Express Christmas

express christmas

Have you heard of Express Christmas? No? Well, it’s when you can’t celebrate it on the day itself, so you wing it, gather a bunch of friends and celebrate it in advance.

me

…and that’s just what I did at Sid’s, TTDI.

sids

You can’t have a proper Christmas party without some beer…

drinks

Buckets of Heineken to spread the festive cheer. I figured Heineken would do the trick nicely – it’s a cool and refreshing beer perfect for our climate. It doesn’t exactly snow here so mulled wine and warm eggnog doesn’t provide the same satisfaction.

trick

There’s this trick where you try to blow a distorted cap into the bottle. It can be done, just like that balance-the-coin-on-the-lemon-suspended-in-liquid tipping jar. It’s just close to impossible.

samantha

Samantha tried it.

kim

Kim tried it. Both to no avail.

newlyweds

Oh, speaking of which, say hello to the newly-weds. :)

reindeer

Lainey had this reindeer thing on her head. That’s me with the Santa hat…drinking on the job. Rudolph go! :D

beer jenga

Heineken Jenga. I built this slightly (actually very) unwieldy contraption with a bit of help from everyone.

heineken jenga

Rules: Everyone pulls one bottle and the person who makes it fall drinks. Kids, do not try this at home or at all. ;)

santa

You wanna come sit on Santa’s lap? ;) I can’t grant you a wish but I do have…er, lollipops to give out. smirk

stupid trick

Kim also pulled this trick on me. It’s really funny, ask her to show you.

group

Christmas is all about good company. I’ll be in Bali for Christmas so I’m glad I got the chance to celebrate my own Express Christmas with my closest friends. :)

Hui Lau Shan Healthy Dessert

hui lau shan hong kong

Hui Lai Shan is one of the extremely popular dessert chains around Hong Kong.

hui lau shan menu

There is basically no seating – it’s like the bubble tea establishments on the street, except this offers a new twist by having “healthy drinks”. You get a number when you order and you wait for your drink to be prepared at a side counter.

hui lau shan counter

The drinks are in the HKD 20+ range and there are heaps of options you can choose from, all with a local twist.

hui lau shan hk

I notice the trend is to have a local base with various fruits on top, such as the tongue twisting Glutinous Rice Balls in Mango Cubes & Coconut Juice with Red Bean.

hui lau shan healthy drink

I ordered from the Bird’s Nest and Honey Jelly Series – this is the popular E4 – Bird’s Nest & Honey Jelly in Mango & Coconut Juice for HKD 25 (about RM 10). I added HKD 3 for a larger 16 oz drink.

Birds Nest Honey Jelly Mango Coconut Juice

These drinks are surprisingly addictive. It tastes really good. The bird’s nest and honey jelly breaks apart into soft and slurp-able pieces when you stir it with the huge straw. The coconut milk (not juice as stated on the menu) goes very well with the mango pieces (that’s your daily dose of fruit right there) and jelly.

hui lau shan drink

It’s the perfect drink while walking around Hong Kong on a hot day. :)

The One and Only

newcastle brown ale lainey

Lainey is not a beer drinker. She’s a liquor and wine kinda person. I have drinks with the bff regularly and the only thing even close to a fermented drink she’ll have is a Snakebite (Strongbow cider with beer – half and half).

I personally like my beer. I used to read Beer Connoisseur and I suspect it’s the magazine that made me a bit of an arrogant drinker. I started drinking bocks and ales right off the bat just to appear more sophisticated. Heh!

…but you know, it really grows on you. I started to appreciate the taste and complex flavors that goes into a fine ale.

jarrod rawlins damansara heights

Anyway, whenever I go out drinking with Lainey she’ll be drinking something other than beer. It was decided that last Friday’s watering hole would be Jarrod & Rawlins in Damansara Heights. She works in that area and I live in Damansara Heights but I don’t think we’ve ever been here together.

jarrod rawlins

We usually go to watering holes in MidValley or TTDI so we headed somewhere different this time. I love Jarrod & Rawlins coz it’s a nice and chill place (and it’s very close to where I live – I could even walk home if I was so inclined). I also like the food there and their toilets are awesome.

aircon

Yes, their toilets. I know a lot of places have air conditioned toilets but where else have you seen a self contained unit inside the toilet? Not many places right?

