June 26, 2013

Aeon Flux: A Deja Vu Trip to Aeon Big, KD

Ever experienced déjà vu when you watch a particular ad?

I think I had that moment, when I saw the purportedly-new ‘Adabi’ commercial. I then said “This looks familiar”. 

The same window-opening act, 'Baju Melayu', and moustache

Then, there were series of public service ads; the one with Man Bai, the projector-illuminated guy singer in white, the one with school kids being thankful to adults, plus others...and I thought to myself “Woah, déjà vu...feels like I’ve seen these a hundred of times today.” Apparently, I did.

The recent trip to Aeon Big Kota Damansara was like a trip into something that’s familiar, but not the same. Previously a Carrefour hypermarket, the store was rebranded into a somewhat new establishment. Prior to the visit, we came across the Aeon Big ads around KD, and struggled to find the new outlet. Funnily enough, we finally realized the change, after travelling on an unplanned route, and passed-by what used to be Carrefour KD. I believe the expression that day was the abbreviated ‘WTF’ (or ‘What the Fish’).’re expecting something profane?

So, we made the trip to the hypermarket after fetching wifey from work. It was the same day when Irtiza and I made the trip to the Ikea cook-off competition (*see previous entry).

At the main entrance, what we saw was pretty much like the old Carrefour, except for the big orange-and-white Aeon logos, the absence of the open lawn decor shop, and the appropriately-lit car park area. We actually felt safer that day, compared to what it used to be; a wet, dark, Resident Evil-like car basement.

For pregnant ladies. Hmm, what if the lady's husband is the driver?

The front row is just for the ladies, huh? This can trigger my long-surpressed chauvinistic side.

Inside, we noticed the KFC restaurant is already gone, but most of the original shops remained operational. The pet shop near the main entrance is still around to intrigue Irtiza whenever we came for a visit, and the neighbouring religious bookstore is still there for wifey to get her Islamic-related magazines.

The Ground Floor

A free mini zoo. An annoyed salesperson included.

At the upper floor, the new Mr. D.I.Y outlet is clearly visible before the entrance to the Aeon Big supermarket. It was a ‘handy’ thing to have, and nearer for me to visit, rather than struggling with the congested car parks at Ikano Power Centre and One Utama for their hardware stores.

When we came into the supermarket area, what we saw was something that looked very familiar. In fact, everything looked too familiar; the displayed products, and the way they were arranged through labelled rack alleys and sections. Except for the Aeon logos, the whole setting looked very Carrefour KD-like.

The First Floor after the escalators

Mr. D.I.Y...I'll see you later

Same old...same old...

The same kind of setting

The most dangerous part of a shopping complex

The Dutch Lady milk here is a little bit cheaper compared to other stores

A big question: Is he hungry for a) cereals, or b) free toys inside?

A big difference came later at the fresh food section. Wifey and I later agreed that the displayed food looked fresher and ‘livelier’. Different food sections for veggies, fruits, meat and seafood were really appealing to the eyes, as they looked very fresh and colourful. No longer were the days of dull-looking poultry with questionable expiry date, and wrinkled dry veggies.

The new ready-to-eat food section is also a big complement to the whole thing. We loved the potato bread and the burger. I look forward to eat the fine-looking whole roasted chicken on the next visit.

Apples and pears for 'stares' (stairs...hehe)

You say potayto bread...I say potahto bread

Hot chicks

The Fresh Glint

Less than a week's supply of things

More things to buy after the counter

I love the free recycle bag. Feels like a bribe though.

From my observation, I sincerely believed that the establishment could do more with a better food court, a fast food chain, and a few more good restaurants. They could also do more activities to attract the public, like what One Utama did through cool festivity decorations and activities. Throw-in a celebrity or two as the outlet’s spokesperson, and you already have something that is as close to a perfect shopping complex. A perfect shopping complex would have its very own Cineplex.

