Pictured above is the very best Uni (sea urchin roe) that I have ever tasted and I have eaten so many of these creatures all over the world, regardless of their high cholesterol count. (My first experience, was on the island of Capri in Italy, a long time ago when young boys used to dive for them and pry them off the rocks and sell them to the customers that were sitting at the seaside restaurants for a nominal price). Maruchin is an extremely well-run restaurant located in downtown Koriyama and it means business, as everything they serve from sushi to tempura is exquisitely presented and the raw materials that they use are so fresh and served at the ideal temperature. If the dish is not to be served raw it is cooked to perfection, it is amazing with so many items on the menu, that the restaurant manages to get everything right. I was so sorry that I did not have the time to pay one more visit to this incredibly good restaurant before I left. It is basically reserved for locals only and buried in a line of storefronts, you would most likely never find it unless you had inside information from persons living in Koriyama who knew about it.
Archive for July, 2008
This evening is for and about Mr. Riccardo Tedeschi and his wonderful wines from Verona and was given at Becccofino Restaurant, Bangkok.
Riccardo Tedeschi, the winemaker from Tedeschi winery in Vernona, email:firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.tedeschiwines.com, who produces supple examples of Valpolicella Classico and Amarone, hosted a Wine Maker Dinner along with G Four International email:email@example.com at Beccofino Restaurant website: www.beccofino.co.th, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Soi Thonglor, on Saturday night, July 26th 2008. The menu and wines follow:
Warm salad with tiger prawns, avocado and semi dried cherry tomatoes
Insalata tiepida di gamberi e avocado con pomodorini Pachino semi secchi
Bianco di Custoza 2007
Herb crusted fillet of Japanese tuna with zucchini, fresh tomato, onion and basil
Filetto di tonno in crosta di erbe con zucchine, cipolla e pomodoro fresco al basilico
Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2006
Buckwheat tagliolini with porcini mushrooms and shaved Parmesan cheese
Tagliolini biologici al farro con funghi porcini e scaglie di Parmigiano
Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso Capitel San Rocco 2005
La Fabriseria Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2006
Braised wagyu beef in red wine served with steamed seasonal vegetables
Stufato di manzo Austaliano servito con verdure di stagione al vapore
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2004
Amarone della Valpolicella Capitel Monte Olmi 2004
Chocolate tower with mascarpone and coffee mousse, caramelized dry fruit
Torretta di cioccolato con crema al mascarpone
e caffè, frutta secca caramellata
Grappa di Amarone
Lavazza Coffee or tea
Caffè Lavazza o tè e cioccolatini
Baht 2,500 ++ per person
LIFETIME – January 2001
“… During a September visit, I was impressed with the outstanding quality from
producers focused on every aspect of winemaking…Tedeschi is another family-owned
winery with single-vineyard and traditional Valpolicella and Amarone. One of the
daughters completed a study that showed the benefits of the semi-dried grapes used in
making Amarone for lowering cholesterol”
WINE MAGAZINE – ENJOYING MEDITERRANEAN REDS – May,2003
VALPOLICELLA DEI NICALO 1999 TEDESCHI
Made by the young winemaker Riccardo Tedeschi, with the help of father Renzo,…This has a classic mature Valpolicella nose. Slightly farmyardy in style, it manages to be complex and intriguing without ever being heavy.
48 Oriental Avenue
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
Tel. +66 (2) 659 9000
Facsimile: +66 (2) 659 9284 / 659 9285
Credit Cards: All Major
The famous Oriental Hotel, awarded “Best Hotel in the World” for many years running possesses on its ground floor, one of the coziest bars in the civilized world, the Bamboo Bar. This small, chic bar is one of the best in Asia and it contains all the magic ingredients to make it what it is, a top class bar; amazingly well-mixed drinks, a top jazz ensemble with frequently changing guest vocalists that perform every night except Sundays, a very sophisticated mood, which at the same time delights with its jungle motif, and it is all overseen by a professional staff. In addition, they offer an interesting mix of wines by the glass, which includes French Champagne—of course!
