Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Eden Lake

When nursery teacher Jenny escapes to the country for a relaxing weekend away with her boyfriend, she is unaware of a romantic surprise he has in store. The location is perfect. A lake enclosed by woodlands is seemingly deserted and the scene is set for a picturesque proposal. But before the happy couple can enjoy the retreat, their peace is shattered by a gang of violent youths. What begins is a shocking and unrelenting game of cat-and-mouse, as Jenny is forced to fight back against her aggressors.

This has got to be one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen in a long time. The lamest excuse to create a brutally violent film. It was so extremely violent it made me cringe. And mind you, it takes a lot to make me cringe! I mean I was able to stomach "Saw 1-5" & "Halloween" but this was just too much.

[Spoiler Alert]
First of all, the dumbass guy in the movie was looking for trouble. It's like he so wanted to be killed by those stupid kids. Second, I don't understand why the kids were so full of hate and anger that they went on a killing spree (and these kids were like 14 or 16 yrs old). Maybe some ghetto kids are just crazy like that but these kids were beyond crazy, they were psychotic murderers.

In a nutshell, the movie was a race on who gets to kill who first. There was a part in the movie where the equally stupid girl hid in the bushes till morning to lose the kids chasing her. But why hide till morning? Then the next day, she watches her boyfriend get tortured instead of looking for help. How stupid can you get?! In the end, she finally was able to find help. Then it turns out the people whom she thought will help her are actually parents and relatives of the lunatic kids. So they kill her. End of Story. By this time, my stress levels were through the roof.

Then again, this is a movie after all and they were just following the script. So I guess the dumbest of 'em all is the scriptwriter, and the producer, and the director.. Ok they were all stupid. Plus, the kids' british accent were so thick all I could understand was "F*ck" & "Mate".

Wow, a movie has never ellicited so much emotion from me. Seriously, I needed a massage after the movie. It was so damn stressful!

My unprecedented rating for Eden Lake is -1.0/5.0.
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Monday, January 26, 2009

Da Paolo Gastronomia , Paragon Place

After lunch at East Coast Rd, we headed to Orchard Road since I had to go to Lucky Plaza to do some chores. Walking around sure burns those calories so we had to load up, hahaha. We were only intending to grab some drinks at Marketplace when we chanced upon this glorious place in Paragon.

I wandered around while waiting for Zach to buy his drink and spotted this shop. And boy was I happy I wandered around! I define De Paolo Gastronomia as a gourmet delicatessen (from the German word "delikat Essen"- ‘fine foods’) since they serve prepared food in the form of cold cuts, meat, pasta & pastry, that are not the usual finds.

I really felt like a kid with eyes wide-open amazed at the wonderful selection, hahaha. There were so many good food that I wanted to try and I swear to high heavens the next time I get hungry, this is where I will go!

Zach chose the "Salmon Pizza" (S$7.00) with generous dill sauce topping. Woooowwww is all I can say. The salmon covered most of the pizza and it was perfect with the dill, added a bit saltiness.

My only rant is that I find the pizza a bit overcooked (as seen in photo above) as the crust was already slightly burnt. Zach loved it though, he says the crispier the better.

I chose the "Lemon Curd Chocolate Cake" (S$8.00). This was more like a mousse actually instead of a cake. The lemon curd was very little and I think they should have added more of it to balance out the sweetness. It was too sweet we weren't able to finish it.

No rating since this isn't exactly a restaurant. BUT, I saw in their website that they actually have restaurants under the "De Paolo" group of companies, now that I have to check out.

Paragon Place
290 Orchard Road #B1-20
Singapore 238859
Tel: 6738 1462
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Aston's Specialities, East Coast Road

Last Jan. 24, the first day of my 4day weekend, we decided to go somewhere different and eat something special (as usual I have to find an excuse to do so haha). Zach came up with the idea of Steak. The first resto that came to my mind was Aston's since I remember I tried some of their food before at Aston's express here in NUS (already closed now).

So we googled Aston's and found the nearest branch to my place, which is on East Coast Road. We were mighty hungry so we quickly took a cab since it wasn't really that far anyway.

