It was a much anticipated meal. KC was back in town from Shanghai and offered to buy me a nice Italian dinner. In true food nazi fashion, I did my research and narrowed my choices down to either Osteria Mozza or No Menu. A quick toll on Facebook turned up a resounding “Mozza of course!”, so reasonably assured, I made the reservations.
We were a bit early so we had a quick drink at the bar first. Very good ambience, I love the dark wood décor and semi-dim lighting. The restaurant was busy enough to create a buzz but quiet enough for a proper conversation. They seated us at one of the best tables in the house – happy! The service staff were also very warm and attentive, full marks for that.
The wine list was intimidating. It was extensive yes, but fwahh pricey. Even though KC was buying and he asked me to splurge, I couldn’t bring myself to order from the menu. Instead, I (ok, very “uncool”-ly) requested the sommelier to recommend us a bottle of red under $200. He brought us a bottle of 2004 Gattinara, Antoniolo. Made from the same nebbiolo grape as Barolo, the wine had a nice nose with notes of almonds and cherries, medium-full body – quite a good choice for the food, it turned out, but eh, markup is too high lah.
After choosing the wine, we turned our attention to the food. They had served us bread (choice of white and multi-grain) but this was cold and unimpressive. The amuse bouche of ricotta on crackers too, was mediocre. Hmm, we hoped the other food would fare better.
We ordered two starters to share – the Grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery & lemon ($25) and the Bufala Mozzarella with prosciutto di Parma ($25). The octopus was nicely charred and soft inside, but though tasty, it was way too salty. I had to wash it down with a lot of wine and water. I liked the parma ham with the mozzarella - fresh and flavorful – we should have skipped the octopus and just ordered this because it was quite a sodium overload.
Next up, the mains. KC’s main of Linguine with clams, pancetta & spicy chiles ($29) was recommended by the waiter and it did look good when it was presented. Unfortunately, they were too heavy-handed with the spices and poor KC didn’t look like he really enjoyed it.
My main of Duck al Mattone with pear mostarda & corn ($55) fared a bit better. The serving was huge and I liked the nice crispy skin. The meat could have been juicier but the pear mostarda helped some. The corn was slightly spicy and I thought that gave a nice kick to the dish. I would suggest ordering this to share though.
I was stuffed after the duck but KC looked unsatisfied so we ordered the Piccolo Budino Caldo di Cioccolato with candied almonds & bourbon gelato ($17) to share. This was probably the best dish of the night. Then again, the desserts I had at the Pizzera the last time were excellent too – loved that olive oil gelato.
The bill came up to around $300, not as bad as I thought but seriously, it wasn’t worth it. I’ll be back at the Pizzeria but the Osteria just doesn’t cut it. It was lovely catching up with KC though, the last time we met was a year ago when I was back in Shanghai on business. Glad to see you doing well, Mr M
I recently saw local brand Shito (Alice Soedirman & Cheryl Mok) featured in some magazines and just had to check them out (Parco Millenia Walk). “Just a look”, I told myself.
Famous last words.
I was like a kid in a candy shop, omg everything was so pretty! I had my eye on two pairs, but unfortunately (or was it fortunately) they didn’t have one of the pairs in my size.
My new shoes are gorgeous right? Well-crafted wedges that’s so comfortable, edgy black mesh at the sides and that lovely lovely blue! $159 for true love isn’t too expensive.
“Exuding erotic attraction, every Shito shoe is edgy, flirty and feminine. It does what every good shoe must do: reveal the foot, enhance and display it, becoming a frame and a setting for the foot, and ultimately empowering the wearer.”
One of my favorite gifts was a label maker from my grandmother- she gets me. I use this for smaller things that only adults would see (like on the inside of my cabinets on the shelves. I also use TONS of Avery (and store brand) label in a sheet for the computer. This is when the kiddos need to find things. This helps them become even more independent! I'll post some of the labels I made today for math manipulative tubs.
Math Tub Labels page 2
Math Tub Labels page 1
“Barolo is a red DOCG wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. It is made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy's greatest wines. Barolo is often described as having the aromas of tar and roses, and the wines are noted for their ability to age and usually take on a rust red tinge as they mature.”
I decantered the wine for an hour before pouring. The nose was a bit tight at first but it slowly opened up. Smells of dark fruit and earth (hmm I couldn’t pick up the Nebbiolo grape’s characteristic rose aroma though). The wine is rusty garnet, quite light coloured and non-opaque.
Ok, a sip. Medium bodied and full of dark cherries (ok, I can detect the rose now). Loving the nice looong finish. Tannins go well with creamy fatty cheese, yums.
