Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Afternoon Tea - Langham Hotel

One of the things I love is afternoon tea, anywhere.  
You can see the tea lounge that they have all sorts of mix to choose from. 
When you sit down, they give you the nice menu, with a lovely drawing of the back of the hotel.  Very vintage-y and very classy.
They even have a brief history of afternoon tea and how it came about.
You get a lovely lounge with piano player accompanied your afternoon tea.  If it's not too bright outside, they will draw the curtains open and you will have a lovely view of the back garden.
Remember all those tea back there?  They do have a long list to choose from.  There are 4 of them that are propriety blend, specially made for the Langham, so much so that people often buy them on its own.

This one I've got is the Palm Court, which has Chinese white tea, Hibiscus tea, Rosehip, Pink Rose petals.  It smells good and tasted good too.  It doesn't have much caffeine and it's very light to the palette.
The tea is very much inspired by the decoration on the table...
Of course, what is afternoon tea without the lovely finger sandwiches?!  In the traditional tea set, they have the cucumber and watercress sandwich, pear on potato bread with blue cheese mousse, salmon with caper (ate it before I took the photo), ham and egg and prosciutto sandwich, pesto marinated shrimp.
For the sweet course, we have a chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting, vanilla macaron, passion apricot gold cone, checkerboard cookie, chocolate creme brulee tart, strawberry and pistachio cake, chocolate white coffee cake.  Very delicious.
Of course you cannot have tea without clotted cream and lemon curd.  
We have the orange tea bread, cranberry scone, and blueberry scone.  Nice and warm.
close up on the macaron, look at how pretty it is!
Yummy chocolate coffee cake... so so so delicious!

They also have another tea set, the Royal tea set has all the Traditional tea set with strawberry and whip cream, and glass of champagne.  On Sundays, they have Chocolate tea, which from what I understand is very popular with the kids.  Needless to say, as the name suggested, you get chocolate everything, including a chocolate fountain.  I wish I had known about it and tried to be there for it.  Can only imagine how yummy that'll be.

They do not have specific seating, you just need to make reservation ahead of time so they have enough food for you.  People usually make an occasion out of attending tea, so there are birthdays, celebrations and what nots.  So just for that a reservation is worth your time.

Tiffin Afternoon Tea
at Langham Pasadena
1401 S. Knoll Ave
Pasadena, CA 91106
or book on their website:

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Terrace - Langham Hotel

Since I'm 2 hours ahead of California time, it makes enjoying an early breakfast easy and doable.
Since I was lucky enough to stay at the Langham Pasadena, and the Terrance is the perfect place by the pool to enjoy breakfast.  Of course, if the weather is good, you can enjoy breakfast at the patio. 
I had the American Breakfast, which has 2 eggs, hash brown and apple wood bacon, and it was delicious.  I'm sure eating it by the pool in the patio and beautiful ground is just a great way to enjoy life in California.  One mini draw back, because everyone is laid back and enjoying the view and the food, they only have 3 servers and 2 helpers.  So, you may have to wait a bit for your order. 

If you go early, as in many places, you probably don't need a reservation.  Staying at the property has it perks and that is you can easily walk in too.  If you're unsure at anytime, call in advance or reserve online. 

Terrance at the Langham Pasadena Hotel
1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave
Pasadena, CA 91106

Friday, April 26, 2013

Rose Macarons

So for the same wedding I was making the Durian cookies.
I made some rose ones... 
Just 1.5 tsp of rose water goes a long way, especially when they are very potent.
I always like it to go with a white chocolate filling.  You do about 3oz of white chocolate chip with 1 tsp of butter (room temp) and make sure you get 1/3 c of heavy cream (heated) and mix it all together with the rose water. 

Let cool before using.  I like to put it in the fridge for a day or two before using it.  Make sure you use saran wrap and have the plastic stick to the chocolate so it won't form a skin.  When it forms a skin, the rest of the bowl of chocolate doesn't get harden as easily.
Pretty pink with the rose gel, huh?  
Once baked, I piped the shell with a different tip.  Recently my favorite is the star tip, and it comes out prettier once you put the top and bottom together.  It's definitely add a fancy spin to it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Langham Hotel - Pasadena, Ca

One of the thing about staying at hotel is the experience of calling in room service.
Since the hour I ordered the room service between meals, it's hard to pick something between dinner and late night snack.
So, fruit plate, look very luscious.  You see berries, watermelon, cantaloupe, melon, grapes, and some banana bread.    
Strawberry yogurt was pretty delicious, especially you put the berries from the fruit plate into them.  Nice and yummy!  Highly recommend it.

