Warm & cosy Christmas treats – Molasses Cookies and Swedish Glogg

It’s that time of year again – the festive season. No matter whether you are in New York (where I am from), Bangkok, Singapore or Shanghai (places where I have lived), it is undoubtably Christmas. However, being from a non-tropical country, I always found it slightly odd to enjoy Christmas in 34° Celsius weather. My Christmas memories of childhood are about frosty windowpanes, hot drinks and cookies warm from the oven enjoyed in the flickering light of the Christmas tree. Continue Reading →

The making of a wine – visit to Trinchero Cloud’s Nest vineyard in Napa Valley

If you ask almost anyone to name a source region for America’s wines, there is a 90 per cent chance someone will quickly respond with Napa Valley. Napa Valley is a narrow valley to the north of San Francisco, flanked by two mountain ranges, Mayacamas and Vacas. This is home to the wines that propelled California to international stardom in the 1976 Judgement of Paris. In October, I got the exciting opportunity to visit Napa and was hosted by a reputable wine company, the Trinchero Family Estates.

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Cloud 9 Living experience: Bubbly in Long Island NY

Cloud 9 Living is a provider of experience gifts – instead of providing the traditional physical gift, they organise experiences so that that wonderful memories can be made. They pride themselves on providing premium class customer service and I personally found that to be true. Founded in 2005, they have 1,700 experiences in 43 regions in the United States. When I was contacted by Aun about experiencing firsthand one of Cloud 9 Living’s experiences, I was ecstatic! There are several categories for me to choose from: food and wine, driving, fighter pilot for a day, golf, learn to fly, action and adventure and more! The experiences look amazing and are appropriate for birthdays, anniversaries, corporate gifts and more. I picked the private winery tour and picnic as I wanted to take the opportunity to go out to the Long Island wineries in a more intimate setting, enjoy the good weather while it lasted and spend some quality time with my sister. Continue Reading →

Enji, a cool bar with great food in Ginza

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a pretty obsessive pre-holiday researcher. In order to best decide where my wife S and I should eat at when planning an overseas trip, I’ll spend weeks combing through books, magazines and websites. I’ll also email friends whose palates I trust. Earlier this year, I had purchased a short dining guide to Tokyo called Transit Tokyo, written by Yoshikage Kajiwara. The book contains 70 recommendations for affordable places to dine in Japan’s capitol — no expensive Michelin-starred restaurants in this guide, just simple places that serve awesome grub fit for every day dining.  Continue Reading →

Pinot Noir – A taste of its worldly flavours


God made Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas the devil made Pinot noir.”

As famously declared by André Tchelistcheff, America’s most influential wine maker in the post prohibitions period (post-1930s). The Pinot Noir demands undivided attention from growers and wine makers, seduces drinkers with subtle nuances and excites those who adore it. If I am to draw literature reference from “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, then Pinot Noir can be described as “lust” manifested in, the not so glamorous, berry form.

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Some hot picks for Kyoto

Every time my wife S and I go to Kyoto, one of our all-time favourite cities, we discover new things to tell friends and family (and you) about. One of the single most popular posts on this blog is our 2009 Kyoto Guide. Recently, we’ve been blogging about some singularly spectacular things to do in Kyoto, such as staying in the city’s most unique ryokan-style resort, exploring Arashiyama, learning zen meditation, or taking a cooking class to learn some great Japanese home cooking techniques. The following are just a few more recommendations to add to my always growing list of hot picks for Kyoto – awesome things to see, do, eat or buy in this amazing city.  Continue Reading →

Wine Tasting – To spit or not to spit, and others

Wine Tasting

Everyone loves to try out a product befor

e buying. This is especially so for wines. Fortunately, many retailers today are organising theme-based wine tastings (by varietal, region or same producer across different vintages) so that we can test their wares before committing to purchase. Travellers are also putting scenic winery visits into holiday itineraries; once you’ve worked your way through a cellar door tasting, you’ll find it’s a highly addictive and enjoyable process. In a restaurant setting, however, a tasting is a very different thing. Because –when ordering by the bottle–you can’t just move on to the next wine if the one you tried isn’t to your exact tastes. Every kind of tasting has its own set of rules. Continue Reading →

Revisiting La Mar – a Peruvian favourite in New York City

La Mar is a restaurant that I first visited in Lima in the summer of 2009. I remember this place clearly because when I went with my classmates, we very coincidentally ran into other classmates who were also touring Peru at the same time. By that point on the trip, my friends had brought me to so many restaurants that I had already recognised Peru as an undiscovered gastronomic haven: they have over thirty types of corn and so many kinds of fruit that I had never encountered. Not to mention a huge number of stunning fusion dishes, a direct result of Peru’s many immigrant cultures. La Mar has restaurants throughout Latin America and has recently started expanding into the USA. Continue Reading →

A taste of Margaret River, Australia – Fraser Gallop Estate

Australian wine – almost a market synonym for Shiraz from South Australia. Known for its strong flavour, overwhelming ripeness and full body texture, Shiraz appears to one of be the favourite varietals for most Singaporean drinkers. Grown on a small corner of South Western Australia, with terrain and climate akin to the highly prized and reputable Bordeaux region in France, Margaret River has been setting the stage on fire with its own class of style.

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