Saturday, November 30, 2013


Happy Thanksgiving week!  This year we were invited to an unprecendented five, FIVE, Thanksgiving dinners.  We were only able to attend two, but I can assure you, they were a phenomenal two. But before we get to all that...

Monday started with an 11 am Bordeaux tasting in Wan Chai with the fine folks of Ballande & Meneret, a French negociant.  The winemaker from Chateau Durfort-Vivens was in and told us about four wines from Margaux, Pauillac, and St. Estephe- all Left Bank.  All four of the wines were young and full of fruit and oak, and you could tell all great value that would age well.  I especially enjoyed the Ferriere for its long finish and strong punchy flavors.

I'd been craving some spicy noodles so hit up Shanghai Lane for lunch for their dan dan noodles.  There is nothing better on a cold day than these sesame spice laden noodles.  My god, yum. 

Tuesday Jay opened up a 5 oclock Gantenbein.  Most people haven't heard of this because the production is something ridiculously scant with only 180 bottles making it to the US per year.  This 2011 Swiss Pinot Noir was stop and stare at your glass amazing.  How do they make it so good?  Ultra intensity, LONG, long, long, still going Long, full of sour red cherry and oak.  This was unlike many Pinots I've had as it was young and concentrated but not overly ripe.  Divine, and a super deal at $1,200.  Try to find this quality, depth, and price in Burgundy.  No dice. 

I followed some Swiss wine with some fortified wine.  I joined the HK Wine Society for a heavenly tasting of 12 Sherries, 9 of which were dry, all of which were totally delicious. 

We had a great and surprisingly large turn out of about 20.   I was especially interested to try the Manzanilla En Rama (unfiltered meant to be drunk within 6 months of bottling) as you don't see them often over here.  It split the crowd, but I was into it.  The best for me (and most people) was the Gonzalez Byass Del Duque 30yr Amontillado.  So much complexity- toffee, caramel, spices, nuts- walnut and macadamia- smoke, orage peel, cigar...and the other amazing one was the ultra concentrated 130+ year old Barbadillo Reliquia Palo Cortado.  130!

Wednesday AM was an amazing presentation and tasting held by the Consorzio Conegliano Valdobbiadene aka Prosecco Superiore DOCG.  JC led the informative tasting of 8 very different Proseccos, including Uvagio Storico which I used to see at HOFWs.  Cool.  I didn't realize how many different style of Prosecco there were, and certainly never sat down to taste 8 of them next to each other.  Usually it's just one at brunch :) Honestly I'm not a huge fan of Prosecco as I find it too fruity and headache inducing, but some of these were straight up tasty.  The Villa Sandi Valdiobiaddiene di Cartizze (highest level of Cru) was especially lovely for its fresh and balanced palate.  I think I liked it because it was the least Prosecco-y of the bunch.

JC is an amazing speaker and teacher.  He's so full of passion, knowledge, and passion that you can't help but get excited about wine when he's around. He's what an MW should be. 

I went to a Berry Brother's tasting and tried some of their fantastic NZ Pinots from Central Otago.  The coolest part about the tasting was getting to check out the China Club.  It's this old school wood paneled member's club, filled to the brim with amazing and eclectic art.  Super cool.

And then some very nice Aussies I got to chatting with invited me out to join them for dinner.  The woman, above, Cindy, actually lives in NJ and is looking to move her family out here.  The guy, Paul, on the right is a local TV celebrity and often appears on CNN and CNBC as a finacial advisor.  We went to this amazing, not even open yet,  Chinese place, China Tang, had some dim sum and Peking duck and some really really delcious wines.  Then hit up Zuma for a nightcap and was home at midnight.  On a school night! 

Happy Thanksgiving.  Nina and Kenny, for the third year running, invited us over for an utterly delicous and memorable dinner.  Just look at that table!

We started with cheese and latkes.  Latkes should be a must on Thanksgiving, and Kenny's version dipped in sour cream and cranberry sauce is for sure the best I've ever had.

Paul, Will, Lisa, Jeff, and Mike chat in the living room.  Stuffing latkes in their mouths, and extolling stories of Hong Kong horror.  Ohhh the HK horror. 

