Dec 29, 2011

Aunt Ann's : Roast pork is on my way!

It is a relief that I simply could not contain, that I was not born to be a vegetarian, or Muslim. To some, it is not a choice that they have to forgo the luxury of knowing how meat (perhaps certain meat) tastes like. It is like "Oh my gosh, you have no idea what you are missing!".

For the past twenty three years, meat has been part and parcel of my life. I think I could live without meat for a day (or two?) but for the rest of my life, chances are, it is not even close to 0.01%! The idea of barbecued chicken wings, grilled lamb, roast pork, or grilled lamb would always make my saliva drooling. Perhaps yours too?

Porkity pork as I might be, the texture and taste of pork has never fail to intrigue me. My idea of a perfect roast pork was simple : crispy skin, juicy meat and a thin layer of fat. Subsequently it was refined to those from Kuala Lipis Noodle. Fat, nevertheless, but the moment it landed in my mouth, it just dissolved in mere seconds!

My conventional idea of roast pork is generally what most of us perceive to be, but Aunt Ann begs to differ. Instead of the usual cut, she uses pork shoulder, which is comparatively less oily and meaty. Don't you think it sounds less sinful to indulge in roast pork now?

The skin was roasted to golden crispiness as it should be, and the ratio of meat to fat was promising. Despite the mild saltiness, it was well compensated with a complex flavor from the herbs she used. The choice of cut did not fail to impress, in contrary, it is a healthier way of preparing roast pork - less oily, juicy and flavorful nevertheless.

Besides the roast pork, I found Aunt Ann's version of roast lamb was rather unusual too. One of her differentiation factor was, again, the choice of cut. Look at the roasted lamb leg, what do you think?

The roast lamb leg was gloriously coated with rosemary, garlic and different types of herbs, which gave the meat a distinct flavor and aroma which was nothing close to the usual lamb I have. The choice of cut was  lean and nearly fat-less but surprisingly it was nothing close to dry.

I am not a big fan of lamb as it usually has the gamey taste which I find it annoying. However, there was not even a slight hint of gaminess of which I found it pretty impressive. When paired with her homemade sauce, it kicked in further moisture and enhanced the overall flavor of roast lamb. Overall, it was satisfactory.

Interested to try some homemade roast pork or lamb? I am sure Aunt Ann would be more than happy to take your orders.

Dec 22, 2011

Cafe Barbera : Table for two

He is the man who knows what to do and how to do it right, and that I never doubt what he is capable of. Those who know him well will unanimously agree that he is a good ambassador, as if he is born to be one.

Looking at his exuberant face and mesmerizing eyes as he recounted details after details on how marvelous the desserts and coffee were, I felt the sudden pang of regret for rejecting the review invitation few weeks back. That is the ambassador side of him; he does not hold back.

However, it was by fate and chance that I was here at Cafe Barbera and this was very much attributable to my lovely boyfriend. Oh maybe you don't know him but he is cool and sweet that way :)

Perhaps you might shrug it off saying "let's share an affogato and chocolate fondant for dessert", don't say I never warn you, you better off training your agility and strength if you plan to do so.

What greeted us warmly was this petite glass of ice cream with a shot of espresso, looking ever dainty over its shoulder. A sniff of the espresso was promising, further testified by the smooth foam floating effortlessly above the dark brown espresso.

 "Quick! Eat it before it melts!" was his first statement.
We fumbled with composition, light, and finally we got our pictures!

Our rejoice on the reunion of Mr Espresso and Ms Gelato was beyond overwhelming as we squealed at the spill of precious espresso. Talking about hands on experience, you will definitely get it here :D

I started off with a gingerly sip of affogato, lest the espresso would be overpowering. However, a subtle note was what welcomed my intrusion. Delighted I was, I started scooping into the precious vanilla gelato that was wobbling in the tiny little glass. Vividly I can still feel the exhilarating sensation of the mixture of cold and hot that I just couldn't get enough with it.

Can I have another one please? *pleading eyes*

It was a long wait for our next most promising dessert ever, chocolate fondant. I was told by my ever lovely boyfriend that Cafe Barbera only prepares their desserts and breads upon order. So now, you might set your expectation a little higher than usual, just like how I did and it did not disappoint.

It might not be decorated at its best, but the effort was apparent. What I love most was the cute gelato, mimicking the shape of an apple. Oh well, I wish it was bigger!

