May 30, 2021

525,600 minutes

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A year ago today, we lost our beloved asshole Kuma.  He should have had a few more years on this earth, but it wasn't meant to be... and he crossed the rainbow bridge to join other beloved members of our family.  We were devastated, and on the night after he left, we chose to have a simple dinner at Nikushou, and toasted him with a relatively simple bottle of red Bordeaux.  It was a depressing evening.

We still miss asshole a lot.  What I wouldn't give to have him back on the bed, sticking his asshole in my face to wake me up in the morning.  But we now have our dogcow CC, who is not quite Asshole 2.0.  She is the sweetest girl, and doing a good job of having us focus on love and attention upon her.

I figured we should remember Bro Bro by going back to Nikushou, so I brought a bottle to go with our simple dinner on a Sunday night.

Purple sea urchin (紫雲丹) - I guess we could have a little something before hitting the beef.  This had a tiny hint of bitterness without the salt, which brought out the richness and depth on the palate.  A little more sophisticated than the usual "ice cream"...

May 25, 2021

21 months

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I last visited the joint serving my favorite Cantonese roast goose some 21 months ago.  Back in the last few months of 2019 I was pretty busy traveling around... globetrotting for work as well as taking short trips to eat around Asia.  So it wasn't surprising that I didn't get around to grab that goose.  

Then the pandemic started, and since the end of January 2020, I stopped going to any establishment where I would have to share tables with complete strangers - regardless of whether there were panes of plexiglass between me and others.  So I haven't given Yat Lok (一樂燒鵝) a dollar in about 21 months.

That ends today. Now that I'm fully vaccinated, I feel a lot more safe about being out there with strangers. It also helps that the situation in Hong Kong has improved drastically, with low single-digit cases of local infections - and most of them traceable. So... before getting on a call tonight, a colleague and I walked through the door and sat down for dinner.

May 21, 2021

Deep-fried Friyay

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Big Mac pinged me 2 days ago.  He managed to snag a booking at a (relatively) new restaurant where booking were (supposedly) difficult to come by, was feeling generous, and wanted to see if I would join him for dinner.

Well, I already had two cheat meals this week, and really shouldn't push it with a third. But my friend IS taking me to Tempura Uchitsu (広尾 うち津), which has generated mixed feedback from my friends but operated by a local group whose outlets are among my favorite restaurants in town. And I do want to spend more time with my compatriot. So I agreed to the cheat meal, and roped in My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin for the evening.

We were presented with a tray bearing three starters:

But this is where things go wrong, and actually before I even took my first bite. We haven't even begun to touch these starter bites when one of the chefs laid down the first piece of tempura in front of us. WHAT.THE.FUCK?! This would have never happened at the honten in Hiroo (広尾).  Clearly a communication and service FAIL.

Corn soup (とうもろこしのすり流し) - basically a purée of raw corn, with a few kernels inside.  Very sweet thanks to the high sugar content of the corn.

Foie gras monaka (フォアグラ   最中) - the monaka shells were pretty toasty, and the flavors from the foie gras were pretty good, balanced out by the fruit acidity from the strawberry.

There were also slices of lean tuna (赤身), but of course I chose to let the others have my portion.

May 19, 2021

70s disco boogie night

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Sankala had an itch she needed to scratch. Having left in the middle of our lunch to attend a work meeting on a Saturday, she felt she hadn't gotten a full taste of what Mono has to offer. We finally decided to pay Ricardo another visit after more than 4 months.

Hokkaido sea urchin / tree tomato / causa - in addition to the tamarillos, we've also got dicd potatoes from the causa delivering some grainy textures, and slightly bitter flavors.  The creamy sea urchin worked very well with the acidity of tamarillos.  Razor clams added some sweetness, and some kiwicha on top provided a little crunch.

May 17, 2021

Three stars, zero gold

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It's been a while since the Landlord and I caught up over a meal, and much longer since we last had some wine together.  For us there is no better venue to dine out than at Caprice, so I asked Hairy Legs to take care of us at the Chef's Table, and proceeded to work out the wines my friends and I would bring.  I then happened to run into Mir and figured we could make it into a bigger party.

