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Historic Elegance at Palacio Belmonte (Lisbon, Portugal)

Historic Elegance at Palacio Belmonte (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] Built on the fortress walls of the medieval São Jorge Castle, Palacio Belmonte the oldest palace and the city’s first hotel in Lisbon. The house had been in the same family for more than 500 years. It is a stunning building, a 2197-year-synthesis of Portuguese history and culture. They rediscovered all the different layers of construction, hidden frescos, walled rooms and found fabulous archives, letters of queens and kings of Portugal, an escape dating from the Roman time leading to the Tagus, cisterns, Roman tower, and original 18th-century Azulejo tiles during the process of renovating the palace to a..
Sea Me Peixaria Moderna (Lisbon, Portugal)

Sea Me Peixaria Moderna (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] Recently, I flew out to Lisbon and Madrid for a change of scene. (If you were following my Instagram, you are aware of what I ate for the most part.) Lisbon is a very beautiful, historical city. The beautiful 18th century buildings covered in colorful Portuguese tiles. The charming yellow trams that run through the city. Lisbon is commonly referred to the “City of Seven Hills” for a very good reason – you’re walking constantly on steep hills and valleys. And the sidewalks and streets are mostly built with smooth, small stones that sometimes you’ll hear the tires of..
Savory Choux Pastry, Pâté with Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves

Savory Choux Pastry, Pâté with Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves

[Translate] One of my favorite preserves brand is Bonne Maman. They use time-honored traditional French recipes, their preserves and jellies are made with natural ingredients and feature the finest quality fruit. They are Non-GMO Project Verified, have no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial coloring or no preservatives added so you taste the pure essence of the fruit. Besides having the great preserves, also being able to find them at almost every grocery store. (more…)
San Carlo Osteria Piemonte (NYC)

San Carlo Osteria Piemonte (NYC)

[Translate] The dining scene in New York City never ceases to amaze me. It’s a city rife of Italian restaurants some are by big celebrity chefs that are great (and sometimes carry a hefty price tag to go along with it) and mediocre restaurants that you wouldn’t care to return to. However, there are a few hidden gems like San Carlo Osteria Piemonte that recently and quietly celebrated its one-year anniversary. This Italian restaurant is not the typical Italian joint that tries to cover all the bases of Italian cuisine — it focuses in the Piedmont region of northern Italy,..
Lunch at Patisserie Chanson (NYC)

Lunch at Patisserie Chanson (NYC)

[Translate] Patisserie Chanson is a newcomer for the high-end pastry shop and bread bakery. Don’t mistake this modern bakery for the standard retail and dine-in space, Chef Rory Macdonald has bigger ambitions to open a subterranean dessert bar for sweet tasting menus soon. Since I’m patiently waiting for the dessert bar to start service (and I’m super curious what that would be since the pastries and desserts are both beautiful and delicious – more on that later), my friend and I stopped by for lunch. (more…)
Lunch at Eastern Standard (Boston, MA)

Lunch at Eastern Standard (Boston, MA)

[Translate] What I’ve heard about Eastern Standard is the good cocktails and it is close to Fenway Park. Though I’m not a baseball fan, it’s fun to see the diners and locals (some wearing the Red Sox’s jerseys) hanging out at the large bar before the opening day game taking in the excitement. This decade-old restaurant is a big, bustling brasserie that isn’t overdone or self-conscious. On one side is the dining room, with burgundy banquettes and white tablecloths crowded with thick, red-rimmed china platters filled with food. On the other is a large bar, a length of white marble..

Travel

Japan Meets Spain at PAGU (Cambridge, MA)

[Translate] I have read good things about the new restaurant PAGU by chef/owner Tracy Chang (formerly of O Ya) in Cambridge’s Central Square. It’s a spacious restaurant with a variety of seating options, some of which change from a breakfast-and-lunch cafe-style configuration to a nighttime pintxos bar. There’s also a mezzanine section that overlooks the restaurant, a couple of main dining areas, and a counter surrounding the open kitchen. We opted for the a la carte menu instead of the tasting menu experience since we wanted to try a bunch of things that appealed to us. We started off with..

