Thursday, May 31, 2012

This Is Why I'm in the Wine Biz

This was the best week ever!! VinExpo seriously needs to happen every week.  Tuesday-Thursday were full on 12 hour days of all things wine!  Day one and as Greg said, I "was like a kid in a candy store."  I wanted to try everything!  The boothes and sections were divided by country and I did my best to taste them all.  I would need at least another 2 weeks to make that true.

Friend Andrea from S&D wines (far right)

Tuesday I started in Germany and moved to Australia, a little US (which was cool because I recognized a ton of the wines from wine shelves back in NJ), and over to France.  Wow, in France I tried so many new wines that I LOVE.  I had been wanted to try Boujalais for some time, and I tried over 4!  The nuovo being my favorite even if it was a few months past its prime.   I also tried Burgundy reds and whites and learned that Cote de Rhone are definitely my favorites.  Love garnacha!  Oh and another surprise and new wine to me was Amarone.  It's apparently the best Italy offers (so how did I not know this!?) and the booth across from us had a WONDERFUL one.  Despite it's 15% booziness, it was still the most wonderful wine to end the first session at VinExpo.

Cali wines

Post festivities Sean and I made our way over to The Gateway in TST to join some lovely French winemakers for dinner.  You can read all about it here:

Delish Vegetables at The Gateway

Day 2 and Greg and I caught up in the office and made it into VinExpo around 1.  I would help at the booth and after an hour or so Greg would look at me and say, 'What are you doing here?  Go on, go off." Yes sir!  I tasted some really nice wines from all over Greece then met Greg for a meeting with Tertias of Stellenrust wines (South Africa).  These were honestly some of my favorite of the whole weekend.  And I heard quite a few other people saying the same thing.  Their high end Chenin Blanc was amazing and stuck with me until the end of the last day when I went back for seconds.  The Pinotage (the main grape varietal SA is known for) were wonderfully fruity and well structured.  Again, went back for seconds here too.

Amazing South African Wines

I made my way back to France to try some Chateaneuf du Pape which are quickly becoming some of my favorite wines.  I've had some really nice ones that are so full of strawberry, yet light in body and complex.  And it's so fun to say!

7 pm we wrapped up and I met Paul for a Cote de Bordeaux tasting in Ava restaurant in TST.  The wines here were OK, all a little young, but at the end I ran into wine maker friends from dinner the previous night and they let us polish off a nice 2009 Merlot that blew all of the other wines out of the water.  Soooo smooth and velvety!

Dim Sum Bordeaux Wine Lunch

Day 3 9:30 start at the convention centre.  We set up for a very slow morning.  I guess everyone was nursing their hangovers.  Not HOFWs, we were there in full forces with Blanca from our Clearly Organic line.  She is so sweet and so nice to share her booth with us!!!I started with some Spanish wines (as it was the section we were in) and moved onto some Burgundy entry level wines which I think we will soon start selling!!  Yey new wines for Lauren :)  The Julia suggested I go try some Uruguayan wine of which I did not even knew existed.  They were shockingly different than any South American wine I had tried.  The woman explained that this was due to the different soil/altitude despite the proximity to Argentina.  Tannat which is a grape you see mostly in France is the main grape there and very different from the Carmenere and Cabernet Sauv you usually see down south.

Back to France where there was an entire circular bar set up for self service of some AWESOME Cote de Rhones.  Yum.  One of my favs was only 5 euro (ex works) and so full of strawberry.  I had a nice dim sum lunch with some Bordeaux wines and then it was back to the farm.

Oregon Wine Maker
Late in the afternoon I made my way over to Oregon.  I saw a wine that we drank for Christmas this year and everyone was very impressed that my mom was from Klamath Falls and had made it out!!  The wines were all amazing.  For those of you back in America get some Adelsheim! Delish although I think quite expensive.

Of course at the end of the day, as with every trade show, there was a horde of people trying to get their hands on some foie grs and truffles so it was all hands on deck.  Post show we rounded up all of our wines (I took 5 home) and sat and basked in the bounty that the fair granted us.

