The DSTA 10 outing

The DSTA 10, which is how I named the 10 of us who went for Industrial Attachment last year, meet up for food and ice cream tonight. It had been longed planned; the last time we met as a group was on the last day of our Industrial Attachment and we went for a round of drinks.

It was a time of nice catching up, although not all of the 10 are there; there are only 7 of us, and the HR ladies who helped us during the IA was there as well. Hence it became some kind of informal feedback session about the process of applying for a job at DSTA in our final semester.

We went to Saizeriya, apparently a Japanese restaurant selling Italian food like pasta and pizza. The branch that we went was the City Square mall one, at Farrer Park Mrt on the NEL or purple line. The food wasn’t that great, or rather it sucked, but it is cheap so I guess it’s not that bad huh?

I had the mushroom soup, which was so-so. I liked the Reeds Cafe one at NUS better. I also had the seafood spagetti, which plainly sucked because the seafood wasn’t fresh and the tomato sauce didn’t enter the noodles so the taste was just meh. There was this thing where you can add $2.40 for free flow of drinks, but the drinks was just not up to standard. The soft drinks are not fizzy enough and tasted rather plain. Overall a disappointment; probably saved by its price.

It’s nice to catch up with everyone again. It seemed that only one of us went back to DSTA to work out of the ten.

Of the ten:
1 back to DSTA
4 Air Engineering Officers
1 possibly LTA under MRT branch
1 in Keppel FELS
1 in HDB
1 in Singapore Power
1 in the midst of applying for the Singapore Police Force

It’s a little weird how we didn’t end up going back to DSTA. One of the reasons is that they gave some of us a really hard time during the first interviews, so much so that it was appalling to see the difference in the intensity of the interviews. Being a former intern does not give any privileges too.

In another weird way, all but 1 is working in the private sector? Ok maybe 2, since Singapore Power is also private. The rest are in the civil service. I wonder if it has anything to do with our initial decision to join DSTA as an intern.

But no matter what, it does seem that it would be hard to meet up again once we all started working. Perhaps we would be so overwhelmed with work that the next time we meet is at least a year later?

Hopefully we’ll still find in ourselves the energy to come together and catch up. Perhaps a few of us would be driving already by then.

Cold stone creamery

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I went to watch Kong Fu Panda 2 (that’s for another post) with Keira yesterday. After the rather short (1hr 30mins max) and albeit disappointing movie, we just went to try the Cold Stone Creamery located in Orchard Central. After trying the ice cream there, I think I wouldn’t want to go to the 313 one. I can’t even remember the name of that stall because it is just so normal.

The queue is long when I went there, probably due to the fact that it is now the school holiday season so all the ginnas are out in full force. The ordering system is slightly different from the usual ice cream places where you just order.

Imagine an L shape counter where you are at the bottom of the L. That’s the place where they ask you what ice cream you want. After telling them the flavour, size and waffles choice, you move to the vertical part of the L where the same attendant will mix your choice for you. Hence at busy times, you can stay at the bottom of the L for a very long time before anyone serves you. After collecting your ice cream, you move to the top of the L shape counter to pay, and then go to the seat of your choice to enjoy your ice cream selection.

It has a nice cosy environment. There is a horizontal shelf like table mounted onto the wall and many tall chairs for you to sit. Alternatively you can opt for the usual sofa chairs and short table combination which is quite comfortable. The only downside is that they don’t serve plain water! Which is quite dampening as after eating all those brownies, nuts and waffles, you tend to be quite thirsty. Most of the ice cream outlets do put out jugs of tap water and plastic disposable cups so you can self service ya, but Cold Stone just doesn’t have them.

In the picture above, I had the Founder’s Favourite, which is Sweet Cream Ice Cream with pecans, brownises, fudge and something else which I forgot. Their sizes choices are not the usual small medium large, but “Like It”, “Love It” and the last one I forgot. Mine was the “Love It” size, and I added plain waffles for a dollar. The total cost me less than 9 dollars, and it is really worth it.

