Today was all about connecting with new friends through Preston Kuo, master match maker.
Alex and I started the day packing up at the Xindadu Capital Hotel, checking out, and moving across town to the Swissotel. I had been staying in that hotel for a week now, and was feeling anxious to be located in another part of town. Our new location is in a much livelier part of the city, overlooking a massive roundabout and bridge, and is conveniently positioned across the street from a subway station. Now this is what I expected when I imagined China beforehand!
View from our new room at the Swissotel
A meet up at Home Plate BBQ
After relaxing in our new room for a few hours, we freshened up and took a taxi down the road to a restaurant and bar called Home Plate BBQ, where we were to meet Preston (PK) and a few of his friends. We arrived about 30 minutes early and were immediately greeted by the smell of smoking mesquite wood, a rarity in this part of the world! We saddled up at the spacious bar where Alex ordered a local microbrew from Slow Boat Brewery (something he tries to do all over the world) and I got a San Peligrino. The bartender, Dave Bob, was an expat from Vermont and extremely nice—he also is one of the more famous bartenders around town, constantly entering and winning mixology competitions. Sitting at the bar we also met Kenny Lew, a Sales Manager for Heineken APB here in Beijing.
The First Immortal Double IPA from Slow Boat Brewery
Soon after, Preston showed up with his friend Ned, who studied financial mathematics at the University of Chicago, and Alex ordered them a round. Ned was an extremely affable and smart young man, and we discussed the differences in global financial institutions. It’s always great to learn new things, especially from bright, youthful scholars!
Alex and Dave Bob, head bartender and FOH manager at Homeplate B.B.Q.
Nothing but good vibes with Ned and PK
Next, a few of Preston’s other friends showed up: Mark Duvel, the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in China; Neil Schwartz, an Assistant Dean at Tsinghua University; Anna Ge, CEO of her own Medical Information Consulting Firm; and Ed Sun, retired legal counsel from Goldman Sachs. We chatted for a while before heading next door to what PK called the best place for Mexican food in the city, the Taco Bar.
Talking shop with Mark Duvel, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in China
Listening to Ed talk about his days at Goldman Sachs
So good to smell burning Kiawe wood.
Dinner at the Taco Bar and late night rooftop lounging
Preston wasn’t kidding, this had to have been the best Mexican food in the city; and remember, I was born and raised in East L.A., home to some of the best tacos, burritos, and tortas in the world! We shared a heaping serving of chips, salsa and guacamole, ordered up platters of al pastor, chorizo, and carne asada tacos, and finished with a bowl of these mini churros and ice cream—what a treat!
Enjoying a fantastic Mexican feast at Taco Bar with Neil, Anna, Ed, and PK
This dessert was broke da mouth!
After we were sufficiently stuffed to the brim, PK suggested we end the night at Migas, a rooftop lounge nearby. This idea made Alex especially happy, as he had yet to experience any form of nightlife here in Beijing—so we hopped in a couple cabs and headed off. Upon arriving at Migas, I was pleased by how chic and hip everything was. There was plenty of comfy spots for lounging, including these massive egg-like structures, DJs spinning great tunes, and a nice view of the downtown skyline.
View from the rooftop lounge at Migas
We relaxed and talked for a couple hours, and even had some live entertainment when Preston whipped out his trusty ukulele. We bid farewell to the group at about eleven, because I had class in the morning—much to Alex’s dismay. Talk about role reversal!
Ed jamming on the ukulele
Saying goodnight to our trusty scooter driving