I Got a Hammer.

What an odd title but it has something to do with today’s entry. Obviously not in a literal sense, more of a metaphor. I am now officially booked by Aslan. In Sarawakian Malay term, already bertekol or loosely translated as ‘being hammered down’. Haha.

Showing off the bling is obligatory.

The bertekol or more commonly known as the merisik ceremony in West Malaysia is where the boy’s parents as well as their siblings, would come over to the girl’s house and ask her parents for her hand in marriage. In those days, a big number of marriages were usually arranged. That is why there is a need for the merisik ceremony. It was usually done without the girl’s nor family’s knowledge, so they could find out whether the girl is a suitable candidate. For example, when the merisik party arrived and the girl was in the kitchen doing chores, she would be considered a good candidate and if she was just lying around and not helping out with the chores, she is hopeless. That was how things roll back then. Today, however, is a different story. People don’t really do this anymore, they usually skip it.

Traditionally, the boy wouldn’t be allowed to join the ceremony but tradition can be altered a bit. Aslan was present and not only me received a ring, he did too! Hillarious. We exchanged a total of three gift trays.

His and her’s gift trays

This is just a small fish compared with the bigger fishes we would be tackling next. So many to dos in my wedding planner, wish me luck!

Love,
E.

P/S: I will update this post with more photos. Stay tune!

U Bistro, Kuching

My endless gratitude goes to Sarawak Bloggers for introducing me to yet another wonderful eatery here in Kuching.

Talking about food establishments in Kuching, once in a while, a gem pops up among the many mushrooms you see around you.

U Bistro is one of the few gems. Located at Jalan Song Thian Cheok (Next to Lyn’s Tandoori), U Bistro offers delicious food made from the freshest and natural ingredients available.

They serve fresh food only!

U Bistro dishes are grilled, not fried. I absolutely adore such belief as food tastes much better grilled than fried. Frying does not retain the flavor and oh, the bad cholesterol you get from eating fried food is not worth it! Plus, grilling not only retain the flavors, it also helps to enhance it! Nothing like promoting good food and eating healthy! Way to go, U Bistro!

I shall waste no more time, here are the highlights from my food tasting session at U Bistro today:

Situated in one of Kuching’s many hot spots, it is busy in the day but quiet at night. Still, parking is not an issue and the area is generally safe. The ambiance at U Bistro is casual but relaxing. U Bistro can cater up to 40 guests at one time. They do private function(s) upon request. Opening hours is 930am-10pm from Monday to Saturday.

Cosy corner to chillax and enjoy the food.

Outside seatings (Where you can ‘wash your eyes’ and breathe in Kuching)

U Bistro deco and layout is simple but clean. The staff are friendly and professional. The chefs are surprisingly young but I must say, they really do know what they are doing though! Hence, never judge a book by its cover.

The kitchen as seen from the entrance

The drink station

U-Bistro Free Wi-Fi, something quite necessary in this day and age! :P

Now, on to the food!

U Bistro drink menu is simple and consisting of the usual soft drinks, juices, tea, coffee etc but I find the Mint and Sprite drink interesting.

Refreshingly interesting! A non-alcoholic mojito, perhaps?

U Bistro has quite a few selections of starter. We had the Garden Green Salad, Coral Salad with Pesto, Bruschetta Conpomodoro and something especially for your recently turned vegan Borneo Girl, Wild Mushroom Soup.

Garden Green Salad in caesar dressing: Simple but satisfying, you can opt to add chicken or lamb or beef to it at an extra cost

Coral Salad with Pesto: If you want a healthier option, this is the one for you. U Bistro homemade pesto sauce is rich but delicious!

Lovely onion, tomato and herbs bruschetta. Crispy and light, a joy to share with friends and family.

This wild mushroom soup can give the 5 stars international hotels in Kuching a run for its money! Absolutely divine! A perfect matrimony of garlic bread and mushroom soup.

U Bistro will leave you torn between oh so many good food to choose from as a main course. However, I will show you the showstoppers!

Introducing U Bistro Tropical Grill! What makes this dish special is the side dishes consisting of grilled potatoes, eggplants, pineapple and midin rather than the usual mashed potatoes, broccoli and carrot. This lamb shoulders tropical grill is only RM22.80!

I don’t take meat but from my observation earlier on, the grilled selections are a must try! All the bloggers were eating quietly and on their faces, pure joy was very obvious.

The meat is well marinated and perfectly grilled, dry on the outside but moist and tender inside. You can always inform the preference of how well you want your meat to be, wether well done, medium raw etc to the waiter.

