Bloggers’ Yee Sang @The Magic Wok, Damansara Jaya

Indeed the woks here wields some serious magic.

How else could one explain the delicious dishes that appeared from the kitchen that night?

One dish that got me hooked that night were the finger licking long ribs. It was absolutely addictive. The marinate thoroughly permeats the meat & the tender texture with the glorious soft fatty layers still got me salivating till today.

finger licking long ribs

California Pizza Kitchen – KLCC

Alcohol is served all day.

CPK drinks

So we loosen our ties, threw off our jackets & sipped mojitos, pina coladas, margaritas, smoothies & rum + tequila with our salads, pasta & pizza, FOR LUNCH, on a weekday.
Ahh.. if only this is a daily routine.

appetser

pasta

duck pizza

California Pizza Kitchen in KLCC is Sg-based Golden Pillar Holdings only franchise outlet in Malaysia.
And it’s very outlet in KLCC has been in operation since 1999, a full decade and a mean feat; if you ask me, considering the frequency and number of dining outlets that has come and gone on that very floor itself.

Come lunch time, the place is packed to the rafters, but the experienced kitchen & staff handled the orders without a hitch. A decade of practice no doubt.

customers at alunch

The imported hearth open flame oven is the trademark item in all CPK restaurants. It bakes the pizza in approximately three minutes, & the intense heat coupled with rapid cooking time preserves the natural, fresh flavors and characters of the toppings.

kitchen
Our Peking Duck Pizza (RM33.00) (Pan roasted duck breast, low-fat Mozzarella cheese, soy-glazed shitake mushrooms, crispy wontons, slivered leek & ginger and Hoisin sauce) was a tad too salty for me & I find the hoisin sauce overpowering, but as all dishes on the menu are direct creations from CPK’s central kitchen in the US, I’m guessing the ratio of ingredients & flavours are more suited to the western tastebuds.

duck pizza

Having said that, California Pizza Kitchen has survived a decade in KLCC & pulls in the crowd daily so obviously CPK has it’s fans.

pizza

Most produce in CPK is imported directly from the HQ as well, & that includes the dough of the pizza crust, the DESSERTS & the Mexican Cholula Hot Sauce you see above, in replacement for the common Tabasco for the pizzas.

All of the items reviewed is part of CPK’s Asian Delight Lunar New Year Menu, as well as their Valentine set; Special Dinner Menu for Two – RM88 ++ which includes:

- A choice of selected half size salad
- A choice of selected 1 pizza
- A choice of selected 1 pasta
- A choice of 2 glasses of mocktails or sparkling wine

The appetiser for CPK’s Asian Delight Lunar New Year Menu is Lettuce Wraps (from RM23.00 (chic/shrimp) or RM26.00 (chic & shrimp) which consisted of minced chicken &/shrimp, wok-seared with Shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, & scallops in soy ginger sauce, served on a bed of crispy rice noodles & a side of spicy chilli-ginger sauce.

This is very chinese indeed, especially when you eat it wrapped in a lettuce leaf not unlike the way one eats the “Nyonya Jiu Hu char”.

appetser

Their chinese/eastern repertoire of salads was next.
A total of 3 to choose from, my favourite is the Miso Salad, (Half size -RM19.00, Full size – RM22.00) that came in the form of a hill of shredded Napa cabbage, fresh avocado, julienne cucumbers, daikon, edamame, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, cilantro, crispy rice noodles & crispy wontons tossed in Miso dressing.

