6 good things in life

1) Friends who cook you the best tasting steak of your life

Single malt whiskey flamed ribeye steak by Grill Sergeant Lance

At first glance, you’d think that this is just a steak. A good looking Instagrammed steak perhaps, decorated by grilled juicy tomatoes still on the vine but that’s about it. Then you bring it closer to your nose, get a whiff of its smoky aroma and you start to realise that perhaps there is more to this steak than meets the eye. The simplest seasoning of sea salt and black pepper, doused with a hearty dose of prime single malt whiskey when it’s nearly done on the grill pan. Of course for Grill Sergeant Lance, the only acceptable doneness is medium rare. With a decent cut of the meat and skilled hands at work, it’d be a crime to have it any other way.

2) Moms who drink with you

Suanie's mom at Frontera, Jaya One

I took my Mom to Kuah Jenhan‘s solo show, ‘But Why?’ at the PJ Live Arts Theater. Before the show, I made her down some delicious mojito at Frontera, also at Jaya One. No offense to Jenhan (who is a brilliant young stand up comedian) but I thought she’d find the show funnier when slightly intoxicated, hehe. She had a very good time. It’s all cool.

3) Happy hour mojito at WIP, BSC

Mojito at WIP, Bangsar Shopping Centre

I love WIP in Bangsar Shopping Centre. They have good cocktails and food. I especially love their classic mojito at RM19++ during happy hours. The alcohol level is more than respectable and the basically they just did a good job with it. According to Haze and KY, their frozen margaritas are good too. And their espetadas… mmmm flavourful and delicious! Kinda hurts the wallet if you’re REALLY enjoying yourself (i.e. more drinks more food) but once in a long while…

4) Pork-friendly food outlets

Food at S.wine, BIG Publika

S.Wine Cafe is tucked inside Ben’s Independent Grocer (B.I.G.) next to the wine section. When we got there, there were so many people waiting in line that it took some time before our turn. The people working at S.Wine were fast and friendly, wish I have better things to say about their food other than ‘it’s not all too bad ‘. Judging from the amount of in and out customers, people seem to love it so they must have done something right. Oh, coffee was good.

5) Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc

Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc pint at La Bodega, Empire Shopping Mall

What’s better than a few pints of cold crisp aromatic Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc, appetising tapas and stories shared among friends at La Bodega? A few pints of cold crisp aromatic Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc, appetising tapas, stories shared among friends at La Bodega and a naked Gerard Butler. We take what we can.

6) Bubbly

Suanie at Intercontinental hotel

Delicious champagne and canapé at the refurbished Intercontinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

I’m friggin’ spoilt :)

Hennessy V.S.O.P new bottle launch!

Look who has a brand new look!

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - new bottle shot

The world’s leading cognac brand, Hennessy V.S.O.P recently had a facelift in line with moving into the 21st century. Who better to lead the redesign than a legendary figure in the automobile world, former chief designer of BMW, Chris Bangle!

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - packaging

Sleek, right? After understanding what Hennessy V.S.O.P is about, Bangle got down to business and the result? Accentuated the curves on the sides of the bottle thereby reinforcing its silhouette’s dynamics, lengthened its neck and straightened its shoulders, and gave the base a curve.

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - old and new bottles
The Hennessy bottle in 1954, 1989 and now 2012

So Hennessy held a glitzy launch event for the new bottle at DoubleTree by Hilton in KL and I was there.

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - Suanie
Proof.

Will Quah, the emcee spoke to the Chris Bangle about how he was inspired to redesign the bottle. Chris said that working on this redesigning gave him the same sensations as working on designs for fast BMWs or a Rolls Royce.

Whoa, how many people can say they’ve done that??

Here’s Chris showing Will how he drew the new bottle on… DrawSomething.

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - designer Chris Bangle 01

No lah heh but sure looks like it, eh? ;)

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - designer Chris Bangle 02

You may be more interested in a hot girl carrying a specimen of the new Hennessy V.S.O.P bottle…

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - Girl with new bottle

At the launch party…

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - launch party

With AhYat, missyblurkit, Jessica, Joey G & Patricia K.

