Restaurant André

If there is one must-try restaurant in Singapore, it’s André.  Do yourself a favor and eschew the fine-dining “chain” establishments at MBS and RWS.  Instead, try a place that is uniquely Singaporean and deservedly world-class.  The New York Times recently listed Restaurant André as one of their 10 restaurants worth a plane ride, and it is also one of only 3 restaurants from Singapore on the top 100 list.  Despite having been opened for some time, the restaurant still commands a 4 week reservation time.  The wait however is more than worth it as André is the epitome of what fine dining should be – personal, flawless, and memorable.

The restaurant is a cozy 30-seater that only accommodates one service each evening since the 10-course meal can last 3+ hours.  There are no set menu options, but as our party of four experienced, dishes can be substituted or adjusted quite radically on demand.  The service here leans more towards warm and casual, always present but never a distraction. Towards the end of the evening, Chef André makes the rounds, spending time chit chatting with the diners and happily answering questions.  Even though there were other diners around, the personal attention from chef and staff made us feel like we were the only guests that evening.

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Torisho Taka

On one of the rare family nights that everyone agreed to try some place new, we decided on Torisho Taka (since last minute reservations at Kazu are nigh impossible for large groups these days).  G and I had been there for lunch and found the food to be quite good, and as the sister restaurant to Aoki, one would expect a certain level of excellence at Taka.   Their specialty is sumiyaki, with cooked dishes as a secondary attraction.  The ingredients are fresh and primarily from Japan.

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Third trimester pains

About six weeks ago, I was eating seaweed like it was going extinct because of my hypo-thyroid condition. I was also told to have more protein in my diet to help reduce the swelling in my feet. Then in early May, I went for my follow-up visit and learned that I no longer had hypo-thyroid. Instead, I was now diagnosed with gestational diabetes (GD) and hemorrhoids. This meant an even stricter diet since my swollen feet were still persisting and I had to cut down on carbs to control the GD.

As if that wasn’t enough, over the last week or so, I have developed rashes all over my feet, calves, thighs and fingers. I’ve tried using sodium bicarbonate bath, slightly acidic water, fresh aloe vera, aloe vera gel, menthol rubs, anti-histamine pills and calamine lotion. But none have given me anything beyond a temporary relief. Apparently, it’s a chronic hives-like rash that strikes women during pregnancy, known as PUPPP. In severe cases, the doctor may have to induce labor. The silver lining in my case is that PUPPP struck only in my 32nd week and only on my limbs.

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Kaya Macarons (à la sous vide)

It’s been awhile since I’ve had time to cook/bake anything of interest.  Truth be told, G and I have been so busy with the baby countdown and personal to-do checklists (buy baby stuff, clean baby clothes, change jobs, more baby stuff) before D(elivery)-Day that we’ve eaten out a bit too much (also on our to-do list: top 10 ramen joints, Andre…).  Still, I did find some time last week to try and make a more “local” macaron.

Kaya is a spread (made from coconut milk, egg, sugar, and pandan leaves) that is great with butter on toasted bread.  The first time I ever tried it was actually back in SF.  G was so excited to find it available at our local Ranch 99.  Here in Singapore, there are definitely more varieties of kaya that range in taste and color, from brown to green.  I’m not enough of a connoisseur to tell you where to find the best kaya, and so I normally just reach in the fridge and grab whatever is available.

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G and I have a fondness for mom and pop restaurants.  Back home, we had Tekka, run by an elderly Japanese couple in their sixties.  While we’ve come across a few places like that here, none have made an impression quite like Ooi.  The restaurant is run by an adorably friendly obasan with her chef husband, the creator of straightforward and downright tasty meals.  It might just be our new favorite (but pricey) spot for a good Japanese home-cooked meal.

Hidden in the basement of Cuppage Plaza, it’s unlikely that one would happen to stumble upon Ooi.  This could explain why it’s filled predominantly by regulars, and why we were the only new faces that evening.  It’s a small restaurant, seating maybe 20 people.  The wife, Hiromi-san, alternates serving dishes, chatting with the guests and taking shots of shochu.  Fortunately, she has two other staff to ensure that food is promptly served and drinks always filled.

