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Very Solid Malaysian at Rasa

[Translate] At Rasa One of the most underrated Asian cuisines in New York could arguably be Malaysian. Malaysian food is incredibly vibrant, sometimes spicy and tantalizes the palate with so many different tastes and flavors. On a random craving, we headed to Rasa for a quick but flavorful dinner down in West Village. We started off with their skewers of chicken satay. Tender slightly smoky chicken meat with the thick peanut sauce was delicious. We have not encountered this kind of soup/stew type of a dish called Penang assam laksa, a Nyonya hot and sour noodles in fish soup. It’s..

Ladurée Tropical Themed Holiday Bûche & Macarons

[Translate] Ladurée‘s holiday theme is to transport you to a tropical, exotic place, away from the cold climes that one would associate for the high holidays. Some of their beautiful holiday pastries are the individual-sized Bûche Marie-Antoinette Rose-Framboise ($10) made of rose macaron biscuit, rose cream, raspberry jam, raspberries and lychees, and the Exotic Baba ($12), a baba soaked with rum and vanilla syrup filled with keffir lime and vanilla pastry chantilly cream and roasted pineapple. The rose-raspberry bûche is the Parisian house’s traditional flavor and it’s delicious. The Exotic Baba is striking and it does transport you to a..

Lots of History and Delicious Food at Xi’an

[Translate] The Drum Tower When I was traveling in China this past September, the third city we stopped at was Xi’an. This capital city of the Shanxi Province is located about 744 miles southwest of Beijing. When we got off our plane and take the long cab ride (about 45 minutes) from the airport to our hotel, we saw the rich loess farmland, Xi’an (Western Peace). This was home to the ruling houses of the Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang dynasties, when it was known as Chang’an (Eternal Peace). The city reached a peak during the Tang dynasty (618-907), when..

Certification Means Deliciousness in Italian Cheeses and Other Products

[Translate] Large tray of Prosciutto di San Danielle” DOP Last night I’ve attended a delicious Italian foods event focusing on the Denominazione di origine controllata, hosted by Italian Trade Agency at Osteria del Principe. The mentioned Italian phrase literally meant as “controlled designation of origin,” it is a quality assurance label for Italian food products, especially wines and various cheeses (DOP — Denominazione di Origine Protetta, “Protected Designation of Origin”). This is modeled after the French AOC. It was instituted in 1963 and overhauled in 1992 for compliance with the equivalent EU law on Protected Designation of Origin, which came..

Luskus at Tørst (Brooklyn, NY; 1* Michelin 2015)

[Translate] Luskus at Tørst is a unique, 1* Michelin tasting menu only restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When you’re around this particular neighborhood, Tørst is a beer-only bar and it’s certainly no dive bar either. My friends and I hanged out with a mix of locals, hipsters, yuppies, and to our relative surprise, business people from Denmark in casual suits while waiting for our table. So you’re wondering, where is Luskus? It’s actually behind the heavy sliding door in back. Luskus is a small shoebox dining room that might fit around two dozen diners with an open kitchen with three cooks..

Thanksgiving Dinner – Our First Turducken

[Translate] Thanksgiving came and went this year. I’ve celebrated this food-filled holiday with my family starting with the traditional New York breakfast of smoked salmon and piping hot, fresh bagels from my local bagel shop, and some delectable pastries and tarts from the fantastic bakery Breads Bakery. As the evening approached, I’ve cooked up some pumpkin soup from scratch but made it a bit unusual with the intense black truffles and toasted sunflower seeds and platters of red quinoa salad with roast acorn squash and pomegranate arils. This is just the healthy stuff before we roll in the centerpiece of..

Thanksgiving Sweets and Breads from Breads Bakery

[Translate] For people who wants dessert and excellent loaves bread on the Thanksgiving table Breads Bakery should be one of your options. This Thanksgiving, Breads debuted the chocolate babka pie ($35). If you had ever came across their magnificent chocolate babka, they essentially shaped this into a pie pan. I could make an excuse not to have the standard pumpkin or apple pie just because this babka is sweet and incredibly delicious. The seeded challah wreath is a great alternative to dinner or Parker rolls since it has this nuanced sweetness and the heavily seeded (poppy, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower)..

