jump to navigation

No United unfriendly sky for me April 30, 2017

Posted by hslu in Travel.
Tags:
add a comment

I have told my wife and my friends a long time ago that I didn’t like United. 

More than once. I might add. 

And I haven’t flown with United for years despite the fact that United usually had one of the lowest fares on cross Pacific Ocean flights.

I didn’t like United because of their lousy customer services at the ticket counter and poor in flight accommodation. I especially loathed the United counter at Chicago’s O’Hare airport because it had probably the least efficient, least friendly and least helpful ticket counter staff that I have ever encountered. Once was enough for me. 

I am no big star or famous but I can always walk with my feet if I don’t like this or that company. United, AA and Delta have grown so much after de-regulation, they think they own the sky in the U.S.. They try every way they can to charge extra money to the flying public and totally forget that they are service companies.

The attitude of United agents at O’Hare were terrible, not only to me but to other customers as well. He wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me anything about our Chicago to Tokyo flight which was terribly delayed. While many people were waiting in line to be checked in, the one and only United agent didn’t make any attempt to request for additional assistance even though we were all very anxious for fear of missing our flights.

Over the past ten years, we have taken many flights between DC and Shanghai, DC and Taipei and JFK and Taipei. A few of our flights were with United in late 2000’s because their flights often had one of the lowest fare on Kayak or other websites. 

On these busy cross Pacific Ocean flights, it appeared that almost all flight attendants on United were women in their 50’s. They got these assignments probably because they have earned enough seniorities to be eligible for these lucrative routes.

During those 15+ hour flights, United flight attendants treated us in the coach section like a herd of cattles. These mean old women shout out instructions and demand us to comply. If you wanted a blanket because cold air was blasting down from the ceiling, they asked us to wait. When we asked them to turn down the temperature or lower the speed of the fan, they said they couldn’t do it. 

The food United served us was always very bad. On the way over to the Far East, we’d have beef in brown sauce with rice. On the way back, it was penne with marinara sauce. Lettuce with brown spots looked like it was three days old . Dinner roll was cold and the butter was hard. It was impossible to spread the butter on the dinner roll. The hot food looked disgusting with dried and burned crust on the edge of the aluminium container. A few pieces of penne not covered by the marinara sauce were burned and tough to chew. Rice was dry and tough to eat. Broccoli was soggy and soaked in dark brown sauce with a layer of film over the top. The green peas, corn and diced carrots tasted like they’ve been microwaved two or three times too many. Beef was dry and chewy and it tasted like rubber. Dessert was always a piece of carrot cake and friut consisted of 2 slices of apple and a slice of soggy honey dew.

After the first hot meal, these old women turn off the cabin lights even though it was bright daylight outside. They disappeard to their own quarters and took their beauty nap. Once a while, one or two would come back to check on us. Four or five hours later they passed out a cold and dry ham sandwich with a piece of lettuce as flat as a sheet of paper inside. The sandwich was wrapped so tight in saran wrap that it made the sandwich looked like a small football. The bread was tougg and chewy and it tasted like a 2-day old sandwich you found in the back of your fridge.

Exactly two hours from landing the entire crew got busy. They turned on the lights, rushed out the carts, passed out drinks, gave you a small tray of egg with cheese, mushy tater tots, a cold dinner roll and a cup of fruit. Before you finished your breakfast, they started to collect dirty trays and glasses. Soon after, they asked you tO dump all your garbage in a bag so that they didn’t have to dig it out from the front seat back pocket. After a round of coffee, it was time to get you back to your seats and prepared for landing. After landing, these women hid in the back of the airplane, got their bags and suitcases ready and marched off the airplane as soon as the last passenger walked off the airplane. One unlucky flight attendant had to stand by the door to say goodby to us and that’s probably the only smile we’d see on the entire flight.

So much for the friendly sky. It’s not for me.

