- An impromptu Pistachio Cake;
- Low-key local activities; and
- A day out attempting new ventures
Before delving into the agenda, I requested quick detours of McDonald's and T&T. The Strawberry Passionfruit and Peach Mango Fruit Splash Beverages were obtained for my sampling. The former started off sweet, then transitioned into tanginess, while the latter was relatively mild at first sip, then gradually grew sweeter. Both were refreshing, accessible picks for the upcoming spring/summer seasons.
The Death Note room at TRAPPED had initially been proposed for our four-person gathering last month, but then eliminated on the account of one member having already completed it. The opportunity to try it arose again when I learned that the minimum player count was two. As the franchise also offered free admission within three days of one's birthday, it emerged as the ideal neighbourhood activity.
We arrived just five minutes before our 4:30 PM booking, which granted just enough time for bathroom usage and transferring personal items into lockers. Then, we were quickly given a rundown of the room by one of the Game Masters; beyond effective walkie talkie usage, we were also informed of search protocols (ie. no clues under ceiling panels, no moving of objects labelled "Out of Bounds", etc.). "A complete success" was determined if no more than two hints were requested, but the group could request as many as needed.
The sleepy polar bear and I quickly split up to cover the room. I was first to discover a laminated flash card underneath the pillow, while the sleepy polar bear found another in the school bag on the chair. A third was found in the pocket of the uniform. Sandwiched underneath a glass panel on the desk were several diary entries, likely handwritten by staff. One of these pages led to clues on the bookshelf, while another would provide the password to the laptop on the desk (as we later learned). In the drawers, we found a small chest containing the key to escape, and a Death Note replica in a hidden compartment within the same drawer.
Our second hint request led us to the password of the laptop. From there, we found FBI profiles - one of which corresponded to the owner of the locked briefcase. "The password are digits that hold meaning to the inspector." we were told. Trying the three-digit agent number and birthday ended in vain. Thinking fast, I resorted to the Family Profile section, and found the name of the agent's fiancée, a former FBI agent.
At this point, I was slightly perplexed. In the tattered Death Note we had uncovered, the fiancée had supposedly died in 2004 due to suicide. However, the FBI profile indicated that the woman was engaged as of 2006. The timelines did not align. After some debate, the sleepy polar bear reminded me that "most people can't read Japanese. I don't think they expect players to read the non-English content." - which was a valid point. Instead of pursuing the contents of the notebook further, I changed course and searched for the fiancée's FBI profile instead, and was met with success.
The sleepy polar bear assisted in making the abstract connections between a colour grid and number lock pad, and again with switching modes on a flashlight for UV light. Before we knew it, we had completed the room with three hints and escaped with four minutes to spare.
With a third escape room experience under my belt, I can confidently conclude the following:
- If a clue has been used already, it is 75% safe to dismiss on move onto a different item instead of re-inspecting it
- Clues adopting similar appearances are likely linked
- Capitalization is sometimes intentional; colours and filters (3D glasses, UV light, etc.) are usually intentional
- Pay attention to the Game Master's pre-game briefings, as they sometimes contain hints
Fast food establishments remained open, which spurred a sudden desire to sample Wendy's new French Toast Sticks.
"Is there syrup?" The sleepy polar bear peered over, ravenous from suppressing appetite in preparation for dinner. "Can I take a bite?"
"I'm not sure." Shifting the paper carton slightly, a small container of Kraft Table Syrup came into view. "Yes, there is."
"Oh. Then let's wait."
"Well, we should wait regardless because it's too hot and will probably scald you." I retorted in response.
They were surprisingly delectable - a pleasant surprise indeed! Crisp edges, distinctiveness egginess, and a viscous, caramel-like syrup devoid of synthetic aftertaste justified the all-day snack's price point. Of course, at about $5 for a mere slice of non-uniformly quartered bread, it was pricier than crafting in-house. That said, the item successfully quenched the French Toast fix at a fraction of the time and cost of a good brioche, carton of eggs, and syrup. Not to mention, one could enjoy the treat at any time of the day (looking at you, McD's Hash Browns) without suffering greasy fumes. A dusting of icing sugar would have been the icing on the cake.
Admittedly, the interior was nicer than I had pictured, with a tall ceiling entryway and absolute absence of greasy fumes in the air. Having the bathrooms situated directly by the entrance was an odd design choice, however.
The host/hostess crew had gathered behind the reception area, for customers were few and the restaurant "slow". Between the lounge area and dining corridor, my pick had resided with the brighter, open space of the lounge. In contrast, the sleepy polar bear voted in favour of the dining area, on the account that a dimmer atmosphere conjured a cozy ambience. The choice would result in grainier photos, but provided comfort and privacy in a dedicated booth.
"It's a champagne." She responded plainly, as if all sparkling wines could be classified as champagne and flavour profiles were identical across the board. When I pressed for more qualitative descriptions of the Freixenet and Mionetto, she ventured over to the bar. Along with two patrons, seemingly regulars or acquaintances of the staff, they begun to ID the drinks through the World Wide Web. It was confirmed in this moment that The Keg was the destination for in-depth alcohol appreciation, but rather a place where wine happens to be present for steak pairings. I ultimately took to the Freixenet, which turnen out to be a teensy 200 ml bottle that I recall purchasing on a whim when I first became of legal age.
Compiled into a unit, the snails had been de-shelled and affixed to mushroom tops, then baked for a crispy top. The morsels were an airy starter, and I appreciated that they hadn't been coated excessively in breadcrumbs for sustenance. More than snails themselves though, both of us found greater enjoyment in the flakey, sweet brioche that arrived alongside. There was tremendous excitement in peeling tearing apart the well-toasted specimen and dipping section into the escargot sauce, which was herbaceous, citrusy (even without the squeeze of lemon), and slightly savoury. In fact, the cooking juices was more decadent than the escargot itself, despite the shrooms and snails being a timeless pairing.
"Ah yes, wasabi is a type of horseradish after all." I recalled audibly.
Requested at a Medium Rare degree of doneness, the Sirloin was a vibrant magenta throughout, with its surface adequately salted and crisp. Certain sections were slightly tough, though there was no discard resulting from the consumption process.
What can I say? I saved room for dessert.