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Under the August Moon, hosted by PhilDev

[Translate] This past weekend, we were invited to a fundraiser dinner called Under the August Moon, hosted by PhilDev at one of their board members’, Mrs. Gail Alvarez gorgeous Anahata Estate in Northern New Jersey. PhilDev is a non-profit organization that seeks to advance the Philippines’ economy with the advancement of science and technology through programs in high-tech education, research and entrepreneurship training. This particular dinner has a cocktail reception at the gazebo found at the owners’ home and imbibed on the exclusive aged Bacardi-owned rums while schmoozing with the friendly attendees. While the cocktail reception was happening, in the..

Caprices by Sophie – Wonderful Choux and Merveilleux in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

[Translate] This weekend I’ve visited Caprices by Sophie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This small beautiful bakery owned and head baker, Sophie Jager. Sophie believes in baking with all-natural, local and organic ingredients. This bakery is specializes in primarily two items, the merveilleux (called capricieux), a light and airy Belgian pastry made of meringue and luscious whipped cream, and pâte à choux (they are called “magic choux” here), a light cream puff pastry. The selection of “magic choux” available that day were raspberry, chocolate, rose water and raspberry, vanilla (topped with pecan), passion fruit, lemon curd, salted popcorn, and matcha green tea...

Maison Kayser 1535 Third Avenue

[Translate] The newest and fifth location of Maison Kayser opened a few weeks ago on the Upper East Side, not too far from its first location, a 120 seat café and an extended coffee bar. Arriving on that early Saturday morning, the retail section was bustling with activity from mostly locals who reside around the area picking up their morning coffee, a pastry and maybe a few loaves of bread. I went in to dine with a friend for brunch and tried out Master baker Yann Ledoux’s seasonal breads for the summer, like the delectable crusty, thin ficelles of black..

Finger Lakes – Beautiful Region, Great People, and Good Food

[Translate] This past weekend, I was generously invited and flown up (a very short flight clocking under 1 hour) to the Finger Lakes region by the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection and see and taste the area for three days. When I first thought of the said region, I thought it would be essentially very good local wine, lots of farms, and nature set in a cluster of sleepy, small towns. But meeting and talking to the locals it is a dynamic, thriving region that still has its “small town” charm and hospitality and have big plans to evolve to something..

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..

Ample Hills Creamery Gowanus – Amazing, Decadent Ice Cream

[Translate] Ample Hills Creamery Gowanus: Exterior, front retail part of the shop, and the rooftop Ample Hills Creamery opened their new location at Gowanus about two weeks ago. It’s exciting for ice cream lovers since Ample Hills churns out some insane ice cream. I meant insane as a good thing for creating pretty imaginative flavors and techniques to create their ice cream and appeal to both kids and the adults who still have their inner kid. They also have a rooftop that you can sit outside and get a view of the Gowanus. We sampled a couple of flavors that..

Nespresso VertuoLine

[Translate] Nespresso recently released a new machine and espresso pod line, VertuoLine ($299). It is a sturdy coffee and espresso maker with a delightfully intuitive layout. Unlike its bland single cup counterparts, Nespresso spiced up its design with some retro style elements. Nespresso is known for making espresso-centric machines. The Vertuo is Nespresso’s very first single cup espresso and coffee maker. It pummps out regular serving of espresso or an eight-ounce cup of coffee. Nespresso pods have are redesigned for the new machine. They currently look more like tiny space ships with barcodes on the printed on the edges than..

First Day at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands – Mountain Top, Dinner at Fat Turtle, Night Kayaking at Adventure Center

[Translate] View of various islands and a part of town at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas Last week the US Virgin Island Department of Tourism took me along for the fun, whirlwind press trip to visit two of its three islands — St. Thomas and St. John — with seven other digital storytellers. For both of these islands, you can’t help but be enchanted by the breathtaking views of the coastlines, the crystal sapphire blue skies, and the swirling or puffy white clouds. The things I’ve come to realize, from a native New Yorker’s perspective, is that everyone runs on island..

Latest in Travel (Outside NYC)

Finger Lakes – Beautiful Region, Great People, and Good Food

Finger Lakes – Beautiful Region, Great People, and Good Food

[Translate] This past weekend, I was generously invited and flown up (a very short flight clocking under 1 hour) to the Finger Lakes region by the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection and see and taste the area for three days. When I first thought of the said region, I thought it would be essentially very good local wine, lots of farms, and nature set in a cluster of sleepy, small towns. But meeting and talking to the locals it is a dynamic, thriving region that still has its “small town” charm and hospitality and have big plans to evolve to something..
First Day at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands – Mountain Top, Dinner at Fat Turtle, Night Kayaking at Adventure Center

First Day at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands – Mountain Top, Dinner at Fat Turtle, Night Kayaking at Adventure Center

[Translate] View of various islands and a part of town at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas Last week the US Virgin Island Department of Tourism took me along for the fun, whirlwind press trip to visit two of its three islands — St. Thomas and St. John — with seven other digital storytellers. For both of these islands, you can’t help but be enchanted by the breathtaking views of the coastlines, the crystal sapphire blue skies, and the swirling or puffy white clouds. The things I’ve come to realize, from a native New Yorker’s perspective, is that everyone runs on island..
Amazing Day Trip to the Hudson Valley with Buick (Part 2) – Dinner at Fish & Game

Amazing Day Trip to the Hudson Valley with Buick (Part 2) – Dinner at Fish & Game

