swining and dining

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Day 2.... maybe more

Day 2

You have no idea how glad I was to wake up....I mean if I had painlessly passed in my sleep the autopsy would have said...cause of death..."mozzarella overdose". Dude the "pizza triple crown" on day 1....to use the word of my dear college buddies....EPIC!

Still on west coast time, woke up at 11am...ahh a lazy sunday...NOT!!!! on the ticket for the day's events....dare I tell you....pizza from Spumoni Gardens, this time hot from the oven, heroes to go for the ball game, yeah, going to a Mets game. Beautiful day in NY, one of those days that makes me say....I could live here, my liver can't but I could live here. We arrived a little hungover from the previous day's events, but as one does in NY.....RALLY! The game was a gem, no dogs, no pizza, no beer, at least for me, it was Sunday, a day to rest right? To me day means "day" as in sunlight, which would mean that night would be another story.

After the game we got back to Joe's place, remember him, anyway, Frank was cooking for his mother for mom's day and he invited me to join in the "porchetta", uhhh, that pig in Italian....Frank's is also a lover of the swine and a damn good chef, so for me to crash the "fest" part duex...I had too.

Met Franks family...hilarious and lovers of great food, Italian family of course. From Brooklyn of course. Apparently we arrived at "halftime" they had just eaten the risotto course, before that the salad, mama's focaccia (insane), roasted peppers, cheese, some italian potato and prociutto cake (name escapes me) it was time to play catch up, Joe and I were like a "sure pick thoroughbred 3 lengths behind after turn 4 coming down the stretch on the outside to come from behind and take the cup." we collected on our exacta.

Now it was my halftime...not so fast...pochetta is being carved up...its all about the skin...crackling baby...elapse time 10 minutes..

WOW! 2 days....2 pigs..."heaven da dat dat da dah...I'm in heaven" Halftime resumed....at this point I had planned on checking out a Thai restaurant later that night, Oh I was going...we was going. But a nap was needed. So as I was aying my goodbyes and thanks...Mama stepped in and said "you ainta gowin nowheres...itsa time for espresso and coffee" I looked at Frank, "you know the rules, what Mama says goes"...."I know".

Shorlty after sitting down again at the table a box made its way to the dining room...marked "checked in baggage" Air Italia...I'm talking a box 2 feet tall and wide. What's inside....the biggest panetone I've ever seen, no BS or embellishing here and it was as good as it was big. Then the shots of sambuca, then the homemade chocolate liquer and limoncello. These people are rock stars...NAP Time!

That lasted about 1 hour then off to Sea in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A cool hip place....packed....its 11:30 pm on a Sunday...gotta love NY. We ordered a few things...Joe was the smart one, didn't eat at all, food was a dissapointment, but thats OK, we were only tasting, checking out the scene. Stomach in tow it was bed time. Day 2 in the books

Day 3

Starts at 7am, had to catch a ride with Joe to Downtown Brookly, then a cab to Manhattan. Got to the hotel,checked in and you won't believe this...went to the Gym... oh the guilt had set in, after a good workout, it was nap time, not too long, I was meeting an old college roomate for lunch at one of my fav lunch spots, Giambelli on 50th. Why you ask? no there was not a pork dish but an incredible Veal Chop with Porcini Mushrooms raosted then served in a foil "Papillote" a pouch type presentation. My buddy Ken and I have been meeting here for lunch for 5 years, everytime I visit NY, this is our lunch spot. Its not on the menu...gotta ask for it. We did...."2 veal chops please" for lunch, why the "f" not. Haven't you been reading my blog?

Side of pasta, breadsticks, veal.....lunch is done, a success, I tell you they get this dish right every single time. Amazing!!!! I can't wait for my next trip. Ken had to get back to work, I was meeting an old coworker for drinks that afternoon and had dinners plans with one of my dearest friends and co conspirator in dining through the greatest restaurants in San Francisco. Then shortly after midnight, SA comes in from LA on her round about way to LA (Louisiana), her first time "really" to NY.

I'll get back to D3....soon

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"The Magnificent Seven"...Days of Eating in NY


I'm bloggin again after a long hiatus, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was not on a diet, just busy working, excuse me eating....in the past year there have been many food stories worthy of "swining and dining", but I just completely an amazing 7 day run in NYC. And simply it must be shared. As for my year plus absence.....one word why I haven't blogged.....LAZY!

No that the couch has been medically removed from my ASS!, I'm ready to rock again.

One favor though....please make sure you eat before you read the following blogs.

DAY 1 Friday May 12 through Midnight Saturday May 13

Me on my cell phone "Hey Joe, I'm gonna be hungry when I get off the plane, we're gonna eat!" Good ole Joe, Joe is one of the "3 Amigos" on my Asia trip last Spring...
so he knows....the Swine is on. I have to go back a couple of weeks to tell you how this trip came about. Anyway, the Swine is now living in Seattle...opening a new restaurant...details in future blogs....food is the business now, originally NY was to be a business trip with my biz partner, schedules changed, but I decided still to go. WHY? Dude.....the Brooklyn Pigfest 2007 was happening on Sat. May 13...any other questions, it may have been over a year since I'ved graced these web pages, but like wine, this Swine, has gotten better with time.

JFK at 1am Sat May 13th, Joe is there like the champ he is to pick me up....and he doesn't disappoint....Pizza Squares from L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn....legendary....a half sheet pan my friends (thats 12 squares).

2am.... 4 squares firmly in my stomach.

11am....rise and shine off to the Brooklyn Pigfest

1pm... Sat. May 13 we arrive at the "Fest" (at this point it can be called the "Fest").....we meet up with my chef buddy Frank (also the Asia trip 2006 Alum)...I am armed with a dining death squad....Bring on the Pig!!!!!

Did I mention that it was all you can eat and beer. With beer in hand we proceed to the Boooo-Faaaaaayyyyyy! As I walk up to the pig attendant (the guy at the table service the pig) I look him in the eye and say.... "Where is the head part, start there....I want the shiniest, stickiest, and non-fibrous pieces of meat you can find!" He looked back, no smile on his face, he knew I meant business. Then we pile on the pork ribs, smoked chicken, pork sausage, beans with pork, coleslaw and then lather our plates with the sauce.

"Heaven....I'm in heaven....I'm in heaven when you....." come on everyone sing with me...."Heaven, I'm in Heaven...da da"

2pm Plate No. 1....history...on plate No. 2, at this point we are joined by a new chef friend of mine, Aaron. He gladly participates in the "Fest" and piles on the pig. The event is scheduled till 6pm so we figured at half-time we would take a break...the beer games now begin. Not going into detail, the beer games lasted 30 min. for yours truly....I'm one who can drink em down, but when you have to do some "semi-athletic bouncing quarters type flip the cup thing" after you just ate enough food to feed a small country...not too good.

3pm Ahhhh, half-time???? yeah right...I'll save you the geography lesson, but in walking distance is Grimaldi's Pizza...oh yes...could this be the second leg of the "Pizza Triple Crown". Me on the cell phone "I'd like to order 2 pies, Margherite, for pick up...ten minutes, no problem". Those ten minutes were passed with a glass of Brooklyn Summer Ale. So me and another warrior, Chris (Joe's brother) takes the whole 1 block walk to Grimaldi's (btw known as Patsy's for new yorkers) Chris walks in and reappears like a knight in shining armour, except with 2 pizzas. We proudly stroll back to the "Fest", to the envy of the door people...we walk in flaunting the pies.

3:45pm I believe the words "youre crazy" were uttered as we placed the pies on the table....D LISH!!!!!

3:50 the second pie was holding on for dear life, but we had to save some for the girls...hey "Where are the girls?"

3:55 I must say I love these girls...Frank's Sister Teresa, her friends Toni and a player to be named later. Am I dreaming....Jacque Torres Chocolatier....across the street. "Heaven.....I'm in Heaven...da da da" We make our way to catch up with the girls at the "Jacque"...women and chocolate...I knew they didn't need help
ordering. Cash register rings up $150.00 "in Chocolate". Rock Stars!!!!

4:15 Again to the envy of the door people we walk back into the "Fest" with CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES AND TRUFFLES. Someoone pass me a tissue...I'm having a moment.

5pm Imagine 11 people around a table who just ate all you can eat pork, 2 hours of beer drinking games, pizza from grimaldi's, and CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES AND TRUFFLES. Nuff said.

6pm "Fest" has come to a tearful and bellyful end....Exlax anyone? Half of us decide to go into the city for drinks....yes this is still Day 1. After 3 hours of drinking (Mom, we took taxis) we recruited 2 more of my friends, Bethany and Mark. Remember these names and the names previously mentioned as they will appear throughout the "Magnificent Seven". At this point, Bethany is hungry...she had a friend in town and her friend Nicole (Cutie) was craving what.....PIZZA....could this be the Third leg of the "Pizza Triple Crown"....what is this place I speak of...Lombardi's, Little Italy. My first trip to Lombardi's was with my buddy Mark, so it was "appropo" that he be there.

9:30 pm We finally get sat upstairs above the 100+ year old coal pizza oven. Hunger is in the air...so thick you could cut it like a piece of cheese. As the chairman of the evening I take the reigns and begin to order....breadsticks, salad (there were women present) and 4 wait 3 pies...What how can I go from 4 to 3.....dude and dudettes...the server cut me off....she says we ordered too much...I excused this lack of confidence she had with my "Pizza Posse". I'm sure she was unaware of the days events...I cut her some slack.

10:15 2 pizzas down....so good...seriously...I not even gonna write anything more about how good this pizza is....can't do it....there are no words. At his point Bethany's friend Nicole (did I mention Cutie) actually I must mention the women that ate with me this trip are as beautiful as you can imagine....but even sexier...they eat...sorry I got side tracked...she is on her way.

10:45 pm Nicole arrives, we saved her a few pieces...she picks one up and starts picking off the meatballs...............NO!!!!! the table sighs....we ordered her a cheese pizza, the server realized we came to play. Nicole was slightly startled but the "Pizza Posse" understood and didn't take offence. The cheese pizza arrived along with a side of what....meatballs......I had to order them its like "food karma"....I had to balance the food universe after the meatballs were removed from the other pizza...it was only right.

12am I need a cigarette.....damn that was HOT!!!!! Recap....pizza, beer, pig, pizza, chocolate, more beer, beer, pizza. Any questions.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Angor Wat.....UP!

As I rifle thru my journal and remember the events of the past weeks, some definitely stand out for other reasons than culinary. Angor Wat, located in Siem Reap, Cambodia was a place I will not forget.

There are many marvels of past civilizations....Mayans, Egyptians, Incas...Angor Wat is in that category. Cambodia wasn't a culinary destination but a soulful destination. The success and popularity of the movie "Tomb Raider" had catapulted the attendance of this spiritual place... I did see the movie but didn't realize we were going there. As much of the trip, we went blindly, with only our accomodations planned, we immediatley scooped up our very good English speaking driver to be our "driver" for 3 days...he agreed to hook us up with ur own tour guide for Angor Wat and to show us the highlights of Siem Reap.

It is hard not to notice this poverty stricken country and the injustices that life and money play everyday. There in Siem Reap there are 5-6 (of 20) Five Star Hotels, many of them affordable by US standards....many of which emply locals and pump money into the economy. There is the good with the bad, as in all things in life I guess. Our stay there for 3 days cost more than what our driver would make in 1 year...and it wasn't that much. Mr. Peoiu, our driver, was so kind and accompanied us to several restuarants and local bars. His friend, Mr. Tee (I pity the fool) was our tour guide for Angor Wat.

Our first day started at where else the local market to eat some street food, we had a baguette with cheese and the most potent Paw Paw Salad (Green Papaya) I have ever had in my life. The locals couldn't stop laughing and smiling as I gasped for air and kindly asked for more sugar cane juice. It was food sweat heaven. Later that night Mr Peiou took us to a local hangout where one of the weirdest things happened. The moment we sat at our table we were bombarded by at least 20 girls selling beer..."buy from me Sir...buy from me Sir...I have Budweiser Sir".....DUDE that was surreal...I looked at Frank and Joe like a puppy being petted at a pet store...."Help Me"....Apparently the beer companies sponsor the girls to sell their beer...hard core. We ordered aimlessly and had a mediocre dining experience, as I ststed during dinner "Thank God I can't see what I'm eating....." we had frog legs like it was KFC's family bucket, steamed fish, and chicken...the best thing was of course the grilled pork. We left there early to get to bed because Angor Wat @ Sunrise was the plan for the next day.

BEEEEEEP BEEEEEP! 4:30am alarm. Up and ready to go! You would think not everyone would get up to see sunrise....Guess again....The entrance to the Temple was packed. Our tour guide Mr. T wasn't meeting us till 8am so we spent the first couple of hours on our own. Not knowing what to see or go we decided up it is....up the narrow and steep steps to the top of the temple. We were also warmed that it would be hot....yup.

This place is spiritual and magnificent, these temples are over 900 years old, only rediscovered within the last 30 years. You can't help notice the detail and lifelong commitments to the disciples of the King who took 28 years to build this temple. We made it to the top, unscathed but nerved from the climb....going down wasn't going to be fun. The monks wearing the bright orange robs were such a dramatic presence against the weathered limestone facade of the walls. There were also Buddhas that dotted the temples in certain areas.

It was time to meet our tour guide, but we were hungry so we scaled down the temple and made our way to the market are where we were bombarded by hundreds...ok tens of children trying to sell us stuff..we were warned the night before and we came prepared...oh yeah get this...the currency in which business is done in Cambodia...good ole US Dollars. We were al carrying "ones" as if we were going to a strip club for the first time.

We decided we would spread the wealth and buy little things from as many kids as we could. We did so and also bought sme original pieces of art from a local artist...food was next. At the beginning of the market we had beem recruited to eat a a certain food stall, as we approached the "food court", Fran and I found out we agreed to eat at 2 different stalls..so we did..not so fast. My "stalltender" offered eggs and baguettes...I countered and asked if I could cook breakfast for my friends and the kids...she looked at me as if I were crazy...oh yes...

I looked at the ingredients...onions, cabbage, eggs, seasoning of foriegn origin and noodles...ah pasta con juevos...I then yelled to Frank "Dude roll camera...on in 1 minute. After grabbing the knife and checking out the bunson burner word quickly spread thru the stalls as my first cooking show "angor wat style" was about to begin.

I had a blast, sweated my ass off as if I were on a line for the first time. The kids were held to my every move and took fancy to my "Emerilesque"....BAMMMMM! We plated up the food and the kids ate too...that was cool. At this point the infamous "cobra" made its first appearance. Joe was taken by the lifelike appearance of the snake and wore it around its neck...oh what stories the "cobra" could tell...the mascot was born.

The next day was another Angor Wat day...you can't do it in 1 day...folowed by a spa day with the boys (Hey, I'm on holiday...hate the spa not the treatments!) See you in Thailand.....24 hours in Bangkok....it aint no joke.

Swine over matter.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The long and swining road...

I'm currently recovering from the past 2 weeks...thanks to my buddies Frank and Joe my liver and skin will never be the same (the latter due to spa and soap treatments)

I'm about 10 days behind on the blogs so please bear with me, I'm currently in the Philippines with family recouperating....this ' down time will also allow me to "swine" up with all of you.

As i left you we just got to Vietnam...we were all excited especially about the food. Shorty after Frank and Joe arrived bagan our day tour of Ho Chi Min aka Saigon. We opted to cruise is style...pedicab style...obviously, me being the heavy set guy my pedicab driver looked intimidated but he was up for the challenge...but food was first on the list. Our drivers took us to a local hangout and we ordered from the non-english version of the menu by basically closing our eyes and pointing our fingers on menu items (don't try this at home) we ate an array of interesting food ncluding froglegs and grilled eel...thank God for the the bottomless flow beer. Uninspired, but well fed we started on our tour...One word for traffic in Saigon....CHAOS...I mean if we had rifles there would have been road rage blood shed. No traffic lights, roundabouts only, millions and millions of scooters and taxis, smog, oh and just 3 pedicabs crusing this joint...I guess we were the only "tourons" that day. Aside from the mayehm, pedicabin was the funnuest and best way to travel, I mean we even had vendors on scooters selling us stuff while we were in traffic...the orange and rose street vendors of LA have nothing on these cats. Laugh after laugh we made our way thru this French influenced city...we stopped at the War Museum...pretty gruesome...a reminder of the past and present...really puts things into perspective.

Moments into our journey I was bestowed a nickname "Mapua" you guessed it "big guy"...the name stuck and Frank and Joe had a field day. We stopped for Bahn Mi, if you haven't had one of these sandwiches you're missing out, basicaly its french bread with pate spread, grilled pork, pickled vegetables and "pay for it on the toilet the next day" fire hot chilis. Damn it was worth it. We continued our melee to Notre Dame, the Embassies and more food stops...my driver needed to rest.

The tour ended at the largest open air Market in Saigon where we caught up with the locals and cooled our mouths with fresh sugar cane juice. We then retreated to our hotel for massages (spoiled....I'm on holiday) and happy hour. Dinner was on tap later that night. We ended up at a late night place where this time we had the English menu....seafood was on tap this night. We ordered fresh prawns cooked in butter....so good, Vietnamese chicken wings and langostines. after that satisfying meal we turned in for the night to get ready for a day at the Cu Chi tunnels. As we got back to the hotel, 2 young girls (come on keep it clean) were selling chewing gum...I folded and bought 2 packs....as we talked to them we noticed how ell they spoke English and commented that they should keep it up...the more we talked to them we were taken by these girls 7 and 11, Daryl and Jessica (thier given American names) These tw were street smart and savvy, the have been selling gum since they both were 3 years old, Jessica, the older, was very bright and intuitive we gave them Hong Kong money and encouraged them to keep with thier studies and to keep in touch...the sorted became our guardian angels.

The Cu chi tunnels is a labyrinth of tunnels totaling 250 KM and submerge upt to 10 meters below the ground. these tunnels were used during the Vietnam War in which the Vietcong lived and fought during the War. On the way there we were told we could shoot AK47 or M16 machine guns...so fast did our purpose for visiting this historic place change. After a quick movie and tour, we heard the the guns firing in the distance...we got there and baby did we load up....75 rounds between three of us and probably permanent hearing loss. this experience gave me newfound respect for the physical stature of the soldiers. Then on to the tunnels...we were given an ption to go 30-60-90 meters thru the tunnels, each segent had "p" doors to get out...we all lasted 30 meters...pride on our sleeves, Frank had the unhonorable duty of having my ass in his face for 30 meters as he folowed me thru the tunnels...he says he couldn't take that sight...yeah right I think it was his clastrophobic "ass" that couldn't take it...for me it was about 120 degrees down there.

We got back to Saigon later that day, Lunch was on my mind...Frank and I probably had the best Vietnamese food of the trip. We ordered the usual 8 items between the 2 of us. From Chicken, to pork, to spring rolls and fish each dish was flavorful and satisfying. Later that night it was about the Bars and Bars. Saigon Saigon and Apocalypse Now. There were alot of Westerners visiting Saigon, these were definitely tourist places...and when there are tourist there are the "working girls".

A common theme during my days with Frank and Joe was Jack Daniels and lots of beer, this night was no different. We gratefully ran into to our guardian angels Jessica and Daryl, we bought more gum and wished them well...Frank, joe and I agreed these were special girls and we hope their lives are prosperous.

We played catch up because the bars close @ 1am. About 2 sheets to the wind we ended up at Apocalypse Now...there we mingled witht he locals and made friends (just friends)...I have to say it was fun playing the part of an American...we met people from Japan, Germany, England and Australia....lots of beer and laughs...we ended up eating noodles @ 2am.....back to the hotel, another early flight, this time to Siem Reap, Cambodia... Angor Wat here we come.

Though our stay in Saigon was short we al wished we had 2 more days, basicaly wished we had 2 more days everywhere we went. Its been 4 weeks since I left LA, not homesick, but nostalgic....the "swine" has been well represented in the countrie we've visited so far...and still my instincts hold true...its the journey...i have grown in many ways, I have learned to see things from other vantages...more importantly....I can smell the roses

Coming up, my Angor Wat cooking debut and the birth of the "cobra" our mascot.

Swine, Women and Song.....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Good Morning Hong Kong!!!!!!!!!

My friend Beverly was a radio DJ, excuse me in HK its Radio Presenter, for a weekly radio show, she is no longer there but kindly called her old partner and asked if he, Kevin, would like a radio guest, "famed" Chef Rodelio from Los Angeles (Whatever right). he jumped at the opportunity to interview yours truly...who wouldn't.

After we had dinner at Lucy's, the charming cozy restaurant in Stanley Village, we ventured to Kowloon, what was supposed to take 35 minutes took alsmost 2 hours as we got lost and lost and lost, (Bless Beverly for not cracking under the pressure) As the adventure to the radio station entered its 100 minute, we would listen to Kevin previewing the interview with me, "We're lost!" . I would shout at the radio, I'm coming.

Finally we arrived close to 1am....tired and frustrated I met Kevin and his visiting Mother from Belfast and we got to it. The interview was for an hour as we talked about food, Asian culture, Filipino food, life, traveling and music...it was really cool...maybe a glimpse of a second career?

