Friday, October 30, 2015

Eating in Woods

We were down in Mong Kok again.  I just had the craving to visit the district again! But, this time, we were over in Mong Kok East, checking out the MoKo Mall.  While walking around the streets, we stumbled over a new-ish eatery called Woods.

There was a really nice waiter out on the street corner telling us about the menu.  He was probably the reason we went in to see what the food was like.

Woods was right on the corner of Argyle Street and Hak Po Street.

How To Get There
1.  From Mong Kok MTR Station's Exit D3, walk out onto Argyle Street
2.  Take a right and walk past Ladies Market, Fa Yuen Street, and Sai Yee Street
3.  Hak Po Street will be the next side street
4.  Woods is right on the corner

The menu is what attracted us partially.  There seemed to be a mix of Mexican, Spanish, and Italian dishes at some pretty good prices.

The decor was of the other many reasons why we decided to stop in.  Everything is quite woody.  It sort of reminded me of the Ovo Cafe in Wan Chai (sans the organic flavor).  I love when restaurants bring the outdoors in.

We ordered a Mediterranean Salad, which I wasn't too familiar with, but it basically was mixed greens, with tuna, olives, red bell peppers and eggs.  It was pretty good.

We picked up some Deep-Fried Calamari with Alioli Sauce.  This was probably my husband's favorite, but it was best eaten whilst hot.  I had it when it cooled down and it was a bit soggy.

The next dish we got was the Roasted Suckling Pig.  This is actually one of my favorite dishes when we go to family banquets or wedding banquets.  This was probably my favorite dish.  This was really delicious…and more in the salty family, which I much prefer over sweet these days.

This place is rather new…their signage is still being put up on the outside.  But, they are located in such a great spot, I think.  It's where a lot of people pass to walk from Mong Kok to Mong Kok East (and back).  It is also quite festive these days with the Halloween Decorations.

The people who were eating next to us seemed to be from around the neighborhood.  So, it was quite the pleasant experience to dine here.

After our meal, we opted to try the Churro dessert.  It's only right!  This totally hit the satisfaction spot on my radar.

I think, if I were down in the area again, with a friend, I would keep Woods in mind for a place to dine.  I'm not sure if I'd go out of my way to make it down here…because, as I've said before, there are so many amazing places that I have yet to try in Hong Kong.  But, this place is definitely one of my favorite places that I've found to dine at.

It's especially wonderful for date nights where you want a place with a nice atmosphere, good food, and descent prices.  The entire meal for the two of us came out to around $300 HKD, btw.

The clip on our receipt, how sweet!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Amazing Finds: MTR Signage

Usually, I'm reading a book on my commute to and from work.  This past week has been quite tiring for me, though.  So, I can only handle a good 15 minutes of reading before my eye lids start getting heavy and my head starts bobbing.

To prevent any public displays of embarrassment, I decided to just people watch.  Whilst people watching, I started noticing the signage on the train.  

There are the usual No Smoking signs and the No Eating Burgers or Drinking a Soft Drink

There are the awesome signs that mark a specific train car as a Quiet Section, which never really is truly quiet…and the signs that let us know that we can contact MTR staff through the telecom if we feel unwell…

…then I started noticing some new signs that I had not noticed before.

There is this really nice one that promotes offering your seat to those in need, which I totally love because, recently, there seems to be a lot of promotion going on for giving Priority Seats to the elderly, pregnant, and handicapped.  So, pushing for non-Priority Seats to be offered up is pretty awesome on a rush hour kind of day.

The next bit of signage that made me laugh was this one (below) that not only gives a maximum penalty of $5000 HKD for putting your feet up on the train seats, but also rhymes…

I've seen many a people resting their feet on the buses, but I've only seen kids putting their feet on the train seats!  Can you imagine a toddler getting a $5000 HKD fine from the MTR staff!

Lastly, one of my favorite signs that I found this week was the one that said No Sitting On The Floor of the train.  I have only seen it in the East Rail so far, but this is definitely my favorite sign so far.  I haven't actually seen many people sitting on the train car's floor, but I have seen a few.  It's just so tough to stand on days when your legs just can't hold you up.

This was a pretty nice way to pass the time on my commute.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Yuen Long Theatre: Of Mice and Men

About two weeks ago, while taking a nightly stroll through the Yuen Long Park, we decided to take a pit stop at the Yuen Long Theatre to see if there was any good shows in October.  One program that stood out to me was the advertisement for Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

That night, we got our tickets and were feeling quite excited that Yuen Long, of all places, was going to show something so different.  Usually, the Yuen Long Theatre gets a lot of Cantonese Opera shows.  

If we want to see things like Rent, Phantom of the Opera, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker or whatever, we usually have to head down into TST, Wan Chai, or over to Lantau Island's Asia World Expo.  

So, it was nice that we could just walk over to the Yuen Long Theatre for a play.  

The Yuen Long Theatre is one of the smaller theaters around town.  It has all the usual facilities:  Cloak room, ticket counter, little cafe, dance studio, little outdoor garden area…

 It also has tons of posters advertising the monthly shows in the foyer.  The shows are not exclusive to Yuen Long, but for all of the programs and events around the city.

Over the weekend, we were at the Yuen Long Theatre specifically to check out Of Mice and Men.

I'm a big Steinbeck fan…ever since a friend recommended me to read East of Eden.  So, I was quite pumped for the evening!

The show was quite artistic.  It was mostly dialogue-based, but the director put a nice bit of emphasis on supporting characters helping to create the mood of the scenes.  I think my favorite bits were when the supporting characters were making ranch sound effects:  cows, owls, and the wind.

A lot of the audience seemed to agree that the final scene of when George shoots Lennie was a beautifully poetic scene.  I totally agree.  One woman commented that that was the best part of the play.

