Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Birthday Celebration at Odette, July 2018

Happy New Year 2019!!!! I have a series of travelling and food adventures lined up this year that I'm excited for. I had a tummy-full experience last year exploring MANY food options in Singapore as well as countries I have visited. Here's a post which I am supposed to publish last year but I was too busy (or lazy) to start writing.

2018 marks the first year that I have ever taken a day off work for my birthday. My birthday falls on Wednesday last year thus it would be a good half week break! I have seen many stunning pictures and videos on social media platforms about how food from Odette were presented. Hence I was extremely excited when S told me that we will be going to Odette for my birthday meal!

Odette
Address: 1 Saint Andrew's Road, #01-04, National Gallery, 178957
Operating Hours: Lunch: 12pm-1.30pm, Dinner: 7pm-9pm; Mon – Dinner only, Tue to Sat – Lunch & Dinner; Closed on Sun & Public Holidays
Contact: +65 6385 0498
Website: http://www.odetterestaurant.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/odetterestaurant/
Instagram: @odetterestaurant 

Odette, helmed by French chef Julien Royer, has been crowned Two Michelin Stars in its first year and also ranked No.5 in Asia's 50 Best Restaurants 2018, thus winning the title of The Best Restaurant in Singapore. The ambience of the restaurant fits the arty feel of the National Gallery perfectly. At the entrance, we were greeted by the welcoming receptionists who led us to our table, facing the enclosed kitchen.

Table setting
We were each given a pamphlet about the story of Odette, named after Chef Julien's grandmother. S has already selected the 8 course menu and wine pairing during the reservation. A sommelier pushed a cart full of wine bottles towards us and introduced us to 6 different Champagnes. I picked a bottle of Henri Giraud to start with and that was the best Champagne both of us ever had! It costs $50++ a glass, the bottle on the most right in the picture below.

Wines we had for the meal

SNACKS
Madly popping delicious snacks! The tart with big fat juicy roe gave an outburst of flavour which was a perfect kickoff to my fantastic birthday meal!

I'm in love




Wild mushroom broth poured over cep sabayon and cep brioche baked with buckwheat and walnuts.

Mushroom Tea

Mushroom Tea

Mushroom Tea

Breads


First Course
HOKKAIDO UNI, Spot prawn tartare | Mussel Cloud | Caviar

OMG. Freshest uni I have tasted, ever. I felt like I was swimming in the sea while eating this. Haha! The little snack with uni on top of a charcoal bread was amazing as well.



<3


Second Course
AKAMI TUNA 'FLOWER', Charred kabu | Sudachi vinegar | Wasabi 
Paired with YVES CUILLERRON | Condrieu, La Petite Cote 2016

I am never a big fan of tuna but this one wins my heart. Sweet, fresh and delightful!





Third Course
TOMATO COLLECTION, Stracciatella 'Artigiana' | Nicolise olive | Basil




Fourth Course
ROSEMARY SMOKED ORGANIC EGG, Smoked potato syphon | Chorizo Iberico | Meunière 
Paired with C.V.N.E | Rioja, Monopole Clasico 2014

I have to say this course wins the best presentation award. Watch the video below to find out! Visually and "belly" (very) satisfying!





Fifth Course
FOIE GRAS 'COMME UN PHO', Abalone | Smoked eel dashi | Yuzu

Again another interesting presentation of food. First they served an alien-spaceship lookalike bowl, opened it up and poured the soup in. Next they torched the eel right in front of us on our table.

'Alien Spaceship'

Pho

Aburi Unagi

Final Product



Sixth Course
TURBOT 'ESPRIT THAI', Zucchini composite | Obsiblue prawn | Kaffir lime 

Prawn for him

Squid for me


Seventh Course
LE PIGEON FABIEN DENEOUR, Kampot pepper crust | Corn textures | Black garlic
Paired with DES TOURS | Vacqueyras 2010

A mini box containing the uncut pigeon was shown to us before they cooked it and presented in the pictures below. S loved the pigeon. I prefer chicken to pigeon but I must say that this was the finest pigeon I ever had.


