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Maison Kayser February 2016 Preview

[Translate] February is a busy time of the year. We have Lunar New Year (for us Asians who celebrate it), Valentine’s Day, and the assortment of food holidays like World Nutella Day (February 5th) and Pistachio Day (February 26th). Maison Kayser is helping out our busy lives by creating some beautiful and/or adorable pastries to bring to friends, family, and significant others. Maison Kayser’s Bread of the Month is candied ginger and dark chocolate viennois ($4.95 each), a soft, fluffy-crumbed bread that is not too sweet and has a good ratio of dark chocolate chunks and medium sized chunks of..

Dinner at Chambar (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)

[Translate] Chambar a huge, gorgeous, casual fine dining restaurant in Vancouver. The dining area has the brick walls, wooden beams and vaulted ceilings, and wood and black leather tufted banquettes, strong and masculine, balanced by colorful floating light fixtures. The atmosphere is definitely lively and it sets up for a fun meal. The menu reads international cuisine. Chambar draws influences from various cultures while sticking to flavors they are familiar with. The menu is seasonal and culturally influenced while incorporating a little farm to table. We started with unique cocktails like the Beety Street (a not too bitter with a..


Fantastic Coffee at Victrola Coffee Roastery (Seattle, WA)

[Translate] When in Seattle, you should have seafood and coffee or you’re wasting your time in this city. Victrola Coffee Roastery is a local Seattle coffee roastery established in 2000. In a city filled with many coffee shops (hello, it’s the home of the corporate coffee mecca that has the green mermaid as its mascot), what we really love about Victrola committed themselves to sourcing and roasting only the best. With a passion for great coffee, they can’t wait to share their hard work and passion with you through one of their delicious blends or single origins. The Pike Street..

Delicious, Casual Vietnamese Steakhouse Fare at Seven Beef (Seattle, WA)

[Translate] Seven Beef is the newest restaurant by Chef-Owner Eric Banh and his sister, Sophie and with Executive Chef Scott Emerick helm the kitchen. Seven Beef occupies a 4,000-square-foot building that once housed an architect’s office. The centerpiece is the dramatic open kitchen equipped with a wood-burning oven alongside a combi-convection oven. What you don’t see is the cooler in the back that houses the restaurant’s sub-primal cuts of prime, grass-fed beef, delivered weekly by Heritage Meats from their ranch in Rochester, Washington and have a young butcher to break down the animal everyday. (They will cut a three pound,..

Dinner at Spur Gastropub (Seattle, WA)

[Translate] Spur Gastropub is located in the Belltown section of Seattle, WA, run by award winning chefs/owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, the same team behind other popular, gastronome-favored places like Tavern Law and Old Sage. When you enter this understated nouveau-Western decor, you can’t help but notice the bar filled with great microdistillery spirits and the mostly young diners who are enjoying a couple of well-crafted cocktails and several plates of food. It’s a cozy space that has both modern and rustic. Wood trim and natural log tables coexist with hip light fixtures and ambient projections of black and..

Delicious and Beautiful Pastries at Thomas Haas Patisserie (Vancouver, B.C.)

[Translate] Thomas Haas is a fourth generation pastry chef who grew up in his family’s pastry shop in Germany. It was located in the Black Forest village of Aichhalden. It all began when his great-grandfather opened the Café Conditorei Haas in 1918. Every generation after that continued the tradition of the family’s Black Forest cakes and other local sweets. Following in their footsteps, Haas trained in his native Germany, and then headed to Switzerland, France, and North America to gain more experience. He worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe before moving to Canada as executive pastry chef at the..

Fantastic Lunar New Year Tea at The Urban Tea Merchant (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)

[Translate] The Urban Tea Merchant is found along the glamorous and busy business district (I would say it’s an equivalent to NYC’s Madison Avenue in Midtown). The Urban Tea Merchant is well known in Vancouver since 2004 for carrying exclusively the line of teas and teawares from the luxury brand TWG from Singapore. On the ground floor, you’ll find the retail shop, where you can buy teas, gorgeous teapots and accessories, and even tea-infused macaroons. Toward the back of the shop upstairs is the hidden tea salon, where you can have lunch, brunch, desserts, cocktails, and, of course, tea service...

Highlights of 2015

[Translate] 2015 came and went much quicker than I could ever imagine. Despite the year breezing by, I am grateful for having the opportunities to travel to six international destinations (while still being employed full time), meet interesting people while traveling and collaborating with several brands. Wales, United Kingdom I started off traveling to Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom during late February/early March with Visit Wales. Landing at Heathrow Airport in London and take the leisure train ride over, seeing the rolling green hills that gave me a preview of the lushness of the landscape and the many adorable, fluffy sheep..

