Roadside Fruit and Veg in Hong Kong (December 2018)


On Sunday I posted a slideshow of images taken on walks around my hotel on my first day in Hong Kong. This may have led you to believe that there would be a separate report for every day after that as well. But when not in meetings, I’ve spent most of my time walking around the city and taking photographs rather than posting them to the blog. But as they pile up in my folders I remember that I’m not yet done posting reports on my trip to Scotland in the summer; and so faced with the prospect of reporting on this trip for the next two years, I’m going to try to speed it up a bit. Accordingly, here is a slideshow of pictures of fruit and veg taken at roadside markets and stalls. Hopefully this will mollify the vegetarians among my readers who may have found the meat pictures in the previous Hong Kong post to be a bit much.  Continue reading

Midtown Global Market (Minneapolis)


The Midtown Global Market was the first place I ever ate at in Minnesota. This was a little less than a year before we moved to Minnesota, and just a few months after it opened in May, 2006. I was visiting St. Paul on work and my friend Mike and I drove over to check it out. I got some wonderful octopus tacos from La Sirena Gorda and Mike got tacos from Los Ocampo’s counter, if I remember correctly. It was a vibrant, fun space and it made an impression on me that was quite different from the image of Minnesota I’d put together from my years in the western US. (This impression was bolstered later that weekend at a meal at Saigon in St. Paul.) A few months later we had to decide whether to remain in Colorado or make a jump to Minnesota, and this impression of a culturally diverse Minnesota helped make up our minds—it also probably didn’t hurt that it was very warm in the Twin Cities during my visit in early November, 2006.

Well, November isn’t always warm here, and La Sirena Gorda, alas, is long gone—as are some of our other early favourites there—but the Midtown Market is still going strong, with new food outlets and merchants who are excellent in their own right; indeed, it seems very entrenched now in the local scene. Here is a quick look at it for the benefit of those who have somehow never been, or have not been in a while. Continue reading

Hong Kong, Day 1 (December 2018)


After an exhausting day of travel that included flight delays and damaged baggage before I even got on my 15 hour flight from LAX, I finally arrived at Hong Kong on Saturday morning, feeling a bit like damaged goods myself. And extra surly as—unlike in 2016—I’m here by myself this time; and unlike some people, I do not like traveling alone.

I was greeted by a massive, snaking line at immigration but it moved surprisingly quickly. Emerging with my suitcase (thankfully not beat up further), I made a beeline for Crystal Jade and applied some excellent dumplings to my exhaustion. Then aboard the Airport Express train to Hong Kong Station and a quick cab ride to my friend’s home up in the Mid-Levels, to wait out the time till my check-in at the hotel. Drank some masala chai, called my hotel—who were kind enough to give me an early check-in—and cabbed down to Central, to Wellington St. It was lunch time and so setting my bags down, I ventured forth.  Continue reading

Borough Market: Eating (London)


At the end of April I posted a large gallery of photographs taken at London’s Borough Market. In the shadow of Southwark Cathedral and right by London Bridge, Borough Market is a tourist attraction in its own right and the photographs from that first gallery may have given you some sense of how crowded it is on most days. You may have also got the sense that the Borough Market—unlike Montreal’s Jean-Talon market—is not really a farmers’ market: there are in fact very few produce vendors there. What the market is really good for is retail product from small-scale and artisanal producers as well as local fish and meat. It’s also very good for casual eating; of this it may have more than Jean-Talon (though we were, of course, at Jean-Talon at the end of October). The first gallery was focused almost entirely on retail establishments. This gallery—which is even larger—focuses almost entirely on the vendors selling prepared food.  Continue reading

Borough Market: Shopping (London)


We’ve been in London just over six weeks now. We’ve barely done any hardcore touristy stuff yet. This is not because we are too cool to do hardcore touristy stuff; it’s because we figured we were going to be here three months and so didn’t need to rush to do any touristy stuff. Well, now there’s only another five weeks and change to go and despite living literally steps away from Westminster Abbey, and passing it every day on the way to the tube station, we haven’t yet gone in. Soon we will go in. But first on Friday we took the kids to Tower Bridge and walked back some of the way along the Thames. And when it came time to figure out lunch, we were right by the Borough Market in Southwark (right by London Bridge)—which is yet another iconic London site that we’d been meaning to but hadn’t yet managed to visit. Well, now we have and I have come back with a very large and somewhat haphazard gallery of images that will hopefully convince you to visit Borough Market whether you’re here for twelve weeks or twelve days. (Well, actually I’ve come back with two large and somewhat haphazard galleries of images, but the second will follow in a week or so.)  Continue reading

Jean-Talon Market, Pt. 1 (Montreal)

Jean-Talon: Mushrooms
We were recently in Montreal for a few days. It was a wonderful trip despite the grey weather (and a nightmarish travel day to end it after we missed our early morning nonstop flight back to Minneapolis). We hung out with some old friends who work there, walked around the city and saw a couple of really good exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts (one on Toulouse-Lautrec and another on Robert Mapplethorpe). And we ate some very good food. When it comes to food in the French vein, traditional and contemporary, there is probably no better city in North America than Montreal. There certainly isn’t a better city for bakeries and patisseries. I’m going to start my report though not with a bakery or a restaurant but with a visit we made on the morning of our second day there to the famous Jean-Talon market. In case you don’t know, Montreal has a number of public markets that combine traditional farmers’ markets with restaurants/food stands and various purveyors of cheese, pastry, meat, fish etc. And Jean-Talon is the most renowned of these markets.  Continue reading