Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gastronomic Feasts

While we didn't do a lot of sightseeing in Beijing, having seen most of the historic sites 25 years ago when there were almost no domestic tourists and only a few foreigners on highly controlled group tours, we did enjoy several feasts with our friend Patrick as our guide.

Our first evening we experienced food from Northern Mongolia consisting of a delicious soup of mutton and vegetables in a delicious broth accompanied by several other delicious dishes.

The following evening we enjoyed a central Beijing lakeside setting near the Imperial Palace. The evening temperature was perfect for great food and great conversation. Patrick introduced us to Plum Flower Wine which had been his father's favorite. We had a delicious spicy fish soup with a tomato base accompanied by the best spicy green beans I've ever tasted and a salad with some wonderful kinds of sprouts and other goodies I can't recall. I do remember the walnut paste cookies that were beyond belief, not only in beauty but in taste. Patrick and I each had one and my husband the cookie monster ate the remaining four.

On our third evening in Beijing, we were on our own and selected a vegetarian restaurant listed in Lonely Planet. Unfortunately, the address given was incorrect and we couldn't find it. While we were puzzling over our Lonely Planet map and Google Maps on David's Blackberry, a rickshaw driver came and peered over our shoulder. When we pointed to the Chinese characters, he lit up, gave a broad smile and flashed the international gesture for eating. We hopped in and he took us directly to the restaurant.

The food was absolutely amazing -- a hundred different dishes to choose from by selecting the glossy pictures. Very tasty. The kind of place we would go to often if it were nearby.

In a phone call earlier that day, Patrick's wife, Angelika, had encouraged him to take us for a Chinese foot massage after dinner. Late that evening we found ourselves in a health club, in side by side reclining chairs, our feet in basins of hot herbal water, warm neck pillows and warm kidney pillows comforting us as our warm-up shoulder and back massages. In good time, our presoaked feet enjoyed about an hour of pampering and exfoliating. Indeed, neither David nor I recognized my happy feet after the treatment. The experience was like a whole body massage. We all walked out totally relaxed.

Our final meal before we headed to Lhasa was a gorgeous meal of Peking duck with all the trimmings. They even provided us with a certificate of the duck's number.

In every place we were treated to gracious service as well as great food. Thank you Patrick for all you did to make our Beijing stay special.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments.