Food Reviews

Bar Belly (NYC)

[Translate] In the neighborhood of Lower East Side, it’s filled with bars that can range from dive to upscale. Bar Belly is a great cocktail bar, oyster bar, and have a band performing (at least when a friend and I were there on a Thursday night). The bar itself is a long and narrow, set with a beautiful bar up in the front with mid-century Europe-and-Americana-inflected design with its jackalope mascot mounted toward the middle of the room. (more…)

Kind Regards (NYC)

[Translate] When you want drinks that also has its history on music venue Cake Shop, you should check out Kind Regards. This cocktail lounge has an attractive bar that also has a small open kitchen where the cook is shucking oysters of the day and bar food. Most patrons hanged out here but my friends and I migrated to the back where the room is outfitted with brightly colored vinyl sofas and coffee tables like a hip living room and a couple of semicircle tables with stools on the sides of the room for smaller groups. A DJ was spinning..

Brunch at Sunday in Brooklyn (NYC)

[Translate] I’ve been meaning to go to Sunday in Brooklyn for a long time. Not because everyone was Instagramming the restaurant’s brunch malted pancakes stacked and glazed like a three-tiered layer cake but because I remembered Chef Jaime Young back when he was the chef de cuisine at Atera and had a delicious and beautiful, boundary-pushing cuisine. Interestingly enough, my mother wanted to go there for Mother’s Day and unsurprisingly it was packed to the gills with diners who had reservations and a long waiting list that the hostess frequently quoting tables who are more than two people, at least..

Alimama (NYC)

[Translate] Alimama is a gluten-free dessert shop owned and operated by Janie Wang that centers on the mochi in Chinatown. (Mochi is made of rice flour and rice is naturally gluten-free.) Wang merged traditional ingredients with modern flavors, so her mochi donuts are available in flavors like matcha with toasted rice krispies, caramelized sugar and salted Nutella caramel, and dark chocolate with coconut. The donuts are dense and chewy like mochi and has a gentle crisp exterior. The glazes and toppings are barely sweet enough to register in my brain that it’s dessert (that is a very good thing if..

Keki Modern Cakes – Great Asian-Style Desserts (NYC)

[Translate] The Asian-style bakery Keki Modern Cakes opened about a year ago. If the name does sound familiar, this is the brand of the “bouncy” or “jiggly” cheesecake Instagram fame. While the fervor simmered down slightly, there’s lots of love for this place since they’ve opened a second location in Korea Town in Manhattan. (more…)

Hotel Reviews

Barceló Emperatriz Hotel (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] When we were in Madrid, we stayed at the luxurious Barceló Emperatriz. This hotel is just off the Paseo de la Castellana in the upmarket Salamanca district. The smart boutiques on Serrano and its surrounding streets are temptingly close. The Lázaro Galdiano museum, which has one of the best art collections in the city, is a couple of minutes’ walk away. The Prado is a brisk 20-minute walk down the Castellana. (more…)

Lisboa Pessoa Hotel (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] For a few nights, we have stayed at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, situated in Lisbon, 200 meters from Chiado, Lisboa Pessoa Hotel features free WiFi access and private parking. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Each room includes a flat-screen TV. You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property. Rossio is 200 metres from Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, while Dona Maria II National Theatre is 300 metres away. Lisbon Humberto Delgado Airport is 6 km from the property. There are a range of facilities on offer to those staying at Lisboa Pessoa Hotel, such as a library and free..

Varanda Restaurant at Four Seasons Lisbon, Hotel Ritz (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] Four Seasons Lisbon, Hotel Ritz was built in 1959 by the Dictator Salazar to prove that Lisbon could do luxury as well as any other European capital. More than half a century later it is still setting the bar, managed now by the Four Seasons Group, and still renowned for the service for which they have always been famous. Designed by renowned Portuguese architect Porfirio Pardal Monteiro and built atop one of Lisbon’s many hills to maximize city views, this monolithic structure houses Art Deco-meets-Louis XVI interiors embellished by more than 400,000 square feet of Portuguese marble and Norwegian..

Historic Elegance at Palacio Belmonte (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] Built on the fortress walls of the medieval São Jorge Castle, Palacio Belmonte the oldest palace and the city’s first hotel in Lisbon. The house had been in the same family for more than 500 years. It is a stunning building, a 2197-year-synthesis of Portuguese history and culture. They rediscovered all the different layers of construction, hidden frescos, walled rooms and found fabulous archives, letters of queens and kings of Portugal, an escape dating from the Roman time leading to the Tagus, cisterns, Roman tower, and original 18th-century Azulejo tiles during the process of renovating the palace to a..

Afternoon Tea at Palm Court at The Drake Chicago

[Translate] If there’s a place to be to have afternoon tea in its most classic form and have great people watching, you should head to Palm Court at The Drake Chicago. There’s a harpist performing on certain times of the hour. Since its opening in the 1920’s, The Drake Hotel has maintained a British vibe becoming the home away from home for many of Britain’s royal family starting with the Prince of Wales who stayed there in 1924. Other royals — both British and non-British — have continued the tradition including Princess Diana and the Empress of Japan. Drake’s afternoon..

Recent Recipes

Pear Coffee Cake

[Translate] I love coffee cake, especially those with huge knobs of buttery crumb topping and have it with a cup of coffee. When I came across the pear coffee cake recipe from the famed restaurant team of Eleven Madison Park’s book, I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes it struck me as an interesting variation of that cake since I never had it made with fruit. Since it is a fancy recipe with no calories spared, I thought of toning down the fat content ever so slightly by replacing the crème fraîche with Icelandic Provisions skyr. Skyr is a cultured product..

Lamb Persillade Savory Hand Pies

[Translate] When it comes to the holiday season and I’m entertaining my family and friends, it’s a constant feeding, baking/cooking frenzy that I have to get up at the early hours of the morning to prep for the day of the big dinner (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, you name it). The best way to keep the crowds at bay and away from the kitchen is to provide them with snacks and a drink. While it’s easy to provide them with bowls of fresh roast nuts and platters of cheese and charcuterie, I like to give them something savory like these..

Whole Wheat Pistachio Yogurt Cakes and Pistachio Crust, Pistachio-Orange, Balsamic Vinegar Tarts with California Figs

[Translate] I go through food moods that I will obsess on a certain dish or ingredient for an intense period of time and seek them whenever I go out to eat. Figs was (and sort of is still) my ingredient obsession ever since I was having an incredible lunch at Joel Robouchon in Monte Carlo and saw and ate slices of the gorgeous, gold leafed fig tarts on the dessert cart and the best ones I’ve had were from the large, juicy, super ripe figs from Cours Saleya market in Nice. Figs hold a special place in my heart because..