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Food Reviews

Hairy Crab Feast at Si Ji Xuan at the Four Seasons Shanghai (Shanghai, China)

Lobby The Four Seasons Shanghai is one of the first luxury hotels in the city. (Let’s be clear about this and don’t confuse the other Four Seasons location in Pudong that’s opened in recent years.) This location in Puxi is centrally located in the downtown business district where there’s many commercial banks and company headquarters and see lots of white collared workers come out for a catered lunch as you’d pass by, and of course, luxury shopping malls to peruse or shop to your heart’s content.  The Four Seasons is bright and beautiful. The high-backed velvet chairs and contemporary chandeliers..

Midtown Shangri-La Hangzhou and Cheng Zhong Restaurant (Hangzhou, China)

Lobby Lobby centerpiece The other hotel I’ve stayed in Hangzhou was Midtown Shangri-La, Hangzhou. This Shangri-La hotel is the newest of the two in Hangzhou and interestingly this hotel is connected to the luxurious Kerry Centre Mall and about ten minutes to West Lake. This stately and centrally located hotel is great. Check-in was speedy and for the most part the receptionists spoke English fairly well. I stayed at the Executive Club King room so my room is on the floor of that lounge. (more…)

JW Marriott Hangzhou (Hangzhou, China)

Canopies of willow trees at West Lake Boats floating on West Lake West Lake, Hangzhou Next off to Hangzhou! My flight from Chengdu took me to Shanghai. Learning that Hangzhou is less than an hour away from Shanghai by way of the bullet train, I planned to head to this city for a few nights. The bullet train system in China is very efficient. It’s like any other train station I’ve been to in Europe: it’s lots of people waiting on lines and waiting around the central information area waiting for their gate information; chaotic to swim through the masses..

Li Xuan at The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu

Wide and Narrow Alleys (宽窄巷) during early morning If you have been following my Instagram feed recently, I meandered through four cities in China: Chengdu, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing. It’s a whirlwind of a trip that at times feel exhausting yet but it was all exhilarating and worth the hours on the plane and train. My first destination was Chengdu. This capital city of the Sichuan province is obviously famous for pandas (alas, I didn’t have time to see) and for most people, the city of mala (麻辣) spicy food. I admit I explored this city in a very limited..

International House Hotel and Loa Bar (New Orleans, LA)

Exterior As with many buildings in the Central Business District, exteriors and interiors tell very different stories. In this case, both are intriguing: The facade is an ornate twelve floors of early 20th-century Beaux Arts finesse, while the lobby is a low-lit haven for guests enjoying some tranquility and the various contemporary artworks that decorate the space (a Banksy mural is on display), all high ceilings, huge portraits, and oversized ottomans. The arty interior touches of designer L.M.Pagano create an evocative public space. (more…)

Hotel Reviews

Comfortable Stay at Boxotel (Montreal, Canada)

Reception /lobby area called Box Office” My Studio Queen Room Kitchenette inside the Studio Queen I was invited to a press trip to Montreal last week to explore this charming city that has both the Old World and modern. It has been about five years since I’ve been to this city and even though it’s generally familiar in terms of where are the popular neighborhoods are but life always moves on and certain trends pick up or went away since I last visited. I will write a general overview post of this trip soon but I’ll start with the individual..

Staying at the Legendary Shangri-La, Bangkok

Lobby area at Shangri-La wing Lobby lounge View of Chao Phraya River from outdoor terrace at Shangri-La, Bangkok My last hotel stay in Bangkok was at the legendary Shangri-La, Bangkok. This property is locally famous since it’s the second luxury hotel brand to be in Bangkok and to sum up the stay: it was grand to be there.  The Bangkok Shangri-La is the largest hotel property along the Chao Praya river, stretching a quarter of a mile north from Saphan Taksin bridge. It’s a short hop by boat to the city’s historical sites and a two-minute walk to Saphan Taksin..

Dinner at Celadon at The Sukothai Bangkok

Celadon Restaurant – Exterior Interior of one of the dining rooms Coconut water Celadon at The Sukothai Bangkok is its signature upscale restaurant offers a calming ambiance of teak, ceramics, and Thai silk. The restaurant is separate from the hotel and is surrounded by a picturesque pond full of beautiful lotus blossoms.  The restaurant takes its name from the green ceramic glaze (meant to resemble jade) for which Thailand is known. Celadon’s food is primarily based on Royal Thai cuisine. (more…)

Praya Kitchen and Yao Rooftop Bar at Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse

If you are looking for a place that has phenomenal 360-degree views you should head to Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse rooftop at Yao Rooftop Bar, which I will get to later on this post. This fairly new hotel (it opened Spring 2018) is situated on Surawong Road, Bangkok’s bustling thoroughfare that runs from the Chao Phraya River to Rama IV Road, Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse is surrounded by cultural attractions including Neilson Hays Library and Sri Maha Mariamman Temple. This property is the perfect jumping-off spot for travelers looking to explore Bangkok’s past and contemporary art scene. (more…)

Sophistication at The Okura Prestige Bangkok

The 24th floor lobby Room with awesome views When I stayed at The Okura Prestige Bangkok for a few nights, the first several minutes when I got there is the fact it is a very Tokyo kind of hotel. To explain, the hotel is found within a gleaming skyscraper, Park Ventures Ecoplex, that is shaped like a steel and glass rocket and its actual lobby with reception, concierge and most of its restaurants is up on 24th floor. (If you ever been to Tokyo, most large hotels are situated within tall skyscrapers and tend to have the middle and upper..

Recent Recipes

Savory Choux Pastry, Pâté with Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves

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…)

Pear Coffee Cake

I love coffee cake, especially those with huge knobs of buttery crumb topping and have it with a cup of coffee. When I came across the pear coffee cake recipe from the famed restaurant team of Eleven Madison Park’s book, I Love New York: Ingredients and Recipes it struck me as an interesting variation of that cake since I never had it made with fruit. Since it is a fancy recipe with no calories spared, I thought of toning down the fat content ever so slightly by replacing the crème fraîche with Icelandic Provisions skyr. Skyr is a cultured product made..

Lamb Persillade Savory Hand Pies

When it comes to the holiday season and I’m entertaining my family and friends, it’s a constant feeding, baking/cooking frenzy that I have to get up at the early hours of the morning to prep for the day of the big dinner (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, you name it). The best way to keep the crowds at bay and away from the kitchen is to provide them with snacks and a drink. While it’s easy to provide them with bowls of fresh roast nuts and platters of cheese and charcuterie, I like to give them something savory like these lamb..