{Athens, Greece} Eat-Eat-Eat at Meat-Meat-Meat!

Work has been kind of exhausting lately when the Youth Olympics at Nanjing draws closer. Anyway, I was involved in this project, and was therefore in Greece.

We began the next day by witnessing and live reporting the Flame Lighting Ceremony at the Panathenaic Stadium, and after that touring its museum. It was a beautiful and awe-inspiring experience, and we’d decided to celebrate… by having a decent meal instead of hurried ones from random coffee shops.

Meat-Meat-Meat the Grill was what we found for late lunch! We opted for this because we liked its young, fun and robust atmosphere, as well as its logo, and there we ordered…

Yogurt with Honey & Nuts; Meat-Meat-Meat the Grill, Athens, Greece

Yogurt with Honey & Nuts (EUR$3.5) was a dessert served before everything else, which suggested that it can be a little more thoughtful for its diners. But it didn’t bother us at all because it’s really delicious!

Greek yogurt is special for being thick and tangy. Its sour taste was nicely balanced by the sweetness in the honey, whilst the crunchiness in the walnuts added liveliness and texture. This is literally the best yogurt combination in the world that can get me to “Eat-Eat-Eat” till forever!

Grilled Pita - Kind of Greek Tortilla; Meat-Meat-Meat the Grill, Athens, Greece

Grilled Pita – Kind of Greek Tortilla (EUR$1.5) stimulated the appetite! Tomatoes and Xinomizithra, a local sour cream cheese made of goat’s milk that’s also known as Paros fresh cheese, created a refreshing topping. I think it’s a good idea to lightly season it with black pepper.

mixGRILL 2 person; Meat-Meat-Meat the Grill, Athens, Greece

Finally onto mixGRILL 2 person (EUR$15), it included pork, chicken and kebab skewers (2 each), 1 traditional sausage, beef and turkey burgers (1 each), french fries, 2 sauces and more pitas. It was served hot; with a dash of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and thinly sliced onions, the platter reflected the robust and exotic side of Greek cuisine.

Together with a big bottle of water that costed just another EUR$1, this place definitely offers al fresco dining at a fair quality-price ratio. If you’re at Athens, would you give this a try too?

Meat-Meat-Meat the Grill
Tsakalof 10, KolonakiAthensGreece
T. +30 21 0338 8676

– Judith

Advertisements

{Athens, Greece} Nikitas, classic downtown eatery

Another afternoon in Athens, we exited at Monastiraki metro station craving for somewhere nice for traditional Greek food. We tried our luck, walked into a random cafe where a friendly female staff then wrote us this note, telling us another dining spot would better cater to our needs.

After many twist and turns (and guesses – because none of us read Greek), we arrived at Nikitas that is located right next to an old church.

Tomato Salad; Nikitas

We ordered bread (EUR$0.5) to go with Spicy Feta Cheese Dip (EUR$3), amazingly fresh, rich and cheesy to go with the bread. The only issue is that it’s not easily spreadable, so that we needed to eat in rather big chunks.

We ordered Tomato Salad(EUR$2.8), with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, capsicum, olives and of course the large piece of feta cheese that sat on top. You can tell from the photo how delightfully clean and fresh it felt against my palate. But at the same moment, we thought to ourselves that we could have skipped the cheese dip…

Soutzoukakia; Nikitas

Moving on to the classic main dishes, we had Soutzoukakia (~EUR$5.5-6.5), juicy, richly seasoned meatballs with a delicate texture cooked in a fragrant tomato sauce that’s at the right thickness. No wonder tomatoes are one of the ingredients that would first come to our minds whenever we talk about “Greek food”.

Moussaka; Nikitas, Athens, Greece

Moussaka (EUR$6.5) that came last was layers of spicy eggplants and minced meat topped with fingerlickingly good béchamel sauce. If you are a Hong Konger like me, you will find it very similar to a casserole dish except this was in the form of a cube. Delicious and deeply satisfying.

I insist trying the traditional cuisine of whichever country I visit as a way of learning its culture, and I’m totally impressed by this friendly home-cooked meal that came at a fair price. This is literally one of the best dining spots in downtown Athens that’s off the tourist map (and trap)!

