May 31, 2013

Falling asleep at dinner

Pin It

I ran into a couple of ladies at Catalunya a few weeks ago, and during our brief conversation one of them mentioned that she had never been to On Lot 10.  Now for some reason I am seen by some of my friends as an unofficial ambassador for On Lot 10… so it seemed natural when it was suggested that I arrange a dinner for us to introduce Chef David Lai's cuisine.

As usual, I asked David to decide what he wanted to serve us.  He chose from his new menu, and thankfully kept it to a reasonable number of dishes…

Steamed gooseneck barnacle 'en papillote', samphire, sea kelp and lemon - this wasn't the first time I've had barnacles here, but it was the least enjoyable experience… This batch was just wrong… way too difficult to get to the flesh inside.  We gave up halfway.

May 30, 2013

Blanche-Neige and the 7 macarons

Pin It

The Fat One is in town.  After years of yearning, he's finally opened up a shop here, and we were graced by his presence for a few days.  There was a signing event where people (including a number of my friends) lined up to get their books, macaron boxes and who knows what else signed.  Not wanting to wait around during office hours - and what would I do with a copy of his Macarons book, anyway? - I decided to ditch my friends and head back to the office.

On the way back, I decided to stop by the shop and check it out.  I had heard about the limited number of parfums at the moment, and sure enough there were only 10 on offer.  Well, it was high time I checked out the quality myself, after getting all the negative feedback recently.  So I dutifully picked out 7 to fit in a small box.  In all honesty, I was more excited about having a local supply of the confitures made for the Fat One by Christine Ferber…

After a light dinner of veggies, it was time to inhale.

Half empty

Pin It

About a month ago, ILoveLubutin decided to book a table at Caprice for a gathering.  The Fat One was gonna be in town for an event, and a few of us worshippers were gonna meet up for it.  It made sense for us to have a nice little meal together before going.

The trouble with booking meals so far ahead is that plans often fall apart.  People get distracted, often by work, or even travel out of town.  The table went from 8 to 6, and down to a lonely threesome.  As the cancellations were last-minute - and this includes ILoveLubutin having to travel out of town for business - the three of us found ourselves sitting at a table meant for six…

I realized halfway through lunch that I had sat in the wrong seat.  There were two seats at the table which afforded their occupants with a view of the giant rubber duckie - or at least of the duckie's ass, but I chose to park myself somewhere else.  Oh well…

Our amuse bouche was a cube of deep-fried pork knuckle with sea urchin and lentils, sitting on a bed of lentil mousse and topped with fresh sea urchin.  The lentil mousse was incredibly smooth, and had a smoky flavor along with a sprinkle of piment d'espelette powder.  The pork knuckle was lightly flavored with some curry powder.

May 28, 2013

Friends don't let friends explode

Pin It

Don't get me wrong.  I'm blessed to have so many friends around me, who like me enough to want to see me and eat with me.  Some of them are generous enough to treat me to fantastic meals.  But sometimes it does get a little too much, and I have the urge to be anti-social and go into hiding.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, in reality) there are some people I can't say no to...

The Growing Boy has grown too much lately.  I seriously need to cut down my intake, and restart my exercise regime.  I've been trying to go back to eating simple, small meals, but the powers that be couldn't let that happen.  The last 2 days have seen 3 unscheduled meals pop up in my schedule, and despite all intentions to the contrary, I ended up on the brink and stared into the abyss tonight…

Grandma Bear is someone who I cannot say no to.  I no longer remember the original reason for tonight's dinner, but it had something to do with an offering expiring by the end of the month.  Dining at the Mandarin Oriental with Tigger is dangerous, and nowhere more so than Mandarin Grill + Bar.  I should have known that Uwe would not neglect his VVIP.

We started with a string of nibbles, some of which I had already sampled at my dinner here three weeks ago:

Ketchup cookies with shaved Parmigiano


Spherical olives

May 27, 2013

Grand setting, simple food

Pin It

A couple of my ex-colleagues were in town today, and wanted to meet up for dinner.  No surprise that the task of picking a restaurant fell on my shoulders, even though one of them used to live in Hong Kong and know the town pretty well.  After some arm-twisting to at least give me some direction, I ended up picking Cuisine Cuisine (國金軒) in IFC.  My last visit was a few years ago, and I wanted to see what things are like nowadays.  After all, these guys have themselves a little macaron… and it's always interesting to see if these places deserve them.

I was flipping through the menu, and some the first things that caught my attention were actually dishes that are classically Cantonese, yet very much favored by gweilos…  I joked with my friends about ordering stuff like lemon chicken, sweet and sour pork…etc.  They seemed to let me order whatever I wanted…

Deep-fried taro silk with Chinese vinegar (金絲珠豆) - a last-minute decision to order something "interesting".  This looked a little different from the picture on the menu, but never mind.  I figured the ladies would enjoy the taro… Basically this was a tower of shredded taro, together with some raw onions and peanuts, drizzled in a light vinegar sauce.  Pretty yummy, actually… but I seemed to have enjoyed it more than the ladies, which I find a little odd.

