Thursday, 27 August 2009

Whitney Houston - New ALbum - I Look To You

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Released 19/10/2009

When I heard about this new album being released, I looked forward to the new tracks from my favourite singer from the 80s and 90s. She looked absolutely radiant on the cover of the album. However, upon first listen, I was truly shocked!
What happened to the silky smooth yet so powerful and soulful vocals which she was so well known for??
I have never heard an artiste deteriorate so much in such a short time ... just compare this title track from her latest album:

to her 1998 album, My Love Is your Love...

it sounds like she has aged 40 years since that album!

While the songs in the latest album sounded well crafted and contemporary, they are simply not the Whitney we know from the past.
Even this big ballad, I didn't know my own strength, penned by the legendary Diane Warren, was poorly executed.

She now clearly struggles to hit the high notes, resulting the song being sung in no more than two octaves, which is a huge departure from the days when she had a five octave range.

So, is this the end of the Whitney we know from the past? Somehow, I feel it is going to be almost impossible to recover from her vocal deterioration, especially as she is also advancing in years. Let's hope I am wrong.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Jai Hind Indian Restaurant, KL

This was the only not-nearby place I went to TWICE, during my 3 week visit to Malaysia earlier this month. Despite the variety of good food available all over the place in KL, I had to pay a second visit to this rather humble, run down establishment at Jalan Melayu, off Jalan Masjid India ( aka "Little India" ) in KL. It is located just 50m from the Masjid Jamek LRT station.

Although "Indian food" is widely available in KL, most of them are actually Malaysian - Indian food. Most would associate Roti Canai as being "Indian" but I doubt if you can find this bread easily all over India. The Jai Hind serves authentic North Indian food, a cuisine I have got accustomed to over the last 25 years in the UK where good Indian food is readily available in all big cities.

It was lunchtime and we were not very hungry due to a heavy breakfast. However, the sight of a person turning out fresh naan breads at the entrace of this restaurant enticed us in.

For me, a well baked fresh naan takes a lot of beating. And Jai Hind did not disappoint. The bread was served fresh from the tandoor oven and you pick your accompanying meat/veg/sauce from about 20 dishes available.

On this occassion, I had a keema curry ( coarsely minced lean goat meat with potatoes) and a chana curry (chick peas). Wish I had a bigger appetite as the food was absolutely delicious! Same style as what I have had for many years in the UK, except twice as good! The naan looked plain and boring but it was sheer perfection with a crispy outer layer and fluffy on the inside. We ordered another
one just to eat on its own. 2 x this platter, together with a couple of cups of tea, cost RM16. Ok, not the cheapest Indian food in KL, but not dear either, especially for the quality.

On a separate visit, we had a cauliflower potato curry, just to see how it compares to the best cauliflower potato curry in the world (IMO!) from Yadgar Cafe in Manchester. Amazingly, it tasted almost identical! How likely is that?!
This place is a must-visit for all lovers of Indian food, but be warned that, on a hot afternoon, the heat in the place is almost unbearable. Half the fans are not working and if you have the misfortune of sitting near the two ovens making naan and chapattis, the discomfort could kill your appetite!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Hawker centre, ss2 PJ.

My last visit to Malaysia may have only been 9 months ago, but still long enough for me to miss the food here, especially the hawker fare. So, on one of the first nights of this trip, I paid a visit to the hawker centre in SS2, also known as Wai Sik Kai (greedy street). Could not decide what to eat, so ordered a bit of everything ... well, more than just a "bit". But as it was cheap and the value of the sterling had appreciated against the ringgit over the last few months, I thought I'd indulge in this little feast pictured below.

I have no idea as to the name of the stalls we bought from, so as a guide, the first picture here is a grill fish (ikan bakar) vendor. All the food was bought at or around his stall.

This sambal fried pea in pods (or directly translated from Chinese, four angled peas ) were average, from the said grill fish stall. The sauce lacked sweetness and the peas were not crunchy fresh. But as he made this as a special request ( these peas are normally only used as a side garnish ), he is excused!

This char siu in Chicken Rice was also average. Char siu tasted very generic, but can't really expect too much for rm4!

Kam Heong lala from a neighbouring grill fish seller was quite good. You can always tell where was not enough of it to go round!

Pineapple fried rice from the thai food stall was also ok only! A bit too sweet and soggy, but I am happy with the amount of ingredients in it, especially the large prawns.

Prawn noodles were the best! IT was as good as any I have ever tasted and I look forward to having this again when I get the chance to go there again.

Razor clams in belacan from the same grill fish seller has a lovely tasting spicy sauce, but somehow, I felt there were more shells than actual meat!

This wat tan hor is not even worth mentioning! Rather below average.

After the meal we had a walk around the pasar malam and had some cempedak goreng ( jackfruit fritter) from this fella!

Overall a very satisfying evening's dining!