February 27, 2014

An evening of wine and cheese

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This evening started early for me, as I brought along a couple of friends to a wine tasting at Hong Kong Wine Vault's newest storage facility.  The Managing Director of Château Montrose, Hervé Berland, was in town on a very short stay and gave us a brief introduction to the property.

2010 Tronquoy-Lalande - oaky, lots of fruit, with plum and cedar.

February 26, 2014

The king of paella

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Hours after meeting Tigger for lunch, here I am having dinner with him again.  The Tiggers have been hankering to go back to On Lot 10, since Babu really misses the fresh fish that David serves up.  So while we were watching some horsies jump around, I called and made a reservation for tonight.  And not wanting to miss something epic for a second time, I called to make sure we were going to be served a few specific items...

Steamed artichoke - the ones we got today were skinny-ass versions of what I had 2 weeks ago...

We got a stuffed crab shell as a starter.  Of course, this ain't no ordinary crab shell... it's the shell of an Alaskan king crab!  Just look at the lemon wedges on the side to figure out the size of the shell.

Urban farming x charity

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I'm a big fan and supporter of Feeding Hong Kong.  It's not just because Tigger's one of the co-founders, but I really do believe that they're doing great things for this community.  So when Tigger invited me to a lunch where they were introducing their Edible Garden, it was a no-brainer for me to attend and see what it's all about.

I trekked over to the middle of Kowloon to get to the HKICC Shau Kee School of Creativity.  Once through the front gates, I climbed up six floors to the rooftop - and found myself looking at an example of urban farming.  It's pretty encouraging to see the idea of urban farming spreading in Hong Kong, and people are even doing it in my 'hood in the boonies!

I check out the rows of spinach, basil, romaine lettuce, carrots...etc. All seem to be doing well, and I was told some of the veggies are now on their third or fourth harvest.

February 24, 2014

Meat no fish

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It's Restaurant Week in Hong Kong, and that means many places in town are offering prix fixe menus for standardized, attractive prices.  For some reason, I was never interested when the promotion was put on during the last few years, and kinda ignored all the publicity around it again this year.  When the Wommer invited me to join him for dinner with a booking at Fish and Meat, I was happy to accept the invitation for the opportunity to check out the resto.

I arrived to find the space very dimly lit.  There was no light above our table, and our main light source was a little candle on our table.  I had to read the menu - printed in tiny font that was probably no bigger than 6-point - by the dim candle light.  And I must admit, these days my eyesight ain't what it used to be - especially in dim light.  At this moment, I can fully appreciate what my fellow speaker Kim Walker was talking about at TEDxVictoriaHarbour in 2012.  Why do restos find it necessary to do this?!  Does their food really looks so bad that they resort to keeping it in the shadows?!

For HKD 438 we are offered 3 courses, but the Wommer was worried that we wouldn't have enough to eat...

Soft duck egg raviolo, ricotta cream, burnt sage butter, Pecorino - this was absolutely delicious, and a great start to dinner.

February 21, 2014

Horsing around at dinner

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I don't know nothing about equestrian events, despite having lived just a stone's throw from a race track for a number of years.  I never had much interest in watching people dressing up and jumping over fences on their horses.  But when Tigger extended an invitation for me to join him at the Longines Hong Kong Masters, I figured it was a good opportunity for me learn something.  It is, after all, one of the events that make up the Masters Grand Slam Indoor.  So I brought out my heavy artillery and rode out on the train to AsiaWorld Expo.

I made a quick stop at the Feeding Hong Kong booth to say hello to Gabrielle, then headed to our designated table so I didn't have to carry my gear around.  We were in a good position to catch the action on the field, and I could see all the obstacles laid out on the course.  I did wonder, though, if the horsies had to jump over the Mercedes station wagon...

February 20, 2014

Casual Comfort

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Harlan opened up his Harlan Goldstein's Comfort some time ago, and I've been seeing lots of people post pics over the last couple of months.  Tonight I finally had a chance to check it out for myself, but I needed a couple of accomplices.  No Fork Use had to fly airplane at the last minute because of work, so it was just My Favorite Birdbrain Useless Cousin who kept me company tonight.

My Useless Cousin arrived first, and it didn't take long for her to figure out a few things she wanted.  I decided to just order one starter, so that we wouldn't end up over-ordering.  Turns out we still had too much food for someone...

Japanese wagyu beef croquettes - these big boys were yummy!

February 17, 2014

Me, Myself and I, édition française

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I’m back in Macau for the same work conference that I attended last year, and once again I decided to be anti-social and skip dinner with my fellow attendees. While the conference food at the Four Seasons Macau this year was significantly better than what we had last year, there are certainly even better options in town.  My experience last year wasn't so good, but I had a great time dining solo last month.

I figured that I owed it to myself to check out one of the places with macarons. As I’m dining with Me, Myself and I, doing Chinese was out of the question. After ruling out Robuchon au Dôme and the Kitchen, there was only one remaining option – the Tasting Room by Galliot at the Crown Towers.

Getting there was a breeze for me. I walked out of the Four Seasons, crossed the Bridge of Stars to the other side of Estrada do Istmo, and then it was a couple of minutes’ walk to the City of Dreams complex and yet another familiar set of air freshener. Once again I had no reservation for dinner, but it wasn’t a problem as there were only 2 tables occupied at the bar area, and I was the third table in the dining area.

February 16, 2014

Sake and then some

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A casual get together to catch up with a couple of friends, and it would be my first chance to try out the dim sum at Seventh Son (家全七福).  I'd heard mixed reviews regarding lunch, so I was pretty excited to see for myself.

Deep-fried salt water dumplings (家鄉咸水角) - pretty good as I expected.

February 13, 2014

Partner appreciation day

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It's been just over a year since our little fund was launched, and we've been lucky to have strong support from our prime brokers since the very beginning.  I've known some of the people for a few years and they've become much more than just service providers - they are our friends and partners.  So after we've achieved two important milestones recently, I extended an invitation to them to join our team for dinner.  I wanted to thank them for all that they've done for us.

Most of our guests tonight know of my love of food, and there was never any doubt in my mind about where I would host the dinner.  I pinged David more than a month ago to make sure I could take a big group to On Lot 10, and worked out the menu with him a week ago.  I was really, really looking forward to this dinner...

Jamón ibérico, aged 48 months - pretty yummy.  You can see the specks of protein crystals that come from aging.  Served with pickled peppers and cornichons.

February 11, 2014

The cat with white whiskers

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Tigger spent his birthday out of town, and as it turned out I wasn't the first to take him out for a belated birthday dinner.  It's a big one this year and he was kind enough to treat me when I turned four handle, so of course I had to make sure we went somewhere we would all enjoy.  Out of pure selfishness, though, I passed up Tigger's first choice and chose Amber for the occasion.  After making the reservation, I pinged Chef Richard to let him know that we were coming for this very special occasion.  He was away but left instructions for the team, so we were in good hands...

It's still the season for black truffles from Périgord, so we picked the "Platinum Menu" and went for it. But first, the classic series of canapés...

Pita bread with pumpkin purée, black truffle coulis and sunflower seeds - ummm... these look more like pumpkin seeds to me...

Foie gras lollipops - with beetroot chips and brioche.

Watermelon with sangria and blood orange peel

February 5, 2014

Day trip south

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It's been 2 years since I last saw my friend B in Shanghai, and she's been away from her Swiss home for a long time.  This time I'm seeing her in her hometown Kaoshiung, and I finally have a local showing me around.  I've only ever been to Kaoshiung on short business trips so this would be my first chance to do some sightseeing.

I took the high speed rail down and changed to the local subway to meet up with B for lunch.  She was taking me to Old Tsai's Milkfish Congee (老蔡虱目魚粥) for some local eats.  We arrived kinda late and some of the items had already sold out...

Braised milkfish belly with pineapple (滷鳳梨豆醬魚肚) - all the fresh bellies were sold out, so we had to settle for the braised version, done in a light soy bean sauce with cooked pineapple.  Milkfish is classic local fare here, so we're definitely doing as locals do.  Very soft and tender.

February 3, 2014

Ducky and the queen - another look

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We've been having fantastically good weather in northern Taiwan lately, and as I've got my new toy with me, I decided to take 2 short trips outside Taipei within the space of 12 hours.  I wanted to re-shoot 2 attractions under better lighting conditions.

After dinner last night, I grabbed my camera bag and took the slow train up to Keelung.  I saw Florentijn Hofman's rubber ducky on a gray and dreary day in December, so the pictures didn't look that great.  I also think that Keelung's an ugly city and the wrong setting for Ducky, and always thought Ducky would look much better at night.

Sure enough, Ducky looked radiant against the black of the night.

February 1, 2014

The North Shore

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I'm back in Taiwan spending Lunar New Year with the parental units, and the weather has been absolutely incredible for the last few days.  I can't recall the last time when the sun was out for such an extended period of time during the holidays, and it's so warm that I'm actually comfortable in a single layer of cotton - and short sleeve!  Naturally dad didn't want to spend the weekend cooped up at home, and decided we should take a trip outside the city.

Taiwan's a beautiful place once you leave the cities, but I've never had a lot of opportunity to see what's beyond Taipei city limits.  So dad figured we'd circle around the northern coast of Taiwan, skirting along the coastline so we could take in the view.  He also thought it'd be best if we did it counter-clockwise as it gets us the best views.

We set off late morning-ish, and encountered traffic jam not long after leaving the parental home.  We knew there would be a lot of people heading out of the city, but this was ridiculous.  We were stuck on the highway even before we reached the Nankang Tunnel, and there were 2 other long tunnels between us and Hsuehshan Tunnel.


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