Tag Archives: coffee

Singapore: Hawker Centre Crash Course

Singapore is famous for its food culture, and although there are certainly high-end top-dollar restaurants with 10-course menus that would charm the foodiest ex-pat executive, the heart of that food culture lives in the local hawker centres.
Street food is a common cultural institution throughout the world, but has a special place in Southeast Asia in particular as the dominant working-class cuisine and in Singapore’s case primary meal option. The hawker centres themselves are the result of a typically Singaporean government effort in the 1970’s to improve food safety and keep an ever-increasing army of food hawkers from blocking traffic. The government built and maintains the cavernous markets themselves, and administers licensing and health codes. Despite this standardization, the hawker centre is still a vibrant part of the local culture and a wonderfully chaotic den of unexpected delights to western palates and challenges to preconceptions about “eating out”.

Tekka Centre, Singapore. Photo by Mike Borchert.

The centres are organized as long lines of narrow, no-frills stalls, each operated by a different vendor, each with their own specialties and styles. Although the cuisines tend to be dominated by the ethnicity of the surrounding neighborhood, it’s still a grab-bag of curries, dumplings, soups, hot pots, noodles, satay, fruit juices, and everything else that’s taken root in this culinary crossroads. Continue Reading

Aurora Hunting & Chena Hot Springs in Alaska
Alaskan Adventures Part 3

My grandma used to tell me that the Northern Lights were the spirits of our ancestors celebrating as they look down on us from above. If you whistle, they will draw near and dance for you.

-Raymond Frank (per the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitor Center)

Given the snow storm the weekend we were there, our chances of catching the Northern Lights were low, but we persevered to make the most of things either way. At least the cloud cover meant warmer temperatures for the friends who’d agreed to join me and Kris on these adventures, so I didn’t feel like we’d conned these poor Florida-borns into going on a vacation in a freezer.

Exploring Alaska in Late February feels like a study in contrasts, cold environment vs. warm people and houses, rustic natural surroundings and military-grade survival boots. It seemed fitting to double down on this, like some kind of dare from Mother Nature. Continue Reading

How to Beat the Heat: Office Edition (Skill Level: Beginner Cook)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, folks are still getting used to having more than a week’s worth of 80+F degree weather. Many houses don’t have air conditioning, and even offices can feel pretty warm. Mine is LEED-aspirational, which means the temps swing up and down just outside most people’s comfort zone, and certainly outside mine.
If you’re lucky enough to have fridge access at work, with ice cubes, and you haven’t struck on this yet, here’s a couple things to try:*

“Instant” Ice Tea!

Ingredients:
1 tea bag of your choice
2 cups
~7 ice cubes
~8 oz hot water
Optional: your choice of creams or sugars

Steps: Continue Reading

Guest Vid by K: Espresso & Tonic!

Inspired by our neighborhood coffee shop Neptune’s Espresso Tonic (as mentioned in Bon Appetit), K___ tried his hand at making one himself, using our favored tonic water of choice, Fever Tree*. Presenting: espresso tonic, the Wongson way!

Today’s Trial Recipe Rating:
Novelty Rating:
 5 of 5 stars.
Well, that is certainly novel.
Likelihood of Repeat: 35%
The first couple sips are always a little startling, after that it starts to grow on you..I think…maybe..
Don’t worry folks, if this is not enough cold refreshment for you this summer, I’ve got at least two more in my back pocket coming, on top of last year’s frozen coconut limeade.
Lesson Learned: Even when you’re feeling unsuspectingly casual and lazy-looking without a stitch of makeup on a Sunday afternoon, you might still concede to post a video that includes your mug in it, in the interest of telling the world about the DIY espresso tonic your household experienced..shrug.
But seriously, next time I might try muddling the rosemary** a little, and maybe adding a few crushed berries for a sweet, tart flavor.

*I actually drink tonic water on its own sometimes, no gin.   On the advice of one of my docs, the quinine in it supposedly helps with nocturnal leg cramps -so painful they wake me up. The internet, however, indicates that docs no longer prescribe quinine for anything besides malaria due to strong side effects (beyond the crazy dreams, I’m guessing). I have to assume that tonic water has much lower amounts of it than a prescription, though. However, if you are after quinine in tonic water, read the bottle labels carefully. Sometimes it’s just sugar water without any actual tonic-ness.

**From the garden out back! Hooray!