gold

i ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger…but she’s drippin’ in gold in san francisco during the gold rush.

my recent trip to san francisco proved to be quite festive, with the main excitement being the infamous gold party thrown annually for the past 5 years, with each year outdoing its previous one. this was the perfect event to rock out in fabulous headpieces & neck gear — designed, personalized & hand-crafted by yours truly specifically for this grand evening.

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ride or die [in gold] til the end

the wonderful host of the party

our wonderful lively host of the party

step & repeat is just all gold

step & repeat is just all gold

the chandelier.

the chandelier.

the satellite.

the satellite.

the golden mason jars.

the golden mason jars.

the fantastic tattooed airbrush artist.

the fantastic tattooed airbrush artist.

the forbidden fruit.

the forbidden fruit.

the cosmo jello w/gold droplets.

the cosmo jello w/gold droplets.

the flame thrower

the flame thrower.

the gold-starred chocolate cakes.

the gold-starred chocolate cakes.

the bling.

the bling. [with thoughts of wolfie]

the boyfriend i found - he doesn't speak much.

the boyfriend i found – he doesn’t speak much.

the candid moment.

the candid moment.

the gold masks & chains on a vintage piano.

the gold masks & chains on a vintage piano.

behind the scenes, before the party, is the party at the hotel lobby…which usually means slr’s and selfies. “make yourselves at home,” the perfectly fit & well-proportioned height x weight x everything adorable bell boy said as he greeted us. oh we did, thank you.

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and this concludes the photo sesh at the marker hotel, and scenes from the gold party. more soon about my visit to alcatraz…

soto

soto || 357 6th ave., ny, ny 10014 || 212.414.3088

the worst thing is to accidentally delete a perfectly fine post on one of my favorite japanese restaurants in the city. how, why did it happen. i blame word press. let’s start the new year right by correcting what was wrong with 2014 – the mysterious case of the missing soto blog post.

anyhey, please enjoy [again], this fabulous 2-michelin starred bundle of joy. they are creative with their dishes yet maintain a sense of traditional feel to it. don’t come here if you just want fresh fish over rice balls. nope. also, be prepared to be in shocking bright lighting as it is basically broad daylight here — [perfect for foodies & obnoxious photo-taking] therefore nice, casual dress is acceptable.

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b&w tofu: sesame & soy

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snapper, refreshing

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smoked trout carpaccio, caviar, watercress

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hey flukes. don’t be so sad.

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seared halibut

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shredded surf clam prepared like a lil tiki house

one of my faves:

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uni on sweet raw ebi shrimp

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tuna tartare: chopped asian pear, tuna, pine nuts, marinated seaweed

another favorite…

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toro tartare & caviar.

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chopped kanpachi, wasabi tobiko wrapped in marble soy paper + soy mousse

third favorite dish…

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uni, caviar, snow crab, uni gel wrapped in lotus root

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grilled langoustine. call me maybe.

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green tea, strawberry, mango, vanilla, red bean, passion fruit mochi

love all the courses. it’s simply fantastic.

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eleven madison park

eleven madison park || 11 madison ave. || (212) 889-0905

merry christmas. wow. this delectable, decadent, exquisite experience is truly excellent. the following photos are worth a few thousand words and will perhaps tickle your taste buds.

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peaceful ambiance at 5 pm [since dinner will last for 4+ hours]

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getting gossip from the mixologist

there was also a farewell gathering of the staff & etc for the pastry chef that day. it was fun eavesdropping like a creeper from the bar before dinner began.

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cocktail selection is on point. happy with the options listed. [unlike per se  #spoiledfoodieproblems]

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secret ingredient choice. i choose you, coffee. or is that the marijuana plant?

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presents already? savory ny classic b&w cookies

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caviar + creme fraiche

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refreshing [hidden] oysters.

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“fruit salad”

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their logo now makes sense to me

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hey la tache = $12K

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dehydrated tomato stuffed with lobster topped w/baby basil & cream

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to fill you in on the tasty filling

note: to give you an idea of their stalkery absolute attentiveness, they noticed i scraped the creamy top off to the side of the dish and asked if there was a problem with it. i let them know that i didn’t want too much of the cream, and that preference was duly noted for the later items. thanks guys!

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light soup made from the tomato they previously squeezed the juice out of

ode to a new york classic. this is when the secret ingredients show face:  cherry soda to the left, coffee soda to the right.

