Burger galore

Ban and I hadn't been to Johnny Rockets since our maiden trip to their outlet at The Curve until recently. We met some friends for lunch on a weekday and due to lack of sufficient seats at their first choice of venue, we ended up at Johnny Rockets outlet at Avenue K. Even so, it was crowded and thus service was a tad slow, I think.

I didn't take a photo as I was probably busy catching up with friends. Nevertheless, it was nothing to shout about. I remember having a burger and it was quite bad. It was dry and there was too much fries. Definitely not worth the price. Incidentally, everyone at the table agreed it wasn't worth it.

Also recently Ban and I brought his brother to have dinner at Plan B @Paradigm Mall after watching the movie Hobbits: Battle of the Five Armies. Here was what I had:

Plan B 9

Plan B 10

Sorry, I forgot to take note of the name of the burger I had. It was delicious, with quite generous portion of salad and appropriate amount of fries. It was expensive though.

Only complaint I had was that they provided the place mats which had their special menu only after they took our order. Ban's brother would have ordered from their special menu if that was presented together with the normal menu. We asked to change but it was too late because (apparently) they had starting cooking Ban's brother's order. That was an unsatisfactory response from them. Tsk tsk tsk.

Petrol Dec 14

Oh, the last update I posted was in Feb 14. It sure felt much longer than that :)

Petrol cost 25Dec14

Unlike previously, I combined all data because there were a few changes to the petrol price in the last 2 months that I forgot to keep track.

Going forward, there should be even more frequent changes to the price because starting 1 Dec this year, Malaysian government has removed petrol subsidy. It is still a controlled item though because they still determine the price on the 1st of each month by averaging the market price of the previous month.

I prefer to have the subsidy remained for reason I stated in a previous post. By amazing coincidence, the petrol price globally has dropped significantly (by almost half!) and so even though the subsidy is fully removed, the price didn't shoot up dramatically. Lucky government. On the other hand, their revenue has shrunk a lot.

Are they channeling the saving to good use? I very much doubt so. In fact, they are raising even more revenue with the implementation of GST in April next year. Yup, have to recoup all money spent (like water) during the last general election. Possibly trying to plug a black hole in the form of a rather dubious new sovereign fund.

Based on the graph above, looks like the average cost is about 15 cents per km. Please ignore the tail end spikes because twice I inadvertently didn't fill up to full tank. Gah.

Sushi Zanmai: Choco Banana Parfait

Yes, since the carrot debacle, I have been to Sushi Zanmai twice and nope, they didn't change the photo of the curry udon and I neither order it nor ask whether they now have carrot in it or not. Coincidentally, the waiter who apologised to me was nowhere to be seen. Hmmmm.

On the latest visit, I was quite famished after gym and so after wolfing down their Salmon Zanmai set, I decided to order their choco banana parfait (RM 15). I had it before and it was a little too rich for me. So much cream. Yet I ordered again this time :P

Sushi Zanmai 7

Sushi Zanmai 8

It is still too rich for me hahaha. Definitely more than negate my hour-long exercise at gym :P Oh well, I shouldn't order it in future, really. In fact, I think their wafer ice-cream (RM 8) is better.

Morning routine

Since I blogged about wanting to wake up earlier, I have been rather successfully waking up any time between 9am and 10am more regularly. Yay :)

I read an article on tips of how to get up in the morning. Ever since I started working nearly two decades ago, I always had a hard time waking up. Always felt drowsy and groggy. So these tips were intriguing.

There were 5 tips. I remember only 4 of them: 
(1) have something to look forward to do the next day, 
(2) drink a glass of water,
(3) brush teeth, and
(4) movement.

Re point (1), it is no wonder it was hard to wake up when I was working full time previously because, like most people, I didn't fancy going to work (do you?). Yes, I'm good at my work but not enthusiastic about it.

As for point (2), I have been drinking a glass of water every morning for sometime now. It was upon advice from an aunt for combating sinus. Incidentally, it does help with the morning sinus. The difference now is that that's the very first thing I do once I wake up. The theory is that our body is relatively dehydrated and thus quite weak when we first wake up.

The next thing I do is point (3). I guess doing points (2) and (3) contribute to point (4). I continue with washing face, shaving and fold blanket. 

Then I have a glass of soy milk with oat for breakfast while settling in front of my laptop. By then the drowsiness is gone. So yes, it works. Just need to make it a habit.

