Category Archives: Food

I enjoy eating delicious food and trying dishes I’ve never had before! Here is where I share some pictures and my dining experiences at the restaurants.

5 Things to Try This Month – October 2017

When I think of October, I think about the changing color of the maple leaves and the chilly weather in Seattle.  These are the clear signs of the arrival of Fall. 

Below are five things I’d like to try this month to help me enjoy the Fall season.


Bake for Fall

I love to bake pumpkin loaf in the Fall. I’ve been having my eyes on the Williams Sonoma’s Nordic Ware Fall Loaf Pan, and I finally bought it last week. I plan to use my new Fall loaf pan to bake different kind of cakes this month.
Nordic Ware Fall Loaf Pan


Sea Urchin Feast

Sea urchin (uni) is one of my favorite seafoods. It tastes especially good when it is freshly opened up. On this past Friday, my friend hosted a uni feast party for our October gathering. We paired the uni with sake, and it was perfect. I plan on hosting a uni feast for my family this weekend.


Add Long Earrings to Wardrobe

Swarovski recently came up with new long crystal earrings. This is the exact earrings I’ve been looking for. This will come handy when I dine out with my friends during the upcoming Seattle restraurant week.
Swarovski Fit Long Pierced Earrings


Attending Private Fall Shopping Party

Nordstrom is hosting a private Fall shopping party this month in its local stores. I will be joining my friend for one of these private shopping events at the Nordstrom in Seattle area this Sunday. And we plan to get together for drinks before the event starts.  We are very excited to check out the shopping party!


Experiment with Skin Care Products

My skin tends to get dry in Fall and Winter. To help myself get through this season, I plan to experienment with different kinds of body lotion and ointments to keep my skin moisturized throughout the season.
Cerave Moisturizing Cream


The Picasso Restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel In Las Vegas

The first fine dinning experience I had in Las Vegas was at the Picasso restaurant (French cuisine) in the Bellagio hotel, back in year 2005. I was there celebrating our best friend’s engagement. My memory of the restaurant was upscale decoration, fancy food, and great  wine!

It has been a long time since my last visit to the Picasso restaurant, because there were too many great restaurant options on the Vegas Strip, and the Picasso restaurant was closed sometime during last year for renovation. But I finally had the chance to eat there during  my recent trip to Las Vegas!

As I walked into the Picasso restaurant by the award-winning chief, Julian Serrano, I recognized the newly renovated interior. It looked different than what I remembered, but the restaurant was still unique and colorful. And the Picasso paintings were all over the walls just as they used to be.


I’ve dined at most restaurants in the Bellagio property many times, such as the Prime Steakhouse, Le Cirque,  and Todd English’s Olives. I’ve also sat at the tables right by the window, where I could enjoy the closer view of the Fountain of Bellagio. But for this time at Picasso, we preferred to sit at the table a slightly away from the window, so I could sat back and get a bigger view of the fountain via the window frames throughout the night.

My friend and I ordered the prix fixe menu ($118 per person). We got to choose from the menu for each part of the three-course meal and a dessert in the end.

I ordered Poached Oysters, Roasted Langoustine, Roasted Milk-Fed Veal Chop. And my friend ordered Crème of Butternut Squash, Sautéed Filet of Scottish Salmon, and Sautéed Filet of Black Bass. (The pictures are presented below in the order of the list.)

Poached Oysters

Roasted Langoustine


Roasted Milk-fed Veal Chop

Crème of Butternut Squash

Sautéed Filet of Scottish Salmon


Sautéed Filet of Black Bass

My friend and I were craving for different food on the night we went to Picasso (as you could tell from the items we ordered). But all of our dishes were delicious.

I love to sample a variety of foods. I was very satisfied with my choices. The Poached Oysters (garnished with Osetra Cariar) were slightly warmer than the regular chilled oysters, but they were delicious.

The Roasted Langoustine was prepared exactly to my liking. The other restaurant that makes a great langoustine is Joel Robuchon in MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. And the Roasted Milk-Fed Veal Chop is the perfect main course. It was tender and flavorful.

I tried a bit of my friend’s dishes; they were also very tasty.

I’d say no fancy meal is completed without a nice drink. I ordered a Hemingway Daiquiri cocktail drink. It is made of Bacardi Light, Luxardo Maraschino Cherries, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, and Fresh Lime Juice. The drink tasted different than other Hemingway Daiquiris I’ve had in the past, but it was definitely very good.

Hemingway Daiquiri

After we finished our delicious three-course meal, we were pretty stuffed. When it came to ordering the desserts in the end, I got to make the choices for both of us, because my friend wasn’t as into desserts and I was.

For desserts, we ordered Chocolate Bread Pudding and Pineapple Tart. My friend only had a few bites of each dessert, and I basically ate all of the them. (When it comes to desserts, I just couldn’t resist the temptation of the delicious sweets sitting right in front of me! )

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Pineapple Tart

Our overall experience of the Picasso restaurant in the Bellagio hotel was great! The services was outstanding, food was unique, and the ambience was perfect.

I’d say for a fancy restaurant like the Picasso in the Bellagio Hotel, the price we paid for our meal was well spent.

 

 

5 Things to Try This Month – May 2017

May is the perfect time to embrace the Spring season! Among many things I planned to do in May, are: a family trip to Universal Studios Hollywood with my nieces, improve  my makeup techniques, and indulge myself for endless crepe desserts.

Listed below are my five things to try list for May. Hope it will inspire you to enjoy the season of Spring.


Improve My Makeup Techniques

During the first weekend of May, Nordstrom in Bellevue, Washington is hosting an event to promote the beauty brand, Charlotte Tilbury. It is created by the famous celebrity makeup artist, Charlotte Tilbury. Before the promoting event weekend, one of the celebrity makeup artist, Kate, from Charlotte Tilbury, was giving a master makeup class on May 4th. I attended the session and had a great time learning the makeup brand’s new products.


Indulge in Layers of Crepes

I love to eat desserts and my recent sweet obsession is the Mille Crêpes cake from Lady M Confections bakery. Each Mille Crêpes cake is made of more than twenty thin layers of crepes and filled with light pastry cream between each layer. My favorite flavor from Lady M is the Green Tea Mille Crêpes cake. To satisfy my sweet tooth, I ordered the Mille Crêpes in Green Tea and Strawberries (seasonal)  to share with my family!


Break In the Summer Sandals

After the record rain in the Seattle area this winter, we finally got some long-awaited sunshine, This is the perfect time to break in your summer shoes. Try something with 3-D flowers, like Charlotte Olympia – Tara Embellished Metallic Leather Sandals.

Charlotte Olympia Tara Embellished Metallic Leather Sandals


Family Trip to the Universal Studios Hollywood

I don’t usually go to theme parks, but when I do, it’s always with my nieces. In the beginning of May, we went to the Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. Our first stop at the theme park was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. To avoid the long line, we arrived to the theme park right at 8:00 am when it was first open. We had the luxury of riding the rides (twice) before the crowds came in. I also took the photo right in front of the Hogwarts Express train with a cast member.


Expand My Reading Topics

I learned some basic Blackjack strategies in the past, but it was all based on the memorization of the Blackjack strategy cards. Every now and then I would play a few hands of Blackjack game in Vegas for fun (but I would only play it when I am with my experienced friends).  This month, I plan to go to Vegas with some family friends and I though it might be interesting to read up on the famous “Beat the Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One” book, by Edward O. Thorp. I am only half way through reading the book, but I am already fascinated with the explanations on the game strategies. I don’t plan to play a lot of Blackjack while I am in Vegas, but it would be great to understand what I am doing when I play!

