Friday, September 23, 2011

Charlie Brown's Cafe, Straits Quay, Penang

Finally, after seeing so many friends posting up about Charlie Brown Cafe in Hong Kong and Singapore, it's considered a real delay for me to visit their outlet in our very own shore. Yes, I do not have the money for overseas travelling, but forking out RM30+ for a day trip to Penang, that I still can afford.

Charlie Brown's Cafe is located in Straits Quay, Penang Island. Well, Straits Quay is a well landscaped and still undergoing an early stage of development. Having their own quay (of course) and a shopping complex and business centre just right to it, it is surrounded by gated community. I would say that would be at least a million or two for those houses there. Even at the complex itself, the cheapest food you can find are mainly Paparich, Subway and Secret Recipe. These 3 will be your "Chap Fan". Starbucks inside Straits Quay is of a "mamak standard" as the proper cafe there would be Dome. So could you get an illustration of how high the standard of living of the community living around here?

Enough introduction, lets move on to the cafe. Currently there is only ONE Charlie Brown Cafe outlet in the whole of Malaysia, But from their website, it seems that they will be opening another one in KLCC in October 2011.

Let the photos do the talking here. Well, basically the food here is abit expensive, as you are paying for the environment. The quality of food is average. Drinks is passable but the food is very ordinary. I mean, 99% of the people will come here for the hype and ambience rather than the food.

Aint it lovely the presentation? The Tiramisu @ RM11.90 and the Caramel Latte at the same price too. See the chocolate powder dusting on top. You will see familiar faces of PEANUTS cartoon character.

My Caramel Latte... I did not have high expectation on this. Before coming here, I browsed through a few other blog posts and they reminded us that the food is just so-so. But the drink turned out slightly better than expected (since I lowered the benchmark). The tiramisu on the other hand failed terribly. Its just plain sponge cake!

The Mixed Seafood Pasta is a disaster! Fried battered prawns and squid (or was it fish fillets) on a bed of  Macaroni and colourful peppers (green yellow and red capsicum). Well, it might appeal to the kids but the taste of the food really sucked! Furthermore no signs of PEANUTS characters in the presentation, so why do I need to pay RM14.90 for this? >.<

As mentioned, its the ambience.... You get a few LCD TVs showing PEANUTS cartoons. The walls are well painted and decorated with PEANUTS characters.

Its a good place for camwhoring as well....

With a couple of comic strips here and there among the decoration. This is one of the light cubes. The ceiling is also decorated with colourful and fancy light covers. In the first few photos, the green light cover is actually one of the many ones attached on the ceiling, right above your head. You can check out the previous post sneak peek photo at the end.

They have a souvenir shop. Things don't come cheap here though but they have quite a wide selection of decorative items and more useful items. You will surely find one which suits your budget.

Shirt is around RM75 per piece. The plush toys ranges from less than RM100 to RM500+ depending on size. They have bathroom foot mats, handphone covers, stationery, figurines, mugs, thermos flasks, food containers and...... even BRA and UNDIES!!! serIouSSSs!

I wanted to snap a pic of the undergarments to be posted here but my friend my think that I'm a pervert. =p

Snoopy is an extroverted beagle with a Walter Mitty complex. He is virtouso at every endeavor- at least in his daydreams atop his doghouse. He regards his master, Charlie Brown as "that round headed kid" who brings him his supper dish. He is fearless though prudently cautious about "the cat next door". He never speaks - that would be one human trait too many - but he manages to convey everything necessary in facial expressions and though balloons. A one-man show with superior intelligence and vivid imagination, he has created such multiple personalities as Joe Cool, World Ware I Flying Ace, Literary Ace. Flashbeagle, Vulture. Foreign Legionnaire, etc.

Having that said, how can I not take a photo with Snoopy. Chairs to cater for camwhorers like me. =)

The decorated window. This area overlooks the magnificent seaview but sadly.........

.......This area was off limits when we were there.

Another private room also closed. Well, on a Tuesday afternoon, there were only a 2-3 other tables besides mine. And this figure was taken into account from my 2 hour stay there! o.O

And it seems like at night, there is a live band performing. Its really deserted during weekdays. Colourful wall paintings for camwhores.

