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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rest in Peace, Emma

Our lovely silly beautiful gentle Emma is no more with us
27 April 2001 - 21 March 2013


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

It's Complicated, But During A Holiday, Something's Gotta Give

Maybe it's because I've just moved apartments for the 12th time in 12 consecutive years; or maybe it's the sheer number of hours I'd recently logged seeking the perfect furniture pieces that are, for once, not from a mass-produced, flat-packed design factory from Sweden.  Whatever the case, I've found myself hankering for those aesthetically pleasing and perfect home interiors that are normally found within the pages of Dwell and, oh let's just be honest here, in every single Nancy Meyers' movie since Father of the Bride.

Google Ms Meyers' name and you will discover more websites and blogs devoted to the interiors of her characters' homes than about the actual movies they're in.  Apparently, there are legions of obsessed fans out there who gawk at every built-in bookcase, sigh over the granite kitchen counters, hyperventilate at the sight of the dhurri rugs, contemplate each and every Kenton Nelson painting, and pine for those elegantly comfortable living room sets. Oh wait, that's me.

Here are some of my favourite "homes" from The Holiday, It's Complicated and (my absolute fantasy movie Hamptons beach house in) Something's Gotta Give
Cameron Diaz's character's LA home in The Holiday
The LA media room in The Holiday
The LA living room in The Holiday
The Hamptons living room in Something's Gotta Give
Another angle of the same living room, sans Jack, in Something's Gotta Give (Photo: Architectural Digest)
Diane Keaton's character's kitchen in Something's Gotta Give
The LA kitchen in The Holiday
Meryl Streep's character's kitchen in It's Complicated
The LA master bedroom in The Holiday
The LA bath in The Holiday

(All images are from the movies' screenshots or Pinterest boards.)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Photo Essay: Day-to-Night Market in Mongkok

My new 'hood Mongkok is teeming with different types of open-air markets and mini districts - you can find seafood, shoes, clothing, tropical fish, puppies, kittens, jade, kitchen utensils, computer parts, sex toys, chicken innards, fortune tellers, anything your commercial heart desires. I live a brisk 15-minute walk from one of them - a primarily fruit and veggie market with some textiles stalls thrown in - and it's a fascinating glimpse into the "roadside economies" that are just as essential and ubiquitous in Hong Kong as the tony skyscrapers populated by the global financial enterprises.

This is a pictorial essay of a section of Canton and Nelson streets in Mongkok, Kowloon:
All photographs by Weng Ho

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bite-Size Review: Main Street Deli at The Langham, Hong Kong

One of my favourite memories as a teenager growing up in Toronto was when my dad took me to this Greek diner for breakfast on Yonge Street one cold wintry morning.  The place was shabby and dilapidated - and that's a kind description - with a pleasant yet overly made up (especially for seven in the a.m.) waitress pouring coffee ("you hafta tell me if you want decaf, honey. I can't read minds, you know") for the handful of customers at the counter, and a large, silent, stubble-faced short order cook perspiring in a grease-stained apron over a white T-shirt with long sleeves bunched up at his elbows.  I can't quite remember what my dad had, but I decided to get into the moment and, quite daringly, I thought at the time, ordered a plate of steak and eggs.  

Up to that point in my relatively short life, I've never really had that much protein for breakfast, let alone a whole steak, and a fried one at that.  Along with the two over easy eggs and a huge serving of home fries and onions (another first,) that was easily the oiliest, most fattening, cholesterol-hardening meal I'd ever had before noon.

It was awesome.

I've never quite replicated that experience, but diners have always held a special place in my heart since that morning.  Along with noodle shops, they are pretty much the Kryptonite in my restaurant index, so I've gone to as many as my doctor will allow in the past couple of decades or so.  There weren't that many in the Middle East (please, spare me those faux Johnny Rockets joints) and in Hong Kong, the numbers aren't that much higher.  However, I did find a decent one pretty much in my own backyard here in Tsimshatsui, tucked away in a side street within a luxe hotel (full disclosure: I work for the parent company but totally paid my own way for my meals.)  

It's called Main Street Deli and they serve a mean burger with a side of fries and onion rings, and a good thick frothy milkshake.  Yeah, it's a bit on the pricey side (their burgers start at US$19 not including the service charge) and the salads could be presented in more ergonomically-friendly bowls, but the quality is good, the servings are generous (wait till you see the size of their cheesecake slice) and the staff young and cheery.  Been back twice, and since I've yet to sample their corned beef hash, buttermilk pancakes and the Reuben, a return trip is in the works.  

And yes, they do serve steak and eggs.
The 8-oz Monster Burger
The 8-oz Monster Burger, deconstructed, and with fries
An enormous slice of the New York cheesecake
The chocolate milkshake

Main Street Deli at The Langham, Hong Kong
8 Peking Road, Tsimshatsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone +852 2375 1133

Friday, March 15, 2013

Dreaming of Pineapple Fields and the Pacific

Around this time every year, my cosmopolitan friend Susanne goes back to the land of perpetual rainbows where the riot of colours from nature just hurts the eyes - in a good way, of course - and where the Pacific embraces the little islands of fertile land blessed by the volcano and sunshine demi-gods.  And hopefully one day soon, I'll join her in this pilgrimage back to Hawaii.  Aloha-oe. 
Bougainvilleas growing in the wild in Oahu

On a clear day in Maui....
Never mind's pineapple fields forever!
At the Big Island


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hanging at the Pipeline: December 2004

One of the best memories of my years in Hawaii: getting to witness and marvel at the surfers competing at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series in North Shore.
Photograph by Weng Ho.
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