Saturday, December 22, 2007

a great evening

嘩! 原來係握手位嚟架!

[jan 08] after thought: oh, that's posted after watching the gigi concert. here's one of the pictures posted by somebody in a public forum - courtesy of

Sunday, December 9, 2007

fantasy ceo

i know i have been slacking with blogging lately...

recently in one of my classes, we have to participate in this business simulation game called capsim. basically it's a computer-based simulation game, in which you play the ceo of a manufacturing company. during the game, you need to make strategic decisions on different aspects of the business, including r&d, marketing, finance, manufacturing, human resources and quality control. and the computer will play the roles of your competitor companies, and simulate the results for each year/round based on the decisions you made.

so essentially this is a fantasy ceo game, and your success is measured by a number of indicators - including stock price, market capitalization, roa, ros, profit, etc... basically a balanced score card approach.

so far we are already into the 8th and final round. you may think what's the big deal - it's just a homework assignment... but you have no idea how much time my classmates are willing to spend trying to do well and beat out others. as for myself, i did find it kinda fun and exciting, and i've been lucky enough to do decently well - not the best, but definitely good enough to pass the course. ha ha.

this easily is one of the most enjoyable courses in the entire program. thanks ted!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

it's out!

the michelin red guide for tokyo's out! now tokyo has became the most star-studded city with all the restaurants reviewed given at least one star. all together 8 restaurants were awarded three stars (more than new york), 25 with two, and 117 with one.

with the new releases of tokyo, las vegas and los angeles guides in november, joel robuchon overtook alain ducasse and gordon ramsay as the chef with most michelin stars. he won 10 in this week alone (2 3-stars for joel robuchon in vegas and tokyo, 2 2-stars for l'atelier in vegas and tokyo, plus one star for tokyo's l'table). ramsay's tokyo outpost at conrad failed to get a star this time, and alain ducasse's new york restaurant was dropped from the guide this year because of its relocation.

personally, i added 4 stars to my restaurant list - spago(2) and matsuhisa(1) in los angeles and nobu(1) in las vegas. michelin also confirmed that there will be an additional guide for an asian city next year - could that be hong kong? we probably will find out in around spring time.

oh full list for tokyo can be found here, if you are interested.

Friday, November 16, 2007

stay tuned

france's esteemed michelin guide next week launches its first edition outside the Western world in Tokyo, where the project has stirred intense interest but also concerns about eurocentrism.

the michelin reviewers, who can make or break chefs in europe, have an intimidating task in Tokyo, which has at least 160,000 restaurants, more than any other city in the world.

the tokyo version of the famous red book will be unveiled on monday and published in both japanese and english. sixty-five per cent of the restaurants covered serve japanese cuisine, with most of the rest french, said jean-luc naret, the global director of michelin guides...

(from the strait times, singapore, november 15 2007)

More details can be found here:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

unified communications

it all sounds very rosy of what unified communications can bring - at least that's what tech firms such as microsoft, cisco or nortel are trying to tell us: with a click of the mouse you can connect to a colleague whether one's on the road or in office, a voice mail message left on your office extension will be delivered to you by email instantly and retrievable from your pda; instant messaging is no longer for casual chit-chat with friends but for serious interactive business collaborations across nations without long-distance charges; and you can control your schedule, set up meetings, retrieve contact information... all by "talking" to a voice-enabled communications server, from anywhere and in any way you like. But my question is, is it what we need, or are we ready for it?

my arguments against this come two-fold. first, a major problem we are currently facing is information overload and further convergence in communications means is unlikely to solve this, if not aggrevate the problem. how many of us already got hooked on blackberry, as well as your mobile phone, pda, laptop etc etc. these days more often than not we are receiving repeating or non-necessary information through redundant means, instead of not able to be reached and contacted - just look at your blackberry, how many of those emails really did require immediate attention and how many can wait til next day in office? now we know how the stock market does every day through email alert, sms alert, multiple websites and financial news channels, words of mouth, tv screen on the street... is that even necessary?

without a true universal access solution - under which each individual should only have a single "identifier" (which will replace email address, phone number, msn messenger handle, etc) and possibly one single device which can perform multiple functions - we are still in the world of too many numbers, too many devices and too much information to be digested and processed. before that can happen, i don't see much point or value of any further convergence of widely-used communication means.

second, further convergence based on the current ip network will probably leave us more vulnerable to any unexpected breakdown and create a single point of failure as we are trying to put more eggs in the same basket. remember the tsunami that severed the cross-pacific internet connection between hk and usa and led us into a virual blackout for a couple of weeks? just think what would be like if telephone services were affected at the same time as well - which would have been real if phone is exclusively based on voip network. thank god it doesn't, at least for now. currently, as we have experienced in the last episode, we don't have a satisfactory solution to this yet, by having an alternative and viable path for our ip-based network infrastructure.

