So it’s been a whirlwind 2013. How better way to commemorate the year but through pictures of my adventures. Been travelling extensively through both Europe and Asia but keeping up with my love of hiking. Always great to be in the hills, especially this new years, when we spent it hiking through the hills of Yunnan. Beautiful and peaceful, China. Happy New Year one and all….
Into the land of smiles… Thailand greets all with warm embraces. Each time I go to Thailand, the experience is different. Here is a short picture montage of a few days flying solo in the province of Krabi.
The theme of this trip? All good things come in bags; especially my daily craving of Thai milk ice tea…. mmmmmm
There are no words to aptly describe this journey through the mystical northeastern province of Heilongjiang so I shall let the pictures tell the story. We were lucky to go the first week the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival opened – so the sculptures were relatively untouched and the people, mighty hospitable.
Huge kudos to the city for hosting us and grand applause to the artists for all their hard work…. Ice, beer and dumplings galore!
Christmas season is upon us and the massive numbers of parties and events have been filling my calendar with much cheer! Here are a few festive pictures to get everyone into the ‘mood’….
Or I would suggest listening to Christmas music 24/7 as I have been for the last six weeks. Waking up to Elvis crooning Christmas carols is a great way to start the day!
The summer sun continues to pound down on us – and what an epic weather cornucopia of fun it has been! Typhoon 10 – record breaking pollution – gorgeous blue skied days.
Well, all this heat has brought on the munchies as Hong Kongers are looking for lighter, more fresh fare in the oppressive heat! In the last two months, I’ve been to many restaurants (new & old) – the two most talked about being Chicha and Blue Butcher.
But first off, let me do a bit of finger wagging at myself. I’ve lost the photos from both nights only because I did not back up my iphone. Note to all readers, please do this tonight and don’t be like a certain someone (me) who had to borrow a few yummy images to go with this yummy post!
Foodies are grateful as Hong Kong welcomes the best ceviche to town. Authentic flavours of Peru in Hong Kong is thanks to Concept Creations who worked together with the Peruvian Consulate General to bring a taste of the multicultural capital of Lima to Hong Kong.
While we raved over the tacos (fish!), the suckling pig and the pork burger – but the winner was by far the ceviche which was a ‘party in the mouth’ balancing an acidic and creamy slice of heaven. Don’t miss out on the king fish sashimi-style ceviche!
Just up the road, the newest restaurant in town opened to much buzz: Blue Butcher. Taking the space which was formerly occupied by trendy two-storey clubs M1NT and Republik, Blue Blutcher has been chocker for weeks. I only got a table with my Wylie wits (and connections with the wait staff!). Chef’s table, yehaw!
So what is “New York Style”? This is a term thrown around a lot by the Hong Kong press which often leaves me scratching my head. Well, Blue Butcher is pretty darn close with its rustic industrial feel and at times, canteen-style seating plan. This is expected when the food takes the front seat.
As the name self proclaims, the restaurant is famed for meat-a-sauraus dining, so I picked friends who were keen on a slab of animal draped over their plates. Myself, I went for the bone marrow to start and the roasted chicken as a main. There is something to be said about bone marrow, roasted to perfection – spread over toasted bread with a sprinkle of sea salt and arugula, only to be interceded by a bite or two of capers on the side. Heaven.
I am not sure if anything can surpass this simplistic and gorgeous starter, but life does move on. The free-range 1/2 roasted chicken served on a skillet was majestic. Succulent and fresh, the chicken was served with a menagerie of baby carrots and pearled onions swimming in an oasis of jus and ‘bits’ scraped from the bottom of the pan. Gorgeous.
Make sure to grab a drink first downstairs at the bar and I do recommend the ‘bar seating’ on the second floor which I have redubbed the chef’s table. There, you can see all the action inside the open kitchen while enjoying some choice cuts of meat. Not a bad night….
While in Ubud, we stayed at the Viceroy Bali – a very ‘surf and turf’ type of vacation! What a gorgeous setup there. It was quite magical. I have written a TripAdvisor recommendation for this great boutique property. Something different for everyone, but what gracious service and attention to detail with the hardware. Loved the Ipod docking station, not some tiny portable number, but a large and respectable sound system, worthy of playing my work-out playlist (song one, Lady Gaga!)
Here are some recommendations (from the TripAdvisor writeup) for the food at the famous Cascades! A destination in itself, I was enamored with the breakfast pastries – inhouse pastry chef! No joke. Nearly had them everyday, while the home made yogurt was really something else!
Recommendations for food from the writeup:
Fois Grois: Yummy and beautiful with a reduced fruit sauce on the side. Make sure to ask for the ‘sliced’ brown bread to accompany as this is freshly baked for you on request.
Beetroot salad: Fresh and zingy sprinkled with moorish and amazing feta cheese and green leaves.
Indonesian Chicken Soup: They make this spicy or not spicy and it was exactly what I wanted this one night. Light and flavourful with all the right amount of spices (not hot) to get your appetite going. What a joy!
Lamb Rack: Wow and grilled to perfection. The reduced red wine sauce is devine, but they also offer a special mint sauce (not on the menu) which is lovely.
Chicken: This was amusing as our friend wanted to order the ‘chicken dish’ as often in restaurants, no one ever orders it. It came out rolled, moist and perfectly browned. The next day, his wife ordered it again!
Beef Randang: Amazing. Born in a ‘stew’ country, I thought I’ve had my share of good hearty beef stews! This has nothing on Bali, where most of the people are Hindu by religion. Soft and tender, the flavour profile of this dish was layered as only a South East Asian dish could be. I even asked for sambal (the local hot sauce) on the side which gave the dish a bit of kick.
Eat your heart out! Wonderful stay with wonderful people! We will be back soon. In the mean time, keep innovating! Gorgeous!