Scouting for Protein @ O’Galito Bar & Grill and Carlos Mexican Canteena, Pavilion KL

Date of Visit: January 11, 12, 13 2014

Ever since my trip to Kuala Lumpur in January, a month ago, I had not managed to make any progress in losing body fat.  Extremely annoying and frustrating especially since that I was making good progress prior to my trip.  Moreover, on my return to Hong Kong, I sprained my foot and had to take time off running in the park. As we all know, dieting while on travel is a real bummer!  Although I try to plan for all contingencies – and even went ahead to pre-book a fruit platter for my meal onboard.  It was very tough staying mindful of what I should and should not eat, especially when there is a free-flow alcohol involved.

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My healthy fruit-platter lunch on-board flight CX725 from HKG to KUL

To make matters right, never despair… as they say: “Start your day right  with breakfast!”  Thank goodness there’s a GNC store downstairs in Pavilion Mall where I bought EAS low-carb protein ready-to-drink packs (RM12.90) for breakfast.  Only 100 calories to bind me over to the assorted calorie-laddened ‘nasi*’ for lunch! 😰

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My Saviour!

RIGHTO!  In this post, I’m gonna tell you my search for  protein to fulfil my bodybuilding requirements!

The plaza outside the Pavilion Mall called ‘Connection’, a very ‘happening’ loud, boozy and smoky place.

  • Loud = cacophony of music blaring from the assortment of eateries, bars, the huge TV screen and people all around.
  • Boozy =  Although predominantly a Muslim country, alcoholic drinks are legal and readily available for purchase, as long as one is over the age of 18 and a non-Muslim.  Prices for cocktails are pretty standard, around RM27-29 – cheaper than a glass of wine.
  • Smoky = Don’t get me started here!  (But I will nonetheless… 😈 )  The plaza is definitely not a smoke-free zone, a non-smoker can literally be overcame by smoke and keel over – no kidding.  On any given Monday morning, one can see the cigarette receptacles  filled to the brimmed with cigarette butts.  Not sure whether it is the culture there, but I see women in stilettos puffing away early in the morning whenever I grab my morning my cup of joe from Starbucks.  Not cool – not sophisticated – and you are shortening my lifespan!
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Connection @ Pavilion Mall, KL

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The ‘famous’ Crystal Bowl Fountain

O’Galito  was the first restaurant where we had dinner.  I couldn’t figure out what type of restaurant it was – whether Italian, Spanish or French from the menu, but after searching on line, I found out that it is a ‘Mediterannean restaurant’.   Hmm, figures with the generous of tomatoes, olives and herbs.  I should also have known that it is Portugese from the bacalo and piri piri ingredients – and from the sparse but clean (this is the cleanest restaurant I’ve came across in the Connection) decorum of the restaurant hinted at Portugal with patterned ceramic tiles on the wall harkening to eateries in Macau! The waitress was very polite and was curious to know whether I am Japanese or Korean.  Err… neither!

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Interior

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Bar

I refrained from ordering any drinks because I had downed at least 1 bottle of liquor on my way to KL.  I stuck to my Soda Water… so here’s what the gang had…

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Mojito served with generous dash of rum and plenty of mint

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Frozen Margarita

Food was served rather quickly and came out piping hot.  I noticed that the chef is an expat aka balding rotund white guy.

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Bacalao (RM48):
Cod fish fillet, braised onion, cherry tomatoes and olives

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File de File (RM72):
Beef tenderloin served with baked red skin potatoes and grilled vegetables

I had the chicken.  Tender, moist and delicious.  I’m happy to get some protein for the day – and I love rockets!

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Piri Piri Chicken (RM37):
Chicken piri piri on a bed of roasted vegetables

While enjoying our dinner, we were given 2 slices of dark rye bread but not sure who they were for – perhaps they were accompaniments for the beef tenderloin as it is the most expensive on the menu.

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Rye bread

I’m happy with our choice of restaurant.  This is my new go-to place for protein!  👍

****

Date of Visit:  January 12 2014

The next night, we tried another restaurant at Connection called ‘Carlos’, which we mistook for an Eygptian restaurant due to the shisha stand in front.  Again, we were misinformed with the cuisine served here, nevertheless, we wandered in.  It was only when we were settled that we realised that this is a Mexican restaurant properly called Carlos Mexican Canteena!  So, let’s blame the poor signage design and the shisha stand! 😝

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Carlos Mexican Canteena

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Shisha stand

The restaurant is dim, dank and down-right grubby with an irritating loop of Jennifer Lopez’s ‘On the Dance Floor‘ playing-over-and-over-and-over-again! Each table is given a portable ‘service button’ to call the waiters.  Ergonomically, the seats were very low and tables overly high, making us look like kiddies sitting at an adult’s table!   What’s more I couldn’t stop sneezing and was wondering why until I saw that smoking is actually allowed in the restaurant!  I mean, shisha is smoke, right?  I read from ‘The Guardian’ here that some experts say “a single shisha session is the same as smoking 200 cigarettes”!!  Help, my lungs! Tolong*! Tolong*!

