October 31, 2020

Back room with normal people

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My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin has been missing good sushi as we've all been stuck in Hong Kong this year, so she requested that we go back to Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう). So I dutifully contacted the restaurant and asked for the first available lunch on a Saturday, and five weeks later, here we are.

The restaurant had forgotten about our dietary preferences on our last visit, and I also happened to see Mrs. Birdiegolf posting about fish cum from her visit yesterday, so I made sure to reiterate our preferences to Fujimoto-san.  He was genuinely surprised, because obviously no one has ever told him.  I guess only Koba-san knew...

Octopus (蛸) - very, very tender as usual, with the exterior layer half-liquefied.  Served with a little yuzu (柚子) zest shaving.

October 29, 2020

Silly garnishes on Chinese food

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I received an invitation from my friendly neighborhood broker wanting to catch up over lunch, and she has a habit of picking out nice restaurants.  In fact, we like some of the same restaurants.  So I was a little surprised when she chose Ying Jee Club (營致會館).  It's a place I really haven't had much desire to visit, but I was curious.

As she is more familiar with the restaurant - and she's buying - I let her choose what she wanted to eat.  It's lunch and we're having Cantonese cuisine, so it seemed natural to start with some dim sum.

Pork dumpling with shrimp and flying fish roe (蟹籽鮮蝦燒賣) 

October 28, 2020

Sine Qua Non toast, part 5

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I received an email from a wine merchant who was organizing a dinner to taste the fantastic wines from Sine Qua Non.  This piqued my interest, and the venue is a restaurant I have been wanting to visit.  I found the wines a little on the young side, but figured I would pass the details to my group of SQN fans to see if anyone is interested.  When you're in a group that includes one of the largest collectors of SQN in town, it's not surprising that someone proposes that we do our own tasting with better wines...

Since BC was unable to make our last gathering at Nikushou, we decided to come back so he could try the food.  And also meet RAW Meat Bro Yeah.  I let the boss know what kinds of wine we were bringing, and gave him free rein on the menu.

Chilled Japanese snow crab, vinegar jelly - I always love this dish with Japanese snow crab (松葉蟹), as it works so well with the vinegar jelly. Tonight the jelly seemed to deliver deeper flavors than usual.  The crab tonight was from Hokkaido.  The perilla flowers on top brought beautiful aromatics.  

October 24, 2020

Two buckshot

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A week after my last dinner, I'm back at Neighborhood to meet up with DaRC and Ro Ro.  One benefit of knowing the boss is that he is aware of all the dishes you had just a few days ago, so The Man in White T-shirt made sure that the kitchen sent out very different dishes.

Smoked sea bream - once again the kitchen sends out a smoked fish, but tonight this was sea bream (臘魚).  While I didn't mind the very soft flesh, DaRC found it too mushy for his liking.  While we didn't get slices of bottarga, it was instead grated over the plate to ensure the flavors were still present.

October 17, 2020

The Great big birthday

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A few of us were invited by the Kat to help celebrate The Great One's birthday, and naturally this meant dinner at Neighborhood.  Social distancing mandates are still in place, so we had to split into separate tables for the occasion.  We have, of course, gotten used to this by now.

I never know ahead of time what's on the menu, but one thing for sure is that there would be way, waaaay too much food coming out of the kitchen.  The Man in White T-shirt is nothing if not consistent, especially on this point. Much to my surprise, a menu was actually printed up for us... although we weren't supposed to see it and the dishes were meant to be surprises. 

Smoked grey mullet / bottarga - WOW!  I couldn't believe we were starting with this monster... A whole grey mullet which has been smoked, along with homemade bottarga using mullet roe.

October 15, 2020

But for the love of truffle

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It has been much, much too long since I saw enjoyed Belo's company... and for that matter, the Baller, too.  So a plan was concocted for us to gather and enjoy a few bottles together.  When I was given the task of choosing the restaurant, it didn't take me long to settle on 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana.  It was among my favorite and frequently-visited restaurants when it first opened, although I haven't been there much in recent years.  I figured it was time to go, and the fact that white truffle season has started also worked well.

We decided to order à la carte, and I was pretty ambitious... which prompted the Baller to follow suit so that I wouldn't be having one of the courses all by myself.

Our amuse bouche tonight was made with mushroom soup, sautéed chanterelles, mushroom foam, and shaved white truffle.  A proper start to our dinner.

October 13, 2020

Post-typhoon dinner

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Time for the Peanut Gang to gather once again, even though we had met up just over a month ago.  Brother KC had promised to take us to a famous "yellow shop" with great food, but alas... as Hong Kong was shut for most of the day on account of Typhoon Nangka brought strong winds to the city, the restaurant chose not to open tonight.  PR8 went into high gear and quickly arranged a room for us at West Villa Restaurant (西苑酒家).

