Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hennesy X.O Appreciation Grows: The Spirit of Conquest Disembarks for Johor Bahru For The First Time!

This year, Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows returns to enthrall connoisseurs with a gastronomy experience unlike any other. To be held in Johor for the very first time ever, the Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows will port into Danga Bay from 16-18 April this year. Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows is a platform that delivers the ultimate Hennessy experience through a journey of great cuisine and fine cognac that truly showcases the legacy of Hennessy X.O.

Honoring superior savoir-faire, craftsmanship and innovation in creating an elegant cognac, Hennessy X.O. captivates cognac connoisseurs today just as it did the world when it was first created by Maurice Hennessy in 1870. Pioneering the class of X.O, Maurice Hennessy established a world-renowned benchmark of quality, now prominently appreciated by discerning drinkers worldwide.

By exclusive invitation only, this year’s Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows will feature culinary masterpieces wonderfully composed by three times James Beard semi-finalist for Best Chef: Southwest and “Iron Chef Winner”, Chef Viet Pham.

Chef Pham was born in Malaysia and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from California Culinary Academy in 2002. With sufficient experience and culinary techniques under this belt, he went on to open his own restaurant in Salt Lake City, Forage, which was quickly well-received, winning Salt Lake City Magazine's Best New Restaurant in Utah in 2010 and Best Restaurant in Salt Lake City in 2011.

“Chef Viet’s conquests and dedication for perfection mirrors our own. Just as he has spent years perfecting his craft, refining recipes for the modern palate, Hennessy X.O has evolved over centuries to create the world’s finest and original X.O from the Cognac region in France enjoyed by the most discerning,” said Mathieu Duchemin, Managing Director of Moet Hennessy Diageo Malaysia.


Chef Viet makes his presence at a recent media pre event preview of the Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows Danga Bay Dinner to be held on April 18, 2014. At the event, distinguish guests and media were treated to a sneak peak at Chef Viet’s culinary skills as he whipped up a dish with an ingredient chosen by the attendees. It will definitely be an exciting night!

Through the years, Hennessy X.O Appreciation Grows has developed a reputation as a series of intimate engagements for the enjoyment of true connoisseurs of the World’s number one cognac. Hosted through an immaculate gastronomic experience, Hennessy X.O A.G is aimed at enhancing guests’ true knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Hennessy X.O, the world’s first and original X.O cognac.

*Stay tune for a night of Chef Viet's creations and fine cognac!

For further information, kindly visit and


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Garrett Popcorn Shops® Open Its Third Outlet at Mid Valley Mall!

Something’s Popping and It’s Utterly Sweet…

I remembered tasting Garrett Popcorn® when it first open 2 years ago in Kuala Lumpur. No ordinary popcorn, Garrett Popcorn Shops® serves up tempting crunchy balls of gourmet popcorn that is coated with scrumptious flavors. With 60 years of Chicago tradition in its history, Garrett Popcorn® now feeds the international market across the globe. It may have started in Chicago, United States, but today Garrett Popcorn Shops® are now popping up all over Asia Pacific and Middle East. This April, Garrett Popcorn Shops® will be opening its third outlet at Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur.

“We are proud to chalk up another milestone for Garrett Popcorn Shops® in Malaysia with the opening of our third and latest Shop at the Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur” says Lance Chody, Chairman and CEO of Garrett Popcorn Shops®.

I am huge fan of corn, Serve it to me in any ways and I’ll always enjoy its sweetness happily. What makes Garret take popcorn to the level of gourmet? Garrett uses a custom “Golden Butterfly Blend” of butterfly and mushroom popcorn kernels.  Mushroom kernels pop up into a rounded shape and butterfly kernels pop into a butterfly shape, creating a blend that ensures the perfect combination of texture and flavor in every bite.

There are quite a few luscious flavors to choose from at Garrett Popcorn®. Choose from the signature flavors of Chicago Mix®, Plain Buttery, CaramelCrisp™ and CheeseCorn™ to their specialty flavors of Almond CaramelCrisp™, Cashew CaramelCrisp™ and Macadamia CaramelCrisp™. There are also limited special flavors available from time to time.

I tried the 1 gallon tin of The Chicago Mix®, a combination of their signature CaramelCrisp™ and CheeseCorn™. Deep intense caramel coated nuggets of popcorn are contrasted with cheesy cheddar popcorn, rendering a gourmet combination of bittersweet and salty cheesy flavors. Packed with crunch factor, it’s no wonder Garrett Popcorn® is deemed the gourmet popcorn and continues to attract its followers from all over the world. Each kernel is serious well coated with flavor so that every kernel you eat gets maximum flavors. The Chicago Mix® is highly addictive and once you have started enjoying them, there is simply no stopping or going back to the regular popcorns.

My family and I literally almost polished of the tin at one go! It’s just that good and addictive…. I am itching go grab their special nuts collection!

The Garrett Popcorn Shops® story

In 1935, each member of the Garrett family was challenged to create a caramel popcorn recipe. One creation stood out from the rest and became known as CaramelCrisp® – distinguished by its unique flavor and delicate, crème brûlée crunch from other ‘caramel corn’ variants available at the time.

When the first original Garrett Popcorn Shop® opened in 1949 in the heart of Chicago, a long queue of customers, all eagerly waiting to purchase a tin of handcrafted Garrett Popcorn marked the beginning of A Chicago Tradition that continues until today.

Very little has changed from 1949; every batch of Garrett Popcorn® is still handmade with care throughout the day using old-fashioned copper kettles and wooden paddles.  We mix our signature blend of kernels into our secret family recipe, passed down through three generations.

“We like to say that Garrett Popcorn is Happy Food™ and we hope that our launch in Mid Valley Megamall this April will make Malaysians  as happy as our popcorn makes us,” says Scott Schroeder, Chief Brand Officer of Garrett Popcorn Shops®.

