ilLido Lunch Do

 Heard about this Italian restaurant for ages. Have a colleague who sings praises of this place and I was determined to try out the food there, to see what the fuss is all about! So, what else, on a Friday, we cabut early during lunch, and made our way towards Yap Kwan Seng road for a fine dining rendezvous :D

I'd planned ahead to grab the set lunch menu .... and thank goodness I did. You'll see why in a bit.

 Great ambience, we were the first diners to arrive. Ordered an apple juice beforehand. Tasted like it came out of a carton lol. Ah well, better not think too much.

A bit of a starter with foccacia bread with olive oil and vinegar dip. Bread was really soft in the center but I wish the outer skin was more crispy though!

 Seriously, I find it so ironic that we pay premium to dine in these restaurants, but the logic of paying more and getting more doesn't apply! Check out our first bite:

Hehehehe.... Come closer!

Amuse bouche of a thinly sliced king fish with fennel cream. Huar. Loved it! The tangy fennel cream complements the sashimi-like king fish. I wish I could have more of this :( But great start though :D

At this point a couple more tables started to fill up. But I gotta give credit to the waiters there though. Ever so attentive but I wish I could comprehend their accent a little better! I can't quite tell where a few of them are from and when I inquired one of them about the set lunch, he recited the menu so quickly and thickly that I only managed to comprehend 40% yikes.

Appetiser! I had a choice between a potato soup with truffle or another salad (which I can't remember its name now) but I was in a mood for soup. And seriously, I am not exaggerating when I say that this is the best soup I've ever had. There was nothing humble about the potato soup. Each mouthful makes me crave for more. And I haven't even started on the piece of truffle yet! Okla, I doubt ilLido gave us a premium truffle slice but still!! Words cannot describe. You gotta try it to be won over.

Photographers hard at work... lol.

Another ironic punya case.... instead of ordering something Italian (which presumably should have been the case since ilLido is reputed to serve good Italian dishes) but I chose a duck confit instead ;) I can't quite remember the full name of the dish (thanks to that foreign waiter) but it's something like Pan-fried duck confit on a bed of mashed potatoes and mustard sauce... lol. 

What I think? I first tried the pan-fried potatoes and mashed potatoes. Ah.... Superb but you can't go wrong with those I s'pose. Then I started cutting the duck and my first thought was, damn! This thing seems to be pretty tough! Scared rubbery leh. But I was pleasantly surprised. Duck meat was tender, though slightly on the chewy side. 

Finally... dessert. Mine was panna cotta (which literally means cooked cream). WK was wobbling his own plate of panna cotta and announced to the rest of us who would listen that a good sign of a panna cotta is, when jiggled, it maintains its form and doesn't break.... lol. More gelatin perhaps ;)

Panna cotta, hands down, was top notch! Smooth and melts away into goodness.... sigh....... drool.....

Bill came up to RM751+ for the six of us! Lol. But that was because half of us ordered a la carte instead of going for the set lunch. For my case, I only had to pay slightly over RM80 for the set lunch, which, considering ilLido is a fine dining restaurant, is pretty value-for money! Anyways... when we went back to the office only did I realize that ilLido charged us RM50 for three bottles of plain water (wtf!). Some Italian water from Venice or something kot...

I only wished that I could eat slowly and savour every bite as opposed to trying to wolf everything down, and then head back to the office to work after! Lol... but seriously, I am hooked! Would love to come back and try some of their homemade pastas

Tunggu TY come KL :D

Work In Progress

Got a load of coloured paper, craft and all those artsy fartsy stuff... For a little project I'm working on ;)

End result should look good! Stay tuned for the product... Maybe in a few weeks time hehe.

Taman Negara: Of Fog and Tarzan Swings

Wah! Got so many things I need to blog about but not enough time! Sigh.... Admittedly, they are  predominantly gastronomic-related posts hehehe.... 

Back to business! Kong-ed out on the not-too-comfy beds at 2am. My roomie Phy couldn't stop talking! lol. In a cute way. I had my alarm set at 6:45am. Simply because I take longer time to get ready in the morning.

The morning air was crisp and foggy! I love foggy mornings hehehe... Brings back the good memories of Maxwell Hill. Sigh. 

 Oh. Another shot from Justin. It kinda looks fancy here in this wide angle shot la. But the beds in our room right, one has a Pooh bear mattress cover and this gross pink blanket lol. Mine was somewhat off-white though. lol.

 The ghostly image on the left is Mimi hehehe. And that's Phy scuttling as fast as she could across the canopy walkway that we have to cross every time we get to/back from the resort.

Breakfast at the Pesona resort lodge...  sucks, big time! lol. It appears that the owners have never had so many visitors and they kept running out of food. I simply had toasted bread with scrambled eggs (which the whole plate was gone within 5 minutes it was served) and this weird-looking pulut which all of us could go no further than two spoonfuls.

Day 2 itinerary: Trek and walk across the canopy walkway (which Taman Negara claims to be the longest in the world (which I kind of doubt its credibility), then hike up to the Bukit Terisik, get back to the resort for lunch, and off for rapid shooting LOL.

 Nice not this shot! :D

 It was still early, and most fortunately we were scheduled to get on the walkway in the morning because, due to the limitations of  the number of people allowed at each station, more and more people were stuck at the entrance because they just weren't allowed on to the canopy walkway yet.

 The walkway was pretty fun la coz of the company. But it could otherwise have been boring. I think I need my walking encyclopaedia aka Ah Huat to make it more interesting lol. 

 A large fluorescent dragonfly feeding on a dead dragonfly. Gross. Shot taken from Justin's cam too. When all of us completed the one-hour walk, we started on hiking and trekking through the 130 million years old tropical rainforest. How great it was to be able to hike again, after the long hiatus! How I missed the days when I trained for Mount Kinabalu...

 After a slow hour-and-half hike, we reached the peak of Bukit Terisek. We were awarded with this view...

 The tallest peak is the Mount Tahan. One of the toughest mountains to hike in Malaysia. Even tougher than the highest peak Kinabalu because you have to carry your own necessities/camp/tents/water etc and the entire hike is supposed to take about 4-5 days. Stim.

We made our way downhill again, which was a lot faster hehehe thanks to gravity and we were ferry-ed back to the floating restaurant by 12:30pm, just in time for lunch.

 The lunch affair was by leaps and bounds better than the dinner the night before! Stir-fried mixed vegetables and this yummy sweet and sour deep fried fish with onions. It was oh-so-good surprisingly lol. 

 And they also served this soup of cucumber with tomatoes lol. It's not bad la really. But for me, I'm just happy with more fibre servings. 

Since we have time to kill before the next activity, we decided to head back to the resort, and chillax first before heading for rapid shooting. Ended up talking some more to the chatterbox hehehe. Oh, and the walls at Pesona are thin! Mimi teased us that she could hear every word we were gossiping about! 


 After a quick change into our 'swimming' things, we were off in the boat again. We first went on a short visit at the orang asli settlement. We also witnessed how they create fire, which is an extremely important skill for the orang aslis if they wish to get married.

Then we got back to the boat for rapid shooting and I asked Justin, what rapid shooting is supposed to be about and he said, we are going against the rapids so ok lor and anyways we were all prepared to get wet.

But it was so lame! In truth, it is quite unlikely to get wet doing this rapid shooting. However, ALL of us got drenched at varying degrees, simply because a few kacau people who dip their hands into the river and got us all splashed from the waves!

 When we reached a riverbank which we nicknamed Tarzan (you'll see why later), we were all soaked! There was a couple in the same boat as us, but not part of our group who fell victims to our deeply ingrained wish to soak everyone else. Poor them hehehe.

 The Tarzan swing! You climb up onto these pile of wood, grab onto the rope and swing forwards before letting go and you are supposed to fall into the river. Problem was, the distance between the pile of wood to the river is a good 8 meters or so. I actually witnessed one of the kids from our group who fell flat on his tummy and cut his lip because he let go of the rope too soon! It was quite traumatizing for me to watch and I didn't want to go on the Tarzan rope until much persuasion. Well, it was fun la lol and I ended going on it twice :D

 We left soon after and trooped back to the resort for a much needed scrubbing hehehe. Then it was back to the floating restaurant for dinner. The night's menu: chicken in soy sauce, stir-fried taugeh with tau fu pok and stir fried long beans with eggs.

