Tuesday, October 28, 2014

{Foodee} I Am Cafe @ Haji Lane

Back in September, I celebrated my birthday at an event called Cafe Fest, advertised as the first cafe hopping event not just in Singapore, but the world. One of the participating cafes was I Am, and I really loved their pretty and tasty rainbow cake as well as their cute sign.

Please excuse my sitting position. I am pretty terrible at being ladylike.

But while the idea of having 12 cafes in one place was great, there was backlash when the organisers were not able to follow through on their premise of making it an exclusive event for the ticket buyers. I mean, that was the reason why we had to pay 25 bucks, right?

They were unable to secure the perimeters, so everyone could come in and buy stuff from the cafes, resulting in angry ticket holders threatening to sue them using the lemon law. So the organisers appeased them by refunding 20 bucks in kind... cafe vouchers from their choice of cafe from the list of participants.

We chose I am cafe, so after we got the vouchers via mail, Arlyn, Armar and I made our way to Haji Lane, near Bugis MRT. We were surprised to find that the cafe was the first on the street and even had tables on the street itself. I suppose there is something about that that is cute in the sense that it is unusual, but on that more humid than usual night, the idea of eating outdoors did not exactly appeal to us. There was a short wait before we were ushered to our outdoor table.


We were all just excited to try their rainbow crepe, but of course we couldn't just jump to dessert without having dinner, so we ordered some savoury dishes too.

But first, drinks!

ICED MINT CHOCOLATE ($6) & ICED MINT MOCHA ($6.50)

Like I said, it was a humid night, and after our long walk from the MRT, we were craving for refreshing drinks. These really hit the spot. I would highly recommend.

FRIES & MAYO ($6.90)
Signature crispy thick-cut fries served with mayonnaise

I loved the presentation of these fries. They tasted great, too. But Armar's issue with it was that the mayo should probably have been served on a separate plate because it didn't quite reach the fries below.

BATTERED SQUID RINGS ($7.90)
8 pcs of battered squid rings, deep fried and served with mayonnaise
I think this is kinda like calamari, which I am never really a fan of. But if you like that sort of thing, I suppose you'd like this too.

CHICKEN HAM PASTA ($13.90)
Choice of lussory red tomato sauce or lussory white sauce or aglio olio (we chose red)
The pasta was okay, I suppose, but it was so unremarkable to the point that we couldn't even finish everything on the plate despite there being three of us.

SAUSAGE LOVE PIZZA ($13.90)
Chicken sausage, mozzarella cheese and house-special pizza sauce
Armar and Arlyn thought this was way too cheesy, which they didn't like, but which I did, because I am a cheeseaholic. I thought this was good, but then again, pizza always is.

Then it was finally time for dessert. We were surprised that it wasn't on the menu, because that's what the place is famous for. Turns out their desserts are on display on a counter indoors. They look so appetising, no?


We were so happy to find that the rainbow crepe was available.

RAINBOW CREPE WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

I can't remember how much this is because it's not on their menu. I loved this so much. Arlyn liked it too but Armar not so much, because it tastes like chocolate, which he is not a huge fan of, and I am.

So since he didn't like the dessert, I suggested getting another one. Arlyn had been eyeing the red velvet cake right from the start, so we ordered a slice of that.

RED VELVET CAKE
Again, I can't remember how much this was, but it was gigantic. It tasted okay, but not that delicious, I suppose, because once again we couldn't finish the thing. Or maybe it was just the sheer size of it. Who knows.

I would recommend their rainbow cake, which we didn't eat that night because we had already tasted it on my birthday. I loved its cream cheese frosting and it looks very photogenic too. Teehee. Here is a pic of it:



After we paid our bill and left, I enjoyed walking around Haji Lane and seeing pretty sights like these:



So to conclude, I would say that it is a good place to have desserts and drinks, but don't expect too much from the mains.


I AM… 
674 North Bridge Road #01-01 S(188804) 
Tel. No. +65 6295 5509 
Website: http://www.iam.com.sg/
Nearest MRT: Bugis

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Hello, Iphone 6!

That "Macbook air" is actually a mirror. Cute, right?
Yes, I confess, despite all the bad press (bendgate, hairgate, etc), I went and got myself an iPhone 6. I couldn't help it, I just fell in love with it!

It wasn't in the plan.

A few months ago I started to get annoyed with my 3-year-old iPhone 4s's faltering battery life (it would get drained within 4 hours), so I thought I'd wait for the iPhone 6 to get launched so that the iPhone 5s's market value would fall and I could buy one at a much lower price. I planned to buy one in cash so I didn't have to renew my Singtel contract. My contract ended in November 2013, actually, and I had no intentions of getting tied again so I could leave Singapore if I wanted to.

I know this may sound weird, but this is how I always think. Back in the Philippines I refused to get a car loan even though my former company had it as a benefit because I didn't want to get tied to them. In the end I was right, because I would never have left the Philippines if I had gotten that loan then. But now I am beginning to wonder if I should be concerned that I have fear of getting tied down issues.

But I digress.

So anyway, when I saw the iPhone 6 for the first time, I thought it looked like a toy because it was too light and the graphics look too flat, like it was painted on a plastic toy. But I couldn't get over its smooth beveled edges (which was what made me fall in love with the iPhone 3gs) and how thin it was. I mean yes, it's a tad bigger than my old phone, but it wasn't overly big unlike the iPhone 6 plus and other android devices. I was in love and I knew that my other idea of getting a 5s (which had never appealed to me when it first came out, unlike 6) or a cheaper Android (which, let's face it, was never gonna happen because I am too much of an Apple fan girl). So I thought about buying one maybe sometime early next year when the hype had died down a bit.

