Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Stone House Restaurant in Taipei...

If you like Chinese food you will definitely eat very well in Taipei. Taiwanese cuisine is known for its seafood dishes and flavorful, slightly heavier sauces. If you like variety, why not go for Peking one night, Hunan the next, Shanghai on Saturday, and on Sunday why not spice it up with Szechuan cuisine? Whatever your favorite style of Chinese, you are sure to find it. At upscale Chinese restaurants, you can expect to enjoy pleasant surroundings and excellent service. Between the top-end restaurants and the night market food stands, there are PLENTY of inexpensive to moderately priced eateries.

If you are in an unknown area, a good way to tell a restaurant's reputation is by how crowded it is around 7pm. It is still true that most Chinese restaurants pay more attention to the food than to the decor.

However, in recent years restaurant owners have tried to put more effort into creating an attractive dining room, though often at the expense of quality of food.

Therefore stick to the rule of thumb: do not worry about the plastic flowers and faded vinyl floor, sit down and get ready to eat some of the best Chinese food you've ever had!

I am very fortunate to have a " TAIPEI connection " who is also a food lover. So I together with some of his friends took a ride up the Yangmingshan Mountains to a small unassuming restaurant that had the finest Taiwanese cuisine i have tasted. The name of the restaurant was " THE STONE HOUSE ". Since he has been there a couple of times already with other friends he knew exactly what to order. It is famous to locals and the expat community of Tienmou. This unassuming restaurant nestled on at the top of the Yangmingshan Mountain serves authentic Taiwanese cooking. Dining al fresco is the norm amid the lush greenery, just a stone's throw away from the flower fields. It is being managed by an English-speaking Taiwanese, Sam, a Taipei American School graduate, who can facilitate orders among the foreigners as most of his staff only speak Chinese Mandarin or Taiwanese. The food is reasonably-priced and very delicious. A perfect venue for lunch or dinner - weather permitting.

What to order:

Deep fried shrimps with pineapples -The shrimps were not soggy like other places i have dined in but tastes like butter and very fresh.

Sauteed Eggplant with Basil leaves- this is a must try for Eggplant lovers!

THE FIRE BEEF -the dish came out all wrapped in aluminum foil and was covered with flames ( maybe that was why they called it so ). When the flames disappears you open it and VOILA! ... another yummy treat! this is another MUST-TRY !

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bistro Le Jardin, Taipei

location: Tienmou, Taipei

Had dinner at Bistro Le Jardin in Tienmou District in Taipei with my good friend Philip. I was able to meet the owner, Sunny Wang- Joullian and their Chef, Willy Isler - Chef Instructor of Cooking Studio ( which is located on the second floor and also owned by Sunny). Sunny's other businesses are Maison Alexandre and WINE IMPORTATION... she treated us to 2 bottles of white wine.... it was very good!!! Too bad I forgot to ask the name.......while Chef Willy, is a culinary Chef from the famous Culinary Arts Academy, Switzerland..... and he personally cooked our dinner tonight..

We had Fried Emmenthaler Balls coated with egg white on tomato puree,


Sole poached in white wine.... on white sauce with herbs and a dash of cognac granished with rosemary, and

Zabaglione laced with Kirsch with just the right amount of sugar ------ that was the best Zabaglione i have tasted so far!!!! Now for the good news....

Chef Willy has a cooking studio located on the second floor of the restaurant and has cooking classes ( FRENCH PROVENCAL CUISINE ) and SUGAR Classes. For the Sugar Class... he accepts only 4 students at a time... It is HANDS ON .. and in the French Cuisine, he demonstrates and hands out the recipes of what he cooked. According to him.. he has 2 types of cooking class... one for the Hobbyists/ housewives etc... and the other one is for the professional ( which is HANDS ON ) ... In case anyone wants to learn how to cook FRENCH PROVENCAL Cooking .... just leave a note here in my blogspot...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let me take you to the world of SUGAR ART


Lovers of culinary arts must be prepared for a world where there is an increasing emphasis on the globalization of food and cultures. " Understanding and Mastering the basic techniques of sugar working will help one to develop a sense for shape and form, create show or center pieces and cake/ dessert decorations that will be above the ordinary."

Willy Isler Professor Chef Willy Isler, of INSTITUT HOTELIER " CESAR RITZ ", teaches the different techniques of SUGAR ART... which are Blown Sugar, Cast Sugar, Pressed Sugar and Spun Sugar. His technique is so fascinating that it reminds you of the blown Murano Figurines. Whatever your role in the kitchen, from chef to pastry chef, or just food lovers, you will find fantastic new techniques to learn and develop your skills in the world of food decoration and presentation.

Chef Willy will teach you step by step on how to make sugar showpieces from the basics to the professional level. After completing the courses you will be able to work alone with the sugar using your imagination and creativity. They provide students hands-on learning experience with a whole set of equipment for everyone ; He uses ISOMALT to practice and produce each creation. ISOMALT is a jelly style sugar paste which hardens quickly and can be shaped for a short while by hand. Chef Willy has 3 courses being offered at his cooking studio.

Beginner 1 - demo of Isomalt cooking - the basic techniques of casting and pullling - the creation of 2 and 3 colour ribbons -working with silicon and rubber moulds final creation will be ..... RIbbons and FLowers 

Beginner 2 - Basic Techniques of BLOWING - effective airbrushing - you will be taught how to create a fruit basket and a clown Advanced - perfecting the basic techniques - creating more figures like a BIRD and a SWAN At the end of the course students will be given a diploma upon completion. Each course accomodates 4 students at a time. 

Anyone interested in learning the WORLD of sugar art.... can leave a note here in my blogspot.