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Week 32 – Like an orange on a toothpick…


As usual, Wengr was acting shy and refusing to let our doc capture a clean profile.  So all we have is a semi-clear picture of his head… which we discovered was gynormous for 32 weeks.  The head is already at 9cm and the limit for natural birth is apparently 10cm, so unless Jr decides to stop growing the size of his head, G may not have a choice on Caesarian.  On the bright side, he’s in the 95% on height and normal on weight and body fat.


Michael Ginor – WGS 2011

Apologies for the dark and blurry photos.  My DSLR doesn’t exactly fit in a suit pocket, and the dim lighting at the Amara Sanctuary on Sentosa was not so S95 friendly.  This World Gourmet Summit event had one of the most interesting meals, food-wise, that I’ve had in quite a while, made even more amazing given the size of the dining crowd and the relative complexity of the courses.  The meal was almost a perfectly executed banquet feast by guest Chef Michael Ginor, co-founder of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and chef/owner of LOLA, New York.

The occasion, umm… well it doesn’t really matter.  It was a fête that I had the opportunity of attending instead of G.  There was a long ceremony at the start involving the well-heeled in a scene that I can best describe as: the Free Masons threw a party and invited the “party
-goers from Eyes Wide Shut.  This lasted well over an hour… and no food was served.  Fortunately for us, we had unwittingly stood near the kitchen entrance before the start of the event and were treated to first choice of all of the mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s still Sunday in the States, so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish my mom a happy Mother’s Day!  Growing up, this holiday was a subdued affair in our household given the lack of nearby relatives.  Inevitably, we would celebrate with a traditional brunch buffet (ah the Broker Inn).  Food, and not just Chinese is an integral part of my family.  Weekends might be consumed with attempts at homemade chinese sausages, dumplings, etc…  and when we could afford to eat out, mom always had a nose for good restaurants.  Since  about food, I thought I would share about one of the strongest bonds with my mom (and Dad also)- food.

Until meeting G, I wasn’t nearly as picky about what or where I ate, so long as it was filling.  Ironically, my disinterest for and love of food can all be attributed to my childhood.  I can still recall the many times that Mom would drag Dad and me to faraway restaurants just because she had “heard” they had great food.  Driving at least an hour each way just for a meal, especially as a teenager (when there are more important social activities to attend to) created a strong negative reinforcement towards food.  Outwardly I hated all the “time spent” with the folks, but secretly I loved the variety of cultural experiences, Thai, Korean, Moroccan, etc… so foreign to where we lived.

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Confinement herbs

About two-thirds of what I bought. The rest are in the wine fridge as they have to be kept cool.

A friend, L, brought me to a medical hall that she swears by all the way in the northern part of the island. You see, we live on the west and I can still (easily) get lost in the city, so going to the north is almost like driving all the way to Malaysia. But, I digress.

The Chinese medical store is packed full of herbs and ointments, including many unidentifiable dried animal parts. The owners are a couple in their late 40s / early 50s with three kids. The husband, Peter, is Singaporean and fluent in English but the wife, Anna, who also happens to be the main expert, prefers to converse in Mandarin.

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Shinichiro Takagi – WGS 2011

Last year’s World Gourmet Summit featured some notable personalities including a special appearance by Ferran Adrià and one very particular chef from Japan who transported everything including water for his guest stint in Singapore.  The latter might sound a bit absurd, but if you’ve ever had the pleasure of dining in Japan, you might appreciate how difficult it is to reproduce those tastes and textures abroad.  This year, Shinichiro Takagi, chef/owner of Zeniya had the dubious honor of presenting the cuisine and ingredients of his region during this tumultuous time in Japan.

Chef Takagi hails from Kanazawa, capital of the Ishikawa Prefecture, which, if my memory serves me correctly, is home to great seafood, historical attractions, and celebrities Hideki Matsui and “Chairman Kaga”.  While this region on the western part of the main island was unaffected by the recent disasters, imports of food items from Japan has become much more strict, and as a consequence many ingredients meant for Takagi’s menu were unable to be shipped.  This meant that many substitutions were used for this meal that ultimately diluted the experience of each dish.

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