Everyone should really go try it out one day. 🙂

Cold Rock Ice Creamery @ 313 Sommerset

Went to Cold Rock Ice Creamery at 313 Sommerset and had an ice cream. I forgot the name of the ice cream, it’s the one that says Chocolate something and it has Tim Tams in it. The ice cream was rather expensive, $9.50 for a regular cup. It comes on top of this piece of waffle biscuit (is this what its called?) and there is a nice serving of ice cream.

But it was kinda a lot of chocolate, don’t you think?

It was still yummy though, but I’m going to stop eating chocolate stuff for a few days. Vanilla ice cream is still my favourite flavour.

Dinner at Modesto’s

My family went to dinner at Vivocity today, at an Italian restaurant (resutoran. sorry just wanted to say that in jap style). It’s called Modesto’s and it was the first time I had dinner there. The occasion was to celebrate my sister’s excellent A level results, as well as my dad’s pay increment.

I ordered the Tagliatelle Nere Con Cappesante E Gamberi In Salsa Di Crostacei, which is actually fresh home made black ink flat pasta served with sauteed scallops, prawns and diced tomatoes in a shrimp bisque sauce. I didn’t remember the name, of course. I took it from the online menu. It smelled super nice when it came, and the scallops were great. I loved it. I ordered that dish for the scallops actually. But I had a problem with the prawns. They are too soft, meaning they are not fresh. It was quite a dampener to an otherwise nice meal. Black ink pasta is a nice try too, but I guess I will still pick linguine anytime.

Other than pasta, I chose a cocktail called Kamikaze, which is vodka, triple sec & Lime Cordial mixed together. It’s the only Jap name there and Lime sounded what I would like to have, so I chose it. I didn’t order the dessert because I was too full from the McDonalds lunch at 3pm.

It was an enjoyable meal. After dinner we went near the sea side facing Sentosa. They had fireworks! What a surprise. The IR looked like a place I would like to visit with a special someone. There’s this ride you can take up a tall tower and down. It’s not those roller coaster rides so it would be a nice romantic evening I guess, being on it? I haven’t even gone on the flyer yet. I wonder who will receive the honour of joining me on my maiden journey up the flyer.

Oh. And during dinner, there’s this male and female with their young boy. The boy had cream all over his face from his pasta/pizza (not sure which), and his mum whipped out her iPhone and took several cute shots. Don’t you find it heartwarming? Haha. I do.

Sorry about these recent bout of feeling for other’s established families. Maybe it’s that time already. I’m like quite old. Haha.

The outing that occurs every post-semester with JC peeps

After getting results on the 22nd, my JC clique met up for a long planned buffet outing on the 23rd. This time, 3 out of 5 of us attained our targets for the semester and hence has to treat the sad people to a buffet. Well, it is not exactly a treat since they would have to pay a lot, so it was a subsidy. People who are not treating will only pay $15; Treaters will pay the rest.

Anyway we settled on the Hokkaido Jap Restaurant, which I found via Google. It was a sponsored search item, so I clicked it to go to the website. It seems to have a wide variety of sushi and sashimi and other stuff, so my clique decided to go there.

It’s located all the way in Turf City; For the clueless, it is actually in Bukit Timah, near schools like National Junior College, which was where the 5 of us were from. It was a pain to go there if we have to go by ourselves. Thankfully there was a shuttle bus, so we would not need to walk all the way in from the bus stop outside at the main road. The shuttle bus locations are from Clementi Bus Interchange, Toa Payoh Bus Interchange and Opposite Sixth Avenue.

Waikit and I took from Clementi and the rest from Toa Payoh. The clementi bus stopped opposite sixth Avenue. I am not sure if the Toa Payoh one did, but I doubt it since the direction seems to be out of place. The buffet has a weekday promotion, 1 adult free for every 5 adults there. I am not sure if there should be 6 people, or 5 people is alright already. Anyway dom brought his long time girlfriend since 2003 along, and it was the first time I met her.

