Things I Can't Tolerate

One of the questions consistently thrown at me these couple of years is, "when you getting married ah?".

One might think, what's the big deal? Well, if it's the first time you're asking me, it's ok, I can answer you in an overly polite manner. Second time, I'd say it matter-of-factly, third dose and pretty darn close to the eruption, answer given with gritted teeth. Fourth is kaboom.

It amazes me, why so many out there are even more 'enthusiastic' about me getting married than I am. We will get married when the time is right and who better to know that other than me and him? You think easy peasy matter to be wedded? Think it's just signing on a few pieces of paper, give aunty uncle drink tea, then yaaaaaaaaam seng one whole night then settle liaw?

Sorry I have to crush your fragile ideas about marriage, but no, it's not just that. It's a large responsibility and before the responsibility begins, me, like many other modern couples, would prefer to have a proper house we can call our own, and of course, financial stability.

And it gets better. Some of these 'questioners' (which normally comprise of folks of a senior category) would then launch into a long-winded lecture about how it is important to plan things out, having kids before hitting 30, no need wait so much money, no need house bla bla bla. Geez... different people have different opinions and while I do not force you to look from my point of view, I'd expect the same from you. And do you actually think that within the 9 months post-wedding a baby is going to pop out??

After so many years of being in a long distance relationship, I could really do with a nice, proper period to enjoy wedded moments before having a new life in the circle. I'm not against having babies but don't you think it's all rather tiring? Imagine the months and months of wedding planning, getting the actually wedding day through, then 9 months of TLC, couple of days in panic and excruciating labour pain, then indefinite number of years comprising of screaming babies, yelling toddlers, mayhem-filled lives.

NO. And I am firm about that. Let ME decide when I want to be married, and when I want to have kids. My life, not yours to determine.

At least Mom and Dad are really cool about all this, never really bringing up the marriage topic, knowing that I am wise and old enough to decide what's good for me. See?? I appreciate the concern people have for me but once is ok, more than that is not. I shall take your advice, but I may not act according to them, thank you very much.

Wah, super long-winded post this is turning out to become.

I also cannot tolerate people who love telling me what I CAN or CANNOT do.

Since young, I've been a really rebellious prat. I've been fighting for my freedom as far as I can remember. Mom used to take heavy parental control over us siblings, which is against my nature. I fought back, again and again to achieve independence.

And now that I'm all grown up, so used to the freedom that I have fought for, suddenly having some people telling me what I can or cannot do.... is something I have not experienced for a long, long time... And I'm telling you, I don't like it one bit. I take pride in the fact that I hardly make decisions on impulse and am wise enough to know what is good or bad for me.

Giving advice and stuff like that is fine... but being confined to do what others want me to.... hell no. It's quite scary sometimes, thinking that I might, in the future, unleash the rebel in me to get a point across. No, I don't want to do that.... so don't force that ugly side out of me!

Two-in-One Birthday Treats

The sin jamban :D

It was such a chaotic day. Got up on time but by the time most of us were ready, it was supposed to be time that we left SP for Penang. Some more TY's contact lenses dropped and Pickles was gambolling over the room floor.

But no worries. Pretty much happy ending. I think. Reached Straits Quay close to 12:30pm, found a car park real easy (the place is not so commercialized yet ) and made a quick decision to try Agua (yea, yea, whatever ah gua jokes you have in mind, heard them sudah, so let's move on), which serves Mediterranean cuisine with influences from Middle East, Morocco, Spain, France and Italy.

I love Straits Quay. It's clean (for now), the quaint colonial structure of the building is a refreshing sight to the usual squarish shopping malls. I already have my sights set on trying the Irish or German restaurants there once I get the chance.

Our waiter is so attentive! He's always checking on us and when he asked TY how is his ginger ale (or whatever it's called), and TY replied that they might have put in lime juice instead of ginger, he politely scooped the glass from under TY's nose and zipped over to the bar to get TY the right drink. Efficient, I loike! And most pleasantly surprising of all, the restaurant does not apply service charges.