so my answer to the original question i raised is - yes, we do need it, but probably not now. there are still further study and research needed to bring about the optimal level of connectivity and information richness for individual. advancements need to be made in our network infrastructure, software applications, implementation road-map and business value proposition in order to make a convincing case for business to make such investment and adapt such technology.

some of the features available today (for example, integration between voice mail and email) do provide convenience in some ways, esp for people constantly on the road, but to get to the level of perfect unified communications and connectivity - as the vendors depicted - we still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the best $18 can buy

and yes that's hongkong dollar we are talking about. fyi, this is the special promotion at m at the fringe for their 18th anniversary, til November 18. wow time flies. can't believe m's already 18 years old!

Monday, November 12, 2007


did i mention i really hate exams? and it certainly didn't help change this feeling as recently i have to sit in three tough ones within a short period of time. anyway, to my surprise and miraculously, somehow the results turned out to be much more okay than i expected. not exactly with flying colors but at least presentable, but i know i am not the one that made that happened. oh well, finally i can breath a sigh of relief now - cuz failing in any of those would mean i have to go through that hell once again.

arhhh... now i can't wait til next spring when i am done with my master's program. maybe i should start planning where to go for golf after that. next year for sure i will keep on playing through the scorching heat in summer (as my type of redemption). and 6 weeks before christmas!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

a night of jazz

haven't had a chance to update my blog lately, so i am going to share with you some nice jazz music that we enjoyed over the weekend at a concert.

Friday, October 12, 2007

alpha testimony

last tuesday i was asked to share in our church's alpha course. and the night before that as i was digging through my heart trying to figure out what to say, this particular dialogue in a movie suddently came to mind -

"i am trying to free your mind, neo, but i can only show you the door, you're the one that has to go through it"

that's what morpheus told neo in the movie "the matrix". in a sense, alpha's exactly like that - show you the door, not opening the door for you, nor pushing you through. but first, in order to even spot that "door", you have to free your mind - forget everything about what you thought you know about god, about christianity, about the purpose of life and go through all these issues from afresh during the course.

it so happened that as i joined alpha for the first time 5 years ago, it's at a time of renewal for me - a new home, a new life, a new relationship. i was able to keep a free mind for everything and give this a whole new thought. that, i think, is the key ingredient of why i think alpha's such a great personal experience.

in case you wonder what alpha's about, here my previous blog entry on it:

Monday, September 17, 2007

almost like white hart lane

this is saturday night when my friend r and i went out to watch the big spurs vs arsenal game with a bunch of spurs lads. what a turnout.

btw, the picture was taken from just to give proper credit to the original picture source.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

golden rule

these cannot be more right... just that many people still didn't realise it. sigh.

golden rule of project management

1. it takes one woman nine months to have a baby. but it cannot be done in one month by impregnating nine women.
2. nothing is impossible – for the person who doesn't have to do it.
3. you can con a sucker into committing to an impossible deadline, but you cannot con him into meeting it.
4. a user will tell you anything you ask, but nothing more.
5. what is not on paper has not been said.
6. i know that you believe that you understand what you think i said, but i am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.
7. there are no good project managers - only lucky ones.
8. fast, cheap and good – you can only have two.
9. anything that can be changed will be changed until there is no time left to change anything.
10. only two things are as certain as project over-runs – death and taxes.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

h one

we closed out august with a visit to h one at ifc, with cyy and our friends d and h. harlan g's perhaps the most successful restauranteur in town since the turn of the century and h one, located on the podium floor of ifc, is his latest venture. that has brought up our expectation a little bit, but then, with his portfolio thinning up so rapidly in the last few years (he grew from a single outlet to five restaurants and a bar!), we sorta know what we are getting into.

this evening we picked the 5-course tasting menu - that's what we came for anyway in the first place so this is a no-brainer. it came with a starter, soup, pasta, choice of entree (fish or beef) and dessert. overall, the food's decent, portion's nice, nothing too creative or out of the line, but then nothing worth the "woos" and "wahs" either... sorta like when you are in a 7-inning stretch and up 3-nothing, all you want to do is to avoid doing anything stupid, throw some fastballs here and there, and close out the match.

i personally like the appetizer of salmon tartar with caviar - it's a simple dish but i just like it. can't complain about the rest but nothing to praise particularly either. i picked the oven-roasted sea bass as entree but i heard some good comments of the grilled beef that cyy and d picked. i continued to crave for a full-bodied chardonnay - don't know why - so the chassagne montrachet's just perfect for me.