We got back @ 3am and I prepared to leave the next day for Vietnam, my buddies Frank and Joe were arriving the day after me so I had one evening in Vietnam on my own. But first there was one more 5 star meal to be had at Bo Innovation, a cutting edge chef named Kevin Leung, a maverick and self promoted "Demon Chef". Self taught and inspired by Ferran Adria and Alain Ducasse, his menu was very French with Asian touches...tasting menu it is.

We started with an array of amuse bouche, the most memeorable was toro sushi with foie gras flakes. Followed was a tempura frog leg with a truffled porridge, quite nice. The remaining dishes were plated on misproportioned plates and lacked sophistication and flavor. The intentions of his menu were honorable, but once again I was subjected to style over substance. Something us Chefs get caught up in...this trip has definitely fortified my sensibilities and my style of cooking. My desire to stay within myself and cook with style and have substance on the plate. We left the meal and went to have noodles down the street before I headed to the airport.

I arrived in Saigon later that night, after checking into my hotel, a fabulous one at that, I hopped on a pedicab and went for a midnight swine hunt (no not that swine...this is a family blog...thought the ladies were out in full force) I found a corner cafe and ordered a bowl of pho and lemograss pork chop....amazing...of course it was because my good ole pal, Bill Clinton's picture was hanging in the restaurant...I really want to go restaurant hopping with this cat. After my meal I venture thru the night market then eventually turned in for the night...alone, you guys are funny.

The next day Frank and Joe arrived eagerly ready to venture and eat...before they arrived and I caught up with the Madness, March Madness...I'm a big UCLA Bruin fan and Final Four Baby....(for those of you who don't know I went to school there)...GO BRUINS!!!!!!!!!!

The night before I made friends with the pedicab drivers and we decided to take the pedicab tour...pure madness!!!! Will have to leave you hanging there...the lunch bell is ringing...we preordered the suckling pig and can't be late. Swine at first bite.

SA miss you tons, wish you were with me, I smile when I think of you. A shout out to "Carmelake", have a great convention in LA.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hong Kong.....damn thats a big Chinatown!

One of my comments to my buddy Brian about going to Hong Kong was "Is there an "Americantown". Hong Kong is many things...picturesque, fast paced, international, a "big city" feel... and definitely a stop for anyone going to Asia.

After arriving at a probably the most advanced airport in the world, I boarded a train to meet my highschool friend Beverly @ the downtown station. After she picked me and got me settled, she handed me the 2006 HK Magazine Restaurant Guide..."pick where you want to go!" We decided to indulge ourselves to a night of Dim Sum, at a five star Restaurant named "Dim Sum". I took command of ordering as usual and went to town...the dim sum was not that different to what I have eaten in NY, LA and SF...what was different and good were the accompaning sauces (no chinese mustard available here guys) from tangy to salty to sweet, each dim sum had a sauce. Some of my fav dishes were good, like salt pepper pork chops and salted fish and chicken fried rice. We finished our meal with don tah and mango pudding, classics, they were better than advertised. Beverly held her own and didn't flinched to the amount of food I ordered. This was only the start to Beverly partaking into the food follies to come. The next day would bring my "Chef Partner in Crime" Frank and his NY Bro Joe...."eh howya doin'?"

Met up with Frank and Joe the next AM, we decided to take off for Kowloon, just north of Hong Kong. Kowloon is a bargain shoppers paradise...imagine blocks on blocks of shopping, jewerly, electronics, clothes, if its made in China, its in Kowloon. We wandered the streets for a few hours with a brief stop at an electronics store to get my ass beat by Frank on "XBOX360-Boxing"...I needed a pick me up lunch so I busted out the "Guide" ah a five star Peking duck Restaurant again aptly named "Peking Restaurant". We tried to find the place on our own...."taxi!" was shouted 15 minutes later. We got there...we thought....walked up some steps, read the sign...this is it. We, of course, got the only english speaking waiter..."take us on a trip, whats the specialty of the house?...we got duck...duh. along with the duck we ordered pork with peppers, chili prawns, and "fish a la squirrel"...we had too.

