Friday, April 27, 2012

My family hikes everyday

The above is an English lesson via P.  

Not to sound like a broken record, but damn Linguini Fini gets better every time.  Our dinner plans fell through, so Paul and I trudged through the yellow rain to our usual bar perch at LF.  We were immediately greeted by our man Wahid, who inquired, 'Where have you been!?'  It had been a while, since the Sevens actually.  He welcomed us back with a cocktail on the house; Salty Dog (vodka grapefruit juice) for  P and Catail (gin lemonade) for me.  It's no Prosecco cocktail, but refreshing nonetheless.  Wahid is amazing.  He's always in there when we come, and he always goes so far out of his way to make sure we're taken care of.  I must say everyone in there is super accommodating, but Wahid certainly leads the pack.
Then we moved onto a Verdure pizza- delish as always.  I suppose we still looked hungry, because our man came back and said, 'how bout some calamari?" I moved onto wine, Montepulciano, while Paul switched over to a lovely craft beer, Red Tail.  I suppose we've lost some weight or something, because man came back with a tiramisu!  We had such a lovely pizza date night...with Wahid :)

Despite the enduring rain, we ventured up the hill to meet Derek and Laura for some cocktails.  I met Laura months ago on a junk while she was here visiting her then boyfriend, Derek, who was here for a 3 month work stint.  We instantly bonded over our love of JCrew and boats, and now five or so months later they're back and engaged!!  They took us to their favorite local haunt, Bourbon.  Paul and I had never been before, but this place is great!  The entire staff wear Saints jerseys, there is an extensive whiskey/bourbon menu, and happy hour goes til 8:30.  Can't beat that (well, LF can). 

Fruit, veg, protein, carbs
Twas a nice little Friday night out and we were home by eleven.  This morning we Paul slept in, I caught up with the world at Starbuck's via The South China Post, and made a lovely soft boiled egg breakfast a la  No matter how much this blog annoys me, I somehow have to read it every morning with my breakfast.  

Off to work a wine tasting and hit a trolley party!  Woo. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flights Booked!

August 4th Paul and I land in Newark!  Sherine, I'll be home for your birthday!  This is the first direct flight from Asia to home, which is super exciting.  No stupid 13 hour layovers in Beijing for these kids.  This is also the most expensive flight ever, wtf!?  I've been looking into flights for my parents to come here in October and it's almost equally as expensive.  What's going on?  I'm thinking insane gas prices, no?

Yey, it's Friday!  Yesterday I worked at the YWCA (who knew there was a women's version!?) Spring Bazaar with Sean.  Ugh, I'm really pretty sick of these things.  Standing around all day and every time I try to go to do something somehow Sean circumvents me and says 'I've got it.'  So stand I do.  All day long....

Tomorrow is Buddha's birthday so everyone's off work (by everyone, I mean Paul because most foreigners don't work Saturday here); except me.  Paul's going to Beertopia and I'll be manning a tasting at Manchester United in TST.  It's only 3 hours so it shouldn't be too bad.  Followed by tram party!  Sip and snack on a trolley cruising east to west on the island? Sounds good to me!

Oh and big detox success.  So I may have had some chicken, and one diet coke, but no boozes and lots of healthy eating for four days!  And  lots of planks and pushups to boot.  Should be in bathing suit shape in no time.  Ha I'm eating chocolate for breakfast as I type this....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Paul got a job!!!

Two interviews last week and Paul has already been offered a job as an eight grade English Lit teacher at the Harbour school! That means summers off and that we can move!! Oh and guess where the school is!? My favorite hood, sheung wan!!

Later the same day, Paul just won a case of beer from a FB contest. Lola like the luck has shifted his way!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Macau and Back

And it only took me 5 hours.  I ran to the MTR, ran to the China Ferry Pier, just made the 11:30 ferry.  Read/relax for an hour and I'm in good old Macau.  Only had to wait 30 minutes in immigration, which I can tell you from past experience is crazy fast.  Then walked upstairs to the departures, got on the next boat out and was on my way back to Hong Kong.

