Saturday, January 31, 2015

Off to Bangkok! Happy Weekend!

You guys, I am so excited.  I finished my deal!!  Like, the money is in the bank and we are closed!

This deal took over a year to negotiate and sign and complete and I can't believe it's over.  It ruined so many vacations and special occasions last year, including most notably (in a "MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!!!" moment) my engagement.  But now it's done!

And I'm headed to Bangkok for the weekend with some friends to chill (do yoga, take catnaps) and relax (get massages) and celebrate (eat a lot).

This impromptu getaway weekend couldn't have come at a better time. Whee!  Happy weekend everyone.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Itacho Sushi on Lyndhurst Terrace - Cheap and Cheerful

Not all date nights can be really fancy (expensive) and romantic.  In fact, if it's a really good date night (your date is someone you actually like) then it doesn't really much matter where you go, does it?  (Supposedly…)

Well, then there are also the times where you didn't really set out to have date night at all (all your other plans fell through and you don't want to cook) and you can't be bothered to venture all that far (because you're hungry).

That's when you find yourself on a date night of the kind we recently went on.  We tried Itacho Sushi on Lyndhurst Terrace.  It opened recently, replacing Dozo! Sushi.  We've never set food inside the place - actually, either place.  It has a very Japanese feel to it in that it's quite automated.  There is a dizzying set of illustrated instructions for their mobile app.

They do this gimmicky high tech thing where you order via a tablet.

 I mean... I guess that's kind of high tech and cool in concept.  But when the tablet isn't working and the menu isn't all that intuitive, just give me a human being!  (I know, can you imagine how I will be when I'm eighty.)

We sat at the bar and had a nice view of the two sushi chefs busily rolling and cutting and preparing everyone's meals.

We painstakingly inserted all of our orders (you have to order a la carte sushi and sashimi here) then waited for the result.

Some of the fish was not great - one piece in particular was incredibly tough and chewy and cold.  Other pieces were fantastic.  I found the key was to stick to the more traditional cuts, like roasted eel, fatty yellowtail, fatty tuna and salmon.

The food was fine although they keep the temperature of the fish too low.  Sushi should be served at near room temperature.  And their fried oysters were a little fishy smelling - it made me worry whether we would get sick.  But thankfully all was fine.

For a bunch of rolls and appetizers and sushi, our meal came out to approximately HK$345 or so.  That is not bad my friends.

Would I go back here though?  Meh, probably not.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

An Adorable and Creative Baby Shower

My life seems to be full of babies at the moment - other people's babies, that is!

I went to a beautifully and lovingly crafted baby shower for my friend last weekend.  Her husband made all the food!  She is one lucky gal.

The baby shower was held in a bright, comfortable event space located on Wellington Street.  

 Home made bite sized cherry pop tarts.
Really tasty curried egg finger sandwiches.  This made me want a set of cookie cutters.
Bite sized chicken and waffles!   I was shocked by how many people didn't know about chicken and waffles.  And we're talking American expats here.
 There were some peanut m&m nappies.  Expert pinning job.
These cupcakes were really tasty.  Despite my best intentions I finished one in about ten seconds.
I loved these bags of kettle corn.  Not only was the message cute and clever, the homemade popcorn was delicious!

We played some games and sat around drinking and chatting.

 I liked the contrast of the big buildings on Wellington Street outside, and the clothespin of little baby clothes strung on the inside.
 There was also a onesie making station to get everyone's creative side spinning.  So cute!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hot Yoga and All You Can Eat at Bombay Dreams

Oh hello, Saturday afternoon here.  Already nearly a full month into 2015... where has the time gone?

I've recently become a hot yoga devotee again.  Not sure what has inspired my enthusiastic return to the practice - maybe the cold and damp months of the Hong Kong winter make a humid, heated, sweaty room more appealing again.

I definitely go through phases.  For a while, probably over a year, I was not interested in hot yoga at all.  I was keen to explore more power poses such as handstands, bakasana, koundinyasana...but now I'm back.  Sweat soaked yoga clothes are piling up rapidly in my laundry basket once again.

It is so satisfying to sit in a cold shower right after a hot yoga session - I have no better way to express it than to say that I feel so clean after the experience.  Lots of yoga teachers talk about the body being a towel being squeezed during a hot yoga practice (flushing out the toxins through various deep twists).  I think there must be some truth in it because that's a pretty good description of how I physically feel when I emerge from the room.

Another benefit of hot yoga is the guilt free eating that comes afterward.  Not that I really feel guilt about eating usually, but you know what I mean.  The food tastes better because it is well earned.

My friends and Michael and I went to the all you can eat buffet at Bombay Dreams.  I didn't take a picture of my first plate.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Law Firm Opening Party At the Four Seaons

I went to a party at the Four Seasons this week, hosted by a PRC firm celebrating the grand opening of their office in Hong Kong.  They know how to throw a good party. 

I was quite enamored with the high ceilings and all the large television displays and people on stage.
Halfway through the presentations, they exploded champagne bottles full of confetti and glittery bits littered the floor.  It was very dramatic.

There were sliders.

  There was a nice assortment of crudites.
There were also some Chinese dishes that are kind of hard to eat in a cocktail setting, like eggplant covered in fish sauce and fish flakes.
  There were many desserts.

 I tried a few because they looked so cute and precious, even though I usually don't like this kind of dessert.  The red velvet cake lollipops were good but really, really sweet.  Like toothache inducing sweet.
Guess what their going away present for everyone was?  A selfie stick!  Amazing.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Colorful Trip to the Wet Market

I bought some fresh, delectable vegetables from the Central wet market over the weekend.

Something about the range of greens and reds in a garden variety medley of lettuces makes me so happy.
 I splurged on baby carrots from Holland.  I have nearly succeeded in repressing all thoughts of my stratospheric carbon footprint.
The red ripe tomatoes glowed, each a plump luminous jewel to be handled with care.
 Butter lettuce.  Oooh how I love this, nature's jade green purse of perfectly enveloped leaves.
Little oranges with bumpy, acne ridden skin.  Just to prove that it's not all about the exterior, even when it comes to fruits and vegetables.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sichuan Hotpot in the North Point Cooked Food Center

When a friend suggested that we try a Chongqing hotpot place called "Bamboo Garden Chongqing Chicken Pot" (竹園重慶雞煲) for dinner, I was down.  That is no surprise as I am always in the mood for hotpot.

But then when I realized the so-called restaurant was actually located at 99 Java Road, I got really excited.  I had heard about a good Sichuan hotpot restaurant on the third floor of the Java Road North Point cooked food center a couple of years ago but never went to search it out.  I was now pretty sure that this was the same place.

The place might as well come emblazoned with a banner: "Eat here at your own risk."

This cooked food center contains the famous Tung Po restaurant, which is probably the only local restaurant that has succeeded in luring expats who don't know any better to crouch on hard stools, sip bad Tsingtao out of a bowl and suck down mediocre pasta covered in squid ink for novelty's sake.  It is a fun time because late at night the owner, soused on bad whiskey and beer, will pull out a 1990s early style boom box and moonwalk and belt out all kinds of American classics while mopping up.

You check what you want on the yellow menu.

We asked for "less hot" and boy am I glad we did because the soup was still quite spicy.  I can't imagine what it would have tasted like if we had asked for regular.

When we first started cooking:
 While the food kept cooking (smoke was billowing):
 At the end of the meal - the oil had congealed to a rather scary state: