Sep 27

Visiting Guests From China and Another Day Trip to NYC

According to the Chinese Lunar Calendar this year their Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated in September and many of my regular students were on holiday. Here is an interesting site called ChineseTools. It has some resources that can be helpful for non-Chinese to understand Chinese culture.

This past week, one of my students, Vivian, her husband Patrick and their son Thomas came to the U.S. to explore the east coast cities of New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. They spent two nights at my place, hiking the first day and venturing into NYC on the second day. Here are some of the highlights of their visit.

Near the end of the first day, Vivian offered to cook some Chinese food. I was excited to have authentic Chinese food here at home! We went to the store and purchased all of the items needed for the meal. Some of the vegetables were available from my garden.

Vivian in the kitchen


Braised Spare Ribs (pork) with Ginger

Chicken with Cashews

Pork with Spicy Peppers

also an Egg Drop style Soup with Fresh Tomato

…and can you believe it? I was so hungry that I forgot to take pictures of the food!

[*** added 10/4/2013 — Vivian contacted me and made a correction to my article. It was pork and not chicken we had with the spicy peppers. I have amended the text. Here is the Chinese name for the items we ate:


My translation software says it this way; stewed pork ribs, Tsim Sha Tsui and meat, cashew nuts sweet pepper chicken

She also shared a picture that Patrick took… it seems I am having a problem loading it to the blog…I will continue to work on it. Stay tuned.] Updated — 10/15. Fixed it! Thank goodness for Dropbox! I was able to transfer the picture to Dropbox and then load it here.

Here it is!  Finally, I was able to get this picture transferred to the article.

Here it is! Finally, I was able to get this picture transferred to the article.

Everything was delicious and it was interesting for me to watch Vivian in the kitchen. While she cooked and I assisted her with small tasks we talked. I wanted to know how she learned to cook so well. From my culinary background I observed that her knife skills were quite good. She told me that she learned to cook from her mother and grandmother….adding later that her grandmother was a very good cook! We all enjoyed the delicious feast with a nice bottle of Bordeaux, Vintage 2000. The wine stood well against the spice and complex flavors of the menu.

Dinner 9/25/13

Patrick and Vivian were surprised at how much Mom could eat!

On Thursday, we went into the city. Patrick needed to gas up and drop off the rental car. Fortunately, the hotel provided an option to store luggage, even though check-in time is 3:00 PM. We set out for a lunch break and then off to catch the Circle Line Cruise on the Hudson River. The Tour Guide, Dave who spoke entertainingly about the history of NYC, highlighted many of the key points of interest along the route and gave a thorough presentation with often amusing details. His commentary alone is worth the admission cost!

IMGP1359As we pulled away from the ship’s berth we view the Empire State Building and the High-Line walkway. The High -Line is one of many efforts in the city to turn run-down areas into park and open space. Dave informs us of two interesting points, both of which I was unaware; #1 by 2050 the entire shoreline of the island of Manhattan will be park space and #2 the Empire State Building, 102 stories and long ago the tallest building in the world, will look like a seedling in a forest of super-skyscrapers!

Some more pictures from along the harbor route:


Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

The Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge

After the cruise we headed for the “Top of the Rock“. This is the observation deck of the GE Building at 50th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. 70 stories high the GE Building (also designed in the Art-Deco style of architecture) falls short of the Empire State Building by more than 30 floors. The GE Building offers a slightly different perspective of the city skyline too.

Patrick taking a photo of Vivian and the handsome boy Thomas with the view looking north over Central Park.

Patrick taking a photo of Vivian and the handsome boy Thomas with the view looking north over Central Park.

Looking south a close-up of the observation deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.

Looking south a close-up of the observation deck on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building.

Using a warming filter to enhance the golden glow of sunset over the Manhattan skyline.

Using a warming filter to enhance the golden glow of sunset over the Manhattan skyline.

Sadly, the day went by too quickly. Young Thomas was exhausted from all of the excitement and a 5:00 AM wake up time. We decided to skip eating dinner and end the day. I wished Vivian and Patrick safe travels for the remainder of their journey and waved good-bye. As I walked across town to catch a return bus, I reflected on what a lovely time we shared. It was great to meet another of my students and her family too! Thanks to both Patrick and Vivian for the wonderful time and their very enjoyable company. Talk soon…




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    • Vivian on October 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm
    • Reply

    Thank you Kevin, thank you invitation. My family have wonderful two days with you and your mom. I love her very much!

    In your home, there have very beautiful view and fresh air. I love your sweet garden and miss the bonfire under the stars.

    1. Vivian,

      It was such a pleasure to host your family at my home. I enjoyed meeting your wonderful husband and sweet little boy. You have such a lovely family.
      Thank you for your kind comments and for cooking such a wonderful feast!
      I hope you will return for another bonfire. Maybe we can get Thomas to dig up some potatoes next time.

      I will also make the correction to my comments about the food you cooked. It was all delicious even if I ot some of the dishes confused.

      So sorry that the government was shut down during your visit. I know there were some sights that you wanted to see and hope that this situation did not interfere with your visit to Washington, D.C.

      I look forward to speaking with you after you have returned home. It will be interesting to hear all of the details of your trip.

    • Ella pan on October 8, 2013 at 7:32 pm
    • Reply

    what a nice trip with Vivian and her family,good cooker!I will do the same trip to visit my teacher and also my friend Kevin!your mum looks younger than I think!best wishes to you and your mum!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Ella!
      It would be my pleasure to have you visit my place.
      I know that you have an interest in art and architecture so, I think you would also like to see NYC.
      Let me know what your plans are in advance and perhaps I can help with suggestions to plan your trip.
      Talk to you soon!

    • Steven on August 8, 2014 at 10:44 pm
    • Reply

    Dear Kevin,
    That’s must be really good trip for Vivian and her family.
    Hope that one day,we could sit together with my colleague, taste some Chinese food and have a nice talk freely.
    By the way, as my first cook yesterday,maybe I could boil some shrimp for you when you come to China. Haha…

    1. Yes, Steven, Vivian and her family had a wonderful time visiting in 2013 and I am looking forward to meeting all of you in Jinan in 2015.
      Thanks for your warm comment.

    • Lily Cheng on August 8, 2014 at 10:46 pm
    • Reply

    what a colorful life Vivian have! Through Kevin’s beautiful words, I can imagine what wonderful time they had together. The day won’t be too long when I take my family to visit teacher Kevin :))

    1. Very nice, Lily. I would be pleased to have you visit me. I know you will love it here!
      Just let me know when you wish to travel to the U.S. and I will help you to make the plans.

    • Summer on August 13, 2014 at 10:08 am
    • Reply

    I think it is very miraculous for me(thanks Echo),maybe also for Vivian.
    Even though we are thounds of miles apart,i can be your student.
    Even though we are from different contries,at different ages,with different backgrounds,we can know each other.
    I hope one day i can visit you you too,sitting together enjoying the food.
    I hope one day my spoken English is good enough to communicate better with you,so that i can share more information of Chinese with you.:-D

    1. I agree with you, Summer!
      The technology is miraculous! You are also quite correct to express thanks to Miss Echo. This was all her idea. Miss Echo was referred to me by one of my other students. When she read my blog she had the idea to have her team take lessons with me. She is a nice supervisor to encourage all of your team to improve your English language skills. I am delighted to speak with all of you and of course, If you come to the U.S. you should come and visit my place.
      Keep up the good work!

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