Warnings in September 2013

So I moved here years ago. It was hot. My first dorm room, I remember, had a fan like the one in Apocalypse Now. I sweat through my bamboo mat bed. The horror…the horror… My first real apartment was cool, despite the water heater breaking. In the winter, I had to heat the water on the stove to wash myself. It was cool. Then I got one of the first apartments in town outside of the area designated for foreigners. Yes, back then, foreigners could only stay in certain hotels or apartments, and I was one of the first to get a place after that rule changed. The guy ripped me off. It was very sparsely furnished. My roommate and I found another place, a steal at 1,100RMB/month. It was perfect, except for the wood sofa. As landlords became more and more willing to rent to foreigners, I eventually found a place with a padded couch. I got a better job, decided to move up in the world, and rented my first and last villa. Outside that villa there was a sidewalk made of those old grey bricks we used to see lying around on the sides of the roads. Every now and then I go back there to see how my Japanese Maple is doing. I spent a couple months on a friend’s living room floor before finding the best apartment I’ve ever had. It was the top floor of a two story apartment the owner had made into two separate places. I had it renovated to my exact needs. And after all of the work making that joint my own, the owner decided she wanted to move back in. It broke my heart. So when I got another “maopei” place, I refused to do more than the most basic renovations. I didn’t even have a shower in the bathroom, so I had to go to the gym every day, which I didn’t do, so I smelled a lot. I also hated taking taxis to work, so I found a place just across the street from my office. It was basically a cave, cheap but dark, so when my daughter came along it was time for another place.

I could stand living in a cave, but I couldn’t subject my daughter to Neanderthal life. Then that landlord’s own daughter got married and kicked us out so that she could move back in, and we hit the road once more. This time, I went through one of those real estate places that are everywhere now, and we brokered a neat place just above Starbucks. Alright, that sounds cheesy, but it did come in handy. She raised the rent, so we moved again just into the building next door because we were getting used to the neighborhood, until recently when we had to move closer to our daughter’s kindergarten. This’ll be my thirteenth place, and I’m thinking of disabling the shower. That way, I might get into shape again.

By Tim Hoerle

Wolf Blass – Eaglehawk Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

One of the most widely grown grapes is Cabernet Sauvignon. Its popularity is attributed to its ease of cultivation; the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and resistant to rot and frost.

When Wolf Blass immigrated to Australia in 1961 he drew much inspiration from the grace and fortitude of the native South Australian eaglehawk. In 1966 when Wolf Blass began establishing his own winery he named it Bilyara, the aboriginal word for eaglehawk, Eaglehawk Cabernet Sauvignon is an excellent example of the Wolf Blass house style of flavorful, well balanced wines, with an approachable red wine experience for everyday enjoyment.

The Cabernet Sauvignon was from vineyard sites selected by the Wolf Blass winemaking team on the basis of quality fruit and excellent flavor profile. Following the harvest, grapes were gently pushed through rollers to split the berries and release juices. Following inoculation with selected yeasts, the fermented must is pumped through a press to separate juices from skins. After fermentation, the wine is matured in a combination of tank and seasoned French and American oak. The wine is then racked and fined prior to assembling into the finished wine.

The 2011 vintage was challenging due to high summer rainfall and a cool growing season throughout South Australia. Wolf Blass was very careful with vineyard selection which was crucial in maintaining quality. The cooler conditions acted to maintain excellent acid levels in the wine as well as create bright, vibrant wines.

The Eaglehawk is ruby red with crimson hues and displays attractive spice, mint and berry fruit aromas with a hint of oak. There are also fruit characters of cherries and dark currant, spiced plum and a hint of licorice. Solid tannins and velvety mouthfeel, the rich full palate and generous fruit continue all the way through to a lingering finish. Enjoy with duck confit, grilled meats or roasted vegetable pie.

Wolf Blass Eaglehawk Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is available by the glass and bottle at the Oak Bar in the Oakwood Hangzhou. Until next time, more wine please.

