Thursday, January 29, 2015

Earle Swensen's (No Longer Serving Ice-Cream)


I have always had a sweet tooth and even if I am unable to all the dishes at buffets, I would NEVER miss the desserts. So how can I miss the launch of Earle Swensen's new range of desserts that no longer features ice-cream! But don't panic, they simply upgraded everything to gelato. Starting from 01 January 2015 onwards, Earle Swensen's will only be featuring gelato across all it's dessert menu, meaning that whatever used to be served with ice-cream last year and before, will now be served with gelato instead, even its signature earthquake! 

Leroy and Steffi having a cool time decorating their banana split that's served with gelato!
The kiddos can't wait to tuck into their creation!
Most, if not all of you would have known that Earle Swenen's is the more upmarket sister restaurant as compared to Swensen's. I had tried the lamb chops at both restaurants and despite the higher price over at Earle Swensen's, I would choose it over Swensen's anytime for the thicker and juicier cut. Ok let's not talk about the main courses but move on to the desserts!

Sorry, I cannot help but rave about the lamb for it is really nice. The proportion of fat and lean meat was just nice and the meat was absolutely tender! Really flavorful if you love lamb like me!
Okay, so why gelato you may ask and what's the difference? Is gelato simply an overpriced Italian-sounding ice-cream? That was what I thought but that's not it. Gelato DOES taste better and more flavorful due to the lower fat content and overrun. Just so you know (I researched online), overrun refers to the amount of air in the ice-cream, meaning the lesser it is, the more full-bodied it is. Then of course, Earle Swensen's also promises that its gelato are made with the freshest milk, fruits and purée! 

Poached Pear in Butterscotch Sauce 

Somehow the photo I took didn't do justice to the wonderful dessert that my wife loved! 
The name reminds me of some Chinese dessert that's cooling for the body. The pear was sweet smelling with a hint of strawberry and the texture was just right, easy to scoop and yet not too mushy. The taste of the creamy vanilla gelato coupled with butterscotch complimented the pear nicely. My wife gave this 2 thumbs up! 

Maple Banana Wrap 

Life is sweet!
So is my Steffi, with the Maple Banana Wrap!
This is almost like our "Goreng Pisang" but the bananas are wrapped in soft burrito instead and deep fried. It is then drizzled with sweet butterscotch syrup as well, served with a generous scoop of Vanilla Gelato and strawberries too!  

Opera Dark Chocolate 

This is simply, chocolate heaven!
Stacci agrees, and can't contain her excitement at trying it!
I wonder why the name "opera" but the dark chocolate was an understatement.  I truly must say that this is for the serious chocolate lovers. Dark chocolate gelato covered with chocolate fudge with chocolate bits and pieces made this really filling too!

Some of the other warm desserts (served with vanilla gelato) that might interest you (those that we didn't manage to try thanks to our dinner treat) are as follows -

Celebrity Brownie (photo credit: Earle Swensen's)
Molten Chocolate Lave Cake (photo credit: Earle Swensen's)
Waffle Dream (photo credit: Earle Swensen's)
Thank you for hosting us Earle Swensen's and Touch PR! I wished I had more stomach space then, but nevermind, there will be no questions that we will definitely be back for more desserts some other time!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Joe Labero - A Night of Magic at Raffles

[Review & Giveaway]

Steffi and Leroy getting chummy with Joe after watching his absolutely amazing performance!
Although I know a few big names such as David Copperfield and Criss Angel etc, I had never watched a REAL magic show up close, live and in person. And of course, you know one can never fully trust what you see on TV. Everything can and will be edited, hence magic on TV never really gave me the "wow" factor and even my young kiddos would "dissect" each section of the tricks. Steffi even went as far as explaining to me once, on how the actor's body was actually hidden when the mechanic saw ran through his mid-section. Fake one lah, she would say!

We had the opportunity to the watch the four-time Merlin Award winner, Swedish magician, Joe Labero in action (just learnt that Joe Labero is a stage name derived from his birthname: Lars Bengt Roland Johansson), as he is back in town with his latest show "A Night of Magic at Raffles" for 2015, which also features fire-play with guest performers from the Burnt out Punks. We were really glad we caught the live action but I shall not give away too much on the performances though. Although the magic tricks may not be extravagant, or may be variations of tricks that one might have watched before and not exactly "new", his showmanship was great and the crowd were absolutely thrilled!

