Hong Kong was made for [Food] Lovers

I have officially been in this city for five days and it’s safe to say I am completely enamored with the place. It’s like all of my favorite cities combined and the FOOD, oh my god the Food here is phenomenal. There are restaurants everywhere, literally everywhere. In old Police Headquarters that have been renovated to dark alleyways that make you question if you’re even in the right place. This post is about one of those places hidden in a dark alleyway.

Down in Central Hong Kong there is a hidden gem called The Brick House. To get there is an adventure, you wont forget.

My cousin, Jason, has always had good taste in food; even so when he told me he wanted to take me to his favorite Mexican joint in Hong Kong I was entirely skeptical of the whole idea. I lived on the boarder of Mexico for two years and had sense become a serious snob about my Tacos. Northern United States is known for it’s terrible Mexican food and I was 8005 miles from Boston, I flew over the North Pole to get here. I agreed anyway, feeling apprehensive about trying Mexican Food in a city known for it’s Dim Sum.

To get to the restaurant you first have to find the entrance, and it’s hardly obvious. When we first got to the end of the alleyway I thought we were just taking a short cut like we often did to get around the city and avoid the heavy foot traffic. At the beginning of the alley there was a much more elderly man singing in what I could only assume was Cantonese. His voice rose and dropped beautifully while his notes hung in the heavy humidity that rules Hong Kong during the summer months. As soon as I looked beyond him and further into the alley I started getting nervous. Although Hong Kong is a relatively safe city I had been living in dangerous areas the last four years that if you walked down a place like this you were asking for trouble, but I trusted Jason and knew the end goal would be worth it, and it was.

The walls leading into the restaurant are smothered in Street Art, graffiti and love notes.

Once you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a warm and welcoming atmosphere where the tables for large parties are half inside, half outside with double seating along the alleyway. The walls inside the restaurant are also covered in street art. I was in heaven. Soon I was enveloped by the life of the restaurant, the music was beachy and the Margaritas were strong. I couldn’t wait to order food and try some of their delicious looking options.

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Naturally we started with Chips and Guacamole, because no visit to any Latino restaurant is complete without copious amounts of Guacamole…. I could also live off of Guac, it’s not only my favorite but the Brick House NAILED it. Also, the Salsa? Perfect!!!!

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Best. Ceviche. Ever.

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My new best friends ❤

Now anyone who knows me knows how freaked out I am by fish or eating fish or thinking about eating fish. The first time I tried Ceviche it took my friend Caroline and her Fiancee, Forrest, to convince me that trying Ceviche was 1) not going to kill me and 2) was actually delicious. The thought of eating raw fish horrified me and I didn’t totally grasp the science that the acid of the citrus actually cooked the fish and therefor it was entirely safe to eat. After that first bite I’ve become a bit obsessed with the stuff, trying it every chance I get in places where I feel comfortable enough to eat the fish and Hong Kong is known for it’s excellent fish. Everyone eats seafood here. On first bite I was hooked on Brick House’s twist on Peruvian Ceviche and by far it is the best I’ve ever had (sorry San Diego, you’ve dropped off my Good Mexican Food Map.) Let me just make it very clear: If you are going to visit Hong Kong you have to go here. You have to try their Ceviche and have one of their Classic Margaritas.

And don’t you dare forget to try the tacos, with homemade soft shell and incredibly fresh meat you wont ever want to leave the restaurant. I demolished two before even taking the chance to really savor the taste, on the third taco I took notes and it’s safe to say their Chicken Tacos are the best Hong Kong has to offer.

So thank you Brick House for the incredible experience, I will be back before I leave for sure ❤

Disfruta!

NerdyGypsy

Food and Beer places I MUST go!!!

So one more week and I am off on a grand adventure! I’m so excited!! I was trying to think of places that would be fun to visit while I’m there and then started thinking about beer. And food. And all the fun beer and food I want to try! So here’s my Top 5 Foodie Bucket List of Hong Kong!!!!

