Eleven Madison Park

Finally checked out Eleven Madison Park with my fellow Gundam Wing fan sister Melinda aka prodigybombay.

It was a really lovely experience. Coupled with the fact that the afternoon light was beautiful and my iPhone 5 turned out some pretty pictures, I figure I might as well blog it.

The experience was exquisite. From presentation to service to food, you can see just how much thought and care was put into every element at the restaurant.

But what stood out to me most was the beauty in presentation.

I don't think myself a gourmet by any stretch, but I've dined at a number of lovely places during my travels, and the food and table presentation at EMP was definitely one of the best I've seen, enhancing the dining experience as a highlight than merely a point to be complimented on.

Carrot tartare, with ingredients laid out on the side for you to choose what to mix in.

Out of 16 courses I loved the sea urchin snow with smoked cantaloupe and conch the most (top left, 1st pic). It reminded me a little of my time at Saturne in Paris, one of my fondest meals to date. But the clams, tomato confit with lobster, foie gras, roasted duck with apricots and fennel, picnic basket (hehe), malted egg cream, were all amazing in their own right.

The picnic basket was soooo cute. Even though I'd read about it online, it still held a lot of charm when laid out on my table in a room flooded with warm afternoon sunlight.

It took us about 3.5 hours to finish our meal, a little less time than I'd originally expected for a 16-course menu. 2 cookies and a pretzel were considered a course each so those didn't take up time, I guess it was the only real disappointment if you compared it to Guy Savoy's endless dessert trolleys. But I suppose that was just me being a kid wanting more sweets and not getting enough. I need a lot of desserts to go with my food. .__.

At the end of our meal our server was kind enough to request a kitchen tour for us. We managed to take a peek into the kitchens behind a standing table, and a dessert chef whipped up an Arnold Palmer drink, with sorbet and all, right in front of us.

Before heading home we were given a jar of granola! A small but sweet touch and super delicious. Thank you EMP for the souvenir.

All in all, though not a place I can return to weekly, it's an awesome experience I wholly recommend. :D

PS: Feel free to recommend me more places to eat in NY!

Teatime at The Wolseley

Been mad busy since I arrived in London. Location and model changes being made over and over and over. Sigh.

Managed to spend the afternoon with Heeseung at The Wolseley today though. Cheered me up so much. Man the scones, the clotted cream. The clotted cream!! I could've eaten a whole jar plain if you gave me one.

The place was so pretty too. Black and gold perfection.

Los Angeles Meetup

I felt a little bad about not doing a meetup the last time I was in L.A., so I thought I had to do a session this time round no matter what. The turnout came to be much more than I'd expected, I think we had 21 or 22 people altogether.
The Griffith Observatory was wonderful, a bit of a pain to get to, but the view was breathtaking. 
We got a little bit lost on our way coming in from Irvine and the L.A. traffic wasn't helping it at all, I was super worried about being late. Upon my arrival however we found the attendees gathered together already, they supposedly magnetized each other somehow, hahaha. And so we took half a dozen tables in a corner at The Café at the End of the Universe and commenced. 

In my usual meetups I talk for about half the time, and the other half I reserve it for the others to talk about themselves for sometimes I find it quite inspiring to hear from others too. But I guess because the group is bigger this time everyone was kinda shy with it, so we ended up doing Q&A and me speaking for the most of it.

Was still ample fun though. Everyone was really sweet. We had people who came down from San Francisco and San Diego. I was so so touched.

And I got gifts again too. Thank you all. T__T

Happy shiny people :D

The whole group~

That little bit of white on the hilltop in the middle at the back is actually the Hollywood sign, only visible if I view this pic at 100% though.

After the meetup we headed downtown for dinner and a couple of the CGHUB peeps who came over from San Fran joined us.

It was awesome meeting everyone, and I think (hopefully? haha) we all had a good time.

I really should try to do a meetup in Singapore some day... Some day.

Some other entries on the meetup:
Hikaru-Jan
marqelexsis

Heading back home tonight, I'm down with a cold and horrible migraine so I'm dreading the flight. But alas, work awaits, can't stay any longer as much as I'd love to.

Thank you L.A., and all you wonderful people who made my trip so amazing and beautiful. <3

Christmas and New Year in Tokyo

I know these are kind of belated, but better late than never right? :D :D

Pre X'mas

I had the blessings to try like, the best brownies of my life.

