Tag Archives: Dining

“Jaw With John” – The Meal Doesn’t Come With A Side of Mobile Phone

My husband and I are parents of seven adult children, ranging in age from 25 to 34. Recently two of our kids (and one spouse) came home for a visit and we noticed they were never far from their cellphones and even at the kitchen table were on their phones texting or checking their mail.

We consider these times together special and my husband, especially, noticed that they were less “present” when on their phones texting, etc.

This Christmas all kids and spouses are coming home for our reunion. Everyone comes home and these are special times, especially since we now have grandchildren.

The out-of-towners all stay with us.

Our question is about the cellphone use during our celebrations and meal times. When we are together at the Christmas dinner table we wish our kids would put the phones away, except for picture taking.

My husband wants to set some rules during these family gatherings.

I am hesitant to set the stage with rules that might make some of these adults crabby.

What do you think? — Babi

Dear Babi:

These are the times we live in unfortunately. Where someone cannot go 10 minutes without checking their phone (this is especially true in movie theatres, but that’s another ball of wax). I admit, I am guilty of this techno-sin when it comes to mealtime but I am vigilant in my mission to stop such activity completely. At dinner, and other meals at home, I make sure to put my phone far enough away from me like in another room or at the other end of the table so I can be present in the meal and the company I am in. If I am out to dinner with friends or family or on a date I keep my phone in my pocket and don’t bring it out until it’s appropriate.

Ideally you would have all of your guests leave their phones, tablets, gaming devices etc in another room at mealtime but that could mean someone could sneak away and check it. If you were to gather them all up and have them on a table nearby, face down, it would really test their resolve. They would hear the phones vibrating on the table but not know whose phone was buzzing. It’d be like a murder mystery that you don’t want to solve because it would disrupt the meal. I have been on dinners with friends (not a bunch of people mind you) where the first person to bring out their phone had to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the table. You could do something similar, except make the punishment cleaning up instead of buying drinks.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


This place is crazy. Crazy busy and crazy confusing.

The second night in Japan my friend Sean and I met up with a Japanese friend, Ryoji, who is a good friend of an old friend of mine back in the USA. He suggested meeting in Shibuya, even though he said he hated that station and that part of town. After arriving there, we could see why. We were tasked with finding a numbered exit at the Shibuya Station where we would meet up and go out from there. We followed signs, even though the led us in a different direction and ended up walking back and forth through the station a couple of times before I messaged him to come and find us. We stayed put and were found within minutes.


Shibuya Crossing

Walking though the station there is a wall of glass that allows you to peek out and view the famous Shibuya Crossing (above) and witness the madness that ensues when the walk signal turns on. Once street level we walked around a bit taking in the surrounding area while we searched for somewhere to eat and, of course, drink. We crossed through the busy crossing and I kept my camera in my pocket because I was wary of being run into and being THAT guy who stops in the middle of Shibuya Crossing. I mean, I already stood out enough and I didn’t want to draw any negative attention to me so in my pocket it stayed.

We find some place that apparently had a good deal on all-you-can-drink beer for 1 hour and sit down and eat … and drink. I am HORRIBLE with chopsticks but after about seven or eight Asahi’s I think I was doing OK and was mastering the eating utensil. There were some adventurous food choices that we ate. Some good (beef tongue) and some not so good (chicken kidney) but I tried it and have lived to tell the tale.

After dinner was over we met up with a friend of Ryoji’s who just got off work and she was hungry so we went to a diner about a block away from where we just ate and, well, ate and drank some more. By this point I was a chopstick master, at least that’s how it looked from my perspective. I was picking up and eating food with ease. It was great. Then, out of nowhere, it was 3AM and that meant that it was time to head back to the hotel. With the Metro closed we decided to walk back since it wasn’t that long of a walk and it was probably better for us anyway.

Walking in the dead of night through a foreign country probably sounds like a very bad idea but Tokyo is one of the safest cities in the world, something Ryoji told me as we walked around Shibuya, and it felt good to walk around and see the city in a different way. The highlight of the walk was when we stumbled upon some Akira artwork. I have no idea why it was there but it was cool. After taking a few photos we made it back to our hotel. I have no idea how long it took, but we got there in one piece so that’s OK with me.



Tagged , , , , , ,

Breaking Lab – Ice Cream & Science in Hong Kong

I feel as if Jesse Pinkman would say something like “Yeah science!” if he knew something like this existed. I’m talking of course about Hong Kong’s best ice cream and it’s not being made in the traditional way. Equations and recipes are scribbled in yellow dry erase marker on the windows of this ice cream shop which make it look more like Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room from The Social Network than they do a place that sells ice cream, but this isn’t a normal ice cream shop.

