Sunday, June 27, 2010

Boardwalks, wildlife and the death of a runner

Running in the heart of Singapore does not mean running in the Central Business District amidst all the gorgeous people going to work or choking in the exhaust fumes, although I have heard of gung-ho diehard runners who happened to be workaholics doing that (hhhm, sounds like a familiar description of someone…)

As for me running in the heart of this island means encircling the series of reservoir that fed millions of Singaporeans for years (until Newater came along)…yup, the MacRitchie, Peirce, Bedok reservoir then reaching to Bukit Timah Trail and also the Northern areas…runs that could stretch from central to north, west and east. I feel it’s one of the most beautiful running trails in Singapore.

I guess I didn’t prepare well for the run. I mean, running treadmill is very different from running the real deal. Being surrounded by thick canopy of tropical trees and shrubs, it’s akin to being zapped to the prehistoric past. Of course I don’t expect dinosaur trudging through, but we managed to catch a glimpse of two of some wildlife in the short time we were there.

The MacRitchie Reservoir is quite popular and well-maintained. Although not as packed as the East Coast Park, I feel that it’s a lot more rugged and less flashy. It’s like Tennessee vs California. Totally different class of parks…almost like comparing apples to oranges.

The moment I arrived, I glanced at the sky and thank God for the awesome weather. It was 5-ish and it rained in the morning. The cloudy sky lowered the temperature as we entered the park and decided on which trail to explore.

Being the only girl, I was given the choice and of course I am a sensible person. I mean, running 5km indoor is almost like running 2.5km outdoors. Therefore, I choose the shorter Lornie Trail, which will take us 3km to and 3km from the starting point. 6 km will be just nice (fingers-crossed)

After about 5 minutes, I cursed myself. Aaargh, why am I doing this? My turquoise Zoot shoes is in the process of destruction. It’s not made for muddy jungle trail. It’s made for cosmopolitan running. Aside from the fear of getting a concussion and losing my precious neurons, I was also not used to the heat and humidity….what the heck! Yeah, I know I am born and bred in the tropics, but that doesn’t mean I train in the jungle. I work out in sterile gym conditions okay.

I pushed myself on as SC zoomed on ahead while J accompanied me. I have a feeling that J hasn’t ran for a long time as well. I’m glad someone is of my pace. Running up and downhills on rocky and muddy paths is definitely not my forte.

I’m glad we pushed on. We were rewarded with the boardwalk paths which is IMHO, the best part of the trail. A couple of guys were joyfully fishing and throwing the fish back into the lake and I managed to catch some pics with the fish before they go back into their habitat. It was huge!!

We also found some colourful red-breasted birds, terrapins and of course, monkeys. When the trail ended, I think SC wanted to carry on to the other side but I was wary of spoiling my shoes and also worried of slowing him down. Therefore, I decided to turn back. The two gentlemen complied and we ran back.

The way back was very beautiful. As the sun was setting, the lake seemed so surreal and serene. The best thing was that the boardwalks were built on the water so we could see the trees by the shoreline as well as the aquatic plants in the clear water.

Although I did only 6km today, I felt quite pleased with a pretty neat and awesome discovery in this island. This new-found treasure is nearly as good as the shopping bargains all around the city and the hunt for most ‘shiok’ food. Would I come again? Definitely! With better shoes and much improved stamina. All thanks to SC and also to JL!

On a separate note, my condolences to the family and friends of Mr Lim WJ, who passed away in the 10km run during the Standard Chartered KL Marathon today. During the 8th km of the race, it was noted that he was sitting down by the roadside, then was observed to have a 'seizure' and collapsed. Few doctors running in the race attempted CPR while waiting for the emergency medical services. The boy died in HKL. May he rest in peace..

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Do I know how to eat sushi?

Apparently not.

I have been eating it the wrong way all this time. Ever since I first encountered sushi in 1994, it was love at first sight. But I have been doing it wrong for some long.. You guys should have told me!

The right way, according to the wise Jedi masters of Itacho Sushi @ Ion Orchard, is to eat by dippin it upside down onto the soy sauce and with the sashimi part facing down & plop the whole thing, en masse, into your mouth. Other than risking having your meal falling all over the table, the other risk is of course trusting that the chef put just enough wasabi and not too much. Otherwise, make sure your dining partner knows how to do the Heimlich and you have 'wasabi overdose' covered in your insurance.

Itacho is such a wonderfully affordable restaurant, offering delectable pieces of fresh seafood atop springy bundles of rice. I cannot believe that I haven't discovered this place earlier. I must have walked past this nondescript restaurant more than 10 times in the past 1 year!

Sushi @ less than $1-2 per piece at the grand altar of commercialism! It's almost sacrilege. I love the paradox of it..I mean, 3 doors away, they are selling a pair of shoe @ $1000-2000 and here we are, gobbling food going at hawker's price.

Standards are definitely very high and I vow to come again. Some popular items like tuna sashimi sushi was gone by the time we started eating @ 6pm. We had sea eel, dorsal fish (or is it fish dorsum?), smoked salmon, ebi, scallops, crabsticks,more fresh fish and crabstick salad and total bill was less than 50. Holy macaroni! I've had paid more in Holland V for a meal of pizza (which is not even half as good...grumble, grumble) smothered in 3 times the amount of oil and less than half the amount of seafood.
Anyhow, remember Itacho the next time you decide to pay the gothic monolith...errrm, I mean, Ion Orchard a visit. Highly recommended..oishi!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wheels and Meals

As far as weekends go, this weekend seem to be one of the most productive and satisfactory. It’s not like I ran a significant amount (running program hit a snag, but I’m sure I’ll catch up next week, errr, hopefully) but I’ve gotten very well-fed and had a fair amount of exertion, sunshine and Vitamin D. All for the sake of preventing osteoporosis!