Freshly baked one unsuspecting morning. The smell was so sinful that I literally couldn't go back to sleep after it woke me up. I went out of my room and stared at my host Glenn till he offered me three pieces of awesomes. I'd never felt sadder about finishing my food when the last piece was gone. T_T


Met up with Kiem and had okonomiyaki and monjayaki, one of those things I must have each time I'm back in Japan. :D

Lights!! I love the illuminations in Japan during Christmas and New Year so much. This was at Shinjuku.

Paper-cut chandeliers in Tokyo Midtown

Went to Tokyo Midtown and saw these these incredible (and huge!) paper cut-out chandeliers. So brilliantly simple and beautiful, and fit perfectly with the aesthetics of the interiors.

We then chanced upon these US$160 strawberries. Like. Woah. *___*

Christmas

Glenn prepared a feast of a dinner for his X'mas home party:

Like, holy cow, can you believe one person prepared all these @_@ I'm out of alternatives for the word awesome, so yeah, awesome. :D

Shopped too at some point of time. Absolutely heartable new pieces:


From top: Helmut Lang soft leather & wool top, Alice Auaa cropped jacket and h.Naoto Dark Red Rum H.Jelly dress. :D

New Year

Got to experience a Japanese New Year!

Sawaka working on our New Year's eve dinner <3

Brandon, Chris, Sawaka and her friends.

Don't know why the boys look so unhappy. I swear I'm not a mean photographer ><

The dishes on the table all have their own meanings (except for the nachos, ha). I can't remember them all, but soba is supposed to signify the wishing for a happy long life or something, I think? (Eat more soba™)

We watched Dead Poets Society. It was my first time. I cried, absolutely loved it. It was a recommended film to watch for Lit class in Secondary one but I somehow never got around to it, because, you know, what school recommend can never really be that great right? How wrong I was :( So gad I finally managed to see it though. I loved this quote so much: "The human race is filled with passion." There was something amazingly powerful to the lines in the film that was motivating and touching. So inspirational.

We made our way to Meiji Shrine a short while after dinner for hatsumode, the first shrine visit of the new year.

In Chinese we call this "people mountain people sea". 

So naturally we couldn't all fit under the roof. So to make offerings (coin toss), instead of getting close to the inner shrine, a huge row of humongous wooden boxes was instead placed in the empty clearing in the courtyard before the shrine for people to make their offerings and praying. (Huge like, if you'd been to Meiji Jingu, it stretches across the width of the clearing between the two large trees. Yeah.)

After saying our prayers we stayed around and ate around the food stalls that were set up along the stretch on the way out of the temple, before heading to the Telecom Center Building in Odaiba to watch sunrise.

And here's 2010!

It was such a beautiful experience, and actually also the first time I've spent a New Year's celebration with friends. I was so happy, thank you everyone for the wonderful company, may 2010 be full of wonders~! <3

Lijiang: Part I

I did a shoot with Sugizo today.

I still can't wrap my mind around the surreality of the events so I'll just do my previous travel posts first.

I'd almost forgotten how my blog looked like over the five days while in Lijiang. Almost.

I tried googling for ways to get onto all these banned sites (blogger/facebook/twitter) upon my arrival but it was just way too much work. Even when I did find ways to surf, I still couldn't login. Sighhh.

Well I guess it wasn't so bad for the blog since I would have needed to consolidate pictures anyway, just kinda annoying that I couldn't update fb and twitter as and when.

So anyway, Lijiang... I was there... on a friggin' real holiday.

It was so awesome it was kinda like, work-less (well for the most of it).

I'd been meaning to go on a holiday for a while now, but it just never really quite happened. I'm kinda glad that Abby reminded me of the supposed existence of such a intended trip one random day or I would have scheduled the whole of December for work otherwise. =_=;;

Okay anyway pictures~!

We stayed at Sleepy Inn for the first three nights. It's in Shuhe Old Town, the room's spacious, there's a skylight and we could see the moon through it in the morning.

Love the view~ :3

Went to the Liming Mountains on our first day.

Passed by the Yangtzu River First Turn (长江第一关) at Shigu mid-way. Apparently the flow of the river turns 180 degrees here, from south to north-bound.

Then to Liming Mountain~

Atop the Liming Mountain. Up and down the path we walked it supposedly totals up to some 10000 steps or so. Bad bad idea to do climbing on the first day. Reaaaallly bad. Our legs could barely move the second day onwards haha.

Ah well at least it was fun~ Headed to Lijiang Old Town for dinner.

