Food Reviews

Solid, Upscale Szechuan Cuisine at Hwa Yuan (NYC)

[Translate] Hwa Yuan is a new upscale Szechuan restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown. This restaurant started by the son of one of New York’s legendary Chinese restaurants. Hwa Yuan (the original opened in the 1980s) closed years ago and seminal Chinese restaurateur Shorty Tang died, his son Chen Lieh Tang reopened this current restaurant in hope to revitalize this part of Chinatown. The restaurant is spacious having three floors, taking up the space of what was Bank of China. The basement is the kitchen and private dining room that was the safety deposit room of the bank. The main floor and..

Relaxing Time at Loews Miami Beach Hotel – SOAK Cabanas and Lure Fishbar (Miami, FL)

[Translate] If there was a day I felt like a pampered (and very well fed) person while in Miami, it was spending the day at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. This hotel recently underwent a $50 million dollar renovation that gave the hotel a fresh, sophisticated look. When we walked through the tall palm tree-lined path to the pool, we were mesmerized how stunning it is. It looked glamorous and it’s not too far from the beach. We had the cabana and it’s practically a mini studio apartment. We had our private bathroom fitted with a walk-in shower with a large..

Santorini by Georgios at Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach (Miami, FL)

[Translate] One of the relaxing (and very stomach fulfilling) days I have spent in Miami was at Santorini by Georgios at Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach. We’ve explored Little Havana during the morning to check out the predominantly Cuban community and had fresh pressed sugar cane juice then drove down to South Beach for some sun time. Santorini by Georgios feels like a local Greek restaurant since it’s a family owned joint despite the fact it is in a boutique hotel. This not a bad thing at all since everyone greets and treats you like you are a friend or part..

Federal Donuts & Dizengoff (Miami, FL)

[Translate] Sometimes there’s moments when I feel Miami is the warmer, cleaner, and artsy version of New York City where snowbirds and young people around my age flock down here for the winter or even as a long term change in life from the cold, frigid city for the warmer climes. (more…)

OTL Miami, A Great Cafe in Design District (Miami, FL)

[Translate] If there’s a coffeeshop/cafe that I wish there was a version of in NYC, that would be OTL. The large, bright, airy space that is minimialist and admittedly, very Instagrammable and the food and beverages are healthy-ish and satisfying. There’s wi-fi to work and it doesn’t get too loud when it gets busy here that you can do some work, if needed or have a casual breakfast or lunch meeting here. Also, it’s in the heart of a fabulous shopping neighborhood of Miami Design District, where there’s many designer boutiques (Fendi is next door to OTL, Prada is down..

Hotel Reviews

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..

Paradise at Ritz Carlton Okinawa (Okinawa, Japan)

[Translate] For the final portion of our visit to Asia, we flew over to Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa feels, in some essence, like what Hawaii is to the United States — the islands have its own culture, climate (it’s warm or hot year-round), strategic location for the U.S. military, and the food is a little bit different from the mainland. During our visit to Okinawa, we stayed at the fabulous Ritz Carlton Okinawa. If I had to sum up this hotel stay in a few phrases, it’s a stunning property surrounded by shallow pools, ocean and country club and the hotel..

Marriott Taipei (Taipei, Taiwan)

[Translate] The Marriott Taipei is one of the newest luxury hotels in Taipei. The largest complex of its kind in Taipei, the Taipei Marriott Hotel comprises a five-star 320-room hotel, restaurants, lounge, convention center, shopping mall and apartments. It is located on the north bank of the Keelung River, in the Dazhi district, near Songshan International Airport. As part of Marriott’s “Green Hotel Development” initiative, indigenous shrubbery and flowering plants are found throughout the hotel grounds and are interspersed with pieces of nature inspired art and sitting areas. (more…)

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..