I like to try to make good use of my time and waiting in line for restaurants isn’t usually my thing. These past two days I’ve been waiting in line for over an hour to have lunch at the same place just because it’s so good. In Japan, I guess that’s what you do if you want to have good food. At the moment I’m in line waiting to have sushi at Hanamaru Sushi in Sapporo.
I had it yesterday and so I thought I’d write a little review on why we love it here. Hanamaru Sushi has several locations and the most convenient for us while waiting for our evening flight is a Kaiten Sushi place at Stellar Place or the Sapporo JR Station. It’s on the 6th floor next to the Daimaru mall entrance and you can’t miss it with the long line in front of it.
The first thing you must do is to quickly get a number from the receptionist machine. You key in the number of people and choose what kind of seating you want. They then ask you if you want to key in your mobile number so they can call you. We don’t have a number so we just wait. Its in Japanese so watching the person in front of you is a good idea.
They have an english menu so if there’s something that isn’t coming around, just write down the number on the paper at your table and give it to sushi chef. Don’t forget to ask them for the menu as they have seasonal specials.
The dishes are colour coded for the price starting from around 160 yen to 350 yen with the blue dish being the least expensive. The English menu has all this translated for you complete with instructions so it’s pretty easy.
What about the sushi? The sushi is absolutely delicious and fresh. The small rice balls with long pieces of fresh fish taste absolutely divine. Maybe it’s the wait that makes it all the more special but we still love it. The price is also very reasonable compared to the quality of the fish. We ate for the world with yellow tail, uni, and eel and the season’s special shirako for a total of almost 20 dishes and it came to roughly 4,000yen.
Ok, I’ve finished writing this very long post and we are still waiting in line. Getting hungry! Itadakimasu
Living in Bangkok, I am fortunate to have so many options for good food.From street food to the fanciest restaurants, you can find almost anything to your taste and budget.A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be invited to savor delicious food by Chef Cayito and days past the taste still lingers on in my memory.Having good food served beautifully whilst chatting with good friends is an experience all in itself. Experiences to be enjoyed, cherished and memories formed.
What did we have?
We had so many dishes, I had to look at the photos to remember what we ate.The menu offered us a variety of tastes leading us from one dish to the other.The first dish was a mix of yogurt and granola with some fruit sauces. ( I didn’t ask what sauces they were, I was too busy eating). It was just lovely and light enough to get your taste buds ready.French onion soup was next with just the right amount of crunch and flavors. There’s something about warm soup that just seems to soothe and relax the soul. Trained in French cooking in Spain and coming from Mexico, our dishes were a mix of French and Spanish influences.Grilled octopus and mussels in marinara sauce reminded me of our trip to Spain many years ago.The sauce was so good I requested extra bread to dip into the sauce.
Main dishes arrived with a light tomato salad to accompany the grilled lamb with raspberry sauce and duck confit.The grilled lamb was tender and melted in your mouth whilst the duck confit was divine with crispy skin and meat melting off its bones.Duck confit has always been one of my favorite dishes when dining at French restaurants and Chef Cayito’s version was so good I would have more if I weren’t afraid of rolling out the door.In case we wanted some more accompaniment, gratin dauphinois followed. A lover of cheese and anything creamy and hot, no matter how full I was, I had room for gratin dauphinois.Our dessert was a wonderful surprise of light pancakes with strawberries and blueberries to end the meal. Perfect.
There’s something about having European food that always makes my heart smile a little more. It’s perhaps because it reminds me of growing up in Europe and the many trips we’d have enjoying the good food. If you want to sample Chef Cayito’s cooking, you’lll have to find him at charity events.
Sweet dreams readers. I now have to get myself a snack.
It’s been a busy busy year and am glad to have a few days off year end. It’s amazing what just a few days off can do to your soul. It’s wonderful to wind down and hear yourself think for a few days. It’s wonderful to have ‘me’ time. Today, I want to share with you this new place Alex and I just discovered. It’s an indoor skiing and snowboarding training playground.
Yes, in 35 degrees celsius Bangkok we now have an indoor skiing and snowboarding training place. I couldn’t quite believe it when Alex sent me the website. We plan to go snowboarding in March and having never snowboarded before, we wanted to practice. Alex and I last skied many years ago. We decided to check out Ski365 on Christmas day.
It opened in late November so parts of the facilities are still under construction They are, however, open for skiing and snowboarding. We booked for the 1 hour trial lesson and had a slope all to ourselves with an instructor. Equipment (snowboard, helmet, boots) are all included.
The lesson was exactly what we wanted. Having read and studied about snowboarding, we haven’t had the chance to put one on and try it out. This place allowed us to do just that. We got to practice heel slide and standing up on the board from a seated position. By the end of the lesson, we could both slide down the slope and stop fairly well.
