May 13, 2022

Rare Italian import

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NC Chung and I hadn't seen each other in a while, and he suggested that we catch up over lunch. I'm ever so glad that he's been able to enjoy dining out a little more over the last couple of years, and the caliber of restaurants we go to nowadays is definitely much higher than when I first got to know him. This time he chose to book us into Testina. I have, of course, long heard about this import from Italy... and have been looking forward to tasting the specialty ingredient - trippa.

I relished the opportunity to order à la carte, as I wanted to try only those dishes I fancied - unlike this meal with the Kitchen Nazi. With an easygoing dining companion, I could order all those things that a picky eater would pooh-pooh... and I love coming to these "nose-to-tail" restaurants!

I also love that they serve Nordaq filtered water, which reduces the carbon footprint of the restaurant.

Chicken liver parfait, saba and panettone - in retrospect, this was a dish I shouldn't have ordered. I love any kind of liver mousse but it's not something I absolutely needed to have here. I loved spreading it on toasted panettone but, inevitably, there was more parfait than bread... so I ended up grabbing a slice of sourdough to finish the job. This helped fill me up a little quicker than I had wanted.

May 6, 2022

Dinner under the stars, pink and white shower edition

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A friend is back in town for the first time since the pandemic started, so Sankala arranged to catch up with her over dinner. Since she very much wanted to meet our CC dogcow, Mian (紅棉) seemed like a good place for this meal. It's one of the few places we know where the food is decent while being pet-friendly.

As it turned out, the weather tonight was perfect for relaxing outdoors for a few hours. We enjoyed a cool breeze the whole time, and the giant pink and white shower tree (節果決明樹) in the courtyard of the Murray Hotel - classified as an Old and Valuation Tree by the government - was in full bloom. Throughout the course of the evening, a few petals or leaves would fall from the tree and land around us.

May 1, 2022

The bay in the drifting mountain

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For a long time now, we've been hearing Mrs Birdiegolf rave about the seafood in Lau Fau Shan (流浮山), but it seemed a long way to go just for a casual meal. Then she introduced her go-to restaurant to RAW Yeah, who also became a fan of Hoi Wan Restaurant (海灣餐廳). During our dinner last week, Sankala and I complained that we had never been to this purveyor of fine seafood, so RAW Yeah kindly agreed to arrange a meal for us.

The place really is far from where we live. Even on a rainy Sunday night with no traffic it took us about 45 minutes to get there. After walking down the narrow Main Street lined with restaurants and shops selling local goodies, we eventually would up at our destination. After we were seated, RAW Yeah and a few others went to pick out the seafood.

Blanched greasyback shrimp (白灼海麻蝦) - these were mostly small the very tender, just the way they should be.

April 29, 2022

The Kitchen Nazi and the Lonely Gourmet

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Sankala was doing a girls' night at home, and I figured I'd get out of their way and dine out by myself. Rather than trying to book myself a table of one at some fancy shmancy place, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to play out the part of Norm sitting across from Sam, since Neighborhood has always felt like that kind of place for some of us. I arrived at the restaurant - now with new counter and table tops along with new chairs - to the sight of a lone table setting at the bar. That's where I'd be spending the next three hours.

Little did I know that I would end up spending the night sitting across from the Kitchen Nazi. I had specifically told Shirley that I didn't want the Man in White T-shirt to do his usual thing and send me his specials. There were specific dishes that I wanted to order, some of which he never sends out anymore. And I wanted to make sure that the food wouldn't clash with the bottle of wine that I was bringing. But... no. I was not allowed to order one single dish of my own choosing. The Kitchen Nazi knows best.


Deep-fried Hokkaido wild spring garlic / escargot / caviar - this was off-menu, and I watched the Kitchen Nazi prepare it in front of me without knowing that this was for me. After all, there were 6 of these and just one of me. As I watched him carefully spoon the N25 caviar on top, I began to suspect that this may, in fact, be my first dish. The suspicion was confirmed when he yelled out into the kitchen asking where they had put the pack of gold foil.

April 26, 2022

Even better than the last time

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Nearly 4 weeks after I was last here, I'm back at Godenya (ごでんや) for another fix. We're nearing the end of the season for sansho flowers, and I had long ago booked myself another dinner to try to maximize my intake.

I wasn't surprised that some of the dishes tonight were very similar to the ones I had on my last visit, and I didn't mind at all. These were all tasty, seasonal ingredients... and I'd be happy to gobble down as much as I could. Well... all except one ingredient.

Sakura-trout, akagai-clam, sansho-leaf, bracken (桜鱒   赤貝  山椒の葉  蕨) - I absolutely love the sight of this dish. I am always taken aback every time I see this. This ball of green is just so pretty, decorated with sansho leaves (木の芽), eagle fern, and for today - some precious sansho flowers (花山椒).

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