Thursday, April 30, 2009


Corton is one of the hottest place in town at the moment, I've been trying to get a reservation with no luck, but somehow last week when I was clicking around opentable, I found a reservation for 6 on a Thursday night! Hi ho, hi ho, to Corton we go!

The space that Corton now occupy used to be Montrachet, which I went to many many years ago and remembered the food being good and refined. I am not sure what happened to Montrachet, but with rockstar executive chef Paul Liebrandt (who used to work at Restaurant Marco Pierre White & Pierre Gagnaire amongst others) manning the kitchen at Corton, that sounds like a winning recipe, no?

I started the night with the delicious salted seaweed butter & sweet butter on my thinly sliced craberry toasted bread. They also gave us small savoury choux pastries with cheese (gougère) & vegetable sponge breads (génoise) prior to our appetizers. The amuse bouche was cooked hamachi (yellow tail) on top of a permesan crackers.

I picked the "Vou-la-vant" as my appetizer. A typical voulavent is a small puff pastry with savory fillings. The voulavent I had was completely deconstructed, with a few rings of puff pastries on top of crayfish, morrel mushrooms and foam. I wish I wrote down all the ingredients because it was so interesting and intricate. Every bite tasted different, it was complex, yet it worked.

I also tried the foie gras with hibiscus, beet gelée & blood orange, that was relatively less impressive; meanwhile the "Flavors of Early Spring" which consisted of crab meat, durade & scallops (3 different plates) looked nothing like what it should be - figuring out what was really in the food was like solving a crime mystery.

For entrée, I had the John Dory & Diver Scallop with Tokyo turnip, white miso purée, black olive & dried orange. This was in-cre-di-ble. I especially loved the french curry sauce that complemented the fish, but the biggest surprise to me was the side dish of squid gnocchi with cheese, the squid taste was very subtle, and dare I say, I liked the gnocchi even more than the main plate.

Lastly, for dessert, I had the brioche with passion fruit, coffee & banana. The black square in the picture is the coffee - imagine putting a piece of paper thin coffee in your mouth with it melting on your tongue...mmmm....the brioche was coated in caramel with a dollop of passion fruit sauce in the middle and caramelized banana, and strangely, there was a small piece of cheese which was a bit puzzling. I also tried the chocolate fondant and oh man, it's a complete chocgasm. The Vacherin (meringue crisps) with pineapple, earl grey, rhubarb & honeydew was so light and refreshing, and visually stunning.

There were some hits and some misses but it was overall good. The wine we picked, which was an in house wine - Corton Rouge Edmond Cornu Aloxe-Corton ‘Valozières’ Premier Cru 2004 (thanks HC) was light & yummy. Paul Liebrandt is an ambitious guy, and it's apparent in the food. Corton is technically a French restaurant, but the ingredients he used was truly international. I appreciate his drive to push the envelop, and he succesfully did so. I read a few of the interviews with him, seems like a funny & eccentric guy. Unfortunately he didn't let us take pictures of him in the kitchen, not sure if he was shy or he was not in a good mood. Mr. Liebrandt, come on now, that baby face of yours need to be on camera more often.

All Corton Photos here

Address: Corton, 239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013


房子的未来 有我的名字

发现 戏演得太久了
心还在 但人已经太累了

如果我坚持 结果如何?


P.S.- 花了很长的时间才写完. 中文写得比小学时的还要烂, 很多字还是必须用 "google translation" 找的, 都忘了. 真没用!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Perfect Storm

I suckered my friend DM into guest-writing for my blog because I was lazy. In exchange of doing me a favor, I've promised to advertise him to my single lady friends. Ladies, if you are single & bilingual, send me your resume. :) Lastly, a shout out to S&G for a fantastic house party, you guys are the awesomest hosts.

My best foodmories (memories of fantastic eating experiences) are not of the latest creations fashioned in the kitchens of three-star restaurants, but meals cooked at home and shared with family and/or friends. And like family and true friends, such meals can not be bought. Having dined at some of this city's fine establishments, I still pine for my mother's clay pot rice and soya sauce chicken. My greatest foodmory of all time was my first bite of the teenage mutant ninja turtle ice cream cake she baked for me on my 6th birthday. I have not purchased or tasted better cake.

