Friday, September 24, 2010

Romance in the workplace...

Romance in the workplace... there seems to be an on-going debate whether that is good or bad. In the weddings which Mr. Robotic attended lately, it seems that the happy couples found their significant other half at the workplace. Mr. Robotic is not going to statistically prove this but it seems to be a good probability. Haha...

The latest couple to get hitched is Mr. Dataminer and wife! Congratulations to the couple!

The take home gift to commemorate the event was a deck of playing cards (above) with an adorable design of a groom and bride. Each card contains a different love quote. Romantic ya?

Mr. Robotic thought it would be socially inappropriate to take out his camera and take photos of the wedding food so there are no food pictures in this post. Overall though, the food at Hotel Rendezvous was good. In particular, Mr. Robotic liked the starter dish and desert which are usually Mr. Robotic's favorites for most banquets. Hotel Rendezvous starter platter includes prawns with mango salad, sambal abalone clams, baby octopus, egg with bean sprouts, fried popiah while yam paste with pumpkin is for desert. Yummy...

A wonderful event!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Otaku otaku...

The Japanese term otaku is coined to refer to a fan of any particular theme, topic, or hobby. If you have watched the American sitcom, "The Big Bang Theory", an example of one possible otaku behavoir would be how the characters talk Yoda-ish in view of their love for the Star Wars movie. Having clarified that, Mr. Robotic while an anime otaku is not a hardcore otaku that would dress in his favorite anime character's dressing. Sorry to disappoint the readers!

Mr. Robotic especially likes those anime with a fantasy element so it ain't surprising that his follow list includes Fairytail, Bleach and Naruto. Not forgeting his robotic counterparts though, Gundam!

The reason why Mr. Robotic adores the fantasy genre is because he admires the visionary abilities of the manga and anime authors to create things that are beyond this world which would have been really extraordinary if it do existed. Think mages, shinigami, ninjas and war robots etc.

Contrary to some views that manga and anime are childish and has no value, the Japanese manga and anime teaches a number of life lessons that are no less than those found in TV dramas or even textbooks. For instance, the animes which Mr. Robotic named above shares common messages like how to never give up even if the odds are against you, the camaraderie and bonding among team-mates and friends, the sad baggage behind each character...

Mr. Robotic don't watch war and gory movies as it makes him feels depressing and disgusted at the cruel side of humans in reality. So on the onstart, Mr. Robotic didn't really appreciate the Gundam series as it touches on war struggles between humans. The beautiful and lightyears ahead designs presented in an animation format however softens the genre for Mr. Robotic and eventually wins him over.

Ironically, Mr. Robotic's favorite of the Gundam Series is the Gundam 00 for its realism and references to the real world on its on-going conflicts in Middle East. The central theme of this series is on a organisation called the Celestial Being who uses its high tech and overpowering gundams to handle the conflicts in the world. The organisation hopes that the fear for Celestial Being would have a policing effect so that none resort to violence to resolve conflicts.

Gundam 00 had a new movie recently called Gundam 00: Trailblazer. It seems that Singapore do have a strong otaku base as the movie premieres in English subtitles in Singapore. Hooray to anime otakus in Singapore as it is an indication of possible more diverse animes to come. Animax is also doing a great job in introducing anime to a broader audience. Mr. Robotic was invited to catch the movie together with Mr. Manga (guess who is more of a fan? haha). The story line is weaker compared to the animation series but it is worth watching to appreciate the far ahead gundam designs which Mr. Robotic is doubtful if it is ever achievable in reality in his lifetime.

Gundam Zabanya. Mr. Robotic's favorite gundam in the movie.

Make LOVE, not WAR!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spread your birthday celebration...

Coincidentally, Mr. Manga, Mr. Robotic and Mr. Kong 's birthdays are about 3 months apart from each other. This year, for some reasons, the trio celebrated Mr. Manga's birthday way late (about 3 months later) which by then was Mr. Robotic's birthday. The trio decided to push back the other two's birthday celebration which was rather amusing. So while it was actually Mr. Kong's birthday month, the trio was celebrating Mr. Robotic's belated birthday. But whatever it is, Mr. Robotic got to binge on good food for free and celebrate his birthday again!!

