Monday, February 23, 2009

Scorched (Buffalo Wings) @ Sunset Grill & Bar


This wasn’t about the recent devastating bush fires in Australia, nor was it about the sunny weather in Singapore. It was, again, a food expedition I had.

Buffalo Wings.
No again kids; buffalo has no wings but they do have wind; which I prefer not to elaborate.

According to Wikipedia (my favourite), buffalo wings are actually chicken wing sections (called wings or "flats") and wing drummettes that are deep fried and then coated in sauce. Traditional Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce is composed of two ingredients: a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and margarine or butter.

To say the truth, I have never heard about Buffalo wings until I was in my twenties. It was supposed to be a must try but for a poor boy (then) with no car, it was not high on my list. I saw it in the menu on a trip to Buckaroo but to pay more than $3 for a chicken wing was just not my cup of tea. Give me a $2 char kway teow anytime!

That was until the usual gang of 4 found themselves travelling the rural countryside in Seletar; admiring the vast, un-spoilt nature and the seemingly empty, spooky colonial houses. If memory did not fail me, I believe it was Weeyuan who suggested a place beside Seletar airport that sells Buffalo wings.

Sunset Grill & Bar

Like the name suggests, this place glows when the sun sets. With the runway just mere meters away, I can imagine the laid back feel when you are outside sipping a glass of beer and watching the private planes landing.

That is, before the mosquitoes bite!

Disregard the above, air-con area is and has always been the choice since the alfresco area is always filled to the brim.

Coming back, I tried Buffalo wings number 3 then. I used my fingers, licked them with the same ferocity like the KFC slogan (finger licking good!) and regretted with tears as I feel my lips swelling and the spiciness tickling into my throat.

In case some of you are unaware, Buffalo wings in Singapore come in numbers (I am not sure about other countries). Number 1 is the least spicy and the spiciness increases as the number rises. The highest in Sunset is number 10 although you can customize it to an even higher level.

They were good though! Without the excessive Cayenne pepper, I believe they were better than my mom’s freshly fried chicken wings. The pepper adds a special taste to the wings; something that triggers the numerous taste buds on your tongue and giving it the ultimatum to explore the wings more intricately.

After that particular out of the mind experience, I steered clear of Sunset Grill & Bar. I was never a “spicy” person but unfortunately had a lot of “spicy” friends. I was so amazed by one of those friends who literally dump chilli padi into her food that I jokingly agreed to sponsor her two number 10 buffalo wings.

And she remembered that well; to the extent she would 'casually' ask me when we are going to try Buffalo wings. I am a nice guy, always am and I dun really want to hurt her feelings (I am so nice right??). So here I go again; this time to see how my friend suffers at the mercy of those petite wings!

It was crowded as usual and the pricing has changed as you are required to buy at least half a dozen! My friend was a bit hesitant about trying number 10 after hearing some stories and we decided to try number 6 first.

Number 6!

I felt that number 6 should be bearable for me (since we have to order 6 anyway) and after eating it with knife and fork; yes, it was not that spicy! A bit tingling on the tongue and definitely not as bad as before. Standard has dropped or I can readily accept spicier food nowadays?

Number 6 was quite a disappointment and we followed up with number 10! This time, I regretted it! Burning burning burning! My tongue was scorched! Only with the constant soothing with multiple cubes of ice did I manage to survive.

Number 10! See the red hot coating!

Our two friends were nonchalant about the spiciness; one was even eating the wings with chilli sauce (she argued that it reduced the spiciness). But another friend of mine suffered more than me! Look below for the traumatizing experience!


Would I try it again? I think I would.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gastronomic Weekend @ Fiesta Brasilia, Udders Ice Cream, Sindy Durians and Founder Bak Kut Teh

Besides the usual filling-the-stomach meals, it was a long while since i ate like what i did today.
  1. A mostly meat-diet meal at Fiesta Brasilia
  2. The usually sinful ice-cream at Udders
  3. An equally sinful and high fat durian feast at Sindy Durian 
  4. A nostalgic dinner at Founder Bak Kut Teh
All the above were performed enthusiastically by the usual 4-pax gang within 4 hours (between 3-7pm).

Of course, i am not proud of this achievement when i have been telling many (or is it all) people that i am on the way to lose a few more kilograms; which, by the way is inevitable since my BMI has increased SHARPLY for the past 2 years.

And it was embarrassing when everyone commented on how BIG i have grown; albeit horizontally.

Reversing back to the topic; it IS of great pleasure that i decide to write a review of the above regretful meals while i still remember how they taste like. By the way, you do know that when i mention regretful, it is not so much of the food, but more of a personal rebuke.

Fiesta Brasilia

A seemingly expensive place with nice ambience and according to reliable sources (newspapers), Brazilian food tends to be meat-filled, meat- stuffed, meat-glutted and meat-jammed!! It’s not too far from the sentence between it was really meat, meat and more meat.

The first item was soup; tasted horrid. It was the first time I have never finished the soup entrée in a reputable waitress-serviced restaurant. The bread at the side, though, was the main star which gave us more hope of what were to come. It was just the right bite, leaking the right amount of garlic and you know that they used quality butter for it.




