Friday, August 31, 2007

Chef Ricky is back with another kaiseki

For a change today, I wanted to pair my Kaiseki menu this month with a summer sake from Japan. Unfortunately for me, the Daiginjyo was unavailable so I went back to my the Wakaebinishi that I sampled earlier this year. So forgive me if I sounded tipsy throughout this month's menu, blame the sake in its carafe.

Starter dish: Chilled black sesame bean curd & boiled yellow leek in bonito sauce
My first taste of the bean curd was a surprise --- I found it sweet. Even mentioning it to Chef Ricky produced the same reaction. At least the wasabi and soy sauce accompanying the dish provided the savory hit that one needs.

For the boiled yellow leek, there was too little sauce camping at the bottom of the dish, so most of the leek was dehydrated, a bit bland, if not for the stripes of seaweed that decorated this dish.

Soup: Clear broth with sea urchin dumpling
Where's the sea urchin?!
this dumpling was made from a combination of so many ingredients that it became Ricky's secret recipe(?). It still has that tangy, salty sea urchin flavour, only mildly so; which made me disintegrate the dumpling looking for the sight of the sea urchin. (Hide and Seek was never my best g

ame because I was the easiest to find)

Sashimi: Fresh tuna, toro, white meat fish, amberjack, octopus and king clam
Only 1 measly octopus sucker?
at least it was soft and chewy, wouldn't it be fun if stuck to my mouth like a real live octopus sucker?
Chefy Ricky sadistically pointed out that he has the octopus still alive and sticking(?) to everything it touches. They just cut out the suckers and lightly cook them, the poor thing will still live for 3 days before they salt it and throw it in some pot.

As for the rest of the offerings, I must highlight the toro this time because it is fatty, pinky, softy and tasty. I wonder if Chef Ricky would organize a tuna tasting session of every section of the tuna. The king clam is also a must have when you come this month, scored along it side, the texture is bouncy as noodles in ones mouth.

Simmered dish: Simmered Abalone & assorted vegetables (pumpkin, yam, bean curd skin and spinach)
Nothing much to say except that the abalone was cooked just nicely and cutting it into thin slices made it very chewy instead of rubbery (try eating one whole abalone after it is cooked to understand what I am getting at).

Didn't taste much of the reduction, neither did the veggies get enough time to soak it all up to blend their flavours together.

Grilled dish: Grilled conger pike with teriyaki sauce & assorted vegetables (corn, flathead fish bones, cawan mushi, sweet prawn, brinjals)
hey, cawan mushi, first time I see it on the dish. Doesn't taste too soupy or too firm, like an egg mousse poached just nicely. Makes me want to sing for my dinner if not for the fact that I am in the Hilton KL.

flathead fish bones were crunchy, corn was sweet, everything was just perfect, setting you up for the main attraction, the conger pike.

This conger pike is somewhat flavoursome with a lot of the flavour dripping along the scored section of the meat as it ripples, but the meat doesn't part easily even if you poke at it with your chopsticks (unlike previous entries). Would have given this dish the thumbs up if it was more moist (most of the oil has been cooked out of the poor thing but definitely not a disaster).

Fried dish: Deep fried flathead fish, sweet potato & okra
(Forgive my gluttony for I ate half the dish before realizing that I have yet to snap a photo of it)
I found the tempura(s) this time was a wee bit undercook, the fish was soft, and the bone not brittle enough to be crunchy, this would have been okay for the sweet potato and baby okra but definitely not for the fish. At least nothing tasted too oily. The grated radish and ginger that came with the dish lighten it up very nicely and gave it the zing it needed.

Main Course: Nigiri sushi and Red Miso soup
only 5 pieces of nigiri sushi but, this one was so decadent.
First up, the the double Toro slice sushi on the left side of the plate, and I do mean double slice on top of the rice. Imagine all that fattiness, pinkiness, softyiness and tastiness packed into two slices atop sushi rice, now imagine it in your mouth, filling it to the brim with flavour like your favourite chocolate fondue. this one is heavenly.

Both the clam meats were another favourite of mine. With scores along the white one and the other cooked to tradition in orangey hue, the contrast of having one after the other was like bacon and eggs. One was crisp to bite while the other was jellylike in your mouth yet they do go together very well.

Forgot to ask Chef Ricky about the other two but I definitely know that one of them is the Yellowtail which had a better texture with the scores alongside the meat.

I was also very very happy with soup that accompanied this dish, mini mushrooms bobbing and drifting in and out of the miso haze. Just give this to me every morning to get me started on the right step (I will even daresay that I would be as happy as a sparrow discovering a compost heap full of worms all to myself).

Dessert: Sliced fresh fruits & Japanese pastry
I am a glutton, I finished the Japanese pastry before I snap the photo, so you better go to Iketeru and try out the menu for yourself.

