Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Food Photography (Random Sharing @ Canton Deli)


It is no secret that I am a food photography enthusiast and I take advantage of any opportunity I come across to capture food images. Many asked me for tips on food photography but I would not call it tips, perhaps sharing is more appropriate because I am learning as well. I mentioned a few pointers such as minimal use of flash photography in my previous post but like to expand from there in this entry using images taken on my recent invitation to Canton Deli 廣東茶居 at Harbour City 海港城.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Am I Math-Challenged? (Ranting)

iPhone 3GS image
I am not a big fan of numbers despite my semi-technical background but I got challenged recently by a restaurant-not-to-be-named on my ability to do simple math such ... adding! I did not plan to write about it but with the overwhelming comments on Facebook where I posted about the incident, I think it is worth sharing.  Detailed explanation is not required, a picture is worth a thousand words perhaps?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Food Photography (Revisit)

Bites, Camera, action!

It was truly an honor to be interviewed along by SCMP's weekly Food & Wine section on the topic of food photography. It is quite true that with the advancement of technology, the use of digital cameras has been widely popularized over the last 2 years. More people capture their dishes before eating and it has become  more of a norm than trend nowadays. Diners and restaurants alike are more accustomed to such a scene with many welcoming such an act. There are two schools of thoughts on whether such "snap then bite" is an acceptable act but it is a topic of extended discussion, not what this article is about. (I am pro "snap then bite" of course!) This article, titled "Bites, camera, action" by Nan-Hin In is about tips on food photography. Professional photographers and subject experts (I am an enthusiasts at this stage!) provide useful tips on how to take better food photography on a daily basis, without any bulky gears of course. As mentioned by one of the experts, built-in camera flash is a no-no and in my opinion, flash photography in general should be minimized at restaurants especially if you are simply dining out on a regular / personal basis. Aside from the quality of the images, built-in / external flash photography would affect or disturb other diners at the restaurant. It is out of simple respect that food photography enthusiasts should restraint from doing so in most if not all circumstances. Solution? Visit during lunch time if natural sun light is available or upgrade your gears and/or lens!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Linguini Fini (Hong Kong)


Mochachocolata tried it, HK Epicurus experienced it, Dorothy is about to review it after her many visits. Many reviewed it on and I expect plenty more to come as well for this newly opened New York-Italian lofty restaurant named Linguini Fini. Reviews so far are mixed but it is only normal because we all have preferences when it comes to taste and we are all entitled to our own opinions as well. The key is once again in sharing in a way that truly expresses one's experience for others to enjoy or simply to provide information for readers. My approach has always been to share my experiences / adventures as factually informative as possible so readers can be their own judge. My first visit to Linguini Fini was a pleasant one thanks to the warm hospitality of the restaurant in letting me try out a great number of dishes beyond which my already expandable stomach can handle. There were hits and misses on my first visit (and Dorothy's 10th visits), but there are a few things this "lofty joint" truly stand out among similar establishment in my opinion.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cheesess (Hong Kong)


Hoping to satisfy my chocolate craving, I walked from one end of Causeway Bay the other end in search for Awfully Chocolate. Little did I know that their location has been moved recently but the group still runs the same spot. No more chocolate, it now sells nothing but cheesecake hence the name Cheesess. With only 4 choices of cheesecake (New York, Sydney, Kyoto Raspberry and Kyoto White Cheesecake), it a sign of great confidence or over-confidence, depends how you see it. Similar to Awfully Chocolate, there was no display of any cake whatsoever, only images of their selection. As recommended by staff, I picked one of its favorite items, the New York Cheesecake. Between small and large, I selected the small which set me back HKD138. Why do I mention price so early in my article? It is because it is an important element of my experience. For HKD138, you get a small-sized New York Cheesecake just slightly wider than a quarter pounder or perhaps Filet-O-Fish. Any cake with 4 inches in diameter seems to be reasonable but don't forget about its height!!! Value vs worth is a very personal matter which I cannot be the judge for all but for HKD138, I do expect getting a slightly bigger if not taller cheesecake! Did I mention the berries sauce cost you an extra HKD38 for a small jar?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hiro Sushi (Toronto)


Not much of a review this time around but more of a sharing. Hiro Sushi has been in business for over a decade, situated in the downtown Toronto area headed by Hiro-san himself almost every single night! His dedication and joy of being at the restaurant serving diners inspired me in re-thinking about one's dream and possibly how to achieve it with passion, patience and perseverance, the 3P which l like to call it. When young, many of us have been asked what you want to become, some wanted to become policemen, some doctors, some firemen, some bus drivers, some lawyers, some chefs and some even wanted to become rockstars. As for myself, I honestly don't remember what I wrote or if I came up with anything as a matter of fact. I strongly believe that there is nothing wrong in having a progressively developing dream(s). Hiro-san's passion to food has re-sparked my quest in evaluating, prioritizing ... and realizing my dream(s).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bettys Kitschen (Hong Kong)


There have been countless reviews and mentions of this new establishment by Alan Yau ever since it opened. Reviews and feedback so far have been mixed, many complained about the food, many raved about the food and its rather rare selection of French recipes. Some emphasized on Chef Largard's skills and creation while many were captivated by the venue and its decor, including staff's 1950's maid-like uniform. For those unfamiliar with Alan Yau, he is the mastermind behind the famous Wagamama, Hakkasan and the recently Michelin starred restaurant Yauatcha in London. Whenever I hear his name in association with any restaurant, the first thing that comes to my mind is exciting culinary marketing initiative followed by trending culinary creativity. Alan is a successful restaurateur as well as a remarkable entrepreneur when it comes to the F&B industry. Take Hakkasan for example, he not only popularizes Chinese cuisine in London but he took Chinese fine dining scene to a next new level. With that taken into consideration, when I step into Bettys Kitschen at IFC (Hong Kong), the thing that got my attention or interest was the overall execution of the whole concept which of course includes service, decor, menu, atmosphere and food. I wanted to see what took Alan so long to open his first restaurant concept in Hong Kong and what sort of dining trends he is going to set with his new venture.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Please think before you speak (Ranting)

The story goes something like this. I was calling a so-called hip restaurant situated in Causeway Bay requesting information on their afternoon tea set and seat availability at its massive outdoor terrance. The following is the phone conversation between the (S)taff and myself (J).

S:          Thank for calling XXXXX, this is YYYYY speaking, how can I help you?

J:           Hi, I would like to ask if you have any afternoon tea set during weekdays?  

S:         Yes we do, we have afternoon tea set from 3 to 5pm during the weekdays.  

J:          Is the outdoor terrance available during the afternoon tea period? 

S:         It is if weather permit ... 

J:          Great! How about reservation? Do I need advance booking? 

S:          [pauses] ... business is sort of slow nowadays ... so no need to book in advance .... 

J:          OOOKKK .... thanks! 

I am sure you can spot the concern I have in regards to basic communication skills. The use of words in both Chinese or English is of utmost importance not just in the F&B industry but in any situation or human interaction. One simple tip (personal tip of course) is to think before you speak and treat yourself as the person at the other end of the conversation. It is not that difficult is it?

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