  1. Hong Kong Beer Co was recently relaunched by a company that has been in the craft beer business for about 100 years, with experience in the Asia and American craft beer markets, however this brewery is the first of its kind and is the Pioneer of Craft Brewing in Asia but with 6 year-round beers and 2 specialty beers I should be in for a treat.
  2. Little Lab A funky cocktail bar with some crazy mixtures. One of their drinks is called ‘HK Tea Time’ and the recipe is as follows: 12-year Dewar’s, house-made milk tea syrup and evaporated milk, topped with off craft beer and chocolate bitters.
  3. Lion Rock Brewery I liked the name of this one so naturally I had to put it on the list. I have never had a White IPA before and they boast one named Icy Lotus that I am dying to try. White IPA is a stylish newcomer that unites the best of Witbier and American IPA: light malts, strong hops, and aroma aplenty. A fragrant blend of blueberry, orange peel, passion fruit, and lychee.
  4. The Markets! Oh there are so many Markets in Hong Kong, from Ladies Market to Temple Street Night Markets you can find all sorts of goodies, and I plan on doing some shopping as well as hitting up as many street food vendors I can handle. Family members and close friends should expect some strange souvenirs in their mailboxes 😉
  5. Oddies Foodies is a Gelato shop with crazy flavors like curry gelato, swirled with mango jam, roasted peanuts, and coconut macaroon. In March they had one that I could probably die happy trying called PopCone which had salted caramel gelato, caramel popcorn, roasted almonds, burnt vanilla semifreddo, apple compote and dulce de leche. Yummmmmm.

 

One more week and I will be in HK!!!!!!

Nerdy Gypsy

NG tries Bourbon.

If you are a Bourbon Lover and visiting Frankfort, KY then you have to visit Art up at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  For those of you not familiar with the history of Buffalo Trace it was one of the only four Bourbon Distilleries allowed to remain open during the prohibition.

A case housing old 'whiskey' prescriptions, there's even a written slip in one of the cases!!

A case housing old ‘whiskey’ prescriptions, there’s even a written slip in one of the cases!!

So for those of you who know me you know that getting me to try new things isn’t always the easiest. I am picky and if I think it’s going to hurt or burn to eat it I will adamantly refuse (I still wont eat shrimp.) Bourbon has always been something I’ve been skeptical about but my best friend in the world, Ronnie, adores more than killing Zombies (Okay maybe not *more* but it’s close.) The first tour we went on I couldn’t even finish my Bourbon, I made Brian drink mine for me. When I got to Buffalo Trace I was excited to learn it’s history more than drink the Bourbon but then I met Art.

Art pouring samples of several types of Bourbon while discussing his own personal recipes.

Art pouring samples of several types of Bourbon while discussing his own personal recipes.

I got the pleasure of meeting Art before the tour. I was perusing the gift shop and was looking over the bourbons they had available for sale, I expressed my lack of interest to bourbon and he taught me his little tricks to loving bourbon. Now, I wont tell you those tricks here, for that you are going to have to go talk to Art. As he started to describe the flavors and the history behind each taste the more interested I became. I’m a history buff, what can I say.

Barrels and barrels

Barrels and barrels

He explained the process, took us through the bottling room and even showed us the ‘speak easy’ that had been built into the distillery which lead to a large warehouse filled to the brim with barrels of bourbon.

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The large bookshelf that opens up to a warehouse of bourbon.

He talked about the specific water found in Kentucky and why it effects bourbon the way it does

One of the warehouses with the barrel elevator which connects to barrel rails that run through the complex.

One of the warehouses with the barrel elevator which connects to barrel rails that run through the complex.

The different types of warehouses effect how the bourbon ages, some houses are built to breathe with more seasons, others are a little more temperature controlled

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Some of the Barrels were considered experimental, the owner of the distillery was trying different ways and flavors of bourbon.

