An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Back from a week in LA and E3 2014

It’s been an exciting week for T and I (perhaps even Max). We left Max the Maximum Dog in Las Vegas with a wonderful dog-sitter we found through dogvacay.com and he had so much activity with the other dogs in her house that we think he’s depressed now that he’s home with us. We’ll definitely check Max in with her again if we need to go out of town.

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In other (BIG) news, T’s game Axiom Verge won the GAMESPOT Best of E3 2014 (he’s excited to be mentioned alongside No Man’s Sky, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Batman) and also made the list for IGN’s Best of E3 2014 Best Action Game AND Best Playstation 4 Game.

The week was well-spent even though T was super apprehensive about having to show his game alone and meeting new people. I think one of the biggest breakthrough was him making new friends WITHOUT ME and getting invited to dinner TWICE with a super lovely couple – James Petruzzi (of Discord Games, who makes CHASM) and his master baker wife, Trang (check out the treats she makes here! OMG If I had her mad skills, I would die of FAT in 24 hours). It’s a super big deal for T because we ever only go out with my friends and I always feel he should have his own friends who share similar interests. So so proud of him for breaking out of his shell this week and he picked a fantastically fun couple for us to hang out with! Chop, stamp, approved!

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I didn’t get a pass to enter E3 so T had to be on his own – which made him really anxious but also forced him to step up his game. (See his “uniform” which we made indie-style with homemade iron-on sheets.) I was a little sad to be apart but I was also happy to have 4 days to hang out with my friends. To my husband’s initial horror, my friends suggested I drive to meet them where they were – West Hollywood and Marina Del Rey, while our hotel was Downtown LA. It was crazy traffic and I quickly learnt to increase my following distance because it seems like LA drivers don’t use their turn signals to indicate their intent and weave in and out of really tight traffic every opportunity they get. But I did fine… Pfffft!! Didn’t scratch the car, didn’t cause any accidents, didn’t hurt anyone. I feel POWERRRRFUL for braving the urban traffic in the US, considering I was just driving only on the other side of the road less than a year ago.

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  • On Monday, I got to hang out on set of a new indie feature film called Wiener Dog Internationals that was being filmed in Huntington Beach. I even got to hold a wiener dog (and umm… unwittingly ended up cupping its balls for a while but that’s another story), and be an extra in the film representing Singapore!
  • On Tuesday, it was all about the kiddos, we had lunch at Du-Par’s at the Original Farmer’s Market which was right across the road from the Peterson’s apartment, bought snacks at Trader Joe’s and headed for Coldwater Canyon Park in Beverly Hills before stocking up on instant noodles in Koreatown (I’m definitely going back to Galleria Market!).
  • On Wednesday, Stella and Kate brought me to Manhattan Beach after Kate finished school. Lovely low-key retailers with many unique wares, none of that mass market stuff and lots of yummy treats! We had ice cream at the Manhattan Beach Creamery and the shop itself was super fun! You know summer’s out when people are walking around in bikinis…
  • On Thursday, it was a lovely walk from the Yeo’s apartment in Marina Del Rey to TonyP’s for lunch, then to Mother’s Beach where Kate played on the playground for a bit before we walked to Abbot Kinney aka Hipster Central (I WANT TO GO THERE AGAIN).Oh I love the dreamy houses that we passed at the Venice Canal!

And of course, deserving mention would be

  • Drago Centro – posh-looking inside and out but when they missed out on my order they more than made up for it by offering to give it to me for free and while I waited for it to be cooked, I starved off hunger by eating some yummy bread they provided. YUM! Mushroom risotto! Lovely service staff!
  • Bottega Louie – fancy decor, super delicious treats all calling your name upon entering the door, very crowded (and noisy) but very efficient service.
  • Veggie Grill – Unpretentious vegetarian fast food! YO hello! You people need to open one in Las Vegas soon. I have eaten at your LA restaurants 4 times in a row! We need one here!!

With that, it’s bye LA, hello Vegas, I’m home.


