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Monthly Archives: February 2015

We have a couple more posts about Budapest – recap – we were there in November last year for a long weekend … click here, here and here to see some samples of earlier posts.

Pest-Buda Vendéglő (Pest-Buda Inn) is located on the Buda side of the city. It is described in a local guidebook as the place to try traditional Hungarian dish made according to grandma’s recipe.


The hotel concierge gave us two options when asked about traditional fare, Pest-Buda was one of them.


A 10-minute taxi ride across the Chain Bridge and up the Castle Hill (Fortuna utca 3) brought us to this homey bistro restaurant.


Sue started with Goulash soup with Csipetke. The name Csipetke comes from pinching small, fingernail-sized bits out of the dough (csipet =pinch) before adding them to the boiling soup. Sue ordered goulash soup every chance she had and none were as good as Pest-Buda.


I ordered the Hungarian fish soup. It was one of the best I have ever tasted. I like bouillabaisse (see earlier post here) and cioppino and this soup tastes more like cioppino.


Hungarian goulash is the most famous and often cooked dish outside the borders of Hungary. So that’s what I ordered. Hungarian goulash is neither a soup nor a stew, it’s somewhere in between. Though in Hungary it’s considered a soup rather than a stew. Mine came with egg barley. A herd of cattle is gulya and herdsman is gulyás in Hungarian, so that’s where the dish’s name comes from.



We heard a lot of English in the restaurant. So we suspect that this is an establishment that caters to a lot of tourists but it is not touristy. While this is not where the locals go, we trust that the food is not too far off the authentic.


I had a glass of Hungarian Cabernet Franc (from Villány or Szekszárd, I can’t remember) which was tannic, robust and matched the goulash perfectly.


Sue ordered a chicken ragout with garlic potato. The garlic blended in with the other flavors very well. Both our main courses were very good, home-style comfort food, and strangely, neither one tasted particularly exotic or ethnic, even though we were very far from our homes.


Like every tourist who visits Hungary and buys paprika, we bought both sweet and spicy paprika powders as well as the sweet and spicy creams for making goulash which already contains some of the other species.


Now we have a reliable idea of how a goulash is supposed to look and taste like. Let’s see if we can replicate some aspects of it at home.


These are the photos I (Chris) took and posted on Facebook. The series was started in March of 2013. There is no theme – just something random and visually interesting. We gave each a title and noted where it was taken (to the extent we could remember the city).

random photo #136 – arches – Paris



random photo #137 – spring – Yverdons-les-bainsspring-1


random photo #138 – chair – Milano



random photo #139 – 2palms – Barcelona



random photo #140 – yacht – St. Thomas



If you are interested to see other Random Photos, click on the random tag on the left.

If you see ads below, it has nothing to do with us.


These are the photos I (Chris) took and posted on Facebook. The series was started in March of 2013. There is no theme – just something random and visually interesting. We gave each a title and noted where it was taken (to the extent we could remember the city).

random photo #131 – in Lilliput – Lyon



random photo #132 – winter – Lugano



random photo #133 – guardian of the vine – Boudry



random photo #134 – zzzZZ – Murten zzzZZ-1


random photo #135 – watercolors – Auvernier



If you are interested to see other Random Photos, click on the random tag on the left.

If you see ads below, it has nothing to do with us.


Yesterday was Friday, the 13th of February, 2015. We are not superstitious about the number. We just happen to live at No. 13 now and used to work at Room 1313 on the 13th floor. I(Chris) am just curious of the other No: 13’s – how they look and what’s behind them.

Previously, we posted a series of photos of public displays of the number thirteen, see part 1 here, posted on 13 December, 2013. Since then, we have accumulated a small collection of “13” and thought it is now time for part 2. Here is another set of 13 photos of “13”.

13, Marigot, Saint-Martin

13part 2-1

13, Orleans

13part 2-2

13 The five Queens Bedroom, Chenonceau

13part 2-3

13, Georgetown, Penang

13part 2-12

13, Alba

13part 2-9

13, Hampstead, London

13part 2-11

 13, Köln

13part 2-4

 13, Aosta

13part 2-6

13, Köln

13part 2-13

13A, La Morra

13part 2-10

13, Georgetown, Penang

13part 2-8

13 lifeboat, Celebrity Constellation

13part 2-5

 13bis near Forte di Bard

13part 2-7

This is an ongoing collection, let’s see if I find enough photos for a part 3 when the next Friday the 13th comes around.


We visited the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (Muzlum Kesenlan Islam Malaysia, IAMM) while in Kuala Lumpur. See our earlier post on the museum here.


It is the first and largest museum of its kind in South-East Asia and among its collection of artifacts, it owns a number of architecturally accurate models of famous mosques around the world.


These models are not historic artwork, like jewelery, textiles, metalwork, coins and seals, ceramics and manuscripts, which are also on display.  The models serve  primarily an educational purpose.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi


The museum-goers were introduced to the architectural terms – mimbar, dikka, mihrab, …


Medina Mosque (Al-Masjid al-Nabawī)


The reflections from the protective case made photographing these models very challenging. For example, I could not manage to take a picture of the blue mosque of Istanbul which was beautifully recreated.


And in the rush, I did not take a snapshot of the descriptions which is unfortunate, otherwise, this post would be much more interesting to read. So here it is –  a collection of snapshots.


Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali




Somewhere in China ?




Below is not a model but a picture of the actual National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara) which is located a block downhill from the museum.


Here are several snapshots of the manuscripts on display, included purely for its attractive info-graphic designs. Love to know know more about them.










So much to see, so little time.


The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (Muzlum Kesenlan Islam Malaysia) in Kuala Lumpur, the first and largest museum of its kind in South-East Asia opened in 1998.


Occupying 30,000sq m, and housing over 8,000 artefacts, the Museum aims to create a collection truly representative of the Islamic world. See their web site here.


The museum comprises 12 permanent galleries, each highlighting a different type of Islamic artwork, including Jewellery, Textiles, Metalwork, Coins and Seals, Ceramics and Glassware, Architecture, and Quran and Manuscripts. These also include galleries dedicated to India, China and the Malay world, three of the great centres of Islamic culture in Asia.



There are multiple elaborately-decorated domes inside and outside the buildings.



There were multiple domes like this one (below) in the museum. All,except an inverted one, are concave on the inside.


The Architecture Gallery also features scale models of some of the greatest places in Islamic history, including the cities of Mecca and Medina. I will create a separate post showing these models.


The museum also features a conservation centre, a restaurant, gift shop, two terraces, a fountain garden, an auditorium, a children’s library and a scholar’s library.


The restaurant (above) offered a buffet lunch but it was rather quiet.


KL’s bird park is behind the museum.


The museum’s interior is designed to maintain a seamless continuity of light and space, which carries through the galleries and into every area of the museum.




The shades are to protect the exhibits from the strong tropical sunlight – which was absent on the day we were visiting.


This museum really deserves a second visit. We were a bit rushed and (I) did not looked closely at the exhibits.


One of the joys of traveling is to see friends and do things together at a location faraway from where we became friends.

Not having seen our friends S and M for many (five plus) years, we met them for lunch at this South Indian eatery near downtown KL. They have settled in KL a couple of years ago.  Since we said we wanted to try something local, M and S chose Vishal. The place was not easy to find despite we were driven around in a taxi.


Vishal is located in Brickfields, a small Indian enclave where among the high rise residential towers, there are a couple of small Hindu temple complexes. Vishal serves traditional south Indian food on banana leaves. It is making comfort food for the neighborhood and certainly not a touristy place.


As soon as we sat down, a server placed a banana leaf in front each of us and a lady following immediately behind plopped down little scoops of starters on our leaf.

The starters were kept in a set of four industrial stainless-steel cans – they looked like cans that contained paints.


Before we ordered drinks, men came by and showed us a tray full of small plates, each containing something savory or spicy. Everything was happening around us so quickly. We had no idea of the names of what we ate as there were no time to ask the waiters or decipher the flavor from their answers. There were chicken, lamb and squid as well as a variety of vegetarian dishes.


Then, another man came around with a tray full of fried fish, whole, halved, or minced and made into cakes. I picked the half fish (with the tail) and a deep-fried fish and potato cake.


They also gave us papadams – very light and tasty.


This is what I had on my banana leaf before I piled on stuff from the small plates. Many people were using their hands to eat, as it is the Southern Indian tradition. We asked for knives and forks (shame).


We finished every thing on our leaves. This is Sue’s leaf at the end.


We did not have the crab, while it looked tasty, it would have been a mess to eat – but in retrospect, since one can use hands and the “plate” is massive, it would not have mattered really.


The eatery also sells takeout in small portions, neatly packed in these tiny clear plastic bags.


The dining room was full when we arrived, and by 2pm, many have left already as it was a weekday.


S and M – thanks for taking us to this real local place.

Lanson Place was our lodgings in KL. An earlier post covered the apartment (click here) – this post is about the common areas. Lanson Place is a brand of serviced apartments and hotel suites that is run by a Hong-Kong based company. They have properties in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and KL (two locations) – see their web site here.


Since this building was apparently intended to be used as a residential building, there isn’t a cafe or restaurant. The “clubhouse” on the top floor provides some basic hotel services.


The 50-story building has a roof top garden and an area where they served breakfast. It has a spectacular 360 degrees view of downtown KL.


See earlier post for views of other parts of KL.


The garden is quite basic.


There is a place for BBQ on the rooftop.


The split level clubhouse also has a computer area, as well as a pool table.


The Bukit Bintang area has the highest concentration of bars in KL (think Lan Kwai Fong except that in KL, the bars are more spacious). As residents of Lanson Place, we received coupons for some of these restaurants where discounts for drinks and meals were offered. The street famed for KL’s street food – Jalan Alor – is located nearby But we did not go there and heard that it is a bit touristy – more about street food in later posts.


There is also a small gym just below the clubhouse.


The building shares two swimming pools as well as a garden and car park with a sister building next door.


The rectangular pool is truly massive. We suspect that it is longer than an Olympic size pool. Great for fitness training.


The pools and garden sit on top of a multi-storey car park.


We were certainly curious about the price of these apartments as many units were apparently empty (as we can see from our window). And how much would the common service charges be given all the amenities ?

This place certainly suited us as there were an odd number of us for hotel rooms, and it provided all the comforts and conveniences. Se our earlier posts for the apartments we rented in the past in Vienna and Paris.
Our friends M and S happen to live nearby and we met them a couple of times. We just wish that we had more time to see friends and explore KL.