matignon paris

matignon || 3 avenue matignon, 75008, paris, france || +33 1 42 89 64 72

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all dolled up & red. lot of red lights.20140725-011920.jpg
let’s take a moment to appreciate the spinning birdman in the back. and then the brilliant lawyers in the making. 20140725-011935.jpg
mandatory selfie.20140725-011945.jpg
and finally. what have we got here. jacques. if not for the scene, the beautiful people, the french accents, the birdman, the cool dj, the food, then come for mister maitre’d of the year. whœuf.

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beautique ny

beautique || 8 w. 58th street, new york, ny 10019 ||

“first impressions are of utmost importance, especially in a pretentious setting.”

blame it on the recent write up on page six in the new york post attracting a particular high profile clientele now scrambling over to this venue like there’s no tomorrow. wear your 9’s, bring your 10’s because this is serious.

upon entering beautique [after getting the approval from the almighty gatekeeper that you are worthy enough to join] you are instantly greeted by a beautiful giant bouquet of flowers + a shiny birchwood baby grand piano — double win.20140723-235100.jpg20140723-235118.jpg20140723-235205.jpgnaturally i had to test it out. 20140723-235328.jpgthen you pass a staircase of angled mirrors [last looks to ensure your face is perfect] before you descend into a den of judgmental patrons & staff more opulence. [the staff was actually very warm + welcoming.]20140723-235345.jpgwallpaper of bittersweet cut rose heads or lychee, i haven’t quite figured it out yet, but either way, really contributing to the aesthetics. they care!20140723-235437.jpgif you are special enough, you will be guided through the kitchen to a secret back room only available to the VIP & such. the walls are covered in artwork including warhol originals & other reputable artists.20140723-235452.jpgof course i made a pitstop behind the kitchen counter. “i’m topchef i swear!”20140723-235833.jpgconcentrating on placing the snow pea shoot perfectly onto the roasted leg of lamb dish. 20140724-000031.jpgquick snaps of a few dishes: salmon + soft-shell crab. the lighting is dark in the back room & since i dislike flash for dishes, i didn’t photo-document the complete dinner. 20140724-000039.jpgrecommended appetizers not photographed: mixed green salad with fruit – simple yet delicious. // spaghetti in a sweet tomato sauce.

recommended main courses not photographed: roasted chicken breast – very juicy & tender – not overcooked at all – i was impressed. // roasted sweet potato over buckwheat, mushrooms, & spinach mix

basically i’d like to return for the 3rd time to try everything else on the menu, especially the items laced with foie gras, & even more so after learning that beautique is under the helm of star chef craig hopson, formerly of le cirque.20140724-000543.jpgespresso martini + double espresso20140724-000614.jpglouis xiii + other fine whiskey20140724-000812.jpgkeepin it classy with the soft shell crab: slightly salty but the bed of puréed peas & greens was delightful.20140724-011313.jpgsnap of the ladies. you can’t sit with us but you can try to charm us.

i hear tuesday nights are especially great there since rogue nights brings in a crazy wonderful bunch. from the beautiful decor to the trendy, upscale crowd to the attentively crafted menu selection, this is a rare combo + gold medal winner.

beautique is simply magnifique!

also it’s located near the infamous plaza hotel & right next to the paris theater…oh paris.20140724-012344.jpgparting is such sweet sorrow, but there will always be tomorrow!20140724-173701.jpgchanneling the end of the night scene of [classy] drunks on the piano from gatsby.

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novikov – london

novikov || 50a berkeley st., london || +44 20 7399 4330

touchdown [fancy] londontown!

this dark [yet perfectly lit for footos: foodie photos], decadent, festive, sexy venue filled with beautiful people [with british accents] & especially fresh seafood [+wifi!] deserves a proper standing ovation, so here it is:
20140714-141458.jpgles poissons, les poissons…20140714-141628.jpghee hee hee…20140714-141658.jpghoh hoh hoh…20140714-141716.jpgafter saying hello to the kitchen staff & shaking hands with the lively seafood on display, onto the real excitement – the eye candy food & beverages:20140714-142922.jpgfrom the bar area, starting with perfectly crafted espresso martinis – not overly sweet like one too many places.20140714-143538.jpgas we venture over to our table, the dining room faces the fresh seafood flown in first class from various parts of the world + the seemingly open kitchen for you to enjoy the art of cooking segregated by a glass wall so as not to ruin the scent of our carefully slathered perfumes [or colognes].20140714-144358.jpgshrimp dumpling topped with ikura.20140714-144442.jpglangoustine carpaccio – YES.20140714-144606.jpgo-toro, you’re so fatty. hotate, you’re so hot. YES.
20140714-144821.jpgikura, you’re so ballsy. YES.20140714-144956.jpg[edible?] floral drinks for the ladies. 20140714-145058.jpgcrispy fatty duck with microgreens, pomegranate, pine nuts = mixed guilty + guilt-free feelings cancel out = nonetheless, delicious.20140714-145256.jpgking crab legs cooked with superman butter.20140714-145338.jpglightly seared razor clams in a citrus sauce – YES.20140714-145439.jpgspicy sea bass in an orange sauce [think fancy orange chicken] – not my favorite but still done well.20140714-150325.jpgcrispy soft shell crab – yum.20140714-150402.jpgi changed it up to a whiskey-based drink served in bamboo for a tropical effect. for dessert, we had few more espresso martinis – they were consistently great. overall, wonderful experience! bravo novikov!