The clean crisp flavours from the salad won me over. Or it could be that I like Japanese food in the first place.

miso salad

Asian inspired salads doesn’t run far from Thai & Indonesian. And not surprisingly, the next two was the Thai Crunch Salad (Full size – RM29.00, Half size -RM26.00) with lime-cilantro dressing & topped with crispy rice sticks & Thai peanut dressing & Chinese Chicken Salad (Half size – RM20.00, Full size -RM23.00) with toasted sesame seeds & fresh cilantro in a spicy, sweet & sour sesame dressing.

thai salad
chinese chic salad
Out of the 2 choices of pastas, I liked the Kung Pao Spaghetti (With chicken -RM29.00/ with shrimp – RM36.00/ with chicken + shrimp – RM39.00) though I wished that it was spicier.
I find the Garlic Noodles (chicken -RM29.00, shrimp – RM36.00, both chicken+ shrimp – RM39.00) – wok-fried Chinese yellow noodles in garlic-ginger sauce with snow peas, Shitake mushrooms, mild onions, red & yellow peppers, broccoli, & scallions a tad too sweet.

pasta

Then came their legendary desserts… legendary because so many people have raved of their Tiramisu & their Red Velvet. Fully imported due to QC, it is flown in frozen & dressed up just before serving.

desserts

Overall, the desserts were too sweet for me, a reminder of the fact that they were made in US. But that could also mean more authentic recipes.
The Red Velvet Cake – RM22.00 was unlike previous versions that I have tasted and actual beet juice were used.
The Chocolate Souffle Cake – RM20.00 is deliciously RICH, made with Belgian chocolate & served warm with CPK’s triple-thick hot fudge on vanilla bean sauce. Don’t mess with the Americans on their fudge, I tell you.
The Tiramisu – RM22.00 is creamy, and so alcoholically infused that it deserved an order if you happened to be in CPK again.
Unfortunately banana cream was used rather than fresh bananas in the moist and rich Chocolate Banana Royale Cake. But of course, when one takes into consideration the distance it was imported from I guess it is wise to use the cream version instead.

Overlooking the KLCC fountain & KLCC park, CPK in KLCC provides diners a scenic view while they feast. I reckon the scene is even more beautiful come night time.

view

The media representatives for the session.

the people

Many thanks to Integrated Public Relations for inviting me on behalf of CPK, GPH! I’m holding my breath in anticipation for their next to be-launched creations in April 2010!

California Pizza Kitchen
Lot #140, Level 1, Suria KLCC
50088 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (+603) 2382 0512

Business Hours: 11:30a.m. – 11:00p.m. daily

Kitchen Creatures, Centrepoint – INVADED by bloggers!!


I like this place.

Kitchen Creatures

And so does the other 20+odd bloggers, judging by the happy grins & noise we made that night.

Kitchen Creatures crittersAlign Center

Honesty, direct, peppered with bits of wit, the Kitchen Creatures menu tells you as it is. You get what you pay for, you know exactly how much you gonna have to fork out for it & you will be served FRESHLy prepared & MSG-free food. What a marvelous concept!

Kitchen Creatures1

Try as I might, I couldn’t resist ordering the burger. Described on the menu as Monstrosity, yet priced at RM11, it was an excellent value for money choice considering the layers of cheese, full sized ham & bacon, EGG, fresh vegetables, pickles, tomatoes & THICK patty of chicken or beef snuggled between a lightly toasted quality bun.

Burgers!

Favola it is not, but their repertoire of pasta is still a pleasure to eat. Fresh paste, bountiful bouncy seafood with a good balance of flavours (not too creamy nor too salty or sweet) had all of us agreeing that Kitchen Creatures’ claim of “all our food is carefully prepared to meet the highest standards set by George Creatures (the chef)…only fresh ingredients with no MSG” is no hoax.

Marinara, RM13. Spicy Aglio Olio with Shrimp, RM12. Seafood garlic cream sauce, RM13.

pasta

Other than the food, there is good eye-candy for us gals. Or gays.
Fresh off their gym workouts, muscles stretching against their shirts, crew cut hunks congregate here for the Sizzling ribeye steak, RM19; a chunky portion of red meat, done to your preference & arrives at your table smoking. My my, I can see the gym doctor nodding approvingly.

steak

We had more of course.

