the thursday group

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

foodtrip

our departure date is looming near, and each passing day brings me closer to maple syrup and canadian bacon, and farther away from LKF, Soho, Food Forum, XTC on Ice, Worldwide House for my Pinoy bagoong-tuyo-patis-saba-calamansi fix, and my favorite Thursday lunch-dessert-coffee dates with stimulating company.

to stave off the loneliness and ease the boredom, hubby and i treat our tummies while hurting our wallet.

wasabi-sabi in times square:
-small portions, so a bit too pricey for my liking.
-interesting TITbits though (yes, it's spelled that way on the menu, made derrick's bastos atenean brain go into overdrive).
-had marinated baby squid in sweet soy. it was RAW. tiny, wriggly things swimming in a dark sauce. marty and derrick valiantly tried 2 each and proclaimed it good -- liars! i found it squishy, sweet, similar to oysters but less briny. i liked it.
-sashimi salad was refreshingly different
-i liked the teapot seafood soup with its concentrated and aromatic broth
-the men enjoyed the eel fried rice, but is was average for me
-the fried salmon bones had a yummy dipping sauce
-grilled sirloin wrapped around smoked eggplant looked better than it tasted. it wasn't spectacular, just ok

harlan's
-abstinence friday so no burger boohoohoo
-lobster bisque is a must! share it though, it's way too rich
-better go to Baci's for pizza, though it's much smaler than Harlan's
-eggplant parmigiano was delightfully cheesy

le tire bouchon
-pan-fried foie gras swimming in raspberry cream sauce was dizzyingly divine, according to derrick the foie-gras addict. i prefer it pan-fried, served with balsamic reduction and poached fruit or mango
-duck breast with provencal olive sauce was fork-tender, medium-rare just like i ordered, but bitin!
-tournedos rossini was succulent and flavorful, but bitin. the port wine sauce was too sweet.
-don't order the chocolate souffle. tasted like it was made of cheap cocoa powder
-the stupid mangy little poachers ran after the future king (this, and the next, is from my makulit, bored rapscallion husband who loves quoting from Disney movies and just grabbed the laptop to type this gibberish)
-out there Emperor Zurg has built a secret weapon that can annihilate the entire universe

moon koon dimsum
-chopped squid fried rice with shrimp paste was yummy
-dimsum was ok

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Hutong

Looks like Water Margin (with a view)... tastes like Water Margin! If you're on an expense account...a definite YES! If not...stick to Water Margin!!!

28th floor, 1 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui 3428 8342

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Want My Mommy

I just said my good-byes to my parents as they left to go back to the States. I have also put Sam down for his afternoon nap. And Chris is in Guangzhou on business and won't be back until tomorrow. I haven't felt this alone in awhile. I want my mommy =(

I was just telling my mom last night how different life is compared to back when we were all living in Manila. Life was so routine. And like all the child care books say, kids crave routine. Ours was wake up at 6am, get ready for school, get to school and count the hours till its dismissal, get picked up, go home, watch TV, study, have dinner with the family, more TV, get ready for bed and in bed by 10pm. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I still feel as if I were back in that house in Magallanes Village, on Trinidad St. I still remember exactly how the furniture was placed, what I had in my closet and my doll house in my night stand table. I still remember the brightness of our light fixture, hanging on top of our heads as we sat at our round dinner table. I remember my assigned seat was between my brother and my mom on my right. The kitchen was to my back. I miss those family dinners. No matter what happened that day, no matter how crap or how great the day was, we could always count on having dinner all together, all five of us. Although we weren't a particularly chatty family, it was nice having the presence of the whole family. We would listen to my mom do most of that talking while my dad read his newspaper and my older brother concentrate on his food and TV.

But when did it all end? Ours ended the day my older brother left for college in the US. My mom says that's just a part of growing up. Its inevitable that we all move out and on. But wouldn't it be nice if there was someway we could say, wait! I want back! I want to sit at that dinner table again with my whole family. I want to sleep on that super hard bed again. And I want to be able to say Maaaa! And my mom will peer through the door and say "What is it?". Where can I get such a contraption? I've got HK$20 left in my pocket.