next stop: the rififi club [members only] for restaurateur arkady novikov’s newest creations. more soon!

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osteria pastella – florence, italy

osteria pastella || via della scala, 17/r – 50123 firenze || 055 2670240

“this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!”

ciao! as i explored italy with my sister, we stumbled upon this place all on our own – no tripadvisor, no help from yelp. i was instantly drawn to the front window showcasing a sous chef making fresh rows of pasta. what can i say, i fall for appearances, thus, this new restaurant had already stolen my heart passed the first test & quickly became my favorite in florence. [plus they have wifi!] 20140706-075904.jpgpuff of joy starter.20140706-075935.jpg20140706-075955.jpgthe caprese was interestingly stacked high & executed well, tasting of mouthfuls of freshness.20140706-080018.jpgthe fresh tagliolini alle vongole was hands down the best vongole i’ve had in italy [at such a reasonable price too]. the strong but well-blended wine + the finely chopped garlic parsley as their sauce was magical – this is the boy vongole i’ve been looking for all my life!20140706-080109.jpg20140706-080139.jpg20140706-080151.jpgwe went with the pio ix dessert option which was recommended by our server & it was indeed a unique delicacy. i don’t know much beyond the fact that it is named after pope ix & it was delicious. took me a lot of googling to find out exactly what that nostalgic tasting fruit was: a european gooseberry.

then as a very kind welcome to osteria pastella + florence, the [awesome] big boss presented us these following italian specimens: tasty dessert wine & [drum roll] grappa. a lot of grappa.20140706-081649.jpg20140706-081703.jpgit was a challenge we couldn’t refuse.

their usage of flavors + quality of ingredients + presentation are comparable perhaps even superior to fine dining places but without the arm-chopping fine dining prices [and snobbery]. it really shows they care about maintaining the authenticity of the cuisine with no extra side orders of bs. such a wonderful experience overall. this is a must-visit when in florence! cannot wait to return to try more from the menu.

note: on fridays, they have live jazz :D what more could you ask for? big thank you to pietro for being a wonderful human being who truly appreciates the arts all across the board – grazie & salute!
20140706-140233.jpgregrettably, i didn’t do justice for the welcoming window photo the first time around.

20140706-142157.jpgso we went back. arrivederci!

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shiki beverly hills

shiki beverly hills || 410 n. canon drive, beverly hills, ca 90210 || (310) 888-0036

part of the excitement of food documentation is when you come across a new spot that has not been overdone with hundreds, thousands of reviews prior to yours [similar to claiming ownership of new territory, minus the bloodshed]. this time, it was finding shiki beverly hills, a recent addition to the greater los angeles area since april 2014, and to [restaurant] namedrop for the obsessed snobby knowledgeable foodies, the executive chef mr. shige fujimoto has done his infamous rounds [10+ years] at matsuhisa & a notable michelin starred period at asanebo. rumor has it that he is the reason the latter had earned its star 2 years in a row. well this venture was sure to be promising.

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peaceful murals of cherry blossoms. am i in tokyo or beverly hills?

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“shiki” means four seasons. the characters on the chopsticks are the type of wood used, i’m told by one of the young, adorable staff members

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the delicate cat-like plate for the sake glass

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MUST-GET: seared wagyu beef with peach. its sister appetizer is the seabass + peach. next time…

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mixed mushroom + ohba leaf soup in stone teapot. heartwarming.

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MUST-GET [especially scallop lovers]: seared scallops over marinated plum tomatoes + ohba leaf + a perfect citrusy appetizing sauce.

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toro tartare topped with caviar + wasabi soy dressing. delicious.

