Sunday, March 29, 2015

Schloss Vaux Cuvee Vaux Brut 2011

Date of Tasting: 28 December 2014
Wine Type: Sparkling White
Grape Varieties: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Riesling
Alcohol: 12%
Origin: Rheingau, Germany
Appellation: Klassische Flaschengarung
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR15
Chubby Appreciation: 89/100
Professional Rating: n.a.

Appearance: Light yellow
Aroma: Mineral and melon
Palate: Fine acidity and effervescence. Citrus, apple, and peach notes. Dry and crisp.

This bottle of sparkling wine fro Germany is a no joke production. A pretty nice and delicious at good value aperitif with the marriage between, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Riesling. Harmonious but yet hidden with power. It should be a brilliant entertainer for a few years. Grab some oysters to savour or a chillax weekend as aperitif will also do. Cheers!!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sora City @ Sukhumvit 26, Bangkok - โซระ ซิตี้ @ ซอยสุขุมวิท 26 กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: Cafe
Price: THB225 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 25 January 2015
Food: 5/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Value for money: 6/10
Services: 6/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

There may be coffee shops almost every corner nowadays in Bangkok city centre. Here is no exception. Sora City in Soi Sukhumvit 26 was established not long ago: just at the beginning of 2015. It is just a small cafe with simple but comfortable ambient: those wooden furniture in Japanese minimalist style. In addition, the owner also opens a bike shop at the rear of the cafe. It is a small and unique bike shop in fact.

At the time of our visit, Sora City was just launched. The lady owner and staffs were friendly. Menu is kept simple as in cafe style ranging from simple scrambled egg to omelette rice for savoury, pancake for dessert, and cafe beverage. As mentioned, the place is tucked in Soi Sukhumvit 26 which is more or less convenient for many mean of transport. Nevertheless, driving might cause you a little problem if you are thinking of stopping by this little cafe for a good cup of cafe latte. The thing is there is one park lot at the back of the cafe. More than that you will have to find parking space yourself somewhere along the street. But if you live in the area, walking or biking to Sora City may give you some pleasure during weekend.

Sora City @ Sukhumvit 26

simple but relax

tiny cafe and bike shop

"The Real Alaska" exhibition (happened to be at the time of visit)

name card and reindeer

This is just a cafe, an ordinary cafe really. So there is nothing much for me to review except saying that coffee here is not bad at all. It was carefully brewed though. Savoury dishes were enjoyable too. As we often drive through Soi Sukhumvit 26, Sora City will be another destination for our coffee break. The followings are what we had:

Creamy Omelette with Shrimp on Rice - ข้าวไข่ข้นกุ้ง (6/10)
Bacon, Scrambled Egg, and Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes - เบคอน ไข่กวน และแพนเค้ก (5/10)
Caffe Latte - กาแฟลาเต้ร้อน (7/10)
Signature Bitter Chocolate Frappe - ช๊อคโกแลตปั่น (6/10)

Creamy Omelette with Shrimp on Rice (THB100)

Bacon, Scrambled Egg, and Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes (THB125)

Caffe Latte (THB85)

Signature Bitter Chocolate Frappe (THB140)

Sora City @ Sukhumvit 26, Bangkok - โซระ ซิตี้ @ ซอยสุขุมวิท 26 กรุงเทพฯ
61/52 Soi Sukhumvit 26
Sukhumvit Road
Khlong Tan, Khlong Toey
Bangkok 10110

Open Hours: daily from 09:00am - 08:00pm
Tel: +66 (0) 2001 6600

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2007

Date of Tasting: 7 January 2015
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 50% Corvina Veronese, 15% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 5% Oseleta
Alcohol: 15%
Origin: Veneto, Italy
Appellation: Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR50
Chubby Appreciation: 92/100
Professional Rating: WS - 92/100, WE - 92/100, JR - 16.5/20, CT - 90/100

Appearance: Deep and dark ruby
Aroma: Lively aroma of rose petals, sweet fruits, and smoky wood
Palate: Full on the palate. Sweet ripe cherry and plum. Fresh and fine. Mild spices and cedar.

Typically, I am not a kind of Amarone lover but it is good to drink from time to time. This Tommasi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007 seemed to sing harmoniously. It started off with sweet fruits and dried off with complexity of spices. It as well possessed integrated smooth texture and long finish. Approachable now and should be drinking well along with red meat. Salute!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mon Phochana @ Thai Mueang, Phang Nga - มันโภชนา @ อำเภอท้ายเหมือง จังหวัดพังงา

Cuisine: Southern Thai
Price: THB250 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 19 December 2014
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Happen to visit or pass by Phang Nga, I swear you should not miss Mon Phochana at Thai Mueang district. This restaurant by Phetkasem Road does not look elegant nor charming at all but the taste of food here is another story. It is just two block of commercial buildings with nothing spectacular that everyone would just drive pass without noticing. That is sure not a surprise at all. I was one of the kind too until a local relative suggested to give it a go. Blessing me, food here was so delicious that I had to return the next day: so rich, so flavourful, spicy but balance, and made with fresh local ingredients. Thank God I found this place.

