Fresh baked “Fong Bao” from the oven – 方包出爐

Random musings & meditations straight from the oven. Hopefully some food for thought as well…

Archive for April, 2009

The next station is…….Chicago.

So it’s been 9 days since the bandwagon completed the 1st leg of its journey in record fashion. (During this layoff, I was afforded the time to complete a few items on my To-Do-List. I hope to share some of these things in the coming week.)

While I’m glad the next destination has been determined, I’m also afraid to get overly excited about what has transpired and what lies ahead. Call me a cynic but after years of watching and supporting the Canucks (or all my favorite sports teams, for that matter) there is still a seed of doubt in my mind about them. I suppose I’ve been conditioned to expect disappointments at some point no matter how well things have gone. And I’ve often wondered if that makes me a lesser fan because my appetite for failure has decreased steadily through time.

If anything, the question is no longer “when”, but rather “if” a championship will be won in my lifetime. (Sorry, didn’t mean to sound like an old fart here.) Sometimes I wish I’m still a kid. (Like the one in the bread crumb* below) To just watch, cheer and enjoy this wonderful game of hockey and not be all philosophical about it………..

 Having said all that, it’s about BLOODY time we get started with the 2nd round!

 For whatever it’s worth, I sense a long series coming………..

 Item du jour

Little Canuck Fan

Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, Vancouver Sun


From the archives – Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas? Not this time……

(I wrote this piece just over a year ago. It got buried in Facebook so I’ve decided to post it here. Some of you may find this interesting given the Anthony Bourdain reference)



Fans of Anthony Bourdain have no doubt read his books and watched his TV programs and one chef he has often spoken highly of is Thomas Keller, the owner of The French Laundry. Renowned for his vision, creativity, presentation and pursuit of perfection, Keller is perhaps the pre-eminent chef in America today. So when news came that he opened a French Bistro restaurant at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, Bourdain was deeply intrigued and decided to pay a visit.

Bouchon Frites


In the Las Vegas episode of his program “No Reservations”, Bourdain documented his visit to Bouchon Las Vegas ( , which was opened in 2004. The highlight of that segment was when Bourdain was asked to taste & provide an honest assessment of the frites (French for French fries) offered at Bouchon. After a few strings, he jokingly expressed his deep anger and jealously towards Keller because for many years, Bourdain felt the frites served at his own restaurant, Brasseire Les Halles was the best…….until that day at Bouchon. And it’s with that story in mind that I paid my first visit to this little bistro while on my honeymoon (2006).

The décor is unmistakably French and we felt like we were somewhere in the heart of Paris. Our meal started with some toasted pasticcios and fresh baked French rolls along with the soup du jour of puree wild mushroom with a touch of truffle oil & crème fraise.

Click here for the gallery

For our main course, Pie Pie Lo chose the braised lamb shank with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and a medley of veggies. The meat was tender and very flavorful. The portion was quite generous as well. I decided to try the gnocchi with braised apple and onions and every little piece was firm, not mushy at all. I was also pleasantly surprised  the pieces of gnocchi stayed warm even though I took my time devouring them.

Then came the item we’ve been waiting for: the frites. At first glance I thought they were bought from the Mickey Dee’s down the Vegas strip but when you bite into them you realized they are definitely NOT your standard, fast food variety. Despite the similarities in shape and size, the Bouchon frites were made, I was told, from Yukon Gold potatoes and you can actually “taste” the potato. Seasoned with just the right amount of sea salt, these frites are excellent just on their own. No wonder our waitress was somewhat taken aback when we asked for ketchup on the side. At the end of the night, the condiment was barely touched. The frites were THAT good.

Our meal ended with a complimentary dish of dessert items that included, amongst other things, a mini chocolate lava cake and a scoop of homemade French vanilla ice cream. Simply decadent!

They say whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But dining at Bouchon is definitely an experience worth sharing.

Inside Bouchon

(Update for 2008)

Didn’t think Pie Pie Lo and I would be back in Vegas so soon (1.5 years since) but we were nonetheless delighted to share another meal at Bouchon. As usual we ordered the frites, amongst other things, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The highlight of this meal has to be the Poulet Roti (Roast chicken) I ordered. People say the breast of a chicken is the easiest part to overcook but when I cut into mine it was tendered, juicy and cooked just right. Very impressed. Overall it was another satisfying meal but the only “regret” was we didn’t have room to sample the selection of fresh seafood, which Bouchon is also famous for. I suppose this give us another reason for coming back, besides the frites……

Item du jour

No Reservations – Las Vegas Episode

Part 1 – Watch (6:54 – 9:41)

Part 2 – Watch (0:00 – 1:29)

A cook’s tour – The French Laundry Experience

The brooms were out! St. Louise singing the blues……

Click here to look at the gallery. Need I say more? 


(Getty Images)

Enjoy the break and see you all in round 2.


