Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Memo

RE: REAL LIFE

Please be informed that J the Chocoholic has recently gotten a new job and she is caught up in that and lots of other aspects of Real Life.

She expresses her sincere apologies and promises that regular blog updates will resume as soon as possible.

Best regards,
J the Chocoholic

(Ok. Now just for fun, let's do that again in directly translated Malay)

RE: BENAR HIDUP:

Tolong dimaklum bahawa J the Chocoholic sudah baru dapat kerja baru dan telah ditangkap dalam itu dan pelbagai aspek Benar Hidup.

Dia mengespresikan ikhlas maaf dan menjanji yang update blog biasa akan bermula semula secepat mungkin.

Best punya regards,
J the Chocoholic

PS/ LOL. My BM is getting so bad/ out of practise! And also, apologies for calls missed, smses not replied and chat messages ignored.... Please bear with me while I stabilise things at work, ok? Thanks.... :)

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Prime @ Le Meridien Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Finally: I taste the, reputedly, best steak in KL....

I had a really bad day at work that day - can't remember why exactly,... but it was just one of those days, you know?
>.>

Anyway, I was supposed to have dinner with an old friend of mine, when upon hearing of my bad day, decided that we should make use of the glorious discount on his Starwood card instead of just going to the usual simple tai chow/ cafe.

How can I say no to that? :)
(Especially since I had never eaten at Prime before)

- Delicious bread and butter (complimentary):
Delicious, creative butter blends....

Apparently, they change the butter blends from time to time - that day, we were served with an interesting array: Cinnamon butter, salted butter and watercress butter. All of them were wonderfully creamy and went very well with the warm bread.

- Succulent, Grilled scallops (RM 55++):
Bouncey scallops! :D....

Simple, seared scallops that were plump and juicy. Would have loved it if there was more of that delightful smokey fragrance instead of just a hint, but otherwise, YUMs.

- Hearty soup, Lobster Bisque (RM 45++):
Good soup - my favourite comfort food....

The thin layer of puff pastry on top was so lovely (nice butter fragrance) and went well with the creamy and robust soup.
(Hmmmm... I didn't find quite as much chunks of lobster as I would have liked though, but I supposed a lot of lobster went into the boiling process to produce such a robust taste)

- Cheesy, Lobster Thermidor (RM 230++):
Messy presentation but its the taste that matters, right? :)....

Wah. Looks like a mess of cheese and shell but when you dig in, you will find a treasure trove of fresh, sweet and juicy lobster meat which is accentuated by the melted cheese.

- Mmmmmmmm, Black Angus Ribeye Steak (RM 120++):
Juicy steak....

Perfect griddle marks, juicy, fresh meat that had all the necessary beefy flavours (in a good way) - a good meal for the carnivorous like me. :)

- Decadent, Creme brulee (RM 25++):
A sweet ending....

This was not the best creme brulee I've had ever had, but it was pretty good - nice aroma from the added vanilla beans but there wasn't enough of the yummy caramelised sugar layer on top.

Overall, it was a great meal and I definitely left feeling much happier. :)

Admittedly, prices are not cheap, but with the Starwood Card "free 1 person's meal" privilege (which in this case, adds up to a 50% discount off the food), it turned out to be a reasonable price considering the ambience and the quality of the food.
(You can even play a game of "Spot the celebrity" here on most nights I think - we saw Tun Dr. Mahathir when we were there! The highlight for me however was running into a beautiful Miss J Seaton who was having a birthday dinner there with friends - *HUGS* Hope you had a fun, delicious celebration!)


So it's: Nice ambience, food is good BUT prices are expensive (unless you have the Starwood card)....


Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:


Prime @ Le Meridien Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

Taste: 8
Ambience : 8
Service : 7
Price** : RM 200/++ per person (unless you have a Starwood card)
Parking: OK

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2263 7434
Opening Hours: 12noon - 2.30pm, 6:30pm - 10pm

NO PORK SERVED




OTHER REVIEWS:
- Masak-Masak
- Knits and Nibbles
- KampungBoyCityGal
- A Whiff Of Lemongrass


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chateau d' Esclans Wine Pairing Dinner @ Chinoz KLCC

Pink is quickly becoming my favourite colour...