Wolf-Blass-Eaglehawk-Cabernet-Sauvignon-2011-73x300

Warnings in August 2013

I’m hooked. It took me long enough, but I’m addicted to We Chat. I’m taking pictures of all my meals, the places I go, and the people I see. I’m “hearting” my friends’ posts, and I’m “looking around” all the time, but one of the newest things I’m being forced to do is to write things in Chinese. If I had only learned one character a day since getting here, I would know 6,908 of them by now, or if I had learned one four-word idiom a day, I would now be able to read most books, not to mention being able to better understand the local psyche. So why am I now being forced to write in Chinese? Because many of my foreign friends are doing the same, and it makes me feel like an even bigger fool for not being able to respond in kind, not to mention not being able to understand all their cheeky comments. With more than three hundred million members, We Chat is becoming the king of the mobile universe, and once this thing gets rolling in other countries, I suspect it will topple Zuckerberg’s empire. After all, it is better, and much more convenient.

For those few of you who have yet to download this app, I highly recommend it. After all, you don’t have to check to see if people have tagged you because they can’t, and if you only want to SMS your mom for free, then it’s more than worth it. I was in Japan the other day, and I could find other users by looking around. Not like I was ready to ask them to add me, but I could have if I wanted to. When I got to the U.S., I found a couple other users within a ten kilometer radius. They were Chinese which makes me wonder if they get onto Vine. Vine is my other new passion. It’s made by the folks at Twitter. Vinofiles post six-second videos of anything and everything. It is accessible in China too, albeit a bit slower. I have actually been practicing pulling my phone out of my pocket like a Wild Western gunslinger in case I see something worth recording. What if I’m at Wal-Mart and some fat lady falls out of her Rascal Scooter reaching for a bag of pork cracklings and I don’t catch her shame on video? Would I ever forgive myself? Could I ever forgive myself? Suffice it to say, when the Chinese version of Vine is released, I’m investing the bank in that company.

For all of you “traditional” folks out there who refuse upgrade phones, you’re a bunch of fools. How much does a good new phone cost? Couple thousand RMB? You’re like a coke dealer in the 90s losing all his clients because they were too cheap to get a beeper. Life is way too short to deny yourself from having all the fun there is to be had with all the modern technology out there.

By Tim Hoerle

Warnings in July 2013

I’m finding it hard to focus these days, and I can’t be too sure why. It could be the heat, it could be the work, the family, the uncertain future, or the foggy past. As I walk down the steamy street a million thoughts are passing my mind at once. I’ve got this wobbly street stone beneath my feet, and everyone but me seems to be navigating them steadily. And no, it’s not because of a hangover. I’m almost over with those. Maybe it’s because I’m too aware of my own feet as I hit poorly laid out sidewalk slabs. I narrowly get hit by a passerby bicyclist, and then almost bump into a walker-by. The people are lining up for some odd reason at the intersection until I realize that they are just avoiding the sun, and lining up just to where the shade stops on the road. Half of them have umbrellas which confuses me. I’m sweating like a hairdresser in temple, and then I wonder why I’m not lining up with them. Just before the light turns green the crowd commences across the road in hasty fashion to get into the next patch of shade. And the horn blares on one of those annoying three wheeled motorcycles. I jump. I get annoyed. Then I try settle myself by saying that it’s his prerogative. After all there’s sweat dripping off my nose, and the last thing I need to feel is being annoyed at anyone. I pass by Starbucks where it’s packed. I mean it’s 9:30am and the place is just jammed with people in another line of something like twenty people in it. I shake my head in bewilderment because the café just a couple of doors down now has its doors shut due to its lack of business. I’d never been to that closed café, and I assume that nobody else had been either. Oh well, maybe they should simply extend the square footage of the coffee giant into his vanquished neighbor’s space. Which makes me wonder why they don’t sell liquor in Starbucks. I mean businesses don’t need an official liquor license around here as you might in other countries.

Maybe the CEO has something against a nice Irish Coffee at 8am. But why not? Or why not have a new Starbucks Bar inside of Starbucks Cafes? Kind of like how McDonalds has a café inside of their “restaurants”. That’s right folks I just put that in quotes. You can picture me putting my air quotes up with my hands if I were to read this piece to you out loud. Because you really can’t call McDonalds a restaurant now can you? A food distributor is more like it. I get into the taxi, where it’s still hot as Satan’s kitchen and I ask him to turn on the A/C, and he says no it’s “huai le”, so I “fangqi le” and give up. But at least there’s a light breeze through the window—something to focus on.