Hibiscus

I rarely have photos of nature. Probably because I rarely travel to new places. Dislike traveling :)

This hibiscus, however, was nearby and it looked so pretty that I had to photographed it.

Hibiscus 1

Hibiscus 2

Its back looks so different from the front, right? The difference in colour is quite stark.

Sushi Zanmai: see no carrot

Recently Ban and I had dinner at Sushi Zanmai at Paradigm Mall, a favourite restaurant of ours. We chose to dine there because Ban wanted to get a laptop cooling pad and I found out that there was a Thundermatch outlet at the mall.

We both nearly ordered the usual dish i.e. Salmon Zanmai but we decided to try something new, which is a good thing because we haven't been keeping up with the routine of trying new food every week on a consistent basis.

In the menu, I spotted curry udon with chicken and carrot as depicted in the photo. My stomach was good and it's been sometime since I had Japanese curry. So I ordered a small dish. Avoided the large portion in case I couldn't finish it and if the small one wasn't enough, I was prepared to order salmon sushi.

What they served was this:

Sushi Zanmai 3

Sushi Zanmai 4

Do you see any pieces of carrot? No, right?

I was quite miffed. I wouldn't have ordered it if there was no carrot in it. I decided to talk to a waiter.

Me: Does this normally have carrot? *pointed to the picture in the menu*

Waiter: No, it does not have carrot.

Me: Then this is misleading, isn't it? If I had known there was no carrot in it, I wouldn't have ordered.

Waiter: *dumbfounded*

Me (to Ban): I guess carrot must be very expensive. Maybe RM 10 per kg or something like that.

Another waiter came over and spoke quietly with the waiter to find out what was going on. Upon learning about my complaint, this other waiter offered to change the dish for another dish of my choice. I declined as I had eaten maybe 2 spoonful already and was trying to be fair to them although they were not being fair to me. "Very disappointing," I told him. He apologised and said would provide my feedback to the kitchen staff.

I thought that was the end of it. Despite the absence of carrot , the dish was quite good. The soup was not as thick as the usual curry udon and I prefer it this way. Its spiciness was mild and it was light in taste. The udon was smooth and not chewy.

To my surprise, the waiter came back and told me that the dish used to have carrot but later they changed the cooking process such that the carrot was dissolved in the soup. Dissolved?? Wow, mighty soup lol. Ban was very skeptical but I didn't want to kick any more fuss because I had said what I wanted to say already. I merely received the explanation but pointed that they then should change the picture in the menu as it was misleading. He apologised again.

I ordered 2 pieces of salmon sushi as the noodle portion turned out to be just short of what I needed. While waiting, we were given a surprise:

Sushi Zanmai 5

Sushi Zanmai 6

The waiter came back with this complimentary dessert and apologised once again, promising to be better next time (hopefully). I was pleasantly surprised and thanked him for the effort.

On hindsight, I was quite surprised at their reaction. The waiter apologised about 3 times and offered some sort of compensation twice after I rejected the first time. Either they never or very rarely receive negative feedback or I was fierce lol. Mind you, I wasn't shouting as I learned that that almost never achieve anything and it's destructive rather than constructive. Besides, I hate myself to loosing control and shouting. I kept the feedback as short as possible (but yes, I threw in a line of sarcasm) and straightforward. Their explanation (dissolved carrot!) is still dubious to me but kudos to them for trying to make amend.

The ice-cream was good. It wasn't very creamy, tasted of green tea but not bitter and most importantly not too sweet. The wafer was, however, soft.

Will I go there again? Yes, for sure since they have been good almost all the time. Will they change the picture in the menu? Highly doubt it and for sure I would not order it again until there's a change.

As an aside, yesterday Ban and I had dinner at Sushi Tei and I spotted a picture of their curry rice that had carrot and potato in it. Upon enquiry, it was confirmed that those were indeed in the dish. See? It's not that hard, is it?

Beautiful Kolam

Just realised that I have these photos that were meant to be posted months ago hehehe. Saw these beautiful kolams at Paradigm Mall during this year's Deepavali celebration...while rushing to gym hehehe.

Kolam 1

Kolam 2

Kolam 3

Kolam 4

Arata: a blip?