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An ‘Arabeque-looking’ interior for a Mexican Canteena, further perplexed us

The first to arrive at our table was the rib – a humongous rib!  Couldn’t help that we had over ordered.  Are Malaysians big-eaters or the waiters are trained to up-sell?  In Hong Kong, the waiters are all trained to estimate the patrons orders and will stop them from over-ordering.  The current phrase here now is ‘Waste no Food’ campaign.  In any regards, the ribs were perfectly cooked, very tasty and juicy and fall off the bone easily.  The mashed potatoes were very creamy with lots of butter and cream.

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Mexicana Canteena Tender Beef-ribs (RM68++), served with mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables

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Mexicana Canteena Tender Beef-ribs

Our carb-attack was potato skins.  Tasty as well, with a side of salsa.

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Mexican Potato Skins (RM18++)
3 pieces of oven baked potato skins stuffed with beef covered with melted cheese

Our fajitas were terrific too.

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Fajitas (RM29++):
Grilled chicken on bed of sautéed bell peppers and onions served with fajitas sauce, cheese and tortillas.

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Chicken Fajitas

Unfortunately, for Carlos, I don’t see myself coming back anytime soon.  Too much fat and carbs.  No good for building a healthy body!

*Tolong means ‘Help’ in Malay

*Nasi means ‘Rice’ in Malay

Communal Dunkin’ @ Hotpot Express, Hillwood Road, TST, Hong Kong

I’m feeling for a nice hot bubbling hotpot dinner!  Weather in the Kong has been crazy! We had temperature dipping below 10C for the past few days – and with the dampness (and rain) it felt even colder.  Brrr…. even I who ‘never get sick’ caught the virus, did a couple of miserable projectiles and still coughing my poor lungs out!  And no, excuse me, I don’t have the H7N9 Avian Flu!

So, what’s a ‘hot pot‘?

Well, it’s basically that a bunch of diners gather around a bubbling communal cauldron of hot broth, while dunking raw pieces of food into it. Once these morsels are cooked, they are immediately slathered in various sauces and gobbled up.

Hot pot is the “Chinese socio-gastro activity of choice. It is a very low-maintenance meal that feeds a lot of people”.  👍

Here’s my review of my fav hotpot place in the Kong!

Date of Visit: December 30 2013

The place is called Hotpot Express at Hillwood Road, Tsimshatsui, but unfortunately the web address that I jotted down is no longer valid!  So, bummer, I can’t give you the address unless I ask my aunt for it.  Never mind, there is lots of eateries in Hillwood Road, if you decide to venture there.

The restaurant is very compact and simply done up, except for the magnums of cognacs on display there.

We were presented with a tray of assorted seasonings to make up our own sauces.

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Jars of assorted condiments

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My simple condiments of fresh chilies, garlic and soy sauce

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A peek at my dining companion’s murky sesame base sauce

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Essential Utensils: Chopsticks, strainer and of course a bowl with spoon and plate!

One can order various customised stock base according to one’s fancy. Here, we opted for a simple vegetable stock base.

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Bubbling cauldron of veg stock base

Since one has to cook each piece of food individually before one can eat it, the hot pot is the most tedious, and the the slowest of all slow food meals!   While waiting for the morsel of food to cook, one either watches the TV (just kidding – but yes, there are 2 at the corners of the dining room!), one chats and ‘bonds’.

Moreover, the steaming cooking pot doubles as a room heater in the chilling weather!

Let’s check out what we dunked into the hot pots!  Our ingredients:

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Sashimi

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Sashimi

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Fish jowl

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My fish jowl artistically presented (credit: Me!)

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Another shot!

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Wagyu Beef – thinly sliced

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Assorted ‘balls’: Squid, fish, prawns, pork

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Assorted mushrooms

Do you know that Cantonese call rockets, ‘Emperor’s vegetables’?  And I love rockets!

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‘Emperor’s Vegetables’ aka Arugula aka Rockets

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Razor mussels

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Seaweeds

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Some deep-fried bean-curd. I don’t like like, and will not recommend it!

Ahh!  Heaven!  But back down to earth –  I guess I better switch on my heater now and get my microwave working for my dinner!

Welcoming the Year of Horses in the Malls

恭禧發財!!

Happy Chinese New Year!  The Year of the Horse has finally arrived!  If don’t know that that 2014 is the Year of the Horse – and you live outside Asia, you are excused but for those of you who live in Asia, what’s your excuse?!  Don’t you go out at all?  Why – the malls are all decked out in horsie decorations!  Here’s some malls that I frequented.

Elements Mall @ Kowloon Station:  A horse head made up of tiny minions of horses.  The sponsor is… (no brainer)… Hong Kong Jockey Club!

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My all-time favourite for mall decorations is Landmark @ Central.  Every Chinese New Year, the atrium of the mall will be transformed into a floral extravaganza welcoming the in-coming zodiac of the new year.  This year, we have floral horses suspended in the air and horses let loose on a pictureque Chinese pasture complete with waterfalls, junk and Chinese houses.

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The One @ Tsim Sha Tsui:  Albeit tacky and simplistic, this is sponsored by a clothing company.  All the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac are presented riding a horse.

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