January 13, 2018

Girls' trip to Macau: a day without Michelin

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I'm spending the weekend in Macau, accompanying Hello Kitty on a "girls' weekend" that somehow turned into a "couple's weekend" for the two of us.  As I'm trying to get my ass back on a diet - and having already had way too many big meals just a week-and-a-half into the new year, I wanted to take it easy on the eating today.

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After getting off the ferry, we grabbed a taxi to our lunch spot - and got dropped off at the junction of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and Rua dos Mercadores - since the taxi driver didn't feel like turning into the side street.  This ended up working out fine for us, because we decided to go into Loja das Conservas to replenish our stock of canned seafood.  We also discovered that there's a new shop boss, and while I was busy spending money, Hello Kitty was busy petting her.

Lunch was at Loja Sopa da Fita Cheong Kei (祥記麵家), a local favorite. It's been a long time since my last visit, so I figured I'd get some of their signature plates in my belly...

Signature tossed noodles with shrimp roe (招牌蝦籽撈麵) - I remembered that they like to add soy sauce to tossed noodles here, but I had completely forgotten that in this shop, the flavors of the soy sauce pretty much overpowered the flavors from the shrimp roe they gave us... which was a real shame.  On the plus side, there's not much alkali flavor in the noodles themselves (and those would have been covered up by the soy sauce, too...) and the texture was reasonably soft and supple.

The portion today looked a little smaller than I had remembered, but that didn't bother me much today.

January 12, 2018

Pigging out with new friends

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Over the course of the last two months, I have been introduced - via email - to a couple of foodies who are either new arrivals in town or just passing through.  I am, apparently, deemed somewhat knowledgeable when it comes to the local food scene... So I took the opportunity to organize a meet-up.  Interesting thing is... I haven't even met the person who introduced these new friends to me!  So it was bound to make for some interesting conversation...

One of my favorite Cantonese restaurants in town is Seventh Son (家全七福), as I have given up on going to Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) these days.  With 6 hungry adults and 2 kids, I figured we could go for one of the restaurant's signature dishes.  And as none of the new friends have ever been to this particular restaurant, it wasn't a total surprise that I was tasked with ordering the food...

Deep-fried chicken kidney mixed with egg custard (雞子戈渣) - no, these aren't made of chicken kidneys... We did tell the others the identity of the exotic ingredient, and nobody batted an eyelid.  After all, it's mostly chicken stock and eggs.  But today the execution was a little off, as a couple of pieces were a little too brown.

January 9, 2018

Big fish for two

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The Hungry Tourist is passing through town, and I promised to meet him for dinner even though I am trying to get back on my diet.  I requested for a "casual and light' dinner, and we figured a couple of simple dishes at my favorite Neighborhood would do the trick.  How naive I was...

The minute I showed up, I was informed that The Man in White T-shirt - despite not being here himself - had left instructions to serve me some threadfin.  So I knew I couldn't order too many dishes on my own...

"Acquerello" risotto / porcini / bone marrow - it's been a LONG time since I last had the bone marrow risotto here, and tonight there was a huge pile of big ass porcini on top.  As usual the risotto was on the wet side, but I'm OK with that.  The richness of the oil from bone marrow was lip-smacking good.

January 8, 2018

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams, expired edition 2

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Hello Kitty and I had the distinct pleasure of dining with Dada and The Man in White T-shirt at their home.  I was originally looking forward to dining out somewhere, since eating at home meant that The Man in White T-shirt would be busy cooking for us instead of enjoying himself.  But one does not object when an invitation like this comes along...

Besides, if we weren't dining at their home, how would Hello Kitty and I ever get to meet Bunch and Chewie?!  And of course, who were the first ones to greet me when the door opened?

While the French chef was busy in the kitchen cooking us Cantonese food, I laid out the goodies that I had brought along.  I hadn't planned on bringing anything other than wine, but since I found out yesterday that my aged/expired caviar needed to be consumed 3 months ago, I made a last-minute decision to bring along what was left of my stock... and hoped that my hosts didn't mind.

Russian golden oscietra, packed March 2017 - initially I was worried about the white stuff that was on top, stupidly thinking that perhaps it had gone moldy... But The Man in White T-shirt figured that it was just the congealed oil from long periods of refrigeration, so we went ahead and ate it anyway...

Discount sushi

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I got a ping from Fergie this morning - at an uncharacteristically early hour, I might add - asking me whether I was free for lunch.  I had, in fact, brought my lunchbox to work with me today... and was planning on eating my diet meal.  But seeing as it's been a few weeks since I last saw him, I decided to join him for a meal.

As it turns out, he was the proud owner of some discount dining coupons for the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, which could be used at selected restaurants.  I chose Kaetsu (鹿悦), because I figured that sushi is one of the things that kinda fits my diet plan.  I can't remember exactly when I last stepped foot in the restaurant, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in this century...

We both took the premium assorted sushi (特選寿司盛り合わせ), with me choosing yurinohana set (百合の花) for the starters I wanted.  Of course, I was keenly aware that I was committing the cardinal sin of eating sushi for lunch on a Monday... knowing that the fish markets in Japan were closed yesterday, and any seafood on my plate either did not come from Japan, or had been around for at least 2 days. 