Scrumptious: Close up of the side dishes

U Bistro unique homemade green chill sauce, excellent pairing to the grilled meats. Don’t worry if you are not a fan of chili, you can always request for the normal sauce such as black pepper etc.

Suppose you are not such a big fan of lamb shoulders, you can choose from chicken, to beef sirloin, lamb cutlets, fish, or combo of everything for the tropical grill!

Beef sirloin grilled with love!

These lamb cutlets will please your taste buds!

U Bistro also have other selections of grilled dishes in their menu. They sure take pride in their grilled chicken.

U Bistro Grilled Chicken does not only looks good, tastes even better!

Want some tender chicken loving? Go on and give U Bistro a try!

Cyril is a big fan of U Bistro pizza, so, things would not be complete without some! We had Cheese and Herbs Pizza and Pepperoni Pizza.

Cheese & Herbs Pizza: Simple but precise in taste. The dough is just right, not to crispy nor too thick. Perfect.

Can never go wrong with a Pepperoni Pizza

If you are not such a big fan of grilled food, U Bistro has other dishes in their menu that might take your fancy. From pastas, sandwiches to local favorites like fried rice, char kway tiaw to name a few, there is always something for someone at U Bistro.

In a nutshell, U Bistro offers simple but delicious food made from the freshest and natural ingredients available. They don’t fry nor add any MSG into their dishes. They believe that food should be simple but wholesome. They want you to enjoy eating food and feel good afterwards. Breakfast is available in the morning and their lunch set is irresistible!

U Bistro does not serve pork or use any byproduct of pork. They do serve alcoholic drinks but do not infuse alcohols in their dishes.

Thank you so much to U Bistro for the invite, I truly enjoyed myself and you might be seeing me again, soon!

Love,
E.

21Bistro, Kuching

Replacing SoHo at Jalan Padungan, 21Bistro is a bar and restaurant established just two months ago. Curious to check out the place, Rapik, Aslan and I went there for dinner.

Turning vegan is probably one of the hardest thing to do in Kuching. I can’t blame the restaurants in Kuching for serving only 10% vegetarian menu since the population of hardcore vegan like myself is probably less than 10%. Hence, the only vegan meal suitable for me is the Thai Mango Salad. They have Wild Mushroom soup on their menu but unfortunately it was not available.

(Pardon me for the blur photos, I forgot to bring Cammy with me, iPhone was my only option)

Thai Mango Salad: A healthy option for a starter

I enjoyed the Thai Mango Salad. It was tangy, sweet and spicy (Nothing too hot) at the same time. The combination of ripe and young mangoes, cucumber and shallot is lovely. It is a fusion of the east and west as there were also some green leaves in the dish.

Aslan and Rapik shared a starter of deep fried calamaris. 21Bistro’s take on this super popular finger food is truly unique.

Deep Fried Calamaris with a twist

Instead of unhealthy mayo dip, the dish comes with a cencaluk dip! It is a bit unusual considering the fact that battered calamaris walk hand in hand with tartar sauce or mayo but because of the alternative dip, which is the cencaluk dip, makes this dish truly unique. Somehow it reminded me a lot of eating suntong ketuk (Literally hammered grilled squid or flattened with some sort of machine, usually available during the fasting month after the tarawikh prayers). Give it a try and I am sure you will love it!

Rapik had a tough time deciding his main course. He was torn between the selections of local dishes. He just arrived from a work trip in KL where he had a bit too much of Italian food and in desperate fix of something local. In the end, he chose the house speciality, 21Bistro Bee Hoon.

21Bistro Bee Hoon: Heaven for seafood lovers

Rapik absolutely enjoyed his meal. An avid fan of all things seafood, he thought the dish was perfect. One can either have this dish dry or wet style. The fish gravy simply tied together all the seafood goodness. Come on, nothing can go wrong when it comes to bee hoon, it is rice but in noodle form. Hahaha.

Aslan also had difficulties choosing. After a while, he settled for the NZ Rib Eye Steak.

NZ Rib Eye Steak

Aslan loved this dish. The meat was well cooked, not too dry nor bloody, tender and tasted wonderful. (Having a hard time typing this as a vegan, luckily, not a fan of beef since 2010 so, I am alright)

Overall, we had a pleasant dining experience here at 21Bistro. I can conclude that if you are a seafood enthusiast, this is the place to go because most of their dishes have seafood in it. Still, they have quite a selection of grilled meats like beef, chicken and lamb. They also have Penang Char Kway Tiaw (Perhaps I should request the chef to make a vegan version the next time I am there!). If you plan just to have something light, they have an extensive selection of drinks from the bar and yes, lovely finger food to compliment your drink.

