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.

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.

Charlie Palmer Steak Restaurant in Las Vegas

One of the reasons why I like visiting Las Vegas is that 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 same hotel — sort of.

SteakAndFish

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.

Anyway, the first steakhouse we ate at was Charlie Palmer Steak, in the Four Seasons Hotel in Mandalay Bay. My first impression on walking into the restaurant was that it was very traditional. The lighting was very low and the interior decor was dark. My friends and I were a bit early for our dinner reservation so we sat at the medium sized bar (about 16 seats).

SpinachAndPotatos

The bartender was very courteous, and somewhat formal, but not in a bad way. I ordered a glass of red wine. It was very good. My friends ordered white wine and a cosmopolitan. They were good too.

After finishing half of our drinks, we walked over to the hostesses and told them we were ready to be seated. The tables and chairs were very traditional, in keeping with the theme of the restaurant.

My friends and I ordered a rib eye steak, Alaskan halibut, and lamb shanks. We also ordered mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach. We all shared with each other. Everything was delicious as we expected.

Overall, I’d give Charlie Palmer a solid 7.7 on a scale of 1 to 10. Put another way, everything was good but not good enough for me to put Charlie Palmer on my must-return restaurant list. Many best-of lists put Charlie Palmer on their top 10 for steakhouses in Vegas, so if you haven’t tried it, you should at some point.

The Prime Steakhouse Restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas

Las Vegas has incredible restaurants — many are world-class. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I stayed at the Bellagio Hotel and ate dinner at their Prime Steakhouse restaurant.

The Prime is notable because it faces the large manmade lake in front of the hotel, and while dining you can watch the world famous Fountains of Bellagio water and light show.

I had an early reservation at 5:00 just at opening time. My friend and I had a table for two in a great location to see the water show. Before dinner I had a glass of red wine. It may sound silly, but many Las Vegas restaurants have amazing bread and butter before dinner. I forced myself to only eat a little bit of bread and butter because I knew the serving sizes at Las Vegas restaurants are huge.

My friend and I decided to share. We ordered a 28 oz. bone-in rib eye steak, medium rare, and Chilean sea bass. For side dishes we had Brussel sprouts with bacon and pear, and mashed potatoes.

PrimeDinner
Restaurant server cutting our Bone-in Rib Eye

Everything was amazing as I had expected for a famous restaurant. What surprised me a little bit was how good the Brussel sprouts were — I could have made an entire meal of just them and the mashed potatoes.

Brussels Sprout
Brussels Sprout
Bone-in Rib Eye and Chilean Sea Bass
Bone-in Rib Eye and Chilean Sea Bass

We saw the water show several times during out meal. Even though I’ve seen the Bellagio Fountain Show many times, it was still amazing.

PrimeWaterShow
The view of the Fountains of Bellagio by our window seats.

For dessert, we ordered coconut soufflé, served with chocolate gelato. Just like everything else, dessert was incredibly good.

Coconut Soufflé with Chocolate Gelato

Our total bill was just over $300. Sure, that’s a lot of money, but in my mind the dinner and view and service were well worth the price. If you’re ever in Las Vegas, be sure to consider the Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio.

PrimeInterior
Chandelier inside of the Prime Steakhouse Restaurant
Smashed Potatoes
Smashed Potatoes
Sauces: Peppercorn, Béarnaise, and Soy-rice Wine
Sauces: Peppercorn, Béarnaise, and Soy-rice Wine

My Dinner at Canlis Seattle Restaurant

Canlis is one of Seattle’s oldest restaurants. It was established in 1950 and has been popular ever since then. Canlis has an elegant but relaxed feel — not really traditional and not really modern. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Canlis is unique, at least for Seattle.

I went there with two of my friends on a Friday, for no special reason other than we all like food. None of us had ever been to Canlis before. My bottom line is that I liked Canlis a lot and I’d go back again for some special occasion.

I had a four course meal that started with scallops, seared with a vegetable presentation. Next, my friends and I shared an order of raw oysters. They were very fresh and tasty. Next came a mixed green salad. It was better than the average mixed green salad but it wasn’t amazing in any way. Then we all shared a pate foie gras. It was excellent and it came with really good toast — some of the best I’ve ever had.

CanlisOysters

CanlisSalad

My main course was duck, which I shared. The duck was whole roasted with a honey glaze. The entire duck was presented at the table, then taken to the back where it was carved and then retuened to our table for serving. I’ve had duck quite a few times, and this was probably the best duck I’ve had. I’ve had good duck at some Chinese restaurants too, but the preparation was so different I can’t really compare the Canlis duck to any of the Chinese duck dishes I’ve had.

CanlisWholeDuck

CanlisPrepared Duck

We finished our evening with coffee and dessert. For dessert I had a vanilla souffle. It was good — maybe the second best souffle I’ve ever had (next to a souffle at Joel Rubicon in Las Vegas).

CanlisSouffle

CanlisChocolate

All in all, I was very happy with my Canlis dinner experience. It was quite pricey, but that was expected and I felt I got good value. If you’re ever in the Seattle area and are in the mood for dinner at an upscale restaurant, consider Canlis.