Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Solo Pasta with Jack and Shirley

Jack (with whom I went to college and trained in karate) is in town to take bridal pictures with his fiancee, Shirley. We had dinner together at Solo Pasta.





Between the three of us, we ordered three antipastis:
- pork back fat and hazelnut bruschetta
- baked eggplant with parmesan and mozzarella cheese
- asparagus salad with soft cooked eggs and parmesan cheese




And three pastas:
duck breast
broccoli and sausage meat
squid ink


P-chan introduced Solo Pasta to me and talked non-stop about it for quite a while. Thanks to Jack and Shirley, I finally got to go. I was half dead, so I’m not sure how good it was, but I’m pretty sure it was not bad. Looking forward to the next visit to decide whether or not to add it to my list of regular haunts.

Solo Pasta
#29-1 Anhe Rd Sec 1, Taipei
tel +886 2 2775 3645
台北市安和路一段29-1號

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Email conversation with Dad



Background: the wire fox terrier that Mom & Dad had been taking care of was just returned to his owner

From: me
To: Mom & Dad:
Subject: 剛毛獵狐梗(懷亞鐵利亞)幼犬出售
Body: http://tw.myblog.yahoo.com/sanbarby/article?mid=1238&prev=38&next=1098

From: Dad
To: Mom & me
Can I have one of these as my birthday present?

------------------------- one day goes by -------------------------

From: Dad
To: Mom & me
Can I have one of these as my birthday present?
[[he sends the same email again, but this time attached with pictures from the blog advertising wire fox terrier puppies]]



------------------------- half a day goes by -------------------------

From: me
To: Dad
Mom is pretending not to hear you.

From: Dad
To: me
Do you hear me?


...to be continued (maybe)


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Friday, 22 October 2010

Conversation with Mama over Skype

Background information: she is a food expert who has published books and hosted tv shows on food.

Mama: excuse me while I have this delicious yuba (Kyoto style tofu skin).

background sounds: spoon clicking on tupperware and slurping and swallowing.

Me: oo, that looks really good.

Mama: oh, it is. you know how it's made?

Me: it's lifted off the top of a boiling pot of tonyu (soybean juice), right?

Mama: yes. you know how to get really delicious yuba?

Me: no. how? (expecting to learn a few secret tricks of the trade)

Mama: you buy it.

Me: .......

hahahahahaha


My mothers - they can be very scary, but also pretty funny sometimes too, when I least expect it. Maybe I'm just too serious sometimes. Hahahaha

與媽媽的email對話

Me (Wednesday): Hi Mom, I'm having my hair dyed tomorrow in 大直 and I will finish around 13h30. Do you want to have lunch?

Mom (Thursday night): OKAY

Me: That was today.

Mom: 不是週五嗎?

Me: I was talking about Thursday. It's OK. Friday, Saturday, Sunday 我在家閉關休息。身體操翻了,腦袋也挖空了。

Mom: 明天特別帶妳吃午餐

Mom: 六星級週日保養日pm4?

Me: 閉關馬上破功。What are we eating?

Mom: 媽媽搞破壞專家 想吃什麼?提議三個再決定okay

I am determined to come home after lunch and spend some quiet time alone. Determined. Determined!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Good article: 我想成為坐在路邊鼓掌的人

This is a great article. Moms and Dads, Moms and Dads to be and anyone interested in children's education may find it a worthy read. Unfortunately, I don't know who the author is.

我那上國中的女兒,她同學都管叫她23號。

她的班上總共有50個人,而每次考試,女兒都排名23。

久而久之,便有了這個雅號,她也就成了名副其實的中等生。

我們覺得這外號刺耳,女兒卻欣然接受。

老公發愁地說,一碰到公司活動,或者老同學聚會,別人都對自家的「小超人」讚不絕口,他卻只能扮深沉。

人家的孩子,不僅成績出類拔萃,而且特長多多。

唯有我們家的23號女生,沒有一樣值得炫耀的地方。

因此,他一看到娛樂節目那些才藝非凡的孩子,就羡慕得兩眼放光。

後來,看到一則九歲孩子上大學的報導,他很受傷地問女兒: 『孩子,妳怎麼就不是個神童呢?』

女兒說: 『因為我爸爸不是神父啊!』

老公無言以對,我不禁笑出聲來。

中秋節,親友相聚,坐滿了一個寬大的包廂。

眾人的話題,也漸漸轉向各家的小兒女。

趁著酒興,要孩子們說說將來要做什麼?

