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Friday, June 22, 2018

French Cheeses

We like French cheeses. Really like French cheeses. It has not been easy to get hold of French cheeses in Singapore. Huber's specialises in Swiss cheeses. They're good (still way better than the plastic tasting cheddar slices and the mass produced camembert in the supermarkets).

We are still partial to French cheeses.

They all taste different and all have complex taste profiles. There is the smell of the terroir. Different cheeses have discernible notes of fresh grass, daisies, berries. French cheeses are real treats. My new fascination with French cheese started on Mother's Day this year, at One Ninety where they served Pouligny St. Pierre on the buffet table. It was Wow! The Chef at One Ninety is excellent. 

The One Ninety buffet does not have all the hype of Ritz-Carlton's Colony but each offering is well-chosen. Colony served Boursin from the supermarket. One Ninety served Pouligny St Pierre. I know which restaurant provides true quality.

Cheese platters (with artisanal cheese) for 4 in a restaurant cost about $30 and you only get a few slivers of 3 to 4 types of cheese. So, I decided to source for French artisanal cheeses. I found a good selection at The Marketplace and then, I found La Petite Boutique (which flies in exactly the type of French cheese I order). La Petite Boutique supplies to restaurants so you can get through them, really special cheeses that you cannot find in the supermarkets (or even their website). If you KNOW what cheese you want, just order through them. The prices range from $7 to $19 per cheese and I get the whole block (instead of a few slivers).

Pouligny St. Pierre - salty flavour that turns sweet in the mouth, and ends with nuttiness.

Banon de Chalais - rich and creamy, smells of mushroom.

Langres - oozy and creamy, with a full bodied umami taste.


For 10 years, I have enjoyed the bliss of NOT attracting male attention. No one hits on me. I didn't realise that getting hit on, and having to deal POLITELY with unwanted attention, was stressful, till people stopped doing it to me.

It never occurred to me to question why. I just enjoyed the peace.

Earlier this week, I finally realised why no one hits on me anymore. It is because I am UGLY! Oh man! When did I become so ugly?!

I went on my annual hunt for good quality t-shirts. Usually, I head straight to Giordano and buy 10 t-shirts of 5 different colours. This lasts me all year, till the next t-shirt hunt. This year, Giordano did not have designs I liked so I wandered into Uniqlo to hunt. Giordano's changing rooms are dim and forgiving. Uniqlo is so sure of their products that they have bright white light in the changing rooms.

I gave myself a fright when I looked at me in the Uniqlo mirror. Where did all those freckles come from? Why are there wrinkles on my belly? Why are there ugly folds of skin on my back when I turn? You know how those Hollywood stars do the back turn for photos on the red carpet? I tried that in the Uniqlo dressing room and almost scared myself to death.

I looked like Najib's wife, Rosmah!

I stood there and only THEN was I hit by a moment of epiphany. No wonder no one hits on me anymore! If I glimpsed me over a glass of white wine in a romantic restaurant, I would run away screaming!

So, I texted The Husband, hoping that he would... you know... look at me with the eyes of the beholder kinda thing and say, "Oh no darling, you look as beautiful as the day I met you." Instead, The Husband merely said... see below...

He did end off by saying, "I love you regardless," which did NOT make me feel much better because it means he agrees that I am ugly! Then, I became even more depressed because things aren't gonna improve! If I already look like Najib's wife now, can you imagine what I will look like when I reach her age!?

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Fratini la Trattoria

There are not many restaurants in Singapore that I can safely eat at. So, I am thrilled every time I find a new one.

Fratini la Trattoria is helmed by a slip of a girl who looks more like your regular PRC waitress than the Head Chef...
- with a degree from NTU in Banking and Finance
- who paid for her own uni education selling home made cakes
- who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London
- blah blah blah

Since it is a No Menu restaurant, the chef designs your menu. You simply have to trust the Chef. Think about it. That is what the Queen of England does, no? Her Chef knows what she likes and dislikes and he has carte blanche in deciding what to cook to please her (depending on what produce is of highest quality at the market).

Wah man! Today hor... I felt like the Queen of England leh! I just sat there and thought to myself - "Please me!"

Was I pleased? Oh man, yes! That is not all! Of the whole family, I am easiest to please. If you can please The Husband, that is when you know you are good at your kitchen craft. The Husband was very pleased indeed!

The Husband even said, "The best thing is, I don't even need to order!" He is a man who needs to make so many decisions at work that when he gets home, he really doesn't want to make any at all. I usually decide what he eats and I have gotten good at it because The Husband will COMPLAIN if it is something he doesn't like. Not quite fair, huh? You don't wanna decide and you complain when I decide for you.

Today, Chef Chomel decided for him and the man was THRILLED!

Scandal That Was Not A Scandal
It was after the meal that we did a spot of internet sleuthing and turned up some scandal about Chef Chomel! Seriously though, I really did not think it was a scandal at all. Apparently, Chef Chomel will post your name and details on the internet if you make a booking and then do not show up.

The whole internet behaved as if she had comported herself wrongly. I say "Good for her!" She stood up for the dignity of all chefs who care about putting good food into people's mouths. Her attitude reflects the attitudes of European chefs who have pride in their work.

Competence deserves respect. Establishments that care, deserve respect. If customers are so uncouth as to no show after confirming a booking, I won't just shame them, I would black list them and ensure that they never get to eat in my restaurant again... unless they call to apologise and explain (because sometimes, people have life and death reasons). Actually, this is what I do to my clients. Those who are inconsiderate and abusive, I smile nicely and gently take steps to make sure I never see them again.

Singapore is so big and cosmopolitan that people don't have to behave. They can disappear into the crowds after misbehaving. In Europe, restaurants are often found in rural areas and they serve a clientele that they see at village townhalls and suchlike. The chefs are your neighbours. People behave better in such situations. They are less cavalier and less careless about no showing. Chefs will also fly into a rage at such no shows.

Still, I have never thought it wise to offend chefs, you know. They cook things I like to eat, My policy is to suck up to every hawker centre chef who cooks stuff no one else can cook. I get very generous portions this way because people just want to be treated considerately and live with dignity.

Smoked salmon. Sous-vide pork. Brown rice. 
Dunno what is the yellow puree below nor the white sauce topping because Chef Chomel spoke very fast when she explained the dish and I was too shy to ask her to repeat. Ya man... the service here is so good that someone actually explains the dish to you and tells you which region of Italy it comes from! When she did it for the 1st time (and I thought she was a PRC waitress), I thought to myself, "What if she made it up? How do I know that this dish really comes from that region?" After the first mouthful, though, I wasn't thinking anything anymore. Whatever was going on in my mouth was very distracting!

Scallops With Yummy Sauce. I promise that the next time I go, I will make Chef Chomel repeat and I will write down NOTES so I can tell readers exactly what the dish is all about. However, you are unlikely to eat what I ate. Everyone gets different things, on different days.

Lamb on purple sweet potato puree. There was beef tenderloin too BUT The Son had eaten it before a photo could be taken.

Seabass on Yummy Vegetables.

Truffle Pasta.

Seafood Pasta With Cream Sauce.

White chocolate pavé. Tiramisu. Mint panna cotta.