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MUST-GET FAVORITE: halibut + truffles + ponzu sauce + arugula flowers = LOVE.

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if you love it, take 2 photos of it. then eat it all! :D

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miso black cod – a standard dish at many places. fish was delicious.

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grilled octopus + tomatoes + onions. not usually a fan of octopus [because i think of ursula] but this was very tasty. the tomatoes were flash fried and its texture turned into a happy mystery.

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what ursula became after king triton banished her.

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stewed wagyu beef + shishito peppers. FATTY. TENDER. GREAT.

surprises do happen: 5 of the staff surrounded me with this glorious plate, singing the happy birthday song to me. no, i was not embarrassed.

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a wonderful array of desserts for my belated birthday celebration: 1) vanilla ice cream + fresh berries // 2) passion fruit gelée + panna cotta // 3) blood orange gelée. the combo of the 3 was perfectly sized & not too heavy for the weight watchers. the palette was happy.

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happy [late] birthday to me.

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yes, it’s time for the bathroom selfie check. did i stuff myself, check. but can i still take a decent photo, check.

visit shiki beverly hills for a sophisticated but relaxed & proper japanese dining experience to impress a foodie friend with something brand new & awesome. friendship/courtship points will be given for sure. attire is business casual and the lighting is actually pretty bright [like soto ny] + perfect for food photographing without the obnoxious flash chatting with my dear friend about the details of her upcoming wedding in lake como! can’t wait to share that experience with you soon. til then, let me know what you think of shiki so i can relive my experience there! じゃあね!

animal.

animal || 435 north fairfax avenue, los angeles, ca 90036 || 323-782-9225

me: if you were to be a dinosaur, which would you be and why? i’d be pterodactyl so i can fly + oversee everything.

he: i think you’d be t-rex.

me: …cuz i can be such a man meat-eating heartless [queen] b*tch?

he: cuz when the bill comes, your arms are so short, you can’t reach the bill.

returning from such a long hiatus, you’d think i’d have some animal cooler than a llama to post [does that exist?], but no, just food. from the restaurant, animal, where males and females are [wom]animals, the omnivores that we were created to be. it’s a “thing” ya know. first walking in, it’s a dimly lit, casual cool setting with a lot of tables full of animals feasting on their latest kill, sniffing their next bambi-esque victim made of wood, very reminiscent of new york, [or am i just missing it?] especially traif, except minus the foie gras. here goes:

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starting from a semi-blank slate

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resembles classic barf but the best gnocchi i’ve had as of late: ricotta gnocchi + 6-hour bolognese. i had one piece & i already felt full. so rich.

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hamachi tostada – one of my favorites not just because it was raw + light + refreshing but probably because it was raw + light + refreshing with an asian flair to it.

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veal brains. i tried it. it’s like other animal brains. brains will be brains. #hannibal

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uni dish. almost like a greek salad, but with uni.

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spicy beef tendon chips w/charred onion pho dip – this dip was phenomenal. all the flavors of vietnam in a dip.

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chicken liver toast – as great as everyone hypes it up to be. the additional concentrated caramelized onion on top was a happy surprise.

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crispy pig head. wasn’t too crazy bout this. i was looking for a fattier texture in the meat.

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“toad in a hole” basically duck egg, truffle, english pea, french ham, gruyere. more like a brunch piece.

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poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar. basically fancy chili cheese fries.

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roasted bone marrow with chimichurri sauce. great, but FAT, but great. bone marrows are easy to make, but this sauce really did it for me.

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help. i want to tap out already. but notice their dinner napkins with a buttonhole. can be attached as your baby bib, or to your fancy cuff links.

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fried rabbit legs. couldn’t touch this. i don’t eat adorable little bunnies anymore – i made a promise.

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crispy broccoli [yay, something else healthy!] slathered in pancetta vinaigrette that tasted of butter sauce, soft egg, & parmesan

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yellowtail collar, jerk spices, watermelon radish, citrus, palm sugar. this was another light + refreshing dish with an asian flair done well.

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fried chicken wings.

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melted p’tit basque & chorizo. i couldn’t touch it.

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if “flirt with me & love me” were to ever be translated into a dessert, it’d be this LOVELY one: blueberry, frozen brown butter crumble, yogurt, bay leaf ice cream topped with purple edible flowers.

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interesting [but not a fave] dessert: meyer lemon sherbet, frozen citrus, white chocolate, malted milk

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this photo doesn’t do justice to my other favorite dessert: cheesecake pudding, passionfruit, seascape strawberries, graham. perfectly balanced so it’s surprisingly not heavy at all.

