Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sticker film hell

Do you know what is more embarrassing than obviously posing for sticker film on your own? Doing it in Ho Chi Minh City, where a man stays with you through the entire process. I think his job is to help stupid vain westerners navigate their way through the difficult sticker film process. See how my poses are all quite similar?

I've posed for sticker film in many places around the world, and you are always left to your own devices - which is part of the fun. You can be super stupid. With a man watching and waiting for you, you have to temper the stupidity.

But I guess in a way this was its own fun. I had a new friend who helped me out with the borders and he had pretty strong opinions about which ones I should use for particular photos. As a trade off I put a million stars on some of the pictures just to piss him off.

Lap dogs of Ho Chi Minh

So, one day I went to a Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh city, and found lap dog heaven.

Now please consider that while the two last pictures are of the same dog, the others are all different dogs. There were hundreds...well at least half a dozen. A world of awesomeness just for me.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ho Chi Minh City

Have you ever been to a new place that so instantly mesmerises you?

I couldn't help but like Ho Chi Minh from the very beginning. Zipping in and out of traffic the driver tooted his horn and explained the rules of the road. And just to my right were families weaving their way past the cars. Mum, dad and a child strapped in to the front of the bike. And then the ladies riding side saddle - with heels!

So I got to my hotel, put my luggage upstairs, walked into the humid air, took a deep breath, held my head high and crossed the road full of honking motorbikes and fell into the arms of a beautiful bowl of warm pho.

And the next day it was more of the same, but those streets I was so brave on the night before were just tiny in comparison to the boulevards of the city. But sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind, close your eyes and cross your fingers and you are on your way.

And that is what I did pretty much all day, and I loved it.

Postcard # 2 Kuala Lumpur

Frangipani Restaurant

Don't you love a fantastic meal? A meal that is so amazing, it actually kind of takes your breathe away. A meal you will be able to remember for years and years to come.

Hello Frangipani restaurant KL city. From the minute you walk into the building and a secret door opens, you know you are in for something special as you enter an oasis of classic design and calm.

Amuse bouche of tomato soup was a wonderful start, and then tea smoked duck complements of the chef was a rich mouthful of smokiness. The rest of the meal was a blur of amazing - each dish was built around a clever mix of subtle flavours with the end result being a complex plate like nothing you have ever eaten before. I can't do any of it justice by trying to explain, so please, just look at the pictures and promise you will go if you are ever in KL.

First Course

Soft potato blinis with sour cream, moluga caviar, lemon and cauliflower black truffle foam

Crab and prawn bisque with crab quenelles, prawns poached in beurre noisette and a trail of Italian lemon oil

Leek and tomato tartlet with truffle infused French Brie sauce and tomato tartare

Second Course

Crab sandwich

Warm tea smoked salmon with confit potatoes crème fraîche and salmon roe

Palate cleanser of lychee and basil sorbet

Main Course

Organic chicken breast, seared and then baked in a hay, salt and spice crust,

served with celeriac truffle pancake, celeriac puree and verjuice glaze

Pan roasted duck confit with mustard cream and mashed potato on a crisp

potato couronne

Grilled Wagyu beef cheek with braised red cabbage, mole sauce and pumpkin



Iced green apple soufflé with cinnamon crumbs and a tarte tatin on the side. Flourless chocolate mousse cake with vanilla sauce and chopped nuts. Dark Valrhona chocolate ganache with crème chantilly, candied hazelnuts, toasted almonds and French meringue.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jalan Alor

We ate this great dinner at Jalan Alor, a bustling food street in the heart of KL and a wonderful contrast to our dinner at Frangipani (more on that later). Kuala Lumpur, this is why I love you.

Postcard # 1 Kuala Lumpur

I'm not sure why, but for this holiday I thought it might be nice to make my own postcards....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sungei Wang

Where too much tat is never enough...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A day in the Yarra Valley - Domaine Chandon

Hands down my favourite sparking wine. And I wasn't going to let the wine tour knuckle head ruin it for me. The winery itself is just beautiful. I could sit there all day, on one of the deck chairs overlooking the vineyards. But instead I spent the time listening to a guy, who was in all fairness probably quite knowledgeable about wine, run through his schtick and listen to his lame arse jokes. Thankfully I've sufficiently blanked them so can't recount any here - but in doing so blanked the interesting facts like about how many cases of wine fit into these vats. Let's go with lots.

These oak barrels costs lots...about $1200 and need to be changed every year or so. Which seems really expensive considering you can pick them up at a nursery for $90 a half.

Drank a glass of the vintage brut with a cheese plate and then went to the tasting room and tried the Meunier Cuvee 2004 - mainly because it was the only blend of theirs I had never tried. It was an interesting blend. I didn't like it enough to buy, but it was a really unusual wine. Not like any other sparkling I've ever had. Dry, but with a strong aftertaste...of...can't quite put my finger on it. Sorry.

To distract you, here are some photos of the beautiful grounds.