Monday, June 22, 2009

KOPI LUWAK - Most Expensive Coffee In The World

Have you ever heard of Kopi Luwak? It has been labeled THE most expensive coffee in the world and hails from Indonesia. Luwak is what the local Indonesian natives call the civet-like cat which helps 'produce' this coffee. What makes this coffee so expensive and special? Kopi Luwak is essentially ground coffee made from coffee berries which are eaten by the Luwak and then passed through their digestion system with the outer layer of the coffee berry digested while the coffee bean remains intact. The effects of the chemicals and fermentation from the civet cat's digestive system on the coffee bean is what makes the bean special! The beans are collected, cleaned and then lightly roasted before being packaged into little expensive sachets or coffee bags.

There are many different manufacturers of Kopi Luwak in Indonesia. My husband and I were very lucky to have been given a taste of Kopi Luwak from our lovely friends in Semarang, Indonesia. Here are some photos of the coffee packaging...

The colour of the coffee powder is a deep dark brown. When you first open the sachet, you can already smell the deep aroma of the coffee along with a tinge of chocolate and also caramel. I read this on the manufacturer's website but didn't think I would be able to catch the chocolate and caramel smell. I first tried the coffee black with no sugar but it proved too bitter for my taste. That is also when you can taste the fine granules of the coffee as it does not completely dissolve in the hot water. I then added sugar and lots of milk to it because I can't really take strong coffee. Caffeine tends to make my heart do stupid things like palpitate. All in all, good aromatic coffee!

Oh, did I mention that each of the sachet above has an individual serial number? No kidding. If you get a chance to taste this coffee, don't pass it up. No matter how gross the process makes you feel, it's the most revered coffee in the world, so give it a go once in your life!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Body Shop's Grapeseed Glossing Serum

Do you have dull or frizzy hair? Because I do and I was very happy to have been introduced to Body Shop's Grapeseed Glossing Serum by my sister sometime last year. Over the years, I have tried many glossing and smoothing serums to try and help tame my frizzy hair, most of which were really expensive. However, this particular glossing serum which only costs RM49 for 75 ml, works wonders. This is normally how I use it : After washing and towel drying my hair for a bit, I will blowdry it with my super powerful salon hairdryer. Hahaha. But just to the point where you hair is still damp. Then I take 2 pumps of this serum and smooth it all over my hair. Then continue drying your hair and voila, no frizz! Absolutely love it! Hahahah. You can also use this on dry hair but I find it works better when you work it in on damp hair before drying.

Unfortunately, recently I went to Body Shop just to check if they still sell it in Malaysia and I couldn't find it. Since the sales people were all busy, I couldn't find out whether they don't stock it anymore or whether it was just out of stock. I found it on the UK website and it only cost 6.85 pounds. Much cheaper than when I bought it last time. So, if you know anyone living overseas, try this product out. >_<

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa

Today, I went out for lunch with my dad in Bangsar as we had some errands to run. I heard alot about the Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa in Kampung Baru but never had the chance to try it. Well, let's just say that I'm not a real big fan of nasi lemak, hence, will not drive all the way just to have some. >_< . But since they have a branch in Bangsar (it is located in the same row as Madam Kwan's and right opposite Bangsar Village 2's main entrance), I took this oppportunity to give it a taste test. The restaurant has an outdoor and an indoor section. I would not call the restaurant cosily decorated but it works.

I ordered their basic nasi lemak and added Rendang Daging. You pay RM2.95 for a basic nasi lemak and another RM5.50 for that little bit of rendang that they add on for you. I did not bring my camera with me but took a snapshot of the dish with my phone. Hope the picture is clear enough. (I also forgot to take a picture of the shop front! My bad, will endeavour to remember next time).

