Sunday, February 24, 2008

koh tao sunsets

i almost lost all my koh tao photos, but after a few sacrifices to a few minor demons of the digital underworld i managed to recover almost all of them. unsurprisingly, koh tao was where all my good sunset photos came from. here are a few:

the view for my first evening in thailand
koh tao

koh tao - orange&blue

ye'olde cliche'd sunset photo
koh tao - sunset

koh tao - golden

Sunday, February 3, 2008

post trip - trek photos up

i've heard one day recovery for every hour difference as a general rule of thumb when it comes to jet lag. i'd have to agree, it really took two weeks to feel normal again after returning from tokyo (14 hours difference). strangely it only took two or three days in thailand to adjust (12 hour difference). the lesson here is that recovery time from jet lag is directly related to how much motivation you have to get up every day (thailand; high motivation to go diving, lie on beach, drink buckets of sam song and redbull. toronto; not so high motivation to sit behind a desk everyday [no offense to any coworkers/bosses who may still be watching this blog... =D])

ok enough blather, i've started processing photos. for those of you who wanted some non-food photos (i'm looking at you mom), here you go. the first batch is all from my trek in northern thailand.

the fog is from all the frost (yes FROST it went down to zero at night in the mountains) burning off

setting out

and here are a couple elephants for good measure

Friday, January 18, 2008


no english name: shinjuku, 5 minute walk from the south east exit of shinjuku station (around the corner from the wendy's and mc'd's across the street from each other)
- mixed seafood okonomiyaki: 1000 yen

this dish requires a step by step explanation

first the surface it's made on (your table)

okonomiyaki surface

next your order arrives, a bowl of shredded lettuce, mixed with your particular selection of stuff, in my case octopus, squid, and shrimp (and i think some veg thrown in for good measure). on top of everything in the bowl is a raw egg. sorry i didn't get a photo of the pre-cooked state.

next you mix it all (well, you're supposed to, but since i didn't know what i was doing the waiter did it for me) very thoroughly and pour it on the now hot surface

okonomiyaki cooking

cook for awhile, flip

okonomiyaki flip

cover with stuff that can't be good for you and serve (the white stuff is like mayo, the brown is like a thick soya sauce, no idea... maybe marco can explain. the flakey stuff is salty, i suspect fish flakes)

okonomiyaki finish

mmmm tasty

apologies for lack of non-food notes lately, tokyo is so huge and overwhelming it's hard to choose a single thing to comment on, but tomorrow i leave =( so this is likely the last post while on the road. i'll post as i upload non food photos to my flickr account. thanks for reading my blog, i'll see you all soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

sashimi & sushi

sushi bar at shinjuku park hotel
- sashimi: 1520 yen

6 different types of fish, as far as i know only one of them had i had before. even that tasted different. the portions of fish are much more generous than sashimi i've had anywhere in toronto. it's true what they say about sushi in japan, it is better. i don't think i can have it in canada again unfortunately =\

unfortunately it's just as expensive as back home

sushi at tsukiji market (japanese named restaurant, somewhere in inner market)
- sushi selection: 3675 yen

i really wish i could have taken a picture, several pictures actually, it was the best sushi i have ever had. there was barely room to maneuver my chopsticks let alone my big slr camera, that and a polite sign on the door that said no pictures please. i took a picture of the picture out front illustrating what i ordered, but it doesn't come close to doing it justice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

tokyo fast food

- beef, rice, and soup: 580 yen


[not the best photo, it feels really wrong to be taking photos in japanese restaurants for some reason so i rushed it]

tired from waking up at 3:30 am to make it to the airport in time to get to tokyo, i left the hostel and ate at the first place i found. i think it's the japanese equivalent of a burger joint, it took all of 3 minutes between ordering and being served.

notice the egg, i didn't quite figure out how to use it properly in time, i took my best guess and did what i do with korean food (mix it in with the hottest thing on the table [the beef]) but it turns out you beat it, season it, and use it to dip the beef in. at least i was close =P

regardless of the egg, it was pretty good, and certainly exactly what i needed after a six hour flight, two hour train/subway ride and 1 hour wander through the neighbourhood looking for the hostel.

