Posted by: James Lee | Sun, Oct24 10

Reviving the Blog

New post will be up soon (within the week)

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Where do I begin. The past two weeks or so have been a tornado of events (wow extended weather metaphors, score: yes I am that cool) that I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with me moving out of Oxford with my 5 bags (one of which was completely ripped open) into my friend’s house in London, then moving to Corby then back down to London so I could go to Boston.

That’s pretty much my past 2 weeks in a sentence.

Let me begin by stating Boston is amazing. I was there for 4 days and I fell in love with the city. Kinda jealous of my sister who is going to be there for the next 4 years.

Anyways now for the stuff I actually want to write about.

So my final trip back home was rough to begin with. My original travel plans were to fly from Boston -> Paris -> London -> Seoul -> Hong Kong. That would have been 5 cities, 4 flights, 3 layovers, 2 days.

HOWEVER.

Upon my arrival at Logan international, I was told (and pretty rudely by the AirFrance staff) that my first flight to Paris had been cancelled. (For reasons that were completely their fault: apparently the pilot at hand wasn’t trained to fly the plane that was on deck. Really? Really.)

Upon hearing the news, like everyone else that was there, I was annoyed. In retrospect 2 days after the event, I guess the only ‘inconvenience’ that I incurred was that I would arrive home a day later, but let me continue my story.

Here is what started my anger: AirFrance, after canceling an entire flight, had 2 counters open. Are you kidding me? There was a line of about 60 people in front of me and about a hundred or so behind me, and they had 2 measly counters open. Both operated by incompetent attendants that I came to know very well. Understandably people were upset, and some people (myself included) spent 30+ minutes at the counter. I had to wait at least an hour to be spoken to. Appalling at the very least. In line, doing what I do best, began to bitch about AirFrance with this nice (but very angry at AirFrance) Greek lady, a bunch of Italian tourists and a group of Spanish students. We all agreed that this was retarded, and was more reason to why everybody hates the French (a group which I have been initiated into).

The story gets worse.

I finally manage to get to the counter, and the man behind it was not only extremely rude but incompetent. He was unwilling to help me out, but only could offer compensation for the flight in terms of a hotel room and a flight that left tomorrow at a different time, and could care less about my connecting flights (which were also AirFrance). Long story short, I argued with the man for an hour.

I began nicely, and was pretty rational. I was willing to take the complementary hotel room as long as they figured out how I was going to get home and such. To which the man said: “Sir, I can’t help you with that”. Are you kidding me? Then here begins the argument/ negotiation. I started with “I am not arriving any time later than the date I am meant to arrive in Hong Kong” (Thank you PubPol 55, for teaching me how to negotiate) To which the man responded with a furrowed brow. Great. So he chooses to ignore my request and goes on to explain that the flight tomorrow will leave later than the time of the flight I was meant to get on. Hence even if I did push all my flights back a day, I would miss my connecting flights regardless.

Me: How is this meant to help me?
Man: Sorry sir?
Me: ….

So I continue to explain to him that I have to make 3 other connecting flights. And I ended up making up a story about how I had to be home by the 3oth because I had to go my sister’s wedding (Judy if you’re reading this hopefully you’ll understand).

To this the man utters in French to the woman working the next counter: This guy is so annoying. Here is when I snap.

Me: Excuse me?
Man: Yes?
Me: I’m sorry. I happened to have understood what you just said. (And I go on to begin to get rowdy. Forcefully stating how poor and incompetent his service was and his appalling attitude towards customers. And of course, ask to speak to his boss/manager/whoever was competent enough to help me and fire his sorry ass)

The lady in the next counter, witnessing this begins to apologize profusely and says that she will help me from then on. Great. Throughout all this the Greek lady was applauding in line (which I thought was hilarious) Finally after 20 more minutes, the lady finds me an American Airlines flight that would leave next morning direct to London (score) and would arrive in time for me to make my flight to Korea. Then I am compensated with a hotel room and I leave the counter still furious but less angry.

I get to the hotel, and I must have looked like a total mess because the nice lady at the check in desk began by asking “What happened? Are you ok?” I explain what happened, and she says let me see what I can do. She checks me in and I ask if there is free internet service. She says no, but then proceeds to give me a promotional code so that I can use it. Then she is nice enough to offer me free dinner at the hotel restaurant (at a $25 cap) and free breakfast. So I guess every cloud does have a silver lining. For now that is.