After our 3rd beer each, we devored the pork , prawns, and still no "fish a la squirrel"...then suddenly a large plate of butterflied deep fried fish topped with this orange glaze arrived at the table...no squirrel, just the name on the menu (we thought it was hilarious) msrketing baby, we bought it. The fish was crispy and lathered in a sweet and sour sauce, quite good, but not as good as the Peking duck served with pancakes. (I'm partial to the pancakes over the steamed buns when I have duck.) We stolled out of there 4 beer down (each of course), we needed a walk so we decided to take the ferry across back to Hong Kong. Kowloon and hong Kong has a lot of open air food markets...not for the weak stomach, the seafood was not iced, but fresh, so fresh the hearts (fish) were still beating (I kid you not), the meats just butchered and hung in front of you, the produce so varied and beautiful...we wished we could just buy some ingredients and cook ourselves.

When I'm traveling I often forget the date, this day was St. Patty's Day...everybody celebrates this day...and did we later that evening, but first, dinner was scheduled at another five star restaurant (3 in 1 1/2 days...not bad). The place was called Lumiere, why there? well the restaurant was billed as a fusion of flavors of Sicuan and South American Flavors. The place was stunning, even more stunning was the view from our table of the Hong Kong Harbor....thats were the stunning stopped. The food, lets just say...you won't be seeing Sicuan and South American Restaurants in the states soon. The food was bland, I think they payed it safe and didn't want to venture one way or another, we were all unimpressed (I was already looking forward to a late night congee stop) We ended up in Lai Kwan Fong (I hope I spelled that right) an area of bars loadede with chinese and westerners. the guiness wasa flowin...the big green hats wasa wearing....the booze wasa drinking (open containers in the streets (whata country)....We hooked up with friends of Beverly's and shook our "asses" at a local disco. That was fun. And yes I got my congee with BBQ Pork.

On tap Macau....Macau is part of the SAR of China (formerly under Portuguese Rule), but is still considered another country. Macau is being touted as "The Las Vegas of Asia"... and it was. We took the hour long turbo jet ferry to Macau, on the ferry we met a lovely girl who was a tour guide. Where do we eat? "Fernando's" as her eyes lit up, Beverly's also recommended this place. Apparently Macau is becoming a food haven...and you know me and havens. Fernandos it is. The taxi took us past the strip and casinos to what looked like the Macau Riviera. On this beach nicely tucked away we arrived at "Ristorante Fernandos" One smell was all it took. Frank and I said "This is gonna be good" Fernando's is a family run and is housed in a brick building with a patio reminicent of Europe. The tables were covered with checkerboard patterned table clothes...just my style. We got a tabler in fifteen minutes, at this point were 2 beers down. We ordered like royalty...chorizo, roasted chicken, grilled sea bream, grilled cuttlefish, sauteed garlic whole prawns (the best I've had) suckling pig (what?) drunken steak, steamed clams. It was one of the most memorable meals on my trip...flavor, flavor, flavor...no frills and great bottle of Portuguese red wine. DONE!!!! Who would of thought this...It is seriously woth the day trip to Macau. We then walked into the kitchen and took pictures and watched the cooks....just cook, simply and with passion. That meal was the only thing we ate that day....no BS.

We then took in the local sites and markets, filling the day with adventure after adventure ending up at a Casino...bottle service there is a must...a bottle of Jack Daniels ($60), we finished the bottle and at that point we were happy...stumbled back to the ferry and went home. Great meal and great dessert.

And thats just day 2...still to come my Hong Kong Radio Talk Show debut, shopping in Stanley Village and off to Vietnam. I'll swine you up soon.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I'm baaaaaaaaaack....just kidn, just a little tease

Miss me, come on!!!!!!!!!!! sing it!!!

you know you miss me, you know you missime blind!!!!

Not "swining" long, just a quick note to say....I have found the swine!, OK I'm bloggin from a 5 Star Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia...(I'm roughing it)...anyway back to that later...its been a week...what a week.

I'm setting some time aside tommorrow (before my 5 hour spa treatment) to catch you all up. Heres a quick rundown....Hong Kong dining paradise, shoppers paradise....Macau, "what happens in Macau, stays in Macau!"...anyway I got to tell you of the best meal so far on my trip...ita all about Fernando's in Macau...Saigon...pedicab tours, tunneling, shooting M-16s...late night Bahn Mi and Pork chops...Cambodia, cooking demo for the Cambodian kids at the Angor Wat Temple's Market, you gotta hear that one...

So look for the S'wine...coming soon