Letter tied to pigeon's feet


Palate Cleanser



Eighth Course
TROPICAL 'FLOATING ISLAND', Tahiti vanilla 'Alain Abel' | Crème anglaise | Passionfruit
Paired with BERNARDINS | Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Hommage 2015

Happy birthday to me!! Yummy desserts :)

Thank you for the meal, S.




DOUCEURS 

Sugar Overload





Menu was given to us at the end of the meal, with all the detail on the courses we had, including wine-pairing.

Menu



Dining at Odette was a pleasurable, memorable gastronomy journey. The designer put a lot of thoughts into the decoration which provides a comfortable good ambience for the restaurant. Needless to say, the food quality, presentation and flow of the courses were exceptional. We were both full and happy after the meal. Thank you S for the birthday treat! Are we having it again this year? =P

HAVE A GREAT 2019 AHEAD!!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hawaii 2018 Day 2 - Big Island (Meeting Wild Dolphins, Manta Rays, Humpback Whales)



Aloha again! Despite yesterday's strenuous lava hike, we were all up early this morning to make our way from Hilo to Kailua-Kona, which was approximately 1h 40min drive away. Snapped a few pictures of the beautiful views on our way there.

Me and LQ at the back

BF and JJ at the front







Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii 

Address: 74-380 Kealakehe Pkwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Website: https://www.mantaraydiveshawaii.com/
Email: mantaraydivesofhawaii@gmail.com
Contact: +1 808-325-1687

Reef & Dolphin Snorkel EcoAdventure
https://www.mantaraydiveshawaii.com/reef-dolphin-ecoadventures

We have opted for Reef & Dolphin Snorkel EcoAdventure at USD 105 per person excluding: Sales Tax (4.166%), Harbor Use Fee (3%) & Booking Fee (5%).

Parking is free at the harbour. There is also a clean toilet available. We took the our essentials from our car and walked towards our boat. Before boarding the boat, we had to remove our slippers and store it at the boarding point. Besides the 4 of us, there were 2 other tourists on board with us too, which means there's only 6 of us! Almost a private charter! Hehe. Captain Jim and our guide Brooks greeted us and introduced themselves.

You do have to worry about getting your stuff wet, they have plastic boxes underneath the seats on board that you can place your belongings. Food and drinks are provided too. There is also toilet on board but it would be easier to just let it go in the wild while snorkeling. =P

Great weather today!

BF, Captain Jim and Brooks with the famous "hang loose" hand gesture of Hawaii

Once we set out to the sea, we spotted SO MANY wild dolphins!! One by one, we jumped off the boat and started snorkeling, swimming with the wild dolphins! It was exhilarating! They looked happy and mischievously adorable. A school of dolphins swam by us every few minutes, wave by wave, it was really cool to be in the same waters together with them!






Captain Jim

Brooks serving us fresh pineapple he just sliced

The boat moved further to a place without crowd and guess what, there were 3 manta rays swimming beneath us!! This time we had to get into the water quietly so that we would not alarm the 3 wild beauties. I always have a thing for manta rays. Watching them swim freely makes me feel calm and happy. =)

3 Manta Rays!! (Screenshot from GoPro Video, Video Credit: Arleigh Lambert)

Manta Ray by the reef (Screenshot from GoPro Video, Video Credit: Arleigh Lambert)

As the weather was really good, Captain Jim and Brooks decided to set sail to try our luck and see if we can spot any whales! Andddd our luck was as high as where Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster is now. HAHA

Flap flap

So gigantic!



3 awesome shots from LQ's DSLR:

Credit: Landie Qiu

Credit: Landie Qiu

Credit: Landie Qiu

We saw so many humpback whales, mostly in pairs. Captain Jim stopped the engine of the boat when we were closing up but we had to be in a distance away from the whale according to their company's policy. However, the whales swam closer to us! They were gigantic!! 

