Saturday, December 31, 2011

Buddy Bears in Kuala Lumpur

The Buddy Bears are being displayed in from of the Pavilion Mall, Kuala Lumpur, along Jalan Bukit Bintang. Here are some shots of the public display.

New Year's Eve Dinner

Happy New Year, dinner at sis' house...

 Some Siu Pau as sides

 I sliced this turkey, not bad for the first time, hehe.

Happy New Year Everyone! and welcome 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pelikan M1000 Souveran - Review

Ever since I purchased my first Pelikan, which was a M800, I knew I was opening doors to another chapter in my pen collection and discovering more wonderful writing instruments. The M1000 has been on my list and further reading and research on this particular instrument reaffirms me that this is the right direction to go. 

As with my previous purchases, I have opted to look for shops and to test any Pelikan before buying. I have learnt from previous experience that most Pelikan does not write well OOTB and I wanted to be very sure of the pen that I buy will be as trouble-free as possible. 

This time around, I was around Kuala Lumpur and happen to have the opportunity to swing by Pengallery itself. It was like a visit to a candy store. I had the opportunity to test some of the newest arrivals of other brands as well.

Testing the Pelikan was an interesting experience. From my previous purchase of the M800, I have learnt that a lot of the factory-fresh nibs has problems that may compromise writing experience. In PenGallery, I had an M, F and EF nib before me to test. The EF has a good flow but a tad bit scratchy for my taste while the M nib was a little to wet and bold for my handwriting style, though it was the smoothest of the three. The F nib strikes the right cord with the right amount of flow, feedback and quality of line that is neither too wet or dry for my liking. I knew that at the moment this can be one of my favourite writer! 

First Impression

Wrapped in the new packaging, it's refreshing to see it coming with its own pen sleeves compared to the previous packaging. 

Appearance and Design 7.0/10

Though the design is classic, elegant and understated, personally, I don't think it will take home the award for best looking pen around. However, I do appreciate the simple and classic design of the flat top and simple form and shape of the entire piece. The new logo is a all gold plated emblem which I personally prefer to the older ones. 

Construction and Quality 9.0/10

One of the better built pens around. I can’t help but comparing it to the Montblanc 149 and I agree to most opinions that the M1000 feels a bit more solid compared to the 149. The cap screws in tight in about 1 turn, quick and ready for action. The joints and details are simple and built to last. The whole pen feels tight and well constructed.

Weight and Dimension 8.0/10

I generally have no issues with light or heavy pens as I’m rather flexible in adjusting to different pen size and weight. With the brass parts and its sheer size, though heavier than most pens, I find it rather comfortable to write with. Weight distribution is a little bit towards the piston knob due to the brass components, and for a pen this size, generally it will be more comfortable without the cap being posted on. It is a rather large pen and may not sit well on a shirt pocket due to the weight and size. I normally keep my pens in cases so, that’s not really an issue for me.

Nib Performance 8.5/10 (Fine)

The nib is one of the best I’ve used so far. I have not much experience with flexible nibs and I’ve learnt that this may not be a true flex after all, but to have a nib that can yield to some pressure does gives a whole new writing experience. Without much pressure, it writes just like any other modern stiff nibs but a little pressure applied on it gives it nice variation and add interest to my writing. It does have a little feedback which is what I’m looking for and does not glide too effortlessly, like my other F nib on the 149. 

As mentioned earlier, in my quest to look for the perfect factory nib, I have been going around testing every M1000 I can get my hands on, and this was closest to the ‘perfect’ nib. There is of course no such thing, unless we send it to a nibmeister. After all the objective here is to look for the best factory sample as a benchmark. 

I find that the tines were never always align. Before writing, the left seemed to be slightly lower and when come in contact with paper surface, the tines rubbed against each other producing soft clicking sounds. This would repeat a few times while writing a sentence and gave the impression of loose parts moving in the writing block, thus compromising the ‘quality feel’ of the pen. This was just a minor annoyance and the clicking sound was only audible in a very quiet environment (in fact I did not even hear it in the shop and realized it only when I was using it at home).

I took a chance to fix this myself by apply some light pressure on the top of the split of the nib and slightly to one side to ‘bend’ the right tines slightly down. Now the default position seems to be well align and the sound of the tines hitting each other is a very rare occurrence, if not entirely gone. Constant use for the past few days may also contributed to the correction of the tines. 

Note that all the above does not seem to compromise the writing experience and quality in any way. There are no flow issues, always consistent, neither too wet or dry, and will write instantly even when left out in the open for a while. Pure writing pleasure. 

Filing System and Mechanism 9.0/10

One of the smoothest piston mechanism I’ve ever used, smoother than the MB pens I have. The green window is a little dark and one needs bright background light to really check the level of the ink, but I’m not complaining as I would not want the simple aesthetic to be compromised with a brighter window.