The Animal from the Burnt Out Punks is comical and full of nifty moves!
There were many occasions when Joe involved the crowd, often to hilarious effects and the use of items sourced from the random audiences as part of his many tricks also made his magic so much more believable! Seated between two kids aged 5 and 6 was a bad idea, for I had to answer so many "why's" and "how's" from them, to which I totally have no answers!!! I am pretty sure you will keep trying to figure out how the tricks were done! Do note however that there will be no admittance to under 5's as there would be pyrotechnics used. Anyway I think the younger ones wouldn't really be able to grasp the concepts of the "magic" too and even I had to explain quite a fair bit to Leroy on why the crowd clapped at times.

The whole family was thrilled to say the least and how can a photo with Joe be missed?
The show will run from 16 Jan to 22 Feb 2015 and it might just be the right performance to catch with the family during the Chinese New Year period. It was wonderful for our family to be hosted by Krall Entertainment for the awesome evening yesterday, and we are so happy to share this with 3 other lucky families! We have 3 sets of 4 tickets worth a total of $500 per set to giveaway!!! All you have to do is to follow the steps listed below before 2359hrs on Sun, 01 Feb 2015. Good luck!

Useful Information
Event Name: A Night of Magic at Raffles
Date: 16 January to 22 February 2015
Venue: Jubilee Hall, Raffles Hotel
Time: Weekdays – 7.30pm, Saturdays – 3.00pm, 7.30pm and Sundays – 3.00pm
Price: From $50 standard to $230 VIP reserve with Meet and Greet (Hop over to Sistic website for booking and more information)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gu Ma Jia (姑妈家)


When I hear of the name Gu Ma Jia, the first thing that came to mind was the wholesome and delicious home-cooked food by my own aunty. I love going to her place for family dinners or reunions and she never fails to cook up a storm in the kitchen and I wonder what I will find in this Gu Ma Jia restaurant and if it will live up to my expectation or not.

Well, here are some of the dishes that we tried -

Gu Ma Signature Traditional Beancurd Soup ($28)
The Gu Ma Signature Traditional Beancurd Soup was simply perfect for the kiddos and tasted savory with the ingredients like salted fish head, peanuts, chinese ham and pork ribs being boiled for 6 hours. Yummy!

Homemade Yam Ring with Kyoto Pork Ribs ($30)
I don't think it originated from Kyoto and it tastes like a variation of Sweet and Sour Pork to me, but more on the sour side. The yam ring itself is really nice, crispy on the outside yet sweet and creamy on the inside.

Satay Cuttle Fish ($18)
I personal love the peanut satay sauce and although there doesn't seem to be a lot of the sauce on the kang kong and cuttlefish, I must say that it is still really flavorful! I am usually scared of cuttlefishes being too chewy, or too fishy but no problem with that here!

XO Prawn Noodles ($36)
This portion, is NOT enough.  I had a few rounds. 
The name XO should give you an idea on how premium this claypot prawn noodles should taste like and it lived up to its name.  The noodles were cooked just right, not too soggy, the prawns couldn't possibly get any fresher and the soup was absolutely flavorful!  2 thumbs up for this!

Ubin Lala Bee Hoon ($18)
The dish itself may look kind of bland instead but don't be deceived by the looks for the vermicelli had fully absorbed the flavors of the lala and egg. You won't be disappointed if you are a fan of the "wok hey" in Sze Char. Nice smoky flavor!

Prawn Paste Chicken Wings
Leroy had at least 4 pieces by himself, and requested for another plate!
The prawn paste chicken wings is a perpetual favorite for many, adults and kids alike for it is chicken, and it is fried. The mid wings and drumlets are just nice as the meat is really tender.  The skills of the chef would be in getting the wings really crispy on the outside, and yet tender and cooked just right on the inside and he nailed it for this dish. Amount of prawn paste used was just about right and not overpowering.
Herbal Chicken
The dish reminded me of the Ginseng Chicken I had in Korea, except that this taste much nicer, because I don't like ginseng. The tender chicken meat slides off the bones easily and the herbal soup was delish. A winner that even the kiddos savoured!

Lotus Leaf Rice
Fried rice with generous amount of chinese sausages and mushrooms infused with the fragrance of the lotus leaves. Neither too oily or "jelat", and just nice! 

Auntie's Dessert ($3.50)
How can there not be dessert after a good meal and I chose Auntie's dessert which is a nice concoction of white fungus, lotus seeds, ginko seeds and wolfberries! Now I can rub my tummy with glee!

