Spiced Creme Brûlée latte

I don’t usually drink milk-based coffee unless I’ve felt that I had an overdose of black coffee/Americano or if it’s a little late in the day when I felt that a milky caffeinated beverage would do less to disrupt my sleep.

But sometimes I’m intrigued to try seasonal drinks that cafés put out especially at such festive seasons, although to be honest most of them tend to be gimmicky and too sweet for me. I know it’s weird because I am a self-professed sugar addict with an incurable sweet tooth but somehow it differs from thing to thing.

So! Back to the main point. I saw this Christmas drink at Joe & Dough and I just had to try it, even if it’s just for the ‘gram.

Ta-da! I’ve a soft spot for the gingerbread man character and I just couldn’t resist this. Marshmallows are a bonus though they feature even less than secondary in my consideration.

So what’s the verdict on this? To be honest, I had not given much thought to the taste. There was perhaps a hint of cinnamon (from the spice I presume) and maybe because I had requested for it to be less sweet the barista might have been lighter on the caramel (syrup). On the whole, of course it carried a bit more taste than a regular latte would, but it also sort of muted the caffeine notes. The part of the marshmallows that were immersed in the milky mixture were fast dissolving and melting so they went into my mouth pretty quickly for me to really appreciate their taste, if any, and how they complemented the drink or not.

Also, I was trying to position Gingi (my affectionate name for gingerbread man) in all sorts of ways possible to capture the best shot but failed miserably so after a few tries I gave up and proceeded to start munching on the mini cookie. I was sorely disappointed. While I know that gingerbread man biscuits/cookies have a tendency to be less crunchy and are more of a shortbread kind of texture, this particular cookie I had, even the parts that were not soaked in the coffee, tasted soggy and stale. Stale, not in the ‘it’s probably gone bad’ kind of stale but left out in the open for too long that it has lost any kind of crisp/crunch/bite to it.

So, long story short, this is just good for a one-time try to take a photo for my own keeping and posting, but otherwise I will stick to my usual Americano.

Remembering to be thankful

Happiness can be as simple as this. A bowl of plain yogurt with a tinge of sourness, topped with granola that adds sweetness to the bowl, and a cup of coffee. Perhaps these are not the best things to go together, yogurt and coffee, the latter which would dissolve away whatever calcium is available in the yogurt? I don’t know but this is a simple enjoyment on a weekend.

During yoga class today, the instructor reminded us to be thankful that we are still alive, that our bodies still intact. She implored on us to not take life so seriously. Those were the words that I recalled, others I don’t really remember, but I suppose she was meaning to tell us that we should live in the moment, enjoy each moment and not sweat the small things. She was mentioning this in reference to the Bangkok bomb blast that took place the evening before, in downtown Bangkok in an area popular with tourists and locals. As of now, the blast had claimed 20 lives, one of whom is a Singaporean. Lives that were suddenly terminated, dreams that remain unfulfilled and words left unsaid.
I frequently lament about the various nitty gritty things of everyday life, from having to wait minutes for a train, to having people knock into me while they are rushing or blocking my way when I am in a rush… there are too many things that I can’t help complaining about, despite that deep down, as I reflect on society, on life, that there is much to be thankful for, but I, like most people, am wont to complain and feeling victimised. I need to constantly remind myself that life has given me much, despite that materially, I wasn’t born into a family with much, there has been more than enough that more than made up for it.

As I meet people whom I feel mirror who I am, I start to realise how annoying such characters can be, how much of an irritant chronic pessimists and complainers can be. I hope that I don’t continue to walk that path, but rather on a daily basis, thank God for all that I have, for all that has been bestowed on me.While I am still trying to change my attitude, which I foresee to be a difficult but not impossible endeavour, in a tongue-in-cheek manner, so what if I don’t like my job and many aspects of it, so what if day by day I feel that I am losing myself, my value, my relevance, so what if I don’t get to enjoy many of the material things in life that my peers possess, that they earn much more than me, and that I have been struggling in many areas of my life all these years, unable to break through and break free. Life still goes on, and I need to give thanks that I am still breathing and still have my loved ones around me. May they always be safe and sound, happy and healthy.

 

Joe & Dough, Orchard Central

The very first time I visited Joe & Dough would have to be the tiny outlet that was at Hitachi Towers, as I am assuming that it is no longer there, based on what I have seen of the location information on their Facebook/website. I recalled the sandwiches being rather nice but pricey, especially considering that it is lunch and throw in a glass of latte and it’s easily too much to afford back in those days. Well, to me, more than S$10 for lunch is still quite pricey now, if you are talking about day-to-day lunches, rather than a once-in-a-while treat.