No questions.  No second glances.  No eggy tarts :(
This was an article in the on-ferry mag about snake massages!!! Kill me now.

Now I'm good for another three months. There is absolutely no reason why my visa shouldn't come through, but if it doesn't next time I'm going somewhere cool.  Japan?  Vietnam?  Thailand?  We shall see.

Getting ready in our shoebox
After I rushed home from the ferry pier, I had just enough time to throw on a green dress (I got a few too many reference on FB to the last 7 times I've worn this dress, so it is officially retired), and run out the door with Paul to the Tung Chung Charity Ball.  This ball was for a wonderful cause; placing orphans in loving foster homes in Nepal.  And after just visiting Nepal, it felt right that we were the wine sponsors.

But, it being my first ball, it was kind of disappointing.  To be fair I was working, but still, I expected a little more glamor.  There were a couple cool dresses, but no Bjork style crazy ones.  Poo.

Paul, Sean, and I were tasked to serve wine during cocktail hour which was a blast.  Tons of people asking your opinion on wine and asking for sneaky top offs.  We were only there to 'taste' but come on, it's for charity.  I think Paul got a little overwhelmed by the crowds, but he didn't realize, people will wait for booze!  Maybe not happily, but again, hell this is for charity, how mad can you get at waiting 3 minutes for a glass of *free* wine?

Anyway, we served for an hour then everyone head in, except us of course.  We waited around for a while for some food, but were told there was not a morsel left for us.  Come on!  It was 9 pm, we'd had a few glasses of wine and no food, so Paul and I bounced leaving Sean to deal with the clean up.   Oops!  He ended up staying til 2 and I can't imagine what he did until then.  It was just us in the hallway outside the ballroom.

 Cinderella?  Not so much.  I think the funniest part was realizing in the almost two years Paul and I have known each other, we hadn't gotten this dressed up once.  The closest was the opera last year and we were by far the most dressed up there.  I need more balls in my life.  Get yer head out of the gutter!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sun is Shining, Weather is Sweet

After two weeks of grey (minus a beautiful Sunday!) the sun is back and my motivation to exercise came along with it!  My morning runs have turned into morning walks, but today I was back.  Instead of the normal 40 minute jog, I did some intervals; walk, pushups, run, dips, run, squats, walk, leg ups...etc.  Made the whole thing go much faster and I feel overall worked out.
Cheese, sushi and watermelon picnic on the beach

This boot camp style work out comes thanks to Nicole and dragon boating.  Paul debated all morning on Sunday about weather or not we should go.  We rationalized that we need a day of rest, a day of just lounging on the beach, so we head down to Stanley just in case we wanted to boat.  Who do we run into at the grocery store?  Our coach.  There was no bailing now.  We spent a lovely afternoon picnicking and soaking in the sun then it was time to work.  An hour (20 mins since everyone's late) doing land exercises followed up an hour in the boat. In the end we were glad we went, as always, and definitely felt the fruits of our labor on Monday in the form of sore muscles.  This week is detox week.  Healthy eating.  No boozing.  Exercising.  So far so good!
Fishmen dragon boat competition in Stanley

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sour Milk

Remember that 'best smoothie I have ever tasted' from a couple days ago?  Yeah, def made with sour milk.  Hmmm.  The next morning I went to make my usual coffee and the milk came out in little chunklets.  Check the expiry, yup 8 days ago.  Wow, gross.  

Yesterday I went to an amazing wine tasting at the Four Seasons.  Read about it here. And now it's 4:25 on Friday, almost the weekend!!!  Tutor, dinner with P and relax (nasty Amber rain out there).  Tomorrow, tutor, Macau run, BALL!

More on that later...........

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Man O Man

Did I make the best smoothie this morning!  For some reason frozen bananas are sooo much better than their lukewarm counterparts.  Especially when blended with random HK berries, milk and peanut butter.

It's like ice cream for breakfast.
Today at work was quite interesting as well.  I can't believe it's after 4 already.  I got to work, picked up new business cards and foam boards, then immediately went on my first solo delivery!  I took a van down to Central, dropped off two cases of wine for my favorite jewelry gallery AME, then vanned right back.  It is so much faster to van around than MTR it!