This barolo was likely to be made in the “modern way" with new French oak. It’s quite drinkable even though it’s relatively young. More pleasurable and less “intellectual”, as compared to the high acidity/tannin of more “traditional” Barolo. In this (Barolo) war I think I’m on the side of the modernists.
They say a well-aged Barolo will turn lighter, so I shall wait a few more years to see if that’s true. It’s also supposed to become more velvety as the tannins integrate into the wine. 25 year old Barolo, anyone?
"As a young person, you love big, rich flavors -- so you drink Barolo. In your middle age, you seek something more solid, something less obvious -- so you drink Barolo. In your wisest years, you want a wine that allows you to think about and savor the pleasures of maturity, both its maturity and your own -- so you drink Barolo."
Even though I'm moving to 1st grade, I'm participating in a book club with the kinder teachers in my building to learn about Conscious Discipline. I have to say, after only 2 chapters, my thinking has changed. I've learned that I must first change and that I'm responsible for my reaction to my students.
Essentially, brain research indicates that fear inhibits optimal learning. We don't use this method for for reading and writing, but it seems perfectly acceptable when teaching social skills. The school "family" is the foundation. This book teaches us how to create that environment for our classroom family.According to Bailey, this system is based on 3 premises:
- Controlling and changing ourselves is possible and has a profound impact on others.
- Connectedness governs behavior.
- Conflict is an opportunity to teach.
- Composure: Perception (No one can make you angry/ control your feelings.)
- Encouragement: Unity (We are all in this together.)
- Assertiveness: Attention (What you focus on, you get more of.)
- Choices: Free Will (The only person you can change is yourself.)
- Positive Intent: Love (See the best in others.)
- Empathy: Acceptance (This moment is as it is.)
- Consequences: Intention (Mistakes are opportunities to learn.)
I want to thank you for taking a sickie today and leaving the rest of us in the lurch. Not that we were entirely run off our feet or anything like that, but rather its the manner in which your sickie has been taken that has got my goat.
I want you to repeat after me: Honesty is the best policy.
And try this one: Mental health days are nothing to be ashamed of.
Methinks the better idea - rather than chuckie a sly sickie whenever you feel a bit stressed, which you plan on doing on a fortnightly basis from now - is to be honest from the start. That way you wont be getting anyones nose out of joint, and neither will you look like a big, fat, dirty, sneaking liar when you get busted.
Let me explain - one of my co-workers has decided that from now on he wants to take weekly/fortnightly sick leave days. His counsellor has recommended it, and is willing to write him a doctors certificate for every mental health day he takes. This has really got my back up - not because i dont believe in mental health days ( as a person who has lived through depression and still struggles with depressive episodes, i very much appreciate a day off in the name of keeping sane ) - but rather its the way he's chosen to go about having these sick days thats got me all cranky. He is, for lack of a better term, lying about them, and expecting us to do the same ( and just accept that thats what he's doing ). Instead of going to our regional manager and saying " Hey , here's the situation, i'm stressed and a health professional has recommended time off " and organising a functional way of taking some time off, this co-worker is just going to ring in sick from time to time, and expect one of us to say he has a stomach ache/migraine/diarrhea. And when our managment very quickly get suspicious of all these random sickies - not only will he have to tell them the truth anyway, but then he'll look a selfish little whinger who's only looking out for himself.
Part of his stress has to do with the fact that we are very short-staffed around here - but rather than do things honestly, admit that he's having a problem, and hopefully have some alternative arrangments made... well, he's just leaving us in the lurch. Leaving us more short-staffed than we already are. Doing the same thing to us which is stressing him so badly. I'm all for looking after yourself but i'll be frank - what he's doing is rude. And disrespectful. ( Especially in light of the fact that another staff member was told by her doctor to take time off and she declined because she didnt want to leave this guy in the position he has left her ). This guy doesnt have a good work ethic at the best of times, so this whole " I'll just have sickies whenever i want, the rest of you be damned " attitude has only served to further raise my hackles...
What do you think? Should employees be upfront about their need for "mental health days " ( as advised by a medical professional ) or is it ok to just chuck a sickie and expect the rest of your office to shoulder the load?
This is NOT my first time at the rodeo. In fact, this will be my 5th room to set up in 4 years (I was in 2 buildings my first year). I've never stayed in one place twice. So, I'm hoping this will be more long term. I brought home my Spaces and Places book for some inspiration and a way to organize my thoughts. I've used it the last two times, but now- I'm reading it as a first grade teacher, with different needs. I'll post more photos and thoughts as I move through this process.
|My view from the door.|
A grey hair.