And then I went home and fell asleep at 9....

Can we please do this again next week!????
The Leftovers in France

So many contacts aand notes
Wonderful 80 year old Sherry from Spain

The horror! I still can't wrap my head around the waste!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


We had such an awesome visit with Nicole!  It felt like another day back in Haebongcheon.  We all kept saying how we can't believe it's been a year....almost to the day!

Nicole's from South Africa but has been in Korea since Sept 2009.  Same as me!  She and her boyfriend, Eric are leaving Kimchi ville this fall and the plan is to spend next year(s) in Guatemala, where Eric is from.  Then hopefully come here!!!!!  Everyone loves HK :)

Sicilian Wine Tasting At HVJC

Saturday we picked up Julia, the newest employee at HOFWs.  She's so sweet and we spent a really nice afternoon sipping Sicilian wines.  Then we met the rest of the crew for a lovely wine filled night in Central hanging out by the escalators.
Dim Sum Brunch

Sunday Funday!  Except someone (ahem me) had to work.  We all had a lovely dim sum brunch at Maxim's (so good!), then Paul played tour guide and showed Nicole and Julia around The Peak and TST while I slaved away at a tasting.

The Peak
My wine dinner went well and the food was good, which gives me a lot more confidence in my wine knowledge!  I can't wait to begin my course in June!!! Check out HOFWs blog for dinner review:

As it always seems to happen, Monday rolled around again.  Nicole and I said a sad goodbye, but I have an idea it won't be too long before I see her again.  
Monday Paul and I went for oysters :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Moving Moving Moving!!

Well if you haven't seen it on facebook already, I'll tell you now!  We're moving!!!! Yey!!! And into a big kid apartment.  NO rommates. NO buying furniture.  NO elevator...haha so maybe that's  not a selling point, but we LOVE this place and are so exicted to move in on June 11th.  I'll tell you more about it later.

I had such an amazing weekend with Nicole but I will also have to update this later, for now it's VINEXPO time!!!  Get excited!

Here's a sneak peak of Seaview:

Love the chandeliers!
Can open the entire wall onto our balcony
Built in closets!!!!!
Pull out couch and induction stove!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Year

I knew it was about a year, but upon some quick referencing to 38th Parable, I have discovered Paul and I have been engaged one year and one day!!  Crazy the difference a year makes!  To celebrate we're meeting in Central after work for a romantic dinner at North Carolina Grill.  We're hoping for some good mac and cheese (me) and ribs (Paul).

Random note.  I'm off my smoothie kick and onto a breakfast salad kick.  Running egg on top of fresh greens with some mustard and avocado.   Beautiful start to the day.

Now I'm off to the American Club for their Summer Bazaar and then down to Stanley for some good old fashion door to door sales.  Wish me luck!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Today was totally busy.  In a good way, but definitely nonstop.  I did take a nice break to go to lunch with Patrick.  Remember Patrick?  He's my friend who knows a golf pro who knows John Daly and also happens to work right across the street.  We met with his office's property owner/friend for some dim sum.  I love going to dim sum.  And I especially love going to dim sum with Chinese people!  It makes me miss my days of going out with Ms. Han, never knowing what exactly would come out, but knowing it would be totally new and totally different.  Today we had a mix of the usual with some new to me items; shrimp dumplings, shrimp and pork fried rice, shu mai, spring rolls, shrimp eggy noodles (new!), and garlic broccoli.  Yummy.

Also of note today, Greg says he'll pay for my wine course!!!  Woohooo.  BUT only in December.  Rightly he doesn't want to put out the money, have me trained, and then see me bail.  So if I do my course and stay at least til year end, he'll pay.  Done deal my friend.

Now tis time for the season finale of Revenge!! Ahhhh can't wait!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


What's new this week:

I learned to count to 10 in Cantonese....finally
Went to the opening of ARTHK in Wan Chai
I found my intern an apartment in Causeway Bay.  Now I need to find one for myself
Went on my first junk of the season
Oh and one more, I'm legally working in Hong Kong!!!!!!

