Home is where the Heart Is

Back home in SP. Loads of feeding up (not that I need any more, thank you very much), Mom is busy in the kitchen while I'm busy playing with Pickles! Have my Harry Potter book here (Order of the Phoenix- re-reading for the umpteenth time), so what else could I possibly need? Well, my boyfriend perhaps? Lol...

Weather's been crazy lately. Usually, the days before, during and after CNY is blazing, oven-y hot. But it just rained, and I'm feeling all cozy and cuddly, I think I will grab myself a large pillow, crawl through a few pages of Harry's hearing at the Ministry of Magic before dozing off into land of Chai Shen.

Haven't been doing much, other than pai-pai this morning at Ah Ma's condo. Snapped a few photos but haven't had the motivation to upload yet ;)

Ok, that's the end of this seemingly directionless post.... Now where's the chubby dog.

Jung Won Korean BBQ

I insisted SCC & gang that I will treat them dinner before she leaves for Spain, and finally on the last weekend in KL, SCC made reservations at Jung Won Restaurant for a Korean dinner. She's been there a couple of times before and said the food is quite good, with a nice ambience.

Jung Won is situated somewhere off Jalan Ampang opposite a Sayfol International School. Jalan Ampang holds a number of Korean communities and is regularly referred to as 'Little Korea'.

It was during a dinner with the others in a Japanese restaurant and SCC was telling us that Korean food is extremely pricey in Spain, costing 50 Euros for three dishes or so that I got the idea to bring them to have a Korean dinner.

The outdoor seating looks like a nice place to dine al fresco. Unfortunately, Angel and Ji Yee both have problems sitting on floor lol. So we had to opt for indoor dining :( And to think some of us went through the trouble of putting on long pants/jeans and spraying mosquito repellent because we thought we're sitting outdoors haha!

Compared to the outdoor seating, the indoor is a bit bleah lol. But you get comfortable with it after a while. Quaint decorative adorns the walls of the restaurant. By the way, yes, we were the only group dining inside the building hahaha. Later there was another family who poked their heads in from the doorway but retreated to the warm night outside.

An otherwise nice picture inside of Jung Won completely marred by BKK's huge head.

Why the mom act cute than the baby!

The large family gathering hehe. Oh, outfit of the day was a colourful, extremely low cut top that SCC got for me from Spain. Can't see too clearly, well, if you're lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you see it) I think there's another clearer shot of me in ze top :D

Usually it's pretty full and busy in Jung Won but we've picked a Sunday night for the dinner (because the next day we have a replacement holiday in honour of some Malaysian football team winning the Suzuki Cup after a 20 year draught or something like that. Big deal but don't matter, get holiday :D

We ordered a number of items, mostly barbequed meat. The waiters later brought in plates of raw marinated meat and they were cooked over there electric-controlled charcoal pit. Pretty cool huh. Great taste minus all the hassle.

Apa lagi, makanan belum datang, semua pakai cantik-cantik, keluar tangkap gambar dengan bunga bunga di taman.

SCC and Angel are really hilarious when I took photos of them. I captured a shot and showed them (for quality control, some are really strict about this you know) and SCC said "My arms look so huge!" while Angel exclaimed "My belly!". Aiyoh pening. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

Even this shot also, initially SCC was sitting on a tree trunk in the foreground (the one Angel was sitting on in the pic) but when she saw my shot, she insisted Angel sit in front while she hides three-thirds of her body behind him hahahhha. I love digital cameras.

No extra points on guessing why I have my hands wrapped around SCC's hands hahahahha. There's only a small glimpse of the top SCC got me. If I were to wear them without an inner layer, my boobs would spill out at the slightest movement.

Bibimbap. Warm rice served in a bowl, with julienned seasoned vegetables and raw egg which is mixed together before eating. The word 'bibimbap' literally means mixed rice. Tried it and it was not bad, loved the colours and the different ingredients that make up the dish.

There has to be about a hundred of these banchan served. Ok, fine. maybe not a hundred but 11 sounds like a more reasonable figure. Among them are stir fried bean sprouts, the preserved cabbage kimchi, deep fried anchovies (they are really our ikan bilis. same fish, same taste lol), sliced sausages, and honeydew fruit salad I think.

Ah, the kimchi soup. No doubt our pathetic kimchi instant noodles are a far cry from the real thing. Bright red and pretty spicy, this is one coveted soup during one of those rainy days. IMHO, best eaten with white rice.

A flat Korean omelette which I don't know what it's called in its native language. Just only slightly spicy but has great flavours. Dipped in sauce (which I can barely recall now). Jeez I do give lousy comments. Cue to distract reader(s) with more food pictures.

Spicy Korean kimchi noodles. One of the dishes that was snapped up faster than you can say 'kimchi'. There was more plates of meat which one of staff barbequed for us but I didn't photograph because, well, they look like meat -.- Ok I was too immersed with stuffing myself that I forgot. One thing worth to note though, the meat was perfectly BBQ-ed. Not overcook and just tender enough for the beef to melt in the mouth.

And knowing BKK, even with all the plates stacked on the table and after a few rounds of free refills of the banchans, he voiced out loud enough for everyone to hear that there's still room in his stomach for more hahaha. And the last dish to be brought to the table is this Korean stir-fried glass noodles. Very normal and too oily for my taste, this plate costs a whopping RM32.

What I think? Personally, the food served is pretty average, I guess we're (in this case, I) paying mostly for the ambience and service. PCC even commented that there's a place serving Korean food in Damansara that offers better taste. Bill came to a staggering RM370+ hahahaha and they did later serve us with some cut watermelons and barley drink I think. LOL.

Jung Won Restaurant

Address: No. 255, Jalan Ampang Hilir,
55000 Kuala Lumpur.
Telephone : +603-4257 5555

¡Adios 2010, Hola 2011!

Let's see, another round of reflection on the year that has whizzed by yet again. I felt like there hasn't been any sort of achievement that I would want to gloat about. Not quite in career advancement, emotionally, not quite sure.

I think overall, 2010 has been a pretty bad year, especially towards the end. Losing my beloved Ah Ma, while seeing her suffer, bedridden in the hospital has been the most heartbreaking experience I would ever have to endure. I don't indulge in too much detail lest I breakdown again. She has lived a long full life and all of us children and grandchildren have treated her with much love and care. I have a black and white picture of her in my purse and every time I look at her youthful looks (I think she was about 40-50 years old in the pic?) I am reminded to live my life to the fullest.

I also lost another dear friend, Wei Shan. Memories of her make me sad but I try not to dwell on things said and done.

It hasn't been all tears and mourning though. Early 2010 I underwent numerous training, at the gym and outdoor hiking until I eventually scaled the highest peak in South East Asia. The moment of exhilaration once we lift ourselves onto the top boulder was indescribable.

Traveling has been limited to neighbouring countries, like Singapore and Thailand. I would love to expand the horizon more and hope to travel to places like Hong Kong, New Zealand or even Australia.

That pretty sums up my year, with the bonus of a handful of makan places that have fast become favourites.

A busy New Year's Eve it has been. PCC invited a few of her friends over for late lunch and typically it's Ji Ee and SCC who's doing all the prep and cooking hehehe.

New meat in the kitchen: Angel.
Menu for the day: Spanish tortilla, paella, melon with jamòn, and tapas.

Let's start with a brief introduction of the Spanish tortilla, shall we?

Unlike the Mexican tortilla, which is more like a flat bread like where you see holding a wrap together, a Spanish tortilla is richer in texture and taste.

First potatoes are skinned and cut into small cubes before frying them in olive oil. The quality of the pan is extremely essential, I quote el maestro. Because the pan we have here is not quite non-stick, a lot of oil is added to the frying, which is supposed to be unnecessary.

When potatoes are soft, eggs are added and cooked for a bit till the bottom layer is firm before flipping the contents into a plate. Then the tortilla is slipped back into the pan to cook the other side. Repeat as necessary lol.

The one that I have been waiting for is the paella. First time I tried this was in El Cerdo which was the seafood paella and I wanted to see how that would compare. Well, SCC's version definitely beat them hands down! Though we did compromise with some of the ingredients, and swapped some for local ingredients but still great anyways...

Chicken, honey beans, whole tomatoes, paprika, rosemary and saffron (if available) then cooked with rice. As paella usea Spanish short grain rice (some call it bomba - which holds its shape), so we opted for something more Asian hehehhe.

I think the paella is different from El Cerdo because SCC was trying to re-create the red Paella. Which is derived from the color. Well, you'll see.

And the simplest of all tapas:
Melon wrapped in jamòn strips.

Jamòn is essentially cured ham, or rather like the Italian prosciutto. The ham SCC brought them all the way from Valencia, so the only preparation required is to cut the watermelon into wrap-able sizes and just gulung them in the jamòn strips! Even though I was suffering from extreme coughing but I couldn't help make an exception. The combination of the sweet melon and the salty jamòn is perfect. The ham is a tad chewy for my liking but it's worth a try.

And another tapas prepared-

Toasted french loaf with tuna ensaladas.

This is another cheat - so easy to prepare. Tuna from can mixed with potatoes, eggs and mayonnaise. Personally I think I would thoroughly enjoy it more with a bit of a Mexican twist - a handful of chopped onions, along a squeeze of lime juice, eh, eh ? ;) Hehehhee Oh and maybe another handful of chopped parsley mmmm! Heavenly with a simple piece of crackers.

The resulting tortilla. The cooked taters lends the tortilla (well some call it omelette, and I couldn't agree more) a creamy texture... Double thumbs up!

And the anticipated paella!

The paella is given a boost by the rosemary and all those herb giving the very bright colouring. But I suppose this isn't easy to cook, you got to have the right amount of water on top of the rice otherwise the rice would be too hard or too soft. Who wants to be my guinea pig? hehehhe.

And snapped Isabel bb. Everyone was feeding her with all sort of food that I couldn't help but wonder if she's ever going to lose all those baby fat! PCC even fed her with bits of the paella and chicken lol.

Chubiiii this is currently my laptop desktop background.

Took a nap after being completely drained in the kitchen. Got up and showered, time to doll up (well, doll up in my own terms hahahha) and celebrate the New Year with my close girlfriends.

MY picked me up close to 6 (after texting me saying that she would pick me up at 5:15 hahahhah but she has a very good (albeit long) reason for that.

Dinner at D'Empire Brasserie at Solaris Mont Kiara. I did a bit of googling on the place and it serves Italian food in a 'cozy' ambience. We shall see.

Firstly, we decided to order appetizers, then MY wanted to go to a nearby Digi store to check out the iPhone prices, so we asked the server if it's alright that we leave our table for maybe 20 minutes and she said we can't do that because the table is reserved next at 8pm.

MY was indignant because she was the one who made the reservations and she specifically asked the manager (who was the one who answered her call, poor guy hahahha) whether we could stay on till midnight for the NY Eve celebration and the manager was fine with it, as long as we didn't come late. After a quick check, which was all a misunderstanding, we made our way to the telco store hahahhaha.

Smoked Duck Breast with Apple Avocado Salad (RM29)
Sliced duck breast, apple, avocado, baby greens, walnuts, alfalfa and gorgonzola cheese served with balsamic dressing.

Looks very pretty aye. Love the assorted combination, only gripe I have is the serving which is really small compared to its price. Duck breast also chewy lor.

And well, being the atas crowd we are, we ordered something French to fit our social statuses LOL.

Stuff Escargots Bourguignon (RM29)
French snails, garlic, unsalted butter, parsley and pinot noir (1/2 dozen)

It just says that this dish uses unsalted butter but heck, the gravy sure is not! Extremely garlicky. Snail is nicely cooked but I find the surrounding garlic sauce a tad overwhelming even for a garlic lover like me.

And to share the dinner with a vatful of gossips and giggles without skimping on sarcasm haha how I love these people. Flashback to 2009's New Year's Eve, was also with MY just the two of us romantic dinner and one of the best Italian meals I've ever had.

Later on, those two complained that I don't wear dresses hahahha. Well it completely depends on my mood but I hastily promised them that I would put on a dress the next time we hang out. I'm just praying it's not a paintball session pulak. Damn cialat.

The interior of D'Empire. Another gripe I have about this place, the restaurant is not exactly large and when two patrons are sitting back to back on separate tables, the space for someone to pass through is just barely enough! I had to walk sideways, hold my breath and pull my stomach in to pass through. Yea. D'Empire, change chairs or lose a table or two!

We ordered two mains:

Pan Seared Canadian Cod Loin (RM69)
served with roasted potatoes, seasonal vegetables, walnut balsamic dressing (probably from the same salad dressing) and touch of mushroom glace

The cod fish is a recommended dish. Cod is cooked perfectly and the skin is deliciously crispy! But other than that, the mushroom glace is a bit of a disappointment.... And again, for the price we are paying, the serving size is rather small. How expensive can potatoes or broccoli get?

Oh yes, speaking of which, I really despise restaurants who charge/overcharge for plain water. I mean, they would probably use bottled mineral water then tag it at exorbitant prices of RM6 or RM10 per bottle but heck, when I said I want warm water, I don't mind tap water but don't come saying that we only serve mineral water! I think it's such a cheap way for restaurants to earn a few extra bucks. Boo! Just serve us a glass of water, make it free (cos it's freaking cheap, alright) and make customers happy. Win-win. How difficult can that be?

Grilled Rack of Lamb (RM65)
mint flavoured sauce with roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables

The 'mint-flavoured sauce' is so humble and mediocre that I didn't even realize it is mint sauce until I have finished the lamb, celebrated New Year's Eve, loaded a dump in the loo the next day and blogging about it at 5pm. At least for this lamb, the portion is a bit more worth it. Has about 4 pieces of lamb cutlets.

We were also trying our best to eat as slowly as we can hahahhaha because it was only about 9:30pm and were already finished with our main.

Dessert of Chocolate Mousse Truffle (RM15) or something like that. Didn't come with a description so I'll my best to offer my limited professional opinion of it haha.

The thick chocolate is pretty dense and lies on top of what I assume to be digestive biscuits. The base is not dense so when you cut the chocolate through, the loose base sort of falls apart so it gets a bit annoying to collect them all back on your choc. To me, it's just pretty blah and completely forgettable, unfortunately... Overall, the meals and dessert included feels like they have all been prepared in advance, brought out for whoever orders them, not the 'cooked just for you' type, if you know what I mean.

And in the background, a street party is already in full swing. Great crowd here, not too rowdy but sporting enough to dance in the middle of the road hahahha.

And a measly picture of the fireworks. No big deal.... just another year, right?

New Year Resolutions?

I don't typically make them, but in the spirit of 2011, let's just say that I vow to put in more hard work in my job, gain more control over my emotions, hopefully, and treat people I love with appreciation and love.

Out with the old, in with the new!

The Georgian Adventure - Hike to Chalaadi Glacier

Our third, and last hike in Svaneti. There are so many more places to hike and explore around Georgia, it was a hard decision to premature...