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

[Translate] Somehow this year, time flew by and marketing started to talk about Thanksgiving and Christmas much earlier than I anticipated. Then when you look at the calendar, Thanksgiving is next week(!) and that officially kicks off the holiday shopping rush. To those of you who needs some gift inspiration, here’s my list of gifts that would be great for anyone in your holiday gift list. To make navigating this list a bit easier, here’s the jump links: Chocolates, Confections & Desserts Coffee, Tea & Other Non-Alcoholic Beverages Other Food Items Wines & Spirits Cookbooks Chocolates, Confections & Desserts For..

Latest in Travel (Outside NYC)

Lots of History and Delicious Food at Xi’an

Lots of History and Delicious Food at Xi’an

[Translate] The Drum Tower When I was traveling in China this past September, the third city we stopped at was Xi’an. This capital city of the Shanxi Province is located about 744 miles southwest of Beijing. When we got off our plane and take the long cab ride (about 45 minutes) from the airport to our hotel, we saw the rich loess farmland, Xi’an (Western Peace). This was home to the ruling houses of the Qin, Han, Sui, and Tang dynasties, when it was known as Chang’an (Eternal Peace). The city reached a peak during the Tang dynasty (618-907), when..
Afternoon Tea at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai

Afternoon Tea at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai

[Translate] Since we were staying at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai, we might as well their legendary Red Velvet afternoon tea at the elegant, plush lounge on the hotel’s main floor, Peacock Alley (338 RMB per person/ 588 RMB for two persons). There were three wonderful tiers of delicious bites to nibble along with our teas. The lower tier of savory items were filled with citrus salmon tartar, dill sour cream, keta caviar on brioche; duck rilettes, apple chutney, on chopped walnut and parsley on rye bread; thin slices of roast beef, foie grass mousse & black truffle on baguette; marinated scallop,..
Old World Elegance and Luxury at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai (上海外滩华尔道夫酒店)

Old World Elegance and Luxury at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai (上海外滩华尔道夫酒店)

[Translate] The Waldorf Astoria Shanghai is an elegant historic (the original portion opened in 1911) hotel has restored the heritage Shanghai gentleman’s club to its former glory, located in the heart of The Bund. This is the most glamorous hotel in town. Lovingly-restored in Neo-Classic style, the hotel decor is opulent but understated with trembling crystal chandeliers, lots of gleaming marble, and a working antique cage lift. The hotel offers a level of residential comfort that feels almost better than home, and nowhere is this more evident than in the 252 guestrooms and 20 luxury suites. Rooms are light and..
Fantastic Stay at Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店)

Fantastic Stay at Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店)

[Translate] When mt family and I were traveling in Beijing, we stayed at the fabulous and centrally located Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店). This hotel has 825 rooms and Suites with a view of Chang An Avenue (one of the major streets in Beijing) or has a Courtyard View. It’s right next to Wangfujing shopping street and connected to a huge and luxurious Beijing Oriental Plaza commercial complex. The Club Oasis has a 55-meter (180.45 feet) indoor swimming pool that’s fashioned to look and feel like a jungle with its humidity. There’s also a 24-hour fitness center and a spacious heated..
All About the Hairy Crab at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai, China

All About the Hairy Crab at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai, China

[Translate] One of our most expensive dinners while we were in China was at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai. What makes the place expensive? They specialize in the coveted hairy crabs (大閘蟹) ever since the Qing Dynasty (around 1640s) and they are primarily shrimp. Hairy crabs are a seasonal delicacy only found in Asia. The small window of time when the female crabs produce the coveted roe (during the 9th and 10th months of the lunar year, meaning during the autumn season). We ordered a feast just all about this delicious crab, from whole steamed hairy crab (our..
Very Good Omakase Dinner at Okra (Beijing, China)

Very Good Omakase Dinner at Okra (Beijing, China)

[Translate] Okra is one of those few restaurants in Beijing where you have to find your way to your meal. Not too far fetched like going to Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB) but instead of walking down the somewhat sketchy, old school hutong, you would be walking around a maze of slick glass, steel and concrete skyscrapers that look like corporate businesses. When you do find a security guard right outside sitting on a corner of an entrance to a walled entrance to what may be another cluster of buildings, that is where you should be — The 1949 Hidden City..
Dinner at Made in China at Grand Hyatt Beijing (Beijing, China)

