Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Moving to NYC

Well, thanks for following (if you were).

We're starting a family and heading back to our homebase in NYC to have our little babe. We leave Hong Kong with a new puppy in tow, and a slew of great memories, too.

Perhaps I'll start blogging again once I've hit on a new topic to talk about -- Life as a mom? The search for a new home? Feeding a bambino?

Many new adventures lie ahead.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pet Dryer

Check this out!

This fluffy pup is hanging out in what essentially is a small wind tunnel at our local pet groomer's. Pretty neat!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lugard Road Loop

While most people probably wouldn't consider Lugard Road around The Peak a hike, it does take considerably more effort to go around the 3.5K loop with a 3 month old puppy learning to walk on a leash.

It was the perfect destination for our first big outing. Olive got to prance among the woods and grass, something she rarely sees down in our concrete jungle. And we really enjoyed the panoramic views out over Victoria Harbor on this beautiful fall day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dim Sum

Everybody seems to do dim sum in this town on weekends. There are the local places that have been around for ages. Families gather at the large tables, the men armed with their Sunday papers and kids with the coloring books. These meals are supposed to be leisurely affairs. A good way to connect over some baskets of food that are spread out over a couple of hours. There are also the decidedly more trendy places, too, which are also meant for groups to gather, although the noise is and carts are replaced with more ambient music and a menu to boot.

Over the past year and a half, I’ve definitely been to a fair share of places. My top three picks:

1. Shu Zhai, 80 Stanley Main Street, Stanley

Made to look like an old Beijing teahouse, this is one of my favorite places to go on the weekends. It’s probably the ambience as much as the food that does it for me at this place. There isn’t one thing here that I’ve had that I can complain about, an everything comes served on pretty pottery (see pic). The dan-dan served here is my favorite.

2. Dragon-i, 60 Wyndham Street, Central

Better known as a trendy club and restaurant at night, this place does a great all-you-can-eat dim sum by day. All the regular standards are present, so there is no need to order off the main menu which is also available. I’d suggest reserving a spot since spaces are limited on the weekends. Once inside, however, the wait staff won’t make you feel rushed, and does a good job checking in on you to make sure you’re getting your fill of dumplings and other delights.

3. Dim Sum, 63 Sing Woo Road, Happy Valley

I’ll also give a shout out to Dim Sum, my local parlor for fried and steamed goodies. Although it is short on character, it does make up for it in quality of food. The proof? There is often a long wait on weekends, so it’s good to get there early.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Wine Festival Hits Hong Kong

This past weekend was the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival. We went on the last day of the event, Halloween, and it turned out to be a great night. Lots of wine to sample from across the globe, good food and even live entertainment. Hong Kong definitely needs more events like this. The proof? By the end of the night, several booths were running out of wine. What a buzz kill!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Welcome Puppy

This week we got a puppy. Her name is Olive and she's just a babe at 2.5 months. This means that we'll start exploring what other dog lovers in Hong Kong do -- and there sure are a lot of them.

One of our favorite neighborhood places to date is the Three Dog Bakery. The desserts in their shop make me envious, and they sure do love their furry friends in there. The staff in there have already taken to doting over Olive ... how could I resist a place like that?

The other place that Olive and I have been visiting a bunch is the dog park. Located just under the Hong Kong Jockey Club in Happy Valley, this place is perfect for your pooch to have some off leash fun. At any time, there seems to be a dozen or so dogs there.

View dog park, happy valley in a larger map

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shanghai Old and New

I can understand why people love Shanghai. It is urban, has great architecture, and is constantly evolving. Take the Maglev train into the city at 431 km/hour and you know that this is a city screaming into the 21st century fast.

I decided to meet Brian in Shanghai for the weekend. We stayed at the Jia Hotel, a hip, boutique spot that would be comfortable in any metropolitan city. And while Shanghai has all the trappings of a cosmopolitan city -- posh restaurants, upscale shopping -- there is still enough of old China that exists that makes this city a cultural destination.

By far, my favorite glimpse of Old China was a side trip we took just outside of the city to Xi Tang. This 1,700-year old water is considered the Venice of Shanghai, and it’s just as picturesque with a definitively Asian flair. We saw old stone bridges flanked by willow trees; square homes with intricate roofs decorated majestically with red lanterns; and women washing their laundry in the river – even on this cold day.

One could spend hours touring the 120 tiny alleyways of this city. Around every new corner seems to be lurking a postcard perfect picture, too. There are also great bargains to be had in the variety of shop stalls set up around the town -- look for the natively made blue and white batik goods.

Back in the city, though, you can forget that China does have a quieter side. As far as population goes, Shanghai is more than 3 times as dense as Paris, and 1.5 times more dense than New York. Older (more charming) buildings are being bulldozed at an alarming rate to make room for more high-rises and large skyscrapers, the most famous of which are on the Pudong side of the city. This is where you can see famous buildings like The Pearl Tower and The Shanghai World Financial Center, known to locals as The Bottle Opener.

After taking a bird’s eye view of the city from the top of the sky deck, we decided to spend a quieter

afternoon in the famous artist district off Moganshan Road. This enclave is home to painters, glass blowers and sculptors, with a good dash of restaurants and retail shops. It’s a great place to spend the afternoon wandering and picking up souvenirs.

We ended our long weekend meeting up with friends and taking in a leisurely brunch in The French Concession. This old area of the city has beautiful sycamore trees that line the streets and parts of it are definitely reminiscent of Europe.

It seems that you can still find balance in Shanghai. There is the culture, the sophistication, the quieter streets and alleyways. Shanghai is a city that impresses on the breadth of what it offers and what it has the potential to become.

Other fun spots we visited in Shanghai:

Spin -- great pottery boutique. I could have bought everything.

Shintori -- warehouse-sized space that serves some of the city’s most fresh, if not most avant garde, sushi.

Kathleen’s Five -- glance around at what Shanghai might have been at this restaurant/bar on top of the Shanghai Art Museum, the former Jockey Club.