After recently spending about ten days in Singapore I found that Singapore has changed a great deal in the span of almost twenty years since I lived there. I return every few years, although this time things were greatly different. For example: a simple lunch for two in an Italian trattoria cost S$235 ($170 U.S.), a modest glass of white wine in a hotel restaurant bar cost S$34 ($25 U.S.) and that was by no means the end of it, as I dined around the city-state I found outrageous prices across the board for wines and food as I booked into the more expensive restaurants. I currently reside in Bangkok, and even with the absurd taxes that are levied on wines there, the wine prices were similar in most Singapore restaurants. Only, after my friend suggested buying wine at Carrefour, did I find some decent pricing. Although, I must add that I picked up a few bottles of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc for considerably less than Bangkok, even in the highly priced, Isetan basement market.
After completing my tour, I came to the conclusion that Singapore’s dining prices have exploded, although cuisine and service did not necessarily follow suit. I began to feel that Tokyo, which in the past had always been more expensive, offered restaurants in each category from inexpensive to very expensive that represented better value for money than Singapore.
Singapore has much more to offer in the way of nightlife than it’s often given credit for. The island’s burgeoning bar and pub scene means there is now a wide range of drinking holes to choose from, with the Colonial District, Boat Quay and Orchard Road areas offering particularly good pub crawl potential…
Anywhere, 04-08/09 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Rd. Tania,
A band plays nightly to a rollicking roomful of expats that is at its most exuberant on weekend nights. Happy Hour Mon-Fri 6-8pm; open Mon-Sat 6pm-2am.
Brannigan’s, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 10-12 Scotts Rd. Popular expat haunt where the cocktails are expensive and especially the wines by the glass, at least outside the Happy Hour (5-8pm), but house bands are usually good. Daily 5pm-1am.
Excalibur Pub, B1-06 Tanglin Shopping Centre, 19 Tanglin Rd. Cluttered and cramped pub crowded with expats. Daily 11am-10.30pm.
Fabrice’s World Music Bar, Basement, Dynasty Hotel, 320 Orchard Rd.
This music bar has been around a long time playing hip music and the walls decorated with things collected from around the world. Cover charges apply after 10pm and the drinks are outlandishly expensive. Happy Hour 5-8pm; open 5pm-3am.
The Ginivy, 02-11 Rear Block, Orchard Towers, 1 Claymore Drive.
A Country & Western bar with a decent house band where tattooed American oil-riggers attempt to dance with Indonesian and Thai prostitutes, who these days are likely to have more tattoos than the men, to the twangs of country music. They are odd couples indeed, awkwardly trying to keep time to the rhythm; sitting at the bar and watching it can be hilariously amusing. Daily 8pm-3am.
Hard Rock Cafe, 02-01 HPL House, 50 Cuscaden Rd. Pricey drinks and a cover charge after 10.30pm make this globally known bar/restaurant an expensive experience. Happy Hour Mon-Fri 4-7pm; open daily 11am-2am.
Observation Lounge, 38th floor, Mandarin Hotel, 333 Orchard Rd. A hotel cocktail bar offering extensive views over downtown Singapore. Open 11am-1am except Fri & Sat 11am-2am.
Saxophone, 23 Cuppage Rd. This has been a trendy place to be seen since its opening years ago. Relax on the terrace to the sounds of the house jazz band. Acceptable French food is served, albeit expensive as are the drinks, so try to go during Happy Hour, which is from 6-8pm. Open Daily 6pm-2am.
Shirley’s Place, 02-01 Far East Shopping Centre, 545 Orchard Rd. A current favorite among Singapore’s heavy-imbibing expats and always lively and fun.
Why? Pub, 04-06 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Rd. Reasonably priced drinks are the thing here in this minuscule pub. Daily 2pm-midnight.
Boat Quay and Clarke Quay
Buzz, 88 Circular Rd. A youngish local and expat crowd frequent this place especially on the weekends.
Escobar, 37 Boat Quay. Latino music.
