Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Beijinger Restaurant Awards

This was originally written for Tao's blog over here at Beijing Cream.  I'm reposting it in its entirety with minor edits because, hey, Tao's not paying me enough (0 RMB/word) not to.  The story is self-explanatory.  Enjoy!

The Beijinger’s 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards: Basically Unnoteworthy, But Thanks For The Free Beer!

One thing I learned about getting invited to a the Beijinger awards ceremony is you first have to leave Beijing. During my four-year tenure here, I never received an invite. Just three months after I made the move to Hangzhou, I was chosen to be an official nominator. Sure, why not.

Months later, as an Official Nominator for the Beijinger’s 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards, I got an invitation to the ceremony. Like, 18 hours before it started. Thanks for the heads up! It just so happened I was back in town for the first time in six months, so in your face, the Beijinger’s 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards!

Esther and I roll up to the front desk to register, and I draw a blank when they ask me, “Which restaurant?” I’m like, “All of them?” And then my brain turns back on for maybe the first time since the diaper changes and midnight feedings began, and I say the three magic words (plus one, in my mindhole) that open the doors wide open:

“I’m a NOMINATOR, Bitches.”

We’re in, underdressed and, really, with no good reason to be there. But that’s mostly the fun. We have almost nothing invested and intend to milk that extensively.

Esther is hungry, and I’m thirsty. Within minutes she has sampled all four finger foods. And the award for Best Finger Food at the Beijinger 2013 10th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards goes to:
  • The Sausage/Pastry Thingies
Awards for Outstanding Finger Food go to:
  • The Meaty Croissants
  • Cream Puffs
Mini-quiche does not make the list. While Esther eats, I beeline for the alcohol. First stop, Grand Marinier Balls. These are a staple at every awards ceremony, a classic mixture of pineapple juice, soda water, and Grand Marinier. They are good, but I’m more interested in the rack of fine draft beers. I struggle a little between Leffe and Chimay, but in the end, I choose wisely. Goblet of Chimay in hand, we continue touring.

Together we make friends with the fine people from Glacio, and enjoy scoop after scoop of the finest ice cream I’ve had in a while. There was a second ice cream company next to it, but it was unmemorable. We chased it down with a few espressos.

The actual awards were background noise for all the free stuff, obviously. I gain nothing from anyone winning, except maybe bragging rights for my favorite restaurants. But when Element Fresh nabs “Best Breakfast” and Chef Too doesn’t even get runner-up, let alone the Best Breakfast Ever award, I cease to care about the results.

In conclusion, yes, it was worth the price of admission and I will gladly enjoy more free stuff in the future. Thanks, the Beijinger!

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