By Tim Hoerle

Zombie Brain

Summertime is here and that means many late nights of drinking with friends, because – let’s be honest – everyone is much happier now that the cold weather is gone and the rain has stopped! This month we are going to learn how to make a fun a little shooter sure to impress at your next big house party, or just really gross people out after they look at what they are about to swallow. The Zombie Brain has only three ingredients and takes no special skills to make; just simple pouring. Just do me a favor, don’t blame me if you have a few too many and the next morning feel like a zombie yourself.

Ingredients:

Peach Schnapps  
Bailey’s Irish Cream  
Grenadine

1. Fill a shot glass 3/4 of the way with Peach Schnapps. See? Nothing fancy. Easy squeezy.
2. Slowly pour the Bailey’s Irish Cream into the glass, and when I, “say,” “slowly,” I mean it! And be sure to leave a little bit of room in the glass.
3. Watch as the Bailey’s starts to curdle, creating brain-like strands in the shot. This is due to the acid in the Schnapps.
4. Add the Grenadine directly over the Bailey’s. Again, move slow! This will allow the Grenadine to create blood like strands that give this shot a little, sugary, goodness while looking pretty damn cool.
5. Listen to all your friends OOH and AWW then slam it down your gullet.

A Few Tips:
1. You can replace the Grenadine with Blue Curacao or simply add it to the mix to add even more color and flavor.
2. DO NOT TRY AND SIP THIS SHOT! It is meant to be done in one go, sipping will result in possible projectile vomiting.

3. If Schnapps isn’t your thing, use Vodka instead. Add a little lime juice for the acid you need to make the Bailey’s curdle.

Stay thirsty my friends!

Zombie brain

Warnings in June 2013

So I read this article about this dude who’s selling his web browsing history by the day for two dollars a day. He’s a bit of a techie himself, and he does tons of browsing, but really now. He’s selling it. After reading it I thought, why don’t I make my web browsing habits open to the public? I always go to www.siriusxm.com first to log into my commercial free music. The site does have it’s problems, but I’ve yet to find any other music source with stations as good as the ones they have on their satellite radio. Then, no surprise, I go to check my email on gmail which has its problems as well, but then again, I’ve found no better. My third website of the day is always www.fmylife.com, which helps me put everything into perspective. And yeah, I’ve read each and every post on that site. My fourth is www.fark.com. It is the best news aggregate site on the internet, and the comments rock. Next up is my daily dose of the English with www.dailymail.co.uk. Call me stupid on this one, but then again I’ve never said that I have an intellect larger than that of a gecko, so shoot me. Then it’s on to www.yahoo.com to get my injection of what’s happening in the US. The comments on yahoo are like my telescope into mainstream America. When I’m done with that, I move on to www.slate.com. A bit more on the high-brow side, though not to be that repetitive, but I’m not that tall on the intellectual ladder, so take that analysis in stride. The site makes me laugh at least. Next up is www.mediagazer.com, a site which makes me feel as if I’m part of those high flying publishers out there. And the same goes to why I read www.techmeme.com to make me feel as if I’m computer savvy. Back to China it comes with me visiting www.beijingboyce.com to get a bit of info on the food/drink scene in our polluted yet full of great restaurants capital. I’ve got to get my news on China, so then I’m typing www.beijingcream.com into my address bar to get some of the real deal on local news stories. And when that’s not enough for me, which though good, it usually isn’t, I’m smacking it–don’t read into that one–with www.chinasmack.com.

To get to this point usually takes me about an hour or so depending on how many emails I’ve got to write, of course how many cigarettes I smoke, and how many phone calls I’ve got to answer. And that finally leads me to my phoning habits because a browsing history simply isn’t complete with a list of my phone activities. I’ve got to update all of the games on my phone on basically a daily routine. Then I’ve got to download all of my emails onto my phone. Don’t ask me why, but it just makes me feel better, and then I’ve got to take care of Pou. This stupid computer creature that needs his poo cleaned almost hourly, but hey my daughter loves this digital glob of clay, so I dare not let the thing die. Anyway, guys look out for our new website soon. We hope that we’ll be on your daily list.

