Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Akuma Caca

Back to more Taipei photos! :D I still have a ton of photos that I'm going through (slowly...but surely!) and many of them are of the cafes we went to in Taipei. Actually we didn't really make it to that many this time - only 3! - but out of the 3 that we went to, this one was definitely my favorite. Interestingly labeled Akuma Caca, the significance of which is still unknown (I'm still not really able to find out what it stands for), it's a quaint cafe tucked away amidst an otherwise unassuming alley in the Da-An neighbourhood of Taipei.
Photobucket Siang and Sandra outside the entrance. Unique asymmetrical beams frame the exterior of Akuma Caca, sure to attract the curious eye of passersby walking along an otherwise nondescript and quiet alley.
Photobucket Founded in 2009, Akuma Caca occupies an extended space from the design firm, Akuma Design, which is directly above it on the ground floor. I looooved peeking into the Akuma Design office; it looked like such a cozy yet creative space from the outside. True to its design roots, Akuma’s interior pays homage to geometry – from clean lines to asymmetrically shaped table tops to custom made geometric glasses that balance precariously on one side (and always seemingly on the verge of toppling!).
Photobucket Akuma-designed glasses that balance oh-so-precariously on one side. These were easy enough to drink with but gave us mini heart attacks each time they whirled around on their unexpected axes. But they never did fall over! What I love about this place is how it's created spaces to support the promotion of local artists. There's a long tabletop that stretches across one side of the room along which numerous artworks (think illustrated books, framed pieces, calenders and notebooks) by local artists are on display for the month.
Photobucket Isn't this adorable? An illustrated Calendar by a local artist featuring a much loved Taiwanese dessert – red bean soup with yam balls. Photobucket 
An even deeper venture into Akuma brings another more private and intimate space. Soft recessed lighting, brick laid walls and wooden tables bring to mind a cosy log cabin, perfectly for huddling in deep in winter with a mug of hot chocolate (coffee in this case!). :DDD Isn't that hand-crafted wooden table just insane? Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket 
While we ordered your very basic cappuccinos and lattes, a wide selection of coffees is available for those with more adventurous palates. Apparently Akuma also holds coffee classes for aspiring connoisseurs and aficionados. Photobucket Couldn't resist ordering this matcha latte. But it was definitely too sweet for my liking! >< (I've come to realize that even at places like Starbucks they tend to put in quite a few pumps of syrup into matcha lattes. So best to request for 'less sugar' if you prefer less of that in-your-face sweetness.) Photobucket Teeheehee. :D Photobucket Ahh what an enjoyable afternoon we spent there, basking in the peaceful ambience that's perfect for cosy chatter...and writing of cards! The service at Akuma (like many places in Taiwan) was impeccable – the staff were friendly and more than willing to give recommendations for drinks. This is one aspect of Taipei that really impressed me. They're very much like the Japanese in terms of their service standards. 
One memorable thing that happened was that I had left a ring of mine by accident in the restroom and when I called back a few hours later, I was so thankful that they had found it and had managed to keep it safely for me! Upon returning to collect it later on in the evening, a smiling waitress came up to me saying in her sweet saccharine voice (as most Taiwanese ladies do) that she'd kept it for me, and proceeded to hand me a tiny well-wrapped package that held my ring in it. Seriously?? Who does that! X) This sort of attention to service and detail only served to emphasize how little things like these can make customers keep coming back for more. I would definitely want to visit this cafe again if I go back to Taipei. 

Akuma Caca B1F., 
No.6, Lane 14, Siwei Rd., 
Da´an Dist., Taipei City 106 
 Open 10:00 – 23:00

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Vanilla Bar and Cafe

School's been a lot less busy these days. :) In fact, it's almost like a pseudo-holiday. I love it. I wish these days could just drag on indefinitely. I've decided to make use of this period of relative freedom to meet up with a ton of friends whom I haven't met up with in ages. And the fringe benefit of meeting old friends? It's usually always for brunch or tea - perfect opportunities to check out new cafe haunts which I loooove to do. 

Vanilla Bar and Cafe is one of my latest finds. And boy is it a real gem! :) It's located in the Central Business District so, really, unless you set out to look for it you're probably not going to come across it unless you happen to work around the area. But what a great place to hangout at after work for those workers in the area! It's located along a peaceful stretch of road (Boon Tat Street) and a few doors down there's Sarnies (famous for sandwiches) and The Muffinry Bakery and Cafe (self-explanatory), both of which are places I'm dying to go to next. I love this steady proliferation of quaint cafes and eateries. :) Makes for much more interesting afternoons spent exploring Singapore.

