Wurst.Luga’s.Ever: Half-price pizza and nachos with sausage to come?

~

I stopped going to Luga’s Villa some time ago because I found it increasingly grungy and full of the “hey man, want some stuff?” crowd. Anyway, I made a long overdue visit last night and found:

- The bar has been reorganized. It is shorter, flush against the back wall, and word is Paul Mathew, known to many for his work at Flamme, consulted on the redesign.

- There are apparently plans to introduce a German menu downstairs. Coming up with names and events for such a place would be a delicious exercise. How about Das Luga’s or Lu-ja‘s, for a name, a weekly sausage night called Wurst.Luga’s.Ever., and a fusion dish, taking advantage of the Italian restaurant above, called PanzerOtti? I”m sure you can come up with much better suggestions.

- There is a Monday half-price pizza deal from 5 PM to close.  Yes, the photo above is not very good, and the pizza might not win any “best” awards, but that is a good-sized slab (30 cm by 20 cm) for rmb27. There are 21 pizza options, with regular prices ranging from rmb45 for a Margherita to rmb78 for a meat-laden pie. There are also deals on Tuesdays for steak and on Wednesdays for nachos — or is it the other way around? I’ll double-check.

Beers on tap include Paulaner (rmb55 for 500ml, rmb100 for 1000ml), with other options including soft drinks at rmb20, mixed drinks at rmb30 (rmb18 with an extra shot), and margaritas at rmb50 (rmb35 during happy hour). Happy hour is from 11 AM to 9 PM.

And for lunch, there are two rmb55 deals. The Mexican special is chicken tortilla or garden salad, plus a small burrito (bean, chicken or beef) or chicken breast with cilantro sauce, fries and vegetables, plus soft drink, juice, draft beer or medium Grand Marnier margarita. The Italian special is cream of mushroom soup or vegetable salad, plus a pizza (three options) or a small pasta (Bolognese or Carbonara sauce), plus the same drink options.

Overall, a good experience at Luga’s Villa, which retains its familiarity but has benefited from a good scrub and some reorganization. Last, but not least, I found the staff friendly and efficient. This held true when I visited the other Luga’s, across from Aperitivo, which also went through a makeover a month ago. A glass facade now encompasses the entrance to both the first floor and Pho Pho on the second floor, though the menu remains the same.

Favorite post of the year: No(bu) doubt about it

Someone asked me today to name my favorite post of the past year. I dunno. I average a post a day, and don’t plan to reread them all, so I went with what popped into my head: Fish Taco. Yes, a diary of an event at Nobu I didn’t attend takes top spot for the Year of the Rabbit.

Others I liked: this tour of Beijing during the Super Bowl, “13 bars, 2 teams, 1 power outage“; for Canadian content, my first and only fake quiz; this piece on how to make taxi drivers happy, though it could use a good edit; and for something more relevant to this blog’s focus and my desire to try new drinks, “Cocktails that mattered (to me)“.

What will be my fave post of the Year of the Dragon? Probably Fish Taco II: Double the Fin, Double the Fun.

Ziggin’ and zaggin’ in Year of the Dragon (ratbag.com.au)

Sips & bites: Mao Mao Chong closed til March, plus Gung Ho, Bellagio, Drive-Thru

Catching up on a lot of work, news, email, sleep over the next few days. Some stuff going on…

Attention Bloody Mao fans: Stephanie Rocard says Mao Mao Chong, closed for the Chinese New Year, will remain so as it now goes under renovations. Look for it to reopen on March 2.

Gung Ho Gourmet Pizza Factory, with branches near Workers Stadium and in Lido, is experimenting with an online order system. If all goes to plan, it should be fully activated on the Gung Ho site within a week. Unfortunately, Chateau BB lacks Internet so the phone it shall remain. Speaking of which, Gung Ho remains among the most efficient in taking calls: my average order is processed in 60 seconds.

The signs for a new branch of Bellagio are up on the third floor of Swire Sanlitun Village South. Given mall hours, don’t expect it to mimic the nearby branch on Workers Stadium, known for late-night / early-morning dining and attracting a “see and be seen” crowd. Quite a bit of work remains before this place opens.

Finally, The Drive-Thru in Sanlitun Soho continues to roll out products. Ryan Johnston says recent additions include chipotle pepper powder and Guinness beer powder – with the latter, word is it takes a full bottle to get one gram. He also recently said the number of beers options available was at at 111 — and counting.

Chinese New Year in Beijing: A Warmup for the Fireworks Show

For those who can’t wait a few more days, here are two flashbacks to full-on Chinese New Year fireworks in Beijing.

Click the image below for a post with six photos near Workers Stadium.

And for those with access to Youtube, check here — given entry is free, it is hard to beat a show that features dozens of fireworks displays going off at once.

It’s one of the things I like about Beijing.

Sips & bites: GT cart at Migas, Spanish wine at Modo, pizza at Da Giuseppe, Rum Bar at Terra II

Tasty crust at Da Giuseppe

~

Migas chef Aitor Olebagoya once invited me into the kitchen, pointed to a shelf above a cooking station, and pulled down more than a dozen brands of gin to sample. Given this, it is no shocker to hear that Migas plans to introduce a ‘gin and tonic cart’ as of February 10. The cart sponsors are Spanish brands Mare gin and 1724 tonic water. Migas raised the bar last year with its mix of packed parties, creative cuisine and visiting chefs, and its new bar and this GT cart suggest there is lots more to come in 2012.

The Spanish wine promotion at Modo finishes at the end of January. The next nation to be featured in the wine preservation machines’ 16 slots: France. Just before New Year, I organized a get-together for acquaintances on Twitter (my account is here) and Weibo (here) at Modo to try these wines. We paid rmb100 for a rmb150 wine card and snacks. Alex Molina of Modo was in a generous mood and opened several bottles for us to try — much appreciated! They included Viñedos Alión Ribera del Duero, Muga Rioja Blanco and Matarromera Crianza Ribera del Duero.

I had lunch today at newcomer Da Giuseppe Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant, in the former Budapest space in the China View complex, the same one with Hooters, Danger Doyle’s and ReFresh, on Workers Stadium East (see initial post here). Chef Giuseppe De Stefano worked at La Pizza and it shows in the excellent crust. While the pizza was a bit sloppy, the presentation and taste were above average, and the pasta was also good. I’ll back soon to try more items.

Following up on this post, on my way home last night, I stopped at Terra to check on the soon-to-open rum bar and the menu. The infusions include elderflower, cinnamon and tea and the menu lists the following brands: Ypioca, Sagatiba Velha, Captain Morgan, Zacapa, Mount Gay, Tonga Island, Bundaberg, Gosling, Havana and Troise Rivieres. Prices range from rmb28 for Myer’s to rmb180 for Zacapa XO. I didn’t have time to grab a drink or check if every bottle is already on the shelf but that is the lineup to expect when the bar officially launches after the holidays.