Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

So far I have had the best Christmas imaginable!  

Paul and I landed in Pittsburgh after a quick 18 hour trip around the world where Debbie, Paul's mom, picked us and Steve, Paul's brother, up.  We went immediately over to NACL (Salt) for Aunt Lynn's birthday dinner.  The family reunion was a fantastic introduction to the family.  Steve, Katie (Paul's little sister), Paul and I all chatted on our end, and Debbie, Aunt Lynn and her daughter, Jennifer, chatted on the other.  What a great family!  I have never seen brothers and sisters so close and sweet to each other!  They have all these cute inside jokes and are just so sweet and affectionate to each other.  Day 2 and we had an amazing breakfast with Debbie and opened our Christmas gifts.  We had such a nice time chatting, unwrapping, and getting to know each other; Debbie's the best!  We picked up Steve and head to Monteray Bay, Paul's favorite restaurant, on Mt. Washington.  From the restaurant you can see all of Pittsburgh; the 2 stadiums, downtown, the convergence of the 2 rivers, and the foods fantastic to boot.  What really stuck me about the (ultra nice) restaurant was the customer service. Living in Asia for so long, I had forgotten what that was.  No tip, no care-y about you.  Eat and get out is the general philosophy from my experience, so it was nice to be catered to.  Yes, I would like some more bread.  Yes, yes, dressing on the side.  And it happened!  Oh America, how I love thee. 

Post lunch we went to the Phipps Conservatory to check out the greenhouse's Christmas decorations, then we left Debbie to have dinner with Paul's dad.  We sat around slurping spaghetti and talking mostly politics.   Paul's dad and my dad would totally get along, as would Debbie and my mom.  I can't wait to have a big family get together!! 

Our final day in Pittsburgh was so much fun!!  I woke up super early due to jet lag, and went downstairs.  His dad, Paul, was downstairs also, so we sat and chatted all morning while Paul slept.  Then it was girl's day.  Katie, Debbie and I hit the spa for facials, which were amazing!, shopped, and had a sushi dinner.  Then Katie I met up with the boys and went to Paul's best friend's house to meet the friends.  Even though our trip was short, I feel I got in one on one time with everyone in the family, I met the friends, and most importantly, I feel that I have doubled my family.  The Fiehlers are the warmest, most gracious, generous people I have ever met and I am so excited to spend more time with them!  <3

Christmas Eve and twas time to head to NJ.   I had cereal at Paul's and felt fine.  We hit the airport and after a teary goodbye (I'm going to miss those Fiehlers!) Paul and I got lunch.  I got some marinated vegetables and Paul had a burrito of which I had a few bites.  Poor Paul always has to endure my "just one more bite."  Flash forward to the flight and I'm not feeling good.  Blame the lack of sleep.  Blame the slight hungoverness.  Blame the food.  But I was sick.  Who doesn't love puking on a plane!?  Yeah, good times.  I go back to my seat and Paul whispers to me, "The stewardess asked if you were pregnant."  haha Does she know something I don't know? She returns to give out drinks and mouths to me, "Are you pregnant?"  Oh I forgot to mention that Paul and I were both rocking Steeler's jersey's that his dad gave us that morning. Just cause I'm wearing a jersey, doesn't mean I'm hiding a bump. We get off the wretched hour flight to run to the bathroom yet again, and she mouths to Paul, "She's pregnant."  haha, WTF!? 

Anyway, Christmas here is amazing!  I feel much better, and Paul got to meet my family!!  It doesn't feel like it's been almost a year and a half since being home.  When you're home, you feel like you never left, you know?  This morning we all came downstairs to open presents, and open presents we did!  For 2+ hours!  Paul and I totally made out!  We got Wii, a camera, Kindle, tons o clothes, and a bunch of other great stuff.  As I'm typing this Stacy, Scott and Paul are playing Mario Party 8 on the wii.  Paul is so sweet and got me my favorite perfume from Marc Jacobs, a bag I fell in love with, and my old blog printed into a book!!!  I made him a photo album and got him a beer making kit.  We have so much fun stuff to do in Hong Kong!!

I just feel so lucky right now.  I love the Fiehlers.  I get to spend a week with my family.  I get to see my best friends.  And I have the best fiance in the whole world.  Life is good. 

Merry Christmas!!



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last night in Asia...

For 2 week! Paul and I are in the middle of (he's in the bathroom) a nice
Little groupon date. Lobster, grouper, n sparkling wine. Maybe I should think about packing...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quick Catch Up

Well, hello.  It's been a few days now hasn't it?  And for good reason.  I've been busy!  Saturday morning I head with Greg and JC out to the Gold Coast.  I was completely unaware that Hong Kong even had a Gold Coast, I thought it was just the magical land where Emily works on her tan all day.  But no, if you drive way past Tsuen Mun as far West as possible, there it is.  It's an upscale neighborhood with cute restaurants, nice apartments, and a beautiful boardwalk from which the billionaires can take out their 200 meter yachts.  Anyway, it was cool to check out, the weather was nice and there weren't many people, so it was a relaxing way to work...on Saturday!  Then I had to bail to go get ready for dinner.  Nina put together a little get-together-before-the-holidays at one of Hong Kong's (well actually Singapore's) notorious restaurants; No Signboard.  They're famous for their chili crabs, so for the 8 of us we got 2 giant chili crabs, 2 giant white pepper crabs, noodles, rice, fried and unfried buns, and of course a green.  It was delicious!!! The crabs were already cracked for us, but it didn't matter you still had to work, and wear, your dinner. It was awesome to get everyone together again (first time since Thanksgiving) before we all take off.  

Kenny, Nina, Me, Kira, and Paul about to embark
Sunday funday indeed!!!  As we're heading up to our helicopter at the top of the Peninsula hotel in TST, this young Asian woman with a very much older white dude, walks down the stairs with her hand up in the air, "I just got engaged!!!"  Pretty smooth old dude!!  Our trip wasn't quite as eventful, but it was fun to listen to Kenny talk flight talk with the pilot as the rest of us oohhhed and ahhhhed from the back.  We saw the entire island in just 12 minutes.  Pretty cool.

Yesterday was my first full day in the office.  No events thankfully, and I was finally able to get a lot done!  We're making some progress!  And post work was even more successful.  I'm on about 4 million email lists at this point of events in Hong Kong (hey got to fill your time during unemployment) and somehow I got invited to a Glenlivet tasting.  It was on the top of Pier 6 where the Mongolian Village pop-up tent is and it was just stunning at night.  We had our own private tent for the event and I'm guessing Paul and I were the youngest there by at least 10 years.  The Scottish dude got up and gave a brief history of their whiskey (and why everyone else in the world tries to copy them), talked about the make of it, the tastes and aromas and then told us to try the two unnamed whiskeys in front of us.  We had to guess which was the brand spanking new only released in Asia 12 year Excellence whiskey.  Paul got it, and I preferred the other, which I later learned was Macallan.  Yum.  Then we were left to our own devices to drink as much whiskey as possible as waiters came by with little snacks.  Then my favorite part of the evening.  The lucky draw!!!  And guess who was called first!?  ME!!!  I answered a question, "What color is the 12 Excellence?" "Golden."  And won a bottle to take home!!! Asa.  I think the best part of this was Paul's reaction.  We don't drink much whiskey and after the tasting he was totally getting into it saying we need to go buy some...umm I don't generally spend $80 on my boozes, but hey, here we are for free!  So yeah, fun evening and now Paul can get his fancy pants drink on. 


Today is another day in the office.  Paul has off and is loving it.  He's currently sleeping while I get ready and catch up on this.  It's 9 am man, get up!  ha.  But after work we're going to meet in Causeway Bay for a free flow wine dinner complete with lobster and grouper, then head back here to pack, watch movies and then head to the airport at 5 am.  AMERICA tomorrow!!!!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kina's School of DP (dinner parties)

Kina hosted us for the most amazing dinner last night!!  Now I am totally petrified to ever have them over, but I definitely will.  I just need to fine tune some skills first!  We turn up at 8 and they're going full force in the kitchen.  I know Nina (and Kenny) can cook, Thanksgiving was amazing, but dinner for just us!?  This was superb!  We started with a cheese plate and Kenny's mulled wine, which in all honesty is probably the best mulled wine I've ever had.  Christmas in a cup; start anise, cloves, orange zest, yummmm.  The cooking continues, but we are instructed to move over to the table where Nina shows us how to assemble our own Vietnamese shrimp summer rolls.  Shrimp, cucumber, carrot, sprouts, and mango rolled together in a wet rice paper, then dunked in Thai chili sauce.  We seriously bit into summer.  Then we sit down.  We started with what I can only describe as stuffing soup.  Parsnips, mushrooms and who knows what else topped with chorizo and my contribution, truffle oil.  Next round, beet salad.  This is always a favorite of mine and I have decided that it will be serves as part of my last meal.  Well, you know, if I have a choice.  Then the main.  Kenny roasted rack of lamb and Nina made a gravy.  Yum. Yum. Yum.  The whole evening was just totally impressive.  I think they should open a school on how to entertain.  And then enroll me.  Here are some photos:

Summer Rolls
My favorite; beet salad

Rack of Lamb
And here's what I did at work all day yesterday.  I ran all over Wan Chai and Central gathering goods to make wine hampers.  The finished product, which incidentally, didn't even get delivered on time.  Rrrrrr.


And here's Paul and his co-teacher June at his last day of school in 2011!!!  Woohoo!!  Homeward bound in just 4 days!!!!


But now I'm off to way far away in the New Territories for yet another Christmas fair...outside.  Boo, but I only have to go for half day then it's spicy crab dinner with the crew.  Peace out. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

That's the best looking Santa I ever saw

Perfect Job for Me

So far this job seems like it was written for me.  It's casual, flexible, a little work, a little play.  Even though I've been working 12+ hour days all week, the time flies and is never stale.  Except when it's 10 pm and you're packing up boxes among trash and broken saltines.  Yesterday I spent all morning in the office installing new software and getting orders and things in place.  Come 5 and it was time to pack up the van and go down to Central where HOFW was hosting a wine tasting during Banker's Nite.  There were a bunch of bankers, but as I mentioned earlier, a lot of FLA-ers too (hey, that's why I would have gone too).  One wine for you, one for me.  One foie gras for you, one for me.  We have a nice little system going here.

As I'm sitting in the office yesterday I ask Greg, my boss, when the last time he went home to Ireland was.  "1994."

"Where have you been since 94?"

"I was in Thai prison for 12 years."

Chincha!?

He had me going for a while there, and it was starting to make some sense.  Small wine importing company...but no, he was "have a go at me."  Anyway...

Today I have Agnes at 10 for tutoring, heading down to Wan Chai to pick up gift baskets for some hampers we're putting together, office work, and dinner with Kina (Kenny and Nina).  We haven't seen them in two weeks, so I'm pumped to catch up!

Other good things about work.  Well not mine, but Paul's.  CHOCOLATE.  People love to give their kindy teachers fancy chocolates, and kindy teacher's girlfriend's sure appreciate it.  For breakfast today I had a kimchi and salmon roll (made by Paul!) followed by Ferro Roche.  I believe for lunch I shall have some Godiva and for dinner Marks & Spencer.  Tis the month foie gras, chocolate, wine, homemade Irish cream, and let's not even think about what will be consumed over Christmas.  I can't wait for my mom's cooking!!!  Calories don't count at Christmas, right?
The Tasting Table

FLA

According to Greg, my boss, Paul is pres! Free loadin association. Nice event of fl-ers tonight at Hyde. More when I haven't worked a 12 hour day...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Would post more but....

I spent the last 13 hours behind a table at the Conrad hotel in Admiralty. Tots crowded, good sales, good choc, and tots exhausted. Back to the office at 10 tomorrow for the new software to be installed, then it's bankers night at Hyde, which is my first event organized by me! More on my job as Commercial Manager coming soon...

Ps USA one week!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Working Girl!

HFW Table
Trapped behind the table
After a cold, yet fun evening Friday, it was straight back to work on Saturday.  I head over to Kwun Tong at 9am to meet JC and Greg, who was still asleep, and who can blame him?  He was up til 2 getting stuff ready, orders together, and putting away Fridays stuff.  ANyway, JC and I went down to LKF where we set up our wines and products on a tiny tiny table!  The room was not much bigger than my tiny bedroom here and there were 6 different vendors set up.  There was a blanket company, water bottles, some jewelry, and us!  And then there were several other floors with different stuff, but I didn't wander too much as I had basically built myself in behind my table.  I finally left at 2:30 to get lunch, and then returned to stand behind the table until 6.  It was fun and time flies, but the event was kind of a bust.  The location was hard to find and uninviting due to the small size, so I don't think we did too well.  Although we did do better than most everyone else.  Truffles be popular!  And I got to sip on wines and make friends with all the other vendors.  Who doesn't like the wine guy!?  It's fun to see how this small community of entrepreneurs works.  Everyone kind of knows everyone from different events, and there seems to be lots of support and encouragement.

Paul came toward the end of the event and drank some wine with me Greg and the other vendors, and then we set out for Clockenflap!!!  It was on the West Kowloon waterfront which is stunning!  As you walk in there are lights and glowing chairs everywhere and you can hear the techno blaring in the distance.  Again you have to buy coupons (what's with the stupid coupons!), and then turn them in for wine and beer.  I opted for wine and we made friends with the sweetest wine guys.  They looked to be high schoolers, were freezing, and I think just trying to pour out all the wine to get home.  I can't imagine how cold they must have been if they'd been there all day!  It was cold (50s), windy, and on the water, so we didn't make it too long either.  Brrrrrrr.