Will we go back? Yes we will. We want to be able to master a few basic techniques by the time we get to Japan so we can enjoy ourselves in the snow.
How was the overall quality of instruction? It was okay. The boards were not customised to height and the instructor seemed a bit timid. To get information, you had to actively ask, which is great because we prefer instructors who don’t talk to much.
What do you wear? Wear comfortable clothes that dry quickly because you will get wet. I wore my yoga pants with a lose top. The slope is infused with water so when you sit, fall over or roll over, you get wet. Bring clothes to change, but their changing rooms are not finished yet so we had to use the mall bathroom.
What is the slope like? The slope is like a giant treadmill. There’s no ice involved and no fake snow. The slope is covered in synthetic material infused with water. They can keep the slope moving so you never get to the end of the slope, but being beginners we didn’t get to try the feature yet. We liked being whisked back up to the top of the slope once we’ve gone down the slope.
How does the slope feel? It feels like packed snow that is starting to melt. It’s like snow when you go skiing at the end of the ski season.
Overall, I think it’s great if you plan on going skiing or snowboarding for the first time and you want some basic training. It saves practice time in the snow so you can enjoy more of the slopes when you get there. If you already know how to ski or snowboard, I think it would be a good place to brush up on your skills before you go. My recommendation for now is that they get rid of the mosquitoes in the facilities.
Ski365 is at FuturePark Rangsit on the 3rd floor by the new Zpell mall.
It’s Sunday night in Bangkok, it’s hot and humid with a little breeze. I could do with a little more cold weather but for some reason today I’ve been thinking of fish and chips. Hmm.. there’s nothing quite like having hot fish and chips after a cold walk outside in the rain. It just doesn’t taste as good in hot Bangkok. The fish and chips in Wellington was heavenly. The first afternoon Alex and I got into Wellington, it was raining, cold and windy. After twelve hours of traveling we were hungry. Okay there’s airplane food, but it isn’t satisfying.
So we checked in and headed out for some food. The hotel recommended we try out the Wellington Sea Market which was on Cuba street. It’s pretty easy to see with it’s huge signs and as it’s a standalone building it’s really not hard to find.
It’s an outlet of the Wellington Trawling Company which supplies fresh fish all over the world and also to top restaurants in New Zealand. At their outlet you can even choose your own fish and tell them how you want it cooked for a little under two kiwi dollars. They have all kinds of fresh fish and oysters as well. We just ordered their simple fish and chips and I have to say it was delicious! Their fries were equally good, not greasy at all and for a reasonable price of about $4.50. If you want mayonnaise or ketchup you pay extra. They have small packs on the counter for 90cents or larger packs in the freezer for roughly $1.50.
What fish do they use? They said they usually use Blue Nose or the Warehou. I honestly have no clue but it does taste good. You can dine in on one of their few tables or take away. Most of the people we saw, came in for takeaways. It’s understandable since it’s hardly a place you would go for service or ambiance. It’s a simple fish outlet shop where you come in for fresh fish and dine. I’m sure there are many more places in Wellington selling fish and chips, but Alex and I were perfectly happy with our Wellington Seamarket and did go back for seconds before we left. http://www.wellingtonseamarket.com Nothing beats eating food freshly cooked. Okay I’m hungry now.
It’s hot in Bangkok. Temperatures run up to 36 degrees celsius and on some days it feels like 44 degrees celsius. Everything slows down in Bangkok. This weekend is the start of the Thai New Years or “Songkran” Festival where people everything slows down and people go home to the provinces or take holidays abroad. I personally love being in Bangkok this time of year when the roads are clear. The only problem is. It’s hot. I need food that is cool and refreshing. A few weeks ago, thanks to a dear colleague who gave me one, I discovered the Japanese confection of “Strawberry Daifuku.”
It’s cool, refreshing, and melts in your mouth.
I’ve only ever had daifuku with red bean, chestnut fillings or other sweet fillings. With fresh strawberries, this strawberry daifuku has since become my favorite. You get to get mochi with less guilt. I also particularly love the green tea filling and the freshly made mochi. It’s thin and melts in your mouth. Just like the ones I’ve had in Japan.
The website says each piece is made my a Michelin Star chef. I can’t say I know the difference, but I do know I like it. If you eat it right away, it’s even better.
I stopped by their stand at Central World by the supermarket the other day and there wasn’t any queue for it. Great for me. Not sure if its great for the owner though. I have to admit I personally think it tastes much better than the new hit Croissant Taiyaki which is all the fad right now and has long lines. But that’s for another post.