[Translate]   Entrance to Fish & Game; Interiors on the lounge/ground floor Despite the fact we’re buzzed thanks to the wonderful whiskeys and bourbon from Hillrock Estate Distillery and the cheeses served with them, we headed back to our respective Buick and driver to dinner about 30 minutes away to Fish & Game. Fish & Game is owned by chef Zakary Pelaccio. He used to be in New York City proper for over a decade and had a mini Asian-influenced empire of restaurants, Fatty Crab and Fatty Cue that were very good (especially the watermelon and pork belly salad) but..
Amazing Day Trip to the Hudson Valley with Buick (Part 1) – Montgomery Place Orchards & Hillrock Estate Distillery

Amazing Day Trip to the Hudson Valley with Buick (Part 1) – Montgomery Place Orchards & Hillrock Estate Distillery

[Translate] Yesterday was arguably the most fantastic day trip I have been in a long time. The perfect summer day when it’s not so humid and hot, mixed with a gentle breeze, and puffy, friendly white clouds in the blue sky. Heading up to the historic and very charming Hudson Valley that’s about 2 hours from Manhattan in a shiny black Buick LaCrosse with our driver of the day, Eddie. Many thanks to the generous people of Buick/Drive the District and our hosts of the day, Montgomery Place Orchards, Hillrock Distillery, and dinner at Fish & Game. The dinner will..
The Clove Club (London, UK)

The Clove Club (London, UK)

[Translate] Of all my snacking and meals I have had in London, The Clove Club is definitely one of my favorite meals that really stuck with me even months after eating there. The food is very different and exciting compared to the U.S. or New York City are having these days (see Adam Platt of New York Magazine’s interview.). The Clove Club is sort of out of the way for those who are residing on the west part of London but certainly worth the trek. When you enter the light blue doors of The Clove Club, the first thing you..
Food Shopping at the Luxury Shops in London: Harrod’s, Fortnum & Mason, Pierre Hermé

Food Shopping at the Luxury Shops in London: Harrod’s, Fortnum & Mason, Pierre Hermé

[Translate] Harrod’s Exterior One thing London is really great for (besides it’s burgeoning food scene) is their luxury shopping. It’s no secret that London has been doing the high-end shopping for centuries. Literally. A brief history about the legendary store: Harrod’s was founded by Charles Henry Harrod, first established his business in 1824, as a draper, at 228 Borough High Street in Southwark, London. By 1834 Harrod founds a wholesale grocery in Stepney, East London and by 1849, Harrods moveds to the current address in Knightsbridge area. In May 2010, the store was sold to Qatar Holdings, the sovereign wealth..
Dinner at Smokehouse (London, UK)

Dinner at Smokehouse (London, UK)

[Translate] Exterior of Smokehouse; Interior and towards the kitchen Smokehouse located in the east side of London of Islington, is owned by Chef Neil Rankin that opened August 2013. I dined with the lovely, fellow Londoner Cassie as she suggested this place after informing her my crazy itinerary of eating. This gastropub is not the typical pub one would think of. It’s casual but prettily done and not overtly masculine. Candles indoors and fairy lights in the pretty garden, a few small antlers, blackboards boasting of many craft beers, and food menu. When you peruse the food menu, it’s eclectic..
Lunch at Duck & Waffle (London, UK)

Lunch at Duck & Waffle (London, UK)

[Translate] Interior & Views of SE London at Duck & Waffle When I was in London in April, I had lunch with the vivacious and fellow Londoner, travel blogger and friend, Federica of The Daily Out at Duck & Waffle. What drew us to this particular restaurant was the stunning views of southeast London from high up on the Heron Tower, where this restaurant is located. The fare served here is upscale comfort food (it’s prevalent in New York City as well as in London) except the Executive Chef Daniel Doherty has interesting touches on the menu that I have..
Chiltern Firehouse (London, UK)

Chiltern Firehouse (London, UK)

[Translate] While I was in London, I had dinner at one of the hottest restaurants in town, Chiltern Firehouse under the helm of Executive Chef Nuno Mendes. This hotel and restaurant is owned and operated by André Balazs, the famous hotelier behind luxurious, global properties that are chic and places where everyone wants to be seen like the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. This grand, Victorian firehouse with large doors and high ceilings, lit by filament lightbulbs, brick tiles on the walls, wooden floors that spill over to tiled flooring and green velvet benches giving a very modern feel with traditional..

Recipes

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..
Miso Chocolate Hazelnut (Nutella) Rugelach Bars Recipe

Miso Chocolate Hazelnut (Nutella) Rugelach Bars Recipe

[Translate] My love for desserts has never deterred but my preferences has certainly changed and yearn for something unusual. Don’t get me wrong. I still love my chocolate but it has to be dark and not too sweet (unless I have a craving for sugar). I remembered recently reading the Wall Street Journal about (white) miso accented desserts and it’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that” moments since I adore and obsessed with salted caramel or anything sweet and salty in a dessert, it makes sense for miso and its fermentation adds an umami effect that bridges..
Chocolate Kefir Cake Layered with Jam & Variations of Yogurt Cake

Chocolate Kefir Cake Layered with Jam & Variations of Yogurt Cake

[Translate] I’ve recently tried experimenting with two great brands — deZaan Gourmet for their fantastic chocolate and cocoa powders and Redwood Hill Farm goat’s milk dairy products. deZaan brings a century of tradition, quality and technical leadership to an impressive portfolio of premium cocoa and chocolate products, including cocoa powders, cocoa butter, cocoa liquor and custom chocolate formulations. Their cocoa powders are available in a variety of flavors and color shades — from vibrant reds to dark browns and black — with various accompanying taste profiles and intensities. Redwood Hill Farm is an award-winning, goat dairy farm and creamery located..