Thursday, August 28, 2014

Easy Summer Recipe Part 1: Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad was the first thing that came to mind when I thought about what to make as side dish for a barbecue last week. I always look for something stronger in flavor to beat the hot and humid summer days so I think a tapenade dressing - with olives, capers and anchovies - would be ideal. It can be prepared from start to finish within 30 minutes if you push it, and is certainly a crowd pleaser with the appetizing bold flavors.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Family Din Din at Golden Leaf

This time we didn't go far to have a casual din din with my folks (last time we went all the way up to Tuen Mun for seafood). Saw the credit card promotion offering discounts for restaurants at Conrad, and I realized we have never tried Golden Leaf - the Chinese restaurant at the hotel - for dinner previously, so thought it's a good idea to check it out.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Different Location, Same Verdict - Lunch at Ginza Iwa

I found myself walking around in Central looking for a place to eat last Saturday afternoon, and I remembered this sushi-ya that I have meant to try but never had a chance, so I rang them up to see if they got a spot available, and I was somewhat surprised that they did, so I was happy to go up to check it out for a quick meal.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ho Lee Fook-ing Good

I didn't come with particularly high expectations when I walked down the stairs to Ho Lee Fook, the new, stylish Chinese restaruant in the basement location at the foot of Soho. I thought it's going to be another one of those "Chinese" restaurants serving dishes that you more likely find in Chinatowns around the world, catering to out-of-towners' tastebuds. Nostalgic it might be dealing with the likes of moo-shu pork and general tso's chicken in the funny-looking takeaway box, I am not sure whether this is the part of the memory I want to re-live by.

Anyway, I am here to meet up a bunch of friends - we set up this impromptu dinner gathering after tons of whatsapp messages talking anything from food, restaurants, more food, and other funky random things that I won't even dare quote here. Somewhere in between those conversations someone mentioned this new restaurant, and dozens of exchanges later, we managed to set up the date and time for trying the place together.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cater for a Wine Gathering

I found it challenging enough to host a dinner for 4 at home on a Friday evening, and yet the week after, I doubled the challenge to help catering food for a fund-raising event for 70 people.

My good friend Mr Y owned this marvelous wine cellar/lounge facility in a harbor-side building near Tin Hau called Hip Cellar so I asked him whether he could lend us the venue for a charity event to raise funds for our church's growth project. We thought it would be great from a social gathering and fund-raising perspectives, entertaining a cozy crowd with people from church and friends. Once we were confirmed the date of the first Friday of August, we began to plan for the event.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gimmick or the Real Deal? My First Bo Innovation Meal

For some reasons I never felt motivated enough to check out Bo Innovation, the "X-treme Chinese" restaurant in the heart of Hong Kong's Wanchai district, even when the place by the self-proclaimed "demon chef" Alvin Leung has been elevated to the much coveted 3-star rating by The Michelin Guide late last year. As adventurous as we are when it comes to food choices, the thoughts of slurping down a "molecular xiao long bao" - one of his most talked-about dishes at the restaurant - still didn't sit very well with us.

But a couple weeks ago, I received an email from his publicist inviting me to try out their "new" menu with other media/blogger people. I figured it wouldn't hurt giving it a shot, at least this way i can confirm by my own first-hand experience whether the place is hyped as many have suggested, or the real deal as reflected in many of the accolades it earned.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Harbourside Sunday Brunch

In Hong Kong, there's no shortage of hotels and restaurants offering "all-you-can-eat" buffet meals at almost every street corner and round the clock - from breakfast to lunch to afternoon tea to dinner, with some even having a late supper option for the night owls. Setting aside the debate of whether "buffet culture" may lead to food over-consumption and wastage, in reality there's always a market for it - some popular places were even booked out months in advance.

Personally I don't consider myself a particularly big fan of buffet meals, but I don't mind going every now and then, and on the first Sunday of August, I was at Intercontinental's Harbourside restaurant to check out their buffet brunch hosted by their marketing team, attended by a few old friends, and I met a few new ones too.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Friday Dinner Challenge

Hosting a dinner at home on Friday evening is always a bit of a challenge, given both of us have a day time job. That plus we were out most of the evenings this week - that means I had even lesser time to shop for ingredients and prepare some of the food in advance, hence I needed to be much more careful with planning and executing, trying to make use of ingredients readily available at home than those obscure items that were a bit tricky to find, for example, and try to start even earlier for some of the dishes to spread out the prep time. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chef Edgar's One Night Event

When I accept my friend's invitation to a big group "secret supper party", I have no idea about what and where, but she assured me this is going to be epic with good food and great wine - guess that's all I needed to know to say yes. Just call that blind faith. Turned out - as I learned just in the morning of the event - it's the Spanish chef Edgar Sanuy Barahona (formerly of BCN) who was going to cook a spectacular tapas dinner for all 19 of us, at the Fofo Privat venue near Lan Kwai Fong.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Mis-calculating Upper Modern Bistro

We dropped by Upper Modern Bistro in early July for a casual weekend brunch with friends. Charlotte and I enjoyed a good meal the first time we were here a couple months back, so we decided to come back again, especially knowing Jeremy Evrard, the former manager at Caprice has joined recently to lead the front of the house team with his excellent cheese selections now available on their menu.

Normally I would love to spend the next 200 words exclaiming and praising the excellent food we had, from the cold gazpacho soup to the 63-degree egg with toast and belotta ham and the icecream "sandwich" dessert. They were all neatly constructed and stunningly delicious. And OMG - the cheeses that Jeremy has selected for us were so sumptuous that it's heavenly. It does seem to be a perfect place to spend a lazy weekend afternoon. Too bad that's not the end of the story...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Crustacean Affair at Cafe Causette

Two weeks ago, if it's not we ran out of time for a proper dinner to catch an evening movie at IFC, we would have gone to Cafe Causette to try out their seasonal Lobster & Bubbly menu. Then the next day I got a message from the hotel's marketing team inviting me to join them to try out the menu - wow, I call this a case of serendipity.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pork "Overdose" at Mott 32

I recently made a "rare appearance" in downtown Central in a weekday afternoon to go yum cha at Mott 32, probably one of the most talked-about new restaurant openings of the year so far.

The restaurant - the first Chinese dining outlet by the Maximal Concepts group (which also owns Fish & Meat, Blue Butcher etc) - took up the vast basement space in the Standard Chartered Bank Building in the heart of Central. I don't even know what it was before but the designer certainly transformed this space into a hip and trendy dining area which looks more like a jazz club in New York's Meatpacking District than a traditional restaurant in its namesake district of Chinatown.