Nikitas
Agion Anargiron 19, Athina, Greece
T. +30 21 0325 2591

– Judith

{Athens, Greece} does Pulitzer deserve a prize?

As said in a blog post earlier, I was sent to Greece earlier for a business trip.

To give you all an idea (and do a little promo!), as an advertising agency’s copywriter / social media specialist, I’m given the chance to handle by far the most highlighted project — Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games (August 16 – 28). It’s made for young athletes aged between 14 and 18, with a focus on fun and enjoyment rather than winning awards. Of course, they still play like pros, and the Games of high caliber also began with a Flame Lighting Ceremony at Athens!
(“Like” to support! https://www.facebook.com/nanjing2014)

Alright, let’s talk about food, starting with Pulitzer. This was not our first meal there but our first Greek meal, and was one of the countless impromtu decisions made since we never had the time to plan ahead. If you ask why we were there for dinner on the second night, proximity to the hotel was the answer.

The menu of “New Greek Cuisine” begins with a quote from Pulitzer Prize-winning Ernest Hemingway, and from within we picked three dishes to share –

IMG_3173

Roasted Tomatoes and Peppers Stuffed with Rice (EUR$8):
The bright, exotic colours and flavours woke up our senses (let’s say, at HK time 4:45am while our brains have stopped functioning). I loved the very “Greek” taste but only so-so for the texture while the rice was more like Thai rice than Italian risotto. The dish was moist in a nice way at first, but it gradually turned soggy. Big potato wedges at the sides were well-seasoned.

Pulitzer Trilogy Selection of Meat with chicken, pork, sausage, multi-colored peppers, onion, porto wine, fresh herbs and meat sauce; Pulitzer, Athens, Greece

Pulitzer Trilogy Selection of Meat with chicken, pork, sausage, multi-colored peppers, onion, porto wine, fresh herbs and meat sauce (EUR$8):
We ordered this because its name started with “Pulitzer” as if it’s a signature dish. The presentation of the Trilogy Selection of Meat dish was however nothing like a fine, elegant literature piece that comes in three parts – quite unappetizing at first sight.

Its extreme richness (as reflected by its colour) shares resemblance with Chinkiang Sweet and Vinegary Spareribs, giving me a sudden crave for a comforting bowl of plain steamed rice.

Milanese risotto with chicken and Parmesan; Pulitzer, Athens, Greece

Milanese risotto with chicken and Parmesan (EUR$9.5):
I’d have given this a pass if I had a time travel machine. There was no all’onda texture (aka. wavy flow), biting down the risotto grains felt sloppy and overcooked, and the taste of the sauce was far from fragrant. The cheese that sat on top was bland.

To recall, it is a restaurant & bar that boasts a chic, modern ambiance. Worth a (re)visit, but be sure to skip risotto dishes.

Pulitzer
5 Ventiri Street, Athens
T. +30 21 0722 2232

– Judith

Old-school HK style “Cafe Virtue”

View from the opposite street; Mai Tak Cafe

I usually arrive at the office pretty early, so today, I’ve decided to walk around the industrial area for “treasure hunting”. Look what I’ve found — it’s Mai Tak Cafe across the street!
p.s. “Mai Tak” means virtue in Chinese

So I crossed the street and walked to the takeaway counter. But before that, I was attracted by the 80’s Canton pop songs that played through an outdoor speaker (tiny white square near the window) and that’s when I then noticed the front door that led me up the stairs to this old-school Hong Kong-style cafe!! Super cool, don’t you think?

After a quick look I went back to the ground floor, followed the queue and bought myself freshly made Egg Sandwich with Hot Coffee (HK$16). To be honest, I must say my breakfast was yummy but actually quite ordinary, but I would return for my hope that this kind of places won’t get replaced by restaurant groups that lack personality and human warmth. We’re having too many of those already.

+ + + + +

Quick update:

I brought my friend here again this morning and actually sat down for a proper breakfast. We ordered the same thing – English Breakfast with Fish Fillet, Fried Egg and Hash Brown with toast, plus a cup of Milk Tea added with Condensed Milk (HK$24)!

