LG Optimus G: It’s Time to Change for Good – Part 1

Just before the Chinese New Year week, my iPhone 4S was stolen a day after I attended the Singapore launch of the LG Optimus G. I have been thinking of switching to an Android phone, seeing that it had surpassed iOS in global marketshare as the mobile platform of choice.

It must be a sign.

A sign for me to“Change For Good” and switch to a LG Optimus G running on Android:

It's time to change for good?
It’s time to change for good?
LG Optimus G unboxed
LG Optimus G unboxed

After my iPhone 4S was stolen, I have been using my wife’s old iPhone 4 in the interim. A week ago, I finally got my hands on a new set of the LG Optimus G:

I am a Mac user most of my life – I currently have an iPad, two iPod Mini, an iPod, two Macbook Pro and two iPhone 4 in my home.

Nonetheless, I am determined to attempt the switch to LG Optimus G because Apple seems to be getting too cocky and arrogant these years – think the blunder with the deletion of Google map app in iOS 6 the stupid patents they keep filing to retard the development of mobile innovation and their multiple lawsuits against competitors.

In the next few weeks, I will be documenting my transition from an Apple iOS user on iPhone 4/4S to a LG Optimus G Android user.

Going from iPhone 4/4S to LG Optimus G
Going from iPhone 4/4S to LG Optimus G

The immediate challenge for me was to get my Optimus G to sync on my Macbook Pro. I will also need to import all my contacts and data stored in iCloud and iTunes to the new phone.

Sync a LG Optimus G on a Macbook Pro? Easy.
Sync a LG Optimus G on a Macbook Pro? Easy.

The steps are easier than I thought. I will share more in my next “It’s Time to Change for Good” blog series. Stay tuned. 🙂

Dolce Tokyo @ 313 Somerset

A new japanese-italian cafe, Dolce Tokyo, has just opened in 313 Somerset recently. The cafe is owned by the Ministry of Food group of F&B outlets, headed by young female entrepreneur, Lena Sim.

Dolce Tokyo cafe
Dolce Tokyo cafe

“Dolce” means “sweet” in italian. The cafe serves a variety of japanese desserts from Mitsu Mama (jelly cubes), Kakigori (shaved ice), Zenzai (red bean dessert) and many more.

Rachel and I had the privilege to dine at Dolce Tokyo a week ago, together with Lena  herself.

Lena (lady in black) sharing with us on her concept for Dolce Tokyo
Lena (lady in black) sharing with us on her concept for Dolce Tokyo

It is interesting to note that the cafe’s dessert menu is thicker than their main course menu. For this reason, the cafe enjoys very good business outside of lunch and dinner timing.

Although main courses are not their emphasis, Dolce Tokyo still offer a pretty good variety:

Mixed Crostini - grilled bread topped with Tomato Concasse, Chilled Shrimps, Salmon Roe, Tamagoyaki Egg, and Smoked Salmon (S$18)
Mixed Crostini – grilled bread topped with Tomato Concasse, Chilled Shrimps, Salmon Roe, Tamagoyaki Egg, and Smoked Salmon (S$18)
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedicts (S$22) - Poached eggs, cheese, smoked salmon on toasted bread drizzled with Hollandaise sauce with chips and side salad
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedicts (S$22) – Poached eggs, cheese, smoked salmon on toasted bread drizzled with Hollandaise sauce with chips and side salad
Hyashi Chuka (S$17) - Cold noodles with strips of Tamagoyaki egg, sliced cucumber, sliced carrot, ginger, Gammon ham and nori served with somen
Hyashi Chuka (S$17) – Cold noodles with strips of Tamagoyaki egg, sliced cucumber, sliced carrot, ginger, Gammon ham and nori served with somen
Pouring the dressing into the noodle
Pouring the dressing into the noodle
This is the final look. The dish tastes like Chinese Dan Dan noodles (担面) to me, but with a zesty japanese twist, featuring ingredients like nori and tamagoyaki egg.
This is the final look. The dish tastes like Chinese Dan Dan noodles (担面) to me, but with a zesty japanese twist, featuring ingredients like nori and tamagoyaki egg.
My son, Asher, enjoying the cold noodle
My son, Asher, enjoying the cold noodle
Omu Curry Rice with Skewer (S$19) - Carrots, potatoes stewed in japanese curry, served with rice, daily side accompaniment and choice of skewer
Omu Curry Rice with Skewer (S$19) – Carrots, potatoes stewed in japanese curry, served with rice, daily side accompaniment and choice of skewer
Teriyaki pork belly skewer and three sides in the background
Teriyaki pork belly skewer and three sides in the background
Ebi Toji (S$12) - Shrimps, cherry tomato, wolfberries, egg toji sauce and spring onion
Ebi Toji (S$12) – Shrimps, cherry tomato, wolfberries, egg toji sauce and spring onion
Unagi hot stone rice
Unagi hot stone rice

