Archive for May, 2009

Divana Home Cuisine – Bangkok

Friday, May 29th, 2009

8 Sukhumvit 35
North Klongton, Wattana
Bangkok 10110
Tel. 02 261 4818-9
Fax. 02 261 4814
Opening Hours: 11:00 am -10:00 pm (kitchen closes at 9 pm)

Interesting and healthy Thai cooking served in a dining room that looks onto lush tropical foliage and their  well-run spa across the garden.
Thai cooking is basically simple and starts out with a lot of chopping and dicing; it takes on startling complexities when a combination of different ingredients meld together in a myriad of different ways. At Divana Home Cuisine they tend to use only the freshest garden ingredients and no MSG is added, with the essence of healthy dining in mind.

Tea infusion selections includes: orange, apple and berry, if you prefer them cold, they will serve the drinks in a glass with ice cubes made from the same juice, therefore the tea is not diluted when the ice melts. Ingenuity!

La Grappa Restaurant – Hua Hin, Thailand

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

La Grappa Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria
20/5 Poolsuk Rd, Hua Hin,
Prachaubkirikhan, 77110
Tel. +66 (0) 32 516 510, +66 (0) 40 094 748
Open Daily: 10:00 a.m. – midnight
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate

Andreas Bonifacio, the chef patron and partner, runs a tight ship and not only is he the Captain, at times he fills almost every other position, one minute he is in the kitchen cooking and the next taking an order at a table, followed by delivering plates of sliced Parma ham to another. Incidentally, a dish that should not to be missed is the large nodule of special mozzarella di bufala, imported from Campania, and served alongside the aforementioned Parma ham, and be sure to request the chef’s special forccacia filled with mascarpone and black truffle paste mixed with mushrooms. These dishes amply suffice as starters and pasta is quite unnecessary and you may segue into the main courses or, as we did one evening, order another round of appetizers such as vitello tonnato, and carpaccio di manzo (thinly sliced raw beef); as is the case with most everything served at La Grappa it is beautifully presented in addition to being of excellent quality.

La Grappa’s central location on Poonsuk Road nestled amongst other popular restaurants and not far from the Hilton Hotel is ideal and there are two different sections to choose from: the outdoor terrace with an adjacent bar, which is partially enclosed or the air-conditioned main dining room.
The restaurant prominently displays at the front entrance, as might be expected, an extensive collection of Grappa of all types both well-known and uncommon. Without further descriptions, just take a look at the dishes pictured below they tell it all.

Platoo Seafood Restaurant – (Cha Am) Hua Hin, Thailand

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Platoo Restaurant, Next to Courtyard Marriott
Tel. 837-508175
Credit Cards: No
Prices: Inexpensive

Platoo is a fairly typical expansive, Thai beach restaurant housed under a  high-peaked, thatched roof directly on the beach, although slightly elevated and set back behind the high tide line. Another smaller structure next door provides an annex in case it is needed. It might be considered unusual that all the wait-staff are wired so that they can transmit their orders through wireless headsets, which makes a great deal of sense in such a large establishment. The prices are reasonable and the place has a good location in Cha Am. We found the cooking quite good after two visits. It is recommended.

Cigar Bars in Thailand are Feeling the Heat!

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Cigar bars are flourishing in Hong Kong and Singapore and are a conspicious show of wealth, although in Thailand, due to strict enforcement of anti-smoking laws, the cigar business is literally as dead as a stubbed out cigar. To make things even worse in an already adverse political and economic climate is the high import duty on cigars. Pacific Cigar Co. is Thailand’s largest importer of Cuban cigars and their sales have been dropping.

Coffee Beans by Dao – Bangkok

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Ekamai Branch: 47 Sukhumvit Soi 12
Tel. 02-713-2506, 02-713-2507, 02-713-2508
Ruam Rudee Branch: 20/12-15 Soi Ruam Rudee, Ploenchit
02 254 7117-9 ,02 254 7780-2
Silom Branch: Tel. 02-238-1141
Grand Centre Point Rajdamri Branch: Tel. 02-670-5080
Central World Branch: Level 2 Central World Bangkok
Tel. 02-613-1530-1

The outlandishly named “Coffee Beans by Dao” suggests an entirely different objective that bears little relation to the actual business at hand, and has nothing to do with “coffee beans”. It has flourished in spite of the “silly” name (conjuring up silly names for restaurants is a talent that most Thais inherently have) and has opened many outlets around the city. This very, popular Bangkok cake shop is currently, also known for its Thai specialty dishes, which it takes pride in serving daily to an eager horde of mostly affluent locals. Dessert prices start at 100 baht but they are well worth the expense.

