Saturday, August 22, 2015

CITY OF ANGELS REVISITED: Finding the elusive Chicken Rice + Hipster-ish Luxx

LATE POST:  A couple of friends and i went to the City of Angels recently, a rather spur-of-the-moment trip actually (Well, 'spur-of-the-moment', for me, means only one week of intensive research on the sights and experiences that can be squeezed it, so it's all relative. Hehe :D)

Of course, with Bangkok having thousands of restaurants, it was really hard to choose where to eat. So when no other than Chef Gene Gonzalez (of Cafe Ysabel fame) recommends a place to you, you go out and search high and low for it and try it gaddemit. 

So, on our last night, after the day's (rather underwhelming) sporting events were done, off we went in search for Chef Gene's recommendation - a Chicken Rice place that has been around since, like, forever. 

We went down Platinum Mall, and started walking around following his scribbled directions. After some asking the locals, and a wrong turn or two, we ended up across the street from the nearby Palladium Mall. (Side note: Errr, what's next, Plutonium Mall?)

Ah, here it is! Chef Gene did not specify the name of the resto, but based on his directions and description, we surmised it was this one: Kuang Heng. There was a crowd, mostly locals (which is always a good sign); and we were able to get a table after a few minutes. The place did look like it has been around. . .well, not forever, but for quite a long time (it says 'since 1932' on their logo). Nothing fancy, no air-conditioning. 

Here's a (bad) photo of the menu:

By this time, we were all famished and quickly ordered the chicken rice, as well as ten sticks pork satay from the stall around the corner. Here is the chicken broth:

Our orders came quite quickly. Portions were just right. 

The chicken rice proved to be tasty and tender, and we sucked everything up in a good ten minutes. Talk about being famished! The satay came later, and they were very good, too. 

So, a bunch of merry men exited the resto and disappeared into the night that night. 

For this trip, we had opted to stay at the rather quiet Soi Langsuan area, which is just one BTS stop (Chit Lom) from the livelier tourist area of Pratunam / Siam Square. I heartily recommend it anytime, as this street is safe for walking and has more than enough restaurants and shops and spas. 

In fact, the neighborhood Starbucks turned out to be quite visually pleasing, both inside and outside: (Nope, i did not turn into a hack for Starbucks overnight; and i'm gonna bill them for this unsolicited advertorial. Hahahaha!! :D) 

They call it a 'community store' (vs. being a regular store?), so that might account for the difference in interiors. At any rate, it was a relaxing place to hang out, and talk about the recent days' happenings.

 Here's more photos from Bangkok-based blogger Jasmine here, just so you know what i'm talking about. 

Our digs for this trip was a boutique hotel called Luxx XL, which i stayed in two years ago (upon the wise counsel of my friend Jellybean), so here we were again!! :D Yeyyy.

What can i say? You had me at.....ferocious stone lion? No no! You had me at giant wooden doors ;-D

It looks like something that could be straight out of a stylish fashion-travel magazine. I've a mind to wake up at the dead of the night, and unfasten the screws on those huge wooden doors and ship them home (via courier). Haha!

The lobby ain't bad, no?  

I totally forgot to take photos of inside the rooms. Which might not have been a good idea anyway, as our sports wheel bags took up most of the free space, and gear was all over the room.

Here's the view from the resto where we ate our breakfasts. Lovely pool. Too bad the schedule was hectic, and there wasn't time to dip a smelly toe into the water.

Of course, Luxx XL is not a perfect hotel by any means. The breakfast selection could improve a lot, for one. 

And some of the stones surrounding the bath tub were a bit sharp, and the water pressure of the shower head was a bit iffy at times. 

But overall, the hotel was good value for money; accessible to a whole bunch of tourist places; and it just had this laid-back, chillaxing vibe that one wants after a whole day out. 

Dare i say it, see ya again next year? 

POSTSCRIPT:  Around two weeks after returning from our Bangkok trip, we bumped into Chef Gene and informed him we had a good meal eating at one of his recommendations and showed him photos of Kuang Heng. 

Unfortunately, it turned out we had gone to the WRONG chicken rice resto! We were supposed to go a bit further along the same street, as there was another chicken rice place even better - the one he recommended!!! OH NOOOOOO! [wringing hands and tearing out hair]

Only one way to settle the matter. Dare i say it, same time next year?