Food Reviews

Azul Historico (Mexico City)

[Translate] Chef Ricardo Muñoz Zurita has several restaurants in the Mexican capital, and the best of them is Azul Histórico, located in the Downtown México hotel and retail complex in the Centro Histórico neighborhood. The setting is atmospheric: rough-hewn wooden tables sit on a stone courtyard of the 17th-century building, surrounded by trees draped with lights. The restaurant is a favorite among locals, who make reservations here for special celebrations and business meetings, as well as out-of-towners in the know. (more…)

Altesi Downtown (NYC)

[Translate] If you want of some tiny bit of solace from the craziness of SoHo, there’s Altesi Downtown. This Italian (Tuscan cuisine, to be a little more precise) restaurant is spacious and even though it has a fair amount of diners, it never gets too loud while we were dining there on a recent evening. The dining room features an elevated platform that can open to the street, offering quick alfresco dining. Meanwhile, further to the rear, a wine wall dominates the back of the restaurant as the seats transition into more of a cozy vibe. Visible from all seats..

Guzina Oaxaca (Mexico City)

[Translate] Oaxacan food is praised throughout Mexico for its rich moles, umami-rich insects, stewed meats, and deep nuances. Guzina Oaxaca (translated: Oaxaca Cuisine) is by proprietor/chef Alejandro Ruíz. Chef Ruíz is a native from Oaxaca and opened this restaurant in the affluent neighborhood of Polanco in 2014, to have the Mexico City natives (and tourists) believe in the fact that Oaxacan food can be upscale, despite the fact it’s culturally rich. The restaurant is decorated like I’m in an elegant beach-type of restaurant – light colors of creamy beige, soft greens, and warm wood, embroidered pillows; green cantera stone salt..

Jules Basement (Mexico City)

[Translate] When it opened, Jules Basement was intended to be a speakeasy-style bar, a secret spot known only among friends and friends of friends who spread the news that there was an literal underground bar behind a refrigerator door in a taco restaurant at Julio Verne 93. Jules Basement has become a magnet for bar hoppers who love craft cocktails and hangouts where decor is as important as drinks. With respect to the former, expect a black-and-white color scheme, lots of texture on the ceiling and bar, and Damien Hirst-esque skulls (minus the shimmering diamonds). Since we were there on..

Dinner at Dulce Patria – A Vibrant Expression of Mexican Cuisine (Mexico City, MX)

[Translate] There’s a healthy number of fine dining Mexican restaurants in Mexico City. The most obvious and most talked about restaurant is Pujol, which I will write about soon but there’s also a restaurant led by a strong woman, chef and restauranteur Martha Ortiz called Dulce Patria, meaning Sweet Homeland. (Ms. Ortiz has another restaurant, Ella Canta in London, U.K.) This restaurant is consistently listed among Latin America’s top 50 restaurants for the past few years. The restaurant had tables filled with diners on a Wednesday night and enjoying Chef Oritz’s bold, vibrantly flavored food that has an artistic, sensual,..

Hotel Reviews

5* Luxury at the Flagship Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

[Translate] Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is a legendary, luxury hotel in Central, Hong Kong. It is the flagship of all of the Mandarin Oriental properties. It passed its 50-year anniversary in 2013 and it’s a decades-long favorite of visiting dignitaries and celebrities like Margaret Thatcher and Henry Kissinger. When you enter the main entrance, you are greeted by professional staff and a bustling reception area where business people and well-to-do locals are checking in. The lobby is adorned with sleek, signature black marble walls, glamorous crystal chandeliers, and beautiful Asian inspired decor. The hotel has form of 10 different restaurants..

