March 31, 2011

The local idiot

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I met up with my very very very single friend John for dinner tonight.  It's been a while since my first visit to L'Idiot (驢子餐廳), which is run by John and his brother Fudy, so I was happy to return.  I was very impressed with the menu last time, as there were off-beat items which is what usually gets me excited.  John told me that Fudy had planned a series of dishes for us to showcase the latest menu.  We would find him table-side with the arrival of each course, explaining the origin of the ingredients as well as the inspiration for some of the dishes.

Floral capital

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I had a free day in Taipei today, and finally had the chance to visit the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition today, some 5 months after the expo opened.  My last few trips back home had always involved weekends and public holidays, which are never the best times to visit expos unless one wishes to fight the crowds and line up for hours.

Upon entering the grounds, I lined up to get into the EXPO Dome (爭艷舘) as it seemed the logical first stop.  There was a long line and it took me a while to get inside.  Unfortunately this was a pretty big waste of time.  I wasn't impressed at all with what was inside - there was too little and mostly of poor quality.  I did appreciate a couple of set-ups where they tried to show people some environmentally-friendly way of beautifying the concrete jungles we live in.  I walked through the building in a hurry, not wanting to stick around.

March 28, 2011

Not quite ocean view dining

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Lady Agar is spreading her wings and leaving our little island commune, so a group of us gathered for a final feast.  Fortunately for me the chosen venue this evening was Hoi King Heen (海景軒), a place I'd heard a lot about - especially from a particular friend who raves about it - but never checked out.  A bunch of us took the subway across the harbor, then proceeded to trek on foot to the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hotel and descended into the basement.

Bashing Michelin

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Back in December I, along with a few fellow bloggers, journalists and chefs were interviewed for a TV program focused on the Michelin Guide for Hong Kong and Macau.  As some of you are aware, I do have a thing or two to say about this publication, and not all of them flattering. 

Over the last two weekends, Quest For Stars aired on LiTV, which is carried by nowTV here in Hong Kong.  Siren Films, the producer of the show, has now uploaded the two episodes in 6 segments.

March 26, 2011

Earth Hour 2011

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For the third year in a row, I participated in Earth Hour and turned off the lights.  I was glad to see that some of my other friends were also participating, and raising awareness about saving energy.

My apartment had been dark since late afternoon, and I decided to go for a quick meal at a neighborhood restaurant before the appointed time.  By 8:30pm I was out of the restaurant and out in the streets.  I chose to spend the next hour strolling around my neighborhood, under the stars as some would say.  OK, so I didn't exactly see any stars... and there was street light almost everywhere I went, but you get the drift.

I think I've been pretty good last year about conserving energy, and doing my best to tweak my lifestyle to a more sustainable one.  One can always do more, and I will strive to do more in the coming year.

Fish market feast

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For the second time (and both times within a week) I joined the movable feast.  This time it was lunch at a very interesting venue - inside the Aberdeen Wholesale Fish Market (香港仔魚類批發市場).  We ate in the building that is normally the breakfast canteen for people who work at the market, which by lunch time transforms itself into a seafood restaurant.

Once again there were four large tables, and the organizer had set up a wonderful feast with the freshest seafood available from the market.  It's not everyday that someone goes through the trouble of picking out the best catch for your meal...

March 25, 2011

Acker Hong Kong XIV: auction fatigue

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It's auction season again and I was back at the Acker auction tonight.  There wasn't anything I wanted until the end of tonight's session, so I didn't have much desire to spend a lot of time in the room.

A couple of friends joined me as my guests before dinner time to keep me company.  As I didn't feel like waiting in the long line for the buffet, and the food isn't particularly interesting, I decided to leave the auction and grab dinner somewhere else.  A few of us ended up at Classified Mozzarella Bar nearby.

March 23, 2011

Die-Nasty at Dynasty

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I had the opportunity to attend a big feast tonight.  This movable feast is actually pretty famous around town, and for some reason I've never gotten around to participating in one of these for the last two years I've known about it.  When I saw an announcement for dinner at Dynasty (滿福樓), I signed up immediately.  My last dinner here featured Champagne Krug a few years ago, and I remember the food being pretty decent.

The menu had been pre-arranged by the organizer, who is extremely knowledgeable about the restaurant's strengths and weaknesses.  I was pretty sure that there wouldn't be any "misses" tonight... There were around 50 of us in total, spread amongst four big, round tables.

March 20, 2011

Three-star dim sum

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I had to miss part 2 of the HK chowmeet (read about part 1 here) because of Tigger, so in return he promised to make things up to me by buying lunch at Sun Tung Lok (新同樂), the venue of the chowmeet.  It's been a year and a half since I first had dim sum at the old location - just a block from home back then - and the restaurant now has the distinction of being the second Chinese restaurant to have three macarons after moving to its present location.

Four of us jointly ordered up a lot of food, which includes dim sum items as well as other dishes.

March 19, 2011

Quick meal at the Russian department store

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I met up with a couple of friends tonight who love going to Tien Heung Lau (天香樓).  Over the years I, too, have found a special place in my heart for this restaurant, and I was happy to return.  Since we did not have a big group, we took it easy and didn't pre-order any dishes.

Lunch Club Saturday

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It's been a whole 5 months since Friday Lunch Club last had its gathering, so we finally got around to organizing lunch on a Saturday.  One of us is a VIP at Cépage, and I was happy to finally have a chance to revisit the restaurant.  A lot has happened since my initial visit almost 2 years ago, with new chef Sebastien Lepinoy (ex- L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon) at the helm and a macaron in the latest Red Guide.

