Mo bar

Mo bar is perched on the fifth floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This stylish contemporary bar offers inventive cocktails and a spacious outdoor terrace with views of the Forbidden City.

The rich wood paneling and warm lighting decorated with leather seats make the perfect setting to enjoy their cocktails. There is even a flavor map that outlines each cocktail’s flavor profile.

Certain seating areas on the terrace require a minimum food consumption of RMB 2000 ($308).  It gets busy on the weekends, so either go early or make a reservation.

 

It was a last-minute decision to go to the bar. We were lucky to get a seat on the terrace. The view was nice, but we could only see the rooftops of the historical buildings.

Service was slow, drinks came out slow, and the waiters’ attitude was not up to par for a high-class bar at a five-star hotel. Instead, they were casual, inattentive.

Original sin (RMB 128)

Peach, apricot, toasted oats, Michter bourbon, milk, lemon

Sweet and tangy with a hint of bitterness

Mogroni (RMB 98)

Seedlip spice 94, Seedlip grove 42, Campari syrup, Mancino vermouth Rosso

Beautiful presentation – bold and bitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mo Bar

Website: https://www.mandarinoriental.com/beijing/wangfujing/fine-dining/bars/mo-bar

Telephone: +86 (10) 8509 8850

Opening hours: 4:00 p.m. – midnight (Mon, Tues, Sun)
4:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. (Wed, Sat )

Address:  No. 269 Wangfujing Street, Beijing, China, 100006

 

Ralph’s coffee

The latest addition to Beijing’s coffee scene is Ralph’s coffee by fashion mogul Ralph Lauren. Located in the heart of Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping village inside the Ralph Lauren retail store, this café serves coffees, teas, hot chocolate, and desserts.  The establishment is relatively small, with six tables inside and four tables outside.

The chic retro green and white color schemed interior with marbled countertops and jazz music playing in the background reminisce of a cafe in New York. I love the relaxing vibe and smartly dressed baristas and waiters.

Coffee beans are available for purchase along with merchandise such as mugs, tote bags, and t-shirts.

The dessert menu is small, but the cakes and cookies come in a generous size. Your cake options are carrot cake, chocolate cake, brownies, new york cheesecake, and honey cranberry loaf cake. For cookies, you have chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter, jelly cookies, red velvet sandwich cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

I ordered a chocolate cake (RMB 65) and an 85% dark chocolate drink (RMB 48), and my friend got a carrot cake (RMB58) and an Uji matcha latte (RMB 42).

The hot chocolate wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be. I like mine thick and creamy, and this was the opposite. However, the chocolate cake is the chocolate cake I have been waiting for; it is decadent, moist with the right balance of sweetness. In my opinion, the best chocolate cake in town. This is now my go-to place if I have a hankering for chocolate cake.

The carrot cake had a good balance of sweetness and spice with a velvety cream cheese frosting. The Uji matcha latte was bold and creamy. My friend is a matcha fan, and she absolutely loved it.

I will definitely be making another visit to try their coffee and cookies.

 

Ralph’s cafe

Websitehttps://www.facebook.com/RalphsCoffeeSanlitun/

Telephone: +86 10-64155600

Opening hours: 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. daily

Address: Unit S6-10a on First Floor, Taikoo Li Sanlitun South, No.19 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District 100027 Beijing

Four Seasons Hotel

The five-day labor day holiday was just around the corner, and I thought, what better way to spend it than a staycation at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The Four Seasons Hotel is located in the embassy district, with restaurants and a shopping mall within walking distance.

As one of the more expensive hotels in Beijing, I had high expectations for it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When I entered the lobby, the first thing I noticed was the size; it was smaller than most hotels. A beautiful display of various flower arrangements adorns the entrance. The check-in procedure was quick and smooth. The receptionist was friendly and spoke proficient English. I was upgraded to a premier room which is located on the 21st floor.

All rooms overlook a 20 story inner atrium with a wall decorated with 400 stainless-steel butterflies designed by Australian artist Jayne Dyer.

The hotel boasts two 1 Michelin star restaurants; Cai Xi Yuan, an upscale Cantonese restaurant, and Mio, a contemporary Italian restaurant.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The room is spacious with standard five-star hotel amenities such as a Nespresso machine and a minibar. The bed was firm but comfortable; the armchair and ottoman next to it was the perfect place to wind down and watch TV. But, disappointingly, the TV was somewhat small with limited channels.

