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Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

OmmWriter Dana

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Technology on March 30, 2011 at 6:49 am

OmmWriter Dana is a beautiful app for macs.  It is an app that allows you to write creatively in a calming atmosphere.  A picture covers the entire screen, so you don’t get distracted when you type.  OmmWriter also stops all notifications, such as the ones for Skype.  Different sounds go off as you type, including the classic “Type Writer” sound.  And it wouldn’t be the same without music.  There are 7 choices of music you can choose to listen to as you write to get your creative juices flowing.  Here are a few snapshots of OmmWriter below:

I bought this app for a cheap $4.99 USD on the Mac app store, and I simply love it.  Using it I don’t have to be distracted by facebook, skype, or other programs, and can finally concentrate on my writing.  This app is entirely worth the 5 dollars I paid.

Malt-Easter

In Food - HK on March 29, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Passing by a 7 eleven in Soho, my eye caught on to a cute little chocolate bunny they were selling.  This was labelled “Malt-Easter” and was just like a malteser chocolate.  Since Easter was coming up I bought one to try.  The bunny really is very cute!  Here it is below:

 

"Malt-Easter"

iPhone 4 cases

In Technology on March 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

There are a lot of iPhone 4 cases for sale (and iPhone 3 cases for that matter), but rarely do you ever come across one that is truly unique.  Most of the ones I’ve seen I’ve seen plenty of times before, and they’re nothing special.  You may even want to just go buy one of those cheap ones in those little stalls because in the end, many cases look the same.

Well, here I will show you two cool iPhone 4 cases:

One is from a local designer in Hong Kong.

One is from Pantone color series.

So for the local designer first.  This designer, named Ahtamtam is a Hong Kong based illustrator.  The iPhone case is special, something you wouldn’t see elsewhere (unless someone bought the same one of course).  I purchased it at Page One in Times Square, on the 9th floor.  Though the cover is very pretty, the actual design and function of the case is just ok.  The hurdle is getting the case onto the phone, something that is generally very easy.  But not for this case.  I struggled and gave up trying to put the case on, it was such a tight fit.  In the end it was my friend who managed it.  This would be a lot of trouble if I wanted to constantly change cases.  Other than that the design is nice and evenly rounded.  Here it is below:

 

Lonely Panda Cover

 

As for the other iPhone case, it is a sleek opaque design with only one color featured in it, as if it were part of a Pantone color chart.  My friend gave it to me and it is from Lane Crawford, the Times Square one (though I have seen it at the IFC Lane Crawford) as well.

 

Pantone Orange 021 Cover

(This cover was also featured in one of my favorite blogs that I forgot to mention in my post Blogs and Other Sites.  It is The Cool Hunter, and it featured Pantone iPhone as well as iPad cases here: http://www.thecoolhunter.net/article/detail/1845/pantone-iphoneipad-cases)

Roll (Cake)

In Food - HK on March 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

I’ve been doing a lot of posts about food recently, and I’ve decided that I’d do one more before I move on to other topics (for now only of course, because no one can resist the temptation of food).

Everyone has a sweet tooth.  I myself don’t like sweet things too much, but some things are just too good!  Roll cakes are one of my favorite types of cakes, and when, walking down a street in Kowloon, I passed by the shop Roll, I decided to bring a few slices to my friend that I was visiting later that day.  After walking in I realized that they sold frozen yogurt as well, but kept to the task of buying the cakes. Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera that day and so my pictures may not be as good-quality as I would like, but here are the pictures below:

Roll

Roll

Strawberry Roll Cake

Hazelnut

Crispy Chocolate

I have to say, Roll’s cakes aren’t the best.  The texture of the cake was dry and there wasn’t enough of that fluffy whip cream.  The taste was average, though they did have variety – but then again it is a shop selling only roll cakes.  Roll sold mini roll cake slices, which are cute, but you can’t buy a whole roll cake by itself, which is kind of a bummer, even if you get to try more flavors.  I don’t think I’ll be going there again, there are better roll cakes to fill my eagerly waiting stomach.

Butao Ramen Stall – Central

In Food - HK on March 27, 2011 at 1:32 am

There has never been a restaurant more worth the wait.  For Butao, you do have to wait, and it is a long tedious one.  Depending on when you arrive, waiting time can range from half an hour to even one and a half hours.  I got there at about 11:00 AM for lunch, and had to wait an hour to get the 3rd seating of seats.  It really is a tiny stall, in a little street right behind Queens Road East, across from Landmark.  You get a little sheet to choose such things as this: do you want their special sauce?  How spicy? How hard? Extra Noodles?  That sort of thing.  I have seen such a form before in Japan so this idea was not to me especially interesting.  I chose “extra hard” noodles, which give it a chewy al dente texture. Butao is special in the way that Hong Kong, despite having many quality Japanese restaurants, does not have much good, hearty ramen.  Many ramen shops in Hong Kong try to be innovative and try all sorts of different things that don’t work.  What you want is an interesting normal ramen that fills you up to the top – spirit and all.  There was another ramen shop, Mist, in Causeway Bay that also serves ramen, but it’s so formal it doesn’t really have the right atmosphere for a noodle shop.  Butao, though, is great.  Bring a book and wait in line – I assure you it is entirely worth it!