This is an invited review.
(So, here are my usual disclaimers)
1) I have not been paid to write this, but neither have I paid a cent for my meal,
2) I will still be as objective as possible re. the food/ restaurant, and
3) If I go back to the restaurant incognito and find that the food/service is horribly different from this experience, I will amend my ratings here...

It is no small feat that Chinoz has been opened in Suria KLCC since the very start (1998! How time flies):
Near the main entrance of KLCC, facing the park and fountain...

So, to put it lightly, they must be doing something right all these years. :)

That night, we were seated in a nice private area inside, simple but sophisticated. I liked it, but if it was a cool night, I would have loved to sit outside and enjoy the night sky:
Private dining area - sophisticated, quiet and cosy...

The view outside...

I was there a little early, so I milled around, sipping on bubbly and was struck by how beautiful the wines are - they looked almost magical, glowing from within. When I looked at the label and read "Whispering Angel", I thought, "What a fitting name!":
An array of beautiful wines...

Gorgeous glow...

- Following a few short words from our hosts, we started off with the Asiatic Hor D'ouvres, a mix of spiced "popcorn" shrimp, "roti jala" duck and a foie gras maki:
Matched with a Chateau d' Esclans Whispering Angel
3 different types of yummy appetizers...

Look how pretty the wine is!...

All 3 parts of the starter were faultless, and I particularly enjoyed the slightly spicy and crispy bites of prawn.

I had sort of expected the pretty salmon pink wine to be overwhelmed by the spices (as my perception of rosé wines is that they are kinda weak and girly)... but I guess you should never judge a book by it's cover. :)

While it tasted refreshing because it was lightly chilled, flavour-wise the wine held its own very well, with a sophisticated mix of tastes and (again, surprisingly) medium body. It was also relatively dry as compared to the rosés I have tasted thus far.

- Black Cod with Abalone:
Matched with a Chateau d' Esclans Les Clans and a Chateau d' Esclans Les Clans Garrus
Rich tasting but full of good fish oil...

Again, the wine is just so beautifully coloured...

The different flavours of the sea, paired together and balanced with some citrus tones, turned out beautifully. Although the abalone could have been a bit more tender, it went well with the rich taste of the oily black cod.

As for the 2 wines, both went matched well with the fish - each with their own elegance and varying complexities. They were both delicious, of course,... but it was the Garrus (which is the pride of the winery) that stood out to me. It has an added depth of woodiness to the already beautifully complex bouquet, and an impressively long finish.

I really liked this wine and I wish I could describe it better... :(
Anyway, to sum it up in simple words, it was DELICIOUS, YUMMY, WONDERFUL. :)

- Sous vide Lamb Loin with Sze Zhuan Pepper:
Matched with a Chateau d' Esclans Whispering Angel Rouge
Coated with pepper - robust without being overwhelming...

Beautiful purple red hue and well rounded flavours...

The lamb was deliciously tender, robust flavours but without that horrid gamey taste that tend to affect ovine meats. This was accentuated by the well rounded red wine, with its mix of berry flavours.

- Assiette de amarillo:
Platter of different desserts...

The interesting mix of sweet, sour, moist and crunchy desserts also went down well... I love it when there is a variety of small bites to sample - just wish there was something chocolatey in the mix too.
:)

- 3 very talented and affable men:
(They are not on the menu, but definitely an important part of that night...)
A sincere love for wine makes the world a smaller, happier place, right? :)...

It was wonderful that the very experienced and passionate Gert Lehmann from Chateau D'Esclans had flown in all the way from Europe to share his knowledge and love of rosé wines with us.
(Hopefully one day I can really visit this beautiful winery, owned by the famous Sacha Lichine, in the Provence region of France)

SHOUT OUT
Thank you to:
1) Gert Lehmann from Chateau D'Esclans for his company and patience (with this girl who knows next to nothing about wines),
2) The management and chefs of Chinoz for the wonderful meal, and
3) Jonathan from Albert Wines for the kind invite! (You rock!)

