All posts filed under: Favorites

Sunshine Box Launch: La Maison 夜来香 x WUJIE 大蔬无界

I’m so excited to share with everybody a project I’ve been working on for the past couple of months! Sunshine Box is a box of seasonal, organic vegetables that is now available to all families in Shanghai. The idea behind Sunshine Box is bridging urban and rural communities through wholesome and sustainably grown natural produce. That is why we get our produce from Rainbow of Hope (ROH), a social enterprise dedicated to empowering farmers by providing them with reliable income via sustainable agricultural practices. Because we know you are what you eat, all Sunshine Box produce is grown without any insecticides, pesticides, growth hormones, or chemical fertilizers. We kicked off the launch of Sunshine Box with a dinner launch party at La Maison 夜来香, a stunning restaurant in Shanghai’s French Concession area. In order to really feature the Sunshine Box, the entire dinner affair was made with ingredients directly shipped over from Sunshine Box’s farms in Western Hunan. Together, Chef Pol Garcia from La Maison & Chef Ivan Xu from WUJIE on the Bund, created a beautifully innovative vegetarian menu for the night. The resulting 6-course prix fixe menu showcased an …

Spirited Away to Miho Museum

Miho Museum is nestled in a beautiful forest complex designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, only a short trip away from Kyoto. Located in Shiga Prefecture, Miho Museum is meant to mirror Shangri-La–an earthly paradise described in Chinese poet Tao Yuanming’s poem, “The Tale of the Peach Blossom Spring.” Not only is the Museum itself stunning, the journey there is just as magical. Miho Museum has three exhibition sessions (Spring, Summer, and Autumn). I visited in Autumn so I saw stunning fall foliage throughout my trip. But since the Museum grounds are full of cherry blossom trees, Spring is a stunning time to visit as well. To visit the museum, you go on a Spirited-Away-like journey: there is a Miho Museum Bus from Ishiyama Station (a short ride from Kyoto Main Station), that takes you on a quiet ride up the mountain where Miho Museum is located. Directions: Take the JR Tokaido Line from Kyoto Station to Ishiyama Station. Once you exit the JR station, go to the bus stop (1F) and take Teisan Bus 150 (Miho Museum Bus) to the Miho Museum which should be the last stop. The …

Discovering Tokyo’s Trendy Wine and Dine Scene: L’AS ラス

L’AS ラス is a gem of a restaurant in the quiet backstreets of Minami-Aoyama. Boasting a diverse wine list and creative Franco-Japanese menu, L’AS is an absolute must-visit with its fresh ingredients and stunning flavors. My friend Mizuha and I dined there on a Sunday night and the restaurant was buzzing with energy. The animated chatter of diners enjoying their wine pairings pleasantly echoed throughout the restaurant. After the first couple sips of wine and bites of my caramel foie gras sandwich (it tastes just as phenomenal as it sounds), I wish I discovered L’AS earlier. Highlights of our meal include the crab miso with potato purée and the roasted duck with figs. Definitely start the night off with some champagne, sit back, and enjoy the culinary adventure created by Chef Owner, Daisuke Kaneko. At L’AS there is only the omakase menu but every so often it is changed to accommodate new seasonal ingredients and recipes. As we visited in September, we were excited to find traces of late-summer and early-fall ingredients in all our dishes–cherry, fig, pumpkin, etc. For my fellow wine drinkers, I highly recommend getting the wine pairing to go with each course …

A Tokyo Food Winter Guide: Sushi Zanmai, Ginza Maru 銀座圓 and more!

Tokyo, ただいま! People say the best time to visit Japan is in the Spring for hanami, the cherry blossom viewing festival; or in the Fall, to see the country’s beautiful Autumn foliage. But a true foodie knows Winter in Japan means two things: Ramen tastes even more amazing than usual (cold weather, hot bowl of noodle, go figure). Tsukiji Fish Market in the Winter time is a FIESTA! (Fish fatten up in the winter time so it’s one of the best time of the year to get sushi and sashimi). Plus, with the traditional marketplace moving sometime in 2016, another reason to go visit now. While I adore my previous summers in Japan, which were filled with cold soba noodles and sweet kakigori in the sweltering summer heat, I love wintery Japan. It is the perfect season for warm comfort food. I’m looking at you ramen, oden, and fried-everything. Plus, this time around, winter fashion was in full swing and Japanese girls really rock the furry coats and beanie look–some great food fashion for thought! Below, you’ll find a round-up of the foods I chomped on …

Japanese French Desserts at ChikaLicious Dessert Bar

Summers in Tokyo have spoiled me–afterall, Matcha Eclairs at Patisserie Sadaharu Aoki set the bar really high for Japanese-style French desserts. But in New York’s East Village, there is a sleek and gorgeous kitchen that rivals any Tokyo patisserie. Meet Chika, the elegant Japanese chef running Chikalicious Dessert Bar. With vibrant dessert pairings, Chikalicious’ menu is seasonal so every visit is full of different Japanese-influenced French desserts. Particularly, the Fromage Blanc “Cheesecake” and the Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream are fantastic must-haves. My French food connoisseur, Lauren, has told me that Chika’s cheesecake is the closest thing she’s had to an authentic French cheesecake–a serious compliment if you’ve ever met a Parisian. Whether or not you’ve indulged in a prix fixe dessert experience before, an afternoon in Chikalicious is a treat. And if you’re lucky enough to snag a counter seat, you’ll get to see Chika work her magic (hint: the satisfaction of watching powdered sugar fall onto buttery pecan cookies is one of the secret pleasures you’ll get to enjoy). An interactive three-course dessert experience is a fascinating one as is. But when the dessert-making happens in front of you curtesy of Chika’s …

