25 August 2010

For the love of breakfast

New York graphic designer Erin Jang's post on this series of breakfast spreads for Esquire magazine looked so delicious, I instantly wanted to make breakfast.

...Which I will do after concluding this post.

...Which brings me to my reoccurring hobby and constant delight in making breakfast, eating breakfast, and thinking about whatever else having to do with breakfast (including the entire Joie de Vivre line of egg products, of which Jen and Eric probably own at least half !!). I'm not sure when I first discovered this love, but it is my favorite meal of the day and one of my beloved ways to celebrate the weekend, the end of the term, or just being with friends.

Eggs are an essential part of the whole ensemble and a part I think I need to work a bit on in terms of culinary versatility. But why eggs? Although they're said to be a mere baby step in the world of cooking (i.e. "at least he can fry an egg"), take Julia Child for example: her instructor at the Cordon Bleu in Paris made her go through 15+ iterations before declaring she could make a single egg correctly and could move on to omelets (omelettes?).

Practice with the simple makes the complex perfect, I suppose.

19 August 2010

Where are the beans in Beantown?

Regardless of answerless questions, it is what it is, and it's nice being back.

17 August 2010

[HK 39] : Readerly respect

Bookstores in general are one of my favorite places to be, whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere.  And of the things I brought back from the summer, they generally fall into these main categories:
  • clothes
  • food
  • books and stationary
Although I prefer small local bookshops to corporate conglomerates, the largest bookstore chain in HK - Page One - gets huge props from me for having an excellent selection of both English and Chinese books, as well as a very sizable art and architecture section.  They also seem to have a deep respect for the books themselves:

Yes, this book is neatly wrapped in plastic - so nice!  On the shelf, there was usually one browsing copy, with the rest wrapped and ensured to be in great condition for purchase.  I'm not sure if this is a remnant from the SARS days and ultra sanitation, but whatever it is, I'm glad for this small gesture of attention.

Now, if only I could get Isaac to pay the same respect to books instead of deciding to eat them...

10 August 2010

Baby proofing

My recent homecoming pales in comparison to the recent arrival of my brother, sister in law, and nephew, who have been away in England for the past 2 years (well, Isaac I guess only 9 months) and have just returned shortly before I arrived.  The last time I saw the little guy above (the top one, not the one below) was when he was 3 months old, so in that short period of time he's grown so big!  He's much more expressive now and also more energetic, so we get tired out from running after him as he crawls or struggles to squirm away during diaper changes.  I've also learned that I have to be a bit less vain about my wardrobe, since whatever I wear ends up getting covered in drool and mashed up food.

Ah well, best to be humble anyways.

08 August 2010

[USA 1] : The big sleep

...is what I want but have not had yet (alas).  So I'm finally back in the States and was truly looking forward to having a long 12+ hour sleep to recover from the 15 hour flight and not sleeping very much the night before leaving Hong Kong.  Alas...this is not to be.  My nights are about 8 hours long, which on a normal day is good but not quite enough for recovery.  Maybe tonight will be the night...

Anyways, I don't think I've been away long enough to have reverse culture shock upon return, although I do miss the friends I made in HK, as well as the yummy food and general efficiency.  (Standing in line for 30 minutes, waiting for immigration at Newark, was a profound example of America's lack thereof.)  I will have to do some more processing before coming up with profound lessons learned from this summer, but a couple quick things that I noticed I missed about the States:
  • friends and family (especially the newly-arrived Britons)
  • people saying "bless you" after you sneeze
  • wide open spaces with plenty of accessible greenery and a visible blue sky
  • being able to speak my mind and express myself clearly (more of a language ability than anything else)
Things I have not missed include:
  • rude Americans (somehow different than Chinese rudeness)
  • inefficiency
  • allergies (which have been rampant since I arrived)
  • high prices
Stay tuned...

05 August 2010

[HK 38] : Con te partiro

Signs of leaving:

1) Team "yum cha" aka dimsum

... entails ordering massive amounts of food to feed our mainly-male team of hungering colleagues.  (Or, ordering foods that Karly likes to eat!)

2) Sweets galore

... in the form of cakes, courtesy of nearby Prince Bakery.  I suppose it's a bit of a tradition for people who are leaving to treat the rest of the team to sweets, which I thought was a fun idea so I brought in a box of chocolates, too.

3) Sing K, aka karaoke

("Sing K" is a direct translation from Chinese and can be used in non grammatically correct situations, with the excuse that you're speaking Hong Kong English.)  A few brave souls spent 4 hours singing and playing Wii.  I only got there for the last 2.5 hours, but managed to squeeze in my English songs plus token Chinese song amidst the Cantopop ballads.  Note to self: avoid "Single Ladies" (because I can't be Jordan) and go for the more soulful tunes like "Bleeding Love" as crowd pleasers.  (Thank goodness I also managed to avoid singing Lady Gaga...  would not have been a pretty sight nor sound.)

4) Lounging and having extended "last" conversations

...which do not signal the last coffees, nor the last time to see each other!  This was my first and only time at Pacific Coffee, a HK shop akin to Starbucks but with more flavored coffees.  (I tried the hazelnut cappuccino - a bit too sweet, but not bad.)  Cup sleeves have proved to be great canvases, and good objects of conversation with good friends made.

5) Late nights spent packing...

... as proved by the timestamp of this post.  Good bye and hello!

02 August 2010

When technology needs to do the hugging

dear _________ ,

2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

<3 your sister

01 August 2010

[HK 37] : HK Makeover

Walking across the skybridge between the Star Ferry terminal exposes one of the most apparent ways that Hong Kong is remaking itself.  The city is known for its frequent facelifts, but this one is a pretty major one, the new harbour walk from Central over through Wanchai on the Island side.  The construction site blockades have been used to showcase the new visions for the area.  Now these images are a bit faded, but this doesn't deter the average citizen from making their own commentary on the city's actions:

HK's most recent motto, with perhaps a new subtitle.

Masterplan: yay or nay?

Would this receive praise or criticism if presented in our studio reviews?

Nostalgic, perhaps...  where have all the floating communities gone?

It was interesting to see these visions of new Hong Kong right before browsing through postcards, the ones you see at every tourist trap with the same typical images of an electrically lit Hong Kong.  I looked more closely, though, and noticed that actually, the photos on the cards were taken many years ago.  Some of the buildings on them no longer exist, while newer ones like the IFC have yet to make their mark.  Somehow, the old Hong Kong persists in the nostalgia attached to touristic HK, even as the city attempts to create a new futuristic image for its place on the world map.

[HK 36] : Signs of the journey