Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Afternoon Tea @ Angelina Paris

I feel like, over the past month, I've just let myself indulge in everything delicious.  For example, I completely devoured 85% of my gingerbread Christmas Tree in three days.  Every bite was a sugar rush.

This feeling could be a mix of pushing myself too hard to feel the Christmasy Spirit in Hong Kong…The major reason, though is probably because there was so much sweets and treats displayed all over the grocery stores.  Seriously, at every grocery store, there were displays of Ferrero Rochers, Cadbury(s), Lindts and all the rest just taunting passerbyers to buy them.  The special Christmas Sections were all decorated so amazingly with boxes stacked ceiling high!

The need to indulge could have also stemmed from wanting to experience the British Christmas traditions (alongside my American traditions) of eating minced pies, Christmas puddings and especially getting a milk chocolate treat daily from my Advent calendar. 

Though the feeling of guilt has slowly been eating away at me, today, I still found myself indulging in something worth insulting in!

To celebrate the holidays, my coworkers and I went over to the IFC Mall's Angelina Paris for a decadent splurge on afternoon tea treats.

Angelina Paris Info:
Shop 3025 - 3026/ 3031 - 3070 IFC Mall
1 Harbour View Street

The entrance to Angelina Paris is inside of the IFC's Lane Crawford.

10 am - 11 pm daily

3188 - 0842

We didn't make reservations because it was a 2:30 pm on a weekday.  But, I would totally make reservations beforehand just to make sure to have a seat (because I am just that type of person).

We had got a seat right at the window, which was beautiful!  I felt so lucky that we could look out onto Victoria Harbour and enjoy our sweet treats.

The view of Angelina's decor was not bad either.

Because we were there for afternoon tea, we were mostly there to try out the pastries.

Most of the pastries were displayed in the front of the eatery, which the lovely staff were so kind enough to introduce to me when I went over there to take photos of everything.

One of my coworkers had been to the Angelina in Paris and said that it was famous for its L'Africain hot chocolate.  She said it was like drinking pure chocolate, which I was quite excited about.  But, to combat the richness that she told me about, I got a side of lemonade and water.

For the four of us, we split two servings of the L'Africain hot chocolate, which came with a side of whipped creme.  I could only get through one serving with my pastry, but it was the most decadent hot chocolate that I had ever tasted.  It was also perfect for the slightly chilly day!

Another thing that Angelina is known for is their signature Le Mont Blanc pastry, which is a meringue filled, chestnut cream topped delicious delight.  It, like the L'Africain hot chocolate, was rich beyond words…which is a good thing when you have a side of water!

I usually get whatever is the signature on menus…and I'm glad I did because it made me want to come back and try the other pastries.

Some other pastries we got were the Flore…vanilla mousse-filled and raspberry-centered pastry...

…the Negresco…meringue and dark chocolate mousse-filled…dark chocolate covered pastry…

…and the Tarte Citron…lemon creme filled topped with marshmallows...

Though the highlight was spending some quality time with my coworkers, it was such a nice treat for the holidays to take a trip into Angelina Paris.

This is most definitely a place that I'll return to for a bit of afternoon tea!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Garden of Stars

Due to the renovation project of the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) Promenade, the Avenue of Stars was relocated to the TST East Waterfront Podium Garden.  It's quite easy to get to, as you can follow Salisbury Road from the TST Ferry Pier all the way over to the Garden of Stars.  There are escalators that take you up to the Garden that advertise the Garden of Stars.

It's a temporary little set up, but it has a really amazing view, which overlooks Victoria Harbour…just as amazing as it was when it was right at the Promenade.

The statues that everyone loved to take photos with were relocated here…

And there were two huge murals that were painted and set up around the main hand imprint viewing gallery.

Around the Garden, there are three areas where people can check out the hand imprints of some of Hong Kong's top entertainment celebrities.

I personally liked the temporary set up because it's high enough off of the ground for me to comfortably place my hands in everyone's imprints.  Yup, I'm one of those people who like to find some celebrities that I've seen in movies past and compare my hand size to theirs!