Dim Sum at Lung King Heen at Four Seasons Hong Kong (3* Michelin)

[Translate] Lung King Heen (龍景軒) at Four Seasons Hong Kong is the only 3* Michelin Cantonese restaurant (an accolade held since 2009) and currently ranked 20th World’s Best Restaurant in Asia, located in the bustling Central district. When we arrived to the fourth floor and enter the restaurant, the staff was welcoming. The restaurant itself is adorned with discreet Chinese motifs, polished woods and – a standard for any high-end hotel eatery in this city – views of Victoria Harbour. This restaurant is very popular and primarily filled with affluent locals. If you want dinner reservations, you should book about..

Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi (Tokyo, Japan)

[Translate] Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunounchi. It’s in the heart of the business district and it is boutique hotel with 57 rooms. This hotel is designed by Yabu Pushelberg; Andre Fu designed the hotel’s restaurant Motif. It’s chic and modern; decorated with warm, neutral tones and accents of wood. It makes you feel comfortable but it’s all luxurious. We whisked up to the seventh floor to the hotel’s restaurant Motif for afternoon tea. Seated at lounge area of the restaurant, The hotel’s teas are by a German tea brand Ronnefeldt (this brand started in 1823). Since it was a humid..

Fantastic Chef’s Tasting Menu at Sense at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan)

[Translate] In a city that has the most Michelin stars in the world, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo takes pride of their awards and stars seriously. Sense at Mandarin Oriental is a 1* Michelin Cantonese restaurant in a 6* diamond, luxury hotel. Other restaurants within this hotel that share this prestige are Signature (French) and Tapas Molecular Bar (molecular gastronomy). When I arrived to the 37th floor and was greeted by the sight of sleek, dark wood and black marble restaurant with tables covered in heavy cotton candy pink tablecloth that reminds me of my childhood dining at Chinese banquettes. The best..

Lovely Afternoon Tea at The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel (NYC)

[Translate] The Palm Court at The Plaza is arguably one of the best hotel afternoon teas in New York City I’ve had in the longest time. Chef Geoffrey Zakarian re-launched the iconic Palm Court at The Plaza hotel with a renovation by Master Architect Thierry Despont almost a year ago. The renovation does result in bringing natural, floral elements inspired by Central Park (and it has the classic English elements that reminds me of another landmark, The Ritz in London, UK). Despite the fact it sounds quite touristy but you should go there once just to check out the scene...

Recent Recipes

Fourme d’Ambert Blue Cheese, Thyme, Cayenne, Tomato Jam Popovers

[Translate] Recently, Cheeses of Europe generously sent me a package of Mimolette and Fourme d’Ambert from the best cheese shop in New York City, Murray’s Cheese (as part of “Make it Magnifique” campaign). It felt like Christmas since I love cheese! Mimolette’s bright orange paste and dusty exterior tastes something akin to gouda. Sweet-salty, caramelized flavor but has the texture of Parmigianno Reggiano (hard, dense and easily shaved). The Fourme d’Ambert is a mild, earthy, cow’s milk blue cheese. It is creamy and lacks the spicy funk in Roquefort. The latter is a good thing, especially for some of my..

Celebrating International Bacon Day 2014

[Translate] International Bacon Day is today! It seems pretty convenient that this year it falls on the long Labor Day weekend so if we overindulged in bacon-centered dishes, we can either sleep it off or go on a longer workout to burn it off. At any rate, the inaugural Famrland Bacon Treasure Hunt is commencing and folks who are located in Denver, St. Louis and Kansas City can participate. But us New Yorkers will celebrate by baking, cooking, and eating a whole bunch of bacon. Trust me, when you have a bacon loving boyfriend, he thinks this is Christmas and..

Maple Pecan Thyme Cayenne Pie

[Translate] Tonewood Maple Syrups and Maple Cube; Schermer Pecans Tonewood is a Vermont based brand that creates one of the most superior maple syrups I have ever tried. They recently took home the with Sofi Gold award. Schermer is a Georgia farm established in 1946, growing one of the finest buttery pecans. As they are great by themselves as well as together. As much as every American knows maple pecan pie, I wanted to make it a bit savory and throw in some dried thyme and a pinch of cayenne. Also to play along the savory note, I used Four..