Thursday, 27 June 2013

La Tasca - Maiden Street, Covent Garden

Apparently it's been a long time since I met up with my friend Miss Money. Well, I last saw her in March, so it's not that long really! It was my decision to decide where to go to, and so I gave her the choice of what to eat... Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Indian, Italian or Thai... She hates spicy foods unfortunately. :( Lots of my close friends don't seem to like spicy foods!

In the end it was a choice of Japanese or Spanish. We chose Spanish. Miss Money has not had Spanish food before!! And the only place I know of that does Spanish food is La Tasca served by actual Spanish people (there are other places, but I have never been to them). The one near Oxford Street is closed and the one in St Jame's Street was a bit far from where were meeting up. So we ended up in Covent Garden. It's not hard to find La Tasca in Maiden Street. When you see TGI Friday's, then you know you are near it.

From the window we thought there was no one inside, as no one was seated at the window. But as we went in, there is a bigger dining area at the back. (Sorry for the quality of the photos... not great with an LG phone - but I now have a secondhand Samsung SG4 phone which I bought as my previous phone wasn't insured :( ... Now I have to start saving big time!). 
At the back of La Tasca in Maiden Street, Covent Garden
I have only been to La Tasca twice, and usually the people I'm with order for the entire table. I think Miss Money wanted to spend less, but eat different things. I couldn't recommend much except for the seafood paella and the chorizo. So in the end, we had the "Chef's Recommends". That meant we would spend £15 each minus drinks.
All the food we had for the "Chef's Recommends"


My diet coke... Not sure why I pictured this XD
What's in the Chef's Special? Quite a variety of things. Anybody who hasn't had Spanish food I think should have this as it introduces spicy and non-spicy elements of Spanish food...

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tokyo Diner 東京ダイナー - London China Town

Ah Tokyo Diner 東京ダイナー. It's my second time coming to this place, first time I went there was with Miss Money and Mr Games and I think that was in the early 2000's... And if you have not read the last two posts, my phone is "lost" (to me it has been stolen). So there will be very minimal pictures in this post.

When I first dined here many years ago it was filled with many people. Sometimes I pass there and it's filled. But on this day that I went, it was a little empty until a bit later. I guess restaurants have their moments of quietness. This place has been in China Town for many years, since 1992 (it's boasted on their website), and I think they have changed their seating arrangements since then... I remembered the tables used to be tightly squashed together, and you could hardly pass through! I guess someone complained!
Taken on 29/06/2013

My receipt that I kept... 
Anyway, I dined there alone that day after watching The Story of Yonosuke. Was dying to find a place that made Japanese ramen, but unfortunately Tokyo Diner does not offer this. Instead they serve cold soba noodles. Not what I wanted... It took me a while to choose, so in the end I chose a favourite. Chicken Katsu Curry... Plus a bowl of cold cooked aubergines...

I started off with the aubergines (or eggplant as they call it in the USA and Japan), well it came first. It's called Aubergine Age Bitashi, and the aubergine is soaked in some cold dashi stock and served with a slice of bamboo root. I still remember the taste of it. It was a bit oily and had minimal soy sauce in it... Very tasty!! So instead of a picture, here's a YouTube video I found on how to make it... (well, it's something similar, there's no dashi stock used in this video). I want more of this! I might make my own if London decides to get hotter during the summer... (actually it already is!)...

Next came the curry. I noticed later that a few others had ordered the same dish!! Well, a curry dish anyway. It's an expensive dish for £10.60, whereas in other places I can get it for cheaper, but the carrots and potatoes were cut largely in this plate. I had a small amount of rice, and if you want more rice, I think you have to pay 50p more... The chicken katsu was slightly on the burnt side, but it still tasted good... And I should've had a bit more rice!
My chicken katsu curry taken from my Instagram online
So total cost came to £16.20 that's with a drink too... Green tea comes free, and they top it up for you.

