Amazing Birthday Chef’s Tasting Dinner at Blanca (Brooklyn, NY; 2* Michelin)

[Translate] Blanca is the 12-seat, ambitious, 2* Michelin sister restaurant of Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Roberta’s is more known for its pizza but I digress.) I was elated when I managed to get book a seating with one of my closest friends to share this exciting, experimental meal on the weekend of my birthday since I’ve read over the past almost 3 years, how serious but interesting the food is. When it comes to any Michelin-starred restaurant, the price comes with that status — $195 per person, not including tax, gratuity and additional beverages. You are subjected to a strict..

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..

Afternoon Delights at The Back Room at Park Hyatt New York

[Translate] The Park Hyatt New York is a stunning, modern, glamorous first five-star hotel. (I’m planning on my staycation here…) This hotel stands in the heart of Midtown on West 57th Street directly across from Carnegie Hall, the $400 million Park Hyatt is at the center of Manhattan’s newly-minted “billionaire’s row” just a block from Central Park. The 210-room hotel is tucked into the first 25 floors of the 90-story One57 condo tower, where penthouses have sold for over $90 million. At the lounge, The Living Room, There’s an endless supply of plush couches and chairs to sink into, as..

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

[Translate] Thanksgiving is coming and that means it’s the holiday shopping season. For those who are trying to decide what to give to your friends, family, or even co-workers, here are some ideas what to give them: These items are not listed in any particular order, except by category. For ease of navigation, here’s the links to jump: Chocolates, Confections & Baked Goods Wines & Spirits Coffee & Tea Other Items (e.g. cookware & savory food items) (more…)

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…)

Lovely Afternoon Tea at The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel (NYC)

[Translate] The Palm Court at The Plaza is arguably one of the best hotel afternoon teas in New York City I’ve had in the longest time. Chef Geoffrey Zakarian re-launched the iconic Palm Court at The Plaza hotel with a renovation by Master Architect Thierry Despont almost a year ago. The renovation does result in bringing natural, floral elements inspired by Central Park (and it has the classic English elements that reminds me of another landmark, The Ritz in London, UK). Despite the fact it sounds quite touristy but you should go there once just to check out the scene...

Matcha with Lots of Possibilities at MatchaBar (Brooklyn, NY)

[Translate] MatchaBar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a hip matcha tea bar and brand founded by brothers Max and Graham Fortgang. Matcha tea was “discovered” by the Fortgangs out the necessity of a caffeine alternative that was healthier for them since they led stressful lives when they were college students. Their Williamsburg storefront offers drinks made with the fine-ground tea, including hot and iced matcha teas, iced specialty drinks, and Matchaccino, a matcha “cappuccino” made with almond milk and vanilla powder. Besides peddling the typical matcha lattes (they are almost everywhere in Manhattan), they want to introduce and educate the masses..

Up On 20 at Hyatt Herald Square (NYC)

[Translate] Summertime calls for outdoor drinking and since we are in the city of skyscrapers, you’d have rooftops to drink in the views and your cocktail. Up on 20 at Hyatt Herald Square is a rooftop bar in Midtown, Manhattan that has the Empire State Building almost up close and you can see glimpses of the World Trade Center and the New Jersey skyline when you are looking at their south terrace. We started our evening with a glass of refreshing glass of Prosecco ($12) and Sunny Honey ($18 – for all cocktails on the menu) cocktail and took the..

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..