Monday, December 28, 2009

A Beautiful Sunset

Almost at the end of another year....

It's amazing how quickly time flies, don't you think so?

In what feels like a blink of an eye, 2009 is almost at an end, with 2010 looming closely ahead.....
Thank you, sky! - For the amazing and ever changing art you present everyday...


Anyway, I hope you had a Merry Christmas,...
... and will have a very Happy and Blessed New Year!


Hugs,
J

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Nong & Jimmy Thai BBQ @ Ampang, KL

Moving a little further out from my comfort zone to check out some Thai BBQ seafood in Ampang...

Nobody should ask me for directions because I have no idea how to get to this fairly established (10 years and still going strong) eatery in the Ampang area.... I know it's terrible but I'm horrible at driving out/ directions to unfamiliar places such as this.
(I'm such a girl sometimes *guilty grin*)
(Better luck if you check out with Google Maps or your GPS, the full address is listed at the end of the post):
Outside Nong & Jimmy.....

Anyway, it's very simple inside the restaurant, rustic and simple - basically, like a gigantic metal shed with plastic tables and chairs (and equally rustic service - *lol*):
Not fine dining but fairly comfy on a cool night....

As it was a rainy day, we started off with the Tom Yam Seafood Soup (around RM12?):
The steaming claypot of tom yam soup....

Here's a closer look at my bowl of tom yam:
Tom yum.....

Overall, it was ok I guess - simple, kinda spicy and quite salty and sour, with a fair amount of seafood inside. Hmmm... it's just that it tasted a too little "instant" - very much like the shortcut tom yam paste out of a bottle that I use at home....
(Haha... Aiyah, it's not fine dining anyway, right? So can't really complain....)

Of course, since N&J specialises in Barbeque, we tried the BBQ Squid (around RM10?):
BBQ Squid - yummy!...

I actually quite liked this - the squid was fairly fresh, had a supple texture, with a nice charred/BBQ taste to it... and it went well with the accompanying sauces (one sweet, the other sour, but both pretty spicy).

Also, we tried the BBQ Crab (around RM 15?).....:
Also, a BBQ crab.....

... and BBQ Prawns (around RM 15?):
And some BBQ prawns....

I still preferred the squid, but the crabs and prawns were both pretty good too.
:)

We also tried another speciality there, the Thai Style Stingray (around RM 15?):
The Stingray, wrapped in foil....

Not bad - the texture of the stingray was a bit too soft (overcooked maybe?) but the sauce was spicy and tasty (albeit a wee bit salty - although to be fair, I'm sure it would taste just fine with rice and I didn't have any that night)....

Lastly, the Kangkong Belacan (around RM 6?):
The salty kangkong belacan....

This was the only outright disappointment that night - the kangkong was limp, overcooked and completely drenched in a salty black coloured sauce.
(Which made it taste, and look, quite unappetising)

GOMENASAI! I don't have the receipt (again....).
Anyway, I guess I wouldn't mind returning to Nong & Jimmy one day if someone could help drive me there (*grin*) but otherwise, I think this was a once in a lifetime trip....

Don't get me wrong though - I think it's definitely worth a try considering the reasonable pricing... I'm just afraid to get completely lost on the way! *blush*
(*lol*)


So it's: Rustic, simple ambience, fairly fresh seafood, decent prices BUT nothing much bad to say - just don't expect it to be a fine dining experience and you'll be fine.... :)


PS/ I suddenly remembered the restaurant lady's shocked face when we ordered all that for just 2 people and actually managed to finish it all off (except the kangkong)! - *LOL* I guess she must have thought "Poor things - they haven't eaten for 3 days ah??"


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Nong & Jimmy Thai BBQ @ Ampang, KL
(Lot 27363, Jalan Cahaya 1, Taman Cahaya, Ampang, Selangor)

Taste: 6
Ambience : 4
Service : 4
Price** : RM 30 per person
Parking: OK

** Approximation, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-4251 1807
Opening Hours: 6pm - 11pm (closed on Mondays)

NO PORK SERVED



OTHER REVIEWS:
- Life Goes On Everyday......
- Joan The Food Lover
- MakanTrip.com
- DevilSheep.com
- Kampung Boy City Gal
- Ipoh Mali Tak Sombong


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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Disaster of Sorts

A nightmare for most girls :)....

What happens when you go shopping with a friend (who has similar tastes) and then you meet up without telling each other that you're wearing THAT dress?:
FASHION DISASTER!

Seeing double?...

Hahahahaha...