If I dine there again in the nearest future, I will add some more pictures at the end!! Want to try the cold soba or a bento box next time plus have more cold aubergines!! ^_^

My geeky rating: 4/5

Good points:
- Nice friendly service
- Tasty cold aubergine
- Loved the interior designing and the way they have re-designed the seating plan
- Don't except tipping (I don't tip that much anyway)

Bad points:
- A little expensive for my liking 
- I wish they served ramen, I'm sure they could get more customers that way (but would it become a noodle bar?)...
- Chicken katsu was slightly burnt (or they may have used some old oil to fry it)

Website: www.tokyodiner.com


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Monday, 17 June 2013

Terracotta Film Festival 2013

You know what? I wish there were more Asian film festivals or a cinema dedicated only to Eastern Asian films in London (if there are cinemas I haven't seen any in Central London). I think I would go there every month if that were the case! ^_^

My SG4 phone had some good pictures (which I didn't back up using Google+), but unfortunately it was stolen, so for this post I have added some film trailers from YouTube and some backup pictures I had already uploaded elsewhere... (I'm lucky to have had a bit of graphics training!)...
Screenshot picture of The Prince Charles Cinema
that I managed to grab from my Instagram online...
So it's my first time going to this film festival, which I believe started in 2009 and this year it ended on June 15th 2013. Originally I was going to watch three films, but the one on the Friday was at a time I couldn't make. :( So I booked two films - The Berlin File and The Bullet Vanishes. One Korean one Chinese... But then I got a message from a Twitter follower @gwai_zhi whose friend said that The Story of Yonosuke was a good movie. So I booked for that one too!! ^_^ One Japanese, one Korean and one Chinese (Cantonese version)!!

I went on the third day into the film festival. The first film I watched was The Story of Yonosuke. This film is based in the year of 1987, where a young guy named Yonosuke Yokomichi arrives in Tokyo to go to university and meets all these different people during his time there. During the film it flashes forward into the future of his friends when they all start remembering him. I thought the film was quite hilarious for a Japanese film, as most of the Japanese films I have seen are either scary, very dramatic or a bit boring. It was a sad ending for the main character, and it's too bad we didn't see what his future consisted of, but for his friends he met during univeristy, they did ok! I'm not spoiling the rest of the film. So you must watch it. :D

In between the next film I had 3 hours to spare so I went out to eat at Tokyo Diner (that will be in the next post) and then I looked around...

The second movie I watched was The Berlin File during that evening. This time a Korean movie. OMG!! This film is amazing. It's about a North Korean spy who gets set up and is said to be a traitor to his mother country by another North Korean spy! Wow!! There were elements of a James Bond style versus The Bourne Identity type of movie with loads of kung fu fighting and guns. An aspiring film methinks. There was a lot of conspiracy, betrayal and treachery, and I loved it (well it is mainly based on North Korea versus South Korea, and mainly about weapon exchange and secret bank accounts... Woooo)! There was also some humour from the guy playing the South Korean detective who reminded me of the character Colombo with his squinty eyes and long jacket but he had a cigarette instead of a cigar... It was all shot in Berlin too. :)

The director of the film Ryoo Seung-Wan gave an interview at the end of the film. I was actually quite surprised that he was there!! ^_^ There was a question from the audience asking if there would be a sequel to The Berlin File as it was an open ending, and the director said no there won't be, he wants it left to the audience's imagination. This question has been asked a lot in South Korea too!! Heheheh... Aww, that's a shame! Thankfully I had a backup picture of the interview!
Ryoo Seung-Wan being interviewed at the Terracotta Film Festival 2013 - sorry for the bad quality!
Anyway, after the interview, we all left, and I was quite close to the director... He is quite short. And for some reason I don't get star struck, and I didn't ask for his autograph... Anyway, I took a picture of him and his interpreter as they were going out...
Ryoo Seung-Wan and his interpreter making a move to the party that night
During this second film I watched a clip of A Werewolf Boy (another Korean movie), so when I got home I booked a ticket for this film too!!! Hahahaha... So I have ended up watching four films two weekends ago... ^_^

