August 31, 2019

A perfect Saturday lunch

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Hello Kitty was spending a couple of days wining and dining with the girls in Macau.  I was too busy at work to join her, but I figured I could possibly join her for a meal on Saturday.  Boss Jonas had pinged me to invite me over for a meal, and generously chose to extend the invitation to the whole party.

After failing to catch Kwuntau (罐頭) at Loja das Conservas Macau, Hello Kitty and I arrived early at Robuchon au Dôme.  I can't believe it's been a year since my last meal here.

Chef Julien Tongourian came over to greet us and also asked what we wanted for lunch.  While Hello Kitty and I are pretty easy-going, we immediately said "No" to the suggestion of beetroot... It is, after all, one of the very few things we don't eat.  He asked whether we wanted "light, or good"... which led me to ask him whether those two options are mutually exclusive.  I don't think he really wanted to answer that question...

Crispy waffle with scampi and sea urchin - always happy to start with these... A classic that I never tire of.

August 23, 2019

Spinning plates

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Another week, another team spinning class.  I was clearly not in good condition today, as I felt fatigued not long after we started.  After cooling myself down and cleaning up, I trekked back uphill to the office to finish some work.

Little Meg pinged me yesterday and invited me to dinner tonight.  I told her that my attendance would depend on my physical condition after spinning, and truth be told, I was pretty fatigued.  But as she was entertaining a visiting foodie who was coming for the first time, I figured us locals should try to be hospitable.  So I walked the short distance from the office to Neighborhood to dine there for the second time this week.

The menu tonight was, of course, put together by The Man in White T-shirt while he's off on his European vacation.  I figured there'd be a reasonable amount of overlap with what I had on Monday, but I guessed there would be at least a special or two...

Basque saucisson "Noire de Bigorre", culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli" - I can never complain about starting dinner with these... Just so tasty.

August 22, 2019

Annual rendezvous

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I'm a big fan of Gert de Mangeleer's.  I was completely bowled over by his cuisine during his pop-up dinner in Hong Kong in 2015, and every since then I have managed to meet up with him once a year - in Hong Kong in 2016, in Taipei in 2017, at Hertog Jan in 2018, and once again tonight in Hong Kong.

When Goldfinger decided to do a 4-hands collaboration with Gert, he knew I wouldn't wanna miss out on this event, so he very kindly saved 2 seats for me.  Perhaps with PR8's guidance - or perhaps not - he also had the wisdom to have me come to HAKU tonight so that I could avoid being in the presence of certain people.  That was much appreciated.

First, a welcome drink...

Peter Lauer Saar Riesling Brut - big on the palate.  Some ripeness on the front palate but definitely showing acidity in the middle.  Flinty on the nose.  An interesting sparkling riesling.

Potato / coffee / vanilla, from Gert de Mangeleer - we started with one of my favorite dishes from Gert.  This combination of potato foam, coffee powder, Mimolette, and vanilla has always been an amazing combination of sweet and savory.  But even though I'm having the dish for the third time, this was the first to have included some raw sea urchin tongues at the bottom.  The potato foam seemed a little more dense tonight, and as usual the flavors from the coffee were pretty pronounced, punching through the savory notes from the Mimolette shavings.  Beautiful!

August 19, 2019

Californian Bong

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It's August and once again, we find ourselves at only our second MNSC dinner of the year.  Just like last year, I was tasked with hosting.  With several chef friends announcing job changes while others go on their summer break, I was at a loss trying to choose a venue for us.  I then explored the somewhat crazy idea of hosting the dinner at Neighborhood, and surprisingly the boys seemed to welcome the idea.

While The Man in White T-shirt is on his European vacation, I have full confidence in the kitchen when it comes to execution.  We just wouldn't have any special fishies - which was fine, because of the wines I would be serving.  Once the logistics for decanters and glasses were resolved, it looked like it could work.

But we weren't gonna be in a private room tonight - as we almost always are - so I cautioned the boys about keeping their voices down and to watch for colorful language.  We don't want to be the assholes that other diners hate.

I noticed a familiar face after I walked through the door.  It was Bong, who used to be our friendly waiter upstairs at On Lot 10.  He's put on a little weight (well, so have I...) and changed from wearing white to wearing black.  I always wondered what had happened to him, but I was happy to see him.

