December 4, 2013

Swish by Han

I've been meaning to try Swish by Han for several years now, but it never happened until October when one of my friends wanted to have Thanksgiving dinner there. It was a strange choice for Thanksgiving dinner, but I was up to try it. 
Kimchi Trio ($5)
This kimchi trio came with a table top BBQ set that we ordered, but would've cost $5 without the combo. We're used to complimentary kimchi (and banchan) from traditional Korean restaurants so we certainly were not accustomed to paying for it. 

November 21, 2013

The Rotunda @ Neiman Marcus (San Francisco)

During my short trip to San Francisco to visit my sister in the beginning of September, I (surprisingly) did not eat out much. In fact, I barely went into the city, preferring instead to explore the natural attractions in the Bay Area. I did, however, had lunch at the gorgeous restaurant in Neiman Marcus in Union Square - the Rotunda. The stained glass ceiling was absolutely spectacular. 
Fresh lemonade ($4)
The amuse-bouche was a cup of concentrated chicken broth and a cheese puff on the side. 

November 12, 2013

Girl & the Goat Revisit (Chicago)

A lot has changed since the last time I ate at the Girl & the Goat three years ago. Nowadays, it's nearly impossible to secure a reservation. If you're planning a trip there, my advice is to book early. When I tried booking in mid-July for a late August reservation, I found out that I couldn't get any reservations later than 4:30 pm and earlier than 10:30 until October. Eventually, after obsessively checking OpenTable a few times a day, I managed to snatch up an 8:45 pm cancellation.
Unibroue Ephemere Apple Fruit Beer ($8)
Thai chili bread ($4) with meyer lemon butter and piri piri 
It's a bummer that bread is not free here, but as someone totally obsessed with bread, I just had to order it. Personally, I thought that the Asian twist on this bread was interesting, but perhaps not my favourite. 

November 7, 2013

The Gage (Chicago)

There was a heat wave on the weekend that I spent in Chicago and it was literally 40 degrees + outside. We couldn't spend too much time roaming around Millennium Park in the heat, so I was glad that our lunch venue, The Gage, was right across the street!  
Nothing pleases me more than to start off the meal with some warm and fluffy bread with butter. 

October 25, 2013

Hot Chocolate (Chicago)

Ever since my trip to Chicago three years ago, I've been dying to try Hot Chocolate, best known for their dessert creations, courtesy of celebrated pastry chef Mindy Segal. 
The restaurant is situated in Wicker Park, an area that I've never been to prior to this visit. I was surprised to find that it was super lively and just bustling with people. Hot Chocolate was very busy and reservations are highly recommended. 

October 17, 2013

川善茶居 Sinmei Tea (Hong Kong)

Sinmei Tea is a cute little tea shop near the Sheung Wan MTR station specializing in green tea drinks and desserts. I stopped by a couple times because I stayed in Sheung Wan and absolutely fell in love with everything they had!  
Left: Matcha Caipirinha - green tea, brown sugar, fresh lemonade and lime
Centre: 
Matcha Genmaicha Marone
- green tea, soya milk, roasted rice, and chestnut
Right: Matcha Soul
- green tea powder, soya milk, honey, almond, sultanas and sweet osmanthus flowers
I tried three green tea drinks and all of them were $32 HKD. My mom had a Matcha Caipirinha, which in essence was a lemonade with a touch of green. It was really refreshing for a hot September day. I favoured the hot drinks on both of my visits. Both the Matcha Genmaicha Marone and Matcha Soul were made with soya milk, so they had similar flavour profiles. I liked that both drinks were not overly sweet, and the Matcha Soul was my personal favourite. 

October 11, 2013

Robuchon au Dôme (Macau)

I'm sorry to say that I've been really lazy on the blogging end as I was away for all of September visiting my family in Asia. Now that I'm back, I hope to start catching up with all the backlog! First, I'm going to start off with a spectacular meal that I had at the three Michelin-starred Robuchon au Dôme in Macau. For lunch, the prices are $458 MOP for 2 courses, $558 MOP for 3 courses, or $688 MOP for the full menu (one selection from each section). Note that cheese and dessert are included regardless of the option chosen. Knowing that everything was going to be exceedingly rich, we all chose the 2 courses option. 
The restaurant is situated on top of the Grand Lisboa, featuring a magnificent dome as part of the rooftop. Unfortunately for us, half of the dome was under renovation, so our view was somewhat obstructed. However, my disappointment with the decor dissipated once I saw the bread cart. I cannot say this enough... I... love... bread!!!!