I always get nostalgic and sappy after a visit with my parents. I guess I'm still a child at heart or just a total wimp. But it's just nice to not be a grown-up once in awhile. Hey, our hubbies are overgrown kids that still like to play with expensive toys, so why can't us ladies still be daddy's girls and want our mommy?

I'll get to see my parents again in 2 months. I better get my fill of them while I'm there before I have to revert back to being a grown up indefinitely.

By the way, Sam has finally started saying mama this week. He'll soon figure out mama means "I want my mommy".

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Transients

I would think of Hong Kong as a large port wherein lots of ships dock and the ships would symbolize us, transient people. Since this country is one of the progressive cities in the world, especially in Asia, most of the ships dock here for business, trading, transit, shopping, eating, etc...

Like ships, we dock and stay here indefinitely. Some with a fixed schedule, some for the time being, some for good and some whenever. Within this period of stopover or settlement, we meet ships (people) who become our friends and become a part of our lives. We share stories & experiences, hang-out together and learn from each other. We take a day at a time until it becomes weeks, months and then, years trying to fulfill whatever our purposes for residing here. Until that day of the unknown where one or few of the ships that we have come to know has to sail and dock to a new port.

My ship has docked in this port for almost four years now, and I have watched, hugged and missed those who have to set their sails and go. But for all those who are still here and for those who are going soon, I would like to wave my hands, "Bon Voyage" and have a happy journey to life. Thanks for being part of our lives.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

eyestrain

movie mania, man! i spent the weekend damaging my much-abused eyesight by cramming Raising Helen, SuperSize Me, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby and Sideways into 3 short days (imagine watching a movie, then pausing to watch Shrek 2, then trying to finish the original movie, only to be subjected to peter pan and junge book... you get the picture).

oscar fever -- every year i get afflicted and try to catch as many of the nominated films as i can.

loved clint eastwood in million dollar baby. was he nominated? hillary swank was superb, as always. flick was kinda too dramatic for my taste. i prefer mystic river. now that was subdued acting, highly-charged script, flowing scenes. as much as i treasure my Tolkiens, i still think mystic should've won.

couldn't concentrate on finding neverland. if j.m. barrie looked that good, hell, he should be forgiven his eccentricities! johnny depp was so gorgeous the set, kate winslet, heck, the whole story was background. pale, insignificant background. that jaw, those intense eyes... a married woman should not be allowed within a few hundred meters of this guy! leo looks like a wuss compared to johnny.

now sideways. ahhh. the best of the best. for me, anyway. reminded me of my beverage management class in college when, for an exam, we'd be asked to sip and smell several bottles of alcoholic stuff and identify them. boy, did we get drunk after! tequila+whiskey+brandy+vodka+rum+wine+beer do not mix.
i like wine, but honestly, can't smell and taste beyond the woodsy, citrus, floral notes. they sure as hell don't exude an "asparagus" flavor for me. no career as a sommelier, then.
and with a friend as absurd as Jack, who needs enemies?
and Miles, loser that he is, was so lovable and endearing and wine-smart and heartsick (why was Paul Giamatti forgotten when the best actor nominations were handed out?) he carried the whole show, swept the boredom away; his treatise on pinoit noir was fanatical, sensual, impassioned, and struck a chord! emotionally, this film rocks! if it were wine, i'd savour a whole bottle and get drunk-delirious-demented. it's just so damn real.
and the 2 short naked sex scenes, it wasn't arousing or sexy, but the profanity of it!
and the scenery, the vineyards a shining endless green in the sun.
and the thought of a roadtrip involving food, wine, sex, conversation... fantastic!

Monday, March 14, 2005

My week long birthday gift!

I wrote a whole blog but due to some technical difficulties, didn't get posted. Took me almost a day to write it with distractions from Katrina and Poch and it got lost... anyway, let me try to reconstruct my drama entry...

As many of you know, my parents surprised me on my birthday by coming over and spending the week here with their favorite daughter (or maybe its favorite apo?). I was feeling a little down about turning 32 (yep, I'm off the calendar now), thinking what have I done in my life. I love being a wife and mom but sometimes I wonder if I died today, would I be proud of what I have accomplished in life? Or am I the servant, in a parable Jesus told, entrusted with a bag of money by my master and just buried it instead of investing and making it grow? What have I done with the skills/potential gifted to me by God? Aside from becoming a good wife and mom, I can't really think of anything significant. The sad thing is I still don't know what to do... is this what a mid-life crisis feels like?

