February 27, 2012

Spanish birthday

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We finally got to mom's birthday, and decided to pick another new place to treat mom to dinner - our third straight day of dining out.  I had told mom about DN Innovacíon some time ago, and thought this would be a perfect opportunity for her to try out some Spanish cuisine in Taipei.  Not surprisingly, we picked up a couple of stragglers just before dinner… Last Minute Uncle and my younger cousin.

Chef Daniel was apparently down with an illness over this long weekend, and the Spanish sous-chef was left in charge.  I guess business was kinda slow, so the kitchen didn't seem to have enough ingredients to provide for some added variety that I was looking for.  Bummer…

February 26, 2012

Dinner with a palatial view

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Tonight was the second gathering for mom's birthday, and I decided to revisit Le Palais (頤宮).  My last visit piqued my interest and I wondered what it would be like with more people and a wider range of dishes.  Heaven knows this family needs to find a few more venues for our gatherings, and this one happens to be extremely convenient for me to get to…

The setting is great.  We took a private room on the top floor of the Palais de Chine Hotel (君品酒店), which faces west and just happens to have direct line-of-sight of my apartment building.  The period Chinese decor - with many accents dating from 2 millennia ago - worked well and achieved the mood I wanted.

February 25, 2012

Birthday lunch with No. 88

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It's coming up to Mom's birthday, and this year we decided to celebrate it with a few small groups of close  friends and relatives.  For the first meal, I decided to take them to something a little different - for them, that is.  Lunch at Gyodoike (魚道生) seemed like a pretty good idea…

Raw Hokkaido oyster - I offered this to Mom for a taste, thinking that she would split it with me.  No such luck…  She enjoyed the fresh oyster so much that she ate it all by herself.  Oh well…

February 19, 2012

Dim sum with good friends

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It's been a while since I last saw some of my foodie friends, and I was really looking forward to this gathering.  Not having had good dim sum in a long time, that was what I wanted to eat with the gang.  Since I had just been to Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) a few days earlier, Fu Sing (富聲) became the venue for the day.

Fu Sing char siu (富聲叉燒) - this is the way to start a meal here… and we asked for the cut to be "half fatty (半肥瘦)".  Very succulent and tender indeed.  How I have missed thee, O fatty char siu!

February 17, 2012

Shivering on the roof

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I was invited by the Specialist to join her friends for dinner tonight.  For some reason she thought it would be a good idea to do a barbecue on the rooftop above Hong Kong Wine Vault in February, although she did advise us to dress warm for the occasion.  I suppose it was my own fault for not adding a woolen layer underneath my jacket…

The first thing I noticed besides the temperature - which dropped lower as the evening went on - was the smoke.  Given that the evening was mostly about wine, the smoke was definitely an annoyance.  We would have been better off staying in the dining room downstairs…

As the evening went on, the wind picked up and I started to shiver.  My friend next to me very kindly lent me her spare scarf, but that wasn't enough.  I started spending more and more time standing next to the outdoor heat lamp, jokingly hugging them for warmth.  I probably looked like one of those unfortunate homeless people in the States, keeping warm by standing next to an open flame inside an oil drum…

February 16, 2012

Comfort Cantonese food

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I was catching up with a few old friends over dinner, and I asked for some sorely missed Cantonese food - knowing full well that we'd end up at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).  It's been a while since I was last here, and despite my view that the quality of the food has gone downhill in the last year or two, it is still infinitely better than anything I can get in Taipei…

Tofu soup with pork and leafy mustard (肉片豆腐芥菜膽湯) - I was taken aback at the sight of this.  Not exactly your average Cantonese double-boiled soup, but apparently the quality of tonight's double-boiled soups weren't up to par, so this is what the kitchen recommended.

My dear friend the troll

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The following piece written by my dear friend Susan for the South China Morning Post (original article here) pretty much sums up the problems with OpenRice… and I have stopped contributing some time ago.  And yes, I Love Lubutin is also a dear friend of mine.

Be wise to the not-so-subtle art of trolling

For a while there a few weeks ago, a certain poster on openrice.com was receiving an unusually large amount of feedback for her restaurant reviews. People were actually opening accounts just so they could post responses - often rude, sexist and vituperative - on the reviews by I Love Lubutin (ILL).

She was, arguably, provocative. Writing in grammatically incorrect English that was littered with misspellings and direct translations from Cantonese, she wrote as much about shopping for expensive clothing and shoes, her efforts to stay slim, and her "sweet sweet boyfriend", as she did about food. Each of her 13 reviews contained comments about whether the restaurant provided a stool for her designer handbag.

February 15, 2012

Hero to zero

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I'm back in Hong Kong for a few days on business, and as luck would have it, managed to attend the first MNSC dinner of the year.  I was pretty excited to attend the gathering tonight, not the least because we would start off with another face-off - much like the one I participated in at the end of December 2010

We arrived at Chiu Tang (潮廳), the Chiuchow restaurant in the Cosmo Hotel.  Curiously enough, our evening did not start in the private dining room but in the rather spacious entertainment room next door.  We would hang out here while watching last year's bottom scorers - Pineapple and Dr. Poon - try to pick out the identities of the two wines.  We also did get to taste the wines ourselves…

February 14, 2012

Not quite foolproof

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Tonight I finally got to test out my SousVide Supreme.  It wasn't the first time I had used this little toy, but my previous attempts have all been soft-boiled eggs.  This was the first time I tried to cook a hunk of meat with it.

When someone first preached to me the benefits of sous vide cooking, it was said that this method of cooking is foolproof.  One can cook something at low temperature for a long time - hours, in fact, without overcooking.  I distinctly remember being told that I could chuck a piece of meat in the water bath before heading out to work in the morning, and come home to tender and juicy meat.

I can definitely say that this is not the case.

February 12, 2012

Fusion izakaya

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It was a beautiful day in Taipei today, and luckily I had invited a few old friends over to my brand spanking new place for a little afternoon tea.   The Rice Ball eating crew (飯團) has been hanging out for the better part of the last decade, and we've shared many good meals (and desserts after meals) together.  Naturally we whiled away the afternoon sipping on some tea and nibbling on a few snacks... just biding our till dinner.

We were being introduced to Hwa Tze Xun (花 彘醺), which labels itself as "fusion cuisine, sake bar".  Turned out to be an interesting place for casual dining.

February 11, 2012

Taraba crab feast

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We celebrated a friend's birthday tonight at a long-overdue gathering.   The birthday girl loves crabs, and we were set for a feast which featured a red king crab (鱈場蟹) as the main event.  The venue, however, wasn't what I was expecting.  Seafood 89 (89鮮海產) is a typical local joint serving up fresh seafood - stir-fried or cooked over high heat (快炒) - at very reasonable prices.  A place like this offers zero decor or dining comfort, and at times the table spills out onto the sidewalks.  But it doesn't matter to the patrons, as long as the food is tasty.

I was kinda hungry, and decided to grab something while we waited for our food to arrive.  Patrons are free to help themselves to bowls of braised pork rice (滷肉飯), and I think I scooped a little too much of the braised pork on top.  There was a lot of red scallions in the mix, and a healthy balance between fatty and lean parts of the pig.  Not bad, although I probably should have had it towards the end of the meal.


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