Ban and I are fond of the udon restaurant Arata. I love their udon, both dry and soup but I stay away from their hot green tea because they charge RM 3 for a cup that uses teabag. Too expensive. Other Japanese restaurants charge between RM 1 and RM 2.50 and not of the teabag variety.

One of my favourite combo is to order their dry udon that comes with okura (sliced lady's finger) and pieces of fried sweet tofu and I would choose char siu as topping. You can see the photo here in this post of the char siu that they typically serve.

As expected, the serving size of the char siu is different than that shown on their menu:

Arata 7

That's fine by me as the actual serving size is adequate for me and it's juicy and delicious...usually.

During a recent visit, this was what they served me:

Arata 8

Pathetic, right? Not only it was smaller than usual, it was dry and that crossed the line. I just had to give them feedback and I did overhear the waiter providing my feedback to the chef. This happened probably once or twice before. Well, hopefully they'll fix it and don't make it a habit.

Sushi Zanmai @Paradigm Mall

When I first started living in KL, I love dining at Sushi Zanmai at One Utama because of their Salmon Zanmai set. Later, however, I stopped going there since I discovered their portion to be significantly smaller than other restaurants.

So it heartens me that the same set at Paradigm Mall's outlet (newer mall) is better in size. Well, either that or other places have reduced their portion over the years :) Another good news is that Ban likes that set too and the bonus is that the serving is good enough for him that he normally doesn't need to order anything else. Yes, that means it's very filling for me.

Recently, while waiting for our sets to arrive, I spotted this sad-looking Inari on the conveyor belt:

Sushi Zanmai 1

It's possibly the smallest Inari I've seen. Ban pointed out that it was on the white plate and thus the cheapest (RM 1.80) but since other food on such plates were bigger, this stood out for its pathetic size.

When our sets arrived, I went looking for the smoked salmon. Ban and I usually exchanged his salmon belly sushi with my smoked salmon sushi as per our preference. Can you spot the latter in the picture below?

Sushi Zanmai 2

We couldn't find them and was wondering that on earth were those pale looking sushi? I tasted one and confirmed that they were smoked salmon - the palest smoked salmon I've ever seen. As William said, we hit the jackpot of having albino salmon :P

Morning

Gosh, I tried to find the post where I mentioned about waking early vs sleeping late but I couldn't find it.

I remember saying that I love waking up early because it's cool and I get so much done before lunch. That makes me feel productive and I can relax for the rest of the day :)

On the other hand, I also like sleeping late because it's cool and quiet. Also, if I play multiplayer online games, there will be more players as these games are dominated by Europeans and/or Americans.

Obviously I cannot do both because I still make sure I have 7.5 hours of sleep. So I decided to wake up early because of one critical factor: health. Wake up early/sleeping early reduces incidence of sinus and irritable bowel/stomach significantly. Also, this negate the need to have second supper (as I sometimes need to do if I sleep late).

How early? About 9 am hehehe. So I try to sleep by 1 am.

On a related matter, it's the monsoon season and it has been raining, usually heavily, almost everyday and thus rendering the pool too cold to swim. So as alternative, I either brisk walk on the treadmill or do yoga.

2016: a crucial year

Financially, that is. It will be the year my permanent residency in Singapore is up for renewal and I'm almost certain that they will not renew it since I have not been working in Singapore for a few years before the renewal date.

So that will affect the tax rate on my income and property in Singapore...by a lot! Currently, my income is taxed on a tiered basis and so the effective rate is about 1% or even less. Property tax is 10%. After losing my PR, the income tax rate will be a flat 15% (so that's at least 15 times of current!) and the property tax is a flat 20% (double of current).

I estimated that the expected increased tax amount can be sufficiently covered by my dividend income but I cannot be certain. Who knows whether these tax rates will change in 2 years time. Hopefully dividend income will not decrease in future. So the best way is to just go through with it and observe the cashflow for at least a year before doing anything major. In the meantime, I'm trying not to increase my expenses unnecessarily.

William & Plan B: 2nd time

I had been wanting to catch up with William for sometime (think the last was...back in Aug?) but it was a little difficult at first because he had a long trip to Canada with his partner (it was a great trip for them :) ) and then he was posted to temporarily work in Singapore once every two weeks or something like that. Then, due to popular demand (or maybe his generousity with red packet :P), he had wedding dinners to attend (when will I get to attend yours ar?).

