The Venetian – Las Vegas, Nevada

August 23rd, 2016

While we were visiting Las Vegas, staying at The Venetian, I’m not sure how we got so lucky… but we got upgraded to Prima Suite which was amazing!

This room has the doors opening into a foyer area, which was marble and amazing. Truly a sense of wealth and luxury!

Just off the foyer is a half bath, very nice and luxurious.

The main part of the suite is a sitting area, with a TV and large table for eating or entertaining!

This awesome space even comes with a full bar, although ours was not stocked, it was an amazing space.

Off the main area was the actual room with it’s own ensuite bathroom. The room was large and spacious, the bed was tall, plush and comfortable. We didn’t want to get out of bed the following morning, it was that amazing!

Just off the sleeping area is a closet with a vanity table.. and we love this space. They provide us with tons of amenities and it was quite nice as we were running low on our supplies.

The bathroom was amazing, with his and her sinks, a jacuzzi tub, a large 2-person shower… this bathroom defines luxury! The shower was wonderful with 2 shower heads, tile entirely, it was just beautiful.

Although we didn’t have a chance to relax in the Jacuzzi tub, I certainly wish we could have. we really enjoy soaking the day away in evenings, but we came to the hotel quite late this evening – and just curled in bed.

This stay has been my most memorable stay, and we have been to Las Vegas for a very long time. Since this hotel has opened, this was the hotel I wanted to stay at. This once in a lifetime opportunity was definitely worth it! Be sure to watch the room walk through clip to see this amazing suite!

The Venetian

3355 S Las Vegas Blvd,
Las Vegas, NV
702-414-1000

New York-New York Hotel and Casino – Las Vegas, Nevada

August 23rd, 2016

We had the opportunity to go to Vegas for a few days, and from there we did some hotel hopping to experience more! Our first stop was New York – New York located right on the strip, towards the end (closer to the airport). I must admit, the hotel is much nicer than expected!

We stayed in their standard room with a king bed, and the room was very spacious!

The bed was very comfortable and the sheets were cozy. We really enjoyed our stay here and was pleasantly surprised!

The room was quite spacious as well, and the layout is actually kind of different from the standard rooms. The desk is off to the side and we get the entire wall of storage!

The bathroom was very standard, but it was clean and it did it’s purpose. Nothing over the top, but had everything we needed..

Overall, the stay was truly amazing! It’s nice that you can’t predict what kind of room you would get in Las Vegas! Below is a room clip of our room during this stay.

New York New York Hotel and Casino

3790 S Las Vegas Blvd,
Las Vegas, NV 89109
702-740-6969

Café Mondo – Jasper, Alberta

June 7th, 2016

We saw a great deal to stay in Jasper, so we didn’t pass it down. In the morning, we wanted a quick brunch which meant it wasn’t too busy. We walked right into Cafe Mondo and it is right on Patricia Street with street parking nearby.

My husband loves soup and we went for a late enough breakfast that they had soup! Their soup of the day was a Beef Vegetable Soup and it was really amazing hearty soup.

I ordered their Breafast Wrap and it wasn’t bad. It was a wrap with egg, tomatoes, onion and cheese with smoked salmon. This wrap is like a smoked salmon pizza on a pita bread! It tasted amazing and they were very generous with the smoked salmon.

My husband ordered their Croissant Toastie which is a ham and cheese sandwich in a croissant. It is an amazing little breakfast that is delicious! The croissant was really fresh, with a nice light and crispy exterior and a soft and buttery interior.

Overall, the brunch was delicious and it smells amazing! The food came out quick and the service was friendly! This was the perfect last stop before heading home!

Café Mondo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Café Mondo

616 Patricia St,
Jasper, AB
(780) 852-9676

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas – Balcony Stateroom

April 24th, 2016

I’ve always wanted to go to St. Petersburg in Russia, and when I was booking my holidays, I knew this was the trip I was going to make it happen! I needed to start crossing things off my “must see” list. I quickly looked a lot of cruise lines, and picked Royal Caribbean as I’ve traveled with them the previous year and loved my trip! Now that I knew this brand was worthy of my time and effort, I found this ship that stopped at my port! I booked it and here’s the stateeroom we stayed at!

