Food Reviews

Noree Thai on Beverly (Los Angeles, CA)

[Translate] Noree Thai on Beverly is a relatively new Thai restaurant from the Luv2Eat team. The chefs’ namesake eatery, which opened this week, is the most mature of the bunch with Thai-inspired design elements coming from the warm gold chandeliers and cascading art on the walls. What I adored about this place was the unabashed Thai flavors and cooking that comes from the kitchen. We started with the tum pu pla ra, a salted crab green papaya salad made with fermented fish sauce and black crab paste that was both spicy and deliciously funky fermented flavors that made this papaya..

Bae Ice Cream (Los Angeles, CA)

[Translate] 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..

Apothéke LA (Los Angeles, CA)

[Translate] 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...

Melrose Umbrella Company (Los Angeles, CA)

[Translate] 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...

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

[Translate] 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..

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..