Mon Phochana @ Thai Mueang, Phang Nga

just a block of building by the road

When in Phang Nga, the very first thing we have to order is none but หอยชักตีนลวกจิ้ม - boiled wing shell (7/10). Wine shell is rather rare these days. It was locally caught: so fresh and yummy. Simply dip in spicy seafood sauce and that would bring you with finale. Next was ปลาทรายทอดขมิ้น - deep-fried silver whiting with turmeric (8/10). This is one of my all time favourite Souther Thai dish. The aroma of turmeric was fantastic. Silver whiting was fried nicely such that it was cracklingly crispy. I could just eat the whole thing. As for หมูสามชั้นคั่วเกลือ - deep-fried pork with salt (6/10), it was nice but not so impressive. Juicy and crispy, it was. But a little too oily to my liking. Well seasoned though.

หอยชักตีนลวกจิ้ม - boiled wing shell (THB150)

ปลาทรายทอดขมิ้น - deep-fried silver whiting with turmeric (THB140)

หมูสามชั้นคั่วเกลือ - deep-fried pork with salt (THB140)

Moving on to more serious dishes. ผักเหมียงผัดกุ้งเสียบ - stir-fried melinjo with dried shrimp (6/10) is another favourite local dish that many people do have to order. It was nice but lack the magic touch that I could not explain. Then we had ต้มกะทิผักเหมียงกุ้งสด - melinjo and prawn in coconut milk (9/10). This is perhaps the very best dish we had here. Melinjo was fresh as well as the naturally sweet coconut milk. Spices brought up flavour with balance. I just love this dish. Lastly we thought we should not miss out curry, so we had แกงคั่วหอยขมใบชะพลู - river snails curry with piper sarmentosum (7/10). Most people who visit the southern part of Thailand seem to go for crab curry. Personally, I fond for shell based curry more. It contains more flavour and dimension on palate for me. Mon Phochana also did not disappoint me. River snails curry here was fabulously crafted. It can be too hot and spicy to some, hence, be aware.

Well, let me say once again. Mon Phochana is a local restaurant that you should not miss out in Phang Nga. Nice food at reasonable price. Thank god I found this place.

ผักเหมียงผัดกุ้งเสียบ - stir-fried melinjo with dried shrimp (THB100)

ต้มกะทิผักเหมียงกุ้งสด - melinjo and prawn in coconut milk (THB140)

แกงคั่วหอยขมใบชะพลู - river snails curry with piper sarmentosum (THB160)

Mon Phochana @ Thai Mueang, Phang Nga - มันโภชนา @ อำเภอท้ายเหมือง จังหวัดพังงา
46/11-12 Phetkasem Road
Moo 1
Lam Kaen, Thai Mueang
Phang Nga 82210

Open Hours: daily from 09:00pm - midnight
Tel: +66 (0) 84 626 8991, +66 (0) 76 443 146

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Walter Hansel The North Slope Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012

Date of Tasting: 30 December 2014
Wine Type: Red
Grape Varieties: 100% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 14.2%
Origin: California, USA
Appellation: Russian River Valley
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR35
Chubby Appreciation: 92/100
Professional Rating: WA - 94/100, AG - 92/100, ST - 92/100

Appearance: Ruby red
Aroma: Sweet red berries and spices
Palate: Rather rich medium-full bodied pinot. More fruit forward. Dark cherry flavour with fine acidity. Some spicy notes. Gentle and smooth tannins. Balance on the overall.

Nicely approachable Californian Pinot Noir. I had this with shabu shabu and sukiyaki. Food and wine supported each other well. Fruity palate but not too heavily weighted: more of feminine than masculine. To me, this is like a half-blood style of Pinot Noir: i.e. half Burgundian, half New World. Would not mind at all to follow this producer in the future.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MOE Sushi and Bar @ LUXX XL Hotel, Lang Suan, Bangkok - โมเอะ ซูชิแอนด์บาร์ @ โรงแรมลักซ์ เอ็กซ์แอล หลังสวน กรุงเทพฯ

Cuisine: Japanese
Price: THB2,500 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 28 December 2014
Food: n.a.
Atmosphere: n.a.
Value for money: n.a.
Services: n.a.
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Towards the end of 2014, we, together with some friends, had a chance to visit MOE Sushi and Bar at LUXX XL Hotel on Lang Suan road which was recently launched at the time. It replaces the former Japanese restaurant, Washoku. I have to let you know that I won't be commenting on any of the dish here, having got a close friendship with one of the owner here.