Happy kids after the wonderful meal! Great companions from Sengkang Babies!
Lunar New Year is just round the corner and you may wish to check out Gu Ma Jia's special reunion menus (starting from $488) here! Do note that they are FULLY booked for LNY evening's reunion dinner already though. Thank you Gu Ma Jia for hosting our family for the yummy dinner!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What is The Entertainer App?


I had seen quite a few Facebook posts about a particular app called "The Entertainer" and how one can get 10% off its purchase price just by keying in a code of the referrer. The app itself is free, but the in-app purchase for the Singapore package cost $60 (discounted price now, usual at $75). A $1.99usd app, I will also take a couple of weeks to think about it, this one how to buy sia? Especially so when I have NO idea what it was all about.

But wait, I received a media invite to the launch of the app for 2015 recently. Sure boh, so coincidental ah? I did managed to get an off pass from my missus and attended the launch party while she took care of the four kiddos and boy I was glad I did, for I got to try out the app after the party! *wink wink*

It was a great party where I met fellow mommy bloggers like Ai Sakura and Phoebe! Check out their blogs further down this article.
So what is The Entertainer all about? I would liken it to be something like Perx, where you can browse nearby establishment who are taking part in the program. Except that this is WAY better, for Perx is only like an FREE electronic rewards card where you need to earn "chops" with purchases before getting a small reward after completion, while The Entertainer app is a PAID one-for-one electronic booklet, with coupons ready for use! I dunno about you, but having to buy 15 beverages for Perx before I get only a FREE drink upgrade at Koi is really sucky! 

I understand that The Entertainer used to be only in print form, a rather thick book in fact and that the app was their new product. The app is definitely much more handier, user and eco-friendly, for I wouldn't even think about lugging a freaking 1 kg book around. You can still purchase the printed form at $75 (no discounts) though and I highly doubt you would consider that. 

One can easily refer to the app to find out which are the participating restaurants or retail outlets nearby and all the coupons are one-for-one deals, meaning you either get a free main dish or service of the same value of lesser, for every one purchased. I was skeptical of course, and tried my virgin purchase at Dunkin' Donuts first to test out. The staff accepted my e-coupon without a fuss and tada, I got 4 donuts for only $3.60, just nice for the kiddos!

My first time using the app. I would have wanted to try out a restaurant first but unfortunately no time yet! 
I ain't got any complaints about the app, except that all the offers are one-for-one, meaning that if you are alone somewhere and you feel like utilizing the e-coupon in a restaurant nearby, it's either you find a partner or you have to finish both portions on your own! Here's a code (2015ALVIN) for a 10% off your purchase of the in-app package for Singapore if you are sold. Or you might want to read a little more about the type of restaurants you can expect, over at Sakura Haruka blog or BPDG Travels blog. And last but not least, find out how you can easily navigate the app here!

To sum it up, if you are a person who dines out with friends or family, even if once in a while, this Singapore package would be a GREAT buy and the $54 (price after discount) would be recovered in no time! If you travel frequently, check out their website for more packages for other countries as well! Steady, no regrets I promise you and I am looking forward to flashing my phone at restaurants more often now!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy Willow @ One KM Mall

[Review & Giveaway]

Getting a group photo at Happy Willow before play!
The family was invited to a play session at Happy Willow @ One KM Mall last month and it was our first time to Happy Willows, and to the new mall as well. As with most indoor playground nowadays, there are different play area for the different age groups.

The play area for the little ones!
Leroy having ago on the see-saw with Stacci!
And he is enjoying it!
There is often a tendency for parents to judge the worth of a playground by the the variety of play available and forget that ultimately it is the kids who are supposed to enjoy the facilities. Having said that, the operators do need to cater to the parents who are the paying customers.

Happy Willow managed to keep parents happy with a well-thought out layout where parents can have a nice cup of coffee and catch up on their books while keeping an eye on the kids, occasionally. The cafe area is well-lit and yet still cozy enough for me. Besides the toddlers' area where the little ones can enjoy some fun in the ball pit or on the see-saw with guardian supervision, there is also a play areas with quite a number of kitchen play sets and even storybooks.

An interesting area where the slightly older kiddos can role-play with the play sets available and cook to their hearts' content as well!

Having fun going through the toys at the play area!
There are also various puzzles on the wall for the kids to play!
Stacci made a drink for me but ended up drinking up herself!
Then there is of course the highlight of any indoor playground, which had to be the obstacle course! I had been to quite a few by now and I am really glad that this particular course is not as back-breaking as the others I had been too, for I can follow the kiddos comfortably with the taller height! That's definitely a plus point for me!