According to the owner, more dishes will be added in their main course menu once the cafe’s traffic flow stabilises. For now, dessert is still their main focus and they are already attracting many fans.

Look at some of their dessert selection below and you will understand why:

Cake in a bird cage
Cake in a bird cage
Japanese Yuzu Cake
Japanese Yuzu Cake
Japanese green tea with goma sesame cake
Japanese green tea with goma sesame cake
Yuzu Kakigori (S$9) - Imported japanese yuzu sauce on crushed ice, kanten jelly, konnyaku jelly, wolfberries and white fungus topped with Hokkaido red bean and vanilla soft serve
Yuzu Kakigori (S$9) – Imported japanese yuzu sauce on crushed ice, kanten jelly, konnyaku jelly, wolfberries and white fungus topped with Hokkaido red bean and vanilla soft serve
Home-made ice lemon tea (S$5.50)
Home-made ice lemon tea (S$5.50)
Dolce Tokyo's signature Dessert Bento
Dolce Tokyo’s signature Dessert Bento

A recommended order is their signature Dessert Bento (S$18.90) which comes in a combination of desserts in tasting portions. It is ideal for sharing between 3 to 4 pax or if you have a sweet tooth, you can finish it alone.

I enjoyed their japanese-style cakes which are light, fluffy in texture and most important of all – not overly sweet. The cakes are presented in quaint japanese bird cages when served. Lena said she had to specially import the bird cages from Japan as the ones in Singapore are not suitable.

The cakes at Dolce Tokyo are baked and sold on the same day, with no preservatives added, using only the freshest ingredient. The prices may seem a little steep at S$10+ per slice, but you are paying for quality. Rachel and I particularly like their Yuzu cake, made with fresh japanese yuzu.

If you are interested to visit, here are the cafe’s details:

Address: 313 Orchard Road, #03-23 Somerset
Tel: 68365612
Email: samdy@ministryoffood.com.sg
Operating Hours:
Mon – Thu: 11:30 – 22:00
Sun & PH: 11:30 – 22:00
Fri – Sat: 11:30 – 23:00
Eve of PH: 11:30 – 23:00

Trattoria Gallo D’Oro @ Central Mall

One of the entrance to the restaurant
One of the entrance to the restaurant

Trattoria Gallo D’Oro (The Golden Rooster) is a cosy italian restaurant located at Central Mall. It specialises in home-styled italian cuisine and is helmed by Chef Carlo Marengoni, one of the co-owner of the restaurant.

When you know the chef himself has a stake in the restaurant, you can certainly be assured of quality.

Chef Carlo has over 17 years experience in fine dining restaurants in 5-star hotels. Instead of lavish fares at Trattoria Gallo D’Oro, Chef Carlo is proud to share with his patrons, the goodness of home-cooked Italian food, particularly from his hometown, Bergamo.

