Friday, December 21, 2012
We've waxed lyrical about our love for Proenza Schouler and the boys have come up once again with a bag that I'm lusting after. As we bid farewell to 2012 and going on our annual hiatus, I'm hoping that Santa will read this post and gift me this bag for 2013. After all, if it's not the end of the world by today, surely we must celebrate with beautiful bags right?
Thursday, December 20, 2012
I'm oddly enthralled by OPI's first short film campaign that features dancers wearing their four popular colours Pink-ing of You, Red My Fortune Cookie, Need Sunglasses?, and No Room for the Blues while pitting them on a dance off with an amazingly well trained horse. There's something surreal yet beautiful about this short clip. Check it out.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I've never precisely understood by Alexander McQueen's De Manta clutch is priced so... reasonably, in comparison with the brand's other wares. While the skull box clutches typically command upwards of HK$15,000, this less structured sister can often be found in the sale bin for some $2,500+. Very odd indeed. It can't be termed an It bag the way the skull or knuckle-duster clutches are, but it's certainly not ugly in any way, and its enduring popularity (not to mention the fact that it's been issued in so many colours and fabrics and patterns) make it a very practical alternative.
A few versions are being sold on Backroom for just over $2,600, or hit the links after the cut for more variations and prices.
I went shopping this weekend and bought me these gorgeous Wolford stockings in the upper left hand corner of this photo which led me to searching for more pretty stockings. And while this column is normally five items, you'll have to forgive me that I am only featuring four this time, not because I can't find a fifth but more that the above image looks better with four than five!
Clockwise from top left: Wolford, Les Queues de Sardines, DeKATA and RI.by.CARRIE
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Now sometimes when bloggers or journalists are friends with certain PR people, said brands will mysteriously receive lots of coverage and praise in their publications. And that's why I feel it's right to note here that while I am friends with the PR Mandy at Hotel Icon, that is not why I wax constantly about their ridiculously moist and lovely cupcakes, nor is it the reason that I am about to spend the rest of this blog post swooning over the hotel's Chinese restaurant, Above & Beyond. In fact, it's probably more apt for Mandy to wonder whether I solicited her friendship specifically so that I could extract more cupcakes and hosted meals at her hotel.
Above & Beyond is sort of a strange name for a Chinese restaurant, and the Terence Conran-designed interiors aren't particulary Chinese-y either, which is probably the only reason this place isn't more fetishized among travel guides. It's certainly not the menu, which is dreamt up by former Man Wah Chef Joseph Tse and offers both traditional and slightly adapted Cantonese specials.
I've been to A&B a good four or five times now, which is saying something because I never go to Kowloon. But it's the first time I've had their dim sum, which is ably executed and beautifully presented. Nothing to complain about here.
Normally, though, I come for dinner, and sit at the last table by the corner with a harbour view (considered the best table in the house) with lovely views of Hong Kong island and the somewhat underwhelming light show every evening at 8pm. I make sure to order the tea-smoked chicken, and the sweet and sour pork that's thinly sliced and wrapped around a slice of pineapple, then paired with red-wine-soaked pears. Yummers. Also love the steamed coral crab with glutinous rice, although that's typically way too filling to eat unless you have at least four people, or you're super hungry.
But back to this lunch. They gave us a couple of the seasonal specialties to try out, including this hairy crab roe stuffed onto a tofu pouch filled with chicken and scallop and some other things. I hate picking at hairy crab and I pretty much only like to eat it with tofu, because it's a bit too salty (sigh, yes, I'm a neophyte like that). I cleaned this up though, and I'd eat it even without the topper. Unfortunately, you can't have this, because the hairy crab promo ended in early December. Better luck next year!
Dou miu, or pea sprouts. A must-order when you step into any restaurant during the winter season, because it's the best vegetable, as defined by the fact that it tastes so good I don't even consider it a real vegetable.
And then, here, the real reason we came for lunch, the claypot rice! Bo jai fan is one of Chinese cuisine's unsung heroes, a true winter warmer but typically considered more ghetto fare. Not so ghetto if you're going to pair your pork and liver sausage with ground-up TRUFFLE. Because truffle wins everything! These bougie bo jai fans are available until sometime in February, I believe. I, personally, can't wait to go back for more.
