Monday, March 31, 2014

Yunnan Rice Noodles… Again?!

Bordering on obsession… my friend N and I went back to this Yunnan noodle shop on Sunday night just to get one more hit of the numbing, tangy, sour, spicy madness.  Oh this may just be an addiction.
My friend's noodles - level 5, whoa!
The weather was terrible all weekend but that did not stop us.

I was pretty tired from reading "Orange is the New Black" all in one sitting, doing a weight lifting class, trying out a "Bodyjam" dance class (it was step by step and basic, thank goodness) and getting a decadent rose facial (it is a hard life), but that did not stop me.

We trudged through the crowds in Central, braved the rockiness of the Star Ferry, dodged crowds in TST, to arrive at this beloved bowl of bliss.

Good news: I think I have discovered my spice level.  It is very precisely and squarely a Level 4.  This time I tried 3, last time I tried 5.  The chair was too big, the chair was too small; the spice was too much; the spice was just not enough.  Four it must be!  Noted for next time (which there must be).

I love the white radish (cue Michael's groan), the extra coriander, the fact that they bring the vegetables on the side (so you can fit more in your bowl, duh) and I actually quite liked the bean curd sheets that I tried this time.

Next time I might opt for the vegetarian option (the default is with bits of pork in the broth) and skip the mushrooms.  I usually like them but they were too chewy and stubbornly clung to each other in large, nearly unbreakable clumps.
My noodles, level 3.  I'm going to step it up (just one teensy spice level up) next time.
I noticed this time that they have a membership program (as Hong Kong restaurants are keen to do).  I really need to sign up to be a member next time… something tells me (oh, gee, maybe going to the same restaurant on the other side of the harbor twice within one week) I will be back!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Present From Japan From My Madre

My mom came to visit me and brought me a sweet little present from a Japanese boutique.  A trench coat!  It is really fun, particularly the buttons that run down the back.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Funny Scenes on a Sunday Afternoon in Hong Kong

Tell you what, there are some funny/weird/strange/interesting scenes on the street outside my workplace on a Sunday afternoon.  Sadly I have spent too many Sundays here recently. 
But at least you never know what will pop up here.  Green market, organic market, handicrafts fair, Ducati race car fair, Filipina helpers shaking their booties to public hip hop classes... FHM Fabulous Hottie Models Group runway fashion show?!  Yep.  The latest and greatest.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Buffet Brunch at Jashan

Jashan has a nice buffet lunch on weekends that I tried out recently after a long run on Bowen Road.  I am hoping to try the buffet lunch at Bombay Dreams soon for a hefty side by side comparison.

Two loaded plates like the above, tea and a mango lassi, and the dessert plate below... and I was groaning as I rolled my way out of the restaurant.

Patches of Yellow in My Life, Lately

Lots of yellow in my life lately, but that's good, right?  Yellow is bright and cheery.  Between this yellow flowering tree (with hardly any leaves) outside the office and the sunflower on my desk, this cheery hue is perking up my life considerably. 
I quite like the urban backdrop as a contrast to these vibrant blossoms.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Roses are Blooming, Basil is Flourishing

Mini roses are finally blooming on my rooftop!  I was worried because for a while I could not seem to coax any buds out of this plant (though it was growing leaves profusely).  Even my usual trick of dumping some coffee grounds on the soil to make it more acidic did not seem to work.  But now this plant is going strong.  They bloom and fade fast though - as you can see.

The wimpy basil that I bought from the flower market a month ago is now really flourishing and taking root.  They feel more robust now too.  I suspect their roots are growing deep and fast.

You Are My Sunshine...

It does not take much to make me happy at work.  I brought this little puppy in to work on Sunday to cheer me up.  Best HK$20 spent!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gardening Update: Strawberries!

I am so grateful that Hong Kong birds do not like strawberries.  And there do not appear to be squirrels in this urban jungle.  Because that means my cute little berries are safe.

Day 1...Starting to turn a little bit pink...
This is the first time in my life that I have seen strawberries bloom and blossom on the vine in my own garden without being gobbled up by squirrels or birds. 
Day 2...Getting steadily pinker...
In New York these berries would never reach this state of maturity unmolested.
And... bright, beautiful red!
I hope that they are sweet.  I am going to let them sit on the vine a little while longer, so that they are truly sun-ripened.  Exciting!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rice Noodle House (星林居雲南米線餐廳) in Tsim Sha Tsui

I was very lucky to go to the Yunnan Rice Noodle House in TST over the weekend with a friend and her cousin who was visiting from New York. 
It won the "God of Cookery Gold Award".  I have no idea what this means, but it sounds very impressive.
 I had been meaning to try this restaurant for a while now because my friend has been raving about this place. And as you guys know, I just cannot resist sour and spicy flavored things. 

