Taipei | Dong Ding Oolong-Gin Fizz

Aloha from Taipei!

I’m traveling throughout Taiwan (what an incredible country) and Hong Kong for the next few weeks. Am on a tasting and sourcing trip with many adventures and amazing tea to share. Posts to come! In the meantime, how about this Dong Ding Oolong-Gin Fizz from the W Taipei? Am obsessed…with both the cocktail and hotel bars ^_^

P.S. Following along on Instagram and Twitter for more frequent updates. 

NYC | Tea Wing at Hirohisa

There’s a new amuse on the menu at Hirohisa…just in time for the cold ^_^

They’re partnering with Zach (remember when we first met? and posts on his matcha and a nodate tea ceremony)…

…using Tea Wing’s Akishun Fall Shincha.

First we had the tea straight…

…and then with Hirohisa san’s new creation which is most intoxicating.

Instead of brewing the shincha in water, the tea is brewed in housemade dashi and then poured over a grilled matsutake mushroom from Oregon. 

How amazing is that? I can still taste the broth, warming and umami-rich, all heady and haunting ^_^

Mandarin Oriental New York | Lobby Lounge

Still one of my favorite lunch (and afternoon tea) spots in the city. 

The Lobby Lounge is one of those places where I have the exact same things on each visit. Elder Sage (cherry blossom tea, Belvoir elderflower pressé, sage syrup, and a squeeze of lemon)…

…and Caesar with grilled shrimp. It’s not on the lounge menu (just the room service menu), but you can still order it.

Finishing with Jasmine tea. I’m all for adventure, but there’s something about reliable favorites ^_^

NYC and Napa Valley | Uproot Wines

A recent dinner co-hosted by Uproot Wines and Kitchensurfing

…celebrated the launch of The Block, which is Uproot’s new social club. Chris Lynch was our chef for the night.

Seared scallops and crisp cauliflower…

…braised shortribs over parmesan polenta. Side of charred brussels, glazed carrots, and roasted mushrooms.

And, dessert! Baked pears with hazelnut crumble. A big scoop of whipped vanilla mascarpone, salted caramel sauce, pomegranates and sea salt. Favorite course of the night ^_^

Hawai’i | Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

When I was on the Big Island last month, I met with Ross Alaimo, pastry chef at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (see my Serious Eats post here). Such a great guy…and his banana bread is amazing. Chef Ross is big on using local Hawaii ingredients (I know we often talk about local this and that…but things always feel more genuine in Hawaii :) 

I met him at 8am on a Monday morning and we powered through many delightful sweets. Want to take a look? 

Lilikoi cheesecake with fresh lilikoi (from Hilo side of the island). The puree is mixed into the cheesecake batter and turned into lilikoi curd to top. Graham cracker crust.

Mochi ice cream wrapped to order, paired with fresh mangoes. Super soft mochi stuffed with vanilla bean (from Hamakua coast) ice cream.

Kee’au apple-banana bread pudding with cinnamon grated straight into the pudding.

Big Island goat cheese cheesecake – sweet and savory paired with caramelized pineapples, walnuts, and local honey.

Soufflés! In both vanilla bean…

…and chocolate. 

And my favorite of them all…banana bread!! Bought an extra loaf to take back to Honolulu. Thick slices, grilled and topped with butter. Ooh la la o_O