The damp drizzle that began early Saturday morning had transmogrified into a vengeful April shower. As I walked to S&G's apartment from the Pavonia PATH station, I mumbled curses at the chubby rain droplets that plopped unceremoniously on the pavement and my face. After a walk that seemed almost eternal, I was ushered into their apartment by much needed warmth, the yelps of an adorable Welsh Corgi and the aroma of bah ku teh ("BKT"). A finer welcome I could not imagine.

Turning to the source of the aroma, in the middle of a cozy round table sat a clay pot containing a steaming herbal liquid, spicy and sweet simultaneously. The key difference between Malaysian and Singaporean style BKT is the consistency of the soup. Malaysian style BKT is slightly thicker and darker, with a herbal and sweet aftertaste accompanying the characteristic salt and pepper of the dish. It's Singaporean counterpart is lighter in both color and consistency, with a distinct focus on saltiness. Swimming in the soup were hunks of garlic, strands of Chinese celery, whole Chinese black mushrooms, tau pok and of course, generous portions of pork darkened and softened after stewing slowly in the boiling soup. The piping hot soup and the flavorful pork were accompanied by fried yew tiao, cut into manageable pieces and inspected by Ein. As second and third servings of BKT were doled out, chicken wings lathered in marmite were fried in the pan by S&G and quickly devoured.

To satisfy our love of things sweet, an assortment of cupcakes (both mini and large) purchased from Magnolia and Two Little Red Hens were laid out before still hungry guests. Red velvet cupcakes topped with heavenly cream cheese icing were the celebrities and were mobbed as soon as they appeared. Poofy soft cream puffs and green tea and strawberry cakes hailing from Jas Mart were also proffered to the manic street eaters, who wasted no time laying waste to the assortment of desserts.

Appetites satiated and cravings satisfied, it was time to shift focus to more visual, tactile and interactive pleasures. I had the privilege of holding precious baby Emma in my arms and I watched with a mixture of horror and amusement as she slathered drool on my chest and shoulders. Who could say no to such a rosy-cheeked and bright-eyed baby? The Xbox was broken out shortly thereafter and the rock stars came on stage. Belting out the words and riffs from songs such as "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Under the Bridge" on Rock Band, we were brought back to our rocking glory days and for a short moment, semi-realized our dreams of being rockers. With sore throats and various other body parts making themselves felt from our exertions, we adjourned to more physically manageable games that only involved shooting bullets and calling air strikes on friends. Others interested in more cerebral pursuits had back-to-back games of Dai Dee raging on behind us, as Squad Singapore continued to take on Team Malaysia to score the most kills in Call of Duty 4.

Days like these are hard to come by. But when they do, you remember them forever. It was time to prise myself away from the couch and head back through the lingering cold and go home. It was difficult to do, but at least the storm had passed. As I walked away from the apartment, I realized that I had forgotten to ask S for her BKT recipe. But after further thought, even if I had it, the BKT wouldn't taste the same if I made it on my own. Missing ingredients: love, camaraderie and laughter.

All BKT Party Pictures. Yaokuis, if you want the full res, email me, you know who you are.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Salumeria Rosi

Dining at Salumeria Rosi is like dining at a high end delicatessan. It is a restaurant and a salumeria (cured meat shop) all in one. The salumi (cured meat) comes from the Rosi family in Parma who produces and distributes high quality salumi since the 70's under the succesful label Parmacotto. The brainchild behind the kitchen is Cesare Casella, who met the Rosi family through a chanced encounter.

I heard about Salumeria Rosi through my regular yaokui friends, S&G, the minute I heard the magic word "guanciale" (pork jowl), I knew I had to go.

I went with my usual hungry friends on a Friday night. We started with the salumi. We ordered a plate of Prosciutto di Parma, Guanciale, Pancetta, Speck Alto Adige, Soppressata and God knows what. That was our first plate of salumi and there were many more that followed, and I think we tried almost everything on the salumi menu. The quality was superb, and I felt like I was attending a salumi tasting event, they were all different, but I liked the coppa & guanciale best. I love how they teach you how to pronounce the names of salumi on their menu and website.