August 23, 2013

Origin North

I've been meaning to try Origin for a long time, but upon learning that they are opening an uptown location at Bayview Village, I was too lazy to go downtown. Unfortunately, the reviews for this newest location haven't been the greatest, so I was a little worried.
The restaurant was gorgeous, though I wasn't sure why there was a motorcycle sitting by the front door. Our server came over and helpfully explained the menu to us. He recommended 2-3 items per person, which turned out to be way too much food!
Devilled eggs - smoked bacon + herbs + souffletine ($7)
Origin is quite well-known for their devilled eggs so I knew I had to try it. The presentation was great, but flavour-wise I didn't find it to be extraordinary. I probably would not order it again.

August 18, 2013

Le Local (Montreal)

I found Le Local through browsing yelp, always my trusty restaurant guide. We came here for dinner after a gruesome day of biking around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame. Long story short, we couldn't return our bixi bikes because all the docks were occupied and had to bike off the island and back into downtown Montreal to find a free dock. By the time it was dinner, I was exhausted astarving!
We were served some olive bread to start. There were many many chunks of olive in this bread.
Couldn't go to Montreal without at least eating one poutine! We got one to share on the side and it hit the spot.

August 12, 2013

Brunch @ La Carnita

Last Sunday, I went out with a girlfriend to try out La Carnita's brunch. Luckily for us, it wasn't busy at all (unlike their popular dinner service) so we were seated right away.
Mel had an iced Mexican mocha ($3.50) with Mexican chocolate, coffee, and cinnamon. For me, it was way too sweet and the chocolate definitely overpowered coffee. It was definitely more like an iced hot chocolate than a mocha. My agua fresca ($3.50) - mango, coconut and lime for the day's selection - fared much better. It was creamy and refreshing at the same time, and not overly sweet.

July 24, 2013

Brunch @ The Sparrow / Le Moineau (Montreal)

I didn't want to waste away any valuable time for my short weekend trip, so I searched hard for a good brunch place that takes reservation so we didn't have to line up. Luckily for me, I found the the Sparrow!
Parking was also free before 1 pm, which was a bonus for us.

July 23, 2013

Summerlicious @ Trevor Kitchen & Bar

My only Summerlicious dinner this year was at Trevor Kitchen & Bar ($35), which I've been to twice before. Anyway, I think they must have made a mistake because we ended up waiting for more than 30 minutes for our table (with a reservation) even though everyone else waiting at the bar appeared to be seated already. Once they realized that we had been waiting for a long time, the staff were very apologetic and gave us free drinks and apps on the house, so I can't really complain too much.
Shortly after we were seated, we were presented with two poutines to start. This one featured beef short rib and feta instead of the traditional cheese curds and it was very flavourful.

July 17, 2013

Summerlicious @ Nota Bene

I was attracted to Nota Bene for Summerlicious this year because I saw some amazing pictures on Twitter. The Summerlicious menu is $25 per person for lunch and $45 for dinner.
To start, my mom had the wild salmon sashimi with kaffir lime, chili, coriander, lemongrass and apple. This was very light and appetizing as a starter, although my mom did have to pick out all the coriander since she hates them.

July 14, 2013

Holder Restaurant (Montreal)

I went on a quick road trip to Montreal over Canada Day long weekend. It was a pretty last minute trip, so I wasn't able to get a reservation to any of the hot spots (like Le Bremner and Joe Beef). On the first night, we decided to stop by Holder Restaurant based on its glowing reviews from Yelp.
Because we didn't have a reservation, they could only seat us at the bar. It was a shame as the dining room was definitely a lot cozier and more comfortable. I started with a glass of Le Verger Sud, cidre sec, Domaine Pinnacle ($6.00 per glass), which was delicious.

July 9, 2013

Summerlicious @ Canoe

After being blown away by my Summerlicious lunch at Canoe last year, I couldn't resist revisiting this popular restaurant for this year's festival. I have to warn you though- if you have a later seating (ours was at 1:45), do not expect to be seated on time. We waited for more than 30 minutes both this year and last year until our table was ready. Since I've been to Canoe multiple times for Summerlicious, this will mostly be a picture post showcasing this year's menu.
Left- Freshly squeezed strawberry and watermelon sparkling lemonade ($6).
Center- Creekside Merlot Niagara Peninsula Ontario ($10).

