Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week in Review

Long time no see.  Since the expo season started I have had very very little free time. Excuses excuses.

Greg, Jordan, Katia (Greg's friend from Brazil), me, Julia, Sean
Last Sunday we wrapped up the Better Living Expo in Tung Chung at 8, vanned it back to Kwun Tong to dump the leftovers into the office, and then set out to Kowloon City for a 'whew we're done, congrats dinner.'  We went to my favorite Thai place, Ruamjai, had my favorite pumpkin curry (and copious amounts of wine and beer)and hit a local bar.  haha local bars in Kowloon City are a sight to see.  Once.  It was dark, smokey, and filled with 70+ year old men who did not think our impromptu karaoke was funny at all.  Nope, not at all.

We then set out for more of a sure thing-> Wan Chai.  This is where is gets a bit fuzzy for everyone, except for Greg, who took photographic evidence of all the evening festivities.  Basically we dance, Sean and I had running/jumping contests, Julia made out with some rando, and we all acted like the morons that we are.

Flash forward to Monday when mean boss Greg made us all come in (at noon).  We all sat around looking haggard while Greg laughed and recounted the evening through photographs.   Luckily the weather turned south and we all left the office right at 5 in anticipation of a T8.

typhoon rations
T8s are the HK equivalent of a snow day.  If you can recall all the way back to last fall, we had one and I stayed home with Paul and learned to make cheese.  This time the T8 was far trickier and decided not to hit until after business hours.  Jerk.  Paul and I went home, watched TV, fell asleep and missed all of the T10 (who knew it went that high?) racket, and woke up to a T8.  No work!  That is until they downgraded it to a T3 at 10:10.  This means you have 2 hours to get into work.  Boo.

Walk to work the next day....

More work to be done.  I will catch up soon!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bina's the Best!

Look what she did!!!

Yes, that's sorted underwear, folded tees, and for those of you wondering, Paul only gets that much closet space because I have the entire left closest.  

God Bless Bina. 

White Wine Week

But aren't they all in the summer??  Actually no.  85% of what HK drinks is red wine.  True story.
The Louis

Wednesday Paul and I popped into The Wine Gallery by ASC Wines for a Louis Jadot tasting.  Louis Jadot is all things Burgundy, which means only three things; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Gamay!  My favorite of the night was either the Chablis 2010 or the 1er Cru Clos de la Garenne 2008.  Both had this wonderful nutty, butter (popcorn!) taste that stuck with you.  Hours later while at home I could taste those wins.  Devine.
Pinot Noir Table

It was also really fun because I ran into several HOFWs friends.  Stella, Happy, and Freeman were all there studying for their level 3, and sipping it up.  Wine Wednesday!

Thursday Paul and I hit up a Foodie tasting with Amorosso Fine Wines.  This was all things North Italy.  I had never had wines from the Friuli region before, and I'm glad I have now.  They were so rich and fruity, but in a totally new kind of way.

I'm telling you, the best way to study is to get out there and drink.  I know so much from researching what I drank the night before, I'm going to be an expert before I know it.  I may turn into a functional alcoholic in the process, but hey, who am I kidding, I crossed that bridge long ago.

I kid I kid.  I don't drink every night.  Just most :)  I blame Chetta......

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Food and Wine Pairing

What matters when you choose your wine for dinner?  Do you go for logo?  Varietal? Country of origin? Or do you think to yourself, 'what will make XXX pop off the plate?'

Well it's come to my attention a lot recently how much wine and food are meant for each other.  Perhaps because I don't really come from a big wine drinking family (which has changed since I've come of age, thank you) wine was never a meal time accompaniment.  It was always a stand alone, post work indulgence. 

Now as I learn more about wine and can appreciate more of the nuances, finding the perfect match for a wine is not only a challenge, but also a huge reward.  What are some of your all time favorite pairings?

Recently I had a dinner party with some Southern Cajun inspired rice, shrimp, and cornbread.  We paired a Spanish Airen which totally illuminated the already vibrant lemon heavy meal.  Airen is just perfect for summer isn't it?  Did you know it's the world's most planted grape!?  True story.

Anyway, I'm curious to hear about some of your interesting wine pairing success stories!  Or fails!  Ever try a Shiraz with Korean sundaboo (spicy tofu soup).  No bueno.  No bueno, indeed.

Not meant for tannins.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dinner Party

Paul and I hosted our very first ever in Quarry Bay, let's be real anywhere, dinner party last night!!

Nina and Kenny have invited us over countless times for delicious gourmet home-cooked meals, that it was finally long over due that we return the favor.  We locked down a date, and feeling inspired by some birthday corn bread (thanks Mom!), the menu put itself together.

Apps- cheese plate of Gouda, some cheese with a blue vein, and a creamy pepper laced something

Main- Dirty rice (Andouille sausage, onion, and Cajun seasoning) topped with corn and bean salsa (which is so easy and I'm going to make every day now) and lemon-lime garlic shrimp.

Side- cornbread on the skillet. I think cornbread is slowly ousting mac and cheese as my favorite food.  Perhaps it's time I get a mac and cheese fix to put it back at the top....PS when did I become Southern?

Dessert- well, this was a bit of a fail.  More like a lot of a fail.  Also from my birthday was a packet of peanut butter cookie mix.  Knowing that the cornbread worked on the stove, I figured so would the cookies.  Nope, they just burn on the bottom and retain their gooeyness on top.  Paul took charge and created microwave cookies.  The first batch was OK, but I put the second in too long (the micro is under the stove so it's hard to multi task), and took Paul a solid 15 minutes to loosen off the plate.  They still tasted good.

For those of you (that's everyone reading this except Nina and Kenny and Steve) who haven't been over, there are only two chairs for the kitchen table.  The table is glued to the wall so there's no pulling it out anyway.  We all sat around our 2' x 2' coffee table (3 on the couch, one on the rocking chair-don't ask), catching up over lap dinner, while sipping on some of Cali's finest Syrah, listeing to Songza.

It's so much fun to have them over for dinner, even without proper dinner seating.  Can you believe no one in HK has made Kina a home-cooked meal!??  It's absurd!  We're going to start having them over a lot more often.  Thanks Nina and Kenny so much for coming over and for the wonderful gift!!  They were sooo sweet and brought over a house warming/bday gift of a dutch oven!  Now we can make COOKIES, and bread, and roasts, and all sorts of oven stuff for real. 

Unfortunately we were having too much fun to take any pictures, so use your imagination. 

The End.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Strawberry Pillow has a new friend; meet Strawberry Pig!

I had such an awesome birthday weekend!!!!  Saturday AM woke up to Paul making me fancy grilled cheese, then opened presents (thanks Mom!), hit up Frites Belgian restaurant for a free glass of wine in celebration of Bastille Day, then made our way down to Aberdeen to catch a ferry to Po Toi.  Po Toi is one of the very few islands that Paul and I have not been to.

Turns out there's good reason for this.  We get to Aberdeen after a 30 minute bus ride at 2 or so.  Next and last ferry leave at 3.  Return ferry back leaves Po Toi at 4.  What kind of schedule is this?  Basically you have to get down there at 8:45 am (the only other ferry on Saturday) and plan to stay all day until the last ferry leaves at 4.  Very strange, very strange.

Happy Birthday from Frites!
We bail on this idea and head over to nearby 8th Estate Winery for a tasting.  As you may or may not remember, Paul and I attended a tasting at the only winery in Hong Kong (well except for Portrait Winery) and it was a huge horrible fail except for the fact that we met Nina, Kenny, and Andrew there.  Maybe this time will be better????  NOPE.

$100.  Small pours.  Crappy wine.  Well now we know for suresey.

Post tasting we took a loooong cab ride to Shek O where we met Laura, Derek, and some of their softball buddies.  It's soo nice to live on an island and just be able to pop in and out of the beach!  Laura and I shared a bottle of Cava and decided to head home in search of showers and dinner.  Well, shower turned into not wanting to get ready to go out, so night over!

