Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Goodies 2010

My Christmas goodies this year is ice cream again.  :) Flavors are: earl grey tea, jasmine tea, oolong tea, vanilla with Oishi pillows, lavender (no sugar), cardamom, Sauternes, and black sesame.

Package 1: stack of 6.
Package 2: Box of 8.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 3 & 4: Stuffed, Satisfied, and Grateful

I started the day with the intention of doing a yoga class but when the alarm went off, I just opted to go back to bed and sleep…..hey, it’s a vacation. 

So today, we started the day off with lunch at Din Tai Fung.  I love the noodles in this place.

Coupon #6: Frozen yogurt at YoMaMa…green tea with strawberries and Oreos.  I like the yogurt here because it’s not so sour.  The places in Manila don’t offer strawberries and when they do, it just looks sad.   And the Oreos….I just can’t resist, it goes nicely with the green tea.  
For dinner we went to 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Central.  It’s an Italian place that’s known for truffles which also happens to be in season.  We decided to share a couple truffle dishes.
Bread to dip in  olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Before the truffle dishes, our starters came. I had the artichoke soup that I eyed on the lunch menu.  I’ve never seen restaurants offer artichoke soup and I love artichokes so I had to ask if it’s still available for dinner. What a delight that it was! I loved the dish so much I was trying to scrape off every drop in the bowl.

The truffle cart came to our table.  It had our dishes, the truffle bowl, the truffle shaver, and Chef Bombana to shave the truffles.

I have a thing for half cooked and runny eggs.  Truffles and eggs make the perfect pair so when I had  my first spoonful of this, I was in heaven.  We shared the dish between two people which was just right.  If I had the whole dish on my own, it might’ve been too rich.
We also shared the pasta, nothing too special.
Petit Fours
I really enjoyed this place.  The staff was really knowledgeable and friendly.  It felt very comfortable even though it’s a fancy place.

To end the night we skipped dessert in 8 1/2 and went back to Riquiqui.
It’s not always about going to a nice place or just eating good food, but about the total experience that counts most.  I have a thing for personal touches and Riquiqui is full of it.  Sitting on the bar feels comfortably intimate; it’s easy to chat with the company we are with, chat with the girls working as we watch them at work.  The girls are full of energy and so easy to talk to.  What I like most though is that the place and the food come from a sincere place and that is why the desserts are delicious.  As we spent time here and ate the desserts, the feeling that stands out for me is that there is genuine love of food, making it, and sharing it, which is what makes me want to come back.
That’s the end of day 3 which marks the end of the coupons.  

Today is day 4 which marks the end of the trip.  I've been to Hong Kong many times, but this is the first time I've been to Soho and Lang Kwai Fong, which are both fun places to be at.  I enjoyed it very much..  It's a completely different experience compared to my usual humdrum Hong Kong trips.  I can finally say I like going to Hong Kong.  It's definitely one of the best and memorable presents I've received; it's right up there with my first ice cream maker and L'Arpege meal. I feel very lucky and grateful.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 2 of Treats!

It is day 2 of coupon trip!!  I started the day early with a yoga class and that’s as healthy as the day gets….
We headed out to 208 Duecento Otto for lunch.  It’s an Italian restaurant on Hollywood Road in Central with bold flavors and super interesting interiors.   The girls from Riquiqui, advised us not to order drinks because it would be a glass full of ice and as we watched the drinks pass us by, they were so right!  I tried not to eat such a heavy meal because I was looking forward to dinner.

I loved this Pomodori Uovo.  It has tomatoes, garlic, a poached egg, and pecorino cheese.  Simple enough yet jam packed in flavor intensity.
 My plate with arugula salad.
  The artichokes on this were yummy! The fish I didn't try.
 Mushroom pizza from the wood fired oven!

Dessert didn't really like this ice cream, I forgot what flavor it was....I think passion fruit or maybe saffron?? Hmm......  :p

Coupon #4: Bubble tea!!!!!! This is my favorite bubble tea place in Causeway bay.  There is no brand name to it and totally local.  Flavor-wise it beats all the other places surrounding it.

Coupon #5:  Dinner at AMBER! This restaurant won restaurant of the year or something like that, but I was more excited about the fact that the executive chef here trained with Alain Passard of L’Arpege, where I’ve had my most memorable meal. 
There were 2 choices, the 5 course truffle menu or the 8 course degustation full of signature dishes.  We opted for the truffle menu because it was lighter and truffles are in season and I believe we made the right choice.  I cheated because the vegetarian options didn’t look so appetizing.   I loved that the server on his own initiative consulted the kitchen and came back to give me options and suggestions to remove or replace certain ingredients with heavier meats. 

This dish is mozzarella on oxtail jell-O with truffles and sourdough….drooling again! :)

Other dishes:
Poullard bresse, my least favorite dish of the night.  Although it was very soft, it wasn't cooked evenly, there were still veins, and it was too "fleshy" for me.

This was my favorite dish of the night.  The pasta was like risotto and the flavors  just complement each other; perfectly executed and perfectly balanced.

We changed the dessert to their chocolate souffle with dark chocolate sorbet.  It was good, but I found it too much and I wished it was more chocolaty.  I could only finish half.
Then the petit fours came……oh the petit fours!!!!! I loved the chocolate madeleines, the lemon tart, and the macaroons.  I wish I had more room in my stomach to eat it all.
It was truly a wonderful night of food.  I’ve never experienced such good quality truffles shaved in front of me and at liberal amounts. This meal is one that will be forever remembered! 
To sum it up….it was a delicious day!!!    I'm such a bogi, not a yogi....sigh....oh well...Day 3 here I am!!!!! :p

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 1 of HK Food Trip & Birthday Present

I’m on another food trip!!! Yay!
This trip is one of the best birthday presents I’ve gotten and have been so excited for it the last few months.  This present is a trip to Hong Kong!! It’s a package filled of coupons with airfare, hotel, and good food!!! It feels like I won the lottery or some sort of contest.
Coupon #1: Flight to Hong Kong.  Vacation and food here we come!!!

Coupon #2, we used for dinner last night.  We ate at a private dining place called Liberty Private Works.  I really enjoyed this dinner.  The place is small and feels intimate.
There is only one seating per night and one menu per night. I ordered the vegetarian meal and was a little worried I might get disappointed, but the food was done well and the flavors on the plates were fun and easy to enjoy.  I like watching the guys at work as they work so quietly and efficiently; watching them plate and cook and smelling what they cook.  It adds excitement and anticipation for the dish coming.  Another thing nice about this place is that you can bring your own bottle of wine.

Seaweed Crackers:

 Red Pepper with Pineapple Soup
 Chef at work.

Scallop with edamame
 Red beet salad.

 Pumpkin risotto with spiced walnuts.
 Poached salmon with potato salad and haricot verts.

 My favorite dish was the mushrooms with spinach and gnocchi in brown butter.  A little oily……but the flavors completely shine.
 Passion fruit sorbet with cream cheese ice cream.
 Mascarpone sabayon with chocolates and cookie crumbs. :)

After dinner, we went one floor down to Riquiqui for 3 courses of desserts.  We were quite stuffed from the dinner upstairs, yet the desserts here were delicious and made so well that I finished everything on my plates!  The girls were so pleasant to chat with which made the experience even better.

The place is quite dark, so the pictures aren't as clear.
Menu board for second course.
 Firs course, malt mousse with chocolate balls.
 Warm amurala cake, better than sticky toffee pudding!
 Rasberry Napolean.
Chocolate Cake

 Petit fours to end the meal.

Day 1 is over and I hope one day I’ll come back to these places on another trip to Hong Kong. On to day 2….. :)