Update: The Goose and Duck (map) will also show the Canada-US Olympic gold medal hockey game tonight / this morning at 4 AM, says a staff member there. I couldn’t really understand what The Den was telling me over the phone, but it sounded like they would show a replay of the game later in the morning. I am still waiting to hear if Paddy O’Shea’s will show the game. And for those who would rather stay home, T-Metz reports that CCTV will be showing the game live. <– Trying to double-confirm this. <– Very unclear if CCTV5 is showing part or all of the game, or highlights, given its program listings. Best bet is to head to the Irish Volunteer or Goose and Duck.
Olympic hockey fans: Good times at The Irish Volunteer (map) today with all four men’s quarterfinal hockey games, though the various slingbox feeds meant French commentary at some times, English commentary at others. There were about 30 people for the Canada-Russia game, most of them hailing from The Great White North and thus happy with the 7-3 score that prevented the entire nation from having to go into therapy. Clear signal, good vibe, breakfast for RMB35. Here are upcoming games that will be shown (I’ll add any updates to this post).
Women’s gold medal game
Canada-United States, Friday, 7:30 AM
Men’s semifinal game
Canada-Slovakia, Saturday, 10:30 AM
Men’s gold medal game
Teams to be determined, Monday, 4 AM
While the growing choice of single malts, vodkas, and gins is evident in Beijing, it is also interesting to see more rum brands — Ichikura and Q Bar are among those with modest but decent selections. Two other rums recently spotted:
Moleca, which is carried by wine importer and distributor East Meets West. Yes, I know this is cachaca, but I am including it here anyway.
Tonga Island Rum, at Q Bar and Fubar, among other spots. This is pricey stuff and, in a quick taste test at Fubar, I thought the Havana 3-year-old rum tasted better. Nice bottle, though, which is not surprising since it comes from Branded Spirits, the same company behind Ice Fox vodka, Corralego tequila, Hana gin (so perfumed you might want to dab some behind your ears), and other alcohols popping up around town.
It’s margarita madness every Monday at the Saddle Cantina, with a handful of flavors–lime, strawberry, mango, and more–at half-price. The same deal applies to the fajitas.
If you haven’t tried it yet, the “Mexican pizza”, created by chef Luis and recommended by manager Gordon, is a decent Tex-Mex option at RMB45–try it with the Chipotle sauce.
Look for Saddle Cantina to soon launch a RMB33 lunch special.
Just a quick note that Paddy O’Shea’s will show the Canada-United States hockey game tomorrow morning. The puck drops at 8:40 AM. Proprietor Karl “Who’s Your Paddy?” Long says the doors will open at 8 AM and breakfast will be available after 9 AM. The Irish Volunteer will also be showing the game, with the doors open at 8 AM, according to an SMS from co-owner George “Hat Trick” Smith.
Union of the shake: Ready-to-mix cocktails
Remember about a year ago when you could go Union Bar & Grille for brunch and plop down at your favorite table for a few hours of nibbling eggs Benedict and guzzling bottomless iced tea? These days, you are lucky to get your favorite table, or sometimes any table, the most recent example being last night when all of them were occupied. The consistently tasty food (I’m a big fan of the chicken wings and Reuben sandwich), new TV system (about 70 people plunked down RMB120 for breakfast during the Super Bowl alone), happy hour (you won’t find a cheaper pint of Guinness than the RMB25 one here), and cozy atmosphere have made this place increasingly busy, though the service still needs some work.
In any case, look for a few new additions. The southern fried chicken special will return in March, says chef Zach Lewison. That month will also see the launch of a new bar snacks menu, including several kinds of pizza and a huge nachos platter. And bar man Andy Bright is already working on some signature cocktails for when the weather gets warmer — all of them will be layered. “You mix them together for the perfect union,” he says.
The list of reasons for going to Houhai is pretty short: it includes to go skating in the winter, to go for a boat ride in the summer, to hang out in bars that instill appreciation for what we have elsewhere in the city, and to buy a laser pointer — the touts will demonstrate it by shining the light into your eyes free of charge and before you even ask.
Among the positive items: to head up one of the side streets to visit La Baie des Anges (map). I have always enjoyed this modest spot and its cozy seating, friendly staff and owners, decent wine list, and generally fun clientele. I’ll also remember it for refueling Nicolas Carre and me five hours into our Olympic opening ceremony pub crawl.
Now, word has it this place, just up from Hutong Pizza, is for sale. La Baie des Anges has been closed for the past few weeks, but do not despair if you hope to squeeze in some visits before it is sold — it will reopen at the start of March.
See also this interview I did last year with La Baie des Anges co-owner Olivier Six.
Fueled up and ready to go.
A colorful view for diners at Room.
Progress continues on Room, the Brian McKenna project in the Yintai Centre, slated to open at the end of March. The layout is finished and most of the kitchen equipment installed. I visited last week to see the mural-in-progress designed by Hugo Dalton: it will extend from the dining room to the entrance. The idea is to merge organic and industrial themes.
Room also plans to have three rotating artists — one from China, one from the rest of Asia, and one from the rest of the world — to create art work in other areas. The photos below were taken late last week during a tour with PR head Shannon Aitken.
Plant stem meets cable snaps...
The annual fireworks show at Workers Stadium looked like a no-go last night. Clubs along the stadium fringe usually regularly launch rockets for hours but last night the bulk of explosions came during the hour surrounding midnight when the place went ballistic. Here are a few shots — and, yeah, I realize they are a bit blurry.
The view west across Workers Stadium near midnight. The club zone is on the right and shelled out to entertain the Chivas and green tea crowd.
Another shot west: the fireworks at left come courtesy of building management, which bounces fragments off our windows each year.
The view toward Workers Stadium North. The green spotlight is at the new ice rink in front of A-Hotel, with relatively new club Hei Hei in the background.
They seem unable to fix our building's door but give these guys credit for blowing stuff up, though I didn't seeing anyone playing "let's see who can hang on to a lit firecracker the longest" this year.
That white line is a firework hurtling sideways because, well, I'm not sure, but maybe a box of exploding rockets got knocked over. It looks like it might make it to Buffalo or, with a good wind, Stadium Dog.
Happy New Year!