Pricewise, I’d say it is sensibly priced. Of course don’t expect kopitiam price lah, it is a classy establishment.

Nevertheless, 21Bistro is definitely worth a try. Good place to refresh your taste palette from all the generic food you’ve had in Kuching.

Love,
E.

Hiatus

Hellooooooooooo! It is good to be back. I am extremely sorry for the lack of entries in August. It was an impromptu hiatus from blogging. A holiday to clear my mind, relax my body (Well, hardly relaxing, more like exercising) and energize my soul.

I will update this blog with my travel related entries, just keep on scrolling down to read them.

I am now in Singapore, heading back home tomorrow. Unfortunately due to a lousy laundromat service at Marina Link, I have to extend my stay just to pick up the clothes we dropped off last Tuesday. Frustrating. Luckily, I am a good person, otherwise I’d ask them to pay for my flight ticket because of their mistake. The lady promised me everything will be ready yesterday evening.

You should see the look on my face when she told us our clothes are not at the shop and she cannot do anything about it as their factory is closed on Sunday. The very guts of her to tell us to pick it up on MONDAY when we are flying back home on SUNDAY. In my opinion, when I told her I am from Malaysia, she assumed that only Johor is Malaysia. As if I could easily drive or take a train to Singapore just to pick up my flipping laundry.

*&^%

She kept on saying sorry but I refused to look at her just in case I turn into a nasty Medusa and turn her into stone and smash her into a bazillion. Your sorry does not mean anything to me.

At this rate, the laundromat services in Kuching are way better than that particular shop. If my clothes come back in a lousy state, I WILL reveal your company name. Meh. Lesson learned: Never trust a foreign laundromat shop, no matter what.

What a way to to start blogging after several weeks of hiatus. Meh.

Anyway, cheers to September, may it bring joy to all of us! This bridezilla to be has a lot on her plate. Wish me luck!

Love,
E.

September

I have a feeling September will be excitingly hectic.

  1. Family meetings to discuss wedding-related stuff
  2. Bertekol ceremony (In which we exchange rings to signify we reserve each other, loosely translated, bertekol means hammered)
  3. Hall viewing, food tasting, fabric hunting etc for the wedding
  4. Arranging trips to KL and other destinations in relation to the wedding such as wedding invitation cards, door gifts, barang hantaran etc
  5. Researching for the honeymoon!
  6. Diet and gym begins (Another 10 kilo to go!)
  7. More wedding planning.
  8. Work. (Meh)
  9. Open house for Raya
  10. Arrange for the wedding course!

I guess September will go by quickly like August did. Oh, so many things to do and yet so little time!

Love,
E.

All the engaged ladies (Put your hand up!)

Apparently, Aslan planned the proposal for over a year. As I said in my earlier entry, he thought of proposing on a lovely cruise around the Mediterranean (Exactly like my I-am-just-joking definition of the perfect proposal).

Being more of a logical thinker than a dreamer, he proposed in Singapore instead as he didn’t want to get the wrong ring size.

Aslan almost propose with a packet of diamond but he thought that would be so unromantic. So tacky. So cheap.

I am 100% clueless of what are the specifications for the ring (Like carat size, diamond grade etc) but I must admit, it is the most beautiful object I have ever seen in my life! Wait, let me rephrase that. The engagement ring is the most beautiful object I have ever received in my life!

So, after proposing, the next day, he brought me to Lee Hwa Jewelry at Somerset 313 to get my ring finger measured.

Nerdy me after sorting out the ring measurement…

It was ready just one day before we were to fly off to Glasgow.

Still speechless everytime I see this ring around my finger. Ineffable.

He even suggested I should get an insurance for the ring. It scared when he said that. I hope he doesn’t spend ALL of his savings for this. I am absolutely fine with a simple ring… A ring is just a ring, can’t marry it. Hahaha.

“You can’t put a price tag when it comes to love…”

*Blushhhhhhh*

Will blog more soon,

Love,
E.

The Long Road to Athens

After a few short days in Manchester and Liverpool, it was time to say farewell to the United Kingdom and hello to Greece. I have been dreaming of visiting Athens for a very long time. Since a wee lass, the tales of Greek Gods and heroes never fail to fascinate me. From there, my longing to experience Greece came about.

Even with the unstable economy, Athens is worth the visit. The city is beautiful. The people are so wonderful. The food is lovely (And not as overpriced as Paris).

Manchester International Airport is boring but nothing beats KIA though…

I had high expectations for Air France, the airline we used to Athens from Manchester. Probably due to the small size of the aircraft, Business class on Air France on that particular route was rather disappointing.

Aslan looking very tired. 

Yours truly

The seat was slightly firm, the legroom was more or less like Economy on Air Asia.

It was quite an old aircraft. Nonetheless, the interior was clean but plain when it comes to decoration. Then again, who cares about flipping decoration.

Still, cabin crew was very friendly and didn’t mind when we spoke in broken French. I must praise their food quality though.

Light lunch but absolutely delicious!

Hello, France!

My first time at Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris. I used the Eurostar train for my last trip to Paris. Unfortunately, it was a short transit at the airport. We were chasing after time, hence, no photos of the airport. I love the design of CDG, very chic and youthful although can be a little bit confusing, especially for flight transfers from one terminal to the other.

CDG Airport, Paris

By the time we reached the departure gate, it was already time to board the plane. I thought I could check out the Hermes store but nah, screw that. If it is meant to be, it will meant to be…

The connecting plane was almost as similar as the last one. Dinner was roasted chicken with seasonal vegetables which I truly enjoyed. Dinner also came with a generous serving of blue cheese which I enjoyed (I am surprised myself because not really a fan of the infamous blue cheese before this flight).

Blue cheese, France’s national pride.

French version of tiramisu for dessert

 

Lovely chocolates courtesy of Air France

It was already dark when we landed at Athens International Airport or Elefthérios Venizélos. Duh, 1030pm, of course it would be dark. Silly me.

Athens International Airport from the tarmac

I was slightly puzzled when I realized there was no need to go through immigration after we got our luggages. It turned out that, when we got into Paris, customs already checked and stamped our passports. EU zone, so Paris to Athens is considered domestic flight.

We had three transportations to bring us to our hotel from the airport. Specifically, two cabs and Jo’s friend’s car. Once out from the air-conditioned airport, heat came over to greet us. Such a shocker after a nice cool summer in the UK. Meh. It was not so bad in the evening lah.

The journey to the airport took about forty minutes. Our taxi driver is friendly and quite philosophical. Typical Greek, eh? He made us feel very welcomed. The view of the city from the hilly highway is breathtakingly beautiful (from what I can tell from Aslan’s expression). Pity I lost my glasses somewhere in Glasgow, so, all I saw was blurred city lights. Meh.

 

As usual, uncle handed me the task of looking for the right hotel. After hours of researching and comparing, I recommended AVA Hotel & Suites situated in Plaka. It was the best decision ever.

Yes, Plaka is touristy but it was such a convenient and safe area to stay in Athens. I must admit, food is obviously more expensive compare to other areas in Athens but if you count in transport costs, it does not make much difference. Besides, nightly rate for AVA Hotel & Suites is affordable and decently priced compared with crazy expensive Hilton which is quite far from central Athens.

Every room at AVA is a suite, so, it is a steal when luxury is affordable. Does that make sense?

My bedroom; the duvet is a bit thin but it was alright lah.

The tv just next to the bed

The dressing table

The wardrobe and next to it is the lounge sofa, directly opposite the tv

The kitchenette

The wee but good bathroom

The cute shower stall

Uncle and auntie got the nicer suite, the Executive with the view of the Acropolis from their balcony. Apart from that, the bedroom is separated from the living room and kitchenette.

Just a sneak preview of uncle and auntie executive suite

Once we were all settled down, it was almost 1230 in the morning! Tomorrow will be an exciting day, so, stay tune for the next entry!

Love,
E.

A Little Bit of Glasgow

First day in Glasgow. Honestly, we did not do much. After check in and settling down in our rooms, we went to Buchanan Street to buy some groceries and that was it. Believe it or not, due to jet lag, I went to bed at 630pm. Damn.

My room at the Holiday Inn, City Center, Glasgow

The wee bathroom

Glasgow in summer is such a beautiful city, especially on a glorious sunny day. Such a welcoming homecoming.

Fasting here is a challenge. Sahur at 2am and sungkey at 913pm. AGH.

Okay, I will blog more soon, so sorry for the lack of photos, will do my best to take more photos.

Love,
E.

Summer Break 2012

After relaxing and resting for six days in Singapore, it was time to board the metal bird for the actual holiday.

Posing at the lobby with Mimi before making our way to the airport.

This was our first odd hour flight. Leaving Singapore at 230am! I spent the whole night trying to keep myself awake. I couldn’t count how many times I actually dozed off.

