's House Rule #108.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The time machine has landed!

Woke up this morning and happened to glance at the date on my computer.


What?! I tried to blink the sleepiness out of my eyes.

Oh no! I haven't blogged in, what, almost 2 years??!!

Wait a minute, this can't be right! Surely I must've been transported into the future in some kind of time machine, right?!

The last thing I remember looking at the clock on my computer and it was 2015, yup, and I was hammering out a blog post.

How did I get here?


Okay, I was only kiddin'. I wasn't in no time machine but it sure feels like it. That's how quickly time flies when you're traveling, living life on opposite sides of the planet, meeting some of the most amazing people you'll ever meet...

... and neglecting my blog readers, for which I must apologize. A mom's job is never done. Sometimes it takes precedence over everything else. Sometimes it takes her to far-flung places and fun adventures.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Review in randomness

The last post of the year is always the hardest to write. I'm cracking my head and going: wow, this year sure went fast! At the same time, it doesn't seem like it went that fast at all. Anyhoo, speed aside, I'd say it's been a pretty good year with the usual ups and downs and its fair share of joys and disappointments. But that's life, isn't it?

Along the way, I've met new people, made observations, been places, done new things, gained some insights... I'm not going try and structure everything I want to say. I'm just going to throw my random thoughts out there. Oh and I'm not wearing my rose-colored glasses either so please don't be offended if I say a negative thing here, touch a raw nerve there, even if it's New Year's Eve and we're supposed to be all happy and positive like.

1. Drink more tea. I know bubble tea has been around for ages but I only just discovered it -- by accident - this year. Go me! I've been hooked ever since. No boba for me though, not a fan. Boba is cute and all but the idea of chewing mini starch balls doesn't appeal to me. I usually go for the fruit tea or iced milk tea instead - half sugar, half ice.

2.Loyalty to parents (and siblings) comes first and foremost. This goes without saying but apparently some people don't get it. It's a no-brainer so you shouldn't have to stop and think about whose side to take. Your loyalty should always be to the ones who gave you life, raised you and showered you with love. Without your parents, you wouldn't have been born. End of story.

3. Believe not all that you hear. I've lost count of how many times this year that people have told me one thing and done entirely the opposite - without apology. It's not like I didn't know that already but at a professional level? Yes, sure, why not? If a person is prone to breaking promises, why would they stop just because they're representing a business, eh? Lesson learned!

4. Learn to let go - of excessive sugar, salt, toxic people in your life, things you wish you had but can't or don't, unhealthy habits, soda, processed food... To be fair, I just had a burger at Burger King yesterday and I pretended not to notice that juicy piece of bacon calling out to me. Oh man, so good!

5. Believe not everything that you see on the internet. This one goes out to all the boys and girls who genuinely believe that people actually live the kinds of lives they post on social media. What you see posted are those things about their so-called posh lives that they want you to see which represents only a tiny fraction of their real lives. You don't know what else is happening in their lives so don't be too quick to envy them and think that your own life sucks. I read that some people take their own lives thinking how pathetic their lives are compared to those they see on social media, and it breaks my heart. Don't ever do that! Be happy with who you are and what you have. Your life is beautiful in its own way. There's no need to compare.

6. Try new food. Cook new food. Seriously, when am I not talking about food? I ate a lot this year, discovered new restaurants and cuisines from other cultures, and found new food to love and cook.

Oh wait! Brainwave! I know what I'm going to cook for tonight's New Year's Eve dinner. Smoked salmon linguine it is - woohoo! Right so with that, huge hugs and a gigantic thank you for sticking around during my 2-year hiatus and continuing to read and comment on my blog. Be safe and have a Blessed New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to all my loyal readers and followers who have stuck around in spite of my two year hiatus. I love you all! You guys rock!

Christmas rocks too. It has been my favorite season of the year like forever. I love the brightly lit Christmas trees and seasonal store displays and... the shopping, of course, thought these days, I've mellowed down to window shopping. When this time of year rolls around, I somehow feel 'obliged' to join in the rush whether it's just to browse or to grab a bite to eat. I know. It's not like I don't know what it's like to be stuck in traffic. I will go anyway. If I don't, I feel like I'm missing out on all that year-end fun. Yup, that's the kid in me!

To be honest, I don't even celebrate Christmas, not in a religious way, that is. I don't have a Christmas tree up in my living room but I will cook up a storm - roast turkey, brown gravy, homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing and mashed potatoes, the whole works. It's just a good excuse to celebrate.

Have a safe and wonderful rest of Christmas Day. Happy Holidays!