May 25, 2013

Taiwanese birthday feast

Pin It

Today was a big day for the Ox, as he upgraded himself to a higher handle.  To help him celebrate this milestone, he very kindly invited a group of us over to Taipei for a weekend of festivities, culminating in dinner tonight.  The boys of MNSC, along with our respective attending other halves, had our own little "Vosne-Romanée" table in a private room at the Grand Formosa Regent.  Dinner tonight would come from the kitchen of Silks House (晶華軒).

I arrived to discover that half of the appetizer combination (雙福滿漢) had already been laid out on the table, and we were encouraged to start digging in at any time.  These included:

Marinated mixed vegetables (涼拌老虎菜)

Shredded salted duck with black pepper (黑胡椒鴨賞) - this is a specialty from Yilan (宜蘭) and I love it.

May 24, 2013

Keeping it light

Pin It

My plans for a salad lunch today was derailed by Tigger, who very kindly asked me to join him at 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.  I protested about the need to reduce my intake, but he twisted my arm into ordering just one pasta dish…

May 18, 2013

The best in Asia?

Pin It

It was an itch I had to scratch.  For far too long, eating a meal from André Chiang has been on my to-do list.  Ever since his arrival in Singapore a few years ago, helming the kitchen at Jaan par André.  Then he opened his eponymous restaurant, and still I did not have a chance to visit.  The main reason, of course, was that I have been in Singapore only once since the end of 2008.  Pathetic…

Well, I ticked this one off the list tonight.  I knew I was coming in town for business, and booked a table at Restaurant André 6 weeks in advance.  I figured that the one person in town who would appreciate this as much as I do would be Mr. Ho.  After all, Mr. and Mrs. Ho were the other couple who traveled to elBulli with me, besides Mr. and Mrs. Locust

The evening got off to a good start at the Ho residence, when Mr. Ho uncorked a bottle of 2010 Roulot Bourgogne Blanc.  Yes, it's a lowly Bourgogne Blanc, but I'd be happy drinking anything made by Jean-Marc Roulot!  Beautiful toasty nose with lots of corn and ripe on the nose.  Nice acidity balance here, with an acidic finish.  Yum.

May 17, 2013

Everybody marries in May

Pin It

It's the Parental Units' anniversary again, so naturally I find myself back in Taipei for this important date.  After all, if they hadn't gotten married on this day so many moons ago, I wouldn't be here today, would I?  Anyway, today was a different sort of anniversary from years past.  Instead of just the three of us, Mr and Mrs. Tigger as well as Grandma Bear joined us for this occasion.  As it turns out, everyone (except me, of course!) got married in May!

There was never gonna be any question about which type of cuisine we would have tonight, and I booked ourselves a little room at Shunsai (旬採).  After a pretty good experience the first time around, I was looking forward to trying it again.

As usual we started with some homemade pickled radish (沢庵), which were delicious and crunchy.

Our amuse bouche was Matsuba crab tofu (松葉蟹豆腐), with a little mash of okra on top.

May 15, 2013

From Yuen Long to Wanchai

Pin It

Margaret Xu is a well-known figure in the local restaurant scene, having started with places like Cuisine X in Yuen Long and an early proponent of the farm-to-table movement.  A few years ago I paid her a visit at Yin Yang (鴛鴦) when she moved her operations into town, and for one reason or another I haven't managed to find my way back.  That chance finally came today.

My friends kinda know Margaret from her Yuen Long days, and asked her to send us whatever she felt like.  Apparently there was a Japanese chef at the next table who also knew her, and we were just getting the same thing that Margaret's preparing for them.  I definitely don't have a problem with that!

The starters have pretty interesting names, and I have a hard time figuring out which items the poetic names actually refer to…

Spring summer affair (春夏之間): I'm guessing this refers to the various veggie items, which were

Lemon-flavored eggplant with takuan (沢庵)

Corn pudding - not bad.

May 13, 2013

Once more for old times' sake

Pin It

Mr and Mrs Locust are doing a tour of Asia, and came into town today for a few days.  We were debating about which restaurant to visit, and somehow in the end Catalunya came out on top.  I had been very happy with my first visit last month - even though the focus that evening wasn't on the food itself.  I was pretty excited about going back, as it would give me a chance to see how the restaurant would do on a "regular" evening.

I left the ordering to Mrs. Locust, not wanting to push them into ordering anything in particular… other than a couple of things I really enjoyed from last time.  We ended up doing tapas only, which I think is fitting given the positioning of this place.

Pa amb tomàquet - a.k.a pan con tomate, which we had with slivers of Cantabrian anchovies on top.  Perfect balance of flavors.

May 12, 2013

Déjà vu on Mother's Day

Pin It

So... it's Mother's Day, and I'm 500 miles away from my mom.  Since I'll be seeing her for the next two consecutive weekends, I figured I'll be forgiven for not spending today with her.  Maybe.  You just never know with Shanghainese moms...

I did spend a few hours with two moms today - one of whom is the lovely mother of my adorable godson.  Just a week after our last visit, we found ourselves back at Man Wah (文華廳) for some dim sum.