bonus non-food pic: tokyo winter (taken while wandering shibuya shinjuku today)

winter tokyo

Sunday, January 13, 2008

goodbye bangkok - blowing the budget @ cy'an

the metropolitan hotel: cy'an
7 course tasting menu with paired wines: 4530 baht


so, what better way to say goodbye to bangkok than by completely blowing the budget and going out for some fine dining. i met up with a couple of great brits i had met earlier in koh tao (the internet is completely changing traveling just like everything else) and went for some fine dining at the metropolitan hotel restaurant in bangkok; cy'an

the price was astronomical for thailand (and actually pretty expensive for back home too) but it was very much worth it. i don't have the vocabulary to explain, so you'll have to use the pictures to figure out just how good it was (plus the menu i took home with all the details). the photos are a bit dark at first because it took a few glasses of wine before i used flash at the fancy restaurant =P

[everything is listed in the order it was received]

appetizer: parma ham & parmesan on a crustini, fishcake with tartar sauce, & gazpacho with olive, anchovy & red pepper

cyan app

wine: moet et chndon, brut imperial

course 1: "raw flavours of the sea" new style sashimi of black king fish, avocado & peppery herbs

cyan course 1

course 2: "oyster & pearl" barron point in vodka tempura, pearls & sea vegetable broth

cyan course 2

wine: terrazas varietal, mendoza, chardonnay, argentina 2005

course 3: "river, fields & forest" southern rock lobster with roast pork, fresh figs & endive

cyan course 3

wine: licoln, gisborne muscat, ice wine, new zealand 2004

course 4: "gardens & pastures" duck foie gras with grilled bananas, fresh green pepper & pandanas

cyan course 4

wine: wyndham estate bin 222, chardonnay, austrailia 2003

course 5: "salty seas" hapuka cooked with baby carrots in a perfumed broth with coriander, honey & fresh almonds

cyan course 5

wine: terrazas varietal, mendoza, cabernet sauvignon, argentina 2005

course 6: "a life of grains" blackend wagyu beef with piquello peppers, garlic puree & grilled tomato jus

cyan course 6

course 7: "curds & whey" st. felicien cheese with thyme scented poached pear

cyan course 7

dessert 1: strawberries in hibiscus syrup

cyan dessert 1

dessert 2: caramel custard tart with reduced milk ice cream

cyan dessert 2

delicious execution of common thai ingredients

jolly frog restaurant
- plain rice with chicken fried with thai basil leaves and chillies: 25 baht


to date (and i leave thailand tomorrow) the best execution of this common combination of ingredients in thailand. simple, spicy the exactly right serving size (it looks small but really is just right), this is what thai food should be.

Friday, January 11, 2008

chain restaurant thai food (plus bonus pic)

black canyon coffee & international thai cuisine
- udon in chicken and galingal in coconut soup: 70 baht
- northern (thai style) sausage: 70 baht
- iced green tea with milk

i've been getting tired of all the predictable thai food and wanted to find something that was less classic thai and more modern thai. i'm not sure that i succeeded, but i think this came close. as far as i can tell black canyon coffee is a big chain restaurant, and it's menu tries to be a bit more modern


the udon in coconut soup was really quite delicious, however thai cooking has an unfortunate habit of putting lots of really delicious, but inedible, bits into the soup. the result is a tasty but very difficult to eat dish (unless you like to spend half your time chewing woody pieces of lemon grass). someone needs to import the idea of a bouquet garni =P still really tasty


what can i say, it's sausage and it's tasty

special non-food bonus pic: sunset over the river kwai


i visited the bridge over the river kwai yesterday, and it is indeed a weird mix of solemn and plastic touristy crap, but i didn't bring my camera so you'll just have to take my word for it.

i also visited hellfire pass today, a site along the thai-burma railway, the deepest cutting with a very grim story

war tourism makes me feel uncomfortable, on the one side it's important to remember, on the other it seems to demean the events and the lives lost the way it's all commercialized.

[edit: damn flickr is being super slow to upload, you're going to have to wait for the other two pics]
[edit 2: fixed]