Tag : food-2

Travel | Decoded – Las Vegas Vanilla Edition

What pops into your mind when you think of Las Vegas? I’m thinking probably casinos, shopping malls, and clubs? After college, I’ve been visiting Las Vegas to get away from the cold and its delicious food, amazing entertainment, and pretty things.IMG_20140312_062722

This time, we stayed at Vdara Spa and Hotel, which turned out to be an excellent choice. Vdara does not have house a casino and is relatively tucked away with its valet only parking service. We stayed at the 40th floor with a perfect view of Bellagio and a little bit of the fountain.PhotoGrid_1397062491398The first place we tackled after arriving early in the morning is Hash House a Go Go at The Quad. It is in the middle of the casino floor and accessible by its exclusive escalator. Its dish was featured on Man vs Food and thus I had to try it. The line was quite long even at 10:30am, but after 30 min wait, we were in. When the famous Sage Fried Chicken & Waffles arrived, people around us kept asking to take photos of it because it was enormous.

Since we were super full, we went to The Cosmos (a partner hotel of Ritz-Carlton) and walked around and remembered a recommendation to try out the Secret Pizza Place. The place was not labeled and we were directed to the wrong floor. After wandering from the east tower to west tower and barging into employee resting area, we pored over the Yelp reviews to find that it was next to the Blue Ribbon Sushi on 3rd floor. Because it took us quite some time to find the place, now we are ready to down more food. It was delicious! Definitely recommend if you don’t have too much time and want to eat something quick.

PhotoGrid_1397060259059When we took the tram from Vdara to Bellagio, we saw an advertisement for Las Vegas restaurant week that actually fell on the week of our visit. For those who don’t know what restaurant week is, it’s basically a week where numerous restaurants come up with a 3 course lunch and/or dinner meal at a fixed price almost like prix fixe.

From the list, we chose Alizé at Palms, a one Michelin place and known as the restaurant with the best view. At 56th floor, seated at the corner, we had a breathtaking view of Las Vegas. The food was delicious (lighting was terrible for pictures, but the most important thing is in the experience, right?).


The following morning, we headed over to Aria‘s Jean Philippe for breakfast. It was difficult deciding between all the mouth-watering selections of crepes, desserts, and pastries, so we ended up with the variety sandwiches and sweet trio. The chilled sandwiches was delicious, despite being chilled, the bread was still soft and chewy. The flavor was decadent with mustard seed, water cress and other gourmet ingredients. The sweet trio is also my favorite with the mini rose macarons, peanut butter lollipop and crème brûlée.


For lunch, we drove off the strip to Bachi Burger and we were so glad we did. The must orders are oxtail chili fried, pork belly steam buns, truffle fries and their burgers. Since there were only two of us, we went with the pork belly steam buns, Kiki’s burger and Shogun burger with wagyu and fried egg. The steam buns were delicious, but Kiki’s is amazing! Angus beef with shitake, enoki, and eryngi mushroom, caramelized bacon and onion with sauce, who can resist?

PhotoGrid_1397058950096Then we head to the Las Vegas Strip and if you’ve never been, Coca Cola World and M&M World are must visits. At Coca Cola, try the 16 Coca Cola products around the world and believe me, try the Beverly then if you brave the whole cup, get the I tasted Beverly pin to show it.

At M&M world, watch the free 4-D movie, “I Lost My M In Vegas” at 3rd floor. It is silly but so cute. At the fourth floor, we bumped into the blue M&M and took a pic with him.PhotoGrid_1397059743342My favorite M&M products are actually the Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Munch, etc inspired t-shirts. The idea is brilliant. PhotoGrid_1397053903534We had planned to watch Celine Dion that night at Caesars and settled with Mesa Grill owned by Bobby Flay for a pre-show dinner. Since it is located right next to the Colisseum, it was the perfect place to dine without having to rush. My favorite is the coffee rubbed filet mignon and the unexpectedly delicious corn tamales.

PhotoGrid_1397058525763We decided to check out the Fremont St Experience, the place that all tours visit, but out-shined by the Strip. Parking is not free at hotels near Fremont St, so be prepared to pay for street parking or parking garages. The place is run down, but it’s the other side of Las Vegas that everyone should experience. (Every night from 6pm to midnight, there is a light show on the strip. If you have a chance, check it out!)

