Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dinner Get Together at Mezze, Damansara

It's getting harder and harder to walk around because of my big pregnant tummy, so I have been working from home. That meant like being under house arrest most of the time so I was happy to know we were meeting some friends for dinner at a fairly new place called Mezze. One of our local friends recommended it and we arrived at Mezze on a Wednesday evening 7:45pm. The place was vibrant with customers and 1 hour into our dinner I noticed that they had quite a lot of customers for a weeknight. Good food pulls customers on any day of the week.

We were a group of 5 people. We had 2 bottles of red wine (I didn't drink and instead tried their orange-calamansi-apricot concoction). Plus a round of good tasty dishes which my friends ordered. The bill was around RM700+ i think (our hubbies - the guys took care of the bill :)

In terms of food selection, the menu is straight-forward (it's a 1-pager landscape menu laminated that looks like a table mat I could buy from French souvenir shops).  I do appreciate the simple menu as it helps narrow down the choices. Mostly our local friend did the ordering and came up with different dishes for sharing.

For starters we had the pork belly which was very crispy and not too much fat. I think we ended up ordering 4 plates of that since we devoured the thing so quickly every time it arrived at the table. Since I didn't order the dishes for tonight I can't remember the exact names of the dishes. I just remember some details and will share if it's very tasty or okay.

- Crispy pork belly - must order starters, very tasty. We couldn't stop with just 1 serving!
- Duck pate with bread - this one should be good. I tasted a small bite because I remember reading somewhere that pregnant women should avoid pate
- Chorizo - i found this just okay
- Shrimp pasta - must try, very tasty and slightly spicy
- Mussels - nice dish for sharing
- Special fish of the night - I didn't try but hubby said it was very tasty and good
- Lamb with couscous - I liked this one. Too big for 1 person, best if you share it and try other dishes
- Shrimp Tempura - this is okay. Taste a bit like home-made tempura my mom used to make. In case you have Japanese cravings I guess you can go with this one
- Duck & Chicken spring roll - a nice starter specially if you have hungry guests
- Pannacotta - this is probably the best pannacotta I have tasted in KL. I was so, so , so disappointed with the pannacotta at Delucca, Il Padrino, and other Italian places I have been to! We ordered 2 servings of this!
- Brownie with Ice Cream - this is also very, very good. We ended up with 2 servings as well!

Overall I would recommend to group of friends having a dinner night out. Try it and judge for yourself. The ambience is nice. Toilet is clean. Service is good. The chef also came by to say hello and introduced himself to all of us. Based on the number of customers they had for a Wednesday evening, I would say this place has it the right note in terms of menu. Will surely go back to visit one day.

No. 132, Jalan Kasah, Medan Damansara

50490 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
(behind Victoria Station, near Vintry & La Rista)
Tel: 03-20950122

Friday, November 06, 2009

Breakfast Again at The Bread Shop

It must be the pregnancy. Or simply my love for bread and pastries.

Hubby took me back to The Bread Shop for breakfast because I was craving for their yummy bread. We had coffee and hot chocolate along with the pastries we chose (this time we sampled the Almond Danish and the Sugar Butter bread). I simply love the ambience and pastry choices they have!

For people not familiar with Damansara Heights area, you may get a bit lost finding the place. If you are coming from Mont Kiara, turn left at the science center. Then left again on first corner. Then another left on first corner. Drive up and you will see some shops on the right side. Get a parking slot. The Bread Shop is right beside the restaurant Decanter. You will surely love the bread selection! Ahh bread heaven!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Elcerdo: A Place for Serious Pork Lovers!

Back in Manila we had a dish called "lechon" which is super-killer-yummy.

How Lechon is prepared: "After seasoning, the pig is cooked by skewering the entire animal, entrails removed, on a large stick and cooking it in a pit filled with charcoal. The pig is placed over the charcoal, and the stick or rod it is attached to is turned in a rotisserie action."