It was a sizable amount of comfort food, and with that sweet, smooth, absolutely luscious drink that rounds up the meal (forget about the calories for a sec), what more can I ask for?

Mai Tak Cafe
M/F, Mai Tak Industrial Building, 221 Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, Hong Kong
T. +852 2344 2512

– Judith

Motorino + Origin = Fulfilling

For those who have followed my posts, you’d know that I’ve left the publishing group and moved on at a new working place. It’s been brilliant fun so far, which within one month of employment they’ve already sent me onto a business trip to Greece! *GEEZ*

I’m pretty lucked out and I’m absolutely happy about it, but of course that’s also when I started getting real busy too and have seemed to leave my blog behind…

Before I talk about what I’ve eaten at Athens and the beautiful Santorini, I’d like to give way to this one first. Exactly two months ago it was my friend’s birthday. We’ve known each other for some eight or nine years and only in 2014 it came to my mind that I’ve never made her a cake.

So here it is, a not-so-nice-looking-but-super-delicious-matcha-cheesecake — once again, I love you and I wish you the best, Samantha.

Of course, it’s more than just a cake! Another night I brought her to Motorino, an Italian place located along the stairs of Soho.

It’s been quite a long time and it didn’t leave a deep impression. As I can slightly recall, the two antipasti — Prosciutto di Parma + Buffalo Mozzarella (HK$138) and Octopus and Potato Salad w/ Capers & Chili Oil (HK$ 138) — weren’t bad. My strongest opinion though, is if you might order Cherry Stone Clams Pizza ($208) like we did, please DO NOT overspend time on taking photos because it can smell and taste awfully fishy once it starts cooling down. I learned that if I must order this again, I must either boost my photo-snapping skills or only order it when I have more than two people to share.

I introduced her to Origin later of the night. Some of you might be aware of a coverage on Spirito diVino Asia about gin (if not, click to read! http://goo.gl/TkeQvV); thanks to its awesome (and HOT) barmaid Cherry who you’ll find more often at Quinary instead, I’ve developed affection and appreciation towards the world of mixology.
That night we didn’t meet her there, but felt her presence by ordering her award-winning B24 Gimlet (HK$120) chrysanthemum cocktail with a ginseng taste, and also one of the bar’s signature cocktails named KGB (HK$120), likely to be a short form of “Kyoho grapes – Gin – Bubble Bath”. With both its taste and fabulous presentation, you really don’t want to miss out on this.

Motorino
G/F, 14 Shelley Street, Central, Hong Kong
T. +852 2801 6881

Origin
G/F, 48 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong
T. +852 2668 5583

– Judith

SdVA – Delightful press events…

… that preview up-and-coming events, restaurant menus, fine wine products and more.

Over that 1.5 years with Spirito diVino Asia I’d been invited to numerous press events, and in fact quite a number of them are still coming up even I’m only a small potato in the blogging community right now. Thanks for the support and trust!!!
25 May, 2013@ Domani Ristorante
Press lunch for Made in Italy 2013: Quality & Lifestyle
1. Capesante: pan-fried scallops, butter snow peas, orange dressing
2. Crema di Zucca: pumpkin soup, parmesan ice-cream and amaretto reduction
3. Orata: pan-fried seabream, sauteed spinach and clams
(other options — Lasagna: open-faced lasagna, stracchino cheese, bacon, spring onion and fava beans / Stinco d’agnello: lamb shank, spicy carrots in ginger bread)
4. Zuppa al Cioccolato: cold chocolate soup, milk ice-cream, coffee waffle, vanilla oil

7 October, 2013@ Harbour View Ballroom II, Four Seasons Hotel
Press preview of Castiglion del Bosco‘s Year of Horse limited edition of 888 bottles, collaborated with Chinese artist Tian Shuhan
1. Baked Crab Shell Stuffed with Fresh Crab Meat and Black Truffle (with CdBianco 2012)
2. Double-boiled Sea Whelk with Matsutake Mushrooms and Brassica (with Campo del Drago 2007)
3. Roast Chilean Sea Bass Fillet with Sweet Soy Sauce, Braised Australian Wagyu Beef Cheek in Gravy (with Campo del Drago 1999)
4. Caramelised William Pear with Fromage Blanc Creme, Lemon Verbena Gelato (with San Michele 2008)
5. Petits Fours (with Grappa del Drago)
*AMAZING dishes — the William Pear is one of my most-coveted desserts ever*

