Tuesday, September 24, 2013

About Time (2013) Movie Review

Genre: Comedy
Language: English
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy
Story (may contain spoilers!):
After a disastrous New Year's Eve party, Tim Lake's father had Tim sit down with him at the age of 21 to have a serious talk with him. That talk change Tim's life forever. He had been informed that all the male in the family have a gift of traveling back through time. But can only travel back through times that the person himself has been through and therefore cannot alter history like killing Hitler and the likes.

Tim was very skeptical on what his father had told him and so he decided to try it out. In order to travel back in time, he has to go into a dark place, shut his eyes and clench his fists and concentrate back to the moment he wants to travel to.

Tim went into the closet and picture back to the New Year's Eve party. When he opened his eyes, he was shocked that he's wearing back the clothes when it was New Year's Eve and heard muffled music playing from the closet. Amazed at being able to travel back to the New Year's Eve party, he then decided to take certain steps to right the wrongs during the party to make it better.

After this gift that he discovered, he decided to use it for the one thing he really wanted - and that is to find his true love.

During the summer, his sister's friend, Charlotte stayed over for the whole summer and Tim finds himself attracted to her. On the last day, Tim decided to give it a go in asking Charlotte to be his girlfriend but was shot down saying that he should've asked her earlier and not on the last day. So Tim decided to use his gift in doing so but no matter how he tried, he discovered that there was no way to make Charlotte love him no matter what he do.

Gaining this epiphany, he decided to venture out from his home and proceed to London to pursue finding true love since he has more chances of meeting women in the big city.

Although a luckless start with him working in a lawyer firm, one day, his dodgy friend invited him to join him to go for a dining in the dark experience.

Over at the restaurant, Tim had a wonderful time with a girl that he was seated with named Mary. And they both connected and hit it off in the dark. After the dinner, Tim met Mary outside of the restaurant and finds her attractive and was happy that he had finally met someone that he can be with.

But when he got home, his uncle whom he's staying with who is a playwriter had a disastrous opening night where one of his lead actor had forgotten his lines and just stood there for a long time turning the play into a horrendous one. Tim decided to help his uncle out and decided to travel back in time and go to the play with his uncle to remind the lead actor his lines.

After doing so, he found out that he had lost the moment of meeting Mary and was devastated. He tries desperately to find leads in meeting Mary again and using his ability to help him do so.

How does he accomplish that? Watch the movie to find out!

Although the trailer and the movie poster gives out the impression that this is a romantic comedy movie and I was preparing for a lovey, dovey, soppy love story, yet the director Richard Curtis surprised me that the love story was merely the beginning of the plot. The big picture speaks of appreciating life and cherishing moments with loved ones as much as they can. It also succeeds in evoking laughter in it's audience with witty remarks and hilarious moments. I truly like this movie a lot and when it ended, I had this longing in me to watch it again once more with its beautiful poetic way of conveying the plot in such a way. It's been awhile since a movie stirs up my urge to watch again immediately after it ended.

I give it 4 stars out of 5. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Bavarian Bierhaus, Wisma UOA II Food Review

In my lifetime, as far as I can recall, I've only tasted 3 German restaurants in Malaysia and although German food may not be my favorite but it is to my liking. So far, I find that Bavarian Bierhaus is the best out of the 3.

Coincidentally, after pointing that out to a fellow friend, I was presented with the opportunity to savor a few more dishes from Bavarian Bierhaus which I immediately accepted to extensively find out whether other dishes that I've not tried appeal to me too.
The prices may appear to the common Malaysian as a once in a blue moon fine dining kind of thing but comparatively to other German restaurants, the prices are reasonable enough.

For starters we had a Selection of Cold Cut:
This is the Mix Cold Cut Platter that's fit for 2-3 persons. The price is RM88.
It's a plate sinfully filled with various pork meat to my delight.
It has Parma Ham, Salami Milano, Calabra Ham, Mortadella Ham and bacon with one spoon containing Pickled Cucumbers and another with onions. It's served with bread to counteract with the saltiness of the meat. A platter like this makes me long for a nice cold beer to go with it.

With that starter, we then had salad appetizers.
This is the Pork Salad:
Top most is bacon with grilled pork escalope with green salad and cherry tomatoes and some cheese seasoned with olive oil and a little mustard. It's mentioned crispy bacon that's in this pork salad but it's not as crispy as I find it to be. Rather, to me it's more of the chewy type which isn't a problem to me. I like bacon either way.

