Colosseum

 

Good thing we booked in advance..
otherwise we would have waited 2 hours to get in!

KP-Rome-2-18

KP-Rome-2-23

KP-Rome-2-20

KP-Rome-2-22

Many artifacts go on exhibit.. only one caught our eyes..
that lovely.. somewhat calm..
somewhat daunting expression on his face…

KP-Rome-2-24

KP-Rome-2-25

KP-Rome-2-27

it was hot!
we are thankful for these occasional light breezes…

KP-Rome-2-17

Kailey walking up the Piazza di Spagna
(lots of shady pickpocket-like faces around here…..)

KP-Rome-2-4

KP-Rome-2-29

into the evening…

 

Pantheon

 

I remember it just like the textbooks from first year at architecture…
the difference? The infinite crowd that keeps pouring in…..!

Rome 1-10

Rome 1-12

Rome 1-13

Rome 1-14

Rome 1-9

We also admired how raw it is outside..
looks beautifully…. unfinished

KP-Rome-2-7 KP-Rome-2-8

Getting our fresssssh juices….

KP-Rome-2-13

Talk about composition………………

KP-Rome-2-14

KP-Rome-2-15

love love loving this marble-love!
door frames.. tables.. floors.. skirting….
photos dont do these details justice!!!!!!!!

KP-Rome-2-16

We visited Bulgari’s flagship store near the Spanish steps…
New commercial jewelry just doesnt make it….
It lacks a certain… “crafted” feel about it.. every piece looks so identical!

See this original Bulgari sculpture in their store?
See that air of “made by hand”….?
That’s what it ought to be!!

 

Andiamo!

 

We haven’t travelled for such a long time!!
Finally.. a trip to the eternal city

Rome 1-1

Warm colours adorn the stone paved streets…

Rome 1-4 Rome 1-6 Rome 1-5

The art of a simple elevation………………………………………….

Rome 1-8

sure brings me back to architecture 101…

Rome 1-31

we never had bresaola so fresh before!!! look at that colour!!!

Rome 1-27

locals say its worn..
we say its historic!!

Rome 1-26

Gelateria del Teatro.. we did our homework first!!
of course… i didn’t eat both!!
choco+strawberry… pistacio+apricot

Rome 1-23 Rome 1-22

how to match marble..

Rome 1-17

kailey had her eyes on this acquamarine ring…
handmade by the monsieur below…

Rome 1-16

Rome 1-33

we lived just across the river.. love these romantic vistas…

 

 

Gubei Water Village

 

dear friends.. long time no see!

it’s been a while since we last updated…
this time.. we are at a water village 2 hours North West of Beijing
Gubei Water Village.. also where the Simatai Great Wall is located!

DSCF1015

you can catch a glimpse of the Great Wall behind…

DSCF0974

it’s a good, authentic restoration job for a lot of these architecture

DSCF1074

DSCF1134

late April to early May is one of the better seasons to visit Beijing…

DSCF1094

DSCF1117

DSCF1202

MOON

DSCF1214

gone are the days of cheesy neon light lit architecture…

DSCF1181

we look forward to more of these restoration projects happening around!!

 

 

Seoul IV

 

Time for some Traditional Korean Architecture!!

KP Seoul-35

At the Bukchon Hanok Village..
a part of town where some traditional houses are still preserved and lived in

KP Seoul-36

Well.. at least there no nails unlike the Kyoto temple we saw.. haha

KP Seoul-37

Somewhat strange.. lumps of exposed cement………………

KP Seoul-38

Wow.. this is at Changdeokgung.. one of the main royal palaces..
Looks very… elementary…

For all the hype around Korean dramas.. this is a let down….