Above & Beyond is at 28/F, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong.
Tel: (852) 3400 1318
Food guest blogger hkLifestyleGeek visits Wild Grass and give us her thoughts.
A new restaurant has opened in Central offering home-style cooked dishes in a laid-back setting.
Wild Grass promises to be "organic nose-to-tail real cuisine", on the menu, but we didn't see much evidence of literally eating every part of the animal. Nevertheless it's about fresh ingredients and bringing out natural flavours that are eaten family style.
Located on the first floor of a building on Arbuthnot Road, the cozy space is white with wooden floors and then a curious wall at the back for locally-based artists to create art as you dine... it's a well-meaning concept, but do we really want to be inhaling paint fumes while we dine?
In any event the menu features a number of delicious-looking dishes that got our taste buds going, but in the end only a few were memorable.
For starters, the fresh Scottish ocean trout with capers and whiskey sour dressing with heart of romaine ($HK$118) was a refreshing start with its tart taste, while things got creamy with the baked goat's cheese on bacon puff pastry with beetroot (HK$88).
Another appetiser had bacon wrapped around kidneys (HK$108) -- but the strips of pork weren't enough to hide the taste of kidneys.
In terms of mains, we enjoyed the roasted halibut (HK$288), cooked just right as it was moist and flaked easily. It was seasoned with sprigs of rosemary and whole roasted onion cloves we gladly spread on homemade bread.
The slow-grilled rump (HK$320) was presented on a long rectangular plate with a bed of French fries underneath; the beef was alright, but a bit on the dry side despite the basil peppercorn relish. The same could be said about the suckling pig (HK$288) that was even drier even though it was accompanied with slices of apple, turnip and mustard.
One of the saving graces are the desserts. We thoroughly enjoyed the piping hot rhubarb oatmeal crumble (HK$78) that came with what is described on the menu as "dairy frozen cream", ie. ice cream. This is one of the few places in Hong Kong that was not stingy with the rhubarb and we hope it will continue to be generous. The stewed apple turnover with vanilla cream (HK$78) was really vanilla ice cream, and it seemed to have more pastry than apple. And then the creme brulee tart (HK$68) was sinfully creamy.
Diners can also have a farm cheese plate (HK$138) with a selection of hard to soft cheeses accompanied with finely diced prunes, raisins and fresh figs.
With a few tweaks here and there hopefully Wild Grass will get its act together, though the name and tagline seems a misnomer.
1/F, 4-8 Arbuthnot Road
Monday, December 17, 2012
It's been ages since I've remotely felt the urge to buy Christmas cards but Miss Fong's ADORABLE cards have completely changed my mind. Absurdly cute and whimsical (much like its creator) these cards capture Christmas in Hong Kong perfectly. So if you haven't gotten your cards yet, be sure to go to the gift shop next to AMMO or Konzepp at 50 Lower Ground Floor, Tung Street, SoHo, Sheung Wan from now until the end of December. Priced at HK$25 per card. Alternatively, give its creator some love by dropping her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and placing orders directly through her!
Sunday, December 16, 2012
I normally head to Wong Chuk Hang to score big at the Electric Sekki sample sale, but this time they're doing a follow-up bazaar at Harbour City. I always come away with loads of awesome Aussie-designed goodies -- finds include printed things from Something Else by Natalie Wood, cut-offs and kimono cover-ups from One Teaspoon, girly looks from Twenty8Twelve and party dresses from Sass & Bide. Oh, and Havaianas by the armload. Also available (but not among the things I happen to usually purchase) are Henry Holland casualwear and sunnies (lots of stripy dresses and other typically loud items this time around), lacy and pretty garments courtesy of No. 21, rock-chick tees and skinnies from Ksubi and cute swim stuff from Insight.
