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Merry Christmas from Atlantic City December 24, 2013

Posted by hslu in Travel.
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Wishing you a merry christmas and a happy New Year!

From Tropicana, Atlantuc City.

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Atlantic City, Christmas
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The most expensive meal we’ve ever had December 22, 2013

Posted by hslu in Euro, Food, Travel.
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Well, it  was more than seven years ago on a Thursday evening in Paris.

I’ve heard of Alain Ducasse and wanted to eat at his restaurant for a while. I made a reservation for two at his Paris flagship restaurant called Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee when we were in Paris for a vacation. That week-long vacation in France also took us to Bordeaux and Nice. It was our first trip to Europe and we chose to stay in France the entire time. We had a great time there even though it was very expensive with hotels, TGV, afternoon tea, road side coffee and pastries not mention all the wonderful meals.

Well, we didn’t have cellphone back then and we didn’t take any pictures either. The restaurant gave us something to take away with: a box of home-made butter cookies and a copy of our menu.

Our bill, main menu and dessert menu

Our bill, main menu and dessert menu

It took us about two and half hours to finish the meal. During the entire time when we were at the restaurant, there was always someone a few steps away from our table. We didn’t have to ask for anything because our wait staff already anticipated our needs and did it before we even noticed. Yet, we didn’t feel any intrusiveness at any time because they were all very polite, professional and personal. It wasn’t rushed at all. Time between dishes was never more than a minute or two. The only trouble I had was that we didn’t know any French but our wait staff took the pain to explain each dish in English to us as well, not that we could comprehend or remember what he said.

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We ordered a bottle of wine, a ’98 Pouilly-Fuissé at the suggestion of the wine master. I told him how much I wanted to spend and what kind of food we wanted to order. He suggested this wine and we took it gladly. It cost us 120 euro.

There were six parties in the dining room and everyone was well dressed for the occasion. I believed we were all tourists because no sane local French would spend this kind of money and eat here on a Thursday evening.

The official exchange rate was $1.28 US for ever Euro. We were paying for $1.35 or even $1.40 at the airport and on the streets of Paris.

We were also charged a T.V.A. of 19.6% which came to 103.41 euro. We gave a tip of about 22%.

The meal and the tax was 631 euro. After 140 euro tips, the total charge on my credit card was 771 euro. At 1.35 exchange rate, we paid $1,040.

For images of the restaurant and some dishes served there, check the link below:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Alain+Ducasse+au+Plaza+Athenee&newwindow=1&safe=off&rlz=1C1SKPI_enUS394&espv=210&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=J622UsWsCYmL2AWIg4HoBA&ved=0CEsQsAQ&biw=1345&bih=947&dpr=0.9

Will we do it again? Yes, at other restaurants of the same quality. We we insane back then? No doubt about it.

Why did we do it? For the experience.

Was it worth it? Yes. Some people like to travel. Some people like to eat. Some people like to shop at antique stores. Some like to spend their money on furniture. We like to travel, eat and the memory.

I always say to myself that we don’t eat like this every day. After a big meal like this one, we’ll go back to cooking at home with plain old rice, sliced, diced or shredded chicken with vegetables and some green leaf vegetables for a week or two. Then we will be good to go for another meal outside. Not as fancy and not as expensive like the meal we had at Alain Ducasse of course.

Would you like to try it sometime? The restaurant is still open for business.

洪仲丘‘s death revealed a twisted logic – Only in Taiwan December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan.
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Let me know what do you think about this news appearing on America’s major newspapers:

US Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, resigns because a slightly overweight Army sergeant died due to hazing by his fellow soldiers .

Hagel doesn’t know any of the characters and he has no relationship with any of the soldiers who committed the crime.

Well? What do you think? Shall Hagel be responsible for that sergeant’s death?

Of course not!

Well, not so in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s defense secretary had sent in his resignation due to the death of  洪仲丘, an Army sergeant. Taiwan has this twisted logic that people high, high and high up in the chain of command are also responsible for any misdeed committed by the lowest people who worked for him. This was demanded by the Taiwanese people. Taiwan has sunk to this level because the Taiwan’s so-called democracy and liberty to express themselves.