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Weekend in Los Angeles, California

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T and I took a trip up to LA 2 weekends ago so that I could be around some familiar faces. My friends G & K who live in Hollywood just had their 2nd baby around Christmas and it was also the baby’s full moon party. The best part other than seeing a childhood pal whom I’ve known since 6, was being able to bring Max along on this trip. It was a relatively easy drive and we had Max in a comfy hammock at the backseat of our Jeep Wrangler. IMG_3123IMG_3122

On this trip, we stayed at Motel 6 Hollywood (we’ve previously had good experiences with this pet-friendly chain) even though they have a bad rep for selling rooms by the hours in the past (if you know what I mean). We paid US$111 inclusive of taxes for a night’s stay in a relatively clean and very spacious room along Hollywood Boulevard. I mean, it was literally round the corner from the Hollywood Walk of Fame (0.4mi) and Mann’s Chinese Theatre (0.4mi).

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For dinner on Saturday, T and I went on a fancy dinner date to Osteria Mozza. If that sounds familiar, that’s because I wrote about the one I visited in Singapore last year. On top of that, we went to Farmer’s Market and had soul-foody lunch with my friends at Du-par’s.

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The key thing to this trip was having a dog-sitter because we couldn’t bring Max around when we went sight-seeing and while my pal G recommended several doggy daycare services, I found a true gem in dogvacay.com. I wrote to several dog-sitters to see who was available to take Max and a wonderful lady called Chriselle answered my call. We brought Max to Chriselle’s home once we got into LA and after he was introduced to her dogs, she took his leash, food and water bowl, and that was that. She lived in an apartment that is directly opposite the Bellevue Recreation Center so we know that he was frequently walked. She also sent us picture updates of Max making himself comfortable, going on a short hike and playing with her little dogs. So Max was left with Chriselle on Saturday from 12 to about 7.30pm. Then again on Sunday from 11.30am (after we checked out of the hotel) to about 3pm when we headed back home. Such a brilliant idea!

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It was a short weekend that allowed both of us to see more of LA and eat some yummy food. I liked that we got to do some touristy things and also hangout with friends. So great that LA is only about 4 hours drive away from us! Can’t wait to do more of these short weekend trips…


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My first time at IndieCade

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Technically T and I only attended IndieXchange Summit, which is an off-site (20 min walk) event that was held last Thursday 3rd October 2013. T didn’t have enough time off from work to attend the entire IndieCade event but made this one day really count. I went along because he didn’t want to leave me behind, it’s nicer to have someone on the 4 1/2hr drive to LA and I’m apparently “the one with the people skills” . Hahaha… I am really just a nosey parker and I do enjoy meeting new people.

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We arrived in Culver City, California close to midnight on Wednesday and spent the night at a TravelLodge. While it cost us more than twice what we paid for a room in Motel6 in Carlsbad, it is also slightly cleaner and much bigger (2 king-sized bed was all they had).

IndieXchange was an eye-opener because video games aren’t my thing to begin with. We got there early because T was unfamiliar with this place and wanted to be sure he got there ahead of time just in case we got lost. I spent a lot of time people-watching and it was quite cool. All you had to do was make eye-contact, say hello and people would tell you all about the game they were making. There were your FarmVille types, your Neopets types, there were some crazy RTS games but I realised most people worked with a team or had at least one other partner. I spend virtually everyday waiting for T to finish his time with his coding – he goes to work to code, he comes home from work and codes some more. He is a one-man show who makes the artwork, creates the narrative, composes the music and… uhm, writes lines upon lines of code.

At the summit, T had several talks that he wanted to attend, questions that had to be answered, he also had one-on-one meetings with publishers and also demo-ed his game. On top of that, T was interviewed for GameLoading, a feature length documentary on indie game makers.

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At some point in the afternoon, T set up his laptop and played his game. While people came by to ask questions, I gave out namecards. Some strangers played his game and gave him feedback, others asked if he was interested to collaborate – like musicians who were there to find a game to make music for.

