New Cathay Pacific Diamond Cards

Yesterday I received my new Marco Polo Diamond Membership package. Marco Polo is the frequent flyer program from Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific (CX) is maybe not as well known in the west but one of major premium airlines in the world. Cathay was awarded Skytrax‘s 2014 Airline of the Year and has won the “World’s Best Airline” award four times by now, more than any other airline.

Cathay-Pacific-History-8Their frequent flyer program did relaunch completely in the middle of 2016. I will not go into the details of that, since it has been discussed thoroughly by many travelers. In case you’re missed it, here is a somewhat neutral summary. Personally I do not appreciate the changes as they mostly favor corporate flyers and people who do not spend their own money on tickets. Unfortunately that is the direction most airlines heading to these days.

Today I would like to address just one aspect of the relaunch and it’s changes: The re-styled new membership cards (among other design changes).

header_visualI always admired Cathay for their choice in restrained, non flashy designs. Distinguished and ‘non-show off’ reflected well my impressions of those. I have to say I liked their branding and corporate identity on the membership program as one of the best in the industry. The luggage tag is only a part it but I think a vital one. It is that one piece that shows your affiliation with an airline and so often the point where I ask myself if I am willing to put that on my bag.

I do currently hold a Silver, two gold and one Top Tier status from four airlines but my bag only has two tags on it. For one, it would look borderline tacky to me dangling around all of them (some might say this already with two). In the end it is the design of those tags, that puts the nail in the coffin. If you would see all four you might understand why only Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa are the ones chosen. Continue reading

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The best croissants in Bangkok?

IMG_20160801_090418An ongoing quest over the last years is finally resolved… at least for me. Happily I can announce to have finally found a really great croissant in Bangkok. The search for it was a long and ugly one. Even in the best 5 star hotels I could not find anything good. Particularly in various hotels of the Le Meridien brand here in Bangkok, I do expect some ‘Frenchness’ and with that some decent croissants and pastries. Not happening. Particular the Le Meridien Bangkok (at Surawong), which is maybe my favorite hotel in Bangkok, that otherwise shines with quite some French impact and good Illy coffee (ok, that is Itialian but awesome), fails horribly with the Pastries. The croissants there are only edible after warming up in the oven and even then they just ‘meeh’ but not good.

After this long rant for an intro… the salvation. So it came very welcome to me when a new acquaintance of mine here in Bangkok, who happens to be French, gave me this tip: Maison Chatenet at . And it did deliver – big time!

IMG_20160806_102045From what I understood: The guy who does this amazing baking is Laos born, not french but lived and worked in Paris for years. He worked for renowned Pastry chefs and made himself a name in the following. His baked goods where so good, he received an award for his pastries, particularly the galette, which is an almond cream filled pastry. Those galette were recognized in 2013 and 2015 as the best in Paris by the Chambre professionnelle des Artisans Boulangers-Pâtissiers (a group of artisans which requires all members to adhere to traditional baking standards). That is not a small achievement, considering him being a foreigner in Paris. The French tend to be quite nationalistic when it comes to ‘their’ treasures. Continue reading

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Back online…

Foodie is back. Sadly the last post is 32 months old. That is bad enough already. In addition due to technical issues – I had no time to resolve – the site was down for over 2 years. I have to apologize for that.

A lot has happened in that period. Foodie was eating a lot, traveling like crazy, found a new passion if not love, four dogs and a dozen cats impacted my life significantly. Let’s just say this last two years came with a satisfying circumstances and achievements.

From a travelers perspective worth mentioning was reaching the highest tier at Cathay Pacific two years in a row. Due to the somewhat weird policy of Cathay resetting the mileage counter after reaching a new tier, the miles needed to achieve highest tier in one year are insane. Cathay-1Coming from nothing and getting to Diamond meant the equivalent of 30.000 + 60.000 + 120.000 miles = more than 210.000 miles just in the first year.

Frankly, it was tiring at some point… but oddly enough still enjoyable. CX_The_Pier_1st_2I assume that came down to (a) the comparably overall superior service from the Cathay staff in the air and (b) the fact that I flew a lot over Hong Kong (6-8 times a month) and Hong Kong has an impressive selection of lounges, positively speaking. Many Cathay  business lounges in HK are already outstanding but more importantly for this blog, once reached Diamond I gained access to the two First Class Lounges, The Wing and The Pier. The latter is the better one in my opinion. It was just renovated, reopened in mid 2015 and operated by the Peninsula hotel, which is unusually for the business. That came with a few significant differences I will address in another post. Just so much, it is an extraordinary experience and highly recommended. More another time.

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Amazing food in the south of Thailand

southern-thailand-islands Map of Tailand - the southFoodie is in Thailand and took the local holidays off, to escape from buzzing Bangkok and the current political turmoil on the streets. The idea was to relax a bit in the south of Thailand over the holidays, which started on the Kings Birthday and went on over the weekend for five days. Yes, there were also some protests in the south but they did not interfere that much.

