I promise it’s not over
My dearest blogy blog,
I know I’ve been terrible at communicating recently. And you heard me listening to that Taylor Swift song about never ever ever ever getting back together. But it wasn’t directed at you, my dear little blog. I promise we aren’t done. I just needed a break. Some time to breathe. It’s wasn’t you, it was me. Now that I’ve had some time to find myself (read: eat at a ton of restaurants and be a lazy bum, watching far too many $1.50 DVDs bought from the store across the road), I’m back and ready to post more sarcastic comments on a more regular basis. Huzzah.
But I figure first things first, I should tell you what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks. And because getting back into the groove of writing is terrible and awful and painful, I figured I would add some pictures so you can see what I’ve been up to when I haven’t been posting.
Curious to hear more about my travels and see what I’m up to on the regular? You can follow me on zee Twitters @charevans1021 for all that self promotional shenanigans nonsense that is super awkward and bleh, and Instaaaa for my pictures of food and yumminess (and to document my road to morbid obesity through eating everything in China) at charevs1021. Oh, and look for my food reviews on Shanghaiist – and like them if you want to be a super duper cool friend so my stories get more publicity. (Ugh self promotion. It’s the worst. Go look at my pictures where I use self-deprecating humor now because that’s much more like me to mock the bejeezus out of myself and my sheer idiocy at most moments in life.)
The weird stuff I see on my bike is unreal. Most of the time, it passes by in a flash and I am utterly baffled, confused, and running so late for whatever I’m heading to that I have no time to stop, reach into my bag for my phone, open up the camera app, and take a picture. However, I was at a stop light that literally takes an eternity to change to green so I had enough time to capture this moment. Some moments that I have seen recently that haven’t been caught on camera: a girl dressed as a smurf today handing out flyers to promote people going to KFC (the connection? I’m not quite sure), a man pushing a cart with 35-40 wooden chairs on it down the middle of the street, and a group of Chinese girls dressed up as giraffes. Naturally. This does not include the signs I have seen that I fly past on my bike, my favorite to date being the restaurant that promoted itself by including as the headline feature on their sign read, “NO MSG. NO ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORING!” Thank GOD. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?! Now I definitely have to go there.
I went dragon boat racing…just because. It was so fun, but my body hated me for the rest of the week. Le’ts get to the bottom of this – the real killer of a dragon boat practice surprisingly enough is not the actual workout but the fact that the wooden seats on those boats are so horribly uncomfortable that after a two hour workout, my “sit bones” (as they so delicately call your backside in yoga classes these days) were quite uncomfortable to say the least. Looks like I’m going to need to buy some padded butt shorts or something equally as fashionable, hip, cool, and stylish before I head out on the boat again.
This is the delightfully fried pork chop that can be found in the restaurant right near my apartment. For the whopping great price of four dollars, I can get a nice hunk of fried meat on top of a heaping bowl of rice, veggies, and other yumminess. Does this put you in a food coma afterwards? Do you regret all of your life decisions after eating this? Most definitely. But it is so worth it. And so I wrote a Dish of the Day review about it on Shanghaiist.
There are a whole bunch of alums from my university that live here, which is cool. I organized this first event of the academic year for NYU Alums in Shanghai at this place called Project Wine. Super cool spot and it felt just like Brooklyn. We had around 90 people come to the event and drummed up interest to keep the network going and growing over the next couple of months. I am now working with my dream team to plan a really cool event for December and just came back from a location meeting right before I sat down to write this post. Yay new friends!
I think of jian bing as the Chinese answer to a Mexican burrito. Instead of meat and hot sauce, there is a wonton wrapper and some soy bean paste. And it tastes absolutely delightfully delicious. While it may not be delightfully fried like the pork chop, it is quite good. And this jianbing can be found on the oh-so-popular Wulumuqi Lu right in the heart of the French Concession in Shang. This lady is famous for her jianbing making skills and she cranks out one of these babies every 44 seconds. If that’s not mad skill, I don’t know what is.
Being a food writer on the side makes you explore some really random places. On my street, a new place opened up recently called Zoo Coffee. It has massive stuffed animals all around, and this one cracked me up. Of all places to have a giant stuff gorilla. But I just wondered where Tarzan was. And also, whether it was like that book I read in middle school where all the toys came alive at night and perhaps this was the case in this store as well and that the zoo became a real living space at night when all the laowais left and weren’t buying overpriced coffee at 4pm anymore.
For Shanghaiist, I have been meeting and greeting with the movers and shakers of Shanghai’s food scene. Whether its meeting new restaurant owners, cookies, hummus makers, or beef jerky creators, you never know what you will find out when conducting an interview. Through this interview with Tinys Best, I was able to discover the wonders of a dehydrator, the step by step process to prevent molding of beef jerky, and how to properly marinade a piece of chicken so that it goes from being a chicken to a nice snack in a bag of Tinys Best Kickin’ Hunan Chicken. Yum.
There has been a lot of random explorations going on. A friend told me of a Taiwanese snack night market that was only a short walk away from our apartment building. Naturally, I said of course I would go. Short walk, my ass, Jen. It turned into quite the venture, but it was a fun and entertaining walk and the October weather in Shanghai is absolutely wonderful, so we had a great time witnessing local Shanghai pass by as we strolled under the Yanan Elevated Highway. When we got to where the market was supposed to be, the people who worked in the mall looked at us with a puzzled expression. Taiwanese night market? There ain’t no Taiwanese night market. Look at these crazy lao wais asking us about this market. Instead, we ventured into the pet store and saw this cranky gargantuan BEAST of a cat at the entrance followed by some of the most hyperactive puppies I have seen in my life. I was going to pet them until this thought came into my mind: “Rabies rabies rabies.” And that put me off. We settled on dinner across the street and got some good Chinese staples of mapo tofu and bok choy. Yum.
What does an ethnican flavored chip taste like, one must wonder? Gosh only knows. And gosh only knows what would happen if these chips were to make their way to America. Hell hath no fury like a politically correct liberal who sees a racially insensitive snack.