Saturday, September 21, 2013

Super Typhoon

Happy typhoon Usagi!  This is our third or so typhoon this year, but apparently the worst storm on the planet earth this year (as quoted by CNN).  Great.  Hong Kong doesn't seem to have any major problems with typhoons, a few blown down branches and limited flooding in the New Territories, but outside that we just get off work and stay inside drinking wine.  Oh but the poor Philippines and little islands to the East. They're getting dumped on!  And now a quick catch up as I am weeks behind.

Last Saturday I hosted my first tasting with Ginsberg + Chan.  We had ~10 or so people come in between 1 and 4 pm to try one of our 'inexpensive' 'everyday' wines.  This cracks me up because they were all $190-$800.   Ahhh one day $800 will be a Tuesday night day when we hit the lottery.  Anyway, it was really great for me to try some of these wines and good to show off my new work digs to friends Nina and Jon.  My favs of the day were the La Dame de Montrose (second wine from Chateau Montrose), a really funky natural wine (Clos des Camuzeilles) from the South of France, and the Brunello di Montalcino. 

But the best part was....

Taking all of the leftover to Derek and Laura's (10 bottles!) for wine tasting part 2.  The perks of having a wine friend.  We rather quickly ran through the wines and then head over to Tapaella Grill for a tapas dinner.  I won an online contest (" who would you take to dinner?"  "my friend Laura because she won a ski house in Niseko and brought me." Thank you HK Mag!) for a $500 gift voucher.  The tapas were alright, nothing really to write home about, but I did enjoy the Rioja wine from Ramon Bilbao.  And it's always great to get over to Ktown to visit.

The next AM we were up early for an excursion to the islands.  Patrick, Courtney, Nina, Kenny, Will, Sarah, Tom, Caroline, Matt, and Hailey joined Paul and I for a 45 minute ferry from Stanley down to this little island Po Toi for some seafood lunch. We'd been once before with Nina's parents and LOVED the food.  Now that the weather is finally nice it was time to go back for some salt and pepper squid, fish, clams, shrimps, and noodles all appropriately paired with New Zealand Sauv Blanc (Oyster Bay), Chilean Cab (William Fevre), Pouilly Fume, and some Prosecco.  Lovely little day out on the water.  Followed by the opening of the Island East Market!! My favorite, and my favorite especially now that I don't work it!!!
At work on Monday Jay took out an important client to lunch and had the above leftover for us to try.  Ohhhhh this is definitley my favorite white wine I have ever tried ever.  Kind of funky- err I suppose just not 'classic' Burgundy, but ultra concentrated and rich, and strangely reminded me of bees...I suppose it was a pollen-esq flavor and the richness that reminded me of honey, but bzz bzz loved this!  This is from Bernard Van Berg who is this insanely awesome guy in Burgundy who hand prunes and cares for everyone of his vines.  He even hand bottles the wine.  Hand bottles each and every wine.  Crazy.  This bottle retails with us for $2,800 and his wines are the most expensive wines on the world's best restaurant, Noma in Denmark.  No wonder I liked it so much.

And we're making some progress with the suits...One arm is the new hot thing in Asia this year.

Thursday evening I met up with Will, Sarah, Nina, Kenny, Derek, Laura, Paul and David for some nachos, quesadillas and brews at Stone's, our Tai Hang go to.  Friday was mid-autumn festival (no work) so the night before the dragon dance commenced.  We lined up with the million other people to see the Tai Hang dragon dance, but lo and behold could not.  Too crowded and turns out it wasn't a parade but more of a stationary smoke fest, so we went back to an open roadway, met Court, Patrick, Jackie and her brother for some roadside drinks.  Clock struck 12 and we called it a night.
Paul, moon, Will
Friday I made an amazing breakfast of whatever we had in the fridge; broccoli spinache garlic pesto stirfry with peas and green pepers over rocket all topped with Parmesan and a fried egg.  Twas a good one.  A really exceptionally good one.  Mmm peas.
loved this salad.
Friday and Paul and I hung around catching up on errands and reading.  Me wine, him 9th grade essays.  Then Will, Sarah, Nina, and Kenny came over for some Cards Against Humanity (thank you Chetta, we LOVE it!!!) ,Wii (thank you Mom, we LOVE it), and Jacomaxx Pizza (thank you Jaco, Paul LOVES it). 
Will, Carbonara, meat plate, anchovy, veg, and meat/olive pizzas

