Bereaved.

Grief is an odd thing…perhaps the greatest lurker-troll. We can sense it throughout our day, stirring around the delta of consciousness, but not quite palpable. Then it strikes, out of the depths, with full, blunt, force. Perhaps in a momentary reflection on the past…a picture, a smell, or a simple chore. The thought of how our loved one is no more, will never take part in this life again strikes us as if by complete surprise. In the flash of an instant we shift from a normal composure to a sobbing agony of lonely contemplation. Continue reading

Goodbye Cody, January 6, 2018

Cody’s last moments.

I have been asked to write a book chronicling the life of our dog Cody. As I ponder the reams of paper my omnipresent writers block has left blank, this seems a daunting task, and probably a fool’s errand. On the other hand, this will perhaps become one more gift a wonderful friend and companion has left me. That through the telling of his mute life, I may find my voice again, and possibly some peace with the void his passing has left in my heart.  Continue reading

What is this quintessence of dust?

Recently I had the pleasure of being interviewed about my small work by the good people in the ATO of the US Consul General for Hong Kong and Macau. The resultant fine edit is a string of strange non sequitur statements (by yours truly), all ending in the form of a question? Whatdayagonnado! It was very nice being presented and of course the school, students and my team look lovely. 

In the hours of actual footage the idea I was trying to get through was:

I am the result of a deep culinary tradition of the melting pot of America. Brought to love diverse, ethnic home-style cuisine by my heritage, and especially by the wonderful home cooking of my Mother and Grandmothers. That the America I know, love, and am proud of is a place that celebrates diversity, pluralism, and damned good food. Some of the best food in the world comes from my place of birth, and certainly The USA produces many of the worlds finest ingredients.

While I may have become a gypsy – traveling the world, considering it my nation, and its people my brethren – I am still guided by the wondrous bounty, eclectic variety, and warm conviviality that, to me, is American cuisine. In my work here at HKA, and in all past stations, I have tried to share my love for all that I received by accident of birth. To me that is quintessentially what being American is all about. 

An addendum to Dan Ryan’s 

  We dropped in again today to enjoy the nostalgia, but are again stymied by a poor service mindset. In this case it goes to the head office, though the staff remains about the same as last time…unfriendly, downright grumpy, and technically incompetent.

The headquarters has switched this shop to a limited menu eliminating many of the classics (like all of the sandwiches). It seems (though I have an incomplete survey) that they eliminated lower priced items. Meanwhile their two other Hong Kong shops sell the full menu, so their is no logistic or supply reason for the cut in service, just one of serving themselves over the needs of their customers. Perhaps an avaricious last dash to grab as much cash as possible from the Pacific Place store. One could assume that many coming in this period, are their most loyal fans. Though to be frank we are again sitting in a restaurant nearly devoid of customer on a day where it would have once been overflowing with trade and good cheer. That’s a crying shame.

 

How The Mighty May Have Fallen

 

As many in Hong Kong know, Dan Ryan’s in Pacific Place is closing down after 27 years. I hasten to add the group is still alive and kicking, even though the flagship is about to close. Dan’s was not only one of the first tenants of Pacific Place, a once singular hub of Hong Kong shopping elites, but was also one of the first authentic, successful, freestanding, restaurants here. Dan’s was founded in part because the group of bankers who started it were sick of what they called hotel food. At that time about the only way to get imported western food was to eat at hotels. Hotels often tend to fuse things and in so doing make passable but often inauthentic or caricatured dining experiences. Continue reading

A Simple Salad

A Simple Salad

A Simple Salad

Thursday is pasta night. Growing up this was perhaps the only truly inviolable law in my family. Generally (though not exclusively) spaghetti was served with my mothers sugu (our Sicilian-American word for what the east coast Italians often call Sunday Gravy (a story for another time). With our pasta we always had salad, a  very simple dish of crisp washed lettuce, garnished with veggies such as tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, onion (for Dad), carrot (for me) celery, radish (Dad again and later me too), and on special occasion black olives. The classic dressing was a simple red wine vinaigrette which we called “Italian Dressing” on other occasions Mom served the dressings buffet style. Continue reading

An Unknown Soldier.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

Blair and I (upper left) at an after work bitch session somewhere in Wanchai 1995.

I learned last night that a former colleague and friend died suddenly of a heart attack at the relatively young age of 56. Blair Anthony Sweet and I both worked for Dan Ryan’s at the same time, when I first moved to Hong Kong in 1994. He had arrived about a year earlier, and as such was my first Chef friend in town. We worked each in one of Dan’s two Hong Kong shops so we always had a bit of friendly sibling rivalry going. Continue reading

iHealth Update

For all of my (2) regular readers, I just wanted to update the saga of our digital scale purchase and subsequent disappointment. iHealth’s agent (maybe manufacturer) in China did eventually send a curt, vaguely apologetic, reply and notice that they would send me a replacement scale (same model). After some wrangling with the new courier about delivery times it was eventually delivered. So I can say that they have lived up to their obligation under warranty. What I am going to do with two cheap plastic scales when I wasn’t happy with the one? Certainly not their problem. At any rate it is only fair that I note the resolution for what it is worth. .