Aston's on East Coast Road is probably one of the first few branches since it looked kinda shabby. Half was open-air and half was airconditioned. And what do you know, we were seated at the open area.

We skipped looking at everything else on the Menu and went straight to the Steaks. Prices were not so bad. Most of the steaks were below S$20, aside from the Porterhouse and Ribs.

Now call me naive because when the waiter asked me whether I wanted "Still" or "Sparkling" mineral water, I said "Regular" hahaha. Just give me damn water, who cares whether it's shining shimmering splendid, haha. But seriously, that was added knowledge for me.

For starters, we both had "Cream of Mushroom Soup" (S$2.80). The server didn't even bother to flip my garlic bread as it was upside down when served to me. I just flipped it for photo purposes. Aside from that, the soup tasted fine.

We both had "Prime Ribeye Xtra Cut" (S$16.50). Zach had his medium-well with onion rings & baked potato.

I had mine medium-rare with Baked Potato & Garden Veggies. Now the server made another boo-boo as he served me my steak with just the potato, then told me "Sorry sir, no more pasta salad". Duhh, should'nt have he asked me that before he served my order. So I said I'll just have the garden veggies. 5 minutes later he comes back with the plate of veggies and he didn't know what to do with it so I just slid the veggies beside the baked potato (as seen in pic), then gave him back the plate.

Also, if you look closely at my plate, the sides were dirty. Food Preparation rule #1 is to clean the sides of the plate before serving it to your guest. Anyone, and I mean anyone, in the food business should know this.

In fairness, the steak was cooked well. I could tell the difference between my medium-rare steak and Zach's medium-well one. It tasted ok but we felt something was missing, don't exactly know what. I think it was because the gravy made the steak taste better when steaks alone should taste great on their own.

To sum up our Aston's experience, I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting more from Aston's given that it was top of my mind when it comes to steaks. At least the steaks were affordable, other places would definitely cost you more.

Here is my rating for Aston's:
Ambiance - 2.0
Service - 2.0
Food - 3.0
Presentation - 2.0
Value for Money - 3.5

Address:119 East Coast Road
Tel: 6247 7857

P.S. Almost beside Aston's was a shop selling Peranakan treats. We grabbed some to eat for dessert :-)

"Live, Love & Eat!"
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shiraz Restaurant, Clarke Quay

After dinner & drinks with Carissa at Orchard Road, I took her to Clarke Quay to see the nightlife in Singapore. We decided to stay at Shiraz Restaurant since they had available seats outside.

We ordered "Hummus " (S$9.00) and some pita bread to chow on while filling our bodies with even more alcohol, haha. The bread was really tough and the hummus so-so. Quite bad, actually.

It was good though we chose this place as there was belly dancing. This lady really knows how to gyrate that belly! She was so flexible!

They handed us some drums to add to the music of the belly dancer. I was slightly embarrased but it was fun.

So that was my introductory tour of Singapore to Carissa. We weren't able to do much since she had to go home before midnight, else be scolded by her friend who is hosting her stay here in Singapore. Till the next night out...
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Cross Straits Restaurant, Cuppage Terrace

Last Saturday, Jan. 17, I met my friend, Carissa, who came from the Philippines & Dubai. I met her 6 years ago in my second job in a call centre in the Philippines and I remember we used to hang out a lot with our other colleagues - brings back so many fun memories.

It's her first time here in Singapore so of course, I had to take her to Orchard Road. We decided to have dinner at S-11 at cuppage terrace besides Robinson's centrepoint but when we got there I was so surprised to find out they replaced it with rows of very nice restos, much to our delight.

We chose Cross Straits from a myriad of other restos offering different kinds of food from mexican to asian, etc. I had to let her taste signature singaporean dishes since this is her first time here.

We ordered "Seafood Mee Goreng" - stir-fried noodle dish. The noodles looked a bit soggy but the taste was really good, so I didn't really mind.

And of course, we ordered "Chicken & Beef Satay" - barbecued chicken & beef with peanut sauce. Also good. The meat was tender, perfect with the sweet & spicy peanut sauce.

