November 10, 2018

Stuck on the Ashes of Time

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This dinner has been waiting to happen for a long, long time.  More than 2½ years after my first visit, I finally found occasion (and company) to re-visit VEA.  Vicky Cheng's cuisine has been getting a lot of attention lately - due in part to the constant, heavy marketing assault by the PR - and I had been keeping track of all the dishes that I had not been tasting.  So I convinced the Film Buff - who originally introduced me to the restaurant - to accompany me.

We were once again seated on high chairs in front of the counters, because they are meant to be the best seats in the house.  I had a real issue with this last time, as I kept having to get out of my chair to take pictures of the food.  Now that I've switched to a camera with an articulating screen, things were a little easier tonight.

As usual, there was a whole slew of snacks to start us off:

Corn and sweet potato chip

Red capsicum chip

Bread stick

Fish skin - the dehydrated fish skin came topped with diced abalone that had been slow-cooked, abalone liver purée, coriander, pickled chilis, and covered with a layer of dashi (出汁) jelly.  The fish skin itself was really nice, and the abalone was certainly tender, while I didn't notice any kick from the chili.

November 9, 2018

An evening of truffle, game, and cheese

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Birdiegolf's birthday is coming up, so the Specialist decided to round up a few of us for a "birthday do", while using it as an excuse to pop open a few bottles.  Not sure why I always get the job of picking (or at least suggesting) the restaurant, but I guess I'm used to it by now.  After going through the list of restaurants that are BYO-friendly, we eventually settled on On Dining.

Which was just as well, since someone had nudged me recently about going there, and telling me that Philippe misses me.  It is true that I have neglected an old friend for far too long, and it was time to see what he's up to.  Besides, it's game season... so there's bound to be something interesting.  I pinged Philippe and asked him to set me up.

Foie gras cannoli - funny, they don't look much like cannoli... but whatever.  The flat pastry 'biscuits' were really sweet.

Smoked salmon roe with cream - definitely a bit smoky.

Smoked roe cone - with avocado.  The filling was a little smoky and fishy.

November 6, 2018

Eating with chefs: Goh with the Flo

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Half a day after stuffing ourselves, a few of us reconvened at Seventh Son (家全七福) for a pig-out session. We were joined by Chef Kawate Hiroyasu (川手寛康) from Florilège, who had just landed in town for a couple of days' vacation. His is yet another restaurant on the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list which I had yet to visit, but thankfully I already have an upcoming reservation...

A couple of dishes had been pre-ordered by The Great One, so The Man in White T-shirt and I figured we would just add a bunch of dim sum items - as Goh-san had expressed interest in trying dim sum during last night's dinner.

Gold coin chicken (金錢雞) - The Great One pre-ordered this classic, which has neither gold nor coins.  The round medallions of chicken liver, char siu, and cured pork fat (冰肉) are roasted on a skewer, and a hole appears in the center when the layers are removed - thus giving the resemblance to old Chinese coins.  This was nice, but ideally the thickness of each layer should have been at least double of what we got...

November 5, 2018

Eating with chefs: Neighborhood Goh

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Having returned from my short trip back home, it was time to hit a couple of my favorite places with chefs visiting from Japan.  The Great One wanted to take Goh-san (from La Maison de la Nature Goh) out while on his first trip to Hong Kong, and she kindly invited me to tag along to Neighborhood.  I had met Goh-san on three previous occasions when he was collaborating with Gaggan at the GohGan events, but I had never dined at his restaurant in Fukuoka.  Alongside a couple of other new friends, there would also be another chef whose restaurant has earned a place on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, which I have also not dined in...

The menu, of course, was omakase, and I was looking for The Man in White T-shirt to pull some rabbits out of the hat.

Culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli"

Saucisson de "Noire de Bigorre" 

November 3, 2018

Revisiting an old favorite

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I have been back in Taipei for a day and a half, and have yet to see the Parental Units... and this was after all the work they put in to clean up the flooding in my apartment earlier this week.  Little Aunt was in town, so we all met up for lunch at Mao Yuan (茂園餐廳).  I used to come here when I worked nearby, but it's been a few years.

Like a lot of local Taiwanese places, the ordering is done right in front of the counter housing the collection of fresh seafood and other ingredients.  This is also where the "menu" is...

Steamed chicken (白斬雞) - dad always feels that we must order steamed chicken whenever we dine at a decent Taiwanese restaurant, but the truth is that while I like free range chicken for their flavors and meat that's not soft and mushy, the chicken here has tougher and chewier texture than I would prefer.  And today it was also more salty than I cared for.

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