How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

How to Make an Old Fashioned Cocktail

We had a fabulous timing when visiting Chengdu earlier this year. We saw a giant buddha, spent time with pandas, and ate some amazing Sichuan cuisine. It is also where we learned how to make an Old Fashioned cocktail.   Now, generally I enjoy receiving a lesson on how to make a good cocktail. We learned how to make a proper gin and tonic at the Four Seasons in Lisbon, as well as at the Ritz-Carlton Macau. We’ve explored cocktails in Brno and drank many a Aperol Spritz in Italy, all in the name of research. This time, though, enjoying a few cocktails at The Bar in Chengdu, China, caused a little bit of a problem. What kind of problem can an Old Fashioned cause? A little bit of an addiction. Prior to our visit to Chengdu, the Old Fashioned was not in our repertoire of drinks. Now, we can’t get enough of them. Tips On How To Make an Old Fashioned There was a certain formality to making this particular Old Fashioned. There was a bit of pomp and circumstance. Part of that was because we were at one of the top cocktails bars in Chengdu. Part of it, though, was the bartender, who marched through the steps, with a seriousness not often found in cocktail making. A seriousness that was followed by a generous smile, and a pride in knowing he made a great drink. Back to that Old Fashioned. A heavy bottomed rocks glass. A large single ice cube, to ensure the ice doesn’t melt too quick. A sugar cube. The bartender slowly dripped just a few drops...
Chengdu Luxury Hotel – Niccolo Chengdu

Chengdu Luxury Hotel – Niccolo Chengdu

What to Expect From a Chengdu Luxury Hotel During our first trip to China in 2009, I was entirely overwhelmed by the experience of traveling in China. Despite our flashpacking budget back then, we stayed at Western chain hotels, just to have some sort of comfort and familiarity. For our recent visit to China, though, I wanted more. I wanted a great experience, great food, and a little bit of luxury. And, we found it at a relative new Chengdu luxury hotel. Through our recent luxury travel experiences, we’ve learned what to expect from a luxury hotel. A well appointed room, a decadent lobby, well trained staff. But, when traveling in China, I wasn’t sure if the same rules applied. Sure, we’ve stayed in luxury hotels in nearby Macau and Hong Kong. But, mainland China, well, that’s another story. Traveling in China is hard, so I expect a luxury hotel in Chengdu to eliminate the stress of China. And, Niccolo Hotel did just that. The hotel prides itself on incorporating some truly unique artwork from both local and international artists. After walking in through the glass enclosed tea lounge, artwork surrounded us. Niccolo touts its “contemporary urban chic” decor, but I don’t care what they call it. It’s impressive. The most notable artwork was “Beijing Girl” by Zhang Xiang Ming. Her deep, soulful eyes greeted us each time we walked through the lobby. Of course Niccolo Chengdu offered well appointed rooms, with luxury amenities and a comfortable bed. But, what really set the hotel apart was the service, and the food. Niccolo Chengdu helped to arrange our visit to see the pandas,...
Top Foods You Must Eat in China

Top Foods You Must Eat in China

Because we recently ate loads of tasty foods in Chengdu, I asked our friends Agnes and Cez, China experts, to share their recommendations for foods you must eat in China. Agnes and Cez are typical foodies who love to discover new flavors when traveling across the world. Living and teaching English in China on and off since 2011, they managed to try a great variety of traditional Chinese dishes. They share their culinary experiences on their travel (eTramping) and food (Run Agness Run) blogs. Check them out if you are looking for some food inspiration! Unique Flavors of Chinese Food There’s a reason why Chinese food is so popular among worldwide travelers and locals. Chinese cuisine is, above all, extremely tasty, aromatic and very colorful. It is also diverse as you can find extremely spicy meals in the Eastern part of the country, sweet in the South, salty in the North, and West is characterized by its sourness. In this way, everyone can find something for themselves when visiting different parts of China. Cez enjoying his jiaozi – traditional Chinese dumplings. Additionally, dining out in China is very affordable so you can eat more and pay less. Superior restaurants are much cheaper than you think, whereas the street food costs nearly nothing! Agness ready to try some fried pork with rice and veggies. Since we know that Chinese cuisine is worth tasting, let’s check out some of the top dishes you must eat in China when visiting the Land of Dragons. Top Foods You Must Eat in China Sweet and Sour Chicken in Batter This dish is a perfect dinner option as it...
Pandas in Chengdu – The Best Way to See Them

