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After the xmas eve party at my place, the very next day we headed to Gareth and Kim’s for a big feast. We were promised a home cooked dinner by Kim, but boy were we surprised by what was in store for us.

The dinner was for some 2 dozen people, but I believe there were enough food to feed at least two rugby teams, including reserves!

the dinner schedule, check out how many dishes here
the dinner schedule, check out how many dishes here

First, just look at the schedule above to get an indication of the work needed for this epic dinner. Preparation actually started more than a day in advance (for the food alone), and longer if you count in buying groceries, gifts, and extra table/chairs for everyone.

chicken, bread, and cocktail shrimp
chicken with pigs in blanket, bread, and cocktail shrimp

The photos you see here are some 70% of the dishes served, there are some that somehow escaped the lens. As far as I remember, here are what we were served:

  • 2x roast chicken with lotsa pigs in blanket
  • bread roast in pork lard
  • seafood bisque
  • prawn salad
  • 3 x pork loin
  • 3 full racks of pork ribs
  • 2 types of potato
  • 3 types of salad
  • couscous
  • roast vegetable
  • pate
  • 3 types of salad
  • 3 types of desserts
  • drinks

pork loin and ribs
the super excellent pork loin and ribs

It was impossible to pick a favorite, everything were awesome. I can make use of some ribs and pork loin right now (or anytime) for sure!

Recipes of some of these dishes can be found at http://www.kimberlycun.com/category/homemade-recipes/

Kim includes photos of each step for her recipe too, super easy to follow.  This entry is on the pork ribs we were served, I believe.

salad, couscous, and more
salad, couscous, and more

In the original schedule, apple crumble was supposed to come out at 8:45, but thanks to everyone being overfed with all these awesome dishes, desserts didn’t make their way out until 11:45 pm.

Of course, nobody complained, 3 more hours to digest is a good thing. :D

seafood bisque and desserts
seafood bisque and desserts

As with the slightly more mature theme this year, no one passed out from drinking too much, though many almost have a coma from all the food.

we were all very well fed at the end of the night
we were all very well fed at the end of the night

At the end of the night, Gareth & Kim played Santa & Santarina and distributed carefully chosen gifts to everyone. That was especially a sweet touch, thanks guys, and lets do this again next year and every year.

and everyone got a gift from the hosts!
and everyone got a gift from the hosts!

Olympus E-PL3

Xmas Eve Party 2011

December 30, 2011 21 Comments

The first xmas eve party that I hosted was all the way back in 2005, which actually didn’t feel at all like it was already 6 years ago, with everyone still talking about Douglas’s epic puke fest after having one drink too many.

After last year’s absence (we spent xmas eve at Suan’s), the 5th installment of xmas eve party at my place resumes, and this time around we decided to have it back to basic – without the buffet line, satay man, or sponsored beer.

A big thank you to everyone who shows up, and even bigger thank you to those who brought alcohol and home made red velvet cupcake (Lainey) to share.

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Horng, Haze, Terence; Aaron, Ruby, Derek; Terence & Celine

Those who came before in previous years:

KY, Haze, Terence, Horng, Suan, Ruby, Eiling, Michael, FA, Ringo, Ginny, Arthur, Yee Hou, Gareth, Kimberly, Huey Fang, Chan, Kerol.

Newcomer this year:

Lance, Melissa, Michael (yep 2 of them), Li Ling, Lainey, Aaron, Zach, Vinn, Pearl, Derek, Celine, Yuki.

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Eiling & KY; Lance & Melissa, FA, Michael & Li Ling; Michael & Ringo

Unlike previous year’s crazy binge drinking style, this seems to be the year where everyone sorta take things slightly more maturely. Everyone was just having a good time, sipping some single malt whisky or having a cold one.