I'm only 27 - you dont get grey hair when your 27! But no, here it was, a shiny silver strand sticking out like a sore thumb. I was going to try and pass it off as blonde but no, there's no lying about it... it was grey. And, just like a mice, we know where there is one, there are at least half a dozen. ( none of which i could see on closer inspection.) I had half a mind to put in a plastic sandwich bag and bring it to work to show my workmates - " See what the stress is doing to me!?! ". But then i realised not only would i have grey hair, but i'd also be accused of being completely mental. ( Which may or may not be true, we dont need to discuss that right now ).
But in all seriousness - a grey hair? Am i going prematurely silver? Or is it just a physical manifestation of all the stress and worry that caused last weeks super-meltdown?
I'm going to blame the months of concealed emotions - apparently not only do they eventually cause a tear-streaked, snotty meltdown, they also come sprouting out the top of your head....
So on Saturday night, I gathered my group of happy shiny people to check out Happy Crabs. At first, the westies in the group were reluctant to make the journey. By the end of the night, we all cheerily agreed it was a “damm-shiok-damm-affordable” meal, well worth their pilgrimage.
It’s a relatively new coffee shop – spacious, clean and breezy. It wasn’t crowded on a weekend night (let’s hope it stays that way). Happy Crabs is a modest stall tucked away in the corner. We excitedly ordered 3 king crabs from the stall at $25 each. Yums. They were fresh and full of creamy roe. They provide 3 sauces – chilli, mayo and wasabi with soya sauce, but I preferred the crabs on its own. The stall owner also recommended we try the fried fish. Hmm, crispy and the chili was hot and spicy, I like.
To supplement the meal we also ordered from the other stalls. I was hoping to try the thai food but it was closed. Oh well. we settled for two bowls of pig organ soup which was surprisingly satisfying, and a fried chicken cutlet from the western food stall which was well-executed.
It was sheer perfection – excellent company and plentiful good wine (my Saint Aubin was a good buy) served in atas riedel wine glasses we brought along. We paid the drink stall $1 for an ice bucket to keep our whites chilled. Shiok!
* Warm days during winter. Its no secret that i hate the cold, so when we do get a mild/warm day in between the frost, i like to make the most of it - take Flynn to the park, play out in our front yard, or scour through our (small) garden looking for ladybugs or caterpillars.
* Dessert - i've got a sweet tooth all year round but winter desserts are just so ....good. Great. Warming. Comforting. I'm thinking tonight would bea great night for a crumble and ice cream. Ooh, or homemade cheats apple danish.
*A good book - i'm a bit of a reader. I have been since kindergarten.... its only now that i have a family and, thus, very little time to myself that i appreciate a good book, the escapism that it offers. I'm in the middle of " The Shifting Fog " by Kate Morton at the moment ( yea, yea, i know - i'm only a few years behind everyone else... ) and if i had the opportunity to just sit and read and read i'd finish it in one sitting...
* Having " things " to look forward to - like a roadtrip to Sydney next week where we will stay with Micks aunt and unlce, catch up, go and see Cirque Du Soleil and do some shopping. Excited!
I love it when nice joints like these open up in the east. Penhas Road is quite an obscure area but it’s very near my place. It looks quite out of place amidst its semi-industrial neighbours, but once you walk in, what a lovely setting!
White walls and wood fittings, plush velvet chairs and huge floral arrangements. Copious trays of pastries and meringues. Neat rows of beautiful cake creations that ALL look so good!
I am amazed by the amount of food we ordered AND polished off. Sis wanted her favourite French toast (for lunch?) and I wanted something savoury so I ordered the marinara pasta. We also ordered the parma ham and cheese crepe.
I went “wow” when the French toast came. It looked and tasted absolutely delish. The salted caramel and chantilly cream combination was amazing. Definitely something I’ll order again in a heartbeat.
The pasta fared well too. It was cooked al dente with just the right sauce consistency. They were generous with the seafood and I loved the spicy kick in the sauce. Try it.
The crepe looked pretty and it was nice bursting the molten yolk in the centre. Tastewise I found it lacking, the ham was not flavourful and the crepe wasn’t outstanding. Would skip this the next time.
You know what they say about girls having a different stomach for desserts. It’s true. Both Sis and I were stuffed but we couldn’t resist ordering a cake each. At $9 each for the Antoinette and the Tart Cafe Caramel, the cakes were expensive. But they looked so pretty and tasted so good! I really liked the sea salt caramel of the Tart Café Caramel, but the Antoinette’s earl grey infused chocolate mousse and crumble, as well as the raspberry coulis (oohh it oozes when pierced) left a deeper impression.
