Monday, September 15, 2014

HTC One E8 Launch - Here's To GrE8-ness

I had the opportunity to attend yet another launch event, this time for the HTC One E8.  The event took place at The Centre for Asian Photographers, Level 1, The School in Jaya One on August 13. I guess you would know by now that I am a HTC fan as I have always love their smartphone designs. The premium HTC One launched back in April 2013 set the path for future improved designs like the HTC BoomSound dual front facing speakers, making HTC One The Phone Of The Year.  Fast forward a year later, we have had the HTC One Max and the even more premium HTC One M8 (love love love the duo camera lens!).

HTC One E8 Launch
S K Wong (Country Manager, HTC Malaysia) proudly welcoming the latest addition to the HTC family, the HTC One E8

HTC One E8 Launch
Happy Moments - Delighted by the GRE8-NESS of the HTC One E8, S K Wong and Shane Chiang

There I was standing before gre8-ness with the HTC One E8. The first in the HTC family to pack a rear 13MP camera feature, it takes photo taking and display up a notch on the 5" screen display. Apart from the already iconic dual frontal facing speakers, the E8 has a dual curve design with tapered sides for a comfortable fit in the hand. It also has the same Motion Launch which was introduced on the HTC One M8 that I have come to really love. Double tapping to wake the screen instead of pressing down the power button gives a longer life to the buttons on the phone in my opinion.  Even picking up a call is so much easier, there isn't a need to swipe/tap the Answer button, all I need to do is just bring the phone up to my ear and the call is automatically answered!

HTC One E8 Launch
(Left to Right) Wayne Tang, SK Wong, Raymond Tan (COO of Brighstar Malaysia), Shane Chiang (Head of Corporate & Consumer PR, HTC South Asia)

Monday, September 01, 2014

I'm Not A Chef, Kota Damansara

I'm Not A Chef  (INAC) is one of those places that I frequent as I drop by now and then when I wanna wind down for the night. You might even find me helping out there, hehehe.... That is because INAC is run by two people; Nat and Stef.  It's an incredible task that Nat (the one who is a chef but yet not a chef!) and Stef (does everything else except the cooking!) go through daily from 10 a.m. till 9 p.m. except their rest day which is on Sundays.


Regulars would end up lending a hand or just wait patiently (during peak lunch hour) for their food to arrive. With reasonably priced and tasty Western/local food, it's a routine that the regulars willingly go through. This place is a favourite with students since it's within the vicinity of Segi University.  Actually, this is good and bad for INAC.  Good in the sense that there's a steady flow of diners. Bad in the sense that some of these student diners take advantage of the free wifi.  e.g. They come in a group of five and would only put in an order for two drinks and then they spend the next three to four hours or more on the internet! So, with this explanation, do note that there is a sign that states that each customer is required to have at least a minimum one drink order.


You can hardly catch a glimpse of Nat during lunch hour (she will be cooking at a furious pace in the kitchen!) and a busy Stef who is almost too pre-occupied to even breathe as she deals with the maddening lunch crowd order and demands. However, come non-peak period, you can find Nat and Stef chatting with the regulars.  For the rest of us who are at INAC for the food primarily, it's a cozy place where one can chill. Seriously,we make ourselves at home! To get a gist of what I mean, drop by INAC :o)

Here are pics of my favourite food from I'm Not A Chef ... Oh, I must mention that Nat does the desserts herself too!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Love The New HTC One M8 : Review

I received a HTC One M8 unit from HTC to review as part of a testing program.  It was great to have a chance to test out this 2014 HTC’s flagship model  with the much anticipated HTC Sense 6 and Android Kit Kat 4.4.  The design of the phone itself is gorgeous - 90% metal unibody (weighing in at 160 grams)  and soft curves along the edges (as compared to the 2013 HTC One model), it looks and feels solid in the hands like a premium smartphone should, especially the clarity of the stunning 5-inch, full 1080p HD display.  