Crazy Elephant, 01-07 Trader’s Market, Clarke Quay. Considered one of the best bars along Clarke Quay, playing decent rock music plus live sessions by the house band; old tea chest panels and best tables are on the water. Mon-Thurs & Sun 5pm-1am, Fri & Sat till 2am.
Emoh Cafe, 9-9a Circular Rd. Place to hang-out with internet access ($7 an hour). Open 24hr.
Harry’s Quayside, 28 Boat Quay. There’s live jazz Wednesday to Saturday in this upmarket place, and a blues on every Sunday evening. Light lunches are served. Daily 1pm-1am.
Molly Malone’s, 42 Circular Rd. With Kilkenny and Guinness on tap, and a menu offering Connemara oysters and Irish stew.
Bar and Billiards Room, Raffles Hotel, 1 Beach Rd.
A Singapore Sling ($17), in the colonial elegance of the hotel where it was created in 1915. A must visit if you are new to Singapore. Light dish selections through the afternoon, and playing billiards costs another $15 an hour. Daily 11.30am-midnight.
Bonne Sante, 01-13 Chijmes, 30 Victoria St. A proper wine bar in Chijmes’ Tuscan courtyard.
Compass Rose Bar, seventieth floor, Westin Stamford Hotel, 2 Stamford Rd. An expansive bar with great views through the huge windows. Happy Hour 5.30-8.30pm; minimum charge $15 after 8.30pm. Daily 11am-12.30am.
Harry Keery’s, 01-20 Capitol Building, 11 Stamford Rd. Japanese food and imported beers available. Happy Hour 11.30am-8.30pm; open 11am-midnight.
Paulaner Brauhaus, 01-01 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd. German brauhaus serving wurst and sauerkraut; in the bar the accent is on beer.
Somerset’s Bar, Level Three, Westin Plaza Hotel, 2 Stamford Rd.
Live jazz. Happy Hour Mon-Fri 5-8.30pm; open 5pm-2am.
River Valley Road
Wong San’s, 12 Jalan Mohamed Sultan. A tasteful pub in a Peranakan-style building. Daily 3pm-1am. stylish
The Yard, 294 River Valley Rd.
Busy English pub with bar snacks available with a 3-8pm Happy Hour. Daily 3pm-midnight.
Cable Car Saloon, 2 Duxton Hill. Specialty cocktails combined with light jazz. Peruse the extensive list of hundreds of whiskeys. Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight, Sun 3pm-midnight.
Duxton’s Chicago Bar, 6-9 Duxton Hill. Good live jazz and blues, Happy Hour (noon-8.30pm) prices last all day Sunday. Daily noon-1am.
Flag and Whistle Public House,10 Duxton Hill. British pub, complete with Bass beer, bar snacks and a large Union Jack. Daily 11am-midnight.
There are so many other bars, nightclubs and discos, and mostly forgettable Chinese nightspots with female vocalists singing off-key accompanied by tone-deaf musicians, this small selection is just scratching the surface of Singapore nightlife.
Ma Du Zi Hotel
9/1 Ratchdapisek Road
(corner of Sukhumvit Soi 16 on Ratchdapisek Road)
Tel. 02 615 6400
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:30am-2:30pm, Dinner: 6:30pm-1030pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Ma Du Zi Hotel and the hotel’s restaurant La Truffe are trying to make their mark as being an ultra-exclusive hideaway for Bangkok’s elite. You must have a booking or the number to the front desk or one of the staff’s mobile numbers to gain entry, or you might just chat up the guard at the gate and that would probably be more troublesome. This also includes gaining access to the bar for a drink, as they do not allow walk-in clientèle. Quizzically, the main entrance to the hotel opens into the bar with the minuscule lobby tucked away behind.
The French Cuisine is by Chef Nicolas Reynard from Provence and it is very, very good. The “After Work Wine Promotion” is a good deal, considering there is a free flow of wine from 17:30-20:30 along with a few tapas for 650 Baht Nett. A lunch menu is also available for 650 Baht Nett.