Dinner at Made in China at Grand Hyatt Beijing (Beijing, China)

[Translate] Our other Peking duck-centered dinner (and it was our last meal in China) was at Made in China at the Grand Hyatt Beijing (where we stayed while in Beijing but more on that in a near future post). We arrived to dinner at 7 PM with a reservation for a table and the Peking duck. (You must reserve a duck ahead of time or you’ll never have one that evening.) The dark wood and steel eatery; floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with Chinese knickknacks and a stylishly exposed kitchen behind glass set the atmosphere inside this 126-seat glitzy space. Dumplings and..
The Sweet Spot at Shangri-La’s China World Hotel in Beijing, China

The Sweet Spot at Shangri-La’s China World Hotel in Beijing, China

[Translate] Lobby of China World Shangri-La; Pastry display cases at Sweet Spot; Whole green tea mousse cake On one of our late afternoons in Beijing, we stopped by The Sweet Spot of Shangri-La’s China World Hotel. When entered the lobby of China World, it felt like we’ve just walked into a miniature Forbidden City. Filled with Ming and Qing era style artwork, the red and gold lobby gave us the impression of old school Chinese glamour. We were informed that the Sweet Spot is actually found at the hotel’s luxurious shopping and corporate offices that’s just beneath and connected to..
Excellent Peking Duck at Jin Yaa Tang at The Opposite House (Beijing, China)

Excellent Peking Duck at Jin Yaa Tang at The Opposite House (Beijing, China)

[Translate] The Opposite House; Jing Yaa Tang sign; Dining Room; Peering into the duck roasting area Jin Yaa Tang is a pan-regional Chinese cuisine restaurant anchored around Beijing’s most international recognized contribution to global cuisine – Peking duck. This restaurant is located in the Opposite House and the hotel is a pretty popular boutique hotel in Beijing, catering to a clientele generally much an even mix of well-off short-term-stay business travelers and well-off short-term-stay leisure travelers. So, instead of referring their guests elsewhere, Opposite House can now refer them downstairs to their very own venue right on the site. The..

Recipes

Fourme d’Ambert Blue Cheese, Thyme, Cayenne, Tomato Jam Popovers

Fourme d’Ambert Blue Cheese, Thyme, Cayenne, Tomato Jam Popovers

[Translate] Recently, Cheeses of Europe generously sent me a package of Mimolette and Fourme d’Ambert from the best cheese shop in New York City, Murray’s Cheese (as part of “Make it Magnifique” campaign). It felt like Christmas since I love cheese! Mimolette’s bright orange paste and dusty exterior tastes something akin to gouda. Sweet-salty, caramelized flavor but has the texture of Parmigianno Reggiano (hard, dense and easily shaved). The Fourme d’Ambert is a mild, earthy, cow’s milk blue cheese. It is creamy and lacks the spicy funk in Roquefort. The latter is a good thing, especially for some of my..
Celebrating International Bacon Day 2014

Celebrating International Bacon Day 2014

[Translate] International Bacon Day is today! It seems pretty convenient that this year it falls on the long Labor Day weekend so if we overindulged in bacon-centered dishes, we can either sleep it off or go on a longer workout to burn it off. At any rate, the inaugural Famrland Bacon Treasure Hunt is commencing and folks who are located in Denver, St. Louis and Kansas City can participate. But us New Yorkers will celebrate by baking, cooking, and eating a whole bunch of bacon. Trust me, when you have a bacon loving boyfriend, he thinks this is Christmas and..
Maple Pecan Thyme Cayenne Pie

Maple Pecan Thyme Cayenne Pie

[Translate] Tonewood Maple Syrups and Maple Cube; Schermer Pecans Tonewood is a Vermont based brand that creates one of the most superior maple syrups I have ever tried. They recently took home the with Sofi Gold award. Schermer is a Georgia farm established in 1946, growing one of the finest buttery pecans. As they are great by themselves as well as together. As much as every American knows maple pecan pie, I wanted to make it a bit savory and throw in some dried thyme and a pinch of cayenne. Also to play along the savory note, I used Four..