My first cruise many years ago was a balcony stateroom. Ever since that cruise, it is the only option we choose as we never realized how much we actually use the outdoor quiet space! We always have the 2 beds pushed together, and these beds were really neat as it’s not rectangular! It’s perfect as I don’t hurt myself as much when I run into the corners! It does have enough room as well, probably because we are short!

Right next to the bed was a little seating area, which is great! We actually sit there if we want, or put thing there. It’s nice to have some living space and it’s large enough. I believe some of the rooms, this is a pull out sofabed, but I do not know if ours was! We left it as it is and used the little table. Sometimes, we’d sit here and eat off the little table, if we’re not doing that on the balcony! It’s quite nice to have options!

Then, the bathrooms onboard are always more compact and only essential things should be brought onboard these cruise trips. We had plenty of space as there’s only 2 of us and I’m the one that has “stuff”. There is storage behind the corner mirrors but there’s also a lot of storage throughout the room too!

Showers can be difficult if you’re use to a lot of space, or if you’re more wide/broad. Even I hit my elbows on the walls when I’m trying to wash my hair, but I can move around.. so I never needed to upgrade to bigger bathroom staterooms or anything like that. But, it’s something to consider if you feel like you spend a lot of time in the shower, or simply won’t fit.

The last part to the stateroom would be the desk/vanity area. It offers everything here! From outlets, to sitting area, mirrors, drawers, and more storage area! It’s the main area for us as we come in and out and put everything in this area.. we do try to clean it up nightly so it’s not clutter.

I did a small room clip as well, but these cabins/staterooms are plenty of space for 2 and sometimes 3 people. I would personally think it’s really crammed for more guests. This cruise that we took was the best cruise to date and we visited Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, Saint Petersburg and Helsinki! Although I’ve been to a few of these places before, Eastern Europe and Scandinavian places are my favourite!

The clip above is the tour of the room! Like I mentioned, it’s enough space, but small if you’re use to North American luxury hotels!

Metropark Hotel Wanchai – Hong Kong, China

April 20th, 2016

We took a trip to Hong Kong and we stayed in Wanchai as we had relatives in this area of Hong Kong. So, we booked a reasonable rate room at the Metropark Hotel. The location of the hotel was very convenient to all amenities, food, MTR and lots more!

We stayed in their Spacious Comfort Room and it was enough room for 2 people! We’ve been/lived in Hong Kong before, so we’re aware that space is limited. The bed we got was large, I’m not sure if it was a King bed or not, but it was wonderful! We go to a hotel to get clean and sleep, so it was nice that the bed was so big and comfortable!

The bathroom wasn’t a bad size, and there were tons of amenities that this hotel gives. The bathroom had a bathtub, with a shower in there. The bathroom amenities was plentiful as well, ranging from your standard shampoo, conditioner and lotions, they have tooth brush, tooth paste, shavers and more!

The desk was nice as there was still room to walk around, but offers space for you to use! A nice thing about this hotel is they offer a handy cellphone which offers coupons, and unlimited talk minutes in Hong Kong as well as internet! It came very handy when you’re lost or trying to find thing. This phone also tracks where you are and tells you if there’s coupons!

Other amenities, the room offers a safe in the room, coffee maker, kettle, mini fridge for their guest! They will replace things that you use, which was really nice! The closet was spacious, which was a great place to store everything! There was also a dehumidifier in the room, which was very useful! The annyoing thing was it turns off itself when it’s full, so I found it was useful to empty the water before you go to bed as some humid nights, it will shut off.

Our overall stay was very nice! The staff was friendly and accommodating as we requested a late check out and they allowed us. The hotel offers a shuttle to/from the airport at a small fee, which was very useful as we didn’t want to figure out which bus stop to get off at in the dark!

Metropark Hong Kong Wanchai

41-49 Hennessy Road,
Wanchai, Hong Kong
(852) 2861 1166

Homemade Steamed Spareribs 排骨

April 6th, 2016

This month, I decided I was going to make one of my favourite dim sum dishes, Steamed Spareribs and I was excited about the way it turned out! It was fall off the bone tender, and still juicy and delicious!

