August 30, 2012

A weak performance

Pin It

I did something unforgivable last week: I stood someone up for dinner.  I had made plans to check out the Japanese restaurant at the newly-opened Okura Hotel in Taipei for some tempura, and was really looking forward to that dinner - or so I thought.  I ended up changing my return flight from Hong Kong to the day of the dinner, but was too scatterbrained to remember that I had an engagement…

So as my friend sat in the restaurant wondering where I was - and getting no joy trying to raise me via phone or text messaging - he was smart enough to check on Facebook to see that I had just checked in at the Hong Kong International Airport minutes before our appointed dinner time.    Fortunately he was able to call someone on the spot and avoided the disaster of dining alone.  I, of course, only discovered my terrible deed upon landing and seeing the missed calls and texts.  Needless to say I apologized profusely…

Still wanting to get together for dinner, I asked to try out some place new for sushi, so my friend suggested that we meet at Shunsai (旬採).  He was, in fact, at the very same restaurant yesterday when we made plans to meet up, but he was kind enough to accompany me tonight for dinner.  I was looking forward to discovering yet another quality place in Taipei.

August 23, 2012

Steak and wine birthday

Pin It

I'm back in Hong Kong for a last-minute trip after spending just two days in Taipei, and came back just in time to dodge a typhoon join the birthday dinner of an old friend.  I've known the birthday boy ojisan for some 17 years, ever since I first arrived in Hong Kong.  Our group of friends have known each other for long periods of time, and have been pretty tight-knit throughout.  There is something to be said about long-lasting friendships…

The birthday boy wanted steak, and asked to try out Grand Hyatt Steakhouse.  I've heard the buzz about this place ever since it opened, but as I'm not big on steaks - unlike someone I know - I never found the urge to check the place out.

We started with some big chunks of garlic bread.  I find garlic pretty irresistible, but don't have many opportunities to chomp on garlic bread much.  These were very yummy with crispy crusts.  I took down two of these tonight…

August 19, 2012

Spice up your life

Pin It

If there's one major Chinese cuisine missing from my regular diet, it's Sichuanese.  I was brought up without spicy food, and over the years I've gradually gone from zero tolerance to being able to take in some heat.  However, I still do not actively look for spicy food, especially the likes of Sichuanese or Hunanese.  Occasionally I will tag along when someone really wants it.

Mrs. Tigger was hankering for some spicy food, so we met up at Golden Valley (駿景軒) in the Emperor (Happy Valley) Hotel.  Believe it or not, this dining outlet inside the hotel with a long and somewhat colorful reputation has got itself a little macaron from the tire man.  I've dined here a few times before the honor was bestowed, and I thought the food really wasn't bad at all.

I was pretty glad that the original plans of doing hotpot were nixed, so that we would be ordering à la carte.  This meant I would have the opportunity to see what the kitchen can deliver.

Sautéed green chili with vinegar (虎皮尖椒) - at first this was deceptively mild.  It's only after having had a couple of these that the real heat catches up with you.  I blame the black beans…

August 18, 2012

Burning down the house

Pin It

I was getting together with a couple of foodie friends today, and someone suggested Gold by Harlan Goldstein as the venue.  It just so happened that Harlan had pinged me a couple of weeks ago, telling me that I should come try out his new dishes.  So what do you do when you're in need of a table for a Saturday night, and happen to be on friendly terms with the chef of a popular and difficult-to-book restaurant?  You shameless beg the chef for a table, of course!

I try not to do it often, and honestly there are only a couple of places around town where I feel brave enough to do so, but somehow I always end up asking the Boss Man for a table… and he's always been kind and accommodating.

Along the way, we lost one of the crew to an Indian wedding, so I decided to rope in My Favorite Cousin, since she's always up for a good meal and I know she enjoys going to Gold.  After I extended the invitation, I realized that I would be totally outnumbered by 3 Aussies… Yikes!

Big isn't always beautiful

Pin It

I'm back at Fook Lam Moon (福臨門) for lunch with Tigger and family.  It's one of my favorite places for dim sum, and I haven't been here in a while, so naturally I was pretty excited about this visit.

