It's Not Nag, It's Just Me

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Making People Happy Through Food

Yes, that is the tagline of the restaurant that I just had lunch in. Mountain Ocean Sun or better known as MOS. Finally making its entrance into Bangkok, MOS Burger is currently creating some buzz with long queue noted outside the restaurant. The long queue was due to the fact that it's like a fast food restaurant where one has to order and paid first. In addition, with only two counters, this will easily create a long queue. But a good strategy considering this will raise people's interest to visit the shop. Just like when Roti Boy first started.

A quick glance seems to indicate that around 25% of its patrons were Japanese. Not a suprise since MOS Burger is a Japanese restaurant (as one it describe, Fine Burger and Coffee) and it is located in Central World (of which Isetan is), easily catering for the Japanese tourist, expats and families.

So, here's my experience. I reached the shop at 12.30pm. The queue was about 15 minutes. During the queue, I was quite worried that there will not be any seats/tables available since quite a number of customers are still waiting for their order to arrive. Fortunately there are also people leaving.

I decide to sit at the back of the restaurant (which is kinda like outside of the shop). Even though this is a new shop, I'm annoyed by the fact that the table was not in a very good condition at all. It's like the table was not in a flat ground, easily sway in all N.E.S.W direction. I'm sure the staff are aware of the condition and yet they took no effort to stabilize it.

After waiting for 10 minutes, my glass of Coke arrived. And after another 10 minutes, my burger and fries arrived. Since this is a made-to-order concept, a 20 minutes wait is consider to be acceptable. Though a 10 minutes wait for the glass of soft drink is not. The fries is quite good, large pieces (unlike McD's tiny thin strips), reminds me of Nando's; and lightly salted (unlike McD's we-are-very-generous-with-our-sodium's). The burger was also quite tasty. Mustard was applied to the bun. Instead of the boring Mayo found in most burgers, MOS burger provide a unique tomato-onion paste. And the piece of thick fresh tomato was just excellent.

Generally, quite worth it for a price of 119 baht. Some quick recap:
Food: Great.
Service: Good except for that 10 minutes to prepare a glass of Coke.
: Okay but not consistent. Please ensure all your tables are in good condition.

If you came alone, make sure you have some reading materials with you such as a book, magazine or newspapers. If you are on a rush, please visit McD which is located somewhere in the building or Toast Box, just a few steps away. Or perphaps try to visit during non-peak hours (i.e 3 or 4pm).

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Back To Basic

During these holidays, I did some shopping and kinda threw away a quarter of my shirts in the wardrobe. Looking at my working clothes, it was filled with stripes and bold colour (shocking green, pink, orange) which I'm getting bored of. While stripes is still the trend but I believed it is time we go back to some basic fashion.

Stripes are definitely outstanding and trendy but it is also not that easy to match with pants and ties. Furthermore, poeple could easily remember your stripe shirts, hence one may need to continue buying more to keep it refreshing.

Similarly the bold color shirts. So I'm going back to plain whites (which is really flexible in matching pants and ties) and if plain white is too boring for you, I'll suggest a white based shirt with fine checkered lines in light pink/blue/purple or just lightly striped. Definitely suitable for the coming summer.


Talking About the Bread

After more than a year in Bangkok, I finally found a restaurant that provides Teh-C Ice. Not surprise since the shop originates from either Malaysia/Singapore. Located in one of the trendiest shopping mall in Bangkok, BreadTalk, perhaps is one of the trendiest bakery in town. Besides being a bakery, BreadTalk also operate a cafe like place, called Toast Box.

If you happen to be in Central World on the 3rd floor, you may notice a few banners indicating that ToastBox is now open with some very vague arrow guiding you to the shop. However, one you arrived at the area, you will not able to see a restaurant or cafe with ToastBox sign. Since I did not realise it was operated by BreadTalk, it took me a while to find it, after criss-crossing the arrows on the banner. The ToastBox sign is actually inside the shop, made of glass/plastic. If the shop intend to create awareness, it clearly fails. The management definitely need to firm up with its Marketing 101 knowledge.

The main menu in this shop is all about toast. For set menu, there are 3 sets, covering the Thick Toast set, the Traditional Toast set and the Soft Bun Toast set. Each set came with a Toast, 2 half-boiled eggs and a cup of hot beverage (i.e coffee or tea). And I'm quite impress of its flexibility of allowing me to change the hot drink to a cold one with additional of 10 baht only.