Last week was pretty standard with an art opening and fun night working at Fringe for good measure.  Friday evening Paul and I apartment shopped in the POURING down rain and finally found a nice place for Julia, HOFWs newest employee (I guess I shouldn't say intern as she'll be here for 6+ months.  Should I be nervous??), then got a lovely Indian curry dinner in Fortress Hill.  This is the first time either of us had spent any time in Fortress HIll and it's just lovely!!!  We'll definitely have to poke around here for apartments.

Then Saturday we JUNKED all day!!  The weather was clear in the AM, but relented to rain in the afternoon.  It don't matter.  Swimming, chatting, WINE, you know all the requisites for good times, were there.  The boat was amazing too.  After we boarded the wrong boat, we were directed to the correct boat.  Although smaller than the first, it was much better!  Full kitchen, big fridge, 2 bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, and of course large seating area on the main floor.  Robbie organized and arranged for his friend from Beirut (kebab restaurant in Central) to provide some delicious Lebanese food. I provided the wine, and Robbie the beer, so we were set.  Oh except as we arrived we realized there was space on a boat.  Quick call to Laura and Derek later and we were full!  Truly an awesome day with some awesome people.

After cruising in at sunset under a rainbow (HK you amaze me) Paul and I pulled ourselves together and raced up the hill to Kina's for a French feast.  For their collective birthdays, Nina's brother sent them a magnum of Champagne, and what can only be described as a magnum of duck confit.  Nina served amazing little goat cheese puffs with truffle oil (HOFW!), a very French frizze salad with a poached egg and bacon, and then the main of roast duck confit covered in a layer of mashed potatoes.  AMAZING. And too totally outdo herself, there was an apple tart served a la mode for dessert.   Nina, Kenny,  WONDERFUL dinner!  Again truly great people with out of this world food.

Sunday and there was no rest.  Paul and I got up early and hauled it over to Macau for a day of gambling, eating, and sweating.  We pulled in around 12, saw some of the sights, had homemade noodles and whole crab lunch, and gambled for a couple hours.  The result:  no dice on winning, but I am officially official!

Now it's Monday and back to work.  Another busy week with a saffie arriving Friday!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Post Swim = Dragon Death

Perhaps swimming for an hour was a bit much considering I haven't swam since the Philippines, and by swim I mean float in the ocean.  I made my way down to Stanley, enjoyed a lovely frozen yogurt (the trend caught on here too) and Ruth Riechl on the water, and come 2 pm Dboat was full on.  I don't know if it's because of the swimming, the lack of sleep, or the sinus infection I've been fighting off for a week, but practice killed me.  There were times when I just stopped paddling.  I couldn't do it.  And I'm no quitter, especially when most of the people there have 10+ years and 40+lbs. on me.

After boating Paul came and met me for a lovely Belgian beer at this awesome place Groucho's.  It's basically a hotdog/burger joint but it's right on the water and had a surprisingly awesome Belgian beer list.  Then we got back on the bus, showered changed, and buses back down to the island.  I am not going to miss living on the mainland my friends.  Island you are welcomed with open arms!!

We went to this dinner party in the Mid-Levels.  This guy is living in his parent's place while they travel the world (currently on safari in Africa).  Pretty sweet deal.  It was huuuuuuge and overlooked Victoria Harbour.  Dinner was all take out, but good nonetheless, and the helper....wait let me explain.  Almost 30 year old Llyon lives in his parent's house alone yet has a helper.  So I guess not alone, but you know what I mean.  I mean, I guess who else will make his bed?  ha.  Hong Kong is totally over the top with their helpers.  Everyone, I mean everyone has one.  Pays them shit.  Puts them up in closests.  They have absolutely no rights in Hong Kong.  In fact, the government just appealed a decsion that would have allowed helpers to get the same citizenship everyone else gets after 7 years.  But no, they aren't real people I suppose.  It's all very bizarre, but from what I hear the end goal for a helper (JeJe) is to end up with a Western family.  Apparently we're nicer in general than the Chinese.