Clockenflap!
New friends
Sunday was my day off!!  Paul and I took the surprisingly quick bus up to Yuen Long to use a groupon.  We've had this one a while on account of the fact that Yuen Long is FAR!  Way up in the New Territories.  The lunch was ok, lots of mayonnaise (odd), and then we head back home to relax. Long trip for a subpar lunch, but at least we saw something new.   Paul's coming down with a cold.  I think it's got to be the change in weather.  Seems like everyone's sick!!




Today it's back to work...at 12.  ha love it!  Then I have to leave at 1 to come back here to tutor.  Tonight I'm going to cook a nice dinner and get some shopping done, because it's go go go all week.   Ta Ta!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Oh, yeah

My official title:  Commercial Manager.  I'll take it!

Best Job Ever

Day 2 of HFW and I wasn't totally convinced this is what I should be doing.  Yes, Greg bought me lunch,  but I spent an awful lot of time running around from the bank to the post office doing a lot of admin kind of stuff.  Day 3 and I LOVE IT! I spent the am (11:30-3) categorizing, organizing, and filing expenses, which I love.  Again it's admin stuff, but fulfilling because there's an end result of organization.  I also suggested we write a year end thank you to all of our customers suggesting party ideas for the holidays.  So I spent some of the afternoon writing that letter, and come 4 it was time to head to our event.  JC and I took a van to the King George V school in Kowloon where we set up our table and started to sell.  We're really pushing foie gras, truffle sauce, and of course, wines.  But, we get to drink wines while working! And we got some tasty Indian and Japanese food from the function as well.  Basically we stand out with plates of truffle sauce and foie gras crakers soliciting people to buy and try our wines.  Did I mention this is at a primary school!?  This would not happen in America.  Come 7 and Paul came to check out our table.  Greg generously poured him wine, told me to show Paul around, and then when I went back to work Paul helped by filling the crackers with our products.  Paul went over to the beer table (again at a primary school!) and a kid asked if they could have a Coke.  "No we can't serve Coke because it's school policy." ha!! I love Hong Kong!!!  Toward the beginning of the night I was not feeling selling.  I don't like to be in people's faces.  By the end of it, it was such a thrill to entice people to the table and actually sell a bottle or tin of foie gras.  I think I could get good at this.  And here's the kicker.  We're sampling wines all night, and guess who takes the open bottles home.  Yup, me!!!! Paul and I came home with 6 bottles of wine.  He's sold on my job.  And so am I :)

17 month anniversary cheese and crakers (not related at all to this post) 
My Wednesday night (first) event with HFW at the Lanson

The leftovers from tonight that P and I took home.  Asa!

JC packing up the goods.  
Tomorrow is an LKF event followed by Clockenflap.  More on Cloken Sunday.....

PS got cold tonight!!! We're pushing high 50s!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Have the Best BF

As I open the fridge this morning I see 5 bacon wrapped scallops from Paul.  He made me a first day of work surprise snack and had a congrats card to go with it.  How sweet is that??  We have been joking about bacon wrapped scallops for over a year now.  It's the only thing he ever made for his ex-gf (also Lauren) and I wondered why I never got any.  But now I have.  So eat that Lauren.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 1 Employed

And I didn't quit, freak out or fall asleep!  Success.  ha.  After Greg took me to a nice dim sum lunch, he told me a little more about what all I have gotten myself into.  Apparently they're taking a big risk taking me on because finances are so tight (they're entirely internally funded), but he "has a feeling about me."  And I really see a lot of potential for what I can do here.  Everything is kind of thrown together.  They move from one event to the next and really need to spend some time on the administration, finances, and organization.  But we need to get through the holiday season first.

Yesterday we held a tasting for the residents of the Lanson executive suits.  My job was basically to man the kitchen; cut the bread and cheese, spread the foie gras, truffle sauce, roll the hams, and make sure the trays kept coming.  I haven't worked in a restaurant since college, but it was kind of therapeutic to be so engrossed in what I was doing.   My job was to free up time for Greg to be out with the guests. Sales Sales Sales.  I did get to taste one wine, a $1,300 Alasace from Spain.  Yum.  And then come 10:30 it was time to go home.   Today I'll be in the office and hopefully will learn about their invoicing and all that nonsense.  I have definitely already worn a bunch of hats, and it's just one day!  Tomorrow and Saturday and I will be working events.  More on that when I find out.  Oh and because they pay so little they're totally flexible with me keeping my tutoring.  Sweet.

Now tis time for breakfast and then off to the office :) 

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 7th, 2011

Shall be known as Lauren's first day of (real) work since June 18th, 2009.

Greg called from House of Fine Wines (HFW) and wants me to come in tomorrow at 1:30 to start my first day as an employee!  As of current there is so much to do that I will basically be doing a bunch of everything.  Everything includes marketing, finance, sales, logistics and operations, and I'm hoping lots and lots of tasting :)  Once we get a little bit of order in place we're going to sit down and talk again about my specific role in the company going forward.  Again, I need some help with some fun titles here.  Lauren, Ambassador of Grand Cru.  Something along those lines, no?  Tomorrow WE are holding a large event at a 5 star hotel for an executive Christmas party.  Not bad for a first day, huh!?  I assume my role is to get everything set up, make sure a glass doesn't go empty, and keep the crackers full of foie gras and truffle oil.  Asa.

Interesting how things all fall into place.  Today I also got a response from Steve at Portrait Wines who informs me that lack of experience doesn't necessarily matter in this business.  They are very busy this week, but we are going to arrange a tea for later this week (if I have time with this NEW JOB and all!!!).

Today was also my lunch with the women I met at HFW's tasting last week.  We had a lovely time chatting about their products over Thai curry pumpkin and a whole fish.  I don't think I will ever get sick of that pumpkin.  Yummy.  Soon I have to tutor for an hour and head down to Central to meet Dean, the wine guy.  Hopefully he'll have some good insights into the industry here, and I'm hoping he knows HFW and has something positive to say.  Ahhh can't believe I have a job!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

catch Up!

Oh I am so far behind on this!  No posts in 3 days.  I'm telling ya, there's something in the water.  Laziness water.

Paul in our new fav restaurant
Friday evening was bike night!  Paul and I took the MTR all the way up to the second to last stop (in Hong Kong) on the East Rail Line to Yan's house to pick up our brand new (to us) bikes.  They're super old with no gears, but they're awesome florescent colors and both have bells!!  And mine has a basket!   While out in almost China  we popped into the only restaurant nearby.  The place was awesome!  It was filled with families who all sat around big circular tables that were filled with awesome looking soups, hot pots, and meat.  Of course the menu was all in Chinese, but based on the food on our neighbors tables we figured we couldn't go wrong.  We had picked two random things on the menu when a woman came over to us and asked if we needed help.  How sweet is that?  She got us a seafood soup with vermicelli and a chicken noodley soup.  Both were awesome and the whole experience was just really  cool.  It kind of reminded me of being back in Korea where I always felt like such the outsider (in a good way).  You don't really feel that when you're sipping European beers at a pub filled with Aussies, English, Americans and a couple locals...

