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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

Thoughtful Asian-Spanish Fusion at Dos Palillos (Barcelona, Spain)

[Translate] < One of the unique meals I’ve eaten in Barcelona was at the 1* Michelin restaurant, Dos Palillos. Dos Palillos technically has two locations, one being in Barcelona (where I ate and the original location) and Berlin, Germany. It’s a thoughtful, fusion restaurant merging Asian, mostly Japanese, cuisine with Spanish food sensibilities; not some weird mash-up of cuisines that doesn’t make sense on a plate. The results were mostly good (with a few dishes bringing up my childhood memories) but a few little details that could have made certain dishes excellent. This place is very popular, especially on the..

Dinner at Espai Sucre (Barcelona, Spain)

[Translate] Interior of Espai Sucre; Our Amuses; Pouring Josep M Ferret Guasch Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava Espai Sucre in Barcelona means “Sugar Space.” It’s an intriguing restaurant and cooking school concept started by patissier Jordi Butrón. The menu is mostly devoted to tapas-style desserts that has a few savory dishes. The school aspect is teaches both the professional and amateur students. We headed here for dinner since we do adore desserts and their savory dishes does read tasty. Entering this minimalist decor dining room is a mix of Industrial (open steel racks containing glass jars of colorful candies and..

Beachside, Leisurely Lunch by the Beach at Xiringuito Escribà (Barcelona, Spain)

[Translate] Xiringuito Escribà: Exterior, Interior, Table setting When you go to Barcelona and want to be out and about on a Sunday, you should plan to do little or an activity that can take a very long time because many shops and museums don’t open on a Sunday. It’s an European thing, I guess, to pace yourself and enjoy the weekend before the grind of the work week comes. Unlike in New York City, where it’s the norm for a shop open seven days a week unless it’s a major holiday. We were fortunate to have a sunny, balmy Sunday..

Pasteleria Escribà (La Rambla location, Barcelona, Spain)

[Translate] Interior of the cafe; Savory mini bocadillos; various pastries on display One of the mornings while we’re in Barcelona, one of my friends who were traveling with me was up at an early morning and wanted a very simple breakfast (unlike the hearty one we had at El Quim). And well, our mutual friend was still in deep sleep and refuses to get up. We did recall while walking to the Boqueria was this small bakery on the Rambla called Pasteleria Escribà. This bakery brand (it has two locations) was established in 1906 and is still owned by the..

Vioko (Barcelona, Spain) – Upscale Chocolates and Delicious Gelati

[Translate] During our vacation to Barcelona, we stopped by Vioko since we’ve read the shop has some seriously good gelati (plural for gelato or an Italian version of ice cream) that has more than the basic flavors. Since we were near the beaches of Barcelona and it was a very warm, mid-October afternoon (the high temperature then was near 80°F) this was a great idea. Vioko is owned and run by pastry chef Lucila Baiardi (photographed above), an Argentine expat who studied the fine art of pastry around various kitchens in Europe and eventually settled in Barcelona to open this..

Tickets (Barcelona, Spain) – Fun, Innovative Tapas & Worth The Hype

[Translate] Tickets: Entrance; Busy rush at the door; Menu & tweezers I admit I was one of those people who was completely taken by Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations episode when he and José Andrés dined at Tickets. The restaurant doesn’t look like it’s taking itself too seriously but serving seriously good food. Since I didn’t have the opportunity to go to the gorgeous beaches of Costa Brava and dine at the famous El Bulli prior to its closing on July 30, 2011, Tickets would be the next best thing especially dining with a few friends. As most of you might..