We also ordered "Stingray" - fish smothered with sambal chili. This was ok. I prefer the usual stingray served on a sizzling dish as this quickly went cold after a while.

Lastly, "Yang Chow Fried Rice" - stir-fried rice with egg and veggies. Carissa preferred this rice dish over the noodle dish. It was perfect with the other dishes.

The owner (I assume he is), above pic with his back turned, was really friendly and hospitable. He made sure service was quick and attended to all the customers. I hope he keeps it this way for the long-run because I assume the place is fairly new.
Our dinner came up to S$46.80, including taxes. Very cheap for a resto in an expensive area.

So after catching up on dinner we went to a nearby bar along orchard to get some drinks and wash down our guilt with more guilt in the form of alcohol, haha. I was so amused to find this low carb beer called "Pure Blonde". Is it supposed to be for dumb blondes who don't eat carbs? haha kidding. Ok, that was corny :P

Carissa & I. She is still the heavy drinker that I know of from 6 years ago, hahaha. Lav ya carissa! Peace! ;)

Read my next blog as I took her to Clarke Quay, to catch up some more and what do you know, more drinks!

By the way, here is my rating for Cross Straits-
Ambiance - 4.5
Service - 5.0
Food - 4.0
Presentation - 2.5
Value for Money - 4.5
Cross Straits Restaurant
35 Cuppage Terrace, 229459
"Live, Love & Eat!"
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A mother prays for the return of her kidnapped son. When her prayers are answered, however, she begins to suspect the boy who comes back is not her child. Inspired by true events that took place in Los Angeles in the 1920s.

Now this is what I call a movie. I liked this much better than "Milk", actually. Both movies are from real-life stories but I find this one more engaging and riveting, all 2.5 hours of it.

I really find it appalling that as far back as the 20's, police brutality was so much abound. And puhlease, give me a break, how stupid can the police get?! How can they expect to fool a mother with a "fake"son?! Even the dumbest of dumb moms would know who their son or daughter is, for crying out loud. Nevertheless, I think that's the exact reason why I found the movie really interesting. You can't wait to find out how the story ends, how the kid went kaput, is the kid still alive, and so on and so forth.

I truly recommend this movie. The clincher, though depressing, is unexpected. I usually don't enjoy movies set in the "olden days" but this is a true exception. Anyway, I'm really amazed at how other people have different views and tastes in movies, I can't believe some movie critics on yahoo movies gave this movie a "C".

My rating for Changeling is 4.5/5.
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Friday, January 16, 2009


The story of Harvey Milk (1930-1978), the San Francisco supervisor and first openly gay elected official in the United States, who was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by Daniel White the year after he was voted to the city supervisors' board. (

We watched this film on a Tuesday night. Normally, I don't go out on weekdays but Zach wanted to see this movie biography.

Ok, so what can I say about this movie? No doubt the storyline is remarkable, relevant and outstanding. Harvey Milk is truly a hero in his own right. I wish there were more Harvey Milks nowadays. The movie will really inspire you to fight your own fight, may it be in politics, at work, at home, or whatever you are fighting for in life. The message of the movie encompasses sex or race, whether gay or straight.

It is sad though that gay people will always be discriminated. That is a known fact. Harvey Milk's plight to fight for gay rights is a monumental act, especially during those days.

In terms of the delivery of the movie, I just hope they made it more "catchy". It was a bit slow and boring in some parts. Though I understand it's not really supposed to be an action movie but I don't know, that's just my 2 cents. Zach said I'm shallow for being bored in some parts but hey I'm just being honest. After all, I was awake the whole time which means it was enough to keep me glued but not enough for me to rave about it.

My rating for Milk is 3/5.
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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Seven Pounds

Ben Thomas (Will Smith) is an IRS agent who is depressed and guilt-ridden about the mistakes from his past. He embarks on an extraordinary journey to alter the lives of seven strangers. When he meets Emily (Rosario Dawson), a beautiful woman with a heart condition, he falls in love with her, thereby complicating his plans.

I've come to a point that when I watch movies I don't stress anymore on the nitty gritty details of the movie. One way or the other there will always be loopholes or some form of ambiguity in any movie. Just like this movie, I didn't bother to count or identify anymore who were those seven people that Will's character helped out.