Caesar Salad:
Romaine lettuce with garlic dressing with Parma Ham as meat for the salad. Hard boiled omega eggs at the side with crispy Panini Croutons with grated Pecorino Cheese on top.
This is the first time I tasted a Caesar Salad that the meat feels like it's the main more than the overall salad dish. I've tasted 2 other types of Caesar Salad that contains meat in them before and that is with beef bacon bits or grilled chicken which complements the vegetables well. The Parma Ham though,(which I like eating) overpowers the other tastes in the dish, lettuce, egg, since it has a strong taste to it as oppose to lettuce and egg which has a way much milder taste to it. I'm not much of a salad guy but I presume a person asking for a salad would like a more balanced taste to it or the taste of greens to come on stronger combining with it's dressing. Not sure about croutons in the dish because I didn't see nor taste any at all. LOL. Perhaps it was at the bottom. No matter what, I like eating the ham. XD

One more salad dish is the Prawns Salad:
It contains prawns (obviously) that are grilled, some bacon, green salad, cherry tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, red onions and roasted pine nuts and some apples on the side. I'm not a fan of prawn but the overall taste of the dish is good enough. The combination may seemed a little weird but taste-wise not so and it gets the job done.

Next came the Mix Sausage Platter:
Various sausages with 5 different condiments on the side. I didn't try any of the condiments though. Just ate one of each sausage plain which is nicely done. Some of the sausages in the platter: Emmenthaler, Theuringer, Neurberger. Oh, and there's bacon again on top. ^.^

Next on the list, some nice Pork Ribs:
The sweet sauce, I presume it's BBQ Pineapple blends in well with the tender pork ribs. The meat itself is not salty like how a lot of places serve their pork ribs and is juicy but still needs the sauce to enhance it's taste.

Homemade Spinach Ricotta Cheese Ravioli:
Decorated with Basil Leaves on the top with Pecorino Cheese, the sauce hides the delicious Ravioli from sight. The Ravioli is wrapped around the Spinach which you'll be able to taste once you bite into it. Quite good.

Berlin Steak:
Another dish with bacon atop. :D The bacon wraps around the asparagus. Grilled pork steak is cooked nicely but with all the meat that I had consumed, this one needed more taste to it to be nicer.

And the heavenly Crispy Pork Knuckles:
The sauce didn't make a difference for me except to wet the pork knuckles. To me, it's good enough eating on it's own. It has a side of Boil Baby Potatoes and Sauerkraut served with it.

Once we're filled with the sinfully pork dishes, it's time for desserts.

The Italian Tiramisu:
Interestingly, the Tiramisu is not the usual soft kind but a hard solid one. There's loads of cocoa powder at the base where the pastry is where you immediately grasp a taste of it once you insert it into your mouth. The strawberry comes in sour which puts the dessert a bit off other than that, it's okay.

Next dessert tried, the German Pancake:
German Pancake relies more on the fruits to provide more of the taste. With the Vanilla ice cream on top and the syrup at the bottom, it's even sweeter. A little too sweet for my taste but should be nice for women.

And finally, the Strawberry Chocolate Mousse:
This dessert is actually sweeter than the German Pancake because it's pure chocolate in that Martini glass but because of the chocolate flavor sweetness, I find it better than the German Pancake because the German Pancake is more of sugar sweetness. Like the other 2 desserts, it's decorated with strawberry's on top which due to the amount of chocolate sweetness, the sourness of the strawberry dousing in the chocolate provides a good combination taste. There's also some nuts mixed in to provide a light crunch to it which makes eating it more pleasurable.

With now more dishes tried at Bavarian Bierhaus, I've proven to myself that my statement remains true that out of the 3 German Restaurants that I've tried in my life, Bavarian Bierhaus still maintain as my top choice.

