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Team 3!!!!!!!

2 Jul

Très excited to be in Team 3…those of you who know what I’m talking about will know why I’m so excited. 😉 Excited to finally truly begin the last year too……….lectures totally didn’t count lol.

Went to Noren last night with a friend, and gave him the signed Joe Bonamassa CD I got for him. 🙂 It makes me happy to make others happy. Unfortunately I only brought my prime lenses which didn’t focus very well on the totemo oishii pork rice I had…so no photos. It was SOOOOO good though. And I had deep fried cheese. OMG like just hearing DEEP FRIED CHEESE makes you want to eat it, right? Will return…

Cheese Tart

Cheese Tart

This tart from Arome Bakery describes how I feel about being in Team 3. Hee hee. It was nothing special in terms of taste, but at least the tart crust wasn’t too soggy, and the centre was like American Cheesecake and not gelatinzed.  And to my dismay, the cute face on top was just a plastic sheet. Cute, nevertheless. Very expensive at $12 and the size of an eggtart though.

Black Sesame Charcoal Roll

Black Sesame Charcoal Roll

Arome Bakery also has a series of roll cakes which they claim to be made with Hokkaido 3.6 milk. I chose this Black Sesame Charcoal Roll because the contrast of white and black made it look very striking. For those of you who are raising your eyebrows at the word “charcoal”….rest assured that it doesn’t taste burnt or charcoally at all. In fact, charcoal is a trendy ingredient in Asia reputed for its detox properties. Honestly though, I think it just makes food look really cool because it’s SO black.

Charcoal is actually tasteless, so what I tasted was just the sesame, which was quite strong. The sesame also made it grainy in texture. However, the cake was soft and moist, and was not like the more buttery and eggy Chinese type of swiss roll, rather more like the Japanese kind of soft roll cake. The cream was abundant and milky, and was real cream, instead of the buttercream found in Chinese rolls. I like this kind of cream a lot more as it’s fresher tasting and not as heavy (tastewise…I’m sure  fat-wise it’s still heavy haha). Also within the cream were 2 blocks of sesame jelly which tasted like Chinese ji ma go (traditional sesame dessert pudding).

Sometimes, inexpensive chainstore Asian bakeries churn out good things too. 🙂

Been sick for the past week with a terrible cough…ugh……hope I get better before clinical attachment starts!!

The Privilege of Going to College

2 Jun Mimosa Patisserie: Mango Napoleon

It’s funny how different one’s perspective can change just within one day. I started this morning…erm…I mean afternoon…rolling out of bed, lamenting that school starts in less than one week and I need to REALLY start adjusting my sleeping schedule. Later this day though, a little girl whom I was tutoring as a volunteer made me realize how lucky I am to be in university.

Midwest Vintage Haul

Midwest Vintage Haul

But first, I started my day with some shopping. I finally visited Midwest Vintage, one of the most well-known (well-advertised?) vintage stores in HK. It’s really out of the way, so I haven’t been motivated enough to get my butt over there. A whole summer of H&M/Zara hauls have made me bored enough to trek all the way there though. They’ve got some vintage polos/A&F/Hollister, but what interested me were their reconstructed pieces. They take old men’s shirts and make them into something like what I got. A Mario Bros tunic with a cool flannel bottom, and a reconstructed Ralph Lauren polo shirt which got turned into a dress. Also got cool accessories at $20!!! :O The store also has some awesome vintage bags…but I just got 2 new bags recently, so perhaps another time…

Sillyboo Froyo: Pear Williams, Yakult, & Original with Mochi + Cinnamon Cookies

Sillyboo Froyo: Pear Williams, Yakult, & Original with Mochi + Cinnamon Cookies

As I was walking from Midwest Vintage to the school where I was supposed to volunteer at, I passed by Sillyboo Froyo store. Froyo stores that I haven’t visited seem to be a magnet for drawing me in, so in I went. It’s decorated very nicely…modern and sleek. They had a few flavours today – Pear Williams, Guava, Yakult, Pineapple, and Original. They charge $17/100g, which is a bit more expensive than the usual $15/100g.

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The Way Kids Think

1 Jun

I’ve been tutoring this 7 year old (turning 8 in August) since 2 years ago, and I love the kid to bits. He’s an only child, slightly hyperactive (oxymoron?), a bit mischievous, and EXTREMELY smart and wily. As with most 7 year olds, he’s very curious about everything and asks me questions I can’t really answer all the time.

Why does the universe keep on expanding?

How many galaxies are there in the universe?

Why do we need nuclear plants?

Why did Hitler kill himself?