Overall it was a lovely afternoon and quality time spent gorging with my dear Sis. Would I recommend this place? Most definitely.
*Disclaimer * - yes, for anyone too precious ... there is swearing in this video. No, its not actually a childrens story. And no, it was not shown on Playschool. Please do not bombard me with comments about how its not funny to swear at chidlren/around children/about children. Its a tongue-in-cheek story about how frustrating it is to put your kids to bed. 99% of us parents have been there. If you have, you'll understand. If you havent - well your f**king lucky so just stop your whinging, ok?
Sad to admit, but I think I miss my classroom. Instead of working on my small bathroom project, I am wondering what is going on in my new classroom. Are they done with the carpets and floors yet? Are all of my things moved across the hall (safely)? This will be my 5th classroom (in four years) to set up... I should be used to this by now. I think I need to stop by and check it out- just so I can sleep at night. That's normal, right?
In the meantime, I think I need to hang by the pool with my sweet friend, Jennifer- who also happens to be a teacher! She gets me and (probably) won't laugh at me. Happy Heat Wave, everyone!
We were a bit early for the tasting but this gave us a chance to mingle with Alex from citynomads, the bartender and the sommelier – all very nice and friendly people. That, plus the fact that they serve 45ml shots here instead of the regular 30ml shots - I think this could be my new favourite bar!
Whilst waiting, Alex initiated us to a rum shot (which he) called “Flirt”. Basically you take a wedge of lime, dip coffee powder on one side and cane sugar on the other, put it in your mouth, give it a good chew and down the shot of rum. Amazing! I’m not even a fan of rum but I wanted seconds *grin*
By the time the vodka tasting started, we were slightly buzzed so I decided it was time to sample some of the food. As mentioned by the earlier reviewer, the menu came on ipads and there were detailed desciptions and pictures, which made ordering easy. I decided on the Herring Under Fur Coat – a salad of chopped herrings mixed with potato and beet root, and doused with (was it mayo?) sauce. It was rather yummy, this dish and it went well with the shots of vodka.
We had 6 shots of vodka in all. The more memorable ones were the sibirskaya vodka from Siberia and this chilli-infused vodka name of which I can’t remember. I’m no vodka connoisseur but they definitely tasted smoother than the Smirnoff and absolut vodkas I was familiar with. Fortunately, to line our stomachs, they served up some traditional khachapuri (cheese baked with bread). Hot from the oven, this was gooey cheese goodness!
For dessert, I ordered the breaded baked apple. It was quite a novel idea – a whole apple baked into a crispy crust. It was quite tasty but the apple was a bit sour. The next time around I will order the blini pie instead.
I know it sounds excessive but we couldn’t leave Buyan without trying one of the finest Russian vodkas, the famed Beluga. At $45 a shot it was pricey but Ndee was in a happy mood (we all were) and he offered to buy the shots. I guess my vodka palate had really evolved throughout the night, because I could really taste the difference in the premium vodka – it was silky smooth, very subtle and elegant – well worth the hype (and $$$).
Surprisingly both Ndee and I only had mild hangovers the next day. Now I understand how the Russians can drink so much vodka – it’s not a myth, the good ones really don’t give bad hangovers! Anyway, I am definitely going back to Buyan to try out more of the food. And have another shot of “Flirt” *runs hands in glee*
It started Saturday morning - Mick had to go into work for a while first thing, and ended coming home an hour later than what he had told me. I sat waiting, Flynn alternately playing and whinging that he wanted to get up on my lap, feeling lonely and rejected.
I put on my best happy face so we could go and do the grocery shopping, hoping that if i just acted happy enough i would get myself out of my funk.
We dropped Flynn to my parents so they we could go on the "date afternoon " that i had been looking forward to for a month. We saw the final Harry Potter movie ( which was entirely awesome, by the way ) and then went home to get changed to go out for dinner. It took me a long time to find outfit that made me feel as sexy as i wanted to feel - in the end i went for something that made me look relatively svelte, though i still didnt have that feeling i wanted so badly to feel.
We at a relatively nice resturant, although their dinner menu was very limited. I order pork belly, hoping it would be a great meal and a change from what i can cook at home. Hoping for something special to match the expectations i had of the night. What i got was two pieces of salty pork and some oily lettuce.
