Thailand

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.34.23 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.38.28 PM.png

[Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai | Inside the resort villas]

Aloha from Thailand ^-^

I've been traveling in Thailand for the last week and wanted to share a few snapshots from Bangkok and Chiang Mai. 

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.33.03 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.33.20 PM.png

[A night in the bungalows Doi Inthanon Authors' Lounge at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok]

There's been lots of afternoon tea, and a drive north to check out the tea grown in Thailand (more to come!)

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.33.52 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.34.09 PM.png

[Afternoon Tea at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok | Lunch in the mountains, Chiang Mai]

We're heading to Phuket tomorrow...frequent updates to be posted on Instagram ^-^

NYC | Salted Caramel Macarons with Bouchon Bakery

Bouchon Bakery 5.jpg

Tuesday afternoon with Chef Ali of Bouchon Bakery for a little step-by-step of how she makes those legendary salted caramel macarons ^_^

Bouchon Bakery 3.jpg

The full post (and original recipe) is here on Gotham Magazine. Italian meringue is key.

Bouchon Bakery 1.jpg

We devoured spoonfuls of just-made salted butter caramel and warm macaron shells straight from the oven.

Bouchon Bakery 7.jpg

I actually prefer the two components (shells and caramel) separately...

Bouchon Bakery 6.jpg

...that butter caramel would be amazing smothered over hot toast. Ohlala o_O

Champagne, France | Hôtel du Marc: The Private Estate of Veuve Clicquot

14074369602_bfc0280713_c.jpg

A bit belated....

14097592633_a707dffc31_c.jpg

...but better late than never, no? 

14077752425_aa4a2a084d_c.jpg

The Veuve Clicquot cellars are located in Reims (a 45-minute TGV ride from Paris). It's open to the public (and worth a visit if you're in the area...make sure to stop by Le Jardin at Les Crayères afterwards for lunch). 

14078616646_ac71c2f6a8_c.jpg

A 15-minute drive away from the champagne cellars is Hôtel du Marc, the label's private estate.

13890897787_afa9b869de_c.jpg

Visits are by invitation only (though open to the public for one weekend each year) and I was lucky enough to take a peek inside the other month...

13890919830_763be0be11_c.jpg

...come see!

14077994254_e61c610f5c_c.jpg

Guests are greeted in the library room, which houses books from travels and tokens from past and current collaborations.

14097581903_56fbc9dfab_c.jpg

The name might say Hôtel, but it's very much a private home (Madame Clicquot herself once lived here).

14098519211_07589b6c23_c.jpg

There are five guest rooms - one for each season of the year, and the fifth to represent harvest. 

14077538775_2eab4b6e5b_c.jpg

How about this bathroom? Can you imagine bubble baths and company? Oh, the conversations!

14074368412_a9a75e4604_c.jpg

The variation in color of the carpeting and walls leading up to the second floor emulate the three main grapes of Champagne: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, in addition to the chalky soils of the region. 

13915143818_279a7453e1_c.jpg

There are many mysterious halls and rooms to wander (include one that's filled with curiosities)...

13890890389_73500c0fbf_c.jpg

...and in the end, it's all about the champagne. Ahhhh ^_^

Silver Needle Tea Co.

14632897615_96ba545475_c.jpg

Lucy and I met last year on a summer morning. We sat outside with juices at the original Liquiteria on 2nd Avenue. 

I'm starting a tea brand, she said. One that matches high quality, single estate tea with good design and packaging. And I've been lucky enough to follow along on her journey for the past year. She spent autumn in Asia (China, Taiwan, and Japan) at the tea farms, shipping back the best of the bunch. We tasted them upon her return, steeping our favorites over and over again.

14609895986_769e7c58ac_c.jpg

At the same time, Lucy worked though numerous design concepts. Tins or cylinders? Colors to consider? Size, weight? Design, text, fonts? So many things to decide upon!

In the end, the answer was simple and elegant: cylinders in four colors representing the main types of tea she offers. Black for black, green for green, yellow for oolong, and the softest grey for white teas.

14632442652_22e281c104_c.jpg

So let's sit for a cup (that's Lucy in the photo :). We've been alternating between traditional tea cups and wine glasses...which can call more awareness to the notes/flavors of certain teas. 

14446280609_06ba8e8c40_c.jpg

We drank Silver Needle (for which the company is named) in the morning, and now it's time for High Mountain Oolong. It pairs perfectly with savory hunks of parmesan.

14446244700_c53bd73d6a_c.jpg

We're also cold-brewing Sencha on the side...

14632892575_1c1ebab27f_c.jpg

...and by the end of the day I'm sure we'll have tasted through all the teas. 

14446284388_b1f3cc484a_c.jpg

For those who don't/can't go the loose leaf brewing route, Lucy has a Jetsetter Tea Set with silk pyramid sachets. It's the same tea used for the loose leaf line, so same quality with more convenience. I took a tin for a "test run" when flying to Paris...how nice is it to drink a good oolong mid-flight?

14632446272_d107e3eea1_c.jpg

Signed and sealed ^_^