Then right when I got back Greg's family friends from Ireland popped in to say hello.  Maggie and her husband (not sure I caught his name) have two sons living and working in Hong Kong, so they come over at least once a year to visit.  Greg showed them our warehouse, told wine battle stories, and then we all went out for a lovely lunch at Corner 90, which is the local go-to with guests place.  And now here it is 3 glasses of wine, one seafood curry, and two new friends (they're cooking Paul and I dinner on Friday week, which in Irish means a week from Friday) deep on a Wednesday.  And it's race night!!  Hopefully the rain holds!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Lovely Little Weekend

Summer is here in full force with over 80 degrees temperatures and over 90% humidity.  It's doing wonders for my hair.  The past two days we've had horrible lightening storms that really make you question carrying your umbrella.  Get wet or act as a lightening rod?  Hmmmm.   Spike after spike of light up the whole sky flashes.

We had a great little weekend.  Paul and I both worked Saturday, then I went with my friend Courtney (journalist at Time!) for our 'makeovers' from Organic Pharmacy in Harvey Nichols.  The makeover was more of a facewash and sales pitch, but we scored some pretty tasty macaroons and free lotion out of it.  Macaroons are a weird (delicious) trend here.  Are macaroons big back in the states right now??  Post OP we met up with Court's roommate, Katie, and Paul at La Piola.  Linguini Fini get nervous, cause this place is stiff competition.  I have no idea how I didn't know about this place before as it has prime seating right outside Lyndhurst Tower in the cross between LKF and Soho.  You order and drink and then it's free flow Italian tapas!!  It's unclear if this is a happy hour thing or an all the time thing, but really makes me question why anyone would pay for an entree here when they're serving up delicious little snacks gratis!
Dragon Man, P, Laura, me, Derek, Court, Katie, Steve

We then proceded into Soho to meet Laura and Derek and Steve.  It was awesome to be able to introduce different groups of friends and have everyone get along so well.  But with good times comes bad tomorrows.  We dragged ourselves in dragon boating at 12:30, arriving just before 2, then paddled our little hearts out for an hour.  Dragon boating is super fun except for this super intense coach.  I don't know her name, but this Chinese woman is serious business.  If she keeps it up I think she'll find lower and lower attendance...

Anyway, post dinner we had a LOVELY dinner at Kina's.  We caught up about our vacations; they'd been in China and Bali for Easter.  Ohhh Bali!!  Their pictures were beautiful, and talking about their experience just confimed that this is THE place to get married.  Then new friend Peter from Germany came over.  He's in software (something like Skype) and was super interesting to talk to about his world views- he's lived everywhere- and his politcal views- Anarcapitalist if you will.   Then Sarah and Will came over and we all had a wonderful homecooked meal from Nina!  She made an awesome spicy shrimp pasta, complete with  chili infused oil Nina made in China.  Quite impressive!   Thanks again Nina and Kenny for another amazing night!

And then the rain began and here we are at Tuesday.  Hit immigration today to drop off my final documents so hopefully, fingers totally crossed, two or three weeks til I get my visa! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Rest

So yes, we met John and Lizzie and Derek at Han Ga Ram.  Paul and I had been here once before and quickly decided it's the most authentic delicious Korean place in HK.  We ordered the set for 5-6 people and it was a tooon of food.  And good.  It was sooo amazing to have a friend from home in HK.  I say John at Christmas and he mentioned he would be out, and then poof time flies and here he was.  This needs to happen more often.We all went out to LKF after dinner for some drinks.  It being Easter most of the foreigners were out of town, and guess who was left in town?  The 16 year olds!  I think Katie was even on the older side of people out that night!

Good times.

Temple Street Jordan
Day 2 we head over to Jordan/TST where we went through some temples then made our way to Paul's favorite place; the Walk of Stars!  Steve and Katie loved it too!  It's great for watching boats and people, and after sightseeing we hit up the Intercontinental for an Easter high tea!  I'd been wanting to hit up high tea for some time now but hadn't had the chance, ohhh man have I been missing out.  Little sandwiches, cakes and chocolate!!  It was to die for.  Despite the fact we got a tea set for 2, the four of us walked out stuffed!  We took the Star Ferry over to Central where we caught a fast ferry to Chung Chau.  We walked along the beaches and did some shopping and poof somehow it was late!