But then last Friday, there was a telecom roadshow in our office. The three major telecoms - Singtel, Starhub, and M1 - went to our office to offer corporate contracts to us. So I decided to swing on by to just ask how much it would cost, etc, when somehow I ended up recontracting with Singtel and getting a 16gb gold iPhone 6 right on the spot. I suppose it was the S$100 discount on the handset (I paid S$238 instead of S$328) that made me do it. And also the fact that they did not ask me to pay a deposit even though I'm a foreigner (unlike Starhub and M1).

And so far I am loving it a lot. It is so pretty and light and so thin. It fits perfectly into my wristlet and is so unobtrusive that even though it's in there, it doesn't seem like it is and sometimes I panic, thinking that I had accidentally left it behind somewhere. It is so thin that it even fits into my zip-around wallet.

The fingerprint thing is pretty cool and convenient, but I keep forgetting about it and keep trying to unlock my phone using a 4-digit pass key. Old habits die hard.

Another thing I love is the camera, which takes better quality pictures than the 4s. The front-facing camera, which used to take low res pictures, has also improved. See exhibit A below.


I just accidentally bumped into my friends Jemma and Dred in the picture above while we were in the toilet. Dred had said earlier that she was probably going to get another phone which wasn't an iPhone so she does not need to cash out or pay a deposit. But when they saw my phone, they both went: "Wow your phone looks so pretty! I want one too!" Then quickly went down to the roadshow and signed up for recontracts as well. LOL.

Then last Saturday, I walked into Nubox to buy a case for my new phone when who should I see there but another one of my office friends who had also gotten contracts for him and his wife at the roadshow. He was actually on leave but when I told him about the roadshow, he came to the office just for this. I am slightly ashamed to say that we spent a lot of time looking at all the different cases before finally deciding on what to buy. When I told our other friends about this, I said, "After 10 years, we decided on what to buy. By then, their little boy (who was with them) was already a teenager."

The one I chose is a translucent gold hard case, which makes my phone look like it has nothing on. It's pretty but honestly I wonder if it will protect it in the event of a fall. I have a feeling it won't. Oops. Well at least it will protect it from scratches. By the way I found an instagram of an iPhone 6 and its case with this caption: "Use protection for safe six." Haha, I love (almost) puns!

One negative thing I noticed, though - when someone calls, his voice sounds very soft. I have a hard time hearing callers which is kinda annoying. I will find a way to sort that out, though, but it's not a deal breaker... yet.

So to conclude, I am not regretting my decision so far. If ever I need to leave Singapore before my 2-year contract is up, I'll just pay any related contract termination charges, which should probably be less than the cost of actually buying a phone anyway!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Importance of Friends

I am referring to friends the common noun and not Friends the proper noun, but I would like to start this post about the latter, which is Friends my favourite sitcom of all time.



Sometime ago, I read an article about how Friends was originally pitched to NBC.

"It's about sex, love, relationships, careers, a time in your life when everything's possible. And it's about friendship because when you're single and in the city, your friends are your family."

Boom.

This, I realize, is the reason why I love Friends so much. Because I am single and in the city, and my friends have been my family... for a decade now.

I have always known this tidbit since I had an "aha!" moment after reading that article, but this idea reasserted itself lately after I had a conversation with a friend, who has just gone back home recently.

"Gosh I miss you!" she gushed in our chat room one day. "It sucks here because I can't grab a friend to have coffee and just talk nonsense."

As I commiserated with her, we somehow wound up talking about old friends, and got around to one of our closest ones who had fallen off the face of the earth lately, which was totally unexpected of him, who was quite the popular extrovert back in the good old days. They had had a brief reunion when she had a stopover at his city, and I wanted to know how he was.

"He's okay now," she reported. "I think he just got really depressed with what happened then on top of that, all of us leaving. So he felt like what I feel right now, he didn't have a phone-a-friend lifeline."

"Aww poor guy," I said. "That's sad indeed, I can imagine. What do you mean by 'what happened'? His dad?"

"Everything," she replied. "His dad, work, etc. That's why he went home for a while to rest and teach. But based on his story, if we had still been in Manila, he would have had an outlet, even just an all-nighter session with us at the gas station cafe would have done wonders."

"Oh no, so this is our fault?" I groaned, my heart stricken. "Doesn't he have any other friends?"

"He does not seem to have friends like us to whom he can open up everything about life," she surmised. "You know, not just 'friends' friends, but real friends."

"I'm surprised to learn this, I always pegged him to be a friendly guy," I confessed. "Well I hope he finds new real friends, and that you do, too."

"Well I really hope so!" she said. "But people are so busy here."

"Busy compared to here?" I reacted in surprise.

"I mean they have their own lives," she explained. "But it's understandable."

"Yeah, when you left, they moved on with their own lives without you," I sighed. "But is there really no one left?"

"Well there's this one friend. But she's really busy with mommy life."

"Yeah, well, you can't bother parents."

"Yeah... sniff. Oh gosh. Single problems!"


Okay so maybe this post could have been called "single problems." I mean, people whose love lives are not DOA* probably don't appreciate the importance of friends as much as we single folks do. Who knows?

But what I do know for certain is, after talking to my friend, I realized all the more just how lucky I am to have had friends wherever I moved. So even though my job's a joke, I'm broke, my love life's DOA... I feel like I'm always stuck in second gear... and it hasn't been my day, my week, my month, or even my year... friends were there for me, and thus have made life worth living, still.

I have taken this little gift for granted. Now I feel so lucky and utterly grateful.

So if you're reading this and we're friends, THANK YOU!!


*DOA - Dead On Arrival, just in case you didn't know. You're welcome.

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