KP Seoul-39

None-the-less.. it’s a beautiful sunny day

KP Seoul-41

Too much walking for Kailey already…

KP Seoul-42KP Seoul-43

KP Seoul-46

We walked so much… of course we need to refuel!!!
We took the subway all the way across town to an ordinary suburb neighborhood…

Just so to try some “local” Bulgogi – we went to this place that has opened for 40 years
… serving the same menu of 5 items of beef (3 cuts).. fatty pork.. and marinated pork

KP Seoul-44

We chose this place because they used proper charcoal!!
We find charcoal grilling much better than gas-fired grilling…

KP Seoul-45

Good meat.. happy meal.

 

Seoul III

 

Just like our trips to Japan.. Seoul welcomes Chinese tourists big time!!

KP Seoul-34

This is outside Shinsaegae.. one of the most established department stores in Seoul..
The Chinese are spending a lot here on shopping….

KP Seoul-26

And this………!!!

Just to clarify.. we only went past this… (Kailey doesn’t need it)
But the hotel-like buildings are ALL OVER SEOUL….

Adverts on bus stops.. inside subway stations… on TV….  EVERYWHERE!!!

KP Seoul-24

As a bit of distraction.. we went for a TUNA SASHIMI meal…
All that was on the menu was.. guess what… TUNA SASHIMI

Great tuna… shame about the knife work…
We like to eat tuna that is TENDON free (as is the norm in Japan…)

Every piece of fish here had chewy (almost unchewable) tendons…
But hey! We are used to being disappointed with the food here now.. hehee..

KP Seoul-27

Kailey at 10 Corso Como Seoul….
For kind readers who are thinking of shopping in Seoul…
Please only go shopping for more basic unbranded items here…

KP Seoul-28

Alright…!! A local Seoul hit – Gwangjang Market.. where the locals eat local!!

KP Seoul-29

Shops upon shops selling…. the same 3 things!!

Pancakes.. dumplings… or pig trotters!! (Yes.. that’s really about it….)

KP Seoul-30

So how does it taste?
POOR.

The pancake is crude.. thick.. overly powdery with not-so-fresh seafood.
The beef sashimi thing at the back?
Well it’s almost fluorescent red… and tasted not too real.. so we only ate a little of it……

KP Seoul-31

Yes.. because that meal was so bad.. we had to go for another dinner…..
Garlic roasted chicken.. which tasted like.. cardboard…
No good either…

KP Seoul-32

So.. third dinner… something more… simple..
Oxtail soup with rice.

That hit the spot.

But.. one bowl of soup cost 21000Won (120RMB or 21USD)
What the hell?? Why is it so expensive for 2 pieces of oxtail that only tastes.. simple?!?!

Nevermind.. at least we were able to eat it all….

KP Seoul-33

Finally Kailey has some energy to shop!! At Namdaemun Market.

 

Seoul II

 

Kapoor.. One of Kailey’s few inspirational figures…
We meet again in Seoul!
Originally we saw this piece at the Royal Academy Kapoor exhibition..

This is one of the inspirations for Kailey’s “Ping Pong Diplomacy”

KP Seoul-9

KP Seoul-14

We are at one of Seoul’s leading art museums.. Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

KP Seoul-13

Another familiar signature piece… Casa di Musica anyone??!
Sarcasm aside.. it’s good to see some bold OMA statements once in a while…..

KP Seoul-12

This I love!! Mario Botta’s Museum I
Contrast of Light and Darkness.. Tick
Sense of Illusion and Mystery… Tick
Beautiful? Yes.

KP Seoul-11

KP Seoul-10

We saw this piece by Kohei Nawa in Omotesando (Tokyo) just a few months before!!

KP Seoul-18

Hongdae.. one of the university districts… full of life and energy!

KP Seoul-17

Time for a (very poor tasting) hand-drip coffee.. from Ethiopia..
Where is the sun-scorched and fruity acidic flavours?!
And they said Seoul is the place for coffee lovers!?!??!?!

Koreans also have a love for stainless steel…
chopsticks.. spoons.. bowls… cups..
Doesn’t quite make sense to me..
I usually don’t like my hands to be burnt by hot metal when eating hot food….