Pandas in Chengdu – The Best Way to See Them

When researching our trip to Chengdu, China, I knew I wanted to see pandas. I just wasn’t sure how to see pandas in Chengdu. What I quickly learned is that there are a variety of options, depending on your budget. The Cheapest Way to See Pandas in Chengdu There are a variety of panda centers and panda bases surrounding Chengdu. Some of them are as close as 30 minutes outside of the city. They are easy to get to and tickets are inexpensive. These are more similar to zoo-like experiences, where visitors are able to walk around a panda park and see pandas hanging out in their outdoor living spaces. Although we chose an experience that would be more hands-on, part of the experience we had as volunteers included this panda viewing experience. It’s possible to wander around and see pandas. Frankly, this was very similar to some of the experiences we had seeing pandas in the US, in Washington, DC, and San Diego. The Chengdu Panda Base is located only 6 kilometers from Chengdu, and costs about $8 to visit. This is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way to see pandas in Chengdu. Pros: The least expensive option, and the closest to Chengdu. Cons: Anytime you get to see a panda it is a pretty great experience. They are amazing animals, and are so rare to see. But, this panda experience is not very personal, and doesn’t allow the visitor to get up close. The Most Expensive Way to See Pandas in Chengdu A few blogger friends recently visited Chengdu, and had some awesome photos with pandas. The most coveted...
What to Do in Chengdu

What to Do in Chengdu

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Before going to Chengdu, China, I had no idea what there would be to do in Chengdu. I associated Chengdu with pandas, spicy food, and nothing more. I was stunned to learn just how much there is to do in Chengdu. So What is There To Do in Chengdu? Check out our YouTube Video of what to do in Chengdu: Of course I will say some of the must dos in Chengdu include pandas and spicy food, but there is more to do in Chengdu than that! This is just a little teaser on what there is to do in Chengdu, because I will be sharing a lot more details on a lot of these experiences over the coming weeks. So, if this list doesn’t provide enough specific information, stay tuned! Experience Panda Conservation There are several ways to see the pandas in Chengdu, including visiting some of the panda parks that are only thirty minutes outside of Chengdu. We figured that this could be our only trip to hang with the pandas in Chengdu, and we wanted to make the most of it. We wanted to get up close and personal, and we did. We arranged a day as volunteers with the Dujiangyan panda base, about 90 minutes outside of Chengdu. It was a full day program, cost $100 a person, and was well worth it. We got right up close to the pandas and had a much more interactive experience than some of the other panda centers. In order to volunteer, it is necessary to contact the...
S02E11: French Chef Olivier Foucke in China

S02E11: French Chef Olivier Foucke in China

Chef Olivier Foucke During our recent culinary tour to Chengdu, we met a French chef. Yes, in China. Chef Olivier Foucke has been working at the Marco Polo in Xiamen, China. During our visit to Niccolo Chengdu, Chef Olivier was there for a French food promotion. Not only did we talk about his French classical cooking background, but what it is like to cook in China. We also chatted about culinary travel, including where Chef Olivier has had some of his best meals, and the type of foods we miss when we travel. Mentions on This Week’s Culinary Travel Podcast Niccolo Chengdu Marco Polo Xiamen The Portuguese Travel Cookbook by Nelson Carvalheiro Ao Paon D’or in Lille Subscribe on iTunes! Subscribe to the With Husband In Tow podcast on iTunes and listen to a new episode every Tuesday! If you like the podcast, leave a review! You can also check out our podcast on Stitcher here. And, we’re now available on GooglePlay! Check Out This Week’s Episode of the Food Travel Podcast http://traffic.libsyn.com/withhusbandintow/2_Ep_11_French_Chef_Olivier_Foucke_in_China.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Android |...
Our New Food Traveler's Guide to Emilia Romagna is available on Amazon now!