Now, on to test out Cesare Casella's creativity. We ordered a bunch of small plates. These are a few of my favorites:

Insalate pontormo - Cesare's signature salad of soft- scrambled egg, pancetta and market greens. The combination was pure genius! I've eaten scrambled eggs with salad on the side, but putting them together worked 100%. Cesare, you rock!

Risotto di Zucca Butternut squash risotto. Are you kidding me?? It was creamy but light, sweet but savoury, I demanded one more bowl AND I wanted to marry it (yeah, the risotto).

Zuppa carbonara - egg with bacon & parmensan soup with croutons. This dish summed up comfort food in a pretty bowl. It had all the elements I love - egg, pork & cheese. Actually, I take back my earlier statement about marrying the risotto, I want to marry the Zupp Carbonara now.

Rigatoni Mezze all'Amatriciana - Artisinal pasta with cured pork, red onions and tomatoes. The pasta was perfect cooked, and the tomatoes did not overpower the cured pork. Too bad Cesare wasn't in the kitchen that night, if not I would've given him a hug for the good food.

Ok, so he's not perfect - on to the things I didn't like that much. The Soppressata di Polpo - Terrine of Mediterranean octopus, olive and caper sauce was bland and somewhat tasteless. The Trippa - Slow cooked tripe stew was probably as well cooked as tripe goes, but I am not a big fan of the texture. (It's not you, it's me, Cesare).

Lastly, for desserts, we had he cherry & almond bread pudding, ricotta cheesecake, chocolate mousse and a cheese plate. The bread pudding stood out for me, and the cheese plate we ordered were pretty good as well, there was an unusual goat+milk cheese that was outstanding.

Will I go back to Salumeria Rosi again? In a heartbeat, even if it's just to grab some salumi to go. The interior of Salumeria Rosi is pretty cool, it's chic and trippy. Cesare, who is usually seen walking around the restaurant with a piece of herb (it was rosemary that night) in his shirt pocket adds a lot of character to this place.

All Salumeria Photos

Address: Salumeria Rosi, 283 Amsterdam Ave. (between 73rd & 74th St), New York, NY 10023

Going Green

I'm giving my blog a new look - I'm going green. The blog was previously pink, I love pink in general, but somehow on my blog, not so much. Personally, I am also trying to go green by printing less paper, using less plastic bags, recycling as much as I can, switching off lights everytime I leave the room, unplugging charges not in use and nagging people around me to do the same. :) I believe every little bit helps, so you (yes, *pointing at you*) should try your best to go green.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


There are two reasons to go to Brasserie Restaurant:

1. Onion Soup Gratinée with Gruyère & Emmenthaler Cheese - the cheese on top is crispy, once you crack that open, the cheese inside is gooey and flavorful.

2. Chocolate beignets - deep fried with delicious melted chocolate. Awesomeness!

The decor is also prety groovy, they serve french brasserie type food but the decor is hip, sleek and cool, completely not what I expected. I love french onion soups, throw me recommendations if you have them.

Address: Brasserie, 100, East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022.

Monday, April 6, 2009


My memory of Daniel circa 2003/2004 was its seriousness and stuffiness, unfortunately, no memories of the good food whatsoever. After learning that Daniel had a recent facelift, I was eager to find out if it is new and improved.

Dare I say, if the old Daniel smelled old money, the new Daniel definitely represents new money (or whatever new money that's left in New York City). Mr. Boulud finally realized that frou-frouness is out, simplicity is in. The minute I walked into the restaurant, I was impressed, the bar room is really sexy. The decor in the dining room is beautiful, very subtle yet still cozy, there are contemporary artworks on the wall, the old opulent ceiling tent was gone, thank goodness.

On to the food, the Maine Peekytoe Crab with Fuji Apple, Celery Crème Fraîche & Hearts of Palm was a great starter. The peekytoe crab was very fresh and the dish was light but at the same time complex. I thought this was incredible, until I took of a bite of special appetizer of the day, seared foie gras and I almost collapsed on the chair in ectasy. I've had a lot of awesome foie gras and this was one of the top 5.