The lechon is served on special occassions like wedding, big birthday parties, Christmas, etc. It is a whole pig roasted over fire and displayed for the guests to cut their own pieces. I especially like the fatty part (which is bad!) but there is nothing like it! If you ever go to the Philippines and happened to be at Cebu (one of the major islands), you must NOT miss tasting their special lechon over there. Even French hubby fell in love with it.
Now that we are almost 3 years in Malaysia, we realized we haven't had lechon for a long, long time. The last one was when we flew back to Manila 2 years ago! Suddenly we had that craving and thankfully there is a restaurant in town that serves something close to what Lechon is in Manila. And they had a small serving just right for 2 hungry people like us!
We went to visit this restaurant called Elcerdo which is located near the Bukit Bintang area. Close to the Jalan Ceylon where they have a string of interesting restaurants that will tickle the fancy of expats in Malaysia.
We ordered the roasted pig, which was cute and small enough for me and hubby!!! We finished almost the whole thing (and we had to take-away a few pieces which we could not finish and I refuse to just leave it there). The roasted pig came with some salad and potatoes. It also comes with a "different experience" where you will need to break the plate for good luck. I won't expound on it as this is some exciting stuff -- go try it yourself! Hee Hee....
It definitely satisfied our piggy cravings and it will be some time before we go back to that place. I think we had an overdose after this indulgence!

Prior to the main meal, hubby ordered some ham platter which he said was superb. It was a ham-and-melon appetizer which was yummy. Definitely a must try if you visit their establishment. If I was not pregnant I would have eaten that whole thing! I miss eating those ham and melon. It reminds me of that summer we were in South of France and his parents serving this as appetizer as we sat in their terrace with perfect summer weather --- ahhh those were the days! The restaurant ambience also has a European feel to it -- so it's a good place to bring a date. The service was prompt and fast.
Just wanted to share this in case there are serious pig lovers out there who are out to satisfy their pork cravings.

A Very Interesting Read: The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry

This is one of the most interesting books I have purchased this year 2009. It's my favorite book! Definitely a good investment -- especially if you are fond of cooking.

I bought my copy at Times bookstore for RM 49.95

For those who have been to Paris, who love French food and has some interest in cooking, you will surely find this book a good read.

I have always been in love with Paris. I love the feeling, the sights, the beauty and the kind of life they have there. Hubby and I have been visiting every year (except for this year bec of my pregnancy). And every year I go back I am still at awe at how I can feel when I am there.

This book brings me back to those wonderful places in Paris. Plus more insights as the girl in the book describes her experience when she enrolled in the famous cooking school : Le Cordon Bleu. The book shares her experience as a normal 36-year old middle manager who just got tired of corporate life. She took the plunge and tried to have an adventure of a lifetime by flying to Paris and enrolling herself in cooking school. It was very inspiring to read! Sometimes I wish I had the guts to just do that!

I was definitely inspired to cook and try out some of the recipes which she shared inside the book. Yes, there are recipes that you can test out :) which makes this book even more interesting.

Did I mention that I was so into this book and the time I was in my 2nd trimester -- which meant it was aligned to the time I had great appetite! That was also the time I kept on blogging about different restaurants. It was weird --I had cravings for different dishes for different days! Hubby had to keep up with me. But mostly I craved for Japanese food -- tempura yummy!

In case you are looking for a new and different book to read, do check out this one. Happy reading!

Title: The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry
Author: Kathleen Flinn
Where to get it: I bought mine in Times Bookstore

PS. for those people who have encountered relationships or conversation with French people, you will find some funny moments at the girl's adventure (and struggle) with the French language. I myself have been improving my French -- but not yet good enough to go wondering about alone in Paris! In case you want to learn French, I highly suggest enrolling yourself at Alliance Francaise . They have one in different countries. I enrolled myself few years back in Alliance Francaise Manila. And I also took some classes here in Kuala Lumpur. It's a good place to start your French language.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Recovery After Pregnancy: the Chinese way = Confinement

For westerners, life after giving birth means immediately getting busy with baby stuff. It means getting up everyday to feed the baby, do household chores, and go about their daily lives. For Chinese people in many parts of the world -- whether they come from Manila or Malaysia, they believe in the recovery period needed for every mom... and that means 1 month of "confinement".

