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Ristorante Italia Oggi, Amsterdam April 21, 2018

Posted by hslu in Food, Restaurants, Travel, Wine.
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I searched Yelp for recommendations on Italian food because we already had pancakes, waffle smothered with nutella, tapas, churros, fries with mayo, chinese, Argentinian, omlette sandwich, panini, sushi, fried chickens, Mediterranean salad, Paella, cheese and olives, escargot and curry prawns.

We decided on Italia Oggi on the outskirts of the red light district. It was a little out of the way but this might be a plus for us because fewer tourists would come so far for a late night meal.

We were pleasantly surprised.

Specials for the day.

The narrow dining room was very cozy with soft lighting, wooden floor and pictures of Sophia Loren on the wall. The open kitchen was in the back.

She was our beautiful waitress.

We had tomato soup, greek salad, pasta made on a parmigiana cheese wheel, seafood rissotto and a slice of tiramisu for dessert. For drinks, we ordered a bottle of Italian red table wine: Montepulciano D’Abruzzo. The wine was very affordable and matched well with rich pasta, tasty seafood and all the cheese we had in our pasta.

Simple yet wonderful soup.

He was making another pasta parmigiana for a guess at another table.

Tax was 6% on food and 15% on alcohol. That’s how tourists support the economy of Amstetdam.

Time to pay and go back to our hotel. Our young and beautiful waitress didn’t speak fluent english but we could communicate to get what we wanted.

We took our time enjoyed the wine with pasta and dessert. The tomato soup was made with a clear but hearty base. Salad was fresh with many roasted walnuts and rucola cheese. The pasta parmigiana was simply made but rich. The seafood rissotto had generous amount of seafood and the rissotto was filled with sensational seafood sauce.

By the time tiramisu came, we were already too full to finish it all.

Italia Oggi was filled with guests when we arrived at 8:30 pm and we had to settle for a table near the door. After us, a few more guests came. By the time when we left Oggi, only one customer was still working on his meal.

BBC News: Chinese wine-tasters scoop surprise win in France October 10, 2016

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Chinese wine-tasters scoop surprise win in France – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-37601132

Definitely a ‘thunderbolt‘ event. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see so many different wines being sold at supermarkets in Shanghai. There are few wine shops at areas frequented by foreigners too. 

I am still taking a ‘wait and see’ attitude towards buying Chinese red and whites wines because I didn’t like what I have tasted so far.

Large areas dedicated for wine growing do not mean improvement in the quality of wines.

Five or ten years later may be a different story.


My new blogsite: www.polinomicspost.com January 29, 2011

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Economics, Food, Life, Death and Yuanfen, misc, My Restaurant, Politics, Restaurants, Shanghai, Travel, Wine.
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If you are looking for my blogs on politics and economics, may I present you a new blog site of mine thanks for the help of XB:


xiaohua remains to be my blog on personal matters such as:

food, travel, life in the US and China, 命运 “ming4 yun4”, 生 死 “sheng1 si3” and 缘份 “yanu2 fen4.

A new blog! A new beginning!

It is still evolving and may take a while to reach its final stage.

A wine store in Shanghai selling 古越龙山 January 16, 2011

Posted by hslu in China, Travel, Wine.
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Would you like some of China’s yellow wine 古越龙山? It is best drank warm.

Rehoboth Beach, DE and Ocean City, MD June 18, 2010

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We took a 1/2 day off two weeks ago Thursday to get away from daily grind here in Northern Virginia and seek some quiet time at Rehoboth Beach about 150 miles away.We worked for 3 hours that morning putting on a coat of black paint on the new arbors we bought to replaced the one damaged by rain and wind.

Nothing special. No special occasion either. We’ve been here a few times and kind of knew our ways around. about 20 miles north of Ocean City, Maryland.

We walked on the beach, played with the sand and chased the waves for about two hours. We were relaxed and put in a day’s worth of exercise. We had such a good time that we forgot the 2 hour limit on the parking meter. For that, we got a ticket (barely 10 minutes over) for $30. Well, at least it wasn’t the New York City where a parking violation cost me $100 we already had a few.