I normally like the sambal to taste a little bit sweet. However, my dad and I felt that this particular sambal was just too sweet. The rice consistency was alright although I did not feel or smell its fragrance. The rendang daging was not bad, not too spicy but the meat could have been a little more tender. People who love crispy ikan bilis (crispy but not hard) will be pleasantly surprised as that is exactly what they will get. Hahaha, very to the point right? They also have other varieties on their menu besides nasi lemak such as char kuay teow, laksa and also some snacks such as curry puff and other local delicacies.

With two order of drinks costing RM3.95 each (chrysanthemum tea and ice bandung soda), the total bill came up to RM27.30. Way too pricey for nasi lemak in my opinion! But what the heck, you just try everything once right? If you think it was good and worth the money, go back. If not, well, at least you've tried it. :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yay for Body Shop!

When I went to Shanghai last year during August/September, I found that after you did your shopping (anywhere from deli's to supermarkets except retail clothing stores), if you wanted a shopping bag for your purchases, you would need to pay around RMB1 which is roughly about RM0.50. I thought that it was a great way to make people more aware of what they can do for the environment because imagine how many plastic bags you can save for each person who doesn't use them!

Today, after a long time, I walked into Body Shop at One Utama and realised that it now practices the same policy. They will charge you RM0.50 if you require a plastic bag for your purchases. So Yay to Body Shop!! If only more people or retail outlets will practice this. Right now, I think the supermarkets are only at the stage where they are selling the reusable bags for customers to buy. I think we still have a long way to go in terms of awareness before people really practice what is being preached.

As You Like It

My favorite florist is what As You Like It is. Let's just say I have been their loyal customer since about 2003 (I think. My memory fails me).  I can't really remember now how I got to know them but there was no turning back after I found them.  I love their flower arrangements which are always sweet and well co-ordinated.  I even used them for the flower arrangements at my wedding. For what my budget allowed, I was very pleased with the result. The following are just some pictures that I managed to find.

I will say that I have never been disappointed with the arrangements done for me.  Usually, I just give the owner, Valerie Lim, a budget and she has the free hand to come up with any arrangement that she feels appropriate. Valerie is an extremely nice and patient lady even when she is uber busy. They first started with a shop located at Plaza Prisma Ville in Desa Sri Hartamas but have since set up a new place at Bangsar Shopping Centre located on the Ground Floor.  

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Mascara

This is another favorite makeup product of mine at the moment.  How did I chance upon it? Well, about two months back, I met up with a good friend and commented on her lashes.  I asked her if she was wearing fake lashes because, even though I knew she had long eyelashes before, it just seemed extra long to me on that night.  She responded that she wasn't wearing fake lashes but instead, was using Bobbi Brown's newly launched Perfectly Defined Mascara. I was amazed and checked it out as soon as I could.  I tried it out and couldn't believe it.  Although I have super short and sparse lashes, I could see the difference when I tried on this mascara.  It lengthened and curled my lashes.  The product information does not state that it is a waterproof mascara.  Instead, it mentions that it is smudgeproof, does not flake and lasts all day.  I will also add that it does not clump which is also very important.  Lastly, you do not need special makeup removers as the mascara will come off if you wipe it off with a piece of cotton soaked in warm water. However, it will not come off in one clean swipe.  Instead, you will see bits of mascara coming off, much like small black flakes on your piece of cotton. :) It retails for RM75 at all Bobbi Brown outlets in Malaysia which I will admit is a little pricey but I recommend this product to anyone who has been looking for a great mascara.  

Say 'Hi' To My Friend - LEO

I want to introduce everyone to my friend, Leo. He is an uber soft teddy bear that I bought when I was in Frankfurt in March 2009 when we chanced across the Hermann Teddy Shop while we were in Romerberg, the old city of Frankfurt. He is the cutest thing I've ever seen and I hug him to sleep every night (of course I hug my husband too!).  Hehehe. I can't explain it but the fur on this teddy is uber soft and smooth! Although I think it's only made of polyester. Hmmm..Don't you think he's adorable?? Just looking at him puts a smile to my face.  

