Visiting the factory that makes Obama’s favorite chocolate

President Obama’s favorite chocolates are made by a Seattle company: Fran’s Chocolates. Specifically, he likes their smoked salted caramels, their (deservedly) most well-known product. Obama prefers the milk chocolate version, but there’s a dark chocolate version as well. (You can see both caramels in the open box below.) The caramels are extremely soft and creamy…

Earth, wheat, and fire at Michelin-starred Faro

Who says a Michelin-starred New York restaurant has to be expensive? Not Faro. Located in a former MoMA art storage space (seriously, how hipster-Bushwick can this get), the casual nighttime hangout puts out plates of handmade fresh pasta made with locally-sourced grains priced around $20. The menu is constantly changing to reflect seasonal ingredients, but…

Queens Comfort – absolutely disgusting

I dislike stunt food, which is that Instagram-nurtured trend of people taking all the unhealthiest, greasiest, fattiest foods and combining them, because if things taste good on their own then the whole is greater than the sum of its parts right? WRONG. Queens Comfort is such a place. It has a sizable Instagram following for…

Dessert wonders at Bibelot

On my way to the South Melbourne Night Market, I wanted ice cream, so I stopped at the nearby Bibelot. I was really glad I did. Bibelot focuses on high-end patisserie like the kinds you’ll find in Paris, with a modernized twist. The petits gateaux case was gorgeous, filled with glossy pastel-colored cakes with inventive…

Chinese Pizza Hut

Chinese Pizza Huts are pretty nice, and really different from the American Pizza Hut experience. The menu is always changing so whenever I’ve been in, I end up with something new. This summer, Chinese Pizza Huts were serving a pizza topped with langoustines (like very small lobsters), Chinese chili peppers, roasted peanuts, and Buddha’s hand,…

Strawberry cheesecake bingsu

I’m not the biggest fan of bingsu. Probably because I don’t think it’s fun to eat alone and I’ve been in too many situations where I’ve had to face down the whole thing alone. Bingsu (or bingsoo,  설빙) is a shaved ice dessert popular in Korea. Syrup, condensed milk, fruit, mochi, red beans, and roasted soybean…

Making chocolate bars at Raaka Chocolate (pt. 2)

In my previous post I walked through the how Raaka processes cacao pods into liquid chocolate. After going through all those steps, it was time to fill some molds with the melted chocolate. Each mold could make three bars. A precise amount of chocolate was distributed in each mold by the mixing machine, whose flow could…

Making chocolate bars at Raaka Chocolate (pt. 1)

Last week I had the unforgettable experience of making my own chocolate bars using commercial equipment in Rakka Chocolate’s facility! The factory, located in the trendy Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, offers chocolate making classes ($50 a person, advanced booking required) that include a presentation on harvesting cacao beans, a factory tour, making three bars,…

English classics in the French Concession

At my latest internship at Time Out Shanghai I had the opportunity of doing my first ever professional restaurant review! I checked out Amelia’s, an adorable British-themed cafe located in the former French Concession. Amelia’s was founded by British expat Amelia Heaton-Renshaw who made a name for herself in Shanghai’s foreign craft food scene with…

Gelato Pique Cafe

Gelato Pique Cafe, located in a brightly lit atrium of Joy City (my favorite place in Shanghai) is such a cute place to have afternoon tea and sweets. Matcha lattes count as tea, right? Our phones were out the entire time as we snapped photos of the oh-so-Instagrammable drinks and food items. Going down the…

Mr. Pancake pt. 1

Mr. Pancake is a sit-down chain offering pancakes and other sweet and savory western dishes. Mr. Pancake happens to be the restaurant I’ve visited the most in Shanghai, by far. There’s one right next to my internship, serving up well-executed American comfort food at great prices. I think about Mr. Pancake a lot. Because I…

FROST cupcakes are grossly offensive

Is this a review? No, it’s a call-out post because eating here was an unforgivable, appalling, all-around BAD experience. Let’s start with the good things. Spoiler alert: these only involve appearances. Located at the upmarket Lincoln Square of The Bellevue Collection, it’s the first thing you see when walking into its particular building, a sleek open…