Monday, August 18, 2014

Roller Coaster Rides

Image from Google.
The past few months has been a particular difficult emotional roller coaster ride for me. Every single social media platform I'm in, I see images. I get reminders. I get messages. It's like people are screaming at me, pushing me, reminding me.

Memories come flooding back like a gush of water broken from a dam. The emotions slams into me so hard I cannot fight back, pushing me up against the wall and slamming me wave after wave right into my face. I'm helpless. I cry. I weep.

It may sound silly for some, but it's real for me. I may have healed, picked up the pieces to put them back together. But no matter how I try, some pieces no longer fit perfectly, and the cracks will always be visible. Some pieces will slip through the cracks, and I will have an emotional breakdown for a while, and retreat to my quiet cave for some silent moments.

The cracks are what make me who I am today. I have been broken, the heart has been shattered a few times. I've managed to lift my spirits by finding other means to keep moving forward. Between the fear, the sadness, the uncertainty and anxiety, I live with happiness, contentment, joy, optimism, hope and excitement with those around me.

Do I still have faith? On good days I have, on bad days not so much.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

RIP Robin Williams (1951 - 2014)

Image from Google
"Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression."

"Until you've stared down that level of depression, until you've lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness... you don't get to make those judgments."

Rest in peace Robin. You've brought a lot of joy and laughter to the world. It is a pity the one thing you brought to the world was the one thing you needed the most to get through the depressive state you've been battling for so many years. I hope people will take depression more seriously, and not just brush it away and pretend it never happened. Sometimes you pick up the pieces, but they never seem to fit perfectly.

Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-hurley/theres-nothing-selfish-about-suicide_b_5672519.html

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Yat-Wok-Suk


Sometimes when I'm feeling lazy, I would simply whip up a meal with everything in one dish. In Cantonese we call it "yat-wok-suk", which means everything cooks together. It's like how you can make yam rice with a rice cooker, by throwing everything into one pot and just let it cook.

While I don't cook that much rice at home, I prefer to roast meat and vegetables in one dish, which also makes cleaning a lot easier, and preparation time is faster.

Marinade the chicken overnight (or at least a few hours) with these ingredients:
Olive oil
Mixed herbs
Garlic powder
Some honey
A dash of dark soy sauce
(or you can use any roast chicken recipe)

Before you roast the chicken, make sure to bring it out from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30mins. Pre-heat the oven at 190° for about 10mins.

Chop the bell peppers into large bite sizes (remove the seeds at the core), and toss them with some olive oil, mixed herbs and ground black pepper. Place them into a baking dish, then place the chicken on top of the bell peppers. When the chicken is roasting (roasting time is about 15mins), the juices from the chicken will ooze out and flow onto the bell peppers, making them even juicier and tasty. I added a dollop of butter on the chicken while roasting too, for that extra flavour yum.

Simple, easy to prepare, and easy to clean. Especially when you're cooking for one.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A&W Padang Timur: A Revisit


Ever since the news broke out on KUB's plans to close the A&W Padang Timur outlet by the end of the year to make way for some office towers, many of us felt we were going to lose an icon to progress and profit. No doubt about it, this particular A&W branch is the very first A&W outlet in Petaling Jaya and has a very special place in many of our hearts, especially for those who have lived in PJ since 1970s.

I remember when I was a little kid and living in Paramount Garden, my dad would always buy A&W fried chicken (those days, there was the buy 10 pcs get one gallon root beer FOC). Ahhh who can forget the rootbeer straight from the tap? Using the iconic A&W rootbeer chilled mug, filling it with cold rootbeer and topping it with two scoops of creamy vanilla ice-cream. Back then, A&W fried chicken was the best fried chicken ever. That was before other fast food franchises came into the picture.

I will have to say... the downfall of A&W probably began after the franchise was taken over by KUB. Somehow, food quality and service just kept deteriorating, resulting in A&W losing its charm. That's the problem when you let inexperience companies handle F&B. All that introduction of new burgers and bla, they should've just stuck to the rootbeer, coney dog, fried chicken an awesome waffles (because that is what A&W really is about, good ol' All American food).

During the recent Raya break, my crazy sibling was back for the holidays and we decided to head over to A&W Padang Timur branch for lunch. The outlet was packed to the brim, with a long line of folks queuing for their orders, two childrens' party indoors, and loads of people taking pictures of the premise. I don't think that branch has ever experience such an overwhelming crowd before.

While my husband took a seat, the crazy sibling and I queued at the counter. You would think all counters would be open to cater to the crowd, but no. Only two counters were opened. Never mind, we had the patience because this is A&W, and we were here really for the nostalgia. As we shuffled along, I noticed there was no queue for the waffle line, so I made a mental note to include a waffle in my order. As I was about to reach the counter, they opened up two more counters (thank goodness).

To keep the story short, we waited in line for one hour for our food, and another hour for our waffle at the waffle counter. Service was immensely slow, they were understaffed, some of the staff were part-timers and had no clue what they were doing and the lady manning the waffle counter didn't know how to properly time the waffle cooking time at all (hence the long wait). Business is already bad on most days, and now that the crowd is swelling due to the news about the outlet closing down, I believe every patron is just there to relive the moment for a little while, back to the good ol' days of A&W, before things went spiraling down for the brand.

As a consolation, we had 8 pcs of fried chicken (I ordered 6), our rootbeer float came with two scopes (I asked for single scope), and our waffle was made by a senior member of the staff (the table next to us had bad waffles, they were repeatedly stabbing it because it was overcooked). If KUB doesn't embark on a turnaround strategy to keep A&W alive, it's a gonner, and would be a very very sad way to see the brand go because of KUB's incompetence.