entertainment


A Nathan’s hot dog, some peanuts and a bag of Cracker Jack. This is the requisite dinner at the famed Yankee Stadium, which I visited with my colleagues for the very first time. The hot dog, while encased in a cold unremarkable bun had great snap, the peanuts was fun ammunition and Cracker Jack popcorn sure beats micronuked Orville Redenbacher’s. Snoopy, with his Metlife sponsored Yankee shirt was an excellent dining companion, gamely posing with the vast stadium as its background. My coworkers weren’t bad too, gamely coaching me on baseball basics. Had I known watching a live game was this much fun, I would have sang “Take me out to the ballgame” sooner!

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The New Yorker talks about all things food in this fortnight’s issue, and in it is a heartfelt and hilarious laugh-a-minute piece by my favorite writer Calvin Trillin and his adventures in my favorite country, Singapore! So when he told me he was going to my hometown to eat the food I grew up noshing, on the day I was star-struck at Singapore Day, he wasn’t lying!

To critics of Singapore’s hawker system, who believe that street food only tastes sanitary, but not authentic in hawker centers, Mr Trillin offers this insight:

“For years as I’ve walked past food stands in foreign lands, I’ve struggled to keep in mind that for an American visitor the operational translation for signs that ostensibly say something like “bhel puri” or ” tacos de nopales” is “Delivery System for Unfamiliar Bugs That You Will Bitterly Regret Having Ingested.”… Gathering food venders into hawker centers, …, meant that a Western visitor not only can have a safe shot at a variety of Singaporean delicacies but can do so in a setting so convenient that his energy is reserved for eating.”
Take that, you hawker center detractors! Even locals do not have iron clad stomachs, so indeed the hawker center is a boon to all eaters of Singapore food.

I’ve loved Calvin Trillin’s writing ever since I picked up an old copy of Alice, let’s eat! , and to read his take on Singapore, the system, the people, and last but not least the food that we are all hungry for is an extraordinary treat. His description of the culinarily homesick Singaporean, whose first stop after a 15 hour transcontinental plane ride is not home but to Geylang/Newton/East Coast Park for their favorite local food fix is so evocative and so personal I couldn’t help but laugh out loud, to the shock of the other patrons in the Korean restaurant where I was reading/supping. Mine happens to be Qiu Lian Ban Mian, and I do not even need to leave the airport for it. What’s yours?


So calling Ratatouille the greatest cartoon ever made might be a stretch, but I was thoroughly charmed by the simple but smart story about a rat with haute aspirations making good on his dreams. Pixar once again does a fantastic job with the animation with each twitch of Remy’s rat whiskers. The hordes of rats plundering the kitchen larder was appropriately nauseating while the food shots looked worthy for a 5 star restaurant. A little bit of intrigue, a dash of action, some romance and a smattering of professional kitchen vocabulary makes this a fun family movie and will leave you hungry for some food afterwards. Indeed, by the time we rolled out of the movie theater sometime past midnight, we were famished for some french food. Which lucky for us in New York, is not that difficult to find, not even at midnight =)

Fans of the Simpsons will be happy to know that not only is the full length feature a scant 3 weeks away, they can now also live out life in Springfield by way of its convenience store. Indeed, in a brilliant product tie-in move, several 7-Elevens in the country have been converted to Kwik-E-Marts, Springfield’s leading convenience store, complete with boxed cereal endorsed by Krusty the Clown and Buzz Cola. Unfortunately for some, Duff Beer is not available.

Below are pictures from my maiden trip to the Kwik-E-Mart in NYC on 42rd St, right across Port Authority Station:

The only Kwik-E-Mart in the metropolitan area, this one suffers from not having the vast, empty parking lot emblematic of suburban Springfield.

Buzz Cola, looking to provide more caffeine than other colas

Ooh.. Krusty O’s – The best you can expect from a TV clown. Like cheerios, only better… I couldn’t resist and bought a box…

Donuts… How could you not have donuts? D’oh!!!

Apu says goodbye and thanks you for loitering… This is one of the only twelve 7-Elevens in the world to have received such life-altering transformation =)

For more information about the movie and other Kwik-E-Marts near you, visit:
http://www.simpsonsmovie.com/main.html