Food Reviews

Good Food and Cocktails at Villanelle (NYC)

[Translate] Villanelle refers to a 16th-century Neapolitan style of melodic poetry consisting of 19 lines. The space has a subdued, earthy look with pine beams running along the bar area, and white brick walls and gray banquettes in the dining room. We stopped by one frigid evening to have dinner and started off with cocktails that run the spectrum from creative takes on classics like the Paul Revere – a nod to the period and it’s a fantastic, smoked version of the Old Fashioned. The Merciless Beauty, as we were informed by the wait staff, a take on the martini...

Three Pillars Bar Lounge – Cozy, Upscale and Great Drinks and Japanese Food (NYC)

[Translate] There’s lots of bars in New York City and its nightlife give you a wide range to choose from the bustling, hole-in-the-wall to the really nice, upscale lounges that may reside in hotels. A relative newcomer from the Suzuki Hospitality Group (the group that owns the 1* Michelin sushi and seasonal kaiseki restaurant called Suzuki and a sushi bar counter seating restaurant, Satsuki) has Three Pillars Bar. This upscale yet cozy lounge is found across the hall from Suzuki restaurant. When you enter through the doorway, you’d see the short foyer filled with crystals dropping from the ceiling making..

Solid, Upscale Szechuan Cuisine at Hwa Yuan (NYC)

[Translate] Hwa Yuan is a new upscale Szechuan restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown. This restaurant started by the son of one of New York’s legendary Chinese restaurants. Hwa Yuan (the original opened in the 1980s) closed years ago and seminal Chinese restaurateur Shorty Tang died, his son Chen Lieh Tang reopened this current restaurant in hope to revitalize this part of Chinatown. The restaurant is spacious having three floors, taking up the space of what was Bank of China. The basement is the kitchen and private dining room that was the safety deposit room of the bank. The main floor and..

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

[Translate] 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..

Santorini by Georgios at Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach (Miami, FL)

[Translate] One of the relaxing (and very stomach fulfilling) days I have spent in Miami was at Santorini by Georgios at Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach. We’ve explored Little Havana during the morning to check out the predominantly Cuban community and had fresh pressed sugar cane juice then drove down to South Beach for some sun time. Santorini by Georgios feels like a local Greek restaurant since it’s a family owned joint despite the fact it is in a boutique hotel. This not a bad thing at all since everyone greets and treats you like you are a friend or part..

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..