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Margaritas back in Shanghai

Posted By on April 3, 2013

After a week away from home I am very glad to be back.

I decided to celebrate my return alone with 4 margaritas. Cantina Agave has always been my margarita joint of choice. It didn’t disappoint this time around.


Frozen line, passion fruit, strawberry…you name it, I had it and I enjoyed it!

And to help me down all these, I had a Montecristo Edmundo. Nice thickness, kept me warm for a good hour. Always a bit dry, I might be too used to the oily Open series.


Complain about Cig Ambassador

Posted By on April 2, 2013

Just a quick rant about Cigar Ambassador shop on Xinzha road: either they sold me a fake, or they don’t know how to handle cigars.

I have been a loyal customer of the shop for years now, and buy most of my cigars in Shanghai from them. Usually a dozen at a time. But this might be the last time. Cigars were too dry, some wrappers damaged (my bad for not checking better), and when I smoked my D4, it tasted… weird.

Oh well, so much for trust. Now I’ll have to double check everything I buy from them. Some of you might think I should have been doing it anyways… right you are.


Quiet D4 in busy place

Posted By on April 1, 2013

After days of walking and visiting, finally taking the time to sit down for a cup of tea… And a cig.

Partagas is your friend when it comes to consistency, and D4 is my stogie of choice for a no-nonsense solitary smoke.

I still had to try a beer: I promised myself that I’d educate myself with a beer with each cigar in Chengdu.

- Fred

Location:Wuhouci Street,Chengdu,China


Kempinski still a convenient place to buy Cigars in Chengdu

Posted By on April 1, 2013

Coming back to Chengdu a few times a year, I am always happy to drop by the Kempinski to have a look at their cigar shop.

The hotel is conveniently located, in south downtown on the main street. The shop itself is on the ground floor, on the left when you get into the hotel.

Kempinski Cohibas

Kempinski Cohibas

You can always find your classic Cohibas Siglos, R&J Churchills, as well some Partagos/Montecristos. You can buy these by the stick, or the box. Lately you can even find some limited edition boxes (unfortunately not available by the stick; for that, you have to go to Kooba Club a bit further south in Tongzilin).

Kempinski cigar tubes

Kempinski cigar tubes

One last note: as much as the staff tries to help… don’t let them. They are not very knowledgeable, and did a mess of cutting my cigar this time around: for their defense, the cutter they used wouldn’t cut tofu.

Kempinsky Limited editions

Kempinsky Limited editions


Punch Exclusivo Emiratos at Kooba

Posted By on March 31, 2013

I was delighted to discover a new lounge in Chengdu. Their election is amazing – unfortunately they did not allow me to take pictures.

Only limited and regional editions, dating back to 2003. Amazing.

You have to order drinks by the bottle which limited me to beers :-) They do have very nice Japanese whiskies for reasonable prices.

Definitely a place to visit for any cigar lover!




Extra Easter at Shangri-La

Posted By on March 30, 2013

Easter is always a joyful moment and this year was not exception. I treated myself to a nice meal, and an even nicer cigar. The Shangri-La Cafe  is like all other Shangri-La cafés I know: varied, exotic, delicious. It was a safe bet. They had animations for kids (rabbits, inflatable castles, etc.) and sparkling for grown-ups. I killed their Opera sparkling stock so they ended up having to offer me a free flow of Taittinger. Happy, lucky Easter!!!


Shangri-La Bunnies

Shangri-La Bunnies

Trinidads are always exceptional smokes and the Robusto Extra is true to form. Very round, amazing draft and pleasurable with a cool Corona :-)

The sun was there to help me forget the fact that I was thousands of miles away from my family and friends. Comfort in liquor… and smoke.


Trinidad Robusto Extra & Coronoa

Trinidad Robusto Extra & Coronoa

- Fred



Posted By on March 23, 2013

The Kempinski hotel in Chengdu, for all its shortcomings (noisy, old & dusty) is one of the few downtown places to offer very good service, with a terrace (constantly under cement-dust attack, though) a good selection of beer.