As this is an atas restaurant, the main courses would set you back at RM40-50 per entree. They also provide set lunches, which Mom and Dad took of each.

Dad's Salad Agua. Fresh market salad with Serrano ham, walnuts, cheese and house dressing. I must say that this is quite an acquired taste. The cheese emits a strong smell and Dad could take no more than a couple bites from it hehe.

So he and Mom exchanged appetizers. lol.

Mom's Albondigas. Spanish meatballs in piquante tomato sauce. It's a sort of safe dish to me, though it may just simply be that I don't have a chef's sensitive tongue :p Well, mom likes it.

TY and I both shared an appetizer, and the day's special because I didn't feel like having too much, which is normally the case when I will be traveling.

So I ordered an Artichoke Bottom topped with tomato, serrano ham and manchego cheese. Dressing is similar to Dad's Salad Agua but the greens they use are really fresh and I love the combination of the salty serrano ham with the crisp crunch of the salad leaves and the softness of the cheese and tomatoes. First time trying artichokes too! Not exactly blown away by its taste and texture, but so far so good...

Our mains!

The day's special: Moussaka. A traditional Greek dish with minced lamb, aubergines, potatoes and savoury bechamel served with salad and fried potatoes.

Without doubt, I honestly think that this is the best of the three main dishes we ordered that day (a bit of a spoiler, this being the first main to be introduced... oh well). I just love how rich the taste of the different herbs and spices together transforming the minced lamb. While we were eating, I was confused as to what other ingredients that makes up the dish but after blogging and going through the menu only did I realize they are aubergines -.- Yummy regardless.

Oh and I must gush over the fried potatoes! The name itself may sound icky but how can anyone not love the crispy outer layer of the potato and the soft, crumbling insides? :D

Dad's Fillet of Fish (typical dad) St Tropez, pan fried with herbs, garlic, white wine reduction and cream. Dad's comments were oklah heheheh typical dad! Resistant to changes from his usual meals. He must have felt like the whole lunch thingy is a waste of money on food he doesn't appreciate :p I tried some of his fish and I'd say the fish is quite fresh, and the cream sauce is quite rich too.

Mom's Andalucian Chicken. Baked chicken, with onions and red capsicum, white wine and served with potatoes. Again, not Mum's type too. Says that it just tastes like steamed chicken of sort. I think Agua is doing this on purpose. Lousy-fying the set lunch menus but upping the oomph on the special ala cartes. But I have to agree with Mum on the Andalucian chicken. Takde oomph.

I love my parents :) oh... Mom's birthday is coming up!

Sweet treats!

Don't you just loooove how they presented the desserts??

Lemon Meringue Pie. Individual Tart with Vanilla ice-cream. By the way, the waiter pronounced 'meringue' as 'merenge' kekekkke someone needs to extend their F&B in-house training!

That dark glob is Dad's Pear Belle Helene. Vanilla poached pear served with vanilla ice-cream and with rich chocolate sauce. Well, they sure got that rich chocolate sauce darn right. It's so thick that it's really tough licking your spoon clean afterwards. I think I would have enjoyed this more if they omitted the chocolate sauce and just leave the vanilla poached pear alone with the ice-cream. Limelight stealer, that thick globby sauce.

And I decided to order something I have not tried before. Oranges in Caramel with Red Wine Sauce. (with red wine, cinnamon and cloves).

It's pretty and all but I don't quite like the overwhelming spices Agua used to create this. It's slightly bitter, sweet and the cinnamon/cloves is overpowering everything else. And you know what, I've come to a conclusion that I shall not visit another Middle Eastern/Greek-influenced restaurant again (I think). Especially the Middle Eastern part. I've tried them with an open heart, open mind and open mouth but I just can't seem to enjoy or even understand the 'culinary logic' in their tastes. Ah well, did I say happy ending? Only half true.