Union Square Donuts (Somerville, MA)

[Translate] If there’s a doughnut shop I’ve come to like a lot in the Boston area that would be Union Square Donuts in Somerville. (Union Square does have another location in Brookline but Somerville is the most accessible to where we were staying.) I have heard that this popular doughnut shop sells out early that I dragged my traveling companion out of bed early on a cold, rainy/sleet Saturday morning. The price of a little less sleep was rewarded since we have the flavors we would like to have and manage to have a table to sit at a table..

Smoke Shop BBQ (Cambridge, MA)

[Translate] One of the few late night places (as in, open past 11:00 PM) – and not many restaurants open late I’ve come to realize – in the Boston area to have good barbecue is Smoke Shop BBQ. Chef/owner Andy Husbands is a man serious about his ‘cue given the fact he’s on the competition circuit and won several accolades over the years. (more…)

Good Doughnuts at Blackbird Donuts (Boston, MA)

[Translate] I’ve recently visited Boston last weekend meeting my dearest’s friends and see the hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts (where we ended up eating and hanging out most of the time). This will start the series of posts related to this weekend trip. Artisan doughnuts is a huge trend that’s been going on the for the past few years. Boston is certainly not immune to it and have a few artisan doughnut shops springing up. One of the places we stopped by is Blackbird Doughnuts is located on Boston’s South End. It’s a small take-out shop outfitted with white brick walls,..

JW Marriott Chicago

[Translate] The JW Marriott Chicago, is an indisputably opulent outpost in Chicago. The hotel, housed in a solid and stately 1914 neo-Classical structure designed by Daniel H. Burnham, formerly the Continental & Commercial National Bank. The sweeping staircases that lead to second-floor ballrooms and the Florentine, an Italian restaurant, act as bookends to a giant that is all marble and warm colors. (more…)

Fantastic Meals at The Purple Pig (Chicago, IL)

[Translate] The Purple Pig is one of my favorite Chicago restaurants to have a casual but excellent food. (I’ve been there years ago so this isn’t like I’ve eaten there one time for this trip.) What I really adore about this place is the robust flavors and the chef isn’t afraid to serve offal. We’ve also realized after having two large lunches on this trip that the restaurant does change the menu (not its entirety but a few dishes are swapped out). We started off with an incredible house cured sardines on toast. The thick, olive oiled country bread is..

Recent Recipes

Bourbon Miso Pecan Brownies (Gluten Free, Butter Free)

[Translate] I love fudgy brownies. But I’ve been wondering over the years as I’ve been baking these rich, fudgy squares does it really require the half pound of butter in that batch, even if I do melt a substantial amount of chocolate? After some naval gazing and an opportunity to collaborate with Four Roses Bourbon, I had an eureka moment. I know it sounds insane to not bake with butter (and I do love my butter) but for the sake of curiosity and experimentation, you can have a fudge-y, dense brownie. Partially inspired by the macaron cookie, you can create..

Baba al Bee’s Knees

[Translate] Valentine’s Day is coming up and the award winning gin, Bluecoat American Dry Gin has asked me to create a Valentine’s Day inspired cocktail. Instead of doing another cocktail, I wanted a challenge and create a boozy cocktail dessert. Everyone knows baba al rum is a French classic yeast-risen cake soaked in lots of sweet rum syrup and possibly served with a side of fluffy whipped cream. Technically, this yeast cake is a great sponge to soak in any booze or flavored syrup you can dream of. I thought, “Why not something with gin?” Bluecoat gin is a beautiful,..

Blueberry Almond Buttermilk Pancakes with Blueberry Lemon Compote for National Blueberry Pancake Day

[Translate] I may be early for National Blueberry Pancake Day (that day in the U.S. falls on January 28th) but I always feel like there’s never a bad day to make a batch of these babies and eat them. There’s something comforting about having a small or tall stack of these warm, fluffy, slightly crisp cakes with a few bright bites of blueberries at home and at your leisure. I have collaborated with Driscoll’s to highlight their fresh, high quality blueberries and incorporate them into my blueberry almond buttermilk pancakes. I wanted to emphasize the blueberries even further by making..