I ordered the Thick Toast set, with a thick piece of toast with peanut butter. the set cost me 100 baht. If i'm to order a similar set in a Kopitiam in KL, it would have cost me about RM5 (around 50 baht). Considering the shop is air-conditioned, nicely decorated, 100 baht seems quite okay for a brunch. Anyway, let's get to the food. The toast is quite nice, nothing extraordinary but nice. And they even cut the toast into squares so that you need not to use your hand or required a fork and knife to eat it. The amount of peanut butter is also quite generous. The only weakness maybe, it need to be toasted a little longer to have that crunchiness.

The eggs were okay. Not too rare and not too cooked. However, it was lukewarm when served. Perhaps the management could think of something to ensure it is hot. And please provide us with a bigger plate/bowl. I'm not sure how Thais eat their half-boiled egg but most Malaysian will scrambled it and dunk their toast in it. That's how we like it. And how can one not have the critical and compulsory Soya Sauce. Instead a dark vinegar was provided. Totally disappointed with this fact.

The Teh-C was okay. Taste just like one in kopitiam.

I'm definitely going back especially for the toast and Teh-C. Half boiled egg? I'll think about it.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Heavy Watch.

This is my fifth movie during this long holiday and perhaps one of the better and down-to-earth movie. With Jennifer Aniston being one of the lead, I kinda expect a dramedy (something like The Family Stone) but turns out to be a heavy drama, with a very believable and true storyline.

All four actresses, including Aniston really did a good job. Initally I thought the whole story will be revolving around Aniston but it turns out to be four short stories link to one another through these four best friends.

You may said that this is another chick flick but perhaps you MCPs out there could watch this movie and possibly understand the stuff your wives are going through.

Just a quick spoiler to let you decide should you go out and rent this movie for a Sunday afternoon date...Aniston is a housecleaner, while the other three character are well-off. However, each of them have their own problems, mostly marital problems and the way they decide to deal (or not deal with it). There's one who regularly shrugh off disagreement to avoid argument, there's one who constantly argue, there's one who's just angry and frustrated with life and not because the husband sounds gay and there's one who can't let go a two months relationship with a married guy.

If you asked me, it's definitely worth the watch after all the violence coming from Saw III and Pan's Labyrinth.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

FYI, it's R Rated!

Now, this was the official poster for the movie Pan's Labyrinth. If you did watch Oscar recently, you would have noted this movie from Spain being nominated and won a few Oscars. From the clips shown in Oscar, I thought it was a fairy tale movie for the young at heart.

And how wrong I was. And if you are planning to buy the DVD or go to the cinema with your kids, I'll suggest you to think twice. Firstly, it's R Rated (not that it has any nude scene in it but it was really violent). In fact it was not really suitable for kids at all.

In summary, this movie is about a little girl coping with the civil war happening around her. With her father passed away, and mother's pregnancy almost full term, she had created a fairy tale world to get away from the cruel reality and loneliness.

While the fairy tale aspect in the movie was interesting especially the faun character as well as the horrible monster (pic below) but it was the real world that is being the core of the movie. In fact this is not a bad movie at all. Good for an afternoon treat.

It's a war zone!

Yes, this is my first official Songkran in Thailand. Last year, i took the opportunity to go home. And since I was in KL recently due to a training, i decided to take the opportunity to have a deserved rest. In Malaysia, at least a month before CNY and Hari Raya, we would definitely felt the mood not just at home but around the city as shopping centers would have painted the whole town red or green and bombarded us with those irritating CNY songs and Hari Raya evergreens.

In Bangkok, it's totally different. You don't really felt the Songkran festival at all. There doesn't seem to be any excitement happening even though this is supposed to mark the beggining of the Thai astrology new year. Two days before the festival, the streets had begun to quiet down, with less traffic and some street hawkers just disappeared.