It’s a bit pricey, ranging from 50baht to 90 baht per piece, but then you get what you pay for. Large juicy strawberries surrounded by melt in your mouth mochi. Hmm.. I better stop before I start dreaming about it. O
h, and no, I don’t know the owner nor do I get paid for writing this. I just like it and wanted to share this little treasure 🙂 Itadakimasu
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Sometimes a place so close can seem so far and when you finally get there, you wonder what kept you from visiting sooner. My work this year has given me the opportunity to travel to many South East Asian countries (as some might say “regional” travel) and though most days you miss the comfort of your own home, the almost monthly travels does have its perks; for a few hours in the evenings or early mornings, you get to explore the city. Some cities are not so convenient, but Vientiane, Laos is a great city to walk around even if you only have a couple of hours.
It’s so charming I have to confess that I have fallen in love with it and even as I am writing, images of its streets and shops appear like a trailer in my mind. It’s as if I have been charmed, intoxicated. There’s something about the place that makes me yearn to go back and visit once more.
A city with a population of roughly 700,000 to 800,000 on the banks of the Mekong river, Vientiane still retains many of it’s old world charms. There are no shopping malls, no large advertisement billboards or flashing electronic ads to numb our senses but rather there are streets of local shops and eateries nestled in between boutique hotels and guests houses. I’m not sure how long this old world charm this will last, seeing that there are plans to build a large World Trade Centre Complex, but I have to admit I have a selfish dream that it will continue to retain its charm.
What is there to see in Vientiane and should you visit it? Find out and follow me on my next few posts as I take you on a virtual tour around the city to ancient temples, bakeries, eateries and shopping.
Having my own home, kitchen and not so crazy about food as in my fat days, I’ve been eating out a lot less. However, don’t get me wrong, I still go out and enjoy good food. Today my good friend recommended we go try this new place in town called “Chu: chocolate bar and café” as we wanted to have “Eggs benedict” and this place served breakfast all day long as well as a variety of chocolate drinks and desserts. My favorite kind of place for a lazy weekend breakfast.
It’s still it’s soft opening, but it seems to have attracted quite a bit of clientele with its new space and great atmosphere. It’s furnished fairly simply in an industrial style with open ceilings, cement floors and wooden tables. Simple, yet comfortable and most importantly, spacious. Something that is now harder and harder to find in Bangkok. It has a lot of natural light which is great, even though there is no view. There are seats for every kind of customer. If you just wanted dessert, there were soft sofas where you could rest, and if you were eating alone, there’s a high table with high chair where you can look out of the restaurant and people watch. Lovely. A seat for everyone.
What about the food? We ordered Eggs Benedict with Norwegian Salmon, Norwegian Scramble, Homemade Pancakes with blueberries, Chicken Ciabatta with pesto, walnut . For dessert we had Lava cake and Chocolate con churros. What a feast it was. So what’s the verdict? I think overall the food was average. The ingredients were fresh, presentation beautiful, but taste wise it wasn’t the best place in town. The Eggs Benedict were a bit disappointing. I had expected the jumbo poached egg to just melt into the smoked salmon and sourdough muffin base when pierced, but instead the yolk was soft boiled. I wanted runny eggs to just melt into the hollandaise sauce and permeate the smoked salmon and muffin. That’s how I like it. The sauce was okay, but I think there was slightly too little of it to offset the jumbo egg.
The Norwegian Scramble was good though. I love anything with eggs and the scrambled eggs were a delight to eat. Soft with mascarpone cheese and smoked salmon, it melted with each bite. I just wished I had a little more of the scrambled eggs. Portions are not exactly on the large scale here, but good if you want to watch your waistline.
My favorite was the Homemade Pancakes. I think it was probably the only dish to which I have nothing to comment on. The texture was nice and fluffy, the fruits fresh and the maple syrup just lovely. I enjoyed every bite. Chu only provides you a little pot of syrup though, so if you are the type that loves to just drench your pancakes in maple syrup then you’d better ask for more.
The Pesto Chicken Ciabatta with Walnut Sandwich was okay. I always like chicken and pesto so for me, it’s always a good choice to order. It tasted great, but if you want to use fork and knife, it gets a bit hard to cut. I ended up using my hands to eat the sandwich.
Dessert was chocolate lava cake and Chocolate con churros. It’s okay, but I thought the lava cake slightly too sweet, the outside not soft and fluffy enough. If you’ve had chocolate and churros in Spain, of course it’s no way as good as the original. I miss San Gines in Madrid and wanted the Chocolate con Churros here to be like the one I had in Madrid, so was a bit disappointed at the small size of the churros and the chocolate that wasn’t liquid chocolate. It could be from a different part of Spain, but helas I’ve only had the one in Madrid.