Beat The Dealer: A Winning Strategy for the Game of Twenty-One


Harvest by Roy Ellamar Restaurant at Bellagio Las Vegas

Last year July, I ate at the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant in the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant was the new additional to the Bellagio property. It replaced the Sensi restaurant (Italian, Asian, American and Seafood fusion), at the location by the Bellagio Spa Tower.

It has been too long since I dined at the Sensi restaurant (in Year 2009), so my memory of the dinning experience at the restaurant is limited to good service and some pictures of my meal. It was good, but wasn’t good enough for me to have the urge to go back there again.

During my first visit to the new Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurants in July 2016, my friend and I shared a bone-in ribeye steak and pork chop for the main entre, crushed potatoes, creamed spinach, and sautéed spinach for side dishes.

(Picture of the Bone-in Ribeye steak)

(Picture of the Pork Chop)

(Picture of the Sides: Crushed Potatoes, Creamed Spinach, and Sautéed Spinach)

The sautéed spinach wasn’t on the menu. But my friend and I were craving for it, so we asked our waiter to put in a special request for it.

And as always, our craving was much bigger than the amount we could actually eat! I walked into the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant with an open mind for trying the new restaurant and ended up with a fully satisfied tummy. The food and the service at the Harvest by Roy Ellamar were great! Especially the bone-in ribeye steak we had.

During the past holiday season, I came across the picture of the ribeye steak I ate at the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant, and it made me crave for the same ribeye steak I had.

A few months later, I finally got the chance to go back to the Harvest by Roy Ellamar restaurant. My friend and I shared the bone-in ribeye I’d been longing for and the Harvest rotisserie chicken. We limited our sides to just crushed potatoes and brussels sprouts. (We learned our lesson from last time; three sides was too much!)

(Picture of the Harvest Rotisserie Chicken)


(Picture of the Brussels Sprouts)


My second dinning experience at Harvest by Roy Ellamar was as great as the first one! The bone-in ribeye steak tasted even better than I remembered (given that it was very good on my first visit already). The Rotisserie Chicken was surprisingly flavorful and tender.  Both the crushed potatoes and the brussels sprouts complemented the ribeye steak and the rotisserie chicken perfectly.

I have to say the two dinning experience at Harvest by Roy Ellamar were equally great! I will definitely include this restaurant in my Top Ten Restaurants in Las Vegas Strip list!

Spain Trip – Barcelona Day Two

My first day in Barcelona, Spain, went very well. The next day (Day Two) I woke up at the break of dawn and enjoyed the view of the Barcelona coast.

From our hotel room window, I saw the first shred of sunlight hitting the buildings by the coast, and the light from the lamps reflecting in the water.  The natural and artificial light combination created a peaceful and beautiful view. To me, this is a perfect view I wouldn’t mind to wake up to everyday!


(Picture of the view from our hotel room.)

Since we were on vacation, my friend and I decided to take it easy by taking our time to get ready. Instead of eating in the restaurant on the W Hotel Barcelona property, we wanted to adventure out of the hotel to look for a breakfast place.

After about a 10-minute walk from our W Barcelona property, we found a restaurant, “Amarre 69”, which was opened for breakfast. Both of us ordered Americano coffee and breakfast with sausage and egg.



(Picture of the Americano coffee and the breakfast at “Amarre 69” restaurant.)

The Americano coffee was the perfect espresso drink. Not only did it smell very good, it also tasted very delicious. And the bacon in my breakfast was especially good. I don’t usually eat bacon in the States, but the bacon I had during my Spain trip was more like fried thick prosciutto (which happens to be one of my favorites).

After we finished the breakfast, we headed over to Park Güell in Carmel Hill. Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a famous architect whose great work includes Sagrada Família. (Stay tuned for blog posts on Park Güell and Sagrada Família.)

After we left the park, we were starving. We found a restaurant off the Internet which opens earlier than most places in Barcelona. The restaurant was called “Restaurant 7 Portes”.