鋼琴家,明星,政界要人,孩子們毫不怯場,連那個四歲半的女孩,也會說將來要做電視的主持人,贏得一陣讚歎!

15歲的女兒,正為身邊的小弟弟小妹妹剔蟹剝蝦,盛湯揩嘴,忙得不亦樂乎。

大家忽然想起,只剩她沒說了。

在眾人的催促下,她認真地回答: 『長大了,我的第一志願是,當幼稚園老師,領著孩子們唱歌跳舞,做遊戲。』

眾人禮貌地表示贊許,緊接著追問她的第二志願。

她大大方方地說: 『我想做媽媽,穿著印叮噹貓的圍裙,在廚房做晚餐,然後給我的孩子講故事,領著他在陽臺上看星星。』

親友愕然,面面相覷,不知道該說些什麼。

老公的神情,極為尷尬。

回家後,他歎著氣說:『你還真打算讓女兒將來當個幼稚園老師?我們難道真的眼睜睜地看著她當中等生?』

其實,我們也動過很多腦筋。為提高她的學習成績,請家教,報輔導班,買各種各樣的資料。

孩子也蠻懂事,漫畫書不看了,剪紙班退出了,週末的懶覺放棄了。

像一隻疲憊的小鳥,她從一個班趕到另一個班,卷子,練習冊,一遝遝地做。

但到底是個孩子,身體先扛不住了,得了重感冒。

吊著點滴,在病床上,她還堅持寫作業,最後引發了肺炎。

病好後,孩子的臉小了一圈。

可期末考試的成績,仍然是讓我們哭笑不得的23名。

後來,我們也曾試過增加營養、物質激勵等等,幾次三番地折騰下來,女兒的小臉越來越蒼白。

而且,一說要考試,她就開始厭食,失眠,冒虛汗,再接著,考出了令我們瞠目結舌的33名。

我和老公,悄無聲息地放棄了轟轟烈烈的揠苗助長活動。

恢復了她正常的作息時間,還給她畫漫畫的權利,允許她繼續訂《兒童幽默》之類的書報,家中安穩了很久。

我們對女兒,是心疼的,可面對她的成績,又有說不出的困惑。

週末,一群同事結伴郊遊。大家各自做了最拿手的菜,帶著老公和孩子去野餐。

一路上笑語盈盈,這家孩子唱歌,那家孩子表演小品。

女兒沒什麼看家本領,只是開心地不停鼓掌。

她不時跑到後面,照看著那些食物。

把傾斜的飯盒擺好,松了的瓶蓋擰緊,流出的菜汁擦淨。

忙忙碌碌,像個細心的小管家。

野餐的時候,發生了一件意外的事。

兩個小男孩,一個數理天才,一個英語高手,兩人同時夾住盤子上的一塊糯米餅,誰也不肯放手,更不願平分。

豐盛的美食,源源不斷地擺上來,他們看都不看。

大人們又笑又歎,連勸帶哄,可怎麼都不管用。

最後,還是女兒,用擲硬幣的方法,輕鬆地打破了這個僵局。

回來的路上,堵車,一些孩子焦躁起來。

女兒的笑話一個接一個,全車人都被逗樂了。

她手底下也沒閒著,用裝食品的彩色紙盒,剪出許多小動物,引得這群孩子讚歎不已。

直到下車,每個人都拿到了自己的生肖剪紙。

聽到孩子們連連道謝,老公禁不住露出了自豪的微笑。

期中考試後,我接到了女兒班主任的電話。

首先得知,女兒的成績,仍是中等。

不過,他說:『有一件奇怪的事想告訴我,他從教三十年了,第一次遇見這種事。

語文試卷上有一道附加題:你最欣賞班上的哪位同學,請說出理由。

除女兒之外,全班同學,竟然都寫上了女兒的名字。

理由很多:熱心助人,守信用,不愛生氣,好相處等等,寫得最多的是,樂觀幽默。』

班主任還說:『很多同學建議,由她來擔任班長。』

他感歎道:『你這個女兒,雖說成績普通,可是做人,實在很優秀!』

我開玩笑地對女兒說:『妳快要成為英雄了。』

正在織圍巾的女兒,歪著頭想了想,認真地告訴我說:

