The Haute Food Co [food review]

Woke up to the soft patter of rain right outside my bedroom window. What began as a storm an hour ago was slowly dwindling to a gentle placid drizzle, slowly but surely dying down. My toes were cold and stiff as I lay wrapped under the blankets with my whole body aching from a hard no-gi jits and yoga session the night before. Headstand anyone?

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It was a dreary morning in Kuala Lumpur, one that required the use of covered tops. Strange indeed, cause this is the tropics after all. I blame it on 2012 and global warming. Maybe the world is ending after all. Heh.

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Anyway, F and I had arranged to meet for lunch at ‘The Haute Food Co’ in Plaza Damas. It was a new place that neither of us had ever visited but came highly recommended by a trusted foodie friend of ours. She described it as a ‘quaint cafe with good sandwiches and excellent western style coffee’. The coffee we get in Malaysia is very different from the coffee in the US, UK or Australia. Here it is made to taste stronger and for lack of a better word extremely coarse. It isn’t quite like the type of coffee you get in little Italian shops (sadly Starbucks was for a long while the only good overseas style coffee in Malaysia, thank goodness those days are long gone!). It is made to taste as strong and black as it looks and is usually made with condensed milk. While we like that coffee (it is home after all), having spent some significant years abroad – you can’t help but miss certain things. So when you tell yuppies like us ‘western style coffee cafe’ we were sold.

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20110416-092345.jpg Love the quaint charms of the counters and the front door (you can’t see it in the photo but there’s a little wind chime at the door and it twinkles ever so slightly when a customer enters).

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The daily specials written on a blackboard.

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20110416-092415.jpg Each table has a postcard size art piece that introduces up and coming artists based in Kuala Lumpur. This illustration is too cute! And yes my dear cake I won’t let the glass case get in the way of our love! Heh ๐Ÿ™‚

F ordered a latte while I got a berry mint lemonade.
20110416-092427.jpg The latte was full-bodied and creamy. F commented that the espresso shot was quite strong (he normally likes to order double shot cause he finds most places that do western style coffee tend to have weak espresso shots). Overall it was a very good latte. I’m not much of a coffee drinker cause I really don’t like the bitter taste of pure coffee but the subtle bitterness yet full flavor of the coffee coupled with the extra creaminess of the milk made this latte thoroughly enjoyable โค My berry lemonade was really nice too, very refreshing with the mint just adding a very subtle hint of a kick.

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The menu is so reminiscent of coffee shops in Manly Beach, Sydney Australia which usually means having breakfast on the menu (something which we have to try next time) with sandwiches and salads being the focus for lunch. They also have teatime treats like jam drops, pound cakes, scones and chocolate logs. The specials are mainly pasta and meat entrees like chili con carne. F decided to order the smoke chicken and cheese with sundried tomato paste while I ordered the roasted lamb wrap.

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20110416-092500.jpg Anyway….. The sandwiches were soooooooo tasty! F’s sandwich was borderline heart attack indulgent. The bread was slathered with butter on both sides then toasted to a perfect crunch. While my lamb was roasted tenderly perfect, I think the spiciness of the lamb could have been increased (like definitely a bit more cumin and fenugreek). It came with a mint dip so perhaps that’s why they toned down the spices in the lamb. However the full gamey flavor of lamb came through (which I love!!)If you don’t like a strong gamey taste, I would totally avoid this. The bread wrap was also toasted so that added a nice texture too. My only complaint about the sandwiches was the lack of vegetables inside the sandwich while F complained the portions were a little on the small side. Anyway regarding the veggies, I know that it’s served with salad on the side but you know having some greens would have made the sandwiches have an extra layer of flavor. Maybe it’s cause Malaysians don’t like leafy vegetables in their sandwiches and they wanted to cater to the average Malaysian taste buds? Who knows…

Soon it was time for dessert!
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Having a huge interest in baking, I find that a lot of cakes in cafes rarely impress me. But the cakes here were baked and decorated very well.
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Most of the cakes were actually torted (cut top and bottom to give a flat surface). As strange as it sounds (since torting is cake decorating 101) most Malaysian cafes don’t torte and try to pass of their lopsided uneven cakes as ‘rustic’ or ‘homemade’. I call bullshit on that and say it’s cause of ‘laziness’ or ‘scared of wastage’ lol.