The scene

Yummo seafood mushroom soup

chicken noodley soup


Post dinner we bring our brank spanking new bikes to the MTR where we are immediately informed we cannot bring bikes without removing the front tires.  How are we going to get it off?  With our hands?  The MTR man tells us to take a cab.  We're not taking a cab from almost China and PS our bikes probably wouldn't fit.  The man tells us to wait, and returns a minute later with a borrowed wrench from a convenience store!!  People are so nice here!  We got the wheels off, MTRed it the hour+ to Kowloon Tong, hand screwed the wheels back on, then rode 3km in the dark.  But we made it!!
Paul on the new (mini) bike to the MTR


Saturday I decided that I didn't want to go to the MBA program, but I did get back into running!  It was a beautiful day so I went out for a lovely 8k run.  Not bad.  I officially quit for two days.  Cathy informs me that's not quitting, but I can't remember the last time I went two whole days without a run.  ha.  I have to do a post on the perils of running aka Can't-ever-get-full-ness.   Another day.  Later I met up with Cathy in Soho for a shopping event.  We bought our tickets and then walked all around Soho from boutique to boutique shopping and sipping on wine which was provided.  The boutiques ranged from home goods to clothes to jewelry and we discovered some really cool streets and stores we had never noticed before, my favorites being General Store and Homeless.  Who knew about Gage and Gough Streets???  They're amazing!

Paul had his Christmas dinner with all billion of the Tutor Time employees.  It's their ten year anniversary being open, so of course they had a James Bond style dinner.  Weird, I know.  Paul said it was OK, but still kind of like work.  And hey, can we please invite the significant others next time!?  We met up afterward in Soho for a flight of wine at Hong Kong's only winery Portrait.  I was informed 8th estate doesn't count because they're grapes are procured elsewhere.  I started chatting with the owner Steve and told them I was interested in getting into the industry. Steve told me they're always looking for help, so fingers crossed he writes back to the email I sent to remind him today!!
Waiting for the boat to go to Top Deck
Sunday was Funday with Nina and Kenny!!  They're our new Sunday brunch go tos.  Last week helicopters and this week boats.  Jumbo Floating Restaurant is a notorious place here in the SAR. Everyone knows it's the place to go on a beautiful day for a free flow champagne brunch.  Despite it's proximity to Ap Le Chau (remember the 8th estate fail?), the place is amazing.  It is literally a jumbo floating restaurant.  We hit up Top Deck for a 4 spot on the water.  We had amazing views of the marina and all of the insane boats docked there.  Reminds you of how much money there is to be had here.  If only I knew where it was hiding... And then the food.  There was a cold buffet and a hot buffet.  Cold buffet boasted crabs legs, sashimi salmon and octopus, a bunch of salads including a delicious pumpkin one, and oysters!! I couldn't begin to count the amount of oysters we ate during our 4 hour brunch.  Then the hot bar had eggs Benedict (awesome), naan, curries (both Thai and India), veel, chicken skewers, make your own pita sandwiches, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember.  Then there was a dessert bar with a crepe making dude, ice cream, and cheese (but only 2).  The food isn't the best I've had, it is a buffet afterall, but the whole set up is perfect for an all day occasion.  You get to sit outside on the water as boat float by (you actually have to take a boat to get onto the island), get to munch on endless food all day, and to top it off waiters never let your glass even get near empty! We're glad we got it in now because it'll probably be a touch too cold for the next couple months.
Plate1: salmon, octopus, crabs legs, pumpkin salad, oysters, artichoke hearts
Plate 2: boa, tuna salad, eggs benedict, naan, brussel sprouts, cheese pasta, thai green curry cauliflower




One of many oyster plates

A few glasses of champagne later and I got better at plating; oysters, salmon, tuna pomegranate salad, parma ham, pumpkin salad

Monday Monday Monday.  Slept in til the nice hour os 9:30 this am.  Biked over to have lunch with Paul, then spent the entire afternoon sipping coffee, catching up on my magazines, and hitting the bookstore.   Tonight Paul and I are celebrating (2 days late) our 17 month anniversary.  Big one I know.  I had picked up some duck pate and a wheel of brie a few weeks ago, and Paul surprised me with a bottle of Baileys (how sweet is that!?) , so we're going to party tonight.  I also picked up a block of sage cheese, foie gras, and a couple other cheeses.  Should be a rager!
Meet Boo, the cutest dog in the world (according to the title).  I <3 bookstores..


Thursday, December 1, 2011

BEST NEWS EVER!!!

So I was going to write a blog about my exciting news with House of Fine Wines, but something much MUCH cooler just came into my inbox.  Remember when I mentioned I had gone to an aviation fair with Paul, Kenny and Nina?  Well, Kenny entered a raffle.  And guess who won third place?  And guess what third place is?!  A helicopter tour for 5 of Hong Kong!  And guess who he's bringing!?? Nina's sister just happens to be in town that week, so it's Kira (said sister), Kenny, Nina, Paul and I!!!  Check it out:

http://www.heliservices.com.hk/info/detail/Flightseeing/en/

This will be my first helicopter ride!  I'm so excited!!!  And we're going December 18th which is officially the start of Paul's Christmas vacation.  What a kick off!!!!

Ok so other maybe exciting news, I met with Gregior at the Chungking Mansions for some Indian food in TST last night.   If you've never heard of Chungking Mansions, google it.  It's notorious.  Anyway, he voiced some concerns.  Concerns being the lack of cash to pay me, me running away with company secrets, potential conflict of personalities (he has a tendency to say fuck. He's Irish.).  But, I think overall they need me.  They have no systems in place, they could use the help in sales, and hell I'm willing to work cheap.  So he's going to chat again with Sean and JC, but he thinks we'll be able to work something out.  Basically I would start with a 2 week trial period just to make sure we can all work together.  I would be in charge of implementing all the new systems, organizing the office, putting more structure into events, sales, social media and marketing, and most importantly tasting :)  I need to think of an awesome title.  Lauren McPhate, Wine President.  I don't think they'll go for that.... So we're going to reconvene Monday and I'll have more news.  WINE!

This week has been weird.  I've lost my will to run; I am now on a haitus.  To network.  To schmooze.  Even to blog.  Have you noticed?  Perhaps it's the weather (it dropped from 80 to 60!) or the holidays, but I am just feeling lazy.  And you know what, who cares!?  haha.  I'm on break from...unemployment(?) until January!   Although, today I woke up early and went down to Central for the monthly Social Media meeting at PURE.  I went last month and really enjoyed it.  Even though it means me getting up at 7.  Today we had a great speaker come tell us about social media's use in the wine industry, oddly relevant to what I'll be doing.  She was great and really inspirational.  Wine entrepreneurship seems pretty sweet.  It's so funny at these events though.  There are 50+ people, and when you look around the room, I guarantee 90% of people are on their phones or ipads.  Mostly Tweeting.  hah But I always learn something and get some new apps.  Again, didn't feel like networking, so I just booked it after.   I did try to go find the December issue of Foodie, but I guess they haven't distributed it.  But if you would like a look, check here:

http://issuu.com/foodie.hk/docs/foodie_2011_december_highres_issuu

Check out page 1 contributors.  Yeah, that's right.  LAUREN MCPHATE.