Why does the large intestine absorb water, but the kidneys pass out water…don’t they cancel out each other’s function then?

Okay, I could answer that last one, due to my medical background. But it took me half an hour to make it understandable in 7-year-old terms. Which brings me to another point…we’re reading a book about the human body, and stuff in there is SO hard! The book is targeted towards his age (7-12 ish), but I swear there’s stuff in there that’s undergraduate level. It talks about how bile is made, talks about the different digestive enzymes, distinguishes between the different types of white blood cells. And to think that what I was reading at his age were mostly The Babysitters’ Club books. Are we expecting too much from our kids?

Breadtalk: Apple Tart and Blackforest Roll

Breadtalk: Apple Tart and Blackforest Roll

Anyways, enough about too-smart kids. Let’s talk about something sweeter…

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Pilgrimage to Tony Wong’s Kingdom

28 May

Patisserie Tony WongExcuse the exaggeration of my title, but it sure seems that way nowadays with Tony Wong opening more and more stores in Kowloon City. First there was Cookies Quartet…then he opened this patisserie, then more recently he opened a froyo store called Smile. Why has he enjoyed such great success? One can speculate. More at the end of this post as I know you want me to talk about the food. 😉

The first cake I got was the Mixed Berries Napoleon (千層酥). For any overseas readers, we call mille-feuilles, Napoleons, in Hong Kong.  Also, unlike in Paris, Napoleans in HK are almost always filled with creme AND fruits, especially mangoes, which really should be our city’s official fruit as Hongkongers are so obsessed with it lol. I choose the mixed berries Napoleon because it was the only one which looked vaguely traditional, as opposed to the circular cherry Napoleon and mango-laden Napoleon.

So, back to this Napolean. Was it any good? Frankly, no. I know many locals rave and shower praises on his Napoleans. But even if you’ve just had ONE mille-feuille from a patisserie in France, even a random neighbourhood patisserie, you would be completely dissatisfied with this. The pâte feuilletée is really thin, compact, and even slightly soggy where it touches the similarly thin and meagre layer of custard. It didn’t taste or feel like the lush, generous crème pâtissière in Parisian mille-feuilles, like the one I had at Pain de Sucre. At least the berries were sweet. And there were real vanilla seeds in the custard, although the custard was too diminutive in amount to actually taste it.

Patisserie Tony Wong One Two Tea

The One Two Tea is one of Tony Wong’s recent creations. From top to bottom: white chocolate plate, Earl Grey Crème Brulée, Earl Grey Mousse, Sponge Cake, Earl Grey Crisp. The flavours were quite good in this one, unlike the too sweet Starbucks Earl Grey cake. On the other hand, it’s more than 50% more expensive, so I’d expect the flavours to be better. The pale layers were smooth and tasted like a milky Earl Grey, slightly floral in nature. Not as smooth as the Pierre Hermé Tarte Infinitement Vanille though. Damn I miss that. The bottom layer had tea leaves in what was supposed to be a crispy layer (I think), although it was quite soggy when I ate it. This was an enjoyable cake. My only gripe is its size; for the same price, I can probably get something bigger and more interesting from a patisserie in Paris. But I guess they don’t have HKD$2 eggtarts over there either, so I won’t complain too much.

Read on for more thoughts on Tony Wong’s success…

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ARTHK 11

26 May You could freely draw on this with markers...YAY permissible vandalism!

I woke up bright and early today (i.e. 10 am) to go to the HK Art Fair 2011 at the HKCEC in Wanchai. Before that, I visited Marks & Spencer for some breakfast first. I decided to get a donut as those usually don’t come out with fresh batches everyday, and I assumed it would be freshest in the morning. I was right! Before when I’ve had donuts from M&S’ fresh food bakery, they’re usually slightly stale. Not this time. They were tender, fluffy, and just sweet enough with the characteristic donut-oil taste (which is a good kind of oily taste IMO). No photo because I was gobbling this up on the way. I got to the HK side kinda earlier than expected, so I got off at Central, headed to MO, and got myself a croissant. Yes, after my donut. And MO’s croissants are huge too….gluttony. Sigh.

Welcome to HK Art Fair 2011

Welcome to HK Art Fair 2011

When I got to the venue, I realized there was a VERO on site. Damnnn…wasted my quota! Oh well, now that there’s a VERO at Landmark, it’s not so hard to get to anyways. The exhibition was pretty fun, with quite a few interactive pieces. There were exhibits from all over the world. I found this place less wacky than the Centre Georges Pompidou. Here are a few pieces I found interesting:

Face made up of Chinese characters

Face made up of Chinese characters

This really reminds me of the heads I saw at the Musée Cluny

This really reminds me of the heads I saw at the Musée Cluny

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Cake Day

25 May

My cake obsession hasn’t been sated even after coming back to Hong Kong!! So here goes. For some reason, everywhere I went today, they were out of cakes I wanted…Lucullus, Cova, even Pappagallo (!!). So I ended up at Starbucks. Since I’ve already tried their lychee mousse and red velvet cake, I took their 3rd new offering – the Earl Grey Mousse Cake, and an old favourite, the Hazelnut Coffee Roll.

