Have a great time, not all is lost.
Every chance I have, I would explore. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the smaller the world gets. More information will be accessible to you because of a new experience.
You see things, you meet more people and you learn more. The more you stay put at where you feel is convenient and comfortable, the smaller your world becomes and you become confined to your little niche until one day, you stepped out…. you realized the world has changed and you had missed out a lot.
We, human beings are creatures of habit. I used to subscribe to the old adage, “ It’s ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. So I would go to the same cafe, do the same things and go out with the same circle of friends. But this does not allow growth. Growth can only occur if your senses, your rationale, and your attitude are challenged or awakened.
These days, I would go off onto untrodden territories. Stuff that I usually don’t do until this Covid-19 era when traveling is curtailed and we look for things to do to deal with the mundane.
With more time on my hands, I started to explore. I would go cafe hopping following safe entry and safe distancing rules of course. No more the same Cappucino which I think is the world-best served by the cafe opposite my workplace. The internet has made it easier as all you need to do is finger work. Type “ Best cafe near me”. A list appears and many of them have google rankings, reviews, and websites.
Every cafe has its distinctive attractions. Some beckons because of their website, some for their menus, some for their unique surroundings. I needed a jolt to my bored brain to stimulate ideas.
I found out for myself why some cafes do well. To me, the product such as the quality of the coffee and cake is very important. The ambiance that allows me to settle in for at least a half-hour where it is suitable for people watching and brewing new ideas for writing on the medium is desirable. If the service is excellent and the price is comparable to the market rate, then that is the supreme choice for me. Ultimately, my search for the cafe that motivates me will always go on.
So far, I find that given that aroma-giving cuppa and a delicious cake, I have been able to write something or at least come up with a theme to write about. Maybe it is the caffeine in the coffee or the oomph factor of the cake, I am thrilled for the “side-effect”.
The other day, at a City cafe, I spotted a dark chocolate cake which I felt was of good value. It was a dollar less than most places and was at an established chain. The appearance of the slice of cake told me it was not all cream which I detested, it looked moist and the name “dark chocolate” appealed to me. It did not disappoint.
The taste of the piece of cake triggered some emotions in me — fleeting between peace and elation. I started to wax lyrical and came up with poetry which was quite a surprise to me.
The poetry that was written; What Is It About Real Dark Chocolate Cake?
Being a dentist, I have a very sequential mind and by that I mean, I think in terms of steps and protocol as in our dental procedures. I was glad that there was some ‘art’ in me to write even though it may not meet other people’s standards but it was jk a start for me to get creative. I have found my outlet. It also helps me to appreciate the ‘now’ more.
One day at a cafe, I was quietly sipping their Cappucino, reading and occasionally looked up to watch people around me. I noticed that a lady sitting alone at the table opposite me, talking to herself and gesticulating. She had no ear-piece in either ear and was not holding a handphone. I noticed with empathy that she must be so stressed mentally to be talking to the air and disputing her troubles. I prayed silently for her.
It reminded me that we have to take care of our mental health. I believed that after venting her emotions her way, she would feel better. After all, she managed to order and pay for her food, so it could just be her way of managing her problems. I have my way to dissipate stress and could be seen as pathological to others too.
At another cafe, I noticed an unusual theme used to attract customers. In the showcase were many attractive desserts symbolic of Singapore such as Kueh Tu Tu( originally a grated, sweetened brown coconut in a flour exterior with the shape of a petal), a bak chor mee (a traditional famous dry noodle), and a nasi-lemak dish(conventionally coconut-infused rice served with egg and fried fish with the famous sambal chili paste), just to name a few.
However, it was food art and none of the food tasted the real thing but was dessert. A lot of effort and creativity had gone into them. One bite into this food and what you get is dessert in the highest art form of Singapore’s famous street food. For example, the yellow noodles were made from passion fruit, a half-boiled egg made from yogurt mango, and chili from strawberry and lemongrass!
The alphabet soup disguised lychee mousse with lychee bits and raspberry and a layer of rose jelly topped with milk agar. So soup was the dessert. There were beautiful fruits to charm you at the end of each meal but they were desserts.
The Yuzu ‘fruit’ is made from Yuzu milk chocolate mousse, lighten yuzu curd, green tea whipped frosting, almond chocolate sponge, coated in yuzu spray.
We were spoilt for choice by the art of food here.
Feast your eyes before you feast your food but your taste buds will be delightfully deceived for this unique experience. A mind-boggling, altered encounter of the senses, great for a conversation piece and ice breaker!
My exploration of cafes and their unique traits continue. It was a very stimulating experience, especially in such COVID-19 times. It is not only to show support to these cafes that tried to stay afloat, many deservedly so for their effort but also a way to break the monotony of being confined within my country. One starts to discover that we have so much to see and savor in our backyard.
Covid-19 may stay around for a while but our ways to overcome restrictions in our mobility should not only help others but help ourselves to move forward in many supportive ways.