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JKL: More pizza for the Sanlitun-Gongti corridor

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Pizza fans in the Sanlitun-Gongti corridor have no shortage of options given the likes of Kro’s Nest, La Pizza, The Den, Gung Ho, Bueno, Pizza Plus, Nasca Cafe, Frost, Tube Station, Sureno, Annie’s and Pizza Hut, among many others.

Getting into the game somewhat late, and a bit unexpectedly, is the Jingkelong supermarket branch across from the northeast corner of the Workers Stadium grounds.

There appear to be six kinds of pizza on offer, although the posters above only indicate four and suggest way more and better meat than was actually included. At rmb9.80 per slice, it’s equal in cost to a package of four egg tarts in the display case a foot away.

How is it? My slice smelled better — lots of bell pepper — than it tasted. I found the crust crumbly rather than crispy or chewy, the flavor a small step up on those sausage, veggie and ketchup / soft cheese topped buns you might get at a local bakery, and the aftertaste slightly sweet.

Would I eat another slice? Well, yeah, but only if I were really hungry and only had ten kuai on me. Even then, I’d probably opt to get something from the bing stand at the door or patronize one of those stinky tofu vendors out front.

By the way, when it comes to pizza delivery in that area, here are my four go-to places:

  • Gung Ho: It’s not my favorite pizza but gets a boost because I’ve been addicted to that Greek Salad for years. That bacon and cheese garlic bread is tasty, too. Also, These guys also excel at service so there are never any headaches with delivery. Reliable.
  • Pizza-plus: Not a fan of the salads but the pizzas are awesome. My typical order is the Capricciosa and Four Seasons (both fulfill my artichoke cravings). When I’m in a funkier mood, I’ll opt for The Forest, which has sausage, mushrooms, nuts and truffle oil. You can get two quality pies for less than rmb100.
  • Nasca Cafe: A deeper dish pizza with sauce fresh as a Spring day. I lean toward the Mexican pizza but beware the spiciest level — you can choose your heat — as it will leave your mouth stinging. Nasca is especially good if you have a group where some people want pizza and some don’t, as the menu includes dozens of options — sandwiches, salad, soups, sweets and lots more.
  • Bueno Pizza: The sentimental pick given how long it has been in the market. The pepperoni is the default choice and the equivalent of a KFC spicy chicken burger. You know it isn’t good for you, but once in a while…

More shots of the Jingkelong pies…

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jingkelong supermarket china pizza beijing china

Woof: A Mao Mao Chong tail, er, tale…

mao mao the dog
Mao Mao then and now…

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This is a story about a dog rather than the drinks from this popular hutong cocktail bar. In the summer of 2011, Stephanie Rocard of Mao Mao Chong sent out a message:

A young Chinese couple left a puppy in the middle of the hallway of our apartment building (bad people aye?), and because we can’t keep this puppy (we have a baby at home), I decided to… find it a good home.

I have no idea how old the puppy is, but it is running, it is very active, it eats rice, meat and drinks milk. It doesn’t pee or poo in its bed, seems like it’s well-trained.

If you or your friends would like to have this cute puppy, please contact us.

I was among those who passed on the info and, lo and behold, my friends Paul and Jane quickly came forward to adopt the puppy. Now, nearly three years later, that dog — “Mao Mao” — is living the good life in Phuket and I did a catch-up interview.

Boyce: Your involvement in the drinks scene started at Mao Mao Chong. What were your first impressions?Mao Mao:

At that time, I was only a two- to three-week old pup, and was missing my mother, but I did hear customers raving about the Moutai Martini.

You later moved in with more wine-centric folks at Central Park. What kind of trends did you observe there?

I was part of a mainly Australian crowd in Central Park, so most of the wine being drunk there was from The Wine Republic. I used to enjoy it when Matt Bahen delivered the wine, because he also gave me a pat.

Now you live in Phuket. As a born and bred Beijinger, what do you make of the drinks scene there?

There’s a 50-percent import duty on wine here, so the locals tend to drink more beer and spirits. The wine on offer is usually lower shelf stuff. But in the warm weather here, a cocktail or long drink is very refreshing. I have the occasional sip of beer if Dad lets me.

Best drink after a nice long walk on the beach?

I love to splash in the sea. The water is a bit salty but at home we have a gigantic water tray — my mum and dad call it a “swimming pool“, whatever that means. I like to drink it but it’s very worrying when they jump in there. That’s my water they’re splashing around in!

Are you offended by the term ‘Hair of the Dog’?

Hair of the dog is especially frightening for me. I am a Shih Tzu, so my Tibetan hair keeps growing. Every three or four months, I have to go for a hair cut. I don’t like hair cuts, so I growl a lot and try to bite the groomer.

Any advice for fellow imbibers based on your many dog years of experience?