When Chef Carlo Marengoni first arrived in Singapore in 1995, he knew not a word of English. Taking this in stride, he took on the role of Head Chef in Restaurant Fratini. His affable nature combined with the universal language of food soon established him as a culinary superstar in italian cuisine – he was chosen to host the inaugural dinner for the Singapore delegation of Italy’s most prestigious gourmet association, the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (“Academy of Italian Cuisine”) and in 2010, prepared a feast for then-president SR Nathan at the Istana. He is also an ambassador for italian food, being one of the approximately 200 Master Chefs certified worldwide by the Academia Barilla.

Rachel and I dined at Trattoria Gallo D’Oro a few weeks back and had the privilege of meeting Chef Carlo in person:

Me with Chef Carlo
Me with Chef Carlo

Friendly and passionate about his cooking, Chef Carlo shared with us his concept for the restaurant, opting for simplicity and homeliness in both the decor and the cuisines so that patrons can feel the warmth of true home italian cooking.

Homely interior
Homely interior

This does not mean less effort is put into cooking in the kitchen of Trattoria Gallo D’Oro. Chef Carlo recounted to us the details when preparing his dishes. To ensure authenticity, some ingredient like the fresh sardines used in one of his signature dish have to be specially imported from Italy.

There items on the menu are specially crafted and selected by the chef and there are daily specials, depending on what’s fresh in season. For regulars, you can also order hard-to-get items like authentic whole italian roast pig that is not on the menu. Note that ample time must be given for preparation and you should call in to check in advance if you are interested to make such special orders.

Rachel and I tried one of the daily selection sharing menu for two (S$68 per pax, minimum 2 pax to order):

Fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
36 months parma ham platter
36 months parma ham platter
Roasted pork loin salad with tuna mayo sauce - Rachel loves this
Roasted pork loin salad with tuna mayo sauce – Rachel loves this
Fresh buffalo burratina cheese
Fresh buffalo burratina cheese
Cutting open the buffalo cheese
Cutting open the buffalo cheese
Rachel portioning the antipesti (appetiser)
Rachel portioning the antipesti (appetiser)
Rachel enjoying a glass of wine with the food
Rachel enjoying a glass of wine with the food
A piece of foie gras
A piece of foie gras in the Foie Gras Linguine
Rachel portioning the linguine to share
Rachel portioning the linguine to share
Sauteed de-shell prawns with capsicum and fresh herbs
Sauteed de-shell prawns with capsicum and fresh herbs
Sliced beef tenderloin Tagliata with rosemary and spinach
Sliced beef tenderloin Tagliata with rosemary and spinach
A piece of the tenderloin - this dish tastes much like a chinese dish with the spinach and sauce
A piece of the tenderloin – this dish tastes much like a chinese dish with the spinach and sauce
Sardine fritte (deep fried Sardines with onions and lemon)
Sardine fritte (deep fried Sardines with onions and lemon) – S$25
A piece of the signature sardine
A piece of the signature sardine
Custard cake
Custard cake
Crema Catalana con le fragole
Crema Catalana con le fragole
http://www.flickr.com/photos/alvinology/8470943872/sizes/z/in/photostream/
Inside of the Crema Catalana le fragole

We enjoyed ourselves very much at Trattoria Gallo D’Oro. The menu has many sharing  options, true to the restaurant’s emphasis on home-cooked goodness where good stuff is meant to be shared. In this way, one can sample more dishes, instead of individual portioning.

The fresh sardines were superb and will amaze Singaporeans who are used to only seeing sardines being packed and preserved in cans. I quite like the linguine too while Rachel voted for the antipesti for her favourite dishes that night.

Here is the restaurant’s details if you are interested to visit:

Address:
Blk 7 Magazine Road #01-03 Central Mall Singapore 059572

Telephone: 6438 8131
Fax: 6536 4149
Email: reservation@gallodoro.com.sg

Opening hours:
Mondays – Saturdays (Closed on Sundays)
Lunch: 12pm-3pm (Last Order: 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6.30pm- 11pm (Last Order: 10.30pm)

Pic of the Day: Which is Real? Left or Right?

These two pictures of a guy wearing a pair of compression tights in a MRT train surfaced online recently.