Ingredients:
1 lb spareribs
1 tbsp black bean sauce (or fermented black beans smashed)
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp cooking wine
1 tsp salt
1-2 cloves minced garlic

First, start by rinsing and drying your meat. I don’t know if it is necessary, but it’s a habit that I have for pork that I bring home from the store. Once you got the meat cleaned and dried, I put it in a steam proof dish where I will get the spare ribs marinated in.

Then, I put all the ingredients together and put some plastic wrap over the spareribs and let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge.

When I’m ready to steam, I prepare my steamer and put the spareribs in and cover without the saran wrap. This will steam for about 45 minutes on medium high.

After 45 minutes or more has elapsed, the spareribs are ready! Becareful as it’s really hot, but the meat will come off the bones nicely and it will be packed with flavour!

We enjoyed ours over rice for this meal and it was pretty tasty! Of course, you can add some green onions to garnish, or put some whole fermented black beans on top! I didn’t do anything and just served and enjoyed!

Homemade Har Gow (蝦餃)

March 23rd, 2016

Something a little different from the usual things I make, we made Har Gow from scratch! It tasted good but definitely doesn’t have the normal har gow look.

Ingredients: (makes about 15)
Skin:
1 1/2 Cup Wheat Starch
2 tbsp tapioca Starch
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

Filling:
800 gram of shrimp
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp light soy sauce
salt and white pepper to taste

The first thing we do is mix together the tapioca starch and wheat starch with some salt. Once that has mixed in, I drizzled in the oil and started drizzling the boiling water.

Once the dough begins to form into a ball, pull the warm mixture out and knead until it’s putty texture. Mould the dough into a log and put plastic wrap or a wet cloth over it and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, we can prepare the shrimp by chopping the shrimp and marinating it. I used about 800grams of shrimp for my recipe and it was the perfect amount! So, we just chopped and marinated the shrimp.

As the shrimp is marinating, we can prepare the steamer with cutting out vent holes in the parchment paper and setting it into the bamboo steamer.

Now the the dough and the shrimp is ready, we prepare the dough by cutting the log into smaller pieces. Taking a small rolling pin, roll out one of the cylinders of dough. I found an oval shape was actually easier than circular shape. However, I was not successful making the iconic ha gow shape.

Now, we stuff the har gow with about 1 tablespoon of filling, then trying your best to pinch upwards around the shrimp. My dough was a little stiffer than I would like it, so it tore easily. I just pressed down to seal right away. Then, we lined the prepared steamer with these har gows.

This was the interesting part, I wasn’t sure how long to steam these har gows that looks like dumplings. I put it on the steamer for about 10 minutes and it worked well. Everything was cooked and it tasted good too! The skin was relatively translucent, but I think it would be more clear if I got the skin thinner… however, the texture didn’t work properly for me on this try!

Overall, it was a fun meal to make and it was tricky and time consuming. Dim sum isn’t known to be easy but we enjoyed eating this delicious dim sum!

Bazille (Nordstrom) – Calgary, Alberta

January 30th, 2016

I was doing some shopping one afternoon at Chinook Centre when I felt like stopping for a snack. I happened to be going towards Norstrom, so I went into their restaurant upstairs called Bazille

It wasn’t a big place, but it wasn’t too busy when we went, so it worked out well for us. The place had nice decor and it was really comfortable with tons of natural sunlight! It was an enjoyable afternoon!

We sat down and ordered their Margherita Pizza and it wasn’t as good as I’d hope. It’s a simple pizza, and it wasn’t too great… but, easiest thing can often be put to the test for perfection! The pizza dough was a tad doughy and the cheese wasn’t really melty… so it felt like it was under done in general. It tasted average.

We also go an order of their Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes as I was feeling brave when I had the menu. The crab cake wasn’t good. It left a fishy taste in my mouth, and I didn’t even finish it. I’m not sure what it was, but I didn’t enjoy it, so I left it.

Overall, not too impressed.. although I am aware I ordered things I shouldn’t have from a restaurant like this. I should have stuck to sandwiches and soups and what not, but I do not think I will be back to try more, unless it’s something more “common” for lunch

Bazille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bazille

2150 6455 Macleod Trail SW
Calgary, AB
(587) 291-2010

3Q Teahouse – Calgary, Alberta

January 30th, 2016

We decided to grab a snack/light dinner one evening and saw a new place called 3Q Teahouse which was recommended by some friends. They told us the owner was actually Taiwanese, so the drinks should be good. There was parking available as the time frame when we went, all the other businesses were closed, or not many opened – which makes it easier!