At the “Restaurant 7 Portes”, my friend and I had glasses of wine, Catalan flat bread, Jamón (ham), and paella. We ordered two kinds of paella; one with meat and seafood and one with black squid ink.

Everything we had in the “Restaurant 7 Portes” was great and the bill was unexpectedly inexpensive. After the dinner we walked back to our W Barcelona hotel. The walk was nice; we got the night view of Barcelona and the W Barcelona.


More on the Barcelona Trip – See Day One

Spain Trip – Barcelona Day One

It has been over a month since I returned home from a Winter Holiday Trip to Spain. I now finally have the time to recapture the memorable Spain trip.

Just an hour before I left home to head over to Sea-Tac airport, I was still scrambling to get the last minute of my job work done. It wasn’t until my friend and I were on the way to the airport that I started to wind down and realized I was going on the vacation – a trip to Spain. The exciting feeling of the anticipation finally flew into my mind.

The first destination of our Spain trip was Barcelona. We arrived in Barcelona on December 28, 2016; a sunny lovely day. For someone coming from Seattle like me, a pretty sunny day in December is always a gift. (See below, view from our flight.)

My friend and I checked into our room at the W Hotel in Barcelona. Thanks to my friend’s connections, we got a room with the pretty view of the coast. (See below) For me, the view of the coast in some way is nicer than the full ocean view. This is especially true when it comes to dawn.

Right after we got into our room, we were exhausted from our international flights. We unpacked our luggage, took turns taking showers, and took a short nap. We knew that in Spain, people usually eat dinner around 9:00pm or 10:00pm. And we planned to meet my friend’s friends from Barcelona at 9:00pm. It will be our first real meal in Spain.

The good thing about having friends from the local area when you travel is that you don’t have to worry too much about planning where you eat or where to go for sightseeing. The local experts will provide you more information than any tour guide books you prepare.

My friend’s friends from Barcelona showed us the famous La Rambla. The north of La Rambla has more nice cafés and retaurants, whereas the south of La Rambla has more street vendors and street cafes.

We also walked by Casa Batllo (by Gaudi). The architecture was decorated for the Winter Holiday. (See below for Casa Batllo)


While we walked along the La Rambla, most restaurants were packed, so we ended up in Piscolabis Rambla restaurant. My friend and I had the first taste of tapas in Barcelona. (I had many tapas in the States, but the experience was kind of different than the tapas I had in the States, mainly because I was eating it in Spain. The Jamón was great.)

(Our first tapas in Barcelona)


During dinner, I was enjoying the friendly company, the tapas, and the wine. I was also unwinding from the 14 hours of flights (include a short layover), and embracing the fact I was in Spain for vacation – my first trip to Europe.

After the dinner, all of us went to the local bar in Dreta de l’Eixample. The bar had some interesting décor, including paintings. It also played American popular songs. For a tourist like me, new to Barcelona, listening to the familiar songs (from back home) in a laid-back bar, makes me wonder if I am really in Spain, far away from home!

After we left the bar in Dreta de l’Eixample, my friend and I went back to our W Hotel in Barcelona and checked out the lounge, Eclipse, on the top floor of our hotel. Each of us had a cocktail drink; I had one of my old time favorites, rum and coke. And my friend tried the bar’s signature drink.

The Elicpse lounge was much smaller than we expected, but we had a great time nevertheless.

Our conclusion for the first day in Barcelona was that food and wine were surprisingly inexpensive there. My friend and I love to drink wine and we definitely were in the right place!


More on the Barcelona Trip – see Day Two

Le Cirque Restaurant at Bellagio Las Vegas

I was in Las Vegas recently, staying at the Bellagio Hotel. It’s one of my top three favorite resorts in Vegas.

One night during my stay, I decided to eat at Le Cirque restaurant with a friend who had never eaten there.

