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Brunch at Sonny’s (Portland, Maine)

Brunch at Sonny’s (Portland, Maine)

[Translate] Sonny’s is a funky, historical but cool restaurant that has a large bar with two overstuffed couches near the entrance and provides a steady buzz that fills the high-ceilinged rooms overlooking Exchange Street. The ornate, tiled floors and the enormous safe in the back of the restaurant recalls the building’s 19th-century origins as the Portland Savings Bank and the stained-glass windows left over from its incarnation as F. Parker Reidy’s. When you read the brunch menu of Sonny’s, the menu is varied but mainly sticks with the idea of American comfort food with a Latin influence. We started off..
Brunch at Local 188 (Portland, Maine)

Brunch at Local 188 (Portland, Maine)

[Translate] Local 188 is a mainstay in Portland since 1999, originally located across the street from its current location, this laid-back eatery is one of the original farm-to-table trendsetters in the area with owner Jay Villani at the helm creating an innovative menu that draws on Spain and the Mediterranean. Local 188 has a relaxed, bohemian vibe with mismatched lounge furniture, including big, comfy couches and retro chairs. It’s a spacious restaurant that can accommodate a variety of needs – dinner, drinks, appetizers, late-night munching – and a mix of patrons. (more…)
Union Restaurant (Portland, ME)

Union Restaurant (Portland, ME)

[Translate] Union Restaurant is located within the Press Hotel, just across the street from Portland’s City Hall. It’s a beautiful and inviting, contemporary American farm-to-table restaurant led by Maine native Chef Josh Berry. The menu is thoughtfully designed and divided into broad categories of small plates, large plates, sides and on the bottom of the menu, must haves. We were informed by our waitress that all of the dishes err on the generously portioned. (more…)
Fantastic “New Indian” Fare at Badshah (NYC)

Fantastic “New Indian” Fare at Badshah (NYC)

[Translate] We recently had a delicious dinner at Badshah in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s a fairly new restaurant with Executive Chef Charles Mani, an alum of Babu Ji, and he was present throughout the entire evening we were there bringing out the food to various diners. He is an effusive, warm chef who deeply cares about how his food tastes and putting an ancient cuisine (Indian) and taking it in a different direction. We started off with drinks of Indian Rose and mango lassi. The latter is self explanatory and we appreciated the yogurt drink wasn’t too sweet but had enough..
Restaurant Lakasa (Madrid, Spain)

Restaurant Lakasa (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] One of our dinners was at Lakasa in Chamberi. We were pretty excited for this dinner as we have heard good things about this restaurant that does cook according to the seasons and Chef César Martín and his team cooks meat very well (this is to appease one of my picky diners). This restaurant is a beautiful, open dining space with large windows and a large bar/lounge room when you enter. We sat by the windows and our waiter was thoughtful to leave us a tablet with the English version of its menu. (more…)
Tapas at Restaurante Jose Luis (Madrid, Spain)

Tapas at Restaurante Jose Luis (Madrid, Spain)

[Translate] We had one of those nights where we wanted to stay in close to our hotel, Barceló Emperatriz since it was a long day of sightseeing Madrid. Our concierge has suggested Restaurante Jose Luis for tapas and it’s about a ten-minute walk. An institution for over 50 years, Jose Luis has locations throughout Madrid, as well as in Sevilla and Barcelona. But the original is in the prestigious Calle Serrano in Madrid. A fashionable establishment of the 60’s, artists, writers, and professionals were drawn by the ambient and the large variety of tapas. Today’s crowd is a mix of..

Travel

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..

Pasteis de Belém (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] One of the days when we were in Lisbon, we headed out to the historic town of Belém that’s about 30 minutes out west by tram. This particular town is picturesque and has the most important tourist attractions. Belem is situated on the northern banks of the River Tagus and from the ancient harbors of Belem, ships set sail around the world, and many of the 14th century “voyages of discovery” departed from here. The Belem Tower was constructed to guard Lisbon from sea bound attacks and was positioned in the centre of the Tejo Estuary but today, due..

A Fun Dinner at Mini Bar by José Avillez (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] If you want dinner that is expertly prepared and cooked with seriously good cocktails without the pretense in Lisbon, I would steer you to Mini Bar, one of Chef José Avillez’s eight restaurants in Lisbon and he’s the few chefs in Portugal pushing the country’s cuisine to the modern times (and he is also a Michelin-starred chef). For those who have been to Barcelona and dined at Tickets, Mini Bar’s casual atmosphere and food feels like an homage to the restaurant, since Chef Avillez has worked with Ferran Adria at El Bulli. The ‘El Bulli olives’ that kick off..

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..

O Prego da Peixaria (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] In a relaxed environment, where different people come together and share tables is what Prego da Peixaria is all about. Situated right next to the Botanical Gardens in the heart of Príncipe Real, it’s a restaurant with a contemporary rustic touch, urban and unpretentious, whose beautiful graffiti, illuminated by the lovely skylight, jumps right out at you. It’s a buzzing restaurant with lots of locals hanging out here when we arrived. The restaurant’s name, a prego is a Portuguese version of a burger except it’s made of thin slices of beef steak. Or in the case of peixaria, a..

Palacio Chiado (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] The Príncipe Real district recently transformed into a shopping gallery, came the transformation of Quintela Palace in Chiado into a gastronomic destination. Each of the beautiful 18th-century rooms, spread over two floors, have different concepts (a total of seven. (more…)

Recent Recipes

Valrhona Chocolate Cake, Mango Ginger Lime Jam, White Chocolate Lemongrass Frosting

[Translate] I’ve been a long time fan of eating and baking with Valrhona chocolate. This brand creates one of the world’s finest chocolate in the small village of Tain L’Hermitage, France since 1922. They are dedicated to creating unique, artisan quality chocolate with complex, balanced and consistent flavors. This mission of excellence continues as the gastronomic traditions of the renowned Rhone Valley find expression in every mouthwatering taste of Valrhona’s superb chocolate. Valrhona has created a range of unique and recognizable aromatic profiles by perfecting techniques for enhancing the flavor of rare cocoa beans, grown on land masterfully selected for..

Apple Cardamom Yogurt Cake

[Translate] This weekend was truly autumn. Leaves turning from shades of green to vibrant colors of reds, golden yellows, and orange. Autumn is also prime apple season. I’m not in the mood to bake a somewhat finicky pie but wanted to do an apple cake. I’ve tried out the Organic Valley Grassmilk Yogurt; a thick, tangy yogurt that has natural creamline on top that would make a perfect addition to the cake. The natural acidity would make for a tender cake and add some moisture and fat. (more…)

Great Local Ingredients from OurHarvest

[Translate] I’ve recently found out and shopped at OurHarvest. Our Harvest is an online farmers market that connects us consumers to local farmers and food producers (currently for the NYC area only). Through partnerships with farmers, fishermen, and food artisans, OurHarvest purchases and sources their products locally to maximize freshness; hence ensuring quality and traceability while keeping costs down and combating hunger at the same time. For every delivery above $25 it receives, OurHarvest also donates a meal to a family in need through its relationship with the Food Bank of New York City. My recent shopping haul consisted of..