Look for yourself:

Taiwan's defense secretary didn't have to resign because the president asked him to stay. Well, he had to bow because he was deemed of lack of leadership. 马英九 had to bow too。He has perfected the practice and he knew how to be sincere: by counting numbers from 1 to 10. He'll stayed in a deep bow position for at least some number of seconds to express his sincere sorrow. This is Taiwan. A twist logic that drove the people to insanity.

Taiwan’s defense secretary didn’t have to resign because the president asked him to stay.
Well, he had to bow because he was deemed of lack of leadership.
马英九 had to bow too。He has perfected the practice and he knew how to be sincere: by counting numbers from 1 to 10. He’ll stayed in a deep bow position for at least some number of seconds to express his sincere sorrow.
This is Taiwan.
A twist logic that drove the people to insanity.

上海浦东张江 钱人酒家 December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Shanghai, Travel.
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I am not sure why this restaurant is called 钱人酒家 or Money Man Restaurant.

It is a block away from my apartment in Shanghai.

The owner and his wife are very friendly and we promised them that we will come to try their food. It was opened about 2 weeks ago when we stopped by to take a look.

Cheap. Clean. Fresh ingredients. About 60 seats. Many young workers from the nearby software business park come for lunch. It has to rely on local residents for their dinner business.

Hope they can make it.

Big rice barrel。All you can eat。

Big rice barrel。All you can eat。

 

Supplied by a third party. Dirty dishes go back to them to clean. Not a bad idea.

Supplied by a third party. Dirty dishes go back to them to clean. Not a bad idea.

When i was little, farmer behind our community used a device like this to separate rice kernel from hull and loose debris. Fun thing to watch when I was little.

When i was little, farmer behind our community used a device like this to separate rice kernel from hull and loose debris. Fun thing to watch when I was little.

Tasty and smoky. But we had to deal with the skin. This is way different from the smoked fish shanghai style.

Tasty and smoky. But we had to deal with the skin. This was way different from the smoked fish shanghai style. $2.50. Won’t order it next time.

The name of this dish  is called “手剥笋。” Did you get it? You are supposed to use your hands to peel off the skins on the outside. Needless to say I was surprised. First time for me. Not the best bamboo shoots though.

The name of this dish is called “手剥笋。” $1.50 US.
Did you get it? You are supposed to use your hands to peel off the skins on the outside.
Needless to say I was surprised. First time for me. Not the best bamboo shoots though.

Smoked ham with stems of garlic flowers. Nice looking. Not greasy. Tasty pork with smoke flavor. Nice presentation too. ¥22。About $3.75 US.

Smoked ham with stems of garlic flowers. Nice looking. Not greasy. Tasty pork with smoke flavor. Nice presentation too.
¥22。About $3.75 US.

Very fresh. Better than ones we get here in VA or MD. Extremely fresh. Only slightly bitter. Very little sauce is a plus. Not salty at all.

Very fresh. Better than ones we get here in VA or MD. Extremely fresh. Only slightly bitter. Very little sauce is a plus. Not salty at all. About $2.59 US.

 

I liked it a lot because it only used the tender tips of the shanghai cabbage.  $2 US.

I liked it a lot because it only used the tender tips of the shanghai cabbage.
$2 US.

 

上海大风车小食堂 December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in Restaurants, Shanghai, Travel.
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A unique Shanghai restaurant with a dance hall upstairs.

We came here about 15 minutes before closing after watching a float competition in Shanghai in September 2013.

Small and cozy with old Shanghai decoration. The food tasted authentic but I felt a little rushed not from the staff but because we were the only table in the restaurant. Two big parties just left the restaurant.  One of they guys was too drunk to walk by himself.

Then we were alone. Just two of us and a few waitresses.

The owner also showed up from behind and he was busy preparing for tomorrow.

The food was good and the portions were as usual too big for us to finish.

