Eat, drink and get musical: A Lulu of a fundraiser at Fubar today

Enjoy hot dogs, chili and meat pies, special Moonglow cocktails, and more than eight hours of live music starting at 5 PM today as Fubar holds a fundraiser for Lu Ye a.k.a. Lulu Galore, who is well-known for everything from burlesque to jazz to funk to ukulele performances and who is suffering from vocal cord lesions.

The confirmed acts include Jasmine Chen & Kirk KenneyHonky Tonk DemonsHot Club of BeijingZhen Ren Guitar BandThe Rotten 5 and Strange Visitations. There will also be several burlesque performance. Entry fee is 50 kuai. See the poster below for more details.

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Timbits? Migas selling mini doughnuts from Traitor Zhou’s

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The Bar at Migas is selling what it calls “mini doughnuts“, and what look to me like TimBits, four days per week. The doughnuts are made by Traitor Zhou’s and come in four styles: chocolate, glazed, passion fruit and berry. Get a mixed box with a dozen for rmb60 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, Traitor Zhou’s is now also making bagels and does delivery in the Sanlitun area. More details here.

And look for more cooperation between Migas and Traitor Zhou’s in coming months, with a series of delis planned, possibly including one in “the lab“, the glass-walled room just inside the door at Migas.

Tuesday night eats: Try the half-price nacho pizza at Q-Mex

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Most people love a good half-price deal and it’s even better when you find something for which you would actually be willing to pay double. So it is with the nacho pizza at Q-Mex.

My buddy BR and I went to Q-Mex last Tuesday. For some reason, we believed this place had a “Taco Tuesday” special, but instead it was half-price pizzas. I looked at the menu, saw nacho pizza, figured something that combined two of my favorite comfort foods had potential, and ordered it.

It turned out even better than I expected. Not only because of the flavors, from the beef to the salsa to the sour cream. But also because of the textures, from the creamy guacamole to the crisp chips on top.

I’d pay rmb70 for that pizza. At half-price — just rmb35 on Tuesdays — it’s an excellent deal.

Hot links: Spicy Changyang Tujia smoked sausages for CNY

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Spicy smoked sausage country…

I just posted here about Kanaan wines from Ningxia, which are now available in Beijing and which I think would be fun to have during Chinese New Year. Another product I plan to have for the holidays are the spicy Changyang Tujia smoked sausages sold by Jonathan Alpart.

Grilling guru and meat maniac Lance Crayon, a former co-worker of Alpart who has been a fan of the sausages for two years now, turned me on to these.

“Jonathan Alpart is from Texas so he knows all about spicy sausage,” says Crayon, who also hails from the Lone Star State. “Since I’ve been in China his is the best I’ve ever had.”

Alpart’s link to the sausages is via his wife, who hails from Changyang, Hubei, a small town “officially recognized by the state as a Tujia ethnic minority enclave.”

He says he first tasted them on a “meet the parents” visit during Spring festival and it’s become a favorite part of his returns. The sausages are hand-stuffed with a blend of peppers and then smoked. You can get a vacuum-sealed freezer bag with 500 grams of sausages — anywhere from five to seven links — for 100 kuai.

This picture below shows two prepared sausages. Alpart says that while they can be grilled or used in a stir fry, traditionally they are steamed. To order, call 132 6402 5818 (Chinese) or 186 1837 3045 (English).

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Now in Beijing: Kanaan wines from Ningxia

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As oft noted, China has a growing number of good wines but finding them in our fair city is often difficult. Good news, then, that wines from quality operation Kanaan in the Ningxia region are now available at two venues in Beijing.

The first is Temple Restaurant Beijing, where you can get the wines in the restaurant as well as from TRB’s online shop. The Pretty Pony Cabernet-Merlot, at rmb198 online, is a worthy wine and will be of interest to those who have tried the better options from the likes of Grace Vineyard, Silver Heights and Great River Hill. I suggest taking this one slow and giving it plenty of time to breath. TRB is also selling Kanaan’s pricier Cabernet-Merlot, called Black Beauty, at rmb450. You can order here.

