April 30, 2011

Meeting Fernando

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I was very excited when I first found out that Fernando Remirez de Ganuza was going to be in town.  I first discovered his wines back in 2005, and his bodega was one of only two wineries where I stopped for tastings while I swung through Rioja back in the summer of 2006.  Since that time his wines have apparently attracted a lot more attention around the world, thanks to some high scores doled out by a certain wine critic.

I arrived at the Steak House Winebar + Grill, and after a while got to chat with Fernando and his team.  They were surprised to find that I have actually visited the bodega, although I did not meet Fernando in person at the time.  I recounted my tales of buying and lugging his wines all over Spain and Portugal, and how I had brought his wines with me to drink while having breakfast at Bar Pinotxo inside La Bouqueria in Barcelona just before heading to El Bulli, and while having lunch at Rafa's in Roses the day after our big meal at El Bulli.

April 29, 2011

The guest who brings everything

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A while ago I received a call from one of my dear friends, who informed me that she had picked up a little something for me while tasting the 2010 vintage in Bordeaux.  It turns out that in addition to the box of canelés - which she had delivered to me a mere week before - she had brought back some andouillette.  That she would remember my love for this pungent sausage (on top of those sweet little bites from Bordeaux) was extremely heart-warming.  It's not exactly easy to find this outside of France...

April 28, 2011

Big wines, simple food

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It's been some time since I last got together with some friends over a few bottles of wine, and once again we gathered at Aroma Cuisine for a casual meal.  I had mentioned that I've been drinking "a little too much French wine" lately and was bringing a "non-French" bottle, and another friend promptly echoed my call and decided to follow suit.

A friend had set up a tasting menu with the chef, and we all ended up sharing everything, family-style.  Food was pretty tasty and decent, although to be honest I was paying more attention to the wines...

April 23, 2011

My favorite lamb

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Tonight was always going to be the highlight of my Easter weekend, as I stuck around town so I could attend the Mrs. Tigger's birthday dinner.  I was a little surprised when the venue chosen turned out not to be within the Mandarin Oriental, but 8½ Otto e Mezzo.  Naturally I have no issues with this choice, as I have never had a disappointing meal there.

As I waited for the party to get started, I realized that some of my friends were having dinner in the room next door, drinking some fabulous wines for a casual Saturday dinner.  This would turn out to be a happy coincidence.

NG dim Tim

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A friend of mine is moving out of Hong Kong in a few days, and we decided to meet up for lunch.  She had apparently dined at Tim's Kitchen (桃花源) a few nights ago but did not have any of the signature dishes.  I figured she shouldn't leave town without having tasted the goodies...

I arrived to find the lunch menu largely different from the dinner menu I'm used to seeing.  There are two full pages of dim sum items, the page of signature dishes, and a bunch of more "normal" dishes.  Unfortunately for me, a few of the dishes I really liked aren't on the menu today.  We ended up having dim sum for lunch.

April 21, 2011

The colorful monk

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Tonight I had the pleasure of meeting Mounir Saouma of Lucien Le Moine again.  I first met the colorful Mounir last November when I visited him and his wife Rotem at their cellar in Beaune, during which I tasted through 37 wines from the 2009 vintage in one sitting.  They are clearly very passionate about their wines, so I jumped at the chance when he came into town to showcase his wines.

The other attraction about dinner tonight was the venue.  There has been a good amount of talk since Mirror first opened, and they seem to have been doing brisk business as reservations are hard to come by.  I have heard pretty mixed reviews about the place, so I was kinda curious and wanted to check it out for myself.

April 20, 2011

Ganbare, Nippon!

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Tonight I found myself in the presence of a group of food journalists, bloggers and foodies in general... so what else is new? Well, I had called for this gathering with the sole purpose of supporting Hong Kong's Japanese restaurants as well as the Japanese agribusiness.

We all noticed how Japanese restaurants in town had been suffering since disaster struck Japan last month.  There seems to be fear among the general population - totally unfounded and uneducated - that food from Japan just isn't safe anymore.  Well, the general population is uninformed - or rather misinformed - and are acting like a flock of sheep.  Their ignorance is putting hard working people - who had been providing delicious Japanese food to them all these years - out of business.  Japan doesn't need our "charitable donations".  What the Japanese people really need - and want from us - is for us to support them economically by buying their products, so they can stand on their own feet.

With that in mind, we decided to have dinner at Sushi Fuku-suke (鮨 福助).  I hadn't been here before, but was eager to try it once I had been informed that the owner comes from Sendai (仙台), and was still importing fish from Japan.  We also decided to bring out bottles of sake from the Tohoku region, and hope that our continued consumption will help the people of the stricken region.

April 19, 2011

Yet another Top 50/100

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The restaurant/foodie world collectively held their breath for the latest edition of the San Pellegrino World's Best 50 Restaurants, which was published at an awards ceremony yesterday.  This year's list yielded a few surprises, and some of my criticism from last year hasn't been addressed... not that the "academy" really gives two hoots about what I think anyway...

April 18, 2011


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It's been a while since I last sat down to dinner with the Specialist, so a small group of us found ourselves at Sup 1, one of her favorite hangouts.  As this wasn't my turf, I decided to leave the ordering to the ladies and just sit back...

This crowd loves oysters, so we started with a quartet of them:

April 16, 2011

Amateur night

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I've been complaining about auction fatigue for the last few weeks, and have managed to skip the auctions by Sotheby's, Christie's and Zachys for 3 weeks in a row.  I did, however, end up tagging along with a friend and his family to the Aberdeen Marina Club today for their auction.  When I arrived I found out that the auction was organized by ASC Fine Wines, which pretty much meant that the stock came from these guys...