Friday night was a quiet night compared to the majority of people around the world. I got home from a tiring shift and switched on the telly to the blaring sound of the vuvuzela. With the eyes of the whole world focused on 22 adult men kicking a ball around, I was cleaning up my room, reading my long-neglected books, ironing my clothes, etc to the hypnotic sound of the commentator droning on and on about the game. At least there were 2 goals scored that match, but I am rather glad that I didn’t subscribe to the overpriced cable plan. I wasn’t THAT interested.

Waking up early on Saturday was tougher than I imagine. Given a choice I would rather laze about the whole weekend as the hot sun blazed over-head. However, I was being quite ambitious and decided to attempt cycling around the East Coast Park in the daytime

Then I discovered that everyone is running Singaporean/Malaysian time (i.e. later than me) and even the shops open at 910am or so. Time to gobble up some McMuffins! We sauntered towards the rentals and I was amazed at the lack of people…it was so different! I love it when it’s practically empty. I guess the majority of Asians want their lily-white complexion thus no one would go soak up sun purposefully.

All the better for me then. The guys and I pedaled up and down the pathways along the beach as YY began her lessons…apparently, her childhood skipped her by and she is now learning how to ride a bicycle. The uncle at the shop was helping her so we decided to go to the jetty and let her learn without pressure.

The jetty was also empty. Obviously, no one will be fishing at that time of the day bcoz even the fishie will shy away. Quickly cycled back to see how YY is doing and another friend has arrived. He took on the task on tutoring her how to ride and the gang decided to go for another jaunt towards Fort Road.

During my last round, I discovered this really pretty flower that looks like an underwater creature. Wonder what do you call it? Anyway, I snapped plenty of pictures of it and hopefully someone will identify it.

Lunch was at this Prawn Noodle place @ Beach Road. The only pic I managed to take was of the back of the shop because I was so hungry. The food disappeared before I remembered my camera. I think my career as a food blogger is somehow dubious, especially when I’m ravenous. Well, we can’t take pics of everything in life right?

After church on Sunday, M suggested this Thai foor @ Purvis Street. We agreed because I wanna give Thai food (in Singapore) another chance.

I’m glad we went. It was yummylicious! Every single dish was well-cooked and my personal favourite was the Mango salad. I think this place deserves a second or third visit. The salad was crunchy with lotsa anchovies while the tom yam was just nice.

The decor reminded me of those nyonya places in Malacca. Very brightly-coloured with flowers hanging at every corners. It was a cheerful place befitting of a nice restful Sunday.

We came from Trinity @ Adam to the place and got a seat promptly. Service was good enough.

My favourite for the day...Mango salad. Portion is a bit small but price was justifiable.

Tom yum soup. Lotsa seafood. Love it as well..

Vegetable. Well-cooked.

A very good desert..jelly in coconut. I snitched some from M and I think it's good too. In short, I highly-recommend this place and it has restored my faith in good and cheap Thai food in Singapore.

To burn some calories and ease digestion...a short walk around Raffles Hotel on the way to the MRT station. I really like this weekend. Too bad I have to go to work now!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A day without plans & some shots of gluttony @ Dan Ryan's Chicago Grill

Sunday..I've gotten myself a Sunday off! It's been months since I've gotten a blissful Sunday off. Now, what have I done so far? Woke up early to cloudy skies, ran to the bus stop before the rain started and caught a bus to Trinity, worshipped the Lord with gusto in church, listened to an impactful sermon, ran in the gushing torrents of tropical downpour while waiting for a cab to come, cleaned up my room and watered my plants while contemplating what to do with the rest of my day.

I guess I can indulge in a bit of blogging while waiting for inspiration..I searched through my folders of pictures and somethings clicked. Aha, I'll talk about American food. A few Sundays ago I went to this joint for a friend's early birthday lunch and had a carnivorous feast. I mean, the menu @ Dan Ryan's Grill even mentioned : WARNING, WE SERVE AMERICAN PORTIONS! Pwoaaah, a bit scared d....

Thus I almost panicked. I mean, I am a small eater (and picky) who likes to try out new places but I cannot handle big portions. I meant to share my food but ended ordering half a rack of ribs for myself due to some 'encouragements' from the friendly staff and my ever-motivating friends. Friends through 'thick and thin' huh?

The meat was preceded by the Clam chowder soup which was extremely thick, creamy and packed with clams. Definitely worth the price of the Mother's Day set although I know I was filling up half my stomach's capacity by then.

While waiting for my main course, AT's steak came and it was huge. Quite juicy too. I stole a bit of it and decided that it's really scrumptious.

Then M got a big shock. This gargantuan platter of breakfast goodies came and we all gaped. I knew for sure that she ain't gonna finish this generous portion of pancakes, toast, eggs, sausages, bacons and ham.

Then my ribs came and it was as expected. Big, but something that I can handle if I'm allowed to 'donate' part of it to someone else. A very satisfying meal but made me realized that I am overdoing the road to recovery and one of my friends remarked that I looked like I have put on weight.
Shucks, this small frame is really unforgiving. It's so obvious even if I put on a mere 0.5 to 1 kg. Time to cut down on the eating (maybe part of the blame goes to the ice-cream fiesta during the Sundown weekend) and run like mad. Can't wait to start my 2-months training program, beginning from tomorrow. Armed with new funky Zoot shoes, I hope I'll be disciplined enough to stick to the program!!