the menu's grandly named "ultimate dining experience", or the tasting menu as you may say, but to us, it's more like a very expensive "AB餐" with sorta everything being thrown in a set. but considered the price, the location, the decor, and the amount of food we got, it still turned out to be a decent deal and a good evening out for us. one of those "been there done that" places - and again, you can't fairly comment on a restaurant til you actually tried it. think we will return? that's hard to say.

august 1, m at the fringe. august 31, h one. what a way to start and end a month, and i am ready to kiss summer goodbye any time now - just can't stand the heat anymore.

and oh, what's supposed to be a dinner for four turned into a long table with nine people... well, that's just another story. it's a small world after all.

when? august 31 2007
where? h one, ifc
menu highlights? wild salmon tartar, caviar and chopped organic egg salad
drinks? verget chassagne montrachet pimont 2004

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

the opening

i just realise that i didn't leave a blog entry about the new season of english premier league since it started 2 weeks ago... of course, one of the obvious reasons is i have been disheartened by my team losing 3 of the first 4 games, plus the manager replacement saga, rumor departure of our best striker, yaddi yaddi yadda. definitely not a good way to start this season with such high hope originally. it's so not fun crawling out of bed in the middle of the night to see them lost to everton at home one early wednesday morning.

what's more, our strikers (starter or reserves) still haven't opened the scoring account this season - that included the likes of keane, berbatov, darren bent and defoe. with such talent in the line-up, it's unbelievable. sigh. let's hope they will wake up soon with a bang - as there are a number of tough games ahead (including one against arsenal in mid-september, and the start of uefa cup campaign)

the only thing that's comforting to know is last year we had a woeful start too (winning only 1 of the first 6) but ended up in the 5th place. of course that's not what we want to see repeating, but it did give us a reason to stay hopeful. and i am sure at the end of the day, the spurs will still go marching on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

tasting menu of life

remember one of those occasions that you keep hearing good comments from your friends about a certain restaurant or some other interesting places that they visited? won’t that give you the urge to try it out yourselves too?

how about the true meaning of life? how about christianity? i am sure there are many people around who have been raving about it, talking about the experience in encountering god personally, about how god cares and listens and answers prayers, about how the discovery of jesus’ love and the ultimate sacrifice for us has touched their hearts and changed their lives…

well, you can think of alpha course as the tasting menu of christianity. you are always provided with the best; it’s enjoyable and never stuffy; you get a little bit of different things over a 10-course journey; every course is a surprise and they have everything to do with the essence of christian belief, the gospel message and what it has to do with every one of us.

well our church is going to host a new series of alpha in september – it’s a 10-week course, covering topics such as what christianity is about, who jesus is and why he died, etc etc. i can testify it's a great value for time when i joined some 5 years ago, changed me from doubting to knowing and growing with the desire to know more.

the first session is going to start on september 18, and more information can be found here or downloaded from here.

just as you can't fairly comment the quality of a restaurant before you even went there once, i challenge everyone to give alpha a try, and you won’t regret the experience no matter what you can get out of it.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"a pain in the neck"

ah... can't get any worse than having a pain in the neck and cold, at the same time. not only i keep sneezing (because of the cold), i am having a hard time turning my head to fetch a kleenex when i do that (because of the neck pain)... at least it's already better than yesterday when i felt the pain even when chewing.

this morning i am going to see a chinese bonesetter (to get my neck fixed) and than a gp (to get my cold fixed), AND GO BACK TO OFFICE IN THE AFTERNOON! sigh.

if you have time, please spare me with a prayer for healing... thanks.

Friday, August 17, 2007

zagat survey

outside of the michelin guides, zagat survey is perhaps the most dependable source of restaurant reviews and ratings. unlike michelin where ratings are determined by a panel of "inspectors", zagat survey's based on feedback from diners (ie you and me!). the ratings were published on a 30-point scale on each of the 3 categories, covering food, decor and services - getting a 28 or above on food is almost as difficult as getting a 3-star from michelin.

well they are going to include hongkong restaurants for the first time, as part of their 2008 china restaurant & hotel guide (just in time for the olympics). and now it's the time to vote! go rate your best restaurant in town at (registration required) if you vote, i think they will send you a guide for free when it's published - that's how i got my boston one a few years back. you have until mid-september to do so.

though it's quite a surprise that they omitted one of the very fine restaurants on their voting sheet...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

thanks, k!

i always know i am quite easy to please... see, just this pic is good enough to keep me happy for the entire evening... =)

okay, the story is, my friend k passed me a vip ticket for a movie premiere, and it so happened that gigi was in the movie and attended the premiere. hence the picture i took.

k, thanks for the ticket! the movie sucks... gigi's still the best though.