***

On the fourth day of the festival, I of course went to watch A Werewolf Boy. Not many people went to watch this film. This is quite a hilarious film at the start where a family move to the countryside as the eldest daughter of the family had lung problems. She meets a boy who grew up there, but doesn't know he is a werewolf when he becomes angry. Plus he was an experiment of the previous owner of the house... Can't spoil too much of the film as you should definitely watch it. But be aware, it will set you off in tears towards the end of the movie... I could hear a lot of women crying, and the guy who sat in front of me, I could see him wipe a few tears away!! It's a must-watch film for all the emotional geeks out there!! T_T ... As I understand a bit of Korean, I noticed some of the subtitling was missing... Like when the girl says Oppa (meaning elder brother) that wasn't translated, it's probably just to simplify the film and make people read quickly...

The last film for me was The Bullet Vanishes starring Lau Ching Wan and Nicholas Tse as the supporting actor. For me this was a typical Hong Kong style movie of fighting, slowing motion scenes, a bit of love and drama. Subtitling was a bit bad (although I wasn't paying too much attention to it). Don't understand why translators have to cut the actual meaning of a sentence. Didn't like too much of the dubbing used, as they hardly synced with the actor's and actresses' lips (you can see this in the trailer below). I felt in this film that the supporting actor Nicholas Tse was more of the lead actor as he seemed to have got all the best scenes especially with the love scenes with Yumiko Chen. So any Nicholas Tse fans out there, you will love this film...!! Lau Ching Wan is always great. I've watched him in lots of HK TVB dramas, so I know his acting skills are always in tip top shape. ^_^ The Bullet Vanishes was felt to be like a Sherlock Holmes mystery in the film industry. It is. But a bit more adventurous in terms of there being more of Watson than there was of Sherlock. ¬,¬" The film is also similar to Johnathan Creek, the British TV drama show... Work out the mystery, and tell us about how you solved it in your own time kind of film...!!

All in all, it was a very good weekend, until I was pick pocketed (that's what I really believe, but I may have dropped it, and that person felt that he/she didn't want to return it). My brand new Samsung SG4 (only used for 3 weeks) was "lost" not "stolen" according to the police, as I have no proof to say it was stolen... Anyway, a replacement phone is on its way and I already have my replacement SIM card... Just a shame that I have lost all the pictures!! And as much as I love China Town, pay a lot of attention to the people surrounding you, take care of your belongings and DON'T show off your brand new items even if it is in the cinema!! Pickpockets live in the West End! T_T

Website: http://terracottafestival.com/

p.s. The film festival went to another location after that weekend...

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Tai Tip Mein 大碟麵 - London Elephant and Castle

As my phone was taken away from me last weekend (stolen I bet), most of the pictures on there were supposed to be for this blog. So unfortunately you're going to view a mini essay here instead. :(