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - Suanie at launch party

And this is a photo of me with Will Quah! Tee-hee… I’ve always had a crush on him because he’s cute, really intelligent, quick-witted and unbelievably unattainable. I think it’s a personal issue about me and men I’ll never be able to have… BUT I have this nice photo, so yay!

Hennessy V.S.O.P. New Bottle 2012 - Suanie and Will Quah

Maybe I’ll frame it ;)

To top off the excellent party, Joyce and I went to Jalan Alor and had some lovely siu kai yik

Jalan Alor Wong Ah Wah chicken wings

Best. Night. Out. Ever. :)

So yeah, you just went through a whole post about me having fun. Sabarlah, the next Hennessy V.S.O.P post will be fun for you too .. stay tuned!

For more on Hennessy V.S.O.P, get connected on Facebook!

It’s IKEA småles Club for the kids!

It’s true, Ryan the Nephew is now officially a citizen of Småland; a magical land governed by Quing Sara, a 1,000+ years old big red fuzzy furry heart who eats paper porridge and loves to give and receive hugs.

IKEA Malaysia's Småles Club's First 50 - Ryan with Sara

… and who made all this happen? ME, the best aunt in the world who only had 3 hours of sleep after a night of copious amounts of fermented beverages just so I could get him to the registration table in time. I deserve a medal… nay, a kingdom of my own for all my efforts!

… then Ryan hugged and kissed me good morning and proclaimed, “xiao yi, it’s going to be an awesome day!” and I melted.

I’m a softy like that :(

Ikea Malaysia recently launched IKEA’s småles Club, a club for kids aged between 4 to 10. We were at the launch event where they invited the first 50 registered kids to do lots of fun stuff! Face painting, temporary tattoos, a clown, balloons, whistles, a red giant furry heart-shaped mascot, yummy food… all things to please the little ones!

Here’s what happened:

IKEA Malaysia's Småles Club's First 50 - passport

1 – Ryan receiving a free ice-cream token. He wanted to redeem it immediately but I said no because it was only 10.30am! I’m a (somewhat) responsible aunt, okay… ;) Then when I said he could redeem it, he said to wait until he has played at Ikea’s Småland :X

2 – Adults can have bug tattoos too!

3 – Everytime a småles (member of the småles Club) goes to IKEA, they can scan their småles passport at this småles shroom. It’s like 4sq for kids ;) Each visit is gifted with $0.50 Smålish dållars, and they get a coupon for one discounted kid’s meal and one free drink at the IKEA restaurant! *link*

4 – Stamped visits on the småles passport. The accumulated Smålish dållars can be redeemed for småles merchandise.

IKEA Malaysia's Småles Club's First 50 - with clown
Oh look, cute kids with balloons and a clown

The kids were given a whistle each along with a flag to recite the Småland pledge. A whistle…! I mean, what were they thinking.. :P

IKEA Malaysia's Småles Club's First 50 - photo op
Oh, too loud in the morning for you too, boy?

So Ryan had fun, I had fun, the other kids were definitely having fun and feeling special for belonging in an exclusive club. And of course, being part of the 50 kids at the event. It all ended well with a lovely spread at the IKEA restaurant… then a full hour at Småland while I went to do adult stuff like getting a strong coffee… then collecting the boy and getting him an ice-cream at the IKEA cafe.

Best. Aunt. Ever.

IKEA Malaysia's Småles Club's First 50 - kids

IKEA småles Club is free to join for kids between 4 to 10. As a småles, you (your little one, not you) get:

– Discounted kid’s meal & free drinks
– Earn $0.50 Smålish dållars for each visit
– Redeem for småles merchandise
– Take part in special activities and events
– Regular Bug News
– Free cake on your 11th birthday
– Free ice-cream treat on Quing Sara’s birthday

Make IKEA fun for your young ones too! For more info, check out the website here: *click*

Beer lover? Check out Brewfest 2012 at Publika!

Heads up people! It’s BREWFEST, Malaysia’s 1st International Beer Festival at Publika (Solaris Dutamas) today and tomorrow!

What does it mean? Picture this: Huge tents, long tables awaiting merriment, a stage for performers and DJs, food stalls aplenty and of course the stars of the show: over 50 premium and craft brews from all around the world waiting to be had!

