On a trip to London last October, a friend and I dined at HKK in Shoreditch. I ordered the 8 course tasting menu which featured beautifully presented modern and creative Chinese dishes and after I tasted the Peking duck, I knew I had to return before the end of my trip.
Peking duck is a dish that brings a great memory. I remember the first time I tasted it was on my first trip abroad to Hong Kong age 6 with my parents. I remember the glistening duck being brought to the table and my Dad having his photo taken beside the carver. (I need to find that photo) I remember being taught how to assemble the pancake, duck skin, scallion, cucumber and sauce. I remember the first bite, the crunch of the skin, the tangy sweet plum sauce. I remember my Dad looking at me to see my reaction. Ever since that first taste, it is one of my favorite dishes and if I were asked to choose what to eat for my final meal, Peking duck would be on the list.
I went onOpenTable.com to make a reservation and saw their Duck & Champagne lunch available on Saturday which was a deal compared to the regular price.
The cherry wood roasted Peking duck that Saturday, was one of the best I have tasted in my life. It was "I will remember this meal forever" fantastic. Plus I loved the modern elegant ambiance and the attentive staff was impeccable. Because the restaurant is not large or overcrowded, I felt like I was eating in a nice home. It was a phenomenal lunch and I am surprised that I've thought of it daily since we arrived from our trip.
Last Thursday, local sandwich shop Sandwich Emporium (Peter, John and I run the shops) held a grilled cheese pop up at neighborhood tasting lounge The Poseidon Project. Our friend, Kirk suggested the collaboration and we had a blast.
After days of tasting different cheeses, experimenting with new combinations and passionate arguments over recipes, four grilled cheeses (and a create your own) were put on the menu.
Scenes from the pop up.....
The Manila food scene is exploding. I grew up in the Philippines (Manila and Baguio) and visit my mom yearly. I am amazed that Manila has transformed into a food city with a myriad of international cuisines, brands and franchises. Local restauranteurs are also launching new concepts and Filipino food is being reinvented and served in new and innovative ways. In the 80's and 90's there were very good restaurants, but they were few. For me, the best food then was home cooking and many social gatherings were in people's houses.
Now, when I am in town, my friends and family usually eat out and explore the many new options.
My list of great restaurants and the dishes that I enjoyed..
It's funny how hashtags can influence behavior. Every #TBT aka Throwback Thursday or #FBF aka Flash Back Friday, I think of a past trip or look at an old family photo and have a desire to share it. For today's #FBF, I remember a special dinner.
I was in Manila last December to visit my Mom and had dinner at Mecha Uma in Global City. I heard a lot about culinary wunderkind Chef Bruce Ricketts who was making waves in the Manila food scene and studied in San Diego (his very lovely grandmother Tita Edith is a long time San Diego resident). His food is described as "global cuisine with Japanese inflections" and friends who ate at his restaurants raved about the quality of his ingredients. I was curious, intrigued and decided to take my mom for an early New Year's dinner before heading back to the States.
Unfortunately, I was not able to get a reservation for the omakase chef's tasting menu and sit at the interactive Chef's table but the a la carte menu was impressive and our server did a wonderful job explaining the dishes. The food is definitely worth the hype and I admire his creativity. The understated ambiance (the restaurant is small and intimate), the "oh my gosh absolutely delicious" food (Mecha Uma translates to "absurdly delicious"), plus the friendly and knowledgeable staff made our meal unforgettable. It was the perfect place for a mother daughter dinner.
25th Street, between 5th & 6th Ave.
RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Center
Bonifacio South, Fort Bonifacio
We were in Mexico City last June and took an overnight trip to the city of Puebla, a Spanish colonial town established in the 1531 located in East-Central Mexico, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is Mexico's 4th largest city. Believed to have been built with the help of angels, the city was called Puebla de los Angeles or "City of Angels".
We took Uber (our ride of choice in Mexico City) to the TAPO bus terminal then rode the Estrella Roja bus to the Capu bus terminal then hopped on a 20 minute cab ride to our hotel in the historic area of Puebla. The roughly 2 hour ride premier class ticket cost about $12 one way and the bus was clean, comfortable and felt safe.
Our first glimpse of the city was of stunning Baroque and Renaissance architecture painted in vibrant colors and dramatic talavera tiled facades. So beautiful!
We also visited because we heard that they are known for their dishes such as Middle Eastern inspired gyro style taco Arabe which were created by immigrants from Iraq who moved to the area after World War I, mole (one of my favorite dishes) and the cemita poblana, a massive meat, cheese, avocado sandwich in a specialty sesame roll.
If you visit Saigon and love crab, eat at 94 Quan Thuy, a no frills restaurant frequented by locals that serves delicious fresh crab dishes. The restaurant is small and clean, the food is served quickly and prices are very reasonable.
Girl's night dinner at the Smoking Goat in North Park. The husbands were home and we enjoyed a good bottle of wine, a rich indulgent dish (not eating healthy tonight) and a decadent dessert. Very good food, excellent service, casual mellow vibe...the perfect place to catch up, chat and relax.