(Vancouver Sun)

Item du jour

Canucks Playoff Meter

21 Socioeconomic Models Explained

I got this from a colleague of mine at The Bakery* today. One of the funnier ones I’ve read in awhile. Hope you enjoy it. (* = Lingo alert!)


You have 2 cows.

You give one to your neighbour.



You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and gives you some milk.



You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and sells you some milk.



You have 2 cows.

The State takes both and shoots you.



You have 2 cows.

The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away.



You have two cows.

You sell one and buy a bull.

Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.

You sell them and retire on the income.



You have two giraffes.

The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.



You have two cows.

You sell one and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.

Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.



You have two cows.

You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.

The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.

The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows.

No balance sheet provided with the release.

The public then buys your bull.



You have two cows.

You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.



You have two cows.

You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.

You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.



You have two cows.

You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.



You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.

You decide to have lunch.  (and wine!)



You have two cows.

You count them and learn you have five cows.

You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.

You count them again and learn you have 2 cows.

You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.



You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you.

You charge the owners for storing them.



You have two cows.

You have 300 people milking them.

You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.

You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.



You have two cows.

You worship them.



You have two cows.

Both are mad.



Everyone think you have lots of cows.

You tell them that you have none.

No-one believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country.

You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.



You have two cows.

Business seems pretty good.

You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.



You have two cows.

The one on the left looks very attractive

We are ALL Canucks!

As much as some people like to think otherwise, Vancouver is not a sports town. It’s a hockey town. It’s a Canucks town. 2009 Canucks Playoff Button

Tonight is the start of the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs and the city is buzzing. People are either walking around in some sort of Canuck gear or driving through the streets with multiple Canuck car flags hanging out the windows.  At least 5 people that I know are going to game 1 tonight.

I dropped by GM Place during lunch time to pick up a Canuck playoff towel and business at the team store was brisk. People, lots of them in suits, were walking out with bags full of merchandise. I could only imagine what it’ll be like when the gates open tonight. 

2009 Canucks Playoff Towel

I will not bore you with my playoff predictions in this space and frankly it would be counter productive for a non-expert like me to offer my thoughts on the subject. (If you catch my drift…..)

Suffice to say this Fong Bao is glad the Canucks are back in the playoffs. While I’m not as fanatical as before, I’m anxious to see how far this bandwagon can go. We Are All Canucks Button

Enjoy the ride, folks!

It’s time to drop the puck.

Game ON!

R-E-F-R-I-E-D is a 7 letter word

z-tile (* = Lingo alert. Please refer to the lingo page)

For the past 2 months Pie Pie Lo* has been playing a lot, and I mean A LOT, of Scrabble.

PC version. Online version. iPhone version. Old school board version.

Against Maven the PC. Against her friends. Against strangers. Against Fong Bao.

There’s a Chinese saying: 

失敗乃成功之母 – Failure is the mother of success

Whoever coined that phrase, I just want to let that person know I’ve lost 20 straight games to Pie Pie Lo* and that kid named “success” has yet to show up outside my Oven*.

Admittedly I’m just a novice but you would think a blind squirrel would find an acorn once in awhile. Well apparently not……yet. So far I think I’ve lost in just about every way imaginable: By a small margin and a large margin; by drawing nothing but the same vowels and hanging onto certain letters for too long.; by making and losing rash word challenges and getting caught with terrible bluffs.

But nothing beats being “bingo-ed”.

Ever had one to start the game? Well………


My reaction?


Completely and utterly shocked!

So much so that I had to snap a bread crumb* as a memento.

Just like that. Down 80 points before I had a chance to arrange my letters. But surprisingly that game turned out to be a close one.

So what’s the upside to this, you ask?  For starters, I’m still motivated to get that elusive first “W”. As well, I’ve managed to get a couple of bingos myself. Here’s one.


Quite a “vintage-d” accomplishment if I may say so myself. (i.e. just pumping my own tires)

And I think I’m becoming a better player. While 300 is still a pipe dream, 200 is definitely reachable. If and when you see me use vocab like “Qi” or “Ja” on The Oven*, you’ll know I have arrived as a competent Scrabble player.

Until next time,

Goodbye Friends

G-O-O-D-B-Y-E    (Max 86 points to start. Double letter score on “Y”)

F-R-I-E-N-D-S      (Max 80 points to start. Double letter score on “F”)

Who’s on first?

Baseball is an acquired taste.It's Baseball Season Again!

Like Jazz, fine wine and the dreaded 榴蓮 durian (obviously not a fan), it takes time for one to like and appreciate the subtleties.

I actually like baseball.

A lot.

And I have the uncanny ability to sit through a game, live or on the tele.

Raidernation: “For a Chinese guy, you actually know a lot about baseball.”

How much do I know?

Enough to actually run a fantasy baseball team since 2002. In fact, I just came back from the annual league draft.

Today is Opening Day of the 2009 MLB season.

The boys of summer are back.

A new day. A new way.

Let’s play ball!

Item du jour

A classic. Abbott & Costello. Who’s on first?