Sunday, February 9, 2014

Nocturne, Hong Kong

I'd like to say...This has been the longest absence from my food blog. As my outings have been picking back up as of lately and I've finally adjusted better to my Hong Kong life, there is no excuse to not be here again. From the encouragement of friends and other bloggers, I'd like to thank the coolest chick Thatfoodcray for telling me to keep writing. I'm glad to have met so many cool kids as of lately such as Hkepicurus, deeseebecoup, BeckyMargaret, etc. Being back in HK has given me a whole encounter of new experiences, not only at work but on my personal end. Meeting so many new people!

As of lately I've been doing a lot of bar hopping, rediscovering Hong Kong, but one of my favourites is Nocturne, recommended by my good friend Kai Ching. Nocturne hasn't been open for long but it's already attracting a crowd who appreciates fine wines and whiskey/whisky's. With it's Japanese hidden bar concept and beautiful cellar upstairs, it sure attracts a full booking on many days. Best reserve a table if you plan on having more than 4+ people at least 2 hours ahead.

As a wine lover, I have fallen in love, and as a growing whisky drinker, it has given unlimited choices on international/Japanese blended and single malt's.

 Formosa - Flavour of the night: Pineapple sorbet champagne

Persephona - Berries sorbet Champagne

Ichirio Malt - Chichibu: The peated

The experienced staff are always consistent with their drinks. If you're looking for a cocktail, ask them to whip you up their drink of the day. For sweet drinks their Formosa and Persephona, both frozen sorbet champagne cocktails are delicious with fresh juices.

I love their wine selection as they have daily specials. Its vast range includes French selections to Japanese white wines, which is rare in HK! I have photos of the cellar upstairs but I'll leave the mystery to you since it's definitely something to check out, just sayin'.

The whiskey/whisky selection is wide in variety. Though I appreciate many different type of malts, I'm more of a peated kind of girl like Laphroaig in mind, but I decided to go with something cleaner and neater to the buds.

I think I've been here at least 7-8 times within this month of January-February and I'm definitely becoming a regular as Carlos recognizes me by now! Its a rather intimate setting and a place to keep to yourself as it has limited amount of seats, but I'm not one to withhold a worthy bar to go to. While you pay a grand price of drinking out in HK on average $300 - $500 HKD for a 2-3 drinks, you may not always get quality like Nocturne at the same price. Nor will you get the relaxing jazz filled environment.

If you ever go, you'll see me there on the weekends without doubt..

Monday, August 12, 2013

Per Te, Bangkok, Thailand

During my week in Bangkok I really didn't do much aside seeing family and walking the malls. I'm going to be honest and say that the Thai palate has really gone downhill since I was last there. Thai people have gotten too used to eating more sauce than actual flavours, meaning when the food comes they add a lot of chilli, sugar, peppers, fish sauce, and you end up with a muck of nothing. But the good news is the fresh fruits, coconuts, sticky rice, and flat rice noodles are still up to par.

Aside from all that we took a short walk down from our hotel on Lang Suan road towards Nguan Lee, and found this particular cafe/Italian Restaurant called Per Te (Visit their facebook for more info). It was a really peculiar little shop because it was located on a residential property. Pretty much built on a corner of it.

Turns out this little location was built out of love from the very person who lived on that property, Chonlada. She began her business in 2004 for 4 years, but closed it in 2008 for family reasons. She recently reopened her business since February 2012. Per Te has always been a popular location for ordering birthday cakes and a good location for regulars to stop by for a nice lunch. Our first visit was short for an afternoon tea/coffee.
Per Te's chayenne cake is very well done. Soft, not too sweet, full of tea flavour, and definitely feels homemade. If there was little less icing that would be top notch. We shared one between 3 and ordered one more.
Because their main focus isn't on coffee, you can't blame them for using illy's but it wasn't half bad, and it was so beautifully done! Look at that pretty foam with that cinnamon stick on my cappuccino =D. Makes me happy at least. This place isn't pricey at all, for the price of about $150HKD, we had 3 coffee's and 2 cakes. How is that even expensive when afternoon tea in HK can go up to 150/person.

My parents and I wanted to go and try their lunch set which was about $180HKD/person. The meal included starting salad/soup, main, coffee/tea, and dessert. They have a variety choices on their menu and these were my picks.
Caesar Salad with a dash of mustard in their dressing
Shrimp with Spaghetti in Pesto sauce
Brownie slice with Vanilla ice cream

If you plan on having a big fancy meal then don't come here. But if you plan on having a relaxing lunch with home-cooked and comfort flair, this is the place for you. We sat there for a 2 hour lunch on Wednesday and no one disturbed us. I'm quite sure this is only doable on a weekday, from what it seems their weekends sounds packed. The caesar salad has a nice little kick with the mustard and it's not heavily dressed. It comes with a good amount of bacon, eggs, and croutons. Per Te doesn't chimp out on ingredients. Pasta felt like home, I love pesto and they did it with that chunky basil pesto type. They added a little heat with some peppers to my pasta and it actually compliments the dish. How could you say no to their cakes? HK has a lot of fancy, high end, and delicious cakes, but at the end of the day a nice home made style cake is really where it's at.
I'm jealous because my dad is going back next month, and before we left their shop Chonlada even offered to teach my mom and I how to make her cakes on Sundays. I'd love to go back on a weekend!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Recent Travel...Bangkok, Thailand!

