Mar 31, 2010

Mandarin Oriental - Amore Patisserie (Yum!) - Currently Closed

Spring break!!! Weeeeeeeeeee!!

After weeks of draining school projects and my Canon G9 incident,
Oh did I even mention that my laptop got infected by rogue malware the night before my birthday???
. . . . . . . Truely a series of unfortunate events. . . . . . . . . . .
Luckily, my spring break just started!
As a little reward for me............Vegas baby! Here I come!

I did some research before the trip and found out about this dessert place called Amore Patisserie located in Mandarin Oriental hotel inside City Center,
City Center?
Well, that's the newest addition to our all time glamorous Las Vegas Boulevard,
You can find out more information here.
I also took some pictures with my new Canon T1i, take a look~

City Ceter during day time-

At night-

Inside out-

Very beautiful and modern place,
Vegas has once again transformed itself in front of our eyes.

So back to the patisserie place,
I've heard good things and saw 5 star reviews about it,
No way I'll let this one go during my visit in Vegas!

Amore's main entrance facing Las Vegas Boulevard-

Inside the patisserie (front view)-

Inside the patisserie (side view)-

I wanted to go to the front and start shooting close up pictures of the cakes,
But as usual, I got intimidated...
Kinda scary to just get up there, holding a pretty good size camera and start shooting,
Especially while people behind you still trying to order their sweet treats...

So I ended up taking pictures of what I ordered instead,
Hazelnut gelato-

This is DA BOMB that kept  me craving for it even till now!
So chocolaty and so nutty,
If you ever had Godiva's hazelnut truffles,
This dessert tastes similar to that, but in a gelato form.
I didn't even ask to try it before I order this flavor and happily, it didn't let me down!
Highly recommended.

Strawberry shortbread cake-

Frankly speaking I'm not a strawberry fan,
But I figured since I ordered hazelnut gelato,
Better to have something that is not as strong in flavor, like this strawberry shortbread cake instead of other chocolate cakes.
Surprisingly, I am still thinking about the crumbles in between these milky creams,
It was so good that I couldn't believe I'm actually craving for a strawberry dessert!

Ice tea and complimentary pistachio biscotti-

They used passion fruit flavored ice cubes, which adds a natural lemon-like taste to the tea,
It gradually got more sourish as the ice cubes melt though,
The biscotti was good with my hazelnut gelato, yum!

The lady was very polite and helpful while I was ordering my sweet treats,
Plus one-point for the service!
I heard that the hotel also has a tea lounge, it'll be on my have-to-try list next time I visit Vegas!

Cindy's Rating: 8

Amore Patisserie
(Inside City Center - Mandarin Oriental)
3752 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 590-8888

Mar 26, 2010

Bye Bye My Love...My Canon G9..

My beloved Canon G9 died on me on March 24th, 2010.

I was using it for some outdoor pictures at Getty Center,
At one point I put it in my shoulder bag cz I didn't want the guard to get all nervous seeing me holding my camera the whole time inside the art exhibition...
(Like I was gonna take some sneaky pictures)

So as I walked out the place trying to get some fresh air,
I slammed my bag on the rock,
Well, more like I "put" it up there so my shoulder can take a break from all the heavy little things in my bag....
That's the moment, when my G9 said goodbye to me....

Here're some pictures during my last two Getty trips with Canon G9-

This is the last picture I took with G9-

Maybe it's me, my camera couldn't stand any more of my weird pictures...

Or it's a's time for an upgrade..
Also the time for my wallet's slim down exercise...

Anyways, from now on, I'll try to master my skills with Canon T1i,
Thank god my friend sponsors me with 2 lenses, otherwise I'll be super broke...
Hopefully we'll see some nice food pics here!
(a pat on my shoulder....bye bye G9.....)

Mar 22, 2010

Simplified Stir Fry Cabbage with Bacon

I beg for your understanding. It's gonna be a rather short recipe post today.
Maybe partly caused by my OCD personality,
I just can't fall asleep soundly if this blog entry is not finished,
So for the sake of preventing my dark eye circles from showing up in the morning,
I am on a mission to type out this "simplified" recipe before my brain stops functioning.

Stir fry cabbage with bacon-


1 small Chinese cabbage (chop into smaller pieces)
5 strips of bacon (chop into bite sizes)
1 tablespoon of dashi
Some salt
Some freshly ground black pepper


Toss the chopped bacon in the pan, turn to high heat,
Brown the bacon till the fat starts to render,
Sprinkle some salt and black pepper, give it a quick stir.

