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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Semester 5 Week 1

Well, to me it's still semester 5, despite my coursemates' explanations that we're actually in semester 6 because we've done our internship and our internship counts as one semester. I'll just confuse myself less and call it the second-last semester.

It's the usual "ooh I'm back at Taylor's! There are new people! And even less parking! Why the hell did they use my tuition fees for [insert name of something new on campus]?!" routine. And I still wake up at inhuman hours to get decent parking.

Taylorians will know about the cinema-esque new lecture theatres next to the experimental theatre and grand hall. The inside looks like a cinema yes, but the exterior was beyond disappointing - pretty much an echo-ey hallway with rickety-ish stairs. From the outside it looked quite promising...

The walls and floors a pretty much empty when you tap on them.
Apparently, Ford changed their car designs very drastically.
Also, Taylor's does a lot of advertisements for companies like Ford, and have gone beyond giant billboards featuring Fay Hokulani and Marianne Tan (from JinnyBoyTV) - if you park in the basement, you will see giant Ford advertisement stickers along the ramps, and on the level just below the entrance level, there are 3 specific parking spaces marked for Ford vehicles. The last time I tried to park at one of those spots, I got told off and shooed away by the security guard on duty. Well, seems there's been a change of policy...

But you still can't blame me for drooling over modified Neos on campus - I drive one and I'm seriously craving to put on some new rims, LEDs, and body stickers, if not completely revamp it with a coat of new color, tinted lights, and a turbo engine and sound system. Spotted this sexy beast when I arrived early enough in the morning to get decent parking, but the driver hung around his car, so I couldn't take a pic until it was raging-sunlight-Malaysian-style afternoon.

Kaki don - fried oyster rice bowl. MYR 8.80 subject to taxes.
Wearing heels is a big deal for me, because I wouldn't wear them unless I had to, or the occasion permits me to, which means there will be minimal walking. On this particular day of the week, we made an unexpected trip to Sunway Pyramid for Japanese food, and there was a lot of walking when I didn't expect to... I paid more than just what was printed on the receipt for a bowl of oyster rice.

Recipe Idea: mashed potatoes

If you don't love mashed potatoes, I suspect that you're not human. Nah. But mashed potatoes are a staple practically everywhere in the mainstream world, since potatoes are a staple food in many countries anyway. I'm a fan of the rich, creamy type of mashed potatoes, with just a bit of bite and lots of gravy.

At home, though, I make it a little differently. The typical home made mashed potatoes involves potatoes (duh), milk or cream, and butter. I'm the kind of person who will add a little more to that list.

The basics for about 3-4 servings:
  1. 2-3 medium (1-2 large) potatoes, peeled and diced - I used purple skin potatoes that I had
  2. half a carrot, peeled and
  3. 1/2 medium / 1 small red onion OR 3-5 shallots, finely minced
I boiled the potatoes and carrots in some salted water and drained them. I prepped the onions a la Cooking with Dog - chopped them up, rubbed them with salt, rinsed with cold water, then squeezed dry in a paper towel (or you could just leave them out to air dry).

My seasonings:
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter (vegetable oil spread for vegan option)
  • 1-2 tbsp cream / milk (soy milk for vegan option)
  • 1-2 tsp mild American mustard

The raw onion gives a fresh bite in contrast to the creaminess of the mashed potatoes and carrots. And the other seasonings are pretty much really all up to you - the beauty of mashed potatoes is that it's a complete basic dish that you can customize to suit your liking!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Coffee Cottage, SS15, Subang Jaya

Burger bars and coffee bars are mushrooming all over Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, and places like Coffea Coffee and BurgerLab are places that the young people now frequent, especially given the now higher income and higher ability to spend, as well as the modern culture of posting everything on Instagram.

Coffee Cottage - the home of barista coffee and felines
While catching up with my friend a few weeks ago during a jogging meet-up, she shared to me a location called Coffee Cottage, which is known for the cats within the cafe. In other words, a cat cafe. Perfect for those who love cats and enjoy a good cup of barista coffee!

Since the boyfie and I are pretty much feline fanatics, we made semi-impromptu plans to visit the place after having pork noodles, which is within the SS15 vicinity. The place is next to Espresso Lab, on the upper floor. It's a small-ish place, with several tables (smoking and non-smoking), as well as a specified area where all the cats live and play.

Flat whites with basic latte art
Each person who enters to play with the cats have to have ordered one dish and/or coffee or other, and don't worry, you can take the food in with you as long as you keep the cats from consuming them.

I spotted Garfield first before we went in - he snoozed most of the time in a corner.
There are two glass doors at the entrance of the kitty area - one door has to be closed before the other is opened to ensure that the cats stay in. You're required to disinfect your hands before entering the kitty area, and there's a supply of kitty teasers you could bring in with you to play with the felines.