We also ran into Mint 400 track racing inspection near the end of Fremont St. and saw a lot of really cool roadsters and off-road race cars.

PhotoGrid_1397058744204I’ve been wanting to visit the High Roller Ferris Wheel anticipating its opening this spring, but alas when we went, it is still not ready. However, I felt better after getting the tall spiked slushie that I’ve always wanted to get but never had the chance. (You can purchase ticket now by going here. There is high demand, so purchase ticket online.)PhotoGrid_1397059152280The one lobby that I visit every single time I go to Las Vegas is Bellagio. Their flower arrangement follows the season and is always so refreshing. I love how this time, it seemed as though we’ve shrank to the size of a bug walking in a glamorous garden.PhotoGrid_1397059273886And of course, before we fly out, we headed to Jean Philippe at Bellagio this time to get the rose macaron.



My Recommendations

Bacchanal Buffet | Caesars
Wicked Spoon | The Cosmopolitan554571_1940186537796_1833001197_nThe Buffet at Aria (best for weekend brunch for crab legs and desserts by Jean Philippe)

539222_1940185937781_1471207798_nFine Dining
Alizé | Palms
Mesa Grill | Caesars

Fast Food
Bachi Burger | 470 E. Windmill Ln. Ste100
Secret Pizza Place | The Cosmopolitan

Jean Philippe | Aria or Bellagio

The O Show | Bellagio
Celine Dion | Caesars

Places to Visit
The Shops at Crystals
The Fashion Mall (There is live fashion show on Fri, Sat, and Sun from 12pm-5pm every hour. Takes place near Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom)
Las Vegas Premium Outlets
Palazzo | The Venetian
Forum Shoppes | Caesars

Coca Cola World
M&M World
Fremont St Experience
High Roller | The Linq
Bellagio Garden Lobby



Above: Aug 2013 Display | Below: View from Vdara Hotel Room


Where do you visit when you go to Vegas?

Thanks for reading ^^

Categories: Travel

Travel | My Magical Disney Experience: Orlando, Florida

It’s been two years since I’ve last been to Disneyworld. When my bro told my sis and I that he’ll be going to Orlando, Florida, for a conference, my sis and I had the perfect excuse to visit Disneyworld, which had the new Fantasyland open the previous year.

已經兩年沒去迪士奈樂園,這次拜我哥所賜,我姊跟我有了這個天賜良機再回溫ㄧ次。順便去看去年新完工的Fantasyland (美女與野獸的城堡)

Last time we stayed at Walt Disney World Swan, little did we know that it was a conference/ convention hotel and that like Dolphin, it does not have the special extra services like the other hotels from the series.


This time we were smarter, we booked a different hotel from the series and enjoyed a completely different experience. From one month before our trip, Disney started sending packages after packages with information, reminders, luggage tags, vouchers, and all kinds of other packages. It was a very personal experience with all packages personalized with your name and information.

這次定對飯店,收到好幾個包裹,有行李牌,接送車票,各項服務和簡介,和魔法手帶(Magic Band). 所有你有想到跟沒想到的事都幫你安排好了。


There are also vouchers for Disney Quest at Downtown Disney, Miniature Golf, Arcade, and many other activities, so if you are thinking of visiting Disneyworld and staying at one of the resorts, give yourself ample time to take advantage of all its magic. Did I mention the Disney Quest ticket itself is already $47.93 for an adult?

對了! 那一包一包裡面還有一本Coupon Book,免費去Disney Quest, 迷你高爾夫,遊戲間兌幣,和其他有的沒有的。如果要來Disneyworld, 要待久一點才利用的到每個設施。在 Downtown Disney 的 Disney Quest,到了才發現大人票一張$47.93。如果沒有兌換券,千萬不要浪費錢哦。

Since we visited two years ago, we didn’t think the experience would be THAT different and there was a mention about being picked for testing for the magic band. I was having trouble customizing it online and forgot about it until the trip just to find out how special the whole package was. The first package contains a USB that has the first clip you just saw as well as this second clip. And the magic bands arrived customized in your chosen color with your name in the back.

我呆呆的心想這兩年不會有太大的不同,魔法代的客制系統出問題我就沒有去追究那當然也沒收到客製的包裹,真的虧大了。 哭哭~~~!