『老師曾講過一句格言:當英雄路過的時候,總要有人坐在路邊鼓掌....。』

她輕輕地說:『媽媽,我不想成為英雄,我想成為坐在路邊鼓掌的人。』

我猛地一震,默默地打量著她。

她安靜地織著絨線,淡粉的線,在竹針上纏纏繞繞,仿佛一寸一寸的光陰,在她手上,吐出星星點點的花蕾。

我心上,竟是驀地一暖。

那一刻,我忽然被這個不想成為英雄的女孩打動了。

這世間,有多少人,年少時渴望成為英雄,最終卻成了煙火紅塵中的平凡人。

如果健康,如果快樂,如果,沒有違背自己的心意,我們的孩子,又何妨做一個善良的普通人。

長大成人後,她一定會成為:賢淑的妻子,溫柔的母親,甚至,熱心的同事,和善的鄰居。

何況她是班上50名之中的23名,我們還不慶幸,還不滿足?

還想要更高人一等,更出人頭地!那後面還有27名半數以上的孩子呢?如果我是她們的父母,我要如何自處呢?

在那些漫長的歲月,她都能安然地過著自己想要的生活;她又沒學壞,我作為身教言教的父母,能教養孩子長大成人,並成為社會上有用的人,就可告慰先祖,還想為孩子祈求怎樣更美好的未來?

就算她將來能當上司法官,能考上建築師,若她心術不正,口是心非,那又有何用?

via 雲渡武禪
thank you, 怡萱姊 :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

People in love with Taitung



David is a finance guy who works in New Jersey, USA. After his wife passed away, he decided to start a juice business in his hometown of Taitung so that more people, starting with the people of Taitung, can be healthier by way of his juice mixes. He uses mainly local fruits and vegetables, washes them with water from a very expensive filtration system. An order of juice that he sells for TWD30 would go for almost TWD100 in Taipei. Yes, prices in Taitung are lower, but not that much lower. His raw material cost per cup is nearly the same as what he charges his customers. People say he's not in it to make money, but hopes to survive. I hope he survives and makes enough money to come to Taipei and open lots of branches. He set up shop in Taitung two months ago, trained someone to hold the fort, and now has to go back to NJ to his other job. We were really lucky Saturday to have met him and tried his grape/pineapple/kiwi/passion fruit concoction. It was really good. He doesn't filter out the pulp, so you get all the fiber and nutrition from the seeds. So it was very healthy too. This drink was TWD70. Go David! Please make this business work and come to Taipei!

Hao Kang
#333 Zhongshan Road, Taitung City
+886 89 341 648
好康
台東市中山路333號





A-jie is a baker from Taipei. He and his wife traveled to Taitung once, fell in love with the pace of life in the area, so decided to close the family bakery and move down there. They opened a restaurant in Taitung City and named it "愛上台東," meaning "in love with Taitung." The name sounds more than a little corny, but Taiwanese people would call that "cute." While A-jie cooks, his wife takes care of their two girls and they take family holidays as often as possible, not afraid to close shop to take time off. They put pictures and paraphernalia of places they've traveled to on the restaurant wall. Before his eldest daughter started kindergarten, he mapped out all the kindergartens in the city and visited each and every one of them on his time off during the day. People joke that he can publish a "Taitung kindergarten walkabout guide." Also on the wall of the restaurant are pamphlets to nearby restaurants, B&B's and tourist spots. I asked him why he's spending time and energy that he hardly has left over to show people the way to his competition. A-jie said he loves Taitung and wants to let people why he thinks it's so wonderful, and in turn, hopefully they'll spend money and keep the place and its businesses alive. A-jie's pizzas and desserts are definitely above the local average, and the price is quite reasonable. I estimate the average cheque to be less than TWD200.

In addition to how passionately he speaks, A-jie's dark eye circles and eye bags tell me that he is working really hard and sacrificing his health to afford his life of ideals - being able to spend quality time with family and live in southeastern Taiwan where the pace of life is slow and everything is covered in sunshine.

A-jie, please keep going and share this passion for life you have with more people! Please also quickly get your staff up to speed so you don't keep ending up in the hospital for fatigue-related problems.

Fall in love with Taitung
Xinsheng Road #344, Taitung City
+886 89 346 999
愛上台東
台東市新生路344號

Taitung Spotlight






To experience local culture on your travels, follow the spotlight. At least that is what the Tourism Bureau seems to be trying to say. They've been rolling out places they're calling "spotlights" all over the country, starting with Eastern Taiwan. This is Taitung's spotlight, the site of which used to be an old train station. They've built a space for live performances where local indigenous musicians can sing and play music for tourists, locals and fans alike. Saturdays and Sundays, (mostly) locals turn up to sell handicrafts and homemade food. Some of the food is quite interesting - popsicles made with local fruits like custard apple, cake made of rice flour (Taitung is known for its rice) rather than wheat, rice flavored ice cream, hibiscus tea, etc.

