June 30, 2013

MRE Week day 7: chicken pesto pasta

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So here we are on the last night of MRE Week, and I've saved the best for last.  My final dinner is the "official" military version, which came in different packaging with the Seal of the Department of Defense.  The wording on the package also prompted a friend of mine to make fun of me by calling me a "warfighter"...

What made tonight even more special was that I was joined by Tigger, the person responsible for my punishment this week.  He happened to be close by and I thought it would be only fitting that he witnessed the last meal.

June 29, 2013

MRE Week day 6: southwest style beef

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Day 6.  Almost done.  Lunch today was relatively heavy, as I regretted taking a desert which turned out to be gigantic.  Thankfully the Pu'er tea (普洱茶) my friend shared with me after lunch helped the digestion a little.

The package today contained the following items:

June 28, 2013

MRE Week day 5: sloppy joe

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TGIF!!!!  Back in my school days, the cafeteria used to serve up something special on Fridays... and sloppy joes were definitely a crowd favorite.  So it only seems appropriate that this is the menu I chose for tonight.

Opening up the package reveals the following items:

Artsy nibbles

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Many of my friends know that I am loathe to try out any new restaurants, simply because most (if not all) restaurants never have everything down pat when they open.  I also generally do not accept invitations from restaurant PRs for those "media/blogger" meals, because of the reason I just mentioned, and also because I'm pretty picky about where I wanna eat.  Yes, you're inviting me for a free meal, but if I don't think the food is any good... there's no point in taking in calories from crappy food - especially when I'm supposed to be cutting down intake.  OK, so I'm a food snob.  I didn't get the moniker of Arrogant Prick for nothing, ya know...

Having said all that, I ended up dining at the invitation of a club today.  Duddell's, to be exact.  This place opened up with some fanfare a while ago, and apparently was quite the place to be during Art Basel Hong Kong.  A fellow foodie friend had been asked to invite a few people to try the place at lunch, and since Paulo's a friend I asked him if he thought their food was good enough at this stage.  When he replied in the positive, I figured it would be safe to give it a try.

We ended up being seated indoors on the upper level, as the rain had just suddenly come down while I was en route to lunch, killing the original plans to seat us on the outdoor terrace.  While the seating was comfortable, there was a distinct deficiency in terms of lighting.  It probably didn't bothered anyone else, though...

The menu was all pre-arranged so we just sat back and waited for the food to arrive... although it did take some time for the first nibbles to appear in front of us...

We were presented with what must have been the 5-piece dim sum combination.  Today we had:

June 27, 2013

MRE Week day 4: chili and macaroni

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In some respects, day 4 was doomed from the start.  I had a HUGE salad at lunch, and couldn't even finish the damn thing.  What's worse was that I had loaded it up with broccoli, cauliflower, corn and mushrooms... and some of those things are hard to digest!  I also had a very late cup of latte about an hour and a half before dinner, so I wasn't feeling the least bit hungry when I started to open the package for tonight...

The package today contained the following items:

June 26, 2013

MRE Week day 3: southwestern style chicken stew

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It's day 3 and I'm switching back to chicken just to keep it a little more interesting.  Today's package contained the following:

June 25, 2013

MRE Week day 2: pepper jack grilled beef patty

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After the inaugural meal yesterday, I was looking for something a little different, so something with beef would do very nicely.

In a previous conversation with Eric (or did I read it somewhere else?) the topic of the side effects/secondary purpose of MREs had come up.  It should come as no surprise that when a soldier is out in the field of battle, the task of going to the toilet is a real pain in the ass, and definitely gets in the way of the soldier performing his/her duties.  Therefore MREs are designed to minimize the need (or at least the frequency) of such bodily functions.  With that in mind, I promptly went out and got myself a salad for lunch...

June 24, 2013

MRE Week day 1: garlic and herb chicken breast

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So it begins.  A week of punishment.  7 MRE meals, with the first one just a few hours after I landed back in Hong Kong.  As I've never "prepared" an MRE before, I had to punch up another video on YouTube for a refresher...

I finally got to take out one of the packages and break open the tough plastic pouch to get to the contents...

June 23, 2013

Cellar dining: Taipei edition

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A couple of friends very kindly invited me to lunch today to help celebrate my birthday, and knowing my love of wine, decided to take me to La Grande Vinotheque.  The place bills itself as being "Southeast Asia's largest cellar".  I always roll my eyes whenever I hear people making superlative claims like that, but it's not important.  What matters is the food and, most of all, the company I'm with.

This was a set menu, and we made ourselves comfortable and waited for the onslaught of multiple courses…

We nibbled on some scallion and truffle "bread" to start.  This is like a cross between a croissant and scallion pancake (蔥油餅), and was pretty tasty.  Apparently for dinner, they make the bread table-side.  The dough rises in front of you, then it's put in a hot stone bowl to "cook".  Hmmm… sounds like what they do at Les Créations de Narisawa...

June 22, 2013

Keeping it simple

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Another year older but none the wiser.  A day when I felt blessed and loved, thanks to the flood of messages coming in from friends, family and acquaintances.  Many had asked how I was going to celebrate, and what wines I would open.  My reply was "keeping it simple"…

And I did.  This year I chose to be back in Taipei and spend my birthday with family.  Instead of going to L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon like I would do with the parental units, I chose to revisit STAY - where I spent my birthday last year.  My two visits there last year showed me that the food is straightforward, well-executed and delicious, despite the messy staffing situation in the kitchen.

Once again I chose to forgo any of the set menus and ordered à la carte.  Besides keeping a lid on the quantity of food, it also would allow me to focus on dessert, traditionally a strength of this establishment.  Mom did the same, while others including Uncle Last Minute and Foodie Wannabe went for the sets.