I did the food review, Street View, and Word on the Street.  Notice Nina and Victor.  They're both my friends :)

So yeah, just finished off some panetonne, doing some laundry, then Paul and I are heading up to the New Territories to get bikes!!!!  Two bikes for $300 (<$40)!!  Wooohoo!!!!  Tomorrow is another early AM.  I'm going to head over to Sai Kung to HKUST for a presentation about their MBA program.  For someone who quit unemployment, this seems awfully networky....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

So for some reason I have found myself in a warehouse no less than 3 times in Hong Kong.  That's once a  month.  Weird, no?  After tutoring on Wednesday I head over to Kwun Tong to meet the guys from House of Fine Wines for a wine tasting...in a warehouse.  I had met Gregoir a couple weeks ago at the Conrad Christmas shopping fair, and I expressed interest in getting into the wine industry.  He invited me to the wine tasting so I could get a better feel for the company and what all goes into their small operation.  The wine tasting was very nicely done, but needed a woman/someone more organized  touch.  They had this young guy putting out crackers and he clearly wasn't feeling it.  I could be a proper host!! ME ME ME.  Anyway, there were seven of us, all ladies, and we sat around a large table while JC (who I incidentally met and have a FB picture with months ago at a Spanish wine fair) described the bouquet and flavor profiles.  We started with a sparking white from Spain, then a Sauvignon from Bordeaux, and finished with an organic rose from Spain.  Then we switched to the reds, one from Russia (I was the only one of the group who didn't find it offensive), a French something, an Italian Borolo, and as we were polishing off the leftovers they broke out an Australian Shiraz.  Asa.  Considering the amount of wine drank, I wasn't drunk at all.  I think it has something to do with the 8 lb of foie gras and truffle crackers I ate.  I even bought a tin of duck liver to bring home.  YUMMM.  Aside from the awesome wine and snacks, I got a chance to chat with the two women next to me.  When they found out I'm unemployed and live in San Po Kong, they got very excited and we made plans for Thai lunch next week!  Then I got to talk with Gregoir.  Apparently right after I met him at the fair, another young girl approached them about working for them too!  What is that about?  She went to their tasting last week, and apparently I've got more skills!!!  Yeah, what!?  He said something along the lines of he did his research on me and I've been around.  Not sure what that means, but I'm guessing in the wine biz that's a good thing!  He didn't want to chat last night in front of everyone, so I'm supposed to head down to TST to meet with him and Sean (owner) today.  Although I haven't heard from them yet....hm.

Can you believe it's December!??  Crazy.  The weather has finally taken a dip here.  I don't think we're going to break 70. The horror!  So now I'm just waiting to find out when I have to head to TST, then it's off to a jewelry gallery and Buffalo Club (I have no idea) happy hour.  Ohh and I talked with a recruiter yesterday (who was super sweet) and he told me definitely no one will be hiring until the new year, so don't even bother sending out your resume.  ha awesome.  Fingers crossed for wine!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Are you sure it's almost December?

Because it was easily 80 degrees here yesterday!  I love Hong Kong!

Nina, Brad, Paul, Richy, Me, Cathy, Kenny
Saturday evening Paul and I met Kameron, Cathy, Brad, Nina and Kenny down in Stanley for the Food and Music festival.  Paul and I had been to the beaches in Stanley once and were disappointed by what we thought was downtown.  We weren't downtown.  But Saturday we were, and it was lovely!  The festival was a celebration of the reopening of Stanley Plaza.  The plaza has restaurants, grocery stores and a bunch of shops, and on the outside is a beautiful new pavilion on the water where all the food demos and music was held.  We came just in time to see Eli from Top Chef give a presentation on how to use nitric acid to make ice cream sundaes.  Because we're going to go home and do that??  I don't know, but the whole event was cute.  After the demo we checked out some of the food tents.  Paul and I tried a cheese plate and a smoked salmon dish, both of which were delicious.  Then the big star of the festival came out.  Richard Blais, Top Chef 2011.  He gave a quick demo then posed for photos with, well, us! Post event Nina, Kenny,  Paul and I head to Central and caught some live jazz.  Live music is oddly difficult to find here.  There's a huge lack of options, and/or interest I guess, so having an opportunity to see jazz was quite welcome.


Shrimp wasabi mini brunch burgers
Sunday Funday and Kenny wanted to check out the HK Aviation Club.  Turns out it's right near our place, so we made a brunch event of it!  Western food doesn't so much exist over here so we got dim sum.  I had profiled this place a while back for Foodie (which hits stands on Thursday) and wanted to try it.  Fusion dim sum if you will.  My favorite thing we had was definitely the mini-shrimp wasabi burgers.  Everything we had was really good, and super ridiculously cheap!  $200 for 4 of us which is ~$7 a head and we all walked out stuffed.  So if ever in my hood, check out....well I'll show you because the name is in Chinese.  We hit the aviation fair which was small but interesting, then ferried over to Central for some outside Hoegaardens on the water.  Have I mentioned I love Hong Kong?

November 27, 2011, TST

Post beers Kenny and Nina went to get pedicures and Paul and I visited the Shanghai Tang pop-up retail store.  I know this is all the rage with restaurants, but shopping??  I heard Shanghai Tang got booted from their space due to high rent, so what else would you do but open up tent on the roof of pier 6?  There were literally 4 tents on the top of the pier, each with a different theme; men's, women's, home.  Shop for amazing (although too pricey for this budget) clothes with an amazing view.  Good thinking guys!
Shanghai Tang pop-up


Random roof top rocking bull

Paul doesn't like the rocking bulll


We debated for a long time what to do for dinner post "shopping".  Since we had already gone out to eat once that day, I thought it would be nice to cook in.  And then we came up with the best idea ever; homemade tacos!  By the time Paul bought beers and avocados at Yata, I had gone upstairs, cooked minced lamb, created, rolled and cooked 4 tortillas, and assembled the yummiest dinner!!  Paul had tacos and I had taco salad complete with refried beans, cumin cheese and you-guessed-it-lamb.  