As expected, for room service, the price point would be higher than if you got to the restaurant of the hotel to eat it yourself.  But after a long day and travel, being able to eat in your PJs has something to it.  Plus, since the hotel is hidden inside a neighborhood, it's not very convenient to just walk off the premise and go somewhere.

Langham Hotel
1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave
Pasadena, CA 91106

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Houston's - Pasadena, CA

As we're doing a tour of California, I ended up in Pasadena, Ca.
We got to Houston's in California, while it is a chain, there's some good food to be had.
This is their Chicago Spinach Dip, it came with salsa, sour cream, and of course the Spinach Dip.  Watch out, it's piping hot.
I got the Hawaiian Rib Eye, even though it's marinated, it doesn't taste very Hawaiian, just that it's been marinated.  It came with a baked potato.
Luckily, my co-worker ordered the warm 5 nut brownie with ice cream to share.  I do miss not having dessert.  But it was super nutty.

Overall, this is a great steak house, even though it's a chain.  As usual, during prime time you want to get a reservation or get there early.

Houston's - Pasadena, Ca
320 S. Arroyo Pkwy
Pasadena, CA 91105

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

W - San Diego

A fun thing about staying at the W hotel is that different time of day, you get a different mat greeting you.
You walk into the elevator and the mat is greeting you good morning!
This is the K Omelet, which has chorizo, spinach, arugula, herbs, and I got it without cheese.  Of course, it comes with breakfast potato.  It was pretty good, too bad it was a tad oily.

Again, I had a great service experience like I mentioned last time.  I ordered it to be at 6am, it showed up a few minutes after 6, so can't complaint on that.  This round the food was more oily than before, but tasted just as good.  

W Hotel - San Diego
In room dining
421 W. B Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Monday, April 22, 2013

C Level - San Diego

As one of my coworker recommended for a great view and dinner, so we went to C Level.
They weren't kidding about a view to dine for... 
Look at that beautiful sun set.  Occasionally you get big boat coming by your window.
This is the Rising Sun, which has pomegranate, yuzu juice, lemonade and soda, quite yummy. 
Crispy Calamari and the dipping sauce it's a Vietnamese dipping sauce.  I don't think it's fish sauce because it didn't taste it.  But it was pretty nice mix.
Lobster truffle mac and cheese.  It's very good but also very rich, I barely touched a 3rd of it.
For dessert, we had the brulee trio, which has vanilla, chocolate, and butterscotch.  Let me tell you, I'm a big fan of chocolate, but the butterscotch was awesome!  

The view is definitely awesome, you can't find a better place to be to see San Diego.  You get the full view of San Diego downtown, and you have a nice sea view as you sit between the window or the first inner side of the restaurant.  They also have a balcony for dinner and happy hour.  If you want a good view,  get there early.  We were there relatively early and still ended up waiting for 30 mins.  Go hang out at the bar.

C Level - San Diego
880 Island Harbor Dr.
San Diego, CA 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Durian Macaron

So a friend of mine is getting married and she asked if I can make some macarons, one of the unusual request: 
Yep, you got it, Durian.  It's very much an Asian thing, but personally, I'm not a big fan, never was.  Not that I haven't tried the fruit itself, but just not a fan of it.
You can easily find that flavor at the Chinese grocery store, but I use the yellow gel coloring to make a distinction.
See, it's pretty bright here...
Unfortunately when it bakes, it muted the colors.  So if you want it more bright, add more color.  Sadly couple of them cracked.
I had done the fillings ahead of time.   You mix 1/3 cup of heavy cream, mixed with 3 oz of white chocolate, 1 tsp of butter (room temp), 1/4 tsp of the flavoring.  Since it's pretty strong scented and what not, go easy on the flavoring is best.