BTW: If you want more details on Albert Wines (they export, wholesale and retail a wide range of spirit and alcohol brands), do check out their official website: Click here.

As for the food described here, it was specially designed to match the wines but if you want something similar, you can enquire directly with the restaurant.
(Contact details below)


Summary Sheet:

Chateau d' Esclans Wine Pairing Dinner @ Chinoz on the Park, KLCC

G47 Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur

Price** : Call restaurant to ask
Parking: OK

** Can be customised according to your event

Telephone No.: 03-2166 8277
Opening Hours: 11am - late
Parking: OK

NO PORK SERVED



MAP:

View Larger Map

OTHER REVIEWS:
- NST


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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Food Studio @ Amarin Mont Kiara

I add to my Skillz....

Some time ago**, I was invited for a baking class by the lovely Becky, extended from the kind people at the Food Studio.
(** An almost embarassingly long time ago lah, actually... I seriously have to concentrate on clearing my Blog post backlog....)

A fun day out, learning how to cook***, in a beautiful kitchen, taught by a very experienced Imported chef? Of course, I jumped (for joy) at the opportunity. :)
(*** A skill I am hopelessly NOT adept with)

- FRESH INGREDIENTS:
All the ingredients are prepped, ready for you to use... of course, there is still some cutting/ dicing required but its so they can teach you how to do it properly...
A small part of the ingredients provided....


- BEAUTIFUL, WELL EQUIPPED KITCHEN:
We were split into teams and each got our own kitchen station, equipped with everything you could possibly need including a fancy Electrolux oven....
Wah! I wish I had a kitchen like this....


- FRIENDLY, EXPERIENCED CHEF PAUL:
Although we were all given printed instructions, it doesn't stop there - the patient and knowledgeable Chef Paul demo-ed and guided us through, even throwing in special tips on how to make things easier/yummier....
A 5 Star chef, and such a nice guy too....


- MAGIC ON THE STOVE:
It always amazes me how certain ingredients, mixed in the right proportions and applied with some heat can produce such wondrous flavours. Here, we prepared the filling for one of the pies that was so delicious....
(A creamy leek, chicken and mushroom mix - I think it would taste glorious with some pasta, or even some rice!)
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm. Delicious....


- A BEAUTIFUL DINING/ EVENT AREA:
Later, we waited for our pies to finish baking in the oven, and relaxed in the beautiful dining area just next to the kitchen area. There is even a nice open air area just through the glass doors, overlooking the hillside....
A nice place to enjoy the food later....

Scenic outdoor area....


- TA-DAH! MY PIES:
To put it bluntly - I kinda suck at cooking... but Chef Paul was sweet and helpful and made learning how to bake/cook very easy****. To my joy/surprise: All 3 pies I made that day actually tasted good!
:D
(**** Of course I was also very lucky to be paired up in a team with PureGlutton, who is a goddess in the kitchen...)
Left to right: Creamy Chicken and Leek Pie, Shephard's Pie and Apple Pie....

My favourite was the Shephard's Pie :D....

For cooking clases there, (Minimum Participants: 8, Maximum Participants: 12), they can teach a variety of different cuisines, in your choice of 3 different formats:
******
a) KICK-OFF DEMO
Have your very own private cooking live show by watching our talented chef prepare each dish right in front of you step by step
******
b) HANDS-ON
Change to your apron and our chef will guide you through the menu and everyone gets to feel the real deal hands on
******
c) 8 + 8 DINNER
After all courses are done, every participant can invite one guest to join and enjoy the fruits of the hard labour all together
******


They also do all sorts of Private Events (Birthday Parties, etc)/ Product Launches/ Meeting Packages - do call/email them for more details.
(Contact details at the bottom of this post)

What a fantastic day - Learnt so much and had so much fun.
(Now, all I need to do is go out and buy an oven. Lol... >.>)


Slightly more Skilled now,
J


Summary Information:;
The Food Studio @ Amarin Mont Kiara

Opening Hours: Various
Phone: +603 6205 1188
Fax: +603 6201 5128
Address: Amarin Kiara, LG 2, Jalan Desa Kiara 1, 50480 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Email: info@the-food-studio.com
Website: Official website

NO PORK SERVED



OTHER REVIEWS:
- thenomadGourmand
- Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
- Treasure Memories
- Friedchillies

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shake Shack @ NYC

Sinking my teeth into a famous NYC burger....

