Friday was my birthday. Hubby was out of town, I had just recovered from flu, and my birthday lunch with friends had to be cancelled as my flu was now being passed around, and several girlfriends were now suffering. Not a great way to spend a birthday, alone!
Then another friend came to my rescue. An invite to join her and her husband for dinner at Shanghai Town and Country Club where her husband is GM. This is a new club, just opening as I write this. It is an amazing venue. Spas, pools, restaurants, hotel, apartments, retail and the most amazing children's play equipment. I was blown away with this "community" within Shanghai.
Our evening started in the bar with a rather welcome G&T and a selection of canapés which were on offer. It would have been rude not to try one of each! Right?
As we sat and relaxed and enjoyed the lovely surroundings I thought how much my husband would have enjoyed this evening. Hopefully on his return we do this again, and again!
Soon we were sitting in a private dining room and choosing what we would like to eat. A difficult choice as there was quite a lot of dishes I was being tempted by.
Duck, always a favourite of mine, this time Cantonese Style seemed like a good choice. We were not wrong. It was delicious and tender and very tasty. Just melted in your mouth.
One thing I do enjoy about eating in China is that food is always served "family style". So all the dishes are laid out on the table and you can pick and choose from a selection of dishes.
To me this makes so much more sense than everyone ordering one dish. How many times do you order something, but when it arrives you wish you had ordered something you see someone else getting? This way everyone gets a chance to taste all the dishes.
A sweet and sour pork, fried rice, shrimp and vegetable dishes were soon joining the duck on the table.
Sweet and sour pork was the right side of sweet. Sometimes I find it can be a bit too sweet, and not enough sour. As you can see this dish, unlike in UK, doesn't come covered in a gloopy red sauce. It will be difficult to go back and eat Chinese food in UK. It is just so different, and not in a good way. I will have to find a good Chinese, or cook it myself. Not that I'm putting my cooking skills at this level. I'll just have to do my best. Maybe I could put in a request for a few lessons from the chef.
Just when I thought it was all over dessert arrived. I had wondered why I hadn't been asked for any input, and then I saw it and realised why.
Lemon tart and tiramisu. Whats not to love?
So what could have been a lonely day for me turned out to be a good one. A delicious dinner with two lovely, relatively new friends, spent doing what I love to do. Yes, you've guessed it, eating good food with good friends. Difficult to beat. Having my husband with me would have made it absolutely perfect. However, I am sure the pressure was off as he had left me in safe and capable hands.
It was a lovely evening and I was so happy not to have spent it alone.
A big thank you to two lovely people.