Then suddenly a window of opportunity appeared...then very nearly closed hahaha. In short, within the last few hours from the tentative time, we (together with Ban as well) managed to have lunch together at Plan B. We wanted a place that had ample parking space and decent food. I never knew how empty Paradigm Mall's carpark bays are during weekday lunch.

Since it is an expensive place to dine at, I planned to try something different from my maiden visit. I ordered eggs benedict with ham (or was it bacon?) and muffins (RM 16).

Plan B 7

Plan B 8

Its presentation looked better than expected. The muffin was soft and the eggs were creamy. Ham was delicious. It was better than the one I had at Big Bad Wolf which had a small amount of vegetable for RM 3 more.

As anticipated, it wasn't enough for me. William kindly offered some of this fried sweet potatoes. Thanks!

I also ordered chocolate milkshake (RM 12), which I forgot to take a picture of. It was not bad but I vaguely recall that it wasn't thick enough for me.

We parted after a 2-hour lunch. Once home, I inexplicably felt so tired. It was as though I had taken sleeping pill. It was so weird. I had to immediately take a nap and felt normal after I woke up.

Strange. Was it the milkshake? The egg benedict sauce? @@

Children

Did I ever want children? I vaguely remember that I did but I'm quite sure wasn't seriously considering. I know that Ban wanted children but he now agrees that it will be unwise because he simply doesn't have the energy to look after children 24/7 while I occasionally fall sick.

Personally, I have more reasons not wanting children:

(1) I dislike the smell of baby poo and so no changing diapers for me.

(2) They are so untidy with things. Take things out but don't put them back.

(3) They are messy with food until at least 5 years old.

(4) They will be number one priority (if not, then you shouldn't have children in the first place) and so forget about putting your needs above theirs.

(5) Not only they can't/won't help but they tend to make things worse.

(6) Selfish (understandably to increase their chance of survival but still...).

(7) Babies don't sleep through the night until they are around 6-month old.

(8) End-of-the-world tantrums almost on daily basis. Nerve wrecking experience.

(9) They love to throw stuff regardless of their mood and won't pick them up.

But I love being an uncle though hehehe.

Guild Wars 2: Warrior PvP v2

Recently, I searched the internet for a better WvW build and came across a build from someone who based it on his PvP build. I was curious and so tried it in PvP and I love it!

The major traits selected are:

Defense
- II Dogged March
- IX Cleansing Ire
- VIII Last Stand

Tactics
- II Lung Capacity
- VII Shrug It Off
- XII Vigorous Shouts

Discipline
- III Warrior's Sprint

GW2 Warrior traits PvP v2

It is almost the same as my previous build except that I took Last Stand instead of Defy Pain and Warrior's Sprint instead of Inspiring Shout. This build is exactly the same as the person who posted it except that he took Spiked Armor instead of Last Stand. I find the latter much more useful in current PvP meta where fear, stun, daze, knockdown etc are present in almost every single hotjoin PvP I'm in. Also, instead of Warrior's Sprint, he chose Deep Cuts for increased bleeding duration.

But why the necessity of Warrior's Sprint now? That's because there is a key change in weapon set: sword+sword replace rifle and that is further supported by the use of the following PvP rune and PvP amulet:

GW2 Warrior PvP rune v2

GW2 Warrior PvP amulet v2

So do you see where this is going? It's still the same healing shout build but with much more durability due to increase Vitality and Toughness, and potent condition damage from both sword+sword and longbow. It also has 3 more condi removals due to choice of rune. Suddenly, just because of selection of weapon, rune and amulet, my warrior now is bunkier and more lethal at the same time :)

Since I'm not using Rune of the Traveler any more, I need Warrior's Sprint to move faster. Once you experience faster movement, you're addicted to it :P

Oh, also, the healing skill is now the Healing Signet instead of Healing Surge, which provides about 500-900+ healing per second (together with the minor trait that gives regeneration based on adrenaline level).

My initial concern was that I'm bad at melee and so I practised against the NPCs in Heart of the Mist and then in a few matches, paying special attention to the combat log. I had to modify my combat strategy so as to increase the chance of my melee hit :P It helps that I could do use the sword+sword set to leap (sword skill number 2 i.e. Savage Leap) and then immobilise opponent while applying devastating bleeding damage.