We ordered our drinks, and I had their Traditional Milk Tea with nothing in it. It wasn’t bad, it was quite decent. It’s not really much different from the milk tea that I’m use to, but neither good or bad is good!

My husband on the other hand ordered Jasmine Green Milk Tea with grass jelly in it. It’s his usual go to drink, so we’ve had it done before and he loves it. Here, I’m not sure what they did, but the drink became thick and slimy. It wasn’t a texture that we like or want to associate it with milk tea. Because of the texture, we couldn’t really decide if we enjoyed the flavours or not.

We ordered some Signauture Popcorn Chicken as one of our favourite snacks is popcorn chicken… it was really good here!

Something kind of different that we ordered was their Fried little buns with Condensed Milk and that was quite a delicious treat. I love condensed milk with regular buns, so with it being little and fried, I was able to eat tons of condensed milk with these buns! I kind of wished they give you an extra dish of condensed milk on the side as they just do a drizzle on the top of the buns. It was good regardless!

As it was our dinner, we ordered some of their rice boxes and we picked Taiwanese 3 Cup Style Chicken which is just chicken with ginger and garlic cooked with rice wine and soy sauce. It’s actually really simple, cheap and delicious!! So, that in mind, you can’t really goof it up! This rice box was pretty awesome!

We also had another rice box combo and this one was the Curry Chicken style one and this one wasn’t as flavourful as you would expect, but nothing wrong with it. They could either cook it a bit longer, or add more flavours to it. But, it was also tasty!

Overall, the food was decent, and most of the drinks was alright. The odd place about here was they have no idea what little bowls for sharing was… we had to ask a few times and they ended up giving us funny little plates. But, regardless, it was a fun night!

3Q Teahouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

3Q Teahouse

323 Macleod Trail SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 287-8228

Homemade Shumai – 烧卖

January 29th, 2016

I’ve been trying to make some more homemade dim sum, and this time we’re in the kitchen making some Shu Mai, and I like using pork. You can substitute with chicken, or a mixture with shrimp as well. Today, we’re making all pork shu mai! This recipe makes about 20 shu mai, which is 2 large steamer baskets full.

Dough Ingredients:
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup cold water

Filling Ingredients:
1/2lb ground pork
2 black shittake mushrooms
1/2 tbsp ginger
1/2 tbsp green onion (whites)
1/4 tsp seasame oil
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp corn starch

First, we’ll make our dough for the skin of the shu mai. I’m using wonton skins. Since I earned a stand mixer, I will use it as much as possible from now on! So, in the stand mixer, I put all the dry ingredients in it and mix it briefly. Then, put the egg in and try to get it into a nice dough.

Once you start mixing it, add some cold water until it becomes a ball. Make sure the dough doesn’t get too wet. You just want a little bit sticky.

When you got your dough ball, wrap it up and let it rest in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. I got to attach the pasta maker attachment to my stand mixer and I roll out the dough to a level “5”, then we cut out circles. These wonton skins don’t last long as they don’t have preservatives in it, so expect it to be good for up to 3 days.

Now, we get the filling ready, and we mix all the filling ingredients together and make sure they’re chopped small, or minced. Let the meat marinade at least 30 minutes.

Once you got the meat ready, take about 1 tbsp of meat onto the center of the skin. Wet the edges of the skin so it can stick to each other. Pull the sides up around the dumpling leaving the top exposed. You can top the shu mai if you want, but I left mine as is because I forgot to purchase ingredients. Original idea was putting a shrimp up top… Once you got your shu mai made, you can put it in your lined steamer (steaming) or lined cookie tray (freezing).

If you’re freezing them, make sure you give them some space in between the shu mai so they don’t stick. Freeze them for about an hour before you put it in a ziploc bag. For us, we steamed ours right away and we steamed on med-high heat for 10 minutes. It was perfect!

Overall, this was quite a simple recipe, and there are tons of options for varieties, and even short cuts! You can get premade wonton wrappers, you can swap out meat, add other things or anything! This is a great base recipe! For me, this recipe made more skins than I needed, so adding stuff to the filing mixture will help even it out!