After a good night’s rest, complete with free wifi I board my flight to London the next day. Here is where my silver lining begins to leak. The American flight was delayed and arrived later than expected. Hence I missed my connecting flight. Awesome. Seeing as my life is a definition of Murphy’s law, I wasn’t too surprised. Consequently, I spent 23 hours at Heathrow (no wifi) sleeping at the couch at Caffe Nero (thanks to the lovely Barista who clearly let me stay for the entire night (they are open 24 hours) though I had only bought a hot chocolate).

I am now finally in Korea waiting to board my plane to Hong Kong in 4 hours.

So that is the story of my life so far. And an extremely long rant.

What should you get out of this post? Nothing really, besides from the fact that AirFrance sucks.

Posted by: James Lee | Sat, Aug28 10

WordPress on my phone?!

At the logan airport checking if this works

Posted by: James Lee | Sun, Aug08 10

Jamie doing Jamie

So major apologies for not updating for about 20 days, I simply couldn’t find the time between the immense workload here at Oxford. With that being said, from now on I should be updating on a more regular basis with all the material that I’ve collated during the past 5 weeks. Lots of stuff to blog about, not just food stuff but also of the trips I’ve done during my time in England so far.

I wanted to do a huge post on all that I’ve done so far, but something more exciting came up so I guess I’ll start with that for today.

A quick disclaimer: For those of you who don’t know, Jamie Oliver is kind of a big deal. Article here, because my description wouldn’t be able to do him any form of justice. When I found out that he had a restaurant in Oxford before I got here, I think that was one of the first places I scouted out. Coincidentally, the first group of British people we randomly met at the pub all worked at/with Jamie Oliver at his various restaurants; which I have got to say was super awesome. However, for some reason I couldn’t find time to go to the restaurant until my last week at Oxford! Anywhos, the pictures speak for them selves. The food was simply amazing and I had a field-day. It was a cross between going to a theme park and being that fat kid at the candy store. Needless to say, I had a great time. The ambience of the restaurant is fantastic (it’s modern but rustic at the same time), they play great music (or more simply put, songs I like haha) and the waitering staff are more than delightful. To quote Jamie Oliver himself: it was absolutely ‘pukka’.

The culinary journey begins.

So excited hahaha.

A kinda obligatory picture. haha. I had just woken up (so technically this meal was breakfast ha!) hence the reason why I look half asleep.

I thought that steel bar was cool. Anyways upon entry you see the bar.

And a bunch of Jamie’s books. Cool. More about this at the end.

The restaurant looks smaller than it actually is. It has as back part and it’s 2 floors.

All the pasta is made there and then. Fresh in the shop. Explains why it was one of the best pastas I’ve ever had.

The cool beeper. I had to put this up because I spent ages trying to catch it while it blinked hahah. (Btw not a long wait at all. We went at lunch and it was relatively busy but we waited for 5 mins with no reservation)

Cool under ground seating area.

More ambience pictures.

You can see the kitchen! Only if Jamie Oliver was in that day hahah that would have been so cool.

They did say he comes to check up on the restaurant once in a while, so you never know…

The cool napkins which I plan to steal upon my next visit.

The day’s specials. None of which we got haha.

The menu! On to the food!

So much to choose from. omg.

Told you the pasta was fresh.

We started with this simple mozzarella with pesto and olive oil.

You know how people are always claiming less is more? Hell yes. This simple dish was mindblowing.

My ‘humble greens’ salad.

This was such a treat simply because here in England it’s so hard to find a) a salad that comes with dressing and b) ergo a good salad. I asked the head of the catering at Oxford and he said the concept of a salad is so foreign to him, and the concept of dressing was strange. Werd.

Anyways the salad was amazing. The dressing was minty and citrus-y (lots of lemon juice/zest, which I LOVE) so in my opinion the salad couldn’t have gone wrong. It had mints and lemons: two my two favourite flavours. ahha. The salad was perfect. I would even go so far as to say it was the best thing I had that day? Well.. I don’t know about that but it was up there. Actually, let’s go there. Oscar for best supporting cast for sure.