Because it was not so crowded, the spacing of the hand imprints did not bother me so much.  But, if it were crowded, I suspect that the close spacing of the hands might lead to people pushing and pulling to get enough space to take photos with the hand prints.

When The Avenue of Stars was on display, I rarely got a chance to be so close to the Hong Kong Film Awards statuette…and this afternoon, it was totally free for me to walk up to!  That was a really nice surprise…though, I feel like when it gets more advertisement of the relocation, this Garden will be as busy as The Avenue of Stars was before.

Pictured below is the second mural that is along the back side of the Garden of Stars.

Pictured below is the longer of the viewing areas where local celebrity hand imprints are.

Pictured below is a statue of Anita Mui.  I actually don't remember this statue at The Avenue of Stars, but it was one of my favorites at the Garden of Stars.  People tell me that Anita Mui is one of the women who really made an impact on Cantonese Pop Music back in the day.

One of the most famous symbols of The Avenue of Stars, and current Garden of Stars, is the statue of Bruce Lee.  This statue was perhaps the most popular thing in the Garden.  I still love watching people taking photos next to the statue and trying to impersonate Bruce Lee's pose.

For more information on the Garden of Stars, the website can be found here.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show

A photo of the HSBC Building light up during the Symphony of Lights

Lazer Lights from the IFC Building

Some friends are coming into town next week, so my husband and I started looking out for some cool things for them to see and do around the city.  We went down to the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, just to see if the Symphony of Lights was anything different from the usual…it being Christmas and all…and we stumbled over the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show, which started 5 minutes after the Symphony of Lights ended.  How convenient!

Symphony of Lights Info:
What it is
Onlookers are introduced to some of Hong Kong's famous buildings (e.g. HSBC Building).  Each building lights up and showcases their wonderful little light show.  Then music starts playing and all the buildings around Victoria Harbour start dazzling the crowds with colorful lights.

Around Victoria Harbour

Daily at 8 pm

NOTE:  The best places to hear the introduction of the show is at the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade and the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai.

1.  The English shows are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
2.  The Mandarin shows are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
3.  The Cantonese shows are on Sundays.

We bought some sandwiches from City Super and set up shop along the fountain area.  At 8 pm, the Symphony of Lights started and it was pretty much similar to what we've seen in the past…but for visitors to the city, it is a lovely little light show to see.

Afterwards, around the Promenade, an announcement was made through the loudspeakers that the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show was going to begin in 5 minutes.

So, we were quite happy to have been in the right place at the right time to catch this Winterfest show.

Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show Info:
At the Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Centre, below the clock tower.

December 9 - 28 (During the Hong Kong Winterfest Season)

Show Times
8:20 pm
8:45 pm
9:15 pm
9:45 pm

The show lasted for about 8 minutes.

Because it is the Christmas Season, the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show was quite Christmasy.  There is a story that you can follow visually about a little kid who wishes for a pink panda for Christmas.   Some of Santas elves then make the kids wish come true.

But, there are a lot of other elements crammed into this short film, which are pretty fun to see.

I'd never heard of the Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show until tonight.  Turns out there are three seasons:  Summer Season, Christmas Season, and the Chinese New Year.  So, there are probably three different short films/shows that you can see throughout the year.

Again, the Christmas show is out until the 28th of December.  Though it isn't the most amazing thing in the world…and I wouldn't go out of my way to see the 3D show, it is a fun little thing to see when you are in the neighborhood.

Suggestions for something to do in the evenings in Hong Kong:

1.  Dinner in Tsim Sha Tsui (there are so many places to eat here)

2.  A walk along the Promenade (where you can also find the beautiful Hong Kong sampan's with their red sails blazing)

3.  Catch the Symphony of Lights show

4.  And walk the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui (soaking in that wonderful Hong Kong vibe!)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Afternoon Tea @ Dalloyau

What better way to celebrate an overcast day than to have afternoon tea with a friend at Dalloyau La Boutique in Harbour City. We'd walked by this place once before and it totally stuck in my mind that I had to try it one day.  And that day has come!