So I was pretty convinced that was one of the awesomest dinners ever, until I totally kicked my own ass with tonight's dinner.  We had leftover sour cream and I had seen a recipe a while back on eatliverun.com for paprika chicken.  Sounded like it would be up Paul's alley and pretty simple as well. I searched the hood.  5 grocery stores, endless frustration, and NO paprika.  Hm.  So I made due and it turned out to be amazing!!
Chicken Paprika (sans paprika)

chicken breast
chicken broth
onion
garlic
chili peppers
mushrooms
sour cream
tomato paste
and S&P
Served over noodleys and tis delish.  Paul will be pleased when he gets home for dinner.  If I don't eat it all first. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

50/50

After Thursday evening's festivities Paul and I were pretty exhausted so we had a quiet Friday night in.  Unfortunately we didn't have any face masks, but we did have good ole bootleg movies.  We watched 50/50, you know the new cancer movie.  Because nothing says date night like cancer.  The movie is absolutely wonderful, and both Paul and I can't figure out why.  A guy my age gets cancer.  His girlfriend sucks.  His mom is kind of nutty. His dad has Alzheimer's.  Nothing about this screams enjoyment yet somehow it's awesome.  I suppose you almost feel like its your friend with cancer.    I sat on the couch sobbing for half of the movie, "it's just so sad."  So yeah, if you haven't had a good cry for a while, check it out.

Now tis another grey Saturday.  Went for my morning run, hit Yata where they have a super deal running!  Buy 1 get 1 kimchi!  Asa!  Now I'm heading over to Diamond Hill to check out H&M.  I am going through a serious lack of clothing options, and that's the closest decent store.  Then Paul and I are going to get custom shirts made, because it's Hong Kong and that's what you do, then heading down to Stanley for the Music and Food Festival to hang out with Richard Blaise.  That's right, THAT Richard Blaise. <3 Top Chef.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

First (of many) Thanksgiving in Hong Kong

The table 

All da food!
Kenny carving his first turkey
Like the Englishmen (I was corrected that it wasn't Europeans, it was the English!!) before us, Paul and I boated from our comfortable pad over in the dark side to the unknown.  Well not really, we were over at Nina and Kenny's just last week.  Regardless, we spent an awesome Thanksgiving night with our great new friends.  This was Nina's first time hosting Thanksgiving, and her turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and brussels sprouts all came out flawlessly.  This was Andrew, Paul, Nina, Kenny and I's first Thanksgiving in Hong Kong.  This was also Helen and David's first Thanksgiving (they're Australian) ever.  Lots of firsts.  We had such a good time sipping wine, munching on cheese, chatting, and periodically checking in with Nina and Kenny's families back in the US.  Why don't we do Thanksgiving more often?



David, Andrew, and Paul cheers-ing with champagne from Nina's sister!

I love our new friends and feel such a connection with Hong Kong.  The lifestyle Paul and I have here is just totally different from Korea.  It's more like being back home.  Korea was a love hate relationship. You love to hate it, but Hong Kong is all love.  Love the shopping.  Love the beaches.  Love the wine.  Love the weather.  Love the hiking.  Love the food.  Love the people.  Nights like last night just reaffirm we made the right decision moving here....even though I can't find a job :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This reminds me of Thanksgiving in LA all those years ago.  Except there will be a turkey this year.  And a kitchen.  And dishes won't be done in the bathtub.  Ahem.  But sun is shining, weather is sweet!  It's the perfect day out, and somehow I am feeling lazy and tired so I shall relax and take a nap.  Isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about?  Oh and what you're thankful for.  This year I am thankful for the following:

My partner in crime, without whom I wouldn't have the life I have now.  I am so lucky to have found my person.  <3 you P.  (I know Carolann's rolling her eyes over in Kimchiville)
My family!  I get to see you in less than a month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And the technology of Skype that keeps us in touch so faaaar away.
A beautiful new home (country and apartment) and friends.  Ex-pats unite!
All of my friends across the world
My health (and family's and friends')
Tariff free wine.  Woot.
My open schedule (although I suppose I would be more thankful for a fulfilling job and paycheck....this is not the time)
My new iphone (i love you)
The increase in blog traffic (yeah guys, thanks!)

And much much more that I'm sure you've picked up through the past few months of reading this beast.   What are you most thankful for this holiday?


Ok so about my funny evening last night at the wine investment seminar from Platinum Wines.  It's at the usual spot, Otto in LKF, but instead of 30+ people it was just the Platinum people (Rakesh, Emma, Alex, Karen) and 10 or so of us for the "seminar."  We're greeted with a Chardonnay, mini pulled pork sammies, bruschetta, and filet toasts, and spend the better part of an hour schmoozing with the wine people and each other (and 3 other asa wines from around the world.  The best being a 2003 Australian Shiraz- YUM).  Tis good networking.  I eventually got into conversation with Patrick, an older Chinese gentlemen, who for some reason took a liking to me.  He seemed to think I have a "natural ability to bring people together."  I told him all about how I was am looking for a finance job, but more recently have thought about following my passion into wines.  He told me don't second guess it, don't fool around, just dive in 100%.  Good advice if I didn't change my mind every day about what I am supposed to do with my life.  Anyone remember my Mandarin lessons??  Karen and Rakesh gave a quick presentation about the basics of investment wines, which I found to be very informative and interesting.  It's definitely a really appealing alternative investment, and hell, if markets run dry, drink your reward!  Win win really.  Anywho, post event Patrick invites Karen (who is just a doll and knows soooo much about wine) and I to go meet his friends for a drink.  "Just a half hour."  We go down the street and meet his Asia PGA tour friend Nick (Englishmen) and his wife (Hong Kongian) Yvette.  They're amazing, albeit amazingly hammered as well, and I mentioned I like John Daly.  Nick informs me the HSBC Classic will be in HK next weekend and he would love to arrange a dinner with John.  Chincha!?  Asa!!  I'm doubtful this will come to fruition, but stranger things have happened.  Regardless, it was a really fun evening, totally out of the ordinary, and I learned something.

So now tis time to watch some RHBH and catch a nap.  Happy Thanksgiving!  xoxo

Paul's First Post


After much deliberation and insistence I’ve decided to keep in line with this blog’s catchphrase (this is the life we lead) and make my first semblance of a contribution with a recap of yesterday.

Yesterday I managed to snag two new tutoring gigs, pushing my working time to the most hours per week I’ve had in my 26 years.  Seeing as Thanksgiving goes unnoticed here I was asked to start tomorrow but I couldn’t pass up a labor-free celebration in Central.  After work I headed to the neighborhood Yata to help with dinner.  I settled on some oysters with lemon and couldn’t pass up the chance for warm sake.  Sake Man was keen to report that he sees my girlfriend “very regular” and happily gave me a well-deserved discount.   I waited for Lauren to arrive and we each enjoyed oysters along with leftover bowls of spicy scallops & eggplant on noodles (me) and mixed-veg tofu with sriracha (L).  After dinner we headed to the lobby downstairs to sip a glass of sake and people watch before heading back to Yata.  Despite the pristine weather and scenery we were the only one’s taking advantage of the latitude’s outdoor couches.  We ended the evening middle school-style watching an Elizabethan romantic comedy I won’t mention.