It is a small space.  The wall is lined with strange pictures.  The wait staff are so surly and rude that you have to think they are spitting in everyone's soup.
The tables have paper menus where you select what you want.  There are a lot of choices.  There are nine levels of spciness!  And five levels of sourness.  And lots of choices for even the pickiest of eaters - extra coriandor, no coriandor, less noodles, more noodles, no meat, extra meat, etc.
My friend and I both commented that this menu looked like a scantron.  They even provide you with number 2 pencils.  I never thought I would say it, but I miss the days of scantrons.

 I ordered a level five ("medium spicy"), normal sour rice noodle in soup with fried tofu, white radish, green vegetables, and extra coriandor.  The vegetables came separately.

Thank goodness the vetables came separately, because my noodles were so spicy that I thought my lips would erupt into flames.  The vegetables provided a soothing, neutral sponge with which to mop up all of the fire from the soup. 

They are not playing around here, guys.  I have been duly schooled.  Next time I am ordering a level three... but it didn't matter; I loved, loved loved the tingling sour and spicy soup broth.  I am so coming back.

Shop A, G/F, No. 23 Lock Road                      

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Flight Review: My Singapore Airlines A380 Flight from Singapore to Hong Kong

Guys, excuse me for being a little bit of a geek, but I got to fly on an Airbus 380 on my flight back to Hong Kong from Singapore!

The A380 is the world's largest passenger airliner.  It is a double deck, wide body, four engine jetliner.  It is huuuuge.  Sadly my pictures don't really do much justice to the scale of the plane.

Many airports had to build special airport facilities and bridges in order to accomodate this plane.
Singapore Airlines made the inaugural flight on this plane in 2005 and now flies this plane between Hong Kong and Singapore pretty regularly. 

When our meeting in Singapore ended unexpectedly early, we made a mad dash to the airport to try to bump poor, unsuspecting folks off of their afternoon Cathay flights.  Unfortunately, we had no luck and it was standby for the next two flights.  Knowing that we would come back to Singapore for meetings, we rushed to the Singapore airlines terminal and bought a new set of roundtrip tickets 55 minutes before the flight departed. 

Needless to say I was pretty thrilled.  Singapore Airlines has great service.  And the A380 cannot be beat!  The seats are so, so wide on Singapore.  I saw a mom and a child cuddled together in one business seat, eating and watching movies together.  Lucky kid, am I right?

The seats pull down into full beds, although they are not completely lay flat.

Their pillows are nice and comfy
During the flight, I tried not to think about MH370.  Flying in roughly the same geographical region for nearly the same (although somewhat shorter) distance, I could not help but think about what would have happened if my flight had deviated off course.  Maybe it's better to hope that those passengers did not even realize that something had gone wrong.
The bathrooms have nice L'Occitane amenities and products, including razors, combs, toothbrush and paste, etc.
The starter, a shrimp and pomelo salad with zesty lime vinaigrette, was very good.
My sirloin steak was so overcooked it was like rubber...
Only points of criticism: one, my sirloin steak was so tough it almost flew off my plate, and two, the bed requires proper set up so that you need the help of the stewardess.  I am really glad I got the chance to experience this flight, and the A380, although there was no time to check out the Singapore business lounge this time!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Sweet Surprise

I finally got around to checking my mailbox for the first time in over a week, and saw a little delivery slip requesting that I go pick up a package at the post office.

I went to the post office this morning to pick up my mysterious package (yes, post offices are open on Saturdays in Hong Kong) full of wonderment.  I kept thinking, what could this be? 

Turns out, my sister had sent me a care package, which was literally and figuratively a very sweet surprise. She knew I had been having a few rough days at work. 

 What a kind gesture! I absolutely love it. I have a sweet tooth of the worst order and just love strawberry shoelaces, candy straws, sour straws, lollipops, gummies...and these are not always easy to locate in Hong Kong, so this is a much appreciated surprise.

The only one I probably won't be eating with enthusiastic gusto is the scorpion lollipop she sent me...

The hard part now will be exercising the discipline not to consume all of this in one afternoon while at my desk!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Hello, all.  It has been a while since a project or deal at work becomes so all encompassing and life consuming that I barely have time to sleep or eat, much less worry about activities like checking my personal email or, heaven forbid, blogging.  Hence my absence for eight days.  Do not worry, I am alive and well.  Tired, but better now than a day ago and steadily improving.

I am currently in Singapore for meetings and am enjoying the balmy Southeast Asia atmosphere.

This is the (strategically photographed so as to remove all evidence of construction and ugly bits) view from my hotel room.

It is currently raining, but this is the view from my perch in the business lounge in the hotel.

The first two things that struck me upon landing in Singapore were the cleanliness (wow!) and the spaciousness.  The latter sounds funny to say because Singapore is tiny, but there is space here, in the wide sidewalks and large structures and sweeping roundabouts, that just does not exist in Hong Kong.