 Initially some of us wanted to go on a 4WD ride through the forest in the hopes of viewing more wildlife. But we were told that sights of wildlife are not guaranteed and it was also kinda pricey, about RM30 per person for an hour  ride. So we decided to forgo that, and instead content ourselves by gathering our seats and tables from the resort and arranging them right in the centre of the walkway, and just eating and talking the night away. It was really pleasant. the night air was cool, and we had plenty to munch on hehehe.

 The next morning, we were up early again, packed our things and were ready to leave the park by 9am. Took the looooong boat ride again but this time we were going downstream so it was faster than the time we were heading towards Taman Negara. 

Downstream or not, it was still close to two-and-a-half hour's ride! By the time it was close to the second hour, one of the guys in our group asked the boatman to stop at one side of the riverbank so some of us could relieve ourselves. 

And yours truly was one of them. In the jungle. Au naturale. :S Had to do it quick some more scared got orang asli popping out of nowhere lol some more paranoid got spirits or something! Some more got ants! Rofl. ok I shall not spare too much details, but rest assured that no ants were harmed in the process. I think.

Had lunch at the KNS cafe again (wait, I think it's called NKS) and before long, it was time to head back to the bustling city again... :( Someone in the group asked to stop for durians along the way, if we see any. But before that Justin brought us to this cendol place where they would usually go when they're biking!

 It's supposed to be a really popular place in Pahang. If it involves food, I'm keen! ;)

 So I ordered this cendol and they included a scoop of pandan ice-cream. My verdict? I still think Penang Road serves better kick ass cendol! But Phy ordered a peanut ice-cream and I tried, it was really good! But I don't think this place is gonna induce any craving from me anytime soon...

 Found durians before getting out onto the highway! There was this huge sign that says Mu Sang King lol. It's like another breed of durian or something la. Anyways, I'm not really big on durians, but since everyone else in the ride I'm in are having it, I'd have to join 'em. 

 Justin forced to to take a shot with a durian lol. Don't ask why :p

Finally reached KL sometime 6 or 7... Well, in any case, I can finally proudly tell tourists to Malaysia, what Taman Negara is all about, first hand ;)

Taman Negara: The Ride that Never Ends

Knowing that I only have about 2 months left in KL, I knew that this is the only chance I will ever get to try out everything and anything at all - hence when Active Bugs invited me to Taman Negara, I thought, what the heck. 

Never really had any inclination for Taman Negara, but it seems a bit silly to be a Malaysian and not knowing what the place holds. Worse still if some random foreigner approaches me and asks what's in Taman Negara and I can't answer hehehe.

A 3D2N trip, I had to take Friday off. Got up at 5:45am (damn!) because Sani is picking me up at 6:30am. If I had known how punctual he can be, I'd leisurely set my alarm at 7am and still be early for him!

Anyways, long story short, after a breakfast of McDonald's pancakes, hash brown and sub-standard coffee, then a two-hour drive later, and a second breakfast of roti kosong with 100 plus and another half hour's drive, we arrived Jerantut.

 After offloading our things from the cars, we headed into this double shop lot called NKS Hostel/Travel  (like, if you read fast enough, it's almost like KNS kekekke) which arranges transport and accommodation to Taman Negara. Here, we were told that the bus will only be taking us at around 2pm.

 Marketing gimmick

 KNS also serves lunch - fried rice with fried chicken and fried pappadom. Doesn't look very appetizing here, but it was good! Cleaned the plate hehehhe. Oh there's free flow of bananas too but I only later found out that it was paid for lol.

 Random house/shop house by the street.

 Finally, the bus picked us all up. Strangely, we locals made up only 20 percent of the group heading for Taman Negara. The others were ang mohs. The ride towards the river jetty took only about 15 minutes or so. 

Presenting the teh-tarik-coloured Sungai Tembeling! Lol.... Initially I was sort of grossed out by its colour. But I only found out later the muddy brown wasn't exactly due to pollution, but upstream logging that mud-ifies the river.

 A group shot of the others! Great people there, Mimi and hubby Hisham, Soy, Sean, Phy, Sani, Cikgu Siti and Yani :) Some photos taken from Active Bugs :D

 When the others saw me wearing this gear, they asked, going for marathon ah? Lol.

