Go Big or Go Home (Part 1 of 6)

November Birthday Month Celebrations Not For The Faint of Heart


It was a late, unseasonably warm October day in Hong Kong when we decided to research, plan and begin designing a slew of 30 November birthday month celebrations.  Perhaps it was the weather?  Or was it Bacchus aka Dionysus twisting our five senses? Or as Saint Thomas Aquinas opined in Summa Theologiae an inordinate desire of eating and drinking – gluttony?

Nay, pray tell, it simply reflected our wish to embark on a perilous, yet fab, culinary journey to include everything from simple sippin’ ’n snackin’ to decadent Michelin Star consumption…and everything in between.

Et voila, buckle up and prepare yourself for 30 days of pure debauchery…except for the occasional “break days” and daily workouts designed, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, to stave off losing The Battle of the Bulge!

Day 1: Roots

With our roots being well-entrenched in all Chinese cuisines, Hong Kong style, we trundled down the road to Yuen Long for a three hour culinary stroll.

Dress code exceedingly casual, we began with spicy Sun Kee Noodle Shop生記山西刀削麵.  We love watching the “chef” slice the noodles from a large, cylindrical piece of dough directly into our plate before drowning the same with his proprietary bright red soup.  If you push – and we are nothing if not good at pushing – the boss lady will happily serve up the spiciest of spicy noodles they can muster without local regulatory fines.  Beware: your toilet will never forget you the next day!

Sun Kee Noodle Shop生記山西刀削麵

We followed with a few dishes of dim sum (Har Gau, Siu Mai, Chuen Fun) at  Big Belly Dim Sum Restaurant 大肚腩點心腸粉專門店.  These lil luvlies are served as classical, bite size pieces, which ensures all the yumminess slathers down your throat rather than adorning your neck.  Two people?  No problem, two pieces.  No need to battle over that third piece with your partner or fear the second delectable of four may cause you to explode.  Perfect!

Big Belly Dim Sum Restaurant 大肚腩點心腸粉專門店

Given no wine during our local stroll, we popped open a 2013 Fisher Vineyards Chardonnay The Unity in the evening. We adore Fisher wines, and we love the Fisher story – we often hum “we are family”.  From A to Z, a winning formula!!!

Day 2: Spain and France make their debuts…

Ah, what would a birthday month celebration be without a visit to Fofo by El Willy?  The answer is simple: it would be not!!!  Our local foodie friends joined us for lunch.  They noticed our table was the only one outfitted properly with cloth napkins…we think Fofo is too good for the paper towel option and we insist upon the real deal….we are sloppy.  Our friends equally were shocked to receive “suggestions” (aka this is what you are eating today) from Chef Alex.  We, of course, debated among ourselves regarding the wines settling quite happily on a cava, Catalunya white and Rioja red.  Food to die for, service exceptional, sipping ’n snacking with Chef Alex and his team, perfection!

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Our nearly four hour lunch inspired a stumble down the road to LQV (Les Quinzes Vins) in a little, less than sanitary side-street in Central.  Gorgeous!!!  Another wine-lover joined us – yippee, we could sip more – as we embarked across the Pyrenees to Burgundy where we were greeted by beautifully terroir driven whites and reds along with cheese platter and baked Camembert. Oooh lah lah…thanks, Jordan, as we have little memory of our Uber chariot whisking us back home later that evening!

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Day 3: Sippin’ ’n spittin’

We were invited to, and attended most graciously, the Kerry Wine Annual Portfolio Tasting – both “Kerry Portfolio Tastingtrade” and “retail” sessions as approximately 130 tipples were parading through the exquisite Ciak in the Kitchen.  Master of Ceremonies “The Arrow” was, as usual, in good form as he whisked participants from France to New Zealand to California to England to…well, you get the drift.  Ciak’s Graziano ensured we were sufficiently well-fed with mouth-watering bread and tasty cheese to soak up that which we did not spit.  Was it 70 or 80 different wines, we sadly cannot honestly remember, but we can confirm safe arrival at home later in the evening.

Pizza @ Ciak in the Kitchen
Ciak in the Kitchen
Baked Scamorza @ Ciak in the Kitchen

Day 4: Little Thailand in Hong Kong

We engaged in some kidney and liver cleansing reflexology in the morning before an adventurous jaunt to “Little Thailand” in Kowloon City.  Hong Kong has everything known to the five senses, particularly when seeking fantabulous food.  However, Hong Kong also has a local palate that, generally, eschews spicy food, which often results in “dumbing-down” the dishes to ensure a steady flow of clientele.  We find ourselves on the opposite side of the spectrum seeking to sweat profusely whenever embarking on a gastronomic visit to The Land of a Thousand Smiles.  Alas, were were far from impressed as both Lung Jie (Peelong) Thai and Amporn Thai offered only a little to satisfy our longing for super-spicy Siam salaciousness.  We shall return and continue our quest as “Little Thailand” in Kowloon City has no shortage of choices…we are confident one of them will rise to the occasion.

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Day 5: A taste of nostalgia with Chef Umberto Bombana at Ciak in the Kitchen

We have known, enjoyed and watched with great admiration over the last two decades Chef Umberto Bombana’s ascent to the summit of the culinary world.  A most humble rockstar with a Cheshire Cat like mischievous grin and unparalleled skill to make simple blossom into exceptional, Bombana always makes us happy.  We joined the journey back to his hometown of Bergamo at Ciak in the Kitchen with a feisty group of local friends ready to experience those delicious dishes of Bombana’s early years.  Nearly six hours later, tummies bursting at the seams and food merriment engulfing our very souls, we floundered into an Uber awaking only in time to flop on the couch at home. Bombana, quite simply, rocks!!!

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To be continued…

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