By Tim Hoerle

Warnings in May 2013

Beijing Boyce, one of my favorite online food bloggers, once mentioned how he liked to put Taco Bell Hot Sauce on his Gung Ho Pizza, and that got me to thinking—how many other cool combinations are out there, and so I was started. One thing I’d always wanted to do was add lemon to every type of local dish, and so I began my trek to start carrying lemons around wherever I go, and now while they don’t exactly go with everything, they go with most, and one of my newest delights is to squeeze a whole lemon into any kind of noodles. It’s heavenly and the zesty addition cuts right at the overly oily tendency noodles here tend to have. That and the fish: ever had a Squirreled Mandarin Fish with lemon on top? Superb. Plus, breaking out a lemon in a Chinese restaurant isn’t like breaking out the ketchup in a French place; which I’ve been known to do. Fortunately, busting out a lemon in a Chinese joint only gets one inquisitive stares, while the French routinely blind me with espresso before working me over with truncheons and throwing me out of their restaurant. They’re right to do it.

I continued my culinary experimentation on the rice I was eating. I’ve always wanted to try my Fried Egg with Rice with a bit of cheese, and wham. That was a hit. Nowadays cheddar cheese isn’t as hard to get as it was, and though it’s a bit costly, it’s worth it. Then I put some chili powder into the rice while cooking it, and Bam! It gives the rice a nice orange color, and it gives just enough kick to be noticeable. Next came the Jiaozi. I’ve now tried two types worth mentioning: pepperoni with mozzarella, and jalapenos with mozzarella, and both were absolutely divine. Fry those bad boys up, serve them with a bit of marinara sauce, and I‘ve got something out of Marco Polo’s world.

Those were some of my success stories. Here are some failures. No matter how much I’ve tried to fancy up my ramen noodles, it always turns out to be a complete failure. I guess I should have listened to the French when it comes to my ketchup will solve anything theory because no matter how many Italian spices I throw onto my ketchup with ramen, it just never seems to work. Butter and garlic on ramen just doesn’t cut the mustard, nor does the addition of actual mustard. I should leave the ramen noodles to the Japanese. Hey! How about wasabi on top of hotdogs? Or maybe even a grilled chopped hotdog with wasabi thrown into my bowl of ramen noodles? No, I shall not end my quest for the best fusion bowl of ramen noodles. Now if I could only get my hands on some Taco Bell Hot Sauce…

By Tim Hoerle

Warnings in April 2013

There are e-bike guys, bus guys, taxi guys, walking people, driving dudes, and cycle guys out there, and usually they stick to the same mode of transport all of the time. I have found the adventurous people stick to their own means of transport i.e. e-bike, bicycle, or by foot. Studious types stick to the busses. Those with self control stick to their own cars, and those who like, or are able, to speak Chinese, take taxis. Now this is without a doubt a flawed generalization, but often I find it to be true. I am an exception to the rule because I don’t really like to speak with the taxi drivers. I actually avoid it, but I don’t like to drive my own form of transport because I don’t like to get wet, and because I don’t have enough money to buy a car. So forget about my prejudice about people who take different types of transport, but do know that once you start taking one form of travel, you usually stick to it, and it’s frightening the kind of routines that I follow. For example, I really don’t know how to get anywhere anymore. I simply get into a taxi and tell him where my destination is, and then I space out, without looking at where I am going. 