None of these spotlights that I've been to so far are exciting and spectacular. Rather, they're places where you come with the expectation to spend an entire morning, afternoon or evening "discovering" and "exploring" the local culture there by slowly taking in what you see, listening to the sounds, tasting the food and chatting about the experience with the friends you've come with.

My Taitung Spotlight story will air this Friday/Saturday.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Cycling around Taiwan














We were very lucky and spotted the Standard Chartered team which was cycling around Taiwan for Orbis, the flying eye hospital charity. If I didn't bump into them, my Taitung cycling stories would have been just me cycling. All alone. Not fun to do, not fun to watch, either. The SC guys were on their 7th day of the tour and were very nice and let me ride with them from Guanshan to Chishang, which was about 10km of beautiful, green rice paddy landscape. They stopped in Chishang for the famous Chishang lunch box and then...passed out. Well, apparently this is how they rest in between legs. They ride about 100km a day, one guy told me. That's a lot. But hm...doable. I may even consider doing it one day. I learned a lesson today - riding a foldie with a pack of people on road bikes is especially tiring! So if I were to do the round-the-island challenge, I'm borrowing someone's road bike.

加油, you guys! 你們很努力,看得出來! :D

Hello there, baby cow

Calf in Taitung.


Calf and mama.

Currently working on some travel stories in Taitung.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Dapeng Bay sunset


We were in Dapeng Bay, Pingtung to do a story on cycling and fun around Dapeng Bay. Heading to the office to put together that story this afternoon. It will air week of the 25th. I think the best time to cycle in Dapeng Bay is starting from when the sun is just setting and at night. Early morning, you might see a slightly foggy view of calm waters and people fishing, but that is about it. At sunset and at night, you can see the beautiful, flame colored sun and sky reflected on the water, and there are supposed to be really nice looking lights along the bike path. We stopped filming after the sun had set and headed straight for dinner so I didn't see the lights. You can still ride during the day, when it's hot hot hot and the smell of the fish farms can be a little much to bear for people not used to it. But one nice thing about riding during the day or in the afternoon is that when you get hungry, you can ride to the Huaqiao fish market after it opens at 14h00 and eat lots of seafood snacks and dishes there. Sorry, no pictures from the fish market. Hands were really full from producing, reporting and keeping an eye on my bicycle. :D

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Cycling in Green Island



Asides from beautiful coastal views, there are also geological formations to ride through when cycling in Green Island. Best time to ride is early morning or late afternoon. It is HOT HOT HOT there.

If you like snorkeling, I hear it's great too. I didn't get to try this time. Maybe next time.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Panini!




I love warm food, including warm sandwiches.

During an interview with food critic Hu Tienlan exactly one month ago, she told me about Rainbow Cafe's paninis. That was where I made a straight shot for after leaving the studio. I ordered the vegetable pesto panini, and I loved it. Will definitely go back there again. Though the couch I was sitting on was a little broken and uncomfortable, overall it was a nice space to be in for lunch. 謝謝胡老師的推薦!



Rainbow Cafe
台北市忠孝東路四段170巷6弄5號
1F, No.5, Lane 6, Sec. 4,
Chung-Hsiao E. Rd, Taipei, Taiwan
+886 2 2772 6603
Mon-Sun 12:00~24:00

Dapeng Bay, here I come!



My very extravagant drunken chicken lunch box that I ate all the way from Taipei to Yingge. Forty minutes down, another six hours to go before we reach Dapeng Bay, Pingtung...

By the way, my lunch box is from 錢唐村. It's a fantastic little family-run Zhejiang place and the owners are the nicest people in the world.

錢唐村
+886 2 2707 0858
北市仁愛路四段122巷48號

Friday, 1 October 2010

Kazunoko or pomelo?



Pomelo! Part of my breakfast this morning. Can't wait 'til New Year's in Tokyo. Then it's kazunoko time! Mama marinates the best kazunoko. HINT HINT!

You little bugger



You've eaten my entire kumquat tree!
Now what are you going to do? Run out of pretty little leaves to eat eh?