Only when I got home did I realize I JUST had an Earl Grey cake yesterday (full review to come later)…which would make for good comparison. 2 different calibers of cake shops, obviously…but how did they fare?

The Starbucks one is covered with a sweet gelée which tasted like…..sugar. And it was more jelly than gelée. Well, I suppose that increases shelf-life and makes it more sturdy, which makes sense as Starbucks is not gourmet. Inside, there were 5 different components. First, the main component was a light brown Earl Grey mousse. It actually tasted like a very sweet and mild HK milk tea, which is what Earl Grey tastes to me sometimes :S So I guess they succeeded….? lol. I enjoy my Earl Grey without milk/sugar usually. The texture was a bit gelatinous too.

Next was a sponge cake layer, which had hints of citrus. Since Earl Grey is infused with bergamot, this makes sense. I actually quite liked this layer…it’s moist and fragrant. Following another mousse layer was a crunchy feuilleté-like layer, which serves to provide textural difference. It was actually really sweet as well, like nutella. Then, another thin layer of mousse, and then chocolate sponge cake (without the citrus tang). Finally, the base is a tender hazelnut biscuit, which was moist, a bit too moist in fact.

For the price of the cake ($2x), it was thoroughly enjoyable. Obviously, one can’t compare it to the delicate One Two Tea I had yesterday, but that was almost double the price. The Starbucks one, owing to its sturdier textures, was more filling too….I always think Starbucks is a good bargain! I actually also liked how it was super sweet….good for when the sugar craving hits. Can see this not faring well with the Asian palate though.

The hazelnut coffee roll was very strong on the coffee taste and totally lacking in the hazelnut taste. The roll layer is pale white, which means it was probably made just with egg-whites (and less guilty). The filling is a hazelnut buttercream mixed heavily with coffee granules. I didn’t detect any hazelnut, and the coffee taste was overwhelming. Oddly, the cake was also specked with what appeared to be chocolate chips, but tasted like nothing. If you really want a coffee hit from your cake, this is your cake. However, if you expected some hazelnut tones…prepare to be disappointed.

Ladurée Collection

24 May
Pretty Ladurée box

Pretty Ladurée box

Since my last post was of Pierre Hermé’s macarons, it would be natural to follow it with a post on Ladurée. As I mentioned yesterday, I love both and they pretty much stand equal on my favourite macaron list, both being #1. Although I only brought back 6 Ladurée macarons, I already finished off plenty in Paris, and also brought back a box of 8 for my Mum. So, what is featured here is only a tiny fraction of what I actually had.

Mmmm yummy in my tummy!

Mmmm yummy in my tummy!

In the box of 6 I brought home, there were 5 of my favourite flavours (réglisse, café, caramel, rose, et vanille), and one flavour I hadn’t tried yet (citron vert et chocolat). Ladurée does the classic flavours very well.

The licorice was a shocking midnight black, but the filling was a creamy beige. Rather than having the weird licorice candy flavours, this was more caramelly and slightly herbal. The fleur d’oranger, rose, and vanilla all tasted strongly of what they were supposed to taste like, while not being artifical. The caramel is my all time favourite macaron. The filling is wonderfully smooth and runny, while still holding it’s shape. It accentuated the slight chewiness and delicate, crisp shells of Ladurée macarons. The seasonal citron vert chocolat, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. The lime green shell was specked with chocolate flakes, while the filling was chocolate ganache. I found the whole macaron tasted too perfumy. In fact, my mum even described it as tasting like citrus dishwashing soap.

My 3 favourites: Vanilla, Caramel, Réglisse

My 3 favourites: Vanilla, Caramel, Réglisse

The best part of Ladurée is that they always manage to get the shell-to-filling ratio perfectly. Sometimes, I find that PH’s fillings are a bit overwhelming. Ladurée never has this problem. Their intense flavours mean that a modest amount of filling is enough to bring out the taste. As mentioned yesterday, Ladurée’s shells are very delicate on the outside, and quite chewy and distinctively almondy on the inside. Classic.

Just for comparison, I purchased some macarons from a well-known local patisserie, Paul Lafayet.

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