Archive for February, 2011

Monsoon Valley Wine Dinner at Sra Bua in the Siam Kempinski Hotel – Bangkok

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Monsoon Valley

Overcoming the handicap of working with grapes such as Colombard & Chenin Blanc, Kathrin Puff, resident winemaker at Siam Winery, coaxed the very best out of them to deliver: Monsoon Valley Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs 2009, a sparkling cuvée she created that had hints of creaminess along with the added rapture of achieving an effervescence of small, tightly knit bubbles and Monsoon Valley Premium Colombard 2010, made from pure Colombard, ascended far above any version I had previously sampled. Another wine I really fancied, was the easy to drink Monsoon Valley Cuvée de Siam Rouge 2008.

The dinner was given at the Siam Kempinski Hotel, Bangkok at their restaurant Sra Bua featuring Kiin Kiin’s authentic Thai food with a modern flair. Chef Morten Bøjstrup created an interesting 6-course experience meant to enliven the senses.

Thursday, 10th February 2011
Seaweed Tapioca with Oyster Sauce Foam
Lotus with Lime and Sugar
Monsoon Valley Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs 2009

Prawn Cevice with Lemongrass
Young Coconut and Tom Yum Dip
Monsoon Valley Premium Colombard 2010
Pan-fried Scallops with Carrot
Ginger and Tamarind
Monsoon Valley Cuvée de Siam Blanc 2009
Quail with Tom Kha, Consommé Gel and Mushrooms
Monsoon Valley Premium Shiraz 2009
Poached Egg with Magic Sauce
Black Pepper and Basil
Monsoon Valley Cuvée de Siam Rouge 2008
Five Spice Banana Cake
with Earl Gray Ice Cream and Jasmine Foam
Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc Late Harvest 2010

Kempinski Hotel Lobby The beautiful lobby at the Siam Kempinski Hotel, Bangkok

Julep 3

Above: A Vanilla Mint Julep was delivered to the table by a charming young lady called Jill, a mix of Japanese & Thai Chinese, who at the time was the front-of-house representative for 1897 Bar, just off the lobby, although she was also capable of jumping behind the bar and mixing an amazing cocktail herself. As is commonplace these days in Bangkok, employees are like butterflies flitting from place to place, and it comes as no  great surprise that she is no longer working there.  The bar has an adjacent open-air terrace where smoking is permitted.

The Wines

Coco 1Young Coconut and Tom Yum Dip

PrawnPrawn Cevice with Lemongrass

QuailQuail with Tom Kha, Consommé Gel and Mushrooms

DessertFive Spice Banana Cake with Earl Gray Ice Cream and Jasmine Foam

Sra Bua 1

Sra Bua 2

Sra Bua 3

Crowne Plaza Lumpini Park, New Property on Former Site of Pan Pacific – Bangkok

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Bangkok's first Crowne Plaza Hotel Lumpini Park

Valentine’s at Lake House – Bangkok

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Valentines Lake House 2

Valentine’s Day Festivities at InterContinental – Bangkok

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Valentine's Day Festivities InterContinental Hotel

Celebrate Valentine’s at Beccofino Restaurant & Grill, Thonglor – Bangkok

Friday, February 11th, 2011


Chesa Swiss Restaurant, Valentine’s Menu 2011 – Bangkok

Friday, February 11th, 2011




Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Maroon 5, Special Discounts from InterContinental Hotel – Bangkok

Thursday, February 10th, 2011


Larchmont Grill – Los Angeles

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

By Sandy Driscoll

Larchmont Grill

Larchmont Grill
5750 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA  90038

Phone:  323.464.4277


Monday –      11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Tues.-Thurs.-11:30 am – 10 pm
Friday –         11:30 am – 11 pm
Saturday –       5:30pm – 11 pm
Sunday –         5 pm – 9 pm


Larchmont Grill is one of those places in which you immediately feel comfortable!   It’s a remodeled Hollywood Craftsman Bungalow serving the Los Angeles areas of Hancock Park and Larchmont Village, as well as the Hollywood and West Hollywood areas.

Clearly, it is a neighborhood favorite.  Upon entering, you feel as though you are a guest in a friend’s home.
It’s a warm space with pleasant decor, excellent service and atmosphere quiet enough to carry on a conversation with friends.  The well-executed menu completes the positive picture.

Five of us sampled and shared entrees.  There was nothing I tasted that I wouldn’t order again.  Our friends (both
good cooks) from London and Provence declared that they had never had more delicious Short Ribs.  Service was
efficient, friendly and informative.  Most evenings, they have ‘specials’, i.e. on Tuesday, wine is 1/2 price, Wednesday is
Prime Rib night, and Sunday there is a bargain 3 course prix fixe menu for $35 (a $60 value).

Personally, this was my first visit, and I look forward to returning soon!

(above image: Sandy and host Phil at Larchmont Grill) all images ©2011 and Sandy Driscoll

food shot 1Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese – English White Cheddar, Mascarpone, Parmesan & Fontina Cheese, Sage Butter and breadcrumbs,
topped  with generous pieces of Lobster
food shot 2Larchmont Grill’s Fall Salad – Baby Greens, Asiago Cheese, Pear, Dried Local Cherries, Toasted Almonds, Lemon Poppy
Seed Vinaigrette

food shot 3Braised Short Ribs – Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Red Wine Reduction

food shot 4Duck Cassoulet – Duck Leg, Lamb Sausage, Country Bacon, Onion, Carrot, White Bean Ragout

food shot 5Turkey Pot Pie (as presented at the table), in its own pot………

food shot 6Overturned on service plate, so the crust is on the bottom!  Slow Roasted Turkey, Potatoes, Onions. Carrots, Celery, Peas,
Creamy Tarragon Leek Gravy, Homemade Flaky Crust

food shot 7Black Angus Burger with Gorgonzola, Grilled Onions on Brioche Seed Bun with  Fries (includes Sweet Potatoes)

food shot 8Chocolate-covered Bananas – Bananas rolled in Peanut Butter, then in a mix of Belgian Chocolates and then in Peanuts

food shot 9Pumpkin Roll – Rolled Spiced Pumpkin Cake, Chantilly Cream, Cider Shot

A Bizarre Dish from El Bulli – Spain

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

small logo RDCCulinary Tidbits . . . a Bizarre Dish from among many presented from the new line-up at El Bulli, as captured by The Ultimate Epicure: Hare Blood from El Bulli

Martha Stewart Gives Letterman a Sample of Cheese Ball Mixture… in the Face – USA

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

David LettermanMartha Stewart flings a cheese mixture at David Letterman, after he goaded her on to do it, after feeling a bit sheepish after slinging remark after remark about her serving time in jail, this occurred during his national television show the other night while she was showing him how to make Super Bowl canapes. She then replied, “That was over nine years ago”, and let him have it.