Once again I ate my way through a memorable culinary weekend. Lunch on Saturday was going to be at Element Fresh, but when my friend and I arrived it was already full so we made the executive decision to go to the French restaurant Salaya nearby instead. First came pieces of fresh baguette with an olive tapenade. Next came a lovely leek and potato soup to continue to whet my appetite. Finally my grilled seabass arrived with some sautéed carrot and green beans. It was so delicious my only regret was not to have enough room for the brilliant chocolate cakes freshly baked that all of the other customers were receiving.
The next event came at dinner as my Malaysian Chinese friend Joo decided to host a dinner party. She had been cooking up a storm for 3 ½ hours for 9 friends. We greedily tucked into her fresh panko prawns, herbal soup with pork, braised huangjiu chicken, curry vegetables with tofu and lady fingers (okra in American English), and a braised lettuce dish; and for dessert were brownies, champagne and layer cake. Superb.
Finally on Sunday night I was fortunate to share a platter of German meats and imbibe a German dark beer at Papa's Bierstubbe. The plate consisted of meatloaf, smoked ham, sausages, spatzle, mashed potato, sauerkraut and red cabbage. It felt great to consume plenty of foreign meat and visit leisurely over about 4 hours. Why does time fly in Shanghai like nothing, in particular over a fine meal with a friend? It was a much-needed experience, whatever the cosmic reasons behind it are. I will cook for the Malaysian Chinese friends 2 weekends in the future. Next weekend I will partake an overnight trip to a hotsprings resort with friends.