Tag Archives: Travel

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


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!

 

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!

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.

The Bearfoot Bistro Restaurant in Whistler, Canada

Recently, my friend and I decided to take a quick, impromptu weekend trip to Whistler, Canada. Whistler is a fantastic ski resort area about two hours north of the Washington (state) border. On our first evening in Whistler, we decided to eat at the Bearfoot Bistro restaurant, Unlike most upscale restaurants in Whistler, the Bearfoot Bistro is not located inside a hotel; it is a standalone establishment.

Overall, I’d give our experience a rating of 8 out of 10. Both the service and the food were very good but not amazing.

I’d describe the Bearfoot Bistro as a modern restaurant with no particular emphasis. To cut to the chase, out total bill, including wine, was about $115 per person — certainly a bit pricey, but not crazy expensive.

My friend and I both had a five-course meal. My meal started with albacore tuna tartar, garnished with spicy octopus/calamari. This was followed by foie gras and chicken liver parfait. It was good but not exceptional. Next was wild mushroom risotto with parmesan cheese; I added scallops and it was excellent! My fourth course was braised lamb with Brussel sprouts and squash puree. It was light and not gamey and I liked it a lot. My fifth and final course was my dessert; I had the pecan and bourbon ice cream tart. It was very good.

Albacore Tuna Tartar - w. Octopus
Albacore Tuna Tartar – w. Octopus

If you’re ever in Whistler, Canada, I recommend that you give some consideration to the Bearfoot Bistro. It’s a bit pricey, but overall, well worth the experience.

Foie Gras & Chicken Liver Parfait - with Fig Puree
Foie Gras & Chicken Liver Parfait – with Fig Puree
The Bearfoot Bistro Restaurant at Whistler, Canada
Wild Mushroom Risotto with Scallops
Praised Peace Country Lamb
Praised Peace Country Lamb
Pecan & Bourbon Tart - w. Pear & Bourbon Tart
Pecan & Bourbon Tart – w. Pear & Bourbon Tart