My friend got the waitress’s ‘meat option’ suggestion. We both couldn’t choose out of all the things off the menu but we wanted to get pasta (since it was freshly made) and the waitress said this was a great ‘meat option’. Meat ball something. The cool thing was that the meatballs had a pinch of cinnamon in them and the pasta was one LONG piece of pasta. That entire thing is one strand of pasta. And the bowl was quite big.

I managed to steal a bite. And it was phe-nominal. The sauce was exquisite and the cinnamon aftertaste completed the dish perfectly. It had such a wide range of flavours which was real nice. A very wholesome note. The pasta? Soooo good. It had soaked a good deal of the sauce so it was fab.

I got the waitress’s ‘seafood option’. It was shrimp fettucini? linguine? Anyways, this dish had been on the menu since the start of the restaurant and hasn’t been taken off the menu since because of its popularity. And boy, there definitely is a reason why people keep coming back for this dish.

The dish as a whole was great. Everything was fresh and the shrimp was cooked perfectly. But the best part of the dish by far was the pasta it self. It was so chewy, it was like no other pasta I’ve ever had. It had this unique texture to it, it wasn’t flimsy or uncooked. It was perfectly chewy. I don’t know how else to explain it haha.

For dessert we got something that was recommended by our friend earlier. We got the Raspberry Brownie with a bourbon icecream.

Like you would imagine, this was heavenly. I feel like I’m raving so much about the food that it feels a little hyperbolic but I kid you not, this is AMAZING stuff.

The rich brownie with the fresh raspberries with a cookie-like top. Need I say more?

A little insight into the brownie.

The bill wasn’t that bad. Actually it was pretty good. It’s not any more expensive than any other restaurant in England, it might even be cheaper than a lame restaurant in London.

So I’m gonna end with a story. So at lunch we were talking about Julia & Julia (I’ve never watched it but the story is about a girl named Julia who decides to cook every single one of the famous Julia Child’s recipes and blog about each one). Maybe I should pick up a book and follow suit? Call it Jamie doing Jamie? hahahaha. Thoughts? (I can see the blog being just pictures of burnt food)

Anyways so that was it. I’m sorry this is not that cool of a post for a comeback post haha. I promise the upcoming week will feature a lot more of the cooler stuff I’ve been doing (I’ll have pictures of my travels as well and will post them too! I’ve also kinda started taking pictures of stars :P). Though personally, this was one of the highlights of my trip so far (simply because I was anticipating it for so long). So I’ll probably be returning to Jamie’s before I leave so look out for a second update on this hahaha. But for now I’m off to go indulge in my newest hobby: star gazing. But that’s another long story for another blog post.

Cheers. Stay safe.

Posted by: James Lee | Tue, Jul20 10

Good House Keeping

So I just spent a good 30 minutes chasing the largest flying bug I’ve ever seen in my life from my room. I didn’t have a cup to catch it so I could let it go, and I wasn’t really in a killing mood/ I was scared to get close to the bug because it was literally the size of a 50 pence coin (I don’t think there is an American equivalent to the size of one)

As I recover from my trauma (I am a sissy little girl (Friends reference props to you if you got that)), I thought I might update before I go to bed. As for the updating everyday for the past week, I am sorry that I failed. I did the week days! Contrary to popular belief I do have a life 😛

So on the notion of house keeping (great segway), I also did major laundry this week but that story’s for another day (as always nothing in my life goes “according to plan”) I thought I would do some house keeping on my blog and post up the pictures that I had uploaded onto the blog but not yet published.

Hopefully this isn’t too much of an awkward break from my London pictures but I kinda miss home, I’ve been eating too much spud for my own good (I probably could start rolling down the streets of Oxford if I keep eating this stuff at the rate I’m going about it) sooo it might be a good time to just put up my pictures of food from home (of the last 3 meals I had out/ that are worth posting) Great. Let’s go.

First meal my meal at this cool new Japanese restaurant in Elements back in Hong Kong. It’s tucked away near the cinema but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the mall. It’s pretty authentic but they have some dishes that are slightly modified and offer simply clean, good tasting food.

The ambience is pretty nice.

