Snow Day

Posted: February 2, 2011 in my news, news

So, this was what Lake Shore Drive looked like after the snow blizzard between yesterday afternoon and this morning. Pretty crazy. It’s the first time in the year that I’ve been at Kendall that class was canceled because of weather. It was nice to have the day off… but back to school tomorrow.

Update: OMG… no class tmr either… woo!!

Italy (Photos)

Posted: January 5, 2011 in activity, culture, photos

I just realized that I did not post anything on my trip to Italy in December 2009… so here are some photos.

Pisa

Firenze

Siena

Verona

Venezia

Bologna

Ancient Pompei

Costiera Amalfitana

Napoli

Roma

Stato della Città del Vaticano

Kendall College… Culinary School.

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s been over a year since I came to Chicago to attend culinary school. Honestly, when I first got here I did not know what it would really be like, if I would do well, or even if I would enjoy it. Now that I am in my final quarter of the associates part of my degree, I can honestly say that I do not regret coming here at all. In the past year that I have been here, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Kendall. Even though Kendall does have its issues, it is still a great place to learn the craft and there are many great chef instructors to learn from. If you are thinking about pursuing a life in the culinary field, be warned, it is not glamorous like  what you think from watching the food network. It takes immense dedication, hard work, and sacrifice to achieve good food – at least that is what I have concluded.

So far I have enjoyed all the kitchen classes I have taken including baking and pastry, and the classes I particularly enjoyed were sausage making, photography, advance garde manger, and advance fish. Advance fish was surprisingly enjoyable as the dishes were delicious and Chef Elaine Sikorski is awesome! Love her anecdotes and attitude towards food and the industry. So far I’ve really had the pleasure of learning from some really cool chefs including Chef Kevin Schrimmer, Chef Mike Artlip, Chef Pierre Checchi, and Chef Walter Freund, all of whom are immensely knowledgeable and  are enjoyable to learn from.

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My year end vacation this time around was again in Orlando, Florida. However this time, there was a new attraction waiting for us in Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It was insane! If you are planning on visiting during any holiday period within the next year or so, be warned, it’s gonna be crazy packed with people. BUT it’s absolutely worth it to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and especially for Harry Potter fans.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is located at the very back of Islands of Adventure, so walking left or right doesn’t matter although I personally think walking through Seuss Landing is shorter. If you are planning on visiting during peak periods, wake up as early as you can and head into the Wizarding World first before anything else. Once you are in, make sure you experience everything before leaving the area because getting back in is a real pain. There are two entrances into the Wizarding World: (1) through The Lost Continent via Seuss Landing, entering closest to Hogsmeade, and (2) through Jurassic Park via Marvel Super Hero Island and Toon Lagoon, entering closest to Hogwarts.

If you enter through entrance (2), you will probably find yourself caught in the line going into Hogwarts castle itself. Here you have two choices, you can walk through the castle just to have a look or you can stay for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride which to me is a MUST! If you choose not to ride the ride you can ask one of the Prefects if they can let you through. If you choose to ride the ride you will be asked to store your bags in lockers that you can rent for free for 20 minutes (but honestly the 3 times I was there, the line went on for more than 45 minutes so I don’t know how that works), otherwise if you have someone who doesn’t want to ride you can ask them to hold your stuff for you. As you wait in line for the ride, it brings you through the Hogwarts castle where you will be greeted by Dumbledore in his office, and then later by Harry, Ron and Hermione. My advice is to stay and listen to what they have to say because it is part of the storyline of the ride, plus it’s fun. Just step aside as to not hold up the line. You will also be greeted by animated portraits who are gossiping about the current affairs of the castle. These portraits are amazing, just like those in the movies. Then you will finally find yourself being seated for the ride. It runs continuously on a conveyor belt so move quickly. The seating is 4 to a bench, and sitting in the 2nd seat from the left (if you are facing the bench) will let you experience most of the wrath. The storyline of the ride is based on experiencing Harry’s first 3 years of school. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are planning to miss one of their classes and has invited you to come along. Hermione has ingeniously found a way to cast a flying charm on school benches that will bring you on the ride. Basically, the ride is a moving simulator where you will experience the ride in front of both screens and traditional 3D props. There are no steep drops but there are moments where you will be held in a position almost parallel to the ground. The ride is really more psychological rather than physical, but it is really state of the art and the technology is amazing. As you exit the castle, you will have a chance to purchase a photo of you during the ride as well as other souvenirs in Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Here you will be able to purchase house scarves with the house crests exclusive only to this store, so if you want those scarves you have to get them here. There are also a few other merchandises that are exclusive to this shop but you can always return to this shop without having to go through the ride again.

As you exit Filch’s Emporium, the next ride you will pass is Flight of the Hippogriff. This is an extremely mild rollercoaster suitable for all ages meeting the height limit.