Nina-ish, Kenny, Sarah, Will and Paul getting shocked
And then Vanessa came!! She got in late so we just chatted for a bit and called it a night.  Saturday Paul had to go to some school orientation so Vanessa and I hit the streets in search of some HK Matzu temples.  Matzu (Mat-jou in Canto) is the goddess of the sea and she protects the fisherman.  Well turns out she really wants Vanessa to stay in HK. More on that.
We went to this amazing temple in Tin Hau (which is named after the temple- Matzu is also known as Tin Hau) and felt very welcomed by the people working there.  It's so much fun going to temples with Vanessa!  I had never enjoyed visiting them very much, but she's so passionate and excited by them and was able to explain the different gods and notions to me, that I too got into it.  We donated some money, offered some fruit, lit some insence, and connected with Miss Matzu herself, who I strongly believe is totally connected with Vanessa.  This sea goddess seems to have followed Vanessa here...super typhoon!!!
Sesame noodles <3
And then we met Paul at another temple (Man-Mo) in Shueng Wan.  We were told by some random girls we were bugging that this temple was for students and teacher to go and wish for a good year in school.  Religion is so funny here.  No one seems to have a deep knowledge, or at least just can't communicate it in a clear way, but more of a superficial understanding of what's directly relevant to this.  This is for students.  I go and pray.  The end.  I suppose I just don't know about it, but find it odd how people just accept things at face value with no interpretation of analysis...or again...maybe its just lost in translation.
Great sea cucumber and pork dumplings
But then we had some sick noodles and dumplings and life made sense again. 

Temple street vendor
After a brief respite at home we were off to Temple Street in search of yet another Tin Hau temple.  Alas, this temple was closed at dusk, so we wander back through dildo alley (who knew) to find some grub.  We went and had a horrible seafood dinner (grease, grease, and gross), and hoofed it up to Kwai Chung (ie middle of nowhere HK) for what promised to be an adventure.  Vanessa had read about this project- Keep the Silence- in Time Out magazine.  The premise was to pay what you want to see these artist who all play acoustically, or not, in an experimental deconstuctionalist way.  Or something.
So hipster
The first act was this really great acoustic band.  The second was less impressive, for what I would call noisy.  I get that he was trying to deconstruct sound and the norm, but it was just annoying and went on about 6 songs too long.  Eeeee aahhhhh squeek some weird singing that you couldn't make out, and them more noise.  1 for 2.
First great band
Then the last act (that we stayed for at least) came on.  As we sat on the floor, crossed legged, judging the band members and French people drinking Smirinoff ice (seriously, what the hell?), Yan Jun came on stage.  He had a noise amplifier and what looked to be a huge power strip of electrical things.  And then the 'noise art' began.  Noise.  and different noises.  Some totally appalling and offensive noises, and some melodic and quiet noises.  But at some point we all got transfixed and lost in the noises drifting off into emotion.  Or something.  And then it just went on too long.  Probably 15 minutes too long.... I tried, I really did. 
As Vanessa and I analyzed the performance in the 45 minute cab ride home, I realized I was moved by it.  I don't think 'enjoy' was the word.  Perhaps 'enthrall.'  But generally moved and opened up to a new form of art I hadn't considered, or even heard of, before.  Interesting indeed, and the warehouse added and extra cool factor.  Certainly a first and hopefully not a last.  Small doses....
Seriously dude? S Ice??

Woke up Sunday to threats of the worst storm of 2013.  In the world!!!!!  Vanessa's flight was obviously cancelled and nothing is left available until Tuesday....hopefullly!  We went and stocked up on some food and wine (duh) and then hit up one of the only places nearby for some unexpectedly delicious Pho.  Now we're currently at a T8 warning expecting nothing but a full typhoon day tomorrow.  Movies, wine, and cousin bonding.   Vanessa just made an orange offering to Matzu, so hopefully this won't be as bad as predicted....come on Matzu.  

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