HTC One M8 Malaysia Launch
The gorgeous HTC One M8 metal unibody with the Duo Camera lens feature

Here are some of the features that I truly love about the new HTC One M8 :-

·       DUO CAMERA with Ultrapixel and a dual colour flash.  I really love taking photos with the HTC One M8.  With the Duo Camera adding a depth sensor, I can make my images more professional looking with effects like Ufocus which allows me to choose the focus area of my image after I take my shots.   There’s also the Foregrounder that allows me to choose from four variants; Sketch, Zoom Blur, Cartoon and Colorize.  These are the two most frequent effects I use amongst the many others like Seasons, 3D Dimension Plus, Sticker, Copy & Paste and Touch Up. The 5 MP wide angle front facing camera is a great feature too as its clarity is the best I’ve seen so far for taking “selfie” or “wefie”  photos.  The Ultrapixel also works best in low light conditions.  It gets the job done and done well.  Of course, we are not talking about enlarging images to poster size.

 Here's a pic I took and one which I used the Foregrounder "Sketch" to edit the pic.  Cute!

Here's a shot I took in a rather dim place but with lights surrounding this cafe counter. The words on the blackboard are still relatively clear; this is the Ultrapixel at work.

·       MOTION LAUNCH - Along with the HTC Sense 6, the HTC One M8 has this new feature which I love.  A double tap on the screen is all you need to do to see the time.  It turns the lock screen off and on! I love that I can prolong the life of the power button! A swipe downwards while phone is in sleep mode) activates the device that prompts you to say the name of the person you would like to call.  There’s also Auto Answer which allows me to answer a call when I put the phone to my ear, done without touching the screen.  Another great feature for those who have their hands dirty from eating some tasty buffalo wings or wet from washing dishes! Hahaha...

Monday, June 09, 2014

Curry Leaf, Damansara Utama

In a dilemma...I write this post.  I feel that more folks should be dining here but yet would like to keep this place to myself. But good things must be shared, so share I must!  I am a fan of nasi briyani and when bro took me here sometime back, I had wondered why I had not made a visit to Curry Leaf before when it was so near to me all this time.  You know what they say...sometimes the very thing that you are looking for is the one thing you can't see! That's how I felt about Curry Leaf.  Just before this, I was telling my brother about the mediocre nasi briyani I had from a shop in Bangsar, where one was charged at a higher price if you were to sit in the air-conditioned section! The Nasi Briyani with Honey Chicken was about RM12.50 and yes, it was mediocre...yet people throng that place daily.

And here I was again, on a Sunday ... having my Briyani Mutton rice in the quiet Curry Leaf. A simple looking restaurant but with great food. This is a branch from the original restaurant located in Seremban and I'm glad they came to Damansara Uptown.  I only wished I knew about Curry Leaf sooner, I could have had more and better briyani rice!  Hahaha.... Anyway, there were about six tables taken but there were still ample empty tables.  I really can't understand why there weren't more customers.  My bro had his banana leaf rice while I gave my usual order.  I like to usually order a small plate of my vegetables - cabbage to go with my rice.

I love the aromatic spices they put in to stir fry the cabbage.  A great accompaniment for the briyani rice!

Briyani Mutton Rice
The lovely briyani rice comes in a little metal pot.  But don't scoff at that little pot as it holds a big serving actually. If one is really hungry, it will be no problem to finish it off but those with small appetite can probably share one, though I figure the best would be for 3 pax to share two pots of these.  There are several briyani variants; you have plain, egg, chicken, mutton, squid... It is served with some yogurt raita on the side.  Each rice grain is flavourful and the mutton is tender and cooked spot on! All this at a reasonable price of RM9! No more briyani elsewhere (for now...until I find one better!)! People oh people? Where are you oh people on a Sunday afternoon like this? Oooh, the pics here are taken with my new HTC One M8 by the way, I'm loving it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

HTC One M8 Malaysia Launch, HTC Keeps Getting Better

It was with much excitement that I looked forward to May 8th where the HTC One M8 was officially launched in Malaysia.  This time round the venue was at DPAC (Damansara Performing Arts Centre).  The HTC One M8 is the 2014 flagship smartphone for HTC and was launched internationally in London earlier on March 25th.

