Thursday, March 6, 2008


When I left New York I thought I'd be giving up cheese. Not true. Very much not true. Hunan cuisine includes a fried goat's cheese dish. Another regional cuisine that I tried in a hutong restaurant has eggplant cooked with a cheesy tomato sauce.

In addition, Beijing is host to restaurants and grocery stores featuring the cuisines of many western nations. Abella on Laitai Lu has amazingly soft, melt-in-your mouth, gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce, prepared for me without the usual bacon. La Fattoria in Phoenix Center has pasta sauces with cheese, including a homemade fettucini in a light pomodoro sauce with ricotta (they also have a pinot grigio that complements the dish perfectly). The beautifully elegant, Thai influenced vegetarian restaurant Pure Lotus in the complex of the Holiday Inn Lido Beijing, staffed by Buddhist monks and with separate tea and food menus so exquisitely styled that they could be the headline items in a gallery exhibit, has a cheese fondu that made me want to eat it dripping from my fingers. There is a chain of grocery stores called Jenny Lou's, mostly frequented by Beijing's large expat community, with imported foods from around the world, including French and Italian cheeses, and other specialty foods stores can be found in neighborhoods around the city.

Don't expect me to come back to New York for my visit in May skinnier than when I left.

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