September 28, 2020

The Chairman in Amber Rain

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It's been a long, long time since I last saw The Great One.  We had been hanging out in different circles in the era of social distancing, and I don't remember how many years it's been since we spent this many months without dining together.  So I was very happy when she asked me to join her at The Chairman (大班樓).  I haven't been back since January, so I was eager to see what would be on the menu.

Sea snail cooked in salted fish paste (XO花螺)
- not a fan of babylonia, since I generally suck at removing the digestive tracts.  Of course I ended up with sand in my mouth...

September 19, 2020

Green fruits, eggs, and no ham

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It's been a while since our first visit to Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel (當文歷餅店), and although we had occasionally gone to pick up and try new creations, I figured it was about time we went back for some dine-in items.  Since we seemed to be experiencing a lull in terms of new Covid-19 cases, I felt more comfortably hitting (what used to be) a busy shopping mall for this.

Most people come here for the cute and photogenic sweet creations, but Dominique has always been able to deliver delicious savory items at his outlets.  Since Hello Kitty isn't big on the sweet stuff, we ordered the two items we had not yet tried.

Silk egg katsu sando - this was like one of those Japanese cutlet sandwiches (カツサンド), except that in place of meat like pork, chicken, or shrimp you've got egg instead.

September 18, 2020

Sticks and starch

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Hello Kitty has been hankering to go back to Hidden Kitchen (秀殿), and it's been quite a long time since I was last there.  Thankfully a few weeks ago Fergie managed to get us a booking, so we happily returned to an old favorite.

The restaurant has been hit hard in the last 15 months, as it's right around the center of action during the massive anti-government protests in 2019.  Of course, the pandemic of 2020 made things even worse, as government mandates reduced seating and, during the span of a few weeks, shut down dinner service altogether.  So I was particularly happy to come back here and show them some support.

I was the last one to arrive, and apparently the hungry people had already placed the first round of orders... and started drinking...

Vinegared seaweed (もずく醋)
- with some grated mountain yam (とろろ) in addition to grated ginger.  Nice and acidic to whet one's appetite... although I suspect that wasn't in the least bit necessary in our case.

September 14, 2020

100 grams

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Chef DaRC rounded up a bunch of us for dinner tonight.  He had gotten to know a caviar supplier in town and now had a 1.8kg can of Kaluga (Queen?) caviar he wished to share with us.  I know he's already done a dinner at home with one of these big cans, and I was curious to see what a "real" chef would do with this.  Unfortunately Neighborhood isn't open for business tonight, so we ended up gathering at Nikushou.

I gotta give it to RAW Meat Bro Yeah.  He knew we were a picky bunch and rose to the challenge by creating a 11-course menu with the help of Chef DaRC.  

After opening the can up to show our group of voracious diners, we each took one (or two, in some cases) of spoonfuls and placed the eggs on the backs of our hands... before proceeding to lick it clean.  Always a great way to sample caviar.

September 13, 2020

Another Penfolds evening

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 I've been waiting for a while to pop open a few bottles of wine.  After failing to bid on a number of special bottles of Penfolds at a Sotheby's auction last year, I decided I would source them from my usual list of suppliers.  And I figured that 2020 - the 30th anniversary of the vintage - would be a good time to pop them open.   So I roped in Film Buff and V, then was pleasantly surprised when the Candidate agreed to join us even though we were drinking Aussie wines...

I've only been to Dynasty (滿福樓) twice in the last 10 years, but the venue was suggested since a couple of people can take advantage of their membership discount.  The food is pretty solid there, and I've been assured that wine service is adequate.  It was reassuring to see three decanters ready for us to use when I arrived.

Barbecued pork (蜜汁烤叉燒) - always a dish that one must order here.  There was enough marbling here to make this really tender, and the charred edges were great.  I wouldn't have minded just having this dish by myself and not sharing...

The backup

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The Man in White T-shirt pinged and asked whether we wanted to join them for dim sum, which is something we haven't done in a while.  Unfortunately it was too late for us to grab a table at Seventh Son (家全七福), so we made do with Fook Lam Moon (福臨門).  I have only been back here once since a particularly poor dinner 3 years ago, but I guess dim sum would be OK...

Crispy pork belly (脆皮燒腩仔) - OK, so it was at least at the right serving temperature today... but it still tasted like it's been reheated since there was plenty of fat that had soaked into the crunchy crackling.

September 5, 2020

Second chances: ordinary by day, zesty by night

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It's been a while since Hello Kitty and I were able to go out to a nice dinner, so I asked her to pick out a restaurant we can patronize and support.  Much to my surprise, she chose ZEST by Konishi - where she had visited for a weekday lunch and came away unimpressed.  I did tell her, though, that it was unfair to judge a fine dining restaurant based on a "business lunch".  So I guess she decided to give them a second chance.

When I made the reservation yesterday, I was asked whether the restaurant should send me a copy of the tasting menu.  I declined and told them to "surprise us".  I did tell them about the ingredients that Hello Kitty and I prefer not to eat when I was asked.

First came a selection of bread made in-house, and the brioche was certainly very tasty.

September 2, 2020

Supporting chef friends: a very gout dinner

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Six months ago the Peanut Gang decided to support one of our favorite chefs and gathered at Neighborhood.  After weeks of not being able to dine out for dinner due to government restrictions, we decided to go back and visit The Man in White T-shirt for a socially-distanced meal.

Fergie was responsible for booking us tables, and then he surprised the boss this morning by asking for omakase... with virtually no advanced warning.  The boss kinda went into shock, but thankfully managed to pull it off.

First came some butter for the wonderful sourdough, but tonight there was also a pâté spread.

Greater amberjack / preserved lemon / chili - the greater amberjack (勘八) was caught locally by rod.  Served with diced preserved lemon and pickled chili peppers, there was some nice acidity here to go with the fragrant olive oil.  Very delish.


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