March 18, 2011

Lodovico with Lodovico

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I was fortunate enough to dine with Marchese Lodovico Antinori again tonight, at a dinner organized by Mayfair Fine Wines.  I last dined with Lodovico a year ago in a more intimate setting, where I really got to know the man behind the wines.  The group was slightly larger tonight at Pierre, which gave me a chance to meet a few more wine lovers.

I've tasted all of Lodovico's wines from his new projects after Ornellaia, but this was a rare occasion to taste virtually all of them in one sitting, spanning the globe from New Zealand to Hungary and of course Italy.  This was pretty exciting for me.

March 17, 2011

French Concession in Hong Kong

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I met up with some friends tonight who introduced me to a new private kitchen.  Fa Zu Jie (法租界) is in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, accessed through a dark and narrow alley whose existence I never took note in all my years here.  My friend knows the partners and suggested we check it out.

We were the only table for this evening, and the place was nice and tastefully decked out.  The spiffy open kitchen - stocked with Siemens appliances and a large, marble island - looked less like a professional kitchen and more like it belongs in a luxury apartment.  The menu is folded inside a small picture book, and is read by opening the volume.  The descriptions are poetic.  Everything here screams artsy.

March 15, 2011

The most expensive dinner

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I met up with a couple of friends tonight to check out Bistronomique.  We are all big fans of On Lot 10, and were curious to see what the menu would look like, since we had heard that this was more "down market".  I was surprised to find it situated along a row of new restaurants and bars in Kennedy Town.  The place is brand new, with high ceilings and a modern/minimalist decor.

The menu overlapped somewhat with the one at On Lot 10, offering a few offbeat but familiar items that I love.  It didn't take long for me to figure out what I wanted.

March 13, 2011

O Victoria!

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A couple of friends came into town and wanted some dim sum.  As this was a last-minute change of plans on a Sunday morning, I figured one of the best places to go would be Victoria City Seafood Restaurant (海都海鮮酒家).  It's been a while since any of us was last there, so this would be a welcome visit to an old friend.

March 12, 2011


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It was three years ago that I was first introduced to the works of Pina Bausch, the iconic Artistic Director of Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.  I really enjoyed the performance of Vollmond at the 2008 Hong Kong Arts Festival, and I'd been looking forward to another chance to catch more of the same.

March 11, 2011

HK Chowmeet 2011 part 1: Hangzhou-style feast

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It's that time of the year again.  For the fourth consecutive year, a group of Chowhounds congregated in Hong Kong for a feast.  This was my third year in attendance, as I was out of town for the very first one.  The first meal this year took place tonight at Hong Zhou Restaurant (杭州酒家), the restaurant run by the son of the owner of Tien Heung Lau (天香樓).  I've never been here, and have always been curious since the son has gotten himself a macaron for the last two years while the father has none... not that I trust the rubber man's opinions on Chinese food!

I did some research before hand and asked the group for suggestions, then placed the order for the key dishes earlier this week.  The manager then suggested a series of 8 starters, as is traditional.

March 10, 2011

Eating palatial treasures

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I flew back to Taipei today to celebrate mom's birthday with her.  I had long heard about Silks Palace (故宮晶華), the restaurant at the Palace Museum (故宮博物院), as they have created a few special dishes inspired by a few of the museum's prized national treasures.  The dishes sure looked pretty in the official pictures, but I wondered if they tasted any good.  Given that the restaurant is managed by the Grand Formosa Regent (晶華酒店), I figured it couldn't be too bad...

March 9, 2011

UGC 2008 tasting

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Tonight I attended a tasting of the 2008 vintage from Bordeaux, organized jointly by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and Watson's Wine Cellars.  Initially I wasn't very interested in the event, but then I thought it would be interesting to re-taste some of the wines I had already tasted on my trip to Bordeaux 2 years ago, and see how the wines have evolved after bottling.

As I expected for an event which was open to the public, it was like a zoo... or as the Chinese would say - like a market.  There were lots of people everywhere, all trying to make their way in front of the bottles for a sample.  Good thing Bordeaux wines are made in large quantities and châteaux can afford to open lots of bottles at tastings like this all around the world...

March 5, 2011

Double birthday celebration

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A few of us got together tonight to celebrate a couple of birthdays:  it's actually my Favorite Bird-brain Cousin's birthday today, and we missed the chance to celebrate with Mr. Dyson last week.  Curiously, both of them wanted to go to On Lot 10 for dinner, so we ended up at one of our favorite venues.  Chef David wasn't in the house, but he set us up for another wonderful meal.

March 4, 2011

Baa, baa, black sheep

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After my dinner three nights ago, I couldn't get the yummy taste of lamb out of my mind.  I love gamey meats like lamb and mutton, and after my research on the Hebridean black-faced sheep - with their black faces, brown wool, sometimes two sets of horns - which also feed on seaweed during winter, I was more interested than ever.  I must go back and get me some more!

March 1, 2011

Haggis and more

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I was invited by the Mandarin Oriental to an intimate gathering of fellow bloggers, to sample Scottish fare during the hotel's "A Taste of Scotland" promotion at the Chinnery.  A team from the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland came to Hong Kong for this affair.

I was pretty excited and responded to the invitation right away.  I must admit that I don't know anything about Scottish cuisine other than haggis which, despite having heard about it since my teenage years, has always eluded me.  This would be my first taste of the iconic dish.


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