With Lauren indisposed my dinner options are much less glamorous than the previous night.  I’ve settled on defrosted chicken hotdogs with mustard/ketchup and garlic clove condiments.  With pizza’s recent status upgrade to vegetable I suppose tonight’s dinner will be one soda short of a healthy lunch in two year’s time.  Can’t wait for Thanksgiving.  Hasta luego!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy 100!

This is already my 100th post with CWKD!  Woohoo.  Sorry for no post yesterday, somehow I was so busy I didn't have time.  Do you ever look back and try to figure out where exactly the time went?  Yesterday was like that.  Flew by!

Today has been flying by as well.  I went out for a quick run and ended up running 11k!  And it felt goooood.  I have this new app for running and I tried it out yesterday and every freakin 5 minutes a woman would come over my music informing me, "5 minutes, you have run xx kilometers, an average of blah blah kilometers per hour" in a really creepy annoying robot voice.  When you're out running for 40 minutes, you really don't want to hear 8 freakin reminders.   I finally figured out how to turn chica off, and today I totally loved the app!!  It GPS tracks distance, speed, and breaks out your splits.  Pretty cool stuff. I think my run was super long today because I took a different route.  I have been doing the same one for months now and it's getting stale.  Today I went out of the Latitude the OTHER way, under a highway, through the old airport, through mucho construction, and then ended up in Kowloon Bay.  Kowloon Bay is amazing for running!!  Big open sidewalks and best of all, no people!  I had my free reign over the sidewalks!  Not many cars around either, so you can jump through intersections fairly easily.  I believe if you look on my facebook you can even check out the run.  Technology is so cool!  Speaking of, I've been chatting with Siri.  She's good if you want to send a message or something, but as far as Hong Kong is concerned, she knows shit.  Clearly programed for America.  Hmm.  I guess I have to search for things the old fashioned way; Google.

Tonight I may or may not have tutoring.  It depends if Lim Lim goes down for her nap at 2.  haha okkk.  Then tonight I am attending a seminar on investing in wines.  I'm going because I like the company and want them to hire me, but I'm pretty sure they want me there so I give them money and invest in their wines.  Same same.  Should be interesting nonetheless.

Random things I am obsessed with at the moment:

iPhone 4s (duh!)- specifically running app, whatsapp, foursquare
yobu (korean sweet tofu wrappers) I bought from Yata and stuff with rice.  yummm
panetonne from the Christmas fair.  It is currently hidden high up in a shelf so I don't eat it all in 2 days.
box sake and my Yata sake man.  I see him at least once a day (not for sake, just because I go to Yata everyday)
Bloomberg TV
black sesame flavored soy milk.  this is a part of my half assed attempt to get off animal products.
the thought of having a career in wine.

Ok off to the library to prepare for tutoring.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Possibilities

After my post-Thanksgiving 5 miler this morning (pretty good for a Monday), I head down to Wan Chai to meet with Jane from Adelaide Cellar Door to discuss me, her company, and our potential together.  I met Jane at the Tina Barrat going away party very very briefly, but got her card and learned she owns a wine and yachting company.  I like wine.  I like boats.  Match made in heaven, no?  Her company just hired a new employee, who incidentally started today, so they aren't exactly hiring/in need of help at the current.  But she recommended that I look into some wine education classes and said she'll keep me on file in case they need any help with upcoming events.  She also said that after Lunar New Year (end of Jan) we could get together again to talk about a sales type position.  I could learn about wine and get a commission off whatever I'm selling.  It's not ideal, but it could be a potential break into the industry.  Or so I thought until....

...I went to the Conrad Christmas Fair after meeting Jane.  I went to poke around and see if I could find any gifts, but turns out I may have landed myself an internship type job.  The fair was cool.  It had vendors from chocolate to chocolate wine, clothes and jewelry, handbags, children's toys/gifts, lotions, but also a couple gourmet food/wine shops.  I started chatting with an Irish fellow about the company he works for, House of Fine Wines.  Then I inquired if they were hiring.  He told me he didn't think they could afford American labor, to which I informed him I work cheap!  The company is very small with only 5 or 6 employees, but they're growing really fast and have a lot to do.  He himself, Gregoir, had lots of projects, just no time to implement them all.  Ohh me me me!  I'm going over next Wednesday for their weekly wine tasting (can't make this Wednesday as I have a seminar about investing in wines) and he's going to show me their office/warehouse, talk to me a little more about what all I could do to help, and then see if I'm interested in working with them.  He said they would compensate me a bit, but honestly, I'm more interested in the experience and wine knowledge.  Although a little shopping wouldn't hurt.  

So yeah, Christmas shopping = good networking.  It's always in the strangest places and never at the actual networking events.  Interesting.  Now tis time to cook up some green curry with fish and scallops.  Asa little Monday!!

Weekend Recap


Saturday proved to be a lovely ex-pat celebration of Thanksgiving.  We all collected at Brad's house down in Stanley.  Well not in his house since there were 30 of us, but in a large banquet room in his apartment complex.  His parents live in both Pittsburgh and in Hong Kong, but I think now that Brad's out of school, they're mostly here.  Their place is beautiful.  It was a solid two hour commute from good ole San Po Kong, but well worth the travel.  The view alone is worth trek.  Everyone brought exactly what they said they would.   There were 2 turkeys, stuffing, mac and cheese, cornbread, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and I'm sure much much more that I just can't remember now.  My personal favorite was the stuffing with gravy.  Which actually brought to light a very important question.  Why do we only eat stuffing on Thanksgiving??  I'm putting it into my repertoire this winter.  haha if it ever comes!!  It's a solid 75 degrees right now!
Thanksgiving Crew

Post dinner we head up to his parent's rooftop patio for some Irish Cream and dessert.  Stuff went fast!  I think I should start selling this stuff.  It's so easy to make that it really doesn't make any sense not to have it in my fridge at all times.  That is unless I want to get a job and not sit around sipping chocolate wine all day.  Hmmm.

Sunday and Paul and I finally had a lazy totally unproductive morning.  We usually get up and go do something since it's his only full day off.  Instead we slept in, laid on the couch, ate pancakes, and relaxed!!  Mid afternoon we decided to head over to Central to get out for a bit.  We were the first visitors to Nina and Kenny's new apartment in Central.  They just got all of their furniture delivered from the states and it looks awesome!!!  They're still trying to get everything arranged and get a drill that can work its way through the concrete walls (Kenny learned this the hard way while we were there), but it's looking amazing and I think they're super happy to be settled.  It's so nice to have friends who like to entertain!  We sat around chatting, looking through their photo albums, sipping champagne and wine, and nibbling on some cheese.  I love them!  They are just like Paul and I.  They like to do stuff.  They follow through.  AND they love wine and cheese.  My Chetta and Ryan of Hong Kong :) Next weekend we plan on hitting the Stanley for the Food and Music festival.  There's even a presentation from Richard Blaise for those of us who are obsessed with Top Chef.