Anyway, party was fun but we had to head out early becasue someone, me, had to work allllllllllllll day yesterday.  The event turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be, but that also meant we didn't sell anything.  I sat and watched Capoeira for 12 hours straight and probably made 3 sales.  At least I didn't have to stand and there was wine.  Paul joined me after a 2 hour dragon boat practice (not sorry I missed that) and the rest of the evening was lovely.  Lionel came for a bit and we all just sat sipping wines rocking out to the music.  But 12 hours in a YWCA gymnasium is certainly not my idea of a fun Sunday.

Paul getting a glitter tat
Today the sun is back, obviously.  Isn't it funny how it has a way of hiding on my days off?   Tutoring 1 cancelled today, so just the twins, followed by Game of Thrones, Mad Men and bed.  Run, work, swim, tutor.  Then Wednesday things should get interesting....

Friday, May 11, 2012

Saturday AM

Of course it's my day off and I'm wide awake some 6:40, which is earlier than I usually get up on a weekday.  It would have been perfectly OK had the sun been out and I could get an early start on the beach, but no the sun is long gone and the grey skies and rain of February are back again.  Paul and I head out at 7:45 for our morning walk and it's raining!  Hard. Boo.  I put Paul on the bus (ha) and decide I'll get my exercise in one way or another, so I head to the pool which I have been meaning to do for sometime now.

July 14th, yes MY birthday, there's a 2.2 k open water swim in Shek O I want to do along with a bunch of our friends.  I've been meaning to start 'training' but was told by my 4th grade student that the water is really cold.  Hit the pool at 8 am, and what a liar!! The indoor pool is 28 and the outdoor pool is 26!  The water is perfect and there was only one other person there.  Well except for the crew of 6 lifeguards.  Ohhh and the pool fee has been halved as of May; only $15!  I had such a lovely time swimming laps that the hour just flew by!  I think I shall start swimming 2/3 days a week before work!

After an hour I was pretty tired/hungry so I hit the jacuzzi in the locker room for a minute, showered and was back up in the comfort of my apartment.  Hmmm I hope our new place has a pool downstairs.  Riiight.  Well with this new higher paying job of Paul's we can afford to live somewhere a little nicer than I had resigned myself to in my head....

Came home and whipped together a delicious protein rich breakie. SCrambled eggs with sesame oil mustard and sricacha topped with the freshest mushiest yummiest avocado.  Perfection.

Now I have to head to the beach in the rain anyway for some dboat fun, then home for hopefully a nap and then back down to the island for a party.  Paul and I met this guy Llyon at my jewelry wine tasting Wednesday and he was kind enough to invite us to his dinner party tonight.  Should be lovely....except he lives in a get this, 7th floor walk up!  ha who knew that existed!

Paul Got ANOTHER New Job

And it pays considerably more!!! His third and final interview (with the board this time) is on Tuesday, where pending approval, he will sign a contract!!!  Wooot!

In other exciting news, I am planning my first wine pairing dinner!  Next Wednesday I'll meet with the restaurant to decide the menu.  Woot.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

And Signed

Paul officially sent in all of his papers to his new employer, The Harbour School!  August 1 we're moving, August 4 going home for 10 days and most importantly Chetta and Ryan's wedding!, and August 16th Paul starts!

Last night Paul and I went all the way down to Kennedy Town for a night of trivia, wine and friends.  Kennedy Town is awesome.  It's further West than Sheung Wan and is totally up and coming.  Tons of cute little bars tucked in between shark fin shops and dai pai dongs.  We met Laura and Derek who just moved into that hood, and Justin and Jackie who we hadn't seen forever!!  It was so much fun to do bar trivia again, and best of all Laura, Derek and I totally schooled Jackie, Justin and like 3 points.  And the other best thing about Kennedy Town is that we can catch the 101 bus directly back to our front door.  Nice little Thursday night out....

