Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sage, Sage, Sage. Where do I begin?



Upon entering the premises, we were hit by the staleness in the air.

What’s that smell? Is it coming from the walls? Cramped dining interior? Damp air? The food??! I hope not. Part wet dog and plastic, I can’t put my finger to it. Whatever. Let’s just hold our breaths and order. Urp.

Then came the question, “Sparkling or still?”

“Tap please.”

“Sure ma’am. No problem.”

Score 1 for the quick and correct answer. And strike 1 for calling me ma’am. Lol! I kid.

The service was attentive. So overall, there are really no complaints there. It’s possible, I might’ve sensed a slight air of haughtiness from the main server but then decided to let it slide when she mispronounced amuse bouche. Guess you’re more nervous and new than you are smug.

We ordered the full degustation course to share, and the winter truffle and celeriac soup because I was craving something comforting.

First came the amuse bouche, a shotglass of watercress soup with lemon cream and caviar. Cold, buttery, rich and somewhat starchy. Nothing spectacular. There were no expectations, and therefore no disappointment to follow. It tasted kinda like the spinach soup I make at home, though mine is usually served warm in big bowls with a side of country bread.

Then came the salad. Whatever it was, it was clearly unforgettable because of the rancidness of the dish. Yes. I said it. Rancid. In an acclaimed restaurant. The baked strips of root vegetable just didn’t go with the random sprinkling of walnuts and grassy greens. Ech! And the rancidness! I couldn’t get over it. Like the smell of the place, it just wouldn't go away! Was it the nuts? Or the oil used for the vinaigrette? We couldn’t tell. But it left a bitter taste in our mouths and we decided to stop eating halfway. Yuck.

Along came the side order of soup with consomm√©. Ahh… Nice and hearty, with just enough truffle. Not bad.

Shortly after the seared Hokkaido scallop floating in green mouselline arrived at our table. Ok. I hate to use the same negative adjective over and over again, but this was NOT phenomenal. The bf commented that it was overcooked and yet not seared enough on the outside. Agreed. I feel like I’ve had better scallops at Hokkaido, or California for that matter.

Next please!

The quail came, and was probably the teeniest bird I’ve ever seen in my life. And yet again, I kid you not, it was floating in some kind of sauce. Where’s the creativity people???! *Yawn. The bird was nice and gamey though the chef must've been heavy with the salt rendering it difficult to eat after few bites. Strike 2.

The foie gras was served and I thought, "This is the defining moment." Being quick to adopt liver of all kinds, I let my guard down. The crumble was a nice departure from the usual brioche or toasts, so score 1 for creativity. While this was likely one of the better dishes at Sage, and I bet the chef knows it, it was still veiny and overly salty. Just a little less salt would’ve made ALL the difference. And I can't for the life of me understand how any dining establishment could get this wrong. Gotta love the generous portion, though a little more crumble wouldn't hurt.

Following that, I vaguely remember fish that came in a pale pool of sauce (again??!) and venison.

Course after course of forgettable dishes the bf started getting restless, and was already drumming his fingers. Mind you, we weren’t rushing off anywhere. He just “couldn’t take it anymore.”

So when the final dish came, we were somewhat relieved to be done with the whole ordeal, though it wasn't to end on a good note. Upon taking a bite of the porcini mushrooms that came with the veal, the bf lost his patience (and certainly manners along the way) and exclaimed, “these mushrooms taste like a cow’s anus!!!”

We paused for a split second, then burst into peals of laughter. What a pathetic dining experience!

When the blueberry chocolate dessert was placed before our eyes, we grudgingly reached for it with our forks. "How bad could chocolate be after all?" I said optimistically though I’ve never really explored the possibility of the chocolate and blueberry combo. Do these two even go well together? Right as I was, the mildness of blueberries was masked by the chocolate, which wasn’t even rich to begin with. Manjari huh? And the creme anglaise it was floating on (yes, I kid you not) left a film on the roof of your mouth.

There you go. Dinner at Sage? No deal.

I'm not an expert food reviewer by any means, but I feel like people should know what they're in for when they decide to spend decent money for a meal. How this place got an 8 in HungryGoWhere really makes me question the community’s palate.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

I heart "The Lover's Pocketbook"

by Raymond Peynet, published 1954.