Josh, Julia, Sarah and David sip their craft American beers and tell tales of HK dating, apartment hunting, and marriages abroad.

Nina made the moistest (why don't people like this word!?) browned bird we've had to date.  Spot on as always Nins. 

And then Jeff led us in some Hebrew chants (prayers? songs?) while he lit the menorah and we gawked at the turkey. 

Kenny documented from the table.  I documented from the kitchen. 

Best cooks I know in Hong Kong.  I've yet to come across a Kina dish I didn't love. 

The classics; turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, stuffing...

Plate 1.

Gobble gobble.
Kenny made a beautiful and tasty apple pie, and Nina made pumpkin cake that I could definitely eat for breakfast everyday. 

Hong Kong family.

And then things got silly.  Not really, 3D beer is now a requisite part of any Thanksgiving feast. Right, Mike?

Champagne and 3D tv. Thank you Nina and Kenny for a totally unforgettable peice of Americana in Asia.  We're so lucky to have so many incredible memories in such a fast two years. 

Friday the wine didn't stop.  But does it ever?  Great Wines of Italy parte dos meant a ton of top quality wines available for tasting at the Four Seasons.  With some totally banging cheese to boot. 

Problem was that the event was a total clusterf#)*j.  30,000,000 people in a small banquet room.  Pushing ensued.  Elbows, cutting, general rudeness, and a serious lack of spitoons.  It's a wine tasting for crying out loud!  With that said, there were the tops wines from Italy available for sampling.  Most of which were way too young, but some were plum for the drinking. Voerizio (sp?) was one of my favorites as was...


La Spinetta.  Yum yum yum!

And I'm pretty sure 98% of the Hong Kong wine industry was there.  Hi Jon and Ophelia!

Thanksgvining parte dos, this time with Jeff Boda.  Jeff is awesome.  He's a writer for the NYTimes and also one of the owners of Hop Leaf, the best craft beer importer in Hong Kong.  Jeff has been in HK since the late 90s and has been hosting an orphan Tday ever since.  Check out what's in his hand- bacon explosion.  Handmade Italian sausage wrapped in a basket of bacon.

All to be cooked up and put on a hard baguette with chipotle mayonaise.  I don't say this often (ha!) but this was the  best thing I have ever eaten. Ever.  Forget turkey and mashed potatoes good.  And check out the mini-keg of Bells Brown Ale! America.

And Kenny was there with another strikingly delectable apple pie.  But there was a lot of pie...

And I'm quite proud to annouce that I tried one of each.  My fav was probably the pumpkin cheesecake.  So ridiculously decadent, dense and delcious.

Then Jeff pulled out the big boys; fruit beers.  These were smuggled after his last trip home.  These babies are only available in very limited quantity in Wisconsin, and were super concentrated and super tasty.  Thanks for an incredible evening of new friends, old friends, new favorites, old favorites, and a wide array of some of the best craft beers.

And then Nina pointed out that Paul and I dressed with the same color palate.  So we took some awkward photos.

Same same but different.

What's red white and blue all over?  Paul and Lauren!

Saturday = Clockenflap day!  Apparently now Clockenflap has gained some notoriety and people come from all over Asia for this music feastival.  I went the first year but had to work last, but this year Paul and I were both able to make the Saturday night for some rando acts and Franz Ferdinand. This city is gorgeous.  It still amazes me the cool things that happen right in the middle of this ultra densely populated metropolsis.  HK you cetainly have your moments. 

Kat, Court and I <3 Chic.   Funky funk, man.  Clockenflap rocks- lots of vendors, a lot of stages, cool local restaurants, random tents of light, silent disco.  Basically all of Hong Kong was here in their hipster best.  We kept looking around asking ourselves where all of these people were every other day.

Simply spectacular.
Woo, take me out.
Now on a WTF, Asia you suck note.  We found our dream apartment.  We put in an offer.  Offer was accepted.   We went today to give over our deposit check and sign the contract when we were informed that they still had some more people to show the apartment.  F you landlord and your lack of respect for your word.  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

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