Monday, December 29, 2014

snapshot/exploreTaipei: FAB CAFE at HUASHAN 1914 CULTURAL CREATIVE PARK

 No. 1 Bade Rd, Sec. 1

MRT: Shandao Temple or Zhongxiao/Xinsheng

Hours: Sun – Thu: 11AM – 10PM; Fri – Sat: 11AM – 12midnight



kid friendliness: probably more suited for older kids

visit reviewed: 12/28/2014

There's always something to explore at Huashan 1914 and today was the first time I wandered into Fab Cafe. Besides the cafe itself, which was full of diners, there's a space next to it that displayed Art Project 365 by different artists.

Fab Cafe originated in Japan as a creative cafe space, not only equipped with new technologies such as 3D printers and laser cutters for people to use, but also as gathering spot for events, workshops and Fab meetups. With other branches in Tokyo, Barcelona, Bangkok and Sitges, it's such a cool concept that I'm sure will make its way to the states someday. Taipei actually has a lot of creativity sprouting up in places like Huashan 1914 and central places like these will foster even more opportunities for people to be inspired. 


This was one of my favorite art pieces- a giant circular board covered in individual drawings cut out and fit together like a puzzle. Could be a fun thing to do at home... cover a wall with a drawing a day.

This was rotating images on a transparent glass... pretty mesmerizing to watch. Maybe one day there will be photo frames like this for homes.

Next post will be more about Huashan 1914 in general and some of the exhibits going on right now! Just thought Fab Cafe was so cool, it should have its own post. So if you've been itching to make your own fantastic 3D printed creations but don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a machine, you know now where to go.

Other posts about Huashan 1914
VVG Thinking 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

happy holidays!

MERRY CHRISTMAS! Happy holidays! Happy new year! Wishing everyone a happy and delicious holiday season and lots of good eats throughout 2015! Stay warm and see you at the night market!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014



No. 345, XinYi Rd., Sec. 4
Xinyi District
(02) 2709-5252

CLOSED since 2015

MRT: Xinyi/Taipei 101 (about 10 minute walk)

hours: 11AM - 9:30PM

$$-$$$ (about NT$ per person)

Kid friendliness: no high chairs spotted but lots of room for strollers.

Visit reviewed: 12/7/2014

For months, I passed by this giant red sign that burned brighter and taller than anything nearby on Xinyi Road. For months, I was curious about this restaurant, figuring that a lit sign at its prime location meant the restaurant was open for business, but was wrong when I walked up to a dark restaurant still under construction back in October. Who would be bold enough to make signage had no Chinese and name their restaurant with a Spanish word? Asado in Spanish means "roast" referring to meats. Would it be a Spanish restaurant, or Mexican? I dared not to have any hopes.

When I finally had a chance to check it out this weekend, I walked into an empty restaurant. It had been open for only one month, but I always wonder when the restaurant is empty, should I go somewhere else instead? But my curiosity had been stirred for so long, I had to just see what it was all about.

Asado Steak and Seafood's decor is decidedly setting the mood- black and white cowboy photos line a red brick wall, antler chandeliers line the center of the room, lots of room to seat big groups. Why does the also newly opened Texas Roadhouse get all the buzz, and not a place like this? Location? Owner? Better PR Machine? Branding?


The menu had a lot of selections with Signature Steaks, entrees, pasta & rice and appetizers. A glance at another part of the menu revealed brunch and pancakes, including an unusual sounding Mexicano Chicken Pancakes. We quizzed the waiter on the specials and settled on the Grilled USDA Short Rib (NT$690) and Grilled USDA Ribeye Steak (NT$980).  There's also burger, grilled duck breast, pork ribs, pork chops, seafood, pig knuckle, charbroiled leg of lamb and veal on the menu.

Sets are available separately from the dinner for an additional NT$300 for appetizer, mixed green salad, soup, drink and dessert, but we opted for an ala carte Caesar Salad (NT$200) instead. Warm house made bread with butter and salsa also came to the table.

Grilled USDA Ribeye Steak (NT$980)

When we ordered the Grilled USDA Short Rib (NT$690), the waiter let us know that it was a thicker cut of short rib. It was the first time having such a fat piece that was grilled, (usually I've had it sliced thinner and grilled korean style) but it was tender with a good bite, cooked at the recommended 7/10 medium well done.

The owner of Asado used to own another Western restaurant in Tianmu (The Brasserie, which is now closed) and brought in a chef from Chez Jimmy to his new kitchen. Some of the popular menu items such as pig knuckle (as well as the same menu font it seems) from that restaurant can be found at Asado. Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Asado and I was satisfied with what I got for what I paid and glad I gave it a try to fulfill my curiosity, but I guess I was hoping for a meal and flavors that were more bold and memorable like the brazen neon sign outside.