Tai Tip Mein (大碟麵 daai dip min) has been around the Elephant and Castle area for many years. The very first branch was opened where the Strata Building is now and was called Tai Won Mein (大碗麵 daai wun min - "Big bowl of noodles"), and had then moved into Newington Butts where the restaurant currently is. Tai Tip Mein means "Big plate of noodles". It used to be a very popular venue for the locals, and I think it still is!! ^_^ It's cheap and the waiters / waitresses speak Cantonese, Mandarin and English. There is also another branch called by its old name Tai Won Mein in North Greenwich which a little pretty store methinks, and it almost looks like the original one. I think I went to the original place many years ago with my mum, and then started going there another few more times before it closed...
Took this when I was on the bus with my ancient Nokia phone
- Tai Tip Mein from the outside... a 3.2 MP camera is not bad!
My mum took me to this place two Friday evenings ago. It took me a little while to decide what to order because I haven't had their main menu for a while. In the end I ordered the Fried Noodles with King Prawns, and my mother ordered the Wanton Noodle Soup. This restaurant is quite unique compared to other noodle bars and restaurants, as you have to PAY first (you had to the same in the original restaurant). My mum and the waitress were gossiping, and the reason why you have to pay first is because there have been people who eat and then leave without paying. (If you are searching for a cashpoint: there are two at the entrance of Elephant and Castle Tube Station. There's a Santander (Abbey National) on the lower ground floor of Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre. One outside Tesco inside the shopping centre... And if I remember correctly there might be a bank on the first floor... Maybe...).
Took this on 28/06/2013 - Inside Tai Tip Mein
Unfortunately they don't do crispy noodles (which are obviously my favourite), and here's the only picture I have from that day... Just a screenshot from my Intagram which can view online...
Fried Noodles with King Prawns
My noodles were smothered with soy sauce. I don't seem to understand why people like to cover their food with soy sauce. It's too much for me , but I ate all of it. I was hungry, very hungry, and I didn't want to disappoint my mum who was paying!! Fortunately the king prawns compensated for the noodles. They were definitely fresh. I also had a piece of wanton from my mum's noodle soup, and it was very delicious. Very plain and not salty, and are also hand made in Tai Tip Mein. She added some chilli oil into hers to spice it up. There was a lot of wanton in it. It's a shame I have no picture of it...

So. A very short post. If I go there again I will add more pictures to this post!! Total cost came to about £12-£13 including drinks... (cheaper than aobaba!!) Oh yeah, I forgot to mention there's an all-you-can-eat buffet on the lower ground part. I think it's about £7.50 per person. Drinks cost extra of course... It's too bad I dislike buffets!!!

My geeky rating: 4/5

Good points:
- Very speedy service
- Noodle bar setting (so you might end up sharing a whole long table with someone)
- Wanton tasted good!
- Cheap place to eat Chinese food

Bad points:
- Too much soy sauce in my noodles

Address: 15 Elephant and Castle London SE1 6TE

Telephone: 020 7701 6788


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Update 04/07/2013
Here's a couple of noodle soups... Quite tasty, but looks like they use instant noodles, but not instant soup bases!
My delicious duck and bbq pork noodle soup ^_^

My mum had another Wanton Noodle Soup!
ALSO!! There's a change of ordering now... You have to go to the front to order and pay. It's like going to a fast food restaurant now!!
There's a sign at the front now that they've changed policy!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Snickers and Oh Henry! and Butterfinger Crisp

My last post on the snacks I got from Dallas, and what not best to end this with four bars of chocolate. ^_^
I only ate half of all of these, and I guess I will save them for tomorrow or during the week...
My four chocolate bars - not finished (I am not that greedy!)
So the first one is this Butterfinger Crisp. I've never come across this before, and thought I have to try it out! When I opened it, I didn't realise it came in two pieces. It was very tightly packed, and gave the impression of there being only one bar.
Butterfinger Crisp

Two pieces of Butterfinger Crisp
And when I split one piece into two, you will see this wafer biscuit which is covered in chocolate. Looks like a Kit Kat chunky, but there is a big difference to this. The chocolate is not that thick, and the wafer is very sweet, which I think is typical of a Nestle chocolate. It has this nutty taste to it too. I think these are quite nice! And I would buy it again.
A lot of wafer in this!
Next is this chocolate bar called Oh Henry! which is also from Nestle. Mr Bear mentioned this before I had went away, so I thought I must find this one. This also came as a double mini bar.
Oh Henry! Chocolate bar

Single mini bar of Oh Henry!
I'm glad I did! It's a chocolate bar with caramel with peanuts and fudge in 2 separate layers. This one is not too sweet, and it tastes milk chocolate-ty. The caramel lasts in your mouth which is what I liked from this... A must try!! This makes me wonder who Henry was, and why it's called Oh Henry! My curiosity streak strikes!
So much caramel!!
Now for these two Snicker bars... I haven't seen these in the UK before/yet (have they been out here already? ... don't think so). So one is Dark Snickers, and the other is Almond Snickers.