HTC One M8 Malaysia Launch
HTC One M8, ready to be unveiled in time

HTC One M8 Malaysia Launch
Otterbox for HTC One M8 available that night, along with other cases on display. No Dot View Case in sight though.  I am so tempted to get a Dot View Case!

HTC One M8 Malaysia Launch

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Juan Valdez Cafe Origins, Intermark Mall

On April 1st, Juan Valdez Cafe Origins opened its first cafe in South East Asia, right here in the heart of Kuala Lumpur at Lot G-22, Ground Floor, Intermark Mall.

Juan Valdez Cafe Origins Opening

Juan Valdez Cafe Origins Opening

Juan Valdez Cafe Origins Opening

The ribbon cutting ceremony was graced by the Charge D'Affaires of the Embassy of Colombia in Malaysia, Mr Camilo Salazar and President of Procafecol, Hernan Mendez. The cute highlight of the ceremony was not only the appearance of Mr Juan Valdez himself but of him together with Juan Valdez's mascot donkey!

Juan Valdez Cafe Origins Opening

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cooling Down @ Baba Low's, Bangsar

The weather has been a killer of late...I have been seeking reprieve in the malls, cinemas, hypermarkets, restaurants but the best way has to be the full enjoyment of having an icy cold dessert.  Though Baba Low's isn't air-conditioned, there's always one thing that draws me back time and time again.  While the food fares pretty well too, it's the Cendol that gets me going! This is a place where I will usually eat dessert first, then the mains and sometimes once in awhile...dessert again! Hahaha....

Ahhh...Cendol, the current love of my life! I love the fragrant gula melaka. Combined with the coconut milk and the shaved ice, it's one satisfying concoction, spot on sweetness with a tad of saltiness that makes it good.

Then there is this Popiah Peranakan, one won't know what to make of it on the first bite. The popiah skin is akin to a soft crepe texture as you can see from the photo. I decided that I do like this popiah peranakan; turnip, fried shallots, coriander, egg strips, cucumber, bean sprouts with a dash of Gula Melaka.  Try it and decide for yourself :o)  Oh, no pics of the Pie Tee that can be seen in the background? I personally thought it was just okay.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Caffebene Is Here in Malaysia @ Sunway Pyramid

An impromptu outing with Coffee Kaki  (CK) led me to Caffebene (which means Good Cafe) on a busy Sunday afternoon. This international Korean coffee chain finally hit our shores with the first outlet in Sunway Pyramid.  Thankfully, finding a parking bay was easy if that meant parking on the roof ... at 1.20pm, ample bays up on the roof. For easy access to Caffebene...enter car park through the Sunway Convention Centre and head up to CP7 (Level 7), unless you manage to find empty bays available on the lower floors.  Taking the escalator to the mall all the way down till you hit the shopping mall floor where TGIF and Padini Concept Store is located.  Caffebene is just a floor below.  Once you are there, try to control yourself from over ordering with all the goodies in store (for those unfamiliar with Caffebene, check out their menu HERE and you will see what I mean!).

Anyway, CK went to get a table while I stood in line to order.  They will give you a device that flashes and vibrates when your order is ready.  However, when CK went to pick up the order, CK came back with a staff who carried the order to our table instead.  One of their signature items is Bingsu.  Bingsu (shaved ice with toppings) is a popular dessert found everywhere in Korea.  Well, Caffebene's has a wide range of Bingsu (green tea, strawberry, cookies & cream, coffee - to name a few) and they are truly a feast for the eyes as well as your tummy.  With the current hot weather in Malaysia, surely this was as easy choice for me (no hot coffee for now!).

See what I mean? Isn't it lovely looking? This is a Coffee Bingsu (Single RM10.80/USD3). It looks heavenly and it taste nice too, though CK found it a tad sweet. It was generously "smothered" with toppings!

