Tuesday, February 28, 2006

deliciously delicious

I feel like a lizard that has melted onto the rock I am too hot to move from. This heat is unbearable. Even with the ac on, I still feel sticky, uncomfortable and warm. Its days like this I wish I had a nice crispy chilled green salad to tuck into. Since it was too hot to venture out, I settled for a kon lo mee instead. How close is that to a salad? As close as a duck is to a tiger.

I was looking through some food shots I snapped with my phone and came across this one of a salad I had at Delicious by Ms.Read. Does anyone know if its miss reed or misread? Anyway, its one of the things I really like on the menu when I am patient enough to tolerate the inefficient service to dine there. Okay, having said that, the last time I went, it wasn't too bad. The time before that, they managed to forget a few of our orders and when questioned , nicely, an apology would've sufficed but instead we got some grandmother story about mix-ups, being busy, the plumbing, motorbike accident (ok I'm exaggerating but you get the picture!), blah blah blah blaaaaaaaahhhhh!!! Who cares?

Back to my salad - grilled prawn and calamari salad. Although the first time I had it, it was definitely grilled shrimp not prawn. But you know, it was so crisp and nicely chilled that I didn't care really. The dressing is super tangy. My guess is fish sauce, sugar, calamansi and lemongrass dressing. Maybe some kaffir lime too. It is indeed delicious. Must make it myself this weekend. My second favourite thing would be the decadent french toast with grilled bananas and beef bacon. Its not real bacon but its better than most of the crap they serve you at major hotels. All in all, it definitely gives Alexis something to worry about. You know why? Because the short latte (rm6.90++) in Delicious is still taller than the normal latte (rm9.00++) at Alexis.

Lo Hei!

In the week coming up to the new year, I have gained half a kilo according to my scales in KL. In Ipoh, I weigh 1.5 kilos more. I blame it on the limestone caves. I know there is some strange and mysterious force that is pulling on the needle of the scales. It has been endless 10-course family dinners, food tastings at the restaurants and pms cravings. Deadly combination I tell you what.
Lo hei, lo hei! I've always liked yee sang. Whats not to like right? Its a crispy, sweet and tangy salad! The yee sang at Imbi Palace has been the best so far. And the pig is pretty good too. Crispy, thin, flavourful slivers of roasted suckling pig. Mmmm, delicious, worth every pound put on. I also had good pork rib at Equatorial. Can’t remember the name of the Chinese restaurant there. Anyway, the dinner was quite forgettable apart from the pork rib. Pan-fried and soaked in magic soy sauce. Crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. Mmmmm....
So here I am, in Ipoh, the heat steaming the fat out of my pores (I wish!). Countless sms have streamed through since early this morning. All bearing good tidings for the new year. One thing is for sure, its going to be barking mad! Get it? Bark…Dog? Nevermind. The bitch better be good to me.
Ipoh is like how I remember it to be. Hot, flat, fattening. It never rains this time of the year in Ipoh. The air is still and heavy. The nights are dark and falls like a thick velvet cloak. I have lived with light pollution in KL for so long that I find this darkness unsettling. Last night, my mum made me get the car. I couldn’t even see the car until I got closer. I couldn’t see the grass from the leaves. I just had to tread carefully in case there was dog poo. But you know being Chinese, that would’ve meant good luck. So guess my luck ain’t great. No poo and I got to the car alright. Backing up the garden into the driveway was another story!

La Risata, the laughter


La Risata is one of those restaurants that have faded into memory vaults. You remember it was good but you can’t remember why you stopped going. When La Risata first started, the average Malaysian’s knowledge on Italian food didn’t expand further from spaghetti bolognese and pizza; pronounced speh-gedi and pee-sa respectively back in a day. Today people say foie gras as easily as they say Planta. I remember cashiering in Damansara when they first opened. Sean, Yuen’s son, was only a couple of months old. He is 8 this year. How time flies.

I visit Laris regularly, obviously. I still prefer the Ampang branch over Damansara. For sentimental reasons because it was the first. The pizzas are still fantastic. Crispy and thin. There was a point in time when the dough got so thin you’d swear you were eating popiah! But overall, it has been pretty consistent. More than most restaurants that have been around for the same amount of time. Now they have a new look and new menu. Reinventing old recipes for the more sophisticated Malaysian. If I could sum it up in a dress code it would be casual but smart.