This has been a very interesting year for me as I have traveled many times between the last 7 months. This trip that I made to Thailand has been extremely impromptu and prompted by my parents. My dad's intention was to go back and see the family, especially on my Aunt's post-bypass surgery visit. I honestly have seen my Aunt's in 7 years or have I been back. We used to go back every year, now that we're all older and busier there just hasn't been the time. Now that my dad's retirement as approached his decision whatever he likes! Since I haven't found a job and my funemployment has been trailing along...why not tag along!

We stayed at Hotel Muse located on Lang Suan Road in the Pathu Wan district. Very convenient location, located in the smack of the road, 5 minutes walk to Central Chidlom department store and the Skytrain. Beautiful hotel as well, too bad I didn't snap some shots.

First stop off the road is never far when it comes to food for my family! At the end of Lang Suan Road was a VERY familiar Thai-Chinese restaurant called "Nguan Lee (源利)" - pronounced - oon Lee in Thai. This location has been around for a very long time, my dad has been coming here for 30 years.
The many things I like about this place is it's low key atmosphere. I don't mean White style of low-key. Like old school Chinese-Thai style low key where it's one of those ugly places but they're so special in their own ways.
This place used to be packing as hell, but since the owner has to give up the shop next March 2014 back to the King he has slowly reduced business. That doesn't deter guys like my dad and old regulars to come back because some old habits just don't change. When you go to Thailand there's one veggie you never ignore...
Phat bong fai deng! Stir-fried water spinach..or some call it Morning Glory. The old secret to a great Phat bong? Using pork fat to stir-fry it. But a lot of places have stopped using it. Still tastes just as good.
The one thing you have to order when you come here are their giant fishballs. They're slightly bigger than the size of a ping pong ball. Worth it. Fresh fishballs, not that crap you get manufactured. This is what we're here for. We had 2 orders of it. You can also order it it without the soup, just fishballs on a plate. Because there were only 3 of us we didn't order the Crab with vermicelli, that is also a good dish there! Actually they have a lot of good dishes, Egg stir-fried crab, Thai beef salad...I could go on.

Price is cheap for $200HKD,lots of fishballs, congee, and veggie dishes later, the 3 of us were very satisfied. I suggest you give it a try before it closes.

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Recent Travels and Brief Recommendations

This I should have posted a while ago. Since leaving North America I have been to Hunan, Shanghai, and Penang. Hunan really didn't have much to offer as I joined a tour with my parents to see the famous Zhang Jia Jie, Hallelujah Mountains, the one you see in the movie Avatar. Tiring trip as you ride many hours on the bus until your butt is sore and can't sit no more. But once you're there, you realize it's something to see at least once in your lifetime. The view is beautiful.

I was in Shanghai for some freelance work though I did discover some great places to hangout, If you're into custom fixie bikes Factory5 is the place for you. The mass amount of flat land in Shanghai allows for bike riding the most enjoyable and the city is very bike friendly. Join them every Tuesday at their shop for a friendly mass bike ride at night. Most bikers who gather are fixie feens and have bought their bike from that shop. Great crowd of people. Visited some old favourites like Old Jesse Restaurant. Must go and must order their braised pork belly in soya sauce and their drunken fish. Always has a line up so do book ahead of time. Sadly I didn't get to go to Jia Jia Tang bao for some awesome Xiao Long Baos. My friends who moved up there along with my sister and her boyfriend, showed me some places like Bocado, a Spanish restaurant, Bikini, a sandwich and hotdog hangout, Yuan Nightclub (great cocktails and good house music by my friend Sunny Ting), The Apartment (wasn't our scene in particular. We left after 10 minutes but I'm sure it's fun nevertheless), Malabar (I particularly like, great beer selection), Potato Republic (the fries shop I shot at, good snacking food. Does great poutine outside of Canada!) and Scarpetta (the restaurant I also shot at), you must go! I highly recommend this Italian restaurant. The price is on the higher end but you sure won't be disappointed. Also listed as a top 5 restaurant to eat at in Shanghai. Owner/Chef Jon Liu is a perfectionist. If you don't like something always let him know, he's always aiming to do better. A preview to the restaurant shots I did...
Look out for the coming posts on my traveling =).

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sanraku at Metreon, San Francisco

As my trip was nearing Carolyn and I spent our last meal together before my flight back to Hong Kong. We were feeling something seafood like and landed at one of her favourite spots in town, Sanraku. I'm not going to lie, I love my sashimi to death. Not the smartest choice to eat too much fish but I much prefer it over chunks of steak.
Starting off with some super fresh oysters with ponzu sauce...
A fresh seafood miso filled with sea bass, clams, and fresh king crab. Beautifully aromatic and clean.