It's been way too long since I was last here, so I left the ordering to the adults... and just waited for the food to arrive.

Honey glazed BBQ pork (西苑大哥叉燒) - wow!  It's been a while since I had char siu here, and this was pretty damn good!  Good amount of marbling here.  Very tender.

October 10, 2020

Grown Boy

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Tonight we had a very small gathering to commemorate a very special occasion.  Thanks to government mandated social distancing measures, we are still limited to a maximum of 4 persons per table when dining out... which was how four of us ended up at the chef's table at Caprice.

Hairy Legs kept asking me what I wanted on the menu, as he wanted to make sure that we will have a very happy meal.  As usual I left it up to him, as long as the dishes would match the wines I had brought.  The only exception, which was something I mentioned to him only last night, would be his classic abalone carbonara.  

First came the jewel box with the three amuses bouches:

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar - with cauliflower mousse.  The salmon was nice and a little smoky, with two wafer of crispy pastry.  Always nice to start with this.

October 9, 2020

A wonderful second dinner

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I was dropping off wines for my dinner tomorrow at Caprice, and not surprisingly, Hairy Legs asked me to sit down at the chef's table so that he could feed me a second dinner. 

Pâte en croûte - I'm really happy that this has now become available pretty much year-round, and not just during game season the way it used to be.  Always so tasty.

October 8, 2020

Arrogant Prick and a jaded palate

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It's been much too long since we last caught up with Farmer Chris, and I finally decided it was time to open a bottle of wine with him, especially as his birthday had just passed.  It's been just over a year since I was last at VEA, and I thought it was time to check out how Vicky Cheng's cuisine has evolved.

Vicky asked us whether we wanted a 6- or 8-course menu, and since Farm Chris was pretty hungry, we went for the larger option.  I did request, though, that Vicky not send us too much food.

As usual the meal started with some snacks:

Drunken sea snail - the babylonia was marinated with Wujiapi wine (五加皮酒) and Huadiao wine (花雕酒).  Flavors were decent, and thankfully I didn't get any sand tonight...

October 7, 2020

If it makes you happy

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Given that her birthday is being bracketed by a couple of special dinners, we have chosen not to plan anything special or fancy on the actual day with Hello Kitty.  Instead, we made a last-minute decision to hit one of her favorite places in town.  Thankfully Hidden Kitchen (秀殿) was able to accommodate us on very short notice.

As I waited for Hello Kitty to finish her happy hour, I decided to do something I love... which was to order up a girlie drink.  This melon plum wine (メロン梅酒) definitely ticked all the boxes.

October 4, 2020

Relaxing and comfy dinner

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It's been a few weeks since we last saw DaRC and Ro Ro, so we made plans to catch up over dinner.  DaRC thought about trying some place new to him and threw out Roganic as a suggestion.  Since I had a pretty good lunch there last year, I was more than happy to go back.

As it's Sunday night and Ro Ro didn't feel like taking the long tasting menu, we chose to have the short tasting menu while adding a supplementary course for the rest of us.  We figured that would actually work out better.  And it did.

Ragstone tart, pickled onion, shallot confit - nice sweetness from the confit shallots, along with some acidity from the pickled onion jam.  The goat cheese was decent.

Dim sum for two

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Hello Kitty had a hankering for some simple wonton noodles, so we decided to pay Ho Hung Kee (何洪記) a visit.  This traditional eatery never disappoints, and can always be counted on to serve up some quality noodles, congee, and even dim sum items.

Rice noodle rolls filled with twisted cruller (香脆油條腸粉)
- 炸兩 is something I order every time I'm here.  Unlike what is done at some run-of-the-mill congee shops, they fry up the cruller to order before wrapping them in the rice noodle rolls, so the crullers are nice and crunchy when they arrive.  A drizzle of soy sauce and a dip in the duo of sesame and plum sauces later, a delicious mouthful every time.

October 2, 2020

Mooncake 2020: pandemic edition

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Thanks to the pandemic, travel is severely limited and pretty much non-existent.  That means I don't get to go home to the Parental Units with a selection of mooncakes from Hong Kong.  I don't have much interest to consume a lot of mooncake on my own, although I do try to keep observing this part of my heritage - especially since I am separated from my loved ones this year during this traditional time for family reunions.  The lines "但願人長久, 千里共嬋娟" from the classic poem by the great Su Shi (蘇軾) - aka Su Dongpo (蘇東坡), the person Dongpo pork (東坡肉) was named after - really hit a chord this year...  And I will always remember the poem as sung so beautifully by Teresa Teng (鄧麗君).

So here's a collection of what I managed to taste, between gifts from brokers I shared with the office, some I bought for myself, and others shared at gatherings.


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