三義鳥人餐廳 April 30, 2017

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

台灣苗栗縣三義鄉這個鳥快要不生蛋的地方居然有一個叫”鳥人”的餐廳。餐館的名字叫鳥人。有相片為證,不是蓋的。朋友帶我們來,讓我們開個台灣葷。

其實,鳥人不止是一個餐廳,它實際是在一個叫”天空之城”的園區裏面。天空之城座落在三義附近一個小山頭上,它有兩個獨立的餐廳;一個賣葷菜的叫天堂古堡,相當大。一個賣素菜的叫鳥人,只有天堂古堡的三分之一。天堂古堡有午餐套餐,下午茶,和許多牛排餐。鳥人有飯,有麵,也都是套餐。套餐附麪包,湯,飲料和甜品。都是素的。台灣年紀比較大的人,好像喜歡素食,比較注重健康。有些年輕人也跟著學樣,不過他們等到禮拜五或禮拜六晚上去夜市吃豬血,烤大腸,烤魷魚和油油的香腸。

園區裏還有許多花草,樹木,優雅的步道,一個水池,雕像,一個漂亮的大樓,和一個城堡一樣的建築物。藍天白雲,風景優美,美不勝收。遠處的中央山脈一望無際,令人心曠神怡。看來老闆花了不少心機和大把的鈔票把它開出來。我們是週日去的,人不多,可是也有不少客人在園區里走來走去。

二樓往下看。

鐵門看來是專家設計的。這個地方應該是財務危機之前蓋的。那時候,台灣錢多,商人想盡辦法賺錢。不是隨便蓋一個破屋子就可以招來客人的。不是名人設計的東西,不會有人來的。

你想想,這麼大的一個建築物在山的那一邊,地錢,房子,蓋起來要多少錢啊!不知道老闆是不是已經把他的投資賺回來了沒有?

這也是專家名人的手筆。我說這些都是錢堆出來的,不假吧!

這些都是有名目的東西。下面一張小卡片說明雕刻家的想法。我看不懂。

鳥人餐館的佈局很獨特。兩層樓的餐廳依著山坡蓋起來的。我們坐在樓上可以看到遠方的山峰。清風徐徐吹來,遐逸的很。只不過身處之地全是錢堆出來的,消費不低。平常人口袋裏沒有幾個銅板,沒有車子的人是沒法來的。

台灣的媒體一天到晚報導經濟衰退,物價低迷,消費不高,薪水不漲,陸客不來,那都是什麽樣的人來這種地方呢?看來看去,像我們這種上了年紀的老傢伙還真不多呢。管他的,這不是我的問題。民進黨當政,讓他們去傷腦筋吧。總統府和立法院都是他們的。搞不好也不能怪別人了。

鳥人裏面很乾淨,佈置樸素典雅,木頭桌,木頭椅。窗戶邊上擺放著好幾瓶餐館自己釀的醋做點綴,蠻特別的。

服務員親切,可愛,清一色都是活活潑潑的年輕人。我們是第一次來。主人倒是來了幾次。主人還邀請另外一對夫婦,他們也是第一次來。我們對菜單有許多問題,服務員有耐心的一一的解釋給我們聽。大家點的都是套餐,好像只有這個選擇。

菜色可以,味道中等,可是談不上秀色可餐。食品的材質很好,新鮮,廚子的手藝也還可以。我在廚房邊上探頭探腦,看到廚子也都是年輕人。不像是受過訓練,科班出身的師傅。他們都犯了一個台灣廚子的通病:就怕客人吃不飽。把盤子裏的菜堆的高高的。不精緻,沒有美感。

清一色的素菜,我並不常常吃。看得出來廚子費盡心思想把菜做的漂亮好吃,不過光是素材是不容易的。

酸酸的橄欖。有一點甜味。開胃前菜。

Potato soup. 不夠濃。

這是我叫的。名字好聽:南瓜杏鮑菇松露燉飯。你看像不像 bacon。嚇我一大跳。怎麼吃都吃不完。

不記得這是什麼了。好像是一種香菇吧。Deep fried。

Baked mushrooms with cheese.

