Two Sandwiches By The Singapore River

August 29, 2011 § 10 Comments

Image Source: http://www.blogtoexpress.blogspot.com

The birthplace of Singapore is a river that, today, spans 6 kilometres east-west through the historical heart of the city. Three heritage clusters of conservation shophouses—Boat Quay, Clarke Quay, and Roberston Quay—flank the river and offer city-slickers a contemporary entertainment experience of nightclubs, bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes, and boutique retail shops. Weekend mornings are usually quieter in these parts of town, so we decided to take advantage of it despite the spattering of rain on Saturday.

We ventured to Roberston Quay (located at the tail-end of the Singapore River) for lunch at a quaint little eaterie called Kith Cafe. Our very first visit to Kith Cafe was more than two years ago—since then, this establishment has been featured in lifestyle magazines such as Monocle and has become a favourite amongst residents living nearby. With so much being said about this F&B outlet, we thought we were long overdue to pay Kith Cafe another visit and, this time, with Miss Maple in tow!  

It was a busy Saturday afternoon and the tables and stools spilling out of the cubby-hole space that is Kith Cafe were all fully occupied. After 15 minutes of pacing up and down with hunger pangs serving as constant reminders that our tummies needed to be fed, we finally found ourselves available seats. MM spared no time in placing our orders, and it was quite remarkable how quickly our plates arrived shortly thereafter.

First up was a focaccia sandwich of poached eggs over crispy bacon, avocado, and tomato served with a side of tortilla chips (S$10). I’m not a very big fan of poached eggs, so MM happily stole them off this sandwich. One of the poached eggs was severely overdone, while the other turned out beautifully with the velvety yolk perfectly intact and undisturbed (until broken enthusiastically, of course). All in all, this particular sandwich seemed to have been put together a little too effortlessly. Given its price, we were expecting a little more substance. Indeed, a rare disappointment. 

Next up was a multi-grain sandwich of ginger chicken on a bed of baby spinach, cucumber, and melted cheese with a side of tortilla chips (S$10). The bread was veering slightly towards the stale and dry side, although whether this was the intention is questionable. The chicken was moist and my palate detected an ever-so-subtle hint of ginger. I only wish there could have been a more generous serving of cheese, but that’s just my own biased opinion—I ♥ cheese!


Kith Cafe is a charming little nook-and-cranny with an unobstructed view of the Singapore River. If you can find yourself a spot here, bring a book and pass away the morning with a good read. And, if you’re lucky, you might just spot a replica of a ‘bum boat’ drift by.

  

We might forgo the sandwiches on our next visit to Kith Cafe, but that won’t stop us from trying their special barista coffees. Apparently, coffees are what this humble cafe is best known for. Miss Maple, on the other hand, is too young to learn about caffeine—in any case, just offer this tiny gal water and she is a happy camper.

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Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

Wednesday Woofs {No. 05}

August 24, 2011 § 13 Comments

Have you ever thought what it would be like to one day pack up all your belongings, leave the familiar home that you’ve come to know so well, bid farewell to family and friends, and sojourn for a year or more in a completely new and foreign land? For one Californian husband and wife duo, this is the adventure they have embarked on.

Jeffrey and Flora are currently residing in Singapore and, from the articles in their travelogue, it looks like they are making remarkable memories out of this lifetime experience. It is no wonder that Jeffrey and Flora’s blog was recently nominated as a finalist in the Best Travel Blog category of the 2011 Singapore Blog Awards—quite an amazing feat for two newbies in Singapore! [Editorial Note: I have been living in Singapore for six years and have yet to acquire the same level of expertise. I have a lot of catching up to do!]

What intrigued me about this adventurous pair (besides our shared interest in travel) is their love for their family companions, Lord Stanley and Little Joe—two Bedlington Terriers who travelled across the ocean to join Jeffrey and Flora in tropical Singapore. How has life been like for these two canine expats? Flora gives us the inside scoop—read on to find out!

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Tell us a little bit about how your two adorable Bedlington Terriers, Lord Stanley and Little Joe, entered your lives. Is there a story behind their unique names, as well?

A few years ago after we finished school and got married, Jeff and I were finally ready to add a dog to our family. Jeff really liked the look of Bedlingtons, so we did our research and discovered that this breed would actually suit our urban lifestyle quite well. They are smart, active, and have such great personalities. They’re also great apartment dogs. We spent a lot of time learning about the breed and looking for breeders, only to confirm that this breed was the one for us. Months later, Stan came into our lives.

Part of my research about the breed included signing up for a Bedlington mailing list, and it was through this list that I found Little Joe. He was given back to my breeder from a family that no longer wanted him, and my breeder was looking to find him a forever home. I called her up and said I wanted him, and now he’s a part of our family. He had some odd habits and trust issues from his last family, but he’s opened up so much in the past two years. He’s a testament to the fact that love really does heal wounds.