I got the set lunch, pretty decent deal I thought. Can’t remember how much it was but it was fair.

I got the Ebi-Katsu Curry. Don’t let the simple presentation fool you, it was pretty dam good.

I’m pretty specific when it comes to my Japanese Curry (which is different to Indian Curry because it’s made primarily from apples so it has a slightly sweeter taste, I prefer mine to be pretty spicy which this was) and it was great.

My sister got the Inanina Udon set.

Inanina Udon is udon that is made from noodles that are pretty thin, not your conventional thick Japanese noodles. But the noodles are chewier, which I prefer. They did a decent job here it wasn’t amazing but it was up to par.

My mom got this. No clue what it was. It’s apparently very “healthy”. No comment.

Soba with three different dipping sauces. Don’t bother. You should get the soba with just the soy sauce, it’s cheaper and the other 2 sauces aren’t that worth it unless you want your noodles with raw egg.

So my mom raved about these salt-grilled chicken wings the entire way to the restaurant. They weren’t AMAZING like my mom said, but they were good. It could have been that were full by the time the wings came out, but it’s definitely worth a try if you want some good wings.

More grilled chicken. It’s not fried, so…..

Next up, before I left I had the pleasure of having lunch at California Pizza Kitchen with my favourite ladies in Hong Kong. I’d always just passed off CPK as “another one of those chain pizza restaurants” but I came to realize that they had some pretty good dishes. Though maybe it was the toppings that we ordered, the pizzas I didn’t appreciate so much.

Some pasta dish. I don’t remember it well, so it must have been mehh. Looks good though.

I want to say seafood fettucini?

Great side dish. Definitely recommend it.

So here is the biggest surprise of the day. I haven’t had carbonara since my high school days when we used to have it almost every week because it was by far the best thing on our school cafeteria’s menu. (Remember those Sodexho Carbonara in cardboard boxes?) So I ordered the dish to satisfy my nostalgia and boy did I order correctly.

Not only was it well seasoned, the sauce was thick and had good flavour. I appreciated the generous amount of bacon slices that they put on it as well haha. I was initially thrown off by the peas but they went well with the overall dish.

Because it was that good.

So we ordered the cheese burger pizza (to Zoe’s suggestion). I didn’t like it. I thought it tasted like one of those hot pocket pizza meals you microwave. I can still taste that weird pickle/mustardy taste thinking about it. Sorry Zobo 😛

Next, Piano’s favourite: the Peking Duck Pizza. What did I think? I thought it was a moo point. The concept is unique but the pizza it self wasn’t that special.

Now this is one of my favourite dessert places in Hong Kong. Beard Papa used to be all over the place but the only shop I know of now is in the Mong Kok MTR station. If you’re in the area it’s definitely worth stopping by.

I only ever get the original cream puff.

Rich, custardy, creamy goodness.

Lastly, I can’t remember when I went here but I went with a couple of my friends to this Japanese barbeque restaurant (I eat a lot of Japanese food, yes.) The restaurant was pretty authentic in it’s decorations but the food had a bit of a local twist.

Looks like something in Hokkaido.

It’s kinda like korean barbeque where you order your meats….

Like so….

Then grill them yourself on the table.

I got the fried rice with wagyu-beef. It was ok. I was broke that day so I didn’t order anything too fancy.

But I did splurge on this cool wine cooler thing. It was a mixed drink with soju: almost like asian vodka.

It came in a cool cup. Wow am I easily swayed.

My friend ordered this “spanish salad” it was actually the best thing on the table that day. So this is worth getting if you’re at that restaurant, it’s somewhere on Ashley road.

So that’s about it for now, I’m going to hit the hay. But I hope you enjoyed my snippet from home and I’ll update later in the week about my trip to Stratford upon Avon and London (again).

God I miss this so much. A fully air conditioned subway system, that doesn’t empty my wallet? The London tube can suck it.

Ps. If you a) haven’t seen the movie Inception b) haven’t heard about the cult brought on by inception and didn’t feel the need to see it immediately or c) live under a rock and don’t know what I’m talking about, I advise you to go to google look up the next available showing and go watch it right now. It was literally mind blowing. I might do a blog about the movie after I watch it for a second/third time and figure out what I think happens in the movie (and I don’t want to do it now, because then it would spoil it).

