Monday, September 12, 2011

The NOBU experience
My husband and I love Japanese food. For as long as I can remember - eating at a japanese restaurant was always a "happy" moment for us. One of our earliest birthday celebrations for me was at a Japanese restaurant called Shokuji in Salcedo Village. I remember being on night shift that night, and going out only for a birthday dinner break. On another occasion, we played hooky and went all the way to Katipunan to have lunch at Kamirori (an old college favorite of mine). For the past 5 years, we've celebrated our wedding anniversary at our favorite Japanese restaurant in Manila - Senju, at Edsa Shangrila Hotel. In fact, Senju is one of the reasons why I continue to keep my Club Edsa card... so that we can continue to enjoy the fabulous Japanese food there.

I first read about Nobu years ago. I read about the collaboration between Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro - because Robert De Niro just loved his cooking. The first restaurant was in New York - and I can only imagine how hard it must be to get reservations (if you were in New York, in the first place!) I did not even dream of trying out the restaurant at that time. I contented myself with buying the cookbook and imagining what his food must taste like (I have a great imagination, especially when reading recipes). I also wanted to have the original recipe of the Black Cod Miso, a signature Nobu dish, a "copy" of which I was able to taste in Singapore.

Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno
Fast forward to 2010 when, on a trip to Hongkong, my husband surprised me with reservations at the Nobu restaurant in the InterContinental Hotel. I had been updating my research on Nobu - and I had told him that there is a Nobu restaurant in Hongkong already. It was not to drop hints - because I knew it would be expensive to dine there - but hey, we can dream, right? The restaurant at the InterCon is on the second floor, and has a great view of the Kowloon bay. Despite my advice to go at lunchtime (to take advantage of the cheaper lunch menu), he insisted we go for dinner so that we can enjoy the lights and sound show coming from the buildings across the bay, at Central. The restaurant is not too formal - they welcomed us with warm smiles as we walked in in our jeans, sneakers and numerous paperbags (from a day of shopping). We asked one of the servers to suggest dishes that we could try out, given it was our first time. We were quite happy to try out small appetizers rather than actually have a full main course - in order try out more of Nobu's dishes.

Beef Tataki with Onion Ponzu Sauce
Alaskan Crab with a sweet vinegar sauce
Yellowtail sashimi is always good - but the jalapeno and special soy sauce on this dish added an oomph that was at the same time yummy, and not overwhelming. Next, we tried the beef tataki - which is very simlar to the Italian beef carpaccio. We felt this was such a worth it dish - it came in a serving that was more then enough for two people. Despite not ordering the Angus version, the beef was very soft and tender. Of course we had the Black Cod Miso (what's the point of lusting over it for years, if I don't at least try it?), and it did not disappoint. The cod was soft, and cooked perfectly. The sweet miso glaze was perfect - and no matter how many times I read the recipe, i probably will not be able to imagine what it actually tasted like. We also tried some Alaskan Crab, fried like tempura, and served with a warm, sweet vinegar sauce.

Toro Tataki with Yuzu Miso
The one dish that deserves it's very own paragraph though, is the Toro Tataki with Yuzu Miso. This is a dish that must have literally been made in heaven. "Toro" is tuna belly - in this case, a very high quality, fatty belly; "tataki"is a manner of preparing fish, and literally means "pounded" or "hit into pieces." Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit giving the creamy miso sauce a hint of citrus in it. After slowly relishing the toro, and even the shiitake mushroom on top... it took all of our willpower not to slurp up the sauce! The dish was quite pricey for four pieces of toro... but it is well worth the price. I will keep ordering this, each time we get to visit Nobu (which shouldn't be often!)

Nobu Signature Bento Box

We raved about the Nobu experience to our friends, enough to convince them that we should all try Nobu again on our next trip to Hongkong. So in 2011 - we went back for seconds (Nobu, twice in less than 12months - what a splurge!) This time we went for lunch. Most of us ordered lunch sets or bento boxes so that we can personally order what we wanted to try. The bentos came in Japanese lacquered boxes - 2 layers for each bento order. Each compartment, again, had a generous serving of quality Japanese cuisine. These bentos are definitely worth trying!

NOBU in Hongkong is located at the second floor of the InterContinental HongKong, 18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hongkong, SAR. For reservations, call +852 2313 2323

Thursday, September 8, 2011

One quarter housewife, three quarters dreamer

I have a confession to make. Despite the middle name of my blog title - I am only really one quarter of a housewife. I don't actually have a "house" to manage since I live with my mother-in-law. Lucky me though, she does most of the managing of the household. I also get along well with my MIL (no, she does not read this blog) and hence have had no conflicts with her, after 5 years of marriage.

Having no house to manage also leaves me with "very" little to do as a "housewife." I still do my own share of "housewife-y" things though, like:

1. Ensure DH and toddler DD has meals that they like (and are willing) to eat. Sometimes this entails I may have to cook a viand or two - but this is rare. Our cook (managed by MIL) usually has something for everyone.
2. Ensure that the two DD's things are in order - clothes washed properly, they have enough supplies (toiletries, snacks, vitamins, medicine, breastmilk, laundry detergent etc.), outgrown clothes packed away....
3. Pack DH's things for his trips - or for our trips together.
4. Choose the best for my dear family whenever I can - the best vitamins, the best type of soap/laundry detergent, organic vegetables, and so forth.
5. Manage schedule of the family and make sure either DH or myself or both are available when needed - school for toddler DD, PTCs (This is new this year!), doctor's visits for the 2 DDs, weekend events, trips, family outings...
6. Manage the two yaya's (and their relationship with the rest of the household help - enough said.)
7. Prepare DH's baon for the times when he's not in Manila... this is less frequent now because of my lack of time (sadness - because i truly enjoy this) - and with DH's schedule (he spends more time in Manila now - yey!)
8. Expense management for the 2 DDs
9. Queen over DH and my room (and T&B)... and now also the kid's room.
10. Oh, must not forget - i also do trips to the grocery to stock up on household supplies, as and when needed.

So that sums up my quarter of a housewife role - but it still leaves me craving for more. I dream of becoming a FULL housewife, and doing things like:

1. Planning the weekly menu, on a weekly grocery budget
2. Managing an impeccable kitchen, pantry and refrigerator.
everything in it's proper place
3. Clean surroundings - less clutter!

4. Matching sheets and well made bed.

5. Breakfast/Brunch on Sundays for the family
simple breakfast fare
6. Organic Food (everyday)?

7. Environmentally Friendly Cleaning
And the list goes on --- today, it is all but a dream, but I know I have to keep brushing up on the basic skills in order not to shock my system when I reach that stage. Now, let me sign off, and start tidying up  the bedroom first!