Category Archives: American

Gjelina – Los Angeles

What would a trip to LA be without dining at celebrity hotspots?

We went to Venice to lunch at Gjelina, a restaurant serving contemporary American food.

Even though we went at 2pm, we still had to wait half an hour for a table.  We got seated at the WORST table, by the front window.  It was so hot and was SWARMING with mosquitos.  We took turns shooing away the mosquitos.. no wonder they got a B grade from the health department.  I think the celebrities sit in their own special room cause seriously, I don’t think I would be returning if I had to seat in that spot again.

The food, however, was really good!

Tuscan kale, shaved fennel, radish, lemon, ricotta salata and breadcrumb

Santa Barbara uni crudo, horseradish,chives and sea salt….

Grilled radicchio, bacon, fontina and confit tomato

Duck Confit, chicory, persimmon, pine nuts and balsamic….

The whole dining experience (sweating and swatting mosquitoes) made this meal unbearable, even though the food was amazing.  We wouldn’t be returning unless this restaurant can have air-con and be mosquito-free.  For the price we paid, around 100 USD, I do not want to be sharing my meal with mosquitoes.  This is how I eat while travelling in South-East Asia.. at a 10th of the price!



1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291, United States
Phone:+1 310-450-1429

Emeril’s Orlando

We were in Orlando during last year’s Orlando Magical Dining Month (September).  It’s 33 USD for a three-course, prix fixe dinner at some of Orlando’s most famous/expensive restaurants.  The only restaurant that caught my eye was Emeril’s. I grew up watching Emeril on the Food Network so in my eyes, he’s the first ever celebrity tv chef.

Emeril’s is located at Universal’s CityWalk so it’s a perfect place for dinner after a day at the Park.

Emeril only visits the restaurant about once a year.. no such luck that day!

the corn bread on the right was AMAZING….so soft and buttery, served warm… so delicious! It reminds me a bit of scones.. The server was nice enough to keep giving me refills!

FRESH GULF CEVICHE (Fresh local fish, cilantro, lime, chilis)…. There was a lot of ceviche compared to the tortillas.

GULF OYSTER BISQUE (Crème fraiche, spinach, bacon)

Unfortunately, I lost the photos of the entrèes.  We each ordered a different entrèe:

Mussels & Frites (White wine, tomato, sausage, hand cut fries, aioli)

Roasted Salmon (Saffron risotto, chorizo, fennel, tomato broth)

Stadler Farm Chicken Breast (Andouille & potato hash, tempura onion, sweet barbecue sauce)

Each entrèe had a very large portion…like a regular sized portion.  Both the Vancouver Dine Out and Hong Kong Dining Week portion are like sample-size…so you get your value at Emeril’s!  All the dishes were flavourful and fresh, with a great presentation.

bread pudding….

some famous house dessert….

Loved Emeril’s!!! Good value for the quality! We got a real deal here during the month of magicial dining..


Emeril’s Orlando

 6000 Universal Blvd #702, Orlando, FL 32819, United States
Phone:+1 407-224-2424

Magic Kingdom – Disney World

The park I was looking forward to most at Disney World was Magic Kingdom!

We got to the park 45 minutes before opening (yes.. I’m that crazy) and watched the welcome show and rope drop.  I’ve been to Disney countless times as a kid and teen but have never woken up that early to be there before opening… so this was a new experience.

In addition to lining up for rides, we also lined up for lunch at the most popular restaurant at Disney World, Be Our Guest.  The restaurant is the main part of the expansion of the Fantasyland expansion and has the theme and decor based on Beauty and the Beast.  

Because we were staying at a Disney resort, we were eligible for FastPast + reservation.  Unfortunately, I didn’t book it until a few weeks before the trip, so they were all out.   We started lining up for lunch at 10:15 (opens at 10:30am) and about 10 minutes after they start letting people in, the cast member said the first seating is all full and to come back at noon.  We didn’t listen, stayed in line and got into the castle by 11am.

mosaic of Belle and the Prince…

Beast’s ballroom

Beauty and the Beast… they spin!

the rose!!!

We ordered the food before entering the restaurant and was given a rose that lights up and lets the cast member know where you’re sitting.

potato leek soup…

Tuna Niçoise Salad – Warm Seared Tuna Steak, chilled Green Beans, Potatoes, Olives, Roasted Bell Peppers, Tomatoes and a Hard Poached Egg.

Braised Pork (Coq Au Vin Style)– Eight Hour Slow-cooked Pork with Mushrooms, Onions, Carrots and Bacon served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans Jardiniere….

The Master’s Cupcake (Chocolate Sponge Cake topped with Lumiere’s special “Grey Stuff”)

Triple Chocolate Cupcake ( Chocolate Sponge Cake, Chocolate Mousse Filling and Chocolate Ganache)….

