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Matcha with Lots of Possibilities at MatchaBar (Brooklyn, NY)

[Translate] MatchaBar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is a hip matcha tea bar and brand founded by brothers Max and Graham Fortgang. Matcha tea was “discovered” by the Fortgangs out the necessity of a caffeine alternative that was healthier for them since they led stressful lives when they were college students. Their Williamsburg storefront offers drinks made with the fine-ground tea, including hot and iced matcha teas, iced specialty drinks, and Matchaccino, a matcha “cappuccino” made with almond milk and vanilla powder. Besides peddling the typical matcha lattes (they are almost everywhere in Manhattan), they want to introduce and educate the masses..

Fantastic Tiki-Inspired Cocktails at Bar Le Mal Nécessaire (Montreal, Canada)

[Translate] If in Montreal, when you want to grab a serious cocktail but isn’t pretentious, Bar Le Mal Nécessaire (or Necessary Evil). I should add, you should like your tiki drinks. Le Mal Nécessaire is in a basement of a building between a small Chinese restaurant and an Asian shop of some sort in Chinatown. You will know you’re at the right place when you see a glowing, bright green pineapple-shaped neon lights at the stairwell. When you descend into the relative darkness, you hear old school hip hop playing not too loudly on the speakers. Patrons chatting amongst each..

Wunderbar & Plateau Lounge at W Montreal (Montreal, Canada)

[Translate] Part of my time in Montreal, I was at W Montreal. A very urban, sexy, sleek, luxury boutique hotel in the Ville-Marie area of Montreal. When you enter the glass doors, you’d see the cubic water fountain and glowing red walls of the lobby. One of my evenings I checked out Wunderbar that is located on the ground floor. It’s a cool looking bar that has a wall covered in curved panels set in a rainbow that meant to look like the distinctive seasons and magnificent natural surroundings of Montreal. (more…)

Up On 20 at Hyatt Herald Square (NYC)

[Translate] Summertime calls for outdoor drinking and since we are in the city of skyscrapers, you’d have rooftops to drink in the views and your cocktail. Up on 20 at Hyatt Herald Square is a rooftop bar in Midtown, Manhattan that has the Empire State Building almost up close and you can see glimpses of the World Trade Center and the New Jersey skyline when you are looking at their south terrace. We started our evening with a glass of refreshing glass of Prosecco ($12) and Sunny Honey ($18 – for all cocktails on the menu) cocktail and took the..

Great Coffee Spots in Montreal – Dispatch Coffee, Cafe Plume, Cafe Névé, Chez Boris

[Translate] Montreal is sort of like New York City in regards to having very good to excellent third wave coffee shops. A few notable differences – they are truly indie shops and from a personal perspective as a New Yorker, it pains me to wait for good coffee at 9:00 AM on a weekend. Here’s a couple of coffee shops I’ve managed to visit during my stay in Montreal. Dispatch Coffee is arguably one of my favorite shops I’ve visited in a long time. Dispatch is founded by Chrissy Durcak delivering cold brew in mason jars before acquiring the truck..

Travel

Floriole Cafe & Bakery, Chicago – A Great Rustic, Elegant American Bakery

[Translate] Exterior of Floriole; Interior; Galette des Rois; Chalkboard listing local, organic sources used; Owner and Head Baker of Floriole Sandra Holl One of my other pastry stops in Chicago was Floriole on a bright weekend morning. The minute I walked up to this bakery with my friend, I had a feeling this was special. The large, welcoming, warm wooden space feels like a second home to me. Local residents lined up the counter waiting to order their cup of coffee or tea and a couple of beautiful golden brown pastries for themselves or family. The gentle scents of butter..

Lunch at Blackbird, Chicago

[Translate] Blackbird (exterior), At the dining room, Floral centerpiece at the hostess stand When I was planning for my trip to Chicago, I had was under the presumption that this city’s fine dining lunch is like New York – you have a lot of restaurants who would serve prix fixe menus. Except when I did my research, there’s barely any at all but the little glimmer of hope was Blackbird, a 1* Michelin restaurant and their Executive Chef Paul Kahan was nominated for the James Beard Award (2011). For that kind of esteem, I booked a reservation. (more…)

Alliance Bakery, Chicago – Bakery Meets Pâtisserie

[Translate] Alliance Bakery’s Exterior, Old-school neon sign, One of its display cases Alliance Bakery located in Wicker Park, Chicago looks like an old-school American bakery with its neon sign but it’s a bakery as well as a pâtisserie. This two-personality bakery, so to speak,  is owned by Peter Rios. Mr. Rios was trained as a hotel pastry chef (his previous title and employer before owning this bakery was Executive Pastry Chef at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago) and had his skills sharpened by working through many well known pâtisseries and in France like Ladurée and won a number of awards..

Dinner at Arami, Chicago

[Translate] Arami’s windows and at the bar During my vacation/stay in Chicago, Arami was one of my dinner stops here. After some research, this was considered one of the good Japanese spots to have sushi. As a sushi fanatic, I’m excited to eat here and booked a reservation. What surprised me was that even though the restaurant is located almost in the middle of nowhere (I’m used to the packed areas of Manhattan), the sole signage was within the restaurant’s glass windows, indicating its name and address and yet when I entered the dining room, it was pretty busy for..