*stretch*
Sorry it's been a while since my last update - have been drowning in work and Real Life since coming back from New York..

Anyway, *TAH-DAH!* This is my first NYC post. :)

One of the best guide books that my friends Josh & Pris lent me was the Zagat book - short on time and with that being my first time in NY, it was an absolute Godsend.

Of course, many restaurants in that book were completely out of my budget range/ out of the way, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a simple (almost fast food-y) and conveniently located eatery listed as one of the best burger places to visit:
Outside the Shake Shack on the Upper East Side....

Obviously, a lot of New Yorkers are also in on this fact, as Shake Shack, which has 5 branches at various locations around NYC, was PACKED:
Long line at around lunch time....

Some subsequent Googling revealed that the lines at Shake Shack are pretty infamous actually. We were pretty lucky though, since we went at a slightly off peak hour, so it didn't take too long (10mins at most) and we were given a Shake Shack Buzzer after we made our order/payment:
When it shakes, then it's your turn :)....

A short wait and a buzz later, we collected our orders. :)

Admittedly, the Single Shackburger (USD 4.50++) is not much to look at - just a simple burger, wrapped in some waxed paper:
Zero points for presentation. lol....

The taste was also very simple, but I mean this in the best way possible. :)

No fancy ingredients - lettuce, tomato slices, cheese, bun and a meat patty - same as any other burger but perfectly executed, with all the necessary parts just right: crisp, fresh, oozey, fluffy and juicy (in that order).

The star of the show was definitely the patty - freshly ground meat (a mix of sirloin and brisket), lightly charred on the outside, moist inside and fragrantly beef-y. All in all, a delicious mix of delightfully straightforward flavours.
(Yummy! And you can wash it down with an order of beer or wine - something you can't find in a Malaysian fast food joint)
:D

The Fries (USD 2.65++) were also pretty yummy - crinkle cut, fresh taters that were crisp on the outside and still fairly moist inside:
(Online reviews seem to indicate that the quality of the fries can be a bit erratic though)
Deep fried carbs are so delicious when done well....

There are also a few hot dogs on the menu - the Bird Dog (USD 4.40++) was just kinda normal though. Nothing to really fault, but it just paled in comparison to the burger:
(LOL. So cute - It's named as such because it's a chicken sausage)
Is it a bird? Is it a (hot)dog? No! It's a Bird Dog!....

I also did not really like the dessert I had - Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunchcrete (USD 6.50++):
A very sinful treat....

When I saw that it was a mix of Chocolate custard, peanut butter sauce, chocolate toffee and chocolate sprinkles, I thought it was a sure winner (since I love chocolate and peanut butter).... but this thick dessert was just way too sweet for me to really enjoy (and I don't even want to start thinking about how many calories are in it).

It makes me kinda sad just looking at these photos and thinking of New York.... I really hope I have the chance to visit it again soon.
(Here's hoping that the world doesn't really end in 2012!)


Still suffering from PHB (Post Holiday Blues),
J

So, it's: Simple, yummy burgers for fairly reasonable prices BUT limited menu and it's a popular place so be prepared to wait for a table....


Summary Information:;
Shake Shack @ NYC

Opening Hours: 11am - 11pm
Phone: +1 646 237 5035
Address: Various, but the one I went to was at 154, East 86th Street (between Lexington and 3rd Ave)
Website: Official website

MOST PROBABLY NOT HALAL


MAP:

View Larger Map

OTHER REVIEWS:
- Richard Elliot's Blog
- Runner's Kitchen
- The Sowmya Life
- Food. By Mark.
- Tripadvisor

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Verification

Yes lah, JL. This is really my blog. :P

Your friend,
J

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Goku Raku Ramen @ Midvalley Megamall, KL

Just a short post: Tasty new ramen place (with a great opening promotion - 50% discount!)....

It was just another regular weekend back in KL - Tired from my recent trip, I went for a facial at my usual place in Midvalley...
(Hey, a girl's gotta try her best to maintain her looks, or whatever's left of it, right? :P)

I then made my way to FOS (luv this place for the affordable flip flops and cute tshirts!) when I stumbled across a new (non Halal) ramen place just next to it - Goku Raku Ramen, which at that time had only been opened for 2 days.

There was a short waiting list to get in, but it was managed efficiently and soon, I was seated:
Wow. There's a pretty long line outside!....

Inside, the pace was frenetic, with the wait staff zipping around trying to cope with the weekend rush of customers - kudos to them though as no matter what, they remained calm and friendly:
Modern and comfortable setting inside....

Instead of the usual gyoza, I started off with a grilled item - Yaki Tomato Maki (Cherry tomato wrapped with bacon) (RM 6.90++):
Bacon and tomatoes are such an awesome combination....

While it lacked a smokey (bbq) aroma that would have made it even yummier, this was a decent eat with the nicely charred bacon that was still moist and not too salty, matched well with the slightly tart and juicy cherry tomatoes.
(Definitely would order this again...)

There were a variety of rice dishes/sets but I thought I should try the ramens instead, since it is their speciality. Of course, their opening promotion (50% DISCOUNT ON ALL RAMENS, from 3 June till 16 June 2011) may have helped form this choice. :)
(It's such a good deal!)

I chose the recommended Goku Raku Ramen (RM 9.95++ promotion price, RM 19.90++ if at full price):
Their house speciality....

The soup is fairly thick, and was a delicious mix of pork, chicken with a hint of fish - it sounds strange but it was a delightful combination of flavours that was complex and savoury, without being overly salty or cloying:
(Apparently this is a special recipe, lovingly stewed over 48 hours, gotten from a master ramen connoisseur in Japan - Mr. Teruhisa Shimizu)
Comes with pork (chasu) slices and optional egg....

As for the ramen noodles, they are the slightly thicker kind, still with some "bounce" but definitely with more bite as compared to the usual thinner and "QQ" (bouncey/springy) type ramen.

If I had only one gripe though, is that the optional egg (RM 1++) that I ordered as a topping was moist, but did not have that semi runny yolk that I love. Still, I think I have found a new favourite ramen place....
(I just hope they are able to successfully maintain their quality - so many places seem to falter as time passes/ they open more outlets......)

So it's: Modern ambience, friendly service, good range of delicious ramens BUT nothing really bad, just that some of the prices are on the high side and traffic in the area can be bad during peak hours......



Restaurant Review
Summary Sheet:

Goku Raku Ramen @ Midvalley KL

Lot S25 & S26, Level 2 Mid Valley City., Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Taste: 7
Ambience : 7
Service : 7
Price** : RM 38++ per person
Parking: Limited

** Approximation - 3 course meal, excluding drinks
Telephone No.: 03-2282 3924
Opening Hours: 11am to 10pm
Official Website: Click HERE


NOT HALAL



MAP:

View Larger Map

OTHER REVIEWS:
- Eat Drink KL
- My Chillout Lounge
- Welcome to Jerwindreams

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Friday, June 03, 2011

I'm HOME! :)

... AND I'm also about neck deep in work.
=_=

Will try to update properly soon, but for now *HUGS* am happy to be back. :)
(Of course I can feel the post holiday blues setting in but well, that's normal right? *sob sob sniffle*)

RANDOM DINOSAUR PHOTO BCOS I FEEL SO TIRED FROM THE LONG FLIGHT AND I THINK MY FACE/SKIN SHOWS IT TOO :)....


Trying to kill the jetlag with caffeine,
J

PS/ 2 weeks and I managed to snap 1,284 photos! About 70% of them are of food of course. LOL.


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