Anyway, my parent's visit took my mind off these musings and for 1 week I felt great! Every afternoon, I'd go out with my mom (North Point for food shopping and the market, Mongkok for bargain shopping and Central and Causeway Bay for everything else) while papa stayed home and bonded with Katrina. Papa still hasn't fully recovered from his accident and can't walk for long distances yet. Seeing Katrina with my parents was wonderful. You could see how much she loves them. It took her around an hour to get used to them then it was all kisses, hugs, smiles and laughter. I already miss them and I'm sure Katrina is wondering where they are too. It was a great gift!

Here are some of pics of my parents with their favorite apo.
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Saturday, March 12, 2005

seona dancing, anyone?

much whooping in our computer room tonight. rushed over to see what was the matter and saw mickey reading one of his daily blogs. this time he was literally in it in the "email of the day" section.

you might find a pop culture reference funny in a political blog. heck, i sure did. check out the march 11 entry on andrew sullivan's blog.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Miso Cod Recipe

Upon Maya's suggestion, I've decided to post the Miso Cod recipe on our blog. As you can see, it's ridiculously easy to make -- perfect for the tai tai lites like me who seem to be always in a hurry!

Broiled Cod in Miso Sauce

Makes 4 servings

6 tb white miso
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 cup sake
4 6 oz black cod or sea bass fillets

Start marinating the fish with first 4 ingredients (mixed well) for at least two hours before broiling. I usually marinate it overnight. You can also easily find the Japanese ingredients either at Great or Citysuper.

Remove fish from marinade and broil until opaque in center or about 8 mins.

Buen Provecho!

a quick roundup of nothing in particular

so we had a great lunch today! thanks to the girls for your delishooooos concoctions: mida's hors d'oeurves (did i spell that right?), tehlin's sausage-vegetarian combo risotto which i just had for dinner, may's pansit which i polished off after everyone left, shy's nobu miso cod -- pronounced "authentic" by sayuri, an authentic japanese, dawn's ultra-sinful choco-chip-mousse, half of which is still in my fridge and which i'm having for desert, pam's jen and berry's, i mean ben and jerry's pints, half of which are still in my freezer and which i'm also having for desert.

sam the crazy baby provided ample entertaiment. the living room is back in order, but i think i'm keeping his smudges on my mirror and the chewed-up economists. they're kinda cute.

since we were on the topic of "american idol", thought i'd link you to rickey's blog. here's idol mania taken to the extreme. warning though, may have spoilers.

and here's a really interesting article about a 96-year old still-practicing doctor. he gave up doing actual surgery only 5 years ago, but still works from 7:30 to 6 everyday. that excludes the 2 hours of writing he does in the morning before driving to work, and the 2 hours he does in the evening. credits this work ethos for his longevity. hmmmmm.


and if you have the time to futz around other blogs, check out bnoopy, started by one of the guys who founded excite.com, sold it, and is now working on his second start-up. despite the techno-geek background, this is a really down-to-earth retelling of his story liberally sprinkled with inspirational missives. check out the second most recent post, "start-ups and the stockdale paradox." good story.


and finally, they're making another one of my childhood favorite books into a movie!!! this page links to several trailers to the hitchhikers' guide to the galaxy movie which is coming out in april. check out the internet-only version right here which is the best trailer i've ever seen. seriously. but then i like kung fu movies, so take that recommendation accordingly.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Baby Vocabulary

1. Remote Control Car - this refers to when Sam takes the TV remote control, holds it in one hand and pushes it along the floor like a race car. Kulang na lang yung "vroom! vroom!" sound.

2. Power Nap - this is when crawling at the speed of Roadrunner down the hallway, Sam suddenly lies flat on the floor with arms and legs sprawled out as if Cayote went splat on the ground and lies there for a minute or so, "resting", before zooming off again.

3. Floor Mat - in relation to word number 2, this refers to how our whole apartment floor has turned into Sam's mat to take power naps on as he pleases.