After that, Joe & Dough opened outlets in other places, such as Suntec City, outside where the supermarket used to be. It was a very open space and I didn’t really visit it much because it was not so conducive to just spend hours hogging their table in such an open area. Then this outlet moved to Millenia Walk, which is not such a convenient location. I know, I am picky when it comes to locations but that’s me being lazy. But I have no qualms about praising them for their coffee and sandwiches, even if I had not have them on a regular basis.

They now have a small outpost at Orchard Central, where I have met my friend a couple of times for coffee break during the weekends. It can get crowded, meaning the few tables and chairs they have get occupied and you know how it is with cafes and patrons these days. Once a butt sits down it will often take a while before it vacates the seat. But we were able to find a table after a short wait, and we probably stayed for about an hour each time.IMG_0577.JPG

At the Millenia Walk outlet, I had ordered their cakes and didn’t really fancy them. Or not that I was too impressed with what they had. But I tried their muffin this time round, and I was actually quite happy with it. Right now, my memory is quite hazy as to what I ordered, maybe blueberry or some sort of that, but what I do like about it was that it wasn’t oily like how most muffins in other coffee chains tend to be. It was warmed up really nicely so that when I got my muffin, there was this really fragrant aroma wafting through the air. As with my favourite part of the muffin goes, the top was crispy yet not dry and it wasn’t crumbly. Yay and I will definitely be back to try a different flavour next time round!

We also ordered a Baked Pear tart. As compared to the cakes I had before, this was a better option imo. Wasn’t too sweet beyond my tolerance level and goes well with either coffee or tea.IMG_0578.JPG

On our next meet-up, I had the Blueberry Yogurt tart, which from the picture looks like a polka-dotted cheesecake.IMG_0580.JPG

I loved the cookie crust that is just like how cheesecakes are like, yet it didn’t feel as dense and heavy as a cheesecake. It had a little of the sour taste of yogurt but it wasn’t strong and I wished somewhat that it could have had a stronger yogurt flavour in it. But overall I did enjoy it pretty much.IMG_0579.JPG

And this was my friend’s order of a Tuna Sandwich; just check out how generous they are with the filling and the sandwich looks pretty substantial too! I am always in a dilemma what to order when it comes to food because to have both sandwich and sweets would be too much, yet a lot of things look so good each time I’m standing at the counter!IMG_0581.JPG

Cakes at Joe & Dough, Millenia Walk

So in my last visit to J&D at Millenia Walk, I was raving about the tantalising cake display, or rather what I perceived as tantalising, it’s subjective. I did in fact make a second trip back over the long weekend (which I wished so hard was a perennial instalment in our lives!) and only had cakes and drinks. Well, that is the bane of my existence because over the long weekend I think I had too much of good food and I actually gained some weight that had me experiencing bouts of stress once more! Like I haven’t had enough stress to deal with in my life already…

So anyhow, back to the cakes! Yes, food shouldn’t be complicated, it’s just a relationship between the eater and the food. Or maybe not just, how about the preparer? 20130814-112914.jpg

This is the tea-time spread! Which also counted as a late(r) lunch for me. I still stand by my opinions that the cakes look darn good, don’t you think? And delicious-looking cakes go so well with latte art. Well, aesthetics matter a lot in our society today, too much maybe, so that these days all the niche cafes, or rather those interesting indie cafes (not those big chains that everyone turns their noses up at these days for having lousy coffee or whatever), everyone tries to outdo one another or offer a basic latte art for all milk-based drinks.20130814-112924.jpg

Let’s take a closer look at our choices. We had a little struggle which ones to pick, and finally settled for looks, which was the reason behind ordering this cranberry whole wheat cake.20130814-112930.jpg

The second pick wasn’t in the main cake display but rather displayed in a separate round, glass cake stand, the carrot cake topped with walnut. 20130814-112935.jpg

Hot chocolate with the latte art! No art on my drink of course, since it was just an americano, I would like to see how anyone can create any art on it.20130814-112943.jpg

So how did the cakes fare? To be honest, a little disappointing. They look much better than they taste, or maybe I had too high expectations based solely on how they appeared. The layer of frosting/cream on cranberry cake was a little too sweet for me despite that I had the cakes with coffee, although I did quite like the inside of the cake, i.e. the whole wheat crust that was also used as part of the cake itself.