Posted by: James Lee | Fri, Jul16 10

Copping out

Today I was pretty much useless. I did nothing but a) go on an beer run b) eat c) spend 3 hours doing laundry as I had to do 2 dryer cycles.

Anywhos I am now folding my laundry as I write and I need to get back to that and I don’t think I’ll have time to update with a full post….. So to keep my promise (but still none the less copping out) here is my post for today.

Apologies!

Posted by: James Lee | Thu, Jul15 10

Catching faeries.

So I was rummaging through my photos today to decide on what to blog about out of the mountains of photos that I didn’t upload yet. I happened to stumble upon a set of pictures from my first day at Oxford where we took a long walk through meadows and down a river bank to this secluded pub, where supposedly Lewis Carroll used to go to.

The pub looks something straight out of a movie/children’s story book where fairies (I looked this up and it can be spelt both faery or fairy) would come gather under the giant willow tree. The willow tree has little trinkets and stuff hanging from it and we were told that it was to attract fairies. This, obviously, appealed to my highly nerdy self and I was fascinated by the aura of the pub. It really did feel like it was some what enchanted because it was so quiet and so beautiful. It was really a great place to unwind after an entire day of travel the previous day.

Without much futher ado, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

The place was so peaceful

Everything was so homely

Straight out of Peter Pan: catching fairies in glass bottles.

Welcome to the tea party.

Posted by: James Lee | Wed, Jul14 10

Short, Sweet, Simple… Fail?

So I started writing something in the library whilst I was trying to write my paper. I am on the homestretch of putting this to bed (finally) and I thought I would update before the clock strikes 12 and my computer turns into a wheel of cheese.

A couple of quick things.

1) It rained yesterday for the first time since I got to England. I enjoyed it. Will explain when I post the blog I had planned for today.

2) I had a record views of 90 last night. Amazing. I was shocked when I first saw it, I refreshed it expecting it to turn into 09. But thanks for stopping by, even if it is to just flick through the photos. I hope my blog is some what readable though.

3) I was mentioned on the main wordpress main page! I thought this was super cool though I think they do everyone/it’s random? I was lucky enough to see mine be advertised, though they used my picture of Kim’s outrageous salad… 😛

4) Ok so my plan to go out tonight has clearly failed, finishing my paper before dinner: another failure. So in general the only thing I did right today was update my blog, which isn’t really a proper post so another fail. Hopefully I will get my life together soon and expect a hugeeee post tomorrow!

Toodles.

Typical that the 3 tabs I have open are Pandora, Facebook and my blog. But my blog is in the bottom right corner! Cool! Thanks WordPress!

Posted by: James Lee | Tue, Jul13 10

London Chow

I’m gonna go back to my original concept of my blog as a food blog for this post. Like I said, I’m going to try and update every day this week (my 2000 word paper can wait, not really but “ho ho” (the kids in my class will get this reference, I hope)). I thought as a continuation from yesterday’s post I would blog about the food I had in London. I have a feeling when I actually live there next semester I would be skipping out on a lot of meals just to save some cash but hopefully that’ll work out.

I’m gonna keep this short because, as aforementioned I have to go write my paper (fun!). The following photos are of the food I had during my 2 trips to London, the first when I first arrived and the second from last weekend. Enjoy!

So my first proper day in London, Sam took me to this market near his dorm which was really nice.

So European

We were so hungry we pretty much stopped at the first food stall haha.

Freshly cooked seafood. Any time any where.

Which get turned into wraps.

Some fresh seafood.

Sneak peak at what is to come

The food station.

The final product: Cajun fish and shrimp wrap. Absolutely amazing.

So hen/lad nights are pretty common in the UK. I’ve seen more than I can count within my 2 trips. But this one was one of the first ones I saw and by far the most unique. They had this pad with 8 cycling paddles attached to it, and on the cart was lots of booze haha.

So last weekend, Celine took me to this amazing thai restaurant.

The home made lemonade: a must try.

The incredible amount of food we ordered. Which we finished. hahaha

Thai Calamari

Thai chicken wings

Green Curry – this was the best dish at the table, though the calamari came in as a close 2nd place.