I went for press sale day (not sure if prices are the same or not) last week and got this Sass & Bide sequined gown/dress thing for $1,750 (also available here) and various sweaters and cut-offs from One Teaspoon at $250 each... plus some Havaianas, including two left navy blue-and-orange men's 41-42s. I'm smart like that. If someone goes, can you please buy the two right ones for me. I'll trade you the other half.
Friday, December 14, 2012
Oh Mulberry, why do you do this to me? I just bought my beautiful green Alexa and now you reincarnate it into this funky zig zag bag that makes my heart go aflutter. Grrrr. Priced at HK$27,700 for the oversize and HK$23,500 for regular.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
You have to respect a brand that decides that it's only going to do one thing, and that it'll do it well. Like Repetto. Or Toms. Examples to the contrary would include the likes of Crocs, which has issued endless random variations in an attempt to combat the backlash against their aesthetically offensive design, or Uggs, which recently introduced a bridal collection for the brides who have gone so CRAY that they can't even be bothered to wear heels to their own wedding.
Avec Moderation appears to be a new line (or at least, I just discovered it) that exclusively peddles pony-hair flat slipper-loafers. AND I LOVE THEM. Waiting for their website and e-boutique to go up properly, so I can go nuts. Don't ever change, please! Until then, buy on Kirna Zabete.
How adorable is this cake pan that creates mini three-tiered cakes? I totally want to get one just so that I can create a series of mini cakes and pretend to be a giant while eating them. Available at Amazon and be sure to check out the customer photos uploaded. Gorgeous!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Is the It bag still alive? Fashion people speak copiously of the demise of the It bag, but you still see variations on the theme everywhere you go, every day. I think what they mean is that logo-emblazoned designer bags aren't so de rigueur anymore, though the cult of the It bag still lives on. You still spot dozens of Balenciaga motorcycle bags, Celine Luggages and Trapezes, Proenza PS1s, so on and so forth, on a daily basis. Hey, I'm no different (she says, typing while staring at the PS1 on the chair beside her).
But I do also try to keep a collection of anti-It bags -- purses that serve the explicit purpose of not being recognizable. At first, it seemed practical to explore designer bags that weren't so popular and instantly identifiable. But that was stupid, because the phenomenon of the It bag arises from it being attractive, popular, the whole shebang. It's fundamentally dumb to buy an inferior designer bag just so you can defy popular opinion.
So now, I turn to lesser-known designers. Designers like PP4E by Piecco Pang, who makes the best exotics in Hong Kong. Or Lutecienne, a cute little French brand I just discovered thanks to a former colleague who's now based in his hometown back in France. Young, fun, colorful and carefree, the line comprises two handbag designs right now, both of which hang from the shoulder and are consciously created in shapes that aren't standard, with hardware and pocket placement that thankfully doesn't feel derivative of something we've already seen. I can't vouch for quality, because I haven't seen the bag in person yet, but the fuschia-navy combination really grabs the eye on the Carrousel, and I'm really feeling the diagonal zip on the Kraft seems simple yet inspired. What more can a girl ask for, really? Maybe an English website...
Not sure what to get that couple that hasn't stopped showing you their kid's photos and yet you are totally not a kid person? Rather than exploding in frustration over all the various kids clothes options out there, and wondering if it's worthwhile to spend thousands of dollars on shirts where the kids grow out of it in a month, why not buy clothes with a worthwhile cause behind them? MARNI has launched some limited edition CHILDREN’S IMAGINARY WORLD t-shirts where the designs are created by children from underprivileged communities in Colombia, Tibet and Kenya. They were invited to draw a story about the theme “My country” and the images were transformed into these shirts alongside with clutches and totes.Proceeds goes towards schools and these items are exclusively in MARNI boutiques and on www.marni.com
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Facebook came alive this morning with pleas for people to adopt these breeder corgis ranging from six months old to five years. I must admit I'm so tempted, but there's only so many dogs a girl can handle!
In the meantime, shop for your future corgi at American Apparel, where hipster gear galore awaits...
Food guest blogger hkLifestyleGeek visits Le Salon and give us her thoughts.
Le Salon is doing brisk business in Hysan Place, one of the few restaurant outlets in the mall that's doing well thanks to its combination of fine dining and small take-out counter for its prized croissants.