Monday, August 6, 2007

burning the midnight oil

three in the morning. sitting in the office. sipping instant coffee in my cubicle. fighting off sleepiness and keeping the fingers crossed.

my uneventful weekend ended with a trip back to office on sunday night/monday morning to make sure some i.t. maintenance work goes smoothly. hopefully by dawn i can go home and get some sleep after verifying everything's fine.

but on my way to work, i heard this song on the radio:

"the splendor of a king, clothed in majesty,
let all the earth rejoice,
all the earth rejoice...
he wraps himself in light, and darkness tries to hide,
and trembles at his voice,
trembles at his voice...
how great is our god, sing with me
how great is our god, and all will see
how great, how great is our god..."

then i suddenly reliase how little did i acknowledge his greatness in everything that i came across. when i look at wonderful things, and when life's been treating me favorably, it's easy to give thanks to god for them. but how about just driving safely on the road, or the fact that i can spend the weekend quietly and enjoy the time with friends? did i just take those for granted?

the midnight stay in office turns out to be a perfect time for reflection, to think of those small things that i am blessed with and should be thankful for. maybe i should keep on singing and praising how great is our god...

Friday, August 3, 2007

first it may not be, second it will not be...

michelle's it is. (paraphrasing a famous, old motto)

if there's such a thing as the most consistent restaurant in hong kong, i would say it has to be m at the fringe in central. in this city where new restaurants come and go before you even notice their existance, and counting on food quality in some places can be like playing russian roulette, michelle's little dining oasis atop the hustle and bustle lan kwai fong stood out against the rest since its opening in 1989.

my love affair with this place started in the summer break after my sophomore year, and since then it's become a place with a lot of fond and interesting memories for me personally. whenever i return, i always feel like i am home. our last visit came this past wednesday, when we celebrated mrs m's birthday (aka daibun). nonetheless, it feels like we were simply finding an excuse to have a good night out rather than to celebrate a special occasion. this evening, i ordered oxtail and ox-tongue terrine, cutely named "head to tail", to start and braised mustard rabbit as my main course. of course, as it's always been, the food never dissappoints. despite the variety of dishes that we collectively ordered, the verdict was unanimous.

and it's almost a crime for anyone to skip dessert here... mr and mrs m tried the grand dessert platter which has a "tiny" bit of everything - more than enough for two - and i ordered the "it takes two to mango" - a hot mango souffle and a cold mango sorbet. what a way to wrap up the evening.

when it comes to naming the best restaurant in town, surely and certainly m will be among those i have in mind. already look forward to next time we visit by the time we walked down the stairs and hailed the taxi home.

when? august 1 2007
where? m at the fringe, 2 lower albert road
occasion? mrs m's birthday
menu highlights? everything!
drinks? chateau laydet-figeac 2000

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

my first year back to school

well, not exactly back to school per se as i am still keeping my day job. but i finally finished my first year with the last exam this past weekend. being a lazy bum as i am, i totally can't remember why one day i suddenly decided to do this, and i am even more surprised that i still keep the energy to move forward one year after (i have a terrible attention span on basically everything)

studying in hongkong is so different than my previous experience in many ways, and going back to school does give you a whole new perspective on how you see things and how you interact with other people. despite giving up my weekends which could have been spent in golf or bangkok, and the hefty tuition which is equivalent to 50 dinners at gaddi's chef's table, i am sure it's all worth it - at least that's what i have been trying to convince myself.

anyway, it's been a fun year with the stuff i picked up on, new friends i made, and time i day-dreamed in the classroom, and the best part is, only 6 months to go. yea!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

a quick look back

i stumbled across this little piece of article that i wrote some 12 years ago on some student newspaper (while in college). funny to realise the world has evolved so much since then.

to give you a better perspective, 1995 was the time when windows 95 was just released, and ie is still in version 2, which barely allowed sounds to be embedded onto websites. that was the time when netscape's still alive, just had its historic ipo (the event for which thomas friedman named as one of the world's flatteners in his book later) and for the first time, has acrobat/pdf plug-in available in its latest version. that was the time when people were still exploring how this new programming language called java's going to do to this world, and there were dreams of web-based, "disposable" softwares. that was the time when amazon just started its online book store business and e-commerce was considered an innovative concept.

today, windows is in its fourth consumer version after 95 (and still as buggy as ever) - 98, me, xp and vista; ie became the lone survivor in the browser war (unless you still count firefox in). netscape is nowhere to be found - so is aol who bought netscape for $4.2b in 1998; java has become an enterprise programming language of choice, contrary to what people first thought; online shopping has become a norm for business and consumer worldwide - it has passed mail order in overall sales last year already; and finally the concept of "disposable" software has gone mainstream with google,, saas (software as a service) concept and alike.