And on the eve, a bunch of the operation staff came down to visit their boss, which is my boss too. It's like a tradition that they are required to pour some 'holy water' into the boss hand and wish the boss (elder) stuff. Not religious but cultural. Chinese, we kinda did too in CNY morning but that was like x-years, the Chinese in Malaysia don't really practice such formality anymore. To me, the respect is coming from the heart! :P

Bangkok was really really quiet on the Songkran morning. The streets normally filled with cars were exceptionally empty. Of course, unless I decided to visit Khao San road, which is like 20 minutes by taxi, things would have been different considering everyone in this area will be fully equipped with pails or those water pump guns and spray water at everyone.

What did I do on the first day of Songkran? At such age, i would rather just stay indoor and bored myself to death. After breakfast, I begin my DVD marathon again, starting with Saw III, then The Epic Movie, then Dreamgirls and end the day with Pan's Labyrinth (of which I will make a review of this movie in another entry). the evening, at about 10.30pm, I did make a trip to Silom, planning of making a quick trip to the clubs as well as buying a few more DVDs. Well, I was back home by 11.15pm. Reason being, Silom at night had actually became a war zone especially amongst the teens who were totally wet from head to toes, face filled with white flours, most hawkers are selling water gun and the street is literally wet. I only watched them enjoying their time from the skytrain station. I'm dressed too properly and not planning of getting it wet and dirty!

It's really nice to see the teens having fun being given the official permission to have a water gun fight on the street, shooting at anyone without offending anyone. And the impressive thing is that these teens are coming from all around Bangkok to get themselves wet!!!!

Me, I rather stay home and just rest (getting older mah!).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Rojak Part 4. Restaurant Restaurant Restaurant!

For this entry, I would like to make very short reviews on some restaurants.

The Societe in Lot 10. My god…by 8+ you already begin to stop customers from coming to your restaurant. Excellent! I hope your business continue to rot!

The Seed Café in Sg. Wang. It’s actually my second time to Seed Café. The first was years ago in One U. Not a bad place to be. Staff were very friendly and patience with our exotic personalities and request.

Food wise, just okay. Generally I expect more variety and exotic menu but instead just the normal pasta, sandwiches and local food. The prawn mee was somehow too spicy, which killed the sweet taste of the soup. The pasta was nice but could have been better if you were to offer more choices of pasta instead of just the normal. For example, have spinach fettuccini or the squid ink fettuccini. That would create the differentiation.

The fried calamari was nice and came with quite a healthy portion. Would have been better if you could offer larger portion of the condiment.

Marché in The Curve. Unless someone is to treat me, don’t expect me of returning. Besides the extraordinary pricing, there is really not much variety to look for. And easily ‘out-of-stock’ too. RM8.50 for a glass of orange juice was really too much. I do not mind paying RM5.00 but not to such extend.
Again, pasta was just so-so. Need more varieties in both the pasta and the sauce. Popular stations should be properly manned and ensure sufficient staff too. Don’t really understand why they are so many people willing to pay so much for such average stuff. I rather pay double for either a Japanese buffet or dinner buffet in Shangri-La or Westin.

Rojak Part 3: The Hotel with the ‘heavenly stuff & staff’

My trip back to KL this time was mainly due to a training program. To my surprise, the training was held in a popular hotel located in the golden triangle of KL. Since my company’s office in Malaysia is located in PJ, one would have expected the training to be within that city.

Since the training activities of my ex-employer were normally held in this hotel, I’m quite happy about the decision until, of course I learnt about the room rate. Not that I have to pay for it but still, RM450++ per nite was really absolutely over-priced. And to make it worst, the room rate do not come with internet access, of which one had to pay RM60 per day! And also, even if two people checked-in into the room, the breakfast is only applicable for one person. For a whopping price of RM70, the breakfast is definitely not cheap.

And if you were still wondering which hotel is this, well it’s WESTIN.

After telling you some of the horror stuff coming from this hotel, let me tell you something positive about this hotel. With such pricing, one would definitely expect tip-top service and quality, of which I believed the hotel did.

If you were to browse the website of Westin, you would have been reminded of its ‘heavenly’ products from the heavenly bed to the heavenly shower. While the bed is not really heavenly, but it was not bad either. Quite fluffly and comfortable. Not too hard and not too soft. While I had not the opportunity of using the bath tub but the shower was quite nice as well. Besides the conventional overhead shower, it also had this shower which shoots water horizontally. In the evening, the staff would knock on your door, offering to fill up the ice-tub with ice.