Woodberry Kitchen: Farm to Fork

Woodberry Kitchen is a Charm City favorite that follows the recent farm-to-table trend. With many Universities’ graduation dates coming up, families have been scrambling to make a reservation for this wildly popular restaurant. But is it worth the hype? Without a doubt, yes. Head Chef Spike Gjerde and his team behind Woodberry Kitchen are fantastic. They work wonders with their locally-sourced ingredients. From coveted Chesapeake Oysters to ‘Meatless Monday’ favorites like Grilled Royal Trumpet Mushrooms, Woodberry Kitchen boasts a delicious and seasonal menu. Sunday brunch is my favorite meal at Woodberry Kitchen (in general, it’s my favorite meal of the week anyways). Whoever came up with the Morning Flatbread, a tasty breakfast pizza finished with a cracked egg on top, is genius. And don’t even get me started on how brilliant those crispy potatoes on top of the caramelized onions are. Other interesting brunch choices include the Cast Iron Pancake garnished with sweet potato butter and nectarines. Yes, you read right. Pancake. Singular pancake! That’s because the cast iron skillet pancake is incredibly fluffy and dense (and filling). But for those that might not want a carbo-brunch …

Afternoon Tea in West Village: Bosie Tea Parlor & Patisserie Claude

Hello Spring! In the words of Taylor Swift, “nice to meet you, where you been?” Now that it’s finally warming up, spring days with beautiful sun hats, nice walks in the park, and afternoon tea dates don’t feel that far away. So, to celebrate the upcoming spring blooms, here are two cozy afternoon tea places in New York City’s West Village. After all, where better to await spring than tea parlors and patisseries? Bosie Tea Parlor Bosie Tea Parlor has been a New York staple of mine for a while–it’s low-key, has an artsy vibe, and serves great finger sandwiches. The traditional afternoon tea set isn’t over the top, and comes with a wide range of fresh macarons you can choose from. The table’s favorite was the salted caramel macaron, but the lavender macaron was also really lovely. Plus, Bosie’s Earl Grey Mille Crepe is just delicious! If you like subtly sweet desserts, you’ll definitely enjoy the fluffy layers of earl grey creme. And since Bosie is first and foremost a tea parlor after all, remember to pair your desserts with a cup of perfectly brewed tea before settling in for a relaxing afternoon. So next time …

Duck and Waffle

Duck and Waffle, located on the 40th floor of Heron Tower, boasts an amazing brunch menu and a panoramic view of London. Featuring modern European cuisine, it’s a gorgeous spot to spoil yourself for special occasions. I visited Duck and Waffle with my best girlfriends this past spring to celebrate my birthday and it quickly made its way to one of my top favorite brunch places in London. Its signature dish is like its name–crispy duck leg confit with a fried duck egg, drizzled with mustard maple syrup. Sounds good? It tastes just as good as it sounds! But you really can’t go wrong with anything–from Belgian Waffles to English Breakfast–Duck and Waffle’s seasonal menu is a treat. The elevator that whizzes you up to the 40th floor of Heron Tower feels like part of the dining experience–it’s incredibly fast, and there’s no denying the rush of adrenaline only makes you more excited to eat! Once you stet out, you’ll see coat check up front, with a nice bar area next to the main dining room. It’s easy to drop off your coats, and head straight to …

Carma’s Cafe: sesame noodles, paninis, and more

Carma’s Cafe is a magical little hideout in Baltimore. The cafe’s menu is constantly updated with seasonal specials but nothing beats their staples: the best sesame noodles around, Pink Dalmatian cookies (cranberry white chocolate chip magicalness), and an array of freshly grilled paninis. On gloomy days, there’s nothing more comforting than an order of Carma’s grilled cheese with tomato soup. On days when all your stomach craves is savory carbs, Carma’s TCB (turkey cranberry brie panini) with a side order of sesame noodles is on point My friend Marc, whose palate matches his deeply fabulous style, recently introduced me to the Xander–a toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with granny smith apples, light cream cheese, and honey drizzled over. I don’t know how I went so long without trying it! Carma’s Cafe is also famous for its Icelandic Yogurt (with berry compote!) and baked cookies. If you’re really lucky, you’ll manage to catch a fresh batch of Carma’s blueberry muffins in the morning! Plus, since it’s located right next to University campus, you’ll always find students grabbing coffees to go, or studying outside the cafe when the weather is nice–a perfect people watching spot. It’s crazy how Baltimore’s …

The Beauty of Artifact Coffee

Coffee shops are best on Sunday afternoons when you need a space to relax in before the beginning of another week. Artifact Coffee, a spinoff of Baltimore’s widely acclaimed Woodberry Kitchen, is a lovely place to do just that. I visited Artifact Coffee for a late lunch with my friend Sarika and absolutely loved the hipster decorations. With a spacious interior, Artifact Coffee offers freshly baked goods, an interesting mix of coffee drinks (lavender latte anyone?), and a great all day menu. Plus, if you don’t want to sit, they also have island bar tables you can stand and chat at–a reminder of my favorite coffee bars in Italy.