December 27, 2011

Getting drunk in Paris (1930)

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It's been a while since I was last at Paris 1930, and I had occasion to return tonight along with my Favorite Birdbrain Cousin and the Specialist.  It's been a while since I had a decent amount of wine in Taipei, and tonight we would be pulling up my average intake...

I dropped off the wines with Rolf last night, and learned that a new chef has come on board at the beginning of this month.  I wondered what Provençal touches Chef Christoph Buffille would be adding to the menus.  Rolf has arranged with the chef so that each dish would match a specific bottle of wine which we will be drinking.

December 24, 2011

A special fishy Christmas

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It's Christmas Eve, and I'm having dinner with the Specialist.  She's in Taipei for a few days, and I promised to show her a couple of places that I've found worthy.  Not wanting to be forced to take any special Christmas set menus, I decided to go Japanese and revisit Gyodoike (魚道生).  My first visit there just a month ago was pretty spectacular, and I was relishing the opportunity to return.

We sat at the sushi counter, although at the wrong end... meaning we were the farthest away from the head chef.  Damn... I started to get a little worried.  Years ago I had a similar episode at a sushi joint in Hong Kong, and the food was so bad I never went back.

As usual I let the chef decide what to serve us, but we did tell the waitress specific items that each of us didn't want to have.  She seemed to have trouble getting it right on paper, and as we found out later, the right info didn't make it to the chefs as we were served items we had said we didn't want.

December 18, 2011

Dumplings and hairy crab roe galore

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Caught up on some sleep last night, but woke up at a pretty reasonable hour.  B has limited time in Shanghai, so we left our service apartment mid-morning to walk around town a little.  But first, we needed to add some fuel for the rest of the day, so breakfast was in order...

Linlong Fang (麟笼坊特色小笼包) is a good walk from where we were, and it was time to go downmarket today.  Xiaolongbao for breakfast doesn't sound like a bad idea when you're in Shanghai...  As we weren't far from lunchtime, I decided to stick to just a dozen of these babies for the two of us.

Pork and crab roe dumplings (鮮肉蟹粉小籠包) - not bad at all.  The sweetness from the pork mixed in with the delicious crab meat and tomalley.

December 17, 2011

My favorite braised pork in Shanghai

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Today was the highlight of my trip: 2 meals at my favorite Shanghainese restaurants in Shanghai.  Honestly, I wouldn't come to Shanghai to eat much else... and I always return to my handful of favorite places.  There just aren't any new places that can do better!

As I walked up to the door at Jesse Restaurant, I was surprised that they had changed the name from 吉士酒家 to 老吉士.  I guess they just got tired of the confusion with Xinjishi (新吉士), which nowadays is probably more well-known to tourists thanks to the branch in Xintiandi.

My friend decided to order up a storm, even though there were only two of us for lunch.  Her excuse was that she could always pack the leftovers, so I had no more complaints...

December 16, 2011

Cassoulet in Shanghai

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I'm in Shanghai for a short weekend, just to hang with B and showing her some of my favorite places in Shanghai.  The point was to have proper Shanghainese, but I have one free meal and felt like something a little different.

I had heard about Mr. and Mrs. Bund some time ago, and after a little research I realized that the chef used to be at Jade on 36.  My good friend Dr Poon used to rave about the restaurant at the Pudong Shangri-La, but I never got the chance to check it out before the chef's departure.  Now that Mr. and Mrs. Bund has been voted No. 7 among the Asia's Top 20 in the Miele Guide, I figured I'd give it a try.

I landed around dinner time, rendezvoused with my friends and headed to the restaurant for a late dinner.  I was thinking that the building looked familiar, when I realized that it sits just below Bar Rouge.  Memories of a few years ago...

December 11, 2011

Indian beef curry

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Yes, you read the title correctly.  I had the words "Indian" and "beef" in the same sentence.  And yes, I did have that for lunch today.

About a year ago, the Rubberman created a fuss in Hong Kong when it awarded a macaron to a place called Hin Ho Curry Restaurant (恆河咖喱屋).  Many of us have never been to this place - I had never even heard of it - and there it was, with a coveted Michelin star.  No doubt it was part of the publication's effort to go downmarket and try to award some more "cheapest Michelin star on the planet"...  I, along with many others, uttered the usual "WTF" at the news.

One year on, and the restaurant received a star for a second year.  Thanks to the publicity and the additional business, the owner had made enough money to open a second branch.  And my friends and I collectively uttered another round of "WTF".

But, as we have been discussing for the last few months, one isn't entitled to criticize the food at a restaurant without trying it first.  As I was in town this weekend, I hollered on Facebook and rounded up a few friends so that we can all try it for the first time.  As people were replying to my call to have some "Indian beef brisket curry", one of my Indian ex-bosses from London chimed in with the comment that "Indians don't eat beef"...

December 3, 2011

No more WTF from me

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The 4th edition of the Rubberman's guide to fine dining in Hong Kong and Macau came out a few days ago.  Having been out of Hong Kong for a few months, the exact date had slipped my mind.  But on Thursday morning I suddenly noticed a lot of traffic on Facebook and Twitter, and realized that it must have been the big day.

My friends and I have been collectively uttering "WTF" for three years in a row, and this year it was no different.  All of our complaints - including those I had highlighted in last year's post as well as Quest For Stars - remain and in fact has gotten worse.

This year, I'm not going to publicly grumble about the Rubberman's choices.  I've done it enough, and now that I've moved out of Hong Kong I no longer feel qualified to give an opinion.  I'm less and less likely to eat at any of the places listed in the new guide, and as I've said to some of my friends - you can't really give an opinion or trash a place until you've actually tried the food.

So I'm zipping up.  That is, until the next trip when I pay a visit to that certain "Indian beef curry" joint and see for myself what they put in the food to make those anonymous reviewers go gaga about the place...


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