The cleanliness of the room could be improved; there was dust on the countertops and a handprint on the window. Most hotels I have been to equip the rooms with a Bose Bluetooth speaker; the room had a Panasonic iPod dock with poor sound quality.

The tub is one of the highlights for me. It does not only have a great view, It is spacious and comfortable, allowing you to have a nice deep soak. A bath pillow is provided too. The toiletries are by Atelier Cologne. Unfortunately, due to covid, the hotel does not provide toothbrushes and shavers in the room but are available at the guest’s request.

There is a turndown service and a variety of pillow options to choose from based on your preference. You can also have your newspaper of choice delivered to you at a specified time in the morning.

I did not want to leave the room, so I ordered room service for the whole duration of my stay. For dinner, I ordered a nasi goreng (fried rice) with chicken satay (RMB 178 / $27) accompanied by a mango sago pudding (RMB 78/ $12). For breakfast, I got the french toast (RMB 118 / $12) with a cappuccino (RMB 68/ $10).

The food did not justify the price. It was good but average. I could get better food from the restaurants across the street.

Overall, I am not impressed; it was not a memorable stay for me. However, there were aspects that I liked, such as the tub, the views, and the friendly staff.

 

Four Season Hotel 

Website: https://www.fourseasons.com/beijing/

Telephone: 86-10-5695-8888

Address: 48 Liang Ma Qiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100125

Noryangjin Fish Market

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Noryangjin Fish Market is one of Korea’s largest seafood markets. If you are a seafood lover, this is the place to be. There is an old and new building. The new building is relatively clean and organized. The floors tend to be quite wet, so I recommend wearing closed-toe shoes. There is also a live fish auction at 3:00 a.m every day.

A delicacy at the market other than sashimi is san-nakji – chopped up live octopus. If you are an adventurous eater, do give it a go.

Many vendors have a restaurant or are connected with restaurants situated on the second floor. So if you want your seafood to be prepared in the restaurant, just talk to the vendor you’re buying from, and they will arrange for someone to escort you to the restaurant.

Tip: Bargain, bargain, bargain! Most vendors speak little to no English, but they are quite resourceful with the calculator and hand gestures. There are a few Chinese vendors; if you speak Mandarin, you can look out for them.

I bought a king crab, sole, and mussels which cost me 200,000 won (around 184 USD). There were five of us, so I got a big king crab which cost over 100,000 won. We decided to have our seafood cooked at a restaurant.

 

The mussels were cooked in a mild broth, while the fish was accompanied by a sweet-spicy sauce. I loved the sauce; it wasn’t too spicy with a hint of garlic, not overpowering the fish’s natural flavors.

Most shellfish are either steamed or grilled. Our king crab was steamed. It was my first time having king crab, and the meat was delicious! It was naturally sweet, not requiring any dipping sauce.

The restaurant bill came to around 48,000 won.

In the city where I’m currently residing, we don’t get a lot of fresh seafood, so this was a real treat!

 

Noryangjin Fish Market

Website: https://www.susansijang.co.kr/nsis/miw/en/intro

Opening hours: Daily 1:30 a.m – 22:00 p.m.

Address: 13-6, Noryangjin 1-Dong, Dongzak-gu, Seoul

Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort

Outrigger beach resort is located on the Northeast of the island. It’s secluded and a little far out from the center but if you are looking for a peaceful resort this is a good option. There are free daily shuttle buses to Chaweng beach and fisherman’s village. The rooms are styled with tropical decor with a modern twist. There is one all-day dining restaurant on the property.

This is one of the cheaper resorts if not the cheapest 5-star resort for a villa with a private pool.

Room service

The Thai green curry had an overpowering amount of coconut milk that I could barely taste the curry. For the salad, the ratio of the vinaigrette was not balanced, there was too much oil so there was not much flavor to the salad.

Dining at Edgewater

The Pad Thai was decent. It was a little too sweet for my palate.

The fish and chips were dry, the fish was over-fried. The chicken satay tasted bland.

My overall impression of the food was average. However, I loved the villa with the pool and the spa services.

 

 

Outrigger Koh Samui beach resort

Website: https://www.outrigger.com/hotels-resorts/thailand/koh-samui/outrigger-koh-samui-beach-resort

Telephone: +66 0 77 914 700

Address: 63/182 Moo 5 T. Bophut, Hanuman Bay, Koh Samui
Suratthani 84320

 

Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate Chicken Stew)

I love Persian food, and Fesenjan is one of my favorite dishes. It’s chicken cooked in a walnut pomegranate sauce. It’s tangy and rich, the perfect accompaniment to rice!

