Visiting Min Ron Nee With Frank – Hong Kong Cigar Experiences – Part Two

3 May

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Part Two

The third day in Hong Kong started with Frank giving me a wake up call when I could have slept on for another few hours.

But we had arranged for mutual wake up calls so as to enjoy the most out of the day and we met by the pool for a light breakfast, before taking the hotel courtesy bus to TST.

We went back to the Sheraton Casa for an afternoon cigar and iced tea ( that place, cigar and drink was quick becoming a welcome routine …)

Realizing I needed some more shuteye urgently I sent Frank out for a walk along Nathan Road and Kowloon Park and went for a massage and a power nap. I am not that young anymore but well practiced in fighting jet-lag effectively.

Well rested we met again and walked the back streets of Kowloon to find ourselves drinking Kölsch in a bar on Hart Avenue ( well, alley is more like it ). Funny, we rarely drink it in Cologne when we meet there but here we are in Hong Kong drinking Kölsch and enjoying it.

MRN had arranged for a seafood dinner in a very fine local Hung Hom restaurant and to make sure all would be the best and freshest seafood he had contacted the owner two weeks ahead and gave specific orders regarding the menu. Mr Lai received us beaming and smiling at the door and I immediately liked his personality and style of fashion – being the boss he was the only one who could get away with it.

We were steered into a large private room and met Mr L., MRN’s neighbour was waiting for us.
A most pleasant, worldly, well travelled and intelligent person who would provide some of the rarest Italian white wines for the dinner.

One of the reasons Mr L. travels to Europe, besides business of course, is to visit ethnographic museums, especially in Brussels, as he has specialized in traditional weapons from central Africa and specifically from the former Belgian Congo.
Mr L. presented me with a book on an exhibition he organized of Congo basin metal weapons for the Ordos museum, the Tianjin and the Shenzen museums. Fatal Beauty – Impressive stuff !

A very long, relaxed, delicious and magnificent dinner followed which highlighted Abalone, crab, lobster and steamed grouper accompanied by some of Italy’s rarest white wines.

The conversation went back and forth from HK to Italy, Brussels, London ( where Mr L. received great service by our friend Magali of Sautter’s ), Macao and … Cuba, a place Mr L. is very interested in and much intrigued about its future and opportunities for his Italian friends.
I passed him as much information as I could and invited him to travel there with me.
In any case, Frank and I will meet Mr L. in Brussels and he will be our guest there and in Leuven for sure.

After this long and delicious dinner we retired to MRN’s house for drinks and cigars.

Cigars were 1930’s La Intimidad Oradores that Frank had found at Fox Bros in Dublin and a X Anniv. FdH Mareva.

Beverages were 1996 Bollinger R.D. or Recently Disgorged, originally a Grande Annee, yet a Grande Annee that has matured in the cellars from 8 to 20 years. R.D. champagnes are characterised by an impressive capacity to age and a most fantastic 1996 Louis Roederer Cristal, decidedly the best in my opinion.

Infinite pleasure until the early hours.

I especially admired the beautiful painting by MRN’s wife of one the cats that MRN keeps and had the pleasure to take a portrait of the cat in front of the portrait of the cat … what a beauty !

We returned to the hotel and unwinded as usual with a spot of Talisker and a final small cigar. Not as fine and spicy as the vintage Don Candido offered earlier by MRN but good enough to finish the day.
The fourth day started late, very late – we slept in and only went down after noon for the lunch buffet and a very lazy half day at the pool where Edward came to join us.

He had rented a crappy hotel in Central and wanted to move from that small, moldy and smelly place before his girl friend ( first time in HK ) cracked and flew back, so I had arranged for him to move to the Hyatt Regency.

We spent a few hours by the pool smoking good cigars, having fun and reminiscing about Havana where we last met him and Big Dave and had the same fun at my Casa there.

Then it was time to leave for Kowloon and TST again, another fine seafood dinner was waiting for us.