Anyway, I saw mixed reviews (mostly bad reviews) of this film on the net. But I still prodded Zach to watch this movie even if he so wanted to watch Bedtime Stories (Adam Sandler). And I can say that I liked the movie. I wasn't jumping up and down but I liked it. The storyline was really subtle and mellow yet thought-provoking and intense. If you're the type who likes explosive, action-packed, matrix-ish movies then don't watch this. I find this movie current and controversial, especially nowadays where so much chaos (think Gaza and Thailand) is happening around the world.

I'm not going to reveal any spoilers but I really liked the clincher in this movie. It made up for most of the movie's subtlety. Hey, I am no film critic and I am very well aware of that. I just blog and review movies according to my own taste and preference :-)

My rating for "Seven Pounds" is 3/5.
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Homecooked Baked Penne Pasta for New Year's Day Dinner

Ever since I started working here in Singapore (On March 21, I've been here for 2 yrs now, can you believe that?!), I haven't really had the time (and energy) to cook comfort food as much as I did back in Manila.

So the start of a fresh promising year is a great way to bring back old habits. And since we didn't really have any plans for that night, I might as well cook something special for everyone in our flat.

Aileen helped me prepare the pasta. We both love to cook and we have been cooking buddies since we were really young. The pasta is quite simple actually. Just penne pasta, tomato sauce, tomato puree, garlic, onions, ground beef, mushrooms, leftover "bravo" tomato garlic sauce, leftover cheeses in the fridge plus bechamel sauce.

We were intending to cook lasagna but the neighbourhood grocery store didn't carry lasagne noodles.

Zach brought over some "Satay" to add more protein and variety to our meal.

Dessert were leftover sweets and treats from Christmas. The Panettoni is really good - seems like a dry airy bread if you look at it but once you pop it in your mouth it's really chewy and soft.

(Clockwise from far left) Al, Aileen (my cousin), Bill (her fiance), Zach, JP (our friend), and Rye.

So that was our new year's day dinner. Simple yet truly filling AND delicious! (hehehehe)
Happy New Year once again! All the best to all of us in this year of the Ox!
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Thai Express, Raffles City

Finally, I was able to go back to Thai Express to feature them in my blog. Last New Year's eve, we wanted to eat somewhere special yet tried and tested. And what better way to welcome the new year but with an explosion of flavours and spices that is Thai Express!

We were lucky that they had a special "Celebration Menu" on that day. Too bad though that they didn't accept any discounts from credit cards since it was the eve of a holiday.

For starters, we had "Nongkai Ma Nao" (S$7.90) - crispy drumlettes with lemon sauce.

This was divine! I never knew I could describe chicken wings as such, haha. They were perfectly crisp on the outside but tender and juicy in the inside. Parang tender juicy hotdog lang hehehe.

I had the "Woon Sen Kaeng Jeut Luk Ngaw" (S$10.90) - chicken tang hoon balls in soup with glass noodles. Wow! that was a mouthful for a name of a dish. Nevertheless, the dish itself was truly mouth-watering! (figuratively and literally hehe).

I've never seen anything like the chicken tang hoon balls. If you look closely, the balls had noodles inside as well. I was actually feeling bloated that day (whats new) so this light yet filling noodle soup dish was peerrfffeecctt!

Zach had the "Pad Thai Neua" (S$11.90) - thai stir-fried beef kawy teow. As you all know, pad thai is a thai-classic-must-try dish. This was also really good! The serving looks small in the picture (sorry wrong angle) but it was really good enough for 2 (small) people.

I like the interiors of Thai Express in Raffles City the best. Casual yet somewhat-elegant dining.

2 happy campers indeed! :-)

So now I can finally say that Thai Express is my ultimate favorite bestest Thai Restaurant in Singapore! Lerk Thai & Siam Kitchen move aside!

Here is my rating for Thai Express-

Ambiance - 4
Service - 4.5
Food - 5
Presentation - 4
Value for Money - 4.5

252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City Shopping Centre
#B1-13 Singapore 179103

"Live, Love & Eat!"

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