Sunday, August 23, 2009

Royce’ Nama Green Tea ♥ ♥

 

Leaving Tokyo feels like saying goodbye to your summer fling.

You realize that days have passed en masse, and before you know it, it is already time to leave. It is agonizing, it is mind shattering. It makes you want to grab whatever memento you can to remind you of the short-lived love affair – a hanky, a piece of clothing, a photo…

At Narita Airport, frantic to find that something to take with me before I part ways with my hot, delicious, and sizzling summer fling that is Tokyo, I rush about the terminal, I skim the shops frenziedly. I panic. I sweat. And still I see nothing. The boarding announcement comes on. I feel like crying. Defeated, I make my way back to the boarding gate. And then there it is.

Finally.

I find it.

My Something.

My Royce’ Nama Green Tea Chocolate.

 

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IMG_1036Soft. Smooth. Creamy. Green Tea-y.

Mild green tea powder greets my tongue. The chocolate starts to melt. I taste the freshest cream in its softness, smoothness and creaminess. Green tea flavor envelopes me. Subtle, sweet, grassy, milky, green.  A flashback happens in my mouth.

I taste the green tea at Steak House Satou where I had an out of this world steak meal. I taste the green tea at Daiwa Sushi where I experienced the sexiest sashimi on rice, the green tea at Ten-ichi where my wallet paid a fortune for so-so tempura, the green tea at Maisen where I fell in love with Pork, the green tea at Seryna, at Okame, at Gonpachi

I smile. I remember all my moments with Tokyo - the sizzling hot moments, the frustrating moments, the erotic moments, the orgasmic moments…   Royce’ Nama Green Tea Chocolate. The perfect memento.

Now I am ready to say goodbye to my summer fling.

 

Royce’ Chocolate: Narita International Airport. Also available in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wok This Way! at The Lounge ♥

 

Tell me, WHO can say no to the street foods of Asia?

 

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That’s correct! NOT JIN!!!

And so when I saw the Wok This Way! Asian Street Food Promotion at JW Marriott, I immediately booked a table and waited restlessly and impatiently for Saturday night to come.

Wok This Way! is the fruit of Executive Chef Hector Pliego and Executive Sous Chef William Cheng’s travels to Southeast Asia’s top culinary destinations in search of the best street foods. In this journey which they document in their blog, they explore, they research, they taste, they learn, they replicate, and now they bring back to Hong Kong not so authentic tastes of the best Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam have to offer. They bring to us…

 

IMG_3609DIY Nasi Lemak Station  

 

IMG_3627Sauces, Spices, Herbs

 

IMG_3635 My Special Nasi Lemak – with everything on it (Thank you, Paul!)

Except for the coconut rice being too sticky, this complete meal on banana leaf is quite a delight. Polishing off the whole plate is not part of my strategic buffet eating plan, but you know how when no one is checking, things don’t always go as planned? Well, for 5 full minutes, no one was looking. BUURRRPP!!! Ooops! Tee hee…

 

IMG_3615Beef, Chicken, Pork Satay – need. spicy. peanut. sauce.

 

IMG_3675Gado-Gado

 

IMG_3622 Lobster Pieces for the E-Fu Noodles

 

IMG_3690E-Fu Noodles with Lobster and Cream Cheese Dressing – DELICIOUS!!!!

Fried Shrimp Cakes – would have been good if not too oily

 

  IMG_3694 IMG_3678 

Bánh mì Station, Thai Appetizers Station – Hello, COLD appetizers!

 

IMG_3666    Fresh Lobster Spring Roll – fresh and crunchy but lacking in taste

 

IMG_3649 Thai Salads Station 

We all LOVE the Duck with Mango & Melon Salad and keep going back for more. The other three – grilled beef salad, spicy diced chicken salad, and peach and chicken salad - are also good, but not AS good.

 

IMG_3683 Noodles Station – b-o-r-i-n-g

 

IMG_3680 Ice Cream Station – vanilla, cookies ‘n cream… ZZZZZZZZ….……

Will someone PLEASE introduce to The Ice Cream Man the wonderful, tropical flavors of durian, coconut, jackfruit, mango, banana, calamansi, mangosteen, rambutan, passion fruit… please???

 

IMG_3684Very Disappointing Dessert Spread

 

IMG_3619 Thai Pancake – pancake is tough and chewy, filling sickeningly sweet

 

IMG_3642 Coconut Creme Caramel – such a waste of eggs!

 

IMG_3648 Mashed Banana with Pudding, Mango with Sticky Rice

The mashed banana is so good it takes all the self control I could muster not to scoop out all of them from the buffet spread and leave behind the sorry-tasting pudding they sit on. The mango sticky rice is just ordinary, nothing to write home about.

 

IMG_3645AMERICAN Cheesecake – SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!!

 

IMG_3644Tiramisu – the ONLY good dessert, so I keep quiet and silently pronounce Italy the newest member of the ASEAN

 

Overall, I would say Wok This Way! the story, the blog, the buffet is a truly awesome concept. Now if only the execution was just as awesome...

 

Wok This Way! Buffet is available at The Lounge every Friday and Saturday, 8pm-11:30pm until September 5, 2009. For reservations, please call +852-28108366.

The Lounge: Lobby Level, JW Marriott Hotel, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong. +852-28413846

Friday, August 14, 2009

NoKA Chocolate ♥ ♥

 

tokyo midtown   Tokyo Midtown

 

When inside a mall as swanky as this, one becomes afraid. Afraid to go in the shops for the fear of squandering all of his life savings in one go. One practices the humble sport of window-shopping. He peeks in the display window and shies away as soon as he spies a sales staff making her way towards him.   