Mr. Manga brought the trio to a diner which serves Japanese BBQ that was located at level 2 of the Concorde Hotel's shopping mall stretch. Most people would have likely missed this diner given that it is a small place (less than 15 seats) and being located in an area surrounded by masseurs, KTV lounges, billiard places, it is not exactly one's first choice for a dinner appointment.

If one can get past that first impression, one would be pleasantly surprised to discover that this diner is a rather homely and cosy place. Credit of course goes to the lady boss who is very chirpy, smiley and mingles easily with all the customers to ensure that the food is to their satisfaction. Half of the customers were Japanese. A gauge to whether the Japanese food served by a eatery is authentic is by observing if it attracts Japanese customers. So this place pass for authenticity? :)

Here goes...

Seaweed Appetizer. A tinge of spice and sourness to work the appetite. A good start...

Pork stew on the left and Salmon Onigiri on the right. The pork stew was very rich in flavours and warmed up the tummy for more dishes to come. It was the first time that Mr. Robotic had onigiri and it was delicious! Mr. Robotic wants more of this!

Grilled Lamb. Mr. Robotic don't mind this as the aroma of the lamb was just right. Not overpowering compared to those served by other food joints. Choose Grilled Beef if you prefer your meat juicer and accompanied with a sauce. This dish was the only one with any substantial leafy vegetables. Opps...
BBQ Puffer Fish? Mr. Manga said that the above is puffer fish but Mr. Robotic is doubtful as puffer fish can be lethal for consumption if not prepared carefully. Whatever fish aside, the texture is interesting like cuttlefish, only harder.

Assorted BBQ items - Quail Eggs, Asparagus wrapped in Pork and Golden Needle Mushrooms (also known as Enokitake) wrapped in Pork. Mr. Robotic likes quail eggs. Pity few food establishments serve them.

Deep Fried Chicken. Decent but not striking given the more outstanding items available.
Deep Fried Mini Prawns. A crunchy side dish that would be a good 下酒菜 (similar to Tapas).

Others dishes that the trio ate but not captured in the above pictures include:
- BBQ Shiitake Mushrooms with Melted Cheese. The taste and aroma of the mushroom really came through. Thumbs up.
- Calpsi Green Tea Mixed Drink. Mr. Robotic heard Calpsi is a popular drink in Japan and he finally understands why. It is sweet like yakult drink. Mr. Robotic wonders where he can get more of the drink in Singapore. 2 thumbs up.
- Melted Mayonnaise and Cheese over Steamed Squid. Mr. Robotic has no idea that mayonnaise can be melted like this.

There were multiple dishes that came with a mayonnaise dip on the side but it is the original taste of the dishes that really won Mr. Robotic's heart. All in all, this place is really worth visiting but do book in advance!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Branding can be a double edge sword...

Mr. Robotic had high expectations for Ling Zhi vegetarian restaurant as it is under the Tung Lok group which stands for a prestige brand in the food and beverage industry. On top of that, Mr. Robotic had been to Noble House, another restaurant under the Tung Lok group, of which he was served a rather delicious buffet spread and was hoping to visit again someday. So were Mr. Robotic's expectations met? Not really...

Perhaps Mr. Robotic didn't choose the best items which Ling Zhi got to offer or the group should have went for the Ling Zhi buffet or the waitress didn't get the orders right (Mr. Robotic had wanted something else on the menu) or...

Oh well, Mr. Robotic may give it another shot someday...

Pineapple Fried Rice. Pity the waiter divided the portions before Mr. Robotic can take a photo of the beautiful pineapple bowl presentation. Interesting mix of taste...

Vegetables with "Abalone" like mushrooms. Typical but could do no wrong...

Vegetables with Dai Gui. You are not seeing double, its the same vegetables! Please ask Ms. 大眼妹 the reason for the same vegetables. Haha...

Vegetarian Satay. The whole resemblance to your conventional satay is that it is served Satay again?

Little basket with mushrooms. Mr. Robotic's favorite of the lot. Ms. Mickey said the basket was made using potatoes. Mr. Robotic can't tell the difference but it was visually pleasing and delectable.
Fried Tofu with mushrooms. Average...

Mr. Robotic hoped that Ms. Mickey liked her little belated birthday celebration even though the food was so so and the table was a too big for a decent conversation (Mr. Congeniality couldn't hear Ms. Mickey half the time). Till the next meeting...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tipsy on Mooncake...