Jean-Guillaume Prats was back in Hong Kong, and brought with him a bunch of ex-château Cos d'Estournel, especially in large formats.  Good provenance is paramount and it doesn't get better than ex-château stock!

April 15, 2011

Sweeping the menu

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It's my final stop on the dim sum run, and I was fortunate enough to end it on a high note.  It's been more than two years since I first - and last - visited Lung King Heen (龍景軒), and I was so utterly disgusted at the award of three macarons from the rubberman that I stayed away.  I guess it was time to take another look.

The restaurant has a very limited selection of dim sum on weekdays, and it didn't take long for us to decide that we'd take everything on the menu - minus one item.  We've often joked about "sweeping the menu (掃餐牌)" but we were actually able to do it today...

April 14, 2011

1991 Burgundy horizontal

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The long-awaited MNSC annual dinner finally happened.  We've never had a year when we started so late, and everyone was really looking forward to this evening to kick off the year.  We started a series of loose gatherings back in 2001 which ultimately evolved into our current little group, and looking back we've definitely tasted many, many awesome wines together during this time.

After our wonderful experience two years ago, I decided we should go back to Yung's Club (嚐真) for another fantastic meal.  I set up menu and made sure we had enough glasses for the evening.  We started with a selection of appetizers:

April 13, 2011

A quintessentially Hong Kong breakfast

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This morning I joined my friend at another stop on her dim sum tour de force.  The venue is one of the venerable names for classic, old-style yum cha: Lin Heung Tea House (蓮香樓).  Curiously, I have never managed to make it here in all the years I have lived in Hong Kong... since I've never wanted to fight the crowd for a seat.  We figured the crowd would be thinner at breakfast. 

One of us arrived and got us seats at 7:30am.  After the full crew had been assembled, the rest of them walked up to the push carts and started grabbing food while I stayed and guarded the table.  I was happy to leave the ordering to the others.

April 10, 2011

Wok with Froggie

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Ever since she saw the episode of Wok with Nana where Nana was making her Taiwanese beef noodles, our Resident Froggie's been asking me about sourcing the proper noodles for it. On my last trip back to Taipei, mom was kind enough to buy a bunch of hand-pulled noodles (拉麵) for me to bring back to Hong Kong.  I think Froggie was pretty happy.

In return, I was invited to a "Wok with Froggie" lunch today where she tried to follow Nana's recipe for the beef noodles.  Coincidentally, I got to try Nana's stewed beef shank at her Teakha session yesterday.  It's not a very traditional recipe, and was a little on the sweet side, but I happily munched on the delicious beef.

April 9, 2011

Tapas for date night

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While enjoying some tea, sunshine and breeze on a rooftop this afternoon, I received an invitation to join some friends for dinner.  I haven't gotten around to trying out Mesa 15, so I was curious and happy to go take a look.  After all, it has the reputation associated with a chef from a Michelin-starred restaurant back in Spain.

This place is the polar opposite to its neighbor Tapeo just a couple steps away.  At Tapeo, customers sit on bar stools at a long, L-shaped bar counter facing an open kitchen, and are hit with the full force of the smell of food.  You come here because you just want to get down to the business of enjoying the food.  Mesa 15 is much more chic and upscale, where comfortable seating is available and the kitchen is visible to the customers but sealed behind glass.  No fumes.  Nice setting for a date or a social dinner.

April 6, 2011

Perfectly executed dim sum

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A friend is on a mission to eat her way through a number of top restaurants in town offering dim sum, and I was invited to come along on her first stop at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) today.

I had long found dim sum here to be one of the best in Hong Kong, if not the best.  The items are made-to-order, so you don't get anything that's over-steamed like what I'd always complained about at Tim Ho Wan (添好運).  Lunch today once again confirmed that these guys have near-flawless execution when it comes to dim sum.

April 5, 2011

Tohoku, kanpai!

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Tonight I met up with a friend whom I haven't seen for a few years.  A few weeks ago I ran into his wife on the street, and was informed that her family living in Hiroshima was not affected by the disaster in Japan.  As we were deciding on a dinner venue, I chose to go back to Irori (酒処いろり).

Change for Children

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One of the "benefits" of being my friend is the constant exchange of potshots between myself and my friends.  These are all good-natured, of course, and helps keep everyone in a light mood and ensures everyone's got their feet on the ground.  Over the last couple of years, my good friend Tigger has received his fair share of "insults" from me, especially regarding his vanity.

All joking aside, one of the things I admire about Tigger is the charity work he has done over the years, particularly his involvement with UNICEF.  He has helped raise a significant amount of donations for UNICEF's various projects, although some of them - such as Porsche's donation of several Cayennes to assist in educating children in earthquake-ravaged Sichuan - may leave us scratching our heads a little...

April 2, 2011

The original northwestern

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It's tomb-sweeping season, and two branches of our family went to pay our respects for grandpa and grandma.  Grandpa would have been 100 years old this year, although he left us almost 30 years ago and my memories of him are getting a little hazy.  The realization that it has been some 10 years since grandma left us was a bit of a shocker, too...

We discussed lunch options while performing our chores.  After all, food is important as nourishment and sustains us... and it would allow the family to spend more time together. I had expressed my strong preference not to have Shanghainese again... in the end dad cast the deciding vote in favor of my suggestion, and we headed for Shao Shao Ke (勺勺客).  It's been a few years since I last dined at the original establishment serving cuisine from China's northwestern region, although I did visit the offshoot/rival Qin Restaurant (秦味舘) last year.


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