Thursday, February 8, 2018

Bo innovation review

I have once again ventured into trying michelin starred restaurants. After the disappointing outing at Joel Robuchon atelier (read it HERE), I have decided to once again eat at a "michelin" starred restaurant in HK.

as per hubby... this is supposed to mean "monster"
the name of the restaurant in chinese


We were a bit early for our reservation... so we waited for about 10 minutes and then shown to our seats. The interior is well lit and cosy.

I would also soon discover that the tables had drawers that contained utensils which you can use for the courses (some require more than chopstticks)


We were first served a egg waffle (common in HK) which had spring onions and hunan ham. I haven't tried an egg waffle before (me thinks this is their amuse bouche or "bread basket equivalent) and it was quite savory. I liked it and I thought it was brilliant twist to a traditional bread basket.



DISH 1: HOKKAIDO SCALLOPS
our official first course was Hokkaido scallop with caviar and rice crispies. they presented us with a special vinegar (read the ingredients and it has MSG salt and sugar). It was splashed on top of the scallops and actually gave it a nice kick. the flavor was very fresh and outstanding. the visuals were colorful too. Crusnch from the rice crispies and caviar was great.



DISH 2:BELLOTA BELLOTA
This was iberico ham on top, fish from japan, morel mushrooms on a bed of tomato puree


The crispy thing on top is the morel mushroom. the taste of the tomato and iberico ham were the first thing you taste and I hardly noticed there was fish. The acidity of the tomato was good as a follow up to the sweetness of the hokkaido scallop.  Love also that they have the compressed towels that they refill everytime you use one
don"t eat me

DISH 3: BRITANNY LOBSTER
lobster, truffle and dried shrimp wanton with floss. they actually present you with a bottle of dreid shrimp oil (which they drizzle over the wanton)
I loved that they have generous amounts of truffle on the dish. but I guess this was my least favorite because of the dried shrimp oil. It was kind of over powering. 





DISH 4: MOLECULAR 
you would never guess by looking at the dish that it was a xiao long pao. but it is.


it actually looks like an egg. The red line in the middle is vinegar. (blew my mind actually) and you eat it with one swoop. You bite. BOOM! it explodes in your mouth with xiao long pao flavor! pure genius. loved it!! 


DISH 5: FOIE GRAS
This is foei gras, and loved how he kept it in its original state (nice serving size too) on the side is mustard green "ice cream" that you eat with your goose liver. on the side is either a small plum or big cherry. 


All of the elements went together superbly... the slight sweetness/tanginess of the ice cream with the foie gras was excellent. it cut thru the richness of the liver and balanced it well. the ice cream is served on a peanut crunch bar. YUM!

DISH 6: MOU TAI
This is probably what you might consider a palate cleanser. Chinese rice wine with calamansi with egg white. The container itself was great. Something you would thing the emperor of china would use.





We had fun with drinking this. As with most of his dishes, I think he injects something whimsical and playful. (You had to hold both handles and pour the drink to your mouth.)


DISH 6: HAIDA GWAII WILD COD
This was one fun serving tray. They used a popular black bean canned mackarel as the serving plate (note: its my hubby's favorite canned fish). It had crispy fish skin on top, crispy kale (although I am not a fan of kale). The cod was good. the presentation was fun and creative.


If you look closely.. the can says.. bobo 100% extreme chinese

DISH 7: A3 SAGA GYU BEEF
In preparation for our main course we were given some serious looking knifeware



For the main course, we had a choice of  scampi or A3 wagyu. Of course I chose the wagyu! It was served with cheung fun (traditional cantonese rice roll) and generous amounts of black truffle.


Can you see the truffle in between the cheung fun? tender juicy tasty... should I say more?

DISH 8: NO SHARKS FIN

mango sorbet, grapefruit "sharksfin" and coconut molecular ball.


the coconut ball also exploded in your mouth. They used thai coconuts (I could tell.. its just different from Philippine coconuts). There is the crunch factor from the dried (not sure if it was mango). the ice cream was not too sweet and the grapefruit "sharksfin" was also good.

Even the coffee cup was unique


Bo is big bruce lee fan... we also got a picture taken with him (blue hair and all). He is a superb chef. Very creative and playful. I loved that he kept it innovative yet retained the taste (not too fusion that you couldn't recognize what you were eating). Foremost in my book is that it should taste good. and this surpassed all my expectations. The service was attentive (very good waiter to guest ratio). A good restaurant is evidenced when your water gets refilled without you even asking. 

He deserves his 3 michelin stars. CLAP CLAP! Highly recommend!


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bolinao, Pangasinan Sojourn



The ASEAN summit provided another week of holidays... of course our feet got itchy and we had to go somewhere. I really wanted to go to hundred islands but somehow got to find this eco resort in BOLINAO Pangasinan. I have never been to Pangasinan, so off we go..

