Tuesday, February 16, 2010

China Lounge

China Lounge
Workers' Stadium South Gate,
Chaoyang district
Beijing, China
+86 (0) 10 6501 1166

Famous for their Peking Duck, China Lounge is a quiet and elegant restaurant that is perfect for those who are looking for good regional Chinese food, a quiet atmosphere, and a place to hang out. Before stepping into the restaurant, you walk through a small path decorated with plants and flowers, which will eventually lead you to the main entrance. Infront of the restaurant is a large patio, where diners can grab a drink and "chill" outside. The inside of the restaurant is also beautifully decorated - I was in love with the huge, crystal chandeliers and the tall, gigantic chairs that were situated at the bigger tables.

The servers were attentive and personal, our first dish was the Peking Duck. All of us stared with hungry eyes as we watched the chef slice up the duck professionally and carefully. Needless to say, the duck was delicious! Apparently in China, all ducks come with a small plate of sugar, in which we're supposed to dip into before we consume the duck meat. I've never tried Peking Duck with sugar before, but surprisingly, it was really good! The crispiness of the duck skin combined with the sweetness of the sugar was the perfect combo. I was in love!!

Our second dish, a spinach dish along with vinegar, peanuts, tomato, and some cabbages, was an unconventional presentation of the traditional spinach dish that was tasty, but not over the top. I think I was more blown away by its presentation (which was so creative and cute) than its taste! Just to add, I absolutely loved how each dish was so artfully plated and decorated..like a piece of art!
 For our third dish, we had beef with deep fried garlic that were placed ontop of mashed potatoes. The beef were cut into perfect bite-sizes and each meat was flavorful and juicy. The portions were not huge, so it became a food hunt between the four of us :P
The fish (spread with tons and tons of chili) was, unusually, not spicy at all! The fried fish was a bit too oily for me, but nonetheless, yummy!
Lastly, we had a plate of deep fried dumplings (otherwise known as guo tie - a Taiwanese favorite) which sadly, tasted nothing like the ones in Taiwan. Though I must say, the decoration for this dish was very, very unique..to say the least.

After dinner, we moved outside to the patio to have our coffee/tea and desserts. Their desserts were good and the atmosphere outside felt completely different- it was less crowded and more reserved.

Overall: 3.8/5


6/F Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel,
Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
+852 2113 0808

One of the many restaurants with a spectacular harbour view of Hong Kong, Cucina invites guests to a wondrous taste of both Chinese and Western cuisines. According to the restaurant, "The restaurant's design and comfortable space was created by the internationally renowned interior design firm, Super Potato. Founded by Japan’s leading interior designer, Takashi Sugimoto, the firm is famed for its hospitality design projects across Asia, the UK and US."

Diners can choose from four different menus and watch the chefs cook up different recipes from their open kitchens. As usual, I was attracted to everything that was on the menu. Torn between the gazillion choices, we decided to make our lives easier by focusing on the Western menu.
Our first appetizer was the crab and avocado ceviche. It was the perfect dish to start off the meal. The combination of the crab, avocado, and lemony taste really sparked my taste buds.
The second appetizer, the Seared Pacific scallops wrapped in pancetta was fresh and deliciously stimulating. I didn't have much of it as I wanted to make room for my main dish, but the dish itself was refreshing and zestful.
For my main course, I got the Braised Wagyu beef cheek, which was absolutely DELICIOUS. The beef was so tender and juicy; and the sauce around it was creamy and filling. If dining etiquette didn't exist, I would have finished my food in a millisecond!
My bf got the Arugula and Flank Steak, which was equally delicious. His dish wasn't as heavy as mine but the portion was bigger. I think he also said that it was a little bit on the salty side, but other than that, the dish was scrumptious.
In between our meals, the BEST dish came...purée (with truffles!!!) Probably the best mashed potatoes I've ever had in my life. The potatoes were so finely grounded that they sort of tasted like creamy polenta. However, I would say that it's the truffles that really gave it the magical taste.
Next, we had....rice. Yea, to be pretty honest, I don't remember what was under the rice. I just remember it being good and delicious, hehe.
After the waiter messed up our other entrée AND drink (horrible service), my poor bf's brother finally got his entrée. He ordered fish, which must have taken the chefs a lot of effort to cook because it took longer than all of our dishes combined!
Lastly (and finally), we ended our meal with a sweet and sour mango and papaya dessert that was shared amongst the three of us. Although we weren't very satisfied with the service, the meal itself was good :)

Overall: 3/5

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Eleni's Cookies
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 255-7990

These sugar cookies are so cute and delicious! I was delighted to receive them for Valentine's this year. While I've never been to the store itself, Eleni's make many other baked goodies such as cupcakes, muffins, and many more creatively designed sugar cookies. These "playfully unique cookies" are fun to eat..but even more fun to look at! Each cookie is delicately handcrafted and beautifully decorated. The sugar cookies are not overpoweringly sweet, and pretty tasty too. I was able to devour five of the cookies in just one sitting. yum!

 Decoration: 4/5
Taste: 3/5

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