I can't believe how fast our time together went and I'm so glad we had an amazing weekend of bonding.  Paul was super sad to see his bro and sis go, but we'll be home just in time to see Katie off to U Mich!


God bless the Gap

And it's American sizing. In Asia I am a monster and must wear large everything, that is, if it fits at all. But in good ole Gap I can still squish into a 2. Thank you fatties!

Ps I love my new khakis.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

This is horribly untimely

Rain in Mui Wo
Busy busy busy after the holidays and it seems I have fallen ridiculously behind on my postings.  Where was I?  Oh yes...

Thursday Paul and I head over to Lantau to await the arrival of Katie and Steve and just as luck would have it, the rain held until the precise moment we stepped off the ferry in Mui Wo.  And then it dumped and dumped the likes of rain I hadn't seen in Hong Kong before.  And I've been through several typhoons.  But we wouldn't let the rain get us down.  We found a cozy, although a bit cold, table by the water and sat under the awning marveling at the black rain.  We warmed ourselves with hot tea, crab hotpot and tofu pork shrimp bites.  It was so good and by the end of our meal the rain was letting up.

If I go on in this much detail about Easter vacay we'll be here all day.  Later we picked up Katie and Steve and head back to good ole San Po Kong to put down bags and regroup.  We went out to a 6 or so course seafood dinner complete with cheesey lobster (weird, but oh so buttery delicious), then head to Ozone, the highest bar in the world.  I'm not going to lie, but Steve and Katie had just gotten off a plane, and Paul and I had been battling a typhoon, so we weren't exactly at our prime, but regardless I (at least I think) looked pretty pulled together.  We arrive after like 400 escalators and elevators to the 118th floor only for me to be told that I do not fulfill the dress code and would not be permitted to enter.  Chincha!?  Apparently no flops allowed at the top.  Steve, Katie and Paul went in for a quick look while I let all the staff know how ridiculous it was that they did not have a pair of extra slippers.  'This is an embarrassment to me and my guests.'   Some other time.
Dim Sum at Maxim's
It was soooo much fun having Steve and Katie here!!  We did so much and had so much fun chatting and catching up.  I love being able to share Hong Kong with my new siblings :)  Day 1 we woke up and hit Maxim's for brunch.  Maxin's is famous for it's dim sum.  It's one of the last remaining dim sum restaurants that still serves from carts.  The little old ladies cart around will goodies ranging from dumplings to rice rolls to sponge cake to congee and rice.  Yummm.  It's definitely the best dim sum I've had to date and it was super fun watching Katie guess what things were.  I don't think we scared them too much, and luckily we all avoided accidentally grabbing some chicken feet.

Then we ventured out into the grey mist for the Peak.  The bus drove us directly into the middle of a cloud, so the whole appeal of the Peak was kind of lost.   Another mall.  We hiked down out of the cloud into Central and explored the zoo and park, then took a my favorite mode of transport, trolley!!, to another bus down to Stanley. All this and it wasn't even dark yet!!
Temple in Sheung Wan
We enjoyed a lovely cheeseplate while watching the rain come down on the beach, then it was time to meet my high school friend, John and his girlfriend, and our other friend Derek for a Korean BBQ dinner.  Katie and I weren't feeling our freshest, so we spent a good while jumping from make up counter to make up counter in Times Square, applying a little eye shadow, a little blush, and little perfume.  We decided Laura Mercier is definitely the best stuff out there.
cheese plate in stanley

Ok I'm tired of typing and must get back to work....

Monday, April 9, 2012

monday off!

View from Finger Hill

It was supposed to be a miserable grey day but Paul and I manned up and took the ferry out to Peng Chau, which is a small island just south of Discovery Bay and just West of Cheung Chau.  Weather tricked us into wearing pants and t-shirts, when in fact, the sun shone its face and reared its heat!  It was a gorgeous day to explore the island!!!  We walked essentially around the entire thing, including to the peak (95 meters), in less than an hour, then sat and enjoyed the warm.  And sweat.