Morning Glory. I’m not a big fan of veggies but this was great.

Thai Style Naan

And of course, a thai meal would not be complete without Pad-Thai

Flowers.

The next day, Nishil took me to Nandos. Which I didn’t know was a popular chain restaurant until yesterday when I saw it at Oxford too. But Nishil informed me that it was very popular amongst locals and with that note I was pretty much sold.

I was scared into getting the medium spice, but it was pretty bland. The chicken was good though. I guess next time I should get something spicier.

I love grilled corn. And this was fantastic.

At night Kim made me dinner. Who knew she was so domesticated? haahah but note: first ever photo of an actual person! Cool! James/Jimmy has friends!

Chef at work.

Kim put strawberries and cheese in her salad. Werd.

Though my salad looked pale in comparison.

The pasta came with sauce don’t worry.

Creamed spinach. Mmmmmmmm.

Chez Kim. The meal was actually very good and was great for not only my stomach but my wallet too 😛

Thanks for coming back today, yesterday’s numbers on the blog was amazing! Come back tomorrow for some more updates! (Wow do I sound like Ryan Seacrest on Idol or what)

Posted by: James Lee | Mon, Jul12 10

Traversing Zone 1

So as a method of procrastination (and while I wait for my Starbucks Doubleshot espresso to kick in) I decided to update the blog on my travels to London this past weekend. Many thanks to Sam, Nishil, Celine and Kim (kimsolow.wordpress.com/) for letting me crash/spend time with them. So I have a lot to update soooo I’ll get straight to it.

After the tragedy that was my Madrid trip; I was meant to go to Madrid this weekend to watch the world cup final (How amazing would that have been, and I had a 60 pound flight round trip (! ridiculous!), and the trip would have been very fitting for my blog as I started off blogging about the World Cup) but I unfortunately couldn’t go because I had class Monday morning that I would not have been back in time for. (I would have been 20 minutes late for class. I missed going to Madrid because of a mere 20 minutes! Side note: You can’t be late to class at Oxford, 1 minute tardiness means you won’t be allowed into class, and missing class = failing, so I had a pretty valid excuse haha) Licking my wounds and grievances I decided to venture into London for the weekend. I’m sure my trip wasn’t anywhere near Sunday night in Madrid would have been but the weekend itself made up for me not being in Madrid.

However, London is absolutely stunning though it made quite a big dent in my wallet. I honestly didn’t realize that life in London would be THIS expensive. I was there for 2 days and almost went broke; what am I going to do when I spend an entire semester there? I didn’t spend my money on anything but food, transport and of course drinks (which are the most ridiculously overpriced things ever, 7 quid for a gin and tonic? Absolutely outrageous).

My rant about how broke I am aside, so I arrived Saturday night and Celine was nice enough to take me to a great thai restaurant (which I will blog about separately, it was THAT good) and take me around Leceister (pronounced “Lester”, and Celine had no problem pointing how “amurrican” I sounded) Square and we spent over an hour walking across London (no joke we walked from one end of Zone 1 to the other) looking for a cab. On Sunday, I met up with Kim to once again travel across the corners of London (more than once this time) to try and do a whistle stop tour of all the tourist sights. I must say we did pretty well and my excursion has told me that I take wayy too many photos. I met up with Sam afterwards to catch the game at a pub and that pretty much sums up my weekend. Some photos to accompany this post:

One of the first photos I took in London (when I arrived the first time). I realized I hadn’t uploaded this yet and thought this would be fitting. It’s also one of my favourite pictures of my time in England thus far.

Quintessentially London. The Eye, Big Ben and a red double decker bus.

London at night is stunning.

I’ve decided to try something different and put up a gallery of photos and see how this turns out because I have a lot of photos to share and I have to run off to write my paper for this week. (Shakespearean Comedies, which isn’t as dull as it sounds. I promise!)

But hope you enjoy the photos, look through them all because I hand picked all of these! (Click the first one and it should lead you to a mini slide show)

Cheers.

Also, my goal is to blog every single day this week (as Kim said: “You don’t blog enough”) so to honour her words I have decided to blog about all the things that I have been keeping that I haven’t found time to upload. So look out for that.

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