A selection of our favourite sushi's Hamachi toro, kanpachi, amaebi, Mirugai, Hotate - Creamiest I've eaten in a long while. I am not a big fan of Uni. Something about the texture but there are certain uni's I can take sometimes, and this is one of them. BEAUTIFUL. Creamy without being overly pungent, but also fresh at the same time. I didn't pay for the bill but I do know that it came up to around $120USD. It's not a cheap place but it's a GOOD place. Definitely worth trying if you want quality sushi.
And to end the trip...? In-N-Out, no better way than making a full circle.
Singapore Airlines is the way to go...LOVE their seats, service, and flight. To the West Coast, I miss you. I cried on the plane and I will still cry right now while sitting at home. 7 years of great times in Vancouver. I honestly hated Vancouver at first. For the first 1.5 years I was not fond of you. You grew on me and I grew to love it so much I ended up staying longer than I intended. An end to a part of my life also starts a new beginning elsewhere. Asia you look out. I'm traveling again soon...VERY SOON.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tartine Bakery and Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco

What to do on a Sunday? Walk out on a good day and do some afternoon food and neighborhood exploration. As a friend from college did her internship at Tartine Bakery, it only felt right to visit the place and try out its famous breads and desserts. Bi-Rite Creamery is in the same neighbourhood and recommended by Carolyn. Luckily both spots were just 2 blocks from each other within the Mission District. Off to Missions I went! Missions is a very interesting neighbourhood, and much like Vancouver's Kitsilano. I stepped off a block too early off the bus and ended up having to walk down to 18th through a rather sketchy area. Once you get pass those 2 blocks though you're in the clear and it's beautiful skies, landing in hipsterville.
Tartine has no particular large sign, but you can tell where it is by its line up. As told the line up is always this long. I tried look through everything with my eyes. It's not because the menu is long but I wanted to try everything! It's really hard when it's just one person!
Though I really should have gotten the cookies, brownies or whatever else I ended up ordering something I was partial to, a Lemon Square, and it was amazing. I couldn't finish it on the spot so I took the rest home...once I got home it was gone in no time.
I'm not ashamed to say I ate my meal in reverse because the Sandwich took a while to come. I don't blame them though their lines are ridiculous. The amount of people who come and go are insane. I ended up ordering a Jambon Royale & Gruyère hot pressed sandwich.
I should have known how big the portions were considering looking at everyone around me, 3 sides of a sandwich. Definitely wasn't going to finish it. I ended up packing up 1/3 of it. I gotta say it's pretty standard but the touch of mustard really made it and the bread is amazing. Must go for the baked goods at Tartine. If I ever go back? It's the Croque Monsieur, seems like everyone was having that.
If you walk down another 2 blocks of 18th, you'll hit a corner where the park is and you'll see a massive line up that leads to Bi-Rite Creamery. From what I hear the line is always there no matter when and what time you go. Aside from ice-cream they have plenty of other choices and daily flavours. But they were known for their salted caramel and I wanted to taste it. In all honesty I never had salted caramel ice cream before.
I was pleasantly surprised by the rush of sweetness. The salt really made that sweetness explode. Maybe a little tooo sweet for me. Good thing I asked for a scoop of vanilla below which mellowed out the caramel a little. Why couldn't I have another stomach or something. If someone else was with me I could have tried a bunch of other flavours they had. Lets hope I come back to SF in the near future, I'd love to try more of their other things. So tempted to buy their book. It's beautiful!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Scoma's, San Franscisco

I was going to refuse another meal from my parents friends but they weren't having any of it. My dad's buddy loves this places call Scoma's, and I knew it was going to be good since his taste buds are pretty picky. Turns out one of his buddies is a waiter there, so we got a nice table by the water. It's always good to know someone! Since Scoma's has a no reservation policy, we went around 6.30 to insure we got our spot.
Scoma's is not an easy place to scope out if you're just walking along and looking out for a restaurant to eat at. It is located in a nook of a space by the harbour of Fisherman's Wharf. The restaurant has been open for over 40 years and is family owned. Quality has been kept good throughout the years. We tried some simple but standout dishes.
Clam Chowder
Seafood Salad
Steamed clams
Ahi Tuna
Hands down, best clam chowder I've ever had. Perfectly creamy and had good amounts of filling in it. They don't chimp out on their ingredients at all. I like salad but somehow this one didn't impress me much. I wasn't much for the thousand island dressing, I'm more a vinegarette kind of person. Can't say much about it other than fresh! That Ahi tuna?? OHHHHH as bad as it is seared in tons of butter and garlic, it is oh so delishhhh. I could totally have it all to myself and that's a pretty big slab of tuna. Desserts are also good at Scoma's. They make a pretty good lemon tart. We also had this berries with burgundy ice cream. Damn I can't find a photo of it but if you see it on the menu, try it!