As a side note, at the end of the performance, Theatre Noir engaged the audience in a little Inside the Actor's Studio type of exchange.  That was actually quite nice.  I had not experienced that in all my years here.  The audience was allowed to ask the panel of actors, the director, and two other guests questions on their thoughts about the storyline, Steinbeck, the performance, etc.  It was really a nice experience for me.

Overall, it was a great evening of dinner and a show.  I wish Yuen Long had more programs in English like this.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Sai Yeung Choi Street, Mong Kok

When I first moved to Hong Kong, I thought that Mong Kok's Sai Yeung Choi Street was the most amazing place I'd ever been to in the city.  I think I'd been to dinner around the area, but this street was open near midnight still.  That was probably the most attractive part.  The lights, the crowds, the street entertainers…everyone was still shopping, strolling, dining, and coming out of the cinema.

We were out in Mong Kok for dinner last night, which made me remember the good old times when I was enamored with the glamor of Sai Yueng Choi Street.  

How To Get Here:
1.  From Mong Kok's MTR Station, take exit D3
2.  And you are there!

NOTE:  Exit D3 brings you out near Nathan Road and Sai Yueng Choi Street.  It's a good place to start exploring.  Another option is to take the MTR exit E2.

 ***Views of Sai Yeung Choi Street and the general area at night***

Sai Yeung Choi Street is popular with locals and tourists.  For tourists, there are loads of pharmacies/dispensaries, electronic/camera shops, beauty/cosmetic shops, accessory/watch shops and clothing shops to check out.  For locals, there are some awesome cafes, eateries, clothing shops, and salons splattered throughout the area.

There is a constant upgrading of shops in the area, like the semi-new Innisfree shop!

Since it is still quite warm these days, though not blazing hot, the Mobile Softee truck can still be found with a line of customers in its wake.

I think it was around 9 pm when we started strolling around, but it was still quite crowded.  The crowds, in this case, I love.  The people add to the excitement of being down in the heart of Mong Kok!

If you are in need of cash, then there are exchange kiosks around the area that are open quite late into the evening.

We took a walk over to Sai Yee Street and stopped to check out Ladies Market.

Along Fa Yuen Street and Sai Yee Street, both of which run parallel to Sai Yeung Choi Street, you can find a myriad of sport/camping/outdoor shops.  It's where you can find all sorts of gear all throughout the year.

Hope you enjoyed this little view of Mong Kok!

This is definitely a great place to go when visiting Hong Kong!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DIY: Dried Cranberry Muffins

'Tis the season for buying dried cranberries!

I was looking online for some muffin recipes and came across this one, which is a basic vanilla muffin recipe.

But, I decided to toss in some alternative ingredients and LOW AND BEHOLD, it turned out quite nice!

What you need:
1.  2 cups flour
2.  1 cup sugar
3.  1/2 teaspoon salt
4.  1 egg
5.  3/4 cup almond milk
6.  1/3 cup vegetable oil
7.  1 cup of dried cranberries
8.  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

What I did:
1.  First, I incorporated all of the dry ingredients into a bowl:  flour, sugar, salt

2.  After mixing the dry ingredients together, I incorporated the wet ingredients:  egg, almond milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract

3.  After mixing all that together, I dropped in a cup of cranberries and mixed that into the batter

4.  Then I loaded my muffin batter into my cupcake cups and put them into my toaster oven for about 22 minutes.

NOTE:  My toaster oven was set to the highest heat, which I have no idea what it is because it is not written anywhere.   This is where I kept an eye on my muffins to see if they were cooking through (I stuck a toothpick through the center of a few to see if the batter was completely baked).

5.  After about 22 minutes, I pulled the muffins out and let them cool before putting in my second load!

In the end, here is what I got.  They were actually quite CONDENSED and HEAVY.  I think it was because I didn't use self-rising flour and olive oil.

But, they where really nice to eat.

Next time, I'm going to try them with self-risng flour for sure…and some vegetable oil!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Tuen Mun Ferry Pier

 This past weekend, we caught the Light Rail all the way to the Tuen Mun Ferry Pier.  It was just one of those evenings where we just wanted to explore the area and see if there was anywhere new we could have dinner at.

Turns out, there is a nice little promenade out there.

Something new that I learned was that there is a ferry that runs from Tuen Mun to Tai O (Lantau Island).  I'm guessing that it might be a bit more comfortable for me to catch the MTR up to Tuen Mun, then the Light Rail over to the Tuen Mun Ferry Pier, and then the ferry over to Tai O than riding one of the Lantau buses.

Is it just me, or does anyone else get a major case of car sickness when riding any of the buses around Lantau?

The Light Rail station is attached to Ocean Walk Mall.

This mall reminds me of some abandoned boardwalk mall.  There are a mix of some big and small brand shops in this little mall, but there is not a lot of patrons.  There was a really cute little arcade where you could play for tickets.

This place was also quite abandoned, but it sort of made me want to find a better arcade to relive my Gameworks days.

Some games that you could play at the Dream Land arcade…

The fun thing about this arcade was that there was a group of women that were just hanging out there.  They were gambling at one of the games.  I thought that was kind of sweet. Ha!  If you can't go to the casino, then turn the arcade into a gambling paradise!

After exploring the Tuen Mun Ferry Pier area, we caught the Light Rail back to Tuen Mun Town Center for the usual mall food court dinner and headed back.

It's been such lovely weather in the evenings.

For a nice stroll, definitely check out the Tuen Mun Town Center area.  It's basically a huge square with the Town Hall, Tuen Mun Mall complexes, and the Tuen Mun Public Library.  At night, there are loads of people just hanging out there.  It's a great place to meet friends, have a little drink, and stroll.

A relaxing weekend spent!