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Choice Eats 2017

Choice Eats 2017

[Translate] This year’s Village Voice‘s Choice Eats is another great food event that took place at the Metropolitan Pavilion on Friday. There’s lots of great bites provided from the fifty or so restaurants and shops like Chefs Club, Doughnut Plant, Glasserie, La Vrai Raclette, The Lucky Bee, Pinto Garden, The Black Ant, Buka, The Gander, The Handpulled Noodle, Raclette, Huertas, ilili Box, and Underwest Donuts. We really adored the plmeatates of shrimp noodles salad and spicy wontons from Mooncake Foods. Great, balanced flavors from both dishes and they were cooked very nicely. The shrimp salad was savory, a little sweet..
A Fun Dinner at Mini Bar by José Avillez (Lisbon, Portugal)

A Fun Dinner at Mini Bar by José Avillez (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] If you want dinner that is expertly prepared and cooked with seriously good cocktails without the pretense in Lisbon, I would steer you to Mini Bar, one of Chef José Avillez’s eight restaurants in Lisbon and he’s the few chefs in Portugal pushing the country’s cuisine to the modern times (and he is also a Michelin-starred chef). For those who have been to Barcelona and dined at Tickets, Mini Bar’s casual atmosphere and food feels like an homage to the restaurant, since Chef Avillez has worked with Ferran Adria at El Bulli. The ‘El Bulli olives’ that kick off..
Varanda Restaurant at Four Seasons Lisbon, Hotel Ritz (Lisbon, Portugal)

Varanda Restaurant at Four Seasons Lisbon, Hotel Ritz (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] Four Seasons Lisbon, Hotel Ritz was built in 1959 by the Dictator Salazar to prove that Lisbon could do luxury as well as any other European capital. More than half a century later it is still setting the bar, managed now by the Four Seasons Group, and still renowned for the service for which they have always been famous. Designed by renowned Portuguese architect Porfirio Pardal Monteiro and built atop one of Lisbon’s many hills to maximize city views, this monolithic structure houses Art Deco-meets-Louis XVI interiors embellished by more than 400,000 square feet of Portuguese marble and Norwegian..
O Prego da Peixaria (Lisbon, Portugal)

O Prego da Peixaria (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] In a relaxed environment, where different people come together and share tables is what Prego da Peixaria is all about. Situated right next to the Botanical Gardens in the heart of Príncipe Real, it’s a restaurant with a contemporary rustic touch, urban and unpretentious, whose beautiful graffiti, illuminated by the lovely skylight, jumps right out at you. It’s a buzzing restaurant with lots of locals hanging out here when we arrived. The restaurant’s name, a prego is a Portuguese version of a burger except it’s made of thin slices of beef steak. Or in the case of peixaria, a..
Palacio Chiado (Lisbon, Portugal)

Palacio Chiado (Lisbon, Portugal)

[Translate] The Príncipe Real district recently transformed into a shopping gallery, came the transformation of Quintela Palace in Chiado into a gastronomic destination. Each of the beautiful 18th-century rooms, spread over two floors, have different concepts (a total of seven. (more…)
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..

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

Pistachio, Yuzu, Chocolate Feuilletine Cake

[Translate] Chinese New Year (or what others would generalize this holiday, Lunar New Year) is coming up this Thursday and if you really want to make a dessert to impress your family and friends, this pistachio, yuzu, chocolate feuilletine cake, would be it. I chose these flavors centered on the pistachio. Even though pistachio is my favorite nut and flavor, in Chinese New Year traditions, this nut means happy nut and symbolizes happiness. Thankfully, my family isn’t staunchly stuck on tradition; I’ve incorporated a mix of Chinese tradition with French pastry technique for this dessert. (more…)

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,..