Pasta 還不錯。Cheese 夠多,味道不差,Pasta 八分熟。我覺得這是比較好吃的一道菜。

一般。蛋糕不甜。

台灣有不少像鳥人這一類的餐館。離市區有一點路,除了餐館,還有其他設備。都是一個樣子,只是情調不同,價錢不一樣。不過,口袋沒幾個錢是不能來的。如果爸爸媽媽有錢給你花,那也行。

梨園湯包舘 April 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: ,
add a comment

路過看到的。今天要走的一萬步已經走夠了,可以休息一下。先吃個晚飯,在附近走一走,等晚一點再回林口。

門迎東西南北客,舘納千古湯包情

湯包,麪食,小菜,炒飯,和水酒。

門口有人排隊,大概要等二十分鐘。有人排隊,就表示東西好吃。我們也跟著排。
果然不錯,排隊有理,沒讓我們失望。總管很客氣,耐心的跟我們介紹他們的特色。我們問他是不是老闆,他說他是店長。可能也有分紅吧。點菜的小姐和送菜的小姐都很年輕,很客氣也很有禮貌。不像有些餐館,忙起來把客人當牛趕。真差勁。店長還說 他們有很多外賣的,都是附近的居民,在他們餐館吃了好多年了。

跟VA和MD半畝園的紅油抄手有比。就是裏面包的肉多了點。

鍋貼吃不完,明天中午的中飯。

每個湯包都是直挺挺的。這就表示餡的多少剛剛好,不然皮癱下來,就是餡太少了。湯多,味鮮,好吃。兩人一籠剛剛好。

煎了久了一點。豆沙不夠多,不夠甜,不夠細。


差。下次不能叫他們的甜點。

湯包果然一流,怪不得敢把湯包掛在餐館的名字邊上。絕對不比鼎泰豐的小籠包差。

台北車站紅豆小館 April 29, 2017

Posted by hslu in Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

台北車站樓上有好多餐廳。一家接著一家,大概有四五十家,把個二樓排的滿滿的。有一個牛肉麪區。一個夜市區。還有拉麪,,pasta,咖啡廳,廣東點心,泰國菜,韓國菜和上海菜。可以說是琳瑯滿目,美不勝收。

紅豆小館是中間的一家。我們也不知道那一家的菜好吃,就繞著二樓轉一圈,看到紅豆小館,就它吧。看看它有什麼精彩的小菜。還有,紅豆小館是上海菜和一些北方點心,壞也壞不到哪裏去。菜單上有好多選擇,看起來還算可以。價錢比較貴,但是不是不合理。餐廳乾淨,明亮也不用排隊。反正遲早要試一試的,那就今天吧。

我們叫了幾樣簡單的小菜,點心和一碗雪菜肉絲麪:

看到就想吃。夠麻,不太辣。牛筋Q,有咬勁。不像有些餐館的牛筋回鍋太多次,牛筋太軟,跟吃jello一樣。


這種小菜在VA或MD是做不出來的。雪菜綠的可愛,百頁又軟,又新鮮,毛豆清脆。道地的上海小菜。喜歡。

清淡。應該叫碗排骨麪或是牛肉麪的。

蔥油餅,

餅香,油夠,蔥多。可惜鹽少了。台灣這股回歸自然的風吹的太猛了。粗茶淡飯在家吃吃也就吧了。結果這個不能吃,那個吃多了會早死。有的吃了會得癌症,高血壓要不然就是糖尿病。真累啊。

芝麻球

差。奶黃比忠孝東路的1976差多了。簡直是不能比。

Jean-Paul Hevin Chocolatier, Taipei 101 April 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: ,
add a comment

The first time my wife and I came to 101 several years ago, we had xiaolongbao at dingtaifeng; 鼎泰豐小籠包。I got a case of very serious food poisoning from eating crab-egg infused xiaolongbao. For at least 45 minutes, I went in and out of the bathroom just around the corner from dingtaifeng five times before I could walk by myself. From then on, I have stayed away from 101 because, as Chinese would say, once bitten by a snake, a person will for 10 years be scared of ropes; 一朝被蛇咬,十年怕草繩。

A few weeks ago, my daughter and my son-in-law came from NYC to visit us and they wanted to do what most tourists do in Taipei: go to the observatory deck of 101. That’s the time when I came back to 101 and discovered the food court at the basement of 101.