Yesterday, though, Hairy Legs messaged me to tell me about his injury, and proceeded to send me pictures of his (very) hairy foot...  Naturally the team is capable of taking care of us without him being around, so I wasn't the least bit worried. I expected to be served dishes from the new, spring menu, and I wasn't disappointed.

We started with the usual trio of amuses bouches:

Button mushroom and foie gras gelée tart - always tasty with those mushroom flavors.

Balik salmon with Kristal caviar

Pita with curry chicken mousse - curry, curry.

May 15, 2021

Three in a row

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I had been missing some decent sushi, which is rare for me.  Back in February I asked My Favorite Cousin if she'd like to go to Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう). Since she had this thing about not eating carbs at night, and I didn't want to do long lunches on weekdays, that left us with Saturday lunch as the only option. This meant we waited for a full 3 months for the first available opening...

We were once again seated in front of Kubota-san.  I'm still getting used to his style of service.

Firefly squid (蛍烏賊) - served with mozuku (モズク). You've got wonderful acidity from the ponzu (ポン酢) to wake up the tastebuds, and also works to balance the umami and strong flavors from the squid.

May 12, 2021

Reunion in the 'hood

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One of the places Ninja wanted to hit while she is in town was Neighborhood, and as it turned out LCKitty had been wanting to go there with us for a while.  So gathered the troops and turned it into a reunion of sorts.  After all, other than Sankala, we all used to work for the same bank.

We took the second seating, and as we weren't able to start dinner on time, things were a little rushed tonight.

Chicken liver mousse with summer truffle - this was always gonna be a good way to kick off dinner, as the chicken liver was just so, soooo tasty.

Of course this was best served on bread, but the problem then becomes munching on too much bread, leaving less room for other goodies.

May 8, 2021

Shrinking Boy 2.0: 2 months later

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Another month has passed since I restarted my nutritional diet program, and the last month had been a little harder than the first.  So it wasn't surprising that I didn't make as much progress compared to the first month.

Weight loss to date: 4.4kg

May 4, 2021

Second Man: Ho!

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I'm dining out at a Cantonese restaurant located in a hotel for the second night in a row.  This time, though, the dinner was organized for the Peanut Gang... and I finally got a chance to see for myself why KC has been a long-time fan of Chef Jayson Tang (鄧家濠) of Man Ho Chinese Restaurant (萬豪金殿) at the JW Marriott Hong Kong.

The menu was pre-arranged with the chef, and no doubt KC informed him about The Arrogant Prick being in the house.  With a disappointing dinner last night, I was hoping that things would turn out very differently tonight. 

They certainly did.

Our welcome drink was made with purple onion and lemon, tasted of a little honey, and was meant to boost immunity.

The amuse bouche was a mix of green papaya with passion fruit.

May 3, 2021

First Man: Wah!

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Ninja's back in town and finally out of quarantine, so we arranged to meet up over a Cantonese meal.  I have been curious about Man Wah (文華廳) after their much-ballyhooed renovation, and since none of us had visited the restaurant in its new incarnation, I figured we could go scratch that itch.

I normally don't pay too much attention to the decor of the restaurant, but I must agree with Ninja that the new ambience is very laowai (老外)... i.e. what a Caucasian would imagine Chinese decor should be.  Locals would take one look at the blue and think of 死人藍, but hey... when it comes to interior design, I know iron bar meh?

I informed our server upfront that I had zero interest in any of the tasting menus put together by the restaurant, as these are rarely interesting to me while dining at Cantonese restaurants.  As we were getting together for our visitor, it was only right that she pick out a few dishes that she wanted to try.  I had never really properly tried the cuisine of Chef Wong Wing-Keung (黃永強), although he seems quite beloved by the local foodie community.

I was pretty hungry, so these candied walnuts came in pretty handy.

Deep-fried matsutake mushroom pudding (松茸戈渣) - we started with a dish that's been all over social media.  I love these old school deep-fried custards, and wouldn't dream of passing up the chance to taste them.


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