The famous scenes where you could've came across among the photos of your friends. That's if you refuse to pay RM10+ for a drink to camwhore inside. There are a few spots where you can have your photo taken without needing to enter and buy something.

Else, you can just give it a try and maximise your stay there. Its about PEANUTS and PEANUTS only. Doubt I will return again for a second trip unless other friends decided to come again, I might tag along by ordering a hot beverage. That's all. =) Finally, I stepped into Charlie Brown Cafe without needing to go to Singapore!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day Trip to Penang

Tickets to Penang aint cheap nowdays. RM17+ for one way! I remember paying around RM14+ less than a year ago. Thats like more than 20% raise in less than a year. *waves* hey  DEAREST employers out there! do I even have 10% annual increment? Else you expect me to be like Flintstones and paddle my car by foot?

Air in Penang is polluted. Guess we have been very kind to our neighbouring country already. Perhaps its time to do something........ but, wait. ABANG ADIK maaaa... 

Crap! This is supposed to be a food blog, try not to involved political sentiments here, though I'm flaring now after watching the clip of some youths from a political party staging a protest against Nasi Lemak 2.0. Damn, I feel hot! A similar feeling after downing a bowl of authentic Penang Prawn Mee in a coffee shop which was experiencing power shortage! (Told you, what Namewee said was true, TNB really sucks! No point banning the movie, its the satirical truth of Malaysians). I was catching some sweat as the belacan cili mixed into the soup just elevated the inferno level. 

For RM3 a small bowl, I find it quite satisfying. Penang food is indeed cheaper than Ipoh food (based on a general lookout). The broth was hearty and I am convinced that quite an amount of prawn shells/heads were used to get that stock! The ingredients were a bit skimpy with thin slices of pork, prawns smaller than the diameter of the half boiled egg yolk and some taugeh. There were no kangkung used in this version. Not too bad, I just go a snapshot of the so called FAMOUS prawn noodles in New Cathay Coffeeshop.

Apparently, the most famous stall here is the curry noodles. Too bad I had stomach discomfort the day earlier, hence I skipped this. The version here incorporate "pig red" (direct translation which literally means coagulated pig's blood cubes). So, no laksa for me this round! =X

Next stop, Straits Quay. And yes, besides street food, my main intention was to try Charlie Brown's Cafe.

Not tonight, perhaps save for another post. Sorry for the abrupt ending. Somebody came online finally. =)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cheap Weekdays Deal @ Kok Thai Restaurant.

Happy Malaysia Day I bid to my readers. Finally yours truly has the honour to rest at home on a public holiday! After a day lazing around alternating between playing computer games, sleeping and eating, I decided to wrap up the day with a short post. Remember my post back then about Kok Thai having a special weekday promotional dish at RM8.80? Yes, they have extended this promotion despite the auspicious 8th month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar when business seems to be brisk to due wedding dinners booking.

This is their promotion on Thurdays. A serving of sharksfin soup with crabmeat at RM8.80. One jar could be best shared. Else you would like to have a different approach of eating it by mixing it with rice. Yesssssh, the infamous style of "Yu Chi Lou Fan" as claimed by the Hongkies.

My favourite would still be the Pan Fried Prawns in Soya Sauce which happens to be on Wednesday. Else go on a Tuesday whereby they have a few style of cooking tilapia fish. Have is steamed or fried in choices of sauce. Pair up with a vege or two, another meat dish and there, a reasonably priced dinner. What are you waiting for? =) Kok Thai Restaurant in Ipoh Garden East, at the shops beside Jusco, you can't miss it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pau Langkap in Ipoh

Just a simple write up. Procrastination has been my middle name recently. And updating my blog seems to be distracted by many happenings around me recently.... and also addiction to some PC and PS2 games. Not to mention busy on Skype and MSN. I've been delaying my sleep time and I can go up till 1am sometimes, with my work starting at 8.30am the next morning in my new factory

If its nor these morsels of good food which add some colour to my life, life in Ipoh is really on the slow pace. Well, with so limited salary and entertainment, what better things to do than to eat? And as a bonus, you do not need to travel far. Langkap Pau is available in Ipoh. I bought these in Seng Chung Seng Food Court (formerly known as Bercham Mas). Dunno where is it? Try google the keyphrases 60 cents + Chinese Tea Ice + Ipoh and I bet your search results is obvious.