Today, we are back to 101 to explore. First stop is the Jean-Paul Hevin Chocolatier on the fourth floor. We skipped the afternoon tea for two ($1,280 NTD for 2) and went for coffee, tea and couple of slices of cakes. 

The coffee/Chocolate shop is in the middle of the center court on the fourth floor. It is surrounded by world renowned boutique shops like Prada, Miu Miu, DeBeers, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Bvlgari. Another coffee shop, Sweet Tea, shares the spacious and high (80′ tall) ceilings center court with Jean-Paul Hevin.

Six sets of comfortable leather seats with wooden tables and eight 2 tops surround the glass-enclosed service area. Dark blue carpet, wooden cabinets and a display case filled with enticing chocolate desserts make Jean-Paul Hevin a relaxing but rather expensive place to spend a cozy and pleasant afternoon.

Each of those small squares of chocolate can be had for $130 NTD

It turns out that our coffee, tea and cakes cost more than the afternoon tea set for two. Silly us.

Why not April 26, 2017

Posted by hslu in Global Affair, Travel, Trump.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Go ahead, Mexico, tax Americans. 

Trump has treated you like second class people. It is time to do the same to the Americans. Trump asks for it and he shall get it. In fact, tax every thing sold in Mexico but made in America too.

Here are some facts: 

1.  About 7.2 million Americans visited Mexico in 2014.

2.  America imports about 660,000 barrels of crude oil from Mexico every day.

3.  America/Mexico trades in 2016:

America export to Mexico: $231 billions

America import from Mexico: $294 billions

It is apparent that America doesn’t like Mexicans but others might. 

Go to Japan instead. It needs immigrants bad. Very bad. VERY very bad as Trump has done on his tweets when he wants to emphasize his point.

Brownie April 26, 2017

Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

Taiwanese brownie sold at Taipei Fine Arts Museum (台北美術館) is probably ten times less sweet than its American cousins sold at any art museum in the U.S.

The brownie measured about 3.5″ x 4″. I kept searching for sugar in the brownie until it was almost all gone.

I have to be frank with you: it looks like a genuine piece of brownie but it just doesn’t taste good at all.

I get it. I really do: eating less sugar is supposed to be good for me, especially when “sangao,” or 三高 in Chinese, is an inevitable outcome for me after I get older in the near future. “Sangao” literally means “three high”: high levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. People in Taiwan have a way with words. They make complicated sentences and difficult to comprehen concepts simple and easy to remember. “Sangao” is easy to understand, easy to remember and easy to relate to.

But, eating a slice of brownie is supposed to make you feel good in your mouth and fulfilling inside. It is also supposed to make you temperarily forget about “three high” and enjoy life as it is suppose to be enjoyed?

Well, almost every kind of dessert in Taiwan tastes like the baker is three months behind on payments to his sugar suppliers. 

Then again, there aren’t very many fat people in Taiwan for a reason.

Shall I image bites of ultra sweet brownie when I consume my Taiwanese brownie next time?