oh wow. only when we slowly looked back do we realise we have gone so far, and how stupid my writing was. ha ha.

united's new c class

united is re-fitting their international business class with flat bed and all (with high-tech amenities such as usb charger and ipod cradle).

looks impressive but i am going to hold my judgment til i actually see it, and i still won't have any expectation on their food, no matter who they got to endorse it. my only complaint is this will make the screen awfully too far to be watched comfortably.

anyway, let's hope they will have it ready on trans-pacific flights by the time we travel to u.s. next year.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


(don't worry - i am not going to give out the ending of you-know-what)

while everyone's already started reading, i am still waiting for my american version order to arrive, and it won't come til aug 1. sigh. anyway, knowing i probably will know the storyline one way or the other before then, i had a peek myself on wikipedia yesterday - just the ending to see who died and how everything came to a close.

all i can say is, from my limited knowledge of it, it makes so much sense - a "fitting closure", according to cnn. well, it's sorta cliché, but hey, what else do you expect? now it makes me look forward to reading the entire book word by word even more. i should start clearing my august schedule to make way for reading. who said summer is not a reading season? ha ha.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

frog face fish. hip. entrepreneur.

monday evening we dropped by to visit our entrepreneur friend mr y's soon-to-be-opened new venture - a travel-themed lounge/cafe/bar/club on wyndham st. it's a long story how we knew each other and how his idea of a brand and venture associated with "hip lifestyle" has evolved and turning into reality, but i am glad to see something's happened at last. i am sure i will write a separate blog about this once it's officially open to business.

anyway, after being amazed at the vast library of travel literature upstairs and a well-equipped private kitchen downstairs, both part of mr y's new creation that can easily rival the travel book section of page one, a gaggenau showroom or any michelin-starred restaurant, we strolled down wyndham and walked in to this funkily-named seafood restaurant and treated ourselves to a randomly pleasant monday dinner there. from the decor, you can tell the proprietor of the restaurant does have a heart and vision for doing things right. it's posh, casual chic and their logo - a fishbone - can be seen in almost anywhere from the back of the chair to the top of the ceiling. i ordered the citrus-poached salmon as first course and grilled tuna as main. both are nicely done - salmon's moist with a balanced taste (not being overtaken by the citrus sauce), while the tuna's flavorful - a bit overdone to my liking but unexpectedly good nonetheless. the other food we tried included the daily soup - which was a chilled tomato and pepper soup, salad greens with grilled shrimp, scallop ravioli and salmon tartare. all received decent acclaims from my fellow diners. we didn't order any wine but they do have a wide variety of whites - from what we saw on the other tables and what came out of the bar - which i am sure is a rarity in town yet totally consistent with its seafood theme.

it's just great to spend the time chatting with old friends, catching up with what's happening in one another's lives, enjoying the good food, and looking forward to greater things to come with this hip travel concept. resonate with my earlier thought that it's who you are with rather than what you are eating that makes a truly delightful evening of dining out. well, unfortunately we didn't take any picture of the food, but with its convenient location and reasonable price, i am sure we will go back some time.

when? july 16 2007
where? frog face fish, 43-55 wyndham street
occasion? a casual monday scroll down wyndham street
menu highlights? char-grilled tuna

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

judgement of paris

i am half-way through this amazing book by a new york times journalist. as the book cover suggests, it's about wine, but it's not just about terroir, nose, bouquet or things like that.

well, the story began in 1976 with a little-known blind tasting event in paris that showcased the best of france and the best of california, and the result was more than shocking (and even embarassing to some people). needless to say, as how all amazing story ends, david beat goliath and the rest is just history. to many (esp the americans), the event's considered to be the turning point that led to the popularization and respect for new world wine still growing to this date.

but the book's more than a mere chronicle of that event - actually the author only spent 5 pages (out of a total 300) describing what happened in that historic day - it went way before from the days of early california settlement, to the decline through the days of prohibition and the "second revolution" of california wine industry after world war ii.

it's also a series of personal stories of the pioneers from all walks of life and all around the world, who shared a vision, chased their dreams, and bit by bit, collectively built napa valley from scratch, and in the process, created a miracle and accomplished the mission impossible. to me, it's particularly interesting to read how those legendary vineyards such as montelena, cakebread and stag's leap wine cellars started.

a chapter was also dedicated to the development of chateaux and vineyards in bordeaux - for example, the author mentioned the first time a "grand cru" estate appears in english literature in as early as 1663, when chateau haut-brion was referred to as "ho bryan". that's a total 200 years before the famous 1885 classification was made. good information for trivia nights.

i certainly recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in wine. it told you so much more than any other books around.