That means you won’t see the familiar big names at Brewfest as they’re bringing indie beer (so to speak) into the spotlight. A lot of the beer brands are also not available in your local hypermarket. This means you get to try many many many many types of beer, speak to the people who bring them in for Brewfest and treat your palate to a variety of delicious beer!

Fantastic? Not just, it’s supercalifragilisticexpialidociously exquisite, a haven for beer lovers, appreciators and generally just anyone who wish to explore the big beer world!

Brewfest 2012 is happening at Publika (behind Solaris Dutamas in the Mont Kiara/ Hartamas area) today and tomorrow (18 & 19 May). Actually it started yesterday and I was there, so have a look at the photos I took while I was still sober and able ;)

Brewfest Malaysia 2012 - set up at Publika
Early on, half of the set up. I’ve decided to crop all my photos 4×4 from now on.. mostly

Brewfest Malaysia 2012 - beer 01
Tsingtao, an array of premium beer from Taps beer bar, the Konig stuff, awesome Grimbergen

Brewfest Malaysia 2012 - beer 02
Organic cider that was apparently damn good, more different beer brands, award-winning Suntory Japanese beer, bottle caps of Hitachino Nest beer

Brewfest Malaysia 2012 - Yona Yona ale
Yona Yona ale! American pale ale, so good it deserves a full photo by itself. Currently my fav, very easy to drink with a fruity aroma. It’s like breathing in Japanese spring every time you take a sip. You need to try this… while stocks last

Brewfest Malaysia 2012 - food
Lots of food available! Some favs are pork ribs, chicken skin, pork sate, sushi and a cute guy selling delicious sausages in buns

And the people…

Brewfest Malaysia 2012 - people 01
With Mike, Choon, Elfie, Charles of Eastern Craft who brought in the Hitachino Nest and Yona Yona ale, and Douglas Lim whom I made to pose with my fav beer of the evening

Brewfest Malaysia 2012 - people 02
AhFa, some drunk’s T-shirt, @TisGod, Winnie, Ben

I highly recommend that you check them out, show some love and hopefully we’ll get more of these stuff on our shores. Lots of beer variety, food, performances by Douglas Lim, music acts, DJ spinning… it’s guaranteed fun but bring along a friend or two la, else not so fun lah :)

Brewfest 2012
Publika, Solaris Dutamas, Kuala Lumpur
18th & 19th May 2012, 5pm – 1am
Tickets: RM68 inclusive of 2 beers

Tickets are for sale at the door as well. For more info, check them out at their website and on Facebook.

Gerard Bertrand wines @ Le Meridien KL, 9th Boh Cameronian Arts Awards and ramblings before, in between and after

Is this turning into a food blog? *gasps* IS IT?? Oh dear, I must do something about it, mustn’t I? I don’t know why seeing as there’s nothing wrong with having a food blog, but imaginary life experts say that there must be other things going on besides food! Being imaginary, they must be right.

Actually I’m in ‘Criminal Minds’ mode right now, which means I’ve been watching a lot of ‘Criminal Minds’. The problem with watching the episodes consecutively means, a lot of airtime to highlight crazy nutters in succession. At one point I had to hit the pause button and go do something normal and not so dark, like flip through ‘Lat the Kampung Boy’. Really, it helped and then I was able to resume watching the work of psychos.

Eh I marked this post in the Parties/ Events/ Fun category? Are we having fun yet? Maybe the nutter effect is rubbing off me. Don’t worry too much; I don’t really talk to myself, only type to myself. I could write down an entire conversation with myself here but I doubt it’d be fun for anyone but me.

Maybe I need a new hobby. Or a fish. ‘Cos I’m no good with pets and fish are low maintenance. Actually that’s not true, now I remember I had fish as a kid and they all went belly up. Then I got a new batch to replace the dead ones, and they too died. Met their Maker. Went swimming in the great blue above. I don’t remember why, probably something to do with the water in the fish tank.

Anyway fishes are weird. Don’t trust them, okay? Anything that sleeps with their eyes open were creatures from another universe, their DNA seeds brought in to our world to encourage oddity. That line of reasoning should also be able to explain why pine nuts taste exceptionally great in salads.