The chocolate fondant was comparatively less attractive but put that aside, please dig in to testify!
I dug into the core ever slowly but was taken by surprise by the gushing molten chocolate. Split by the needs to save the tongue scorching and the melting gelato, my plate was ended up messing but my tummy had no objection against the heavenly made chocolate fondant.

In fact, this chocolate fondant was the best dessert I have ever had in my entire life!
If I had to choose between affogato or chocolate fondant, my answer will definitely be the latter.
So what are you waiting for?

Dec 7, 2011

Frontera : Christmas Done in the Mexican Way

Arrival of the month of December has never fail to excite me.
Despite the difference in religions, my exuberance toward Christmas is apparent and unpretentious. 
I love singing Christmas carols and it never fail to carve a big smile on my face at its very end.

Of big stuffed turkey and heart warming feast, this is how my Christmas would be like.
Perhaps we shall do it in the Mexican way this time, but wait, the bigger question is where?
Located in Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Frontera Sol de Mexico is definitely the place to go as they claim that they are the ONLY restaurant that serves authentic Mexican and Tex-Mex.

Their Christmas set was indeed unusual.
You could have expected something typical, but what greeted us warmly was this watermelon agua fresca.

I know you must be thinking "It is just watermelon juice, what is so special about this?"
The secret lied in the piece of lime and it made whole lot of difference.
The taste of sugar was nowhere to be found. What dominated this drink was the natural sweetness of watermelon, intertwined by the sourish presence of lime.

Our dinner kicked off with a subtle entreƩ.
This traditional tamales was indeed a temptress. There she was, waiting silently, for the right moment to reveal its beauty and the moment had came.

Its resemblance to Chinese dumpling was evident but it tasted totally different.
The chicken fillings was cooked in a very different style; the masa, a corn based starchy dough, gave tamale a flaky texture, yet sufficiently hold them in piece.

Optionally, you could go for this roasted butternut squash soup, drizzled with sage pesto.
It might not looked impressive but it was good. If I were to choose between this or traditional tamales, I would definitely go for this!

At the first glance, it reminded me of pumpkin soup, just that it was much diluted, less sweet and not as creamy.
The flavor of butternut was crisp and fragrant, which very much depends on how well it was roasted.
However what made this dish perfect was the sage pesto as it balanced out the overall flavor.

Here came the mains.
There are four options for mains in the Christmas menu, of which they are home-made Pucbla-style turkey mole,Veracruz-style baked fish, BBQ beef ribs, and mesquite smoked turkey.
And this was my mesquite smoked turkey which came with cranberry chipotle relish, jalapeno corn bread dressing, candied sweet potatoes, broccoli florets topped with chili con quesco.

I was totally tricked by the chunks of sweet potatoes. Thinking it was grilled carrot, I decided to start with the least favorite of mine. It melted instantaneously the moment I popped it into my mouth. Gosh, it was orgasm!
The jalapeno corn bread was good too. As expected, it tasted more or less like tamales, but its texture was closer to cake.
What about the turkey? Perhaps this was the softest and smoothest turkey I have ever had in my life!
It was so well done that you could have thought that this was chicken.

Soon after we were done with our mains, Ramesh, the restaurant manager, brought us some of his sangria.
Instead of brandy, he decided to make his with rum and red wine.

The kick of alcohol was so intense that I found it hard for me to finish.
You could choose this over watermelon agua fresca but for those who are adventurous, this would definitely be the right choice for you.

I was already struggling to finish the last chunks of my turkey, then Ramesh brought more food.
Fat Die Me!

My boyfriend has been telling me how lovely is the key lime pie served in Frontera, and guess what, finally I had the chance to try!
And the good news is it is included in the Christmas.

I wanted to try so badly that I couldn't wait any longer for my bf to finish shooting. Look at the burn, don't you think it was so sexy?
My spoon dug in effortlessly as I drooled over it. It was so light, silky and smooth, almost like tofu. The flavor was like concentrated lime juice mixed with cream.
It was good but I would prefer it to be denser and firmer than it was.  Nevertheless, my taste buds clamored in agreement of my brilliant choice

Not fancy of sourish dessert, fret no more, as you could just order yourself this peach tres leches cake.

For the first time I did not feel disgusted over the overly colorful sprinkles.
The peach was very fresh, and cake was fine but not chokingly dry.
It was decent but you were to ask me this or key lime pie, you know what my choice would be.

If you ask me, RM55 for Frontera's 3-course Christmas menu will be the most worthwhile deal ever.
Yes, you would get yourself bloated with good food, and to experience Christmas in a different style.
Got a party to throw this Christmas, no worries, Ramesh will go all out to cater for your needs.

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