‘Hai Cuisine Festival Flop

…gets a MAJOR THUMBS DOWN!! Such a disappointment!

Last month, my friend Josh had told me about the Shanghai Cuisine Festival, and I thought, “ooh la la, I love food and wine and tastings… sure! why the hell not?!” I then told my roomie and some peeps about it, and then, not knowing ‘exactly’ what this exposition was going to be comprised of aside from the obvious: various “fanciful” restaurants + tastings, we went ahead and purchased our pre-sale tickets anyway, figuring it can’t be too bad with food involved.

Well, we were wrong. While this two-day expo was very well-advertised in various city guide/publications, in-taxi tv’s, restaurants, spas, gyms – basically any place appealing to the foreign/affluent crowd, it was really such a joke upon attendance.
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First, the directional tips on their website were confusing and inaccurate to the actual address of the exposition site. (Josh had gone on Saturday but had been having phone issues, thus not being able to give me my requested full report and pointers on the event.) On Sunday, Nate and I eventually arrived with our pre-purchased ticket receipts in hand. We approached the entrance and were told that we had to walk all the way around to opposite side of the building for entrance, because that current entrance was for on-site purchases. (Temps also happened to have risen on Sunday too, and we were both over-dressed and uncomfy.) Puzzled and a little annoyed at the fact that the outside signs had noted “ticket holders,” we grinned and walked out, hoping that it was an easy find. But, my friend Karen wanted to join on the last minute tip and she phoned me being 2 minutes away. While we waited for her, Nate saw some friends that he knew walk out of the expo, stating, “we want our money back.” I’m thinking, UGH, GREAAAAAT! Nate and I had a mini pow-wow and agreed that we had come this far, already having paid the pre-sale, so we might as well stroll in and out. Two minutes later, Karen showed up; we told of her our plan and advised her to stay outside and wait, so as to save her money. Now, we all tried to find this “other” entrance.. but it was ridiculously hard to find with crazy construction and landscape underway… having to walk over busted concrete with no signage assistance, we got a little pissy, and decided to return to that first entrance — with Karen, ABC from SF/NYC who speaks a bit of Mandarin to help figure out this separate entrance mess — meanwhile THIS is the side that the invite and receipt said to enter through. We head up there, and again were directed to this “other entrance.” But, I wasn’t about to have it. It was hot. I was over-dressed. I was told it was a bust, and I wasn’t about to go on a scavenger hunt for another entrance. We had pre-purchased a ticket, NOT to be inconvened. I made my stance to them and they eventually got some other chic to take Nate and I in. She walked us in and THROUGH the exhibition to the “other” entrance, where workers were at the counter with clipboards of pre-purchased ticket holders’ names. The chic found Nate’s. We waited for her to find mine. We waited some more, and then some more. Finally she asks ME to find it. I flipped the page and pointed to my name. (*shaking my head again, just thinking about it* — Sorry to sound all snobby, but I just wasn’t in the mood at that point.) She gives us each an envelope with our name. Inside each envelope is a plastic card with our name/bar code. I thought, “wow, they really spent money on this! printing names on plastic cards as invite; at least this is kinda cool.” We walked in, and the dude takes our card and never gives it back. OMG. That is sooo stupid. No swipe, no “souvenir.” Nada. What a waste of production money, seriously. (me thinking, I shoulda ran this event!!) Finally, Nate and I made our quick little round. We were lucky to find some restaurants with bite size tastings; the majority were selling small portion samples at a discounted price from their regular menu. Can we say, rip-off? Anyhoots, N and I managed to get a slice of pizza, cheese, this other “eh” thing and a lil sip of some French wine. I had texted Karen that we were going to be out in 20min. We made it out in 10.

Here’s a few shots nonetheless…
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Next stop, we hit up brunch on our own accord, then boogie’d our way to the Foreign Bookstore on Fuzhou Lu. (I’ve been spending alotta time there this year.. and I’m liking it! Though, book selections could be better, I’ll take what I can get. I miss B&N @ Union Square soooooooooooooo much!!)

A bit bummed over the whole “Cuisine Catastrophe,” Karen and I decided to make our first lil’ Sunday family dinner at my place. After the bookstore, while N went home for the gym, K and I hit up the store for some groceries. Gotta love City Shop! – the foreign market. I swear, I feel back at home when I walk in there. But, EVERYTHING is so super pricey as since all is imported. PS. A bag of tostitos is $8 USD!!! Anyway, we went in for some fresh salmon, veggies etc..

Got to my place and started the cooking festivities; soundtrack by Lykke Li. We went all out, topping off with a bottle of Prosecco.. Take THIS, “Cuisine Festival Flop”!!!…
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and say hi to my girl, Karen and roomie, Nate…
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..and ended our evening with a throwback viewing of Almost Famous. :-)

(Sorry, pic quality is kinda ehhhh. I gotta change my settings…)

. . don’t burn the day. .

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