July 28, 2012

The show from Danny Boy(le)

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So it's been four years since the Beijing Olympics, and we've had another edition of the opening ceremonies.  I actually got up to watch the show in its entirety, after watching the ceremonies for the first time four years ago.  I did have a few words to say about some of the elements of that show, which I hoped would not be repeated four years later by the Brits.

Let's face it, Beijing pulled out all the stops four years ago, and it's gonna be tough to top that show.  However, I don't think that was the aim of director Danny Boyle, and the results were pretty evident.  I thought it was interesting that we were taken through the different stages of how the British isles were transformed from a rural, agrarian society through the industrial movement, then onto modern day.

I can see why some of the world's audience may not "get" parts of the show.  I didn't quite get the segment about NHS and GOSH, but I guess that was a lead-in to the segment on children's literature.    There was a lot of rock 'n' roll and pop music throughout - especially during the jukebox segment - which was no doubt easier for people like myself to enjoy.

July 26, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

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It's been a few years since the last time the Ox and I were both in Taipei at the same time, and we had a rare opportunity to catch up outside of Hong Kong.  The task of picking a venue fell on my shoulders, and I decided to finally check out la FESTA.

There was a good amount of hype surrounding last year's opening of la FESTA, much in the same vein as STAY.  Both restaurants are joint-ventures between chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants and local partners, which in this case is Igor Macchia of La Credenza outside Turin.  I've had a tough time finding a decent Italian place in Taipei, so I figured it was high time I came and tried my luck.

Neither of us wanted a lot of food, so we both took the simplest of the three set menus.  I was initially tempted to order à la carte, but figured I should try out a few more dishes through the set menu.

July 17, 2012

TEDx: my 16 minutes of fame

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I first found out about TED over a year ago, when a friend visiting from Europe raved about the organization and its enlightening talks, and encouraged me to download the app on my iPhone so I could watch some of the talks.  Well... I didn't check out TED for a long time, although it was always in the back of my mind and I kinda got a sense of what it was about.  And no, we're not talking about the Hollywood movie focusing on a certain teddy bear with an attitude...

I was pretty surprised when I was contacted by one of the organizers of TEDxVictoriaHarbour late last year.  Apparently I was found to be interesting and worthy enough to be a speaker at a TEDx event.  To be honest, I was kinda scratching my head a little, because I had always thought that speakers at these events were people with inspirational messages, who had vision or who were trying to do some good, change the world...etc.  I'm just a guy who likes to travel and eat.  What inspirational message could I possibly deliver?!

July 16, 2012

Finally, the right Danny

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I'm back in Taipei and met up with a friend for dinner and some wine.  I was introduced to a fellow wine lover over dinner, and this would turn out to be a very enjoyable evening for the 3 of us.  I finally got my chance to check out Danny and Company, run by the famous steak specialist Danny Deng.

Believe it or not, I'm at a restaurant famous for their steaks and I actually didn't want any.  These guys only serve wagyu, which I try to stay away from due to the cows being grain-fed.  So I chose the set menu which offered an appealing alternative.

July 15, 2012

How every Sunday lunch should be

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I've been craving bone marrow for a couple of days now, and I've been looking around for a place where I could have it for lunch today.  Nowadays a number of joints around Hong Kong have this delicacy on their menus, which is something I'm pretty happy about.  Unfortunately, no one seems to be  serving it for lunch…

…which is when it really helps to be on friendly terms with a chef.  In times of desperation, I reach out to my chef friends and beg for a favor.  In this case I asked my friend David to set me up at his restaurant Bistronomique.  He very kindly indulged me, and got his staff to serve me items from his à la carte menu.

I was joined by the Specialist, who is another friend who very kindly indulged me by letting my satisfy my craving.  She also very kindly brought along a nice selection of wines, knowing that otherwise I probably would have gone through lunch dry.

July 14, 2012

My second favorite suckling pig

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It's been a few months since my last visit to Fook Lam Moon (福臨門), and certainly a long time since I last tasted their famous roast suckling pig - my second favorite pig in Hong Kong.  In fact I last had it over 2 years ago!  I must say I've been kinda missing it…  So I was very happy when Mr. and Mrs. Tigger invited me to dinner, since I know what Tigger likes…

Roast suckling pig (脆皮乳豬) - believe me you, this is an amazing pig.  All of us were hungry and dug in immediately.

July 13, 2012

(Not so) blind tasting

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It's been a while since the MNSC boys last got together for dinner, and what made tonight special was the fact that all 7 of us were able to come together.  This is a very rare occurrence nowadays, as 2 of us are stationed outside of Hong Kong, and another one of us is only in Hong Kong half the time.

Dr. Poon was our gracious host this evening, and unsurprisingly (to me at least) the chosen venue was the Hong Kong Club.  The unfortunate outcome of this choice of venue was that I was unable to bring my camera gear with me into the private room, and I'd been carrying the stuff around for an entire day! Sheeesh!

We started with some jamón ibérico, which was fine on its own but didn't work so well with our aged white Bordeaux… bringing out the waxy, plasticky flavors from the fat.

July 1, 2012

The delicious fragrance of blé noir

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I made a date to have lunch with a friend, and was given the task of choosing the venue.  While I thought about going somewhere to get some good local Canto stuff that I would have no hope of having in Taipei, I had a tough time choosing the right place.

I wanted a place where the two of us can actually sit for a while and talk, without being rushed to vacate our seats right after we're done with the food.  Dim sum would have been great, but kinda tough for just the two of us.  And I'd already gone to my old neighborhood favorite Tasty Congee & Noodle Wantun Shop (正斗) yesterday for my stir-fried flat rice noodles with beef (干炒牛河)

So it seemed like the perfect solution when La Crêperie de Hong Kong popped into my head.  I haven't had a good galette in long time, and it sure ain't somethin' I'm gonna get in Taipei!


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