Summer's here

Feeling inspired by this new summer weather, we hit the wet market on the way home for some sea food. Clams and squid plus some fish we already had all came together for a lovely white wine garlic seafood feast.  <3 not working on Monday!

Steve and Katie recap coming soon.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Well it seems with this holiday week/weekend I have fallen quite behind in my postings!  Yesterday Paul and I sat wracking our brains about what we did last year for Easter and neither of us could remember.  I pulled out my 38th Parable printed blog and checked and apparently we went to the opera; would have thought that would have come to mind...Anyway, this year was a little more low key but just as lovely.  Sunday AM we said a sad goodbye to Katie and Steve, Paul's sister and brother, then head out to the great outdoors.  Prepared with leftover cheese and little else, we took an hour bus ride up to Sai Kung National Park up in the New Territories.
The original plan had been to hike an hour to a secluded beach at Tai Long Wan.  It's supposed to be beautiful, and once the weather gets a little warmer, a great camping place as well, and only reachable by foot or boat.  Things didn't go as planned as we stayed on the bus a little too long, so we ended up doing a loop around the Wong Shek Pier which was just as lovely and shorter which was just fine as we were eager for some cheese :)  We took the bus back and cooked up a lovely vegetarian (well almost except for the chicken stock) pea soup.  Not going to lie, the only reason we made it was beacuse I wanted to use my blender.  So far it's only been used for morning smoothies and i wanted to see what else this baby could do.  Well it can blend a mean pea let me tell you.  We enjoyed our healthy peas with Downton Abbey.  Have you seen it!!?   A great BBC show about early 20th century British aristocracy and their staff.  Awesome clothes, accents and drama. 

How was your Easter!?  I always miss big dinners at Chettas and my mom's homemade egg nest challah bread.  As an Easter bonus this year my boss is tired from a long weekend of shows (I've been off work since Wednesday) so I have Monday off as well!!  It's a public holiday so Paul's off too, so we're hitting the Gap (seriously in need of new clothes and this Asian shopping is leaving me nothing but disappointed!) and then a new island, Peng Chau.  Smell ya later!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Winner Winner AGAIN

Just received the following email:

'Thanks for entering our Organic Pharmacy competition yesterday – we are pleased to inform you that you are one of 10 lucky winners!

You have been selected to attend the Organic Pharmacy counter in Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place on Saturday the 14th April at 4pm. You can come along early to enjoy the drinks and nibbles and the prize is for you AND a friend so you can pamper yourselves together as well as enjoying a mini makeover, hand massage, consultation with brand founder Margo and getting to take home a wonderful goodie bag!

We are very jealous! The wonderful team from Organic Pharmacy will be in touch with you nearer the time to send an event reminder but in the meantime, bask in the glory of your win and get you and a friend ready for an afternoon of pampering on the 14th April!'

Seriously, who's going to die?

John Daly!

Free cone day at Ben and Jerry's!!  Woo.  I imagine what's going to happen is I will get to BJ and there will be a loooong line.  I will decide I don't want to wait in said line and will hit the nearest 711 for a $25 ice cream that I wouldn't have wanted otherwise.  Just my guess....

Today is an exciting day aside from ice cream.  Greg is back which means the office isn't silent! Woohoo.  Since he's been in Bordeaux he's back with fresh ideas and new wine knowledge.  We both decided things are going well and once I get my visa, I will go ahead an step it up. Then we will discuss pay raises and wine training! 

Also exciting today is the weather.  It's 28 degress and sunny!  That's over 80 for those of you in America. And it's almost vacation!!  Public holiday Wednesday through Monday.  I'm sure I'll have to work at least one of those days, but Paul won't and our visitors will be here!

Contentment also arises from the Mandarin Oriental.  You know how I won the burgers?  Well I just got confirmation that I can come in anytime from today onward to collect on my burger meal.  I won the #3 spot for 2 to enjoy burgers and drinks gratis.  Paul and I have decided to go Thursday after I tutor 2 in a row, right before Katie and Steve get in.

Because of the confirmation email via facebook, I learned about a secret Facebook inbox.  Did you know about this!?  On the left side where it says messages, there's a little secret inbox underneath that says 'other.'  WHAT!??  No one told me!!

So remember last November when I met this dude who said he would hook me up with lunch with John Daly, the awesomest gambling golfer out there?  Well said lunch never happened (as I predicted), but turns out it easily could have!  I received a message the next day from Patrick saying let's get together.  But, alas, it remained unread until now, over 4 months later, beacause of this allusive mailbox.  WTF facebook!?

How's your Tuesday!?

PS Greg just busted open the wine for a customer....I'm guessing it'll make its way back to the office shortly!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pizza Weekend!

Friday evening Paul and I had a lovely pizza date night.  He met me over here in Kwun Tong and we hit up Pizza Express for a four course dinner.  For those of you not familiar, Pizza Express is an awesome English pizza chain.  Whenever we used to audit over there PE was the big excitment.  It's a chain yes, but really legit pizza.  We opted for the set dinner which was an amazing deal.  We got:

Cheese stuffed mushrooms and dough balls with pesto and sundried tomato dipping sauces
Chicken goat cheese salad
Cajun chicken pizza (guess who picked that)
Dessert 3 ways; chocolate cake, tiramisu, and cheese cake
Oh and two iced teas

Paul with cheesey mushrooms and dough balls

It was a ton of food, less than $30, and we had leftovers.  Well done Pizza Express.

Saturday post run I hit up Festival Walk (again another mall) for my hair day!!  Three hours, a cut and color later and I have hair all the same length (well almost- still growing out those nightmare bangs from August) for the first time in years!  This is the first legit hair cut I've had in Asia AND I'm blonde.  Woo!

Paul met me after the cut for some lovely dim sum at City U.  It's pretty cool living near so many campuses, and we're kind of just now figuring out that they offer great restaurants for cheap!  Dim sum truly is one of the best afternoons out.  Tea. Tons of courses.  Delicious dumplings.  And random new treats; curry squid this time- was alright.  Then it was off for a work function, kind of.  HOFWs is working with Grandly Pacific to get some truffle deals going online as well as working with them to get some of our organics into hotels.  Ming from GP invited me to come to one of their tasting events to get a feel for the kinds of shows they do.  Turns out they're pretty similar to all wine tastings, which is a beautiful thing.  Manchester United bar in TST hosted the 12 or so distributors.  They all showcased value wines; <$300, and most at the $100 point.  They had some interesting ones from Cali, NZ, Germany, France, and I'm sure many more.  Paul and I had fun sampling them, then retired to an evening of Lost in Translation on the couch.

Wine Tasting at Manchester Unitesd.  Ming (right)
Sunday, bloody Sunday.  I had to get to work at 8:30 so we could van it up to Discovery Bay for their monthly Farmer's Market.  It was a cool event, but what was supposed to end at 2 was still going at 4.  I hadn't eaten all day and had plans to go meet my dragon boat, so I bailed.  These events are exhausting. Since it was so late by the time I ferried back to the island, I missed D-boating and met Paul for some pizza at Linguini Fini.  Have I mentioned I love this place?  haha.  So we had the same waiter as we did for the Sevens, Wahlie, and he remembered us and hooked us up with another dessert.  Tiramisu.  Thanks!!  We LOVE LF!!!!

Goods from the Farmer's Market.  Thanks Garden Farm!

Yeah, so basically I feel like I didn't have too  much of a weekend.  Between work functions and actual work, there was little time to socialize.  Doesn't help that everyone's out of town anyway!  But just today and tomorrow then Easter break!!!! Kind of.  HOFWs doesn't sleep and we have events Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Greg's back tomorrow night, so I suppose I'll find out Wednesday when I actually have off.  Hmmmmm.

Steve and Katie Fiehler get here on Thursday!!!!!!!!!!!
<3 Linguini Fini Pizza Bianco!