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errrthang on the menu, almost, except a few.

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warning: beer & wines only – no hard liquor. the scotch enthusiast at our table [me] was quite disappointed. but i did enjoy the last bottle of the rosé we chose.

i was shocked to have eaten so much cooked, hearty food that by the end, i felt i had transformed into the beast. a heavy yet exciting journey this was!

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…so then the beast roamed the streets of los angeles, ripping apart palm trees and claiming bentleys.

sushi roku – pasadena

sushi roku || 33 miller alley, pasadena, ca 91103 || (626) 683-3000

now here’s a festive place paired with innovation, thus their appropriately self-dubbed innovative dining group. sushi roku is one of my favorites that have been around for years along with katana [my second home before moving out to ny + it’s wagyu week til march 9th!] which continues to have consistently amazing dishes. they reinvent their menu with new additions that mix classic items with edgy flavors that really excite your palette. aside from the great food, here’s a venue you can count on to look sexy, stylish, hip and complete with beautiful decor from top to bottom with great photo opps all around – selfies in the restroom will probably be more interesting than most places. feel free to wear your best to see & be seen, and maybe fall in love – this is applicable to their whole restaurant chain.

below are some of their newest items from this pre-oscar wknd treat:

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fluke topped w/kumquat, yuzu citrus, & black salt on the side


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tuna tartare with yuzu guacamole, soy truffle vinaigrette and black TRUFFLES.

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filet mignon wrapped asparagus – delicious [although i personally would have preferred the meat uncooked or seared] but texture was still great.

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lychee imperial – cocktail choice of the night – refreshing & not overly sweet.


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hot oil-seared halibut with diced chili + scallions. one of my faves.


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spicy jalapeño shots for the table!


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my favorites on this queen-sized platter: amaebi (live sweet shrimp) w/caviar, uni w/black salt, the special baby ika (squid), spanish mackerel


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girls w/the queen platter


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sweet baked shrimp over uni risotto – YUM.


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ankimo – monkfish liver pâté **fave**


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deep fried shrimp heads from our amaebi – you can eat their tentacles + whiskers! try it!


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tuna tataki + grilled shishito peppers & eggplants – enough to feed the tables around us!

“you’re so hot[ate], especially with those gold flakes & caviar on top.”

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DISH OF THE NIGHT: hotate (live scallop) topped with caviar, pink peppercorn, & gold flakes. so pretty. so delicious.


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valet car keys anyone? pls drive responsibly!

if you’re still out west, don’t miss their upcoming event at toranoko [restaurant by IDG partner michael cardenas] this friday, march 7th at 5 pm: mama musubi pop-up shop with guest appearance by london’s food freak, sir nigel white showcasing d’anconia art and sharing japanese food history.

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sushi sasabune – beverly hills

sushi sasabune || 9162 w. olympic blvd, beverly hills, ca 90212 || (310) 859-3878

“my phone died.” – that’s what she said…

i’ve got no fish to show you this time because my phone died right when my delicious dinner started. i have a few things to point out though. i enjoyed this sasabune in la [the original] much more than the one in new york. why would i ever like anything in la over ny?

1. better company
2. less claustrophobic space

this casual setting, just like in new york, helped me stick out like a silly, overdressed tourist stand out in my 6 inch michael kors + fluffy ruffly bcbgmaxazria romper. so much leg, so much heel, so much dressiness, so much too much. whatever. i wanted to look good for my fish date.

i want my mirugai and eat it too. so i did.

sushi yasuda in ny told me most japanese places in the u.s. don’t serve mirugai [jumbo clam] anymore because the chinese have almost fully monopolized the hoarding [surprise!] and the server also thought i was strange to order carb-free sashimi omakase without the rice, so he put the sushi chefs through sushi hell to make me smaller rice balls that i still wouldn’t eat, wtf. here, i had my mirugai, and loved it. i also binged on mirugai at mori sushi recently too, which i will post some cute close-ups of them soon! other favorites here that were notable: toro, abalone, ikura, uni. they were out of amaebi [live sweet shrimp] & ika [squid] when i got there :( my favorites list has trimmed down a bit, just like my circle of friends. i know what i want and i keep the good ones close. you don’t keep enemies [or irritating people] close[r] anymore – that’s such an idiotic complete effin waste of your good time outdated saying. we’re not stuck in high school mentality [although some are, unfortunately, and i hope that they will advance into adulthood]. is it terrible i’m comparing my friends to fish?

a few photos pre-phone death:

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in ny, this msg is engraved onto their glass window

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my view of the sushi bar + chefs from my table through a lovely piece of glass art

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proof i was there selfie – check.

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random msg on the chopsticks wrapper – check.

“delicate snowflakes rest on warm, sweet rice beds flavors intertwined. translucent jewel – (sliced) natural perfection – slide into my mouth. trust me!” – that’s what she said chopsticks wrapper.

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random insert of my lil boy wolfie – check. he missed me while i was at dinner.

overall, fresh, delicious + nutritious!

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prime 112 steakhouse – miami

prime 112 || 112 ocean drive, miami beach, fl 33139 || (305) 532-8112

rando she: “YOU’RE BUMPING INTO ME, SHOUTING OVER ME, INTERRUPTING OUR CONVERSATION, AND YOU’RE TOUCHING MY HAIR.”

he: “you do realize you might possibly be at the most crowded bar tonight.”

.rando continues barking screaming so i interrupt, in my most calm, non-snobberish, non-condescending, almost perfectly british tone.

me: “let me be the mediator here. clearly it was an accident. so let’s get over it & just move on.” *smile*

.crisis averted.

me to he: “don’t worry, i got your back. “

.lovestare.

aside from the almost mini-brawl by the cramped busy waiting bar initiated by an obnoxious idiot angry girl, all was well after our party of 12 was seated. if a fight went down, it could have possibly been the ugliest hottest catfight of 10 girls during christmas week in miami – however, we kept it classy, and crisis was averted. we win!

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grab a rose or get kicked out of the game!

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2 lovebirds. caviar deviled eggs.

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3’s a crowd so we got 2 dozen.

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minimalist. almost depressing, but positively delicious.

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my filet mignon, black & blue. perfect.

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hello 50 lb maine lobster. the most expensive main course on the menu – fun!

didn’t have the time or space to enjoy any desserts. as most steakhouses are, their servings were gigantic and appetizers seemed like 5 handfuls. come hungry and ready for a fight feast!

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post-dinner adventures. not too shabby view of miami, but still not new york!

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drum roll… per se

per se || 10 columbus circle #4, new york, ny 10019 || (212) 823-9335

per se probably needs no introduction but that just wouldn’t be proper. it has been long awarded with 3 michelin stars and maintained its status with good reason, thanks to chef thomas keller who ingrains the perfectionism into this establishment. this was a peaceful marriage between my eyes, tastebuds, and stomach and all senses, if that were to ever exist. my adventure from the 7 course lunch of 4 hours:

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afraid and/or excited selfie

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amouse bouche, salmon tartare on a cone

note the houndstooth theme on their plate sets and even the dinner cloth.

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“oysters & pearls” – sabayon of pearl tapioca + island creek oysters + sterling white sturgeon caviar

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i love sodium! various salts from rare places + different eras, to be paired with the foie gras to give different overtones & WOW to each bite

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“torchon of elevages perigord moulard duck foie gras” – foie gras is my achilles heel. this was as delicious as it looked

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“hawaiian heart of peach palm bavarois” – hearts of palm salad that initially sounded boring, but boring it was never.

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pretty bread i took a mini bite of just so i could taste their fresh butter

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more bread choices. if you have a spacier stomach, feel free to indulge in their breads. otherwise, pace yourself!

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“boudin de homard” – lobster pudding w/cauliflower purée + garden state peaches + piedmont hazelnuts + caper nuage (cloud)

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“four story hill farm’s suckling pig porchetta” w/brentwood corn + oregon chanterelle mushrooms + pea tendrils + aji dulce peppers

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the magic box of australian black winter truffles!!! don’t judge a book by its cover, otherwise truffles would be deemed as disgusting.

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charcoal grilled snake river farms’ calotte de beouf w/yukon gold potato rings + persian cucumbers + heirloom carrots + kendall farms crème fraîche

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the sinsu cocktail: st. germain elderflower liquor + grey goose vodka + hibiscus syrup + grapefruit juice. success! they had an extensive list of wines & scotches but as for the cocktail menu, i wasn’t inclined to order any of them & kindly requested my own concoction :D

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“assortment of desserts” part 1: fruits

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“assortment of desserts” part 2: ice cream

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“assortment of desserts” part 3: chocolates

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“assortment of desserts” part 4: “candies”

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the per se parting gift tin box of chocolate cookie sandwiches

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photo sesh time!

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commanding the art direction…or pointing out we’ve closed up shop, yet again.

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the per se photo sesh isn’t complete until you’ve taken a tour of their kitchen & waved hello to the chefs over at french laundry via their live video conference

merry xmas for your mouth & eyes!

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