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Enter the Dragon: Delectable food + drink.

The food and drink at Once Upon A Table‘s Enter the Dragon was unbelievable.

The night kicked off with an absinthe cocktail.

They even did the traditional pour absinthe over a sugar cube and light it on fire!

The final cocktail, entitled “Smoking Dragon Cocktail”, had the coolest colors. This would also work well for a holiday party!

Here the guests are enjoying cocktail hour.

The first course (my personal favorite) was ‘Kiss The Dragon Buns.’ Angie made the buns from scratch… fatty pork with a little hoisin and cucumbers = divine!

Here Angie is about to roll out the buns. It made me happy to see someone else enjoying my baking room!

Here the buns are resting before steaming.

The next course was so clever: ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.’ We were all debating whether the sweet, honey chicken or the pickled lamb was the tiger or the dragon, but either way, this dish just really worked together. Shreya, who hails from India, really nailed the Indian-inspired flavor profiles.

The next dish involved dragon fruit… here Argha is cutting some up. Now the Mr. loves dragon fruit… personally I’ve always found it to be a bit blah.

But I just loved the dish they came up with: ‘Salsa On A Dragon Boat.’ By mixing the dragon fruit with sauteed shrimp, chili peppers, fish sauce, pineapple and mint, they made dragon fruit into one of my favorite fruits!

Now as if we weren’t stuffed already… the final main was tender beef in hot chili oil. 

They also used Sichuan peppers, which literally make your whole mouth go numb. So even though the chili was quite hot, the numbing sensation enabled me to take down my entire plate!

The peppers are really pretty cool. From just one solo, I couldn’t feel my mouth for about 30 minutes… and actually the slight tingling is really quite enjoyable. This is a hot I actually really like.

Here my kitchen is being put to good use!! I have to admit… I worried I might feel a little territorial over my kitchen as it really is ‘my sacred space.’ But I actually loved seeing other people at work and noting how they arranged their work spaces. And not to mention how nice it is to enjoy a fine dinner party in your own home without having to do the cooking. I guess this is why people hire caterers…

And here are all the chefs (+ Jeff, the beer pairing guru) having a good time together. Such a fun and talented group!! Tomorrow I will show you dessert and my dragon favors!! I do hope I have the pleasure of working with them again soon.

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ALTitude Design Summit & Sundance 2012.

Hi everyone, Happy Chinese New Year!! The Year of the Dragon–a very lucky year indeed. Last year we stayed in Asia for the celebrations… read more about that here. I also did a fun post CNY on gifts and celebrations. But this year, between the awesome ALTitude Design Summit and Sundance 2012 I will be out of blogging commission for a few days. Looking forward to catching up with you next week and have a great weekend! xxx

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Oberammergau + Josef Albl Nativities.

While we were at Oktoberfest last year in Munich, we took a fabulous little bus tour that took us to two of crazy King Ludwig’s castles, as well as Oberammergau.

Oberammergau is an adorable little town nestled into the rolling green hills and steep mountain peeks of Bavaria.

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33 ways to stay creative.

I am going to do no. 31 and no. 27 right now!

By way of Design Crush by way of Shiny Squirrel.

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Reader’s query: Groom’s gift

Dear HongKongHousewife,
I’m getting married in a few weeks and I was trying to think about what to get my groom for our wedding and was wondering if you and your husband got gifts for each other, and if so, would you mind telling me what you got him?  I’m struggling for ideas here as he prefers his $30 Timex plastic watch and says he won’t wear cuff links (outside of a tux).  I think he’d really love a new set of golf clubs, but I wouldn’t know where to start in terms of picking something he’d like out…  is it too impersonal to get him a gift certificate??  Do you have any other suggestions or something nice that he could at least open that night?

Yours truly,
NY Fiancé

Dear NY Fiance,

I got the Mr. a framed map of Boston and a framed map of New England (because he’s from Massachusetts)… and then my card said something like “now my home will always be with you.”

The Mr. got me a textbook of Arkansas… the honeymoon was a surprise. I didn’t know where we were going until we got to the airport, but he kept joking that he had found a newlywed couple on Craig’s List and that we were going to rent an RV together and tour Arkansas. Inside the textbook was a CD of pics of us — and he wrote me a nice card.

While it’s certainly true that men of this era appreciate gadgets (iPads, Kindles, video games) more than anything else, I don’t think they’re appropriate groom’s gifts. I much prefer a small “token” gift that is something he’ll have forever because technology does come and go. Here are some ideas of those types of things:

–I’m assuming he already has cufflinks, but what about hidden message collar stays for the big day! Include some inside jokes?  You could pair them with “wedding boxers”?

This is in fact what NYFiance ended up buying for her groom… although she purchased them from Stayclip and had them engraved with some of their vows and their anniversary date. Her Mr. wears stays every day to work so this was a perfect gift for him!  Image credit: Spark Photography.

Passport holder engraved (for the honeymoon, especially if it’s abroad).

Humidor engraved with your combined new monogram or wedding date? Good for when he needs to light up a cigar when you have your first baby!

–Nice crystal scotch glasses for him to use when toasting milestones… like new jobs or new babies!

–Business card holder (a nice silver one, also engraved) with his initials on the outside and maybe the date somewhere on the inside?

–A framed print, map or etching of his hometown, like I did. This is a good site to order them from: http://www.lyonsltd.com/index.cfm

A picture, sketch, photo, or painting of Central Park where he popped the question?

–In case you get cold feet socks:

From etsy.

–A family Bible is another sweet idea. You could engrave it. And you could spring for a fancy old Bible, with amazing engraved illustrations.

–A family dictionary (one of those giant ones on a stand) could be kinda dorky, but cool. Great for teachers, writers or Scrabble lovers.

From Live Auctioneers.

–Does he have a favorite book? A first edition is very special.

–A travel journal to record your trips together on your new adventure as husband and wife… gettting married is the start of a journey together. Now you’ll always have someone to experience new places with!

Smythson.

–On that same note, a compass.

–A suit stand for him to lay out all of his garments on his wedding day…

This was the Mr.’s tux and our wedding rings on our wedding morn. The suit stand was a gift from my grandfather.

These are just a few of my ideas… readers what did you give your grooms?

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