One of the things that greets you right IN THE FACE is this giant cute-ass Domo-kun toy atop the display fridge of cakes near the entrance. Any place that worships Domo is a place for me!Photobucket Went for brunch there with Yueh and Cheryl. Can't believe Cheryl said we meet really often. Not enough yoz!! Photobucket I'd read a couple of reviews that mentioned this Vanilla drink as being a must-try! I suppose it makes sense given the name. It was pretty delish! Reminded me of a vanilla smoothie but of course in a much smoother more consistent liquid form. Worth a try! Photobucket Another dish that this place seems to be known for is its Pumpkin Croquette which were SO GOOD. I happened to love them because they were light, fluffy and CRIPSY. Nothing like sinking your teeth into real crispy batter. And the warm pumpkin filling inside was really smooth and tasty too. For some reason it wasn't a huge deal for Cheryl and Yueh so I ended up eating most of them. -__- Photobucket Smoked salmon and egg mayo sandwich. REALLY REALLY GOOD. I'm a huge fan of salmon and egg mayo so this was just the perfect combination! :) Plus, the bread was warm and toasty - perfect for a sandwich. PhotobucketSmoked Salmon linguine. This was really yummy too. Normally I'm not a fan of cream-based pastas but this one was light and tasty and really not too creamy at all. Apparently that's how Japanese cream sauces are, so if you're a fan of the Japanese 'lighter' interpretation of Western sauces/pasta dishes, this would be a good choice.
For some reason they've got a bit of a robot infatuation going on. The one thing we couldn't quite figure out. Photobucket 
For dessert we had the crowd favorite - warm chocolate lava cake with rum and raisin ice cream (you get to choose between vanilla and rum and raisin). I had been gunning for the famous VANILLA DIRT CAKE which is actually a cake (or apparently it resembles a MacDonald's flurry) that's served in a little flower pot-like contraption, but for some reason my friends weren't so adventurous. HUMMPH. The warm chocolate cake was pretty decent; the only thing is that the molten chocolate filling inside wasn't as molten as I would've liked it to be. It didn't quite come spilling out the way it usually does in really well-made ones. But you can hardly go wrong with a chocolate dessert.
Photobucket Vanilla Bar & Café 
3 Boon Tat Street #01-01 
Singapore 069612 
Tel: +65 6423 0366 
This place is perfect for: 
 - those keen on off the beaten track cafes 
 - a cosy enjoyable space to spend an afternoon or evening with friends 
- those working in the area! What's really good is that they do deliveries as well. 
They've got a little foldable menu with photos of almost all the dishes they serve. Targeting the working crowd is such a great idea. If I were working in the area, I would totally go there just to chill out or relax if I had the time. In fact, I might just bring a few more friends there next week. 3rd time in 3 weeks! :) But you can never have too much of a good thing. 

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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