In general, the staff are very professional and nice though there are a few points of which I would like to highlight to the management (if you are reading this!). Firstly, I’m quite surprise that the hotel is employing so many foreign workers who are not so fluent in both English and Malay. But I also do not blame the management on this considering our Malaysians are being such snobbish and picky about jobs.

The staff manning the front desk and lobby are excellent though some times one can feel them being ‘over-act’ their niceness. Just be more natural and nice, not necessarily overly nice. It looks very obvious.

Coming to its ‘heavenly’ breakfast, I really find it enjoyable especially the bakery section, hiding towards the back. The yoghurt, the compote, the waffle, the baguette French toast and the fresh fruit smoothies are really excellent. The lady chef manning the smoothie section was very nice and friendly, and even take the effort of offering me a full glass of smoothie while I was waiting for my French toast. However the other staff manning this section really needs a whipped! Firstly, their priority seems to be pouring those smoothies into sampling glasses and bring it out and give to the patrons while those who wanted to order one were somehow ignored. And to the male chef on that Saturday morning, perhaps you are not feeling well or your request to have sex with your wife in the morning got rejected, that is really not my problem. Your black face and unwillingness of making me that strawberry-grapes smoothie really irritates me. At that moment, I really wanted to splash the smoothie right into his face.


Rojak Part 2: ‘Hello!’ An encounter of the not-so-third kind

It was really funny yet bloody stupid. It happen in the MAS flight from Bangkok to KL. We were just boarded and the plane is still taxied in the runway, ready to move out any minutes. As always, most of the passengers were busy reading the books or the newspapers, hoping the plane could take off asap. Suddenly there was a very loud “Hello” behind me, that kinda surprise quite a number of people. The ‘hello’ was coming from a male passenger, perhaps in his 40s or 50s.

As for the ‘hello’, he was not calling the crews for help or greet other passengers. He was saying ‘hello’ to another party in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur to be specific via his mobile phone. He was calling a limo/taxi service asking the other party to pick him up in KLIA. And he was really talking very loudly that everyone were aware of his mobile phone usage.

Even after the advice from the crew to switch off his phone, he still continue to talk for a few more minutes. In the first instance, everyone knew about the no phone usage regulation in the plane and even though it is still ‘okay’ (don’t quote me on this) to use your mobile phone since the plane is still in taxied, do so discreetly please.
And considering one had such a lengthy time in the airport (from checking-in to boarding) I believed the time is significantly sufficient for one to make a phone call to get a taxi service

Rojakz Part 1: BK Sad Fish!

It was roughly about 4 weeks ago when I was in a Burger King restaurant writing up my previous entry and here I am again in another Burger King restaurant. The difference is that this is in another city. The difference? Not very laptop friendly. While Malaysia continue to shout about wanted to improve it’s internet penetration and having a knowledge society blah blah blah…yet it was really all words and no action.

Firstly, within the KLIA area, it is not easy to find a place where you can find a plug point for the laptop, don’t even mentioned about finding a HOT SPOT. In the international departure lounge, Samsung did provide four internet readied access points, however, it was so freaking slow that I wonder was it on a dial-up.

Then on my way to Burger King here, there was this banner about free wi-fi in KLIA and yet my pc said there are not available network. And in the Burger King Bangkok airport, there is this area specifically for us lap-toppers where plug points are aplenty. What I could gather at this moment is that Malaysia is just shouting, hoping to improve tourist perception about the country. It will be much difficult with us, the residences.

Again, those print media or people in the ministry upon reading this will accused me of lying, unemployed and probably a female. I would really like to invite them to come into Burger King here in the KLIA international lobby and really experience it rather than hearing from the sub-ordinates who would have received information filtered through multiple-layers (i.e from the sub-sub-sub-sub-ordinates).

Well, I need to get to my gate. Boarding time soon. And to the Burger King employees, this is the saddest fish burger I’ve eaten. Yes, your BK Big Fish do have a sesame seeded bun, yet the fish was thin, burnt and over a few small lettuce. REALLY REALLY sad. Which is why, your outlet is emptied! My advise to you is to get out to the main ticketing area and learn from your rival, my favorite fast food restaurant, the one with the golden arches!!!!!

Bangkok, here I am again!