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Afternoon Delights at The Back Room at Park Hyatt New York

[Translate] The Park Hyatt New York is a stunning, modern, glamorous first five-star hotel. (I’m planning on my staycation here…) This hotel stands in the heart of Midtown on West 57th Street directly across from Carnegie Hall, the $400 million Park Hyatt is at the center of Manhattan’s newly-minted “billionaire’s row” just a block from Central Park. The 210-room hotel is tucked into the first 25 floors of the 90-story One57 condo tower, where penthouses have sold for over $90 million. At the lounge, The Living Room, There’s an endless supply of plush couches and chairs to sink into, as..

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

[Translate] Thanksgiving is coming and that means it’s the holiday shopping season. For those who are trying to decide what to give to your friends, family, or even co-workers, here are some ideas what to give them: These items are not listed in any particular order, except by category. For ease of navigation, here’s the links to jump: Chocolates, Confections & Baked Goods Wines & Spirits Coffee & Tea Other Items (e.g. cookware & savory food items) (more…)

Dinner at Sushi Seki (Hell’s Kitchen, NYC)

[Translate] Sushi Seki in Hell’s Kitchen is a brand new location of Sushi Seki (there’s the Upper East Side and Chelsea locations) that is a stunning, large bi-level space. The main level is Bar Seki, a more casual experience featuring shared plates and a long 15-seat bar, complete with artisanal, craft cocktails with a Japanese twist, perfect for sipping before or after dinner. It also has an additional 80 seats for diners including a communal table for shared dining, as well as many banquettes and tables facing the fully open kitchen. A 6-seat Kappo/Chef’s counter for food enthusiasts who have..

1* Michelin Sushi Iwa (Tokyo, Japan)

[Translate] A high end sushi experience in Japan can be intense and uncomfortable sometimes with the formality and etiquette, the inevitable language barrier and the hefty price tag. Sushi Iwa 鮨 いわ, located in Ginza, is a high end, 1* Michelin restaurant that serves excellent sushi without the snobbery. Sushi Iwa’s entrance is at street level. It is recognizable from its classic wabi-sabi (tea-ceremony style) look, hempen curtain, bamboo trellis window and small iron lantern at foot level. Inside, it feels relaxed and, with a counter only big enough for six, surprisingly intimate. Owner-chef Hisayoshi Iwa learned his skills at..

Conrad Tokyo

[Translate] Hilton Conrad Tokyo, opened in 2006, is located on floors 28 through 37 in a high-rise building in the Shiodome area of Tokyo, the Conrad is a 290-room, premium-service hotel that caters to business travelers and tourists who want to be near downtown. The hotel is also a 10-minute walk from the very popular Tsukiji Fish Market. When we entered their ground floor elevators up to the 28th-floor check-in lobby, we were welcomed to a double-height space that looks out onto Tokyo Bay. The interior illuminated by glowing lightboxes and floor-to-ceiling wood paneling, the décor of the hotel is..

Tastings Social Presents Mountain Bird (NYC)

[Translate] Tasting Social presents Mountain Bird is the relocated home of the critical, poultry-centric restaurant Mountain Bird. The co-owners and husband-wife team of Mountain Bird, Kenichi Tajima, a native of Japan who cooked at Payard Pâtisserie and Bistro and at Tastings, and Keiko, who works the front of the restaurant. I don’t normally make the trip up to East Harlem for food since it’s quite a schlep. However, Mountain Bird is a cozy restaurant that has the relaxed yet old time feeling feel with the butcher paper lined tables and the white plates and cups monogrammed in gold. The food..

Travel

Dinner at Camino (London, UK)

[Translate] One of my dinners in London was at Camino. It’s a mini-restaurant chain of four Spanish tapas restaurants, a sherry bar (Bar Pepito) and Cava bar Copa de Cava, all in London. I went to their restaurant in King’s Cross as it was very close to where I was staying (at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel). I started my evening with a glass of dry yet fruity Beronia 2013 Rosé (£6.50) and a shot glass of briny marinated olives (£2.50) while making up my mind what to eat for the rest of my dinner. (more…)

Paul A Young Fine Chocolates (London, UK) – One of the Best Chocolatiers in London

[Translate] Exterior and Interior of Paul A Young Fine Chocolates Soho location; Pecan and Salted Caramel Cocoa Pods; Paul A Young himself During my stay in London, I visited Paul A Young Fine Chocolates in Soho. Paul Young is a London based chocolatier who worked in the restaurant ranks under Marco Pierre White (White is a celebrity chef in London, godfather of contemporary international cuisine, and earned many Michelin stars) at Quo Vadis and Criterion as head pastry chef prior to him opening his chocolate shops. Paul opened his first shop in 2006 on Camden Passage in Islington with his..

Historical, Luxurious St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel & Booking Office (London, United Kingdom)

[Translate] Inside Hansome Lounge, the lobby of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel During my trip to London, I had the opportunity to stay at the historical, luxurious St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel in King’s Cross. King’s Cross in London is currently an up-and-coming neighborhood where both locals and travelers would meet since the railroad stations are here. This hotel was built in the 1860s, when the thriving Midland Railway, which connected the industrial heartlands of the East Midlands and Yorkshire with London, chose to build its own railway and station. William Barlow owned the property and appointed architect, George Gilbert Scott to..

Sublime Sophistication at The Ledbury (2* Michelin, London, UK)

[Translate] View of Tower Bridge from London Bridge*; Table setting & menus; Partial interior of dining room; W checking his phone while getting his Riesling; My plate of amuse bouches The Ledbury was one of my favorite meals in London. Not just because this is in a beautiful neighborhood of Notting Hill, a two-starred Michelin restaurant, and World’s 50 Best Restaurants (#13 in 2013), under the helm of Brett Graham, being surrounded by the well-to-do, ladies who lunch, and a large round table of wine pros having a serious wine lunch, but because I finally had the pleasure to meet..

Not Afternoon Tea at OXO Tower Brasserie (London, UK)

[Translate] OXO Tower Brasserie is found on the rooftop of an award-winning, riverside landmark building named the OXO Tower, found on the South Bank of London. This tower houses some of the most innovative and internationally renowned contemporary designers, and exhibition venues gallery@oxo and Bargehouse. The area is sort of what reminds me of Williamsburg, Brooklyn back in the late 1990s, where it’s an industrial area but revamped to an artistic hub. Shoppers and diners who go up to OXO Tower Brasserie are definitely the well-to-do locals, as I recalled smelling a strong scent of a woman’s Dior fragrance when..

Went to London (U.K.) and Adore GAIL’s Bakery

[Translate] Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament In case you don’t follow my Twitter or Instagram, I went to London about two weeks ago. (I’m suggesting you should follow either to keep abreast with my activities since it’s quicker to do a short update than writing a full blown post here and actually get to read this much later than what happened.) Many fellow Londoners who I’ve met when traveling and some — eating with — through that fine city asks me, “Why visit London?” My answer is, there’s a food revolution happening there for the past five to..