The Mui Choy Pau (RM1.40) Savoury filling of preserved vegetables with skimpy portion of meat. The filling is a bit too overpowering as it is quite strong in aroma and flavour. It would be perfect if I get to bite on a little more meat/fats.

The Lam Yu Pau (RM1.70). Abit more pricey but it would mean heaven for meat lovers! Pure meat (with some fatty layers as well which melts in your mouth). The preserved bean paste gave the meat a tantalizing marinade. Noteworthy pau if you were scratching your head on which to pick. They have over 20 types on the menu (in which some are generically repeated... see below). Oh, they also have Lor Mai Kai.

For the "general pau" which is like a Swiss Roll. its cut from a elongated shaped dough. A piece at RM1.10 (the picture here shows Kaya. Pumpkin and Red Bean - bear in mind, I sliced the pau into half, so actually its a bigger piece). Langkap Pau is fluffy/light with a pillowy mouthfeel and the original ones which made a this a local trademark is believed from the Hainan origin. Many Hainanese were top chefs during the British colonization era. Hainan Pau is one of their tricks under their sleeve. Give these pau a try, you can always opt for the piping hot ones from the steamer if you are eating on the spot... Should you opt to reheat it by steaming later, its advisable you go for the "cooled" ones.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My dinner arrangement for visitors

What could be a dinner in Ipoh without Ngar Choy Kai??? Yes, just like going to Penang without trying their Laksa and Char Kuay Teow, a visit to Ipoh is incomplete without savouring the Bean Sprout chicken. Tender and juicy poached chicken which is drizzled with shallots oil, sesame oil, soya sauce and with a dash of pepper is attracting crowds from afar. Come the long public holiday season, you can see cars with B,W and P flocking this street.

A battle of 2 giants - Onn Kei and Lou Wong causing a rippled effect to the traffic and parking in the nearby lanes/streets. My meal in Onn Kei costs RM130 for a table of 10 person. I'm not footing the bill though. The visitors are. The visitors from China said that its a bit similar to their way of cooking. Well, no matter how similar, it will never be complete with the plump beansprout, grown to its fullest potential from the slightly alkaline water which its source can be traced back to the limestome caves.

They have beef balls and fish balls as well if you find beansprout + poached chicken just abit too boring. I heard Lou Wong have whisked out a version of their Thai Styled Glass Chicket Feet. Ooppsss, I forgot to snap a photo of the velvety smooth Ipoh Kuay Teow.

For the second round, or rather a early supper, I brought them to Friend's Corner in Ipoh Old Town area. The stalls here are famous for the snowy beer/ snow flakes beer. You do not need special beer, just a chilled... or rather frozen glass. The beer are also chilled near freezing point. Upon contact, the beer goes on overdrive mode!

Fountain of life????

Steamed Lala in Clear Broth. A simple dish but yet executed in sheer perfection. With just shredded ginger and a few dash of Chinese cooking wine, everything just complemented well. 

The Poached Octopus tossed with bird's eye chilli, onions and zesty lime juice squeezed generously to give you an extra zing (fiery darts numbing experience if you cannot take chilli padi). This dish provided a relatively good light exercise for your jaws, without much effort, but sufficient for a good chew on its "bouncy" texture.

Fried Sa Tsui fish. Deep fried after lightly seasoned with salt. This fish is crispy from the inside out! Yes, even the bones and head can be eaten if you take caution as you would not wanna hurt your gums. Paired with the belacan cili squeezed with lime, this is indeed a chilled beer's soul mate!