CaviarAppetizer

Before I go on, let me say that the Bellagio, for many years, had two restaurants right next to each other — Le Cirque and Circo. Many people, including me, would confuse these two restaurants because their names were so similar (and owned by the same family).

Anyway, after 15 years, Circo closed down in late 2014 and was replaced by a new restaurant “Lago” by chef Julian Serrano. Circo was an Italian – Mediterranean style place. Le Cirque is more French inspired.

CircoRestaurant

So, one evening I ate at Le Cirque with my fried. The restaurant was very fancy. The experience was every bit as excellent as the last time I was there with a gang of girlfriends, the last time I ate there.

If you’re ever in Vegas, Le Cirque at Bellagio should be on your list of places to consider if you’re in the mood for a very fancy dinner!

 

Spring 2016 Trip to Taipei, Taiwan

I recently returned from a two-week Spring trip to Taipei, Taiwan.  It has been over eight years since I visited Taipei.  I was very excited to see friends and family, and to eat all of the delicious food in Taiwan.

The food in Taipei was amazing.  And the time spent with friends and family was priceless.  While I was visiting Taipei, I also attended a family member’s wedding and learned how to make leather goods from scratch in my friend’s leather handbag store.

The weather in Taipei is very different than Seattle.  Taipei is warmer and more humid than Seattle.  For the trip, I packed a lot of short sleeve tops and some True Religion skinny jeans.  In case it gets chilly at night or indoor blasted with AC, I brought some cashmere cardigans with me; they are really light and easy to carry around in my bags.

Overall, my trip to Taipei was a blast.  I enjoyed every moment.  I just wish it could have lasted longer!

The Signature Drink at the Bardot Brasserie by Michael Mina

At a recent trip to Las Vegas, I ate at the Bardot Brasserie restaurant by Michael Mina, at the Aria Hotel.  Before dinner, I tried their signature drink called “And God Created Women”, made with Citadelle St. Germain, Angostura bitters and egg white with the wine-based aperitif, Byrrh.

And God Created Women

(“And God Created Women” Cocktail Drink)

Bardot Brasseri Bar
(Bardot Brasserie Bar)

Stripsteak Restaurant by Michael Mina in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is known mostly for gambling and shows, but the city has some of the best restaurants in the world. On a recent trip to Vegas with my girlfriends, I ate at two well-known steak restaurants in the city. Interestingly, both of these world-class steakhouses were in the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

My friends and I stayed at the Delano Hotel, which is actually a hotel-in-a-hotel inside the Mandalay Bay hotel. There’s also a second hotel-in-a-hotel inside Mandalay Bay, The Four Seasons. The Delano used to be called The Hotel, but the property changed names recently. My guess is that ‘The Hotel’ just wasn’t distinctive enough.

Fish

Anyway, the first steakhouse we ate was Charlie Palmer Steak in the Four Seasons Hotel in Mandalay Bay. The second well-known steakhouse we ate at was Stripsteak by Michael Mina in the main Mandalay Bay hotel restaurant row.

My first impression on walking in was that Stripsteak was a bit more casual and relaxed than a classical steakhouse. Stripsteak was bright and lively and even at 6:00 PM there were a lot of people at the bar.

My girlfriends and I went directly to our table. Our waitress was very perky and personable, and not at all snooty like waiters and waitresses at some fancy steakhouses.

RibEyeAndPotato

My two friends and I all shared our food. The night before we ate steak, and usually one meat meal per trip is enough for us. But for some reason we were still in the mood for steak so we had rib eye steak (again), and Alaskan cod, and Ahi Tuna. But before our main course, instead of the usual bread basket, our waitress brought us the restaurant’s signature French fries — three different kinds with three different dipping sauces. The fries themselves deserve a separate blog post!

The bottom line is that I give Stripsteak by Michael Mina a solid 9 out of 10. Great food, excellent atmosphere, good service, and reasonable prices make Stripsteak one of my highest recommended steakhouses in Las Vegas.