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.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

CLOSED/FRENCH: i strongly recommended ABU AUTHENTIC

No. 28, Siwei Rd, Da’an District
(02) 2707- 0699

CLOSED a/o April 2014


Visit reviewed: 3/2011 & 7/2012

Of all the restaurant closings of the past year, Abu is the one I'm most distraught over. It was my special occasion restaurant, the place that housed many of my favorite meals, and like any love lost, I wish I had spent more time there so I could have tasted more of the spectacular food there.  Abu Authentic was a repeat winner for several years, voted by my readers in the hungryintaipei readers' choice awards, before I gave it a try. 

The first time I went to Abu, I thought the chef was a mind reader. The dinner set had all my favorite things- lobster, foie gras, mussels. It was amazing, my mind was blown, it was one of my favorite meals that year. Maybe in my life. Unlike other fine dining restaurants, where you leave remembering only a dish or two, or feeling like you overpaid for the restaurant having a Michelin starred chef in name, I always was wowed by every dish and savored each bite. When you spend US$100 on a meal, you want it to be one of the best meals you've ever had right? 

The last time I ate there was this past March for lunch, and when a friend wanted to eat there a few weeks later, she said went by the restaurant and it had closed indefinitely from a kitchen fire. Apparently costs to rebuild were too expensive. 

Abu wasn't a large space, so while there was room to book a large dinner party in the main dining space or in the private area downstairs, smaller parties felt a tad cramped if the restaurant was busy.

Abu's bread basket included an assortment of choices, including a deliciously chewy sesame bread (that must have some mochi in it) as well as a tuna spread, French butter and olive oil.

Truffle scallops

Pan fried duck foie gras, longan sauce 

My date's quail starter

Warm lobster with cauliflower sauce - this was so amazing. I will never forget this dish. Creamy, sweet, perfectly cooked.

Provence tomato soup, mixed seafood 

Sauteed mussels, tomatoes, lemon sauce

Organic rose granita palate cleanser

Pan Roasted Rib Eye Steak

Special occasion souffle with ice cream 

These photos from another meal aren't as clear since they were taken with an iPhone in a romantically dim setting, but you get the gist of how delicious the food is.

Pan seared foie gras, longan sauce and roasted baby quail

Warm Lobster Salad - I could eat this everyday.

Wild mushroom, truffle egg

Cream of pumpkin crab meat soup

Wild cod fish, spicy seafood tomato sauce

Potato confit, duck confit with its own jus

Desserts du chef

Wild mushroom truffled egg mixed salad 

Corn soup with crab - looks like any corn soup, but was velvety, creamy and like drinking the essence of the sweetest corn.

Duck confit with its own jus, potato confit - crispy skin, tender meat.

Scrolling through these pictures make me sad. Is there another restaurant in Taipei that has the same level of consistently fantastic food? I know Chef Abu has a vegetarian restaurant in Beitou, but hoping he'll open another restaurant or bistro in Taipei soon. Let me know if you guys hear that he does.