The tabby - Alvin. Playful, but not too fond of human contact.
There's an assortment of breeds and ages of cats, with some more social than others, and some more accepting of being picked up and cuddles than others. We ordered a flat white each just for the sake of ordering, and just moved into the kitty area.

Boyfie playing with Puddle with the teaser.
Puddle and Garfield were the two kitties that appealed to us and played with us the most. Well, Puddle was the one who played with us the most, and let us cuddle it to sleep. Garfield mainly slept in a corner, while I became a partial bitch and woke him up to play LOL

Because it's an interesting concept (the book cafe concept is no longer relevant, regardless of how nice it seems), youngsters and hipsters alike flock to the place - c'mon, SS15 is basically the heaven for people from Taylor's University, Taylor's College, INTI Subang, Sri KL, and whichever other campus which is within that area.

Selfie with Puddle - he's a natural selfie poser :D
And a selfie with Garfield - I sent this picture to my dad, and he said the cat didn't look too happy XD
Personally, the coffee wasn't much to shout about, though I do appreciate the latte art. The overall layout of the cafe and the location is also pretty convenient and comfortable. The cafe is open from 2p.m. to midnight, and is closed on Tuesdays, so plan accordingly if you feel like a dose of coffee with felines.

Location - 8.5 / 10 (parking could be a problem, unless you park inside Asia Cafe)
Atmosphere - 9 / 10
Food/beverage quality - 8 / 10
Price - 8.5 / 10 (you pay for the atmosphere)
Service - 9.5 / 10 (the staff are super friendly!)


2p.m. - 12a.m. (closed on Tuesday)
1-1, Jalan SS15/8A,
Subang Jaya,
Petaling Jaya,
Tel.: 603-5613 0078
Coffee Cottage Facebook

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Being Malaysian

I've got a ton of stuff that was supposed to be posted up at least a month ago, including some restaurant/cafe reviews and whatnot. Oh, well, which is why I'm not getting much from Nuffnang: wayyy too inconsistent and irrelevant.

My homeland Malaysia has made the headlines again and again, but all for the wrong reasons. First, it was the elections, then now it's MH370.

Both of which, I would rather not involve myself in, though I hate Rosmah's guts. As for MH370, I'm not gonna speculate, nor am I going to read any more articles from anywhere - I'm just gonna pray that they find the plane soon and put a full stop to this story. And please, Raja Bomoh, enough with your stupid coconuts, our country looks like a really mighty joke as it is.

There isn't much of a fixed sentiment about my nationality and home country - I wouldn't say I'm proud to be Malaysian, but I'm not ashamed either. My nationality defines where I was born, where I grew up, and what defines most of my character.

I'm endlessly face-palming at a lot of political stuff that's going on in Malaysia, as well as the seeming amount of idiots that share the country with us fellow Malaysians - y'know, the ones who can't speak a decent word of English.

Other than that, I'm pretty much neutral when it comes to telling people I'm from Malaysia. What used to be "that stretch of land in between Thailand and Singapore" is now a pretty well-known country (apart from the obvious Malacca, Penang, and Kota Kinabalu). How Malaysia stood up on its own as a country in the eyes of the rest of the world, I'd rather not know, but I'm really hoping that it's a good reason.

I mean, what's not to love about this country (other than it's fucked up political system)? No earthquakes or tornadoes. No being snowed in when it's supposed to be spring. The food variety here is practically endless. Growing up with a ton of different people from different backgrounds is a giant plus, because you learn to respect other cultures, and learn different languages.

Jeet Thurai's simple tweet made internet news by celebrating our melting pot of merging cultures and languages. Maybe with the exception of Singapore, but where else can you say something like this and still have people understand you perfectly? And sometimes reply you in a completely different combo of languages as well?

Once you find the way out of the narrow tunnel that some of us have likely grown up in, you'll see that despite the differences, we're all still human - we're all still Malaysian. We eat the same food, breathe the same air, use the same roads (but by god, stop driving like a douche!), and use the same words!

Especially in the recent years where university and my social life brought me to shores that I've never set foot on, I've come to meet people I never had the guts to even talk to in my life. One of my oldest friends is Punjabi, and one of the friends that I share the most with is Malay, and the one who shares my love for Tumblr humor is Chinese-Malay.

Despite the racial labels, that doesn't stop the socializing - we respect each others' religion, cultures, and norms, finding common ground for communication, and developing our friendship from there.

Let's just stop playing the race card, please? 1Malaysia is a beautiful concept, signifying all Malaysian citizens as one regardless of the differences.