8 October, 2013@ Mimura Japanese Restaurant
Press preview of Tokushima specialties — “gifts from the beauty of nature”
1. Deep-fried Awaodori Chicken with Italian balsamic vinegar and Shanghai hairy crab roe
2. Soba-gome with Awaodori Chicken
3. Oden (Japanese hotchpotch with Daikon and chicken ball)
4. Awaodori Chicken wing with aged tangerine peel
5. Torikara with Awaodori
6. Simmered Japanese Eggplant by Dried Awa Shrimp
7. Naruto-Tai Okaki Age
8. Tempura Naruto Kintoki Potato
and A LOT more dishes… let’s not forget the sake Dassai 23, by the way!

– Judith

SdVA – exploration of some of the world’s…

… quickly-evolving cuisines — the exciting Spanish and Peruvian! 😀

In fact, the concept of Peruvian cuisine only came to my mind while I was talking to the “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung of BO Innovation (see photos here), who said that it’s something that every gourmand in the world is paying attention to. Thanks, I think I’m really in love with these two right now.

11 April, 2013@ Catalunya
(read 13 July, 2013 full review here)
1. Avocado and Lobster Roll
2. Catalunya Tomato Tartar
3. Bombas de la Barceloneta
4. The Bikini
5. Suckling Pig Tapa
6. Lobster Rice

20 June, 2013@ VIEW62 by Paco Roncero
1. Liquid Nitrogen Mojito
2. Liquid Olive
3. Liquid Iberico Ham
4. Avocado Cream
5. Nitrogen Passion Fruit, Mint, Coffee with something more
6. Lobster with Olive Oil Soup with Green Tea Foam
7. Beef Cheek
8. Green Tea Chocolate
9. EVOO Candy
and A LOT more…

24 February, 2014@ Chicha
1. Ceviche: Corvina, Tuna, Mixto
2. Causa: Aji de Gallina, Squid, Black Cod
3. Lomo Saltado
4. Pisco Sour
5. Pisco Punch
6. Jolly Roger
7. Tacama Don Manuel
8. Tacama Blanco de Blanco

– Judith

SdVA – fine-dining experiences…

… at award-winning restaurants in Hong Kong.

I visited the below places with the magazine. Some were media luncheons, some were tastings during/after interviews, and some were private dinners held with a cause (let’s say, the one at GOLD by Harlan Goldstein, each pax was actually priced at HK$10,000!!). Great food and wine; overall a great experience.

And by the way, I was in fact thinking whether to have BO Innovation in this or in the coming post, but at the end I’ve decided to keep it here since it did fetch some outstanding accolades… Guess what the coming theme of my SdVA post would be?

7 March, 2013@ 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
3 Michelin-starred
#10 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014
1. 30-month Culatello di Zibello Ham on Thin-sliced Green Apple
2. Fried Shrimp
3. Homemade Tagliolini with Maguro Tuna and Bottarga
4. Perigord Black Truffle Risotto
5. Tajima Beef Short Rib and Tenderloin with Plum Sauce
6. Montebianco (Mont Blanc Dessert)

20 May, 2013@ GOLD by Harlen Goldstein
Michelin-starred
1. Mediterranean Fish Soup, Japanese Clam and Garlic Saffron Toast 
2. Hokkaido King Crab, Organic Fruit Tomato, White Asparagus and Ginger Sesame Dressing
3. Wild Seabass Fillet with Octopus
4. Giant Spanish Red Prawn, Linguine, Baby Shrimp Sauce and Bottarga di Muggine
5. 24H Slow-cooked Beef Cheek, Parmesan Mash, Forest Mushrooms and Honey-glazed Brussel Sprouts
6. White Chocolate, Strawberry, Passion Fruit