Monster Platter, RM15 - Fried shrimp, calamari rings, mushrooms, mini wings & nachos.
Grilled Chicken, RM13 – Charbroiled boneless chop with sauteed onions, baked beans & fries.
Chicken ala King, RM11 – Sauteed with mushrooms in light sour cream gravy, served with buttered rice.
Sirloin Steak, with a choice of 2 sides at RM16.

I can’t sing much praises for the Monster Platter, but I find the grilled chicken & sirloin steak decent for its price.

mains

The pies @RM2.80 each were CUTE & although small in size, was bursting at the crust with its delicious stuffing, be it tuna or chicken & egg.
A bit dry on its own, yes, but a good order for those who prefers something savoury yet light in size.
Btw, it came with a side of mash too. We ordered a set of TWO pies for RM7.

pies

Their pizza crust tasted generic but I reminded myself that this is after all, RM12 per pizza.
The pizza dough is made specially for them by their supplier. All the sauces & gravy however, is made in house & fresh upon order, assured Chef JJ, one half of the brothers duo who runs this place.
Each pizza is 10 inches in diameter & we stapled the Seafood pizza with Thousand Island – RM12, The Magherita, which is mozzarealla, cheddar with spinach, special pizza sauce & the Pizza Carbonara which consisted of mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan with chicken & beef bacon, also RM12.

The much raved about stuffed mushrooms (RM7.30 for 6) was a few sizes shrunken but made up for it in taste.

Meanwhile, the Garlic bread are as crisp & buttery as it should be.

starters

Some of the drinks we ordered; Ice Cream Soda float RM7, Ice Lemon Tea RM6, Limey George (Ribenna, Sprite & Lemon) RM7.

Kitchen Creatures drinks
dining

There is a lot more on the menu than what we tried that night & we were really spoilt for choices, both for food & for drinks.

Parking is FREE after 630pm & there is WIFI.
Food is affordable & FRESHLY prepared, portions are big, there is a medley of choices available, bill is tax free, environment is clean & comfortable…WOW.. Kitchen Creatures is probably the next BEST thing to happen for the BU area!

El Meson, Bangsar – mid week Lunch with the bloggers!!

The unbearable heat of the mid- day sun blazed down relentlessly & I hasten my pace towards El Meson on Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar.

Well, I thought wryly, if I can’t siesta like the Spanish, at least I will dine like one.
And the latter fact holds true if one dines at the warm, welcoming alcove of El Meson.

With Chef Fernando helming the kitchen, a Spanish import to boot, my meals at El Meson (one of which I have blogged about; you can read about my indulgent dinner here ) had been pricey but never entirely disappointing, & had therefore, deservingly amassed more hits than misses in my book.

Their Ultimate Pork Burger – with mushrooms, bacon, cheese & caramelized onions, RM26 was my goal this time round, since it is part of their lunch menu which I haven’t had past opportunity to sample.

ultimate pork burger

To just describe it as delicious probably wouldn’t do it enough justice, as it was undisputedly one of the top 5 pork burgers in town, with the most delightful fried potatoes cuts that is worthy to be claimed “orgasmic”, unlike a certain pork burger joint that I know.

I’m sure discerning diners appreciate efforts by F&B outlets in attention to details, & I for one, would always have praises for a chef who doesn’t take shortcuts in the preparation of the sides that comes with a main course.
The freshly fried potatoes were fluffy & lightly seasoned; & thus was the perfect accompaniment to the burger.

Out of the series of Tapas we had, the terrine is a clear winner; an ingenious mish-mash of bacon, pork, apricot, pistachio and balsamic reduction.
The Calamares Rellenos stuffed with squid, Serrano ham, tomato (RM16) & Stuffed Tomatoes with prawns & squids topped with cheese and breadcrumbs (RM16) were divine & I was glad the mains followed quickly after, for all that actually made me hungry for more.

el meson tapas

Iberico Cheeks with carrots & potatoes on Pumpkin puree,RM62.
Pork Chop – pan roasted and served wth Sauerkraut and roast potatoes, RM42
Pan fried chicken breast stuffed with Serrano & cheese served with potato wedges and vegetables, RM38
Pork Belly and Pork ribs Stew with Chorizo, Morcilla Blood Sausages and Beans,
RM38

The THICK pork chop was juicy though I did feedback to Ek that it the sauce could have been a bit more flavourful. The tender gamey Iberico Cheeks had me pinching my own cheeks. My, I marveled as I cut the big round balls into half, Ibericos pigs does have meaty cheeks! The stuffed chicken looked dry at first & worried murmurs went round the table. Luckily, it was illusory & the stuffing of Serrano ham & cheese turned out to be delicious!

The pork belly & rib stew was certainly moreish, even more so as it is an uncommon preparation. There was a lot of different beans in the dish and we polished off every single one of them.

el meson wagyu cheeks

el meson porkchop

pork belly & rib stew

el meson stuffed chic

All of the sides of vegetables & beans on each dish were wonderfully addictive, tasty even on its own. Kudos to the Chef!

El Meson has upped their desserts offerings & we were given complimentary ones to share. (Thanks Ek! ;p )
My favourite was the Trifle, and here (though it may look un-photogenic) they scope it out from a big bowl and this is actually one portion. The custard layer was lovely, the jello addictive & the copious amount of fruits deceivingly assured us that this is a waist-friendly dessert ;)

el meson desserts

Then the molten choc cake stole the show. It was heavenly. The flow of chocolate lava doesn’t seem to stop oozing out! The outer layer was lightly crisp, and it’s warm & moist chocolate sponge was absolutely to die for!
Last was the flourless, sugarless chocolate cake; which though out-shined by it’s mate The Molten Lava, was still a worthy- to- order dessert.

The Spanish creme catalana (picture not here since I forgot to take any) came in small cazuela molds, just like how they made it in Spain. Aesthetically, it was easy to pass it off as Creme Brulee but according to Ek, i’ts preparation is different. Anyhow, think creme brulee but flavoured with cinnamon & lime zest instead.

I like El Meson for its innovative preparations & uncommon ingredients used in its dishes.
My advice for those who wants to try this place is to get a min group of 5, since the dishes ain’t exactly your typical dinners prices, & there is so much worth stapling here!

The bill came up to RM45 per pax & there were 8 of us that day. For the amount of food we had, I thought it was a steal!

Farni’s Nasi Kukus, Bukit Damansara – memang BEST!!

I’ve been blogging a post too many of pork.
To the extent that a fellow blogger (Malay) asked me at a recent event; “Eh, can blog about something that I can eat ah? Don’t you eat Malay food?”.

“Oh yes, I love Malay food! I eat Nasi Lemak almost every other day.” I replied.

“Err.. NL is Malay food right?”, I stammered when I saw him pause.

“Yes yes, but do recommend something not so common.” he said.

“Well, fret not,” I assured him, thinking of my back logs and folders of pictures; “I’m sure I can dig out something, watch out for my next post”.

So yeah, pushing aside all my drafts, I present to you one of the best nasi kukus to be discovered, with many thanks to skinny Leonard for the heads-up on this place. *muaks*.

I am assuming that Farni = Farid + Nani, since the bunting says
” Call for catering:
Farid 012 – 710 2206
Nani 012 – 223 2206″.

farni nasi kukus

Leonard gave a few warnings, one of which is to come early or risk watching them pack up.

To get here, look out for Pondok Polis Bukit Damansara near Plaza Damansara which is opposite CIMB Bank (there is a mosque nearby too), Farni’s Nasi Kukus stall is located directly behind it under a make shift tent. There is also a malay economy rice stall beside it & another coffeeshop-like outlet nearby.

pondok polis Bkt damansara

pondok polis Bkt damansara2

Within close vicinity of this police “station”, the aromatic scent of fried spiced chicken suffuses the air, and reassuringly tells me I am at the right place.

nsi kukus - Damansara1

Being there early (yes, I’m very kiasu when it comes to food), I got to watch how the rice was prepared.
Each individual steel bowls of rice was rinsed, the correct level of water added & steamed in these ‘Chinese’ tiers steamer.

nsi kukus - Damansara

Their ayam goreng rempah hit all the right notes for the prerequisites of a good fried chicken; moist, juicy with a lovely, deliciously marinated crisp skin.

nsi kukus - Damansara4

The rice was just as good; firm & loosely separated. Since it is plain on its own because this is not coconut milk infused, this is where you should be liberal with the superb daging masak hitam (beef in soy sauce?) & tasty fish curry.

