Saturday, October 26, 2013

Of wines, oils and vinegars... discovering VOM FASS

I was wandering the new east wing of shangrila mall when I happen accross the soft opening of this new store. VOM FASS.

This store is selling various varieties of liqueur, (like lemoncello from Italy, honey pear liqueur) among other things.

They have a variety of oils from argan oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, garlic oil, chili oil and even white truffle oil!. You can taste them too. The truffle oil really tasted like truffles. The prices are quoted per 100ml. They have a menu of recommended combinations of oils and vinegars if you are confused at all the offerings.

 They also sell a variety of malt whiskey, rum and brandy. Since I don't drink, I don't know if they are any good. But you can get a free taste. (although some are quite pricey!! 3000/100ml! gosh dang!)

I really like the balsamic selection ... I use a lot of balsamic.! 

liqueur sélection

coffee liqueur

You buy bottles to put your selections....! I think these are pretty good as gifts. Don't you?

what i went home with
The aceto balsamico maletti is quite nice.. really thick consistency.. like balsamic cream. I was told it has been aged for 15 years. (price: 720/100ml). Cooked with it this morning. pretty good stuff. I also bought raspberry balsamic vinegar. I want to try it on my salad. One of the others that I liked was the Honey vinegar-- which I might try when I go back. You can refill the bottle you bought from them and try other varieties of oils or vinegars. Might do that after I finish what I bought.

VON FASS also has a US website here in case you want to take a look. The young people behind the counter when I went must have been the local franchisees. Pretty young and innovative I think.

The shop is located at the lower ground floor of East wing Shangrila plaza right beside the showroom of delonghi.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Luxe Manor


-- this room reminded me of that song.. hahaha  (love the fur on the ice chairs... !!!)

So, since we are talking about HK and my trip, Let me just say that I LOVE The luxe manor. 

One of the hotels I frequent because of the wonderful interiors and superb service as well as its proximity to the subway and eating places.

For this trip, I got UPGRADED to one of its suites. THE NORDIC.

I joined the small luxury hotels of the world (its free to join) and one of the perks is you get upgraded.

I had been previously upgraded to the suite MIRAGE (sorry forgot to take pics).. they actually name all the suites and every suite is decorated differently. I would  love to get to try them all.

THE NORDIC suite is decorated like its in Scandinavia

the powder room - notice the "ice" basin

   the living room with the cool "ice" chairs

 we even have a nespresso machine

 ice blocks with fur cover. COOL

 the bedroom

 don't you just love the snowflake carpet?

 lamp shaped like ice...

where can I buy these door knobs?

Coming home to this is zoo relaxing. having endured a nightmare dinner HERE... if you have a chance. Stay at this hotel.. you get free wifi and breakfast is included. (smoked salmon anyone?)

L'atelier de joel robuchon- HK

I was so excited to be able to get a reservation at L'atelier d Joel Robuchon. --- michelin starred restaurant in hk.

First of all, let me tell you that I don't often dine at Michelin starred restaurants. But what the heck. I am at that certain age that I want to experience a little what a Michelin starred restaurant would taste like. Plus JIN (a food blogger in Manila gave it 3 hearts -- which I assume a sign that it's good)

For this trip, I was with a friend and we had to do some work first before our scheduled dinner. As we were running late, I had to call the restaurant to say we needed to move our reservations from 7- 7:30pm. From our hotel in Kowloon, we had to take the subway to Central (HK side). Whadda you know? Central is HUGE!!! and we had to huff it and run because we got off the train at about 7:15pm.

My friend was wheezing from all the running we had to do---. We ran to Exit G ( Landmark.) and  I think we did 100 meter dash from jumping off the train.

where we are seated

The restaurant is actually located on top of two other of Joel's restaurants- one is a bakery and another is like a cafe. This one is more fine dining (I guess business is good..!-- 3 restos in one place).

We were ushered in and  got seated, like the rest of the patrons at the bar with a view of the open kitchen. In front of us was a autumn inspired display of pumpkins and leaves (plus a few star anise)

My friend (and also client ; was my date for tonight and I ordered the tasting menu... hk$880). I assumed this one is the best selection.

Don't even bother with the wine list (which by the way comes in either a book about 3 inches thick or an ipad version... either of which I couldn't afford since per glass rates is about hk$220 per glass... a meal in itself!
the "tome" aka wine list.. its like war and peace! you'll get hungry before you get to the last page

our menu

basket of bread!!!
We were given a basket of great looking bread. I had to taste some of it to see what its all about.

bacon bread... a bit salty!
One thing about the restaurant was it was well staffed. There was one waiter for every side and you didn't have to ask for your water to get refilled.

 The first course. amuse bouche: literally translating to "mouth amuser" (I googled it)... this one consisted of chestnut mousse (left) and a foie gras moussse (right) with a ginger topping. -- hmm.. nothing spectacular. I had to swish the mouse around to try to figure out the taste.

Second course: le foie gras - foie gras cubes and jelly beef consomme on chilled daikon "veloute"
(googled veloute - its means sauce)

After a cold appetizer.. I was ready for something warm. Lo and behold. a COLD soup. see the dark colored jelly? that's the beef consommé. (like soup I put in the fridge and scooped out). the cubes are my foie gras----looked like something sliced out of a can. I swished the dots around and tasted the cold soup. Finally, I quipped to my friend " I wonder when the michelin star would come in.. coz I certainly can't taste it!!!" - she laughed at that one cause it was what she was thinking at the exact same moment but she was just too shy to say so since I was footing the bill... hahahaha

We were hopeful though.... so 3rd course - le homard - Maine lobster fricassee with spelt risotto and lobster coral emulsion.