Service? It was fast, friendly and efficient, but I was a bit surprised when one of the waiters did not speak Thai. Hey, I’m in Thailand! It was also a bit inconsistent. Before dessert, they cleared the dishes, but failed to finish clearing all of it. Minor details which I am sure will be improved upon once the restaurant is fully opened.
Overall? I still like the place and thoroughly enjoyed sitting there for almost three hours without feeling rushed. The food was average, atmosphere pleasant and a great place for a lazy weekend breakfast with friends. It’s great if you are indeed of a quick meal and are not necessarily in search of the best Eggs Benedict in town. Will I go there again? Yes. Location is great. Atmosphere lovely.
It’s at Asoke BTS, Exchange Tower 2nd Floor. Convenient and you can even go walk around Terminal 21 afterwards to digest. Bon appetite! https://www.facebook.com/CHU.BKK
It’s my last day in Lisboa and I have to say I am starting to miss it a little already. Though the buildings are reminders of former glories and current harsh times are reflected in the state of the buildings, there is a certain charm that grows on you and finds a place of its own in your heart. Traditional shops making handmade shoes and gloves can still be found, old trams still run up and down the hills, neighbourhood baths still in use, people here are still living the traditional life. Outside of Lisbon, you see another side of Portugal. A more romantic side where rolling hills, deep valleys and moorish castles stand atop mountains.
We went to Sintra via train which is a mere 40minutes from Rossio station. A train leaves every ten minutes so its fairly convenient. If you buy the Lisboa card that gives you discounts to sites and public transport ( 24, 48, 72 hours) the fare is included. Just seeing the beauty of Rossio station is a lovely start to the trip. On the train if you sit on the left you will see views of roman aqueducts.
At Sintra, upon arriving I recommend turning right and taking the bus 434 or 435 to major sites. 434 takes you to the moorish castle and the highly recommended Pena palace, the former summer residence of Portugese kings. 435 takes you to other famous palaces of millionaires and convents. All unesco world heritage sites.
We went to Pena palace and at first sight I wondered if this was a fairy tale castle built for tourists yet it was indeed built for kings and queens. Its colourful and a mixture of moorish and european architecture. There are small castle towers and courtyards with beautiful views of the ocean. Surrounded by forests you could spend an entire summer day roaming around yet in autumn it gets a bit chilly.
I love the weekend. It’s time for relaxing and for thinking about how to relax. It’s been awhile since I last watched a movie and it’s been an even longer while since I last sobbed watching a movie. Watching a movie on DVD at home where there are not another hundred or so people next to you, you find yourself fulling immersing yourself and embracing the emotions that come with it. You can cry and laugh as loud as you want. You aren’t going to be disturbing the person next to you. So yes I cried when watching “The Descendants”, but it was a good one.
“The Descendants” isn’t one of those action movies that keep you grabbing to the edge of your seat or hiding behind a pillow, when it gets all bloody. It’s one of those movies where you watch a family, lives and emotions unfurl. It’s harsh reality beautifully portrayed.
It’s about a family, a husband and two daughters and what happens after the mother is seriously injured in a boating accident.
You might think, so it’s another one of those movies when everyone sobs and gets through it. Well there’s more. A possible death of a loved one or family member brings up all kinds of emotions. There’s anger, denial and most often regret.
In the first scene of the movie, the lawyer husband and land baron, sits by his wife who is laying in bed in a coma and hoping that she wakes up. They had not spoken in days and months. He wished he had lived his life differently and spent more time with his wife. But life has passed by and he cannot bring her back. Their marriage had quietly disintegrated despite a seemingly happy life with a large house and money for all their needs.
There is no one cause, but a mixture of reasons. He was probably too focused on his work and his wife busy raising the children. Matt King discovers he hardly knows his daughters. He doesn’t know what they like, don’t like nor what kind of persons they have become. He didn’t know his wife in the past ten years of their life together. He had neglected her needs. He had been too self focused. He lost touch with the personal and emotional aspect of his family.
It makes you think really.
What is it you want out of life? What is important in your life? Families like a tree require regular pruning and watering. Once absent, they will wilt and die. Relationships and emotions have to be handled with care and nurtured with love. Only then will the tree blossom into a strong and beautiful one. Think about what you really want. Once you have it, focus and do not lose sight.
Life once lived cannot be taken back.
Don’t end up sitting by the bed of someone you love full of regrets about all you hadn’t done, thinking about all you should’ve done. Live your life and do what you want to do, but don’t forget about those most important to you. There’s more to life than just fame and money.
It’s no wonder this movie won an Oscar and several other awards. It’s reality beautifully made.