Be sure to ask for more of the red chili sauce too, it’s knock-your-socks off spicy & a chili lover’s dream.

nsi kukus - Damansara5

My RM5 nasi kukus. 1 chicken drumstick, 1 piece of beef, liberal amount of curry, cucumbers & ladyfingers. Very filling & absolutely gratifying.

nsi kukus - Damansara2

So the next time you happened to be in Damansara Heights at noon & budget happens to be a bit tight for the eateries in this area, look for the police station. This pondok has got a hidden gem ;)

Nasi Kukus Farni, Bukit Damansara
Call for catering:
Farid 012 – 710 2206
Nani 012 – 223 2206

Weekdays – 12pm to finish.

Bored of the ordinary? Try some beggars’ food!

Now RM212 isn’t exactly a beggar’s budget. But get together 9 fellow wacko beggars and it might just be 2 day’s begging work.
Plus you’ll get a Saturday night out of boring civilization, good food & (depending on who you invite), an absolutely glorious MAD time out.

makangang

The FAMOUS New Beggar’s Delicious Restaurant @IJOK.
Where some say it is in some twilight zone. . .

Surroundin area

but fear not though, for with the advancement of technology, no ‘ulu‘ area is too ‘ulu‘ for accessibility.
Here are the GPS coordinates; & it does gets you to the front steps of this place.
N: 101 25′ 8.7″
E: 3 18′ 24.0

If all fails, just head towards Sg Buloh towards Kuala Selangor on the highway, (we took NKVE) and lookout for Ijok. Once you are in the town of Kuala Selangor (which is not as backward as you think, for we were actually caught in a traffic jam at 530pm on a Sat!), it is a mere 30 mins straight drive till you see a signboard that says “New Beggars Delicious Restaurant” on your left.
Seriously, it is that simple & the GPS might not even be necessary.

New Beggar's Delicious Restaurant

above bottom right: Unisex lavatory on the outer grounds, with a working flush & THICK toilet paper. Put some of our shopping malls’ sheer wipes to shame really.

Kitchen is a typical tai-chow kind of layout; for this place does dish out your typical vegetables, seafood & steamed fish preparations.

kitchen

A large enclosed area, the perimeters of the restaurant is used for, among other things, rearing of fresh water fishes (we are not sure if those poor fishies ended up on the diners plates every night) and the the foliage of greens all round soothes the city weary souls in us.

fish pond

Seated at the open air dining area with a thatched roof over our heads, the place is quiet at 630pm, the air is fresh & the cooling breeze eased off any heavy thoughts that we may have carried with us from civilization.

outside

Below: Well mannered hunks who got all the little details covered without the hostess having to ask.
The pre-ordered food were called for, the tea steeped & served, the ice ordered, the cutlery & plates distributed & chillies, garlic etc all laid out. Definitely on my invitees list for more food adventures ;) .

hunks
Famed for its beggar chicken @RM41, I ordered one, though pictures & text from blogs I’ve have read had warned of its mediocrity & predictably, it turned exactly as such.
Beggar Chicken

the chic was stuffed within with some herbs & tasted exactly like the common herbal chicken

The duck @RM45 was a stellar diversion of our initial disappointment. Flavourful, yet retained a hint of its signature gamey taste, we loved this. The stuffing of abalone mushrooms was much appreciated & we slurped up the gravy too.