No, there is no beer bong  this year, and if you want to look at pictures of people passing out, I’ll have to disappoint too. Some might say this is a sign of old age, hmmmm…

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Yee Hou & Ginny; Ruby; FA; Lainey; Suan; Haze; Robb & Zach

The gift exchange part tho, was as fun as ever. Every year we had this rule, and I highly recommend that you do the same for your xmas gift exchange. I initially got this from working at Unisys in Cincinnati (man that was over 10 years ago)

  • every participant contribute a gift, and then draw a number from the box
  • smallest number start by picking and unwrapping a gift
  • next number can snatch the opened gift, whereby the person who lost it gets to choose another gift, or snatch another opened gift
  • you cannot snatch a gift that was in your possession before

KY's xmas eve party 2011
Gift exchange was again the highlight of the night – best was the 1kg bacon

In essence, having the last number usually means you get to pick anything that’s opened, with only one unknown gift. However, even the last person can get his/her gift snatched if she (A) snatched B, then B snatched C, but C can actually snatch back A’s gift.

Loads of fun, try it.

The most snatched gift this year was from Lance & Horng – who contributed a whole 1 KG bacon and a small water feature thing. Those gifts exchange hands at least half a dozen times.

The funniest gift tho was from Robb, and drew by Kerol (after what she chose initially got snatched) – two bundle of bananas!

KY's xmas eve party 2011
fire works; Gareth telling stories; bacon; Kim & Michael

I prepared a bit of BBQ (20 wings, some sausages) for those who happened to be hungry, Lainey brought her home made red velvet cakes (super yummy!), and at the end of the night we bbq some bacon too.

And no, this year we did not have any cops coming to end the party. Now that’s a first.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

Olympus E-PL3

Several weeks ago I braved the rush hour traffic and got myself to Changkat Bukit Bintang, a place I wouldn’t normally go during rush hours thanks to the horrible traffic situation and exuberant parking fees. That night, however, I had an invitation from Racks Bar & Baby Backs for a food review session.

More importantly, there was promise of good pork, and a lot of them.

Racks at Changkat Bukit Bintang
Racks at Changkat Bukit Bintang

The setup at Racks is much like many other bars and eateries at Changkat Bukit Bintang – hip interior, a bar stocked full of all sorts of alcohol, alfresco as well as airconditioned dining area, and decorated by expatriate diners.

If the decoration of this place brings a sense of deja vu to you, it was probably because Racks is run by Paul James, the guy who is also behind The Magnificent Fish and Chips just a few doors down.

pigs in blanket, oyster with ham, peaches and parma ham
pigs in blanket, oyster with ham, peaches and parma ham

Anyway, lets look at the food.

We started out of course, with some pork laden appetizers. Pigs in blanket (meat in prosciutto, RM 24), oyster with ham (seafood in prosciutto, RM 32), and peaches with parma ham (peaches n parma RM 22).

All three involves parma ham, and all delicious in its own way. My favorite was naturally, the raw oyster which carries a punch with those pepper. The combination with the saltiness of parma, hotness of paper, and freshness of oyster worked well. Beats oyster with lemon anytime.

cold cuts platter
cold cuts platter

This cold cuts platter promises plenty of meat with jam, in house mustards, pickles, and freshly baked bread for the price of RM 54. The dish reminds me of the cold cuts I had at El Meson in Bangsar, but instead of the more common winter melon, the pairing of jam, mustard, pickles, and bread makes for very good light meal with beer.

Supper anyone?

molotov shooters, a happy Huai Bin, and "illusions"
molotov shooters, a happy Huai Bin, and “illusions”

Then the alcohol came out.

There were more Molotov shooters (a dozen for RM 200) than there were people on the same table, bad idea. This stuff was very potent and of course I only had one, Huai Bin, HorngMichael, and Gareth were there to make sure nothing is going to waste.

We also had a rack of Illusion, a mixture of Midori melon, pineapple juice, and vodka. I actually find this quite tasty, a taste of festivity, almost.

Asparagus under prosciutto
Rack’s Big Bad Sandwich, Asparagus under prosciutto

The last of appetizer was aspagarus under prosciutto (RM 22), a pretty common combination. I often make bacon & asparagus, but parma ham makes an even better combination, and perhaps slightly healthier.