Their names have to do with our love of hockey. We named Stan (a.k.a. Lord Stanley) after the Stanley Cup, the trophy given to the best team in the National Hockey League at the end of the season. When Joe came around, we added the “Little” to his name after one of our favorite hockey players, Joe “Little Joe” Pavelski. In keeping with this hockey theme, we plan on naming all future dogs after NHL trophies.

What brings you to sunny Singapore? And how did the decision arrive to have Stan and Joe join the both of you in Singapore?

The opportunity to move to Singapore came about because of Jeff’s work–he transferred to his company’s Singapore office a year ago. There was no question that we would bring Stan and Joe to Singapore with us. They’re a part of our family and it would have been really depressing for us without them in our daily lives.

[Editorial Note: Jeffrey and Flora’s blog provides an informative and detailed account of their experience exporting/importing Stan and Joe out of the US and into Singapore. For anyone who may be curious about the process, Flora’s post of FAQs is a great starting point.]

What were some of the biggest adjustments Stan and Joe had to face living in a new environment and how did you help them to overcome those issues?

I get asked this question a lot, but to be honest the dogs adjusted really quickly to Singapore. I don’t think they liked the plane ride or the 10 days in quarantine, but they got over it as soon as they came home. They are used to living in apartments, so getting in the elevator to go on walks is completely normal to them. I kept their feeding and walking schedule pretty much exactly as it was in the US. The heat can get to them sometimes, so I make sure their hair is never too long and I avoid walking them during the middle of the day.

One thing I miss is socializing them with other dogs at dog parks. Although there are a few dog parks in Singapore, they are far from me and I don’t have a car.

How would you describe a typical day in the life of Stan and Joe in Singapore? Is it any different from when you were all based in California?

A typical day starts around 8 am, when the dogs let me know they’re ready to go outside. Usually it’s Stan who tells me he has to go potty by rustling the curtains of the bedroom door. Then we come back and eat breakfast. Most days I stay home with them, but if I have appointments or errands to run they are well-behaved and stay home alone. I take them out to pee in the early afternoon, and again right before dinner time. Then everyone has dinner together. After dinner, we hang out together and Jeff usually throws toys and tennis balls around the house for Stan. Right before we all go to bed, the dogs go on one final potty break for the day. Then it’s lights out. The dogs sleep in dog beds next to my side of the bed.

Singapore is a great launching pad for short getaways to neighbouring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. When you’re both away from home and exploring other parts of this region, is there a boarding place in Singapore where Stan and Joe go for their own mini-vacation?

All our travel would not be possible without The Paws Resort. They are reasonably priced and even come pick our dogs up before we take off on a trip. Whenever The Paws Resort calls to let me know they’re here to pick up the dogs, Stan and Joe get so excited. Our dogs are so smart; they can tell when I’m talking to the kennel staff on the phone and they start barking and scratching at the door. I’m always sad to send them off to the kennel, but it’s comforting knowing that my dogs love staying there and that the staff keeps me updated on them while I’m away.

If Lord Stanley and Little Joe could lead a walking tour, which three places in Singapore would be at the top of their itinerary?

Since we don’t have a car and don’t really go anywhere far from home, Joe and Stan would probably just take you to East Coast Park. We moved to the East Coast of Singapore so they could have space to roam around and go on long walks.

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Thank you, Flora, for taking the time to correspond with us in this interview. You may wish to know that our Lil’ Miss Maple couldn’t agree more with Stan and Joe’s choice of East Coast Park. This lovely green oasis by the beach is right up there on Maple’s list of favourite places in Singapore. She’s wondering if Stan and Joe have ever tried grabbing a coconut from one of the food vendors at East Coast Park—nothing beats a refreshing sip of coconut juice after a long walk! Until then, happy tails and travels.

All images have been re-published with permission from Flora Morena de Thompson.

Not Your Ordinary Walk In The Park

August 23, 2011 § 18 Comments

Sunday was not an ordinary walk in the park for Maple. Unbeknownst to her, we registered ourselves and the Lil’ Miss in the 2011 National Dog Walk—an event organized by the Singapore Kennel Club to raise awareness about responsible dog ownership, as well as to promote an active lifestyle for both dogs and their owners. 

Hundreds of tail-wagging pooches showed up that day at East Coast Park to participate in the doggie sports activities and mass group walk. With dogs of all breeds mingling in amidst the crowds, it was a fun spectacle for any animal-lover at heart. Maple had never before been in the company of so many canines, some of whom charmingly stole the show with their one-of-a-kind personalities.

We arrived shortly after 3:00pm and had some time to spare before the actual walk itself so, while Momsy spent a few minutes checking out the various vendors and stalls, Popsy disappeared with Maple in search of an afternoon snack. With so many adorable four-leggers curious for attention, however, I was eager to quickly end my browse through the booths and start snapping away.

Meanwhile, MM and Maple managed to find a shady place on the grass where the little tyke could play a few rounds of fetch while waiting for the group walk to commence. Maple currently has an overt obsession with her tennis ball—a new toy that I discovered during my recent trip home. The tennis ball, manufactured by Chuckit!, is available in ‘mini’ size which makes it a perfect fit for a petite gal like Maple. 

