Food Reviews

3* Michelin Dinner at La Pergola at Rome Cavalieri (Rome, Italy)

[Translate] Chef Heinz Beck has a mini-empire of restaurants, stretching from Italy (Rome and Tuscany) to Portugal, Dubai (which just opened), London (Ora by Heinz Beck at Brown’s Hotel) and (from late 2014) Tokyo. His flagship, La Pergola, opened in 1994 and is situated on the top floor of the Cavalieri hotel, which is perched on one of the hills of Rome and overlooks St Peter’s Basilica. The dining room tables are arrayed around the picture windows overlooking the city. The wine cellar here is vast: an array of rooms containing 65,000 bottles of wine, with 3,500 different labels offered..

Hotel Eden – Gorgeous Hotel with Great Views and Food to Boot (Rome, Italy)

[Translate] The stunningly beautiful Hotel Eden is located above the fray near the top of the Spanish Steps, which gives it breathtaking views over the whole centro storico to St. Peter’s and beyond – especially from the rooftop bar/restaurants. But at the same time, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the buzz, sights and shops of Piazza di Spagna. Even Termini train station is within walking distance – though few of the Eden’s clients would ever dream of arriving or leaving on foot. It was closed for a 17-month renovation, the hotel re-opened in April 2017. The design by French..

Excellent Cocktails at Hotel Locarno (Rome, Italy)

[Translate] Much loved and frequented by celebrities, especially during Apertivio (7:00 PM – 10:00 PM), the historic lounge bar inside the four-star Hotel Locarno dates back to 1925. Antique Art Nouveau style furnishings, a fireplace and original decorations take you on a journey back to the Twenties whilst the music, informally dressed staff and creative cocktails offer a modern twist. There are 1920s inspired drinks and Head Barman Nicholas Pinna even offers Masterclasses. (more…)

Lunch with a Spectacular View of Florence at B-Roof at Grand Hotel Baglioni Firenze (Florence, Italy)

[Translate] When I was researching my trip to Florence several moths ago, I have come to understand that food in Florence is fairly traditional. Tuscan food is based on the Italian idea of cucina povera or “poor cooking.” A concept that started very literally, it’s about simple meals that are inexpensive and could easily be made in large amounts. Today it remains largely the same – but by choice instead of economy. Tuscan cooking doesn’t use complicated seasonings or elaborate creations because they’re not needed. Instead it’s made using fresh, high-quality ingredients that bring out the natural flavors in each..

Modern Sicilian at Arà è Sud (Florence, Italy)

[Translate] When you travel through Florence, almost all of the food you will encounter will be traditional Tuscan fare that tends to be the hearty food because of its longtime history of cooking peasant food. Arà è Sud is a good option if you are looking for Sicilian fare that is tends to be lighter with the extensive use of seafood in its cooking but it’s still flavorful. Arà è Sud is a bistro type of restaurant that has a casual vibe but serves really good Sicilian food led by Chef Carmelo Pannocchietti. (more…)

Hotel Reviews

Mandarin Hotel Boston – Excellence & Luxury in the Back Bay

[Translate] During our holiday weekend getaway to Boston, we stayed at Mandarin Oriental located in the Back Bay neighborhood. This hotel is luxury at its best. When you enter the spacious lobby, which was designed with local granite and artwork, a traditional New England color scheme and the principles of feng shui. The lobby’s long, gas fireplace is a wonderful place to relax surrounded by fresh flower arrangements, tasteful Christmas decorations, and personable staff ready to create a quiet oasis within the busy city hotel. It’s situated in the heart of an equivalent to Manhattan’s 5th Avenue shopping area; near..

Loews Philadelphia Hotel – A Historical Landmark & Luxurious Hotel

[Translate] At the lobby of Loews Philadelphia Hotel Loews Philadelphia Hotel is a national historical landmark (earned its status in 1979), as it was the first International style skyscraper built in the United States. This building was formerly the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society Building, or PSFS Building, the nation’s first savings bank. The bank commissioned the construction of a 36-story, 491-foot skyscraper that would provide for the banking and office activities of the Society, designed by architects William Lescaze and George Howe. The bank eventually failed and was bought by developers to turn into a Loews Hotel. Conversion into a..

Afternoon Tea at St. Regis New York: Astor Court

[Translate] Interior of Astor Court and its lounge; our full spread of afternoon tea Afternoon Tea at the St. Regis New York Hotel, an historic Manhattan landmark at 55th and 5th Avenue, serves as the perfect oasis from the frenzy of New York City to the calm of a centuries-old British tradition – for Mother’s Day. As my mother and I sat in the luxurious Petit Salon sipping various blends of teas and enjoying an assortment of pastries and desserts, it seemed like the chaos of the city just outside the hotel’s doors was hundreds of miles away. In fact,..

Four Seasons’ Taste Cocktail Party

[Translate] A few nights ago, I had the honor to be invited to Four Seasons‘ cocktail party launching their newest website Taste. Taste is essentially their platform to engage and inspire food connoisseurs like us with the luxurious hotel chain’s chefs and sommeliers’ of their recipes and inspirations. If you take a look at my photos and read the descriptions of what’s been served to us, the menu’s muse is the apple but applied in different mediums like duck, venison, and pork. All were executed well but my favorites are highlighted on this post. (more…)

Recent Recipes

Chinese New Year Dinner 2014 – Traditional Dishes & Spice and Herb Salt Crust Duck

[Translate] Happy New Year! Good luck in the Year of the Horse! 恭喜發財! 馬年行大運! My family and I ended up serving a mix of traditions, so to speak, for our new year dinner. The dessert you see above, is a rich and delectable macadamia shortbread brownie. The buttery, delicately crisp shortbread just melds with the fudgy brownie perfectly that if I left my weight consciousness at the door, I would have eaten the entire batch by myself. Of course, we did make and ate the simple traditional sweet of nian gao (my recipe). Chewy and tasty, and symbolically give us..

Whole Tea Smoked Duck Recipe

[Translate] I recently received an incredible package of local, humanely raised duck products (whole duck with its head and feet intact and duck breasts) from Crescent Duck*, located in Long Island, NY. Crescent Duck Farm grows only premium Genuine Long Island ducklings. What is particularly great about Crescent Duck Farm is it’s a family owned farm since 1908. The birds are fed only natural grains without hormones or artificial growth stimulants. What I’m really excited is the fact I get to cook with the Chinese style whole duck since type of duck is pretty hard to come by that is..

Thanksgiving 2013 – Roasted Aioli Turkey, Braised Pork Belly, Tomahawk Steak, Cranberries, Scallion Biscuits & Many More

[Translate] The meats of the night: Roasted aioli turkey, Grilled Pat LaFrieda tomahawk ribeye steak, braised pork belly (东坡肉) Thanksgiving in my family always mean to go big or don’t bother trying to cook. I mean, it’s the holidays so there’s no need to heed to our waistlines and calories and just enjoy the food. My brother wanted a roasted turkey so I remembered reading from Thomas Keller’s mayonnaise turkey several years ago and thought this might be a good time to experiment this idea. I dry-brine the turkey first and made my own mayonnaise. It’s made with egg yolks,..