And I was wondering why as that I walked into The Library, my dear friend S had this shocked looked on her face and kept pointing at me instead of the usual smile and friendly wave. :)
(Luckily we both have a great enough sense of humour/ love each other enough to be able to laugh it off immediately and not have a silly catfight or anything like that...)

Anyway, that night was my first time at the new-ish Library bar and restaurant in Cineleisure Damansara... Overall it was ok I guess - didn't try the food but found that there is a monstrous amount of different cocktails served there,... some of which are really funny!:
What an awkward drink to order!...

:)
I actually ordered this drink, (as it came highly recommended by the waiter *LOL*) but well, it just tasted ok - fairly potent but minus points from me because I found the sweet, strong coconut liqueur flavour a bit cloying.
THE drink...

Still, it was a memorable night indeed!

Can't wait till the next time you and Al come down to KL, S!
(Then I can rub shoulders with "celebrities" again! Haha.... You know what I'm referring to.....)
:) :)


Hugs,
J

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Char Kuey Teow @ Restoren Seng Lee, Damansara Heights, KL

Short post on CKT - a classic Malaysian dish...

I had heard that Seng Lee on Jalan Batai in the Damasara Heights area is considered one of the "famous" places in KL for good Char Kuey Teow so understandably, my expectations were a little high when I went there:
Inside Seng Lee.....

Sitting in the rustic little coffeeshop, I didn't have to wait too long till the steaming hot plate of CKT (around RM4?) arrived at my table:
A plate of carby sin.....

Unfortunately, it went a bit downhill from there. :(

Although the CKT looked great, the noodle texture was a little too soft for my liking, and prawns were not really that fresh... :( :(

Still, overall I guess it tasted ok.... there was a bit of "wok hei" and the taugeh were really plump and fresh. And erm... that's about it really.
(Aiyo. How lah? This is the first quite bad review I've given for a while now....)
(If you didn't already know, I really don't like giving bad reviews....)

So, it's: OK tasting char kuey teow BUT does not live up to hype....


Summary Information:
Seng Kee @ Jalan Batai, Medan Damansara, KL

Opening Hours: 10am - 3pm. Closed on Sundays
Phone: -
Address: Jalan Batai, Medan Damansara, KL

NOT HALAL



OTHER REVIEWS:
- KY Speaks
- Eating Asia
- Masak-Masak
- Kampung Boy City Gal


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Monday, December 14, 2009

Shameless Photo Filler Post

*guilty grin* :D....

Don't you sometimes wish you could fly? :).....


Flap your wings,
And fly away,
Rise up to a brand new day.

One with smiles,
And laughter, not tears,
A life of contentment,
Unblemished by fear.


.... by J the Chocoholic


(Corny, I know. *grin* I'm not very good at poetry, but it's fun to try....)

Funny.
This week I can't seem to blog properly - I keep staring at the computer screen at the photos of the food and all that comes up is "........ ".

Yikes. Could I be suffering from blogger's block??

Anyway, I hope you'll forgive me for putting up this random photo and poem, instead of a proper post... (The photo from a trip to Kunming, China from a few years back - Beautiful place!)..

I'll try to post up a food review soon, k?
(Promise!)


Hugs,
J

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Bonjuk @ Desa Sri Hartamas, KL

Perfect rainy weather food - Healthy Korean porridge (amongst other dishes) in Sri Hartamas......

[ BEGIN EDIT ]
(Feb 2010)

I'm devastated - Bonjuk is closed.

I guess my (roughly) once a month patronage and recommendations to my friends/ colleagues was not enough to keep it alive.
(J is made of fail *sigh*)
(Or maybe there are really THAT few people who want to pay more than RM12 for a bowl of porridge)

[ END EDIT ]

I don't know why, but I've always enjoyed a good bowl of porridge...
(Some people find it boring/ food only to be eaten when not well)

I also really like Korean food.... so when I heard of this Korean porridge place in Hartamas some time back, I just had to try it, and it quickly became one of my favourite places for some comfort food. :)
(Oops - missed out this photo earlier) Exterior of Bonjuk.....

Situated on the same row as the 5 a Sec laundrette (pretty much right next to the Black Hole/ opposite Nonbei), its simple inside but comfortable. It used to be a little too warm actually (especially after finishing off a big bowl of hot porridge!) but they have improved on the air-conditioning:
Simple setting inside.....

They started off serving pretty much only porridge (about 15 variations?, available in either a Medium or Large size) but have now expanded to include an extensive bibimbap selection as well as some noodles and meat dishes.
(I looked online and it turns out that its actually part of an international franchise!)

A popular choice here is the Beef & Mushroom Porridge - Medium (RM 11.95+):
The popular beef & mushroom porridge.....

