Thursday, July 30, 2015

Dinner at AnnaLena

To end the month, my friend treated me to a late birthday dinner. We tried a new place, and I must say that we were in for a real treat. There is nothing better than seeing your university friend and reacquainting after being distant for a whole month.

Such a catchy name for a restaurant

May 29, 2015

I haven't seen Peggy in a whole month, and that is a long time for us. The last time that I saw her was at high tea, so it was time to meet up once again. Since I just turned 24, she decided to take me out for dinner. After eating from one place to another, I think I saved the best for last.

The first time I heard about this restaurant was from the newspaper, and the imagery they displayed instantly caught my attention. What makes this place unique would have to be the name of a restaurant, as the owner took both of his grandmothers' first name and put them together... And I must say that it makes one excellent name.

When walking towards the place, I first noticed that the whole front was open, and one of the tables had their dog sitting underneath; finding a patio space that allow dogs to sit by the patio is a rarity. We walked inside (not through the big hole), the host asked where we wanted to sit. Looking around, the seat by the end of the bar looked promising. So once we were brought to our seats, we saw that only the booth seats there, no chair on the opposite side of the table - this just got intimate now that we have to sit beside each other c";

By the look of the menu, this place is not your grandmother's home cooking, unless you grew up with such exquisite taste. It is a fusion of comfort food with some unusual ingredients that you don't typically find in any kitchen. The waitress pointed out that each item going down is served on a bigger plate, meaning bigger portions. Here's a look of what's available:

Simple, but still interesting

With such variety, it was hard to make one decision. Although the waitress did explain that the concept of the restaurant was family-style sharing, we ordered our own dishes which eventually lead to trying each others' food. I don't know if this is true, but it seems that Peggy has a love for risotto, as this wasn't the first time I've seen her order this pasta dish. Regardless, it still looked amazing:

Farro Verde Risotto

After one bite of her dish, and I wished that I had ordered this! It has the right cream texture to it, and the cheese foam was delicately light as it plays in your mouth. Not sure what the vegetables were (I think scallions) but it was more than just decoration as it rounds out the flavour symphony that can't be denied. There is not a thing I would change about this risotto.

For my meal, I decided to try something out of the usual, only to be surprised by the size of the dish in comparison to the food:

Grilled Octopus

Looks appetizing, but it wasn't the most satisfying. Don't get me wrong, I ate every bite of this dish, but I was left hungry afterwards. The octopus was chewy and soft, and the oils cooked in gave it a punch that you did not expect. I could have done without the garnishes, but that didn't get in the way. Other than that, I wish this dish had more quantity.

This point, we felt a little hungry, and decided to order one more dish for the night. Looking at the menu once more, the decision was left to me... How does one even select? If there is any dish that I did not expect to order, it would have to be this one:

Mussels, off the shell

That was pretty much the selling point: no shells. The bread was absolutely delicious, a nice compliment to the garlic and oils that fuse the dish together. I'm not usually the biggest mussels fan, but when it doubt, add garlic. I swear, garlic can make any dish incredibly better. I found myself soaking the bread with the oils until it was all gone, it was rather addictive.

Other than food, I must say that there is a kitschy feeling to the scene, which mixes in nostalgia with modern-classic edges. For instance, the washroom sign:

Lego logo, how clever

It feels young, but it's also not overdone. Equally balanced and very warm to the eyes. The main feature wall has some interesting installations:

Collectibles and irreplacebles

Tetris potters and Lego hearts

Unified and unique

If I had to pick one favourite part of the wall, it would have to be the ruins of an ancient memory. They were actually all over the place, but it's still incredible to see such amusement from replicas of childhood:


The service was great, they are a friendly bunch, almost like a next door neighbour. Despite all of them being dressed differently, it wasn't too difficult tracking down who works at the place. I would like to try all of the items available, but I think their menu changes every once in a while (meaning more unexpected fun). And I would also love to bring my dog just so we can have a walk afterwards.

Speaking of walks, Peggy and I decided that since the beach was close by, we should go for a little stroll. We reminisced about the past, talked about the future, and other plans that we may potentially make this summer. It's a different environment from the usual yoga centre, but it's just as peaceful as ever:

Nature at its best

Before going home, Peggy handed me a small gift - and I must say, it's one hilarious present. I opened it in the car, and then we resumed by heading back home. The best part of  this gift would have to be the gift wrapping, as she told me it came from her collection of present's past (hooray for recycling). Just look at this beauty:

Wouldn't you save it as well?

Oh Peggy, you shouldn't have! But now I shall use it whenever I have the chance. This pretty much sums up the whole extravaganza of eating out and walking it off. Who knows what will come next, but I surely can't wait... that is, when I'm done paying off my credit card debt x.x

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