Anyway since cheesecakes are cakes I can’t quite bake well (can’t really get the texture right) we decided to order a banana honeycomb cheesecake.
20110416-092510.jpg The cheesecake was actually a normal cheesecake with a layer of banana on top of the bottom biscuit layer and honeycomb bits scattered around. I wished the honeycomb bits tasted more like a honeycomb as it was a bit more cookie in texture and I really couldn’t taste the honey. And I didn’t like the idea of the chocolate biscuit base having nuts. Almonds have a really strong taste, one that doesn’t really blend well as compared to something like walnuts. So the almond slivers kept distracting me from the taste of the chocolate base. Such a waste as the chocolate base did taste really bittingly chocolate. But overall it was quite enjoyable. Would I order it again? Probably not… although if someone did order it, I honestly wouldn’t mind a nibble. Heh. ๐Ÿ™‚

Some instagram shots before I end the post:
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Pros: Good lattes, properly decorated cakes and desserts, good flavors in the sandwiches. Very nice cafe ambience.
Great Western style cafe!!

Cons: Portions are a little on the small side.

Cost: RM12-18 a sandwich. RM8-RM12 a drink.

Recommended? Hell yeah!

20110416-092254.jpg hehehe and one camwhore pic of yours truly. ๐Ÿ™‚

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How I started BJJ


F posted this video on my FB wall and it sent shivers down my spine after watching it. It was very well shot,ย choreographedย and produced and well it just reminded me of my first proper introduction to BJJ.

I was first introduced to BJJ when I started dating F. He had been learning BJJ for about a year and a half when we first started going out and he was totally hooked. At that time I had never heard of BJJ and being a huge Japanophile I was intrigued. But well since virtually all aspects of Japan was taken out of BJJ (like seiza, kiyai, bowing, meditating, etc…) I kinda lost interest and just accepted it as sometime F was crazy about. I have to admit, I was pretty patient as a Jits Practioner GF – he would train 3 times a week (cause at that time class was only 3 times a week, he would have trained more if there were more classes :p) and I would keep myself busy with my xbox (which now admittedly is collecting dust :().

Then about 8 months down the line there was a BJJ self defense seminar the gym organized and he urged me to try it out. I wasn’t keen to be honest and was kinda like ‘ok hun I’ll try it out cause u want me to’. Just to clarify he didn’t want me to try it out because it was BJJ, he wanted me to try it out because it was self defense and was worried for my safety. Well I had loads of fun with the techniques at the seminar and was like ‘hey F is BJJ a lot like this?’ and he said ‘well everything we learned today are actual BJJ techniques but applied a little differently’. I showed up for the very next class!

My first class of BJJ was really interesting. Prof Marcos wasn’t around and Quico (F’s old coach who is now staying in Bali) was visiting us so he took over class. Had lots of fun but there was a lot of things I needed to get use to (it being a full contact sport and all). I guess I’m very lucky to have F to guide me during class cause BJJ can be a very intimidating sport due to the high learning curve and the sparring. I’m also thankful to the regular girls who were training at that time. They helped me a lot to integrate well into BJJ.

Odd thing is that there were at least 4 girls who trained regularly when I started. Now they kinda just dropped off and left BJJ (two moved far away, one got pregnant and the other went MIA). Apart from me, there’s only one other girl in the gym (I brought her in actually! She’s an old family friend). Lucky for me she is super super super tough (can I just add another superlative SUPER lol). Her background is that she teaches fitness classes part time (les mills), is a level 2 certified kettlebell instructor and also a certified TRX instructor. She’s sooooooooooo fit and her stamina is crazy; oh and did I mention she has technique lol? She runs 15 km marathons and heads to open mats AND rolls like she does on a normal day and still kicks it hard on the mats. She kicks my ass on a daily basis. If my stamina or conditioning is not up to par that day, I will get submitted! Thank goodness I have her in the gym to train my conditioning (which I think can be a LOT better, need to train harder!).

Here’s the two of us with Prof when we got promoted to blue. My goodness, it’s been a huge whirlwind of training since the first picture (with the 3 girls) after 3 months of training and the picture above after 1 year and 10 months of training. It’s been a honestly a life changing experience, physically and mentally.ย Looking forward to continue on my BJJ journey.

“Train more, Train hard, Train always” ~Leo Viera

Adam’s farewell 2011 :(

This weekend went by so fast it was crazy! Combining my love for baking and my Jits family, I really couldn’t ask for anything more. But first the sad things first, this weekend was Adam’s last day before he flies back to Canada ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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This here be Adam! Isn’t he the sweetest thing ever? He’s just turned single ladies so hehehehe holler if you want some details, you won’t find a nicer guy ever!