Minced beef (sometimes a bit dry, mostly ok), and slices of mushroom lovingly stewed with rice till it comes together into a yummy, chunky yet smooth mix - it's yummy!... and not too salty too (they claim not to use any MSG), although salt addicts like me can just throw in some of the soup or kimchis they serve on the side (free with the porridge) to make it yummier:
Kimchi and beef.....

My usual though is the Kimchi porridge - Medium (RM 12.95+):
My kimchi porridge.....

This porridge comes with pieces of bouncey squid, and has a nice kimchi flavour (not too strong, but definitely evident) permeated thoughout the porridge broth and even in the rice granules. :)

Having had a long week, I ignored the fact that it was mid-day, and decided that it's the right time for a Lemon Sochu (RM 25+):
Alcoholic.....

One word - strong.
(But I felt much more relaxed after that so I guess it worked...Haha....)


PS. GRRRRRRR to the PJ people who are on holiday today! - I want to be on holiday toooooo..... *pout*
(Haha.. Hope you're having a great day!)


So it's: Simple but comfortable setting, good selection of Korean porridges, bibimbap and some noodles and meat dishes, claims of no MSG! (yay!) BUT it can be a bit slow (sometimes) because they cook your porridge by order, not pre-cooked or en masse (which is good actually....) :)

Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Bonjuk @ Hartamas
18, Grd Flr, Jalan 25/70A,
Desa Sri Hartamas,
50480, Kuala Lumpur


Taste: 6
Ambience : 6
Service : 6
Price** : RM25/++ per person
Parking: OK (... but can be a bit difficult on weekdays)

** Approximation - Per person, 2 course meal without drinks

Telephone No.: 03-2300 2302
Opening Hours: Mon to Sat - 11am to 10pm, closed on Sundays

NOT HALAL




OTHER REVIEWS:
- Precious Pea
- Jules Eating Guide To Malaysia
- Lots Of Cravings
- KY Speaks
- KL People KL Food


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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

London Photos (Part 2)

Desktop holiday for you... European Edition - London (Part 2)....

I guess there are tourist-y things that the masses usually see in certain cities - case in point, the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace:
Looking at Buckingham Palace.....

I'm not kidding - there were HORDES of people:
So many humans.....

This is basically all I managed to see :(
(Aiyo - I'm 5'4" but that's so short by European standards):
Wow - the back of people's heads. Haha.....

I gave up soon after and was slowly walking away from the palace when I managed to catch a fairly good glimpse of the horse guards (Wah, they look so cool):
Not quite a knight in shining armour, but still good eye candy.....

I ambled down the road along the perimeter of Hyde Park, and came across a Queen's guard outpost.... Here's a slightly better look at one of them:
Like a statue.....

Couldn't get up closer though, because he was actually cordoned off with a spiky fence. Apparently no one's allowed to approach the Queen's guard anymore because one of them finally lost their cool after some harassment by a Colombian student.
(Ah well, I guess it was just a matter of time - the guards have undoubtably been suffering from years and years of patience testing from cheeky people....)

Here are some other icons of London I came across while walking around - the red telephone box, with the Big Ben clock tower in the background:
2 of the classic icons of London.....

Also, a slightly newer icon, the London Eye:
I love the sky in this shot.....


I don't want to overload you in one round so I'll save the rest of my London photos for another post lah. :)
(Hope you enjoyed this bunch though.... Happy Wednesday!)


Hugs,
J


THE REST OF THE SET - J'S LONDON 2009 POSTS:
- London 2009, Part 1
- London 2009, Part 3
- London 2009, Part 4
- OR go to J's Main Travel Page for more options. :)


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Monday, December 07, 2009

Daikanyama @ Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL

A new Japanese restaurant in town that's been getting a lot of flogger attention....

I was long overdue for a minum and catch up session with my friend Lynn (lawyer and drama queen extraordinaire *HUGS*) so I suggested Daikanyama, a new Japanese bar/ restaurant that some of my friends had been raving about:
Outside Daikanyama....


Taking over the location of the (fairly) recently expired Dusha Restaurant in the bustling Changkat Bukit Bintang area, Daikanyama is distinctly Japanese yet modern, with a restaurant section downstairs and a lounge/ bar area upstairs:
The Interior of Daikanyama (downstairs)....

Also downstairs: A cool long bar next to the tables....

There's an interesting array of Asian alcohols (sake, choya) in its pure form as well as a part of some interesting Asian inspired cocktails. In terms of the sake, we liked the refreshingly fizzy Ozeki Hanaawaka (RM 55+):
Fizzy sake. Yum...