I am also practising how to disengage from a fight. Basically, the idea is to activate the Healing Signet, use Savage Leap to leap away and then activate Signet of Rage to gain Swift. Run away/around until a shout (hopefully a few!) is available for healing and the Healing Signet is active again. It helps that Savage Leap has quite a low cooldown (8s) and so I could use it again soon to leap even further away.

I probably will use this build for WvW as well although I believe my mesmer has better chance at surviving. Unfortunately, Settler armour is not something that one can craft from scratch and it's also missing from the list of Glorious armour. Bah! So I'm saving gold now to get all the pieces. I've gotten the runes already.

Evidence based profession?

I'm going to talk about something that may seem strange or even funny to some but it's a serious matter, especially for children with special needs.

Sensory Integration Therapy is an intervention that's used to hopefully improve a child's neurological processing of sensory information via a series of sensory stimulation and hopefully such improvement leads to other gains. Take note the the word "hopefully" appearing twice.

This therapy is essentially the mainstay of occupational therapist in the field of intervention for children with special needs. However, the weakness is this: there is ongoing controversy surrounding its efficacy. The consensus of researchers outside the field of occupational therapy is that it simply doesn't work.

With more and more research debunking its usefulness, how did occupational therapist react? Do they look at the evidence, agree and move on? And maybe even work together with researchers to find a better method? I sure hope the majority of them do that.

Unfortunately, there are a few of them who reacted defensively. This is understandable because their profession's prestige is at risk if people stop consulting them to implement intervention for children with special needs. However, I would argue that it is a greater risk for them to ignore evidence and to move on to better and effective method.

The longer they deny evidence, the greater risk it is to the poor children, their parents and teachers for wasting time - time that could have been better spent on evidence based practice - and raising false hope.

So please, leave your pride aside and work together for the betterment of the children.

Watami: 2nd vist

After our first visit, we went there again after gym mainly because I wanted to get vacuum dust bags from Harvey Norman (just nearby Watami). As an aside, anyone know where I can get such bags for Pensonic model PVC-25A? Or any brand that have replacement bags of similar size.

Once again, I intended to order ramen but was sidetracked into ordering Salmon & Avocado Roll Sushi (RM 21.90) :P

Watami 4

Watami 5

When it first arrived at our table, I was dismayed to see it was glazed but luckily there didn't seem to be any taste from it.

Then I was disappointed again when I discovered there was pickled vegetable in the centre of each piece. Now, admittedly I do not know whether it's the traditional way of making such roll but I have eaten others before whether there wasn't pickle in them. I dislike pickle and so I didn't like this roll. Salmon and avocado were not bad but no amount of it, wasabi or soy sauce could mask the sour taste of the pickle that was exarcerbated by the rice which was more sour than usual. Bleh.

Feeling unsatisfied, I wanted to order their Chocolate Parfait. I was told that they ran out of one of its ingredient i.e. coffee jelly. Knowing that they would most likely not lower its price due to absence of an ingredient, I asked for any substitute but they said there wasn't any and offered to make it as it is but without the jelly. I declined. Yet another disappointment.

Will I go there again? Likely not. Twice I went, twice dissatisfied. Enough.

Watami @Paradigm Mall

After one particular gym session at Fitness First at that mall, I had a hunkering for ramen. Ban and I headed for Sushi Zanmai but there was already a queue there. I was hungry (forgot to eat apple before the workout) and so we went to Watami, which is just a few doors away.

I nearly ordered their recommended ramen (think it was Tonkotsu Char Siu Ramen) when I came across their Chicken Katsu Curry at the last minute. I hadn't had that for a while and so I ordered that instead.

Watami 1

Watami 2

Presentation was quite nice but just look at the portion of ingredient. Four pieces of chicken and smattering few slices of onion in the gravy. That's it. No carrot, no potato. Stingy for a RM 24.90 dish. So disappointing.

Normally Japanese curry's spiciness is mild but not this one. Its curry is spicy without even considering the chilli powder that they had already sprinkled on it. The saving grace of this dish is the quality of its rice (seems to be authentic Japanese rice) and the chicken pieces (unexpectedly thin flour coating and yet the meat was still moist).

Watami 3

"Much care for good taste"? Not too sure about that. Certainly not for quantity.

Guild Wars 2: Warrior

There's so much of my warrior build that I want to talk about but I'll try to summarise as well as possible.

It's inspired by someone's idea of a healing shout build i.e. each time I use a shout skill, I'll heal.