Right- White Maple Sangria with white wine, brandy maple, fresh summer juices ($10).

July 8, 2013

Summerlicious @ Café Boulud

Summerlicious this year started out at Café Boulud, a restaurant that I've been meaning to try for a while. The lunch menu is $25 for three courses. They modified the lunch menu slightly so it's a little different from the online one that was released earlier from the Summerlicious website. 
Located inside the Four Seasons Hotel, the vibe was unexpectedly casual and fun. That said, service was still top notch!
Three types of bread were served with salted butter. I was particularly fond of the brioche (on the right).

June 26, 2013

California Coastal Cruise Day 5 - Catalina Island

Catalina Island is a charming, rocky island off the coast of California. But compared to the other ports, there were relatively less things to do.


June 25, 2013

4-Course Dinner @ Cheesewerks

A while back, I bought a Buytopia voucher for $45 (valued at $96) for a 4-course dinner for 2 at Cheesewerks. I always seem to redeem my voucher at the last possible moment, so I'm grateful that Cheesewerks extended the expiry date. The deal also included two glasses of house wine.
The first course was Cheesewerks' original grilled cheese with a blend of aged and double-smoked cheddars grilled on locally baked sourdough. It was paired with a rustic herb tomato soup- oven roasted tomatoes, garlic and thyme infused with organic vegetable broth. The soup was good for dipping, but I didn't enjoy it much on its own. It was a little reminiscent of pizza sauce. But the grilled cheese itself was fantastic and probably my favourite thing of the entire meal!

June 19, 2013

Mother's Day Dinner @ The Oriental Gourmet

I live 5 minutes away from the Oriental Gourmet and it's one of my favourite Chinese restaurant around the area! The place specializes in Chiu Chow cuisine, though I find that the flavours are still very much Cantonese in style. For Mother's Day, we opted for a $78 package meal that included most of their specialties, starting off with the pig stomach soup. I know that doesn't sound very appetizing, but I can assure you that it's delicious. 
This was some sort of fried fish with a sweet sauce. It was accompanied by mayo for dipping but I didn't find it necessary- the fish was flavourful enough on its own.

June 17, 2013

Pittsburgh Eating Diaries Part II

On the second day, we went to the Coffee Tree Roasters, a local coffee chain, to grab some breakfast. I couldn't resist trying a green tea latte (my favourite!) here and it was really really good! The matcha flavour was very intense and it was just the right amount of sweetness.
The Coffee Tree Roasters is side by side with a Bagel Factory location. My sister ordered an egg white omelette with spinach and mushroom, but it was really bland. The omelette came with a bagel and a side of home fries.

June 11, 2013

Pittsburgh Eating Diaries Part I

My mom and I made a quick weekend road trip to Pittsburgh recently for my sister's convocation. On the first day, we had breakfast at Crepes Parisiennes.
My sister got her favourite savoury crepe with mushroom, egg, cheese and bechamel sauce. This was a delicious breakfast crepe.

June 10, 2013

Birthday Celerbrations @ JaBistro

I've heard from multiple sources that JaBistro has the best sushi in the city.  So for my sister's birthday, I decided to take my family to try it out! We knew that the price tag was not going to be cheap, so it was definitely a splurge meal.
Not knowing that tea was not free, my cousin, sister, and mom all ordered a green tea ($4 each). I have nothing against the tea itself, but paying $4 seemed a bit excessively for tea. I myself got a virgin mojito ($7)- matcha syrup, simple syrup, lime, mint, and soda. I would've liked it to be a little sweeter, but overall, it was a refreshing drink. 

June 5, 2013

Burger Week @ This End Up + Delux

This year, I was only able to go to one restaurant for The Grid's Burger Week. After plowing through the list participating restaurants very thoroughly, we finally picked This End Up, a cute little sandwich joint in the west end of the city. The place seemed very popular for the weekday lunch crowd.
I was a little sad that Burger Week this year didn't have the special $10 burger + beer combo. However, this particular restaurant offered a $11 combo that included the Burger Week burger + fries + Pint Vienna Lager from King, so several of us took that option. I tried one of their spring cocktails - aptly named Spring Rose ($8) with lillet rose, ginger, lavender syrup. While Mel commented that it smelled like soap, I personally really liked the gingery kick and didn't mind the floral notes.

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