I first met Adam when he came back from Canada for Chinese New Year in 2010 and we just clicked. He was seriously like a long lost brother I never had and he was an amazing training partner for me. We started Jits at around the same time (him at Toronto BJJ and I at Marcos Escobar Malaysia). He was a lot more technical than me but he always gave me loads on chances and never uses full strength when we were training. Plus since he was from a Saulo school, I always asked him clarification on the many Jiu Jitsu University techniques I wanted to incorporate into my game. Other then Jits we both love anime and video games and were huge geeks. Anyway he trained with us for about 2 months before leaving.

This time around, his 2011 trip was so damn short! Just a month! It’s nice to be able to roll after a year and incredible to see how different our games have developed! We’re both guard players (ok technically I’m a top player who has been working on my guard for about 10 months that somehow along the way became a guard player lol). He plays a lot of deep half while I play a lot of open and spider.

Anyway his sister (who is the sweetest thing, bless her heart) called me up randomly to organize a farewell thing for her brother. She wanted to keep it a surprise so I planned it out with Aaron to tell the guys about it. So she booked a table for all of us at Luna Bar on Saturday after open mats. She also wanted a cake but was finding it difficult to get it without Adam getting suspicious so I offered to bake him a cake Saturday morning itself.

The cake was trouble from the very start! I was being ambitious and wanted to bake a lemon cake with lemon curd and lemon white chocolate buttercream (courtesy of Rose from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes) in 4 hours 20110405-102249.jpg

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It started well with the white chocolate base and lemon curd prepared perfectly.

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But goodness me, it was a comedy of errors from the cake onwards. You could say I was being silly, trying to bake a 3″ high cake without expecting problems. First the inside did not bake properly then the buttercream melting cause the cake wasn’t fully cooled… Oh my lord! I was honestly about to call it quits several times but I ploughed through cause Adam is an awesome guy and he deserves this cake! I scraped whatever melting buttercream was left (what a waste as it tasted so nice too :(), put the cake back into the fridge to firm up so I could cover it with fondant later then went to open mats. F was so supportive throughout the whole ordeal, he even got me my favorite drink during open mats.

Needless to say, I was moving at the speed of snail during open mats cause I was so tired. Had a couple of good rolls and of course definitely one last roll with Adam. Our last roll was hilarious cause we were giving video game like commentary during the roll:
SL: Triangle attack! Button mash!!
A: Triangle defense! Stack Stack Stack!
SL: Shrimps away, regains guard level up!
A: Smash pass!!! Button mash!!!
Gosh we’re such gaming retards!


Many of the guys came out for the party and we all had a really nice time at Luna Bar. The place is damn swank as it’s on the rooftop of the Pacific Regency so the view from the bar is stellar.

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20110404-010955.jpgThe drinks there are watered down in terms of alcohol but big on taste which is fine by me cause I hate the taste of alcohol but don’t mind it hidden in a cocktail. Easily one of the best tasting Pina Coladas in town. Yummy. I’m really glad Adam enjoyed himself so much and many thanks to Amanda for co-organizing this for her brother.

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Adam here partying it out in style with a flaming lamborghini.

Finally it was cake time. Despite all the problems, it came together in the end! I learnt so much (like for starters NOT to bake and decorate a difficult cake from scratch in 4 hours) but you know it was all worth it when I saw the smile on Adam’s face ๐Ÿ™‚
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F and I are gonna miss you loads Adam but we’ll see you again next year! ๐Ÿ™‚

Freestyle Fullcontact Martial Arts Tournament 2011

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It’s my first time watching a MMA event live so I’m pretty excited (as I told F I’m looking forward to the bloooooodddd lol, I kid but there always blood drawn on the UFC). To be honest I have nooooooooooooooo idea what to expect cause although it’s touted as a MMA event, majority of fighters are Muay Thai trained with only probably a handful with official grappling training. So I’m not expecting much in terms of grappling but I’m pretty sure the Muay Thai would be kick ass. Our team mate AJ from Borneo is fighting tonight so hopefully he does well. He’s got Muay Thai training and BJJ so I hope he does well to spread the BJJ love here ๐Ÿ™‚

The stadium set up is pretty nice. I can so totally imagine us organizing a BJJ tourney here, that’d be real sweet!! Then I can finally fight on home turf instead of traveling.

The stadium was really empty though, that’s to be expected since it was a 3 night event. I’m not quite sure what the organizers were thinking since fighting events aren’t really that popular to begin with and to have 3 nights in a row is just insane. I’m sure if they had consolidated the fights into one night, the turn out would have been better.

As usual the event started late (oh Malaysian time how I loathe n hate thee). But the night was full of surprises!

The first fight was actually a Muay Thai match and it was between a guy and a girl?! Or maybe a transgendered guy? I really have no clue o.o but the fight only lasted for 30 secs before the ref declared a TKO. The girl/transgendered guy was totally owned. It didn’t even look like s/he was fighting at all. The fight ended so fast I had no opportunity to take a pic so ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (edit: ok apparently according to my teammates who were backstage it was a transgendered guy and not a girl!)

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The next fight was AJ’s fight. Allen the coach from Borneo was his corner man while Coach Escobar was cornering him. It was actually the only MMA fight for the night as the rest were only stand up with no ground fighting allowed boooo. AJ was fighting this 17 yr old Nepalese kid called Keanu. Keanu came to our gym 2 months ago for an open mats session so we kinda know him and bits of his game. Anyway Keanu’s striking was pretty good, he gave AJ a huge welt on the eye and tried to take him down several times but AJ sprawled fast and hard. Then AJ took him down and it went to the ground. Keanu then caught him in a sloppy triangle, AJ made the mistake of letting him adjust and it became a nasty ass armbar from guard. Lucky for AJ he was saved by the bell. The next 2 rounds went better for AJ. It was strange cause Keanu kept insisting on playing guard by butt flopping at every opportunity (without controlling legs or arms). The ref got him to stand several times. There were times where AJ would pass his guard and go to side control but the kid regained guard most times. Sometimes AJ would just kinda stand there and kick Keanu’s legs. I guess AJ didn’t really know how to deal with the butt flopping in MMA and was on the look out for kicks since the kid has long lanky legs. Well after 2 rounds of that, needless to say AJ won by points. So yay for our team mate from Borneo ๐Ÿ™‚

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This Muay Thai fight ended as quickly as the first one. It was an Iranian dude from some MT gym in Ampang and another guy from the police MT club. The skill difference between the opponents is insane and the Iranian won by TKO.

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This was a boxing match and it was pretty interesting. The white guy was really cocky and kept shoving his head out and taunting the black guy. But the black guy couldn’t honestly do much to the white guy. He kept missing and his reach wasn’t very good. In the end after 5 rounds the cocky white guy won by points.

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This was the most interesting match of the night (other then AJs of course!). it was a stand up vale tudo match between a Muay Thai fighter and a Kyokushin Karate fighter. The MT fighter did very well in the first 2 rounds then he got kicked in the balls!!! Ouch. He never quite recovered from that and the Karate fighter was doing some serious damage to the MT fighter in the last 3 rounds but no KOs. The top ropes in the ring broke in the 5th fight (I know, so ghetto right?!). security had to surround the ring to hold the fighters up so they wouldn’t topple over when they were close to the edges. It was kinda sad and funny at the same time. After 5 rounds the match ended in a draw.

Overall the event was pretty fun. Though to be honest I don’t really like watching stand up fights but it was a real fun outing with the guys from the gym. They can be such a riot at times!

MGMT live in KL

I first heard that MGMT was coming down to KL about a month before but it didn’t strike me that they were coming HERE HERE till about a week before cause I hadn’t even gotten tickets yet! Frantically I asked around and someone knew someone who had tickets and I secured my tickets 5 days before the concert. Talk about last minute!! I blame the Malaysian side of me lol ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway XY and Jace were also going to the concert (hurray for Twitter and cross conversation!) so I hitched a ride from them.

When we arrived there I bumped into Luna, a primary school friend who I hadn’t seen in ages but is quite close and dear to my heart. It was really nice to catch up with her (I promise girl, drinks soon!).

Well just as I had expected, the show was starting late and at 9pm door were still closed!

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So I took the opportunity to take this photo outside the venue.

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Waiting patiently for the concert to start.

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Kyoto Protocol, the opening act rocking out the house. They’re aren’t bad at all for a local homegrown band. I first saw them at Urbanscapes 2010 – my pal CH was their temporary guitarist during the summer and I bumped into him during the event. He told me to stick around for this band and I did. They really aren’t bad at all.

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And there was MORE waiting so we decided to snap a pic cause we were bored.

After a 1 1/2 hour delay, they finally got on stage. It was time to rock on!

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Love the fact that the background video was so trippy, just like all their music videos! They had a really good mix of their old and new stuff but the crowd only rocked during stuff from ‘Oracular Spectacular’ (and they call themselves fans! Congratulations needs way more love!). I like the fact that they ended the night with ‘Congratulations’.

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Congratulations…. Then it was encore time. And that was pretty much it.
What a lovely night with XY, Jace and MGMT. ๐Ÿ™‚

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A parting shot at concert end ‘red between the lines’.