The overall picture of this place is somewhat relax and may be suitable for hanging out even. There are also outdoor seats, which are adjacent to the hotel's pool. Hence, al fresco during a good weather day is not a bad idea at all. This place concentrates mainly on sushi dishes, both traditional and fusion, with choices of beverage. The dining hall is not large but comfortable enough with friendly atmosphere. If you do drive, parking can still be a hassle for LUXX XL Hotel even the move of Triplets to outside the hotel.

MOE Sushi and Bar @ LUXX XL Hotel, Lang Suan, Bangkok

cosy and relax setting

another friendly corner

chillax outdoor space

Here are the food. I have to admit that I forgot to take note of pricing and some name. Anyway, have a taste for yourself to judge.

O-toro Sashimi

Premium Nigiri Set

Full-on Botan Ebi (THB380)

Moe Engawa (THB400)

Cheesy Salmon (THB320)

Suki Suki (THB590)

Hotate Eskaruko (THB450)

Ohmi Wagyu Steak (THB1,850)


Illuminated Prawn Tempura........LOL

Charcoal Ice-cream

MOE Sushi and Bar @ LUXX XL Hotel, Lang Suan, Bangkok - โมเอะ ซูชิแอนด์บาร์ @ โรงแรมลักซ์ เอ็กซ์แอล หลังสวน กรุงเทพฯ
Floor G, LUXX XL Boutique Hotel
82/8 Lang Suan Road
Lumphini, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330

Open Hours: daily from 11:30am - 02:00pm for lunch and 05:30pm - 10:00pm for dinner (no lunch break for weekends and bar opens until late night for Fri and Sat)
Tel: +66 (0) 2650 4769

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Schlossgut Diel Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling Spatlese 2012

Date of Tasting: 12 December 2014
Wine Type: White
Grape Varieties: 100% Riesling
Alcohol: 8%
Origin: Nahe, Germany
Appellation: Spatlese
Expect to Pay: ~ EUR40
Chubby Appreciation: 95/100
Professional Rating: ST - 93/100, CT - 90/100

Appearance: pale straw
Aroma: pineapple, peach, and spices
Palate: Rich medium-full structure. Fine acidity. Refreshing. Sweet ripe tropical fruits. Long and lingering

It was sweeter and denser than vintage 2011 I had in the previous year. So fine, so juicy, and so charming. Mineral did play the main role here but acidity and balance sweetness. It went pretty nicely with spicy and rich food such as Chinese and Thai for me. Superb now and should be nice to see how it develops.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ristorante Puny @ Portofino, Italy

Cuisine: Italian
Price: EUR30 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 11 October 2014
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 9/10
Value for money: 5/10
Services: 5/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

Portofino, at Liguria region of Italy, is indeed a dream destination for many travellers. It sure is a busy little village and harbour but can be beautiful and breathtaking during nice weather days. During our trip, we drove to Portofino from Piedmont just to stop by this famous destination. It was only a few hours that we were there but surely enough to get the feel of this place.

During lunch hour, we popped by one of the restaurant that seems to be well-known in the cyber world: Ristorante Puny. We did some research before going and this little does seem to get praised a lot and we did not hesitate to give a try. For location wise, it is sure a guarantee for fantastic spot and view. I believe it would be really romantic for a date night out dinner. Seats are organised at store front to face the harbour. We were lucky to be seated right at the front row as we were the very first to arrive. It was not really a bright weather day but nice enough to dine there. Staffs were rather cold as we felt. Nevertheless, the old man owner did take thing very actively, advising from the back row himself.

Ristorante Puny @ Portofino, Italy

al fresco seats

waterfront view of Portofino

simple basket of bread

For the dish, we had Pappardelle Portofino (8/10) and Pesce al Sale (7/10). Pappardelle Portofino was definitely a very nice tomato based pasta. A really simple looking dish but tasted wonderfully. The creamy texture and rich flavour sauce went fabulously with large pappardelle. Next was Pesce al Sale which is basically baked sea bass with salt. Nothing much fancy here but fresh sea bass baked with salt served with olive oil. Satisfaction was there for me. Fresh fish baked just right with tender texture. The rest was just salty taste on the palate and aroma of olive oil. I do like it.

Well, Ristorante Puny is not a cheap place at all but a good experience al fresco, especially when visiting with your love one. The view is remarkable. Not cheap but I would still say recommendation to anyone who is going to visit Portofino.

Pappardelle Portofino (EUR20)

Pesce al Sale (EUR30)

a lady staff dissembling the fish

Ristorante Puny @ Portofino, Italy
5 Piazza Martiri dell'Olivetta
Portofino 16034

Open Hours: daily except Thursday 12:30pm - 02:30pm for lunch and 07:30pm - 10:30pm for dinner
Tel: +39 0185 268 037
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