Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo Opening

We arrived in Tokyo for the Mandarin Oriental Grand Opening. This is highly anticipated. I usually stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, but its location in Shinjuki is starting to wear on me tremendously, and this hotel is better situated right over a subway stop next to the Mistukoshi department store. Like many Tokyo hotels, you enter at the ground level, but the lobby is up in the sky, high, high, high... Makes for fabulous views!

The rooms are classic Mandarin Oriental, though a bit on the smallish side compared to what I'm used to at the PH.
The bathrooms have large soaking tubs with levered windows you can open to view the Tokyo skyline.

And these crazy Japanese toilets. Wow. They literally do everything, and some of the functions are rather dubious "Spray low, spray high, deodorize, etc.).
This is the view out of our window at night.
And this is the view out of the men's bathroom during the day. Let's just say these are the million-dollar urinal views!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 05, 2005

About a Gnocci

I've always wanted to know how to make a gnocci in all its pillowy-light goodness. My dad got to get his hands dirty today. The final dish turned out pretty darn well. Mmmm...

What to do with fresh tomatoes

We found fresh vine-ripened tomatoes today in Chef Claudio's garden. We turned them into a wonderful carrettera sauce which we used to top bruschetta.

And of course, we had to make some panzanella. So good. So simple.

Cooking with Chef Claudio, Figline Valdamo, Italy

My dad, my brother and I arrived in Italy today for a week of Italian cooking from Chef Claudio. He has a farm in Figline Valdamo, where we walk in his garden each morning and pick what is fresh.
The basil looked good today.
As did the zucchini flowers. We stuffed and breaded them. Yum!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Mercer Hotel SOHO, NYC

"Hello Mr. HeWhoTravels, Welcome to the Mercer. I'd like to tell you that we have downgraded your room for your stay." the clerk said with a friendly smile on his face. "What?" I said very politely. "Unfortunately we needed your loft suite so we need to downgrade your room for this stay. We are very sorry."

I'm not one to make a fuss, but seriously I had never been "downgraded" before. This was a first. I graciously took the smaller room and went to the lobby to people watch. I had a lovely time shopping in SOHO the next day. When I got back to the hotel, the clerk who had "downgraded" me earlier told me he had a surprise for me. He had taken the liberty to move my bags to the courtyard suite. He also handed me his card, Jose Estrada. Wow! I thought that was really nice.

The courtyard suite is a huge (by NY standards) suite that has french doors which open into the Mercer Courtyard.

It is a nice, modern, open design. I love the extra touch of the fresh flowers. These things define luxury as much as the space and furnishings.

Anyways, the Mercer did win me over in the end. And literally weeks later, I saw Mr. Estrada's name again. This time, it was in the paper and he was the apparent victim of a telephone battery by an Australian movie star with initials RC. Hmmm... I wonder if they downgraded him too!