Leo also has a brother called Eddie which I didn't buy at the time as I thought I had spent enough on Leo, but after returning from Frankfurt, I regretted my decision. Hence, I have recently asked a good friend of mine who was making a trip to Frankfurt, to see if she can buy Eddie for me. I don't know if she did but I'm crossing my fingers!!  Don't worry, if she didn't, I'm still super happy just to have Leo.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Italian on Sixth

It was my wedding anniversary yesterday and both my husband and I were cracking our heads on where to have our anniversary dinner...We'd already been to the cliche places like Lafite and Sage, so we wanted to try out a new restaurant.  My sister and a friend recommended us to Italian on Sixth which is located on the 6th Floor of Pavilion KL.  The restaurant is split up into two sections. One is the restaurant itself and one is the bar, coffee and cake counter which is located outside the restaurant. The ambience is not bad besides the fact that we could hear every single thing that was happening on the Concourse level as they were having some event.  If you have a minimum party of about eight, there is a private room that sits about twelve people.  We found the menu to have a decent variety to hopefully satisfy different palettes. 

As starters, the restaurant gave us garlic bread.  I thought they were very generous with the garlic but unfortunately, I thought the bread could have been warmer and more 'fluffy'.  But it was alright on the overall.  I had Wild Mushroom Soup as my appetiser and found it to be tasty but a teeny bit too watery for my liking.  My husband loved his appetiser which consisted of scallops wrapped in bacon.  Scallops were well prepared and they made this show of burning the thyme (as you can see hopefully from the picture).  Not too sure why..Hahaha.

For our main course, I decided on Cod prepared with thyme cream sauce.  I must say I absolutely loved it. The cod was done just right and the sauce was uber yummy (although maybe just abit tad salty).  I made the mistake though of ordering creamy wild mushroom soup and then creamy sauce for cod fish because after dinner, I just felt sooooo 'jelak'. Hahaha, don't know how to express that in English.  My husband had tenderloin with foie gras accompaniment.  He thought the tenderloin was prepared at Medium perfectly and that the foie gras was a perfect choice to match the tenderloin. Two thumbs up!

For dessert, the restaurant offers Creme Brulee, Tiramisu (in cake or mousse form) and I think some form of Chocolate Cake too.  We decided to order the Tiramisu cake which looked a whole lot like the Tiramisu cake you would get at Alexis Bistro.  It was delicious just the same.

Since it was our wedding anniversary, we decided to order a glass of house champagne as I didn't feel like finishing one whole bottle!  The house champagne is Ayala Champagne and I actually like it alot.  It tastes sweeter than the normal Dom Perignon or Moet & Chandon champagnes.

All in all, we had a satisfying dinner date with good food and good service. :)  Would definitely return to the restaurant (but maybe after we've tried out others first). Hahaha. 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Neroteca - Uber Yummilicious

Neroteca is the name of my all time favorite restaurant. It's the sister restaurant to Nerovivo which many of you have been to, I'm sure.  Neroteca is a non-halal restaurant serving specialist italian dishes with pork.  It is located on The Ground Floor of the Somerset Apartments in Lorong Ceylon. I have never had a disappointing meal at this small and quaint restaurant.  The service staff are friendly and well equipped with the knowledge of what the restaurant serves.  The restaurant is open daily from 10 a.m. to Midnight except on Tuesdays when it is open only from 6 p.m. to Midnight.  Because of limited seating available, you are advised to phone ahead for reservations to avoid disappointment.  I'm sorry I don't have pictures to show but please do click on the link as their website is very comprehensive and you can even view the restaurant's menu there.

From my earlier visit to their website, I just found out that within the Nero Group, there is also Nerofico, which is located on the Ground Floor of Wisma Perintis in Jalan Dungun, Damansara Heights.  I have not tried out the food here but am sure that it will be yummy too.