Monday, December 01, 2014

new in town/mall food: i recommend BREEZE SONG GAO

No. 16, Song-Gao Rd., XinYi District

MRT: Taipei City Hall

website: Breeze Song Gao FB page

hours: 11AM - 9:30PM


Kid friendliness: lots to eat and check out, including Dairy Queen and new Ice Monster!

Visit reviewed: 11/23/2014


When the construction started popping up in the already crowded Xinyi area for new shopping centers, I thought, "Seriously? Do we need more malls when there's already Taipei 101, ATT4Fun, Vieshow, four Shin Kong Mitsukoshis, Bellavita, Eslite and Hankyu all in a few blocks of each other?" But once Breeze Song Gao opened with its huge hot pink sign and a new Ice Monster, I gave in to curiosity and had to check it out.

Breeze Song Gao sits next to the new-ish boutique hotel, Humble House, across from Bellavita and next to Xinyi Mituskoshi A8. You can spot the recently opened TEXAS ROADHOUSE from the front as well.

Breeze Song Gao did a good job bringing some new things to their mall that you can't find in the nearby malls or Xinyi area- the number one thing being ICE MONSTER. With a prime window spot on the first floor, it's hard to miss, and with the shortage of great shaved ice in this Xinyi area in general, I can definitely see them drawing crowds to their mall. Mango shaved ice lovers get ready to line up next summer!

AGNES B. CAFE sits in the front of the first floor for sandwiches and coffee. Their expansion has been pretty impressive- almost like a Taiwanese Starbucks, in that there's one on each corner and they always seem to be filled with customers. On the way to the MRT, you can hit two more Agnes B Cafe's at Xinyi Eslite and Hankyu.

Breeze Song Gao doesn't have a food court, but rather a floor of restaurants with each place having its own seating area. On the day that I went, the Japanese restaurants seemed the most popular, while TJB Pho, Pepper Steak, Kiwi Cafe and Liz Gastronomie offer some variety. 

Here's a quick first look at the restaurants on B2 floor. Leave a comment below if you've tried any and what you think!

OOTOYA KITCHEN/ 大戶屋- Japanese katsu, udon, katsu don, soba dishes

TIEN HSIANG LO- Hangzhou cuisine, fast casual style

OBON DE GOHAN/ 御盤 de 食堂 - Japanese set meals and desserts in cute cafe setting. Original outlets in Japan and Narita airport.


INAKA UDON/ 稻禾烏龍麵- freshly made udon bowls with tempura options, served cafeteria style. Also near Xinyi Eslite and inside SongYan Eslite

Kiwi Cafe/ KIWI日味義麵  Japanese Italian pasta in valentine red and pink chaired cafe

SHENG SHI TONKATSU/ 勝勢豬排- this is definitely the next place I want to try. I spotted their black tonkatsu on instagram and they had one of the longest lines to get in.

TJB PHO - have yet to try any of the TJB Cafes or TJB dim sum so it's interesting to see that they've expanded to pho! Kind of how Dazzling expanded to Thai....


LADERACH - Laderach's chocolate bark are SO good and I occasionally get them as gifts or gift to myself. My favorite is their raspberry blackberry chocolate and recently discovered their chocolate covered orange peels. It's a bit pricey, but it's made in Switzerland and imported from there. Ask for samples if you ever pass by. They also have a store in Taipei 101.

TRINE AND ZEN- at Breeze Fuxing, Trine and Zen took over the ex-Dean and Deluca space so it's a deli/cafe. Didn't get a chance to see if it's also a deli here, or just a cafe.

Wine guy

SHUI JIAN BAO - good for a snack on the go

PEPPER LUNCH/胡椒廚房 - sizzling steak on the iron plate, with various toppings.

MENYA MUSASHI RAMEN/ 麵屋武藏- I ended up here for lunch after making a circle around B2. Menya Musashi is a popular ramen shop from Japan, and also has locations in Hong Kong and Singapore. They have tonkotsu, ship and miso ramens as well as tsukemen dipping ramen. I'll post more pictures and details in a separate review.

LIZ GASTRONOMIE- bakery and desserts. Didn't spot this place behind the escalators until I went to the bathroom. Haha! It's a bit hidden, but I guess you'll pass by it if you are looking for the restroom. 

With new malls come new food courts and restaurants to explore, making the competition for everyone's dining dollars fiercer than ever. It's really insane the density of food available now in just the shopping areas alone, I think it hurts some of the nearby restaurants since it's easier to meet at a mall and walk around to find a place that can seat you when you're with a bunch of friends, than to walk across the street to the shops behind Zhongxiao. While it is convenient to be able to have so much available in the area, the downside is that it's sure to increase the traffic which was already so horrific in this area during rush hours.

I'm excited to check out the rest of Breeze Song Gao later, since there's another floor of eats on B1, including Dairy Queen, Beard Papa Cream Puffs and Favvi Cafe. I'm also curious to see what the bigger Breeze Xinyi will have when they open.


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