I thoroughly enjoyed my Strawberry Bingsu....The Strawberry ice cream sweetness level was just nice, sitting on a bed of generous red bean.  There were quite a lot of strawberries on and in the shaved ice.  They looked like a type of strawberry variety as they were all rather tiny and of the same size (I had even thought that they could be raspberries) and on the sour side.  This was okay as it went well with the sweetness of the shaved ice dessert.  The Bingsu is rather huge, it seemed almost bottomless at one point but on a hot day, I manage to finish it on my own.  Otherwise, I think it's a good size for 2 to share.  Would definitely come back for this!

Monday, February 10, 2014

HTC BoomBass Review

Continuing from my previous post, the second and last part of the review is on the HTC BoomBass speaker accessory. I was sent an HTC BoomBass to test out together with a HTC One Max.  On it’s own, the HTC One Max is already quite an entertainment powerhouse.  The large 5.9” display and the HTC BoomSound dual front facing speakers can stand alone in delivering both high quality video and audio in the smartphones category.  Using the HTC BoomBass (which is also compatible with the HTC Butterfly S  and HTC One0 was easy straight out of the box which is what I like most about it.  It connects wirelessly to the HTC One Max with just a simple NFC (Near Field Communication) tap on the cute 64 x 64 mm (2.5 x 2.5 ")speaker cube  and it disconnects the same way too.

It also works as a reclining stand as the base slides out for one to position the phone in place, making it easy to watch videos and movies. The built-in-battery has lasted me quite a while, I have lost count of how long I have been using it on a one time charge.  So no worries about battery unless we ourselves forget to recharge it! :o)

Here's the HTC One, reclining on the HTC Boom Bass (that's Once Upon A Time, if you're wondering what show that is...)

The HTC BoomBass does not increase the audio volume but enhances audio the way a sub woofer does, adding bass (hence the name) for  a richer and deeper tone.  This is clearly notable when I am watching movies, the HTC BoomBass gives me a more enjoyable mini-cinema experience especially when I am watching on the HTC One Max.  For music, it depends on the original quality of the audio files firstly.  I find that it works better for ballads, classical and instrumental music whereas it seemed a tad “overworked”  and strained for trance tracks.  Check out the full specifications HERE

Overall though, it’s a great accessory to have around especially for on-the-go sharing video/movie viewing and music experience with family and friends.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

HTC One Max Review

If some of you can recall, I received a HTC One Max unit from HTC for my testing and review sometime back in mid Dec 2013.  My opinion of the HTC One Max is not one full of technical jargon but of one of a “layman” view of the phone.  Now as a user of the HTC One, the HTC One Max looked huge when I first laid my eyes on it.  However, after using the HTC One Max for about two months now, my HTC One is now such a small phone to me whereas the HTC One Max has now become my favourite and feels just spot on right in my hand.  Some parts of this post were taken from the previous post but I have elaborated further with my own experiences in each of the highlighted features.

The HTC One Max oozes pure entertainment excitement with great performance specifications.  The phablet size HTC One Max running on Android 4.3 with a 5.9" full HD 1080p display looks simply awesome.  Weighing at only 217g, this phablet packs a punch!  While most of the HTC One specifications are found in the HTC One Max with the same premium design. there are several additions to take note of:

  • A micro SD card slot has been added (up to 64GB) plus a  free 50GB of online storage on Google Drive for exclusively for HTC One Max owners.  I personally rejoice with this addition as I take a lot of photos (I really mean A LOT) and being able to store my photos on the SD card is great news to me! I really love the photos that I take with the HTC One Max.
Here's a shot I took of a sunset view at Mont Kiara

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Owen's Dessert Creations

It's truly a blessing to have a nephew who likes not only to bake but to bake no matter when inspiration hits him be it in the early morning or late at night! Hahaha.... Fortunately for me, he gives me a notice each time he does (well, almost every time ... I remember that recent one time when I just so happened to drop by when he was doing a batch of Red Velvet cupcakes for a friend).  I have taken a few pics now and then when he creates something.  Thanks Owen for making these desserts in the past.  His skill has been improving as time passes by.  May there be more desserts! Yay!

Fresh Strawberry Swiss Buttercream Cupcake

Sunny Side Up Cupcake