Friday, September 26, 2014

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - The Library Cafe (Ep. 6)

Address: G/F, Lane Crawford, 3 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
In a somewhat hard to locate location, The Library Cafe is an ambient and pleasant cafe in the heart of Harbour City shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. I walked around for about 20 minutes trying to find the cafe, asking multiple information desks how to get there, but of course, knowing me and my navigational struggles, it was still a challenge to find. Just to make things easier for any of you trying to find The Library Cafe, here is my attempt to give directions. Notice how the address (listed above) says Lane Crawford? Well Lane Crawford is a department store/clothing store located on Canton Road so just walk on that road (which is packed with high end, luxury brand stores) until you see the door opening to Lane Crawford. Walk in and go down the stairs/escalator and go past the shoes section and you'll see the cafe. If you're not really sure but you're inside Lane Crawford, just ask a sales associate and they'll direct you (as they did for me). Because Canton Road has all the nicer shopping malls in Hong Kong with all the expensive brands, most sales associates know pretty decent English so if you're a tourist, you should have no problem asking your way around.
The ambient lighting and decor of the cafe really adds to the pleasant feel of the entire cafe. It's quiet in a way Starbucks could never be and secluded enough to give you the privacy of a nice afternoon tea by yourself or with a friend. I love the little details that make this cafe so unique with the perfectly placed decorations on the shelf to the little kettles containing sugar packets and the classy stands holding the silverware on every table. The Library Cafe is a perfect place to go if you want a cup of tea or coffee as they have a wide range of flavors, but they also have a good number of choices when it comes to salads or sandwiches. They also have an afternoon tea set which is presented on a lovely stack of 3 plates containing mini sandwiches, pastries, and cakes along with coffee or tea - all of which you can choose from their menu.
I ended up trying the caramel latte which came with a small cookie shaped like a lady's high heel. I'm really not a coffee/latte/any caffeine drinker but this was definitely something I would come back for. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and the drizzle of caramel on top with the sprinkle of crushed pistachios really enhanced the caramel flavor. The cookie was a nice addition though it was really just a normal sugar cookie. My friend ordered the cake set which came with a cake of your choice and a coffee or latte of your choice. I think she got an Americano (can't remember for sure), but I love the feathered coffee art they added on her cup. She also chose the raspberry mousse cake which according to her, was really delicious.

Overall I would recommend The Library Cafe for tourists looking for a quiet place to relax or rest from a long shopping hall. The atmosphere of the cafe is perfect for those looking to get away from the bustling malls that surround it. If you guys have stopped by The Library Cafe, let me know what your thoughts of it were and what you ordered so I can try them out next time! I hope you enjoyed this mini review and have a wonderful day!

Nails on Nails: The Signs of Freedom

As many of you know, I recently was in Hong Kong for bout 2.5 months doing research in a lab as well as visiting my relatives and of course, seeing the sights of the country. I also got to spend time with a lot of my aunt's friends, one who was quite skilled in the art of doing nails ;D So we got together and today, I wanted to share one of the designs she created on me. We chose to use the combination of a pink and nude beige nail polish (from the brand 3CE which is a popular Korean high-ish end brand - I'm planning on doing a review of their nail polish as I picked up a good amount of them!). I've listed pictures of them both down below for your reference if you want to pick them up (the numbers/names are #BE02 and #PK08) ^__^
Related imageImage result for 3ce nail polish
Anyways all of the birds are hand drawn and I love how the white birds contrast the beige background and the extra bling at the bottom of my nails also added the glamor of the nails. Please excuse my terribly dry cuticles in the photo, we had just removed a previous set of gel nails so my nails needed some TLC. What do you feel about this design? I hope it gives you some inspiration if you were looking for some sort of bird or feather designed nail art. Let me know if you have any other designs you want me to recreate and I might do a tutorial on it! Till next time xx.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good Eats - Hong Kong Edition - Holly Brown Cafe and Gelato (Ep. 5)

Being an ice-cream addict, it's no surprise that one of the places I had to visit was Holly Brown. There are many locations in Hong Kong including, but not limited to, Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan, and many other places so if you're looking for one, trust me, it won't be too hard to find!
Address: G/F, 22 Stanley Street, Central
A friend of mine initially told me about Holly Brown saying that their ice cream was quite good and when I looked up reviews on OpenRice (the Asian version of Yelp), many American reviewers compared it to the American Coldstones. I absolutely love Coldstones' ice cream creations especially Founder's Favorite which is a mix of vanilla ice cream with brownies and nuts and other additions that makes a wonderful mouthful explosion. Tempted, I had high hopes for Holly Brown as I entered the shop (which happened to be one of their [many] locations in Central). Not all Holly Brown shops include a cafe, some only have an ice cream/gelato stand, but the one I went to had both the cafe and the ice cream bar so when I first walked in, I was greeted to both. The atmosphere and decor of the shop is quite nice with lots of comfortable sofas and chairs and tables (sort of like a Starbucks) and at least my experience with the servers was a pleasant one (I can't say for all locations of course). The cafe offers a pretty wide selection of breakfast, brunch, and lunch foods such as sandwiches, salads, pasta, coffees, honey toast, and waffles, but of course I only went there for the ice cream ;D
Being my typical indecisive self, I took about 10 minutes just staring at the ice cream menu trying to decide what to get but I finally settled with Eenie Meenie (and yes they have another creation titled Minie Mo and yes I did play that game in my head to decide between the two). I decided to get Eenie Meenie as its description said that it would include brownie bits and it seemed most similar to the Founder's Favorite that I usually get at Coldstones and I wanted to have some sort of comparison starting line. I do agree that Holly Brown is quite like Coldstones in the way they make ice cream mixtures/creations and they do it on the spot, out in the open, so you can watch them mix up your order, but the presentation was definitely not on par with Coldstones'. I mean, just look at my pictures and you can see.. it doesn't exactly look appetizing does it? Of course, maybe it was just my creation that is the uglier looking one because I've seen photos online on OpenRice and other people who ordered other creations - well theirs looks much nicer with decorations placed nicely on top. Nevertheless, despite the slightly disappointing first impression, my gelato tasted quite delicious and yummy. It's quite a hearty portion, and even though I shouldn't have, I finished the entire thing and the waffle. One complaint I have though is that all the creations come with the waffle and you can't just get your ice cream in a cone for a lower price which was a little bothersome because their gelato creations are not cheap! The creation I got cost $56 HKD if I remember correctly which is about $7 USD! (And I thought Coldstones' was expensive at about $5 for a similar sized cup!). However, gelato/ice cream in Hong Kong is actually quite expensive so I suppose the price was "normal" as buying a tub of Dryer's ice cream in Hong Kong is like $50 for a tub that is about 1/3 the size of a normal Dreyer's bucket here in America (and we wonder why America is the fattest country in the world).

All in all, I would recommend Holly Brown's gelato for all my ice cream lovers out there. Yes the price is a little high, but the taste is definitely there and next time I go back, I'm planning on trying another creation or a honey toast or waffle with ice cream on the side ^__^; If you're looking for a place for a client meeting or somewhere to study or just some place to get out of the Hong Kong heat, stop by Holly Brown because hey, it's a nice change up from your usual Starbucks or Pacific Coffee and probably less crowded (unless you come in around lunch time). The wide selection of gelato and normal savory foods makes Holly Brown a perfect cafe for everyone.