This year, Valentine's day was overshadowed by the rambunctious more festive Chinese New Year. And while the bf and I hardly ever took this date seriously, I've always loved it for its pinks, reds and all things sweet. The only pink and reds we saw were lai sees and hong baos filled with $$$ - not that I'm complaining - but they were hardly Valentines.

So when I saw this lovely set on Flickr I got all giddy with excitement. What lovely illustrations! *swoon* Each carefully drawn piece says so much without having to say anything.


And my all time favorite drawing is rightly placed on the cover





So a very belated Valentine's wish to all with this, thanks to the generous folks on Flickr and dear Mr. Peynet.

PS: doesn't Peynet sound like penyet from ayam penyet? Just another one of my favorite things :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Heading home for the Chinese New Year!

This year's CNY is also a very delayed Christmas :)


Pressies for the fam


Call any of my family member's numbers if you wanna meet up! And if you know me, you should have at least 1 of 5 member's number. The odds are high.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

All cookie'd out

...or not?


I just came back from a cookie sampling with the bf's fam at the Cookie Museum. After 10 or so thumbnail-sized bites, everything began to taste the same. Powdery and dry. Though that didn't stop us from fussing over the $38 tubs of cookies - Nasi Lemak, Berry Lite, Rose Madeleine, Ong Lai, Baba-something-or-rather - it's easy to get all cookie'd out in one night!

Even so, nothing's gonna stop me from posting these lavender tuiles I attempted over the weekend.


Paper thin lavender tuiles


with a light floral scent



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Amused

I found this conversation with my MAJOR procrastinator of a little sister really amusing. She is, of course, working on getting into college, hence the essay.

shuquan. 5:26 PM
hey could u bring greys anatomy over this friday???
27:00
season1 -6 pls? pack it in a thumbdrive?

daniellechong@hotmail.com 5:27 PM
depends on how u do on ur essay
27:10
i guess

shuquan. 5:27 PM
why?!

daniellechong@hotmail.com 5:27 PM
cause there's no point distracting u with movies if u're not done with ur essay

shuquan. 5:27 PM
no no no ill be done asap
27:36
!!!!!!!!!!

daniellechong@hotmail.com 5:27 PM
done doesn't necessarily mean "done well"
27:50
lol. so good luck!

shuquan. 5:27 PM
!@#$%^&*(*&^%$#

daniellechong@hotmail.com 5:27 PM
u have 2 more days to redeem urself
28:02
get back to ur essay

shuquan. 5:28 PM
diuuuuuuu

ROFL. Kids nowadays. Seriously.

Buckle down already!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The first macarons of 2010

So you don't feel cheated by the previous post.


Violet blueberry macarons




These violet blueberry macarons were made with much trepidation. As a child, I never liked eating anything blue. Blue M&Ms. Blueberry twizzler-like things. Blue Lucky Charms marshmallows that turned the milk blue. And god forbid, blue cakes or cookies. Ech!

Though with a healthy pantry filled with freeze-dried blueberries, fresh blueberries, frozen blueberries AND a jar filled with sugared violets, who was I to deny the need for these macarons? Turns out adding powdered freeze-dried fruits into macaron shells really add zing to the flavor. Thanks for the idea Aran!

While the buttercream base was mostly violet infused, the taste of blueberries far overpowered the floral flavor I was trying to bring out. Yummy, though likely not to be repeated as blueberries aren't easy to come by in sunny Singapore.

My sis saw these and said, "they look like Avatar macarons!" Guess Macarune is keeping with the trends. See more photos here>

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's too late

I've become one of those bloggers who post single YouTube videos which relatively means a lot more to me than it does to readers. And when I say something, I'm really saying nothing - even to myself.

So much went on last month, yet my mind's drawing a blank right now. I guess that's what happens when time just passes you by unsuspectingly. I could have sworn the bastard winked as he did, grinning because he knows I can only have him when he wants.

There's a lot to be grateful for this past month. Suen's work took her here and we managed to drag Mun out to paint the town red (how old am I?!!). Andrew Bird came to see his adoring fans at the Esplanade - weeeee! And this weekend, Ruby's coming from Jakarta with her beau.

My skin got better. My skin got worse. I'm 10lbs heavier and oddly, a wee bit happier. My bank account's picking up after last year's huge expenditures. Friends are making time to travel to my work so we can do lunch together. My macarons are behaving.

The bf and I are, well sticky :)