Sunday, May 22, 2016

of good cappuccino (Engineers Coffee Bar Putra Nilai)

I have been on calory restriction for about eight months now, but once in awhile, when I have extra free time, I'd make a detour here and there, make space for something out of my daily healthy menu. Therefore, I usually make a mental note whenever I find a good place to eat - so at least my calory and money expenditures are well justified.

This time, I shall leave a review on a cafe which had been around for a year or so, but it's only recently that I started becoming a regular customer there. Reason? Good cappuccino. Good service. Good food. 

Cafe: Engineers Coffee Bar Putra Nilai
Operating Hours: Daily, 3.00PM - 11.30PM (closed on Mondays)

So I guess my coffee addiction is back, thanks to that my recent vacation. So there I was, roaming around, exhausted mentally and physically, ransacking my brain for a cafe with a visible espresso machine. Do note that I live in Nilai - not exactly a place you can bump into one easily. This place popped up in my mind. "They'd better have a good cup of cappuccino", I said to myself.

Walked in, surprised to see its price - which is cheaper than most cafes in Kuala Lumpur. RM9 for a cup of cappuccino. "Darn, cheap coffee. Might be a bad coffee too", pardon my prejudice for the one I received proved me wrong. In fact, it was so good (bonus point - cappuccino here is made with double shot espresso. Triple shot espresso is upon request), I finished it within 2km of drive. I returned the very next day for another dose. And the day after. It came to the point of opening the door to its barista smiling and asked, "Sugarless cappuccino, right?". Trust me. I know my coffee. I have been a coffee drinker since I was four years old and hooked on it ever since, thanks to my late grandpa. 

Today my family and I had our lunch there. They had pastas while I had roast beef sandwich. The portion of my sandwich was humongous. Two sandwiches (yep, two of the one in the picture above) packed with sliced roast beef and cheddar cheese along with about a cup of lightly-spiced french fries presented in rustic style. I'd let those basic store-bought white bread slices slide since I had a lot else on the plate! And only RM8 for all of that? "Are they making any profit out of this? It's too cheap tapi sedap", I asked my father.

RM10 per plate of pasta, which is a huge cut down compared to previously. Expectation wasn't high. I expected much smaller portion, but nope. I think they retained about 80% of the original portion and they still tasted as good as they were before. I highly recommend their lemak cili padi and carbonara pastas. 

I had been eyeing their cylindrical-shaped cheesecakes. Guilty as charged, I have a sweet tooth. Since I had people to share it with today, I ordered for Oreo cheesecake (the above is blueberry cheesecake though). Its base was somewhat thicker than normal cheesecakes and somewhat hard, but I gave it some time and once it had softened, it tasted quite nice. Not the best cheesecake I have had, but decent enough.

If you'd like to have your food packed, they have eco-friendly paper boxes too. 

I will be honest. I lived in Subang for more than two decades. I visited so many cafes in Malaysia already. This one is worth going to especially if you expect a place with quiet and cozy ambience. It certainly isn't one of those overpriced and overrated hipster cafes with Instagrammable but tasteless food.

In case you're wondering if I'm being paid to write this entry - nope. It's a good cafe. Period.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

mental reboot

I am currently under acute post-vacation spell, so severe to the point of randomly driving around, despite feeling exhausted that I am unable to converse properly, just for a cup of cappuccino - which I, thank God, found at Engineers Coffee Bar Putra Nilai.

If there's one thing in Melbourne that I sorely miss, that's its abundant cafes with good coffee! I wouldn't call myself a caffeine addict. I'm more of a coffee junkie. Unlike most people, coffee does not keep me awake. Its scent calms me down and when I have difficulty in falling asleep, a good cup of long black coffee usually would do the trick. I remember my former colleague pointing it out a few months ago. "Z, is it just me or do you just fall asleep right after you get your cup of coffee every single day?", she said.

The very first day in Melbourne, I went straight to Hudsons Cafe and got myself a cup of cappuccino. It was so good that I made a promise to myself to get two doses of coffee daily during my stay in Australia. I went to more than fifteen cafes within eight days! Since I had visited the country a few times before, seeing kangaroos and koalas wasn't included in my itinerary.

I spent most of my time strolling along the streets of Melbourne. I would take trams only when I got too exhausted. Enjoyed the city life from early in the morning till night which of course did not involve clubs and that sort. After all, I am no longer that person who enjoys being in crowded places.

I only went out of town for a couple of days for penguins and chocolate - the latter had me caught in a temporary trance and I ended up spending hundreds of dollars on that - not for myself, though. For my staff and colleagues.

This might sound funny, but however developed and civilised that country seemed, I still longed for my country while I was there. I'm not sure why. I have a pretty vague idea - perhaps the warmth we, Malaysians, have. Culturally and weather-wise. It's just that the current unimpressive economical and political situations along with globalisation are slowly making us forget our roots and values. I haven't given up on Malaysia. I might not be able to change the world, but at least I can still serve the society in manners I deem appropriate and best within my limited capability... and just hope for the best that at least a few people would be reminded of kindness and sincerity from me just as I do from those who do so. The world might feel crueler and more merciless day by day, but we don't have to join the pack... or so I think...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

eat to live

There aren't many people that I am willing to travel hundreds of kilometers for. Fiza is undoubtedly one of the few people I cherish so much. Throughout my six months of struggling to escape major depressive disorder (MDD) about six years ago, this amazing person stayed by my side. I can't recall most of the moments during that period except for four of them:

1. The ceiling of my hostel room
2. My psychiatrist's face
3. My mother's facial expression as she welcomed me home three months after I was diagnosed with MDD
4. The food Fiza bought me thrice daily although I could barely eat a spoonful of them. Most of the time, they'd go wasted, but she still constantly bought food for me every single day without failing and just held my hands as I said to her, tearfully, "Fiza, I am hungry. I am so hungry, but I can't eat this without vomiting. I haven't eaten for days...". At times, she'd cry along with me

Even as I type this entry, I still drop thankful tears. Thankful to Allah for lending me such a caring and loving person. The day I received a text from her informing me about her father being critically ill, I rushed to Johor Bahru (JB) to visit them. The day I broke off my engagement, she flew all the way from JB and kept me company for three days. I fell asleep while holding her hands. Along with my family's support, I heard myself saying, "You are lucky to have all these people. You'll be alright".

Despite being 300km+ away from her, she's still the closest friend I have. Even in silence, we'd read each other's thoughts. A fortnight ago, when she told me that she's getting engaged, my heart skipped a beat. I know how well Fiza takes care of those precious to her and that her happiness means the world to me. I sent prayers to God, hoping that this man is a truly good person. That this man will take care of her as well as she takes care of all of us. That this man will be a loyal partner.

Last Sunday, when I saw that nervous but blissful smile on her face, I couldn't help but to to have tears welling up. After all struggles she had gone through, she deserves a good man by her side till afterlife. May God take care of her. May this lead to a blissful marriage, inshaaAllah...

Well, on a different note, I am currently struggling to keep my weight from dropping drastically. Work has been pretty stressful. Three weeks in a row being in-charge of operation theater, and I am just a junior permanent officer there. Barely one and a half month had passed, and I lost 2.5kg already. I envy stress-eaters. At least they can eat when they're stressed. My body works in the exact opposite way. Despite reaching my minimum calory requirement, perhaps due to the increase in physical tasks, my weight is still dropping fast. I eat thrice daily, but most of the time, I'd push myself to my limits, and force myself to eat only when my hands start to tremble from low blood sugar. I have to learn fast. At my current pace, I don't think I am learning fast enough. Accio strength!