 The guide who assigns everyone to their boats is kinda rude. Shouting like we all owe him a hefty sum of money. But that aside, the boat is pretty cool leh! The back support is slightly declined and they even lapik this cushion on the seats! As the boat heads upstream, the ride wasn't that fast but still a gentle breeze kept us all cool against the drone of the engine. I commented to Justin, that they should really consider serving piƱa colada or mojito hehehheheh. Could really use that since this being a 3-hour boat ride and all.

 More and more shots of greens. Excited!

 Amidst that excitement, tragedy struck. Ok, that was a bit exaggerating but it's still kinda unfortunate la. We noticed that our boat engine kept dying and our boatman had to restart it a few times. Until the boat behind us also overtook us.

After a few rounds of having to reignite the engine, the boatman from the other boat asked our boat to pull over while they sort of checked on the engine. Then they decided to move half of the occupants on our boat to the other one, including our things.

And I thought that was it, until they hooked a long line of rope from their boat to ours! Lol... boat towing pulak this. So after ten minutes or so of towing, finally the boatmen decided that our boat is too heavy and all of us ended up shifting and squeezing with the others to Boat #2! I think there was at least 32 of  us there on that boat. Boat #1 was ditched on the river bank.

At this point also, some mindless fler went and turned on his iPad and started playing games on it. Which I am fine with BUT he had the volume turned on full, no doubt. I hate it so much when I am out, trying to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and these jerks have got to bring my peace crashing down.

Some of the orang asli or aborigines that we bumped into along the way... Have never seen these people before. Apparently they are of the Batek tribe.

  Our boat passing by this mother bathing her baby. Wonder how tough life must have been on them. They do not even have access to clean water, and instead have to resort to bathing their children in this teh tarik river...

The ride seemed to go on and on and on.... After what felt like an eternity (actually 3 hours and a half la), we arrived a floating restaurant cum jetty lol.

We had to walk and hike up a small hill for almost 5-10 minutes before reaching a tarred road, and from there a van and a 4WD picked us up for another 5-10 minutes ride to our resort... Heheheh some of us climbed into the back of the 4WD so that we can get the wind whipping at  our faces. The breeze from the surrounding forest is so cooling and refreshing. A far cry from the city air!

By that time, it was already close to 7pm. Justin advised us not to shower, and instead, drop our things at the room and head out for dinner back at the floating restaurant and then embark on a Night Walk of the jungle trail afterwards.

The not-so-appetizing dinner. 3 dishes shared between four of us. Curry chicken with taters, stir fried cabbage and this funky sliced fishball thing that is just weird. Rice was too hard and dry, and after dinner I experienced a mildly uncomfortable indigestion...

Night walk! The kiasu in me packed my trusty mozzie repellent (also a leech repellent), donned on a pair of long pants and tucked the ends neatly into my socks hehehhehe. Don't want those unpleasant leeches anywhere near me!

I didn't bring any torchlight but Phy was kind enough to lend me one of her extra. I wasn't really expecting much to see on this walk but I was quite shocked to see our first visitor!

 This ultra fat tapir! LOL. This fler got another friend also la. Initially I heard rustling somewhere behind a huge tree and suddenly these two just charged out of it hehehe. They're really huge! But they're harmless :)

It's just too bad that Evan could not make it on this trip. Otherwise I think he'd go crazy over the range of insects the park provides. And I wish I could have some sort of info or revelation on these insects instead of just categorizing them into 'spiders' or 'centipede' lol. Evan would spurt the scientific names and count off its distinctive features plus characteristics.

I missed you Evan!

This spider that looked like it was smacked flat to the bark of a tree hehehe.... Pretty much that's all I took during the night walk.... oh we did see a few deers too, but in a distance. The guide would flash his very strong flashlights and somewhat blind the deers that they froze. 

I was a bit sad though that the tourists were all noisy and had no respect whatsoever for the wildlife. Laughing and shouting zzz. Okie la, I'm really tired. Will continue the subsequent post after this :D

The Georgian Adventure - Hike to Chalaadi Glacier

Our third, and last hike in Svaneti. There are so many more places to hike and explore around Georgia, it was a hard decision to premature...