The ultimate play den for the kiddos! The obstacle course!
The "tunnels" were big and adults can comfortably follow the kiddos too!
It was tough getting some nice photos for the kids were having so much fun and would be bothered to stop for photos!
Then there's also the ball pit and launcher!
Ok, Stacci got a little tired and had a little rest, but ran off again in no time!
Steffi going down on of the few slides in the course.
All the three kiddos had their favorite corners at the place. Stacci had a great time cooking up a storm and trying to feed us plastic food, as well as resting in the ball pits. Leroy had fun running up and down the course and trying out the rock climbing. While Steffi probably wanted to be a gymnast and jumped nonstop on the trampoline! And I managed some timeout at cafe, just relaxing on the retro looking seats and chatting with the other parents there. We have thoroughly enjoyed our playtime there and ended up being one of the last to leave, again!

Happy Stacci in the ball pit!
Steffi having some trampoline fun! A great way to exercise!
Leroy practicing for bigger things to come? A miniature rock climbing wall for the aspiring climbers!
Happy Willow is having the promotions to celebrate their opening of the 2nd outlet at One KM Mall that will last till the end of Jan 15 - 
  1. Get 7 Sessions for the price of 6! The 6- session Willow Play Pass can be used at both One-north and One KM outlets. It can also be shared with siblings and friends! Pass is valid for 6 months. - $55 for for kids from 9 months to below 2 years old; and $100 for kids 2 and above. 
  2. Get a $50 off any standard party package, and $100 off any private party package, if you book a party with us by January 2015. Parties can be held anytime from Jan 2015 to Dec 2015.
Do check out their websites for more information and upcoming promotions here but for now, we are glad to inform that have a giveaway for ONE play pass for two lucky families, courtesy of Happy Willow! All you need to do is - 

Giveaway Instructions
  1. Like and Follow The “Perfect” Father Facebook page;
  2. Like Happy Willow Facebook page;
  3. Like and Share this photo publicly; and
  4. Comment in the photo once the steps are done so that I can select the winner easily!
Terms and Condition
  1. To be eligible for the giveaway, all the 4 steps must be followed.  
  2. Organizer reserves the right in the choice of winners for the tickets. 
  3. Follow our page so that you will KNOW if you have won in our announcement.
  4. Prizes won are not exchangeable and winner will be contacted by Happy Willow directly on prize collection.
Contest ends at 2359hrs on Mon, 19 Jan 2015.  Good luck to all!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Safari Zoo Run 2015 [Giveaway]

Woohoo!!! The family is going for our very FIRST EVER Safari Zoo (Fun) Run ever this year on 08 Feb 2015! How time flies, the Safari Zoo Run is already in its 7th year, and in case you don't know, it was started in remembrance of our iconic Zoo mascot, Ah Meng the orangutan. Seems like there are more runners year after year, and the organizers have to split the REALly competitive runners and the FUN-loving runners into two separate days this time round.

The competitive runners will be running on 07 Feb 2015 afternoon in the Safari Zoo Challenge, while the rest of us with additional baggage, either around the waist or in the form of mini-me tagging along, can take part in the Safari Zoo Fun Run on 08 Feb 2015 morning and then join in the inaugural post-race carnival as well! After the fun run, one can also visit both the Zoo or River Safari too, by presenting the race bib at the ticketing counters.

But for now, you are in luck if you are looking forward to participating in the run for we have 2 Family Packages (2 Adults & 2 Children) worth $232 each for the Fun Run on 08 Feb 2015 to giveaway, courtesy of our AWESOME friends from Wildlife Reserves Singapore

You may wish to check out the official race website for more information but do note that the early bird promotion will end on 11 Jan 2015. You know you can click on the link above, if you do not want to take any chances and miss saving yourself lots of moolah! But nevertheless, details for our giveaway are as follows -

Giveaway Instructions
  1. Like and Follow The “Perfect” Father Facebook page;
  2. Like Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) Facebook page;
  3. Like and Share this post publicly (as many times as you want, but once a day only. Each share = 1 chance).
Terms and Condition
  1. To be eligible for the giveaway, all the steps must be followed.  
  2. Organizer reserves the right in the choice of winners for the tickets. 
  3. Follow our page so that you will KNOW if you have won in our announcement.
  4. Prizes won are not exchangeable and winner will be contacted by WRS directly on prize collection.
Contest ends at 2359hrs on Mon, 12 Jan 2015.  Hope to see you at the run!