But first we picked up the flower arrangement we had organized for our host’s wife and a present for Mr L. who had reserved the restaurant this time.

We walked up Nathan Road looking for a place to have a beer and a cigar before dinner and, voila, we found it on Hillwood St right around the corner from the seafood restaurant where the dinner was to take place.

Now, this place had … Stella Artois, a Belgian beer brewed 20 kms from Franks village. We had fun with the owners of the bar – here we are in Hon Kong drinking Früh Kölsch and Stella Artois … when I love Tsingtao.

MRN came around the corner with his wife and joined us at the bar for the jokes and fun that we heaped on him about “the missing key” from “the stolen house”…. All in good fun, giving us the pleasure of having “saved” his cigars, champagne stock and cameras – of course NOT.

We met Mr L. again and another very fine long dinner ensued, an impressive King Crab was the main attraction and all I can say is it tasted like most delicious sweet butter, what a feast !

Again Mr L. treated us to his rarest Italian white wines and again it was a most pleasant and very helpful conversation full of highly interesting details that we ( and specially I ) had with Mr L. sharing about common friends. The inner core of the cigar world is very small indeed. Trespassers beware !

We had a present for Mr L., a highly precise – no more than 3 seconds loss per year – U.S. Navy clock that was inside a large cube.

He was most pleased with our present but he very much doubted we had found this rarity at the Night Market over in Temple Street as we claimed to have ….. 🙂

Back to MRN’s house around midnight for a Magnum bottle of 1996 Krug champagne ( Mr L. brought a bottle of Bordeaux grand cru over from his house next door ) and a great cigar, 1980’s Bolivar Especiales that were exceptionally good – we found that the X Anniv. FdH were badly plugged or hard to draw.

Talk was flowing, champagne was flowing, laughter and fun – the mood was just perfect friendship and harmony.

And it was made even more perfect for Frank when MRN decided that he deserved to have a signed first edition copy plus a signed second edition copy ( and of course the corresponding browsing copies … ) for his contribution in assisting me in Amsterdam.
Plus an old box of Belgian cigars. Take that !

Frank was stunned, overwhelmed, hyperventilating ( just kidding but I detected a hint … 🙂 touched deeply and most grateful.

Absolutely most generous gesture of MRN to treat my friend and travel mate ( also his friend now ) to this kind of generosity.

Much appreciated MRN !

This time we finished the Talisker Dark Storm bottle by the pool and smoked another fine cigar to celebrate Frank’s well deserved happiness and the fulfilment of a dream for him !


End of Part Two

4 Responses to “Visiting Min Ron Nee With Frank – Hong Kong Cigar Experiences – Part Two”

  1. Rodrique 03/05/2015 at 21:18 #

    wow his sounds like a great trip you had! Is the new encyclopedia out now? Can I order it with you?

    Thanks, Rodrique

    • Nino Munoz 03/05/2015 at 22:19 #

      Hi Rodrique,

      no the II edition is NOT out yet but expected later this year, and NO again, you can NOT order it with me.

      All 300 pre-order volumes have been sold already, no chance.

      Regards / Nino

  2. Arild 05/05/2015 at 00:52 #

    Nino, Frank, what a fantastic travel you share with us. The well thought out gifts you brought, fantastic, the warm welcome you both reveived from your host in Hong Kong, very special indeed.

    Reading about all the rare and great 1996 champagnes you both were served during your visit, wow. Very few of us will ever experience such a lineup. I still have the 1996 Clos des Goisses Mr. MRN so kindly sent me, it is reserved for a special day.

    The hospitality, the generosity, the surroundings, second to none. The most special to me is the true cameraderie and friendship between you three Gentlemen.

    The look in Frank’s eyes in front of the personally signed MRN book, it tell’s the story of your journey to MRN in Hong Kong, a once in a lifetime experience!

    Thank you all three for sharing:-)

    • Nino Munoz 05/05/2015 at 16:53 #

      Thank you for the comment Arild, happy you liked it !!

      Best regards – Nino