Anyway the main point is the buffet, which was Ala Carte style. Hence you have to order the dishes from the waitress. The thing that I am not really happy about is that the portions are weird. Some dish comes with a lot so apparently 6 of us can eat. Some we have to specify how many portions we want. It becomes a little confusing. Tea is served complimentary but other drinks are not. There are no desserts too.

I find that the dishes are so-so only, with the teppanyaki dishes being the best, especially the beef. The seafood is not that bad, I like the squid and the fish. The prawn has the nice taste at the shell, but the meat is just like a normal boiled prawn. The chicken teppanyaki is not that outstanding.

Some dishes seems unique but disappointed me. Cheese chawanmushi makes me think of a chawanmushi dish infused with cheese, but it is actually just chawanmushi with a layer of melted cheese on top like pizza. The combination is a little weird, so I ate the cheese before eating the chawanmushi.

The Clam Miso Soup sounds like a delicious soup cooked with Clams, but it seems to be actually diluted miso soup with clams added when needed. Why do I say diluted? The miso doesn’t have the concentrated taste. Even the Jap stall at TechnoEdge, NUS, can do much better. The miso doesn’t have any taste of the sea, so it is extremely disappointing.

My clique did not eat much sushi since we didn’t want to be overly full with rice. But I ate some sushi, and it wasn’t fantastic either. I guess if you want to eat buffet that is affordable, you have to sacrifice quality. Which is why my clique will be going to quality in the future instead of quantity. Our stomachs seem to have shrunk too.

The worst thing was that some dishes did not come. They seem to have forgotten about it. Especially my Inari sushi. I ordered Inari, Crab and Tamago sushi, but they forgot Inari, which is my favourite out of the 3. Anyway I didn’t have much stomach to eat, so maybe it is also a blessing it didn’t come.

After the meal which left some of us bloated (I suspect Jiahao didn’t manage to fill his stomach to the brim) (and I had to loosen my belt), we went to Orchard Cine to watch Feng Yun 2. It was disappointing. Whilst Waikit and Jiahao is leaving the review for another entry, I guess I’ll just go through it briefly since I got nothing much to say.

It was bad. What kind of an abrupt ending was that. Where is the plot? I feel that there is so much slow motion going on that it sacrifices time for story development. How can someone train for a few days and suddenly defeat a more powerful opponent. And according to Waikit, one of the characters who was killed is supposed to be the mother of Cloud’s son. Ok. It just means Cloud’s wife. But you get the point.

So it was horrible.

We also walked at 313 for a while and OC. Orchard Central is a messy area in the sense it is not designed like the traditional mall. It has the normal escalators which visit most stories up to 7. There are also escalators that skip levels, like level 4 to level 7, and level 7 to level 11. There is no down escalators for these two. To go down from 11 to 7, you go down to 10, and wonder where the hell the other escalator is. You end up at the car park, and you walk in only to find another glass door that leads to another escalator. This goes on for 10 to 9, 9 to 8 and 8 to 7.

I guess it was nice walking once.

There’s also a performance at level 1 at 8pm, and I was bored initially, especially with the crowd blocking me. But there were a few interested performances, and overall it was a great half an hour.

We walked to PS for dinner, and then it was time to go home. For the next semester, I wonder if anyone will need to treat again. I guess it is time to explore good quality restaurants instead of buffets.

Aoba Ramen @ Ion Orchard

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Hungry yet?

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Delicious thick ramen from Aoba @ Ion Orchard.

I’ve been wanting to try out stalls that claim to have originated from Japan directly, because the number of real ramen stalls in Singapore can be counted with only my left hand. In fact, before this month, I didn’t eat any ramen (maybe because I didn’t hear of any good places) that managed to make me impressed and agree that it is as delicious as the one I had in Japan.

The last one I went was Ramen Santouka, which was very delicious and the first Singapore store that I ate which blew my mind away. Ramen Santouka is arguably the best ramen I ever tasted. Today I had the fortune to taste Aoba, a 2nd ramen stall which is also certified by me to be of a good quality like real Japanese ramen.