Cost and Value 8.5/10

At less than half the price of its competitor, the 149, the new production M1000 is at a very good value with a 3 years warrantee and 4 weeks nib exchange program. Pelikan service seems to have a good reputation, so there’s some reassurance there of after sales service. What can I say, I’m a happy bird.

Conclusion 8.33/10

The M1000 is a class of its own even when compared to the lesser Souveran series. My 149 F is my most frequent pen in my rotation of FPs and I have a feeling this will help to reduce the mileage of that 149. Highly recommended if you’re into larger series pens.

Thank you again for reading!

Size comparison Between M1000 and MB149

 nib comparison of the flagship pens, almost similar in size 
but with totally different personalities

 Cap design comparison between the 2 giants

While taking these pictures, Mr Grasshopper 
express his curiosity on the new writing instrument 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ah Tuan Ee's Place Restaurant @ The Curve

Our next food adventure takes us to Ah Tuan Ee's place at The Curve shopping mall. There are heaps of restaurant around this section of the mall and nyonya cuisine appeals to us with the selection of spicy food available here.

The menu extends to a good variety of dishes from Assam based white meat dishes to some of the homemade recipe.

Sambal petai sotong was the main attention here. Just enough spice and spiciness.

On the sides, kangkung belacan, our personal favourite

Egg tofu, to balance up the flavor of dishes here

Overall, very well prepared dishes and I wish I have the stomach to try almost all of it. Recommended at 7.9 over 10

San Terri Cottage - tea time

San Terri cottage has been around and has a few branches around the Klang Valley. I stopped by here to wait for our tenant to handover our keys to our apartment in Plaza Damas. I like the multiple colored deco and wallpaper motifs used extensively for the interiors and myriad colors of furniture. A good place to have a break and a cup of cappuccino suits me just fine here. Their deserts are well reputed as well.

Confinement Food, Ginger Chicken - Mom's recipe

The joyous season of this Christmas was further blessed with the coming of a new family member. My sister in law just gave birth to a healthy new baby girl that has been the centre of attention for the past couple of weeks.

With the new mommy and daddy busy getting into the rhythm of parenthood, we the family members are contributing as much as we can to help them with their daily chores. I got from my mum her recipe for confinement food to help with the dietary needs of a nursing mother. There are a lot of do's and don't s of what to eat and things to avoid but I won't elaborate much on that here.

I shall just document here a simple recipe for confinement food which I have prepared for the new mummy.

GINGER CHICKEN - One serving

Ingredients -

1. Quarter Chicken - cut into pieces
2. Muk Yee (Jelly Fungus) - cut into smaller pieces
3. Ginger - sliced into strips
4. Cooking Rice wine (no more than 15% alcohol) - 1 teaspoon
5. Cooking oil, corn preferred - (no peanut oil!)
6. Sesame oil (optional) for taste

Ginger - sliced into strips

Muk Yee (Jelly Fungus)


Cooking Rice wine

Methods -

1. Heat up frying pot with medium fire with one table spoon of corn oil.
2. When hot, place in sliced ginger into the pan and stir
3. When ginger emits fragrant, put in pieces of chicken and stir until partially cooked.
4. Put in the Muk Yee and stir fry , still in medium fire.
5. To ensure that no flavour is lost, reduce to slow fire and pour in half a cup of water to complete the stew mix
6. At this point before continue boiling, pour in a teaspoon of rice wine
7. Cover the pot and leave it boil in slow fire for about 45 mins to an hour
8. Before serving add a few dash of sesame oil for flavouring (optional)

Step 1 and 2

Step no. 3

Step no. 4

Stew boiled in slow fire

Note that there are no sugar or salt in this recipe. The intention is to use the natural flavour of the ingredient as much as possible.

The prepared ginger-chicken
Broccoli Leaves serves as a good side, also with ginger and garlic
brown rice is recommended as part of the meal

The complete meal ready to be served.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Old Town White Coffee - Hartamas

Old Town White Coffee is one of the few first stop we go to when we came back to Malaysia for holidays. Being deprived for so long, any local food is good food! My other half and I joined our friend, Julian for tea after an exhausting day running our chores. I was trying to save some space for dinner but got really tempted by the pictures in the menu and started indulging. 

even the interior is appetizing

Hazelnut white coffee, always good... 

Sandwich spreads...

Nasi Lemak Supreme!!

and one of my favourite, Asam Laksa

This is only the beginning of our gastronomical adventure.... muahahahah

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Singapore Flyer

One of my most anticipated destination in Singapore was the Singapore Flyer. The Ferris wheel-observation structure gives an idea of Singapore urban structure which I have always wanted to see from that angle.  Here are some pictures to share. 

Of course, we couldn't go up there with and empty stomach. One can't go wrong with the Cha Kuey Tiaw mix here.

Ice tea's a great compliment too. Love the cups and its not too sweet.

and along with some popia. All these can be enjoyed at the food-court at the base of the flyer.

 The lush green rainforest courtyard greets us upon arrival to the lobby.

These are the capsules which will take up to the top....

And the views from above....