Friday, December 30, 2011

20 yummiest dishes of 2011

I've been to some pretty cool places this year, and had some awesome meals. These 20 dishes wouldn't have been as yum as they were if they weren't shared with fantastic people. I know some of you better than others, but trust me, food is only delicious when had in good company.

The Shake Shack Serenade - New York

Temple of burger-dom
Ooh, ooh, ooh
What a little moonlight can do
Ooh, ooh, ooh
What a little moonlight can do to you

-Billy Holiday, What a Little Moonlight Can Do

Maybe it was that late autumn, early winter chill. Maybe it was the little light bulbs hanging in a park at night. Maybe it was the burgers. Whatever it is, I'm in love with Shake Shack.

An Evening at Herman, Copenhagen

I never got over my US-to-Europe jetlag. I just kind of stayed in this semi-awake state, which might have contributed to the meh-ness I felt about this meal. The second night we were here, a fair few of our Noma lunch crew had arrived. One of us was organised enough to book Herman way ahead of time, and from a table of 2, we managed to make it a table of 5. We each made our respective ways to the restaurant. My party was slightly early, so we went up to the spacious (and honestly, lightly stark) lounge/bar upstairs for a hot toddy. After we all arrived, we went back down to Herman.

Big Sur, California - Coastal Wondering

Big Sur
Fuelled up on Brenda's grits, we set off on our drive down Big Sur (enroute to Vegas). I'd planned it so we'd stop for lunch at Carmel, snack at Big Sur Bakery, then arrive in time for dinner at Pismo Beach, where our night's accommodation would be.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Da Ping Huo - Inspired by Sichuan

Mapo doufu
I'll be honest, I used to cringe every time I saw Da Ping Huo mentioned in articles that can be searched via the words "Hong Kong" and "private kitchen". I thought it was so gwailo (foreigner/westerner). The artist host, the opera-singing chef, it was all a big cliche. I continued to feel this way until I came back this time, after a long, long hiatus, to have dinner with some of my favourite food buddies.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brenda's French Soul Food, San Francisco - OMG Grits!

Be careful what you wish for, lady.
I didn't know what grits were. I thought they were something "dirtier", like hash, so I was pretty surprised when I got something that basically looked like corn porridge that a baby could eat. But most of all, I was surprised that Brenda could make this pale yellow blob taste so day-m good.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Peaches of New York - Momofuku Ssam Bar, Ma Peche, Momofuku Milk Bar

Momofuku Ssam - steamed pork buns
The Momofuku empire needs no introduction, so let's just get stuck into it, starting with David Chang's infamous pork buns. It's the stuff of foodie fairytales. Articles have been published, blogs have been posted, copycat recipes have been written, tweets have... um, been tweeted, all about just how omg-f*cking-fantastic these buns are. As much as I tried to stay away from the hype of that kind of literature, I was also here because of it.

18th Street is a Food Street - Delfina & Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco

Here I am, back onto my USA/Copenhagen/Amsterdam trip posts. Looking back, I didn't eat enough. (The blogger side of me disagrees - way too much blog material to type up). Throughout my time in San Francisco, I was utterly, horribly jetlagged like I'd never been before. I managed to get to Delfina - famed for their pizza but we went for the restaurant option next door. Fatigue got the better of me (trying to drive on the wrong side of the road didn't help) so I didn't check beforehand whether we could have pizza and normal mains (no, you cannot). I even forgot to charge my electronic devices - like my camera. Hence the blurry iPhone photos and the small meal. Bad, bad blogger.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Eat to Give - La Parole, a Social Enterprise

I had the good fortune of being invited to a Christmas dinner at a restaurant that was right under my nose all along, but never tried - La Parole in The Pemberton in Sheung Wan. I met friends, old and new, which is always fantastic, but the best part was that I got to learn more about La Parole. If you read French (or decide to use Google Translate, duh) you'll know the name means "speech". Weird name for a restaurant, right? Well, not really when you realise La Parole is a social enterprise that supports Benji's Centre, which helps children with speech disorders from low-income families receive quality speech therapy services.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Noma, Copenhagen. The World's "Best Restaurant"...

"Was it good?"

Everyone (who is foodie/geeky) has been asking me this since I got back to Hong Kong.

"It was interesting," has been my default answer, as a way of hedging my argument (and buying time to give it some more thought).

I want to just blurt, "no, the food wasn't the best I've had" but I think Noma deserves more than that (honest as that was). I've been putting off this post because I've been having an internal argument with myself about this, and the other obvious fact that it's been named "World's Best Restaurant" by the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants award two years in a row.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday Farmers' Market at Crossroads, Tuen Mun

Roselles (aka hibiscus), leaves intact

The weather in Hong Kong has been beautiful these couple of weeks. Crisp, sunny, temperatures hovering below 20C...  The perfect kind of weather for market-going.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Vegas for Vegans - Pura Vida

Black bean burrito
If you've been reading posts about my recent travels (thank you!), you'll know that my main travel companion, T, is vegetarian on the 1st and 15th of each lunar month. We happened to be in Vegas on one of these days - you'll know that we had dinner at Bartolotta, and that the Wynn is vegan and vegetarian friendly. But when I decided to set our GPS to Pura Vida, I had no idea it was a vegan "bystro". It was just sort of on the way to the outlets (I don't gamble, but I use/lose my money in other ways). In fact, T didn't even have to be vegetarian that day. The reason we came was because I saw pictures of pancakes on Yelp. Pancakes and shopping! How delightfully frivolous!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Geist, Copenhagen - late night New Nordic

Suckling pig with artichoke
When you try and Google "late night dining in Copenhagen", you get websites with lists of restaurants that include names like Pasta Basta and Ricepaper (for a Thai restaurant...). No offense, they might be fabulous, but I didn't fly all the way to Copenhagen to eat Thai. If you're a psychotic foodie, you'll know I'm here almost exclusively for New Nordic. Lucky for jetlagged me, Geist is open for dinner till 1am daily.