The people in attendance also included those who work freelance on different game projects to make a living, those who work on their own games in their spare time while working in a completely different field for their day jobs and fresh graduates who are aspiring game developers but don’t know where to start.

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Anyway, among the many interesting gamemakers we spoke to were:

  1. Christine Love whose game (inspired by ancient Korea) T has recently started playing and was really excited to meet
  2. Henry Fernandez who just spent 3 weeks in Japan for TGS and will return to Venezuela in about a week
  3. Spencer & Trish Yip who make educational games and has invited T to a press mixer in LA sometime in November
  4. Ryan Leonski who showed us this really cute “reverse Mario” game and is also working on 3 others right now
  5. Mathew Crooks and his brother who’re making a game set in the Gaul

And there was this one French guy whose PC game just got green-lit. I forgot his name and the name of his game, I just remembered that when I asked what kind of game it was he said it was a type of RTS but his partner said it was F.A.R.T.S.

T is one of the lucky ones with a full-time job as a GameDev in a company he enjoys working at and returns home to derive more pleasure from programming in his free time making Axiom Verge. It was interesting to have met so many other types at this conference and I certainly learnt a lot.

So that was my first IndieCade. Yup!


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Osteria Mozza at Marina Bay Sands

More eating out! Yum! Here’s an Italian restaurant highly recommended by me. I was warned that it might not be easy to get a table and might be a tad pricey – both of which were not the case when I was there. Sure, we spent $150 for 2, but it was such a great experience that I felt it was more than affordable!

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Osteria Mozza is located at B1-42-46 Galleria Level, The Shoppes At Marina Bay Sands. Dress Code: Business Casual (to be honest, many were in short sleeved shirts and some in shorts)

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It’s common knowledge that Italian cuisine is very vegetarian friendly and there were more than a few options of starters, mains, sides and dessert. Also having given up the drink (i.e. alcohol), I found myself with a refreshing mocktail from a very interesting selection as well.

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I highly recommend the mocktail called Timo e Pompelmo (Grapefruit, Thyme and Soda) as well as the Ricotta & Egg Raviolo. You know what a ravioli is – a bitesized stuffed italian dumpling. A raviolo is the same thing except 1 big  single parcel 4 times as large. My raviolo had a raw egg in it and upon serving, I was told to cut down the middle (to prevent it from being overcooked on the heated plates). The egg yolk oozed out richly and it was so incredibly delectable. Imagine the chewy outer shell of the ravioli, and the gooey texture of the cheese, all mixed in with the luscious egg yolk. I give this dish a 9/10!

XH and I shared the Ribollita for starters and while it is traditionally a potage/soup, what Mozza did was to cook down the vegetables to a pulp, then pour away the broth to pan-fry it as a patty. Really interesting and I’d like to try making a simple version of this myself with my ABC soup. 7/10! Yum!

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The other dish that we shared was the Sauteed Bloomsdale Spinach which XH termed the “Italian you cai”. “You Cai” being the Mandarin term for a simple stir-fry of oil-tossed leafy greens. The spinach leaves were still plump and I loved how the thinly sliced crispy garlic lent a light flavour to the fresh vegetables.

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For dessert, we had the Almond Cornetto – a crispy croissant filled with almond paste, accompanied by sauteed tangerines and blood orange sorbet. The sauteing brought out an intensely sweet and tart stickiness in the orange slices which I found most ambrosial!

Our waiter Kroydl (sp?) made such spot-on recommendations that I’d like to commend him on accurately describing the various dishes before we made the orders. He even took time to pick out the various vegetarian dishes and others that he could modify to make fully vegetarian so that I could make a more informed decision.

Great ambience, attentive wait staff and many delectable vegetarian options – overall a delightful and gratifying experience. I’d definitely love to come back to Osteria Mozza again and also check out their flagship restaurant in LA! (That’s a hint for T, since it’s less than 5 hours drive from his house, I mean OUR house in Las Vegas, to the restaurant on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles!)