Friday, June 8, 2007

the best of times

"最好, 不是因為最好所以我們眷念不已, 而是倒過來, 是因為永遠失落了, 我們只能用懷念召喚它們, 所以才成為最好."

perhaps this is the ultimate irony of life... 人生往往就是如此, 失落了才憧得珍惜. carpe diem, my friend, and make every new day "the best of your times".

Thursday, May 31, 2007

g for goodbye (for now)

this is not a tribute for a fallen (and risen) friend, as no words are enough to express how much he meant to us and how much we are going to miss him. so it's just to share some random thoughts at this speechless moment.

as one of my fellow bloggers (and friend) commented, the past weeks have been a shock, an emotional roller-coaster ride, a time of mixed feelings, sadness, hope, unity, friendship, mutual support and comfort and a time that we really depended on God and truly felt His presence and love and blessings. and He did answer our prayers. never thought of small and trivial things such as walking on the street or spending time with friends can be a true blessing in disguise.

from the first day i knew you, the day you broke out weeping in front of everyone during the alpha weekend, to this day, you've been an inspiration to me, touch us all in so many ways, and such a sensible, intelligent and cool dude to hang out with. true, during alpha weekend i did think you were such a wimp crying so loudly, but let's just leave that in history. even in the last few days, you never failed to amaze us with the spirit and will to fight on. it's an honor to call you a friend and a brother in Christ.

thank you, adrian, and btw, please tell God we say hi now that you see Him face to face.

Monday, May 21, 2007

weather forecast

i guess a weather forecast cannot be more depressing than this...

source: retrieved may 21 2007 from website.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


always look forward to trying out this "new" italian restaurant, especially good ones are few and far between in hongkong. either they are all too presumptuous, or getting cliche already. i know this is not a particular new restaurant per se, but hey, if we haven't tried it it's new to us.

this evening, we picked the tasting menu, which comes with appetizer, pasta, choice of main dishes (2 selections) and dessert. it's such an obvious choice that we didn't even take a glance at the a la carte menu.

amuse bouche is a green pea soup with white asparagus foam - very light but tasteful. many previous reviews commented on the grissini served with test tubes of dippings - chickpeas, sweet bell peppers and cucumber - well put it this way, i do give marks for its innovativeness. plus the bread is great - it's a huge farmer's bread and i ended up finishing half. sigh - definitely not the way to start losing weight.

next came appetizer, scallops with foie gras and grilled pumpkin. the sweet pumpkin does match well with scallops and foie gras - good idea. squid-ink spaghetti with seafood, our pasta course, is definitely the highlight of the evening. texture's just good, and it came in such abundance - perfect for a squid-ink pasta lover like me.

there are 2 choices for main course - a braised wagyu beef with chantelle mushrooms and red-wine sauce, and sea bass in "aspasia style". we both picked the beef. well, nothing really wrong with the beef, but i guess it's either not enouch sauce on the side, or the sauce is not strong enough to accompany the beef. i like the polenta side though. or perhaps we still had those squid-ink taste in our mouth that sorta disrupted the course. seems like i never had a decent wagyu beef in any restaurant in town - better off doing it at home. in retrospect, perhaps sea bass would have been a better choice.

dessert's a cherry napoleon with home-made sweet corn icecream. pleasant surprise - and gave me idea for the next round of home-made icecream.

service's consistant and attentive, and the wine menu has okay selection across the usual regions and detailed description on each wine. that sort of compensated the lack of sommelier in its wait-staff. the wine we picked, on their recommendation, is too light and closed for our dishes, despite a decent nose. ah... now i know and will never pick an italian pinot noir again, nor trust any sommelier-wannabe. a barolo or sangiovese would have been a much safer choice.

anyway, i would say it's a casual fine-dining place and reasonably priced ($588 pp for the menu), and we were told that the tasting menu changes every 2 weeks with seasonal choices. this is definitely a place that we will return - hopefully fairly soon, not only for special occasions but for those random nights that i crave for a simple, casual italian supper.

when? may 18 2007
where? aspasia
occasion? wife's birthday (hey, happy birthday again!)
menu highlights? squid-ink spaghetti
drinks? torti pinot nero 2003

Monday, May 14, 2007

best of the rest

finally, the final whistle's blown for the premier league, and spurs retained the unofficial title of being "the best of the rest" - placed 5th behind man utd, chelsea, liverpool and arsenal. and no more late-season blunder as we have seen for the past few seasons - that's a sigh of relief.

all in all it's been a decent run for spurs this season. it was quite a testing time for us as we were in the hunt for trophies til late stages and at the end we played almost 20 regular games more than last season. yet we have retained the consistancy in form and the attacking team's been superb all season long. definitely can't complain about being semi-finalist in league cup, quarter-finalist in both fa and uefa cups, and high finish in the league (plus qualification for uefa cup again!)

