Monday, May 26, 2014

The Bund, Peace Hotel & Tock's

The Bund was the first international and financial area in Shanghai.  It is on the West bank of the Huangpu River, and was the center of European trade.  There are beautiful historic buildings, as well as five star hotels & restaurants in this area.
     We had breakfast at the historic Peace Hotel.  The art deco hotel was built in the 30's, and is now owned by Fairmont.  It's really beautifully maintained and looks more like a museum than a hotel.  The murals in the lobby are of The Bund in the 40's.  They take up entire walls, and are made of hand-etched silver.  One scene shows rows of parked cars alongside men driving rickshaws - really beautiful and detailed.
      Chris had a drink in the famous Jazz Bar once with a musician friend from back home.  The Jazz Bar at the Peace Hotel was a gathering spot for writers, artists and musicians in the 40's and 50's.  They would talk, drink and smoke opium back then.  The musicians that play now have been there for such a long time, they are something of an institution.  Chris and his friend sat-in with the band that night, what a great experience!

On the Bund  
with Chairman Mao

Peace Hotel

For lunch, we walked over to Tock's Montreal Deli.  We had been meaning to come here for a long time.  The menu is very traditional deli, with homemade cole slaw, pickles and fantastic french fries.  We shared a platter of pastrami and sliced rye bread.  Chris also had an order of poutine - fries with gravy and cheese.  I really missed having great pastrami sandwiches, but now I can go to Tock's and get my fix!!

Old Navy!

Yes, there is now an Old Navy in Shanghai!  I think it may be the first in China.  It's on Nanxing Lu, next to Jing'an Temple.  Three floors, and the interior looks exactly like Old Navy back home.  I felt like I was in Pasadena the minute I stepped inside.
   Now if they would only open a Target and Trader Joe's, I would be all set….!

Later we walked down the street to the Jing'an Kerry center.  Not as crowded as the Kerry center in Pudong by our home, but with more upscale, designer stores.  We had lunch at Ippudo Hakata ramen. Really delicious, reminded us of Japan.  Then we stopped at the Candy Lab.  Handmade candy shop chain in lots of nice malls.  All the candy is in small plastic test tubes.  Odd, but cute.

Wall at Ippudo
Yum - potato salad
oishii ramen yo

cutting candy
test tubes full

how many can I have?
Candy Lab

Rumors Coffee

Rumors Coffee is on Hunan Lu in French Concession.  The shop is tiny, I mean really tiny.  It's about the size of my family room back home.  It's owned by Japanese and they take their coffee very seriously.
  1. Select your choice of bean off the menu.  It is measured, then ground for your single serving.  The ground coffee is poured into the filter, the grinder wiped out.  The filter is placed above a heated, small glass pitcher.
  2. Hot water is poured into a silver coffee pot, while the Barista(?) gauges the temperature on a thermometer.  When the water is the precise temperature for your coffee selection, she begins to pour.
  3. She gently swirls hot water onto the grounds.  Then she stops and stares.  We all stare.  The grounds begin to rise into a little swollen pillow.  She is "blooming" the coffee.  Cool.
  4. She resumes pouring the hot water in slow circles on the grounds, never actually pouring onto the filter itself.  The coffee grounds continue to swell to the top.
  5. Before the coffee has completely drained from the filter, she removes it.  So the last coffee in the filter never makes it into the glass pitcher.  
  6. At last, the brew is poured into my cup.  Ahhh.

I always drink my coffee with milk and sweetener.  This was so good, I drank it black.  Rich and clean, but not bitter at all.  A lot of work went into making it, but it was very impressive.
There is a small sitting corner about the size of a double bed.  It has a tiny couch, table and chair.  We sat and enjoyed our coffee and people watched.
     Rumors Coffee also has two cakes on the menu.  They are made in a toaster oven next to the coffee counter.  Like cooking in an easy-bake-oven.
     My coffee was about 100rmb, or about $16 a cup.  Same as a decent glass of wine.  Not something I would have everyday, but definitely worth the trip.