Before leaving the building, we bought some yoghurt ice-creams from the new Frosty Delight booth that was near the escalators. They were healthy and mighty tasty. Hey, I think I just did a tagline :O

I think I fell in love with the ice-creams. Those, plus other things, were reasons why we will be coming to Aeon Big KD again in the near future. Till we meet again, you Aeon Big you :)

Ice-cream....get your ice-cream!

We love ice-cream (I was actually struggling to take this pic, while holding an ice-cream cone)

I wonder if Irtiza could break his personal record, and break this in less than 24 hours?

June 19, 2013

Saturday Tales: The Nasi Lemak Rosli TTDI & Ikea’s 25 Hrs Cook-Off

My weighting scale and I used to be close buddies. It was an uncanny relationship. We were actually this close (*making a small gap between index finger and thumb). I remembered it was the time when jogging was still fun, cornflakes were fulfilling, and the ability to do Parkour was as realistic as these two; Batman, and price tag of new Malaysian houses.

*slap. ”Ouch!” Ok, so it was a dream of what it used to be. Now, Kellogg’s is no longer my only breakfast of champions. There are also other alternatives; wifey’s creations, ‘Tosai’ (or India’s ‘Dosa’) at Khalifah KD, and ‘Soto’ (a type of rice cake in chicken soup) at Uptown Kota Damansara’s Sunday market. In a good day, when we are willing to boldly go beyond KD, we would go to a secluded yet popular stall called Rosli Nasi Lemak Kukus TTDI.

Actually, the ‘venturing’ part happens when wifey has to work during weekends, and TTDI is conveniently located between KD and wifey’s workplace. So, for a good meal of fried ‘Beehoon’ (rice vermicelli) and ‘Nasi Lemak’ (a kind of fragrant rice dish), we would make a pit stop to this ‘unsung’ food haven.

Last Saturday, I was a single parent for about 8 hours and 30 minutes; the same as wifey’s working hours that day. So, before the change to the temporary status, we made a visit to the stall. 

The hidden stall in a restaurant

A closer look

Are you salivating now?

'Nasi Dagang' and 'Pulut'

Beef and chicken 'rendang', chicken in coconut, and spicy squid 'sambal'

A word of advice: Try to get this lady to pack your food...she's generous with the portions

Bye2 mama.

After both of us gave goodbyes to wifey, we went straight for Ikea.

Why Ikea? And why did we go there when it was almost 9.30am, with most shopping complexes were due to be opened at 10am?

Before being the ‘Palm Springers’ (a catchphrase for Palm Spring @ Damansara residents), Ikea used to be perceived as something that’s rare, excitingly new, and hard to reach. I remembered that I (or ‘we’ in some cases) had to commute, and endured the almost 2-hour journey to Ikano Power Centre (or IPC). I remember the trip very well; from IIUM Gombak, one needed to take a bus to the Terminal Putra LRT station, then use the LRT to get to the Central Market station, and then take a particular public bus to go to IPC. The journeys were undertaken very early in the morning, so that there would be enough time to go around and appreciate the place. It was a hard place to visit for a commuter, but the enjoying visit was worth the effort.

Now, after 6 years of living in KD, the ecstatic was gone, and we would see the building’s exterior twice daily, while giving a nonchalant “Eh”.

But, of late, we got excited with Ikea again. The feeling was perhaps like rediscovering love through a second honeymoon for an old married couple.

So, coming back to the earlier question....why did we go to Ikea that day?

The entrance to the shopping area at P2 carpark

An almost empty carpark area...a rare sight

One day, day...

From Facebook, I got to know that Ikea was having a 25-hour cook-off competition, and my office colleague / friend was one of the participants. As Ikea is located along the journey home, Irtiza and I made a short visit to the venue.

When we reached the actual venue, my friend and his twin brother were in their fourth and final round of the contest. I think they were struggling to use the remaining 15 minutes of the round to finish their version of 3-course meal, with the help of their chef friend. I managed to taste their food. It was not that great but not that bad either, and I was trying to be supportive to the team. Funnily enough, I think their chef friend gave the most criticisms.

Still, have to applaud them for their effort. It was not easy to create an exclusive meal, especially for first timers.

The tentative program

This is actually the second venue at level one.

The main venue with the boys

After the massacre with the ingredients.

The judging process

A husband, and his supportive wife :)

Chef Anis Nabilah was around that day

Grabbing the opportunity

After leaving them to rest (as they didn’t sleep for almost 25 hours for the non-stop cook-off contest), we made our way to the food counter. I had my hotdog, and Irtiza had his ice-cream cone. Then we left Ikea for home.

We later ate the fried ‘beehoon’ that I bought earlier. And that’s how we spend the morning that day. What we did in the evening was another story for another blog entry. Stay tuned for the next one:)

What we ate earlier that day...

...and later that day.

June 12, 2013

Organic Life, Forms, and Such (Country Farm Warehouse Sale 2013)

Organic. Broccolis are organic. Hyenas are organic. Even when Ripley discovered the Alien slime on the spaceship's floor, you expected for her to say "Hey, that looks organic".

So, now, explain to me why are my plain Jane veggies considered to be 'non-organic', compared to those fancy, 'organic'-labelled veggies at the special section of the hypermarket? Why with the biased treatment...the double standard...the prejudice...the bigotry?

I think I almost did my version of the 'I have a dream' speech, before I was later shot with the fact that 'organic' here means things that we grow, without using manufactured chemicals as fertilizers and pesticides.

If that’s the case, then, is the concept applicable to…let baby beard and moustache?

Anyway, I was tempted to go to the annual Country Farm Warehouse Sale at Sunway Damansara last Saturday. It was my third and only successful attempt for the past three years, after a mixed process of procrastination, doubt and laziness.

The Country Farm Warehouse Sale

It is true that determination can give you wings to go far, even if the actual venue was just less than 1km away. So, I drove, I sought, and I conquered a parking space in front of the warehouse.

I have a set of rules when it comes to warehouse sales, and the first one is ‘Always be the earliest in the very first day’. The sale started last Thursday, and I was only able to be there last Saturday. Oh, well…rules are meant to be… (*you get the idea).

Don't judge a warehouse sale by its...erm...main entrance

When I came in, a lot of the non-edible stuffs were already gone. The first thing that I saw was a display of organic towels, organic baby clothes, organic liquid dishwasher, plus other redundant and unnecessary things that I may never buy in my lifetime.

Organic fabrics and liquid dishwasher

Bottled things that I don't need

The food section was the real deal. But the main problem was the lack of the halal logo on basically all of the products that day. I was really attracted to the Crofter jams. They were claimed to be organic, with no added colouring and preservatives. But the halal status was a factor…so I didn’t buy the jams.

“But, the jams are basically fruit and sugar” you say? Well, you also have to take note of the nature, and the ‘environment’ of the products; the facility, the equipments, and the packaging process. I was approached by three salespersons that day, and all of them revealed that they used to have a halal status for the products, and the company is in the process of reapplying for the certification.

The main area

Manuka honey! Damn, they're still expensive

Jamming around

Spice routes

Oats. Is it halal?

The packagings were nice to look at

Arabica coffee...good addictive stuffs

Tea hehe

Before bread...there were flour, and other powdery substances...

"Uh, oh, we're in trouble...something's come along, and it's burst our bubble" (A Shampoo song)

Organic veggies and eggs

In the end, I only dared to buy a type of organic coffee, tea, and some spices. It’s not that the products are not good. They actually looked like super-cool, high-quality goods with nice packaging and stuffs. But the ambiguity of the halal status made it hard for a Muslim like me to buy things that day.

Coffee, spice, and everything's nice

Organic receipt?

It was an interesting visit, and I later managed to taste the organic coffee and tea. They were ok, and with the knowledge that the products are chemical-free and natural, I actually felt healthier and happier. Hope the company will get the halal cert soon  :)

p/s: I was a little bit frustrated for not buying any honey and jam. So, I went to Giant KD for alternatives :)

"Honey, I'm cheaper"

Let's jam!