My best advice for fellow imbibers: the best drink is a free one. I have never paid for a drink in my life. Nor a meal, now I think about it. Woof.

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Mao Mao also says, “Don’t drink and drive.”

Q Bar, Q Mex under new management with new menus to come

Veteran drinking establishment Q Bar and more recently opened restaurant Q Mex have new management, says Q Group co-owner Echo Sun. Now at the helm are Deniz Sakaoglu and Stefan Schober of DS Concepts, which has consulted for Luga’s Villa, Taps and Mash, among other Beijing venues.

“The South Sanlitun area has really been developing recently, and we are all looking forward to building something exciting that spices up the neighborhood,” said Schober in a Q Group press release.

The DS team includes Marcus Medina, a chef the press release says has three decades of restaurant experience, including in Mexico City and New York.

Look for changes to the decor as well as new food and drink menus at both venues. In terms of the booze, Paul Mathew, best known for his work at Flamme, recently returned to Beijing to spend a week or so consulting on the new menu.

La Cava loca: Six Chilean wines at rmb20 per glass

la cava de laoma chilean wine sanlitun soho beijing china

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South African restaurant and bar Pinotage in Sanlitun Soho just started a happy hour — Monday to Friday, 5 PM to 7 PM — with eight wine-by-the-glass options at rmb15.

Now neighbor / Chilean wine shop La Cava de Laoma is doing a rmb20 deal on Fridays and Saturdays. The lineup includes a pair of reds from O. Fournier and a rose and three reds from Calcu. Expect huge pours — 175 ml — if the ad below is any indication.

The shop is on the first floor, north side, of the multicolored building — address here — and open from 10 AM to 10 PM. Pair a visit to La Cava and Pinotage for a mini wine tour of the Southern Hemisphere.

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Pubs, pics and playlists: Q&A with Jonathan Kos-Read a.k.a. DJ Midlife Crisis

jonathan cao cao kos-read beijing china
“I told you ‘no requests’.”

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You might remember him from such Chinese TV classics as Alien Caveman Vampires and Dial Later, My Love is Busy! but Jonathan Kos-Read is more than just a pretty face fighting scary monsters while managing a voracious sex life. He’s also a writer, photographer and, rumor has it, underwear model. Plus he DJs at my local watering hole. That all necessitates a Q&A.

Before we talk beverages, you recently mentioned a project that brings together Chinese and international photographers. What’s that about?

It’s opening this Saturday (April 19). I noticed that expats and Chinese shoot China really differently. But I couldn’t articulate what the difference was. So we put this show together where we have China photos from 20 international and 20 Chinese photographers up in opposition in the gallery.

Condensed into one sentence the theme would be: “Foreigners see things Chinese don’t see, Chinese see things foreigners don’t understand.

The opening is this Saturday at 3 PM. In 798 at the Inter Art Gallery. Just inside the south gate. You don’t need a ticket and there’s free Slow Boat beer. (More info here.)

I’ve seen you DJ at Fubar a few times. How did you get started and is it true the DJ gets as much free booze as he or she can handle?

I just turned 40 so I am having a midlife crisis. I was depressed and getting drunk in Fubar with the owner Kevin. I said, “I want to try DJing, man.” He said go for it.

So I sort of stumbled up and gave it a shot. I always figured I would be good at it. And how hard can it really be, right? You just press play and stop. So I was really crap the first few times but Kevin was cool and now I sort of figured out how to do it.

But I told him I didn’t want him to pay me. So I do get as much free booze as I want. I even made myself a DJ shirt that says MIDLIFE CRISIS on it in Chinese.

What are your top three spots in Beijing to grab a drink after a long hard day on the set?

Slow Boat for the beer and the fryburger. Great Leap 1 for the courtyard. Fubar because it’s the perfect bar (and Kevin lets me DJ).

You’ve been in Beijing a long time. What’s one bar now closed that you wish was open so you could introduce it to newcomers?

I wish Nightman still existed. It was this awful dance club that opened in the late 90s, like an excited but embarrassing father of Mix and Babyface. But in 1997 Chinese people were experiencing that kind of thing for the first time. So nobody was jaded about it.

Remember that “Token White Guy” column you did for the former Beijing Talk, the one that covered your wild and crazy times as a foreign actor in China (see “Stupid TV Show Plots” and “I Want Her to Be Fat“). When are they going to come out as a book? And when that book gets turned into a movie, who is going to play you?

I actually optioned the columns but the project just bounced around Hollywood. The scripts they made were horrible. They wanted Jonah Hill to play me.

Iam fazinated from China and the Beijing Oprea is amazing so I developt this idea from kissing opera girls.
Does it really matter whether a Chinese or international photographer took this? On display in 798 from April 19. (Courtesy JKR)