Saturday, November 2, 2013

what a difference a year makes

or - WOW how time flies....

last week we went to visit friends who just had a baby girl - she was just barely 8 weeks old... and I thought how quickly she will grow up and how much fun her parents will have watching her develop more and more of a personality-

and then I came across some photos of our favorite preschooler in the whole wide world- and just yesterday (or so it seems to me) she was an infant and then a baby (the world's cutest baby) and then a toddler (again the world's cutest toddler) and now she is 2and 1/2 and the world's cutest preschooler!

and to show you I am not exaggerating I am posting the adorable photos to show I tell the truth (both about time flying and about how she is the world's cutest...)

these were taken each year in October- 2011, 2012 and then 2013 (6 months, 18 months and then 30 months) she lives 750 miles away from us - so we always see so much change when we visit!

you would think it not possible to just keep getting successively cuter but here is living proof of it! LOL!

some other photos along the way-

an infant - so OK maybe a bit Winston Churchill like- LOL but wait...

here she is about 9.5 months

here just before her first birthday

here about 14 months-

but this is when I feel in head over heels in love - before this she was only a baby but after this she was the world's most adorable....and remains so-

OMG! how cute is this photo???? !!!!!   thanks to her wonderful parents for letting us watch her grow up!

ceres table redux

last night we revisited Ceres table. It had been a while since we were there last and still I found the food very well prepared. I had the arancini appetizer and Phil had the antipasti.  Neil had a half portion of linguini vongole and the Sicilian meatloaf as an entrée.  I had the meatloaf as an entrée as well and Phil had the pasta special, fettuccine with guanciale and onions.

Neil had gelato for dessert and Phil and I shared a "baked Alaska" - which was non traditional but I found to my liking.  Phil is a bit more sever of a critic and although he liked his food he still found the choices limited. I on the other hand always find something on the menu I like and have a higher opinion of the restaurant which is very friendly and the service is good. 

It is also BYO with a 20 per bottle corkage and a two bottle maximum for table... corkage is waived one for one- so buy two and get two of you own poured free- which may work with a larger group but for the three of us- we decided to just pay the corkage on our own wines...Still it is a nice option!

the arancini- and then the anti pasti platter- with lamb terrine, duck confit and a lightly smoked pork shoulder-

my Sicilian meatloaf

Phil's pasta special-

Neil's meatloaf (he insisted his be photographed too!)

the baked Alaska (softer meringue versus harder)

the red wine and then the white-

up tonight the Bocuse D'Or menu at Next- with Mon and Beth... tomorrow Bistro Campagne with Brian and Tina and Sheila and Mary - then Monday: Oceanique with Evanston friends. Tuesday morning kitties and I leave for warmer climes!  And finally today I feel like my cold from China is well and truly over after two solid weeks! Yea!

and yes I will get back to blogging about the China trip- as soon as my social whirlwind dies down a bit and I have the time to do the marvelous trip justice.  Never fear! LOL

Friday, November 1, 2013

Absolutely Delightful - Northanger Abbey

from the blurb for tonight's play-

Jane Austen has a high time with the literature of her day, as 17-year old Catherine, a voracious reader, makes the Gothic tale she's reading come all-too-much to life, causing her to misinterpret much that's happening around her. Remy Bumppo presents the U.S. Premiere of a new adaptation, complete with charming heroes, sneering villains, love lost and found, and a setting perfect for the Halloween season. There's debate whether Northanger Abbey was the first Jane Austen novel, but there's no debate that it's full of fun and romance in inimitable Austen style.
so off we went- in an already full schedule (which is not unusual for this time of year) to see this adaptation of the divine Miss A's first novel.

and what a time it was! delightful adaptation - full of fun and laughs as well as the obligatory ending of two marriages (not really a spoiler so no worries)

every one of the actors seemed to be having a jolly good time, therefore so did the audience- a truly fun evening- recommended by your amateur critic here at semifree...

run ends November 10th! Go see it before it disappears!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

glorious goosefoot

goosefoot has never taken s wrong step- and last night our visit showed consistently fabulous service and high quality food that we have found with each successive visit-

here is the current menu-

and the fab food! starting with the scallop and the shrimp custard in the egg cup and following with the incredible soup (OOOHHHHH the soup!)

