Some of the roads outside our apartment is closed. There are security people and police all over the place and the helicopters are circling overhead. The occasion: visit of Pope Benoit XVI. He arrived this morning and the afternoon is taken up with meeting the Sarkozys and religious leaders. Tonight he says mass at Notre Dame and tomorrow there is an open air mass at Les Invalides. Do not attempt to visit these areas this weekend.
At the gym, actually it is called an 'institute' which sounds so much more glamorous, my Power Plate coach told me that the pope will be staying at a convent on Avenue President Wilson. Which explains why the market along that avenue is not open tomorrow. Apparently they even have snipers at the ready in case of assasination attempts. Many shops and business around the area are not bothering to open because their customers cannot reach them until the Pope leaves for Lourdes on Sunday.
I went back to the gym last week. The first day was really tough, the coach who knows that my holidays are food-focussed joked that all the restaurants went into my stomach and made it all flabby again. He was so right!
We didn't have to make much of an effort. Most of the times our friends chose the venue and we simply showed up. Like the first dinner at Cherry Garden of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The host booked a private room and being a regular, the chef and the service staff did their best to make it a memorable dinner. Beautiful decor, smart service and excellent food. Ahh so nice to be back. One of the most memorable dishes was a noodles braised with mushroom in a spicy sour soup, characteristic of the part of China close to its Indochinese neighbours. Thanks KS!
The next day husband took V to the zoo. I went for a Pilates session and sent my quilt for professional quilting. Lunch was at Patara in Tanglin Mall, they serve very competent Thai food in an upmarket setting.
Dinner was with the Makankakis on their monthly event. This time we revisit Old Mother Hen at 136 Sims Avenue. The chef Jimmy has revamped the menu and their food is better than ever. The restaurant is 'poshed up' now with chandeliers and tablecloths but the cooking remains very much in the classic tze char tradition. When the fish came I made sure to clean up every last morsel of its delicious flesh.
Then I wanted to eat durians and we went across the road to eat some. My holiday stomach is an amazing thing.
The chef, at the end of a raucous dinner.
There was also dimsum at Crytal Jade Golden Palace with the bloggers. The same night Mia The Skinny Epicurean organised a dinner with other bloggers at Hokkaido Sushi. I had been particularly looking forward to this because this is Chef Thomas Kok's new venture. After some lost years at Kaisan he found his rhythm at Tomo Fine Dining but this is even better. Fresh seafood flown in directly from Hokkaido, only the very best is served here and we had a hell of a good time. So good I came back with husband and V just before we flew home.
Our degustation menu had everything that was delicious like Hokkaido crab, chawan mushi with ikura, squid marinated in garlic soy, fish noodle soup and sushi so perfect we were asked to eat it with our hands for maximum enjoyment.
The Thomas came by and decided we needed more food.He asked the waitress to serve us foie gras chawan mushi. Later more good stuff would arrive.
This is not a fish sushi but beef sushi. Very special beef. The meat was so tender and sweet hardly any chewing was required. The only thing to do would be to close your eyes, savour the exquisiteness and thank your lucky stars.
To finish, we had beautiful Furano melon and fruit tomato. Thank you Thomas you are magnificient.
While we have been away in Paris, our friend TTC and SuperfineFeline of Gastronomic Ruminations have formed a club of sorts for lovers of super spicy Chinese/ Sichuan food. We received a text saying to go to Chuan Gardens in Chinatown. Read TTC's review here:
I enjoyed the lunch very much. The heat level was just nice for me though the die hard chilli fans like TTC, Superfinefeline and my husband would beg to disagree.
Bean thread noodles with minced meat.
La Zhi Ji, or spicy pepper chicken. Very fragrant but not too hot. After all that hot food we cooled down with desserts at nearby Temple Street. V became acquainted with more Chinese desserts like peanut soup which she loved as she is already a peanut butter lover.
It seems like I am rushing this entry and it's true. I have to go pick V up at school. So to finish, here is an image of the wo-peng at Asia Grand Restaurant in Bugis where we had dinner with good friends and ex-colleagues. We ate and drank well and then we proceeded to S's house to drink more wines and enjoy the televised opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.
The following day we went back to KL, which I will detail in Part II. Bon Weekend à tous!