Dinner after another with both best friends and new acquaintances made my birthday week feel very special. The actual birthday day we started appropriately with Bellinis, followed by dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant, ChomChom. I had high expectations for this place, and the salmon and chicken salads, eggplant dishes and beef rolls proved to be beyond delicious. Best part, however, was the huge chocolate cake served to the table by the waiter, which completely threw me by surprise, and made me feel touched by the people I have got around me in a new city.
The dinner next day was not less mind blowing. Emily took me to Grassroots Pantry, an organic food serving restaurant that I had wanting to go for ages. Soba noodles with tofu did not sound that appealing to me, but as it is Emily’s favorite dish and she goes there A LOT, I wanted to give it a try. I’m so glad I did. The dish was amazingly tasty and made us beg for the recipe and have long discussion with the lovely waiter. At the moment, several days later, we are texting with Emily and sharing our cravings for the soba noodles and the veggie dumplings…
As for Friday night, unfortunately I don’t have any pictures as this was one of those nights that it is better to leave the camera to bag and just enjoy. (might partly due to the fact that I did not want to make my date feel embarrassed shooting in a crowded restaurant..) We ended up in ChomChom again as either of us didn’t mind going back. I had told him that I’ve been avoiding meat here as I find it suspicious in most places. He was convinced to turn me back being a meat eater and so the table filled up with all sorts of dishes of chicken, meat and fish, which I found quite cute. I can not describe how delicious the chicken wings, beef tenderloins and kaffir lime chicken tasted, after such a long break. I realized how much I had craved for meat and chicken. So, despite all the nutrition I’m studying at the moment, no way I’m turning a full-time vegetarian.
My photo diary from past few weeks includes:
1. Junk Boat Sunday – by no question the best way to spend a sunny Sunday in Hong Kong 2. Breathtaking views at the infinity pool 3. Countless dinners at Mana which I will never get bored of 4. Experiencing the only-in-Hong Kong kind of Halloween 5. Snails and french fries at Pastis 6. Dinner of raw dishes and desserts at Maya cafe with gorgeous Emily 7. A perfect Friday night at rooftop of Sevva, with live music and friends from home 8. Enjoying the views at Ritz-Carlton with another gorgeous friend, on a pitstop from NYC to Japan, Nadia (I’m hopefully visiting her in Tokyo in couple of weeks!!!)
The past days or weeks have at times made me miss many things back home more than before. Obviously, I miss family and friends, more or less every day. I miss having a home with proper shower, kitchen, privacy, space, FOOD. After 5 months dealing with the lack of these, truly makes me appreciate the home I will again have one day. I wait to be able to cook and have space at the fridge for more than 3 items. May sounds amusing, but Mana has truly been my savior. I am well aware that I have at least 7 more months to go, and the worst is only getting started.. Attitude change is really needed 🙂
Nevertheless, looking back the pictures of past weeks makes me, once again, realize how much unforgettable moments I’ve experienced. In a way, I’m also consciously accepting the feelings, and doing my best to treat myself. I don’t feel bad of consuming loads of dark chocolate, taking weekly massages and having cozy dinners with friends. Weekly yoga class is a must. Tonight, Emily is taking me to a restaurant for my birthday that I’ve been wanting to go for ages, Grassroots Pantry. Little things that feel like luxury and will take me over of this period that makes me at times feel ambivalent.
Star street area is by no denying the trendiest district in Hong Kong. Located above the very Chinese alleys of Wan Chai, these couple blocks gives you the feeling of being somewhere very far from Hong Kong. For me, in Ted’s Lookout I feel like being back in one the bars in East Village, New York. That, naturally, is not bad at all. Maya Café serves amazing vegan dishes, juices and desserts, but the best thing are the Mediterranean vibes. Sitting at the backyard, surrounded by the white walls , blue details combined with the perfect Hong Kong mild fall weather gives you a very real feeling Greece moment. I, of course, love Just Green, which is a cute little organic shop. Other favorites of mine are Classified wine bar, Yo Ma Ma frozen yogurt place and Oolaa Petite restaurant. All of where you can sit outside, without the typical Hong Kong hazzle in front of your eyes. These places offer the perfect people watching spots.
Like with relationships, I easily develop a crush to restaurants and cafés, but not many steal my heart. Mana, however, has succeeded in making an impression on me on a fundamental base. And yes, I have no problem in comparing food discoveries to love life, that is how much I love discovering fresh food serving places. In this case, all organic. If I lived in the area, I would by no question enjoy 90% of my meals and desserts here as it now remains few times a week delight. They’ve got the things I crave from New York (and cannot be found elsewhere in Hong Kong): avocado, fresh hummus and kale. My new love is baba ghanoush, eggplant mash. Mmmmm.
Besides food, Mana has been one of the greatest sources of inspiration for me here. I love every visit, from lovely little conversations with the staff picking my salad ingredients to the experience of enjoying it at the little backyard patio. The decoration as well as menu could not match my taste and vision better. I guess this is the reason why my mind and ideas start to flow here, making me want to come back over and over again. The desserts might not have the least impact either.