September 14, 2019

Night out with Koreans

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I've been pretty damn busy at work this year, so I've had to pass up a few opportunities to travel.  I was pretty crushed about not being able to join a group of friends in Seoul last week, because I was really, really looking forward to going to the new Born and Bred.  A few of us had a fantastic dinner at the original location two years ago, when I almost died from the massive amount of food we were fed that evening.  Going back with a few more friends would have been totally awesome.

When The Man in White T-shirt messaged me from Seoul the next day, telling me that owner 30K was coming to Hong Kong for a few days and asking me to join them at Neighborhood, I was naturally excited at the prospect of meeting up with the boss again.

Just about the first thing I noticed after stepping foot in the restaurant was this giant tray of porcini.

Hello Kitty couldn't resist picking up a big one.  Being the clumsy one, of course she ended up breaking it...

Mooncake 2019

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Despite having grown up with this Chinese tradition, mooncakes these days are no longer my thing.  I do have a sweet tooth, but somehow these festive traditional sweets just don't appeal to me... with few exceptions.  So I've been buying less and less each year... and as I'm once again not visiting the parental units for the holiday this year, I almost ended up not buying any.

Instead, I'm mostly taking what has been given to us just to make sure I have some.  Here are a few that I tasted out of curiosity...

We got a box from Lalamove (貨拉拉), and they took a cue from Kee Wah Bakery (奇華餅家) - who have been selling biscuits in bus-shaped tins for years.  There are three different flavors in the tin, and they are white labelled and made by Forgain Foods (富錦食品) in Shenzhen.  I had my expectations toned down...

September 5, 2019

Enfin, Envol!

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So it finally happened.  I finally accepted an invitation from PR8.  After jokingly telling him to fuck off numerous times this year, and being constantly reminded that he has yet to use his quota of free meals - I suggested to Gastronaut that we could go check out L'Envol together.  Both of us are known for the occasional bouts of bitchiness and not giving a flying fuck about offending chefs - and my friend had just been called a "cunt" by an asshole chef - so this could be a real interesting evening!

My first taste of Olivier Elzer's cuisine came when he first arrived in Hong Kong 10 years ago.  He's had a few different gigs since then, and gradually developed a repertoire of dishes which earned him a following.  We've been kinda waiting for the St. Regis Hong Kong to open, as it seemed to have taken a while.  And I waited an extra long time before deciding to come for dinner, having heard mixed reviews from people who came during the early stages.  Finally, more than 4 months later, I got the "all clear" from PR8.

First, a glass of Champagne from a producer I like very much.

Françoise Bedel Entre Ciel et Terre - I believe the base vintage was 2010?  Nice and ripe, lovely on the palate.

We started with a series of nibbles:

Breakfast radish dipped in black garlic butter.  This looks kinda familiar...

September 4, 2019

Sine Qua Non toast, part 4

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It's taken us almost 2 years since our last gathering to get our act together.  There aren't many of us, but we are a devout bunch.  I'm talking about those who are fans of Manfred and Elaine Krankl's wines from Sine Qua Non.  When one speaks of "Californian cult wine", it doesn't get much more "cult" than this...

As we were scouting for a location for this gathering, I kicked the ball over to DaRC.  He suggested that we take the private room at Nikushou, and it seemed like a great idea.  RAW Meat Bro was kind enough to accommodate us - even to the point of cancelling his own reservation at another restaurant - to ensure that we could have the best experience.  He also mentioned that he may be able to serve us some special beef which he was planning on bidding for...

Not having tasted any Sine Qua Non wines - and only knowing that we were bringing whites, pinots, and grenaches, RAW Meat Bro had to use his imagination with regard to the flavor profiles of the wines in order to come up with the right food to pair with the wines.

We were pretty hungry while waiting for our late arrival, so we ended up getting a couple of snacks to go along with our first sips of wine...

Grilled cod crackers - haven't had these in years, but always great with some Japanese mayo.

Shredded cuttlefish tempura - pretty surprised at these.  Very, very tasty.  But very bad for you...

September 3, 2019

More seafood and sake pairings

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I can't believe that the last time this group got together was a whole 5 months ago.  We've been trying to schedule a dinner at Godenya (ごでんや) for a few months, but with busy schedules all around it took until tonight when everyone's free.

I was even happier when I found out that two more friends were joining dinner, which made for 3 people who were coming for the first time.

Scampi, peach, muscat, ruta (赤座海老  桃  マスカット  臭草) - the Japanese lobster from Sagami Bay (相模湾) was served raw with its eggs, along with diced Japanese peach and muscat grapes which provided sweetness.  The sauce was made from the shells, and the oil was also made from the lobster - both delivering pretty intense flavors.  The rue (臭草) garnished on top had pretty strong fragrance.  A nice way to start.

September 1, 2019

Hung up

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The Hong Kong Jockey Club has an amazing guest chef program, and over the years I've had the privilege of enjoying a number of fantastic meals without having to travel across the world.  The Man in White T-shirt will generously invite friends to his table during these events, and I've been lucky enough to have been included on some of them.

What I know of Francis Mallmann mainly came from the episode of Chef's Table devoted to him.  He seemed to be a very different kind of chef, and when I found out that there would be a pool-side barbecue dinner at the Jockey Club, I didn't hesitate to put my hand up.

But as it had been raining on and off over the last few days - and there were showers earlier in the day - the dinner was moved indoors to the Derby Restaurant. Meanwhile, they did set up his custom wood fire grill so that he could hang the ingredients up on strings.

Choripan with criolla sauce - man, that is one salty chorizo!  And I really thought there was some cheesy flavors in the salsa criolla.

Farina with confit tomato - very nice, with diced olives.

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