It’s awesome. You can take a dump in peace in a place like this. Comfort max.

newcastle brown ale food

It sounds a bit wrong to segue back into food after that bit about water closets but I’ll do it anyway. ;) I’ve already eaten so we shared a plate of stew and mash. It was then that I noticed they have a lot of tent cards on the tables promoting Newcastle Brown Ale for RM 19.

newcastle brown ale

I have fond memories of my two recent trips to England so I ordered one to try. I ended up drinking 3 bottles. Heh! It is really good. It has been around since 1927 – an unconventional ale brewed by Colonel Jim Porter in (you guessed it) Newcastle, England. He was looking to make a unique ale that’s full flavored yet easy to drink.

jarrod rawlins deli

An ale is a man’s drink, I’ll like to think. I had a lot of ale when I went to England. They really take pride in their beer over there. It’s a lot harder for new and young drinkers to palate since they tend to gravitate towards the lighter lagers. However, Newcastle Brown Ale bucks the trend by being smooth and easy to drink.

Predictably, Lainey won’t drink the Newcastle Brown Ale. I insisted she try it – I told her to forget all the preconceived notions of beer she has and just sip it like a “blind taste test”. She did it for me, although I could tell she didn’t want to. If you know her, you’ll know she doesn’t drink beer.

I was half expecting her to spit it out or even grimace but surprisingly she had some good things to say about it.

Lainey’s take on it:It’s a lot smoother than beer, goes down a lot better and it doesn’t have a weird aftertaste.

Now, if you know Lainey that is VERY HIGH PRAISE indeed since she doesn’t even like light lager…and Newcastle Brown Ale is (obviously) an ale.

newcastle brown ale bottle

Beer is serious business to the British. The Newcastle Brown Ale available here comes in bottles, and contrary to popular belief, you can bottle an ale and have it taste like draft beer too. There’s this ale called Kings Table Real Ale that’s only available in the Tower of London. It tastes just as good and fresh as the ales in local pubs.

kings table ale

I like the fact that Newcastle Brown Ale doesn’t have carbonation – it’s an authentic ale. The ales and beers in England doesn’t have carbonation too – it’s pulled from a pump like device – at least the local brews are.

england ale

It tastes real smooth and it reminds me a lot of England…sitting down with a pint and just relaxing. Newcastle Brown Ale will appeal to both new drinkers and the more sophisticated beer lovers – it’s easy drinkability will appeal to the younger crowd while the full body and flavor will find affinity with ale purists.

Newcastle Brown Ale comes in a 330 ml bottle with an accompanying glass and pours well with a golden honey color topped with a puffy white head. It’s 4.7% which is lower than what regular drinks over here weighs in at but about the same as British standard drinks.

newcastle brown ale us

I found it slightly sweet and I love the caramel aftertaste too. Just drinking one allows me to revisit the nice memories of going into a local pub in England and drinking a pint of ale…while in KL.

newcastle brown ale pairing

Try pairing Newcastle Brown Ale with cheeses, olives and deli meats like salami – all available at Jarrod & Rawlins. This ale also complements dishes like smoked salmon.

It truly deserves the title of The One and Only. I just wish it comes in a larger pint sized bottle coz I’m used to drinking pints instead of half pints. :)

An awesome start to 2011

jeanie

Well, for those of you who don’t know, I’ve just gotten into a relationship over Chinese New Year. It was a bit of a surprise to even my friends coz I was busy most of the time while I was back in my hometown. I’ve not been in a serious relationship for a long time so I’m glad all my friends are really supportive and happy for me.

facebook

I think being in a relationship is awesome!

relationship

Sure, it’s not smooth sailing, but nothing ever is.

couple

Awesome. It’s one of the words I tend to overuse but in the right situations there is nothing else that can substitute this adjective.

I’ve been up to quite a lot of things that would fall into the “awesome” category this year. It has been a very fruitful 2011. I spent NYE on a plane to London for almost a month long vacation in Europe.

wicked

I managed to catch Wicked the Musical (wicked is synonymous with awesome btw ;)) in West End.

amsterdam

I spent several days in Amsterdam – it’s my second time there within 4 months and I still love the place to bits. The tolerant and easy going nature of the Dutch makes this one of my favorite cities. I love chilling out at one of the many coffeeshops there too.

friends

Meeting new friends while backpacking throughout Europe was an awesome experience for me too. You get to see things from different cultures and some of the people you meet makes such an impact that you keep in touch even after you’re back.

georgia

I also went down the road less travelled and took a flight to Georgia. Now that was one of the highlights of my trip. It’s a post-Soviet country and there’s a bit of saperatist rumblings in South Ossetia but in general, Georgians are a very friendly lot.

georgian

In fact, I’ll say they’re hospitable to fault. I met people who bought me lunch and drinks and were curious about where I came from. Apparently, not many Malaysians visit Georgia. I think their hospitality in the face of poverty is downright awesome.

cny

Moving forward chronologically, I spent about 2 weeks in Sibu for Chinese New Year. It’s the place I was born in and even though I never spent much time there since I went to New Zealand for my high school at the age of 15, I still consider it my home.

reunion

The best part about Chinese New Year for me is the reunion dinner. I look forward to it every year and I’m thankful that my grandma is still around. She is the poverbial thread that binds us all. She’s getting along in the years and it always makes me happy to see her and give her a huge hug.

