Spiffiest bathroom in a Xiamen restaurant - The House 2, Coffee St/Yundang Lu, near the Marco Polo hotel. Note: the coffee was horrible (they may be using Illy but it tasted like dark dishwater).
Cutest hole in the wall: Planttime - an alley off Zhong Shan Lu, near the main port to Gulangyu island. After looting the stacks of dvds in the green door store, I walked down the alley and saw this verdant looking front door, found myself in a cafe that served vegetarian food, painted in soft pink, cream, and green. I felt like I was in a Chinese shabby chic cafe. Food was passable, and the service gently respectful. Points for not allowing smoking, and a general sense of ease and comfort throughout the place. A good place to rest between shopping sprees and the heat, if you can find the place.
Points off to McDonalds (not sure if it's all the McD's in Xiamen) which touts itself as 24 hours but was closed when friends went there for a 3:30 am snack. No way would that ever happen in the Pinas. I sort of miss the neverending food delivery opportunities in Manila, not that I had many 2 am munchy moments. It's just the idea that if you want something, it will be delivered!
Avoid in the future: any of the ground beef burritos/enchiladas at Coyote, along Yundang Rd, near the Marco Polo. I don't know why the beef tastes like it was dried and reconstituted but there's nothing palatable about it. I might ask for a vegetarian one if I ever go back. However, the service there is very pleasant, the waiter remembered how I like my bloody mary's even if I'd only been there once before. And I'll definitely splurge 25 RMB for a large plate of nachos before heading into the hinterlands.
Heading into my last week here in Xiamen, I'm cooking for friends on my day off (Wed): adobo (will toss in some roast duck from the market with the chicken), bicol express (lots of chillis!), and maybe pinakbet. Friend E has a jar of bagoong in his ref so I could use it, with the help of Marketman's recipe (it won't be over a woodfire stove, but I'll use a clay pot to toss the vegies in). I toyed with the idea of making a guava sinigang since there's a lot of guava in season now, but that will take too much energy to boil the fruit, squeeze out all the essence and add souring agents. Meh.
Speaking of soups, why are the free soups that come with set meals here so insipid? To the point of being just hot water with some vegies tossed in it, who wants to drink something without any flavor? The little veg cafe Planttime (above) is probably the only place I found that had a flavorful free soup, it tasted rather meaty for a soup that was made with vegies and mushrooms.
Overheard - there's a pinoy resto in town near the Pan Pacific Hotel, strangely named Tuscany. I shall check it out tomorrow night.