i'd wish for this every year

As promised (and because I just wanted to look through the photos again hur), here's a little post about the wonderful surprise birthday party my friends threw for me last Friday. :DDD 
Honestly, I had no idea they were behind this! I'd even gotten a little wistful the morning of my birthday, thinking that none of them had replied to my whatsapp about meeting up during the weekend when actually, they had merely been busy planning this. X) SNIFF.PhotobucketMy favorite friends since secondary school! I was just soooo so so happy that they had all gathered together to celebrate my b'day with me. Especially since Yueh was only in town from Taiwan for about a week and it just so happened that she was able to make it for my b'day. :) And I hadn't seen Melissa for agessss ever since she did a semester abroad in Korea. How cool is that eh?? But here's a spoiler for all those K-culture fans out there - turns out they can be pretty... unlike the characters portrayed in those tv dramas. That's probably the most politically correct thing to say. But apparently Korean girls have the most impeccable makeup...especially Korean university students. I digress. But it was super fun hearing all her stories about the stuff she'd encountered with her friends in Seoul. 
PhotobucketCheryl and Siang! :D Looking sweet and demure. xxx
PhotobucketLOL. From left to right: Eager Beaver. Pizza slayer. Trigger happy camera-woman. 
PhotobucketSome fancy paper napkin folding going on here! 
PhotobucketSushi was part of the dinner. That was just the first round along with sandwiches. The next round consisted of oyster omelet, fried veggie and... ok I was mainly preoccupied with stuffing the yummy oyster omelet down my mouth. 
PhotobucketCheryl and I with our cutie stuffed toy keychain gifts from Melissa!! My cat has eyebags and looks EXACTLY like me on a Monday morning. =___= 
PhotobucketSurprise visit from my mum and sis! They came bearing gifts of Island Creamery ice cream - Nutella and Dragonfruit (in lieu of the Dragon Year. Not a bad flavor at all, really! :P) Yeah, just say it, my mum looks young. Just like one of us. We get that ALL THE TIME. 
Carrot cake birthday cake. :))  PhotobucketSpeaking of carrots, my favorite Carrot! (affectionate nickname for Karen heheheh) made an appearance! I was so happy to see her there especially since I hadn't seen her in so damn long. Whenever she's back from Australia she always has a million and one gatherings/meetups to attend to so I hardly ever see her. X) SIGH. I wish we could have like multiple birthdays a year. Birthday part 1/2/3/4. More reason to lure people together. 
X) Thanks Donald, for helping to organize the entire thing! He actually did a great job of keeping it a secret from me hmmmmph. Up till the very last minute he said we were going to an Italian restaurant recommended by a friend which just happened to be near Cheryl's place. It was only until he took me through a 'SHORT-CUT' right past Cheryl's house (of which the gates were WIDE OPEN) that my jaw dropped to the ground with realization. Though I must say, I suspected something was up when Mr. I-have-a-GPS-in-my-head kept fiddling with his phone in order to 'get directions' to the ahem restaurant. ;p 
PhotobucketNursing our full bellies with a game of Bridge. HEH. I like this classic Mel + Yueh shot. 
Photobucket This is a NEW AWESOME GAME that Yueh introduced us to. It's called King of Opera and for 99 cents, you get to have ENDLESS HOURS OF AWESOME FUN. Seriously. It's SO side-splittingly fun. And best of all, it's a multi-player game! Basically each person is a big fat CUTE male Opera singer (complete with generous belly and big moustache and all) that needs to shove other Opera singers out of the way in order to get into the limelight and the one that spends the most time under the limelight WINS. YOU.SHOULD.DOWNLOAD.THIS.NOW. 
So those were the highlights of my birthday party. :) Had such a great time because of the awesome company and the thought that was put into it. It's funny how when you're a kid you just want a huge party with lots of random classmates/friends so that you can receive a mountain load of presents and have a huge birthday cake but as you get older...somehow it's the smaller, intimate gatherings that you really get the most out of and somehow crave for. Or maybe it's just me being sappy. 


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Style Bite: B'day Outfits

Yup. I've turned 23. I think as the years go by, birthdays get easier and easier to accept. Especially when you're in your 20s. Every year seems just about the same...until you reach 30? :) Good thing that's a number of years away.

This year I had a really FANTASTIC BDAY!! X) I really wish it could be my birthday everyday because 1. people let you decide on where to go/what to eat/what to do with minimal disagreements 2. scoldings get postponed (turns out this was an actual consideration that my parents made lol and I am grateful for that) 3. you get lovely lovely presents 4. people take the effort to come together to meet up after a loooong time of not meeting :) A birthday post will be coming up next but decided to do a little outfit post showing what I wore on my bday (and featuring Donald as well! :D). I've probably been into fashion blogs for close to 5 years now and I always always enjoy seeing what other people wear/how other average joes/janes like me dress up. So, it's going to be a regular feature on this blog now since fashion is one of my big loves and one of the things that always makes me happy. X)

Photobucket Photobucket 
(Dress: Modcloth, Cardigan: Uniqlo, Shoes: Martina Pink)

I'm really in love with this dress I recently ordered from Modcloth. It's just the perfect party dress in my opinion! :) I love floral prints of any kind and this just had sweet feminine pastel tones to it so if you're a "girly girl" (as my 7 year old cousin so astutely pointed out to me when I was visiting my relatives in Seattle last year) like me, it's pretty perfect. Ugh but no heels for me for the time being. Thank goodness these Martina Pink ones were comfy enough for me to walk around the entire day in but towards the evening, I was starting to get grouchy from the sore feet. Honestly, how do people wear heels all day/to work even?? Let me know if you're aware of some secret way of walking thanks. 

(Shirt: Muji, Jeans: Uniqlo, Boots:

Featuring the boy, Donald! :) He's my shopping partner-in-crime and possibly the only person (apart from my mum) who's able to last almost as long as me at the stores. 
We happened to be walking around the Telok Ayer Street area after having popped into Vanilla Bar and Cafe (a post on that coming soon!) and came across this cute little alley which actually links to Ann Siang via a wooden walkway up a hill. And something else we happened to come across:
Some wicked wall art! Wonder what that place was... Probably a bar from the sign jutting out at the side. 
Ok, today's was just a quickie post. More tomorrow.