UPDATE: The oyster and wine pairing at Starfish is fully booked.
GUNG HO is going tubular. The winter menu is out and includes another pizza topped with sweet potato and pumpkin, along with herb chicken and caramelized apricot. Complete your Gung Ho order with a bowl of pumpkin and sweet potato soup and a serving of roasted sweet potato chips. I’m guessing the next menu will include sweet potato pie delivered in a box made from sweet potato leaf fiber. And why not? CHINA PRODUCES THREE-QUARTERS OF THE WORLD’S SWEET POTATOES! (Eat it, Indonesia.)
I will give this new pizza a try but don’t imagine it besting the smoked pork and mushroom on whole wheat, on the “Our Faves” menu. (Have you tried the smoked pork and mushroom? No? Try the smoked pork and mushroom. Yes? Then order another smoked pork and mushroom.)
Three other notes about Gung Ho:
- The other new pizza is on the “Top Shelf” menu and has “green lipped” mussels from New Zealand, home of Gung Ho’s Jade Gray and John O’Loghlen. Maybe we’ll see these guys put their country’s Monteith’s pear and apple ciders on the menu.
- Prices have gone up. Pretty much across the board. If that cuts too deeply into your pizza budget, you could ask your landlord for a rent reduction to cover the difference.
- My frontrunner for Most Efficient Pizza Order Taking in Beijing, 2012 is whoever answered the phone at Gung Ho on the night of November 25. I went for the double combo and, along with address double-checking and my hemming and hawing, the order was done in record time. We might have found the Usain Bolt of pizza order taking.
THE SADDLE CANTINA will soon make its last taco, pour its last frozen margarita, and thus end the run of the longest-standing venue on the ground floor of Nali Patio. (Ciro’s Pomodoro, which opened a bit earlier than Saddle, recently closed, while Let’s Burger and Pantry Magic long ago moved on, apparently due to rent hikes.) As many people know, co-owner Kris Ryan already has another combo venue going — The Big Smoke / Uncle Otis — which will benefit once manager Gordon Kutil and chef JP can fully dedicate their attention to it. Stuff your face with the blue cheese burger.
LE PETIT GOURMAND will focus on Bordeaux for its eleventh The Art of Wine tasting, on December 7, with five wines by Michel Ponty. I have tried these wines twice and not only enjoyed them but also found it interesting the family diverged from the normal route of using a local distributor. Instead, Helene Ponty has moved to China to promote and sell the wines directly. Try five wines — one white, four red, I believe — plus snacks from7 PM to 9 PM for rmb170. For rmb288, you get the tasting and a meal by LPG’s French chef Frederik Muller.
STARFISH will host an oyster and wine pairing on December 2, from 5 PM to 7 PM, for rmb150. [NOTE: This event is fully booked.] Get four American oysters — three from Oregon, one from Long Island — paired with four wines from China Wines and Spirits — two from France, one each from South Africa and Argentina. I last visited Starfish months ago with an oyster-loving friend and we found the service poor – misinformation re the specials, an inattentive staff, a half-ass attitude from management, etc — but a) Alicia Bailey, my usual contact at Starfish and someone who stepped up on behalf of the place during Canada Grade-Eh Week, was not there and b) my friend has since visited and said his experiences have been much better. Good to hear because this place has good oysters and this is a good deal. Four oysters and four wines, including Champagne — well worth 150 clams.