We also took an hour at Rehoboth’s outlet shopping center where Bao managed to find a couple of dresses on the cheap. The shopping center had a lot of cars on the parking lot but few shoppers. Business at that particular shopping center was very slow on that Thursday. There weren’t many cars on the street either.

For dinner, we chose Liquid Assets on the main drag in Ocean City, Maryland based on the reviews on Yelp. The place looked very attractive: a large wine shop with a circular bar and about 10 to 12 seats in the middle; a couple sets of knee-high tables and sofa chairs where you could order a glass of wine with a plate of cheese or some appetizers. A cozy and small dining room with candles and dim ceiling lights was also available if you preferred a sit-down dinner.

We had a glass of Tierruca Sauvignon Blanc wine and a Belgian style beer called Matilda from Illinois. I was quiet disappointed with the white wine but the beer was very good; even better than Blue Moon. Fortunately I only ordered a glass instead of a bottle  because I still had 2.5 hours of driving after the meal.

We had their appetizer special which was grilled shrimp and small squid tubes stuffed with sushi rice drizzled with chipolte glaze. Although the shrimp was slightly over-cooked, the squid tubes with sushi rice was very special and nicely done. The grapes between the shrimps and squid tubes were juicy and sweet which complimented the grilled seafood perfectly.  We ate every bit of this dish and anxiously waiting for the second course.

Pan Roasted Mussels with aged chorizo (Spanish smoked pork sausage) , shallots, garlic and grilled ciabatta. This was also a very good dish: the mussels were tender, the minced chorizo was spicy and crunch, the golden brown colored sauce was laced with shallot and garlic. It was great with the grilled ciabatta. We finished the mussels, ate the chorizo and scrapped up almost every drop of the sauce from the bottom of the plate.

The entrees were:

  • Seared Ahi Tuna with soba noodle, kimchi & hazelnut salad, scallions, toasted sesame seeds and cucumbers.

What got my attention of this dish was the soba noodles but this dish was a total disaster: the ahi tuna was fresh but bland; the soba noodle was way over cooked probably in unsalted water; the sauce was too salty, terrible and unbalanced and the salad was simply horrible. The whole dish was poorly done and the ingredients weren’t in harmony with each other at all. A total disappointment! The chef was way too inexperienced to prepare this dish.

  • Seared Scallops with Spring Peas and Mushroom Risotto with roasted garlic and shallots, fresh herbs and grana padano (Italian cheese.) With her first bite of the risotto, Bao declared: 不怎么样 “bu1 zhe3 me1 yang4!” She then tried the scallop and said: 没味道 “mei2 wei4 dao4.” I then tried the dish and had no choice but to agree with her assessment: the scallop could be cooked 10 to 20 seconds longer, some of the risotto were over-cooked and some were under-cooked; the peas are fresh but the mushroom was horrible and the worse of them all was the sauce: too light, too bland and short of cheese.

After a couple of bites of the entrees, we couldn’t eat the rest of them because it was so bad. We politely told our waitress that we were too full to finish them and we didn’t want any desserts either.

Our drive back to NV was smooth and uneventful even though I took the shorter route to drive across the rough parts of the DC a little after midnight.

Immediately after we finished this trip, I was ready for our next trip already.

2005 Bordeaux May 13, 2010

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In the summer of 2006, I pre-ordered 14 bottles of 2005 Bordeaux before the release date for about $700 dollars. I finally got 13 of them the last week.One more bottle is on back order. One of the magnet bottles was reserved for Jingjing and Booby for their wedding.

During the height of the recession, I was afraid that the company would not be able to survive the downturn. I called a few times about my order and they assured me that once they received my order, they’d send them to me. I decided to take delivery for the ones already in their stock.

There is no release date for the other two bottles though.