19 July, 2013@ L’Altro
Michelin-starred (read full review here)

3 January, 2013@ BO Innovation
3 Michelin-starred
#15 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014
1. Molecular “Xiao Long Bao” (Little Bun)
2. “Lap Mei Fan” (Chinese Waxed Meat Rice)
3. Mulhoe: foie gras, spicy Korean miso, pear, sea urchin, sea bladder, smoked squid, sea bream and yacon
4. Lotus Leaf: chicken, charcoal biscuits, bone marrow, chicken liver, preserved kumquat and lily bulb
5. “Mao Tai” (Calamansi)


– Judith

SdVA – visit to another food paradise…

… in Singapore.

I feel it’s appropriate beginning my chain of Spirito diVino Asia-related blogposts with what I feel was most fun and remarkable — my three days in Singapore, shortly after joining the publishing team.

It was a wonderful experience… as I was looking for story ideas that can relate more to readers in parts of Asia where we distribute, I thought doing a compilation of good eateries outside of Hong Kong would be a nice idea. Singapore then came to my mind; and to my surprise, the idea was quickly approved! 🙂

4 December, 2012@ Waku Ghin
#7 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014
1. Abalone with Fregola Pasta and Garlic Mayonnaise made with Tomato Broth
2. Canadian Lobster with Tarragon
3. Ohmi Wagyu Roll with freshly-grated Wasabi and Citrus Soy
4. Marinated Botan Ebi with Sea Urchin Oscietra Caviar
5. Sayori with Strawberry and Pomegranate
6. Ghin Chocolate Cake

5 December, 2012@ Cocotte
1. Lobster Bisque
2. Sucrine Lettuce Salad
3. Whole Pan-seared Atlantic Cod drizzled with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil and Lemon Juice
4. Cote de Boeuf (Chargrilled Tawsmanian Grass-fed Cape Grim) with Potato Gratin and Glazed Carrots
5. Apple Sorbet
6. Tarte au Chocolat of 85% Abinao chocolate

5 December, 2012@ Restaurant ANDRE
#6 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014
1. Snack Platter of Caramelized Olives, Potato Grass and Lobster Sandwiches
2. Translucent Rockfish ((as used as the header image on top))
3. Baby Mushrooms, Green Leaves on Granny Smith Apple Mousse, surrounded by Seawater Foam
4. Deconstructed Snickers Bar

5 December, 2012@ Iggy’s
#12 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2014
1. Iggy’s Sushi (Yellowtail and Sea Bream) with Sugar-free Soy Meringue “Rice”
2. Buri Belly with Japanese Fruit Tomato, Watermelon Radish and Watercress
3. Pigeon with Orange Sauce and Beans
4. Pina Colada with Pea Puree, Faro Grains with Kinkan slices

 

– Judith

Thoughts: last day with Spirito diVino…

Image

Today is officially my last working day with Spirito diVino Asia bi-monthly magazine. Since the beginning, I’ve been hands-on contributing to #1 – 9 issues and it’s been great fun.

People are surprised to hear that I’m leaving and further pursuing my career in an advertising firm. One of the questions I got asked most often was:

Q: It’s such a nice job – eating and drinking every day (“every day” is so not true, however)! What makes you want to leave?

A: Indeed, the best part of this job was to get this huge exposure in the fascinating food and wine scene that opens me up to great food and great wines, chefs, vintners and people in the trade, but the thing is, I thought it’s time to engage in something different, faster and more exciting. I’m a typical Sagittarian and it therefore makes sense. Impulsive much? No, not really.

So, please expect the coming posts that are to let myself recap the nicest things that happened during these 1.5 years. Coming in chronological order, they will be the wine-dine experiences that I particularly want to remember and share with all of you.

P.S. There is this unstated rule at offices that those who resign should give out “farewell cookies”, with a hope to maintain a friendly relationship with ex-colleagues. I had too, but rather let them choose their fav drinks from the TenRen’s TEA menu – which everyone likes. The photo above is 913 King’s Milk Tea that I got for myself.

P.S.S. Thank you all, stay in touch! 🙂

– Judith