Dalloyau Info:

Shop 403, Level 4 Ocean Centre, Harbour City
Tsim Sha Tsui

Daily from Noon to 10 pm

***Do make reservations:  3185 - 8338***

Dalloyau is a is a French culinary brand that has 300 years of history.  Reading up on it online, the Boutique offers a selection of chocolates, cakes, and pastries.  The Cafe offers light "French fare," afternoon tea (which we opted for) and a selection of non/alcoholic drinks.

We started out with petit sandwiches and a little puff pastry.  The highlight of the first tier, for myself, was the truffle sandwich.  I just love the taste of truffles, even if it is just an infusion into something.  There is just something about the flavor that takes me back to when my sister and I backpacked through Italy.  I just loved it!

The second tier was all lovely and tasty.  I couldn't really choose anyone that really caught my tastebuds, but they were all really delicious.

The bottom tier had a really nice chocolate ganache, which I really enjoyed.  We got a scone set a bit through the middle of our afternoon tea.  It was a nice little surprise…and break from eating all of those sweets.  The scones were quite nice.  I have no complaints about them.  The strawberry jam that it came with, though, was quite nice!

I saved my opera cake for last because it was the main thing that I had wanted to try after learning that Dalloyau was the inventor of this cake.

Fun Fact:  Dalloyau is credited with the creation of the opera cake.  The story behind this cake is that it was invented in 1955 by Cyriaque Gavillon.  His wife, upon eating the cake for the first time said that it reminded her of the opera.  Thusly, it was named an opera cake.  Cyriaque Gavillon had set out to create a new cake shape that had layers of chocolate, coffee, and almonds.  He had wanted to have all these flavors intermingling with just one bit.

1.  I already have in mind to bring my mother here when she comes to visit in a few months.

2.  I love how the staff explained all the sweets and savories to us when they brought out our afternoon tea set.

3.  I really enjoyed the environment, though it was quite open seating (where you are pretty close beside another small party of people) it still felt quite private.

4.  I really enjoyed my afternoon tea.  It was filling and lovely and left me in a great mood!

Monday, December 21, 2015

American Groceries in Central

There are a few American grocery stories around the city.  The first one I ever stepped foot into was actually in Tai Mei Tuk, which is over in Tai Po.  It was a small little grocery store that had a bunch of Kirkland brand goods and a ton of junk foods (pop tarts, cereals, and candy bars).

Well, after 6 years or so, I was introduced to another American grocery store on the grander level!  This one is right next to Lang Kwai Fong (of which, I haven't been to in years).  It's called A& M US Groceries and is found in the Manning House Building.

Even before walking into the grocery store, I knew I was going to love it.  It had something so Bartells-esque about it.  Bartells Drugs is one of Washington's neighborhood drug stores, which I love.  There is a bit of everything in here:  from food to seasonal gifts…

Before being told that I couldn't snap shots of the shop, I snapped a few shots of the aisles around the main entrance.  All the lovely, sugary deliciousness of my American dreams could be found packed on the shelves in front of me.

There were cereals of my childhood like Apple Jacks, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Lucky Charms!

There were even cereal on the go cups sitting shelves away from those instant oatmeal mixes (you know the ones that have maple flavored packets, apple/cinnamon packets, and original)!

And there were loads of seasonal type things like grills, keurig machines, and even pet supplies in the back!

There is more than just food and seasonal things…there are also loads of baby supplies, bath/body products, kitchen/baking-ware, household cleaning things, toys, etc.

A lot of their products are listed on their website.

I had one of those experiences when I had to go up and down every single aisle and look at every single thing.  I had to read every single label…just to intake my fill of America for the past 6 years.  It definitely made me homesick.

This place was totally great for picking up party foods and especially baking things, which I have been needing a lot of recently.

The coolest thing about this A&M US Groceries is that you can buy things online...

After being awed by the awesomeness of discovering this grocery store…my friend and I stumbled across one of the newest street art exhibits in Central:  "Naked Man."

My father actually send me the article about these guys.  They were created by a UK artist named Antony Gormley.  There are over 30 of these sculptures around the center of Central.  They're high up on buildings…but, one that we could come into close contact with was right next to the Gap.

Before I left Central for the day, I looked up and found one of these naked men on one of the buildings above Queen's Road.

Today was definitely a day of awesome finds!