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sales Woman

Yesterday I went out on my first (solo) sales assignment.  I went down to Maureen's in Wan Chai so she could sample some of our house wines.  This is so much fun!! I dragged a softiee cooler with 4 bottles of wine through the 90 degree heat, oh did I mention I was wearing heels.  Made it there drenched, but had such a blast sipping on wines, chatting with Maureen, and snacking on some of her delicious snacks!!  She put out her Chinese Wine Egg which was amazing!  There was also a plate of her lemon chicken, Spanish cured ham, marinated mushroom, and an incredible abalone.  Most of her food is sous vide which was cool to watch, but her main business is noodles.   I will definitely bring P back soon for some custom designed noodles.  Best of all she ordered 48 bottles to start which equals commission for me!

Post meeting it was still early so I head over to Central to solicit some more sales.  Didn't have a terrible amount of success, but dropped our brochure and my name card a few places and then it was time to relax with Foodie Magazine (my Street View is in this issue) and a Thelonious Monk.  Life is good.

Tonight I'm hosting a wine tasting at AME Gallery in Soho.  I'm excited since this was my event and I saw it from conception to fruition.  Fingers crossed we sell a lot!  Or at least something....

Monday, May 7, 2012

Another Bum Weekend

Saturday I met Paul after work and we searched for lunch.  We don't go out to eat too often so when we actually make plans to, we want to make it count.  We strolled through Kowloon City when all of the sudden we were beckoned by some red lanterns and an inviting lunch menu.  Twas a cute little Japanese place, Daisuke.   We eat sushi here all the time, but not generally at sushi restaurants.  The sushi from Yata and most grocery store is decent and we enjoy having sushi picnics in the park, so it was really a treat to get the whole deal.  As you walk in there's a private room on the left where the patrons were grilling on the floor, then walk down a couple stairs through wood paneled halls and we were taken to our table which was partition with a small paper screens.  We each got a lunch special; Paul the grilled meat set, and me the salmon sea urchin on rice.  Each set came with a miso soup, sesame dressed cabbage, a glutinous rice ball filled with red bean paste, and best of all a steamed egg.  Oh steamed egg I miss you!  In Korea you always get one with galbi.  This steamed egg came with crab meat in the middle and was topped with smokey shitake mushrooms.  Paul said he liked it more than his grilled meat! While Paul grilled his beef and pork rib, I waited.  Eventually my food was brought, and it was totally worth the wait.  If you've never had sea urchin, you must go right now and find some.  Butter of the sea.  Asa.

Post lunch I had to go home and get ready for work.  Boo.  I get to work, load the van with Greg and our helper of the day, Vivian, and we're off.  We end up hitting more traffic than anticipated, so I'm left on the side of the road with 3 boxes of wine destined for an art gallery, while Greg and Vivian head to our event.  I get a taxi and 30 minutes and a lot of looping through Sheung Wan and Central, and finally I make it to the gallery where I have to cart these boxes up a hill, up a floor, in my new dress.  Then it was back in the taxi:

Me: 'Do you know Park View in Tai Tam?"
Cab Driver: "Oh yeah, no problem."
This is where I spent Saturday afternoon

Flash forward 40 minutes later and we pull into Pacific Place in Stanley.  No bueno, dude.  I get Vivian, who speaks Chinese, on the phone and she clears it up.  We drive alll around the island again and finally 2 hours after I got to work, I got to our event.  
To top it off, there's 4 of us working the event and 3 attending.  ha more for us I guess.  I talked to the guests that were there, made friends with a woman from Texas, and then it was just the HOFWs, tennis pro, and one guy from the tennis match and we just sat around drinking wine, then beer, then onto Prosecco.  Ohhhh it was the Prosecco and the lack of dinner that did me in!!  By the time we left at 9:30 I was pretty well on my way.  I met Paul over at Kina's who were also there will Will and Sarah, our English friends.  hhaah yeah, did not have a sip of alcohol there, and come 12 everyone called it a night.  

Of course 7am Sunday rolls around and I'm WIDE awake.  Got to love that.  Paul and I took it as a sign that we should not do anything all day.  So we didn't.  We watched TV, at one point walked down stairs to get supplies to make pesto, and the immediately returned to the comfort of our couch.