All of us tried to film down the blow/flap/flip of the whales and we got a really cool video of TWO humpback whales jumping out of the waters (below)! 



That scene was really the highlight of the entire whale watching session. What an unforgettable experience we had these 2 days! Thank you the big island of Hawaii! ^^

There were more dolphins on our way back and a school of them tried to race with our boat! If the video quality sucks, you can check out the link to the same video I uploaded on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/xlynnex/videos/10155901214257209/



Brooks said our luck for this trip out to the sea today was higher than average. All the marine animals we saw today were wild so it's really not guaranteed that we would see it all the time. Also, for people with seasickness, please take your pill before getting on board. I totally forgot about that!! Sadly, I contributed some nutrients out of the breakfast I had, twice, to the South Pacific Ocean. Brooks took care of me, gave me water and a sweet (I think it's for seasickness as it tasted like medicine) to suck on, advising me to look out of the boat, focusing on the coastline.

Our boat back in the harbour

Both Captain Jim and Brooks took really good care of us and I would strongly recommend Manta Ray Dives of Hawaii to people who are interested in doing the above. Don't forget to give them some tips too!


Da Poke Shack 
Address: 76-6246 Ali'i Drive, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Website: dapokeshack.com
Contact: +1 808-329-7653
Operating Hours: 10am - 6pm

Ranked #2 of 193 Restaurants in Kailua-Kona, we headed to Da Poke Shack for lunch after returning back to our car from the boat.







We ordered two Poke Bowl to be shared among the four of us. The fishes and ingredients were fresh and tasty! Worth a try!


On The Rocks
Address: 75-5824 Kahakai Rd, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA

Stopped by a local landmark Huggo's outdoor lounge to have some drinks and small bite.


Make sense



Not very nice...

On the way to our next destination

Rainbow

Maunakea Visitor Information Station
Address: Mauna Kea Access Rd, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Operating Hours: 12pm - 10pm
Contact: +1 808-961-2180
Website: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/visiting-mauna-kea/visitor-information-station.html

This place was COLD as hell as compared to the other parts of Hawaii given it's high altitude location. Please bring winter wear if you want to visit this place. Our original intention was to drive to Mauna Kea, above the Visitor Information Station to reach the highest peak on Earth (The summit of Mount Everest is higher above sea level than the summit of any other mountain, but Mauna Kea is the tallest when measured from base to summit. When measuring mountain summits by their height above sea level, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world. Credit: https://www.livescience.com/32594-which-mountain-is-the-tallest-in-the-world.html)

Luckily we checked with the staff at visitor information station regarding the summit. She advised us that only 4WD (Four-Wheel Drive) cars are safe to climb up the mountain. 2WD/AWD cars are not advisable as there were many accidents involving these type of cars in the past due to the failure of breaks as the mountain is very steep. As our Ford was not a 4WD car, we abandoned the plan for our safety. The staff said that we could take the other option to climb the hill next to the visitor information station to see the sunset and stars. However, unfortunately, we used up our luck in the morning and the weather was not good to us...


Crossing over this 'time-traveling' tunnel to the small hill



Windy and cold
JJ and I were faster and almost reaching the top but we gave up ascending more due to the foggy weather



Cafe Pesto - Hilo
Address: 308 Kamehameha Ave #101, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Operating Hours: Sun-Thu 11am - 9pm; Fri-Sat 11am - 10pm
Contact: +1 808-969-6640
Website: http://cafepesto.com/

Cafe Pesto is a restaurant next to Hilo Farmers Market with live Jazz music in the background.






Food were decent and we were all exhausted after one whole day of activities.

The past two days in the Big Island of Hawaii were very fulfilling, from seeing volcano lava live in action on the first day to our encounter with the wild marine animals. I am very thankful to be fortunate enough to get to travel around the world in my 20s. =')

We would be flying to Maui Island the next morning! I will update my blog again soon. Cheers~


Hawaii 2018 Blog Posts