Just to mention a few of the most popular dishes: glass noodles salad (Shanghai Noodles) 180 baht, crispy wanton Pad-Thai shrimp 180 baht, crispy morning glory salad 200 baht, green curry chicken 150 baht, rad-na noodle or flat bread 140-200 baht.

Brunello Wine Dinner, Beccofino Restaurant, 30 May 2009 – Bangkok

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Brunello di Montalcino Wine Dinner

Saturday 30th of May, 2009



Sturgeon Carpaccio with mustard cress,
lemon and olive oil dressing

Chardonnay 2006, Donna Lisa Bianco

Second Course

Tortelli pasta stuffed with duck liver, fresh Italian sausages ragout
and summer black truffles

Chianti Docg Querceto 2007, Castello di Querceto

Main Course

Aus. Wagyu Beef Roulade stuffed with Porcini mushrooms, spinach
and Sangiovese red wine sauce

Pan fried fillet of Monk fish wrapped in bacon with vegetable tortino
and Sangiovese red wine sauce

Brunello di Montalcino Doc 2003, Renieri


Pistachio di Bronte mousse with wild berry sauce
and hazelnut ice cream

Lavazza coffee or Ronnefeldt tea

Grappa Inga , Delle Bianche Terre di Gavi

Baht 2,400++ per person

Tokyo Table, Thai-Japanese Fusion Cuisine – Bangkok

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

8/1 Soi Ekamai 6, Sukhumvit 63 Road
Klongton-Nua, Wattana
Bangkok, 10110
Tel/Fax. 02-391-4103
Mobile. 086-525-3619
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Moderate

Tokyo Table is a special hidden place on Eccomai. Choose from the Thai/Japanese fusion cuisine, the selections are very interesting as well as being quite innovative and mainly good. Avoid the typical, classic Japanese dishes such as sushi or Hayashi rice, as there are a multitude of Japanese-operated places around the area in which you may experience these dishes. Stick with what they are concentrating on here: Thai-Japanese Fusion, you will be pleased.

The Athenaeum, Caltech, Pasadena – Los Angeles

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

The Athenaeum is a well-kept secret amongst alumni and friends of the California Institute of Technology. Membership is open to individuals associated with the teaching, research, or administrative staffs at Caltech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Huntington Library and Art Gallery, and the Palomar Observatory.

As early as 1921, George Ellery Hale, renowned astronomer, Caltech trustee, and director of the Mount Wilson Observatory, envisioned an Athenaeum in Pasadena modeled after the club in London. Hale had already spurred intellectual life in the region by bringing former MIT President Arthur A. Noyes and physicist Robert A. Millikan to Caltech. Together this trio positioned the California Institute of Technology as a world-class center for teaching and research in engineering and science. During the 1920s, cultural life also blossomed around two other centers of scholarship in Southern California–the Mount Wilson Observatory and the Huntington Library and Art Gallery.

The first formal dinner was held in February 1931, when Albert Einstein arrived for a two-month sojourn at Caltech. Three Nobel Prize winners, Albert Einstein, Robert A. Millikan, and A. A. Michelson, attended that dinner. Portraits of Hale, Noyes, Millikan, the Balches, and Caltech’s past presidents hang in various rooms throughout The Athenaeum.

The Athenaeum’s dining facilities are open Monday through Friday,
except Institute holidays.
For reservations, call (626) 395-8282
The Main Dining Room, the Hall of the Associates, and in good weather, the East and West Patios offer gracious settings for weekday dining. The Athenaeum boasts a varied and excellent menu as well as an extensive wine cellar. Appropriate dining attire is requested. Hours of service are Monday through Friday:

Fresh Pea and Wild Sonoran Shrimp Risotto
pancetta, lemon, leeks, and crispy shallots

Lobster Bisque
fresh lobster meat, tarragon, whipped crème fraîche

Chicken Gallantine
celery root apple salad, apricot chutney, rhubarb, cherry walnut vinaigrette

Beef Carpaccio
marinated marble potatoes, cornichon, arugula, truffle vinaigrette

Athenaeum Caesar Salad
with aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, marinated anchovies and croutons
Yes We Have a Green Salad
pickled cauliflower, olives, haricot vert, tomatoes, green goddess dressing

Spring Goat Cheese Salad
baby beets, kumquat, dates, candied pecans, radiccio, radishes
arugula, lemon vincotto
Duck Confit Salad
red wine poached pear, dried cherries, endive, salad greens, lotus root,
brie toast, plum dressing

Roast Alaskan Halibut
artichokes barigoule, lemon risotto, fava beans

Pan Roasted Loch Duart Salmon
asparagus, king mushrooms, spinach, almonds, curried carrot broth

Balsamic and Fig Glazed Jidori Chicken
mushroom potato galette, nettles, olive chicken jus