The Mid-Autumn Festival, a day where family and friends are to gather around to admire the moon and enjoy mooncakes and tea under the moon together. As the years pass by, Mr. Robotic wonders if the values and thoughts behind such traditions are kept.

Not sure why, but Mr. Robotic was hit by a wave of nostalgia for the event this year. In particular, he recalled how he looked forward to this event each year when he was younger because he would receive a new toy in the form of a lantern (the other event being Christmas). Mr. Robotic, Mr. Songwriter Wannabe and Mr. Annoying Orange would compare and brag about the different features of their lanterns like how they can display disco lights or play festival music and deliberately switch off the lights in the room to showcase their lanterns. One year, Mr. Robotic even attempted with Grumpy Gran to make a lantern from pomelo which turned out rather dandy, although it was kind of heavy for a lantern.

Mr. Robotic also enjoyed the parades around the neighbourhood, showing off his new prized possession, alongside Mr. Songwriter Wannabe, Mr. Annoying Orange and Grumpy Gran. What a beautiful array of lights those lanterns were. A special note to Grumpy Gran who is now in the land far far away - Thank you, Grumpy Gran for the sweet memories.

The event is much less celebrated nowadays in this household without a kid. It is reduced to a sampling of mooncakes. This year, Mr. Robotic is absolutely in love with the Raffles Hotel's Snow-Skin Mooncake with Champagne Truffle and Ganache. The velvet snow skin that dissolves in one's mouth is simply divine. Mr. Robotic is not a fan of alcohol. Yet the little tinge of champagne aftertaste is just the right amount for Mr. Robotic. Mr. Robotic is careful not to indulge too much on this delicacy for fear of becoming an alcoholic. From hearsay, Raffles Hotel is the pioneer in concocting inventive mooncake flavours and that head start definitely shows in how they perfected the taste for this mooncake. Mr. Robotic recommends this to anyone who has not tried it before.

So the above is what the event means to Mr. Robotic. What does the Mid-Autumn Festival means to you?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Love Your Ride...

Train is coming...
Train is coming...
Train is coming...
Please start queuing
Love your ride.

For the fortunate ones who don't need to take public transport, the above are lyrics to a jingle being played at the train stations to announce the trains' arrival. It is part of the Public Transport Council's efforts to encourage commuters to be more gracious on public transport so as to make it a more pleasant commuting experience for everyone.

Mr. Robotic heard the catchy and happy little jingle and fell in love with it immediately! It is an entertaining and fun marketing programme. The satirical one in Mr. Robotic also pictures someone who cannot squeeze on the peak period trains rolling his or her eyes each time the jingle sings at their misfortune. Apparently, there are different versions of the jingle. Maybe, there is one that sings happy waiting... happy waiting... happy waiting...?

The jingles are sang by the local icon, Dim Sum Dollies, who are also the programme ambassadors. Watch the video and love your ride!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Deep Fried...

For the health conscious, you have been warned to take a deep breath before reading this post as you may find it potentially disturbing...

Deep Fried Squid

Learned of this recipe from NoobCook.

Ingredients (serves 2):

- 1 medium squid (about 300g)
- 40-50g corn flour for a heavier/crispier batter
- sea salt and pepper
- vegetable oil, for deep frying

Lemon Mayonnaise
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp boiling water

1. Mix ingredients for lemon mayonnaise in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
2. Slice the squid to thin rings.
3. Place cut squid into a shallow but wide dish. Season squid with salt and pepper, then add flour. Toss squid to evenly coat squid in the flour (add more if needed); shake off excess.
4. Heat oil to 180C (356F) in wok/large saucepan/deep fryer and deep fry squid in batches until tender and browned lightly (about 3 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper.
5. Serve warm with a lemon wedge and the lemon mayonnaise dip prepared in step 1.


It turned out to be like onion rings. And like always, Mr. Robotic overcooked the food and it is a bit too chewy. The sauce is good though and Mr. Robotic has come to a conclusion, mayonnaise can hide bad cooking. Haha...

Vacation Leave means...