The main purpose of this trip was to visit Fantasyland, which we did and took full advantage of the two new attractions, “Be Our Guest” Restaurant and Enchanted Tales with Belle.



If you’ve grown up with Disney, you’d find all of these scenes familiar. The mosaic, the entrance, the forbidden west wing and the bright ball room. All of which are dining space. Noticed the grey stuff? It’s delicious. Did I mention your magic band is tracked so they know exactly where to deliver your order…? Creepy cool!


At the Enchanted Tales with Belle, I’m not going to spoil the surprises for you, but you’ll have no idea how we got to here and that’s good because it’s supposed to be magical. We do however had an adorable beast as the volunteer who got to dance with Belle. *melt*



This time, the biggest difference was with the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. It was unlike before with random projections and random Disney guests’ photos, but rather this time, Disney combined music with various scenes from the movies to make it extra magical. Look! They even have Frozen and “Let It Go” already! With the spectacular prequel, I guess they cut down on the fireworks? It wasn’t as long or memorable as the previous time.


Just when we returned to the hotel night before leaving, we see this hanging outside of our hotel room. It’s our airport shuttle itinerary!! They’ve seriously thought this through.



Did I mention that if you have check in luggage, you can attach the yellow sticker prior to check-in and when you arrive at Disney, they would have already pulled your luggage out from the back and delivered to your hotel? And if your departing flight is after 8am, you can directly check in at the hotel.


Even though I just returned, I can’t wait to vacation there next time taking full advantage of their wonderful service and magical experience.


If you had photos taken by Disney staff, they tap your Magic Band and when you go home, you can access them and add all kinds of cute frames!

你如果有給迪士奈的員工照相,回家就可以把美美的照片都加上迪士奈特有的框框! 這也是新的,真後悔沒有多厚臉皮的叫他們照 (跟小孩搶好像也不是很好…)

Categories: Travel

Recipe | Honey Lavender Madeleines


These little delicacies have a long history and many theories about its origin. It may have been invented in Lorraine offered to the King of Poland or in Avice by the pastry cook to Price of Talleyrand, but doesn’t matter where it originated, these delicacies are easy to make and very delicious to consume.

No wonder madeleines were known in 17th century as “tôt-fait” (French for “quickly made”). It takes no more than 35 minutes total for the whole process including preparation and cooking.


Honey Lavender Madeleines
Adapted from Bijouxs and Pierre Hermes

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup wildflower honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
2 teaspoons dried culinary lavender
1/4 cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Night before | 20 minutes
1. Sift flour with baking powder
2. Melt butter and add dried lavender. Infuse for 10 minutes then discard lavender and cool (don’t over-infuse, lavender flavor will become overpowering)
3. Beat the eggs with sugar until pale (3-5 min)
Mix in honey
. Mix in flour and baking powder
6. Mix in cooled butter mixture into batter until smooth and homogenized
7. Cover the batter and refrigerate overnight (I’ve tried baking the batter as soon as 1.5 hours after refrigeration and they turned out fine)

Day of |15 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Butter the madeleine molds
3. Fill the prepared molds 2/3 full
4. Bake for 8 minutes
5. As soon as they come out of oven, unmold and transfer to wire rack to cool
6. Dust madeleines with powdered sugar before serving

If you don’t finish using the batter, you can store them for up to two days. I would say they are the best dessert if you have guests over on short notice.


My favorite presentation of madeleines is at db Bistro Moderne in New York. They were served warm and bite-size in a napkin folded like a lotus. It took the four of us less than 5 minutes to finish the whole basket of mini madeleines. And I spent the next 5 minutes trying to figure out how the basket was folded. You can imagine my surprise and relief when the waiter walked up to us and offered to teach us. Maybe I’ll cover how you can fold your own lotus basket with your napkin in future post.


db Bistro Moderne
55 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 391-2400

Categories: Food

Jean-Georges, The Last Supper NYC

If this were the last time you will be dining at NYC for some time, where will you visit?

My choice was Jean-Georges, the famed three Michelin Star Restaurant. Fortunately, we were able to get a reservation for 2:30pm for late lunch. Conveniently located in the Columbus Circle, we shopped around until our reservation time. With lush, off-white leather seating and large windows off of Central Park, it embodies the spirit of Manhattan.IMAG2039

We ordered the prix-fix course, but with the addition of many “on-the-house” small dishes, we felt like we were having a six course meal.