You put the white chocolate (cut in chunk or chip form) in a glass bowl.  Heat up the cream until it bubbles.  Pour over the white chocolate, and drop in the butter.  Stir part way and then add the flavoring.  Then stir until no more chocolate or butter in sight.  If you want to add coloring, like I did here, this is a good time.  I kept using the gel but if you have it in drops that works pretty well too.

Put it in the fridge and put a layer of saran wrap on top of the chocolate, and I mean literally on top of it touching, so that it will not create a layer or skin.  Then put it in the fridge.  I usually do this part a day or two in advance so that the chocolate will have time to solidify.
You can use the star tip like I did, above, it gives a wavey shape from the side.  I squeeze the 2 cookies together and voila!  Here you go!

It was a hit at the party, I'm surprise that almost most of them cookies were gone.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

W San Diego

One of the fun thing about traveling for work was that we can order room service and totally legitimate.  :)
At W Hotel, San Diego, I got the 2 Farmed Eggs with Chicken Apple Sausage and diced potato.  The sausage is actually very good, the dish was a tad oily.  

What I love about them is that when I asked for it at a certain times, they actually arrived on time.  Not sure if it's because it's so early for them in California, or they're always on time, but either way it's much appreciated!

W Hotel
San Diego
421 West B Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Brasserie 19

So got a chance to go to Brasserie 19.  Haven't been there since the HRW when they first opened.   On Thursday night, it's really a seen and be seen night, so the bar is really the scene to be.
Finding a table is not so bad, make sure you use the Open Table app on your phone to make a quick reservation, because the later it gets, the more crowded it gets.  On to the food!
Grilled Octopus for appetizer.  It's super yummy and the vegetable combo with the octopus is super harmonious.  The oil mixed with everything together, is super good, highly recommended.
I took advantage of the Specials for the night, it's Halibut with lumps of crab meat on top of a bed of veggie.  It's super fresh and the lumps of crab meat is really the star here.  I pretty much finished all of that, and the halibut wasn't bad, I was just filled up with crab meat.
For dessert, another special, it's chocolate crossant bread pudding with vanilla ice cream on top.  It's definitely a dense chocolate taste in there.  It was yummy and you cannot tell the bread pudding was made from a crossant.  That's pretty smart!

Of course, their neat thing is to have their wine list on an iPad.  They even have beer list selection available on it.  The rest, however, is still the good o' fashion way of taking your order and stuff.  

Tips for getting in, do make a reservation even if you think it's going to be slow.  The night I went there, there were 2 large parties and tons of people lingered after happy hour.  Not to mention the guys who are checking out girls and the girls who provided the scenery.  The place will be busy, make a reservation!

Brasserie 19
1962 West Gray St.
Houston, Tx 77019

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PF Chang's

We needed a quick lunch for some Sunday errands, keep in mind, PF Chang doesn't do lunch portion on Sundays, they do however serve Monday thru Saturday till 4pm.
We got the gluten free Mongolian Beef, love the sauce.
Gluten Free Spicy Chicken.  
Spinach, must get some veggie for the meal!

So as all of our visits to PF, rarely do we go during a Sunday afternoon.  But it might as well have been on an evening.  Weekday has the smaller portion for lunch, but either way they do it right and it's yummy... sad thing to hear they took away the small portion of dessert, otherwise, I'll indulge!

PF Chang's
2120 Lone Star Dr.
Sugarland, TX 77479

Monday, April 15, 2013

Kerbey Lane

One place we love to go to while we're in Austin is Kerbey Lane
 Doesn't matter that it may be packed to the gills with people waiting out the door, we'd like to go there for a meal if our stomach can wait.
This time, I ordered the Lamb Picadillo Enchilada - It has little bits of lamb, and the cheese mix with rice is wonderful.  The best thing of all, Austin is very accommodating to vegans and gluten free eaters.    They have a separate menu, so be sure to ask for it or you can see it here.  

One tip I have for you about Kerbey Lane, is that they are open 24 hours, so if you can wait till later, or eat earlier, it's best to avoid prime time.  Most importantly, they are very very popular with breakfast, so make sure you time yourself accordingly.  If you get to wait it out, I recommend their pancakes, never had a bad pancake there.  Second thing I would recommend is migas, perfect breakfast food. Aside from that, they have sandwiches, TexMex food, but they are really known for their breakfast food.

Kerbey Lane - South
3003 S.Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704