Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chicken Omakase at Gallus

I couldn't believe when I asked the hotel concierge to help book a seat at Torishiki, a Michelin one-starred Yakitori restaurant in Meguro, they came back and told me the place's fully booked until the end of the year (note it's only early November at that time). As an alternative, they suggested Gallus, a new restaurant opened late last year by the same owner, located just across the street.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Selling at Island East Markets

C and I have been going to Island East Markets quite regularly since when it first started late last year - enjoying the many stalls selling artisan food products and fresh, seasonal and local produce, as well as many interesting events happening every Sunday right at our neighborhood.

The idea of setting up our own stall at the market came from casual conversations among ourselves and some friends, and came to materialize when the kind folks at Island East Markets (IEM) granted us stalls for 2 Sundays in October and our friend V, aka HKFashionGeek, of Sparks Studios agreed to share the stall with us. We figure it's more fun doing this with more people.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Small fish in a much bigger pond - Isana Sushi Bar

I resorted to what must have been the most authoritative source of dining reviews, the Gentlemen's Quarterly (aka GQ), for ideas on new Japanese restaurants to try in Tokyo, and they pointed me to this sushi-ya in Roppongi, which was rated one of the best new sushi restaurants by the Japanese edition of the magazine recently.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Epilogue - Calling it even at The Pen

I felt obliged to share what happened after our dinner at Gaddi’s last month. Two days after my rant about the poor service we received at the restaurant – a fully justifiable one, I must reiterate – I received an email of apology from The Pen people, acknowledging the issues we have complained about as gracefully as I could imagine, and they even offered to make it up with another dinner at the restaurant. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Contribution to a Potluck Dinner

A good friend of ours invited us to their house for a potluck dinner recently, during which each family - there were 6 families of us - would contribute one dish and a matching wine each. I thought long and hard about what to make and decided on a small dish inspired by Japanese kaiseki cuisine. That was served as one of the three appetizer courses that evening.

Umami is known as one of the five basic taste elements and what I made was loaded with that savory, fresh sensations on the taste buds, by combining umami-rich ingredients such as crabs, shrimps, kelp, bonito flakes and miso. It's a shrimp dumpling in crab miso soup.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Birthday Night at The Principal

This year, I spent my birthday night with dinner at The Principal in Wanchai. We dined at the restaurant a couple years ago just after its opening, had a lovely dinner there but never managed to return since, so I was quite excited about coming here again, just to see how the restaurant evolved with all the accolades earned since then (including the Michelin one-star awarded last year).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Japanese in Taipei - Gyodoike

I keep hearing friends singing praises to Japanese food in Taiwan, saying it's much better than that in Hong Kong and at a fraction of the price, so I was eager to find out during a recent short business trip to Taipei. I consulted the blog by my friend Peter, aka The Growing Boy, before setting sight on Gyodoike (魚道生), which he recommended as "one of his favorites". So I gave them a call a few days in advance and make the reservation for dinner on my day of arrival.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hospice de Beaune Wine Dinner

A couple of weeks ago we were at the table for Hospice de Beaune wine dinner co-organized by Hip Cellar, owned by one of our friends EY. Other than the state-of-the-art wine storage facilities and event space at this industry building location in Tin Hau (I wasn't paid to say this, just to make it clear), under the same roof is Ta Pantry, a speakeasy/private kitchen by Chef Esther, where the wine dinner was held.

I have been to Ta Pantry a couple of times this year already (the thoughts after the first visit are here), and quite impressed with the innovative cooking style and its food, so I don't mind coming for a third time, especially the menu and the wines for the evening sound very enticing.