 

Original noodles, extra hard, extra green onions

Shop Lantern

Apple Pie

In Food - HK on March 26, 2011 at 12:33 am

Yesterday, after coming back from a long day of exploration, I immediately detected a faint scent of fragrance – apple pie.  While I was gone my helper had cooked a scintillating, hot apple pie.  Only 5 minutes from the time I walked in, the pie was brought out of the oven.  I just couldn’t resist the golden brown pie, filled with wonderfully seasoned apples that were cooked until plump.  It was not too sweet or too sour, just right.  I ate a cut of this apple pie, topped with a dollop of whip cream, all right before dinner.  Because I just couldn’t resist.

 

Here is a picture of it below:  (With my slice cut out)

 

Apple Pie

Bouchon Bistro Français – Soho

In Food - HK on March 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Today for lunch I ventured with my friend to the narrow streets of Soho.  We had booked Bouchon, a casual French Bistro at 49 Elgin Street.  Many times when I eat French it is the more refined michelin-star type restaurants, and I was glad to have a more country-style (if you could call it that) French lunch.

Bouchon

Bouchon

There was a set lunch for $108 HKD, which my friend ordered.  She chose the onion soup and steak tartar.  The onion soup was very salty and was pretty standard, as was the steak tartar.  The tartar was good but nothing special.  As you placed the beef into your mouth a slightly sour taste would erupt, due to the lime and the capers.  As I said, it was delicious but not something you couldn’t easily get at another restaurant.  Here they are pictured below:

Onion Soup

Steak Tartar

I didn’t choose the set, but rather chose a “Pot au feu” that included foie gras, bone marrow, and a tender cut of beef for HKD$228.  I also ordered a buttered tagliatelle to accompany (HKD $48).  First of all let me say that the tagliatelle was not worth the price that I paid.  It was very ordinary and plain –  literally just tagliatelle and melted butter.  It came in portions that were definitely less that what 48 dollars could buy.  The “Pot au feu”, however, was exactly the type of dish I liked.  It was served in a Le Creuset pot and was filled with a hearty soup.  The bone marrow was fulfilling yet not to0 much, and the foie gras was tasty (though personally I think it tastes better pan-fried).  The beef itself was tender, and each mouthful went with a spoon of soup.  I couldn’t finish it by myself, but with the help of my friend managed almost to.  The original taste was a bit bland, but salt in a cute sack was given on the side so perhaps they expected us to adjust the saltiness ourselves.  Here is what I ordered:

Butter Tagliatelle

Pot au feu

I might come back to Bouchon in the future just to taste this pot again, or maybe to try some of their other dishes.  Though their dishes aren’t extremely special, they are still quite good and this is the place to go for a nice casual meal.

The Nakasendo

In Travel on March 24, 2011 at 11:07 am

Just two weeks ago I went on a trip and hiked a portion of the Nakasendo trail, in Eastern Japan.  I was amazed at the scenic views I saw there.  Up on the mountains, the ground is still covered with a thick snow, which we tread through diligently as the days wore on (we hiked along the trail for a total of 7 days).  On that trip I traveled to little towns I would not normally have gone to, as they aren’t particularly special.  However the scenery was entirely worth the visit, and I got to exercise my legs as well!  The drizzling snow that we had made it all the more pleasant.

Here are the pictures from an especially sunny day, hiking through the snow topped mountains:

 

Having a little picnic in the snow:

 

And more of the enchanting forest:

 

Just thought I should share a little of my trip with my readers.

Protected: Solution to a boring audio file?

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs on March 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

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CAN Republic

In Food - HK, Graphics & Assorted Photographs on March 24, 2011 at 1:01 am

On a recent trip to Taiwan, I bought a neat little can-shaped bottle. My friend (who I bought the can for) said she has seen it somewhere in Hong Kong as well. though I am not sure exactly where.  I no longer have the packaging and it is hard to find the website online (if there is one).  It claims to use environmentally-friendly materials, and also produces the reusable bottle-can in a way that is good for the environment.  Of course, the details of how exactly are written more in depth on the cool packaging.

The can that CAN Republic has produced also has many other admirable qualities:  it has double-layer insulation, which also protects the hand from burning as well as keeping the drink warm.  It comes in many unique “designer” designs that are really quite pretty.  My only concern is that it does not fit into most can/bottle stands, which is quite annoying, especially when you want to put it down in the car.

I bought the fish design below:

 

CAN Republic Fish Design