The major traits selected for PVE and WvW are:

Defense
- II Dogged March
- IX Cleansing Ire
- XI Defy Pain

Tactics
- II Lung Capacity
- VII Shrug It Off
- XII Vigorous Shouts

Discipline
- III Warrior's Sprint

This is a snapshot of the major and minor traits:

GW2 Warrior traits

There's a lot of synergy among the traits. For example, normally a warrior gains adrenaline only if he hits but in this build, I also gain it each time I'm hit and when I swap weapon. Each time I gain adrenaline, I gain regeneration. I also regenerate health based on adrenaline level and each time I'm affected by movement-impending conditions. All of these is on top of the key major trait that allows me to heal each time I use a shout skill, of which its recharge time is reduced by a major trait.

Weapon set 1: Greatsword
Weapon set 2: Longbow

Greatsword is great for high damage especially the Hundred Blades skill. I usually start of with Greatsword Swing to inflict 4-5 stacks of vulnerability and then use Hundred Blades. I'll switch to rifle (before battle) if I think it's too hazardous to melee.

Longbow is used chiefly to create a combo to give area might. The combo is created by first using Combustive Shot and then followed by Arcing Arrow. So I usually start off with greatsword but then when adrenaline is near maximum, I swap to longbow (and thus gain max adrenaline) and perform this combo. Longbow is also used if there are, say, more than 3 mobs clustering together since it's long range and most of its skills have multiple targets.

Utility skills:
Healing Surge - great amount of heal based on adrenaline and synergises with increased adrenaline gains.
For Great Justice - give might stacks to myself and allies too.
Fear Me - a good "get out of jail" skill hehehe
Shake It Off - conditions clearance for myself and allies, and also a stun breaker
Signet of Rage - gain more adrenaline!

I often Fear Me and Shake It Off just for heals especially if I know there's no need for their primary functions. It helps that a major trait reduces their recharge time and so I get to use them again sooner.

Armour rune: Superior Rune of Divinity. Too poor to buy anything else. In any case, this rune is great on its own.

For PvP build, since I can have Rune of the Traveler (which grants 25% faster movement), I replace the Discipline's major trait Warrior' Sprint with Inspiring Shout to gain even more adrenaline. Also, I use rifle instead of greatsword because I'm so bad at chasing and hitting people with melee weapon.

This is how my warrior looks like with a mixture of Draconic and Glorious exotic armour:

GW2 Warrior ori outfit

This is how he looks like with an overlay outfit (of which I dye it so it's unique) that I obtained during the recent Halloween festival (my first outfit!):

GW2 Warrior overlay outfit

So cute, right? :)

Guild Wars 2: At the beginning

I can't remember exactly when I started playing this game but for sure it's been less than a year because my old laptop's specification didn't meet its minimum requirements.

I love mages and so after reading the description of various classes, called professions here in the game, I decided to start of as an elementalist. It was only after a few levels my friends told me that that was the hardest profession to play and boy they are right.

Elementalist has maximum 29 buttons to handle (maybe more now since they patched the game to enable some commands for summoned creatures). Compare that to warrior (16) and mesmer (19). Yes, it's not necessary to use all the buttons (some you rarely use and some you never use) but it's tedious to be flipping around. A warrior and mesmer have 2 sets of weapons to use (and you inevitably will use both sets) and each set of weapon comes with 5 skills. Elementalist can only use 1 set of weapons but the 5 weapon skills change depending on which element (Fire, Air, Water, Earth) you select at any one time @@. This is on top of 5 utility skills to consider to use.

I find it too hard to play elementalist (dies to easily and takes too long to kill creatures) and had to abandon him at level 40 (max level is 80), which is a pity because I love the visual effects of the various weapon skills across different elements. As Ban would say, I like "boom boom" lol.

So that was when I started a warrior. I can't remember why I chose him. I probably researched "easiest class to play" or something like that lol. It is easily believable because from my experience, a warrior-like class is usually the easiest to play...at least up to mid-level. In some games, it gets harder for warrior at higher levels.

Nevertheless, the idea of playing an Asura warrior (Asura is the smallest race) is appealing because it reminds me of Yoda using light saber in duels.

(to be continued)

Bari-Uma

This restaurant was among the 7 (or was it 8?) ramen restaurants mentioned in The Malaysianinsider and since it's located in PJ (at the new Jaya Shopping Centre), I decided (and drag Ban :P) to try it on a Sunday for late lunch.

