June 7, 2024

A night of Champagnes and Burgundies

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We haven't seen our friends from Down Under for 6 years, thanks to their 2019 plans being cancelled on account of social unrest followed by 3 years of Covid border closures. Now that borders have been open since late 2022, we are glad to welcome them back on the last leg of their trip before they return home. I rounded up the Candidate and the Film Buff for our first dinner together tonight, as the Aussies definitely had some things they could bond over.

I was surprised when the gang voted in favor of Xinrongji (新榮記) over another crowd favorite, and even more surprised when, booking our table just 5 weeks ahead of tonight, I was told that YES, one of the restaurant's very limited number of Peking ducks was still available for pre-booking. I didn't hesitate for even half a second.

I picked out a few other dishes to pre-order, but when we arrived at the restaurant, the manager informed me that we were still some distance away from the minimum charge required, especially since the Candidate was being counted for this purpose despite her very late arrival and the fact that she was not expected to partake in any food. So I added a few other dishes on the spot, but was told it was still not enough. The manager was obviously trying to get me to order the high-value items to get us to spend more, but unfortunately I just wasn't interested in those items.

We always start with some fruit as well as some confectionery:

I didn't bother asking where the melon came from, but it was pretty crunchy just like ones from Hami (哈密) or elsewhere in Xinjiang.

Walnut cookies are always nice here.

June 1, 2024

Long time no pigeon

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Foursheets' bestie is in town from the Land of Maple Syrup, and we've decided to take them out for a nice dinner to welcome them back to Hong Kong. Given a few options to choose from, it was decided we would be enjoying some pigeon tonight... so off to Stellar House (星月居) we went.

This is a rare chance for our visitors to have Shunde (順德) cuisine, and I'm not even sure if they know what the area is famous for, so I made sure to order a few classic dishes which, from experience, the kitchen executes well.

Crab and winter melon soup (鮮蟹肉冬茸羹) - this was a hit with the ladies, but I really didn't understand the presence of undercooked and crunchy loofah, as they introduced some green flavors that I didn't care for. Also got some diced mushrooms. The white pepper was pretty noticable.

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