I also noticed a table next to us with a couple of old fogeys, and wondered why they had chosen a restaurant with a rather noisy environment.  One of the older gentlemen looked familiar, but I didn't think much about it.  Two minutes after the appointed time for dinner, the first of the boys finally strolls in.  The Ox clearly noticed the older gentleman at the neighboring table but did not react.  When Pineapple finally arrived, he immediately greeted the tycoon.  That was the point when the boys realized that they REALLY had to behave tonight... at least while uncle was still here.

I had reserved two of the large dishes ahead of time, and picked a few small dishes to go with the wines.

Mochida tomato / salted plum / melon - I had ordered this but cancelled it minutes later, thinking that it would mess with our palates.  But the kitchen had already plated it, so they offered it to us on the house... I love these fruit tomatoes from Mochida Farms (持田農園) for their ripeness and sugar levels, and tonight they came with thin slices of Italian melons. The sweetness worked well with the acidity and savory notes of the salted plum powder.

August 18, 2019

No urge to cross the road

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It's another day of protests in Hong Kong, despite the downpour we've had at different times throughout the day.  Since large parts of Hong Kong Island was now closed to road traffic, any excursion outside the apartment today would need careful planning of the route to be taken.  We needed to get to Tai Kwun, so I got us a taxi and instructed the driver to take a somewhat loopy trip.  My plan largely worked and we saw very little traffic or obstruction - except for getting stuck at one spot.

Hello Kitty and I finally got around to visiting the Murakami vs Murakami exhibit, just a couple of weeks before the end of its 3-month period.  After the exhibit closed at 7 p.m., we moved to Old Bailey (奧卑利) for dinner.  I have only been here once before for an interview lunch, so I didn't remember too much about the food.  But in all of 10 months of working across from Tai Kwun, I have never once saw the need to come here for a meal...

House made pickled turnip (醬蘿蔔) - complimentary, and actually pretty good.

August 15, 2019

Impromptu crab and beef

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Tonight we had our first team spinning event, which also happened to be the first time I've tried out this form of exercise.  While most people went their separate ways after the class, I decided to spend some time with my new colleague who was in town on his own.

Based on a few guidelines from my colleague, I ended up asking RAW Meat Bro for help.  He was busy attending some fancy schmancy dinner, but he was kind enough to make last-minute arrangements for me at Nikushou.

We weren't very hungry after the intense workout, so we went à la carte and just picked out a few things.  Quality over quantity.

Summer bamboo shoots in mentaiko sauce - on the house.  Nice and refreshing way to start our meal.

August 12, 2019

One night from Bangkok

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This wasn't a dinner I was gonna miss.  I had practically been shouting at the top of my lungs from the table during my dinner at Chef's Table at lebua.  My old friend Vincent Thierry was delivering what I felt to be an experience worthy of the coveted 3 macarons, and I wanted all my friends to know.  I was so, so, so happy for him.

So when Maxime told me that Vincent was coming to do a 4-hands collaboration at Écriture, I wasted no time in saying 'Yes', and got myself a table for the one-day event.  I also roped in DaRC and RoRo to join us.

It amazes me how some service staff just have the ability to piss people off.  I was getting messages from Hello Kitty even before I arrived at the restaurant, telling me how they were being served by a condescending Caucasian waitstaff.  The ladies were, not surprisingly, thirsty on a hot summer night.  Knowing that DaRC and I would take care of the wine selection, they wanted to order something by the glass.  Apparently the menu only showed Champagne by the glass, and while the ladies discussed whether they wanted the fruity cocktails (read: girlie drinks) mentioned by the waitstaff, said waitstaff proceeded to suggest that the ladies could take some non-alcoholic cocktails.  Bad mistake.

Then said waitstaff did something even worse.  He was condescending when introducing the selection of Champagnes.  The ladies felt insulted, as said waitstaff spoke in a manner where he assumed that the ladies knew nothing about Champagne.  What he ended up doing was pissing off two people who drink pretty good wines on a regular basis.  And he brought back Hello Kitty's memories of the last time a French white man was being condescending to her.

I arrived to find both ladies seething, so I tried to calm things down a little.  After DaRC arrived, we were finally ready to start our meal.

The usual tater tots came to kick off dinner.

The little buckwheat cracker carried a cube of cauliflower mousse covered in nori (海苔) powder.  Topped with confit (?) of baby sardines (ちりめんじゃこ).

August 7, 2019


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I have been a fan of the rieslings from Weingut Maximin Grünhaus for more than a decade, and I've drunk more riesling from them than any other winery in Germany, so when their local importer Fine Wine Experience arranged a dinner with the 6th generation winemaker Maximin von Schubert, I didn't hesitate to sign up for the event at Kin's Kitchen (留家廚房).

It was good to have Maximin here, as he told us about the history of the winery, the different vineyard plots, and of course many finer details regarding the wines and the vintages.

2016 Maximin Grünhauser Abstberg Kabinett Auktion - a bit of honey, flint, polyurethane.  Actually a bit sweeter than I expected, but still has a good balance of acidity mid-palate.  Quite a long finish.

August 5, 2019

Long time no goose

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It's been a long time since I was last at Yat Lok Roast Goose (一樂燒鵝), and on this day when a large part of Hong Kong could not get to work due to the general strike, I finally could get in without waiting in line...

No surprise that the shop wasn't allocating any goose legs at the time, and even less surprised when the staff tried to upsell by suggesting that people take the lower quarter (下庄)...

Roast goose chest with rice noodle (鵝胸瀨) - OK lah... Always good to drink the MSG-laden soup, which gets augmented by goose fat.

Blanched choy sum (菜心全走) 

August 3, 2019

Macau quickie: the filling Moon

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With just three hours between our long lunch and dinner, I needed to walk around a little to kill time.  Thankfully there is an art exhibit entitled "Garden of Earthy Delights" at the Wynn Resorts, so we crossed the road and headed to Wynn Palace Cotai.

There had been plenty of posts by "influencers/KOLs" on Instagram of the pieces here, and most of them have been focused on just one piece - Refik Anadol's "Melting Memories".  Of course, lots of people - yours truly included - were here trying to capture the mesmerizing transformations in pictures and on video.  There were only plenty of IG hoes who inserted themselves into the pictures pretending to be cultured.

While Refik Andol's pieces were undoubtedly interesting, for me the more striking work was actually Edoardo Tresoldi's "Sacral".

I joined Hello Kitty on her shopping tour to kill more time, but we got tired of walking in circles around the corridors with our luggage... so we arrived at Sichuan Moon (川江月) about 20 minutes before the appointed time and parked our bags at the table.

Macau quickie: another 3-hour lunch

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I woke up early this morning, even though I was sleeping in a large and comfortable bed in a hotel.  Surprisingly my stomach growled at this early hour.  Loudly.  This was puzzling given the dinner we had last night.  But perhaps because we didn't have any carbs, the meal wasn't as filling as I expected.

It was past 10 a.m. when we headed to Sei Kee Cafe (世紀咖啡快餐) in Nam Van (南灣).  Ever since my friend KC recommended it, Hello Kitty and I have wanted to come and try the signature sandwich.  But since this place only opens at 10 a.m. on a Saturday and closes on Sundays, and we always have big meals whenever we come, it's just never been in the cards.  Until today.  Today I needed this sandwich, come hell or high water.

So the two of us took one order of egg and luncheon meat on toast (午餐肉厚蛋多士).  After all, we were less than 2 hours away from starting lunch.

August 2, 2019

Macau quickie: 50- and 60-year-olds

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Mr. Christmas is making a trip around southern Guangdong Province, which included a stop in Macau.  Being the nice guy that I am, I decided to meet up with him this weekend and share a couple of meals together.  I was very surprised to find that he had never dined at The 8 (8餐廳) in the Grand Lisboa, so I made arrangements for us to be here tonight.  As always, the kind people at the Grand Lisboa were very accommodating and put us in one of the private rooms.

I left the ordering up to Mr. Christmas, since the main reason for this dinner was to let him have a taste of the cuisine here.  As usual, we started with a duo of nibbles:

Abalone with water bamboo celtuce stem - the waitstaff introduced it wrong...

Turnip with shrimp mousse, mushrooms, and mushroom paste


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