Enter the beer's concubine (If the fried fish was the soul mate) in the form of Deep Fried Mantis Prawns with Chilli and Salt. Need I explain more? Cheerssssss...~

Ok, I need to explain this, under the strands of eggs and curry leaves are 3 pieces of soft shell crab!!! Yummy... Another cholesterol laden dish! I've already avoided the Salted Egg style and opted for the Lai Yau. Juicy and oily at the same time as you sink your teeth in the moist yet crispy crustacean. I have no idea of how much was supper though 9 big bottles of beer for 6 people is not enough to make me feel drunk =p
I had my sober say on my preference of my night snacking in Ipoh, how bout you?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bukit Merah Laketown Waterpark Visit

It's been awhile since I last blogged. And to my dear readers, you will be abit disappointed for not seeing a food post. Yours truly has been on a dry season and did not really went food hunting regularly. Besides that,  I think I have tried out most of the eateries in Ipoh worth mentioning. How bout a short write up on a day trip instead. After all, its my first time driving long distance. Seriously, the furthest I drove was to Kampar only. And this time, I'm fortunate to make another milestone to drive up all the way to Bukit Merah.

Bukit Merah exit is just a short drive after the Taiping toll, if you are travelling from Ipoh. Toll cost involved: RM10.10 from Ipoh Toll to Bukit Merah Toll, with a time cost of slightly more than 1 hour. Petrol is a subjective matter but distance traveled was around 150km to and fro. 

Thank God for a day off! I have been a bit sick of working on public holidays, both recognised "unrecognised" public holidays. As long as the factory operates, I have to be at work. If the its within a "declared" PH by the company, then I will get a replacement day off. Yes, NO double/triple pay/allowances! So, I'm very glad to be away from work, at least for a day during the Raya period. Kelvin suggested to "play water". Hence we are here!

I was here at Bukit Merah Laketown during the H.U.G.E. Camp back in 2000 if I'm not mistaken. That time we only have free time to explore the Birdpark/OrangUtan Island.

I wonder how much the ticket has increased but its RM27 per person for the water park entrance. Good thing is.... flat rate for all season. So no surcharge on peak periods/holiday season.

Well, we have to leave our belongings in the locker. Handphones, wallets and cameras. So yes.... I did not get any pricey shots of myself enjoying that day. So one more picture before we get wet. =)

Yes this is the standard outfit. No spectacles, No buttons or jeans. No jewellery. Oh, that's the tube for rent. RM10. Without it, you will not get to play certain water slides.... Check in time, approx 11.30am...

Checkout time 4.00pm.... But the weather was real good. We kinda expected it to rain but it didn't. It was "just right". Ideally I prefer a clear morning sky with a cloudy afternoon but things turned out to be the opposite. Since we played till late afternoon, we did had quite measurable scale of sunburn.

These are some of the quick snapshots I got after my shower. I went in to snap pics of certain attractions. This is the Giant Wet Bubble. Only 6 people can enter at one go for a timed session. Make sure you make full use of it as you have to queue up for quite some time. Have a "last man standing" game and throw all your opponents down! Else, have a race to the top using the ropes. Or you can just play safe by syiok sendiri jumping on the inflatable bubble~

This is how you make full use of the RM10 rent for the tube. The Giant Tube Slides. Else you can laze around with the tube in the Wave Pool or the Lazy River. For more "intimacy", take off your shirt and go for the Body Slide, where you have direct contact with the slide surface. There are 2 lanes, one in which you will go through turnings causing a slight nauseating experience. The other one, you will end up having water inside your nostrils if you do not hold your breath as its a straight slide down to the pool.

This is the ultimate ride in the whole park. Enter The Boomerang! One person at a go... Scream all you want. But if possible, open your eyes la and feel the G force on your body. Not as horrifying as the Space Shots in Genting, the initial journey downwards definitely gets your heart beats faster.

Final shot - posing with a Buaya on the "Wave Pool". Please peeps, if you called me a Buaya, think again, when was the last time  did i buaya you? It was a all guys trip... except for somebody's gal tagging along. And yes, I did not buaya also. But I did "cuci mata" abit.... once in a while, okla to spend this amount =) This sums up my Raya-Merdeka break, putting aside yumchar sessions every nite.