I begged extra gougeres for each of us! oh yum!!!!

the fish has changed from salmon to toothfish (sea bass) and this course is my least favorite of anything I have had here- in my opinion the piment d'esplette overpowers the fish in both instances - salmon or sea bass---- but given how perfect everything else is I can forgive one course I am not in complete and total love with- and- it does look really pretty - LOL

the duck- the beef - the cheese course and the palate cleanser yuzu and beet juice!

a new dessert - Cinderella pumpkin mousse with white chocolate cover and this was a real winner!

the chocolate dessert- to die for- a perfect way to end the fabulous meal!

oh and we had the finish of the cape gooseberry dipped in chocolate and nuts but I failed to take a photo- just search goosefoot on the search function of the blog for six or more earlier reviews that have photos if you want to see it again- "don't eat the stump!" - oh OK I will go get a photo just to round out the whole meal-

oh and I forgot the amuse of golden beet and goat cheese---

so there you have the entire meal - join that with exquisite service and you have the best meal in town- we paired it with a 2005 Kistler McCrae chard and a 1990 Pommard and we all went home happy.... tonight off to the theater again- this time to see Northanger Abbey....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Green Guangzhou Part Two

Our after lunch touring continued at the Six Banyan Temple.  The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is an ancient Buddhist temple originally built in 537 in the Liang Dynasty in Guangzhou, southern China.  Six Banyan Temple is also known as Liu Rong Temple. It was built during the Song Dynasty. It has more than 1500 years of history, and also one of the historical temples in Guangzhou that open for the public to worship or visit. The entire temple compound are surrounded by green ancient banyan trees.

then it was on to the Chen Clan Academy. 
The Chen Ancestral Hall was located outside the west gate of Guangzhou City and built between 1888-1893. It was funded by Chen lineages in Guangdong province during the Qing Dynasty. It was used as a temporary residence when Chen lineage people came to Guangzhou for attending provincial imperial examination, designation, paying taxes, and engaging in lawsuits and other matters.

The Chen's Ancestral Hall has a total area of 15,000 square meters, floor space of 6,400 square meters. It is a symmetrical complex comprising 19 single buildings which are connected with verandas and interspaced by courtyards.  The Chen's Ancestral Hall is the largest, best-preserved and most gorgeously decorated traditional building in Guangdong Province.The entire building is decorated with arts including skillful wood carving, brick carving, stone carving, lime sculpture, pottery sculpture, iron and copper casting, and color painting.

 Next to Shamian Island- formerly known as Shameen Island or Shamin Island, from its Cantonese pronunciation, is a sandbank island in the Liwan District of Guangzhou city.  The territory was divided into two concessions given to France and the United Kingdom by the Qing government in the 19th century. The island is a gazetted historical area that serves as a tranquil reminder of the colonial European period, with quiet pedestrian avenues flanked by trees and lined by historical buildings in various states of upkeep. The island is the location of several hotels, a youth hostel, restaurants and tourist shops selling curios and souvenirs.

and a café in the park - caught our attention- LOL

then on to the Qingping medical market- where they sell traditional Chinese medical herbs and remedies- here is one review I found on the internet that I think covered it quite nicely- LOL.  "It's difficult to choose a classification for this activity... it's kind of a cross between 'Zoos' and 'Eating and Drinking' :-) "

then Dragon took us to the pet market-

one more stop - we decided to can the dinner we had reserved because we were stuffed from lunch (chicken feet are more filling than you might think- LOL)
so we went downtown to the pedestrian shopping street and walked along for a while - then we stopped at a coffee café in the main square for a drink and just enjoyed the nice evening before we had to return to our train home to Hong Kong. 

one thing you can say is that they don't skimp on the neon or electricity in China!

we headed back to the train station and caught our last train home- arriving back at the hotel just before midnight- and getting organized for our journey into the Yunnan province - flight leave late in the afternoon tomorrow- to Lijiang via Kunming... but that is another tale for another day...