They had so much awesome stuff but there's only so much two girls can order. Aiiiii. T_T

A whole pathway of wooden prayer plates. Really really beautiful.

I really wanna put Day 2 in this post too but I'm too sleepy. I'd just have do a very long Part II later! :D

Oh man, I'm so incredibly behind on my posts. I have like, the New York Part II, Yale Part II and all those ads and editorial and shoot posts which I'd been meaning to blog but have never got around to... I need to get over the feeling that I'm spamming my page if I update anything out of my system.

Hmm looking back, I really have a lot lesser entries this year than the last two.

Japan Part III: Day 8-12 Kyoto-Hakone-Tokyo

Day 8: Temples

Koryuji Temple.

It's famous for a large wooden statue of the "Miroku-Bosatsu" which was designated as the first national treasure in Japan. It's also the oldest temple in Yamashiro, Kyoto. Couldn't take photos inside the hall, but, I loved the place for the gardens. So so so so beautiful. ;_;

I wish I brought my camera. D:

Ninna-ji. The temple boasts a collection of more than 600 treasures, which can be seen at Reiho-kan twice every year, April-May and October-November. (So yeah, I didn't see any, except for the temple's unique low-branched sakura trees called Omuro Cheery T_T) It's also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site~ (reading from pamphlet ha)

Well, I think the photos aren't quite enough but, yes, it's super beautiful~ T_T

And Abby demonstrates her awesome self portrait skillz (with her point and shoot, I can do it with a DSLR hey~).

Ryoan-ji.

Didn't take as many photos there... was a bit tired and too crowded. And well.. it was under renovation. ~_~

Headed back into the city after a while and went down to Teramachi Street.

Had awesome parfaits~


Day 9-10: Photoshoot #3

Well, Kami-sama decided he didn't love me as much that day. So with every element in the photoshoot possible working against me, model's flight, styling, makeup, hair... oh and the weather, having us nearly freezing to death, there weren't really any photographs. We did have lots of fun being silly though. Just a pity it was one of the photoshoots that I'd really been looking forward to...

On the way back.

Round 1 of more-parfaits-to-reward-ourselves-for-a-day-of-hardwork. XD

Headed back to Tokyo the next day, but before that, Chris and I stopped by an awesome dessert place in Gion.

Matcha+azuki crepe. Awesome is awesome. Suuupperrrrrrrr delicious can~ ;_;

Back in Tokyo, I found awesome green tea cream puff. It's seasonal~! I wanted to bring some back home but the freaking thing expires in a day. @!(*&$)@%

Day 11-12: Hakone

Walked around Hakone Yumeto station just a little bit to buy my Himitsu Bako (Japanese Puzzle Box). It's a specialized art in Hakone (and I'm currently having an obsession with it)

The himitsu bako unopened.

And opened. :D This is the 12-move puzzle box, I also bought a 21-move one later on at the airport.

The view nearing our ryokan.

View from our room. I absolutely loved the pine in front of us, hearing the streams was super serene.

Kaiseki dinner. :3


Met up with Chris back in Tokyo the next day to head for the airport.

Found this at the Lawson there. It's a seasonal item again~ I'd love the Morinaga milk puddings since day one, finding a matcha flavoured one was just pure bliss.

Well and with that... we'd come to the end of my trip. I... I... wanna go back to Kyoto again~!! ;_;

But umm. I am heading back to Tokyo again end of this month to early May for the X Japan concert... =X

> Japan Mar-Apr Part III
Japan Mar-Apr Part II
Japan Mar-Apr 09 Part I

Macbook Pro 17"

Looks good so far. I'm just in need of a Firewire 800 cable to replace the FW400 for my cardreader, since there isn't a port for FW400 anymore.

And since I'm here, might as well update the rest of the recent pocket-damaging shopping.

Ann Demeulemeester sweater.

Junya Watanabe coat.

Also bought Tim Walker's Pictures, thing was so damn heavy to lug around it isn't even funny. But I managed home in one piece. Yay.

And just to spoil the post with some bright happy photos --

Jingna stares at Peixuan lovingly...~
...while having high tea at Cova (in Paragon, Orchard :3). Peixuan and I wanted to have a tiny private celebration of sort with Dan for his 21st birthday, as belated as it was.

Peixuan couldn't stop gushing about the decor. We liked the tea, the foie gras was a common favourite but the best was still recounting the old times and sharing gossips from the shooting range again. :3