I found myself lost the other day when I dusted off the bike for the first time in a long while. I wasn’t really lost, but I didn’t know where I was going for quite some time. Then when I finally got where I was going, I was relieved. When I eventually got there, I realized why I don’t go there that often, because the place was totally jammed with loads of “wai di rzen.” Yeah, I spelled that last word right. But the flowers on the trees were so nice, they couldn’t be overlooked. The air was fresh as it came off the water. When I finally got back to the office my coworker was astounded at how quickly I could get back. I told her that I had been away for an hour, and she couldn’t believe me. “No, you’ve only been gone a few minutes.” I felt like I was in the movie Inception (돝촘왕쇌 dào mèng kōng jiān) or something. Was I dreaming or what? Then I realized I have become quite the movie lately. I’ve seen one of my favorites in Lincoln (주완 lín kěn) recently, along with Argo (徑잼돠붚읊 táo lí dé hēi lán), Searching for Sugarman (璣冷鬼鎌훙 xún zhăo xiăo táng rén), Wild Bill (柰찬궐랑 yě mán bĭ ĕr), Beasts of the Southern Wild (켓렘돨柰艱 nán fāng de yĕ shòu), but I have yet to try out Les Miserable (굄꾀各썹 bēi căn shì jiè), for fear of Hugh Jackman singing. Anyway, now that I’ve got some new vocabulary, I might be able to have a nice conversation with my next taxi driver. 

Bloody Mary

Lately, my dealings with the enthusiastic drinkers of Hangzhou have me needing to call up a classic hangover cure to get ready for the next round. Thankfully, warm weather is just around the corner and I believe a lot of us will need to use this recipe to make our woes go away in the mornings. Now it seems like a lot ingredients are needed, but trust me, it’s worth it. After a few times making a Bloody Mary, you’ll feel like a seasoned pro, and soon you’ll be putting your own spin on this morning classic.

Ingredients:
Vodka
Tomato Juice
Olive Juice
Tabasco
Salt
Black Pepper
Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
Celery
Ice

1. Before you grab your cocktail shaker, rim a rocks glass with the juice of a lime and dip it into salt and then fill it with ice.
2. Now get that shaker packed full of ice to make it even more refreshing.
3. Add 60ml Vodka, 90ml Tomato Juice, 5ml Olive Juice, 3 dashes of Tabasco, 4 dashes of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, and lastly, some salt & black pepper to taste.
4. You will want to shake everything together nicely till the shaker has a nice frost coating over it letting you know that the drink is truly cold.
5. Next up, strain the ingredients into your lime juice-rimmed rocks glass.
6. Finally, garnish the cocktail with a piece of celery as well as a little more Tabasco and Black Pepper.

A few tips:
1) If you wish to make a pitcher just multiply all the ingredients by 4, but make sure to taste it as you go along to see if you want a little extra of a certain something.
2) If you want to learn how to make a particular drink, just get in touch with the MORE crew and tell us what your taste buds are craving!

Stay thirsty my friends!

 

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary

Allan Scott Family Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Allan Scott Family<br /><br />
Marlborough<br /><br />
Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Allan Scott Family
Marlborough
Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Comedian Robin Williams has said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” As the weather gets warmer, it is time to explore a nice white wine to complement a Spring Party or picnic. Allan Scott Family’s Sauvignon Blanc 2011 is the perfect spring wine.
In 1990, Allan Scott Family Winemakers was born – a true family affair. Allan and Catherine Scott oversee every aspect of the venture. Son Josh is the winemaker, while daughters Sara and Victoria are, respectively, their viticulturist and marketing manager.
The Scott family has a reputation of producing wines consistent in flavor and quality year after year. The success is due to excellent growing conditions, hard work, and a desire to produce the world’s best wines.
The Allan Scott Family Winery has several vineyards situated in two of the world’s most prestigious growing regions – Marlborough and Central Otago, New ZeAlland. As the owners of their own vineyards and winery they have control of their product, from the growing of the vines to the bottling of the wine.
The Scott family’s Marlborough vineyards are situated close to their winery in the Rapaura area of the Wairau Plains. The gravelly soils that predominate are perfectly suited to the production of Sauvignon Blanc.
The nose of the 2011 Sauvignon is distinctly tropical with an initial sweet passion fruit bouquet that gives way to slightly herbaceous hints of grapefruit and green apple. The body has depth and structure. The palate is smooth and fruit driven with firm lively acidity and a lingering mouth-watering finish.
Allan Scott Family Sauvignon Blanc 2011 can be purchased at Ja-e in the Euro American Center for 145RMB. It’s a wonderful wine to enjoy on its own, as an aperitif, or to accompany seafood, chicken, and salads. Until next time, more wine please.