Food Reviews

Bae Ice Cream (Los Angeles, CA)

If you are looking for a soft serve ice cream cafe that has a particular modern, moody aesthetic that is quite Instagrammable that would be Bae. Not to say their ice cream is bad at all; it’s tasty and the shop is located in DTLA (Downtown LA)’s Little Tokyo neighborhood. Their signature flavor, so to speak, is the activated charcoal flavored with pineapple called “Heartbreak.” The charcoal doesn’t give off any flavor and the pineapple is quite delicate that you’re getting a gentle flick of fruity acidity than an intense pineapple flavor. src=”https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1907/31710664538_a226a249e7_c.jpg” alt=”Mixed Feelings – Activated charcoal wih pineapple..

Apothéke LA (Los Angeles, CA)

If you ever been to Apothéke in New York City, you generally would expect something similar to the new-ish cross country location Apothéke LA. Both are located in each city’s respective Chinatown and both are easy to miss if you are trying to look for the entrance to the bar. The one in LA, my driver flew past the driveway entering to the parking lot of Apothéke LA as the overpass leads into Lincoln Heights. The white brick building is behind the fence next door to street art filled walls surrounding the area, right where the LA River resides. When..

Melrose Umbrella Company (Los Angeles, CA)

When I came across and visited Melrose Umbrella Company, I thought this is not the typical cocktail bar and in ways, it isn’t. At first glance, I was presuming it’s a hipster bar that would care a lot about their drinks (which they do) and have this standoff-ish demeanor that some bars’ staff might carry out (which they don’t). When you enter this spacious place, it feels like a step in time circa 1920s with exposed wooden beams and vintage umbrellas tucked in between the panels of the wall. It feels cozy and historically cool without trying too hard. The..

Dinner at Hinoki & The Bird (Los Angeles, CA)

One of the lovely dinners I’ve had while in Los Angeles was at Hinoki & The Bird. While the cuisine of meshing New American cuisine (specifically California cuisine) with Asian flavors isn’t a new thing, especially in this city, what really sticks out here is the location and the venue. The restaurant is found at the luxury condo tower The Century and the valet parking is right in front of the restaurant. (Don’t go to the parking lot since it’s a different rate.) The restaurant has gorgeous mid-century modern architecture and furnishes with the warm glow of the candles and..

Sidecar Doughnuts (Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA)

Sidecar Doughnuts is a popular doughnut shop that started in Costa Mesa back in 2012. The Santa Moncica location that we visited opened nearly three years ago and since been one of the places to get a very good, if not excellent, doughnuts in the Los Angeles metro area. What appealed to me initially are the flavors. It’s familiar yet creative enough and it doesn’t look gimmicky compared to other shops (e.g. I don’t need to see a cute panda face on my doughnut to want to eat one). What I liked the most based on that visit was the..

Hotel Reviews

Mandarin Hotel Boston – Excellence & Luxury in the Back Bay

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 exclusive..

Loews Philadelphia Hotel – A Historical Landmark & Luxurious Hotel

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 hotel..

Afternoon Tea at St. Regis New York: Astor Court

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, it..

Four Seasons’ Taste Cocktail Party

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

Rich Chocolate Cake with Salted Bourbon Cajeta & Hazelnut Brittle

This weekend was my brother’s birthday and housewarming party as he just bought a condo within New York City. To celebrate these two fortuitous occasions, I had to bake a cake that’s decadent and delicious. Knowing my brother, he likes complex flavors, dark chocolate and nuts. So, I don’t see an issue baking and serving this gorgeous rich chocolate cake with salted bourbon cajeta and hazelnut brittle. It is an over-the-top chocolate cake but the best thing is, it’s not sweet because the moist cake itself is deep, dark and rich chocolate flavors from the unsweetened cocoa powder and my..

Pluot Pistachio Streusel Cake (Recipe)

Summer is the best season to bake any desserts with fruit. This past weekend, while shopping for groceries my local market had a huge abundance of red-brown pluots (a hybrid of a plum and an apricot) on sale that’s a shade overripe, so it’s on the softer side – and I bought several pounds of them. What fantastic about these pluots is it does taste so sweet and juicy that it drips down my wrists as I bite into them. Rather than taking the easy route and just eat them quickly within a day or two, I thought of baking..

Chobani Greek-Style Yogurt: Whole Wheat Banana Walnut, Ginger, Pineapple Yogurt Muffins & Lemongrass Frozen Yogurt Recipes

I have an obsession with Greek style yogurt. I love its tartness, the thick, spreadable, frosting-like texture, and it is healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my butter, sugar, chocolate and pork but sometimes having a break with yogurt is sometimes what I need. So, I went on a little nuts in getting a bunch of Chobani yogurts from my local market ranging from plain 0% (great for cooking and baking) to flavored ones that I tend to have for breakfast or as a light dessert to end my day. Almost anyone know how to make a yogurt parfait,..