This picture was taken during my birthday in March (apologise for the quality of the photo as it was taken with my phone). We went through 2 hours of traffic to get to Neroteca and finished our dinner in 1 hour! Anyway, that's beside the point. Hahaha.  When we arrived, I asked the waiter what the special of the day was.  He mentioned seafood pasta and I asked him what type of seafood was included. I remember that he mentioned clams, prawns, squid and softshell crab.  So we happily ordered.  Not too long after, I saw this waiter carrying a humongous dish walking towards us and I was like, 'No way!'.  When he put the dish down at our table, I was shocked because there was lobster!! And then I started to panic because lobsters are expensive!!  My husband made it worse by telling me that the dish would cost at least RM500!! Suffice to say, although the pasta was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, I was worried throughout my meal! Thankfully, then the bill came, it cost half of what we thought it would be. Phew! Still expensive, I know.  But after all, we only treat ourselves on occassion. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Urban Decay Primer Potion and Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

This is one of my favorite products at the moment. It is one of Urban Decay's best selling items and lives up to its reputation. This eyeshadow base will make the colours of your eyeshadow more vibrant and long lasting and best of all, your eyeshadow will no longer crease throughout the day! I tried and tested this when I was in Macau. I put on my makeup early in the morning, went into Macau town and walked under the hot and humid weather, and come time to cleanse my face at night, my eyeshadow was still looking great! Unfortunately Urban Decay is not available in Malaysia. I got mine from a seller on eBay. In the US, it is retailing for USD17 (which translates to about RM60). I managed to buy this for my sis and a friend for approximately RM50 in Macau! Don't know why it's cheaper than in the USA. I recommend this product to anyone who ever had problems with creasing of eyeshadows.

My second favorite product is the Shu Uemura eyelash curler which retails for RM60 in Malaysia. Let me first say that I have very small and droopy eyes and my eyelashes cannot be seen with the naked eye! (you might catch a glimpse of my eyelashes through a magnifying glass). Previously I was using a drugstore brand for my eyelash curler and suffice to say, I couldn't ever really curl my lashes. I am very happy to announce that I am now able to curl my eyelashes with this wonder curler. I'm not entirely sure why this one works better but I think it's because of the way it is angled. Check it out at any Shu Uemura counter or stores.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Answer Was - 'To Pack'

As the sequel to my previous post, the answer was 'to pack' as we did get tickets on Air Asia to go to Macau the very next morning at 8.20 a.m. However, we did not make reservations for a hotel yet but we were not worried as there are numerous hotels in Macau.  The flight to Macau takes about 3.5 hours and we decided during the flight that we would walk into The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel and check out the rates and such. As luck would have it, there were rooms available and we stayed at The Venetian for 3 nights, 4 days. I was expecting the hotel to be uber tacky but found that it wasn't.  It is done to give you a GRAND impression and I believe it worked because I am not likely to forget this hotel anytime soon.

The Venetian Hotel Lobby, Our Hotel Room, Grand Canal Shoppes and uber expensive noodles

Cirque du Soleil-Zaia, Macau's most famous biscuit shop, Ruins of St.Paul and 
Grand Lisboa Hotel

Day 1

After checking in, we walked around the hotel for a bit (the hotel grounds are huge) to check out what was on offer.  The Venetian is a shopping haven for all those who can afford to shop in Macau as I felt that most things were priced higher than in Malaysia.  However, I did manage to pick up some items from the makeup brand, Urban Decay, which is not found in Malaysia for a very good price!  Our room package came with free tickets to watch Cirque du Soleil - Zaia.  I first watched Cirque du Soleil  ("CDS") in Singapore when they were showing Quidam (another story version).  CDS originated from Canada and the show essentially tells a story with acrobatic movements.  I recommend anyone who has never watched CDS to watch it at least once, if they have the chance.