For the UOA II branch, the full address is:
G8, Ground Floor, Wisma UOA II, Jalan Pinang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Opened daily from 11am to 12am and Saturdays from 2.30pm till 12am.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Heineken Star Serve with Keith Nair

So I'm now officially a Heineken Certified Pourer:
I know what it takes to make a perfect pint of Heineken Draft Beer (though I still need loads of practice!). :D

It all started with an intimate evening at GAB Brewery where Heineken Draft Master & GAB Professional Solutions Manager, Keith Nair, conducted a workshop to show attendees on how to pour a perfect pint of Heineken Draft Beer.
By the way, Heineken Star Serve is a global draft beer quality program that aims to improve and maintain the quality of beer. So wherever you are in the world, Heineken promises you the quintessential drinking experience with every sip.

With workshop such as this, you'll find out that quality is very important as the only reason for ordering a second beer is the quality of the first and experts at Heineken go to great lengths to ensure that every pint of beer you order here in Malaysia or back in its homeland, Amsterdam or anywhere around the world reflect the same excellence that make it the world's no. 1 international premium beer.

At the heart of the Heineken Star Serve program is the Heineken Pouring Ritual. This encompass five simple steps to deliver the perfectly served Heineken draft beer for the quality Heineken drinking experience.

The five steps are:
1) Rinse:
By dousing a clean glass into an icy cold basin of water this will cool the glass and will keep the beer cool longer also to keep the foam on the beer firm.
2) Pour:
Open the tap in one quick swift motion with the glass tilted at a 45 degrees angle coming in. As the glass gets filled up, be sure the nozzle of the tap does not touch the beer or the foam and straighten up the glass towards the end. Then, also with one smooth motion, close the tap.
3) Skim:
With a wet skimmer, skim the top foam at a 45 degrees angle the moment the foam touches the rim of the glass.
4) Check:
Leave the glass to settle for a moment where the foam will sink back into the glass. Be sure not to put it under the tap to avoid drops falling onto the glass which could damage the foam. The foam should be about 2 fingers thick. Once the foam is stable, go on to step 5.
5) Serve:
Lift the glass at the bottom and place it atop a Heineken coaster with the logo of the glass facing the consumer.

And there you have it! The 5 simple steps. Although, it may sound simple, it takes loads of practice to master the art of pouring.
Me with my first attempt.

"Heineken works hard to ensure world class quality of draft beer is produced in our breweries worldwide. However, if it is served wrongly, all that love and care can be destroyed at the bar, right before the drinker's eyes," emphasized Mr. Keith Nair.
"We want our discerning drinkers to understand the process of serving the perfect pint of Heineken and at the same time demand for it. We hope the Heineken Star Serve program not only uplifts the drinking experience in Malaysia but also enhances the hospitality industry in the country," explains Ms. Jessie Chuah, Marketing Manager of Heineken Malaysia.
She added, " Now, you can also learn how to pour and serve a perfect Heineken pint with the Heineken Star Serve Facebook app."

The Heineken Star Serve Facebook App is where drinkers can virtually learn how to perform the five steps in the Heineken Pouring Ritual. There's also a contest with the app which runs from 19 August - 20 September 2013 where the Top 8 virtual pourers will receive an exclusive invite to a physical pour-off in the National Finals of the Heineken Star Serve competition. The winner of the pour-off takes home an all-expense paid trip to Amsterdam joining the winning bartender representing Malaysia to witness the Heineken Global Bartender Finals in November
The Top 8 Bartenders competing.
Further info can be obtain at Heineken's Facebook page.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Crayon Burger, SS15, Subang Jaya Food Review

Near Taylor's College in SS15, Subang Jaya, at the quieter side of town during the night resides a burger joint named Crayon Burger:
In spite of it's name, be assured that the burgers are not made of crayons but rather edible material. LOL.

The place, although sits in a quiet area during the nights, yet it's bright and a tad colorful on the inside.

There's scribblings on the right hand side wall in crayons which I couldn't make out how it came about so if you're sitting on that side of the wall, be sure to remind yourself not to lean on the wall as tempting as it may be sitting on a stool without any back rest.
Before the burgers came to appease our hungers, an appetizing basket of fries was served as we await the burgers.
It's interesting to note that the fries comes with some cheese sauce which makes the fries more delicious to me to an otherwise plain, salted fries. I very much delight in the sauce.

This burger is called Hashtag:
It comes with hashbrown along with the patty and some jalapeno cheese cream. By the way, all the burgers can either be ordered with a beef patty or a chicken patty depending on your preference. If you see a light color patty like the one above, it's chicken whereas the beef patty will be in a dark shade color.

