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Old timers in Shunyi will know there was once a shop in Europlaza that sold export overrun ceramics and pottery at very reasonable prices. The same pieces can still be found at some of the shops at Liangma Flower Market, but it was convenient to have a local to rely on.
The Europlaza shop closed down, later re-opening along Jingmi Lu where Boulangerie Nanda used to be. Eventually, that second location also shut its doors.
But now, as Stacey and Sara from STARAfood Beijing discovered, the shop has once again re-opened in Shunyi. Click here to read STARAfood’s blog (VPN required); Stacey and Sara also provide a photo of the shop’s name card at the end of their blog post. The directions are indispensable for showing to your driver. Call ahead to make sure they are open; the number is 138 0119 9232 (Chinese only).
STARAcooking spring classes
While you’re on the STARAfood website, check out their spring cooking classes:
• April 15: Easter Feast
• April 23 or May 6: Cocktails 202
• April 30: Cinco de Mayo
• May 14: Spring Fling Light and Healthy Meals
• May 20: Go Green Vegetarian
• May 28: Everyday Eating – Italian Part 2
All classes are held in Shunyi from 10am-2pm. Class fees include ingredients and 5-6 recipes, and all participants sit down to enjoy the meal they have cooked together. These are very hands-on cooking classes; you’ll pick up tips on knife handling, food preparation, cooking techniques, and shopping for ingredients in Beijing.
Call 186 1170 1730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries, and be sure to mention that beijingkids sent you!
INN Coffee Morning and Roundabout Book Fair
The International Newcomers’ Network (INN) holds its monthly coffee morning at Roundabout every third Thursday of the month. The next edition is on Thursday, March 20 from 10am-noon.
Not just for newcomers, the coffee morning is a good way to meet the neighbors and make new friends. It’s also a good chance to drop off donations, do a bit of shopping, and find out more about volunteering opportunities at the retail store.
It’s also time for another one of Roundabout’s popular book fairs! The timing is right for picking up previously-loved books to curl up with on your spring break vacation. The next one will be held at the International Montessori School of Beijing on Saturday, March 22 from 10am-3pm.
If you can’t make it, the sale will continue from Monday, March 24 to Saturday, March 29 during school hours (10am-3pm). Titles will be refreshed regularly throughout the week.
Last week, we mentioned that the Roundabout Crafting Sale and Workshops would be held on Wednesday, March 26. The venue is Pinotage in Shunyi, and the fee is RMB 100 to learn a craft of your choice. For more details, call Roundabout at 137 1877 7761 (English) or 137 1805 3814 (Chinese). All proceeds from Roundabout’s book fair and craft sale will go towards helping kids in need.
Sports Beijing Elite Sports Camps
Sports Beijing offers budding athletes sports camps this month and next. Olympic swimmers Jason Lezak, Aaron Peirsol, and Kim Vandenberg of the US are coaching a two-day swim camp from March 22-23 at the International School of Beijing. Open to swimmers of all ability levels from ages 7-15. Participants can attend one or both days. Fee is RMB 1,000 per day and the camp runs from 2-6pm.
Sports Beijing is also teaming up once again with Celebreight F.C. to bring back former Barcelona youth team coaches for a soccer workshop. The four-day training camp will be held from May 1-4 during the May holiday at ISB. You can register for the camps by logging on to Sports Beijing’s website.
Loft Eatalicious: The Best Italian Restaurant in Shunyi?
The owners of Loft Eatalicious say their bistro is very laid-back and informal, but we’d say it’s quite classy by Shunyi standards. And we’re far from complaining.
Loft Eatalicious is a welcome addition to the Shunyi dining scene for its authentic Italian cuisine made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. From nearly any table at this cozy restaurant (maximum capacity of around 40), you get a clear view of Chef Roberto Masili lording it over his team in the open kitchen.
The house specialties are the freshly-made pasta and pizza, but nearly everything that we tried on our three visits have left us feeling more than satisfied.
The most recent addition is a weekend breakfast (8.30-11am), which we missed on our most recent visit. Instead, we had the brunch set (available on weekends from 11am-2.30pm). At RMB 128 per person for three courses, it was a decent price for a slow Sunday midday meal.
Being a family of four, we managed to order nearly everything on the brunch menu; there are two choices each per starter, first course, and main course.
For starters, there was a choice between a shrimp cocktail (what I ordered) or a platter of Italian cold cuts, pizza bread, and olives (what I really wanted). First course was between homemade spinach gnocchi or a lovely eggplant parmigiana. We all liked the texture of the eggplant and cheese with just a bit of tartness to the sauce.
The main course I chose was deep-fried calamari with gazpacho dressing. They forgot the dressing, so we were content with squeezing lemon on the calamari. But after I asked about the sauce and the owner gladly brought it out to us, we saw why the chef designed it to go along with the dish; the mild spiciness of the cold dressing gave just the right kick to the squid. I would definitely have it again.
The other main course was grilled lamb cutlets. My teenager was in seventh heaven with his choice; he said he was getting emotional from how tender and buttery the lamb was. He was so pleased with his brunch selections that it cemented his decision to go back to Loft Eatalicious for his birthday with friends, a request he made on his first visit to the restaurant.
On other visits, we’d also had the equally delicious cuttlefish, salmon, and Wagyu beef carpaccio (RMB 50, RMB 58 and RMB 78 respectively); soft-boiled egg on toast with grilled bacon and garlic spinach (RMB 42); and grilled barbecue chicken with sweet and sour mixed peppers (RMB 79).
We have had both the salami pizza and the four-cheese pizza. While both had chewy, handmade dough and a subtle tomato sauce, we preferred the four-cheese pizza for the balance of saltiness and tartness in the cheeses. We also liked that the dough wasn’t overwhelmed by the cheeses, which can happen when poor-quality cheese oozes too much during the baking.
Service is friendly and, while there are occasional mistakes, the staff seems to learn quickly. If you’re lucky enough to be there when the owners are around, you’ll be treated to their personal brand of service and humor. It makes for a pleasant dining experience, and you too will be making plans to come back again and again.
Loft Eatalicious 意餐
Mon-Fri 8.30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 8.30am-11.30pm. Pinnacle Plaza (across from Baskin and Robbins), Tianzhu Town, Shunyi District (8046 1565 for reservations, 131 4674 8656 or 131 4674 8756 for delivery) 顺义区天竺开发区荣祥广场（31冰淇淋对面）
Photo by Dana Cosio-Mercado