To my western friends, this concept is very foreign and they are very much surprised when I share some of the steps involved in confinement. I guess in other parts of the world, this confinement thing is unheard of, or even simply impossible to do. Imagine Europeans who could not afford household help -- how can they even have 1 month of confinement if they are alone at home? They have to get up the next day, feed the baby, do the household chores, cook for themselves, etc. What makes me wonder is that despite these westerners not doing their proper confinement after childbirth, well, they still survive and live a long & healthy life. I'm saying this because most of the stories I hear from elders is that if one does not do a proper confinement, one will get different aches or ailments at his/her old age. I don't know if there are proper statistics nor research findings to show that women who had confinement are really better off than those who didn't. Or simply, western women will have more ailments/aches vs women from the east?

Back to confinement, though I am not armed with proof, I do not want to turn my back from my culture. And at some point I am thinking "better safe than sorry"... which is probably what a lot of younger generation Chinese women are thinking when they go through confinement in this modern day.

Be in Philippines or Malaysia, the Chinese people living there believe in this very important 1 month of recovery for new mothers. Though to compare, the Malaysians seem to have stricter guidelines & a longer list of what to do, eat, etc. Maybe the Chinese in the Philippines have somewhat adopted to the local culture which meant dropping some of the early practices of confinement. It was only living here in Kuala Lumpur did I discover that there is such a thing as "Confinement lady". This is usually an elderly who comes to stay at your house to take care of the mom (full time) & cook all the nutritious food to help speed up recovery. Imagine, it's a full time job over here! And the good ones seem to be in demand -- they even require you to book in advance.

What's amazing to me is the instant access to these confinement stuff : confinement lady, confinement herbs, etc. Last weekend, hubby and I went to 1 Utama shopping mall. We visited this huge Chinese herb shop which is located at the basement floor. They had gazillions of herb and other stuff, which even to me was shocking. We didn't have such a thing back in Manila. Most of the Chinese herb shops were small stalls operating at Chinatown. Not something this huge at a shopping mall! Hubby and I were amazed at what we saw: they were selling deer horns and deer tails... and dried sea horses! There were so many weird stuff around and they cost a lot of money! Yikes...

They had a ready brochure of Chinese confinement herbs. It was a back-to-back brochure which had English and Chinese versions. This is a very easy guide to what you should be eating and drinking in the 30 days of your confinement. I know, it sounds like they have commercialized it. But for someone like me, a 3rd generation Chinese who have lost the ability to read Chinese characters and have no easy access to elderlies, at least I have this brochure as a guide. Thankfully they also had a salesman who was speaking some English. He attended to our needs and my questions. In the end, hubby and I walked away spending RM800+ on all the Chinese stuff. I only get pregnant a few times in my life, I better try to recover the best way I know which is the Chinese way. It's going to be tough, but might as well do it than be sorry. Mind you, I don't plan to follow everything strictly. I think I will mix up the 2 Chinese traditions from Manila and KL... and will try to stick by what I can. After all, the westerners are doing fine despite not knowing confinement stuff at all!

In case you want to read more about confinement stories, you can refer to these links:

In case anyone else out there is as clueless as me in terms of chinese herbs, and yet would like to buy some and try to do your own confinement at home, you can visit the shop and they have a ready brochure and easy to understand list. All you need to do is buy the set and add it to the soup... and eat your way to a good recovery after your baby delivery.

Lower Ground floor, One Utama
Tel 03-77271681

The post-natal soup herbs are packed into 28 different sets. This means you will use 1 pack a day to add to some pork or chicken soup (which you need to use double boil or slow cook method). The total for the 28 herb-pack is RM350.00

Good luck!

weather in KL november

For the past week the weather in Kuala Lumpur has been on this kind of pattern : super sunny in the mornings and afternoons. Then toward the late afternoon and evening, we will experience heavy rain. Last night we had some major thunderstorm at Mont Kiara area. And that was after such a beautiful sunny day. So in case anyone out there planning to visit KL, it's best to plan your activities in the morning and early afternoon.
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