I predict the squid ink spaghetti with grilled prawns, calamari and roasted tomatoes are going to be a hit. As will the pizza carbonara. Cream base pizza with lots of onions, mushrooms, bacon bits and cheese. Mmmm! I’m getting hungry talking about it. Oh, there are also a couple of new desserts like meringue nest with fresh cream & raspberries, banana & butterscotch cream pie and zucotto. New mains for Atkinians. Delicious, melt-in-the-mouth pan-grilled cod and T-bone steak!
Above:spaghetti carbonara and four cheese pizza

Monday, February 27, 2006

Frangipantastic!


My friends tell me I am too picky about my food. However, when you are overweight, every calorie counts. So if I’m going to be fatter, I want to make sure that its worth. And throwing up after is not an option. I am picky but I don’t hate myself.
Frangipani, you’ll find that people either love it or hate it. I am one of those who love it. Sure I think some menus work better than others but the fantastic dishes have so far outweigh the less successful ones. I even love reading the menu. If someone puts that much effort into writing the menu, you know that the food is going to be good. I still remember my first bite of warm tea smoked salmon and duck confit five years ago. Who knew salmon & cigarettes tasted so good together?? The duck is completely indulgent which pretty much sums up the food in general at Frangi. Chris is not coy with cream, butter, lard and other artery-clogging ingredients. Ah, I'm so glad that its not cheap enough for me to dine there more often because I would've dropped dead a long time ago.

Right now they have fabulous kumamoto oysters. Sweet, succulent and delicate bite size oysters from Japan. Then I had the pan-fried foie gras with grilled king prawn, rocket & bailey’s sauce (pictured left) for my main course. Yes, I know that sounds strange but its strangely fantastic together. The textures and flavours come together like long-lost friends! Mikael started of with grilled escargot skewers with roasted pink garlic bulbs. Tender, flavourful & a delicious tickle to the palate. Followed by smokey duck char siew. Its no substitute for the real deal but if you can't eat pork, please try the duck char siew. Much better than chicken char siew!
Ah, can’t wait for the next menu to come out!

Tanjung Rhu, A Saucy Resort...

Now that my hunky boyfriend has gone back to London, I can finally write about our holiday feast in Tanjung Rhu, Langkawi. We bought one of those all-inclusive package which basically covers room and all food & beverage (excluding alcoholic drinks). I was pretty excited because I hadn't seen Mik for 9 months (I could've had a full term baby!) and also I've heard rave reviews about the place. Anyway our flight got delayed by over 2 hours. Thank you Tony & Air Asia for eating into my very expensive holiday. When we finally got there, we were starving. We had a pizza each at their new pizza bar by their new pool. I had the gorgonzola & onion pizza. He had the one with everything in it. It was alright. As good at Domino's at best. I wasn't expecting it to be WOW. It is, after all, a poolside outlet.
Mik was on a sugar high with all the unlimited mocktails and ice-blended drinks. There is something in the blended coffee drinks that leave an after taste. I wonder if they use powdered coffee formula or maybe powdered milk. Anyway, at our romantic, private barbecue on the beach that night (yes, be jealous because it was delicious and sooooo freaking romantic that Mills & Boon called to ask if they could use our story) one thing became apparent to the both us. They really like their sauces! The garden salad came with four types of dressing. Our seafood appetiser platter came with four sauces and the main, another three. Thank goodness it was just the two of us eating because the sauces took up half the table. It was hilarious! Oh they also gave us extra tomato paste for our pizzas earlier. I've never had that before.
Our most disappointing meal was at their fine dining restaurant, The Rhu. It was sooo old school. Think Lafite back in the late 80's. The food came covered with silver domes and they made crepe suzette infront of you. How retro is that?! I swear every table had crepe suzette. We saw the whole flambe process about 6 times throughout the course of (a very painful) dinner. Its not that the food was bad, it just wasn't what one would normally term fine dining. The picture above was our amuse bouche. It was a soggy, deep-fried wanton. Enough said. My first appetiser was an uninspiring start. It was salmon & tuna carpacio with wasabi & mashed pea. The positive thing I can say is that it was, at least, healthy.
In between courses they served us sorbet in ice bowls which was a really nice touch. I wonder if they recycle the bowls. I can't even remember what I had for my second appetiser. Mik's lobster tail was quite nice. A dash too much cumin for my liking but otherwise sumptuous. We ordered three dessert to give us better odds at finding a good dessert. Crepe suzette (of course), warm chocolate & ginger pudding and banana pudding with coconut ice cream & grilled pineapple. The crepes and chocolate pud were very nice. The banana pudding turned out to be a heated-up muffin. I expected the flavours to be fused but they remained three very separate things on one plate. Good thing we didn’t have to pay.
Plus points - It’s the best hotel buffet breakfast spread I’ve ever had. And the bbq on the beach was very, very nice. Minus points - All outlets have the same bleeding ingredients. They had blue-eyed cod at the fine dining restaurant, coffee house AND Mediterranean outlet. What the hell? And all the ice creams were rough & icy.
I would recommend the resort as an intimate destination for couples. However, if you are a foodie, forget about the all-inclusive package. Rent a car and go seek better eats dotted around the island.

