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Mandarin Oriental Shanghai, Pudong & Mid-Autumn Festival Afternoon Tea

[Translate] Lobby; Our Harbour City Suite and its huge bathroom; View of Huangpu River from the suite Mandarin Oriental Shanghai Pudong is luxury hotel brand, Mandarin Oriental’s first Shanghai hotel in May 2013. The hotel sits just east of the Huangpu River in the new Harbour City development, east of the Pearl Tower, and next to the newly opened Shanghai Metropolitan Marine Yacht Club. The 362 guest rooms come with opulent gold and teal decor, iPod docks and luxurious toiletries from London perfumer Ormonde Jayne. We loved our Club level room and its giant bowl-shaped bath tub to soak our..

Infinity Brunch at Agua Restaurant (Beijing, China)

[Translate] Agua is an upscale Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant in the trendy Santilun neighborhood in Beijing. Decorated in dark brown leather banquettes line the back wall, and roomy tables and plush velvet chairs occupy a spacious dining room that is elegantly lit. The restaurant’s Infinity Brunch is 298 RMB per person and the optional 168 RMB unlimited drinks (options are cava, sangria, Spanish Mimosa, or wine). The brunch menu has a list of tapas that vary in sizing from single serving to sharing with another person and everything is cooked and/or plated to order. We started with the boiled large..

Farine Bakery – A Piece of France in Shanghai, China

[Translate] Farine Bakery – Exterior and Interiors Farine Bakery is an upscale French bakery owned by French chef Franck Pecol in the Xuhui District of Shanghai. This bakery is a godsend for any Western expat in Shanghai who craves excellently made artisan bread and pastries. The staff could crank out solid cups of espresso-based drinks, especially for this New Yorker spoiled by the Third Wave movement. All of their dairy and flour is organic and imported from France. The light and open space features a glass counter down one side, a small coffee bar and a handful of bar stools..

Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB), China

[Translate] Entrance to TRB; View on my right from where I sat; Our amuse bouches Very recently, my family and I went to China, specifically the cities of Shanghai, Xi’an, and Beijing, for two weeks to see (and taste) the sights of those three cities. Our eyes were opened by the varying locals who reside there. The way they dress and carry themselves. The feel and look of each city is so distinctive even though they are about a two-hour flight away from each other. We have walked (sometimes hiked) a lot, seen a lot, and without a doubt, ate..

Brunch at Root & Bone

[Translate] Exterior of Root & Bone; Brunch menu; Whiskey Cobbler A recent brunch I had with D, we headed out to a new Southern restaurant in Alphabet City of East Village called Root & Bone. This a small, popular, already popular restaurant is owned by Top Chef alums Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth. With a long line leading out of the restaurant’s door full of people vying for a table just barely 15 minutes past brunch opening time (11:45 AM). We were fortunate enough to get a seat at the bar with a view of the open kitchen and see..

Brunch with the Girls at Boulud Sud

[Translate] Exterior and part of the interior of Boulud Sud This past Labor Day weekend, I had brunch with my girl friends at Boulud Sud. As you might know, I am a fan of this restaurant when lunch with my mother and my friends are familiar with the Boulud brand but ate at this particular restaurant for the first time. Heck, even one of them lives close by one particular dessert (I’ll inform you soon which) convert her here to be a regular. Large format spicy Moroccan hummus, hummus, taramosalata, babaganoush and various flatbreads and dill potato chips for our..

First Class from Emirates at the US Open 2014

[Translate] The crowds on the grounds of the U.S. Open; Looking out to Arthur Ashe Stadium from inside the Emirates VIP Suite The past week I was invited by Emirates to one of their exclusive VIP suites to eat and watch a game at the U.S. Open. This was such an honor to be invited by such a first class (literally) airline brand. They pay attention to details like comfort of your seat (you’d have slightly more leg room, even on coach and can recline more than the average airplane) and the huge A380 plane has private suites, shower spas..

Dinner at ChicoJulio Bodega del Mar

[Translate] Recently we had a solid Mexican taco dinner at ChicoJulio in the Upper West Side. Once you step through the doors, it opens to an airy space with a handsome stocked with flights of mezcal, bacanora and pechuga (a Mexican liquor distilled using a chicken). As great as this was, we’re here for the food and here’s what we started with: The classic ceviche ($8) was nicely done. Bright and refreshing with fresh seafood and creamy avocado to balance. The queso fundido with chorizo ($7) is a must if you love ooey gooey cheese with bits of rendered paprika..