4. Water Mark - these are markings on the floor caused by excessive drool puddles left by Sam and left to dry.

5. Paper Trail - with a mouth full of chewed paper or cardboard, a trail of paper mache is dribbled on the floor while Sam plays with his "remote control car". A "paper trail" usually becomes a very difficult "water mark" to clean up.

6. Dried fruits and vegetables - in relation to words number 4 and 5, fruits and vegetables are often found in a dried format at various areas of the house. Dried fruits and vegetables can appear inside shoes, stuck amongst the channel buttons of the remote control car, plastered on the windows and even on your cheek after a long day at home.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

An introvert's haven, or "Alice crawls into a hole"

Up the almost obscure Peel Street, at #57, is a little brown "hole in the wall" called Chocolux. I remember walking downhill from Staunton Street after a short coffee break with a friend named Valerie. Instead of heading toward the escalators, I decided to take a detour. There was a stairway which led to a terrace of burnt incense. The road was steep, and quite apparently, my sneakers did not have enough traction to prevent myself from slipping.

This little discomfort was soon forgotten, when I saw a lit candle from behind this wispy bronze curtain onthe left side of the road. I was curious to know what the "privacy-shmivacy" was all about, so I threw the curtain open and Lo!

The smell of tsokolate-e! Too bad it wasn't a Spanish cafe, otherwise I would have ordered churros.

But this little brown haven is perfect for listless afternoons. If you have nothing much to do this spring, and you're dying to finish a book or two (or maybe more), head downhill--or up-hill, depending where you're at--to this discreet little choco-shop for a macaroon, or a savoury jamon serrano crepe, or a novelty of a drink, but not so new to us "tsokolate-e" drinkers: the "Chocohaud".

Another introvert's haven, but with a slightly annoying selection for muzak, is at the IFC: Le Gouter Bernardaud. Highlights at this place are the multi-coloured macaroons, tartines (order the afternoon tea sampler) and rose petal tea.

Olive

Where: Olive at 32 Elgin St, Soho 2521 1608 (Mon - Sun: 12pm - 3pm; 6pm - 11pm)
When: March 6, 2005 7:45pm
Who: Jay and Shy Sala
What: Olive's Mezza (mixed platter of appetizers, my favorite among all was the Fatima's fingers); Bistayees (Moroccan-style Pigeon Pie cooked in sweet spices and almonds - excellent!); Warm Ginger cake ala mode topped with Toffeed Mangoes drizzled with Orange Blossom Caramel (yum, yum, yum!)
Well?: A definite must-try!!

*Saw most of the waitstaff and the manager at Soho Spice working their night shift at Olive. Both restaurants, including Archie B's (my favorite deli), El Taco Loco (Jay's favorite Mexican joint); Bombay Dreams plus Cuisine Courier are owned by the same group, Dining Concepts.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

eat2eat

Ladies, someone beat us to it!!!

Check this out:

Hong Kong's pseudo-Zagat guide (eat2eat.com)

Harlan's (and The Women's Foundation)

Harlan Goldstein, former chef at the members-only Aberdeen Marina Club, has had the public enjoy his culinary creations at his eponymous eatery since late last year. Friends have raved about his Chef's table (pricey but worth every cent), his extensive and impressive wine list, and his delicious burgers. After attending a photo exhibit and launch of a mutual friend's non-profit organization, The Women's Foundation, early tonight, Jay, Harold and I found ourselves at Harlan's ordering a steak sandwich (Jay); and two burgers (me - medium rare; Harold - medium well). All 3 dishes came with fries on the side. Harold ordered a glass of D'Arenberg Grenache, which, according to him, is a very rare find since not many restaurants stock this particular vintage. The total damage was about HKD 660 -- not cheap! Service was very good but the food took so long (around 25 mins) since it was a full house tonight. In fact, there were no more seats available at the restaurant but we were lucky to have been seated at the secluded bar area on the right side of the entrance. We actually prefered this because we had two big sofas and two tables to ourselves in a very private and cozy corner. When our food arrived, I slathered my burger with a liberal amount of wasabi mayo and piled on the tomatoes, onions, lettuce and two crispy strips of bacon between the two hamburger buns. It was pure heaven!!! Arguably the best burger in the whole of Hong Kong -- better than Al's Diner's gourmet burgers! Perfect consistency -- juicy but not overly so; wonderfuly tender with flavors bursting on every corresponding taste bud; and the size was enough to satisfy the hunger (not too small that one felt cheated and not too big that one felt sick by the time the last three bites are left). When Jay had some of mine, he promptly abandoned his steak sandwich (mediocre, according to him) and he kept on repeating "Ohhhh my gaaaad, this is sooooo good! Ohhhh my gaaaad, this is sooooo good!" as he polished off most of my burger. I told him to keep it down since people might think that were doing something indecent inside our private (and very dark) booth! We'll definitely try the Chef's table, maybe for our anniversary dinner. Imagine, if a simple burger is that good...what other culinary treasures Harlan is hiding in his kitchen?!

