Food Reviews

Brunch at Salmigondis (Montreal, Canada)

Exterior Caffeine (cappuccino) + Vitamin C (fresh grapefruit juice) Like most local farmers markets, it’s best to go on the weekend and I went to the beloved and famous Jean Talon Market. It’s so easy to be seduced by the gorgeous summer produce (oh, the perfectly ripened Quebecois strawberries! The sweet peaches! Rhubarb!) that’s available at multiple vendors’ stands. But I had to restrain myself from buying the glorious fruit since I am not permitted to bring this home but I did pick up some really flavorful goat’s milk cheeses and sheep’s milk butter. (more…)

Boulangerie les Co’Pains d’abord (Montreal, Canada)

Exterior of the bakery (Rachel location) Partial of the interior Sheet pan full of fresh baked brioche, chaussons aux pommes (French style apple turnovers) One of my favorite bakeries (boulangerie, to be exact) for my morning viennoiserie would be at Boulangerie les Co’Pains d’abord. This particular bakery makes their heavenly, buttery breakfast pastries from scratch in a compact kitchen in the back of the retail/café space. I had the honor to observe and photograph the hard working, busy but friendly bakers and staff members during an early, busy Saturday morning. Everyone at the kitchen is at least busy rolling; moving..

Sublime Dinner at Restaurant Beau Mont (Montreal, Canada)

Entrance Lounge area Restaurant Beau Mont feels like you’ve walked into one of your charming, well-heeled artistic or fashionable friend’s spacious apartment for dinner. One who cares and loves food deeply and has the food philosophy of using the best, locally sourced ingredients, cooks it well but simply and make the dishes look beautiful yet effortless even though it’s not. That’s how I felt overall when I dined here. Beaut Mont is led by the same team of the famous Montreal upscale and avant garde restaurant Toqué! While it feels a little bit relaxed compared to its older sister restaurant,..

Boulangerie Le Toledo (Montreal, Canada)

Interior Seating area toward the back Many loaves of delicious levain bread Breakfast pastries One of the newest boulangerie-type bakeries in Montreal is Boulangerie Le Toledo in the Plateau neighborhood nearly four months ago. This vast space has 14-feet ceilings and has this charming vintage look for its open seating area that has a children’s play area, a large communal table with bench seating and the back area where there’s an elegant lounge area with a marble coffee table. This bakery is led by head baker/chef Riccardo Arnoult and owner François Barriere. The coffee beans are from Structure Coffee Roasters,..

Pourquoi Pas Espresso Bar (Montreal, Canada)

Cappuccino, vegan raspberry financier and artwork for sale There are many great third-wave style coffee shops in Montreal. Unfortunately, I had time for only one during my visit here and that is at Pourquoi Pas Espresso Bar. If you translated this cafe’s name it is, why not? It is a cute name and it makes sense to call itself as that. Why not go to a personable coffee shop with baristas who wouldn’t mind suggesting to you about places in the city that you could eat or check out or just talk about coffee? Besides the people (which is a..

Hotel Reviews

Fantastic Stay at Hyatt Regency Mexico City

Hyatt Regency Mexico City offers a unique infusion of Eastern and Western influences, with Asian elements sprinkled throughout the property. Not only does this Latin American-Asian fusion set the Hyatt Regency apart from its Polanco-area neighbors, but it’s popular with leisure travelers and business travelers. Though we were in the heart of one of Mexico City’s tastiest gastronomic districts, the hotel’s three restaurants (especially the Japanese plates at Yoshimi, as I’ve written earlier), excellent Sunday brunch at Rulfo (read here) as well as Amado, a pastry shop, are worth sampling. (more…)

Relaxing Time at Loews Miami Beach Hotel – SOAK Cabanas and Lure Fishbar (Miami, FL)

If there was a day I felt like a pampered (and very well fed) person while in Miami, it was spending the day at Loews Miami Beach Hotel. This hotel recently underwent a $50 million dollar renovation that gave the hotel a fresh, sophisticated look. When we walked through the tall palm tree-lined path to the pool, we were mesmerized how stunning it is. It looked glamorous and it’s not too far from the beach. We had the cabana and it’s practically a mini studio apartment. We had our private bathroom fitted with a walk-in shower with a large rainfall..

Hotel Eden – Gorgeous Hotel with Great Views and Food to Boot (Rome, Italy)

The stunningly beautiful Hotel Eden is located above the fray near the top of the Spanish Steps, which gives it breathtaking views over the whole centro storico to St. Peter’s and beyond – especially from the rooftop bar/restaurants. But at the same time, it’s just a 10-minute walk from the buzz, sights and shops of Piazza di Spagna. Even Termini train station is within walking distance – though few of the Eden’s clients would ever dream of arriving or leaving on foot. It was closed for a 17-month renovation, the hotel re-opened in April 2017. The design by French architects..

Amazing Luxury Bed & Breakfast at Canto degli Scali (Florence, Italy)

When I arrived to Florence, I stayed at the luxurious apartment at Canto degli Scali. This place is a beautifully restored and converted from a 14th century palace in the center of Florence into a series of charming apartments. Each of these units has been named after a Florentine “Canto” and they are all furnished with custom fittings. This makes them exquisitely unique and gives our hosts the impression of being in a real home from home. The idea for this project came from two brothers, Marco and Alessio Ducceschi, who were personally responsible for the restyled design of the..

The Danforth Inn (Portland, Maine)

Raymond Brunyanszki, owner of Camden Harbour Inn and its Natalie’s Restaurant — two located in mid-coast Maine — had wanted to open an upscale Southeast Asian restaurant ever since he worked in the region as a tour guide early in his career. He knew he found the right place when he walked into The Danforth Inn while scouting Portland for a second hotel location. The building’s brick exterior and white columns exude elegance. Brunyanszki purchased the Danforth in May 2014 and has been renovating each of the 1823 hotel’s nine rooms, one by one, while keeping the property open and..

Recent Recipes

Great Local Ingredients from OurHarvest

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 a..

Happy 4th of July!

Hope all my fellow American readers had a great and safe Independence Day! I celebrated with my friends and family the U.S.’ freedom with style. We started off with a luxe note with Petrossian Caviar. Petrossian started in the 1920s by two Armenian brothers – Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian – to Parisians. The brand has dominated this luxurious trade and continued to strive for the best of the fresh, high quality caviar produced. (more…)

Many Uses with KitchenAid – Blender, Pasta Maker, and Convection Oven

KitchenAid Convection Digital Countertop Oven & Diamond Blender; Pasta Excellence Set Our friends at KitchenAid sent me their amazing household products of the Diamond Blender, Countertop Digital Convection Oven, and Pasta Excellence Set (pasta stand mixer attachments since I own their Artisan Stand Mixer). Since spring is finally here and how can’t you not feel inspired to cook and bake anything? Strawberries are one of the ingredients that are prominent in spring and for breakfast, I like making smoothies besides my cup of coffee. It’s quick and easy for my busy mornings shuffling to work. I made batches of strawberry..