Food Reviews

Great Stay (and Good Food to Boot) at Andaz Ottawa Byward Market (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

[Translate] Andaz Ottawa Byward Market was our home base when we were staying in Ottawa. This hotel juts up as the most prominent new high-rise in the ByWard Market, a 19th-century commercial district that now hums with both artisan goods shops and venerable Canadian department stores like Simon’s and Hudson’s Bay. Trendy bars and a few of the city’s best restaurants round out the mix. Art also meets power in this area between the National Gallery of Canada and Parliament Hill. All of these locations are within a fifteen to twenty minutes of walking so a car isn’t needed to..

Afternoon Tea at Zoe’s Lounge at Fairmont Château Laurier (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

[Translate] If there’s a hotel that is famous in Ottawa, it is the Fairmont Château Laurier. Not only for the stunning architecture but there’s so much history involved in this hotel. It was built as one of the classic railroad hotels by the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada a century ago, it is a massive turreted structure, a venerable castle that is remarkably spacious and very lovely inside. A friend and I decided to have afternoon tea here despite the fact it was still in the middle of a heat wave. (more…)


Black Walnut Bakery (Cumberland, Ontario, Canada)

[Translate] A surprising find from my drive from Montebello to Ottawa was Black Walnut Bakery. This bakery is very charming as it’s a large house painted in a sunny yellow and outfitted with a porch. It makes me think I will be entering my Southern grandmother’s home when I walked up the porch and through the white wooden door. As you walk down the hallway, there’s a door opened to a kitchen that was wrapping up the day’s work but not too far is the room where the display counter and small seating area lined up with locals waiting for..

Fantastic Coffee at Little Victories Coffee (Ottawa, Canada)

[Translate] Little Victories Coffee is an independently owned coffee shop between two coffee professionals (and friends) Andrew Bassett and Jeremie Thompson, who became disenchanted with Canada’s coffee industry. After experiencing the incredible divide in coffee quality between Canada and other parts of the world they felt obligated to help Ottawa compete on the global stage. Several global sourcing trips later, Little Victories Coffee Roasters began retail and wholesale operations across Ottawa. Within a year the fledgling company had contracts with over a dozen small and independent coffee shops supplying top shelf coffee beans and training across the Ottawa Valley. Since..

Hotel Reviews

Wonderful Stay at Alexis Hotel (Seattle, WA)

[Translate] Alexis Hotel is an upscale boutique hotel, featuring 121 eclectic guestrooms that cater to every possible personality, is about as perfectly located as a downtown hotel can be. Many of Seattle’s most desirable sightseeing destinations are within easy walking distance, as are a vast selection of top-notch restaurants. It also sits right on First Avenue, directly above Puget Sound; a few rooms do have partial water views but many face neighboring buildings. Better harbor views can be found at hotels a few blocks north. We stayed at the Fireplace Suite where it feels very cozy to curl up by..

Understated Luxury at St. Regis Vancouver

[Translate] St Regis Vancouver is an excellent, luxury boutique hotel in the center of downtown Vancouver. This hotel has no relation to the Starwood St. Regis Hotels but it is just as luxurious thanks to its attentive customer service and ample amenities. Rooms are outfitted with complimentary Fiji water (replenished daily), complimentary Wi-Fi access, L’Occitane toiletries and LCD TVs. But the free perks don’t stop with the accommodations: Guests also receive a complimentary breakfast for two and complimentary daily passes to the Steve Nash Sports Club, located one block west of the hotel. Located at corner of Dunsmuir and Seymour,..

Excellent Dim Sum at 8 Restaurant at Grand Lisboa Hotel 新葡京酒店賭場 (Macau)

[Translate] When you think of Macau, you would associate this former Portuguese controlled region for the glamour of Las Vegas. Except Macau has a fantastic dining scene from fine to street food like its neighbor Hong Kong. On the fine dining spectrum, 8 at Grand Lisboa Hotel is a glamorous 3* Michelin rated restaurant (since 2014. up to its current list for 2016) in Macau. It’s a very sleek restaurant that does serve the best dim sum I ever ate. Ever since that having 8’s dim sum, every other dim sum meal didn’t match up the deliciousness of what we..

Dinner at Tin Lung Heen 天龍軒 at Ritz Carlton Hong Kong (2* Michelin)

[Translate]   Since we’re staying at Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong and thoroughly enjoyed afternoon tea (my post here), we were curious about Tin Lung Heen. This is a high end Cantonese restaurant and earned consistently a 2* Michelin rating since 2013. Its floor to ceiling windows give a birds eye view over Victoria Harbour, and it is so high up that it is actually at or above the level of the clouds. This can be experienced when the clouds on occasion completely envelop the building, and the windows appear opaque due to the mist. To access the restaurant, take the express lift from..

Ritz Carlton Hong Kong – Amazing Presidential Suite & Fantastic Afternoon Tea at Café 103

[Translate] Ritz Carlton Hong Kong, relocated and opened in March 2011, is located on the top of Hong Kong’s tallest building (on floors 102 to 118) of the International Commerce Centre (ICC), with 484 meters or 1588 feet of the 7th tallest building in the world and the highest skyscraper in Hong Kong. If you don’t suffer from vertigo, it offers a stupendous panorama of Hong Kong island, Kowloon, the loops and swerves of Victoria Harbour that separates the two and the mountains that coddle both. You won’t see as astonishing a vista as this anywhere else in Hong Kong...

Recent Recipes

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..

Cranberry Orange Pecan Rolls

[Translate] Holiday treats with the pan of un-iced cranberry orange pecan rolls Happy Boxing Day! Hope many of your friends and families had a great holiday. Many of us usually think cranberries are for the holidays but I think of them as a great sweet-tart fruit that could be used year round. I finally found some time from my crazy schedule to use cranberries (what some people consider as “America’s original super fruit”) to bake cranberry orange pecan rolls for my family. (more…)