Beggar Duck

I remembered requesting for a less fatty Pork dish & since I don’t speak Cantonese, I asked a fellow blogger to order all the dishes a day before. She definitely told the lady boss “not so much fat” but we still ended up with a VERY fatty Pork Knuckle @RM41.

Pork Knuckle

But it was freaking awesome… awesomely good!
Glorious melt in the mouth fat…. all soft gelatinous fat!!!… (with some meat la) sent us all the way to high heaven.
The cubes of yam at the sides left us in bafflement as to what was it exactly for, but they definitely did a good job soaking up all the ‘juices’ of the pork & its marinate, & we fought for the yams & mushrooms as hard we did for a piece of the knuckle.

I hesitated in ordering the Glutinous Rice @RM30 at first. But when more confirmed their attendance for the trip, I gave a quick call to add 2 more dishes (while we were on the way!) and was thankful that the restaurant obliged.

This huge orb of very fragrant, glutinous rice is actually a delicious “bak chang” ( glutinous rice dumpling) in a bigger form.

Glutinous Rice

The amount of salted egg yolks in it is not for the cholesterol conscious. However, for the bunch of us, we barely acknowledge the existence of cholesterol.
As it becomes drier as it cools, do please lap it up while it’s hot. I personally liked it though, for it wasn’t too oily & every grain of rice was soft.

The Stuffed Fish @RM33 is worth ordering even if it is just for the sake of marveling at how the heck did they manage to stuff all that paste into the fish skin and yet it still look exactly like a fish?? The fins, skin, tail & head are all still intact!

Look ma, no bones!!

Stuffed Fish

Squeeze the lime over the fish & eat each slice dipped generously into the sweet spicy chili. It’s Yong Tau Fu wrapped in a fish, though we had to admit it’s appearance supersede its taste ;)

The aftermath. *BURP*.

whatsLeft

To placate the guilt in SOME of us (I didn’t feel any guilt at all) for the onslaught of fat & protein, we added an order of vegetables @RM8 AFTER we finished all the above.

veg

And they were really fresh & glorious greens which tasted as if it was just plucked out of the soil moments before it hit the wok.

Below:
We ventured into the beggar’s den.

which is at the back of the whole area…

Beggar Chic CookArea2

The firewood used is supplier by their contact, so no, they do not go chopping down trees in the wild.

See the below; The “oven”, where the firewood goes underneath & heats up the clay & soil , etc.
The poultry & pork packages are placed on the top & covered in more clay/mud?.

Beggar Chic CookArea

Our chicken, duck & pork knuckle came from the “oven” via a wheelbarrow. The boss will personally crack the outer mud layer, revealing another few layers of brown papers and unwrapping it like a gift to reveal the last layer of foil encasing our chicken/duck/pork knuckle.

Unwrapping Beggar Chicken

The fish, chicken & pork were pre-ordered a day before. I added a duck & glutinous rice just 30mins (while we were on the way) before we arrived so that shows last minute orders is possible. Seafood & vegetables are the other dishes that can be ordered on the spot.
Number to call is 03 – 3279 1936 or 019 317 3687.

By the way, do note that they do call you back to ‘scold’ you if you ordered and didn’t turn up!
It happened to me, cos they thought I didn’t come. Once I was there, I was too busy running around taking pictures & delegated the task of getting the food served to one of the guys. Reservations were remembered by mobile numbers, & we were served the exact food we ordered so I don’t see how the misunderstanding came about.

conclusion:
Another FUN outing organised by thenomadGourmand – CHECK. ;p
Value for money – at RM24/pax – CHECK.

note:
This place is recommended for those who had never eaten beggar’s chicken/duck etc before & is game for a short ride out of town, especially if you have a group of friends/family joining you.
It wasn’t super great, (especially the chicken itself) but at least it is authentic (baked in clay/mud and all).

Our free-flow tea was RM5, plus RM1 for the ice.
They asked if we would like to have some fruits, & the food intoxicated bunch of us agreed.
For RM6, we got like 6-7 cubes of pineapples & watermelons, so yeah, you might want to skip the fruits.