Meanwhile, Pudao Wines shop is stocking three Kanaan products, including a pleasant Riesling that shows the potential for white wines in China, and an easy-drinking red blend called Gutenland, a wine I plan to have during the Chinese New Year — it’s ganbei-friendly. Those are both rmb150 per bottle. Pudao Wines also has Pretty Pony, but at rmb295 it’s almost rmb100 more than at TRB.

The Kanaan wines aren’t listed yet in Pudao Wines online portfolio yet but you can find details about them here. If you are interested in buying, I suggest you call to check availability.

By the way, an event at Pudao Wines last Saturday included a semisweet Riesling-Chardonnay-Sauvignon Blanc that has done exceptionally well in tastings I have held. That one is not in stock yet, but when it is, I’ll update with the price and order details.

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Join the scrum: Beijing Aardvarks hutong pub crawl

Paddy O’Shea’s shares news of some upcoming Friday night fun: a Gulou-area hutong pub crawl by rugby team the Beijing Aardvarks. The Aardvarks are one of a half-dozen teams sponsored by Paddy’s.

The pub crawl starts at 7:30 PM at Ramo, the newest establishment by Paca Lee. This is a nifty space, with tasty pizzas, in same lane as El Nido bar and same space as the former El Nido restaurant.

Joining the tour is rmb50 and gets you welcome drinks and discounts.

aadrvarks rugby pub crawl beijing china

Super Bowl in Beijing: Hooters, The Den, DB Cooper & Q-Mex

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I usually spend The Super Bowl visiting a bunch of Beijing bars that are showing the game, an exercise that allows me to meet friends, to work off the breakfast or two I typically eat, and to have plenty of material for a post. This year, I cut back because: a) I struggle to care about American football enough to do this in the first place, b) the mind-numbing controversy over footballs and air pressure further deflated my interest and c) I had fondue last night and woke this morning with a football-sized mass of cheese in my gut that meant I needed an extra hour and five snooze alarms to get out of bed and thus got a late start. In the words of Marshawn Lynch, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”. (I’m not even sure what I might get fined for but you can never be too safe given the unpredictably of NFL management.)

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I only visited three places before settling at Q-Mex to eat a breakfast burrito (tasty), watch Katy Perry dance with plush sharks and fly through the air and stuff (“I Kissed a Girl” evoked Tun Bar, circa 2009), and witness a pathetic finish for Seattle (I’m waiting for conspiracy theories as to why the Seahawks cost themselves the game with arguably the worst call in Super Bowl history).

super bowl new england patriots seattle seahawks hooters beijing china

The tour started at Hooters, which seemed to be having dual Super Bowl / Roger Goodell Fan Club parties given the turnout. To be fair, the above photo is deceiving as it appears there were only three customers. In fact, attendance was more than 33 percent higher because there was one guy sitting at the bar. To put it into perspective, this place had one customer for every Super Bowl that New England has won in the past 14 years. Go Hooters!

Nearby, The Den had a far larger crowd although it was smaller than in years past. Once again, it offered a breakfast buffet and beverages for rmb100. I’m a fan of this place but it faces a lot of competition and could help itself by getting active in social media.

Then there is DB Cooper, the jeans shop in Sanlitun Soho that reinvented itself just a few weeks ago as a sports bar. I don’t know about other people, but my definition of a sports bar is a bar that shows sports. Events like, say, The Super Bowl. However, like Cooper himself, who hijacked a plane and then jumped out of it never to be found, the whereabouts of the staff was a mystery.

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As for Q-Mex, I find myself at this place more and more, whether for the lunch special or the Tuesday night pizza deal or just to grab a drink. And it served us well for the Super Bowl, with most tables taken but not so many people that it was cramped, providing plenty of space to watch in utter astonishment as Seattle failed, at the end of the game, to activate Beast Mode. Seahawks fans will be shaking their heads at that one for a long time to come.