This is the part where I’m trying to focus on the point of this blog post. Really.. trying… hard… to… suppress… a… monologue… on… jelly…

Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur recently had a private showcase of Gerard Bertrand wines that they carry in their few restaurants. The wine’s from the south of France and the namesake was a former captain of the French rugby team. We tried mostly the ‘Reserve Speciale’ range, very easy to drink. I enjoyed the Cab Sav and Sav Blanc the most. The delectable food served by Le Meridien’s team to go with the wine of course made it too easy to enjoy. I’ve used the word ‘enjoy’ in two consecutive sentences. Do not follow down my shoddy Engrand footsteps OR get adequate sleep before attempting to talk about wine.

Nah, photos.

Gerard Bertrand wines at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Then on another recent occasion, I went to the Kakiseni‘s 9th BOH Cameronion Arts Awards 2012 at One World Hotel. For those who do not know what it’s about, it’s to celebrate our local arts scene – the stage performers, dancers, musicians, etc. BOH Cameronion is the main sponsor, hence the name. Yes, BOH the tea. We had plenty of tea served at the awards.

The theme was Glam 20s, or something like that. I was all excited as I (thought I) had a dress for it. Turns out the 20s was about knee-length dresses, lace, nettings, pearls, feathers… Who would have known!!! Ok ok a lot of people but me. If you haven’t already noticed, I’m not exactly a fashion icon snort cough snigger.

So my sister helped with the make up ( <3 ) and I thought I looked all right except for the fat jutting out part, hah! What? I'm sure the 20s also got fat people ok, you just weren't alive to see them*.

Boh Cameronian Arts Awards - Ciki, Suanie, Missyblurkit, Masako
With Cheeky Ciki, Missyblurkit and Masako

I had a good time with Sheelah as the emcee, the hilarious Minister of Misinformation YB on stage and a co-performance by the spectacular Junji Delfino being the highlights of the evening.

Boh Cameronian Arts Awards - Huai Bin, Suanie
With the dashing Huai Bin

Okay enough with the blogging. Looking at the time now, I can slot in one episode of ‘Criminal Minds’ before I have to sleep. Night!!

By the way, JELLIES ARE GREAT AND I ESPECIALLY LOVE THE MILO ONES THAT MY MOM MAKES KTHXBAI!!!

*I was going to go on with a joke about being squashed to death then I thought it’d be an overkill. But it has to be noted that I thought of it!! So here it is.

Middle Eastern goes metropolitan at Al-Amar Express, Fahrenheit 88

I’ve to admit that there was a most disconcerting moment as I sipped on my mojito at Al-Amar Express.

Right in the heart of Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur, Al-Amar Express sits on the refurbished sidewalk outside of Fahrenheit 88. It used to be Kenny Rogers Roasters, then again Fahrenheit 88 used to be KL Plaza. If you can tell me what it was before Kenny Rogers, you also just revealed your age ;)

My cocktail was a well-concocted blend of rum, soda water, brown sugar, mint leaves and lime wedges that makes up a glass of mojito, yours for RM26. It is slightly on the expensive side but you are at a prime spot for people-watching, favourite activity of the urbanite. Take advantage of the current happy hours promotion and your third glass is on the house.

So there I was with a glass of alcohol in hand, delicious Middle Eastern food in the other and surrounded by delightful drinks and dinner companions. It was all very well until two women in burqa walked by that I realised something: I’m drinking (a lot of) alcohol in an Arabic setting? I turned around and right behind me was the Al-Amar Express signboard;

Al-Amar Express by Chattering Kitchen
Photo from: Chattering Kitchen

At that moment I half expected JAWI to bust in and make some arrests and scold me for offending the sensibilities of etc. Then I got a grip and mentally slapped myself for being ridiculous. But these are the things that you notice when you live in a country as such, straightaway assuming Arabic words automatically involves Muslims and in your temporary ignorance, forget that it’s the national language for a lot of countries in the Middle East, regardless of religion.

Later I learned that Lebanon is very metropolitan, different from her neighbours. Lebanese are hospitable and love to have a good time. According to a website, the only two things that suck in Lebanon are the terrible driving and lousy Internet connection. Hey, sounds like home…? :P

But of course at this time I’d already put aside my unfounded fears as I tucked into Al-Amar’s delicious Lebanese fare. From tempting appetisers such as mezze of hummus with pita bread and delectable Middle Eastern salads, to mouthwatering mains of Lebanese pizzas, shawarma and flame-grilled chicken. I highly recommend the haloumi salad, a delightful mix of watercress, spinach, rocket salad, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, herb crust crouton and fried haloumi cheese served with a vinaigrette dressing, all for RM20. There’s a dish not unlike deep-fried spring roll with cheese inside, I don’t remember its name but do ask for it using my description.

Top off your meal with scrumptious desserts or cleanse your palate with a variety of beer or cocktails. If you can hold your alcohol, please order the ‘caipiroska’, a cocktail of vodka, lime wedges and brown sugar. After that if you don’t feel as happy or friendly as the fun-loving Lebanese folks who work at Al-Amar Express, have another ;)

Do check out Al-Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88. Great location, good views, flavoursome Middle Eastern food in a chic and stylish setting. Do check out their website, Facebook and Twitter. Here be some photos:

Al-Amar Express, Bukit Bintang - Strawberry Daiquiri
Strawberry daiquiri

Al-Amar Express, Bukit Bintang - Hummus
Hummus is yum

Al-Amar Express, Bukit Bintang - pizza
Lebanese pizza

Al-Amar Express, Bukit Bintang - grilled chicken
Flame-grilled chicken, mmmm

Al-Amar Express, Bukit Bintang - what's eating Ciki
What’s eating Ciki?

Al-Amar Express, Bukit Bintang - happy people
Happy folks

Had a blast at St Patrick’s celebration ’12, did you??

Yay!

St Patrick's Changkat Bukit Bintang 2012 - fresh pint of Guinness

I made it to Changkat Bukit Bintang for the ultimate St Patrick’s Celebration! Last year I didn’t attend, something about laziness and not wanting to hustle with the crowd, heh. Anyway I’m glad I did this year as I had much fun and.. well, you see ;)

St Patrick's Changkat Bukit Bintang 2012 - 01

We reached early-ish as we didn’t want to be stuck in any traffic jam and without nearer parking. The main stretch of Changkat Bukit Bintang was to be sealed off for the street party and you can imagine how terrible the traffic would be. Managed to get a good parking spot in Jalan Alor at the carpark opposite to Wong Ah Wah, mostly for easy-access-to-supper purposes, heh.

The set-up was on-going when we arrived so it was fun to see all the people involved busying around getting things ready. There were some early party-goers who were probably already halfway through a barrel of Guinness, heh.

St Patrick's Changkat Bukit Bintang 2012 - 02

We got to check out Arthur’s Lounge which is actually Frangipani lah. For RM50, you get to learn how to pour your own Guinness (then drink lots of them, of course), hang out at Frangipani where they have real cool music and finger food, and bring home a Guinness glass with your name on it. Pretty awesome!

Of course I skipped the whole ‘pour your own beer’ experience as I strictly belong to the ‘others pour me a draft” category ;)

St Patrick's Changkat Bukit Bintang 2012 - 03

St Patrick's Changkat Bukit Bintang 2012 - given the red card
KY got a red card for not looking before he crossed the road :P

The party really got started after a beautiful display of fireworks. I went for a quick walkaround the street with John and Di, there were SO MANY PEOPLE z0mg…! I was told later that attendance was more than 10,000 people.. definitely got more than that lor!

Great thing about being in a crowd is the crowd, lots to see! People were drinking and dancing, it was all fun. The bad thing about being in a crowd is people who smoke who aren’t aware of their lit cigs. I have a slowly recovering deep burn mark on my arm to prove that :(

St Patrick's Changkat Bukit Bintang 2012 - 04

We left at midnight when the street party was in full swing… we’d been there for nearly 6 hours leh! Old people need their rest you know.

I leave you with my favourite guy at the party who went up and down with a sign his team distributing free bottled water to party-goers. Pretty neat!

St Patrick's Changkat Bukit Bintang 2012 - drink responsibly

Looking forward to St Patrick’s celebration in 2013. That is, if there is a 2013… ;)