Day 2

We woke up, went for breakfast and proceeded to take a shuttle bus to the town centre of Macau.  I do not find Macau interesting and we only visited one tourist spot which was The Ruins of St.Paul . It was a very hot and humid day and we were very tired around mid afternoon.  We ducked into Grand Lisboa, a hotel owned by Hong Kong tycoon, Stanley Ho. We managed to see only the reception area and it was IMPRESSIVE.  The building itself might seem tacky to some but I felt it was an interestingly designed building.  We catched a shuttle back to The Venetian from Sands Hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon in the hotel, each one doing their own thing. My husband and I tried our luck in the casino and did not come out happy. Hahaha.

Day 3 

We spent most of the day wandering around the shops at The Venetian and spent some time in the casino.  Later in the evening, before we proceeded to dinner at a Chinese restaurant at the Grand Canal Shoppes (this is what the shopping area of The Venetian is called), we ended up at a Moet & Chandon lounge for pre-dinner champagne! Wonderful...Hehe...We later proceeded to have a fantastic dinner with stewed abalone and 'kon lo' sharksfin with soup on the side ( I apologise in advance to anyone who opposes the consumption of sharksfin. I am aware of the significance and will consciously try to erase this food item from my list of edible foods).  After dinner, we went back to the Moet & Chandon lounge and had 2 more bottles of champagne!! Suffice to say, everyone was more than happy when we left. Hahaha. My husband and I tried our luck in the casino again and I guess we should have known better seeing that we were half tipsy and couldn't really concentrate! Oh well, all in the name of fun. 

Day 4

Our flight was at 12.35 p.m. and hence, after breakfast, we packed and took a shuttle to the airport.  Oh, did I forget to mention that The Venetian is only 5 minutes away from the airport?  Very convenient.  

All in all, we had a great time in Macau.  Would I stay in The Venetian again? Probably not as I would like to try The Four Seasons Hotel. This hotel is the exact opposite of The Venetian.  Whereas Venetian is catered for the masses, Four Seasons has a more English feel to it.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

To Pack or Not To Pack

A week ago, my family was talking about going to Macau for a short 2 nights 3 days stay.  Much of it was talking and discussing but there was no confirmed decision on whether to go or not to go.  The decision to go was made sometime between late last night and this morning (as far as I know). We tried to book tickets online but was told that if you are flying off less than 24 hours from time of booking, the only way to get the tickets would be if you went direct to Air Asia's office to get them. At this time, at 5.49 p.m., we still do not have any flight tickets.  Let me emphasize that we are hoping to get on the flight that leaves at 8.20 a.m. tomorrow morning! So hence, the dilemma of 'To Pack or Not to Pack'.  Having said that, spontaneous trips are always fun so let's cross our fingers and pray we get the tickets!!

Simple Facial Cleansing Wipes

The postings in this blog are going to be about random matters.  Right now, I am writing about facial cleansing wipes by 'Simple'. These facial wipes are 100% alcohol free, 100% oil free, has no perfume or colouring and is supposed to remove all make up inclusive of waterproof mascara. I started using this product some years back as I am a truly lazy person when it comes to removing make up and I prefer a one-step process.  I stopped using it after I realised it was too expensive to use on a daily basis and reverted to other forms of cleansing options. 

I recently picked it up again when I was going on my travels as I thought it would be convenient, rather than lugging around bottles of cleansers. I find that it is a very effective cleansing wipe and takes off make up easily.  The only setback, I feel, is that the material used for the wipe is quite rough on the skin. That is my only complaint on this product. Just wished that the manufacturers will use something softer for the skin....

Why I Started This Blog

Ok, so why did I start this blog? Well, basically, I am a Minister of Domestic Affairs @ stay at home wife and I have no children, so basically I have a lot of time on my hands. Today, I asked a friend of mine what she thought about me starting a new blog just to ramble about daily life and stuff and she encouraged me to do it.  Was thinking for a title and she actually suggested 'Nothing Better To Do'.  My initial reaction was 'Ew, so lame' but after awhile, it started to grow on me and I AM doing this because I have nothing better to do. So this is the birth of my new blog...