Vermicelli, garoupa, fish broth (魚湯斑粒米線) - the little tyke was having his usual noodle soup, so we decided to order extra and shared with him.  Very tasty, I must say… simple comfort food.

May 11, 2013

It's your birthday… It's your birthday...

Pin It

I was invited to a dinner tonight jointly celebrating the birthdays of a happy couple.  We gathered at Wagyu Kaiseki Den, one of my favorite places for kaiseki cuisine (懐石料理) in town.  There would of course be wine, and our thoughtful hosts had not only wines from their birth vintages, but also those of the attending guests.  The last time I had a similar theme at dinner was when Frédéric Engerer hosted us at Château Latour

While the wines were being decanted and we waited for everyone to arrive, we had some snacks to nibble on… edamame (枝豆) was an obvious choice…

…as was grilled dried puffer fish.

TEDxVH 2013

Pin It

Last year I had the honor of speaking at the first TEDxVictoriaHarbour, and trying my damnedest to throw some inspirational messages out there.  I'm not sure at all that my feeble attempt met with any success, but I'm real happy to have been part of the event.

One year later, I have moved myself back to Hong Kong, and naturally found myself supporting the event in its second year.  I decided to go with a couple of friends and collectively take in the inspirational messages.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that I had been looking forward to this for the last 2 months, waiting for this day to arrive.

The venue this year was the Sunbeam Theatre (新光戲院大劇場), a theater with a 40-year history famed for being one of the last performance venues for Cantonese opera.  The place has faced multiple threats of closure within the last 10 years, but has received a temporary reprieve until 2016.  It's my first visit to the theater, and I'm glad that there are efforts from the community to preserve a part of Hong Kong's cultural history.

The theme this year was "E-Motions in Travel and Tourism", and an interesting roster of speakers came up one by one to talk about their personal experiences, to try to inspire us to do better.  My memory is a little hazy in my old age, but I don't recall watching pre-recorded segments at the event last year.  This year there were a few of them, but they certainly were inspirational.

May 9, 2013

Playdate with Uwe

Pin It

It's been a while since my last dinner with Fergie, and I thought it'd be a good idea to arrange another get-together.  This time, though, I pulled in a couple of mutual friends to make the party a little bigger... in the hope that it would be even more fun.  I think that turned out to be a pretty good call, if I may say so myself!

I had been wanting to go back to the Mandarin Grill + Bar for a proper meal, and my lunch last month provided a glimpse of what such a meal would be like.  Thinking that we should do something a little special, I called on my VVIP friend Tigger to set me up with Chef Uwe Opocensky, who very kindly arranged a special tasting menu for the evening.  I think we'll all remember this meal for some time to come.

We started with a few nibbles:
Ketchup cookies with shaved Parmigiano - I must confess that I found the Parmigiano shavings really yummy and full of flavor.

May 5, 2013

Mandarin duck

Pin It

For the last week or so, just about all of Hong Kong has been going ga-ga over the giant rubber duckie designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, including yours truly.  This cute, inflatable duckie has been parked in front of Ocean Terminal since May 2nd, and has even swum around a little in the middle of Victoria Harbour.

I've been pretty excited about the arrival of this duckie, and have gone to see it twice during the first two days.  I did take a break yesterday, but went back today for the third day in four so that I could take my godson to see it.  The little guy apparently really took to the yellow duckie, and at one point refused to leave the waterfront... Well, I'm glad he likes it as much as I do!

I had originally made plans for us to lunch at the No-Brain restaurant Al Molo, since it has a perfect view of the duckie.  However, we came to see the duckie a full 90 minutes or so early as we wanted to avoid the crowds, and we had exhausted all options for activities by 11 am...  With a full hour until the restaurant opened, Tigger made the last-minute to decision to go back to the Hong Kong side for a little dim sum.  I guess there would be no duck-shaped cookies for the little one today...

We arrived at Man Wah (文華廳) about half an hour before Al Molo was due to open, and even managed to order up some food for the little tyke while en route.  Yes, being a VIP (not me) certainly has its privileges!

May 4, 2013

Die Roboter von Kraftwerk

Pin It

I can't believe it's been nearly two years since my last concert.  I guess these days its easier for me to find a group of people to eat and drink with, and much harder to find people who share the same taste in movies and music.  When I first found out that Kraftwerk was coming to Hong Kong, I wanted to go but really didn't know who I could go with.  They're kinda esoteric… and probably unknown to many under the age of 30 to 35…

So I resorted to a little trick I've been employing lately: posting about it on Facebook and see if anyone would respond.  Luckily, someone did.  My friend Susan and her husband already had tickets, but since they were standing tickets on the floor, there wouldn't be any issue for me to buy an extra ticket and join them.

Before the concert, Susan very graciously invited me over for a quick dinner at their home.  After a quick round of delicious Thai food, involving just enough heat to get my blood flowing faster, we crossed the harbor to the Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre for the event.

Since we're in Hong Kong, the band mostly performed the English versions of the songs.  I attempted to write down the order of the set, although since some of the songs are mixed together I may have missed a couple as they may be mere segments in the show...


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map