The Dark one is a normal Snickers bar but covered with dark chocolate. ¬,¬ Nothing too special about this really... But it does take a while for the dark chocolate to sink in. It's not as dark as the chocolate you would find in the UK. So if you don't like too much bitter dark chocolate you will be happy not to taste in this Snickers bar.
Snickers Dark

It's not too dark really
But this Almond one is yummy!! Underneath the milk chocolate is a normal Snickers bar filling, but instead of peanuts, there's almonds. Ummmmmmm. I would definitely want more of these. Very almond-y in taste.
Snickers Almond

Yummy almonds are inside!!
It seems Americans like nutty foods a lot. Most of my posts seem to have something nutty about them! I guess we all like nuts as it contains some nutritional stuff in them as well as being tasty. :D

Anyway, I hope to review more American type of snacks in the nearest future. (^_^)v

Friday, 14 June 2013

Wrigley's Extra Dessert Delights and Fruit Sensations Chewing Gum

More chewing gum. Woohoo.

These ones have been out in America for a while. And I have seen them on ebay when I was looking for watermelon flavoured gum in the past. So when I saw these flavours in Dallas, I knew I needed to buy them. It's unfortunate I didn't buy the multiple packs as these would have lasted until the end of the year...!

Anyway, I bought three flavours: sweet watermelon, strawberry shortcake and mint chocolate. And they are all sugar free. ^_^
Wrigley's Extra Chewing Gum
First up is the sweet watermelon flavour. As you take the plastic wrapper off, you get a whiff of the watermelon flavour. It has a sour taste to it at first and then as you keep chewing, the sour taste disappears, and then you are met with a sweetish watermelon taste. I really like this flavour. It has this everlasting taste.
Sweet Watermelon Flavour

A pinky red stick
Next is this strawberry shortcake flavour. You can't smell much from the packaging unfortunately. But does it taste like strawberry shortcake? Yes, it does. You get that biscuity taste along with the strawberry. It isn't too sweet, and it isn't overwhelming. Not my favourite out of the three, but it is a good flavour if you're craving a cheesecake type of flavour.
Strawberry Shortcake Flavour

A red coloured stick
And finally is this mint chocolate chip flavour! Wow. This has to be my favourite. I actually had a taste of these in Dallas. Miss Pinky like this too!! (She wanted my whole pack). As you take the wrapper off, there is this instant minty chocolate smell which is everlasting! ^_^ As soon as you start chewing you will instantly taste the chocolate chip. It tastes like dark chocolate. Then you're hit with the mint flavour, the real Wrigley's mint flavour (just like Double Mint).
Yummy Mint Chocolate Chip

A green yummy stick
I should've bought more chewing gum!!! They are a must try if you're heading towards the USA. ^_^

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Trident Cinnamon Flavour Chewing Gum

Chewing gum. Haven't blogged about chewing gum before. This one is quite interesting as it's cinnamon flavour. I have never seen cinnamon flavoured chewing gum before!! I think I bought this in Walmart.
A Packet of 54 Trident Cinnamon Sticks
You can instantly smell from the pack that there is some cinnamon flavour and at first I thought it smelt like washing powder.
Cool little box, which you just need to open at the back revealing all the chewing sticks
As you pop it into your mouth, you get this instant spicy taste as if it's going to burn the insides of your tongue and mouth, which is actually the xylitol added to this chewing gum! Oof!! Amazing stuff. I think I'm going to have to give this some friends to try out to see what they think of it!
There's 18 sticks in the packet!!

Cinnamon stick chewing gum
If you like cinnamon, and you don't mind a small peppery kick then this chewing gum is for you!! ^_^

And is it everlasting...? Yes it is!!

p.s. They taste like Big Red chewing gum... Yeek!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Reese's Big Cup

Reese's is part of the Hershey's company. And they have started selling their milk chocolate cups in the UK already. When I saw these big cups I thought I must try it out, but hadn't realised at the time that they are part of Hershey's... ¬,¬"
Reese's Big Cup - The King Size 
These are massive. And if you like peanut butter you might like these... You get the saltiness from the peanuts...
They are quite big!

