If you're looking for the funniest stuff, I suggest starting with the Steve, Don't Eat It Homage and then the travel category. You're on your own with the older posts that have yet to be categorized.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Open Sesame

 Tonight's dinner was at the Black Sesame Kitchen. Ten courses with wine (not pairings) or beer of very good Chinese food. Not a stinker in the bunch. My favorites were (sorry, I don't have pictures of the early dishes...too hungry!)

The highlights:
The fried shitake mushrooms sounds like such a simple dish but the flavor was amazing. Without being told what it was, I would have guessed pork (based on texture) or beef (flavor).

 The red braised pork belly. This not my kind of dish. It looks like a giant hunk of fat. But it just melted in your mouth.
 Chongqing spicy chicken. Just before this dish came out, I saw the chef outside tossing the contents of the wok around. (I should note that this place teaches cooking and so the "kitchen" is in the same room as the dining room.) Shortly thereafter, people at the table started clearing their throats, then coughing a bit, and soon everyone was in a fit of coughing. Then came the chicken dish. It's half chicken, half peppers. Hot peppers. There's not much that's too hot for me to eat but this dish made the list. I was able to eat the chicken (which was plenty hot). The guy next to me was from England and he just wolfed everything down.

Dessert (which is not really a thing in China) was black sesame ice cream topped with candied banana. The banana comes out super hot in syrup which, when it hits the ice cream, hardens to a candy shell. This is a wonderfully delicious, innovative dish that has almost nothing to do with Chinese food (but it should...are you listening Chinese people?)

I cannot recommend this place more highly. Make your reservations early and go!


One last thing, if you go. Many people came by taxi which did not go well for quite a few of them. Unless you cannot walk, follow the directions for the subway that are on the website. Go early and walk around the shops in the hutongs (alleys). For American's this area will feel a little sketchy but it is quite safe.
Even with those great directions, it is a bit hard to find (because it's a bit hard to believe the directions are correct. Here's a video I shot showing the last parts of the directions (from the main north-south hutong).
video

Already in a rut

Due to train schedules I delayed my wall visit until tomorrow. Instead I went to the Forbidden City and Tienanmen Square. I walked around for about 4 hours.
After about half an hour in the Forbidden City, a woman approached me, gesturing with her camera. I nodded yes and reached for her camera-which she handed to her friend, grabbed my arm and got a picture with me.
Suddenly, I was deluged by people wanting a picture with me. Some asked permission, some did not. Some put their arm in mine or on my waist. Some just stood nearby. Perhaps 40 pictures in all. A bit surreal.
Pretty tired so I went back to the hotel around 1:30. Hungry so I stopped at the bakery for a delectable braised pork roll and a mini chocolate bread.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Shame update

Bakery opened at 730. Second breakfast not long after. Clockwise from "sorry I started eating these already": Portuguese egg tart, rose cake, pineapple pastry.
Egg tart: light as air with a hint of sweetness. Could eat a dozen.
Rose cake: omg it tastes like roses!
Pineapple pastry. Very good. Feels more like Hawaii.

Had I only known

Walking around last night I found a bakery. Decided to grab something there for breakfast this morning. Despite the wonderful smell, they were not yet open at 7. 

I ended up at McShameOnYou. I haven't been to one since taking my nephew to play there back in October. Here's a weird thing: they put ketchup on the egg & cheese muffin. Will make up for it tonight.

Welcome to Beijing!

I made it to the hotel without any problems.
The picture is the view near the north pole.

I sure hope these are posting

I was thinking about what to write. The funny stuff sounds like complaints in my head. So, here is my positive view of the trip so far.

The flight to EWR showed Silver Linings Playbook which was as good as the first time I saw it.
On the leg to Beijing, I watched Taken 2. Think Schindler's List but replace the Nazis with Albanians and replace money and jewelry with fists and bullets. During the movie I ate a pork chop (instead of gefilte fish). My favorite line, "I'll try some of that port" which was not in the movie.

After a 2 hour nap, I watched Wreck-It Ralph while eating braised beef over noodles. As for the movie, the meal was delicious!

Another 3 hour nap and then I watched Smashed while eating the Chinese breakfast of champions, congee. Smashed was good but I would recommend watching it before the port. Congee was like eating grits with some chicken on it. Good stuff.

Just as an aside, I don't think meclizine actually lasts 24 hours. Things got a little bumpy approaching Beijing and I was thinking, "I don't think that congee will fit in that bag."

No dinner last night. For some reason I was not hungry.

Walked around a bit and found a supermarket. If you've been to an Asian market in the US then you still have no idea what it is like here. I bought a case of 12 bottles of what I hope is water. 12-550 ml bottles for 7 RMB! Take that Costco! I got a lot of stares. Hopefully because I am a giant here and not because I bought something I should not have.

I slept from 11 last night until 4 this morning. I should be synched up in one more day.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ultimately It Felt Too Much Like "Gay Marriage"

Fascinating story (and by that I mean I only read the first few paragraphs) about the behind the scenes talks to create a Gingrich-Santorum (or vice-versa) ticket for the 2012 election. The best part was that

The negotiations collapsed in acrimony because Gingrich and Santorum could not agree on who would get to be president
Well, I can tell you, no matter whose name, Gingrich or Santorum, was listed first on the ballot, the president would have been the same, Obama.

That either of those guys believes he/they could have won represents a level of delusion reserved for people who need to take lithium and political candidates.