Bari-Uma 1

Bari-Uma 2

Bari-Uma 3

Bari-Uma 4

Surprisingly there was lunch set on a weekend. The lunch set (RM 29) consists of a bowl of ramen (choose from 3), a drink and a choice between 2 sticks of yakitori or an ice-cream. Ban and I chose the lunch set where he chose yakitori while I chose ice-cream.

Bari-Uma 5

Bari-Uma 6

It was only after my ramen was served did I notice that there was a difference between the ramen in the lunch set and the ala carte ramen, despite having the same name (gah!). The ala carte Bari-Uma Ramen had egg and possibly 2 pieces of char siu whereas the lunch set version had no egg and only 1 piece of char siu. If I had known earlier, I would have ordered the ala carte version (RM 28) and water.

The soup looked oily but fortunately it didn't taste that way. It was more of pork broth than shoyu, to Ban's dismay. It tasted quite good to me. The ramen texture was good, not rubbery and not hard. There were only 5 miserly pieces of bamboo shoot. The addition of wolfberry was a surprise: it's a first for me when it comes to ramen.

Bari-Uma 7

The yakitori was shockingly short and small but Ban was pleasantly surprised with the use of breast meat. Yet another unusual item. Another plus for him was that it was not oily.

Bari-Uma 8

Bari-Uma 9

The green tea ice-cream was possibly the highlight of the lunch. It was not too sweet or too creamy, with moderate green tea flavour.

Will I go back there again? Likely not because of its price and also for what it offers. I could have ramen elsewhere of similar or better quality at cheaper price and probably with more ingredients.

The (big) bird

Usually, once I park my car after using it, I'll not only put up the front windscreen wipers but also the solitary back wiper. I thought it's only logical to put up both but apparently most people only bother with the front wipers. Why?

Anyway, the strange thing is that sometimes I noticed that the back wiper was down. I usually assumed that some people had itchy hands and put it down as they walked past. You know what's Ban's explanation? Birds. Oh yes, you heard it right. He said that the birds must have thought, "Oh, what an unusual car. I must fix it". Lol, see lah what my crazy partner thinks up :P

One fine day, Ban was with me when I parked my car. I put up both side's wipers and was about to leave when I noticed that he put down the back wiper.

"Ehhh, why did you put it down?"

"Huh? Ohhhh...I didn't think."

"So all along you're the bird, is it?"

Lol.

Still soy milk?

Couple of weeks ago, I blogged about switching from cow's milk to soy milk. Shortly after that, my sister reminded me that intolerance/sensitivity sometimes undergoes an accumulation phase before displaying symptoms. Coincidentally, that night and the next day, I had stomachache (probably irritable bowel syndrome i.e. IBS). Lol.

Ok, I didn't give you an important fact: right up to before that blog post, I had been drinking V-Soy Multi-Grain, which is a mixture of soybean, purple brown rice, black sesame, malt extract and barley. It's smooth and appears to be creamy.

Then I thought of just alternating between that and V-Soy's normal soybean milk, simply because the latter has slightly less sugar. That was when I had stomachache. Coincident? Hmmm...

Here's another information: I switched back to purely V-Soy Multi-Grain. The IBS symptom didn't recur since then.

Is it still coincident?

Regardless, I'll just stick with Multi-Grain since it's yummier anyway hehehe.

D'italiane

During the tail-end of my backache saga, I decided to get back to exercise but still avoided yoga. So I chose to use a treadmill during our weekly excursion to the gym. We went to the nearest FF outlet at Paradigm Mall to exercise.

We had dinner after gym at D'italiane, which is conveniently located just below the gym. I have always wanted to try this restaurant but kept forgetting to do so. It was good that my stomach decided to do so that day hehehe.

D'italiane 1

D'italiane 2

Yes, their menu was sort of in the form of a newsletter. Actually, the overall ambience of the restaurant was pretty good. Later, when the sun about to set, they placed this at each table:

D'italiane 7

After contemplating among a few choices, at the last minute I ordered Angel Hair with Scallops (RM33):

D'italiane 3

D'italiane 4

Looks a little messy, doesn't it? I was a little surprised by the choice of sliced lettuce but pleased with the amount. Often than not pasta dishes have little to non-existent amount of vegetables.