Cupcake size ^_^
Unfortunately if you had my previous post on Hershey's chocolate, you will know what you're going to taste. That's right. There's a slight sour taste from the milk chocolate. :( The peanut butter actually masks it really well at first, but you will eventually get the sour taste in your mouth... Heheheh
Lot's of peanut butter filling in the centre, but with Hershey's chocolate surrounding it...
A must try if you haven't tasted any Hershey's chocolate or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

M&M's Peanut Butter Flavour

Next up is... M&M's Peanut Butter flavour. I have actually had several packets of these already and didn't blog about it... (Cheeky smile :D)....
Peanut Butter M&M's... I wonder if they are sold in M&M World...
It's a flavour that I'm sure the rest of the world wants to try. It has peanut butter in it. Who doesn't like peanut butter?! I grew up eating peanut butter sandwiches, and so I love the stuff. These are also slightly bigger to the ones you see in the UK...
Big M&M's!!!
In these M&M's there's an outer coloured shell, a coating of chocolate and then a filling of peanut butter. The peanut butter and chocolate melts quickly into your mouth and you still get the sweet taste from the shell, but also a bit of saltiness from the peanut butter... Yummy!!! It's like having chocolate spread and peanut butter in one sandwich. Hm, must try that one day!! ^_^
Sweet shell, chocolate then it's the peanut butter
It's a shame that these are not sold in the UK. I actually found some being sold at a stall in East Street Market, but they were about to expire, so I ate them quickly! According to the stall seller, they won't be exported from the US anymore... :( These would be a big seller over here methinks!!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Lifesavers Mints - Strawberry Apple Flavour

I was quite curious when I saw these "mints" in the supermarket in Dallas. They looked different. 3 flavours in one sweet. When you open the packet, you can instantly smell the apple and strawberry flavour but not much of the mint!
Lifesavers Mints - Strawberry and Apple Flavour
They look like a larger version of Polos, don't they?! But I think they are supposed to look like those lifeguard rings, you know, those rings that help people when they are about to drown...
Individually wrapped "mints" as it says on the pack
So taste wise, as you pop one into your mouth you get this sour sensation from the apple flavour. Why does everyone make apple flavoured foods so sour! I don't understand. I like sweet apples. :( Then as it slowly dissolves in your mouth you can taste the strawberry flavour, and only a very small hint of mint. It's all artificially flavoured. 

If you get the chance, try them out... Maybe... ¬,¬""

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Skittles Darkside

As we were waiting at Dallas International Airport, Miss Pinky bought these for me.... Skittles Darkside. They are still marked as "NEW" in American shops, and they have not been released in the UK yet I believe.
Skittles Darkside
Well what's so different about these to the normal colourful ones we see in the shops? The colours are just dark. Dark red, dark orange, dark purple, dark green and dark blue... ¬,¬"
Different colours in the packet
That's all it is really!! The flavours are practically the same to me. So Skittles Darkside is nothing too special (if you know what I mean!).

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Boston Baked Beans

I think I've been too lazy to eat snacks... Not so true, but yes it's about time that I started on the rest of these snacky items!

Hmmm... this looked very interesting when I saw them in the supermarket in Dallas. My brain was thinking "I wonder whether these will taste like baked beans, the Boston American style...?"


Nope they don't. Well, I didn't expect it to be. They look like baked beans though.

The sugar coat surrounding the peanut tastes are very sweet. And I LIKE IT even if they are artificially flavoured. But they are quite tough to bite into... 

As the coating is tough I had to bite the top to get this next picture!

So after eating several of these, I realised they tasted a bit like cereal, a very sweet one, or like a peanut sweet. They are quite addictive to be honest!

Tasty, tasty beans!! ^_^

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