KP Seoul-16

But….! There was this cool turtle in this cafe…

KP Seoul-15

KP Seoul-19

University area = cheap eats area…

KP Seoul-20

This tasted OK! Of course.. we can’t eat more than one!
Too much MSG…….

KP Seoul-21

KP Seoul-23

KP Seoul-22

Korean Bulgogi time!!
We found this shop where all the white-collars gathered after work…
It cost alot.. but the meat was good!
Marbled beef.. juicy.. tender.. yummmmm

But we don’t quite get why it’s so expensive….
we are in essence only paying for meat and charcoal..
Afterall… we cooked it ourself!!
Service?? They just cut the meat.. weighed it.. moved it onto our table!!

We liked it better in Japan when they actually grill meat with skill…
Turning it with timely rhythm and minute precision…
That I can understand why I would pay more for!

 

Seoul I

 

It’s Golden Week in China..
Time for holiday.. in Seoul!!!

KP Seoul-47

Weather is nice in October… around 20 degrees C

KP Seoul-1

First stop.. Dongdaemon Design Plaza!
Another form-making extravaganza by Zaha..
Personally… it’s rather scale-less and life-less ……

It looks cool.. but it does not communicate anything meaningful to our senses..
Contextual? This looks like it could be anywhere..
Beautiful? Well…. it did not make any emotional connection.. so… no…

KP Seoul-2

Looks cool.. but that’s about it……..

KP Seoul-3

Green tea cake time!! Looks good right?!
Tastes no good… especially compared with the ones we had in Kyoto….

Devoid of green tea flavours… soggy and flat texture… disappointed!!
Korean cakes are nowhere on the same level as Japanese cakes….

KP Seoul-4

Bad cake = Sad Kailey………

KP Seoul-5

Insa-dong.. the traditional crafts district!!
Yes.. no photos of traditional crafts.. They are not very good…

Honestly.. they cannot even compare to normal Chinese crafts.. different planet sorry!!

KP Seoul-6

Ah.. what a nice piece of architecture.. reflection of time and history..
Reminds me of the kidnapping movies that we watched as kids…
Can you imagine some poor guy tied up in that room at the top?

KP Seoul-7

KP Seoul-8

Beef soup and rice!! What a… simple.. combination!!
I try to think of something nice to say about this food…
but “simple” is the only word I can conjure… ahem….

(hope you can see we are not exactly inspired by food in Seoul.. )

 

L’Effervescence

 

We love tasty food.. and we love cooking.

To continually improve ourselves..
… from time to time we need to go learn from the best..

TWELVE COURSE OMAKASE DINNER.. we are coming….!!
Every course decided by the head chef. Every course with a matching wine.
(Of course they ask you what you dont eat when you book…)

This is one of the MOST memorable meals we have had together..
And we do not say such things lightly……….

KP Hokkaido-7589

Located in the affluent district of Aoyama..
in a quiet street opposite a traditional temple…

KP Hokkaido-7592

It kind of means bubbles in French… It’s the theme of the entire establishment..
From the food.. to the restaurant decor…

KP Hokkaido-7593 KP Hokkaido-7594

Bubbly champagne.. what else to start with here?!

KP Hokkaido-7595

Foamy starter… in a bubbly glass..

The taste is ethereal….
extremely delicate flavours that compliment each other in ways unimaginable
(And more sea urchin to fill my insatiable appetite for this stuff..)

KP Hokkaido-7662KP Hokkaido-7596

More bubbly glasses and plates….

KP Hokkaido-7600

 

Head chef Shinobu Namae is really very good at pastries..
Here he and his team have taken a common item..
the fast-food pie.. and re-worked it to the highest level..

KP Hokkaido-7602

We know we often use superlatives here..
However it is still an understatement to say this is one of the best pies we have tried..

So light.. the texture so fluffy… I felt like I was floating…….
The surprising use of suppon (softshell turtle) really adds a kick!!
One might think it might be too overpowering…
but the considered use of foie gras, corn and lime balances the whole palette..