The seasonal appetizer (季節の小鉢) was spinach (ほうれん草) with dried whitebait (ちりめん).

January 7, 2018

(Champagne wishes and) Caviar dreams, expired edition

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So... Babu is back in town from her year-end excursion, and it seemed like the perfect excuse for me to visit and bring along some caviar.  There are a few tins of farmed Russian caviar that have been sitting in my fridge for months, and I can't seem to find the right people or occasion to dig into them.  Knowing that they are now all past their "use by" date, I decided it was now or never.

Things didn't get off to a good start when I failed to find my usual mini-blinis at the supermarket.  They were sold out and wouldn't restock for another week.  So I decided to buy a little bit of Japanese milk toast instead.  Knowing that Babu prefers to take the eggs "as is", I also got lazy and decided not to buy any crème fraîche - a decision I would regret later.

Another decision I would come to regret was not bringing a bottle of Champagne, as I had done each time in the past.  I figured the Tiggers would have some lying around and we could open one of those... What I didn't count on was that none of their bottles was actually chilled!

The highlight of today would undoubtedly be the beluga, but I had also brought along a tin of what I thought to be golden oscietra. Once the tins were open, it was easy to see that some of the eggs had burst and liquefied...

January 5, 2018

A light dinner for Friday

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Mr. QLI is in town and has a free evening, and thankfully this time I didn't have plans.  As I'm trying to restart my diet regime in the new year, I decided that I didn't want to have a big dinner.  Trying to get a table for Friday night on short notice is always a challenge, so I figured we should just grab ourselves a bite at Caprice Bar.

Hairy Legs came over to say hello, and asked whether we would like him to arrange for a few small plates.  Of course we said "YES", as we were struggling to figure out what else we would order other than the croque monsieur...

As we were at the bar, we started with a bottle of white which we ordered off the wine list:

2014 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly - lovely wine, with a big and explosive, toasty nose. 

January 1, 2018

First star of 2018

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Since we were going all the way out to Hong Kong UNESCO Geopark, which is part of Sai Kung East Country Park, I figured it made sense for us to have dinner in Sai Kung.  One of the places I have never been to - and became an itch I've been wanting to scratch - was Loaf On (六福菜館).  This place has earned itself a macaron from the Rubberman ever since the second edition of the Red Guide, and that makes it a whopping 9 years in a row.  I was always curious how an establishment in a part of town famous for catering to tourists - local and foreign alike - was good enough for the Rubberman.  Today was the day to find out for myself.

We arrived in Sai Kung a little more than an hour before the time of our reservation, so we walked around the Sai Kung Promenade to have a look and to kill time.  But try as we might, we couldn't figure out how to kill almost an hour and a half... so we decided to show up about 30 minutes early.

The menu was, not surprisingly, tourist-friendly - with pictures and descriptions in Chinese, English, and Japanese.  Also not surprisingly, most of the seafood dishes have "seasonal price" - what the Cantonese call "seafood price (海鮮價)"...  Thankfully there's a little price list displayed on a plastic stand on the table, reminding you of the current pricing for seafood items.  This way one would have a pretty good idea of how much one would be spending as the ordering is being done.

While the menu carries the stereotypical dishes offered by virtually every seafood restaurant in town, the first thing that hit me on the menu was the slow cooked scallops with rice soup.  Scallops cooked sous vide?  And served in a porridge-like rice soup?  Now THIS was gonna be interesting...

Unfortunately for us, we were advised that the quality of the scallops today weren't up to par, so the kitchen would not be serving any.  While I was disappointed at not being able to taste the dish I had ordered, this was a good sign that the restaurant cares about maintaining its standards.

Baked abalone with chili and garlic (椒鹽焗鮑魚) - one of the signature dishes here, and I have certainly seen pictures of this many, many times.  I would be remiss if I did not have a bite and try it for myself...

Droning Boy: Hong Kong Geopark

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It's New Year's Day, and I took the opportunity to get out of the city for some fresh air.  It's been more than 4 months since I last took my DJI Mavic Pro out for a spin, and I desperately wanted to go fly and film around the High Island Reservoir and the Hong Kong UNESCO Geopark.

Unfortunately, the skies had gotten hazy overnight, and what were clear skies yesterday became a little washed out today.  This really sucked, and I knew that the footage would suffer... But I had already made the decision to come out here today instead of yesterday, so that is just bad luck...

The old fogeys didn't want to do the 10km hike from the outer entrance of the park, so we took a taxi all the way to the High Island Reservoir East Dam - bypassing just about all the beautiful scenery along the way.  We got off the cab and I immediately made my way down to the breakwater.  While the others explored the different parts of the park, I spent my time flying the drone since I've already seen all the different rocks a few years ago...

I decided to set exposure to manual today - shooting in 4K resolution at a frame rate of 24 frames/sec and 1/50 sec exposure.  The results weren't perfect, but I'm still learning...



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