I used Durra’s pomegranate molasses which to me is pretty sour. So I added sugar to mitigate the sourness.

I got my Fesenjan recipe from persianmama. There are many other great Persian recipes on the website so check it out.

Jamie Oliver’s deep pan pizza

I have followed Jamie Oliver for years! I love his casual, easy-going cooking style. It’s never complicated with Jamie.

I came across an easy and quick pizza recipe on his new TV show – Keep Cooking & Carry On. It is now one of my favorite pizzas. You get the taste of the herbs; it’s savory with a bit of heat and tang.

The written recipe for this pizza can be found at Jamie Oliver’s website – https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/cheat-s-deep-pan-pizza/.

You just need a few ingredients for the toppings, and the pizza dough is made from self-rising flour, so there is no need for proofing the dough. The first time I made this was in a cast iron pan. This time I wanted a thinner crust, so I baked the pizza on a preheated inverted baking pan. Comparing both, I feel this topping goes better on a thicker crust.

Since fresh sausages were not readily available, I decided to make my own with minced pork. I marinated the pork with cumin, cornstarch, smoked paprika, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

 

 

Lusso lab, Jeongdong

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lusso Lab is located in the quiet historical area of Jeongdong, not far from Deoksugung Palace. The quaint neighborhood is beautiful for a stroll after a meal. The interior is spacious with industrial-style decor. There is an enticing display of cakes by the counter. The staff is friendly but spoke minimal English.

The menu offers Western food such as french toast, American breakfast, eggs benedicts, and etc. There are also brunch sets available.

I settled for the brunch set C, which consists of an American breakfast set, a cobb salad, and 2 cups of coffee, we opted for a latte and cappuccino. Also, I ordered a Tiramisu, brioche bread with bechamel sauce, ham, cheese, egg, and grilled asparagus, and a Brioche French toast.

The brioche French toast came with homemade ricotta cheese, bacon, walnuts, blueberries, and maple syrup. The French toast was pillowy soft. The ricotta cheese was creamy and smooth with a hint of sweetness, and the bacon was not too salty – a good balance between sweet and savory. The tiramisu could be better. Some parts of the sponge cake were dry, and the taste of coffee was weak.

Compared to the other dishes, I did not enjoy the American breakfast. It was a bit bland, and I would have preferred toasted bread. The brioche bread with bechamel sauce was good, the creamy bechamel sauce paired with cheese and ham – delicious!

Overall, an excellent spot for brunch!

 

Vanilla french toast  12,800 won

Croque Madame  9,800 won

Brunch set C  25,800 won

 

Lusso Lab, Jeongdong branch

Website: https://www.lussolab.co.kr/main.do

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 20:00 p.m

Saturday & Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 20:00 p.m.

Telephone: 02-772-9935

Address: 17 Jeongdong-gil, Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul

Silavadee pool spa resort

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Silavadee pool spa resort is nestled on a rocky beach between Chaweng and Lamai beach with breathtaking sea views. The tropical-style rooms are cozy and comfortable, well equipped, and clean. The complimentary fruit was a nice touch. Facilities at the resort include two infinity pools, a private beach, a spa, and a fitness center.

I stayed for two nights at the resort. I booked the deluxe room with an ocean view and a hot tub. The view from the room was picturesque. There is also a great view of the sea from the bathroom. I stayed in room 213, a corner room, and you can view the sunset from the balcony. Unfortunately, I had a noise disturbance at 1 am, at 7 am, and 9 am. I called the reception each time to report the noise. They dealt with it right away. The next day, they unexpectedly upgraded me to a pool villa with a partial view of the sea. The room was quiet and spacious. I was able to get a good night’s rest.

The staff there were friendly, courteous, and accommodating, one of the highlights of the resort.

In-room dining

Ceaser salad and spaghetti bolognese

Both were delicious.

Breakfast at Moon restaurant

The hotel offers a good breakfast spread of both Asian and Western cuisine. In addition, there are a variety of tropical fruit juices, smoothies, and local herbal teas. There is also a menu for made-to-order/ hot dishes such as eggs benedict, roti, steamed fish fillet, etc.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

All in all, this is a beautiful resort surrounded by lush greens, in balance and harmony with its surroundings. The attentive care of the staff is a testament to Thai hospitality. I left feeling energized and relaxed!

 

Silavadee pool spa resort

Website:https://www.silavadeeresort.com/

Telephone: +66(0)77-960-555

Address: 208/66 Ko Samui District, Surat Thani 84310, Thailand