We have a relatively big group today, although if I actually counted there weren't actually that many mouths to feed.  We ordered up a storm anyway…

Steamed rice wrapped in lotus leaf (鮮荷葉飯) - this was ordered and arrived first, since some of us had to leave early and stomachs needed filling fast.  Very delicious but what a huge portion!  One of us ended up with 6 bowls of this…

August 17, 2012

How to ruin a Krug wine dinner

Pin It

Many weeks ago, my dear friends at WOM had extended a very kind invitation for me to attend a dinner they were hosting in conjunction with Champagne Krug.  The dinner would be attended by a small circle of Hong Kong's English language bloggers, and I was naturally delighted to have received the invitation.  Free Krug and food from 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo, one of my favorite restaurants… was there any reason for me to not show up?!

Unfortunately, yes.  A last-minute flood of work meant that I couldn't fly in from Taipei for the dinner on that fateful Friday evening, and I missed the opportunity to spend some time with my friends I Love Lubutin and e_ting.  My consolation price was reading about it here.  Or so I thought.

There was to be another dinner tonight, with a totally different crowd and venue.  My dear friends from WOM extended the invitation a second time, and this time I made sure that I would not miss this opportunity.

A somewhat unsatisfying lunch

Pin It

I flew back to Hong Kong last evening for a few days, just in the nick of time to solidify my reputation as the "typhoon magnet".  I have now run into 3 typhoons in 3 different cities for 3 consecutive weeks, including flying into Shanghai for a date with Typhoon Haikui last week.  Let's hope I don't run into any more of them next week…

I had arranged to meet up with a few of my close friends for lunch today, and was kinda looking forward trying out something special at Yung Kee (鏞記酒家), a restaurant I've been to many times.  Unfortunately, I was on the receiving end of some extremely efficient service from China Travel Service, and ended up being 40 mins late.  I was feeling pretty bad at this point…

I sat down to catch my breath, while Legolas Jr. went about confirming the dishes with one of the captains.  We had pre-ordered two dishes, but the captain came back to tell us that only one had been reserved - and the missing dish was actually the one we really wanted to try.  For me, it was the main reason why we even chose to come to Yung Kee today.

August 11, 2012

Virgin mud crabs and other goodies

Pin It

My good friends are in town for a couple of days, and after our last experience, I promised to take them to another classic Taiwanese joint for dinner.  Ming Fu (明福台菜海鮮) is famous for some of their premium dishes, but I chose not to pre-order them since I wasn't particular interested in shark's fin, chicken testicles or bull penises.  Nevertheless, there's plenty of other goodies on the menu to make me happy.

I was presented with two complimentary starters as I sat down, which was perfect since I was starving after a whole day of eating nothing but a small pack of crackers.

Dried sakura shrimp (櫻花蝦) - perfect to go along with some alcohol.

August 10, 2012

Bordeaux vs. Napa

Pin It

After a very enjoyable evening together a few weeks ago, our little group made plans to get together again tonight.  Once again, steak was the order of the night, and we met at Toscana in the Sherwood Hotel.  I haven't dined here for more than a decade, so it was an opportunity for me to see how things have changed.  The organizer had pre-ordered the beef, and I looked forward to having some dry-aged beef.

We started by sharing some tipico risotto di porcini e fungi con anatra foie gras croccante.  This was a reasonably rich dish, with pan-fried duck foie gras on top of the porcini mushroom risotto.  The risotto was OK.  I have pretty low expectations for this dish in Asia.  Yes, it was wet.  Yes, the rice was somewhat hard, not overcooked and soggy.  But it wasn't al dente.  Not the way it is at 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo.  Oh well, at least it tasted good so I shouldn't complain too much.

August 8, 2012

Typhoon shelter in Shanghai

Pin It

I scheduled some meetings in Shanghai at the last minute, and ended up flying in last night without realizing that a typhoon was on its way here.  I guess that's what happens when you're in a place like Chongqing and don't pay attention to what is happening outside the city... and have limited news sources thanks to being in China.

Typhoon Haikui was battering Zhejiang and the surrounding areas, and my return flight to Taipei was rescheduled to very late at night.  Fortunately I was able to find refuge with a very old and dear friend, who allowed me to camp out at her apartment for a few hours.  As dinner time rolled around, we decided to take a short walk to nearby Xintiandi (新天地) and see what dining options were available on a night like this.

My friend almost led us into Din Tai Feng (鼎泰豐), but fortunately we hesitated and ended up at Xiao Nan Guo (小南國) next door.  Don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Din Tai Feng.  In fact, I love going there.  But Xiao Nan Guo is a much better choice for someone coming from Taipei.  Not surprisingly, my dear friend and I ordered a little too much food…


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map