Friday, August 17, 2007

Anniversary Dinner at Manhattan Steakhouse , Marriort Hongqiao, Shanghai

Coming this 17th Aug, 2007, it come 17 years anniversary of our marriage. During the past 17 years, I hardly recalled there is any celebration for our anniversary and this time I make it a point that I am going for a good canddle dinner with my wife.

I search thru the internet and finally settle with this recommended steakhouse. Well!! I am looking forward for the wonderful dinner tonight and will blog my review in the next days.

Manhattan Steakhouse was awarded with:

Runner-up for “Most Romantic Restaurant” by City Weekend magazine in 2005

“Best Restaurant” by Modern Weekly magazine in 2004

“Best Continental Restaurant” by Modern Weekly magazine in 2003

Friday, August 03, 2007

Private Dinning With Lars And Stefanie

On one fine Saturday night, Lars and stefanie (my German colleagues and his GF) invited me and my wife to have a private dinning at his apartment in Shanghai down town. well! This is definitely a great experience for me, I have never invited for private home cook European dinner before and here we go..!!

Their apartment deco are just great with simple decoration and cosy enough to host a great dinner. The setting of the dinner is just like dinning in the first class French restaurant...the dime light plus good lounge music create a good ambient environment for a wonderful dinner. The silver fork and spoon we used that night were all at least few decade old heritage from LARS grand parents ( What a honor for me and my wife!)

We have light refreshment before cruising to the dinning table and Lars told me that this is the normal way of having a light drinking session in Europe before dinner.

The appetizer dish with bake Italian loaf top with some french dressing plus slice fresh tomato and basil. The combination was so refreshing and serve as a good appetizer before our pasta session.

In fact, stefanie baked some home Italian bread to serve together with mint sauce and I really like the bread texture but I can't take more otherwise I will be full before the main cause.

Just look at the table setting...the tall wine glass, the big pasta plate and all the appetizer dishes plus the wonderful home bake Italian bread on the side of the is just fabulous!!!!

Lim Lim was admiring the dishes and she was wondering how many kgs she will put in for that night! Ha! Ha!

Stefanie show me her cook book and told me the different type of pasta and I only realize that all the while what I call Spagetti is not actually call "Spagetti"!!!!

Ah Ha!!! Here come the star of the dinner....A tomato meat source pasta. You can never guess how good the smell is! The good combination of the spices that Stefanie used plus the fresh tomato give the dish a wonderful taste. By the way, to have the right sauce is one thing, another important point is the right timing in cooking the pasta that give you the texture require for a good pasta dish. It look simple but trust me it is not easy to cook a well balance pasta dish with good combination of the ingredients and right pasta texture.

Here come the home make apple tart. What I would like to mention about was the crispy tart base top with the right sweetness from the apple jam plus the balance sour taste from the fresh apple really make this dessert a perfect ending for this wonderful dinner. Oh!!! I forget to mention the home make ice cream by LARS using the ice cream machine he brought all the way from Germany is just as great as the apple tart and there were good combination. The smoothness of the ice cream deserve thumb up from me!!...A sweet tooth like me even think that the dessert gain more points from me than the other dishes on that night ( I am sorry, STEFANIE....your pasta just great but I like the dessert so much....!!!! forgive me!)

We have some chill rosy wine for the dinner and the chill wine is good to serve with red sauce pasta dish!!!! Thanks to LARS and STEFANIE for such a wonderful night plus all the great great home cook food!!!! Frankly speaking I am already looking forward for your next invitation..ha! ha!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shanghai Food Review :黔香阁, Hong Zhong Road, Shanghai

I have lost touch with my blog for 2 months, during this period I am either lost in my work, traveling back home or business, or something just feel lost in my thought, lazy to lay my hand on my blog. I really admire those blogger whose can constantly updating fresh input in their blog and have the discipline to be a real blogger. I salute all of you!!!! OK! Let go back to my food entry.
I was having a dinner with our colleagues from German and Thailand, wondering what to take, I remember sometime ago I have a dinner in this place call 黔香阁 in Hong Zhong Road, Gubei area where most of Shanghai expatriates were staying.

Basically 黔香阁 is serving Quai Zhou cuisine which are basically sour and spicy and they used a lot of vinegar in their dishes. The deco of this restaurant is authentic. using a lot of wooden deco similar to those found in Quai Zhou province, Southwest of China, a province next to Kumming and Sichuan.

The authentic wooden wall panel which is unique in their craving techniques, the shinning color of the painting is actually make from sea shell, kindly forgive me for the poor quality of the pictures, I took it with my Nokia 6900 cell phone camera.

This is the famous savour Quai Zhou fish, taste wise, I think it is OK! with strong taste of fish freshness but this dish has been modify to suit the Shanghainese. In Guai Zhou, the fish actual let to fragmented in a clay pot for few days before use for cooking. The dish come with bean curd and fresh vegetable.

This small bowl is actually the special sauce for the above dish and What we need to do is to pour in the soap and stir right. The white color thing is the fragmented bean curd.

This is Chinese bacon specially brought from Quai Zhou. The pork meat is specially marinated and dry under the open air. What special about this dish was that the chef actually just steam it with some chili and spring onion, the gravy is good for rice....whenever it come with this kind of dish, I usually will ask for a bowl of rice, I don;t care whether it is the right time to have rice or not ( In china normally you only have rice at the end of the dish or you won;t even serve with rice at all!!!)

This soup is basically cooked with some fresh mushroom from Quai Zhou. Youu normally find good mushroom from South west of China, such as places like Yunan, Shichuan and Quai Zhou. The soup so fabulous and all the freshness come from the mushroom and you know what good mushroom does not need a lot to cook for their freshness.

This is another mushroom dish cook with good soya other ingredient, only the mushroom and the soya source and I can tell you ...the taste is wonderful!!!!

Spicy and sour tofu ....the only comment I have for this dish is not spicy enough unlike the Sichuan tofu where you can found a lot of ...a lot of .. Sichuan pepper beside the red color chili oil.

This Chicken was cooked using a special clay pot where the technique is to allow the steam flow thru the pot from the small steam tunnel in the middle of the pot and the steam will cook the food precisely. By using this technique you will find all the freshness from the chicken stay with the pot and the chicken still tender even though it has been steam for hours. The best thing about this dish is the gravy at the bottom of the pot...well I rather say it was the chicken essence and again it go well with my bowl of rice...Ha! Ha!

The last dish was the Quai Zhou chili prawn but I find this dish so so only because the I suspect they used frozen prawn ( actually it was a FROZEN PRAWN) and the taste is too mild for me ..not spicy and sour enough......I do not find the kick in this dish!!!!! A dish without a spirit of good food!.

The total cost damage was around RMB400.00 not expensive for Shanghai Standard...I guess!!