What I thought was going to be two solid weeks of Hong Kong city life evolved into a wild romp around a greater part of the region. We had forays into gambling hotspots, a city of contraband goods, and to top it all off – sweet slow days in our own private slice of heaven on earth. In between, we had days of chasing our fancies down quieter alleys, spinning circles in giant Disneyland teacups, endless fountains of dong nai cha. We rode on rafts with our feet dangling in the cool water, squinting at the sun. We ate at underground 3am dim sum clubs, and slept with the shadows of giant humpback mountains lying just at the edge of the cobblestone courtyard outside our door.
Every day for the last two weeks I’ve asked myself, “how did we get here?” But now that the trip is done and I’m back to missing him, I’m asking “how did we get here?” It’s one thing to go from neon lights and 24 hour cha chan tengs, to beautiful rural chinese villages, but it’s entirely something else to have completed our third summer escapade in a row, when the idea of travelling together seemed like an impossibility three years ago. So grateful for his patience, quiet love, and great strength that all continue to grow and amaze me every time.
Got to catch up on thesis research and clearing up my room this week, but will find time to sift through and write up the rest of the images from the last two weeks soon!
Back from ten days of incredible firsts, good cheer and laughs, with two of the most supercalifragilisticexpialidocious friends! Within that short week and a half, I got to see the community that a dear old friend has built a life in, and live in the heart of the city that never sleeps, right off a corner of Times Square. Somewhere along the way I also turned 22 but got promptly thrown back to childhood on No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane, where a lady pulled a hat stand out of a bag and a man walked up on the walls and ceiling of a stage. Also had kickass NYC street cart kebabs and heavenly Harvard hot chocolate, and acquired a parrot head handle umbrella which I carried back to Davis by hand, enduring lots of painful jokes about how I should have flown the magic umbrella instead of bumming it in economy class. That’s the price you have to pay for being a diehard fangirl.
Dreams came true every day. I’m still not used to being back in Davis. When I think about the past week it’s a bright blur of streets glistening with lights and rain, clanking of trains entering subway stations, the sound of musicians floating in the air. Over the next few posts, hopefully I’ll get to transform these memories into words and match them to pictures, replay every crazy electric moment. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek of my time in New York City and Boston:
Love to sam for the beautiful vintage bag, and to Dil and Cheryl for the sweet birthday surprise & for being there, trooping through the incredible week of firsts. Love you all!
Tartine Bakery & Cafe / 600 Guerrero St, San Francisco.
Highlight of the trip, nay, my entire life’s worth of dessert-demolishing experience!! This is the banana cream tart ($6.50) from Tartine bakery in The Mission district of San Francisco. It’s made up of a four inch flaky pastry cup that’s lined with thin layers of solid chocolate and caramel on the inside. Thick, plentiful banana slices are housed in pastry cream and a light, sweet banana custard, which are sloppily, but artfully piled onto the pastry base. Unapologetic chocolate shavings finish it off. The ingredients are pretty humble, but this is perfection. Fresh, fresh, perfection. The pastry is buttery and just firm enough to break into chunks instead of crumbling into flakes, and the chocolate on the inside of the tart helps to hold it together. The banana slices are the right size for eating whole, the cream is the most heavenly cream I’ve ever tasted. Everything hangs in a beautiful, fragile balance.
One thing I’ve come to appreciate is that truly good food is never in-your-face. The day before hitting Tartine, Andrea and I shared a Reese’s Peanut Butter cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory in San José. That cake was a masterpiece, layers of fudge cake, cheesecake, and peanut butter – sweet, salty and rich all at once – but all clamouring for room on your tongue. Whether it was this banana cream tart, or the cheese and pear sandwich from Cowgirl Creamery during my last visit, they all hit the spot because the satisfaction grows with every bite. You slowly realise that chefs are complete masters of the art of temptation. Their MO is to gently charm you with subtle but novel tastes, coaxing you into a second, third bite and beyond. Your fork keeps scooping up more, you want to replicate the same flavour burst you had in your previous mouthful, and you succeed because the food never disappoints. Reluctantly you put your fork down when it’s all gone and your legs carry you away from the table, but you know your tongue and heart have been smitten. That sweetness will be on your mind for a while.
Continue reading “Tartine Bakery, San Francisco”
As we drove into San Francisco, my heart did a happy jiggle for two reasons: finally, a visual reunion with skyscrapers, and with the city I fell in love with in 2003 for it’s colorful, pretty streets. This time, I wanted to revisit old loves and have a more intimate experience with San Francisco. It started the moment we got off the amtrak service bus, felt the buzz and breeze, and jumped around in excitement. Definitely not an expert, but most of the places I hit this time are slightly more off the tourist track, and I loved my relaxed weekend there. Did my homework for this trip, hopefully this will be useful for any other explorers waiting for their own SF love affair. Picture heavy and long!!
Continue reading “Travelogue: An Uncommon San Francisco”