Green Olive Crusted Duck Breast
poached tangerines, foie gras, bleu cheese potatoes, blackberry gastrique

Stuffed Veal Breast
fennel sausage, parmesan, herbs, olive oil mashed potatoes, asparagus

Grilled Moroccan Lamb T-Bones
marinated with orange, cumin, garlic, coriander and olive oil
served with ratatouille, crisp hummus and tahini lamb sauce

Grilled Bone In Filet Mignon
crispy potato sticks, Roquefort creamed spinach, morel mushroom flan

Spring Vegetables with Parmesan Polenta
pea shoots, mascarpone, marinated heirloom tomato confit

Seafood Trio
seared sesame ahi with lemon risotto, Dungeness crabcake
and spring vegetable salad, colossal prawn with a polenta cake and arugula


7:00 am to 9:00 am

11:30 am to 1:30 pm

5:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Breakfast reservations are not required for parties of eight or less.
Lunch and dinner reservations are strongly recommended.

Private Dining Rooms
Several attractive private dining rooms are available for meetings or special functions. These include the Library (capacity 30), the East and West Private Dining Rooms (capacity 40), and the Card Room (capacity 30). The Private Events Office will take your reservations and assist with all phases of your planning. Please call (626) 395-8264 for more information.


Located on the lower level of the Athenaeum, the Rathskeller Bar and Game Room offer a casual setting for impromptu gatherings. Reservations are not necessary for parties of eight or less. The Rathskeller offers full bar service and is a pleasant place to relax and enjoy a cocktail at the end of the day. A special bar menu is available Monday through Wednesday and Friday from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. On Thursday, a special all you can eat buffet is available from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Join us on the Olive Terrace for our Rath al Fresco for summer evening dining from mid May through September.

The Rathskeller bar is open Monday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and Fridays from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Beverages served in the Rathskeller may not be taken to any other area of the Athenaeum. The Rathskeller is available for private parties.

Hayman Lounge

Located in the southwest corner of the main floor, the Hayman Lounge is a gift from alumnus Richard Hayman. Surrounded by photographs of Caltech Nobel Laureates and other noted Caltech scientists, members and their guests can enjoy this intimate setting for cocktails, a glass of fine wine, or specialty coffees before or after dinner. The Hayman Lounge is open Monday through Friday, 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Main Lounge

To the right of the main entrance is the Main Lounge, a large paneled lounge with comfortable seating and a massive fireplace. Members and guests are invited to take a moment to sit and enjoy the ambience. The Lounge is available for private parties. Make reservations through the Private Events Office, (626) 395-8264.

Masala Art Indian Restauarant – Bangkok

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Masala Art, Thonglor Eight

Eight Thonglor Complex
Sukhumvit Soi 55, Thonglor Soi 8
Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel. 02 713 8357 – 8
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Moderate

Opening in 2009 in the new Thonglor Eight building the restaurant has a fresh, contemporary design that is pleasing overall. Chef Sudesh Kumar who was previously at the world renowned Taj Group of Hotels in New Delhi cooks authentic, Northern Indian cuisine. They do have an adequate wine list but I personally, would order a lassi or the lighter blend of yoghurt, roasted cumin seed, green chili, coriander and mint called, chaaj.

The Oyster Bar – Bangkok

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

The Oyster Bar
395 Narathiwas, Soi 24
Tel. 02 212-4809
Mobile. 089-895-2762
Opening Hours: Closed Monday; Tues-Sat 6pm-11:00pm; Sun 6pm-10:00pm
Credit Cards: Visa, MC
Prices: Moderate

The Oyster Bar is located directly across the street from the Oakwood City Residence on Soi 24. Bill Marinelli, fondly known as “Billy” is the owner, and you can find him on most evenings, behind the counter shucking oysters while sporting a red bandana on his head, quite a character in his own right. He spent some time in San Francisco during the eighties and Billy and I recalled a few people we both knew including a Frenchman who introduced the cultivation of French Belon oysters in California for the first time and his partner, in charge of the financial end of the business, and I believe a Swiss, who had an attractive, black mistress with a gregarious personality from Mississippi called Odella. He opened an oyster bar for her in the middle of the financial district in San Francisco and called it Odella’s and put her in charge, to sell Belon and other oysters, which their company were farm-raising at Pigeon Point.
In Bangkok at The Oyster Bar, the oyster selection changes frequently as shipments arrive twice a week, (unheard of in Bangkok as once-a-week is the norm) on Tuesday and Friday from Washington State. On the night I was there they had on display: Belon, Kumamoto, Skookum Inlet, Eld Inlet oysters all from Washington State, USA.
They also were showing Little Neck Clams and a delicacy rarely, if ever, found in Southeast Asia, Dungeness Crab!