Eggs Benedict


My first time was when I was 18. It happened at a cosy little café on the Little Venice canal, Café Laville. I still remember it like it was just yesterday. Two quivering poached eggs on lightly toasted muffin with slivers of smoked salmon placed on top and hollandaise drizzled over. It was love at first bite. I was in love. Mind you, at £6.90, it was not something I ate all the time. I was a fat art student and could’ve had two duck rice from Four Seasons for the same price. Le Petite Crème in Paddington, Sydney comes a close second. Alexis in Great Eastern Mall is quite good too. They are by far the healthiest tasting ones anyway. I don’t make it a mission to seek out eggs Benedict but I do try to remember the good ones.
Anyway, what promised to be a delightful breakfast with Cuz turned out quite the opposite. Okay, what do you really expect from the restaurants in KLCC right? From sheer lack of choice we ended up in Dome. We decided to share the eggs benedict, you know halve the calories. About 10 minutes later, our breakfast arrived. Cuz and I did a double take and just looked at each other. I told the waitress she gave us the wrong order. After all, I didn’t order the Egg McMuffin (see picture above). Where are the plump poached egg bursting with velvety yolk? Where is the lightly toasted muffin? The spinach? The hollandaise? Instead I get foccacia! Fauxcacia! Well-done eggs, ham, 2 spinach leaves and, can you believe it, cheese! What the hey?! The manager was very nice and replaced our order with the same damn thing but at least the egg was semi-poached this time. We gave up really. We just wanted to eat our $14.95 Egg McMuffin quickly so we could begin our shopping spree. It was truly embarrassing. The funny thing is, the last time I had eggs Benedict at the Lot 10 branch a little more than a year ago, it was done the correct way. What has happened to Dome? Even the biscotti tasted funky. This is what happens when a new CEO joins and decides to cut cost where it counts most. But hey, they are still raking it in so what do they care about two customers?

chocolate mints, not just for aunties...

For as long as I can remember, I have always liked chocolate peppermints. After Eight Dinner Mints. That was the height of luxury back in those days. Wafer thin dark chocolate with smooth, creamy peppermint centres. They don’t make them like they use to! The chocolate just isn’t the same. I think the ones here are made in China. Like everything else these days! I was only allowed to have them after dinner. So you can’t blame me for believing they were really meant to be eaten after dinner at about 8pm. Yes, yes, silly me. That was when I still obeyed my parents of course. I started sneaking a wafer here and there. Once I realised they never noticed, I helped myself to a few whenever I felt like it. These days After Eights have been replaced by Bendick’s. I loveeee Bendick’s Bittermints. Actually I love the whole collection. None of my friends like peppermint chocolate. Lucky me because I don’t have to share! They say its like eating toothpaste. If only, I’d gladly brush my teeth ten times a day!

Vanilla Box on Asian Heritage Row have a super-frosty Chocolate Peppermint Velvet Cake. Its predominantly chocolate mint mousse but its not the usual nasty gelatinous stuff. This is dense, smooth, velvety goodness with a power-packed peppermint punch! So refreshing on hot days like these. They also make fantastic chocolate cupcakes (pictured above). If you are one of those who would rather eat frosting over cake, do yourself a favour and go get one of these fabulous cupcakes (rm3.50each).

Slow-cooked Wanton Mee

Slow Uncle's wanton mee is one of the best wanton mee in KL. The name Slow Uncle came about because of the length of time you have to wait. Run by three Uncles & Aunty - Slow Uncle, the slow-cook wanton mee wizard, Aunty who makes the tiny fat-filled wantons & sui gows and Super Uncle who takes orders, serves drinks (usually barley & herbal tea) & washes up. They are only opened from 9:30pm onwards until about 2-3am (closed on Mondays). They'd probably be millionaires if they worked faster but perhaps the wait plays a big part in the popularity of this little stall on Jalan Sahabat, behind Radius Hotel. I am not exaggerating when I tell you its at least 30mins from the time you order until you get your piping hot, lard-tossed, springy, delicious wanton mee. And thats if you are reallllllly lucky. Last night, Hunky and I ordered our mee, went around the corner for a beer, came back and waited a further 25 mins before we got our mee. All in all, 1 hour and 15 mins but boy, was it worth it!! Thinly sliced char siu, fatty wanton & crispy deep fried lard, oh and of course, the token sprigs of veg, on a bed of springy, well-seasoned wanton mee. Even the worn out orange melamine bowls they are served in won't deter the hygienely-anal. Need I say more really?
I think I must submit his name into Malaysia's Book of Records under " Slowest Wanton Mee". One day I will ask him for his name but Slow Uncle is pretty apt for now. (p.s/ They also make great curry puffs if you like them crisp and filled with potatoes, 90sen each)