As usual there was a trio of amuse bouche:
Diced chicken in a chicken mousse - the coating was made from chicken stock.

Watercress mousse with smoked salmon

Tomato mousse encased in red pepper gelée

June 21, 2013

The punishment

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Earlier this year I was hanging out with the Tiggers when I accidentally committed a "crime".  We were on our way to lunch and I was opening the passenger side door to Mrs. Tigger's Mercedez AMG C63 Black Series.  This being a two-door sports car, it's understandable that the doors are slightly elongated and therefore swing out farther when they open.  Well, I got a little distracted as I was deep in conversation while opening the door, and... managed to put the tiniest of dents in the door.  To be honest, given the car is white in color, you can't even notice the dent unless you got up real close and looked for it...

Tigger, of course, made a big deal out of this.  Posts with pictures went up on Facebook pages immediately, and Tigger went about soliciting ideas for a suitable "punishment".  Within 10 minutes, Tigger's old college roommate Vitz - living halfway around the world - came up with an idea out of the blue: make me eat MREs for a week.

Actually, I thought that was a fantastic idea.

June 18, 2013

The contrarian

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So it was finally my turn to host a dinner for the boys of MNSC, more than a month after our last official gathering.  I'd been racking my brain about what wines to serve, as I wanted to make things interesting and enjoyable - but without making things incredibly tough.  After the disastrous showing last year, I now have the distinction of having hosted the dinner with the lowest average score, ever.

It's been a while since I was last at Island Tang (港島廳), and I wanted to serve up some Cantonese food alongside the wines.  The sensible corkage policy of the restaurant also helped, as the staff here were very professional when it came to wine service.  So I asked the restaurant to put together a pre-set menu, dropped the wines off a day early with service instructions, and waited for the evening to unfold...

After waiting around for half an hour, I decided not to wait for our late-comer and served up the Island Tang Appetizer Delights (港島廳四小碟):
Roast pork belly (化皮燒腩仔) - this was pretty good.

June 14, 2013


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The last time I had lunch at Caprice, I missed out on having an interesting dish.  My friend ordered this shellfish paella, but instead of rice it was made with these little coquillettes.  We joked about her having the kiddie menu, but deep down I wanted to have some.  I needed to have some.  So I rounded up a couple of friends and booked for another lunch.  The restaurant couldn't fit me in last Friday, so we made do with a table today.

Jeremy spotted us and came over to greet us.  I told him that I was "on a diet" and needed to cut down on food intake.  Like ILoveLubutin, he pooh-poohed the idea and suggested that I start dieting tomorrow.  Morever, he suggested that I go on a diet of only cheese and wine, as he had just received a new shipment from France...

After we had all arrived, menus were passed out and I flipped open the front cover.  My heart sank.  Where are my coquillettes?!  I had made the reservation specifically to come and have this dish, but it was nowhere to be found on the menu!

June 10, 2013

Six knives

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OK, so maybe I AM David Lai's biggest fan… Why else would I be back at On Lot 10 just 10 days after my last dinner here?  Truth be told, this dinner was just like the last one - I was here to introduce the restaurant to more members of Tigger's extended family.  What Grandma Bear wants, Grandma Bear gets.

I was trying to keep the dinner light, but maybe I was overdoing it a little… The kitchen had a few ideas of their own…

Bellota iberico ham '36 month' - upon arrival I was told that the organic vegetables 'crudités' were unavailable because of the recent rain, so the kitchen sent this out instead… Not exactly the same thing, but I'd never complain about having jamón!

June 7, 2013

Friday night French

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So this is the third evening in a row that I'm out for dinner, and the second evening I'm attending a birthday celebration.  The Specialist decided to invite a few of us over to her place for dinner, and the food was catered by Chef Eddy from Chefstudio.

We had some canapés to start, including mozzarella with sun dried tomatoes, and salmon with caviar.

June 6, 2013

Hello Kitty birthday

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A friend very generously invited me to her belated birthday dinner tonight.  It was always going to be a huge feast, and I had been looking forward to this gathering for some weeks now.  It was also interesting because I hadn't revisited Chiu Tang (潮廳) since my first visit last year, and looked forward to trying out the cuisine again.

I probably shouldn't have been surprised when I found this invitation upon arrival…

June 5, 2013

The summer dragon

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I'm back at Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟) tonight with the Tiggers, putting more delicious yet unnecessary calories into my system.  My third visit to this establishment was also the first time I sat out in the main dining room instead of in a private room, and everything I had heard about other people's dining experiences here would be proven correct tonight...

It's summer and the restaurant has changed its menu since our last visit.  Since they cycle through 2 menus for each season, I would expect that their next change to perhaps include pike eel (鱧) - something that was on just about every menu on my last trip to Japan.

June 4, 2013

Singing in the rain

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Four years ago, I went to Victoria Park on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre to commemorate the event at the annual vigil.  I've missed the annual gathering since then, but finally managed to return to the park tonight with a couple of friends.

I woke up to slightly wet weather, and the Hong Kong Observatory was forecasting showers for the rest of the week.  Sure enough, not long before the scheduled 8pm start to the vigil, the skies opened up and down came tears of heaven.

The traffic jam started inside the Causeway Bay station, but it wasn't too bad when I arrived.  As I exited the station towards the park, the streets were closed and filled with lots of people from all different political parties and organizations, each of their own agenda and message.  I couldn't hear anything because so many people were shouting through megaphones at the same time.  Lots of people were peddling T-shirts and soliciting donations.  Lots of banners everywhere… and I even saw someone holding a Republic of China flag.


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