And this here is the Zombie Burger:

It's the most recognizable to me even from afar with it's black poppy seed bun. It contains Swiss cheese some onion and a special sauce to it.

Here's the only burger in the menu that's with egg:
Called "The Boss", there's some mild Wasabi mayo and onion ring with Swiss cheese.
To me, this is the only burger that tasted worthwhile enough to eat. Even so, with the size of the burger, don't expect to be full from eating it.

Cheese Fondue:
Which I couldn't taste much of the cheese in it. There's some crispy items in it which is corn chips/Tortilla in it.

An interesting mixture of ingredients in this burger:
Called Peanut Butter Bacon, it contains raspberry jam, peanut butter and beef bacon in it. Sadly, though, I find the taste not as interesting. It tasted weird and it's a combination that's not something I fancy.

This one here is called the Classic Crayon:
Along with the patty, lettuce and cherry tomatoes, there's also caramelized onions. Somehow, there's a weird taste to the caramelized onion which is not to my liking.

And the last burger tried was the Double Rainbow:
It's basically a double patty burger. Oh, and there's some caramelized onions in it but the patties overwhelmed the onions more.

The different colors of the bun generally do jack squat to the taste except to provide aesthetically different. So far to me, Hashtag, Zombie, Cheese Fondue hardly provide any taste to me while the Peanut Butter Bacon and Classic Crayon tasted weird. Double Rainbow is just overdose of the patty meat to me. The only burger that I find nice is The Boss with some slight taste of saltiness to it.

I hope they would improve on the taste of these burgers as I just don't fancy any except 1 of them.

Anyway, I wanna thank their particular friendly staff who was quite hospitable and if you wanna check out the burgers at this place, it's at:
38, Jalan SS15/4, Subang Jaya 45200 Selangor, Malaysia
 Operating hours are Tuesdays to Sundays: 11am - 10pm.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Internship (2013) Movie Review

 Genre: Comedy
Language: English
Starring: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson
Story (may contain spoilers!):
Vince Vaughn plays Billy McMahon and together with his partner Nick Campbell played by Owen Wilson, they're both watch salesman for a small company and was sent to close a deal with one of their client. Although both were good at their jobs, they however, found out from their client that their company's business is actually no more and were closed down.

Shocked by this revelation, they confronted their boss to explain to them more about the bad news. Being jobless, Nick relied on his to be brother-in-law whom he's relationship with him wasn't so good to work for him as a mattress salesman while Billy looks around for jobs on the Internet.

While looking out for jobs on the Internet, Billy had the idea of working for Google. He convinces Nick to quit the sucky mattress salesman job to join him in an interview with Google for internship position which could lead to a permanent job at Google if they're good at what they do.

After a video conference interview, Google staff members reviewed in a meeting on who to take in for the internship program. When Billy and Nick came up, the board was divided on whether to take them on board with one deciding vote that got them in.

At Google, they were firstly overwhelmed by the great atmosphere they're in where they join many others who are in the internship program. Mr. Chetty, the head of the internship program, then announce to all the "Nooglers" (new interns at Google) to group themselves where at the end of the internship program, the group that succeeds the most challenges is the one group that will be hired on to work for Google.

Being the older ones amongst the young interns, Billy and Nick couldn't manage to find any team to accept them. In the end, they winded with all the other rejects who couldn't find a team to join who are Stuart, a guy who's most of the time had his face to the phone and a really negative and sarcastic guy; Yoyo, an Asian homeschooled kid who's very frightened at disobeying his mother's laws; and Neha, an Indian-American girl who's talks kinky. The group is oddly led by Lyle, a person who has been working for Google for 4 years who's a big nerd but tries to act hip.

Their biggest rival is a team led by Graham, who's snobbish and a control freak but very talented and smart. At the start of the first challenge, Billy and Nick seemed so out of place from all the interns since it was a debugging challenge and Billy and Nick just don't have any technical knowledge at all.

How do they later fit in with the interns at Google without being tech-savvy? Watch the show to find out!