Latest in Travel (Outside NYC)

Fantastic Stay at Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店)

Fantastic Stay at Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店)

[Translate] When mt family and I were traveling in Beijing, we stayed at the fabulous and centrally located Grand Hyatt Beijing (北京东方君悦大酒店). This hotel has 825 rooms and Suites with a view of Chang An Avenue (one of the major streets in Beijing) or has a Courtyard View. It’s right next to Wangfujing shopping street and connected to a huge and luxurious Beijing Oriental Plaza commercial complex. The Club Oasis has a 55-meter (180.45 feet) indoor swimming pool that’s fashioned to look and feel like a jungle with its humidity. There’s also a 24-hour fitness center and a spacious heated..
All About the Hairy Crab at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai, China

All About the Hairy Crab at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai, China

[Translate] One of our most expensive dinners while we were in China was at Wang Bao He Restaurant (王宝和酒家) in Shanghai. What makes the place expensive? They specialize in the coveted hairy crabs (大閘蟹) ever since the Qing Dynasty (around 1640s) and they are primarily shrimp. Hairy crabs are a seasonal delicacy only found in Asia. The small window of time when the female crabs produce the coveted roe (during the 9th and 10th months of the lunar year, meaning during the autumn season). We ordered a feast just all about this delicious crab, from whole steamed hairy crab (our..
Very Good Omakase Dinner at Okra (Beijing, China)

Very Good Omakase Dinner at Okra (Beijing, China)

[Translate] Okra is one of those few restaurants in Beijing where you have to find your way to your meal. Not too far fetched like going to Temple Restaurant Beijing (TRB) but instead of walking down the somewhat sketchy, old school hutong, you would be walking around a maze of slick glass, steel and concrete skyscrapers that look like corporate businesses. When you do find a security guard right outside sitting on a corner of an entrance to a walled entrance to what may be another cluster of buildings, that is where you should be — The 1949 Hidden City..
Dinner at Made in China at Grand Hyatt Beijing (Beijing, China)

Dinner at Made in China at Grand Hyatt Beijing (Beijing, China)

[Translate] Our other Peking duck-centered dinner (and it was our last meal in China) was at Made in China at the Grand Hyatt Beijing (where we stayed while in Beijing but more on that in a near future post). We arrived to dinner at 7 PM with a reservation for a table and the Peking duck. (You must reserve a duck ahead of time or you’ll never have one that evening.) The dark wood and steel eatery; floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with Chinese knickknacks and a stylishly exposed kitchen behind glass set the atmosphere inside this 126-seat glitzy space. Dumplings and..
The Sweet Spot at Shangri-La’s China World Hotel in Beijing, China

The Sweet Spot at Shangri-La’s China World Hotel in Beijing, China

[Translate] Lobby of China World Shangri-La; Pastry display cases at Sweet Spot; Whole green tea mousse cake On one of our late afternoons in Beijing, we stopped by The Sweet Spot of Shangri-La’s China World Hotel. When entered the lobby of China World, it felt like we’ve just walked into a miniature Forbidden City. Filled with Ming and Qing era style artwork, the red and gold lobby gave us the impression of old school Chinese glamour. We were informed that the Sweet Spot is actually found at the hotel’s luxurious shopping and corporate offices that’s just beneath and connected to..
Excellent Peking Duck at Jin Yaa Tang at The Opposite House (Beijing, China)

Excellent Peking Duck at Jin Yaa Tang at The Opposite House (Beijing, China)

[Translate] The Opposite House; Jing Yaa Tang sign; Dining Room; Peering into the duck roasting area Jin Yaa Tang is a pan-regional Chinese cuisine restaurant anchored around Beijing’s most international recognized contribution to global cuisine – Peking duck. This restaurant is located in the Opposite House and the hotel is a pretty popular boutique hotel in Beijing, catering to a clientele generally much an even mix of well-off short-term-stay business travelers and well-off short-term-stay leisure travelers. So, instead of referring their guests elsewhere, Opposite House can now refer them downstairs to their very own venue right on the site. The..
Four Seasons Beijing – Noir Or Mooncakes & Afternoon Tea