Bill came close to RM200 for the four of us, left a small tip for the waiter (what? I also need cari makan ohkayyyyy), only had enough time to bring Mum & Dad out on the quay for a glimpse and a shot before jostling back to the car.

Oh, happy ending cos I managed to check into my flight on time.

3A-G 18 & 19 Straits Quay,
Jalan Seri Tanjung Pinang,

Tanjung Tokong,
10470 Penang
Tel: 04-8908668

Five Star Meal

I ajak-ed Mom to have dinner at the Straits Quay (cos sin jamban ho pang sai) but Mom was reluctant about traveling all the way to Penang for dinner when I will be going back there again the next day for my flight back KL so we postponed the sin jamban dinner to the next day.

In the meantime, lucky me as I get more opportunity to have home-cooked food :)

Deep fried prawn fritters, pan-fried tofu, long beans and bean sprouts all combined to make an awesome gado-gado! I love Mom's cooking :)

Especially love the prawn fritters. I was already popping them in before the entire dish was put together hehe.

Hmm. The same could not be applied for this one though. Tua Ee made lotus root soup and she said it's quite kao and told Mom to dilute it a wee bit with water but Mom went and added mushroom-y water which kinda spoiled the soup flavor T-T Sigh.

Much to my ecstasy, a portion of perut ikan was frozen, waiting patiently for me to devour it! Oh yea baby :D Defrost, steaming, and sooooooooo heavenly with plain white rice. Mmmmmmm......

And you know what, it could never taste any better. The flavors are so intense and rich that I eat with a slightly glazed expression hehe.

Bigass steamed fish with mushroom and miscellaneous herbal components. It was so big that the cover of the pot could not close properly and hence we had to microwave this beast for ten more minutes -.-

I've said it once and I will say it again. I'm such not a fish person! Help! Getting sick of meat too (though I still get those awkward cravings every now and then.

And the heng chai leaves that I helped Mom to wash hehe... Simple and delicious way cooking them. Lip smacking.

Okie abrupt end of another torturous post at 9:45pm on a Saturday night.

Hai Boey Chu Char

Was back in Penang the previous weekend and usually an obligatory flow of stomach-rumbling-inducing sort of photos that I may or may not have sinfully gobbled.

Typical TY did not tell me we're going to a sandy area having chu chai and I thought we're heading to Straits Quay luckily I didn't bring my heels and stuff or else I'd skin him alive, fry his hairy skin and feed them to the stray dogs.

My fave deep fried sotong! Such a universal fave (no, I don't know that for sure, just saying). Dipped in Thai chili sauce while it's piping hot for a bit of heat to a satisfying crunch!

Thai style stir fry Kappa. Love the spice to it! I like the accompanying soup on the plate but normally I'd be reluctant to take too much of them because I have no means of finding out how well they clean the seashells and how safe is the water they included.

*Running out of ideas for food description.

Than. Not quite fond of these. Rather get my hands on those bloody hums any time.

Yippee! Another of my fave stir fried skinny french beans with garlic!

Oh crap, I just realized that TY did not take a shot of the stir fried xiao bai chai.

Pai kut ong. Ji Yee's pai kut ong still ichiban! Never tasted any other as good as hers. Hai Boey's version of the pai kut ong is a lot more caramelized and sweet. Not my type.

Braised tofu with a type of squash? Mushy, in a good way :D

And some expensive steamed fish that costs a whopping RM180. I'm such not a fish person! Every few days need to force feed myself with fish for whatever nutrients I may be lacking -.-

The grand finale salted egg yolk crabs! Delightful, though I have tasted better ones, in Teluk Kumbar. These sea creatures sets us back RM130 for a plate.

Bill came to about RM48 a person, not bad I suppose, considering the large amount of food we ordered. But the pain in the ass is in the long drive towards Gertak Sanggul. Only two lanes, one for a direction and some cars are slow-moving.

And to end this self-torture post, a self captured shot on TY's cam :D

Hai Boey @ Gertak Sanggul

Mom's and TY's birthday lunch (2 in 1) next :D

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