As you make your way through to Hogsmeade, the first store you will come across is Ollivanders (there will probably be a long line outside so you won’t miss it). If you wait in line, you will experience a short “show” that depicts the wand selection process. Other shops in Hogsmeade include Three Broomsticks (Tavern food), Honeydukes, Zonko’s, and Dervish and Banges (merchandise store connected to Ollivanders). You will be able to find Hogwarts house robes here as well as Ollivanders wands. There are who categories of wands available for purchase: (1) character based wands (wands that are replicas of Harry Potter characters’ wands), and (2) original Ollivanders wands (a selection of non character based wands). Both categories of wands cost the same but original Ollivanders wands are exclusive to Dervish and Banges whilst character based wands are available in other Universal merchandise stores. Another thing you must try whilst you are in the Wizarding World is Butterbeer. You can purchase the drink from the Three Broomsticks or 2 other vendors in the Wizarding World. The beverage is absolutely delicious, reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch.

Lastly, there is a third ride in the Wizarding World – Dragon Challenge (formerly known as Duelling Dragons), twin suspended roller coasters that  is supposed to represent two dragons fighting. You can choose to ride the Chinese Fireball (red) or the Hungarian Horntail (green). Personally I thought the Chinese Fireball was a marginally better ride although they are supposed to be the same.

Honestly, even those who are not exactly fans will be carried away by the magic that is the Wizarding World. Both my sister and my father who know little about Harry Potter found themselves wanting to be part of the whole Hogwarts house spirit. You will see people with house ties, scarves, robes, and other merchandises… it’s awesome. I chose Slytherin myself as did my younger sister, whilst my youngest sister chose Gryffindor, and my elder sister was given Ravenclaw by me. My father was oddly undecided between Gryffindor and Slytherin. It was extremely fun to play along with the staff at the Wizarding World and other muggle visitors.

I have officially been in Chicago for a day now. My apartment is unfurnished but YES, I have my internet and laptop all set up. Compared to Melbourne, Chicago is HUGE! I’m living in a pretty convenient place though. There’s a McDonalds in the building, although I am not entirely sure that that is a good thing at all. There’s also a few other restaurants and a supermarket. I have read some bad stuff about this place though… so we’ll see. I’m staying in a studio apartment but compared to my studio in Unilodge in Melbourne, this apartment is like a mansion.

Anyway I wanted to talk a little bit about the Icheon International Airport. I took Korean Airlines so my transit stop was in Incheon. This airport is ranked number 1 this year, ahead of Changi (Singapore) and Hong Kong. This airport is in fact very pleasant and convenient. The security check for transitors is simple, just scanning hand carry items, and additional manual bag checking for those travelling to US. I personally didn’t have to take off my shoes but I saw some people did have to. The airport features a host of shopping outlets, food courts, lounges, free internet, and even some R&R activities (for a fee of course). The airport is busy but not over crowded and is in fact very quiet, and fairly clean. Toilet cubicles are a little small though, I would prefer is you were able to drag some bags into the stalls. There’s also Korean culture center where passengers waiting for flights can participate in some traditional Korean activities like fan painting for free and you get to keep the fan.











Side note – I was amazed how easily I got into the US. Immigration was a breeze, they didn’t detain me or anything just needed my I-20.

Last Trip To Melbourne

Posted: August 21, 2009 in activity, food, photos

Here are some photos from my last trip to Melbourne for my graduation.

The Melbourne Aquarium

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I’m not really that into chocolate, especially when it’s a whole lot of it. Between Lindt Cafe and Laurent, I prefer Laurent.

Chocolate tart from Lindt Cafe (more crust, less chocolate please…)

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In my 4.5 years of studying in Melbourne, I had never been on the Great Ocean Road. So I decided that it was definitely something I should do during this visit. And because I didn’t want too drive, we went with Go West. The tour was as I expected it really… I’m not really that into seeing rocks and stuff, but it  provided some nice scenaries.

Bell’s Beach

The Go West tour bus

The start of the Great Ocean Road

Koala spotting

Apollo Bay

12 Apostles

Loch Ard’s Barge

London Bridge

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Visit to the Werribee Open Range Zoo. Worth it to fork out a little more money and go for the open vehicle safari rather than the free safari.

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Delicious (and cute) mini cupcakes from Little Cupcake as mentioned in my Brunch-ing entry (Clockwise from top left: chocolate with cream cheese icing, cookies & cream, chocolate mint, coconut, raspberry with white chocolate icing (center))

Graduation

Posted: August 14, 2009 in my news, photos

So, I have officially graduated from my Bachelor of Commerce degree. I was a rather turbulant 4.5 years but in the end I rather enjoyed my course especially the marketing subjects. After all this time I had come to grow fond of Melbourne although there are also a lot of time that I found Melbourne rather boring. Nevertheless, I take with me many great memories and friends. I hope that the next phase of my life will be even more enjoyable.

For those of you who don’t know who Yasmin Ahmad is, she was  a Malaysian film director, writer, and screenwriter known for her work in the movie Sepet and Petronas commercials during the festive seasons. I personally have never thought highly of our local entertainment industry but Yasmin was, in my opinion, truely gifted and a talented writer. Her works never fail to touch the heart of its audience with it’s humour and it’s ability to transcend cross-cultural barriers. Most of my generation would have seen her movie Sepet and debated over the meaning of the end of the movie, and most Malaysians would have seen at least one of her Petronas commercials for the major holidays (they were always my favourite ones). Her works always portrayed a sense of unity amongst the people of Malaysia or what we Malaysians call “perpaduan kaum”, but not in a cheesy way. She was only 51, and even though she may not be as well-known as the late MJ, I believe this is a great loss to Malaysia. Rest in peace Yasmin.