China wine: Grace, Silver Heights & Kanaan tasting at Pudao Beijing

kanaan silver heights grace vineyard tasting at pudao wines beijing china

China has a growing number of quality wineries but finding their products on store shelves or restaurant lists is not easy. Good news, then, that Pudao Wines is listing bottles from three local producers, including two veterans and a newcomer, and will hold a tasting of some of them this weekend.

That event will include three wines from newcomer Kanaan in Ningxia, which has only been around a few years but has been getting good reviews from professional critics and consumers at home and abroad. Notably, it is making a pleasant Riesling in a white wine market heavily tilted toward Chardonnay. (Last fall, I presented this wine to a group of 17 trade people from Austria and Germany, where Riesling is boss, and they gave it collective approval.) This wine, and a red blend called Gutenland that includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Gernischt and Merlot, are 150 kuai per bottle. Higher up on the price ladder is Pretty Pony, a more complex Cabernet-Merlot blend from 2012.

There are also three wines from veteran operations, including Silver Heights from Ningxia, which has been making wine for about a decade and is partnered with distributor Torres China. Pudao is listing the Cabernet-driven blend “Family Reserve” at 310 kuai.

It also lists two wines from Grace Vineyard, which is based in Shanxi but also has vines in Ningxia, is arguably the best winery of the past fifteen years and is also working with Torres. The Premium “Cabernet Merlot” 2012 is listed at 150 kuai while the Tasya’s Reserve Cabernet Franc 2010 comes in at 210 kuai.

You can taste all of these wines, as well as a half-dozen new arrivals from Bordeaux, on January 31 from 3 PM to 5:30 PM for 100 kuai at the Pudao Beijing shop in The Office Park. Make a purchase and that 100 kuai off your bill. You can get more details here.

(Here’s the address as listed by Pudao: Unit F1-01, Tower AB, The Office Park, 10 Jintong West Road, Chaoyang District / 葡道北京门店: 朝阳区金桐西路10号远洋光华国际AB座F1 – 01.)

Get on board: DIY gin tonics at Janes & Hooch

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Needed a place last night to both meet my friend LB and enjoy good cocktails, and opted for happy hour at Janes & Hooch. This place has a buy one, get one for rmb 70 deal on about ten cocktail options from 7 PM to 9 PM. I stuck to gin, starting with a Fiddy Diddy, which uses oolong-infused vermouth, and ending with an old standby, a Negroni.

While conversing and imbibing, we noticed a board with three round indents and inquired to its purpose. Turns out its for DIY gin and tonics. LB ordered one and soon faced a glass of ice, a bottle of Thomas Henry tonic water and a 50 ml bottle of Monkey 47 gin. Plus a variety of flavoring options, including star anise, dried flowers, dried lemon, a lime wedge and a cinnamon stick, with the latter doubling as a stir stick. LB opted to use less than half of the tonic water, in order to not unduly dilute the gin, and gave the ensuing concoction a thumbs up. This one is worth a try if you are a gin tonic fan or just want to have some fun.

Hot or not: How spicy will Jing-A get tonight?

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Wednesday is weekly chili night at Jing-A Taproom and the burning question is how spicy it will get this evening. Two weeks ago, the kitchen unleashed the heat with a sweat-inducing concoction that had me buying a second order. Last week? Things got tame, with a rather mild chili, although one could argue it had more flavor complexity. This week? It’s anyone’s guess — I say bring back the heat! — given word the kitchen has six different kinds of chilies in its arsenal. (I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma this unpredictable state of affairs is having on the food and beer pairing community.) But spicy or not, this chili is good value, as you get a full cup* of chili, topped with a sprinkling of cheddar and a few jalapeno pepper slices, plus sour cream and chips on the side for 30 kuai.