As for the carrot cake, it was ok, just ok. The cream cheese frosting tasted alright but the cake itself was not moist enough so it didn’t have that omph factor when you have a really good carrot cake.

Like I said, maybe we expected too much, also because I was raving about it to my friend and insisted that we try their cakes and specially made a trip to Millenia Walk for them. They aren’t bad or not nice but just ordinary, so maybe in the next visit I will pick and try the other cake offerings, one at a time to share perhaps with their great sandwiches.

Joe & Dough, Millenia Walk

Peace and happiness can be such a simple formula that somehow only seems possible and existential during the weekends. Saturday and Sunday were spent in a cloud of relaxed bliss although not without the usual frazzledness of jostling with weekend crowds in town, but aside from that, everything was great.

Before I dove into the weekend, I finally got to check out Joe & Dough, now open also at Millenia Walk! Remember I mentioned earlier that I saw it when I visited Millenia Walk sometime back, and I made a mental note to come by again and finally did! Especially after reading my friend‘s post about her visit, I reminded myself of it.  

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This is indeed a much larger space as compared to the tiny little hole in the wall they occupy in Hitachi Tower, and as strange as it may seem, for this part of Millenia Walk it doesn’t seem to get too crowded even at lunchtime. Perhaps it was due to the fact that most people have already jetted overseas for a long break in view of the coming back-to-back public holidays, or because of the relocation of some large companies together with their expat employees. Most locals don’t take to having sandwiches at lunch even if it is becoming a more popular choice these days. I, for one, love bread and sandwiches, and the ones they serve up here at Joe & Dough are fantastic. Well, prices can be a little towards the high side if you are comparing a meal here with the food court perhaps but if you have a meal at the food court and then get a latte from Starbucks, I think it should cost about the same, or even more. Your choice.

Here’s the Italian Parma Ham sandwich. The bread was soft which made the sandwich easy to eat and thereafter not feel like you have swallowed an entire ball of dough. But personally, I would have preferred breads that have more bite. 20130805-090242.jpg

The sandwiches that are sold were on display with each filling having a standard type of bread. I did not check with them, so am not sure if you are able to have a special custom order, if say I would like to have parma ham with a different choice of bread. I guess it should be possible, maybe.

And as I stood ogling the sandwiches, I couldn’t help but start noticing the other pastries that look so appetising. There were muffins and scones, amongst others (like cakes! OMG they look absolutely delicious but I had to make a choice) so I decided on a raisin scone, which was actually fairly large if you were to compare it to the butter and jam palettes pictured as well. 20130805-090251.jpg

This scone actually looked like the Coffee Bean scone that left me disappointed, i.e. the same glazed golden brown look that seemed so promising. The difference was that, in this case, this didn’t disappoint. As I cut into it, look!   20130805-090301.jpg

As compared to this. You can easily imagine that this scone left a happy smile on my face, even if it was just butter and jam and not the usual clotted cream that would have gone so well with scones. But to me, if something is really good it should be good on its own without the need for any additional condiments. And in my own limited opinion of scones, I think this is a pass. I’m sure many others would beg to differ, since I don’t have particularly high standards, but it was good enough for me. 🙂

And I had an Americano, which got a thumbs up from me too! I know that there are many places with great coffee around, but I have sort of came to a small conclusion that I can’t seem to appreciate many good coffees due to their tendency to be too acidic for my liking. This, with a pack of brown sugar, had just the right mix of bitterness/sweetness/sourness that I enjoyed, albeit in a cup too small. But I guess good things come in small packages, and any bigger and the taste might have changed significantly.    20130805-090313.jpg

It’s a great place to be, and I would want to return soon to check out their cakes! I must have been looking/sounding so ditzy when I was gushing about the cakes in the display case. Imagine, names like Blueberry Yoghurt Tart, Cranberry Wholewheat Cake, Vanilla Prune Cheesecake… sound healthy and yet tantalising (to me at least)! These are only available at the Millenia Walk and Marina Bay Link Mall outlets though, not the one at Hitachi Tower, just in case you work in Raffles Place and thought to drop in for cakes. But you could take a longer walk to the other two outlets if you have time, haha. If you are interested in their menu, they have a delivery menu online that also shows the prices.

Till the next time!