In addition to the à la carte menu they offer a Set Dinner Menu at Baht 2,500 that includes:
1st Entree: Salad de homard et crabes servie avec des asperges vertes (steamed Boston lobster salad
with green asparagus and crab meat, basil dressing
2nd entree: Foie Gras Poêlé au Vinaigre de Xeres (Pan seared duck foie gras served with baby spinach, red Spanish onions and Xeres vinegar)
Main Course: Filet de Boeuf Australien Poêlé à l’échalottes, Purée de Pommes de Terre (Pan seared Australian Beef Tenderloin served with Shallots and Garlic confit, mashed potatoes and red wine sauce)
Loup de l’atlantique a la plancha accompagné d’une Ratatouille et d’un coulis de Tomates (Atlantic Sea Bass “a la Plancha” served with Ratatouille and Tomato Coulis)
Selection de Fromages affinés Français accompagné d’une Salade Verte (Selection of Matured French Farm
Cheese Served with Bread and Salad)
Fondant Chaud au Chocolat 70% (Warm Melted 70% (Chocolate Cake Served with Chocolate Sorbet)
Bastille Day is a “non event” in Bangkok although in Los Angeles they still have some Gallic Spirit left:
Bastille Day Dinners:
WEST HOLLYWOOD: In honor of Bastille Day, Comme Ca will have a special $48 three-course menu on Monday, July 14. Some options include fresh melon soup with crab and creme fraiche, braised lamb shank and cherry clafoutis. (From EaterWire)
SANTA MONICA: Josiah Citrin and Melisse will have a Bastille Day dinner to benefit Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (From C-CAP). Some of the students and graduats will help Citrin with things like vichysoise, beouf Bourgouignon and tarte tatin. Monday, July 14; $130 per person. (From EaterWire)
CENTURY CITY: Jean Francois Meteigner will host an $85 prix fixe from 6pm-9:30pm at La Cachette on Monday, July 14. “Live accordian music and French spirit” included. (From EaterWire)
It is official! Thomas Keller will open Bouchon restaurant in Beverly Hills sometime in 2009 in the Gardens Building next to the new Montage Beverly Hills on Canon Drive. Adam Tihany will design the space that will occupy more than 11,00 square feet on two floors including a restaurant and bakery. Rory Herman will be the chef he is presently at Per Se in NYC. He will work under Jeffrey Cercielloo, who oversees casual dining in the Keller operation. Keller, the only American chef with two three-star Michelin establishments says, “I want our food to have integrity and a connection with French bistro history. We’re not being interpretive here; we’re not making crème caramel flavored with lavender.”
Not long ago we attended a dinner at the Le Normandie, at the Oriental Hotel, Bangkok where Keller was cooking for a week. I had a chat with him regarding the long advance booking wait for his restaurant The French Laundry. He nonchalantly said, “it’s not so bad now, only about three weeks.”
BEIJING BARS: Most of the bars are jumbled together around Sanlitun Lu, recently renamed Jiu Ba Jie Bar Street and Nan Jiu Ba Jie South Bar Street, a hutong south and just to the west, all within walking distance of one another. Sanlituns bars lies just inside the third ring road (take the subway to Dongzhimen and then take a taxi) Following are a few of the many bars in these areas, just to get you started.
Minders Bar Sanlitun Lu. Another of the originals, with an in-house Filipino band that covers seventies and eighties pop and rock.
Jam House, Sanlitun Nan Tel. 65063845 Just past Nashville about 100 meters a sign points you down an alley. This little place is Sanlituns hippest, thanks to the gregarious manageress Mimi, Popular both with young expats and trendy locals, who usually converse with each other in Chinese. Live music on weekends with jam sessions afterwards. If it gets too raucous in the bar downstairs find your way to the rooftop.
Jazz Ya, 18 Sanlitun Lu Tel. 64151227 This place with wooden tables and mood music has a better drinks menu than most of its neighbours. Its hidden back from the road and can be hard to find; look for the yellow sign down an alley next to Bella Coffee.
Franks Place, Sanlitun Nan. One of the original group of bars frequented by expats, with a cosy neighbourhood feel; it is a place to enjoy a few quiet drinks.