I have been to Singapore only once previously, just about four years ago (give a month or so).  I feel like I have a different perspective now that I am here for work rather than play, but also now that I am coming not from New York but from the perspective of living in Hong Kong for over two years.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Madness, and a Newfound Use for Lawyerly Language

I am not sure exactly when or how it began, but Michael and I always bet on the March Madness tournament.  I think it must have started pretty much when we first stated dating.  We created our own little bracket, which we always genuinely and enthusiastically invited others to join, but, let's face it, we didn't really care if anyone else joined because the whole point was to draw blood beat each other.  It might be said that we can be a little bit competitive with each other.

The long and short of it is, for years it seemed to me a hopeless exercise in futility because the man is insane in his uncanny predictive abilities and knows a lot about basketball.  

People, we are talking about someone who as a child clutched his basketball to bed and in his sleep. 

 I would have given up hope long ago except for the fact that I had two things going for me: (i) a good spirit (I mean, who cares, the bracket is so much fun regardless) and a naive optimism; and (ii) let's be honest, I never really was very good about paying up on my bets…and therefore I did not *quite* feel that much pain, other than the stinging lash of disappointment and my hurt pride.

Last year, however, by some miracle, and also due to the inherent unpredictable nature of March Madness (which is what makes it all so fun, right?), I won!   And so I felt a little (but just a little) ashamed last year because Michael manfully went in for a manicure pursuant to the terms of his bet (although he did drag it out a bit - he didn't get the manicure until September!) Link to the results of last year's bet.

The bets are never of monetary value (what would be the fun in that?).  They are always activities, typically of a variety that the other would really hate to do (hence, the manicure).

So this year we are coming up with bets that we both agree must and shall be promptly enforced.

What is scary is that I find myself framing the terms of this bet in rather… legal terms.

My bet conveyed to Michael over chat contains terms like, "from time to time", "for the avoidance of doubt," "provided, that," and "must meet certain minimum quality requirements to be determined at such time as and when I win".  Is this a scary development or a bad development or both...?  

This year our bracket is called "Duck Ponds".  Cute because he always calls me duck.   May the best bracketeer win!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

An Eclectic Mix of Recent Happenings

March has been passing by in a blur.  I have a few random pictures and thoughts cobbled together here.

First, the weather in Hong Kong has been this gray and gloomy for days now.  Terrible.  Makes getting up out of bed so much worse.
Second, I discovered Haribo gummy letters!  So much better than bears, because I can spell out random and not so random messages at my desk while I procrastinate on drafting the latest indemnification provision/turning the latest term sheet/reviewing a non-disclosure letter/any other myraid of work related things.  And then I can eat my words, literally. Haha....ha.

Third, isn't my friend's dog really cute?

Fourth, this is what happens in Hong Kong during peak humidity.  I bought this lemon three days ago!
 Fifth, I think I need a vacation.  I don't even need to GO on one, I just need to have a few planned so that I have something to look forward to.

Sixth, what do you think about living a TV free life?  Now that Michael isn't in Hong Kong, I have turned on my TV precisely three times in 2014.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Birthday Michael!

Posting a warm, heartfelt shout-out to Michael, in all of his intelligent, quick-witted, perceptive, loyal (and, it must be said, grouchy) glory*, on this very special day:

生日快樂!!  I love you, darling!


Michael gets me so completely that he gets me more than I get myself. He loves me for all of my imperfections, finds me endearing even when I am not, will do my bidding despite being exasperated with me, and always, always has my back.  I am a lucky girl.

*let's not forget those really nice muscles too! ;)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Zen Moment

Thank you all for your kind words of love and support.

Blasting music on Spotify.  Working on a monster of a shareholders' agreement that makes not very much sense.  Sipping Pu-er tea.  Procastinating.   It's the little things that get us by, right?

Things are not that bad.

Here's to the weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Having a FML moment

I just really needed to say that, to someone, somewhere, right now. 

Sometimes something bad happens and it causes all of the blood to either drain away from your face, or flood your face.  And then sometimes something really bad happens, and blood seems to both drain away and flood your face at the same time.  How is that possible?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pretty in Light Pink - a Princess Manicure

 You can barely see the color but I think it just makes my fingernails look really clean.  So that's good :)

The beaded candle holder is a gift from my sister from Thailand and the metal votive holder is from the Hell's Kitchen flea market in New York.

Monday, March 3, 2014

House of Qi

I recently went with a couple of friends to try the newly opened House of Qi in Wanchai.  Mouth watering, numbing, spicy chili oil and peppercorns?  Food swimming in delectable aromas of garlic and   vinegar and innumerable peppers?  Yes!  Yes and yes!

Pork wontons
Cumin lamb with a lot of red peppers
Sweet and sour chicken…balls?!
"MaLa" chicken
Ginger beef
Dan dan noodles
The most amazing deep fried custard egg buns.  Yesssssss.