Garrett Popcorn Shops® are currently located at Mid Valley Megamall and Suria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur and 1Utama Shopping Centre in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. For more information, visit

Monday, April 14, 2014

Las Carretas Restaurant and Bar: Australian Grass Fed Lamb Shoulder Rack Promotion

The New Lamb Shoulder Rack makes the Cut at Las Carretas!

It’s my first visit at Las Carretas Restaurant and Bar. I love Mexican food and have been wanting to pay this restaurant a visit but somehow never made it. One evening, I was invited to by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) in Malaysia to check out a new cut of Australian grass-fed lamb at the restaurant. Las Carretas owner and Chef Victor Siow is proud to showcase his creation of the new cut of lamb that is available at the restaurant for the whole month of April.

Las Carretas has three outlets at Damasara, Ampang and Subang. The Mexican restaurant has been around for more than a decade and has been a favorite place for Quesadillas, Enchiladas, Tacos, Fajitas, Steaks and lots of Margaritas. All outlets showcase bright color themes to reflect the Mexican spirit. The outlet I visited at Subang very much welcomes me at sight with its bright and cheerful décor. Bright yellow walls are flanked with lots of art pieces and ornamental items. The space is tight with furniture and a cheeky display of trees sit right smack in the middle of the tables for an added element of fun. The bar is set at the end of the room and seems to be a favorite hangout for everyone since it was pack that night.  There is more seating available upstairs and there is also another bar as well. There is also a wall of fame filled with numerous write-ups of the restaurant. After all, Las Carretas is the perfect place to hang out with their signature Margarita after a long’s day at work!

The evening had to start off with a gorgeous glass of Margarita! The one here is as good as what the rave has been… strong with tequila and lime. A sip of this Margarita will make all your problems go away… at least for a while… and that’s absolutely fine by me!

Wines are also available besides cocktails and liquor. We tried a lovely white and a bold red and enjoyed both with our dishes.

We were here for a taste of the Australian Grass-Fed Lamb Shoulder Rack promotion as mentioned earlier. Using lamb shoulder racks which is deemed a secondary cut, Chef Victor and team has brilliantly succeeded in using modern cooking technique sous vide to break-down the meat protein in this cut, rendering a sumptuous lamb dish that can easily take on the expensive lamb rack cut. The lamb is carefully sous vide in a water bath with a precise temperate for more than 16 hours, as I was told, before being finished off upon orders.

For RM69++, one can enjoy two pieces of divine Pan –Seared Lamb Shoulder Rack served with homemade mushroom risotto cake, sautéed zucchini and sauce. Our plates arrive beautifully pink and utterly luscious at sight. The outside of the shoulder rack has a beautiful sear and oozes with loads flavors. The lamb racks are so tender that it really didn’t take any effort to cut into the meat. The meat still has a lovely bite despite the tenderness.

The accompaniments are delicious as well. Crispy risotto cake makes a creamy and contrasting texture to the meat while lightly sautéed green and yellow zucchini is sweet. Enjoy the lamb shoulder rack with a choice of ginger & thyme sauce or light blue cheese sauce. There is 30 minutes waiting time but it is worth every bite.

Besides the main star of the dish, we also enjoyed other dishes prior to it. We kick start our meal with a classic favorite in any Mexican restaurant, Nachos. At Las Carretas, Nachos goes big and is served piled up with Muchos Minced Beef, Shredded Chicken or Sautéed Camarones Shrimps. We dug in under the gratinated pile of nacho chips filled with relish, jalapeno, enchilada sauce and lots of cheese with our protein. We tried the beef and chicken versions and both were equally addictive. For those who must stay true to its origin, there is a plain version too.

Our next dish is a tasting portion of Camarones al Ajillo features lightly sautéed shrimps cooked with jalapenos, bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, garlic and cilantro. It has a soupy base and comes with toasted baguette to mop up the lovely spicy tomatoey sauce. It looks simple but it packs a decent dose of strong Mexican flavors in this appetizer.

Mussels in Coriander and Habanero looked innocent when it arrived. Black mussels are cooked in a creamy sauce and sprinkled with chopped coriander stems. Flour tortilla is served to be enjoyed with the sauce. This dish turned out to be one of my favorite that night. The flavors are bold and spicy. Lusciously creamy with strong habanero heat really pumps up the flavor sense. The mussels are soft and juicy and the tortilla is simply perfect to mop up all the sauce. My tasting portion left me craving for more. Rest assured, I will be ordering this dish again!

We ended with two desserts shared among us simply because we were full. Both Boca Chica and Homemade Brownie are served with scoop of vanilla ice cream. Boca Chica is layered sponge with hazelnut and coffee served with ice cream, chocolate sauce and a light sprinkling of cinnamon. Homemade Brownie is a fudgy chocolate brownie that oozes dark bittersweet cocoa that matches so well with the vanilla ice cream. It’s was a lovely and sweet ending.

There are lots of other dishes that I really want to try at Las Carretas. I am really looking forward to making a return soon. For the month of April, don’t miss the Australian Grass-Fed Lamb Shoulder Rack promotion. Oh… and you really should try the awesome Margaritas there too!

Las Carettas Subang
No.29 USJ 10/1F
47620 Subang UEP
Tel:  +603 5637 3058
Fax:  +603 5637 3059

Las Carretas Ampang
No.22 Persiaran Ampang
55000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  +603 4257 1668
Fax: +603 4257 2668

Las Carretas Damansara
Lot B-0-7 Semantan Avenue
10 Jalan Semantan
Damansara Heights
50490 Kuala Lumpur
Tel:  +603 2093 0380
Fax: +603 2093 0390


*More photos available at my Facebook: Chasing Food Dreams 

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