There was simply too much pasta, made worse by existence of only 3 scallops. The texture of the pasta was similar to the Chinese wantan noodle (I felt ripped off lol). The taste was alright but surprisingly spicy. I wonder how potent their black pepper version would be. There was thinly sliced pieces of garlic which was yummy. Unusual dish.

D'italiane 5

I also ordered the Ciocchino Mocha, which was an ice-blended drink. The waiter confused me when he asked me whether I wanted it hot or cold.

Me: Shouldn't it be ice-blended?
Waiter: No, there's no ice-blended.
Me: Please read this description *pointed at the menu*
Waiter: Oh...ok.

That was so strange...and somewhat unpleasant.

Oh, and guess what? Our pasta (Ban ordered Angel Hair too) arrived but drinks had not been served yet. I had to point this out to them before our drinks arrived. I guess they were busy producing water from a salination plant somewhere and needed to wait for it to be transported.

Thank goodness the drink was quite good and flavourful. It was, however, small for the price of RM 13.

D'italiane 6

Unusual glass, right?

Yes, there were a number of unusual things about this restaurant to perhaps differentiate itself from other restaurants but if they don't get their quality right (both in food and service), then those will be pointless.

Will I try again? Yes, I'll likely give another chance.

Inaho: 6th and the last time

Since I deviated from my original plan previously, I had their Shoyu Ramen once again. Unlike the first time I had this noodle, I'm severely disappointed in the lack of meat (only 1 or 2 pieces!) and the absence of seaweed. Gosh, so stingy for a RM 18 bowl of ramen.

Also, the green tea tasted diluted, despite it being the most expensive hot green tea (RM 4) I had among Japanese restaurants of similar tier.

Again, consistent with previous experience where they didn't follow my instruction, this time they didn't follow Ban's request of not having sauce on his salad.

As noted before, this restaurant has huge problem in maintaining consistency. Normally I would visit a restaurant at most twice if it is bad. I believed 6 times are more than generous and there will be no more visit. A pity.

Reading

I read aplenty everyday. Each day I read my e-mails, Facebook, 2 news media online and actuarial news sent by the institute to my e-mail. Every now and then I also read investment blogs and forum. Offline reading materials are the Actuaries magazine, various story books and occasional annual report (by various companies and condo management).

Even if I have project to work on (like recently), I still read the above. What I cut down is my gaming time, which will be restricted mostly to after dinner (when I'm off work). Incidentally, another item that I will not cut down is my exercise time. Too important.

However, lately I realised that the amount of online reading materials are so much that I started to neglect the offline ones and the latter have been piling up on a chair nearby my laptop as a constant reminder of the backlog :) So one day, I resolved to make more progress on this by doing the following: each time I want to start a game, I'll read some of these reading materials.

Although the reading time is only about 10mins each time, I do this frequently because I start and stop my games regularly. I managed to get through a 80+ pages of report within a few days by doing this and now have started to go through the Actuaries magazine.

Systematic and part of routine. Yeah :)

Ramen Ten & Shin Tokyo: 2nd visit

As stated in a previous post, Ban and I had lunch at this restaurant again and, yes, we used Groupon voucher once more.

I had planned to try their sushi since I already had their ramen. However, I was still in celebratory mood (our 5th anniversary :) ) and so I splurged a little more to order Dry Spicy Miso Crayfish (RM 32.90).

RTST 4

RTST 5

It had a "1 chilli" symbol but boy it was spicier than expected. I had to drink water regularly as I ate it. Here's an interesting observation: their Black Pepper Dry Beef Ramen also had "1 chilli" symbol. Gosh, I hate to think what sort of potent black pepper they're using!

It's probably quite obvious that there was huge amount of noodle, and vegetables such as beansprout, carrot, lettuce and spring onion. It was difficult to mixed them together due to the crayfish being placed at the top. I had to move the crayfish to a smaller plate to do so.

The sauce tasted like popiah sauce! Quite disappointing and amusing.

I had crayfish years ago and I remember how easy it was to extract its meat from its shell. However, in this case, it wasn't. It was like pulling meat that was glued to its shell. Also, I don't understand why they fried its skin with flour. I certainly couldn't eat the skin (too tough!) and so the flour was wasted.

The meat, fortunately was sweet and fresh. So were the prawns, squid and crabsticks.

I definitely won't have this again because it was too spicy for me, too large, too sweet and the way the crayfish was cooked was bizarre.