Dinner at Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse

[Translate] On Christmas Eve, my family and I headed to Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse for this holiday. In a city with many options for steak, Ben & Jack’s serves the one of finest steaks and seafood at their dining destinations. Ben & Jack’s steaks are all USDA prime and dry-aged on the premises. When we started our drinks ranging from well made drinks for my mother and brother, a fruity and sweet Brazilian Cosmopolitan and clean and refreshing margarita, respectively. I had the bold, delicious Pinot Noir from Robert Mondavi for my upcoming rib eye steak and my father wanted..

Beautiful Bûches & Other Baked Goods for Christmas from Maison Kayser

[Translate] Despite the fact it feels like spring with temps up to the 60s (or above 15°C), Christmas is less than 12 days! If you’re too busy to bake or not a baker and live in the NYC area, Maison Kayser is there to help you. This year, the internationally renowned French bakery has three beautiful bûche de Noëls, also known as yule logs ($42 for the large cakes shown on this post or $6 for individual slices) that brings fashionable style to the holiday table and also appeases your mouth. The Bûche Kayser is for the chocolate lover. Layers..

Latest in Travel (Outside NYC)

Fantastic Coffee at Victrola Coffee Roastery (Seattle, WA)

Fantastic Coffee at Victrola Coffee Roastery (Seattle, WA)

[Translate] When in Seattle, you should have seafood and coffee or you’re wasting your time in this city. Victrola Coffee Roastery is a local Seattle coffee roastery established in 2000. In a city filled with many coffee shops (hello, it’s the home of the corporate coffee mecca that has the green mermaid as its mascot), what we really love about Victrola committed themselves to sourcing and roasting only the best. With a passion for great coffee, they can’t wait to share their hard work and passion with you through one of their delicious blends or single origins. The Pike Street..
Delicious, Casual Vietnamese Steakhouse Fare at Seven Beef (Seattle, WA)

Delicious, Casual Vietnamese Steakhouse Fare at Seven Beef (Seattle, WA)

[Translate] Seven Beef is the newest restaurant by Chef-Owner Eric Banh and his sister, Sophie and with Executive Chef Scott Emerick helm the kitchen. Seven Beef occupies a 4,000-square-foot building that once housed an architect’s office. The centerpiece is the dramatic open kitchen equipped with a wood-burning oven alongside a combi-convection oven. What you don’t see is the cooler in the back that houses the restaurant’s sub-primal cuts of prime, grass-fed beef, delivered weekly by Heritage Meats from their ranch in Rochester, Washington and have a young butcher to break down the animal everyday. (They will cut a three pound,..
Dinner at Spur Gastropub (Seattle, WA)

Dinner at Spur Gastropub (Seattle, WA)

[Translate] Spur Gastropub is located in the Belltown section of Seattle, WA, run by award winning chefs/owners Brian McCracken and Dana Tough, the same team behind other popular, gastronome-favored places like Tavern Law and Old Sage. When you enter this understated nouveau-Western decor, you can’t help but notice the bar filled with great microdistillery spirits and the mostly young diners who are enjoying a couple of well-crafted cocktails and several plates of food. It’s a cozy space that has both modern and rustic. Wood trim and natural log tables coexist with hip light fixtures and ambient projections of black and..
Delicious and Beautiful Pastries at Thomas Haas Patisserie (Vancouver, B.C.)

Delicious and Beautiful Pastries at Thomas Haas Patisserie (Vancouver, B.C.)

[Translate] Thomas Haas is a fourth generation pastry chef who grew up in his family’s pastry shop in Germany. It was located in the Black Forest village of Aichhalden. It all began when his great-grandfather opened the Café Conditorei Haas in 1918. Every generation after that continued the tradition of the family’s Black Forest cakes and other local sweets. Following in their footsteps, Haas trained in his native Germany, and then headed to Switzerland, France, and North America to gain more experience. He worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe before moving to Canada as executive pastry chef at the..
Fantastic Lunar New Year Tea at The Urban Tea Merchant (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)

Fantastic Lunar New Year Tea at The Urban Tea Merchant (Vancouver, B.C., Canada)

[Translate] The Urban Tea Merchant is found along the glamorous and busy business district (I would say it’s an equivalent to NYC’s Madison Avenue in Midtown). The Urban Tea Merchant is well known in Vancouver since 2004 for carrying exclusively the line of teas and teawares from the luxury brand TWG from Singapore. On the ground floor, you’ll find the retail shop, where you can buy teas, gorgeous teapots and accessories, and even tea-infused macaroons. Toward the back of the shop upstairs is the hidden tea salon, where you can have lunch, brunch, desserts, cocktails, and, of course, tea service...
Highlights of 2015

