Food Reviews

Shaya (New Orleans, LA)

I’ve made a trip down to the Big Easy, also known as New Orleans. This city captivated me for sometime for the many cultures that meld over the centuries (as complicated as it was and probably still is) that created an interesting food culture because of it—and it’s the supposed birthplace of several cocktails like the Sazerac, Brandy Milk Punch, Vieux Carré, and the Hurricane, to name a few. It will be a slightly random order of posts related to this city’s dining and stunning boutique hotels but I’m starting off with a very satisfying yet seemingly simple Mediterranean inspired..

Restaurant Manitoba (Montreal, Canada)

Interior of dining room and open kitchen Pouring out of a magnum sized bottle of Sylvaner Restaurant Manitoba is a restaurant I’ve been meaning to go for a long time. I’ve first heard about this place when I was in Montreal four years ago. However, I didn’t have enough time to change plans and squeeze a stop by for a quick bite. Manitoba is located out in the industrial neighborhood of Mile-Ex (think of New York’s current equivalent of Bushwick, Brooklyn). (more…)

Mamie Clafoutis (Montreal, Canada)

Interior of retail side of the bakery Boules of bread The final bakery I’ve visited in Montreal was Mamie Clafoutis. This bakery started in 2008, by Nicolas, a pastry chef and Joseph, a baker, originally from France. They moved to Montreal to build their dream, committed to find and share their fond childhood memories. The first bakery opened its doors in Outremont. They use traditional skills and using the best ingredients and organic if possible, like the Canadian flour from La Milanaise Mill. (more…)

Brunch at Salmigondis (Montreal, Canada)

Exterior Caffeine (cappuccino) + Vitamin C (fresh grapefruit juice) Like most local farmers markets, it’s best to go on the weekend and I went to the beloved and famous Jean Talon Market. It’s so easy to be seduced by the gorgeous summer produce (oh, the perfectly ripened Quebecois strawberries! The sweet peaches! Rhubarb!) that’s available at multiple vendors’ stands. But I had to restrain myself from buying the glorious fruit since I am not permitted to bring this home but I did pick up some really flavorful goat’s milk cheeses and sheep’s milk butter. (more…)

Boulangerie les Co’Pains d’abord (Montreal, Canada)

Exterior of the bakery (Rachel location) Partial of the interior Sheet pan full of fresh baked brioche, chaussons aux pommes (French style apple turnovers) One of my favorite bakeries (boulangerie, to be exact) for my morning viennoiserie would be at Boulangerie les Co’Pains d’abord. This particular bakery makes their heavenly, buttery breakfast pastries from scratch in a compact kitchen in the back of the retail/café space. I had the honor to observe and photograph the hard working, busy but friendly bakers and staff members during an early, busy Saturday morning. Everyone at the kitchen is at least busy rolling; moving..

Hotel Reviews

Praya Kitchen and Yao Rooftop Bar at Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse

If you are looking for a place that has phenomenal 360-degree views you should head to Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse rooftop at Yao Rooftop Bar, which I will get to later on this post. This fairly new hotel (it opened Spring 2018) is situated on Surawong Road, Bangkok’s bustling thoroughfare that runs from the Chao Phraya River to Rama IV Road, Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse is surrounded by cultural attractions including Neilson Hays Library and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. This property is the perfect jumping-off spot for travelers looking to explore Bangkok’s past and contemporary art scene. (more…)

Sophistication at The Okura Prestige Bangkok

The 24th floor lobby Room with awesome views When I stayed at The Okura Prestige Bangkok for a few nights, the first several minutes when I got there is the fact it is a very Tokyo kind of hotel. To explain, the hotel is found within a gleaming skyscraper, Park Ventures Ecoplex, that is shaped like a steel and glass rocket and its actual lobby with reception, concierge and most of its restaurants is up on 24th floor. (If you ever been to Tokyo, most large hotels are situated within tall skyscrapers and tend to have the middle and upper..

Fantastic Stay & Dining Options at JW Marriott Bangkok

When we stayed at JW Marriott Bangkok for a few nights, we were floored from the moment we were checking in. We were welcomed like a dignitary with the seriously gorgeous phuang mala, a Thai flower garland symbolizing for luck and respect, on a tray draped in gold silk cloth while I was going through the usual check-in process. My entire party gasped in utter surprise and completely humbled by the fact they gave us these garlands and walked us up with our luggage to our Executive one-bedroom suite. (more…)

Fine French Fare at Tables Grill at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok

Dinner at Tables Grill at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok was a very solid fine French dinner in the middle of Bangkok. Sure there are plenty of non-Thai restaurants in this city but many would be mediocre but Tables Grill, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Hans Zahner was something worth noting since he taken over as Chef de Cuisine as of fall 2018. We had the pescatarian five-course dinner tasting menu was overall tasted and felt like a solid 1* Michelin. The ingredients used in the restaurant feature locally sourced vegetables from the Royal Project in Chiang Mai. (more…)

Very Good Stay at Oriental Residence Bangkok

My friends and I made it to Bangkok and the first hotel we stayed in was at Oriental Residence Bangkok. This boutique hotel and residence is located in the very heart of downtown Bangkok, right next to the U.S. Embassy, the Oriental Residence brims with quiet, understated luxury for business and leisure travelers. The modern luxury at the Oriental Residence, a pleasant space to linger for a little. The spacious lobby, complete with chandelier is very quiet except on mornings where everyone is going in and out for breakfast at Cafe Claire or out and about to explore the city..

Recent Recipes

Pear Coffee Cake

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 made..

Lamb Persillade Savory Hand Pies

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 lamb..

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

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 of..