You know, hugging is not something that the older generation of conservative Chinese embrace (pun not intended) but my grandma has taken to it with a passion that surprised even me.

niece

Ever since I started giving her hello and goodbye hugs, she’s been wonderfully touched and even took to giving me affectionate carresses and pecks on the cheek. I wouldn’t have imagined she would ever do that, but it’s surprising how much she likes it and more than a little heartwarming that it has become part of our family tradition. :)

sister

My sister came back with her husband and my niece in tow this Chinese New Year, which was part of the reason I spent so much time back in Sibu. The last time I saw my niece was in the middle of last year when my mom had her lung cancer operation and she was a wee little thing back then.

She’s all grown up now – she’s a year old and for some reason she’s all smiles and laughter when she sees me, which makes me deliriously happy. Heh!

My niece doesn’t like strangers to hold and touch her but she’s taken to me and it’s an feeling I can’t explain when she gives off her baby coos and holds out her arms to be picked up. I love hugging her – she’s small, soft and she smells like milk. :)

kara

She’s awesome!

Do you know what else is awesome? A trip to Italy for 8D/7N, exploring over 11 cities plus a 3 hour ride in a Ferrari in Tuscany! All you need to do is to grab a Sunkist pack with the word “Awesome” and take a photo with it. You can upload it on the site or MMS it to 016 339 9950 and type . Start sharing your photo and get people to vote for you and you might be on your way to Italy!

There’s also a RM 500 prize for weekly winners and you can snag RM 100 just by being the highest weekly voter so there’s another good reason to join the contest. Sunkist is awesome!

sunkist

I think I’m awesome too! Everyone should feel this way. I read this article about control – if you let what other people think about you affect your mood, you’re basically giving up control of your emotions to others. Think positive and be awesome! :D

Surf over to Sunkist Daily Dose of Awesome for more details on how to participate. There are other amazing prizes up for grabs so hurry up and join the contest before it’s too late. I love Sunkist coz I’m always a bit lazy when it comes to eating right so it provides me with all the vitamins I need to be…

awesome

AWESOME!

…and please be awesome too and vote for my photo here. smirk

Anything. Whatever.

anything whatever

Anything and Whatever is one of the most novel concepts in the beverage industry I’ve seen to date. I’ve been hankering to get my hands on the drinks from Singapore, which was recently launched in Malaysia as well, and finally got the stuff today.

poslaju

I’m supposed to say that it was sent to me from Singapore by the person who sent it. It’s not available over here in the remote jungles of Sarawak yet so my friend sent it in a package to me. She wanted me to be the first in Sibu to try it and surprised me with the package.

alatulis

Unfortunately, she declared it as “alatulis” (stationary) so it got caught up in Customs. I’m sure they were wondering what kind of stationary weighs 0.797 kg and makes a clanking sound when you shake the package with a liquid sloshing echo. ;)

anything whatever box

Naturally, astute readers would comment on the fact that Singapore doesn’t have PosLaju (which a next-day courier service run by the Malaysian government). This begs the question on where it was actually sent from and by whom – both good questions…to which I have no good answer. ;)

anything

Anything is a carbonated drink which can contain anything from Cola, Cola with Lemon, Apple, Fizz Up, Cloudy Lemon, to Root Beer. You don’t know what you’re getting until you open up the can. Fascinating concept, eh?

whatever

Whatever is the non-carbonated cousin to Anything and contains a surprise flavor that ranges from Ice Lemon Peach, Peach Tea, Jasmine White Tea, Apple Tea, and Chrysanthemum Tea. The can is not labeled (except with a huge question mark) and you don’t know what you’re getting until you open it. Fun!

anything me

I got the Fizz Up for the Anything can. It tastes like 7Up and is a fair emulation of the latter. It tastes alright, but the fun with Anything is that it could be…well, anything!

whatever me

Whatever dealt me with the Peach Tea. This tastes like the Lipton Peach Tea. Nice! I just adore the concept of not knowing what you’re gonna get until you open up the can.