My entree was their new classic fish dish - Halibut baked on Himalayan sea salt with Fennel Confit, Thai Basil, Old Chatham Yogurt Curry Sauce. From the sauces, you can definitely tell that Daniel had ventured into Nouvelle French, and I can vouch that they did so, succesfully. The halibut was tasty, the sauce was subtle but just right. AX ordered the Trio of milk fed veal - veal cheeks, tenderloin and crispy sweetbread. The orange thingy on the right was actually a vegetable sculpture wrapped in thinly sliced carrots. I didn't try everything he had on that plate but he didn't talk after the plate arrived, I guess that says it all.

Lastly for dessert, we had the Cilantro poached pineapple (with coconut, accompanied by lime-Rum Gelée & Piña Colada Sorbet) and the Basil marinated citrus (with bergamot cream & olive oil sorbet). I definitely think the former was much better, the thin sheet on top of the poached pineapple was like a coconut candy that melted in my mouth, and the Piña Colada Sorbet tasted like a beach vacation. The latter dessert was a bit strange for me, the citrus tasted like blood, i know, don't ask me why, but that's the first word that came to my mind, the the olive oil sorbet didn't do it for me.

Overall, it was a very satisfying meal, well it better be for $105 for the pre-fix. I also want to mention how impeccable the service was. The restaurant was filled (what recession?) but the minute I looked up, someone was there tending to my needs. AX wasn't sure which dessert wine he wanted to get, and they let him tried both, still undecided, they actually poured him half of each. The service definitely enhanced the dining experience, and not in an annoying or intimidating way.

Address: Daniel, 60, East 65th Street (between Park & Madison Avenue), New York, NY 10065.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Village Voice Choice Eats 2009

My coworker B told me about this event months ago, and as usual, I procrastinated and by the time I wanted to get the tickets, they were sold out. Luckily one of his friends couldn't make it so I took the spare ticket.

The event was a huge success, a lot of people turned up, so much so that they line extended from Lexington all the way to Park Avenue. New Yorks would do anything for food.

There were 50 odd restaurants, and it was quite a feast. Luckily we got there pretty early, below were my favorites:

Porchetta. Roasted pork with crispy skin mini sandwich, need I say more?

Fette Sau. By 7:30 it was "finito", but luckily I got to taste the beef tongue pastrami and bourbon brined pork cheeks before it ran out. I ♥ Fetty Sau.

No. 7. I haven't heard of this place before but the vanilla pudding with miso banana was insane, I ate it, twice!

Extreme Hungary. I don't know what the pastries were but Mr. Hernandi, I don't think you need your day job at the Hungarian Consulate anymore because this is your true calling!

Peppa's Jerk Chicken. It was very tasty, I love jerk chicken, it reminds me of my Brooklyn days. The sauce it came with was tongue-numbing spicy though..

BarBao. The last thing I ate of the night was the spicy beef salad with pomelo (although I didn't taste any pomelo in it) - it was sweet, spicy and light. An absolute delight. BarBao is the mastermind of Chef Michael Bao, who also opened Baoguette. He was there that night at the baoguette stall.

I also had:
Fatty Crab. They were serving nasi lemak. The rice was too mushy, the curry was too watery but the sambal packed a punch. I wished they did one of their tea sandwiches, those are so yummy.

Mama's Food Shop. Decent mac and cheese with white and cheddar cheese with smoked ham hocks.
Motorino. Jelly bombolini, a little too sweet for my liking.
Margon. Good cuban sandwich but slightly forgettable.
Pinche Taqueria. Great fish taco, and very generous portion.
Salumeria Rossi. They were serving some panchetta, sopressata, and some good quality stuff. I've been to the restaurant and loved it.

Some of the things I missed were:
Momofuku Milk Bar. By the time I got around to it, which was around 7:30, it was all gone! I overheard a few angry people complaining.
Baoguette. I tried twice, the line was insane, and I was too full for a sandwich. :(

I wished I wrote down what I tried because I definitely ate more than what I wrote here but who could remember once the food coma kicked in? I took some pictures after I finished eating and by then (around 8pm) it was uber crowded and I didn't want to deal with the crowd and went home - happy, stuffed!

More pictures of Village Voice Choice Eats 2009, The 69th Armory @ 68 Lexington Ave & 26th Street, NYC here<