Saturday, October 30, 2010

Barcelona - Football & Flamenco

If you're a football fan (for my American friends, I'm talking about soccer), a must do in Barcelona would be to catch FC Barcelona in action. We were lucky that they had a home game when we were there.

I figured the best incentive to get X to go watch a flamenco performance (more about that later) with me would be to accompany him for a soccer match. Truth be told, I do enjoy going to watch a game live. I'm not at all a football fan but there's something about the stadium lights, hearing the fans roar, beer (they serve non-alcoholic version, yuks) & hot dogs - the whole atmosphere that is electrifying.

As you exit the train station, you just have to follow the crowd especially the groups wearing the home team jersey. You know you are near Camp Nou Stadium, when you start seeing these stands.

No I didn't purchase my tickets from there. I don't even know if these are operational. I bought them online like everybody else & collected the tickets from FNAC.

Camp Nou (New Field in Catalan) is very impressive. It can sit close to 100,000 making it the largest stadium in Europe.

The camera action

He who scored the one & only goal of the game

For the football fans who would know who these players are

Not bad for an evening entertainment
Wish they'd served real beer tho

3 nights later, we went for a very different kind of show. Based on tripadvisor reviews, I made a booking at Tablao de Carmen. It sounded a little touristy & most definitely not the cheapest option for a flamenco show (I found much cheaper alternative on the internet) but most of the reviewers gave it a thumbs up & since I didn't have a clue, why not.

Tablao de Carmen is within the grounds of Poble Espanyol, a Spanish village created for tourists (see what I mean). The buildings & architecture represent all the different periods in Spanish history now occupied by restaurants, galleries & artisanal workshops.

If you have tickets for the show, entry to the village is free. Arrive well ahead of the show to give yourselves ample time to walk around the premises.

This was the closet we got to El Bulli - this is where Ferran Adria sources his plates. The restaurant by the way will close next year.

Tablao de Carmen has 2 seatings every night & you have a choice of just watching the show with drinks, having the tapas menu or the full dinner menu. That determines which tables you are assigned to. All diners have tables closest to the stage.

We had the tapas menu @ 45euro which is more than enough - ham, cheeses, potatoes, bread & either a bottle of wine or a jug of sangria.

The dancers & musicians put up a good show. Both X & I really enjoyed it. The highlight was this male dancer which was even better than the male dancers we saw at a flamenco show at the Esplanade recently.

Friday, October 29, 2010

ilike ilight

You have till Nov 7th to catch ilight, a sustainable light art festival. It's free, it's beautiful & what better way to enjoy the lights of the marina bay area. We had dinner at One Fullerton & then made our way around.

Check out the website to see where the 24 installations are located. If you have an iphone, download the app. We didn't even get to see all of them. Here's a look at what we did manage.

The beautiful city that I call home
It takes my breath away

CBD has never looked more beautiful

The beautiful Helix bridge that links Marina Bay Sands

The *surf board* - Skypark, Ku De Tah & the infinity pool

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Our favorite Japanese restaurant

In a city where Japanese restaurants abound, everybody will have their own favorite.

Ours is Akashi. We have been going to them at Tanglin Shopping Centre for years. Even though they now have several branches, the original outlet is still our favorite.

Since moving back, we actually haven't been there at all. So imagine our surprise when we found the original branch closed & that they are now in swanky new location at Orchard Parade Hotel (does anyone still call it the old Ming Court Hotel ?)

The chefs & the servers are still the same. The food is still good.
What are our favorites ? Sushi/sashimi, Spider maki, salmon skin hand roll, grilled eggplant, chazuke, cha soba, fact there is nothing on the menu that we don't like.

1 Tanglin Road
#01-01A Orchard Parade Hotel

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The little straw house revisited

Remember my friends who were building their little straw house. It's done (well almost) & they moved in last winter. It's also a lot sturdier than the house the little pigs built (for those who had commented in my previous post :)

Love their little garden

Mathieu who is extremely talented, built this tree house for his kids.
That's what happens when you are sitting on a bit of land

Remember the little stream that runs right in front of their house

I had to take a photo of this
A toadstool that just grew out of nowhere

Another rope adventure thingy
they put together for the kids

It was great catching up with Katia & seeing her settled into the home they built. Just so you know the *build* is not done. They are about to embark on a bigger project - a bigger house. Stay tuned for more updates.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

La Villa Tartary Revistied

For reason I can only attribute to fluke, when you do a search on La Villa Tartary on google, my blog entry in Feb 09 is the first entry just above the restaurant's official website.

With all that good food churned out by X's mum & family, we don't need to eat out. In fact this meal was only one of 2 that we did.

I managed to get more pictures of the outdoor area since we went there for lunch. The ambience is still as before, modern & friendly. Sylvie is full of smiles & ever the accommodating hostess. The food is even better than what I remembered it to be. No wonder the restaurant was packed for a Thursday lunch. Not bad for a 26 Euro menu.

Pieds et Jarrets de Porc Panés, Crème aux Herbes, Salades Mêlées.
This was my favorite item on the menu the last time & was glad to see that they have brought it back again. Breaded pork feet & shoulder (well here's the proof when I said it looks better than it sounds)
Flan de Fenouil, Pomme de Terre, Chair de Crabes, Emulsion aux Olives
Flan of fennel with sliced potatoes & crab meat

This was the favorite of the table
Entre Terre et Mer, embeurée de Choux vert au lard.
"Between Land & Sea"
It's a delicious combination of mushrooms & seafood
Well seasoned, well paired ingredients
Absolutely delicious

X had this as his main course
Cabillaud, Bouillon Crémeux, Encornets et Morilles
Cod in a cream sauce with mushroom

Sablé, Poires, Sauce Caramel aux Noix, Sorbet Citron

The Girl had her ice cream

Pots de Crème à la Châtaigne, Badiane, Sésame

If you do make it to Ardeche one day, please drop by & say hi to Sylvie & Francke and taste their delicious food.