Highlights of 2015

[Translate] 2015 came and went much quicker than I could ever imagine. Despite the year breezing by, I am grateful for having the opportunities to travel to six international destinations (while still being employed full time), meet interesting people while traveling and collaborating with several brands. Wales, United Kingdom I started off traveling to Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom during late February/early March with Visit Wales. Landing at Heathrow Airport in London and take the leisure train ride over, seeing the rolling green hills that gave me a preview of the lushness of the landscape and the many adorable, fluffy sheep..
Excellent Dim Sum at 8 Restaurant at Grand Lisboa Hotel  新葡京酒店賭場 (Macau)

Excellent Dim Sum at 8 Restaurant at Grand Lisboa Hotel 新葡京酒店賭場 (Macau)

[Translate] When you think of Macau, you would associate this former Portuguese controlled region for the glamour of Las Vegas. Except Macau has a fantastic dining scene from fine to street food like its neighbor Hong Kong. On the fine dining spectrum, 8 at Grand Lisboa Hotel is a glamorous 3* Michelin rated restaurant (since 2014. up to its current list for 2016) in Macau. It’s a very sleek restaurant that does serve the best dim sum I ever ate. Ever since that having 8’s dim sum, every other dim sum meal didn’t match up the deliciousness of what we..
1* Michelin Sushi Iwa (Tokyo, Japan)

1* Michelin Sushi Iwa (Tokyo, Japan)

[Translate] A high end sushi experience in Japan can be intense and uncomfortable sometimes with the formality and etiquette, the inevitable language barrier and the hefty price tag. Sushi Iwa 鮨 いわ, located in Ginza, is a high end, 1* Michelin restaurant that serves excellent sushi without the snobbery. Sushi Iwa’s entrance is at street level. It is recognizable from its classic wabi-sabi (tea-ceremony style) look, hempen curtain, bamboo trellis window and small iron lantern at foot level. Inside, it feels relaxed and, with a counter only big enough for six, surprisingly intimate. Owner-chef Hisayoshi Iwa learned his skills at..
Conrad Tokyo

Conrad Tokyo

[Translate] Hilton Conrad Tokyo, opened in 2006, is located on floors 28 through 37 in a high-rise building in the Shiodome area of Tokyo, the Conrad is a 290-room, premium-service hotel that caters to business travelers and tourists who want to be near downtown. The hotel is also a 10-minute walk from the very popular Tsukiji Fish Market. When we entered their ground floor elevators up to the 28th-floor check-in lobby, we were welcomed to a double-height space that looks out onto Tokyo Bay. The interior illuminated by glowing lightboxes and floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, the décor of the hotel is..

Recipes

Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Mango Ginger Lime Jam, White Chocolate Lemongrass Frosting

Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Mango Ginger Lime Jam, White Chocolate Lemongrass Frosting

[Translate] I’ve been a long time fan of eating and baking with Valrhona chocolate. This brand creates one of the world’s finest chocolate in the small village of Tain L’Hermitage, France since 1922. They are dedicated to creating unique, artisan quality chocolate with complex, balanced and consistent flavors. This mission of excellence continues as the gastronomic traditions of the renowned Rhone Valley find expression in every mouthwatering taste of Valrhona’s superb chocolate. Valrhona has created a range of unique and recognizable aromatic profiles by perfecting techniques for enhancing the flavor of rare cocoa beans, grown on land masterfully selected for..
Apple Cardamom Yogurt Cake

Apple Cardamom Yogurt Cake

[Translate] This weekend was truly autumn. Leaves turning from shades of green to vibrant colors of reds, golden yellows, and orange. Autumn is also prime apple season. I’m not in the mood to bake a somewhat finicky pie but wanted to do an apple cake. I’ve tried out the Organic Valley Grassmilk Yogurt; a thick, tangy yogurt that has natural creamline on top that would make a perfect addition to the cake. The natural acidity would make for a tender cake and add some moisture and fat. (more…)
Great Local Ingredients from OurHarvest

Great Local Ingredients from OurHarvest

[Translate] I’ve recently found out and shopped at OurHarvest. Our Harvest is an online farmers market that connects us consumers to local farmers and food producers (currently for the NYC area only). Through partnerships with farmers, fishermen, and food artisans, OurHarvest purchases and sources their products locally to maximize freshness; hence ensuring quality and traceability while keeping costs down and combating hunger at the same time. For every delivery above $25 it receives, OurHarvest also donates a meal to a family in need through its relationship with the Food Bank of New York City. My recent shopping haul consisted of..