Saturday, August 29, 2009

Italian cuisine at Il Padrino Restaurant

J & I are always on the lookout for good Italian food in Kuala Lumpur. Having lived in Bangkok for almost 2 years, we've been spoilt by the wonderful selection of hams and sausages served at our favourite Italian restaurants there. When we came across a review on Il Padrino, we knew we had to check it out because it actually serves Parma Ham (or Prosciutto di Parma), thinly sliced dry-cured ham, a rare treat in Malaysia since most Italian restaurants are halal.

Since we were there to celebrate a special occassion, we decided to splurge and go for the full works, starting with the appetizer "Antipasto Misto Il Padrino, a platter consisting of Bresaola (air drief beef), Tomato Buffalo Mozzarella, Calamari, Parma Ham with Melon and Grilled Vegetables. The menu states that the portions are for two people but if you intend to order one main each, you can request for a half portion, which is a great way to taste a little bit of everything. What a wonderful way to start off the meal. The Bresaola was so tender it literally melts in your mouth. The slightly salty parma ham was balanced beautifully by the sweetness of the melon. The plum tomatoes complimented the mozzarella whilst the calamari and grilled vegetables added a warm touch to the cold appetizers.

For the mains, we opted for the Pizza Il Padrino (comprising parma ham, tomato slices, buffallo mozzarella cheese and rocket salad served on a thin crust pizza) and Costolette Di Agnello Scottatido (Grilled rack of lamb served with roasted capsicum, potato and rosemary garlic sauce). I had high expectations for the parma ham pizza as it's been a year since I've last eaten it in Bangkok. Whilst it did fulfill my craving for parma ham pizza, I have to confess that I was a little disappointed at the amount of parma ham on my pizza. I also didn't quite enjoy the rocket salad on my pizza and would have prefered basil instead.

The grilled rack of lamb was a winner in our books. Cooked to medium well, it was beautifully browned on the outside and was a lovely shade of pinky red on the inside. Because it was medium well, the meat was juicy and tender.

At this stage, we were already quite full but could not resist the classical Italian dessert, tiramisu. Not only was it a treat to look at, but it was a sweet finish to a very satisfying meal.

The Il Padrino is definitely worth a second visit. Next time, we hope to come with a bigger group so that we can try a greater selection of food. Service is attentive and its Godfather-themed ambience is welcoming. We'll be back.

Il Padrino Italian Restaurant & Bar
50-G-A, Ground Floor
Wisma UOA Damansara
No. 50, Jalan Dungun, Damansara Heights, KL
Tel: 603-20938596

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Time For Me

I woke up this morning to a brilliant blue sky - the kind that we've not seen for a while in light of the haze we've had. It reminded me of the same beautiful day I spent in the Andaman, Langkawi earlier this year. And like that day, it would have been a waste to spend it indoors. So after my regular morning walk with Kess, I decided to pop by the park for a brisk walk to get my heart rate up (Kess tends to sniff every tree, branch, hydrant and electric pole so we usually end up with a leisurely walk). Later in the morning, I took my parents for a follow-up visit to dad's cardio and then had lunch with them at a popular Hakka restaurant. I got home just in time to catch a bit of the hunky "Take Home Chef" on the Asian Food Channel. After all that food, it was time for a quick nap.

Refreshed and awakened by a strong cup of Ipoh white coffee, I decided it is time to update my neglected blog, which brings me to this very moment in time. The very fact that I can do this today, on a weekday, is a gift - a gift of time. Ever since I started working from home last year, I've really cherished the flexibility of working from home. Sure, it requires an incredible amount of discipline because unlike working in an office, there isn't a punch-in clock or a sign-in sheet or a raised eyebrow from the boss to keep me on my toes. What drives me is deadlines. Yes, I can choose the hours I work but sometimes my choices mean I have to work nights or weekends to get the project done. For today, it is good enough that I can choose to take this weekday off for myself.

Tomorrow, it's back to work. A deadline awaits.

"Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can't buy more hours. Scientists can't invent new minutes. And you can't save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you've wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow."
~Denis Waitely

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Beagle and Me - The puppy years

I finally watched Marley and Me, a hilarious tale of Marley, a "clearance pup", hyper-active, storm-fearing, trouble-causing Labrador and his humans, the Grogan family. I laughed at his antics, sympathized with the Grogans and as warned, cried bucketfuls at the end when the family had to finally "let Marley go" when Marley was ill with a serious stomach disorder.

I couldn't help but think about my relationship with Kess, my beagle. J and I welcomed her into our family 7 years ago. For us, she is more than a dog, more than a pet - she is our child.

There are some parallels between a puppy and a baby, although it is much easier having a dog than a child. As part of her "potty training", every time she woke up from sleep, after play and after meals, we used to place her in a small fenced area in our garden to pee and poo. Of course, she didn't always cooperate. The worst times were when she woke up at the wee hours in the morning and whined to be let out of her crate. Bleary-eyed and groggy, we would let her out and place her into her fenced-in spot. We would then sit on the bench and waited, and waited some more. Our neighbours probably thought we were wonky!

Like Marley, trouble is also Kess' middle name. She did not like to kept in a confined area. We had to abandon our noble ideas of crate training as she would just whine and claw at the crate door. We then decided to keep her at the laundry area next to our kitchen - a bigger area should do the trick, so we thought. We fenced the area off with dog fencing and went off to bed. A couple of hours later, our blissful sleep was interrupted by a heart-wrenching yelp of pain. We jumped out of bed and rushed to the back. Our little beagle pup, in her quest to escape from her "prison", had tried to climb over the dog fencing and had gotten her paws stuck in the gaps. This was the start of her famous escapades, and we knew we should have named her "Houdini" after the famous magician and escapologist.