Tuesday, September 17, 2013

we are almost off

to NYC to friends and the kids but first- had to squeeze in a play tonight-

excellent acting and excellent production values- despite the awards I am not sure the script was as strong as I would have expected for a Pulitzer winner-  maybe it was just that I had a hard time identifying with the out of work 20 something who was one of the two main characters...
the format of no intermission was a plus- unlike that awful Strindberg play (Creditors) where they used it to keep everyone from leaving at intermission- LOL....
anyway- we are off tomorrow- watch this space for reviews of NYC eateries soon! LOL

Monday, September 16, 2013


this being Monday and our having limited Mondays left before we head off to China and parts south, we decided to go to Oceanique for "corkage free Mondays" and have dinner. 

we had a lovely meal again- starting with foie and then moving on to scallops and calamari salad for Phil and gazpacho for me- then I had the halibut and he the duck and then we reprised our dessert choices for the end of the meal- e had the chocolate hazelnut pot de crème, and I had the night and day cake - YUM!

For wines, we brought an A. Soutiran champagne and a 2002 Chassagne-Montrachet Morgeot from Marc Morey...

a few photos and then I have to get my packing list together for NYC as tomorrow night we have theater tickets for 4,000 miles at Northlight...

amuse of salmon tartare-

the luscious foie gras with wonderful surrounding fruits-

palate cleanser four berry sorbet with peaches-

I spaced on the entrees (LOL) but remembered to photograph the desserts!

this is a place worthy of repeat business... lovely staff and terrific food- along with the BYO Mondays- you can't really go wrong!

once we did have the brochure room

LOL- so as I mentioned in the last post - this is THE room from the Banyan Tree hotel brochure-

and of course any traveler knows you never ever get THE room that you see in the hotel brochures---
but once

we did!

we had scheduled a one night lay over in Rome on our way back from the Amalfi Coast one fall and we were in the city only for dinner with a friend of a friend.  We checked in after taking a cab through the rain from the central station- and the man at the desk told me that he was sorry but that he had to put us in a different room - and he said it was not so nice - I said that was OK because we were only there for a night and it would be fine.... LOL- I could tell he was kidding - but I didn't know to what degree until the bell man opened the door to THE room- LOL

here is the write up from the brochure-

Suite Seminario

Suite Seminario is ornately decorated and contains an original renaissance period fresco on the ceiling which was only revealed during recent restoration works!  Refined decor with separate sleeping and seating areas. The suite is of course stylishly decorated with a luxurious bathroom and offers comfortable spacious accommodation with satellite television, free high speed wireless Internet connection,  climate control, mini bar and safety deposit box. The Hotel building is in a prime location in front of the world famous Pantheon.

so sometimes you get lucky...LOL

preparing for china

we have Chinese food - LOL - OK we actually did more than that, but first the Chinese food- because it was excellent!

this was only one page of the menu- LOL- you can see it would take a while to come to a decision about what to eat-

although the won ton soup did not photograph well - it was really tasty - the broth was full of flavor which is why it is so reflective of the flash on my phone camera- sorry-

the house special hot and sour soup was excellent!- not too vinegar-y and had this great little crunch thing going on with the sesame seeds

the orange beef was first rate-had some heat but not overwhelming heat-

we picked these dishes as our sample because these a sort of barometers for decent Chinese food- they were all excellent-
what wasn't spectacular were the spring rolls which were barely room temperature- a definite miss on that course- maybe next time we will try the Crab Rangoon (another way to test the mettle of a particular kitchen)
so anyway- we were in the mood for Chinese food because on Saturday our final packet for the China trip came in the mail... and it contained a ton of stuff but here are some little tidbits as enticements for you to follow along on the journey with us via the blog....
they sent us two guide books- lots of postcards with stamps to mail them back from China- and brochures from all the hotels but one-
I may have mentioned that we have planned a trip inside a trip- we planned a trip to and from Hong Kong (where we have been four times before I think) and we wanted to go to southern and western China and to Shanghai so I asked my "go-to travel planner" Heidi Perez at Nature Expeditions to put something together for us- and then after she and I had finished our plans for that part of the trip, Phil suggested a day trip from HKG to Guangzhou, the economic powerhouse of the south...
so here is how it will go- we fly to HKG and stay there for four nights and do our own thing with a one day trip into mainland China to see Guangzhou (famous for Cantonese food!) and then we fly from HKG to Lijiang - our first stop...
here are photos from the hotel brochure - it looks like an amazing place-

doubt this will be our room- LOL but it certainly is magnificent !

this is what I would expect our room to be similar to-

some of the town and area photos from the brochure-

below- tiger Leaping Gorge- where we will be on Phil's birthday!

from there we go on to Zhongdian - now promoted as Shangri-La.  It is a town on the Tibetan plateau at 9400 foot elevation- supposedly photos of the place inspired the author Hilton...


in a mystery- the photo of the "Our Service" page had been pasted over this photo below- I guess the fellow in the photo may be the new lama?

here are the postcards they sent from the HKG and Yunnan part of the trip and some of the stamps -

I never knew Beethoven was Chinese! LOL
from there we go to Guilin - where we meet up with our brother Larry- post cards then the hotel brochure photos-


the following hotel - the Green Lotus had no brochure in the things they sent us (so use your imagination until I come back with photos- LOL)
then we are off to Shanghai and a splurge hotel at the Waldorf!

some postcards from Shanghai-

then on to Hangzhou with its beautiful West Lake-

the postcard below was labeled Hubang Park but I couldn't find that on the Internet so I looked for Hangzhou photos that might show the location and the one I found looks like it is the right place so those must be the Hangzhou postcards!

the Internet photo was a much better shot anyway. 
so from there we return to HKG and we head home a day later while Larry stays on and goes to Macao...
 so I will do a mark up on the map and re-post it with the places we are headed shown more clearly--stay tuned! 

The three orange box/dots are (from left to right) Zhongdian, Lijiang and Guilin-