Sunday was my birthday surprise from Paul.  Birthday lunch with Maria Batali!!  At his newly opened HK restaurant, Lupa at least.  Yum Yum Yum.  I've decided when I become a famous wine writer that I will be besties with Mario and GP.  Aren't they the best?
Thanks Mario...and Paul!

Olive oil braised octopus with celery and chili-----so good and the octopus texture was almost buttery
Ox tongue with truffles and sweet onions------Paul's favorite.  So good and meaty
Broccoli Rabe with Ricotta salada------haven't had broccoli rabe every in Asia, so this was exciting
Pizza and Rabbit

Primi Pasta
Corzetti with rabbit so so delicious.  Paul's first (but certainly not last) rabbit and it was to die for!
Prosciutto arugula with tomato and Mozzarella.......real pizza.  yum.

Everything was so delicious and the staff was impecable, and there was even a surprise peanut butter heaven cake at the end! I felt like I was back in the states at the new cool restaurant.  Well done, Mario.

Peanut butter cake with chrocolate lemon (weird but good) ice cream
Then we ferried off to Lamma for some swimming in the garbage infested waters.  The choice was either garbage shark fenced in water, or open shark infested water.  There was a sighting last week.  

Spent the evening with good beers, surprise birthday brownie, and amazing friends at the Globe.  It was a good birthday weekend indeed.  xoxo  Thanks P.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Thank you all for some many birthday wishes already!!  And it's only 8 am! xoxo
An early birthday surprise

Last night I came home from wine class (which I am totally in love with!) and Paul was here waiting with a bottle of Baileys.  Ohhh he knows me so well.

Let's back up to what happened this week!  Tuesday I joined the owners of Factory 99 for dinner.  We drank some wildly expensive French wine (Saint Julien) and ate waay too much.
150 euro wine on a Tuesday.  Not bad.

Wednesday I head down to the convention centre to get ready for a press release about an expo we're doing next weekend (ugh).  Got there 4 hours early (they told me to come at 11 but it didn't start til 3) so went out selling with Julia.

Big fail and it was hot hot hot to boot so we just got sweaty and defeated.  BUT then we hit Linguini Fini for lunch, and despite the fact that my man Wahid wasn't there, LF still managed set everything right in my world.

Eggplant sun dried tomato soup with salami mortadella sam
I parted with Julia and set up for the press release.  I had never been to one before.  Greg had never been to one.  Sean had never been to one.  So no one knew what to expect, and I was sent to handle it alone.

It was so fun!  I walk in at 2 and my little table had been all set up for me.  There were about 20 or so other vendors; yoga, artificial sugar, appliances, lamps, wine without alcohol...wait what!  I told Paul this and his response was, 'Don't they just call that grape juice?"  Well I learned in wine class the grape juice we all know and love (concord) are grapes grown from North American vines.  The wine we all know and love (alll varieties) is from European vines, vin vinifera.  True story.

My corner of the table; truffles and organic wine
Anyway, it starts at 3, I take a look around the room and I am the only white face.  They start with 2 guys being interviewed on stage.  Then out come the 'famous rappers.'  I rode the elevator up with them and they were dressed urban chic.  Tight around the ankles cargos, coifed hair, just looking cool, you know?  Then they come out on stage with oversized tees, sideways hats (I'm not even kidding), and big goofy sunglasses.  They were like a mockery of themselves and that's what the Asian girls love.  I asked the girl working for the fake sugar next to me if she knew them, to which she replied, 'of course, that's MC Jin.'  Of course.

Then they left and the 2 original guests with film crew and interviewer walked around from booth to booth interviewing people about their companies and their products.  It was fun and the hosts were waaay overly eager to eat my truffles and try my wine, but the overeagerness put me at ease and made it seem more silly than intimidating.  I'm hoping since I was the only white kid there it will earn me a spot on the evening news.  Who knows where this footage goes though!
look at these guys!

Thursday we had our anniversary/new product launch at the AME Gallery in Central.  It's been one year since Greg and Sean partnered up to make HOFWs into the structure it is now.  Sean had been doing the wine thing alone for 3 years previous, but things got a lot more serious when Greg joined on.
Anniversary party snacks
And of course, when I joined on 8 months ago :)  Can you believe it?