Here are my orders:

Chateau Moulin St Georges

Reignac Magnum

Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker 1/2, Margaux

Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker, Margaux

Chateau Marquis d’Alesme Becker Magnum, Margaux

Sanctus Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

Chateau De Fonbel, St. Emilion Grand Cru

Chateau Latour A Pomerol

La Fleur Petrus – Back order

I’ll wait for 10 years before drinking them except the 1/2 bottle which I may drink it sooner.

便饭 with Parents September 12, 2009

Posted by hslu in Life, Death and Yuanfen, Wine.
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便饭 with Parents

Bao and I were off on Thursday. We had a light lunch at Sahara Cafe in Sterling. After lunch we went to the print shop on Gallows to discuss the new menu board for my restaurant. We then stopped by Korean supermarket nearby to pick up some Korean xiaocai “韩国小菜 han2 guo2 xiao3 cai4”, fresh produce, fruits, jiaozi 饺子, guotie  锅贴 and red-bean pancake “红豆饼 hong2 dou4 bing3”.

On the way home, I called my parents and invited them to come over and have a 家常便饭 “jia1 chang2 bian4 fan4” or an ordinary family dinner with us.

We hurried home because it was about 4:30 PM already. I started making dinner immediately and bao cleaned the house. In less than 2.5 hours, I made an eight-course dinner, picked up my car from Tysons’ Toyota and got the dinner started at 7:15 PM.

We had a 拼盘 “pin1 pan2”, meat balls with fried tofu and bamboo shoots, pan-fired chicken drum sticks, egg plant with ground chicken meat, pan-fried soy bean sprouts “清炒黄豆芽 qing1 chai3 huang2 dou4 ya2”, guotie  锅贴 and red-bean pancake “红豆饼 hong2 dou4 bing3″. They were nothing fancy but all 家常菜 ‘jia1 chang2 cai4”.  We also shared a few shot glasses of 高粱酒 “gao1 liang2 jiu3” or hard liquor made from Sorghum 高粱 because my dad likes it. I also made some chicken broth with frozen doufu “冻豆腐 dong4 dou1 fu3” and Chinese Napa cabbage “大白菜 da4 bai2 cai4”. Unfortunately the doufu was bad.



We ate slowly and drank slowly. They were happy and enjoyed a few simple dishes they like to eat. They talked about life in general and commented that their old friends often envy their golden years together: healthy and with kids around them. they also commented that more than 1/2 of their college friends had passed away. But I am glad that they enjoy their life together and are satisfied with what they have.

However, they are getting older. We have noticed since a year ago that my dad couldn’t eat as much as he used to and my mom’s short term memory is getting worse in recent months. Since no one can escape death, it is only fitting to be content with their good health and be the 老伴 “lao3 ban4” to each other at their ages.

Life is short. Enjoy it while you can.

Making Wine at Home September 6, 2009

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December 5, 2009

This picture was taken 6 days after the fermentation process started on 8-30-2009.

Yeast is doing its job.

Making Wine at Home August 30, 2009

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Picture 060

Picture 022

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That’s a lot of work!

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Picture 049


I’ll continue to buy wine from the stores. it is simply not worth the effort.If I have a nice juicer, it may be a different story.

This is only the beginning though. There is still a lot of work to do in the next 3 to 6 months. I’ll know how it comes out in a year or so.

By this time next year, I’ll have a new crop to test with.

Concord Grapes in my Back Yard August 25, 2009

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Grapes in My Back Yard


I need to figure out what to do with all these grapes in my back yard.

This is the second year we had grapes. We didn’t use any fertilizer or pesticide and it started to look like a real grape plant now. Although most grapes already had dark and purple skins I need to wait for a week or two to let them produce more sugar. These grapes are still too small to me. Maria cut off some and the grapes are still too sour but my dad likes them.

The concord grapes I saw were much bigger; about twice the size of ours. Maybe next year’s crop will be even better.

I think I will make some sweet wine using these grapes. I’ll also keep some on the plant and see if i can make some ice wine later.

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