Shunyi links | Balmain Gourmet serves breakfasts, burgers, bacon, sausage & more

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Drew Howard, who has been linking to sausage and burger fans via his delivery business for nearly six years, has opened Balmain Gourmet Meat & Grill in Shunyi. Customers can enjoy breakfasts, burgers, hot dogs, sausages, milkshakes and more on site or simply pick up supplies for home use. Howard says he also recently added a bacon trio, including pancetta and two versions aimed at British and Australian taste buds.

The shop, at the South Gate of Yosemite A, is open 8 AM to 8 PM, Wednesday to Monday. It’s closed Tuesdays, which serves as Howard’s delivery day (deliveries are free on orders more than rmb500).

See this site for details. Contact Howard or join his weekly mailing list by messaging balmaingourmet (at)

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Wine bars | Pop-Up to officially launch this Sunday with fundraiser

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After months of fine-tuning the design and hosting events, including art show gatherings, a young diplomats mixer, a wedding reception and a World Baijiu Day tasting, Pop-Up will officially open its in-house bar on November 8 with a fundraiser that features New Zealand wine, baijiu and sheep.

“We want people to have a retreat from the madness of Sanlitun,” says Glenn Schuitman, who is partners in Pop-Up with Vito Zhang.

Sunday’s party starts at 4 PM and supports Maovember*, a mustache-favoring charity that will hold events all month to fund cataract surgeries, via “flying eye hospital” charity Orbis, for men in rural China.

Iconic New Zealand winery Yealands will donate a dozen bottles of Peter Yealands Syrah and Baby Doll Sauvignon Blanc, to be sold at rmb30 per glass during Sunday’s event, with all funds to Maovember. Yealands will also provide plush baby doll sheep toys to be used for a photo contest. (Baby Doll sheep were introduced to the vineyards seven years ago to control grass and weeds in an environmentally friendly way. See this video.)

Along with the wine, there will be pours of New Zealand baijiu Taizi, a spicy tipple made in Schuitman’s hometown of Christchurch, all funds to charity. And there will possibly be musical entertainment, although it is unclear if that might include performances by Schuitman, a former opera singer.

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The menu at Pop-Up will start with 16 wines, including seven reds, five whites and a pair each of rose and sparkling wine, says Schuitman, a former opera singer. Those range from French Gamay rose to Spanish bubbly to Argentine Malbec and Torrontes. The lineup also includes a couple of wines — Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc — from Crater Rim in New Zealand’s Waipara Valley, organic Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from Australia’s McLaren Vale, under the Hedonist label, and those aforementioned Peter Yealands and Baby Doll options, all between rmb180 and rmb300 per bottle.

“I personally tasted and approved all the wines, drinking them to the last drop,” says Schuitman, who used to sing at the opera. He added that Pop-Up works with a range of small- and medium-sized suppliers, including Roque and Australian Natural.

As for Maovember, when asked if he had a mustache-related story, he declined comment except to say “mine has never caught on fire.”

The bar is in the modestly sized high-ceilinged lower level of Pop-Up and is decorated with a slew of items, from ceramics to old radios to house plants to a dozen or so chandeliers. There is seating at the bar and a trio of tables for about 20 people.

Pop-Up is open from noon to 10 PM, with daily happy hours from 5 PM to 7 PM when wine-by-the glass is rmb35. There are also by-the-bottle options from rmb180 for guzzling on site or takeaway. You can find Pop-Up in Sanlitun South, on the ground floor of the building that sits between Jing-A and The Local.

world baijiu day at pop-up beijing with gung ho yimuquan harmony wu ling byejoe taizi

* I am helping to organize Maovember. See the official site for more details on this project.

Gung Ho + Baijiu | Join John O’Loghlen for drunken shrimp pizza and a rare spirits tasting

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The Gung Ho ‘drunken shrimp’ pizza, held here by food model Josh Lally, made its debut last August during World Baijiu Day.

Here’s an event you don’t see every day!

Remember the tasty ‘drunken shrimp pizzas that Gung Ho! created for World Baijiu Day? This Friday, order one of those pies–topped with shrimp flambeed and sauteed with China’s national spirit–and co-owner John O’Loghlen will treat you to a free tasting of rare baijius sourced from his father-in-law’s extensive collection. The lineup also includes Taizi, a baijiu that is made in O’Loghlen’s home country of New Zealand and that he was serving at last week’s Pizza Cup in Beijing.

There are only 30 spots available–well, a maximum of 29 now since I’m booking one–so RSVP ASAP if interested. See more details on the event and the baijius in the poster below.

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Blah-Show | Besides Burger King and Cheers, Sanlitun’s Signature Market Is a Snooze

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I guess one good thing about the new Yashow Market in Sanlitun is that it ain’t crowded. Nor do you need to waste time wondering what to eat in that top-floor food court–there’s only one restaurant. Although I live close to Yashow, I’ve avoided the “new and improved” version, pretty sure it would be–and is–a far cry from the prior free-for-all of vendors and bargain hunters. Then again, there is finally an MLB store to serve the millions thousands dozens of baseball fans in the area, particularly those who root for New York and Los Angeles–Yankees and Dodgers merchandise seems to make up 80 percent of the items. At least they won’t have to worry about elbowing their way through fellow shoppers. (By the way, the saleswomen working there has little future as a closer. After telling her thrice I was “just looking”, and having her say “no problem” and then going right back into her pitch, I escaped by hitting the road.)

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The good news is Burger King is finally coming to Sanlitun–it narrowly missed beating Yinchuan, the capital of the Ningxia region, which saw its first BK open when I was there a few weeks ago. Try to keep up, Sanlitun! Yes, I’m sure some burger aficionados will turn up their noses, but it’s a nice addition as far as fast food goes. And by the looks of it, those flame-broiled burgers should be available in a few days. Want to pair them with wine? A branch of CHEERS is also open, on the west facade of Yashow, with its usual lineup of wines plus beers from craft brewer Shangri-la in Yunnan.
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Slice of Life | My dozen-plus pizza picks, plus Pizza Cup, pie-eating contest at Ramo

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I think The Beijinger wanted just three picks for its “Pizza My Mind” series, which is being run ahead of yet another “vote for me” spam-inspiring Pizza Cup, which will have its launch party this Saturday and Sunday at Galaxy Soho. I ended up naming a dozen or so spots–Pizza+, Gung Ho, Nasca, Buona, Irish Volunteer, Kro’s Nest, Ramo, The Den, Q Mex and more–in the categories of favorite delivery options, best for drinks with “the gang” and budget-friendliness. You can read about ’em here.

And competitive eaters should check out the first annual pizza contest slated at Ramo for October 24. Eat a whole pie faster than anyone else and you get to create and name a pizza to be added to the Ramo menu. More details in the poster below.

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