The traditional ramen stalls in Singapore are probably changed to suit the Singapore tastebuds. For example, Ajisen (who brought in Aoba) isn’t a great ramen stall. It’s soups are good, I agree, but the noodle isn’t that fantastic to me. Maybe it’s ramen from another area of Japan, I would not really know that until I tasted it in Japan.

But Aoba is not bad at all. I like the shoyu soup so much I finished it again like Ramen Santouka’s. Except they didn’t make me as thirsty as Ramen Santouka’s Miso flavour soup.

The meat was lesser than Ramen Santouka’s, and it may be why it’s about 3 bucks cheaper. They also come with an egg, which Ramen Santouka didn’t have. The noodles are fat and chewy, not like those other stalls that seem to have cooked instant noodles instead.

But overall I think I will rank Ramen Santouka above Aoba. The char siew in Ramen Santouka was simply mind blowing compared to Aoba’s. Aoba was also slow in its service to me. The bowl of ramen took too long to cook, and it seemed too crowded. However Aoba is still a great place to go if you want to try all sorts of ramen just like me. 🙂

A sinful day

Today was a sinful day. I had an absolutely delightful lunch and dinner and both are Jap related foods. For lunch I went to Ramen Santouka at Central. I have been wanting to go there for a very long time but friends are mindful of its cost, so I haven’t went there for a long time. Before I show the photos, I would just like to say that I’m a person who don’t mind spending a bit of money on food that I think is worth it. I don’t like it when people give that stupid expression like I’m filthy rich to spend the money especially when it comes from people who are less frugal than me. So if there’s any comments about the costs, you can keep it to yourself.

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Firstly the nice egg. It’s an extra 1 dollar, and I ordered it because I’ve been seeing how other blogs seemed to praise it to the heavens. Well it’s a very nice egg. It’s soft and fluffy, if that’s the correct word to describe it. However I would prefer my eggs otherwise. It is still a great egg, but it just so happens I have a greater preference for more solid eggs, or harder eggs.

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This, and the noodle in miso shiru that I ordered, is packaged together. It costs 19.50 for the set, and if I spent some effort going down to Central to hunt this stall down, I think I should just be done with it and order the thing that it is most famous for. The charsiew is famous for the melt in your mouth tagline that everyone keeps saying, so I had to try it. Indeed it is a praiseworthy charsiew that’s damn good. It’s soft and its easy to chew. You can just feel the meat separating in your mouth.

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The miso shiru noodle was great. The noodles are nothing like Ajisan’s. Ajisan’s ramen got to be one of the lousiest although their soup is great. This noodle reminds me of the time I actually went to Hokkaido. The soup is salty but it’s a great soup to drink. I nearly finished it but I didn’t because the spoon couldn’t scoop enough soup and I didn’t want to bring the bowl to my mouth.

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For dinner I went to a place in Vivocity. It’s a place where you can order raw meat and grill it. Here’s the grill. For dinner my family ordered the Wagyu beef set and it’s super good. It satisfied my hunger for beef that just simply gives you some juice in your mouth. I had wanted that feeling last month on my birthday, but stupid Jack’s place spoilt it for me. But this place simply rocks. Even the chicken sausage has the cheese like feeling that comes out when you bite into it.

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I must apologise for the quality of the photo. The lighting was really dim and I was afraid of affecting others so I turned my flash off. My camera isn’t that good quality to help me adjust the lighting, but my sister’s one is good enough so she took all the other photos. I must say that my trusty camera is now old, just like me. I think I should utilize my camera more else I’m not getting enough bang for my buck.

Today is a sinful day where I cleared two of my cravings in one day. But I am very happy. After having today’s dinner, I suddenly had this thought. I want to be able to bring my family out for dinners like this especially when my parents are retired, and have everyone eat happily without needing to worry about the cost. 🙂