The menu design is creative (but slightly difficult to navigate vs the normal menu layout), with different categories of food lined up emulating LRT/ MRT/ Subway station stops. :)

After much deliberation (many tempting items!) we decided to start off with the Tori Nankotsu Karaage (Chicken soft bone) (RM 14+):
The Tori Nankotsu Karaage....

Overall, I would definitely order this again - the crunchy pieces of chicken soft bone were coated with a delicious batter deep fried to golden perfection. There was also a complex and yummy layering of flavours - savoury but with a hint of herbs (almost like Chinese herbs).
(Warning: It may be a bit tough for some to eat. It's delicious but a teeny bit hard)

Bacon is yummy...
Cheese is also yummy...
So, when you put the two together and grill it, the result is well, yummy. *grin* Anyway, the case in point is the Bacon Cheese (RM 14+) skewers that we tried that night:
Yummy cheese wrapped with bacon....

(Ok... To be completely fair, I did find it a tad too salty... but just a tad. I'd still order this again - it's a perfect dish to pair with the yummy drinks there)

Next, we tried the Grilled Lamb cutlets (RM 18+):
Delicious Grilled Lamb Cutlets....

This was good - Tender, juicy... and without that strong gamey flavour that can come with badly done red meat.
(Erm... strangely this was a little, just a little!, too bland... but I'm guessing that maybe my tastebuds had been reset/ overloaded by the slightly too salty bacon cheese skewers....)

Onwards to the carbs: Next, we dug into the Garlic fried rice (RM 7+):
The Garlic Fried Rice....

Overall, this too was good - nice texture of the rice complemented by the rocking slices of crispy deep fried garlic sprinkled on top.

We also tried the Squid Ink Spaghetti (RM 22+):
The spaghetti....

What a carb-licious night! :)
The Spaghetti was also nice - Al dente pasta, coated with squid ink sauce and teeny weeny little fish(?) eggs and slices of grilled squid.
(Some might find it a bit too dry, but that's how this dish is supposed to be I think)

Super Banker Fai (who graced our presence that night) tried the Salmon Sashimi (RM 20+):
Raw fissssh....

I didn't try any (am not big on raw fish.... sorry) but he reports that it tastes nice.
(So, you'll just have to take his word on it)

Lastly, we tried the Sake Bomb Maki (RM 26+):
The yummy maki....

I hazarded sampling one piece of the maki - fluffy grains of Japanese rice wrapped with deep fried soft shell crab and topped with some raw fish - and liked it! :)
(Simple and nice, with a good textural mix)

All in all, had a fun time that night - good food, good conversation and lots of booze! :)
(Can't ask for more, really)

So, it's: Cool new Japanese restaurant/bar, nice fusion Japanese food BUT nothing bad to say... except that service, although friendly, was missing that extra oomph - I think the staff are still a bit new, I'm sure they'll warm up soon... :) ....



Summary Sheet:

Daikanyama Japanese Restaurant and Bar @ Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL
42, Changkat Bukit Bintang,
50200 Kuala Lumpur


Taste: 8
Ambience : 7
Service : 6
Price** : RM 60++ per person
Parking: OK***

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
*** There is a RM5.50 open air car park up the road, a bit after Bijan and Nerovivo (if you are heading towards Changkat) - most other places will charge around RM10

Telephone No.: 03-2141 0323
Opening Hours: Mon - Sat 5.30pm till late, Sundays 2pm till late
Parking : OK

NOT HALAL




OTHER REVIEWS:
- A Lil Fat Monkey
- Ei Ling
- Paranoid Android
- A Whiff Of Lemongrass
- Eat Drink KL
- Cumi & Ciki


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Friday, December 04, 2009

London Photos

Desktop holiday for you... European Edition - London! :)....

By the time I arrived in London, after almost 2 weeks on holiday**, I have to admit - I was pretty worn out....
(Somewhere in between Tired and Zombie-fied...)

So, it was nice being able to crash at Lyn's place and have slow relaxing days just pottering about and not rushing out to see like 20 tourists spots in a day... :)
(Thanks Lyn! *hugs*)

When we did go out though, Lyn was a really good guide, and one of the places she brought me to which I really liked was the Saatchi Gallery in the Kensington area:
Outside the Saatchi Gallery.....

Although it's a pretty small gallery by London standards, it housed a fair amount of really interesting modern art pieces:
One of the gallery halls.....

Here I am trying to blend in with a painting that happened to be almost the same colour as my outfit that day. :)
Is the camouflage working? Haha.....

Other than paintings, there were also many interesting art pieces like this one...:
Is it a winding staircase to nowhere? Or a modern take on the double helix DNA?.....