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“pastrami & soda”

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pastrami on a fancy fiery simmer plate

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open-faced sandwich.if you want it put a pastrami on it

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cocktail: rye whiskey based egg white & anise

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old fashioned

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this cucumber salad was for the [silly] ones who opted out of their AMAZING foie gras dish that day. pretty and healthy but not on the same page.

the dish of the night: foie gras.

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the beautiful, seared foie gras with chanterelles. amazing.

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aerial view of what i loved.

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“salad bar”

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telling stories of the waldorf

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the waldorf salad + celery puree soup

curious to know how the celery soda would have tasted, we asked for a smidgen & they gave us a bottle. it was great, but cherry was surprisingly my favorite since they used fresh cherries.

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the sodas + fresh butter & bread

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halibut with paper thin radish

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green delight. celtuce.

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dbl espresso pls

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the herb-crusted dry roasted duck, stuffed with lavender

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the slice of duck that you get to eat, which was much more than i could eat at this point

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hmm. part of the duck

then there’s more…

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picnic anyone?

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added my little touch of tying the handkerchief on top.

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my name on the plates?!

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virginia sin, the artist behind the ceramic plating that appears to be paper plates

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goat cheese, candy grapes, basil paste in a jar

finally onto dessert…

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delicious dessert: butter cream, butter scotch, dehydrated milk, foam, crumble. yum.

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burning brain…

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charred brain…

and then because it was my birthday…

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pretty

sometimes it can be fun in the kitchen…especially special tours of it.

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hey kitchen crew! you’re awesome.

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photos along the wall are their farmers and growers from whom they purchase their ingredients

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37 staff in the main kitchen + ms. expediter

expediter: kitchen manager aka bootcamp captain aka “hurry the eff up, are you a snail or are you a chef” [i’d imagine she yells this] who makes sure everyone is on task on time, down to every minute, every second, and ensures a sufficient amount of all ingredients necessary for the amount of diners every day.

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the new sous chef making a special icy cone treat

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we’re all kids again! snow cones, fancy ones.

as if our 4 hour dinner + kitchen tour wasn’t obnoxious grand enough, they relocated us to a pleasant after-the-never-ending-dinner private corner lounge where we can further lengthen our stay by indulging in more caffeine and a complimentary bottle of grappa. if only it were scotch…

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the lounging area

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sweet classic new york b&w cookies & pretzel infused with dark, milk, & white chocolates

another birthday surprise…

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dark chocolate covered coconut bar of decadence

they decided to feed me for breakfast as well.

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fresh homemade granola.

so good, all the squirrels in the city came running over.

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the [wrinkled] menu.

a fantastic journey it was — overall a worthwhile experience for a special occasion especially since it is like a classic broadway show + new york history 101 + foodie heaven + michelin snob all packed into one night. take her/him there. :D

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amalfi coast

words cannot even accurately express this beauty that is the amalfi coast…

one of the towns along the amalfi coast: positano…
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then there’s ravello…

highlight: this magical resort, the belmond hotel caruso20140818-224814.jpgsilky, sweet infinity pool overlooking opulence.20140818-230420.jpga panoramic with an accidental photobomber.20140818-230517.jpgone with the lil sister…is this real life?20140818-230554.jpgreunited with my dear friend, terren. follow her for breath-taking views, crazy hikes & adventures around the world.20140818-230649.jpgsome daytime brunching & relaxing, why not.20140818-230724.jpg

i love menus with no prices – it’s always a pleasant surprise when you get the check.

20140818-231240.jpgwinners for the peach bellini contest. so delicious.
20140818-231307.jpghelp yourself at the salad bar20140818-231326.jpgor indulge in the special of the day: seafood pasta20140818-231345.jpgor order the vongole that we’ve been obsessively ordering at every single restaurant in search of the best all across italy. we found one here in florence.20140818-231412.jpgafter crying over the fact that this vacation will be over soon absorbing the beauty around me, a restroom break was in order. i could also take a shower. all the personal toiletries were available too. what more can i possibly need?20140818-231433.jpg
selfie done right with the gopro camera + selfie stick with the best hosts ever.20140818-231454.jpggoodbye for now.20140818-231520.jpg
no wait…20140818-224348.jpg
i can live here.

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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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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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