March 28, 2020

Earth Hour 2020: staying in

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I have been observing Earth Hour since 2009, and other than that first year when I was a guest at a friend's home for dinner, and turning out the lights in my apartment in New Taipei City in 2012, I've been outdoors during the remaining years - often watching the lights being turned off in Victoria Harbour.

Given the current Covid-19 pandemic and the need for social distancing, we decided to stay home this year.  We were, in fact, scheduled to be in Tokyo this weekend... but of course that went out the window weeks ago.  We haven't seen DaRC and Ro Ro for 2 weeks so we invited them over for a simple dinner - as long as they were willing to spend part of the evening in the dark.

Hello Kitty started us off with some steamed flower crabs from the wet market next door, as well as some whiskered velvet shrimps (赤米蝦) in a cocotte with some sake.  We also had some Brussels sprouts with shallots.

Chef DaRC stepped into the kitchen to start cooking the 30-day dry-aged T-bone that weighed in at over 1kg.  As this would take a little time to have it properly done, we turned off all the lights in the apartment but kept the range hood light on while he worked over the hunk of meat.

We turned off the lights a few minutes before 8:30 p.m.  Cheung Kei Center turned off their bright LEDs relatively early but left the company logo on until just before 9:30 p.m., while China Life Centre switched off the LED and logo around 8:29 p.m.

Lots of lights came back on right at 9:30 p.m., including China Life Centre, the top dome of Langham Place, and the big FTLife Insurance sign.  Cheung Kei Center came back on about a minute later.  We followed soon after after dining by candlelight for about an hour.

Photo courtesy of DaRC
Of course Chef DaRC did a great job with the steak, as he meticulously made sure there was enough charring to impart the right amount of flavors - inlcuding the T-bone.

We also nibbled on some 2-year Beaufort DaRC brought back from France, along with some popsicles made with Nestlé Eagle Brand condensed milk.

Getting together also gave me a chance to pop open a few bottles of decent wine... better than the stuff that Hello Kitty and I quaff by ourselves.

1996 Moët et Chandon Cuvée Dom Pérignon - nice and ripe, smooth, rounded, and elegant on the palate.

2000 Harlan Estate The Maiden - decanted for 1½ hours before serving.  Smoky, grilled meats, with very ripe fruit and vanilla oak.  Drinking very well.  Also some woodsy notes.

2006 Arietta Quartet - decanted just prior to serving.  Very ripe and sweet, smoky, and fragrant woodsy notes.

I don't know what 2021 will bring, but hopefully the world will be a happier place during the next Earth Hour.

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