Category Archives: Travel

I like to travel, especially to the cities with great food and shopping opportunities. The places I go often are California, Las Vegas, Shanghai, and Taiwan. My most recent trip is Spain (Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Toledo, and Madrid).

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

The Two Jackets I Packed for My Spain Trip

While my friend and I were planning our two week Spain trip, we knew we wanted to do a lot of sightseeing in Barcelona, Palma de Majorca, and Madrid. Since our hotels were in the central area in Barcelona and Madrid, we were close to most of the places we wanted to visit and we knew we would walk around a lot.

My main concern was how to keep warm while we walked around for hours in Spain during December and January. I am the type of person who feels cold very easily. I wanted to make sure I brought some jackets that would keep me warm.

Also, we had a short layover in Frankfurt, Germany. Frankfurt was even colder than Spain. If we missed our connect flight from Frankfurt to Barcelona, we might be stuck in Frankfurt.

Packing Winter clothing for the trip added some weight to my already quite full luggage. To avoid having my luggage go overweight but still pack something versatile and stylish, I picked two jackets to bring for the Spain  trip: a down jacket and leather jacket. (See below)


Canada Goose Montebello Down Jacket

(Picture taken in front of the Palace in Madrid. I was wearing a Canada Goose Montebello dawn jacket, True Religion skinny jeans, and UGG short boots.)MadridPalace


Bernardo Leather Jacket

This leather jacket in wine color is versatile and stylish. I wore it mainly in Barcelona. It went well with sweaters and jeans. It was also perfect with short dress with knee-high suede boots.

(Picture taken at Park Guel in Barcelona. I was wearing the leather jacket, cashmere sweater, and True Religion skinny jeans.)

ParkGuell_Barcelona


If you plan to visit Europe during Winter, I highly recommend that you invest in a nice and warm down jacket and a leather jacket. The nice thing about these two silhouettes are that they are versatile and will upgrade your travel attires instantly.

Winter Trip to Spain in December 2016 to January 2017

My friend and I have been wanting to take a trip to somewhere we’ve never been before for the New Year’s Eve, so right after the Christmas of 2016, we took a two week trip to Spain.

We narrowed down our trip to Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, and Madrid. For our 2017 New Year’s Eve celebration, we picked Barcelona for our destination.

Today is January 6, 2017. My friend and I are on our last week of our holiday/Winter trip in Spain. We really enjoyed our vacation in Spain and can’t believe we only have a few days left.

I can’t wait to share some of the details on our trip and all the delicious food we had. Stay tuned for my upcoming posts regarding our visit to Spain!


Barcelona – Casa Batllo by GaudiBarcelona_CasaBatllo_byGaudi


Palma de Mallorca – Playa Porto Cristo

Palma de Mallorca-Playa Porto Cristo


Madrid – Monumento Alfonso XII

Monumento Alfonso XII


First Time Making the Wreath

A few weeks ago, my dear friend, Jennie, invited me to join her and her friends to make wreath for the Seattle Children’s Hospital. I’ve never made any wreath before, but I love the idea of doing things that involves children. So I said “yes”, even though it required me to get up earlier than I usually do on any Saturday.

The day before our scheduled date for making the wreath, my friends notified me about needing to get gloves and gardening tools. This made me start to worry about the logistics of making the wreath. I couldn’t help imagine the pictures of me on the field for cutting branches and plants for the wreath’ draw materials.

Luckily, on the day of our scheduled appointment, we showed up and learned that all of the materials are already been cut and ready for use. I was surprised, in a very good way, that people had already put in effort for the project.

Now is the time to make a wreath. Luckily, they showed us how to make a wreath from scratch.

I was freaking out, because I wasn’t sure that I could do it. My friend, Jennie and I decided to work together.

It turned out, our wreath came up pretty good, even thought it took us a long time.

The wreath were to be sold for $40 each the following week, but I decided to buy the wreath we made. So I did.

I Love the Bellagio Conservatory!

I enjoy going to Las Vegas. The restaurants, the shows, and people watching are the best in the world.

BellagiConservatory

One of my top three properties in Las Vegas is the Bellagio Hotel. I stayed at the Bellagio recently. The Bellagio has several world-famous areas, including the Fountains, the registration ceiling glass sculptures, and the Conservatory.

The Conservatory is amazing. There are flowers and plants and displays that will astound you. The Conservatory does a major change-over about every 10 weeks or so, to correspond to the season (Christmas, Chinese New Year, Spring/Easter, etc.)

BellagioTurle

When I stayed at the Bellagio, the Conservatory had a sea-theme. I loved the huge jellyfish hanging from the ceiling but my favorite thing was the sea turtle. Vegas — an incredibly amazing place.

 

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!

 

4th of July Weekend Style, 2016

Are you still deciding on what to wear for the 4th of July weekend?  The long holiday weekend is around the corner, so here are some of my suggestions for outfits, accessories, and beauty products.


A.L.C. Bolen Off the Shoulder Lace Dress, $395 at Nordstrom.com

Off-shoulder design is one of the key items for this Summer.   A dress like this A.L.C. Bolen is perfect for a hot summer day!

ALC Bolen Off The Shoulder Lace Dress


 Vince Cotton Sleeveless Jumpsuit, $395 at Saks Fifth Avenue

I love the jumpsuit style outfit for Summer time.  It’s casual, yet stylish.  This Vince’s sleeveless jumpsuit also comes in off-white color.

Vince Cotton Sleeveless Jumpsuit


Shoshanna Bead-Accented Sheer Tunic, $125 via Saks Fifth Avenue

If you plan on celebrating the 4th of July by the pool or beach, a sheer cover-up to go with your swimsuit would be a perfect idea.

Shoshanna Bead Accented Sheer Tunic


Christian Dior Split Aviator Sunglasses, $555 via Nordstrom.com

Fourth of July is always a good time to have fun outdoor.  It never hurts to throw on a new pair of shades, especially this aviator style sunglasses by Dior (for Summer 2016) with mirrored lenses.

Christian Dior Split Aviator Sunglasses


Lancôme Juicy Shaker Pigment Infused Bi-phased Lip Oil, $21

This pigment infused lip oil in a cute shaker container comes in various colors.  Not only so they smell good, they are also very nourishing for your lips.  My two favorite colors are Mangoes Wild (381)Wonder Melon (352).

Lancome Juicy Shaker Pigment Infused Lip Oil


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!