We finished the night with an amazing dinner at Nha Trang.  It's a Vietnamese place that Paul and I had been wanting to check out for some time.  We noticed it because there is ALWAYS a line out the door.  Nina and Kenny had been twice and vouched for the tastiness, so we endured the line. It was totally worth all 10 minutes of it :)   It was very reasonably priced and super fresh tasting.  I haven't had Vietnamese in a while, but this totally hit the spot.  Stuffed squid, vermecelli with beef, meat skeweres with lettuce wraps, summer rolls, and even a crepe filled with seafood and pork.  It was way too much food after all the cheese we ate, but we did our best.

Can't wait for real Thanksgiving at Nina and Kenny's!!  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Events Events

Thursday night and we met Kenny, Cathy and Nina at the American Chamber of Commerce for some art and wine...and whiskey!  There was a woman showcasing six different Japanese artists, all of which were really beautiful.  I'm not quite at the point in my life where I'm buying art yet, but it was still interesting to see. Would have been really great networking as there were a bunch of 60+ year old men, but this was more about fun and friends.  Next time.  We followed the art show with an internet marketing happy hour.   I met a bunch of these people at an early morning presentation about a month ago so I figured why not check out their marketing happy hour.  It was certainly a niche crowd.  Internet affiliates looking for more affiliates.  I was hoping someone would want to monetize my blog (this could be a career, no?  with all 3 of you who read it....) but it wasn't quite that kind of event.  I did run into this guy Art and he's been networking for me ever since.  Asa!  Already scored 2 introductions from him.

Yesterday evening was occupied with lawyers.  I had met this girl Geneva at that super lame FC networking event and we have been trying to find an event/time when we could go network together.  She just got here from England and is looking for a lawyer job, but we're both in it alone so we figured let's hit some happy hours together.  I actually ran into another guy from the same lame FC event there, he's in grad school for his MBA.  It's funny how our little circuit runs.  Paul came and met us and guess who won one of the 3 lucky draws?!  Paul!   Yey, he is now the proud new owner of china from China.  Lucky draws are all the rage here.  If someone doesn't win something at the end of the night, what's it all really about then anyway!?  Genever actually won the grand prize; a bottle of Veuve Clicquot!  And she doesn't even drink!  Not fair,  I never win.  

But today I am a winner.  For breakfast I made irish cream.  Not to drink, to bring to the party!!  All day Thanksgiving at Brad's in Stanley!!  30 people, 2 turkeys, and I'm sure a ton of booze.  This is going to get saucy! 

Must Be Thanksgiving

Because I've been in the kitchen all day!  Homemade ricotta, check.  Fig app, half check; just needs to be assembled.  Mashed potatoes, half check;  still have 1/2 the potatoes on the stove ready for mashing.  Irish cream, not even started.  So much to do, so much to do!  I've already been to Yata 3 times. It's really amazing how fast heavy cream goes.  And how delicious it is....but for now I have to go to happy hour to network with some lawyers.  Why do I sign myself up for these things!?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homemade Baileys is the Best Idea Ever

And by best idea, I mean the worst.  It's pure creamy delicious evil.  I'm just minding my own business when it starts calling to me from the fridge....at 11 am in the morning.  2 cups later and I'm pretty sure I've hit a funemployment low....I did, however, follow my morning booze sesh with a 5 mile run, so things are back on track.

Until tomorrow morning, my friend.

ART

One of the models showcasing Tina's jewelry
Well if this isn't an art-centric couple of weeks, I don't know what is.  I suppose coming from Korea where art is as ubiquitous as cheese, it still surprises me that there's an outlet for it here.  And it's awesome.  Last night my friend Cherry invited Paul and I to attend Tina Barrat's show.  Turns out this show was actually a farewell and I almost felt like we were crashing a party (since we don't know Tina and a lot of her friends were there tears in eye).  Ohh and let me tell you why Tina is leaving the jewelry business.  A) she doesn't like the business side of it.  Ok fair enough.  B) to follow her philipantric (not a word, but I like it) desires.  Get this.  Tina and her friend are starting a dog blood bank.  Tragedy struck the Barrat household last year and one of her beloved dogs was stricken with illness.  In an effort to save this poor pup, she found out there is no blood bank for dogs here!  Preposterous you say!?  Who knew blood banks for dogs existed anywhere!?  Certainly not me....perhaps we could cure cancer.  Save the children.  Feed the hungry.  No, no, there are too many dogs at risk.  Here's a solution; SOUP.  Wow was that was cold.  

It was a lovely show though.  Her jewelry was showcased on several models and on mannequins, there was a brief piano concert dedicated to the host, and of course plenty o' wine.  Although the jewelry wasn't really to my taste, it was really interesting to come and see the different types of people it attracted.  Although, mostly it was wealthy 40+ year old women.

Tonight we're heading over to the American Chamber of Commerce for "Six Visions."  It's 6 pieces of art showcased by 6 different artists.  Since it's at AmCham I'm hoping there will be some good networking contacts as well.  Although we are going with Nina, Kenny, and Cathy, so my guess is we'll be too busy chatting about all of the upcoming Thanksgiving parties.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Poor Paul is probably getting pretty sick of me.  As you may have noticed, I still don't have a job, but I do have this shiny new iPhone which makes communicating super accessible!  As if my incessant messages aren't enough, I decide to stop by on my runs.  Paul's school is a convenient 1.6 miles from home and just happens to be on my daily running loop.  Pop, here I am!  Paul, I promise one of these days I'll get a job and stop bothering you at yours :)  But til then, the jog continues.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And I Thought Homemade Cheese Was Good

Until I made homemade Irish Cream!  This stuff is like crack!  Well, how I imagine crack to be, which is, addictive.  I was put on dessert for Thanksgiving at Brad's this Saturday and without an oven was having trouble deciding what to make.  Then I saw this recipe.  I have been craving Baileys, even in this 80 degree heat, and thought why not put this on this list of "things I love that I can now make from scratch." See unemployment's good for something.   Learned/practiced whilst unemployed list consists of the following:

ricotta, paneer, cottage cheese
chapati/tortillas
broth

I still want to try my hand at homemade pizza dough/naan.  Perhaps tomorrow...

For the Irish Cream I used Maria's recipe but didn't include eggs because I don't have a blender and I didn't think it would mix well together.  Recipe as follows:

Tupperwear of heavenly deliciousness
1 1/2 cups Whiskey
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 little box of whipping cream
big spoonful of chocolate hazelnut spread
spoonful of instant coffee
vanilla extract
coconut etract
couldn't find almond extract

Just give it a little mix and you'll have your head in the bowl all night.  It's really super sweet (would be good on ice cream!) so to serve I usually cut it with some milk and perhaps a bit more whiskey.  But if you're drinking it as a dessert I would just toss it on some ice and dive in.

Paul and I are also making rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, and my all time favorite go to app, figs with goats cheese, almonds and honey.  Yummmm.  I can't wait to see the spread on Saturday.  And then do it all over again at Nina and Kenny's on Thursday!  If I can't be home, at least I can have Thanksgiving with friends...twice!