I have censored the guy’s face to prevent him from unnecessary embarrassment.

Can you spot the difference between the two images?

Which do you think is the real deal?

Majestic Bay (冠華) Seafood Restaurant @ Gardens by the Bay

Two weeks ago, I visited and dined at Majestic Bay (冠華) Seafood Restaurant at Gardens by the Bay twice in the same week.

On my first visit, I tried their items from their Chinese New Year menu for a Lo Hei session:

Chinese black truffle, salmon Yu Sheng
Chinese black truffle, salmon Yu Sheng
The salmon and black truffles
The salmon and black truffle
The Yu Sheng is ready for tossing
The Yu Sheng is ready for tossing
Huat ah!
Huat ah!
Peking Duck - I love this!
Peking Duck – I love this!
Close-up of the interior
Close-up of the interior
Soup of the Day
Soup of the Day
The ingredient inside the soup is served separately
The ingredient inside the soup is served separately
Steamed live prawns with minced garlic
Steamed live prawns with minced garlic
The remaining duck meat from the first Peking duck dish is made into this dish
The remaining duck meat from the first Peking duck dish is made into this dish – Sautéed shredded duck with bean sprouts
Poached Chinese cabbage with wolfberries and tofu sheet
Poached Chinese cabbage with wolfberries and tofu sheet
Fried rice with assorted seafood
Fried rice with assorted seafood
Chilled mango cream with mini glutinous rice dumpling
Chilled mango cream with mini glutinous rice dumpling

The restaurant is helmed by award-winning Chef Yong Bing Ngen and is the Majestic Group‘s first seafood themed restaurant. Chef Yong is previously responsible for the success of Majestic Restaurant and Jing. Opening a seafood restaurant is a first for Chef Yong who is known for his contemporary Chinese cuisine.

The restaurant is located below the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay and can seat 110 pax for family, group and corporate dining. It offers an impressive waterfront view of Marina Bay and the interior is done up like a ship deck to fit the “water” theme.

On the second visit, I got down to trying some of their signature seafood dishes:

海鲜双拼-龙虾蟹肉荔枝球/ 奶柠软壳蟹 Duo seafood combo - Crispy lychee, lobster, crab meat, mushrooms, soft shell crabs, lemon butter milk sauce ($28 for 4 pax)
海鲜双拼-龙虾蟹肉荔枝球/ 奶柠软壳蟹 Duo seafood combo – Crispy lychee, lobster, crab meat, mushrooms, soft shell crabs, lemon butter milk sauce ($28 for 4 pax)
Close-up of the crispy lychee, lobster, crab meat, mushrooms balls
Close-up of the crispy lychee, lobster, crab meat, mushrooms balls
Close-up of the soft shell crabs, lemon butter milk sauce
Close-up of the soft shell crabs, lemon butter milk sauce
蟹肉烩太阳鱼胶羹 Braised, Ocean Sunfish maw, crab meat, luffa, thicken yellow soup
蟹肉烩太阳鱼胶羹 Braised, Ocean Sunfish maw, crab meat, luffa, thicken yellow soup (only available for Chinese New Year)
金银蒜蒸生虾 Steamed, live prawns, minced garlic (Market price)
金银蒜蒸生虾 Steamed, live prawns, minced garlic (Market price)
麻辣吊烧鸡 Roast chicken, chilli sesame dressing ($18 for half, $32 for whole)
麻辣吊烧鸡 Roast chicken, chilli sesame dressing ($18 for half, $32 for whole)
波士顿龙虾焖米粉 Stewed, Boston lobster, mee hoon (Market price)
波士顿龙虾焖米粉 Stewed, Boston lobster, mee hoon (Market price)
Close-up on the lobster meat
Close-up on the lobster meat
甜品诱惑 Sweet’s temptation ($20 for 4 pax) – this includes the Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Yam Paste Stuffing, Shredded Coconut; Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Fresh Cream Stuffing; Steamed Custard Bun, Salted Egg Yolk; Bay’s Chinese Pancake, Red Bean Paste
甜品诱惑 Sweet’s temptation ($20 for 4 pax) – this includes the Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Yam Paste Stuffing, Shredded Coconut; Glutinous Rice Dumpling with Fresh Cream Stuffing; Steamed Custard Bun, Salted Egg Yolk; Bay’s Chinese Pancake, Red Bean Paste

One of the restaurant’s specialty worth mentioning in particular is the Bay’s Signature “Kopi” Crab 冠华咖啡焗肉蟹 (market price):

冠华咖啡焗肉蟹Live crabs, Bay’s signature “Kopi” sauce (Market price)
冠华咖啡焗肉蟹Live crabs, Bay’s signature “Kopi” sauce (Market price)
You can actaully see the flame on the crab shell while it is being flambeed - can you see the blue hue under the pinchers?
You can actaully see the flame on the crab shell while it is being flambeed – can you see the blue hue under the pinchers?

Cooked with a special sauce made from a blend of 3 different coffee bean varieties, this special creation took Chef Yong over 3 months to “brew”. Apple jam and a small portion of marmalade and orange juice are used in the Kopi Crab sauce, giving it a fruity taste.

The shell is really beautiful to look at with a glossy finish
The shell is really beautiful to look at with a glossy finish

The crab is then flambéed at the table with a mixture of rice wine and coffee liqueur, and coffee beans are added to the alcohol mixture just before serving for an extra burst of fragrance and caramelisation.

I find the sticky texture and caramel taste on the crab shell very intriguing. These are not the usual stuff you will association with a seafood dish. It’s like eating caramel popcorn which enjoying your crab, a rather fascinating experience.

Overall, dining at Majestic Bay was a pleasant experience with a good view of Marina Bay and pretty good food. Price is a little steep, but you pay for quality and the restaurant is located in the Marina Bay precinct where everything is expensive (in fact, I believe Majestic Bay is priced pretty reasonably compared to many other restaurants in the area).

If you are interested to visit Majestic Bay, visit their website to find out more.

18 Marina Gardens Drive
#01-10 Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Tel: 6604-6604
Operating Hours: Daily, 12:00 – 14:30 and 18:00 – 21:30

The Real Reason for a 6.9 million population in Singapore in 2030

Via EDMW:

In 2012, we have a population of 5.3 million people.

2030 – 2012 = 18 years

6.9m – 5.3m = 1.6m

Now, take 1,600,000 divide by 18 and check the magic number.

The real reason is for all Singaporeans to Huat Ah!

Huat Ah Singapore!
Huat Ah Singapore!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone. 🙂

Obviously, this post is tongue-in-cheek. If you are interested to understand more on the Population White Paper, please visit http://population.sg/.

To My Wife, Rachel Chan

On 26 October 2009, I proposed to you online with web banners. This date is special to us as we both share the same birthday.

At 5.50am on 2 February, 2010, on board Jetstar’s plane, 3K 823 at Changi Airport, Terminal 1, we were the first couple in Singapore to have our solemnisation ceremony on board an airplane.

On 12 June 2010, we held our traditional wedding banquet. From the design of the wedding card to our album photos, we customised most of the items ourselves to make it memorable.

Imitation of Carl and Ellie from the movie, Up
Imitation of Carl and Ellie from the movie, Up

At 9.39am on 21 August 2011, little Asher Lim Yu Yi (林语毅) entered into our lives.

In October last year our flat was finally completed and we moved into our own home with Asher. We also brought Asher travelling to three countries – Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan. What an adventure it was for the three of us!

The three of us in Taiwan last year
The three of us in Taiwan last year

Thank you for being with me and loving me through all these milestones in our lives. Although I seldom say it and although both of us do not believe in celebrating Valentine’s Day, I still want to say I love you my dear. You have been a wonderful wife to me and a caring mother to Asher.

This post is dedicated to the woman behind Alvinology.com – my dearest wife, Rachel Chan.

A toast to more wonderful years ahead and to growing old together. 🙂