KP Hokkaido-7605 KP Hokkaido-7610

Juicy turnip… when we cut it… so much juice flowed out…
And the juice mixed with the green parsley oil emulsion below to create the sauce…

KP Hokkaido-7616

Ayu (fish) broth.. condensed into a shot

KP Hokkaido-7618

Good food = Happy K&P

KP Hokkaido-7623

Might not look much..
but each of the three pieces of Ayu (fish which made the broth) are cooked differently…
Deep fried.. pan fried.. and charcoal grilled..
And they all taste distinctly different!! I really mean the taste.. not the texture!!

See the wine in the background? A Japanese red wine..
2012 Beaupaysage Tsugane La Bois

INSANE!! This wine’s springy acidity made the fish jump out of the river!!
I’m not joking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KP Hokkaido-7628

Mr Sommelier’s daring use of far-fetched wines and sakes…
We loved it.. a kind of sticky rice sake.. which goes with…

KP Hokkaido-7631

The most exquisite of foie gras…
Kailey nearly cried when she ate this………………………………..

Usually foie gras taste heavy.. and somewhat “overflowing”.. this is the opposite!
Airy.. light.. gracefully aromatic.. I can’t quite find the words to describe this…..

Also the first time we had sake-jelly..
the flat taste helps spread the flavours inside the mouth..
and at the same time.. amplifying the aroma of the foie gras …

KP Hokkaido-7637

For mains.. sirloin.. the most evenly textured sirloin I’ve eaten…

KP Hokkaido-7638 KP Hokkaido-7641

A salad landscape.. this was a journey of tastes!!
As this was eaten from left to right.. each bite had a different atmosphere…
We have not the slightest idea how this was choreographed………… (cry)

KP Hokkaido-7645

This was a confusing dish (in a good way)
Molten custard cream disc.. elderflower beer jelly…
Earl Grey ice-cream… shortbread crumbs…

It painted a very English landscape…
I could see the rolling hills.. an elderflower field in front of me…
tea and biscuits.. fluffy clouds.. a gentle breeze…..

Either I had too much alcohol (dont think so) or this was a super powerful piece of art…….
I drool every time I look at this photo..
(actually… most photos in this post do that to me..)

KP Hokkaido-7646

We were continuously perplexed and amazed Mr Naoto’s (the sommelier) wine selection

KP Hokkaido-7650

Even the desert was (literally) bubblicious…
I won’t ruin the surprise.. go try it!!

KP Hokkaido-7651 KP Hokkaido-7653

Head chef Shinobu Namae.. I think this won’t be our last meeting…

We shared the same belief that good food should be imaginative..
evoke emotions.. paint colours.. create intangibly tasty landscapes….

Thank you!

KP Hokkaido-7660

Mr Naoto Kishida.. our wine-landscape-creator.

He matched wine and food based on ethereal instincts

Never have we tasted such a wild.. far fetching.. yet refined selection of wines..
Each and everyone had a wonderful marriage with the food…
with visionary imagination and uncanny precision…
Man.. I don’t think we can ever do this at home…

A truly inspiring.. surprising.. fun.. yet humble man.
Thank you!

KP Hokkaido-7663The Japanese Beau Paysage was player of the match…. what the hell??
How did you bring that fish back to life in my mouth?!!??!

Every single one of the twelve courses were magical.
Not one dish had any weakness or contraditions..
This consistency is scary.. awesome.. and thought shattering!

One of the best meals we’ve ever had. Period.

 

Flower Tea

 

As much as I loved searching for hardcore pure coffee..
We also hang out at places more.. cozy!!

KP Hokkaido-7546

Well… isn’t this cozy.. so cozy…. that everyone in here are girls…
Except me….

KP Hokkaido-7548

Pierre with his floral shirt to match the occasion………… (non intentional)

KP Hokkaido-7551 KP Hokkaido-7575 KP Hokkaido-7576

Flower shop which serves floral tea… ingenious combo…

KP Hokkaido-7581 KP Hokkaido-7582