It’s just perfect for people like me who loves surprises. Thanks D! :)

Coke C2 (Coca-Cola C2)

coke c2

This is Coca-Cola’s low carbohydrate alternative to the ubiquitous
line of Coke drinks. Coke C2 claims to have low sodium and half the
carbs and calories of a normal (classic) Coke. Cola claims the name C2
stands for 1/2 the carbs, 1/2 the cals and all the taste of regular
Coke. It sure looks better, I like Coke C2′s colors and design.

cokec2

The medium carbohydrate Coke C2 seems to be following the trend of
low carb products to target people on the Atkins diet. It retails for
RM 2.19 each here and Cold Storage has a promotion where you get three
for the price of two. It’s the outlet in Suria KLCC, I haven’t seen
Coke C2 elsewhere. It seems to be available in the US only and the ones
we get here are imported from the US.

coke c2 drink

Well, I got it just coz I haven’t tried it before and this is my
verdict – it tastes just like Diet Coke (Coke Light). That’s not a bad
decree, coming from me, since I like the taste of Coke Light. I find
regular classic Coke to be too sweet and unpleasantly fizzy. Coke C2 is
great. I liked it.

Pepsi Twist and Diet Coke with Lemon Flavor

I went to the city today to sort out the Flemington shooting range
booking. I’m going tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm straight after my last
exam. Will be keepin’ it real G style and post some photos tomorrow to
boot. ;) Anyway, you know how Pepsi came out with Pepsi Twist? It’s
normal Pepsi with a slight lemon taste. It’s only available in KFC for
the time being. Well, I was grocery shopping at Coles the other day and
saw that Coke has something similar. I don’t know which one came out
first, but here’s the Coke version:

Diet Coke with Lemon flavor

I prefer the Coke version. Pepsi tastes too sweet to be thirst quenching
unless its watered down with ice cubes. Diet coke is my drink of choice.
Anyway, I’ve noticed that the KFC chicken here are absolutely miniscule.
The drumsticks are half the size of the Malaysian counterpart, if that.
It’s only slightly bigger than the Ayamas frozen mini drumsticks. While
having 3 pieces of chicken will make me feel bloated in KFC Malaysia, here
it just made me feel slightly full. And that’s the ultimate 3 piece meal
with the Picnic bar, bun, fries and mashed potatoes.

KFC’s The Ultimate 3-piece Meal

Well, I took a lot of pictures while I was in the city today. I’ve been
getting the dreaded “System Error” that plagues most Nikon digicams. I
figured out that it only happens when the zoom lens have not been
retracted properly for some reason. The remedy is to manually push (not
too hard) on the zoom lens, so that it is ‘docked’ again. You shouldn’t
touch the actual lens with your fingers, just apply pressure on the side
if you have this problem. Anyway, I’ve been doing a bit of gadget shopping
too. I went the the really cheap computer hardware place opposite
Melbourne Central. Picked up a

Canon CanoScan N670U
for A$170 and a

Surecom self powered 4-Port USB Hub EP-1004P
for A$45. I saw this
Wacom tablet going for slightly over A$100. I don’t draw, but I felt a
nearly uncontrollable compulsion to buy it. Just because. Good thing I
walked out of the store before I did. Heh. I did notice that the first
thing that the Quick Start booklet of the scanner says is “Scanning of
certain documents, such as bank notes (snip) may be prohibited by law and
may result in criminal and/or civil liability”. Oh? I had already scanned
a crinkly 50 dollar bill and was about to post it with some quip about
printing it but on second thought, that might not be a good idea.

Anyway, here’s a complement to yesterday’s POTD. I found this today while walking
to the bus loop.

Rumble of the Peters: A 3-Way, all out, no holds barred, “no need
to keep the dinner warm honey, coz I ain’t coming back” cage match.

Peter the Possum

Generally regarded as the crowd favorite, this little critter can run fast
and has pretty sharp claws to boot.

Peter the Possum Man

Not much is known about this bloke, but I hear he catches possums for a
living.

Peter the Speed Racer

Because of the speed his vehicle is capable of, there are no known
photographs of this menace to the roads. Question mark picture taken from
CRpuzzles [crpuzzles.com].

 

The result:

Peter the Speed Racer Wins! (with a total knock out)

The Porcelain God

I think I’m slightly lactose intolerant. I’ve noticed that every time I drink a significant
amount of milk or any other dairy food, I end up in the toilet. Anyway, I’ve found that coffee
granules tastes pretty good. I was lazy to wash my only mug last night so I ended up shoveling some
coffee into my mouth using a plastic fork and chasing it down with some Breaka. Pretty good buzz
and the coffee tastes good too. All roasted and rich.

OJ

Noticed that the Original Juice Co. are still using Valencia orange concentrate in their
juice.

If you can’t read that label it says:

Due to a severe shortage of Australian oranges this current season, we have had to blend some
Australian Valencia orange concentrate with our squeezed daily orange juice, as a temporary
measure. We would like to assure all of our customers, that when the new season oranges becomes
available, we will return to our normal 100% squeezed daily product.

I’ve been drinking this stuff for a long time, and I actually feel that the current batch that
has orange concentrate tastes better! It’s sweeter.

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