People around Mr. Robotic is always puzzled at how Mr. Robotic spends his vacation leave especially when he does not utilise the leave to travel overseas. While Mr. Robotic may not be a frequent flyer, it does not mean he is enjoying any less the time off from work. In fact, Mr. Robotic likes such day off on the weekdays compared to the weekends as he gets to wander around Singapore without the crowd. Yes you hear it right! Mr. Robotic is more of a crowd avoid-er rather than a party-goer. Surprise surprise? It ain't surprising for those who knew Mr. Robotic prior to his work days where he is the nerdy kind... He still is today actually... :S

So what did a typical day off entails?

Firstly, Mr. Robotic gets to laze and crawl out of bed when he is indeed awake. Waking up naturally is a better way to start the day, ya?

A bit of physical exercise is crucial given that Mr. Robotic's job only requires to exercise his brains. Mr. Robotic will usually choose among weight trainings, swimming and jogging. Thankfully, instead of just off days, Mr. Robotic is now trying hard to squeeze those activities into his weekend too. Just this weekend, Mr. Robotic got to do all 3! Kudos!

Next up, appreciating food with Mdm. Agaration. For the previous off day, the duo ate at Crystal Jade at Vivocity and was the food excellent! The top to bottom glass panel allows a view of Sentosa. The view would be more magnificent once all the construction work at Sentosa is completed.

Mr. Robotic likes the sleek white and black utensils. These colors are simply timeless.

Kai Lan with Garlic. A simple dish but delicious nonetheless. It is a bit costly though at $14 for small serving.

Xiao Long Bao. Don't you just like the soup gushing out when you bite it? Frankly, Mr. Robotic didn't appreciate this delicacy until Ms. Queen kept raving how good Din Tai Feng's ones are!

Crab and scallop bits fried rice. At $18, it is on the pricey side but the rice is really fragrant and the serving is meant for 3 to 4 people. Yup, Mr. Robotic and Mdm. Agaration finished it all though there were only 2!

Cod fish. Under the fish is a thin layer of steamed egg. Nice combination of ingredients.

Egg Tarts. No meal is complete without some sweet stuff... dessert! Mr. Robotic likes the fluffy texture of such egg tarts.

Such little breaks from work serves to motivate one or Mr. Robotic at least to work harder or smarter for his dream of early retirement where he can slow down and experience the life of a retiree instead of the super fast paced which one in Singapore is programmed to follow. Mr. Robotic refuses to believe that the retirement age is expected to lengthen yet again. The forefathers have a longer life expectancy and they retired much earlier. Come on, what about enjoying life and smelling the roses at the sidewalk instead of whizzing through everything? Mr. Robotic refuses to accept his "destiny"!

Wish him luck in overcoming it!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Post of Mixed Feelings...

The trip to Johor Bahru was again very eventful as Mr. Robotic gets to learn about the rich culture of other races. Mr. Robotic has no idea that just nearby to City Square, there was a lane selling supplies found in an Indian Household. Manufactured in Singapore, Mr. Robotic is mistaken that only Singapore holds cultural diversity in the region.

Thanks to Ms. Limelight, Mr. Robotic gets to find out a little about the Hindu Gods that was displayed in the shop. At the same shop, Mr. Robotic was amazed at how nimble the worker was his hands at stringing flowers together. It was so fast that Mr. Robotic can barely follow the movement with his eyes. Sadly with modernisation, such a craft may eventually disappear one day. At the "little India lane", Mr. Robotic also finds that he can't resist bobbing his head to Bollywood dance tracks, much to the amusement of Ms. Hysterical. Indeed music transcends cultural barriers.

Of course, a day trip to Johor Bahru ain't complete without shopping and binging of food. Mr. Robotic cannot be more fascinated at how a bridge that divides the two countries means such differences in prices. It was apparent when Mr. Robotic compares the contact lenses solution of the same brand which is $4 cheaper in Johor Bahru.

Top from F.O.S. It is in cyan, a color which Mr. Robotic got to add to his collection.

Mr. Robotic meets Mr. Robotic?

Marybrown's Chicken. Chicken Delicious! Sides a bit weak though.

Note: Mr. Robotic deliberated on this post not that the trip ain't enjoyable as it was definitely a most fun day but rather the day following the trip holds lots of regret and sadness for Mr. Trust Me. If Mr. Trust Me is reading this post, Mr. Robotic hopes that Mr. Trust Me can let go of his regret and resume his smiley and cheeky character soon as everyone around him is missing that. Mr. Robotic is sure uncle also wishes for the same thing for Mr. Trust Me.