January 11, 2019

The first of many in 2019

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We are doing a long-awaited catch-up with Diva at Neighborhood, and someone was craving for some ro ro.  Spanish ro ro, in fact... so we obviously have come to the right place as Rubia Galega is one of the staples on the menu.

Fried padron peppers / Raclette cheese - surprised to see Raclette make an appearance.  I did think, though, that the peppers were a little too charred.

January 8, 2019

Unexpected cherry-popping

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Haokoufu and the Hungry Girl in Taipei were swinging through town for a few days, and they invited me to join them for lunch at The Chairman (大班樓).   I've been here a few times over the years, but this would be the first meal where Danny actually sat down with us.

Qiang wei petals and lotus roots (薔薇藕片)

Pickled mid-summer ginger root (大班樓子薑)

Baby squid (魷魚) - served cold, in a soy sauce marinade with a hint of fragrance from some Sichuan peppercorns.  Very delicious.

January 2, 2019

Old favorites in Taipei

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It's the last day of our trip, and I promised to take Mama Kitty for some more breakfast as long as she was game.  So the two of us dragged our butts out of bed before sunrise and left the apartment shortly after 6 a.m... as I was set on getting in line at Fu Hang Dou Jiang (阜杭豆漿) by 6:30 a.m. or so.

I was thankful that we only had to wait about 20 minutes or so... and Mama Kitty tried out a couple of items she normally doesn't get in Hong Kong.  It's certainly hearty and filling for breakfast!

January 1, 2019

Golden new year

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It's the start of a new year, and just like last year, I went on an excursion away from the concrete jungle.  The difference, though, was that I'm spending it in Taiwan... and it's a very wet day.

We started the day by visiting the New Taipei City Government Gold Museum (新北市立黃金博物館) out in Jinguashi (金瓜石).  This area used to be a place where people mined for gold, so there is a whole complex of buildings showing different aspects of the industry - including dormitories where the miners used to live.  We walked through the grounds of the Jinguashi Crown Prince Chalet (太子賓館), where Emperor Hirohito (裕仁天皇) stayed in 1922 before his ascension to the chrysanthemum throne.

The main attraction here, of course, was the Gold Building (黃金館).  This building has an exhibit on the history of the industry, and includes a section on the Allied WWII POWs who were forced to work in the mines by the Japanese.  But the pièce de résistance would be that huge block of solid gold weighing in at 220.3kg, and visitors lined up to take their pictures with this baby.

Before we left the complex on this very wet day, I stopped by Alchemy Cafe (煉金文創咖啡) for a cup of coffee.  Given my love of anything gold, I really couldn't resist ordering up a cup of real gold coffee (真的999黃金咖啡).

December 31, 2018

The best dishes I had in 2018

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2018 was particularly good to me from a culinary perspective.  I made a long-overdue return to Europe and hit a few places I had been meaning to visit, and I also managed to scratch a few itches in Japan.  I'm grateful to all the chefs who, no doubt, have spent countless hours creating amazing dishes for us to enjoy.

As in previous years, this is simply listed by chronological order.  These were the dishes which brought out the strongest emotional response from me.

Le canard : Challans duck breast and foie gras duo, mango with ginger vinegar and fresh coriander from Robuchon au Dôme, Macau - I had the proper "tournedos Rossini" a few weeks earlier, but the version made with Challans duck was arguably even better than one made with beef... as the duck breast fused with foie gras seemed more "natural".

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