Four Seasons Beijing – Noir Or Mooncakes & Afternoon Tea

[Translate] Lobby Four Seasons Beijing is one of the luxurious hotels in the bustling capital of China that opened late 2012. It’s a little bit off the main tourist hubs but it’s close to the city’s business and embassies as well as the capital’s popular shopping and entertainment hub Sanlitun. Having tea and many different dishes at the Opus Lounge We start our afternoon having tea at the sleek Opus Lounge filled with impressive artwork inspired by striking Chinese landscapes. This lounge is a grand two-story space that offers Asian and Western specialties during their daily afternoon tea. We peered..
789 Nanjing Lu Bar + Lounge at Le Royal Méridien Shanghai

789 Nanjing Lu Bar + Lounge at Le Royal Méridien Shanghai

[Translate] Lobby of Le Méridien; Interior of 789 Nanjing Lu Bar + Lounge 66th Floor; The view from our room on the lounge’s 66th Floor Le Royal Méridien’s 789 Bar is another great spot to enjoy cocktails and a wide selection of Champagne. What makes this hotel bar stand out from others is the 360-degree uninterrupted views of Shanghai since the hotel is the tallest in Puxi and bar takes up the 65th and 66th floors. On the lower level, plush crimson armchairs gathered in intimate clusters encourage quiet conversation. Live music, original modern artwork and soft lighting underscore the..
Luxurious Dinner at Nougatine by Jean Georges at Three on The Bund (Shanghai, China)

Luxurious Dinner at Nougatine by Jean Georges at Three on The Bund (Shanghai, China)

[Translate] Dining room at Nougatine & Menus Another great upscale dinner we had at Shanghai was at Jean Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant, Nougatine at Three on the Bund. I ate at Jean Georges Restaurant and Nougatine in New York City but I was curious how it fared out on the other side of the globe. Three on the Bund is Shanghai’s newest epicurean lifestyle destination blending gastronomy, art, culture, and music in an elegant, sophisticated gathering place for dynamic people and stimulating ideas. It created and manages six award-winning restaurants and bars, The Cupola, and Shanghai Gallery of Art. It is..

Recipes

Fourme d’Ambert Blue Cheese, Thyme, Cayenne, Tomato Jam Popovers

Fourme d’Ambert Blue Cheese, Thyme, Cayenne, Tomato Jam Popovers

[Translate] Recently, Cheeses of Europe generously sent me a package of Mimolette and Fourme d’Ambert from the best cheese shop in New York City, Murray’s Cheese (as part of “Make it Magnifique” campaign). It felt like Christmas since I love cheese! Mimolette’s bright orange paste and dusty exterior tastes something akin to gouda. Sweet-salty, caramelized flavor but has the texture of Parmigianno Reggiano (hard, dense and easily shaved). The Fourme d’Ambert is a mild, earthy, cow’s milk blue cheese. It is creamy and lacks the spicy funk in Roquefort. The latter is a good thing, especially for some of my..
Celebrating International Bacon Day 2014

Celebrating International Bacon Day 2014

[Translate] International Bacon Day is today! It seems pretty convenient that this year it falls on the long Labor Day weekend so if we overindulged in bacon-centered dishes, we can either sleep it off or go on a longer workout to burn it off. At any rate, the inaugural Famrland Bacon Treasure Hunt is commencing and folks who are located in Denver, St. Louis and Kansas City can participate. But us New Yorkers will celebrate by baking, cooking, and eating a whole bunch of bacon. Trust me, when you have a bacon loving boyfriend, he thinks this is Christmas and..
Maple Pecan Thyme Cayenne Pie

Maple Pecan Thyme Cayenne Pie

[Translate] Tonewood Maple Syrups and Maple Cube; Schermer Pecans Tonewood is a Vermont based brand that creates one of the most superior maple syrups I have ever tried. They recently took home the with Sofi Gold award. Schermer is a Georgia farm established in 1946, growing one of the finest buttery pecans. As they are great by themselves as well as together. As much as every American knows maple pecan pie, I wanted to make it a bit savory and throw in some dried thyme and a pinch of cayenne. Also to play along the savory note, I used Four..