After waiting patiently for a good hour, our ears perked when an announcement was made for the commencement of the mass group walk. We could sense the anticipation building as dogs and their handlers queued up on one side of the ‘Start’ line while curious bystanders watched from the other.

I think the excitement got to Miss Maple—she requested for a last minute potty break just as we took our positions. Oh well, at least we got that business out of the way early. Once we hit the pavement, though, this little munchkin was raring to go!

The mass group walk was a leisurely stroll that took no more than 20 minutes to complete, and I think it was just about the right distance given the afternoon heat. As a reward to the dogs for being such good sports, slices of dog-friendly cake were distributed and shared amongst the furry ones. Maple invited her Beagle friend and blogging buddy, Lele, to a plate of cake. Lele, being the polite little lady that she is, was happy with just a few nibbles of the crumbs. Our greedy Miss Maple, on the other hand, wolfed down chunks of the cake—as much of it as she could stuff in her cheeks.

  

We don’t typically end our walks with cake, so Sunday was definitely not an ordinary walk in the park! I certainly hope Lil’ Miss Maple won’t be expecting a double-layered frosted treat at the end of every walk from now on ;)

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Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial and/or non-commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

Wordless Wednesday / No. 06

August 17, 2011 § 15 Comments

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It’s Wordless Wednesday—time to blog hop!

The Hostess With The Mostest

August 15, 2011 § 16 Comments

Saturday 6:00pm. MM and I are lost for ideas as to how to feed our rumbling tummies (well, not really lost, just L-A-Z-Y in an idyllic sort of way). “Why don’t you name a place and I’ll take you out for dinner,” says MM. I do a double take. Is my hubby asking me out on a date? Why, I think so!

Suddenly faced with a lack of dining suggestions, I searched for reviews and recommendations online via HungryGoWhere (a community website for foodies in search of good eats in Singapore and select cities in Southeast Asia). What do I see greeting me on the homepage: an August deal-of-the-month promotion at an F&B establishment called Hosted–On The Patio

  • Cozy-warm”
  • Tranquil garden landscaping”
  • Delectable bistro cuisine”
  • “Live band”  

With descriptors like these, I was hooked. I called and made a reservation for two then, sneaking a glance at MM, I asked the receptionist, “Is the restaurant pet-friendly?” I know. I know. This was meant to be a special night-out just between the two of us, but I couldn’t bear to leave Lil’ Miss Maple alone at home. I rationalized the decision with reasons such as how Maple could benefit from: (1) exposure to a new environment, (2) socialization opportunities with fellow diners, and (3) special bonding time over candle light with Momsy and Popsy.

The decision was immediately sealed in concrete when the receptionist replied with, “Yes, the outdoor dining area is pet-friendly.” Pawtastic! The three of us hopped into the car and made our journey to the restaurant. Upon arrival we were greeted by lush greenery, ambient lighting, and the sound of running water from the Koi pond—a little oasis in the middle of an urban jungle.

After settling down, we ordered the Atlantic Crab Salad (S$16) followed by Smoked Duck Linguine (S$24) and Three Cheese and Mushroom Pizza ($14). MM devoured the salad, announcing it as the best plate of lettuce he ever had—I think what he meant to say was that the savoury crab meat, tangy citrus segments, sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, and spicy black pepper combined to make a merry experience on the palate. We can’t wait to try an improvised version of this tasty salad at home.

The Smoked Duck Linguine sounded like it had a lot of potential to be an all-star favourite. While this cream-based pasta certainly packed a flavourful punch, I found it lacked the presentation zeal that would take it up a notch. The Three Cheese and Mushroom Pizza, on the other hand, was a winner with me but fell short of MM’s expectations. What I liked about this thin-crust pizza was the generous topping of arugula over the amalgamated fusion of cheeses: mozzarella, parmesan, and blue cheese. For MM, the added mushrooms were too few and far between—a shame because their earthy flavours would have given the pizza a whole new dimension.

Dessert came and went too quickly for me to snap any photos ;)  We ordered the Molten Dark Chocolate Fondant (S$14) and Warm Apple Crumble (S$12). Of the two desserts, the one that received the most praise from MM was the crumble. MM exclaimed that the crumble was excellent. In his opinion, the crumble topping was perfectly sweet and crunchy, and nicely balanced the soft apple filling. The vanilla ice-cream that accompanied the crumble, unfortunately, lacked character—I think I would have given this dessert two thumbs up otherwise.

Hosted–On The Patio is a rare find, given its: (1) hidden location away from the hustle and bustle of the city, (2) family-friendly environment with a wooden swing and Koi pond to amuse the little ones, (3) acceptance of pets within its outdoor premises (a little known fact…for now), and (4) reasonably-priced and -portioned menu items. We will definitely be adding Hosted–On The Patio to our personal list of favourite pet-friendly restaurants and return when another occasion for a lazy weekend arises…hopefully soon!

  

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Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

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