Posts Tagged ‘Taiwan’

write up: carmel for spaghetti bolognese

April 11, 2011

Situated in the North District of Taichung City, Carmel is a beautifully designed new cafe/restaurant offering an selection of western-style food with authentic flavours. No salads covered in Thousand Island here and raisins to be seen!

Carmel only just recently opened but has proven popular with the trendier locals. We walked in on Sunday and the place was full, the only seating option available was a table for two on the mezzanine, which actually proved to be a perfect spot from which to take photos and spy on what other patrons were eating.

I wolfed down an amazing spaghetti bolognese which was full of real garlic, rosemary and truly al dente high quality pasta. My lunch companion the seafood pasta which they praised as highly. Portion sizes were just right, not too overwhelming, and the food was presented in shallow white bowls perfect for pasta twirling.

It was lucky the pasta was amazing because the outing could have easily been soured by the fact that everything else on the menu, sandwiches and rissoto selections, had sold out. I know if was Sunday but it had only just passed midday! Oh well, I’ll just have to head back there this week.

Coffees and deserts are also worth mentioning. As we slurped our strong but not burnt iced coffees, my dinner companion and I shared a cheesecake  which reminded me of my mum’s home baked version. So good!

Anyway, here are a few pics so you can see for yourself. Worth a visit!

 

Spaghetti bolognese (near) and seafood pasta (far). Excuse the messy plates. I took the photo after we had started eating!

Yes, I had coffee AND an orange juice. I was thirsty!

Behind the counter.

Carmel interior.

Carmel interior.

I'm a sucker for cheesecake!

They write their table numbers on a teensy little blackboard!

You can sit at the bar and chat with the friendly wait staff.

Carmel exterior.

What: Carmel
Where: Cnr Donghan St & Taiyuan Road (Section 2), North District, Taichung City
Food: Western-style | Pasta, sandwiches, risotto | English and Chinese menu
Price: $70-$400
Map: Get directions here

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Copyright © 2011. This website is for personal non-commercial use only. All written work and imagery copyright to jar of buttons unless otherwise stated.
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news: JoB’s taichung city

February 20, 2011

Want to know how to get to the places you read about on JoB? Now you can with JoB’s map to Taichung City.

The painstaking task of mapping all the cafes, restaurants, galleries, art districts, shopping areas and nature trails talked about on JoB has been completed. Every place you read about on this site will be added to the map in an attempt to get people out and exploring this ever improving Taiwanese city.

JoB Google Map Feb11

Click here to browse JoB’s Taichung City.

The map has it’s permanent home here.

Please note that this is NOT a comprehensive guide to everything Taichung has to offer, nor will it probably ever be. It’s just an attempt to record the places talked about on JoB.

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finds: Tsai Chih-Hsien’s iron sculpture

February 20, 2011

Images from an exhibition of work by Tsai Chih-Hsien, a 50+ year old Taichung sculptor. The exhibition began on Saturday at Taichung’s Espace Lin. The works upstairs are solid iron and the two pieces in the downstairs gallery are iron found object.

We turned up on Saturday expecting an opening event and an opportunity to meet the artist but it turns out the opening event will actually happen later in the month. Hopefully I can have more on the artwork for you then but in the meantime, enjoy the images or better yet, visit and see the works for yourself.

Downstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Downstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Upstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Upstairs gallery shot. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

This one reminds me of a movie camera. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

This one reminds me of a movie camera. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

A nice space. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

A nice space. Work by Tsai Chih-Hsien. Gallery: Espace Lin, Taichung.

Here’s a bit of biographical info in English on Tsai Chih-Hsien.

Espace Lin is across the road from the Taichung’s art museum. I’m working on a Google map at the moment and will be sure to add the gallery to that. Up on JoB soon.

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finds: dear plastic’s paper making kit

January 18, 2011

It arrived! My recycled and up-cycled paper making kit from Dear Plastic made it all the way from Australia to Taiwan without one little bit of damage. See me unpack it.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... opening the box.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... opening the box.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the packaging has gone.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the packaging has gone.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... reading all the lovely hand-printed notes.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... reading all the lovely hand-written notes.

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the kit!

Dear Plastic Paper Making Kit ... the kit!

The box for the kit is made out of old Sydney Opera house plastic posters and it came with hand-written instructions. I haven’t opened the jar to investigate what’s in it yet but I’m sure the instructions or the video (below) will tell all. You can buy one, too! Click here to visit the Dear Plastic website.

So what can I make with my beautifully recycled paper? I was thinking of putting together a cute little art and culture zine to distribute around Taichung City every two weeks or so. Or…

I also found this cool idea for making recycled paper beads. These beads put me in mind me of a jewellery making book I had in the 80s.

What else? Leave your ideas as a comment below!

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JoB likes: CONTEMPORARY ART THAT GETS PEOPLE READING AGAIN

January 8, 2011

A metal artist and good friend of mine – Esther (廖幸玲), who lives here in Taichung – has signed up for a competition created by a big Taiwanese book publisher. The company has asked people to submit an innovative idea which will inspire people to start reading very old Chinese classics. My friend has an amazing idea and has been accepted into the voting stage. So now she needs your vote to win!

Actually, the idea reminded me a bit of Singaporean artist Michael Lee’s book sculptures.

'Every Architecture is a Banana', 2008, book sculpture, found book, 42 x 29.7 x 15 cm. Edition of 1 Collection of the artist. Image from michaellee.sg.

'Every Architecture is a Banana', 2008, book sculpture, found book, 42 x 29.7 x 15 cm. Edition of 1 Collection of the artist. Image from michaellee.sg.

Here’s a bit about her proposal from the artist herself:

In my proposal, I wrote out an idea related to a book called “Dream of the Red Chamber” (紅樓夢) which is one of the top five Chinese literature classics. It’s about the ups and downs of a super big family and is set around 300 years ago. Over 300 figures appear in the book and there are lots and lots of superb and beautiful words and poems as well as an amazing descrition of how people lived at that time. It also presents a comparison between the poor and the rich, the higher, lower and lowest classes, love and hate, dream and realities, the powerful and the weak…

However, such a book has been dying in the readers’ market as the language is too hard for most people to read and understand. So I want to try my best to tell the story in a way people would understand – using modern language, metal work and other media. I would like to create a pop-out story book to give back to the world the beauty of this old classic and hopefully evoke some further discussion and sharing of it and interest in it.

At the moment I am at the second reviewing stage, trying to get into the final ten. To give me a better chance at getting there I need lots and lots (and lots!) of votes from Internet supporters. It would be highly appreciated if you could give me a vote by clicking on the link below. You can even vote more than once by voting from different computers because the voting system works by recording your IP address. It would be 3009% appreciated if you could spread the news to other people for me as well.

Go on… vote!

Click here to vote and show your support for Esther, reading and art. The page is in Chinese, so once you click through, you will see Esther’s name, (廖幸玲), and a number which shows the number of votes she has already. Just above the number you will see a little blue rectangle with the words “投他一票”. Simply click on the blue rectangle to show your support and record your vote.

As Ether herself says, “Thank you soooooooooooooooo much for your kind patience of reading this mail. And I would like to thank you for all the effort and care you have given me on this matter.”

Esther currently trains with and works part-time for Taichung-based metalwork studio Zamama. I wrote about them in them and the other inhabitants of Stock 20 in the winter issues of GuanXi.

Important update! Voting ends this Friday, 15 January, 2010.

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News: I’m going to be blogging once a week!

December 31, 2010

Hello!

Image source: flickr.com/photos/fil/

Image source: flickr.com/photos/fil/

Because I’ve been so super slack at posting on this blog in the last half of 2010 I’ve decided to sign up to be part of WordPress’ PostAWeek 2011 challenge. Yes, they sent me an email and I spontaneously decided to join in.

I think it’s a really great way to inspire me to post regularly on all the little things I make and buy and all the restaurants and places of interest I stumble across during my time in Taiwan with, of course, a focus on what’s going on here in Taichung.

Oh, and I’ll be posting more on contemporary art in Taiwan. I’ll talk about the interviews I undertake and the galleries I visit. And about my job with Art Radar Asia. And…

If you want to join in, too, then here’s the instructions as written by WordPress. They’re running a post-daily challenge, too.

How to Join:

Signing up is simple – do the following:

  1. Post on your blog, right now, that you’re participating
  2. (You can grab a sample post from dailypost.wordpress.com)
  3. Use the tag postaday2011 or postaweek2011 in your posts (tips on tagging here)
  4. Go to dailypost.wordpress.com
  5. Subscribe to dailypost.wordpress.com– you’ll get reminders and inspirations every day to help you bring your full potential to your WordPress blog!

So, stay tuned for heaps more content from this little blog. And happy New Year!

JoB likes: HAND-MADE WEDDINGS

September 12, 2010

My fiance and I recently spent about five hours hand-crafting a large number of invites to give out to our guests for our slightly off-beat Taiwanese wedding. (We are both New Zealanders but are getting married here in Taichung.)

I’ve written up a how-to after the pics and will post on how we organised our (very) low-budget event after it’s all over. Only two weeks to go!

The first stage - stamping 40 or so pieces of cardboard.

Production line crafting - stamping 40 or so pieces of cardboard. There were a couple more colors - maroon, green, yellow.

Next: hand-stamping 40 or so brown envelopes.

Next: hand-stamping 40 or so brown envelopes.

The stamps - bought from a shop in Chung Yo department store here in Taichung.

The stamps - bought from a shop in Chung Yo department store here in Taichung.

The finished product. 1: invite card with party details. 2: Cat Lair business card, map to Cat Lair and drink card attached together with wool.

The finished product. 1: invite card with party details. 2: Cat Lair business card, map to Cat Lair and drink card tied together with wool.

Here’s how:

1. Buy two contrasting kinds of cardboard. We used corrugated cardboard as the backing card and a lighter polka dot card as the base card. You’ll also need some plain white heavy printer paper to print out the event details. While you’re at the stationers’/craft shop pick up some double-sided tape dispensers (better than glue because it doesn’t set all lumpy), some wool or string, a fine black marker or two, some rubber stamps, stamp ink in black, a craft knife, a cutting board, a strong ruler, some large-sized envelopes and a hole punch.

2. Measure and cut all the card to the size you want it. Remember that the base card needs to be a bit smaller than the backing card so it will fit inside it.

3. Stamp the base card with your chosen stamp and attach with double-sided tape to the backing card.

4. Type out the party details and print onto heavy white printer paper. Cut these out and attach with the tape to the cardboard. While you on the computer make a Google (or other) map to the venue and print this out on the heavy paper. Cut it out also. We needed to make a drink card for our wedding so we created and printed that at the same time.

5. We used some of the card leftover from the invite to make the “dog tags”. It was already cut to size. Just attach the map to some and any other materials you need to include to the rest. We included a business card from the venue in this set. Hole punch a corner of each card and then tie them all together with the string or wool.

6. Stamp all the envelopes with a stamp of your choice. We then typed and printed out addresses/names of guests and sender addresses onto the heavy white printer paper. We cut these out and attached them to the envelopes with the tape.

Notes: It’s a good idea to create a dummy copy of the invite before you go out and buy a whole lot of unnecessary stuff that you won’t use. Oh, and buy tons of tape – it goes really fast.

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part three: vintage shopping

August 8, 2010

Here’s some pics of the little vintage shop, nestled amongst the artist studios in the old market art area by Taichung’s art museum.

I bundled up a great plastic blue 80s handbag, an old Taiwanese movie poster and a couple of old paper advertisements. There’s more than a ton of other things I want.

Peering through the door of the little vintage place of heaven.

Peering through the door of the little vintage place of heaven.

Handmade paper "stained glass" windows outside vintage shop.

Handmade paper "stained glass" windows outside vintage shop.

The vintage shop. Lamps.

The vintage shop. Lamps.

The vintage shop. Odds and ends.

The vintage shop. Glass.

The vintage shop. Jewellery.

The vintage shop. Jewellery.

The vintage shop. Frames.

The vintage shop. Frames.

Address: I’m not going to tell you. Part of the fun of this place is trying to hunt it down. I will say, however, that it’s somewhere near the corner of the art museum parkway (beside the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) and Wuquan Street. Bring a fan with you as the whole place is unbelievably hot in summer.

Read part one of this series
Read part two of this series

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part two: z gallery

August 8, 2010

Part two of a three part series of images, in this post you can explore the inside of Z Gallery. The gallery is located in an old covered market that independents are slowly converting into a series of artist spaces and shops.

At the moment there are five establishments nestled under the corrugated iron roof of the market: a contemporary art gallery, an independent film production studio and screening room, what looks like a literary space for writers, a vintage shop and a contemporary photography gallery and studio. The rent is super cheap in the area and because it’s so old, it looks like people can do what they want with their rented spaces. As a side note, the film studio plays screens independently produced short films from around the world every Saturday night. Entry is NT$50 per session.

Currently on display at Z Gallery are contemporary ink works by three Taiwanese artists, Lin Fan-wei, Tsai Yi-ru and Jung Jiang-je. I particularly love the art created by Tsai Yi-run.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. First floor.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Window box.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Third floor.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. Another window box.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery. The bathroom.

Z Gallery.

Z Gallery.

Address: I’m not going to tell you. Part of the fun of this place is trying to hunt it down. I will say, however, that it’s somewhere near the corner of the art museum parkway (beside the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) and Wuquan Street. Bring a fan with you as the whole place is unbelievably hot in summer.

Read part one of this series
Read part three of this series

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finds: new taichung food and art places | part one: elephant

August 8, 2010

In three parts, I will post a feast of images from two of my current favourite places in Taichung. I’ve taken photos inside an old covered market that has been converted into artist spaces and shops, all independently run, and inside Elephant, an awesome teensy restauant with probably the best (and cheapest) Western-style food in Taichung.

UPDATE | 27 February 2013 This restaurant has moved to a new location. It’s now two stories high(!), but thankfully still has the same great food and hole-in-wall atmosphere. You can find more information, including an address, on their Facebook page.

Elephant has everything from risottos to pastas (including a lot of vegetarian fare) to chips with gravy and cheese to fish and chips (yes!). I finally took J there after “discovering” it with a friend last week. Actually, the restaurant has been around since 1999 so it’s certainly not new to Taichung. However, it’s managed to stay relevant with simple architecture and stunningly cheap and tasty food. All pastas are between NT$80-$100, fish and chips are NT$130, you can get a vege, chicken or lamb kebab for only NT$80-$90, the chips with gravy and cheese are NT$100 and they have beer and a variety of soft drinks to wash it all down.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Elephant, near the corner of ZhongMing South and TaiZhongGang roads.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Chips with cheese and gravy, my newest obsession and only NT$100.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Lamb kebab, packed with shredded lamb and tons of veg. Only NT$90.

Elephant. The menu.

Elephant. The menu.

Inside Elephant.

Inside Elephant.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Wall adornment.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Elephant. Street-side signage.

Address: 9-1, ZhongMing S Road, Taichung City.

Read part two of this series
Read part three of this series

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