As many times before I chose the area in and around Krabi Town as my destination for this short trip. There are many options regarding Islands, beaches, accommodation and food. The goal was to explore the known and yet unknown food options there. Some of which I want to share with you.

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Foodie meets Michio Kaku in the streets of Rome

michio-kaku

Staying a few days in Rome, I ran into the famous theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, while taking a stroll in the tiny streets nearby the touristy Spanish Steps. He walked towards me with an elegant looking Japanese women his age at his arm, I would guess his wife Shizue Kaku. Continue reading

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Vientiane Kitchen Bangkok – Hate the music not the food

Always on the search for good Thai food I was wandering last year a lot around Thong Lo, which is one of the hippest neighborhoods in Bangkok to go out. In this area I stumbled a bit unexpected (at least for me) into the Vientiane Kitchen, which is located somewhat off the regular tracks and the major happening streets. Actually the restaurant should not be a surprise, since it is well known and also covered in many guides about Bangkok.

So as mentioned I read and heard about the place. The conclusion of many of those reviews is “overpriced” and “touristy”. In the same way most of reviews agree on the fact, that the food is great and do actually recommend it. In the end everybody comments on the music as either to loud or “the reason for going there”.

Kind of different opinions here… and what is my position towards the venue? I go there despite the music! The show is interesting, the guys can play some tunes… especially the one (lead?) artist impresses again and again with playing virtuously a whole bunch of weird instruments you most likely never seen or heard of, if you are from the western world. One downside is the main performing girl. She is nice looking but unfortunately lacking a decent singing voice… but sings quite a bit, so she can get a bit annoying. But in general the show is quite interesting and enjoyable. Continue reading

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Hemingway’s Bangkok

Despite the many stories lined up untold so far I would like to talk about a fresh experience from two nights ago first. I am staying again in Bangkok with all it’s perks for a Foodie like me. This results in hunting for new undiscovered Thai food places on a daily basis, diving into amazing Thai dishes from known and new places, enjoying soups, salads, seafood, vegetables, the occasional sausage or meat dishes and all the other wonders the Thai kitchen has to offer. Rarely I am interested in Farang food around here but it happens. Yesterday was such a day.

I was reading about a new newly opened restaurant in a traveler forum with often lots of local and resourceful insides. This time it came in form of a raving review about the Hemigway’s Bangkok, the venue itself, the food, the Mojitos served and pretty much everything else was praised… the whole nine yards. The website also makes a good impression. I was hooked.

Impressive building in Asoke just behind the BTS station

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Former favorite seafood place in Bangkok

Quite some time went by after my last posting, despite the many travels I did achieve in this period. I would like to restart telling about my findings and experiences with a place in Bangkok that conquered my heart in a storm… and lost it way to fast after that.

In September 2012 I was ‘proud like oscar’… having found a seafood place in Bangkok, which even a well informed Thai friend never heard of. The significance lied merely in the fact, that in this huge and food driven metropolis Bangkok, authentic (middle-land) Thai food, including fresh and high quality seafood, is not as easy to find as someone would imagine…
Another thing is, that a lot of the good places are often far away and can be very ‘rustic’ in appearance, not to talk about the fact that once an amazing is found, it would not always be easy or even possible for a foreigner to order the food (if not able to read or speak Thai).

That my friends seemed all ‘moaning of yesterday’ to continue with poorly translated German sayings.
Last year the awesome seafood place in Bangkok was found near BTS Sanam Pao and heavens it delivered.

I was instantly in love with the food. I ate pretty much all good stuff their menu had to offer. And I loved it so much, that I wanted to eat there every second day…
…and sometimes did.

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The Layover

Today a somewhat different declaration of admiration. I would like to admit, that I am kind of a fan of the doing of a certain Anthony Bourdain. Maybe this is not that wondrous for someone in love with food. And here comes why…

Anthony Bourdain is a former Manhattan chef with a classic culinary education and decades of experiences in the business. From this experience he then wrote a book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly“, which was published in August 2000 and beside some fame it brought for him, it also laid the groundwork for his later work.
He is described as “once known as the bad boy of cooking, Bourdain is settling into an only slightly more dignified position as a professional (…) critic and pork enthusiast” and is today best known for “traveling the globe on his stomach, daringly consuming some of the world’s most exotic dishes“. Sounds appetizing – doesn´t it?

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Bread and Butter in Bangkok

Most of those, who lived for some time abroad, tend to miss certain things. It doesn´t matter if we are talking about black beans for someone from the Caribbean, fish in any familiar form for the Japanese or a peanut butter sandwich for an American fella. I am not even sure if these examples are spot on but I dare to claim, if you are from Europe, these occasions, where you miss certain food, will maybe hit you harder than anybody else.

Although some lucky ones (like me in SE Asia) went to countries with great available food and should be happy about the abundance to find in those culinary h(e)avens. Still after a while far away from home you start to miss familiar comfort food – on some point or another. No perfect local cuisine can cope with that on the long run.

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