Nashville, Sanlitun Nan Lu. The superb female vocalist is the headliner for the in-house band, which plays Wednesdays to Saturdays and unexpectedly does a wide variety of covers despite the country-and-western theme, the best in Sanlitun.
Poachers Bar 7 Sanlitun Lu Tel. 65323063). The theme is English meaning darts and pheasant but this famous expat watering hole is accessible, casual and cosy, complete with snooker room. Western movies are shown on Wednesday, and a jazz band plays on Thursday.
Public Space Sanlitun Lu. Sanlituns first bar and still one of the most pleasant.
Busy Bee 208 Dongsi Bei Dajie, (two blocks west of the Poly Plaza) Tel. 64025788 Look for the small neon sign. Local bands play here on Friday and Saturday. Simple, inexpensive French and Italian dishes. Cover price may vary.
Shadow Cafe 31 Kexueyuan Nan Lu (tel 62618587). A quiet place, attached to Club X, known for its weekend jazz gigs. There is no cover charge.
CD Cafe Dongsanhuan Bei Lu, (300m south of the Great Wall Sheraton Hotel) Tel. 65018877 ext 3032 Worth popping into for jazz played here on Friday and Saturday. A rock and blues band on Sunday.
Keep In Touch, (down an alley opposite the Kempinksi Hotel) Tel. 64625280) A casual and comfortable place, brightly decorated and featuring the motorcycle that Zhang Yu, former bassist with top rock band Tang Dynasty, died riding. This is one of the places to go to hear Beijings new young bands, with live music on most evenings. Live blues on Thursday, jazz on Sunday, and local bands play on Friday and Saturday.
Maggies, (close to the Hilton) Infamous as among one of the Beijing’s low-life dives, with a clientele of unsavory characters.
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At Giusto Restaurant’s ultra-modern upper bar, an intimate tasting of Tenuta Setteponti wines from Tuscany was held by G Four Co Ltd. and hosted by Luca and Tamara.
Morellino 2006 DOC 83 Wine Spectator,
Grapes: Sangiovese with a small percentage of Alicante
Aging: 15 days for maceration and fermentation, 8 months in stainless steel tank, 2 months in bottle.
A typical Scansano area wine, fruity with more freshness than concentration. Pleasant to drink.
Poggio al Lupo 2004 IGT 92 Wine Spectator
Grapes: 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Alicante, 7% Petit Verot
Aging: 25 days for the Cabernet and Petit Verot, 20 days for Alicante maturation in French barriques, additional 6 months in bottle
Deep purple color with jammy black berry and cassis overtones with a long penetrating finish
Crognolo 2004 IGT 91 Wine Spectator
Grapes: Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot
Aging: 20 days for maceration and fe3rmentation, maturation in Frencch barriques, additional 6 months in bottle
Soft tannins and more elegance than the others wines, with a good finish and a great deal of freshness and fruit
Oreno 2004 ICT 95 Wine Spectator
Grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese
Aging: 25 days for maceration and fermentation, maturation in French barriques, additional 12 months in bottle
Full bodied with masses of fruit and super velvety tannins
It might be added, that the winemaker missed his flight from Italy and did not arrive until the tasting was over.
I personally liked the Morellino for its freshness and its qualities of being pleasant and easy to drink and the Poggio al Lupo for its strength and forwardness along with the Crognolo, which was soft and elegant.
Note: All of the four wines were not given sufficient time to recover from the overseas shipment due to the winemakers schedule and should be tasted again after they rest and results might vary.
Giusto is among Bangkok’s most notable, top-flight Italian restaurants, in company with the following elite group, which are listed in alphabetical order:
Beccofino 02-392-1881, www.beccofino.co.th
Belguardo 02-610-9380, www.belguardo.com
Biscotti 02-255-5443, www.fourseasons.com
Enoteca Italiana, 02-258-4386,
Gianni 02-252-1619, no website
Giusto 02-258-4321, www.giustobangkok.com
La Scala 02-344-8899, www.sukothai.com
Mezzaluna 02624-9555, www.thedomebangkok.com
Zanotti 02-636-0002, www.zanotti-ristorante.com