The foie gras brulee is not to be missed. The velvety interior melts in your mouth coupled with the crunchy exterior, it’s oh so heavenly. Paired with the  riesling jelly on the side makes this dish complete.

IMAG2030The sea urchin appetizer was soso, but I appreciate their attempt at Asian fusion.

imag2029The Crispy Confit of Suckling Pig, Rutabaga “Pudding” and Smoked Marmalade was my other favorite. Albeit difficult and messy to eat, the crunchy skin with the moist and tender meat leaves you lusting for more. It was already quite a big portion, but I’m sure I could have consumed another slice.

imag2031We paid extra for the caramelized wagyu and it was meh… I prefer the steak from Alexander Steakhouse in Silicon Valley.

imag2033The desserts were a different story. With a major sweet tooth, I had problem deciding between the options. I ended up with caramel swayed mostly by my preference for salted caramel ice cream because of my addiction after visiting Bi-Rite Creamery in SF. If you order prix-fix, do not skip the dessert!

IMAG2037I was already content with my selections of food that afternoon, just to be surprised by even more sweets. And yes, the white spongy pillow looking thing are their famous house made marshmellow. I was surprised by the black pepper, but it could’ve been more special. Among the sweets, I preferred the crunchy pieces. And don’t be fooled by the macarons, they look good, but because of their tiny size, they are dried out and unlike the luxurious chewy macaron you can go down the street to La Duree.

imag2038It’s quite an experience. Visit it at least once and you won’t be sorry.

I’ll introduce more delicious places in NYC later, but if I had to choose a place as my last meal, Jean-Georges will be on my list.

1 Central Park W
New York, NY 10023
(212) 299-3900

Categories: Food

Yummy Find: Doughnut Plant for the Perfect Doughnut

The Doughnut Plant was on the top of my to visit list before I set foot in New York. With raving reviews and impeccable rating of 4+ star, it is a must visit. There are so many delicious dessert places, but this is not to be missed. Their doughnuts are heaven in every bite. The cozy little space with the unique wall decor of doughnut cushions that actually look like some of the choices they have on the menu. Notice the square doughnuts, they do have them in square shaped, but no, they do not have Yankees doughnut.
 There are limited space in the cafe for sit down dining, but if you do happen to find seats, grab them and enjoy the waft of fresh doughnut and freshly brewed coffee. Notice the chairs, they are in doughnut shape too. So adorable!
This is my favorite – Creme Brulee Doughnut. These are quite small and they come in twos, but they are so exquisite. The burnt sugar on the top and succulent cream within tastes as if you are consuming a actual creme brulee. The chewiness of the dough adds on a layer of complexity in texture.
Matcha Green Tea Doughnut on the other hand is made with a cake dough, so it is more like a dense cake than a chewy doughnut. It’s good, but not nearly as mouth watering as the Creme Brulee.
l (1)
The square doughnuts tend to be on the sweeter side. I would just buy it because it’s a square doughnut. This is the PB&J, but I preferred the coconut creme despite being very sweet. One plus side to these doughnuts is that they do not go stale the following morning. They still taste chewy and delicious the morning after. Try it if you haven’t! Side Note: These little art works are quite pricey, so if you don’t want to have a hole in your wallet or pack on the pounds, consume sparingly.
l (2) There are two locations. One in Chelsea and one in Lower East Side. The one I visited was the one in Chelsea and here is the store information. And one last funny tip: visit their restroom. It’s highly reflective.
220 W 23rd St
(between 7th Ave & 8th Ave) 
New York, NY 10011
(212) 505-3700

Categories: Food

Breakfast of Choice

Patisserie 46, my new discovery in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The best way to wake up to a nice morning is sipping a cup of hot coffee or cocoa with beautifully executed latte art.


Lucia cake and pistachio macaron up close. Lucia is named after the P46 matriarchal Grandmother. With a traditional chocolate mousse, vanilla crème brulee, chocolate cake, and praline crisp, it is the perfect balance of bitter sweetness paired with a cup of hot cocoa.IMAG0054

Patisserie 46
4552 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Neighborhood: Southwest
(612) 354-3257

Categories: Food