This was a so so dish. the foam hinting of lobster. the risotto was ok but not wowing us. (I guess our expectations were high).. It had a hint of cayenne in it, so you had a back end kick of spiciness. my friend barely finished her dish. I had a hard time eating since I was trying to find the ingredients in the dish and looking to say it was delicious. (pls pls let the next one be delicious!!! was all we could both mutter!! hahaha)

4th course - Iberican pork- Le porc Iberique. 

with a side dish of very very creamy mashed potatoes

We were so underwhelmed. I was ready to cry from frustration, not only because the meal itself cost so much ---- we had made an effort (running) to get to the restaurant.

OH Joel!!!!

Dessert at last..... one of the things I love about eating is dessert. I was half afraid to taste actually.

 La mange - black pepper "bavaroise" with passion fruit cream and mango sherbet. Our waiter had a hard time remembering the dessert and sometimes, we couldn't even understand him because of the HK accent to his english. Good thing I took a picture of the menu. The sherbet is the one on the middle with the tulle on top. This was ok too *see the foam on the sides again. The black pepper on the bavarian cream was puzzling. It was like what's it for? it didn't do anything for me. It tasted like cream WITH PEPPER.

Me and my friend were discussing what we missed with this meal.

Was it that we lacked finesse?

Was it that we weren't "cultured" enough to appreciate this meal?

I have had other meals. Meals that made me say "wow" and it blew my socks off. This was none of the above. Hoenstly? The most appreciated part of the meal was the FREE macarons and gold covered maltesers they serve at the end... and the coffee. Yeah. they serve great coffee

I wanted to ask for more of the fold covered crispies. Just so I can validate the moolah spent
Would I recommend this restaurant? probably not.
My friend reasoned that maybe if we had a different set or lunch menu it would have been different. MAYBE. But for a michelin starred restaurant, I would expect EVERY meal would wow me. This was listed #3... mind you. #3!!! in ASIA. 

They handed me a gift after I paid.... banana bread! Gave it the next day to my HK supplier. wonder if he enjoyed it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Venice Revisited

Forgive me for neglecting my blog for so long. I also realize this post is long long long overdue (special emphasis on the long part. )

breaking news first.

I'm pregnant.

Yes. I'm serious.

No. I'm not joking.

So folks, for the few who read my blog.... I was infanticipating the whole 4 months I was gone from blogging.

So, VENICE. I really love this city. You can't really take a bad picture here.

It's so far from the the "big" city. For one, there are no cars and the streets are really the side of alleyways. Which for me adds to it's charm. (you get trasport from the vaporetto or water taxis)--- which kind of reminds me of the movie "The Tourist"

You can also walk from Rialto to San Marco without getting lost. There are quite a lot of signs on the buildings the have arrows indicating (VIA RIALTO or VIA SAN MARCO)

During the day, San Marco could be a like a marketplace... full of tourists. I also got a sampling of the high tide flood. They set up raised platforms for the tourists to walk on. It was quite interesting to see them. (for one who is so used to floods in our country)
flooding during high tide

I  decided to catch a sunrise while I was there. Boy, I had all the place to myself - except for a smattering of tourists arriving from the airport, I was all alone (give or take 3 people)

sunrise at the grand canal. a cruise ship entering....

early hours of the morning... San marco all to myself

great view of the canal

I had a nice time taking pictures of the square without a lot of people messing up the view. I also had a nice time looking at the store windows and taking in the displays... ranging from mini masks, limoncello and some handmade venetian mini shoes

I was planning to go the other side of the Rialto to visit the local market but I was pooped from walking for 2 whole days (plus waking up at 5:30 am) so I skipped the early morning wake up and just had a sunset stroll. If you walk enough around, you'll get to see some very interesting shops.

The side if the rialto is peppered with restaurants. You just have to ask if they charge an extra service fee if you eat at the tables. (which could add a bit more to your bill). I found the food in Venice quite excellent. Especially the seafood. We had the local sea bass which they actually prefer to serve grilled, and you can really taste the freshness. We also had a lobster pasta dish at some restaurant on one of the side streets. It was quite good really.

one of the cute "hole in the wall" rests you'll pass by

lobster pasta. yummy!

local seabass. very fresh!

If you're wondering if I did the gondola... the answer is no. (I was with my dad and it costs 100 euros. -- plus I already rode it once. so, that was enough for me)

I just took some nice pics of them and tourists on the various canals I passed by.

One of the things I saw was the amazing selection or glass pens (drool!!!) and the various stationary shops that riddled the city. It was so quaint to just buy these things because I know it will be a long time before I get a chance to but the "real thing" again. They also sell miniatures of the venetian houses (cute, but where do you put them?? unless you have a palace)

journals, paper and all those wonderful stuff..!

If you're wondering... bought myself some wax, stamping seals, some stationary and several glass pens.

Here's a wide view of the city (taken from the top of the cruise ship we were riding) Both of these are from the grand canal looking over Piazza San Marco (you can see the little people swarming all over the place)

For now, I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Ciao!


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