Here's a tip -- if you want to get your hands on those flaky, buttery double-baked croissants (HK$23) with various fillings including mango, tiramisu and chestnut, be sure to swing by the croissanterie before 1pm, otherwise there's no point in schlepping up 13 floors as I did once.
But, for some fine dining Gallic fare in a mall, this is the place to go. The interior is very classy with leather upholstered banquette seating and chairs and striped walls along with views of the Causeway Bay skyline.
We went in the evening, but we imagine during the day the place would definitely have a Parisian feel.
Practically everything on the menu is a classic bistro dish, but some have slight variations to keep things fresh, like the amuse bouche which was a creme brulee -- of foie gras.
Next came the steak tartar (HK$168), strongly seasoned with shallots and came accompanied with delicious McDonald's-like fries we could not stop eating.
For a seafood starter, there was a large bowl of mussels de Bouchote a la marinese (HK$158) that were on the small side, but good for sharing. They were flavourful in a white wine sauce with shallots and croutons and garnished with a sprig of thyme.
However we were quite disappointed by the bouillabaisse (HK$268). It arrived at the table with a large prawn, a piece of fish and clam before the broth was poured from a teapot. And how thin it was! We've been told it takes hours to make the bouillabaisse, the broth simmering in lots of shellfish and fresh seafood, but the end result is a diluted version of what should have intense bisque flavour.
Nevertheless, the chestnut soup (HK$168) made up for the bouillabaisse, a thick, hearty and richly-flavoured soup ideal for winter. It was very smooth and good to the last spoonful that we had to stop ourselves from licking the bowl.
We then had the mains, the duck confit (HK$198) were two duck legs that was seasoned with herbs and slow cooked in duck fat until it was tender. The legs were then pan fried for a crispy layer and the dish went very well with the orange slices.
A winner was the beef bourguignon (HK$268), thick cubes of braised beef on a bed of sinfully smooth buttery mashed potatoes, and came with a side dish of baby asparagus, carrots and a roasted cherry tomato. This was another hearty dish to warm up to in the cold season.
The dessert options are intriguing. The brulee waffle with strawberries and fresh cream (HK$88) is combination of the custard generously slathered on the waffles and then torched on top for the burnt sugar crust. It seemed strange at first, but it's a nice play on textures, soft and crunchy and not too sweet.
Another delish dessert is the mille feuille (HK$78), perfectly flaky layers of pastry that make it a good excuse not to share.
If you have trouble narrowing down what to order there are set menus available.
Le Salon Restaurant et Croissanterie
Shop 1304, 13/F, Hysan Place
500 Hennessy Road
Monday, December 10, 2012
I was browsing through Australian brand Linen House's newly launched Hong Kong website recently and rather than being inspired, I'm feeling quite sad that my bedrooms will never look as nicely styled as the images show on the website. I'm trying to convince myself that it's an evil conspiracy just to make me buy these beautiful sheets but think it's time I accept that I'm amazingly messy when it comes to household stuff and that even if I replicate these sort of rooms at home, give me an hour and it will turn into a complete sty. However, should you be the type that can maintain a minimalistic look in your rooms and covet decent sheets, I would recommend you check out the website. You can request complimentary fabric swatches to feel the quality of Linen House fabrics and they offer free delivery in three working days for orders over HK$500. Visit linenhouse.com.hk for more info.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
It's about that time of year when we start suggesting gifts for your girlfriends/family/significant other/fremeny/whatever... And topping our list is this chic, affordable and practical Travel Collection makeup palette from YSL Beaute. Featuring four eyeshadows, two lip colours, one blush and three brushes, it's the perfect gift for the gal on the go, with the entire set encased in a secure palette that's the size of an iPhone 4. Actually, this is the perfect gift for those of you who are traveling so much in December that you don't actually have time to do Christmas shopping, because the product is exclusive to travel-retail outlets, meaning you can buy them at the airport or onboard your flight. From what I understand there are three different colour combos, but you'll notice that a majority of the shades in every palette are super wearable -- so much so that you might yourself keeping this instead of giving it away