Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ushering in the New Year

As usual, many of my photostory blog posts are image-heavy. This post isn't quite as image-heavy as the previous Christmas one though I would once again reiterate the same lines in jest (no actually, I'm serious):

"Either open this page, wait for it to load and go do something else before coming back or just click the X button on the top right hand corner of your browser window and don’t come back."
=P


~*Eve of New Year's Eve*~

On New Year's eve eve, the hubz and I had craving for French fare. His foei gras craving was kicking in again and we thought of checking out La Petite Cuisine which was a short drive away from our home. Alas, it was closed which turned out to be a blessing in disguise for we would not have found this little gem Cotton Bleu.

"Hearty and rustic French fare awaits diners at Cotton Bleu, a family restaurant ran [sic] by Chef Herve Cotton and his wife. Chef Cotton's menu exudes a sense of warmth and comfort, with his simple yet delightful dishes..."

We often have weekend dinner and supper at various eateries along Upper Thompson but it was the first time we noticed Cotton Bleu. It must have either been new or too nondescript. The reason why we decided to dine in there was because the kitchen was still open at 9 pm and more importantly, the hubz saw foei gras on its menu. The service and food offered at this little restaurant certainly stands out from its simple nondescript light blue signboard.


Cotton Bleu was decked with Christmas decorations.

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I love the cozy atmosphere though I was freezing inside.

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This was the best bread we have ever eaten! Crusty on the outside; soft and fluffy on the inside.

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The Escargots in garlic and herb butter with diced tomatoes were flavourful yet not overwhelming. Kh loves escargot cooked in this manner.

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Kh felt that the Foei Gras Poele is one of the best Foei Gras we've eaten so far.

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Kh had Steak Frites for his mains which was rib eye steak (done medium rare of course) served with Cotton Bleu's very own pepper sauce. Hmm... We prefer Aston's Wagyu Steak.

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I had Boeuf Bourguignon for my mains. Tender chunks of beef stewed in red wine and served with mashed potatoes, this dish had a comforting home-cooked flavour.

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Every restaurant with inattentive wait staff ought to have this gadget for their customers. With their prompt service, Cotton Bleu certainly does not need this. Still, I enjoyed pressing the button to ask for the bill.

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Genoise a l'Orange et Polres Pochees was our dessert to share. Soft and light orange sponge cake with poached pears, pistachio nuts and chocolate sauce proved to be a dessert too light on kh's palate. I felt it was light and refreshing as I wasn't craving for overly sweet and rich dessert then.

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[All photos at Cotton Bleu were taken using iPhone. Pardon the dimness.]

The price range for entrees is between $12--$28, $26--$39 for mains and $10 for desserts. It is considered expensive for an eatery located along Upper Thompson but affordable considering it serves French cuisine.

All in all, the hubby and I had a pleasant experience at this restaurant having gone in there without any expectations or reading any prior reviews of the place. We are only glad to have found a place that serves affordable French cuisine near to our place where we do not have to be dressed to the nines.

We would definitely be back to patronize this place over and over again since the menu would change according to the season.

Side note:
Cotton Bleu does not have their own website but they do have a Facebook page. As I have forgotten the names of the dishes we ordered, I dropped them a FB message and someone managing the page replied a friendly message in less than 10 minutes together with a zipped folder containing PDF of their menu. It was a simple gesture with a personal touch that certainly left a favourable impression on me. After leaving another feedback, I immediately went to like their Facebook page.


~*A Walk in the Park*~

It was a half day on New Year's eve and instead of forcing poor souls who did not clear leave to go back to the office, our department organized a cohesion activity at Singapore Botanic Gardens.


Presenting the people who did not clear leave. Plus me, behind the camera.

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Where to next?

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Bees on the stigma of a flower.

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There was our boss pointing at how much more we had to walk to get to the Healing Garden.

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Ah Pau and CW

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Shir and HL

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The Black Swan Lake. (PS: The White Swan Lake is another different Lake. Apparently there is a black-white discrimination among swans as well.)

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The wily pigeons tried to pretend to be ducks.

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I wonder what they were looking at.

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Going up close and personal with the black swan.

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It left us some of its feathers.

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We could make quills with them!

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"Use my feathers wisely," screeched the red eyes.

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Little critter crossing the road like nobody's business.

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Thank God for smoke-free public spaces.

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After a long walk, we were greeted with the closed gates of the Healing Garden. (It closes on Mondays.)

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crossroads

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Next stop was to find Evolution Garden.

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lichen growing on the surface of this log

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And finally, we found Evolution Garden.

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Honestly, I felt like I was transported to the land of dinosaurs and was quite certain that a little Dilophosaurus (the one with neck frills that killed that fatty in Jurassic Park) would pop up from behind the rocks. I soon broke away from the human trail and found myself all alone in another world, snapping photos (and risked being eaten by the Dilophosaurus.)

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Artwork in the middle of the grass. I think if I were to see this in the night, I would take to my heels thinking I've stumbled onto a cult circle.

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spider in the sky

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a burst of pink

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Christmas art along the path

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The initial plan was to end the day with lunch at Food for Thought but the place was so crowded.

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We went to Dempsey for Samy's Curry instead.

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~*A Night of Laughter and Games*~

On the night of New Year's eve, we had a "Bimbo Sisters" gathering at Bimbo Xtina's house with Bimbo Zanne not reporting due to being "outstationed".

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The invitation that night extended to our partners and hence we had some Himbos too.

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With an overdose of all the Western dishes over Christmas, we ordered Chinese zi char for dinner.

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Meiqin brought Apple Strudel.