Laksam & Pancakes

So lunch was laksam ( we are featuring Kelantanese dishes for last week of ramadan) and solok lada. The laksam was utterly divine. Freshly made rice noodle rolls with chopped vegetables in a creamy coconut & minced fish gravy. Mm mmm! It was so appetising, clean and yet rich at the same time. Sista had two bowls! Such a pig! We also devoured some solok lada which is green chillies stuffed with grated coconut & fish. Yea its a coconut & fish theme so far... Relatively healthier than deepfried yong tau foo. Relatively... I didn't think I could fit anymore food in after the scrummelicious lunch I had. Evidently, I was wrong. Also had delicious pancakes at El Cerdo (porkielicious goodness!). Rum & raisin pancake and banana & chocolate pancake. Fluffy pancakes with a crisp golden sugared crust. Mmmmmm...

Roti John Tambah Lemak Boss!

I had roti john for dinner. I’ve only recently discovered it. Fried egg, minced chicken, mayo and chilli sauce in a hot dog bun is not the first thing I’d think of eating. However, it was made by one of my staff so I decided to give it a go. I think zapping it in the microwave was not a very bright idea. When I picked it up, mayo, chilli sauce and all the other fatness came oozing out like a big fat zit that was popped. If only I could squeeze the fat out of me that easily. Sigh* Anyway, it wasn’t too bad. I’d definitely eat it again when I feel like something tacky. Its one of those pms-craving-type of food. And since I hadn't had enough fat for the day, sista and I went to Frangipani for dessert. Of course we didn't share one dessert! I had a deliciously smooth creme brulee with a drizzle of lychee syrup and thick, velvety lavender scented chocolate pudding. The calories don't really count because I had it with coffee and coffee is really a fat burner because really thin people drink lots of coffee so coffee obviously makes you thin? Yea tomorrow I am going to the gym.

Upside Down Shepard's Pie

Its been raining all day. How bloody depressing. Its days like this you want to sit down and have a hot steaming bowl of noodles or dig into some creamy mash potatoes. Tonight we are having fried pork patties in tomato sauce with peas, onions & potatoes. Perfect for a day like this. For the longest time, I always thought I was having chinese food at home. It wasn't until Lian pointed out that upside down shepard's pie is NOT chinese food, even if it was cooked with oyster sauce. Upside down shepard's pie, which happens to be on Lians top 10 list of things to eat in my house, consists of minced pork & garlic stir fried with kicap pekat, oyster sauce & pepper poured over a bed of mashed potatoes. Which you then dole out on to a plate of white rice! (These days we eat healthy and have wild rice instead with our deep-fried belly pork with lard sauce...) What can I say, home food is like a hug with calories. I must compile these "Asian" dishes into a book one of these days.

Zipangu, 24 Oct 2005

Had dinner with the family last night at Zipangu. I've been going there quite often ever since Gary got the prestige card. I only go because of the discount really and because the damn foie gras with wintermelon is spine-tinglingly good! I can tell you its the second cheapest foie gras in town after Noble House (the chinaman's Frangipani) in Imbi. Admittedly, it was slightly overcooked last night but it was still yummy. My other favourite dish is the tofu salad. Cold blocks of tofu on a bed of crisp greens with diced century egg and 3 sauces. Spicy, tangy and savoury. Delicious. Apart from that, the menu is pretty ordinary. Think next time I will try the wagyu dishes. I had the fried rice with wagyu fat before (Ya like chee yau char but ngau yau char instead!). It was disappointing. Still tasted like garlic fried rice to me! Not worth the extra kilos! Think I was somehow expecting it to have a more smokey flavour, like prosciutto. Mmmm. Oh, the foie gras fried rice is also better at Noble House. But hey I can't complain. Turns out Duvei is friends with the manager there so he gave us quite a few freebies. Can't complain when its free innit?