With China’s Mid-Au­tumn Fes­ti­val just past and the Au­tumn Equinox oc­cur­ring last week, Mike Peters grabs a fi­nal taste of the pleasures of sum­mer be­fore cool weather comes.

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - Con­tact the writer at michaelpeters@chi­

1. It’s a breeze

Al fresco brunches will be with us un­til the first frost, but hav­ing din­ner or a drink out­doors is a warm-weather treat with an ex­pi­ra­tion date. Time’s run­ning out to en­joy a twi­light din­ner hot off the grill — or fizzy cock­tails crafted on pop­u­lar rooftops like Hong Kong’s Ce La Vi. Sun­set never tasted so good.

2. Sweet ‘smoke’

There’s some­thing about hav­ing a whisky and a ci­gar on the ter­race or “in the snug” that brings out our in­ner Winston Churchill — even if we don’t smoke. In fact, a new of­fer at the Ritz-Carl­ton bar at Bei­jing’s China Cen­tral Place aims to please the to­bac­cofree crowd: Oak Cross Malt Scotch Whisky with a choco­late ci­gar that’s crafted in the Pied­mont re­gion of Italy. 198 yuan per set (about $30) from 2 pm to 1 am daily through Oct 31; 010-5908-8131.

3. Right on ’cue

We used to go to Sea­wolf Restau­rant & Dis­tillery for the brandy and the house-in­fused rums. Now that pro­pri­etors Sam and Linda have moved their Chang­ping op­er­a­tions away from the vil­lage cen­ter to the nearby coun­try­side, we go for the week­end— and the Fri­day-night bar­be­cue. Veg­eta­bles and fruits on the menu come from Sea­wolf’s gar­dens and or­chards. The new digs are a 10-minute walk from Xis­hankou sta­tion on Bei­jing’s new Chang­ping sub­way line, in a huge compound that in­cludes the restau­rant, a shoot­ing range and ob­sta­cle course, meet­ing rooms and ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tions. More info at www.the­sea­

4. To-may-to, to-mah-to

No mat­ter how you say it, there’s noth­ing like a sum­mer tomato. Glob­al­iza­tion and green­houses mean you can buy one year-round, but only sum­mer gives us these juicy de­lights sun-kissed and fresh off the vine. A tomato and moz­zarella salad, like the one from Mor­ton’s steak­house res­tau­rants in China, is a per­fect cel­e­bra­tion of the wan­ing sea­son: ripe tomato, fresh whole basil leaves, buf­falo moz­zarella cheese, basil oil and bal­samic glaze. An­other re­cent salad fa­vorite — the col­or­ful me­lange plated at Bei­jing’s La Dolce Vita.

5. San­gria goes white

Noth­ing says sum­mer like a pitcher of fruit-stuffed san­gria, and while this Span­ish clas­sic is best-known with a red-wine base, in warm weather the whitewine ver­sion can be par­tic­u­larly ad­dic­tive. Bei­jing’s Casa Talia crafts a ver­sion with crisp sauvi­gnon blanc by the glass or carafe, but any bar worth its pa­per um­brella can serve up a san­gria blanca.

6. Bee balm

Sum­mer’s bounty means there’s no end to creative bar­tend­ing, and China’s mixol­o­gists are right on the band­wagon. This year’s de­lights in­clude a spin on the 1920’s clas­sic Bee’s Knees, made with Yun­nan-sourced honey from Shangri-La Farms. Bar mae­stro Eric Liu from Bei­jing’s Mao Mao Chong brings out the best fla­vors of the gin with this lemon and honey mix­ture. He’ll be teach­ing a class at The Hu­tong in mid-Oc­to­ber for those seek­ing the pre­cise recipe.

7. Get­ting crabby

Fall is crab sea­son in China, with the hairy-crab sea­son just be­gin­ning now. But thanks to a 10-year-old free-trade agree­ment with Chile, we’ve got­ten a head start with de­li­cious morsels from the south­ern hemi­sphere, widely avail­able at fine-din­ing res­tau­rants around China. Patag­o­nian king crab, any­one?







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