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The theme that night was SPLASH OF COLOURS (with props). Xtina said that all her Christmas props would work since it was still the Christmas season.

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Xtina with her nerdy Harry Potter's glasses and me with my Hello Kitty glasses.

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Himbo kh looked like he wiped out all the dishes in front of him

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Bimbo Tiff would even do a peace sign while talking to kh, knowing that xtina was snapping candid shots.

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Bimbo Gera and Himbo Clement

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Lester decorated the swing which made it look like a garden swing. So pretty.

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It is one of kh's dream to have such a cocoon swing in the house and he was happy to see that it could be accommodated in a HDB. But mind you, the cocoon swing he laid his heart on is so damn big, it would take up lots of space in the house.

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After dinner and some Wii games, the whole jin gang gathered around the kitchen table for wine and chat.

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We laughed so much as we shared bimbotic stories and summarised the whole year's interesting events in one night. (Hmm... no photos were taken as we were really engrossed in our chatting.)

After that, it was time for games! I really love playing Taboo and my ultimate team buddies from past games were kh and Gera. We could guess what each other was trying to describe very well without much input at all. However, all of us did not play very well that night.

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Nonetheless, we still had loads of fun.

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By using "oh ah peh ah som", all the partners were randomly separated into two different teams.

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And we had to keep very close watch to "quack quack" our partners from the rival team when they used taboo words on the list.

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My annoying hubz really loved to find every opportunity to "quack quack" me as my team was winning initially. (Before anyone starts to point out anything, I was wearing shorts underneath the short dress.)

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Only Tiff and Meiqin were lenient with each other.

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We were so engrossed in the game that when it was midnight, Tiff had to stop all of us to announce that it was 2013. We exchanged "Happy New Year" and paused for drinks and snacks as we heard the fireworks go off outside.

After Taboo, it was time for a Bear and Hunter game which Tiff taught us. For those of us who grew up in Singapore in the 80s and 90s, this game is something like "murderer" but with a lot more depth.

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Eating seaweed to keep ourselves awake.

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I would end the post with an anigif of us at 3 am.

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11 comments:

  1. Loving the gif pictures! :)

    The food is making me hungry. Warm buns which are crusty on the outside and fluffy on the inside is the best with butter.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad you had fun on New Year's Eve and the days leading up to it--and that you survived the dilphosaurus. It's always nice to see you smiling.

    It was smart of your company to arrange the field trip. Almost no work gets done on that day anyway, so it's a good time for some bonding.

    What are those mats everyone is eating off of at Dempsey's???

    ReplyDelete
  3. london's beauty,

    I usually like my bread with olive oil and vinegar but this bread tasted so good with butter melted by its warmth.


    ~~~

    Rick,

    The field trip started off with the daydream of some of my colleagues. We figured out that not much work could be done on a half day and half the organization was on leave anyway with all the "Out of Office" auto replies coming in. Hence, a bunch of them suggested to our boss for a sports day cum cohesion event that day and he was all for the idea.

    Lol... Those green "mats" are actually banana leaves. Traditional Indian food would usually be served on banana leaves. The concept of that place was that they would place banana leaves on the table and proceed to scooping the rice, bean curry and chicken onto your leaf.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow~ lovely pictures. I love all the smiles and joy~~ Happy New Year to you and sending warm wishes your way!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wah, all of that food looks delicious! The Beef Bourguignon looks scrumptious. I always like my beef in gravy or some kind of soup thing. Otherwise it can get too tough or bland for me. XD
    Looks like it was a wonderful New Year's!

    X i x i a ❥ thisisxixia.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. ohh your new years festivites look so fun and YUMMY! seriously i don't understand how you maintain such a thin and svelte figure considering you eat SOOOO DELICIOUSLY hahaha! the gardens look SOOOO SO pretty! and all the ducks are sooo cute! hehehehe :p

    yes i'm visiting my mom and having such a good time.. even though i'm almost 30 and married.. everytime i go home.. it's like being a child and enjoying all the yummy food my mom makes hehehe :p

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your walk in the park photos make me want to escape from nasty rainy wet cloudy winter here. Your New Year'eve looked like so much fun. Gosh i dont even remember what i did!! Yummy..yummy foid Jo. Your food photos never fail to make me hungry. I miss "real" Asian food in Asia...sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That was really cool, how you can eat your food on a big leaf. Laughing at all of the feathers. Gorgeous birds! The food always looks so good.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. awesome pictures, and the food looks delicious, I love how cozy that restaurant looks!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jane,

    Thank you. =)


    ~~~

    Xixia,

    I love many kinds of beef, succulent medium rare steaks, minced as toppings, those in gravy, sauces and soup. I can’t stand dry beef though.


    ~~~

    Lisa,

    I suspect that all of a sudden when my body metabolism doesn’t work that well anymore, I might just balloon up without any warning. I’m glad you are enjoying time with your family. Families are one of the best things in life.


    ~~~

    Nelah,

    It has been a really rainy season here too. In fact, it rains every single day and once it stops, it gets really humid. I agree that the Asian food in the West could never taste as good as in Asia. How could you not remember what you did? You might just be busy making lots of beautiful craft and whipping up delicious dishes.


    ~~~

    Kim,

    The Indians do! Hahaha. The leaves are definitely clean but they are so flat, I could hardly scoop my food well.


    ~~~

    Pop Champagne,

    Good food and good ambience... Contentment.

    ReplyDelete
  11. was this the post that you stayed up until 7am to work on?? lol* it was def worth it. lovely memories =) looks like u had a great time on NYE.

    ReplyDelete

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