.... and this one:
Cool mixed medium collage.....

... and this one:
Interesting, but kinda freaky at the same time.....

Here's one that gave me and Lyn a bit of a headache though *lol*:
They're making my head feel funnnnnyyyyy.....

Oh, and lastly, here's an art piece that I could really connect with!
Greedy snake. Tsk tsk.....

Haha...
(I know exactly how that snake feels - just like how I feel after one of the numerous times I stuffed myself silly with too much yummy food because I have pretty much no willpower....)


Anyway, HAPPY FRIDAY! - I hope you enjoyed the photos... :)
(I'll post up the tourist-y photos in the next round)


Hugs,
J

** It's not that I'm spoilt but budget holidays are tiring! Lugging around a suitcase that's almost a third of my body weight (hey, jackets and other cold weather clothing weigh a lot!) really wrecked havoc on my knees. :(


THE REST OF THE SET - J'S LONDON 2009 POSTS:
- London 2009, Part 2
- London 2009, Part 3
- London 2009, Part 4
- OR go to J's Main Travel Page for more options. :)


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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Ristorante La Buca @ Rimini, Italy

Italian food in a really cosy seaside restaurant in Rimini.....

While visiting Rimini, my friend insisted we went to his favourite restaurant in town (he used to work here and has many fond memories eating and chatting here with his friends).

The restaurant, called La Buca (which means "the hole" because of the layout of the restaurant) is located on the main street next to the beach area. We were really lucky we were there at that time, because they were 2 days away from closing...
(Apparently they can be closed for up to 2 months during the off season):
The restaurant...

After my friend and the restaurant owner gave each other big bear hugs and yattered on in Italian (although the owner, and most of the waiters, do speak some English), we settled down at the table.

I didn't even get to look at the menu because the nice owner said he would bring us the best, authenticly local dishes possible. That night, we started off with the Fish Carpaccio:
Italian sashimi...

Yum. I usually dislike raw food (I don't like the mushy texture once you get to the 3rd or 4th chew) but these thin slices of fish, simply topped with some vinegar and olive oil, were fresh and delicious.
(There was maybe a tad too much vinegar, making it a bit too sour, but overall it was good)

We were also served a nice shrimp cocktail and herbed pan fried potato wedges which were nice... but my dinner companion dug into them too quickly, ruining any photo opportunity.
*grumble pout*

Ah well.
Next was the dish that stole my heart that night - the simple yet perfect Pizza Margherita:
Simplicity at its best...

I have tasted Pizza Margherita before and I think it's the hardest to get exactly right because you cannot mask any imperfections by just, let's say, dumping lots of cheese or other ingredients on top of it.

But this pizza, well... it was everything I could ask for - thin crispy base (no hint of starchiness) topped with a layer of tasty, piquant tomato based sauce.
(I was told that it's THAT good because their pizza chef is from Napoli... where pizzas are said to have originated from)

Up next, we were served the Penne Asiana:
My heap of pasta...

Overall, this was ok - the owner explained this was his own special recipe, with the perfectly al dente tubes of pasta coated generously with a thick, slightly spicy and creamy tomato base sauce.
(Good for warming me up on that slightly chilly night)

I was more than completely stuffed by then and we quickly yelled "STOP please thankyouverymuch" to the owner - he told us that he had arranged for some fish and meat next... *lol* So kind of him, but do I really look like I can eat so much ah?.

Still, somehow, I found space for dessert (as I always do... haha).

Admittedly *blush* I don't even know what this is called. All I heard was "chocolate" and something in Italian and I immediately said "YES!":
Chocolate pastry...

Overall, this was ok (The pastry was a little dry) - I think I was way, waaaaaay too full already so I couldn't appreciate it as I should....

Tummies bulging, we sat and chatted for a bit (well, or mostly, my friend chatted with his Italian friends who, coincidentally, were also dining there that night), washing down the thousands of calories with some lovely expressos.

What a night! - Italian hospitality is wonderful, I must say. :)
(The generous restaurant owner refused to accept payment from me - not sure if he took payment from my friend instead, they were talking in Italian *pout*)


So, it's: I'm definitely biased! :) My friend knows the owner well so it's entirely likely that we received special food & attention but if the crowd there is any indication (on a week night, in a small town!) then this is the best place to get great tasting, freshly made Italian food in Rimini....

Summary Information:
Ristorante La Buca @ Rimini, Italy

Opening Hours: You should call to check - they close during "off season" months
Phone: +39 54123778
Address: Lungomare Tintori (Zona Porto), 5, 47900 Rimini, Italy
Website: CLICK HERE

(MOST PROBABLY) NOT HALAL


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