Friday, October 16, 2009

Stepping out

Even in the throes of a conference—rushing from meeting to workshop, spending hours in one windowless conference room after another—there are, as long as you're not stuck in some kind of convention-center wasteland, small opportunities to connect with what's particular to the place you happen to be. On Sunday, when our conference opened, it was an unplanned but very refreshing detour into the courtyard of Raffles Hotel for frosty cocktails and some quiet conversation with a couple of people who didn't require keeping a work face on. On Monday, it was the chance to unwind in an open-air neighborhood café. And on Wednesday, in the first break in a day packed with appointments, it was breakfast at Toast Box, a local chain discovered in the food court on the first floor of the convention center.
Toast Box features a variety of treats served on (surprise!) toast. According to our hosts, this is real Singaporean breakfast fare, and almost as enjoyable to me as the food itself was watching the guys behind the counter. One older cook, in particular, quietly made a small ballet of each order, preparing ham and cheese sandwiches and peanut butter on toast with the focus and precision of a sushi chef. My eating experience was definitely enhanced by watching my thick slab of peanut butter toast cut into nine identical squares with a meat cleaver, and then slipped deftly onto a plate without a dribble, crumb, or smear. Together, they provided the perfect combination of familiar and exotic: a toe in the water, culinarily speaking, but one that still felt like a bold step away from the generic conference pastries and coffee on offer upstairs.


SarahKate said... Best Blogger Tips

Hello! I've only just found your blog. I, too, was an American expat in Australia (lived in Sydney for 4 years), but we've just moved to the UK. The idea of someone taking that much care making my peanut butter toast just fills me with happiness. Hope you enjoyed it!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi SarahKate! Thanks for your comment--you guys are just the opposite of us, as we lived in the UK for several years and then moved to Australia. And yes, I did indeed enjoy my exquisitely made PB toast. Now I'm off to check out your blog!

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