I'm not sure why the producers chose Google as part of their main plot line since they can just make up a company that's fun to work with but whether it's a way to market Google more or just a way to ride on the success of Google being named the "Best Company to Work For" (Fortune 500 ranking) for the fourth time this year (2007, 2008, 2012, 2013), I do agree that it needed the 'Googliness' in order to make it funnier. Although the movie was shot at Georgia Tech instead of the actual Google office, it did do quite a nice job in transforming the place to have the Google element in it but of course, the Google office has a more corporate feel to it while the movie set up was more towards a college campus feel.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as always provided slapstick comedy to the movie which is okay for laughs and like some of Vince Vaughn's comedy shows, it also provided a message in a "moral of the story" setting. In this movie, it preaches about the possibility of second chances, that it's possible to reinvent yourself no matter how old you are and it's never too late.

Well, I just got one nagging question that bugs me throughout the whole movie, why is Lyle, an employee at Google among the team of interns???

I rate this movie 3 stars out of 5

Sunday, September 15, 2013

798 Shabu Shabu, Sunway Pyramid Food Review

Over at the busy mall location of Sunway Pyramid, 798 Shabu Shabu stands out from a lot of shops due to it's highly visible location from the road where it faces the row of shop lots opposite of it.
If you've never heard of shabu-shabu before, it's Japanese style hotpot where ingredients such as meat and vegetables are thrown in the hot pot to be cooked and consumed. Shabu-shabu is the sound of the boiling pot with the broth and ingredients in it cooking (that's how Japanese described it).

The place itself may not be an outdoor location of dining but it has an al fresco feel to it due to the sunshine being able to penetrate into the softly lit restaurant and a retractable awning with transparent roof on the inner part of the restaurant for those times when the sun doesn't shine that brightly.
The number 798 from the name of the restaurant signifies 7 types of meat slices, 9 types of soup base and 8 types of special sauces.

There is a large and wide variety of meat items, vegetables and noodles including some eggs spread out in a salad bar fashion for you to pick till your heart's content to add in to your hot pot:
These items include Peking Cabbage, Cheese Seafood Tofu, Crab Claws, "Boom" Beef and Pork Balls, Emperor Noodles and many more.

For me to pick out almost 1 of each of all items plus a noodle is already more than enough to fill my salad bowl which shows the vast variety of picking out your fave items:
As mentioned earlier, there are 7 types of meat slices to choose from. These are to be ordered.
They are Beef Slices, Chicken Slices, Pork Slices, Dori Fish Slices, Lamb Slices, Abalone Slices and Venison Slices.

Out of the 9 types of soups to choose from which will be served in a personal individual pot, 4 is available daily which is the Pork Bone Clear Soup:
The Tom Yam Soup:
Pepper Soup and Herbal Soup:
The other 5 types of soup are the Daily Special Soup which you'll get to order that kind of soup depending on which day of the week it is.
On Mondays, "Bak Kut Teh" Soup is available. On Tuesdays, Spicy Soup is available. Wednesdays, Kimchi Soup is up for ordering. Thursdays, Miso Soup and Fridays are Winter Melon Soup:
What about Saturdays and Sundays? Mystery!
And for sauces, they're laid out next to the salad bar for you to pick from:
The sauces that are available at 798 Shabu Shabu are Spicy & Sour Sauce, Thai '2S' Sauce, Bean Curd Sauce, Dark Soy Sauce, Peanut Sesame Sauce, Chili Oil Sauce, Green Spicy Sauce and 798 Suki Sauce.

You can't go wrong much eating Shabu-Shabu except that I made a grave mistake of mixing cheese filled items into my Tom Yam base soup. Note to self, cheese and tom yam don't go well for me.

A word of caution on the 'Boom' Beef and Pork Balls, after cooking it in your hot pot, be careful biting into it as the hot soup content that seeps into the ball will spurt out and might burn your tongue!
798 Shabu Shabu has some interesting T&C that's tied to it that you should take note.
The one I've heard before is that 100g of food wastage will cost RM10. Also a plus is that children below 90cm or 7 years old eat for free while children between 90cm-140cm or below 12 years old is entitled 50% discount. Even senior citizens above 60 years old can eat for 50% discount.
You'll have to pay 1st and release the table within 100 minutes after seated where last order should be made 15 minutes before end of meal. RM30 extra charge can be added for every 30 minutes extension.

798 Shabu Shabu is located at:
OB.K6-0B.K7, Oasis Boulevard, Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall,3, Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway, 46150 P.J Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
It's opened daily where lunch at RM29.80 is available from 11am-5pm while dinner for the price of RM39.80 is available from 5pm to 11pm.