Add the chopped cabbage into the pan, toss well so that every piece is coated with bacon grease.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of dashi, mix well.
The cabbage will start to wilt after a while, taste and see if more salts are needed.

That's it, simple and delicious,
Afterall, everything tastes great with bacon.
Sometimes I'll use Chinese cooking wine, chicken stock, and garlic cloves for this dish,
But since it's the "simplified" version, 1 tablespoon of dashi will do.

Cindy's Rating: 7

Mar 17, 2010

Brownies with White Chocolate Chips and Ganache Topping

Brownies are one of my all time favorite dessert,
You can be so creative with this sweet treat,
Let it be chocolate fudge brownies, peanut butter brownies, cheesecake brownies,
The list goes on and on,
But the best of all, freshly baked brownies with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top of it,
Ahhh I'm drooling just by thinking of it....

Today I'm going to "dress up" our basic brownie recipe with white chocolate chips and decorative ganache!

This is the semi-finished product-


1 cup of butter
Some extra butter for greasing the baking pan
150 grams dark chocolate
1 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
4 eggs

Decorative ganache:

60 grams white chocolate
60 grams of dark chocolate
2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream


Line the round baking dish (11 x 7 x 1.5 inch) with parchment paper,
Grease the sides with melted butter,
Also preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the batter,
Chop the dark chocolate into smaller pieces,
Have a double broiler ready,
Melt 150 grams of dark chocolate and 1 cup of butter, remove from heat.

When the mixture cools down, beat in one egg at the time until all four eggs are fully incorporated with the melted chocolate.

Have a big bowl ready, sift in flour and mix well with brown sugar,
Add the white chocolate chips and give it a quick stir,
The flour will prevent the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom during baking process.

Now slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 3 batches,
Transfer to the baking pan, into the oven for 30 to 32 minutes.
You can test it by sticking a toothpick in the center,
If it comes out clean, that means the brownies are ready to go.

After the brownies are done, let it cool for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile let's make the decorative ganache.
Use a double broiler and melt 60 grams of dark chocolate with 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream,
This will be the dark sauce.
Again, use a double broiler and melt 60 grams of white chocolate with 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream,
This will be the white sauce.

Now pour the dark sauce and let it spread evenly over the brownies,
Drizzle the white sauce cross-wise on the dark sauce,
It'll look like this " IIIIIII " (pardon my drawing ability..)
So basically you'll have white lines covering the brownies.
Take a toothpick and draw a line perpendicularly with the white markings, about 1.5 inches spacing.
It'll turn out like this " +++++++ "
Hopefully my decorating description didn't make your head spin..
If that's the case, your brownies will turn out like this -

Into the fridge for at least one hour or till the ganache toppings are set,
Dip the cutting knife into hot water, dry the blade with a towel,
It'll prevent the knife from sticking to the brownies. 
Cut around the baking pan,
Dip the knife in hot water again before you are ready for another cut,
Now run the knife through the brownies into desirable serving sizes.

What are you waiting for? It's time to dig in!

Cindy's Rating: 7

Mar 10, 2010

Korean Influenced Stir Fry Glass Noodles

I'm suffering from severe headache at the moment while writing this blog entry,
It's like a snare drum, being my head, continuously getting hit by gigantic sticks...
Don't get me wrong, I deeply enjoy working on my blog,
Just all that head sticking out of the car window idea turned out badly,
The wind was blowing right at my scalp, maybe I should say right into my brain cells,
Thus causing all these pains...

What? Why did I stick my head out of the car window?
Maybe I was trying to share a view with a family pet?
You know how dogs like to stick their heads, and even their tongues out, it seems fun!
Or maybe something smelled so bad in the car that I was dying for some fresh air?
Mmmm......Let's not go there...

Let me finish the recipe here.

Korean influenced stir fry glass noodles-

Ingredients (for 5 to 6 plates)?

1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (I can never pronounce it right..)
1 teaspoon of Korean chili paste
1 teaspoon of sake or Chinese cooking wine
1 teaspoon of honey

200 grams of dried glass noodles
2 oz of dried sliced shitake mushroom
1.5 cups of kimchi
1/3 cup of kimchi juice
1 lb of sliced pork (about 18 to 20 slices)
1 medium carrot (cut into thin strips)
3 garlic cloves (peeled, minced)
1 stalk of scallion (remove the stem, cut into 3 to 4 shorter strips)
1/2 onion (cut into slices)
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
2 teaspoons of Korean chili paste or sriracha sauce
Toasted sesame seeds
Olive oil

*That's probably the longest list of ingredients I've ever written for my blog...
But we shall not be daunted by it!


So combine all the marinade ingredients with sliced pork,
Mix well and let it sit in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

When the meat is ready, clean up and chop up all the other ingredients,
For dried mushrooms, simply soak it in lukewarm water for 10 to 15 minutes,
Drain out the excess liquid and it'll be ready for cooking.

Bring a big pot of water to a boil, toss in dried glass noodles and cook according to the package instruction.

Meanwhile, have a big pan ready, drizzle some oil and turn to high heat.
Toss in sliced onions and sprinkle some salt.
Cook till the onions turned slightly translucent, add the scallions and garlic, give it a quick stir.

Toss in sliced pork along with all the remaining marinade, cook till 70% done,
Add the vegetables in (sliced mushroom, carrot strips, and kimchi),
About couple minutes, it's time to add the seasonings.

Add 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce, your choice of additional Korean chili paste or sriracha, and 1/3 cup of kimchi juice,
Mix well with the ingredients and let it cook for few minutes to the flavor soaked into the veggies.
Give it a taste, see if more seasonings are needed.

The noodles should be done by now, drain out excess water and transfer to the pan,
Mix well with the sauce, serve with toasted sesame seeds.

This recipe also applies to other type of noodles such as egg noodles, ramen, even spaghetti.
Please enjoy! I gonna go play some music while the base drums  are still banging in my head.
\( > 口.< )/"""""

Cindy's rating: 8

Mar 2, 2010

Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia - Squid Ink Spaghetti

Noop, it ain't no modern artwork or some kind of contemporary drawing,
This is just your old simple spaghetti, but with squid ink!

I was in a serious craving for squid ink spaghetti one night,
So here's your typical impulsive buying behavior example,
I got the pasta within 10 minutes online!

Somehow for some reason, squid ink spaghetti is a little bit hard to find around my neighborhood,
Well, if I'm down for paying $20+ per "small" plate of noodles, yes, it's there somewhere,
But with that $20, I can make at least 4 "gigantic" plates of noodles, noodles drowning in fresh seafood,
Decision made, let's cook spaghetti al nero di seppia tonight!

Ingredients (for 4)?

25 medium sized shrimps (peeled, deveined)
8 small calamari (cut into big sizes, I also use the tentacles)
3 large shallots (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (peeled, minced)
1/3 cup of dry white wine
Some fresh basil (julienned, I used about 1/4 cup)
1 can of diced tomatoes (drained)
2 teaspoons of tomato paste
1 lemon
Red pepper flakes
Sea salt
Olive oil
Tabasco sauce (if desired)


Depend on how much you eat (can't really use my standard, it's kind of "too much" compare to regular human being),
So depend on how much you eat, grab 4 portions of squid ink spaghetti and cook in a pot of boiling water,
Remember to add some salt in the water first!

Have a large pan ready, drizzle some olive oil and toss in chopped shallots along with some sea salt and red pepper flakes,
Cook till it turned slightly translucent, toss in minced garlic, give it a quick stir.

Now add in the shrimps, season with more salt,
I actually add a little bit of salt every time I toss more stuff into the pan,
Season every layer - like Giada, the Food Network star said on TV.

Add the calamari once the shrimps turned slightly pink,
More salt of course, also add the wine, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste,
Give it a quick stir again. 
Now put in some fresh lemon zests, the juice from that lemon, and most of the julienned basil leaves (save some for garnish later),
Bring to a boil and turn to medium heat,
Taste to see if more salt or tomato paste is needed.
(Don't forget to check the other pot of boiling water, make sure the spaghetti is not sticking to each other or to the bottom)

Drain out all the liquid when the spaghetti is done, preferably "al dente."
Transfer to the pan and mix well with the sauce.

Garnish with some basil and possibly a lemon wedge,
Serve with Tabasco sauce if desired, it goes really well with this dish.

Now.....Dig in!

P.S. I just launched my Chinese blog not long ago, if you can ready Chinese, come visit me!:

Cindy's Rating: 8