The more that we explored the distillery and learned the history of bourbon the more excited I got to try some (and try Art’s tricks too!) When we got back to the gift shop, we went back to the bar and were allowed to sample two different types of bourbon. I tried the traditional Buffalo Trace Whiskey as well as the Bourbon Cream, both were incredible.

Buffalo Trace Whiskey really holds the flavor of the barrels as well as the flavors that Kentucky has to offer. As I rolled it over my tongue I remembered my first night in Kentucky and the drive in, it reminded me of the Kudzu on the side of the highways and the rolling horse pastures. More importantly it reminded me of the Derby and Tammy’s Mint Julep Popsicles, which were more than a little dangerous but so totally worth it.

Bourbon Cream was an experience all it’s own, a cream liquor in a class all it’s own. Currently the only desert Bourbon on the market and worth every penny. Seriously, running out in this house is a pretty big deal. Art suggested we put it on ice cream, we can’t eat ice cream without it now. We’re totally hooked. The spices found in bourbon compliment the vanilla cream perfectly and the soft heat you get from the liquor takes it’s time before it fades.

The tour was excellent and so was the after party, Thanks Art and Buffalo Trace for the excellent time! We will be home again soon to pick up some more of our favorites.

Tour: 10/10

Friendliness of staff: 10/10

Accessibility: 10/10

 

All for now! -NG

NG Vs. Virtusphere!!!

I will not blame you if you do not watch this entire video.

 

So as a bunch of my readers know I got to go to PAX east for my first time ever this past weekend. Not only was this my first PAX but it was also my first Con ever. Of all time. It was super exciting and very shiny. For a lot of people PAX is the Panels and Expo floor, waiting in line just to get a chance to play some of the hottest new games before any of your friends do, for others it’s Cosplaying some of the most incredible and realistic costumes you will ever see in your life. For me? It was a lot of trying not to get too overwhelmed with all of the awesomeness that was sucking me in like a wild vortex and part of this awesomeness was testing the Virtusphere.

The Virtusphere is the brain child of Ray and Nurulla Latypov, brothers and inventors who have been made famous with their advances in computer technology and it feels much like running around in a human sized Hamster Ball. With a diameter of ten feet you have a lot of room to play with and according to the site you can punch, kick and run a fairly decent speed without worrying about tripping on anything.

My personal experience with it was this: Due to this being a demo at a gaming convention I got a very very basic show of the true abilities of the gaming sphere goodness which basically means: I got to walk around in a virtual world that looked much like something out of World of War Craft if it were made in 2001 (this year was one of my favorites when it came to graphics.) It was tricky to control, and disorienting to say the least. According to the guy who helped me get into the sphere it tends to work best when facing north, although good luck staying in one pointed direction. At one point I ended up in the air and I got to look down on the sample world as a whole and I was really impressed. The gaming world was larger than I thought when I was on the “ground” and although it felt like I had been walking through the world for a while, I had barely covered any of the actual game.

The Virtusphere is used for training military, fitness clubs, medical centers, museums and colleges (But wait! There’s more!) as well as many other fields of industry. I am just glad it doesn’t fit into my living room; Goodbye world, helllllooooo Killing Floor!

Hellllllooooo Boston!!!

So this weekend I am in Boston for PAX East, actually that’s where I am writing this. I. Am. SO EXCITED to be here!!! The people are great, the atmosphere is incredible and the cosplayers are breathtaking!!!

 

At Logan International Airport baggage claim.

At Logan International Airport baggage claim.

 

I am seriously having the time of my life, and I get to be back on my favorite coast (hello my beloved East Coasties!!!) So here is a preview of the things I will be reviewing here!!!

  • Virtual Gaming Orb from here.
  • Rooster Teeth‘s panel
  • People, Location and Atmosphere
  • Food Access (Because the words Food and Good are totally interchangeable)
  • My first Cosplay Experience!!!!!! Woohooo!!!
  • And much, much more. Tune in!!!

NOTE: If I took a photo of your Cosplay you can find your amazing costumes here or here!

Now, it’s 3pm here and the day is far from over. I’m going to go play ^_^ See you all soon!!!

Magic Hat Artifactory

My mom at Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington. Hi mom!!!

My mom at Magic Hat Artifactory in South Burlington. Hi mom!!!

While we were in Vermont this past week we did some really awesome things but one of my favorite days was going to the Magic Hat Artifactory. Now I’ve been to a few pretty incredible Breweries in California since moving here, and maybe it’s just that I am really partial to Vermont, but I have to say this may be one of my favorite Breweries that I’ve personally been to.

When you get to the Brewery the first thing you’ll notice is a small silo with a rustic door that has the Magic Hat star for a window to peep in through. To the right of the silo are these large metal doors that look both slightly daunting but they drag you in with curiosity. What could they be hiding behind these large doors? Then you finally enter the building and it’s like entering an entirely different world. Everything is presented to look as though you just stepped into a mid-50’s Circus and the posters are so. Freaking. Cool! If you are a gamer just imagine being in a Brewery in Rapture from Bioshock.

Totally love it.

Totally love it.

Unfortunately we couldn’t go on a guided tour (they are offered on the weekends and you can find the hours here) but the lack of a guided tour didn’t leave us disappointed. We took a self guided tour, watched a fabulous short on the process of brewing a fine craft beer like Fat Angel or Heart of Darkness and finally made it to the brew and bottling part of the tour. 

Where they make their elixirs.

Where they make and bottle their elixirs.

When you walk into the industrial part of the tour you are instantly surrounded by warm air that smells divine. The smell of Hops, Barley, Yeast and the various other ingredients they use in their brews is enough to make anyone thirsty. They didn’t seem to be brewing anything when we went but we could watch the labeling process and enjoy the rich smells. We could start identifying which smells were dominate in each beer once we got to the tasting bar just by sitting and watching the process for a little while. It was impressive and incredibly inspiring, I started debating on what it would take to start brewing my own at home in San Diego.

Beers I tried:

Heart of Darkness – An excellent stout with a bittersweet chocolate under current. ABV: 5.7% IBUs: 30 SRM: 80. Note: Seasonal beer, only available October – January.

Maple Chocolate Stout – This one was my favorite, we ended up buying a growler of it. Made with local chocolate and maple syrup it is a very very smooth stout. This beer you can only get in the Brewery as a Draft. ABV: 7.2% IBUs: 50 SRM: 70. Note: Seasonal, only available October 15 – March 31.

Steven Sour – A fantastic Sour IPA made with three different types of Hops and Passion Fruit. ABV: 5.6% IBUs: 85 SRM: 5.8. Note: According to the site it is only available in November but the Brewery had it on tap. I can imagine this is a popular one with IPA and Sour Beer fans!

Single Chair: A light ale that is perfectly balanced in every way. Perfect for just getting off the slopes as well as a hot summer day. ABV: 5% IBUs: 17 SRM: 3.5. Note: Only available in Variety packs January – February but available on draft all year long.

Beer Jargon Explained:

ABV – Alcohol by Volume and simply represents the portion of alcohol in the total volume of the beer. The higher the percentage the higher the alcohol content

IBUs – International Bitterness Units describe the concentration of the iso-alpha acid in the beer. The higher the number the stronger the bitterness.

SRM – Standard Reference Method which is used to describe the color of the beer, the lower the number the lighter the beer.

 

(edit: just had that it pointed out to me that Artifactory was misspelled, whoops! Too much craft beer!!!)

Introducing the soon-to-be-famous: Pat Dowling!

So the other night at work I had the pleasure of meeting Pat Dowling. Pat Dowling is 26 but his music ability goes beyond his years. Every sound you hear comes straight from him and his beautiful guitar. This video hardly does justice and because I was at work I wasn’t able to get a better video of him doing his thang, I did however get his Soundcloud information and you all should totally check this future rock star out, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed if you don’t.