Harlan's is on the 2nd Floor of the IFC Mall. 2805 0566. Open at 1130am - 1030pm from Mondays to Sundays and public holidays.

For those who are interested, The Women's Foundation is currently looking for volunteers and interns.

Random Thoughts

I'm just sitting here in front of my computer tonight with itchy fingers, so I thought I'd type down a few thoughts.

Have any of you ever tried sitting for a long period of time on the floor? I now have new respect and appreciation for our sofa. Chris and I miss it. Not to mention our bed. It's amazing how your life can seem so disfunctional without furniture. We are currently sleeping in Sam's playpen. Well, not actually in it, but we use it to border off the area in which we are sleeping on. Since it doubles as our bed and Sam's play area, our livingroom is our bedroom as well. It gives a whole new perspective in what we do in specific areas of our apartment. Chris and I were saying to each other last night how wonderful it would be the day our mattress arrives and we get to sleep on a real bed again. People usually drool over good food, Chris and I drool over the thought of a bed. We are so pathetic.

We also miss our rice cooker. Although Chris is Australian, he can't go for very long without white rice and "ulam". I totally miss it. It also means its harder to keep to a low food budget. It really is cheap when you cook up some stir fry every night. And now that Chris has finished his marathon, I don't have to think healthy, low fat and hi carbs anymore. At least that makes it easier for me to come up with dinner. Just tonight I came up with a chicken avocado salad. I mixed chunks of cooked chicken, avocado, raw onion, celery and raisins together. And as a binder, nothing but good ol artery blocking mayo. Yum!

Another thing I miss or am looking forward to is getting a chair to go with our computer desk. I am currently sitting on my jewellery making tool kit with a few pillows stacked on top of it. Before I came up with the ingenious plan of using pillows, my ass was killing me! If I could bend around like a dog, I wouldn't be surprised to see bruises on my butt cheeks from sitting on the floor, sitting on my tool kit and sleeping so close to the floor. Sniff, I miss soft things.

But one thing I realize I miss the most, in the larger picture of my life, is having meals cooked for me. Ever since I moved to HK, I have had to cook and cook and cook. I'm proud to say I have currently reached a point where recipes in books or the internet don't fully satisfy me and I often create my own or change them as I see fit. But oh, to have the pleasure of a meal waiting for me when lunch or dinner comes around is almost orgasmic. Ok, not orgasmic, but sad to say getting close to it. Chris has finally agreed to consider rehiring my maid Fe from Manila and getting her here to HK around year end. When I think of her being here, the first thing that comes to mind is not the clean toilet and sink I'll see, or the clean floors and dishes everyday, but the meals that will finally be waiting for me! I suddenly picture Chris at the finish line, waving his finger in victory, while Sam and I await his arrival. Replace this with me running to the finish line, except it's all the meals that are waiting for me, cheering me on while I run to them with open arms and a huge grin, ready to eat!

So here I am, still in front of my computer. Chris isn't home yet. He's out for dinner. It's his law firm's company spring dinner, whatever that is. For me it means he's out somewhere in Central, in a nice restaurant, enjoying overpriced food and over flowing wine which the company will pay for. Damn him. At least that means less food expense for the night.

But thank god for Thursday lunches with the girls! With it I am just tethering on the edge of self-pity. Without it, I would have fallen into the dark reaches of sheer boredom! And what have I done during these episodes of sheer boredom? Well, maybe I'll share that next time I sit my sore ass down to write again.