so here's my little tribute to all the great players that fought hard for tottenham hotspur this season. keep it up! we expect even more next year! and hopefully with the new broadcasting arrangement in hongkong with "now tv" i can watch even more of their games on tv. hurray!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

charity for animals

i am not an animal lover per se - well i don't hate them but just never too fond of keeping one at home - but here's a group of people in hongkong that show genuinely interest in not only their own pets, but other sick animals who can't receive proper treatment because their owners can't afford the vet.

they are working hard to raise money to operate a non-profit vet clinic that offers service at cost, and to bring awareness to those in need. please visit their website and consider giving support to such noble cause.

glory spurs

around this time last year we were at fourth place looking at a place at the champions league and then suddenly, boom... that was snatched away from us in the very last match. i know that was probably only a fluke that we were even that close to being 4th, but still, it was a dissappointment losing that.

well, this year we are in a similar territory again - having full control of our destiny. if we win the last 2 games (which are at home against blackburn and man city), we will end up 5th place again, with a berth in the uefa cup.

looking back, this season's been full of up and downs for spurs - failed to win away league matches til december, flirting with the bottom half of the table, then beat chelsea at home for the first time in as many years, and afterwards, came an amazing cup runs domestically and in europe before bowing out immaturely.

judging from the roller-coaster performance of the team and a history of last-minute blunder, i am holding my breath before the final whistle was blown on saturday. but hey, as long as spurs' in europe again, i am happy, cuz my gut feeling's telling me, glory's awaiting for spurs next season.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

pasta for alcoholics

my latest "invention" - vodka-cured salmon pasta with vodka cream sauce

Tuesday, May 1, 2007


my espresso panna cotta... i do echo the view that it's so easy to make! yum!

a morning can't be better spent than baking and cooking random stuff and then have friends coming over to hang out, relaxed and just have a good time.

Monday, April 30, 2007

share a sharing

another blog entry to share...

"... for what i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." philippians 4:11

i am just glad that she shared this message to others through her blog. hope this will have positive impact on many others - who knows, maybe some will start thinking differently about life because of this, and have their attitude changed from keep wishing and wanting more, to be content and thankful for what they already have. i, for one, will probably try think this way more often.

microsoft is dead?

recently there's been quite a buzz about a blog entry "microsoft is dead" written by paul graham, even prompting strong rebuttal from people within the microsoft organization.

in layman terms, basically paul's arguing that microsoft is dead (or as he clarified later, became irrelevent) because google and other web-based softwares (the so-called web 2.0) are going to take over microsoft's desktop software dominance - with the popularization of broadband internet and alternative os such as apple mac os served as stimulants.

well, i think paul partly has his points. nowadays people and companies no longer fear microsoft's dominance - at least they don't care as much. has anyone around started using vista yet? how about office 2007? zune? live search? or did anyone hear the "woos" and "wahs" of the new internet explorer 7? or windows mobile 6? or try showing this video clip to your i.t. guy at office to see if they will start jumping up and down, getting all excited?

these days, some of the web-based softwares are almost as good as the desktop ones - think about the new yahoo mail, or the editor i used to create this blog - a few years down the road we definitely will see more of those with leaps and bounds in functions, sophistication and speed, not less. if that is so, what will microsoft's role be?

but still, it's too early to call them dead, or even irrelevent, yet. well, some 12 years ago people made the same prediction when microsoft seemed to have missed the internet boat and the likes of netscape and yahoo were running the show. but they turned around miraculously, by whatever means. microsoft had the same adoption problem with windows xp in the beginning; yet nowadays it’s used in 80% of the world’s desktop computers. so this time i won’t be so sure.

true, the rise of google does sound an alarm for microsoft’s future, and that microsoft may never be a monopolistic power as they were in the 80s and 90s; but don’t call them off just yet. even if they are on a decline, don’t expect they will go away completely any time soon – just think novell. they are still sorta hanging around, isn’t it?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

the world's fifty best

i know i did say please don't expect this blog to be a place full of restaurant reviews and travel-related stuff, but can't help but share with you the new world's best 50 restaurants ranking.

hongkong, the self-proclaimed gourmet paradise, failed to net even one on the list for 2 consecutive years already. of course, you may argue that the ranking's hugely biased - for example, how can uk has 7 restaurants in the top 50?

Monday, April 23, 2007

solo travel

last night some of my long-time friends came over for dinner and at one point, our topic turned to the idea of travelling alone.

once upon a time, i was a big supporter of solo travel. on a practical side, "soloing" enables you to do whatever you want, whenever you want - you probably see more and see deeper in a 2-day visit to a city by yourself than a week with friends and other travel companions. it's also a good training in going out of your personal shell to get to know other people and culture, to show courage in trying out new things and making decisions.

solo travel gave me a chance to really enjoy the momentary solitude, to dedicate time and feel good about yourself, to really have solid time to think, to reflect and to plan. some of my very important life decisions have been made while i am away travelling by myself. and ironically, that's also the time you can really put your relationships with other people in perspective and make you more appreciative of people you think and care about.

travelling alone doesn’t necessarily mean that you got to travel on budget, with a backpack, living in a hostel or eating at the street stall – as a matter of fact, my solo experience brought me to the theatre of dreams watching my favorite team, the hippest joint in town, a michelin-starred restaurant, and the luxury suite of a historical hotel, to name a few. being by yourself doesn't mean that you can't pamper yourself.

sure, solo travel can be intimidating or scary, but try it, and you will find this to be a liberating experience.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

the first 90 days

well this is one of the books that always found its way from my shelf to my desk time and time again - whenever i move on to a new job i will pick it up and read it all over again. and over the last few years, there were quite a few of such occasions.

it's always said that the first 90 days in any new position is going to make or break your tenure, and most often i found it quite right. and this is a book that gave you advice and insight on how to make that period a meaningful time to establish your position in the new company.

looking at my own, obviously there are a number of things that i wish they turned out otherwise, but i am just glad that i made it through with little scratches, given the circumstances i ran into. i am sure a few days from now i will hear from others (namely my boss, and probably my boss' boss too) what they think of my first 90 days. let's see what they have to say.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

comfort food

according to this wikipedia entry, "comfort food refers to any food or drink to which one habitually turns to temporary respite, security, or special reward", so i guess it's debatable in that sense to call our monday dinner something of "comfort food".

okay, the story is, last night we went to this posh restaurant with mr and mrs m to enjoy a special menu created and hosted by the very guy behind the restaurant, mr alain ducasse. for those not knowing who he is, well, he is, essentially, the "michelin star guy", as he's the restaurant owner/chef with the most michelin stars (including 3 3-star eateries in 3 different countries at one point)

however, no matter how much hype it has generated since its opening, spoon is a restaurant that never got on our fine-dining radar screen. part of the reasons is personally i was never too fond of these "off-shoot" restaurant chains created by big-name chefs or food celebrity, that included the likes of wolfgang puck cafes (worse than pizza hut!), roy's of roy yamaguchi (hawaiian cuisine is so cliche already) or vong of jean-georges vongerichten (thai fusion? come on!). The only exception i can think of is perhaps brasserie blanc by raymond blanc - or maybe i was just less particular back then when i visited them some years ago.

therefore i don't really have much expectation of anything particularly impressive - more a "been there, done that" experience or a "pilgrimage" or for "star-gazing" rather than for true culinary enjoyment; but it did turn out to be a pleasant surprise.

well, the food isn't something extremely special - a typical 7-course french affair. to me, the highlight is the foie gras "lucullus", which is light and refreshing, and the dessert he simply called "chocolat/framboise", essentially a chocolate mille-feuille with rasberries. simple but nicely done. the riesling spätlese from mosel that we picked went perfectly well with our foie gras, but then again, it's not like we had a chateau d'yquem or something. all together, the food and drink is well-rounded decent but not spectacular.

so i guess it's not the food that is particularly comforting, so then perhaps it's the ambiance? the company? nice view? the mood? the randomness of the occasion? low expectation? i am sure all of which and many more, little by little, contributed to what became an enjoyable and remarkable monday evening.

well 5 years from now, we may have forgotten what we ate that night or how the food tasted, but we will probably still remember this dinner and our brief encounter of "culinary nirvana"; or whenever we have foie gras we can still recall the one we had at spoon on THAT night; hence my own definition of comfort food.

when? april 16 2007
where? spoon by alain ducasse
occasion? the namesake of the restaurant's in town
menu highlights? foie gras "lucullus" with toasted warm parisian brioche; chocolate/rasberry dessert
drinks? markus molitor riesling spätlese feinherb mosel-saar-ruwer wehlener klosterberg 2003

Sunday, April 15, 2007

in the beginning...

this is, hopefully, a journal about life, what i love, what i do, whom i met, what i see, what i feel, what i think, what i go through...

well, for those who know me, i do like to eat (a lot!) and travel around, but don't expect this to be full of restaurant review or pictures with all the good food around the world (although i am sure there will be some); i am also a professional geek, but don't expect this to be a corner with whitepapers of how i think the computer system architecture is going to evolve in 10 years' time, or product reviews of the latest technology and gadgets.

this is just going to be my own little window to the world. anything and everything goes here... and welcome in! ciao.