At the check in counter. First long flight with Emirates.

It is a treat indeed to be able to fly Business class. One of the perks being a member, one can use points for upgrade! The Emirates lounge at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 is okay but I still think Singapore Airlines lounge is nicer.

Chillaxing before the long flight.

Just a mug of hot chocolate for me…

While Aslan tried almost everything at the buffet spread.

It was  already 1am when it was time to board the plane.

Aslan putting away all our hand luggages.

Our seats, 7A and 7B

I love Emirates business class. Okay, that is an understatement. I love traveling business class, no matter what airline it is. It is a lovely experience indeed. Business class may be more expensive than economy but I think the extra fee for comfort is worth every penny.

Still, business class in Emirates Boeing 777-300R is a bit crowded with the 2-3-2 seat arrangement.

Ample space for my extra long legs.

Inspired by Kim Kardashian’s travel style, I decided to wear a loose leopard print top with a pair of tights. Comfortable but still is stylish.

All announcement in Arabic first, then English.

Socks, eye shades and noise canceling headphones my best friends to ensure a good sleep.

I love how Emirates does not switch off the a/c mid-flight like SQ. The cool temperature is important for a good night sleep. No photos of food onboard as I slept throughout the journey. I only woke up half an hour to landing time. Crazy, but true.

Before bed

After a good rest but I was not happy because my sleep was interrupted.

After 6 hours and 45 minutes, we reached the transit airport, Dubai International Airport Terminal 3.

Dubai Airport is probably the most packed airport I have ever been to, so far! It is narrow but ridiculously long in size!

Since we were only transiting, we didn’t have to go through immigration. But before we made our way to the lounge, we went through security check. When they opened up another line for me, I felt like a Queen. Hahaha.

My stay at Dubai airport was short but sweet. Perhaps I will go to Dubai for a holiday in the near future. Maybe during winter when it is cooler.

Before the arrival of bazillions people…

Emirates Business class lounge.

We spent less than an hour at the lounge. Even with the huge lounge, it was barely enough to cater for the large amount of travelers. Aslan and I then went on a hunt for Patchi chocolates.

After 20 minutes of searching and wandering around the never-ending long terminal, we finally found it!

Hard decision but this would be enough, for now!

The next flight was at 750am, taxing delayed things for almost an hour. The traffic at Dubai airport was just like the amount of travelers in the terminal, crazy!

Aslan and I

Goodbye Dubai airport, see you in a couple of weeks time!

Before the plane took off…

Some sceneries of Dubai from air…

Have lots of money to spend? Buy land and build a house here. :p

I think I slept for a good 4 hours and spent the remaining time listening to music, audiobook (Superfreakonomics) and watching movies.

Current favorite of mine!

Somewhere over Amsterdam…

Where am I heading to this time?

Glasgow, Scotland, UK!

This route is more laid-back compared to SIN-LHR-GLA. Going through Heathrow, London is a bit of a hassle with all the security checks and what not. Aslan and I have no problem with that but Aslan’s parents are getting tired of it. SIN-DBX-GLA route is definitely more relaxing but it takes slightly longer.

We will be in Glasgow for nine days and this is my first actual UK summer holiday experience. Excited!

 

I will blog more, I am so tired now. Must sleep!

 

 

He Put A Ring On It!

Aslan finally proposed to me last night, just before midnight. He took me completely off guard. Well, I knew he would propose one day but never thought it would be so soon!

Before he proposed, he asked me, “In your point of view, what is your ideal wedding proposal?”

Pulling his leg, I answered, “On a cruise around an exotic location and the moment you proposed, Angels will sing, the sun shining forming a halo on us, unicorns with wings magically appear and Atlantic emerged from the deep sea, restored to its former glory.” Then I laughed hysterically. He looked quite annoyed at my playfulness.

“Just kidding, it does not matter how, where, when etc, so long as you mean what you ask, that is perfect enough for me.”

“It does not have to be too elaborate nor perfect, what matters most is us together, always in love…”

He then held me in his arms and looked deep into my eyes.

It was then I realized he was about to propose.

Suddenly, I felt like the whole world just stopped spinning. I thought I knew how it would feel but expectation cannot beat reality!

In nanoseconds, so many ifs came to mind. I began to wonder, am I really ready for this?

It was almost like I was on the edge of a cliff and I had two choices; retreat to my comfort zone or jump into this new but uncertain journey in life.

“Effadylia Affendi, will you marry me?”

With a blush and a big smile I said yes.

This is the real deal, not just a playful status change!