蔥油餅 – 特大號 April 13, 2017

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags:
add a comment

台北松山捷運站附近。

台北永康商圈 April 10, 2017

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Food, Life in Taiwan, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: ,
add a comment

聽過,可是沒來過。下午來大安公園看不要錢的音樂會,順便來永康商圈瞧瞧,看看它有什麽與眾不同的地方。

這是永康街。街道寬廣,整齊,乾淨。永康街上有許多商店。巷子裏也有許多餐館。看不到路邊的攤子。說這裏是夜市,其實不對。所以這裏是永康商圈。

永康街的歷史。

永康花園邊上的藝術圍牆柱子。

永康商圈跟其他的夜市不一樣。夜市的商家,不論是飲食業或販賣業,比較集中。永康商圈不像夜市,店子比較分散,許多都在永康街邊上的巷子裏。一般夜市,賣吃的大部分是路邊的攤子。永康商圈沒有攤子,好像都是正式的餐館和商店,很多都比較正式,也比較高級。永康街還有一個公園,人們在這聊天,休息,談情,說愛。

生意真好。大排長龍。

Smoothy。

台南度小月在永康街也有店面。

情侶談情說愛的好地方。永康花園裏面。

這是一間外國餐館。有吧檯,簡單的裝潢,乾淨的飯廳。

有餐館也有精緻的女裝小店。

我們選永康牛肉麪,因為 Yelp 和 愛評都給它很高的評價。

十幾個人排隊。

粉蒸排骨。

七點多一點到的。大約有十幾個人在排隊。我們也乖乖的排在後面。好在沒多久就到我們了,因為一個旅行團十幾個人剛好吃完,空出許多座位來。我們叫了一碗半筋半肉和一碗牛筋麵,三個小菜。

餐館樓上一角。菜單在牆上。就只有這幾樣。牛肉麪專賣店。

樓下進門邊上的小菜。下次在這裏看好你要什麼。樓上小菜樣式不多。

半筋半肉。

一級棒。牛肉,牛筋都好吃。湯濃,麵Q。加點小白菜就更好了。

很香。很好吃。下酒好菜。

籠子太了。沒有幾粒排骨。下面是yam。不過味道一流。

下次不叫。我叫的是豬耳朵。這有點像摻了豬頭肉。

永康的牛肉麪看起來比林東芳的牛肉麪要吸引人。它跟我以前記得的牛肉麪一個樣子。濃湯,細麪,碗邊上沾了一層紅油,好像看得到湯裏的美味一樣。不過以前的牛肉麪的碗沒那麽深,碗裏也沒有這麽多,這麽大條的牛肉。牛肉煮的恰到好處。好吃。怪不得這麽多人排隊。

下次再來。

兜不攏 April 7, 2017

Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

蔡英文說:

中國時報說:

112 萬陸客 – 106 萬非陸客 = 6 萬陸客。

6 萬陸客 = – $300 億新臺幣遊覽車損失。

1 個陸客 = – $500,000 新臺幣。

也就是說,一個陸客造成遊覽車業主五十萬的損失

陸客真厲害。一個陸客不來,五十萬價值的遊覽車不見了。

是蔡英文騙老百姓,還是中國時報黑白講。

說不定我小學二年級數學不及格。要不然就是我的腦袋有問題。

蔡英文是臺灣新上台的大總統。不可能錯。

中國時報是臺灣的老招牌。不可能報錯。

我是鄉下佬回臺灣。照道理,應該是我的錯。

要不然就是遊覽車公會的理事長危言聳聽,搞不清楚。

  • 台中市遊覽車公會理事長張治本說全台遊覽車至少有1000台待售。
  • 可是,新北市遊覽車公會理事長馬景仲說全台準備拋售的遊覽車已達3000~4000台。
  • 他還說,更慘的是,遊覽車售價只剩原價的1/4,等於總值超過300億元的遊覽車賣不出去。

客官幫個忙,你說誰對,誰錯。

如果你說我錯,那我認了。你如果說蔡英文錯,那你腦筋有問題。

不過,請問客官,有誰這麽傻,買這麽多遊覽車?難道這些人不知道陸客不來了嗎?大概都是付現金的投資客吧!

如果我說這是自作自受,你會不會說我太沒有同情心了?