The japanese pastry this time reseumbles a red bean paste mousse garnished with orang zest. Not too sweet without those zings. No need to mention the fruits except for those two suspicious looking slices of jackfruits in the background.

Quick conversation with Chef Ricky (and a toast of sake) digressed into digging up interesting details.

Apparently, he used to live close by to me (working at the Shangri-La Singapore) while I was doing my undergraduate at the National University of Singapore (and his daughter attends the Japanese school opposite the faculty of Engineering); and we both agreed that it is easy to get sick of Singapore and left almost at the same time. (after 2003, we also arrived circa 1999)

He will be flying back to Japan for one week with his chums for a trip to a Geisha house (estimated at RM15k for one night) and be back on September 7th onwards (after winning a dieting competition for the past two month? Geez, why does he ahve to jump on that bandwagon).

Notes on last month's Kaiseki menu: Chef Ricky pointed out his inspiration for the chazaku dish was from a famous unagi restaurent in Nagoya. One would be eating grilled unagi on rice, extra servings of unagi and the tea will be poured into the bowl of rice to clean up stray bits of rice and unagi sauce and meat and (mmmmm........) leftovers.

secret notes: the MIGF menu this year has been shortened from the typical Kaiseki menu to 5 dishes and he says it is cheaper. Apparently, the celebrities last year couldn't stand being fed 8 dishes, one after another; guess these people haven't attended a chinese wedding banquet yet. then again, what is the MIGF website doing publishing last year's menu, the webmaster is so shameful)

Awaiting more feedback on my food reviews, Say it so in the comment section.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Penang Open Day 3

Good news: 10th place, made back my entry fee + rm50

Bad news: Drop 21 ratings points, clinging to WSC contender by my fingertips

Ugly news: Vannitha couldn't fit her lucky draw prize, (a pensonic home theater system) into alex's car with 4 people inside, so it is sitting in the back seat of mine on the way back

Interesting news: Michael Tang announcing his intention to play in the Open division of Causeway Scrabble Challenge this year.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Penang Open Day 2

Good news: not in the bottom half

Bad news: only won 3 games (ding donging up and down all the way)

Ugly news: gifted away 3 games that I should have won.

Interesting news: I found my roommate topless, with a towel around his waist, sitting on my bedsheet, talking to his friend on the telephone. ARRGH!

On to tomorrow.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Penang Open Day 1

Good News: won all 4 games (Paulette Yeoh, Ong Suanne, Jerry Jang, Aaron Chong)

Bad News: The other player on 4 wins is Ganesh Asirvatham

Ugly News: Only 2 blanks so far in 4 games.
I am so not playing for the blanks

Interesting News: Hubert Wee finally saw my roommate topless.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Preparations for Penang Open

Board (Check!)
Clock (Check!)
Tiles (Check!)
Clothes (Check!)
Toiletry (Check!)
Money (Check!)
Car (Check!)
Beautiful Girl in the Car (still pending)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Resetting all your passwords

Been about a week since I got my new laptop, after all the pains of installation (wrong deletion, no backup files, etc!); I now move on to my internet applications (i.e. facebook, myspace, livejournal, flickr, blogspot, etc): Just to remember all those passwords......which is why the first thing I did on the login pages was to click on the forget password link and go through all those tedious processes to reset all my existing passwords (there were 15 different password specific to each website).

I even had to reset my livejournal password twice!!!

PS: man, are those Myspace spammers getting more bland by the minute, I get 3 request to be added, all with the same photos (which will definitely lead to similar profile pages bandying the same hyperlinks to *nude* photos). What a waste of Internet bandwidth!!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Barely 3 hours into my installation

I encountered my first mistake, forgot to transfer the zyzzyva zzq files for the 20k bingos I am reviewing and deleted them from my thumb drive.

And there were no back up of those files, so have to start from scratch again.
At least I should do better on the first few anagrams I guess;
and the CSW database file (which I installed earlier) will become more accurate.

*Mutter to self*

Got It!!!

My midnight blue (and assorted other specifications) Dell Inspiron 1520 has arrived today.

After going through the startup and checking all the pre-installed softwares (including the 3 years McAfee Antivirus subscription), I have begun installing my own component softwares (Quackle, Lexpert, Zyzzyva, Firefox, which are still downloading from the Internet as I type)

So welcome to my first post from my laptop, linked up to the office network.
After I configure the firewall settings, maybe I will hope over to Starbucks to set up my Wifi account.

Anyway, my computer is bleeping me to restart my computer all installing so many things.

PS: will post photos ASAP.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Put it in order for a Dell laptop

despite my friends recommending HP N series; I fell hook, line and sinker for Dell's online customization and ease of service (plus, 3 years of McAfee Antivirus subscription for a pittance of the price that you have to pay for 1 year of Norton/McAfee Antivirus from HP)

Eagerly awaiting my order in 7 working days time