The main dishes were nothing to scream about; the meat had a very natural taste to it; tenderloin tasted like beef, chicken drumstick tasted like chicken. Yes, there was practically no seasoning in it! We were wondering why they offered us vinegar and BBQ sauce on separate dishes. Not to mention salt and pepper readily placed on your table.

To be fair, price wise, it was really soft on the wallet although my friend treated us; total bill, including 4 mains (with soup and coffee/tea), 4 drinks (2 beers) and a 10% discount (from citibank), came up to around $80 plus.

The drink I had, called Guarana (shown above), was fizzy and tasteful with an equally fizzy cherry in it! Service was also commendable; the waitress was patient, knowledgeable and most importantly, cheerful.

Will I go back? Nope

Udders

So much has been heard of this place and the first impression I had was, why udders? The part of the cows which “expel” milk for us; a term that bring to mind nipples and chests. I never got to know why but I presumed ice cream was made of milk (in general) and hence, BINGO, the obvious name!

I am a fan of ice cream although it can range from Movenpick, Ben & Jerry to Walls and Pontong. In recent years, mixes and unique flavors of ice-cream have been gaining popularity in Singapore. Udders belongs to this category.

We ordered 4 scoops in total. D24, Snicker Mars Honeycomb Vanilla, Chempedak and one burnt caramel or something. Except for the Chempedak, which can be a strong competitor to the one offered by Scoops (in Parkway Parade), the others are comparatively dismal to another of my favorite parlor; Island Creamery.


Top: Chempedak with Snickers-Mars
Bottom: Burnt Caramel with Durian

D24 is a type of durians and a popular one until Mao Shan Wang (direct translation; Cat Mountain King) came into the scene. And with durian ice-cream, it is always a love-hate affair. I love durians but I almost detest any durian products that deviate from the original form it comes in.

Durians are eaten best when they are in those thorny shells and you have to painstakingly open them, seeing them in their royal glory shit-shaped concave indentation and finally, popping them into your mouth and licking the custard flesh off the seeds! Of course, I usually ask the durian helpers to do the initial work for me.

The other two were not note-worthy since I forgot what they tasted like, with the exception that when I tasted the Snicker Mars Honeycomb Vanilla, I was thinking how good if it was the Nutella ice cream from Island Creamery.

I dunno if it was because I have been to so many of such ice-cream parlors that resulted in a complacent attitude when feasting upon such sinful indulgence. Every one of them touts Home-Made, Original, Asian-inspired etc. Or maybe it was because we did not choose the correct flavors, even though some of them were listed Best-Sellers.

What we took pleasure was admiring the blackboards of new suggestions for ice cream, the “vandalism” boards and the following pictures (courtesy of Udders) depicting cows in organizations across countries. I love the one for Singapore Corporation.








Will I go back? Probably Not

Sindy Durian

Yes, I know it is durians again. But I was somewhere around this GEM in Balestier road and I have to eat the Butter Durian! Thanks to my mum, I finally tried the butter durian just a week ago after hearing so much from one of my colleague who is crazy about this stall. And I am not disappointed! The flesh was bitter sweet and the seeds were small and plenty. $20 a kilogram was not exactly cheap by my standard but it was worth every single cent.

Was it because it was a Sunday? Or was it because I have eaten too much? This time, we ordered two durians, each around a kg heavy, far lesser than the 1.5kg on average I had for the previous two times. Taste-wise, they were also a tad less fulfilling compared the ones I had. Nonetheless, they were still better than the $5 a piece I used to have.

Will I go back? A resounding YES!

Founder Bak Kut Teh

It was while going back to the car park from Sindy Durians that we saw a queue outside this shop called Founder Bak Kut Teh. We just had to try it although we were really, really full.

Firstly, it was not too often that we were in Balestier and secondly, in Singapore, a food queue (during non peak times) forms either when there is free food or when the food is really good.

After around 15 minutes, we were ushered into the shop, which were plastered (yes, literally every empty space was taken up) with photos and photos of celebrities who ate there. The food arrived quickly; the all famous bak Kut teh (direct translation: meat bones tea), the pork trotters and the preserved vegetables.

I was all spiced up by the soup of bak kut teh, which had a strong peppery taste and the meat was disappointingly not as tender as what I tot it would be.

Many bak kut teh stalls use pork ribs (one special type called long gu or dragon bone), which are very soft, very tenderized and one bite is, at times, sufficient enough to pull the meat away from the rib bone. Founder uses another portion of the pork for their Bak Kut Teh.

It was only until we enquired from the waitress after payment that Founder does have the pork ribs Bak Kut Teh but it is slightly more expensive. Not surprisingly, the one we had was quite popular as the fat content is lower than the pork ribs.

The pork trotters had a funny taste but my two other friends, Weeyuan and Alex, both loved it! I liked the preserved vegetables though, crunchy and just the right saltiness.

Will I go back? Maybe, with my mom to try the pork ribs Bak Kut Teh.

Post Note:
The mystery on how the name, Udders came about, is cleared. Apparently the founders ascertained that their ice cream is so fresh, it’s almost straight from the udders. Yes, they want to offer the best to their customers.


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