Paulaner Beer and Trinidad Cigar

Paulaner Beer and Trinidad Cigar

I had an hour to kill before visiting a few potential sites for PATACHON and elected to have an unusual (for me) beer with a typical cigar (Trinidad Robusto Extra). I wish I had a Robusto T with me, but I hadn’t packed any on that trip.


Calio disappointment in LKF Chengdu

Posted By on March 20, 2013

LKF Chengdu is a work in progress. The first third is done and comprises exclusively bars and restaurants. I did not want to go clubbing so I figured I could grab a beer, a bite and a cig at Colio’s. I was wrong on one count.

The good: music (live band) and reasonably European deco.

The bad: service and prices.

Conclusion: don’t go there unless you want a simple beer on a terrace.

My biggest gripe: the staff was very pleasant. But they were not trained very well. We had to argue for 10 minutes in (admittedly) broken English to try to get a steak done medium. The waiter kept answering that it was a physical impossibility to cook a T-bone medium. Oh well, down goes dinner, up goes the beer. Or vice versa…

Calio 1

Luckily, I had two Trinidad Robustos Extra with me. Nothing like a good stogie to make up for a bad venue. I went for a Corona because (a) the other drinks were crazy expensive and (b) I had no trust in their mixing abilities…

Happy smokes!


Morton’s Steakhouses

Posted By on May 22, 2011

Those of you not interested in steak, skip this post. For the other Shanghai dwellers, just a quick update on Morton’s in Shanghai

I recently tried out Morton’s in Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Well, stick to the one in Shanghai. Service is noticeably better in the USA,  but prices are higher (compared to other american venues), steaks are not as good and the setting is definitely not as good.

Conclusion: the guys at Shanghai’s Morton’s did a wonderful job at upping the ante on an already very good steakhouse concept. Kudos’. And for those of you who still haven’t tried the place, you have no excuse. At least try the free steak sandwiches daily from 5 to 7pm.

Have a great one, as they say. Great what, they don’t say.


Holt’s Cigar Company in Philadelphia

Posted By on May 18, 2011

This is one of these overseas posts. I wouldn’t normally share about random shops outside Shanghai, but Holt’s is a very special place.

Ask anybody living in Philly, they’ll tell the place is second to none in the city.

Holt's Storefront

Holt's Storefront

Now, being the snobs that we are (the French, the young, and the Cubans smokers), we are always a bit skeptical about cigar shops in the US of A.
Not easy to convince me that they have a nice selection when all they have is cameroon wrappers and nicaraguan fillers.

Well, I for one have been impressed by the experience  of shopping and actually interacting with a knowledgeable cigar sales man (if that’s how you call them). Compared to our Chinese shops where the girls usually know next to nothing about cigars, very refreshing experience. I know next to nothing about Dominicans (the odd Davidoff being the notable exception), Nicaraguans or Hondurans, Michael was very patient and helpful: he asked me what my “Cuban” taste was, and selected a few (ok, a few dozen) cigars that he thought I should enjoy.

Oups, I did it again...

Oups, I did it again...

One benefit of not buying Cuban: prices. I am always amazed at how cheap the non-Cubans are. And I am not talking about the crap machine made ones. High-end Ashtons, Arturo Fuente, etc. are much cheaper than what we are forced to pay for our cigs in China.

Inside Holt's

Inside Holt's

Michael was even nice enough to give me a cigar cutter since I hadn’t brought any in order to save myself some security troubles at American airports.

They do stock a nice selection of accessories, much cheaper than in China. You might not want to carry big humidors, but some of the smaller gizmos might catch your fancy (humidor minpacks, glycol solutions, odor eliminators, empty boxes to put your own cigs, special cutters, etc.)

8 out of 10 Cigs; the selection can be overwhelming and customers would benefit from having some primers or beginner’s flyers.

Holt’s Cigar Company
1522 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, Pa 19102
Fax: 215-732-4988