Nonetheless we enjoyed it a lot. Bill total: about $35 US.

Big Windmill small restaurant。

Big Windmill small restaurant。

 

Menu cover.

Menu cover.

Prices were very reasonable.

Prices were very reasonable.

Outdoor seating.

Outdoor seating.

Cute。
Cute。

Smoked fish and jelly fish。Very tasty 很入味。Authentic。正宗。

Smoked fish and jelly fish。Very tasty 很入味。Authentic。正宗。熏鱼,凉拌海蜇皮

 

Braised Fish belly。

Braised Fish belly。红烧肚当

Braised pork belly。

Braised pork belly。红烧肉

Silver fish and hair-like seaweed soup。

Silver fish and hair-like seaweed soup。发财(髪菜)银鱼羹

Pan fried pork buns.

Pan fried pork buns. 生煎包

Pumpkin soup with fermented rice and sticky rice balls.

Pumpkin soup with fermented rice and sticky rice balls. 南瓜酒酿圆子

Names and numbers of dance girls on duty tonight.

Names and numbers of dance girls on duty tonight.

 

Door mat December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
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Door mat at a hair salon in Taipei。

Door mat at a hair salon in Taipei。

 

 

 

 

 

 

What kind of logic is this? December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
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Smelly hot pot? I had no desire to try. Do you?

Smelly hot pot?
I have absolutely no desire to try. Do you?

台北龙阵二号公园 December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in China.
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Ixora Westii

Ixora Westii。 Saw this at a small park in Taipei.

 

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That's a utility room。

That’s a utility room。

This small park is called "龙阵二号“

This small park is called “龙阵二号“

Things like this still happens in Taiwan December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
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This was taken behind the soy bean milk store we went to.

Hmm… I wonder what I just ate here.

 

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You get this behind the popular Yong He  soy bean milk restaurant. Not the best in the world. I wonder whether Taipei has a health department conducting regular inspections at restaurants in Taipei.

You get this behind the popular Yong He soy bean milk restaurant.
Not the best in the world. I wonder whether Taipei has a health department conducting regular inspections at restaurants in Taipei.

 

台北请粥小菜 December 21, 2013

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan.
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Back when I was still in Taiwan, 请粥小菜 (Chinese porridge and Chinese tapas) was a popular place for men and their dancing partners, not their wives, went to after dance hall closed at around 1 AM.

Shortly after dancing halls closed all over Taipei or any big city in Taiwan 阿肉牛带1 AM, men would buy additional time of their dancing partners (舞女)and took them out for a midnight snack.

Many taxis would wait for their customers outside of these smoke-filled dancing halls and took half drunk men and their flashy dance partners (舞女)to have something light to eat. This was called “带出场.”

As far as I remember, this was part of a very popular Taiwanese culture back then because many business deals were negotiated at places like this where scantily dressed girls with heavily make-up would wait on these business men to facilitate the business deals.

请粥小菜 (Chinese porridge and Chinese tapas) was by far their top choice.

Porridge will set you back 75 cents US. Cantonese porridge such as thousand year egg with pork porridge cost $2 US.

Porridge will set you back 75 cents US. Cantonese porridge such as thousand year egg with pork porridge cost $2 US.

Well, the traditional dancing halls have since been closed and 请粥小菜 has lost its appeal to some degree as well.

My wife and I went to one not too long ago and the store was not busy at all but we did see someone half drunk who made a big fuss about the lousy food he had.

The probably cost us less than $15 US.

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Huge selections.

Huge selections.

 

 

Close up of some dishes.

Close up of some dishes.

 

More close up shots.

More close up shots.

Soy bean sprouts and pickled long green beans

Soy bean sprouts and pickled long green beans

 

Winter melon and silver fish with spinash.

Winter melon and silver fish with spinash.

Shredded bean curd (干丝)and bamboo shoots with a mayo-like dressing.

Shredded bean curd (干丝)and bamboo shoots with a mayo-like dressing.

Clear porridge with yam。

Clear porridge with yam。

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