Like Korean barbecue and shabu-shabu, Hong Kong-style hotpot combines the excitement of a night on the town with the hassle of cooking your own meal. Granted, it’s not for everyone, but for those willing to put in the extra effort, it can be a sociable and fun experience – provided no one adds anything unexpected to the communal pot (on my in-laws’ last visit, it was the pig uteri).
When it comes to hotpot, Fondy prefers HKYK on No. 3 road in Richmond. It’s offers a spacious dining environment, an attentive and friendly staff, a nice choice of soup bases to cook with, and a veritable multitude of menu items ranging from the deliciously familiar (fresh seafood) to the disquietingly exotic (the pig bung comes to mind). Since I’m partial to the bold taste of satay while Fondy prefers the more subtle flavor of chicken broth, we selected the half and half option in which both versions are offered on either side of a partitioned bowl. The soups were served and, as they eventually began to simmer, the individual dishes began to arrive. We had a double portion of the handcut fatty beef, an order of lamb, and an order of the pork cheek – all well-marbled, thinly sliced, and very tasty after a minute or so in the bubbling liquids. We also sampled the pork dumplings, which proved disappointingly bland, and the chive dumplings, that were as good as I’ve had at my favorite dim sums. Although they didn’t really need the extra flavoring, I occasionally dabbed the meats and dumplings in some of the sauces that came with the meal: a thick satay, an equally thick spicy sauce that also tasted vaguely peanuty, and your run-of-the-mill soy. An order of minced garlic added a definite kick to the proceedings.
For dessert, Fondy had a favorite of hers: the almond and egg white soup. I was quite happy with my complimentary glass of sweet and surprisingly smoky plum juice.
Service, as always, was prompt, friendly, and downright chatty at times as one waiter and Fondy ended up discussing their recent trips to Hong Kong for a good fifteen minutes after the meal had ended.
On the t.v. front: Fondy and I are slowly catching up on season 3 of Boston Legal. While watching House last night, I thought I recognized the young female guest star but I couldn’t remember what I’d seen her in. It wasn’t until I replayed the beginning of the episode that I recognized the name – Katheryn Winnick. Paul and I worked with her years ago when she guested on Student Bodies, her very first acting gig. I remember her as a paticularly sweet and pleasant young lady and it’s nice to see she’s doing so well. Her performance in last night’s House, incidentally, was terrific.
On the book front: Finished Jasper Fforde’s “The Eyre Affair” and just completed Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Dispossed”. Moving onto Gene Wolfe’s “The Fifth Head of Cerberus” and considering Scott Lynch’s “The Lies of Locke Lamora”.
Blaine Nielsen writes: “Does Martin Gero have a blog? If he doesn’t he should because he seems like a really cool guy.”
Answer: Cool guy? Really? Martin Gero the writer, not Martin Wood the director, right? Sometimes even people on the show get them confused. Nope, he doesn’t have a blog but he does have a myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/martingero
Anonymous writes: “Joe, what is your favorite episode from season 10 that you wrote, what is your favorite episode overall, and which episode do you think is “the best”?”
Answer: Of the episodes I wrote, my fave is Family Ties. As for my overall favorite and “the best” (which should be the same episode, really) – I’ll have to think about it. Magic 8 Ball says “Ask again.”
G writes: “…so do you guys get sick of having yet another pairing crop up in the SG universe that has such a mammoth devoted following in the audience or do you consider it just another element that inevitably emerges as part of storytelling process?”
Answer: So long as it’s a natural progression of a given relationship, I have no objection to ship. In fact, quite the opposite.