This is our second event with Anna, and I think much more successful than the first.  There was a great turnout,  Julia did a great job with the food, and the wine was great to boot!

So I know I mentioned this already, but man is wine class awesome!  We started the class with a brief film interview with some Burgundian wine makers, then Ian goes through some slides, and then we break into groups of four to get through our tasting notes.  Last night was Burgundy and Alsace.  Here's what we drank. A lot of.

Alsace- Riesling
Alsace- Pinot Gris
Burgundy- Chablis
Burgundy- Chardonnay
Burgundy-Pinot Noir
Beaujolais- Gamay

Ian being filmed in class.
The Pinot Noir and the Chardonnay stood out.  And rightfully so, the Pinot Noir retails here for $640!!

So here it is Saturday AM, Paul took off work, I can't sleep in, and it's raining!!  Hard.  Crazy hard rain.  On my birthday!  I'm supposed to swim 2.2k this afternoon!! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oh that internet sure is funny

I don't know if I've mentioned it to you, but I have an unhealthy obsession with Gotye's 'Somebody that I used to Know.'  I've been listening to it on repeat for several months now, and it's still not even close to getting old.   I came across this on facebook yesterday and had a nice little laugh to myself on the bus.  Memes...

I did a quick google search to find it and found several more, but this one this remains my favorite...

ANYWAY, tonight is dinner at Factory 99 with my favorite business owner, John.  I've (well my graphics guy in S Africa) been working on putting together a wine happy hour menu and poster, and tonight I'm presenting it to John.  If all goes well we'll get our wines in and I'll get a nice little commission.  If all doesn't, we'll have a nice dinner and some wine.  Win win really.

Paul and I woke up at 7 this morning as we do every morning.  He went for his shower while I got ready to run.

No Water.

Awesome.  Called our realtor lady and she doesn't have any answers.  I love going to work without showering.  Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Boats Boat Boat Boats

Brad and Laura
Yesterday Paul and I hit the open seas with our close friends for the Junk of the Free!! America!!  And a couple Canadians.  But we still love you anyway Courtney and Ned.  The weather could not have been better!  Hot and sunny.
Katie and Cathy (and Patrick)
H&M sunglasses

Post amazing junk, I head over to Helen and Dave's for my first baby shower cocktail party.  It was amazing with great people, great food, and great Champagne, and it was a great opportunity to catch up with some people I hadn't seen in a while.

Now tis Sunday and I'm tired.  Writing is hard.  So here are some photos.  
Cruising in at sunset
Red and White and more H&M sunglasses

Baby shower

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Independance Day!

No one here cares too much about July 4th, but as a way to celebrate I invited my new wine course friends over to taste some good ole 'Merican wines.  Full review coming tomorrow.

Here's Paul and I at the VERO photo booth Sunday night.  Cheers!

Happy 2 year anniversary!

Exactly 2 years ago I met my best friend and in exactly two years from now we will be walking down the isle

Love you with my whole everything, Paul! Xoxoxo

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Establishment Day!

Wan Chai Pier
July 1 marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of HK SAR!  Freedom from England, woot!  And it's kind of funny because July 4th marks the USA's freedom from England!  Not a good week for the Brits, eh?

Before the crowds.  Vero's final party before shutting its doors

Paul and I spent the day at Shek O working on our tans and our swims, and the night partying with Vero in Wan Chai.  We went to a Vero party last October for HK National Day (or something) and it was awesome.  This time a little slower.  Long line for the bar, hit or miss food (although the Pizzaria Publico pizza was amazing!  Closest to NY pizza I have ever seen in Asia), and super crowded.  But the fireworks were amazing as always, and both Paul and I won something from the lucky draw. I won a little leather name card holder, and Paul won a giant box of chocolate.  Not bad, not bad.
Derek and Paul

Today we're going to hit Cheng Chau for some beach and seafood, and then Zara for some new dresses.  Love not working on Monday!
Winner Winner of the lucky draw