In other news, our roommate Christy informed us that she will be moving out to Sai Kung June 3rd.  Wooohooo, apartment to ourselves until the end of July!!   I mean....we'll miss you Christy.....
Supermarket Gear

Sunday, May 6, 2012

This Just In

Christy's moving out June 3rd!!!  We have the apartment to ourselves for a full two months before moving.  Party on, Garth!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mandarin Burger Date

Hungry for Facebook burgers

On Labor Day Paul and I cashed in my our Facebook contest prize burger dinner at the Mandarin Oriental's Cafe Causette.  We didn't know what to expect as the coupon just said two pulled burger dinners.  What's a pulled burger you ask?  Well so did we, and turns out it means 3 mini burgers of pulled meat; pork, beef, and lamb!  With a huge tub of amazing french fries!  I'm not joking on the huge.  Neither Paul nor I could finish our meals, which made for an awesome  breakfast the next day!  And if all that isn't exciting enough, we had some good ole Heineken to wash it all down.  The pork was definitely the best, although I will say they didn't taste terribly different as they were all on the same soft buns and had the same lettuce and pickle toppings.  A BIG thanks to the Mandarin for this cool holiday treat!
Oh and we got cheese bread.  Yum.
Oh we're excited.  PS are my wrinkles really that big?
Sick of dinner pictures yet?

Chowin Down.

Post dinner while Paul excused himself I decided to hit the closest jewelry shop to try on some necessary pieces for my collection.  Poor guy didn't know how much this bathroom trip would cost him.

Really brings out the crook in my pinky

4K and 18 stones?  Don't mind if I do

Yup and after that we ferried over to TST for what we thought was going to be the opera.  Well turns out it wasn't opera so much as a French choral recital....beginning with the children's choir.  Perhaps this makes me a bad person. Maybe I'm unsophisticated or uncultured.  But within 4 songs of Chinese childrensinging French songs, I was asleep.  Paul and I searched the program for an out.  Intermission was still a good 8 songs off.  Can.  Not. Do. It.  So we go up and ran out like the weenies that we are.  As soon as we got out we laughed, hopped on a bus, and came home to some real culture; Real Housewives of Vancouver.  Ohh if you haven't seen it, dawwwling you absolutely must!

Bailed on the Cultural Centre for the view!


Out of tourism and into legal working status!  9 months later!!!!!!!!!!

This means I can now:

Get a library card
Skip the lines at the HK airport/Macau immigration
Enroll in my wine certification class
Unlock the doors at the office during the day
Join a gym
Open a bank account and get a credit card
Utilize the socialized medical care
And not get kicked out!!

Ohhh and become a permanent resident in just 7 years!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Would I have thought that I would have this problem.  Too much open wine at serious risk of going bad!  Usually you're short on booze, no?  Well, when you work for a wine company and get new stock in you just don't have a choice.  You've simply got to taste them all.  Chetta and Maria, I need you girls stat!

Paul and I had planned a sober night of Avengers (we get it a week before you America!), but here it is 4 bottles of wine opened later, and I'm probably not sober.   We have a client from France in and it's soooooo interesting for me to watch him (Greg's making him taste blind) evaluate the wines.  There are flavors and things I have noticed in wines but never been able to put a word to.  You know how some reds taste artificial and chemically?  Well, probably it's because they are.  A lot of times it's added perfume for aroma.  Or instead of oaking the wine in expensive barrels, the vineyards add wood chips to the pot and get the wood flavor there.  A bit cheap, but does enhance the flavor. 

The trifecta of whites:

acid, concentration, aromatics

For reds, add in some tannins and you got yourself a fiiiine wine.

Anyway,  Paul and I had a wonderful holiday!  Labor Day in Hong Kong means no work on a Tuesday, which is just fine by us.  We hit up Festival walk for some shopping at H&M.  They usually annoying because of the cheap quality, but they have some SUPER cute stuff in now!  I got a couple pairs of awesome sunglasses, a new bathing suit, a dress, a cat tank (which is awesome!), and I even let Paul get a pair of sunglasses :)  Then we raced home in the squally 90% humidity to get ready for our Mandarin burger dinner followed by the opera.....