The travel time was more of less 4.5 hours from Manila. (depending on driving speed). Good thing the hubby really liked long drives. The eco resort is called BIRDLAND. It took us awhile to look for it. (more or less got help from waze). Its operated by an expat couple, the guy is Filipino raised in the US and had a passion for woodworking (as evidenced by the birdhouses he builds)


They have choices of huts like the pic above... to be more in touch with nature... it really depends on what you would like to experience. Since I was with kids, I chose the aircon rooms. (lol)

The booking came with breakfast... which was pretty good. But I guess overall, I would say, the resort is ok, but a bit overpriced for what they had to offer. (no swimming pool). Even the basic huts were pricey. The view from the balsa (rubber boat we used to get a sunset ride was great)



BOLINAO- things to see

We chose to get the bamboo tricycle offered by the resort... but honestly, you can DRIVE and be more comfortable going to the sights.

We really enjoyed the bolinao falls, it's the best falls I have seen so far.. and I have trekked mountains to reach some of the falls I have seen... this one, you dont even have to trek... when you arrive, its already there. Entrance is 20 pesos and kids get in for free... what a bargain.



if you are daring enough... you can also jump from the falls. They rent out life vests to those who are not confident swimmers. the sides were walkable... only the middle part was a bit deep... and if you try to swim to the falls.. you will get a workout from the force of the water from the falls.The falls and water itself was so refreshing... you can get a natural massage if you walk under the falls itself. what an experience.

---ENCHANTED CAVE

This was quite interesting. The resort itself was well maintained and had several areas aside form the famous enchanted cave where you can relax. some families I saw were even picnicking. You can spend a whole day touring this resort but we decided to make a quick visit. The way down to the cave was a bit slippery (caution to elderly and small children) and you really have to watch your head.


We also went to see the bolinao lighthouse.. nothing much but a photo op place..


because basically, it's near Patar beach, the main stretch of white sand beach in the area. Our resort didn't have much of a beach, mostly rocky terrain. (talked with the owner that the rocks were sharp and wasn't very safe for kids.. another minus for me)


Patar beach was nice... reminded me of pagudpod. the food offerings around there were not as much as if you were in a more "commercial" beach. The halo halo we had was bleh..

Overall, we enjoyed the waterfalls (I think there were two of them but we got to see only 1), nature and adventure... but for accomodation, I think you can do better than the one we got. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nara, Tenjin Festival and Kurumon







Well, most people have visited Osaka and Nara (best guess) so I think this would jst serve as a personal insight on what we did during the Tenjin Festival.

We came back from Osaka from Gifu prefecture and one of our stops was the KURUMON market.


definitely a foodie paradise for fresh seafood and other goodies


whole abalone in soy sauce.... so yummy!!!! 1600 yen or $15
 The whole abalone was a winner!!! went back for more!

grilled scallops... 

fresh uni (sea urchin)  about $11 a pc

tak0yaki heaven 

My kids ate several plates


you can actually pick and choose a lot... like resh sushi or sashimi or your choice. some places get crowded and better to scout around because price differ from store to store. We and a full brunch right there. After which, we took a train to NARA for some deer.....


The deer were quite aggressive when they know you have food... they would nudge you and bite your clothes... you can also make them bow to you... you just have to bow to them and they will bow back


The children had fun with the deer and we did not tour the temples anymore... since we were supposed to get back for the tenjin festival..

Tenjin Festival is every July 24 and 25 and it involves a lot of parades which will culminate when the images of the Gods are loaded into the boats and they would circle the city.



some people in the viewing decks




The city came alive with people... and it was interesting to watch how the street (near the festival sight was transformed into street food heaven... lots of new things to try, candy apples too. Most of the people tend to gather around the village to watch the floats come by...


Locals in traditional japanese costume (imspite of the summer heat!)




this was pretty good






I hate crowds but Japanese people are so nice and courteous that you won't mind mixing with them.. they dont even push and actually keep a good distance from you... so you never feel there is a "crowd".. loved the experience!

Shirakawa Go and Hida Furukawa

We booked a van (from our airbnb host who happens to be a tour guide )  to take us to Shirakawa go and Hida Furukawa. You can also reach the village via tour bus from the tourist office.

For info on how to get to Shiarkawa go... refer to my previous post here (jumping point was takayama)

The village and Gifu itself is located in central Japan.. if you ride the bus going there... all I can say is, enjoy the view.... its actually called the ALPS of Japan... views of villages, with fog rolling over them.... sigh...



shirakawa go village
We got to see the view from a hill of the shirakawa go village. It was as postcard perfect as you can get. Designated as a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE, it has preserved the way it builds its thatched roof houses.


It was quite interesting to see how the people of the village lived. Mostly by agriculture and lately through tourism (they built a road through the mountain, which made the village more accessible.)




rainbow trout feely swimming in the canal

I honestly was blown away by the beauty of the village. MUST SEE definitely. We then did a hike up some waterfalls... it was humid and yes, hot.

hike up to there!


sweaty!!!
July is not the best time to hike up a mountain! I think it was an experience but not the best one we had.


We then proceeded to Hida Furukawa. My kids know this from watching a famous anime hida no sato ( YOUR NAME). We quickly toured the town, the old village and the festival float exhibition (held every April)

We went to the canal where the koi were swimming... some were as big as my forearm!







one of the floats used in the festival



We really enjoyed the outing. We wished we had more time in Hida (it was already late in the afternoon).. maybe should have skipped the waterfalls.....






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