The main courses came next, we first tried Rack’s Big BAD Sandwich (RM 26) – BAD stands for back bacon, avocado, and dried tomato. I’ve never had sandwich with avocado, but the mixture actually works, the buttery taste of avocado goes well with savory bacon and the acidity from dried tomato.

pork burger, pulled pork burger, and hot & spicy pork ribs
pork burger, pulled pork burger, and hot & spicy pork ribs

Then there’s the standard pork burger (RM 28) with smoked back bacon, pork patty, dried tomato, smoked bacon, and even ahem, vegetable. This was as delicious as it was difficult to eat. Prepare to make a splendid mess.

Pulled pork burger (RM 28) might be a Boston’s favorite, but it doesn’t work with me. I’m not a big fan of the drier texture on the meat, but your mileage might vary.

marmalade sweet and spicy pork ribs
marmalade sweet and spicy pork ribs

Then there were of course, the ribs, after all ,this place is called Racks Bar & Baby Back for a reason.

There’s the more typical hot & spicy ribs, and then there’s the marmalade sweet & spicy pork ribs (RM 52 full rack, RM 32 half rack).

I wasn’t too crazy over the coleslaw, but the ribs were fantastic! Absolutely full of flavor and the meat falls off the bones easier than skimpy cloths from Las Vegas strippers. You gotta try this for yourself, if you think the photo of the ribs look good, it tastes at least twice as well!

the hungry diners, and the 3 servers at Racks
the hungry diners, and the 3 friendly servers at Racks

And just like The Magnificent Fish and Chips, this outlet is another one worth visiting at Changkat. The food is good, prices are in line with other restaurants at the area, and services are commendable too.

It was a good night with great company, and bless those pigs too, they were delicious.

map to Racks at Changkat Bukit Bintang

Address:
Racks Bar & Baby Backs,
18-1, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.147581, 101.707934
Tel: 03-2110 1550

When it comes to chocolates, just like many other forms of indulgence – wine, whisky, cars, women, and so forth – the premium stuff are almost always better. One of the more exclusive brands available anywhere has got to be Godiva, the chocolatier named after the legend of Lady Godiva, a naked lady on horseback (check their logo!)

Godiva cafe at Pavilion KL
Godiva cafe at Pavilion KL, this hot chick is Winnie

The company was founded  in Belgium in 1926 by Joseph Draps, over the past 80 some years it has grown to become one of the larger premium chocolate brand in the world with annual sales over $500 million. We are fortunate enough to have our very own Godiva Cafe at Pavilion where you can purchase a lot of their products as well as have coffee, cakes, and other good stuff.

Perfect getaway for a lovely tea time.

Godiva at Pavilion KL
ciki pours some coffee while Yazeed explains on

A couple weeks ago a bunch of us were invited to Godiva Cafe for a private function that aptly named The Chocolate Story where we were taught a bit of history about chocolates (you can learn them from wikipedia too, but wikipedia doesn’t give you chocolates to eat), and get our hands messy in a Master Chocolatier workshop.

to melt the chocolate
to melt the chocolate, you only need a single candle

According to the brand manager Yazeed, Godiva sources only the best ingredients to make their chocolates. For example, the best cocoa is from Ivory Coast, and hence that is the only place Godiva get their cocoa.

After the chocolate history lesson, we were shown the ways of chocolatiers. First, we melt a bar of Godiva, and all you ever need is a single candle. Try doing that with your pasar malam stuff, I think you’d need a penunu bunsen. (this is due to the much higher sugar content, among other things, in mass produced chocolates)

and make our own chocolate derived goodies
and make our own chocolate derived goodies

With the melted chocolates, we then made our own chocolate products – chocolate lollipops, chocolate biscuits, chocolate cornflakes, and all these with bits of other stuff to make them real pretty too.