We went home, where i wanted so badly to crawl into bed together, to be intimate, physically and emotionally, to talk and laugh and touch each other without the distraction of a child. Mick wanted to watch a Steven Seagal movie, so i went to bed by myself at 8:45pm .
I woke Sunday in my mood hadnt lifted - it had gotten worse. I had wanted so much from our date night... a break from the demands of mother hood, yes, but also a reconnection with each other that i felt had been missing the last month or so. Preparing for a wedding, and having work stress, and still pining for a friendship that is no more has stolen my focus, and i know that i've been retreating into my thoughts more often that is healthy, and neglecting Mick just a little. ( I dont think he feels that way, thats just how i perceive my own behaviour ). And i dint get anything i wanted, not even a nice meal. I felt completely shattered and utterly exhausted by everything. I couldnt stop the tears rolling slowly down my cheeks while i cooked breakfast, or tried to focus enough to read the Sunday papers. And when we went around to my parents to pick Flynn up and my sister told me to stop whinging ( about my bad night ), i'd had the night off while she played with my son... that was it.
That was enough right there. I froze with my arm reaching up to get a glass out of the cupboard, shut the cupboard door and then walked out of the room, out the front door, hid around the side of the house behind some bushes and burst into tears. There was no denying it this time - those tears and frusturations were coming out, no matter what. My dad found me and told me to come back when i was ready to talk... which was only a half hour later. I waited til Mick took Flynn up to the supermarket and i drove slowly back to my parents house, where they sat with me on the lounge and listened as i poured every.single.worry out, let all the shitty words and hurts and frusturations stream out of me. And my mum hugged me and my dad squeezed my hand and they told me how they had the same worries as a young family, and how they could help me now.
All i can say is thank fuck for parents. The AMAZING parents i have, who support me and hold me up and love me when it seems like there is hardly anyone else who will ( excepting Mick and Flynn, the loves of my life ). Thank the Universe for parents like mine - i feel so much better for being to offload, and so much better for knowing their love...
The décor of Sabio (picture below courtesy of Sabio Tapas Bar and Restaurant) was as authentic as Spanish bars come, I felt like I was back in Madrid! Long bar counter with plenty of side ledges to put drinks/tapas plates, nice mix of local and expat crowd, a buzz in the air that was befitting of a lazy Saturday evening.
The waiter promptly came to take our drink orders once we were seated. The drink list was fairly interesting with a respectable selection of Spanish sherries and wines. I decided on a dry amontillado sherry at $18 to start the night. Hmm, they were a bit stingy with the serving, not worth the price.
The huge leg of iberico belotta jamon (made from Iberian black pigs fed on acorns) they had at the counter looked very tempting but I recently had a jamon overdose so decided not to order that. It was a bit early for a full meal so we just ordered a sausage and cheese platter to nibble on. The platter wasn’t too bad but I was a tad disappointed it was so heavy on the chorizo and there were only 4 tiny silvers of queso.
After finishing my very tiny glass of sherry, I ordered a glass of albillo from Ribera del Duero at $16. It was not as good as I would have liked it to be but at least it was a decent serving. Ndee had a glass of red sangria which he said tasted like fruit punch.
Hmm, I would re-visit this place again to give the hot tapas menu a try, simply because I really liked the ambience. But I have this nagging feeling that they need to improve the food. It was also expensive, our bill for the above came up to $100.
Ndee said the face of the matador on the wall looked like that of the owner of the bar. If you do visit the place, let me know if you agree, haha.
Tonight’s fix was at Yoyogi, this Japanese joint along Mohammed Sultan Road which was recommended by my dinner date B. The reviews on hungrygowhere were not encouraging as they seemed to suggest the place was over-priced but I decided to check the place out anyway.
The sashimi moriwase platter wasn’t cheap at $88 but it did look pretty. There was a good variety of fish, but only 2-3 small slices of each –Fish Mart Sakuraya has spoilt me with their gianormous portions. Interestingly there was a “squid with roe” sashimi which had a really good bite and texture to it. It’s presented as the cross-section of a white squid and there’s white roe inside. I forgot to take pictures and I haven’t been able to google what is. If you know what it is PLEASE let me know..
The teriyaki cod and shioyaki salt we ordered was ok, nothing too challenging or impressive. I needed to get my carbo fix so I ordered a bowl of garlic fried rice to fill my stomach. Bad choice, it was dry and unflavorful. The two skewers of chicken we ordered were also mediocre, bland and a bit charred.
I’m usually very forgiving with my food reviews but $200 for the bit of food we had (including two bottles of biru) – very average tasting – was definitely not worth it. I’m sorry, but I am not going back.