After lunch, we rode on more rides and then went looking for Disney World’s most famous ice-cream, Dole Whip.

Only Aloha Isle in Adventureland sells this popular icy treat.  There’s 2 lines from the 2 sides and both are equally long.  We waited for more than 10 minutes…

We got the Dole Whip soft-serve in pineapple flavour and the Pineapple Float (pineapple dole whip in pineapple juice)…. Love this! perfect for the hot humid weather. The pineapple whip is soooo pineapply and not sweet.. so it’s made of the real stuff.  The float is double the goodness… but the pineapple juice was kinda sour compared to the whip.

After that.. we played till the sun went down…..

For dinner, we decided for something quick again and found a highly rated counter-service restaurant (yay for free wifi at Disney).

the picture is kinda dark.. but the restaurant is called Harbour House, a seafood restaurant…

Garden Harvest Salad (Mixed Greens, Garden Vegetables, Green Beans, Carrots, and Chicken)….

Battered Fish Basket with fries, Seafood Macaroni & Cheese ( Lobster and Shrimp served over Macaroni & Cheese), Chicken Pot Pie, Steamed Fresh Broccoli, apple slices… pretty gourmet food for a fast-food restaurant. The Mac & Cheese had chunks of lobster! The batter for the fish was thin and crispy. The pot pie was creamy.. which the parents loved and my mom wants to try this at home…

I actually preferred to food at Harbour House than Be Our Guest…We stayed at Magic Kingdom past the closing time! Such a tiring yet fun day!


Be Our Guest Restaurant

Aloha Isle

Harbour House

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant – New York City

The last food stop of the full day of eating was dinner at Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant.

It’s famous for its pancake and the line for their breakfast/brunch is usually 1-2 hours.  Since I don’t mind eating breakfast for dinner, I decided to skip the lines by going at night.

pancakes with wild maine blueberry and warm maple butter… the pancakes were warm and fluffy and didn’t sag.  The maple butter tasted more than maple syrup.

the award-winning buttermilk fried chicken dinner…. the parents weren’t up for breakfast food and ordered this.  I had a bite and the chicken was pretty good… fried perfectly!

kale salad with avocado chunks, quinoa, cherry tomatoes, red onions, spiced green pumpkin seeds and lemon vinegrette….

IMO, the pancakes are delicious.. but I wouldn’t wait 2 hours for it..


Clinton Street Baking Company & Restaurant

4 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002, United States
+1 646-602-6263

Pearl Dive – Washington, D.C.

While waiting in line at Rose’s Luxury, I asked the foodies for oyster bar recommendations.  They all unanimously agreed on  Pearl Dive.

Located between the hip restaurant row of 14th st and the roaring corridor of U Street, this restaurant screams hip!

The restaurant has a rustic decor, with a bar upfront and a restaurant at the back.

We started off with oysters.. all sorts of oysters!

Wood Grilled East Coast Oysters (Garlic, Red Chile Butter, Gremolata).. Loved the flavour.. but kind of lost the oyster taste…

Angels on Horseback (Grilled-Bacon Wrapped Oysters, Vin Blanc, Vinegar Reduction)… Love anything bacon wrapped! even more so with oyster!

Tchoupitoulas (Oyster Confit, Blue Crab, Tasso Ham, Roasted Corn)… couldn’t taste the crab..

1 pound of Addie’s Mussels (Garlic, Shallot, Fumet, Butter, Lemon, Grilled Baguette)…the mussels were kinda small.. but were juicy… Loved the grilled baguette!

Spinach Madeleine Tart (Spinach, Artichokes, Béchamel, Parmesan Cheese)……

The quality of the food here was superbe….. so we decided to order 3 oysters each to start..

starting from the left to the right (the oyster taste goes from mild to strong): Goose Point WA; Tatamagouche NS, Old Blacksalt Va.

I can’t decide if I like the milder ones or the stronger ones… The milder one didn’t really have much taste.  But that’s a good thing? Cause it means it tastes fresh.  We liked it so much that we ordered other oysters to try.

Wildcat Cove WA; Battle Creek VA; Fishers Island NY

Wish we could have ordered more.. but we didn’t want to take any chance as we were taking the Amtrak to New York the next day.

Shrimp Dinner (Bacon Braised Organic Greens, Salt Roasted Potatoes & Creamy Cole Slaw, Classic Tartar Sauce )……

Wood Grilled Gulf Redfish Sage and Native Pecan Brown Butter, Stone Grits)…. I don’t think I’ve tried Redfish before… it’s tender.. but not like sea bass.  I liked how they garnished the fish with pecans.

cornbread!  freshly baked! we didn’t get it till the middle of the meal.. so soft and warm!

Pearl Dive is clearly a winner.. plus Food and Wine named it America’s Best Oyster Bar!


Pearl Dive

1612 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, United States
Phone:+1 202-319-1612