Thursday, May 21, 2015

Taking Some Time - and Headed to Sunny Santa Barbara

I know you've noticed the long stretch of silence on this blog this month.  I think… barely five posts in a month… that's a record for me, eh?  Even when I was working my hardest, like 80+ hours for three or four weeks on end, I would always keep up a pretty consistent stream of updates, musings, etc.

But this month I haven't really felt like it (maybe I am just hitting a new level of busy?) and I've decided not to force it.  I have a lot going on at work and in life - planning a wedding from halfway around the world, working around the clock, trying to catch up with friends, and still fitting in the myriad number of life's necessities and administrative tasks.

So this space has been quiet for a bit, but I think it's good.  A person can only do so much.

My good news though is, my reward at the end of this very long month (and I cannot believe it is already the end of May… this year is FLYING) is that I get to head to sunny, beautiful Santa Barbara, for this long Memorial Day weekend/Buddha's Birthday (hey, either works) and see some really great people.

Yes.  A hundred times yes!

From there I head to New York on a red-eye (because why not, in for a penny in for a pound), then plan to just relax with family and friends (while working out of the New York office, meeting the photographer, florist and priest, seeing the church, seeing the venue, selecting dj and church music, doing my tasting, getting my makeup trial, did I mention working?, preparing envelopes, sending out invitations)… yup.  It will be very relaxing.

Then I head to Ohio where Michael's mom has so sweetly and kindly organized a big bridal shower.  I'm excited!  Then I have to head back to Hong Kong right away because at any minute my deal will sign.  Of course.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Sample Sale / Fundraiser to Support HDH

This is a cause near and dear to our hearts, so I thought I would post the information here for those who wish to do a little shopping in Hong Kong.  HDH, or Helpers for Domestic Helpers, is having a sale of new, unused, name brand clothing at very reasonable prices this Sunday (very many quality items under HK$200)!

The sale will take place between 10 am and 2 pm at the back of St. John's Cathedral on 4-8 Garden Road.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Dinner at Quest by Que

Last weekend I went to dinner with my friends at Quest by Que, a new restaurant opened by Que Vinh Dang, my friend's friend (who used to own TBLS, which I blogged about back in the day).  I have to say, I really love the food he and his team are preparing in this space.   Unlike TBLS, whose menu changed monthly, Quest by Que's menu changes quarterly or seasonally, and it is not a private kitchen but rather a more traditional restaurant.

The concept is fine - I would probably have picked a different color setting because I find the black and white decor a little bit stark; I think the set up is okay but maybe a little bit awkward with two rooms, etc. etc. - but those are all minor details.  The most important thing is that the food is worth it. 

It is rare to find in Hong Kong so much care and thought put into the preparation of the food.  You know, without a doubt, that the chef has spent hours working through the colors and textures and considered the complement and the contrast of the flavors, from every angle.  His dishes manage to surprise and delight.  
This is a thinking person's meal.  You are on a journey of discovery (ice lettuce? shrimp ravioli in a bubble?)  and yet also experiencing the familiar with the strange.   Even though all of the dishes were on point on the night we went, I would argue that if the chef did not hit the mark, the menu would still very clearly display the direction and intention of his attempt. And for that boldness, creativity and intuition, Quest by Que deserves all the accolades.

 Smoked octopus with watermelon, pickled watermelon rind and ice lettuce.
Torched ora king salmon with galangal and beet root jelly, avocado and salmon roe, topped with crispy fish skin.  This one was probably my favorite.  The layers of complexity that the chef managed in this small package - the smooth and tender salmon, the spice from the galangal, the cool slippery effect of the beet root jelly, the unexpected heat from the chili ginger broth at the bottom... was really commendable.
 BBQ Iberico pork belly banh mi, with chicken liver pate, black pepper sausage and pickles, on top of a swipe of siracha mayonnaise.
 Bun rieu crab cake, with pickled cucumber and cherry tomato pico de gallo.
 Pan seared escolar with crispy vermicelli and sweet shrimp ravioli.
Stuffed quail with carrot puree, pickled romanesco and chipotle, abed smoky cauliflower.
 Strawberry compote with soursop sherbet, pandan panna cotta and macaroon.
 And finally, last but not least, the frozen Vietnamese mocha, with coffee ice cream, condensed milk and chocolate meringue.
Wow, am I right?

Go, you won't regret it!

Quest by Que
28/F, 239 Hennessy Road
Wanchai, Hong Kong
+852 2554 0888

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Moment of Silence

I stopped posting for a while, not because I stopped eating or going out or working or seeing friends, but because I just didn't feel like talking about these events.

Some bigger things have been taking place in my life, and I didn't feel like this was the right forum for airing them but I also felt like I couldn't just sweep them under the rug while blithely nattering on about superficial things. 

Suffice it to say that the events and emotions from this first week of May will not fade from my memory anytime soon. I am not sure if anything has been resolved to my satisfaction, but, in truth, I am also finally learning that there are things in life that may not ever be fully resolved, period. 

This is not to say that the pictures or posts that I put on this blog are not meaningful - my musings, adventures, zeal for food, are very much an embodiment of me and my voice and my values.  The things that make up this blog, as small and as inconsequential as they may be, are what I savor. But as we all know, blogs allow us to easily avoid the dark, messy, frustrating things that are an inevitable part of our meager little lives.  By necessity, my blog is a carefully curated record, suspended in a vacuum, containing a relatively isolated accounting of a few very select things in my life. 

If this were a different blog, and if I were a different person able to share such personal trials and tribulations in a public forum, then perhaps this would be the audience privy to a frank peek behind the shiny patina.  But I am not that person, and this is not that blog. 

So a long period of respectful silence seemed apropos.  But now, the sun is out, the work week is coming to a near close, and for the present moment, some semblance of peace and normalcy is at hand.  And frankly, I've also missed this space. So, all is well, or as near well as can be, and I think that will have to be enough.