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

Dive Tables may be the bane of my existence.

So for this trip I have been working very hard on getting dive certified. When I first thought about learning to Scuba Dive I thought it would be relatively easy to do and that it wasn’t that complicated. I was so wrong in so many ways.

Learning to dive is like taking a college class. The online course is divided up into 5 sections, each with 150+ pages of learning material. This does not include the controlled indoor and outdoor dives you have to do to practice all of the skills you read and learn about in the online portions. Dive tables are probably one of the most important things to learn because it can help prevent Decompression Sickness, also known as the Bends, as well as make sure you have an awesome diving experience with an adequate amount of time underwater.

When you dive your tank is 21% oxygen and the rest is Nitrogen, as you dive the air in the tank decreases in volume and increases in density causing more nitrogen to enter your body (i think I’m getting this right?) which means Nitrogen builds up in your body as you dive creating bubbles, which is why it’s so important to take safety stops every 5 meters/15 feet. So what is Decompression Sickness? Decompression sickness is a serious medical condition caused by nitrogen bubbles within your blood and body tissues. If the excess nitrogen in your body tissues is too high, when you ascend and surface, the nitrogen may come out of solution faster than your body can eliminate it, forming bubbles. These bubbles are usually in joints, fatty tissues and environmental factors can be huge game changers on how/when/where they form. How do we make sure this doesn’t happen? By taking safety stops to allow the nitrogen to work its way out safely but also by using dive tables to ensure you’re not diving out of a safe depth and time.

Least to say I’ve never been good at math and figuring the table out involves math. If it’s your first dive it’s easy, if you are doing a second dive in a close period to the first dive you have to account for the nitrogen that hasn’t worked its way out of the body yet. The residual Nitrogen is also why you’re not allowed to fly the same day you dive. So I’ve taken this test three times now and just feel like the biggest idiot on the planet for not getting something that seems relatively simple. So for tonight, I gave the test a break and headed over to a friend’s house where there were double chocolate s’mores, a bonfire, great people and a telescope to look at the stars.

Signing off!

-NG.

 

Travel Anxiety?

My favorite feeling in the world is right before the airplane takes off. The entire plane tightens up as it prepares to jet forward towards the speed of 567 MPH (or .85 Mach.) I always imagined the plane to be cat-like, sitting back on its haunches before taking off to anywhere you want to go. The first time I boarded an airplane I was 7 years old and off to Disneyland with my family, I was in first grade and was even allowed to skip a little school for the trip. Since then I have flown countless times and I’d like to think I don’t get too bad anxiety when I travel. A pretty standard level of ‘Oh god what do I want to wear while I’m there?’ and ‘Holy god, does this make me look ridiculous?’ was to be expected, I think I just fear that it’s not real, it is my first major international trip and what I’ve been dreaming of my entire life.

Recently the biggest challenge has been trying to figure out the most effective way of packing. Am I really going to be doing that much shopping there? Does it make sense to pack a wardrobe? I’ve vetoed taking any toiletries except for my make up and tooth-brush, as far as I can tell it makes much much more sense to pick those things up there. How many pairs of shoes do you think I’ll need?

You’re probably wondering where I am off to this time, and I cannot wait to tell you, but first you’re gonna have to guess. Some fun facts about where I am going:

  1. It boasts one of the world’s highest per-capita concentrations of cafes and restaurants at one restaurant for every 600 people.
  2. It consumes triple the world average of tea at a total of 9.8 million kilograms annual. This equates to an average of 1.4 kilograms of tea per person in ____ ____ per year. The world’s most expensive tea available in ____ ____ is Iron Buddha at USD2576.92 per kilogram.
  3. It was one of the stops in French writer Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” published in 1873.
  4. It is actually composed of more than 200 islands.
  5. It ended New York’s 11-year reign as the home of the world’s most expensive district for retailers as luxury-brand companies like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, Aigner, Christian Dior and Marc Jacobs competed for space to set up flagship stores selling their goods to mainland Chinese tourists. In 2012, the average annual rents at Causeway Bay was USD338.87 per square foot.

Have you figured it out yet? This isn’t my only stop in South East Asia, while visiting I will also be making a stop into Thailand to go diving off of Kata Beach. I am hoping to swim with sharks while I am down there, as I love the teethy dudes to pieces. Sharks may be one of the coolest animals in current times. I will be bringing an underwater camera for these adventures, I cannot wait to post the pictures ^_^

Anyway, I suppose I better do the adult thing and look nice for work.

回头见!

Huítóu jiàn!

Sarah



So yesterday I woke up to the best text I’ve ever gotten.

Lines series

“Hey!” Tj texted me bright and early, he had the most exciting news of my life. The night before I had posted The Lines Series, a photo series that we had put together with some friends back in August, to Reddit and it … Continue reading

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

Street Art Sunday’s: Vermont

So this past week I was in Vermont and I got a couple of photos of some local Graffiti. Because it was winter I couldn’t get to a lot of the places that house some of the incredible Graffiti that exists in Vermont but I did get a couple of photos of at least one piece of Graffiti: Image

 

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