May 18 2018

Park Avenue Tavern


99 Park Avenue
New York

Will return. A great lunch spot. A pretty bartender. Good service. Decent food. It has two levels. We dined at the lower level because I forgot to make a reservation. The crab cake is delicious. The salad is fresh and to the point.
 


May 17 2018

Dadong New York


3 Bryant Park
New York, NY 10036

Finally, I dined at Dadong in New York. Will return, because their duck is good, the decor is nice, and they may be the only high end and profile Chinese restaurant in town (Tse Yang @  34 E 51 St closed about 10 years ago; Mr. K’s at 570 Lexington closed too … those so-called high end needed to be shut down, making room for the newer ones. Buddakan & Tao, and the like are under the name of Asian or Asian fusion…). I heard from a friend that the majority owner of Dadong is from Hong Kong, and Dadong itself holds a minor stake.

The entrance is from a yard. Their interior decoration is pretty good, not as tacky as their many branches in Beijing.

 


They have an extensive wine list, with nice wine glasses – thin stems and light. This 2014 Pinot Noir is from Domaine Fourrier (Jean-Marie Fourrier) in Bourgogne/Burgundy, France – where they produce Burgundy wines, also the pinot noirs and Chardonnay, Chablis and Beaujolais. The sommelier said this wine is allocated to them – which brought me to think of food rations 粮票 ha ha.

The service. It’s good but inflexible: when our server kept on asking if there is anything he can do for us, that makes me wonder how can’t he judge if we need him or not? More training, perhaps? I do miss the good old boys at the steakhouses who just knew when or what a customer needs. A girl came to take our order, lectured without any regards that all food should be shared … Don’t I look like a Chinese? Thank heaven they didn’t try to teach us to use chopsticks. Then funny enough, after my friend order this wine, the sommelier switched to French but when my friend replied in excellent French – yes Americans are known to have no second language – he then switched back to English.


We were running 45 minutes late but called ahead. When we got there, were seated immediately, to the third floor. The first/ground floor is just a reception desk with a single girl manning it. The second floor is the bar, pretty noisy. The small dining hall on the third floor is very quiet, with one couple at the table near the elevator. Oddly enough, the usher wanted to seat us on the first table to the elevator, next to them – what was she thinking? By the time we’re done, the hall only added two more tables with six people in total – I asked for the table at far end. “Fine,” she said and then led us over. When we were just about to sit down, a staff came, “oh, no. This table is unstable.” As the leg was broken. Emmm… they’ve just opened last November, and the unstable table is nicely laid out with tableware. It was so close to us, I had to ask them to move it away from us a little, avoiding knock over unintentionally by me.

The food. The freebies, edamame (ends cut – detail, very good) and boiled peanuts are good choices. Tufu with scallion, water chestnut 马蹄, pea sprout 豌豆苗 and zhajiangmiao (noodles) 炸酱面 are good.

  


The duck is good, they sell half too.

The pinenuts fish and dumplings have been cooked long before they were served – I liked how they pace the food but that doesn’t mean the chef should cook so far ahead, and let the food sit around. The fish wasn’t crisp. One look at the dumplings I knew they were toward cold – see the sagging skins, and the fillings are ok but could be a little less fine/fussy. The dumplings were topped with alfalfa sprouts – totally not necessary. Two dumplings are broken, come on, this is so basic!

 

Some diners on the other side were overly loud for this type of environment – remember, it’s a Chinese eatery, with many Chinese – not something the restaurant could control. Nice music but could tune down a bit.


May 16 2018

Samwon Garden


37 W 32nd Street
New York

Won’t return.

A casual Korean BBQ place in Korean town near Penn station. Good service. Noisy. Hearty laughs and chats. Clean bathroom.

Food, somewhat disappointing. The kalbi – short rib, the color is too dark for my comfort and with too many gristles. Rib eye and bivim are okay. Kimchi is good, not sweet. It’s kind of odd that our server kept asking me if the food is good. “Really good” I lied.

Wine: my bad to order one … but the Penfold Max’s Shiraz 2015 turned out to be pretty good, legs and smooth. The staff clearly doesn’t know (or they don’t care) how to serve wine.

 


May 13 2018

Sabor Guarani Restaurant Bar


40-04 Bell Blvd
Bayside, NY 11361
Paraguayan food

Will return. A neat little Paraguayan restaurant on the busy Bell Blvd. Good food, wine – love their Three Ranch’s 2014 Rock n Vine Cab, good service, clean bathroom. Music is a bit too loud.

We sit at the back … pls next time don’t shake out your plastic garbage bag … you can do it quietly/discreetly, right sweetie?

   


Apr 23 2018

Laoshan green tea 崂山绿茶


Apr 22 2018

Huoshan huangya 霍山黄芽

According to the can, this Anhui green tea can trace back to Tang Dynasty (years 618 to 907). It grows on Dabie Mountain (大别山) with an elevation of 1,774 meters in the western part of Anhui province. HuoShan is part of Babie Mountain. The tea tastes yummy,

 


Apr 22 2018

Liu’an Guapian 六安瓜片

A great green tea, my dear friend brought from Beijing to Shanghai.

   


Apr 22 2018

The Westlake 西湖 in the morning


Hangzhou’s Westlake is beautiful, every day of the year.

It’s more enchanting when it’s quite. My first photo is taken at 5:29 am. Sofitel cross street is a huge motivation to get up early. A mere hour later the crowds arrive and the intimate ambiance is gone. So am I.


Apr 21 2018

Mingxuan 名轩餐厅 @ Raddison Blu


88 Nanjing Lu West, 3rd floor
上海新世界丽笙酒店
上海南京西路88号

Will return.

White glove service, literally. Delicious food, quite. The main dinning area is small – most area is private rooms. Clean bathroom and above average utensils.


Apr 21 2018

Sofitel Westlake


333 West Lake Avenue
Hangzhou, 310002
Zhejiang Province, China

Will return.

An excellent location – cross street from the Westlake. It’s not new but they try to make most out of it.

A couple of little situations – they’re cross board in China: long check in and out line; check in time the room isn’t ready; thick smoke in the public bathroom (lobby, etc.).

We got to the hotel at 1:15 for 2 pm check in; and our room is not ready when we returned at 2:39. I wasn’t pleased and ask them to serve us champagne while waiting. The joke is on me because we’re on the 5th floor with executive lounge privilege. They ended up giving me a bottle. Oh well.

The staff is helpful and pleasant. The 5th floor executive lounge is a perfect place to watch the sunset, without crowds. One of the red wines Perle is pretty good.