And so, inside this upscale Roppongi mall, we peek in, we shy away, we peek in, we shy away.

 

We peek in…

noka chocolate …we desire, we linger, we drool a little, we forget to shy away

 

“Please come in, we have many more inside.”

And that is how The NoKA Lady found us.

As if under a spell, we follow The NoKA Lady into the shop and she begins reciting the voodoo chant that is meant to hypnotize us into blowing our tiny little life savings on these even tinier and littler chocolate morsels.

The NoKA Lady: “Our chocolate is made from pure cacao beans harvested from a single estate. Unlike most dark chocolates, we do not combine cacao beans from different estates. Take for example this piece, we use only the best Venezuela cacao beans to make it, it is 75% dark chocolate and does not contain vanilla, preservatives and artificial ingredients, giving you the real and unadulterated taste of pure Venezuelan chocolate. And this one here is from... And that one there is from…”

She continues working her spell on us as we listen half-heartedly, more interested in visual pleasure than knowledge of the chocolates.

“…and this is the most expensive chocolate in the world.”

We stop and look at her incredulously. “The WHAT???”

The NoKA Lady: “This. is. THE. MOST. EXPENSIVE. chocolate. in. the. world.”

 

noka chocolateThe Vintages Collection

The Most Expensive Chocolate (TMEC) comes in a small, sleek, black matte box with NoKA embossed in silver. Inside is an equally sleek black card with short but sweet biographies of each chocolate. Polished. Tasteful. Elegant. Expensive.

 

noka chocolate 

TMEC also comes with an eating manual, probably meant for people like me who totally forget what finesse means when in presence of food. I follow the instructions carefully and religiously to make sure I am handling such valuable possessions befittingly.

 

IMG_0276

IMG_0277

 

Aacckk!!! The whole process of reading first, then admiring, then hearing, and then breathing BEFORE tasting takes just too long, it’s pure torture! This Optimal Tasting Guide does not make it very optimal for me.

Profiles of TMEC:

VIVIENTÉ (Venezuela)Bright. Lively. Invigorating. The bright citrus notes, light body, and acidity invigorate the palate.

CARMEÑAGO (Ecuador)Dark. Provocative. Tenacious. The rich cacao flavor is kissed with hints of dark berries up front and a mild earthiness that develops through the finish.

BAMBARRA (Côte d'Ivoire)Aromatic. Captivating. Vibrant. The delicately sweet aroma of toasted coconut is truly captivating as you experience discreet notes of burnt caramel.

TAMBORINA (Trinidad)Intense. Complex. Exhilarating. This intensely flavorful cacao has the sweet-tartness of ripe cherries followed by mild tobacco notes and a delightfully long, dry finish.

 

Each TMEC tastes like how it is described, although I must admit without the cheat sheet, I will probably not be able to tell one from the other. All tastes bitter and rich and dry, the way I like my chocolate to be.

Whether or not NoKA truly is The Most Expensive Chocolate, at ¥3,000 (US$32) for a box of four, or ¥750 (US$8) for a sim card-sized piece, it is definitely not the cheapest in the world.

Is it worth the price? Well, all I can say is, three hours after the last piece of TMEC melts in my mouth, I still smell and taste the bitter cocoa in my breath. US$8. 180 minutes of pleasure. You do the math.

As for me, I feel like a millionaire already.

 

DSC_0277 Me and The NoKA Lady

 

NoKA Chocolate: 1/F Midtown Galleria, Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo. 東京ミッドタウンガレリア1F. +813-54130072

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gansozushi at Narita ♥

 

My last day in Tokyo. My first conveyor belt sushi.

 

gansozushi at narita

 

The original plan is to have ramen before our flight as the Japanese noodle dish is the only item we have not yet covered in our Pig Out Bible - 1001 Ways to Gain 10 Lbs. on a 4-Day Tokyo Trip.

However, as we pass by this sushi carousel restaurant, we agree a slight change of plan is in order. Revised Plan: Have 2-3 pieces of sushi for appetizer, then go get that ramen.

 

Our 2 to 3-Piece Sushi Appetizer:

unagi sushi Unagi Sushi – My No. 1 Favorite

This is how all unagi sushi should taste like. Sweet, tender and so generous! Just look at that fish-rice proportion. The minute this sushi lands in my mouth, I wish to God ramen never existed.

 

hotate sushi Hotate Sushi – My No. 2 Favorite

So plump and juicy! These scallops are so fresh you taste sweetness in every bite. And it is so good it causes amnesia. Ramen? What ramen?!?!

But everything goes downhill from there.

 

negitoro sushi Negitoro Sushi – has the toro color but not the toro flavor

 

uni sushi Uni Sushi – bitter and fishy, the worst I’ve ever tasted!

 

In our attempt to be more adventurous, we try these never before seen pieces:

IMG_0602Shrimp and Shrimp Paste Sushi – tastes as funky as it looks

 

IMG_0615 Egg White Foam and Okra Sushi – tastes as slimy as it looks

 

Oh well, so much for training our tastebuds to be more daring.

And as if on cue, while we get ready to leave with disappointed stomachs, plates of our favorite sushi innocently creep up under our noses, reminding us of the few good things this sushi joint offers.

A pause.

Some deliberation.

A questioning look.

A knowing smile.

A go signal.

And before the conveyor belt takes them out of our reach, we each grab a plate of the unagi and hotate sushi and happily wolf down our last Tokyo hurrah.

 

IMG_0616

 

Gansozushi 元祖寿司: 4th Floor, Main Building, Terminal 2, Narita International Airport. 成田国際空港 第2ターミナル 4F. +81476-348070

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