Nestled in Tai Hang behind the Causeway Bay Sports Ground is Lab Made, a popular destination for those seeking to escape the heat and humidity or for those just looking for some delicious ice cream.

I happened upon Lab Made because a friend of mine currently living in Hong Kong told me about it and I’ve never been one to turn away ice cream, let alone ice cream that is prepared using science and chemistry as a guideline. Yes, I realise that making regular ice cream uses science as well but the main reactant used by Lab Made makes it more science-y. They use liquid nitrogen.

Now before you go all crazy on me and “flip out!”, as Jerry Maguire said, it’s all perfectly safe. I mean I’m here writing about my experience there so clearly I’m not dead from the liquid nitrogen. If you don’t believe me, click here, it will tell you everything you need to know about the process and how they safely use it. Feel better? Good. Because this place is pretty cool.

What also makes Lab Made great is their menu – it’s always changing. Like a great restaurant that serves catch of the day or whatever is freshly picked that day from the farm, Lab Made does the same. All of their “ice creams are made from scratch, using real, fresh, quality ingredients so there’s no need for additives, colourings or preservatives.” The menu is always changing which means you may never be bored by their selections, it also means that you might be there every single week (which is a smart business tactic because this place is addictive). During my visit I had the lemon meringue sorbet. It was tangy, juicy, full of awesome but not overpowering citrus flavour from the lemon and it was served on a bed of mini meringues that dissolved on my tongue while I put spoonfuls of sorbet on my mouth. After I was finished, I licked my bowl clean (not my finest hour, but certainly not my worst) and wanted more but knew I should not. Like I said, it’s addictive.

Clearly this place is doing something many things right,


Tagged , , , , ,

Rock The Kasbah, Hong Kong Has Moroccan Food

Labeled as a “restaurant that is a feast for all the senses” Kasbah does not disappoint.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the vibrant city of Hong Kong is a Moroccan restaurant that is quietly making a name for itself by word of mouth, reputation and of course its cuisine. I visited the restaurant because a friend had been there from a previous trip to Hong Kong and enjoyed it so much that he wanted to go again.

A few blocks away is the loud, boisterous, and somewhat gaudy Lan Kwai Fong where many of the expats and tourists alike congregate around the bars, nightclubs and restaurants as well as on their steps. Literally, people just hang out and drink and laugh and talk on the steps of those establishments. If that is not your particular brand of vodka, as Danny Ocean would say, then I suggest you take a trip away from Lan Kwai Fong, cross Wyndham Street, walk up some stairs decorated with orange metal that has been constructed and fitted to be used as a seating area and at the top of the stairs make a left and within a few short minutes you will be at Kasbah.

Once through the large and dark wooden door you are transported away from Hong Kong. There aren’t any large neon signs or crowds of people in your way but the traditional North African music and aromas from around the room help to drown out the busy city just beyond the door.

As you sit down you are treated to comfort and relaxation in the form of cushioned couches and chairs. The menu is diverse and has something for everyone ranging from the traditional Tagine – the “terracotta cooking pot in which the classic Maghreby mix of sweet and spiced fruit, vegetables and meat is slowly simmered” to a pita filled with grilled lamb.

For starters, I recommend the homemade hummus, pita and tabbouleh. Everything is fresh. The hummus is divinely prepared and presented along with warm, freshly-baked pita that makes you wonder how you could ever buy flat pita bread from the market ever again. The tabbouleh is created with care and you can see that it is hand cut and not run through a Cuisinart and ruined by being turned into a mush.

The delivery of the Tagine is eye-catching and when it is presented in front of you and the top is removed the steam and delicious smells from the dish fill your nose and make you want to dive right into the meal. The pita sandwich is presented in a very simple but effective way, wrapped in foil and cut in half to reveal the expertly grilled and marinated lamb and accompanying vegetables and sauce that I cannot name because I dove right in and began inhaling the sandwich. Truly delicious.

The decor feels North African without being kitschy or over the top. The stone-coloured walls have hand painted symbols, maintaining the Moroccan style, and the black ceiling recreates the night sky and is adorned with colourful lanterns in varying shades of red, yellow and green. The bar even has a variety of hookahs with the tallest being roughly four feet tall. The mood lighting adds to the cool ambiance and really sets the scene for what is a terrific spot to sit and relax after a day of sight-seeing in Hong Kong.


The orange metal seats leading up to Kasbah

Tagged , , ,