We were then served some food while the chocolates were being chilled.

and you can buy some godiva hampers as Hari Raya gifts too
and you can buy some godiva hampers as Hari Raya gifts too

In conjunction with bulan Ramadan and upcoming Hari Raya, you can now get your hands on “GODIVA Chocolatier Hamper Collection” – there are three types altogether and cutely named Jubilee, Impression and Jewel De Nile

oh yes, ahh, i see, it's like that haaa
oh yes, ahh, i see, it’s like that haaa

It was overall a fun, informative, and definitely very satisfying session at Godiva, I got to learn quite a bit about chocolates that I previously hadn’t a clue about, and of course, get my chocolate cravings fixed too. You can read Kim, Ciki, taufulou, and KampungBoyCityGal’s accounts.

and a grou picture for all the lucky buggers
and a grou picture for all the lucky buggers

Writing this is making me crave for some proper chocolates again, gahhhhh!

map to Pavilion KL

Address:
Godiva Chocolatier Cafe
Level 2, Pavilion
Jln Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur

GPS3.148872, 101.713368
Tel03-2142 5252

 

Last Friday we braved the traffic and traveled to Solaris Mont Kiara for a lovely dinner at Shuraku thanks to the invitation from Mei.

The quaint Japanese restaurant is located just above Maybank on level 2, with the ambiance that is only made possible by the inclusion of Japanese diners in addition to Japanese magazines, old clocks, hanging ropes, and the sound and smell of a yakitori bar.

Shuraku at Solaris Mont Kiara
Shuraku at Solaris Mont Kiara

The dishes for the night were already chosen for us so the six of us just sat back and relax. We started the night with some Asahi beer and a couple glasses of Japanese cocktails that were served from this portable carbonated dispenser, we had a pear flavored cocktail, it was lovely.

salmon tamago, beef steak salad, unagi
salmon tamago, beef steak salad, unagi

Appetizer, if you would, were seared salmon on tamago (sweet egg omelet), the sweet and savory unagi on tofu, and some tasty beef steak salad.

pork belly, chicken wings, chicken gizzards, chicken thigh and leek yakitori
pork belly, chicken wings, chicken gizzards, chicken thigh and leek yakitori

What we really came here for though, were the yakitori. While yakitori literally meant grilled fowl, at Shuraku, they also serve it with yummy pork belly too.

Of course, we also had  chicken thigh with leek, chicken wings (I must say the way Japanese grill their chicken wings is a lot better than our Malaysian style, much easier to eat and much less messy), and my favorite – chicken gizzards.

soba, roast eggplants
soba salad, roast eggplants

Soba salad was refreshing but slightly awkward, I still prefer the good old cha soba, this is a bit too fusion for me.

The roast eggplants however, was super awesome. There’s a type of sweet (peanut/mayo?) sauce they add to it that made it so rich and really made my taste buds happy. Kim and I devoured the whole thing, including skin!

salmon maki
salmon and tuna  maki

We shared a salmon and tuna maki too, so yah, they do have raw fish and do a very fine job preparing the maki. Great in both presentation and taste, I must say.

kimchi, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake/pizza), mushroom
kimchi, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake/pizza), mushroom

Curiously, Shuraku also serve up a pretty good kimchi dish, and with pork belly in it of course.

Okonomiyaki was rich and quite filling with all the mayo and sweet sauce, I just realised last I had this was in 2005, documented in this post, at Lowyat plaza.

sake, teriyaki, ciki!
sake, teriyaki, ciki!

Ah, there’s also this meatball skewer that was served with half boiled egg. Interesting combination that somehow worked.

the girls and the guys
Haze, Kim, Ciki, Cumi, Gareth, KY

We ordered several more yakitori of various flavored and had an awesome night. Prices at Shuraku are reasonable and doesn’t vary much from other similar Japanese outfit. Do check the place out if you love authentic Japanese food that isn’t just confined to sushi and sashimi

map to Solaris Mont Kiara

Address:
Shuraku
13-2, Jalan Solaris Mont Kiara 1,
Solaris Mont Kiara, off Jalan Duta
50480 Kuala Lumpur
GPS3.174049,101.660037
Tel: 03-6203 0561

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