“Trending” in Culinary Arts

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In asymmetrical Komarov dress

One thing that I have realized is that trends do not just apply to fashion but they apply to culinary arts as well. With my recent visits to restaurants and cafes, these are three new trends in culinary arts that I have noticed…

  1. From ordinary to extraordinary side dishes! It seems like restaurants are kicking out the typical garlic mashed potatoes and cooked carrots to opt for much more alluring meal additions. Quinoa with pine nuts instead of rice? It is safe to say that side dishes are no longer the overlooked meal ‘co-star’.
  2. Southeast Asian cuisine is quickly stealing the culinary spotlight. Although we will all always love our Italian and French food, restaurants have been incorporating more and more Southeast Asian inspireddishes into their menus, but, hey! I’m not complaining!

The array of mouthwatering culinary trends that are currently sweeping across restaurants are surely satisfying. What culinary trends do you see happening in 2014?

Travel from LA to Tokyo in 16 min!

Have you ever traveled to Tokyo from LA? …Have you ever traveled from LA to Tokyo in 16 min?

Well, I recently did!

16 minute travel full of sounds, visuals (if you have a great imagination!) and smells!

Smell was the most important part of this journey, since I was present at the Scent Concert conducted by the LA based Institute of Art and Olfaction at the Hammer Museum in the Beverly Hills.

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before …

We all know that nothing impacts our memory deeper than a sense of smell. If a woman passes by wearing a perfume that your mom used to wear when you were a child, your childhood experience vividly comes alive in your memory.

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The science behind…

Scents are very powerful since they affect us on our subconscious level and get stored in our psyche.  Scents have a power to seduce as well as repel, so masterfully using the power of the fragrance was the focal point of this event.

Scent Concert started from Black blindfolds that we needed to put on. Then all of a sudden we start hearing all the airport noises, announcements, someone unzipping their bag nearby, a baby crying etc… and intoxicating smell of perfumes filled the air, like at the duty free store.

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Before the “flight”

Next Scene was on the plane, flying business class and hearing how champagne is popping and stewardess is demonstrating safety procedures. It followed by a relaxing long flight enveloped in a luxurious perfume.

Third act was arriving at the Tokyo airport and getting on a Metro (the most efficient way to get from the Airport to the city), and sounds change:people were walking fast, eating, joking, hurrying, dropping change… and smells moved as rapidly as people.

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With the curators of the event: Saskia Wilson-Brown and Allison Agslen

Finally we have arrived at the Luxury hotel in Tokyo, and we  didn’t even needed to hear anything because the smell announced luxury by itself. For a moment we were so cocooned in the entire experience that it almost felt real, for that time we were there in Tokyo, experiencing that 5 star hotel…

The only regret was when I woke up ,that  it only  lasted  16 minutes!

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All pictures are curtesy of Sophie Lee, who invited me to this unforgettable event.

New Year New LOVE !

I am very excited about my collaboration with Komarovinc.com !

Komarov Clothing was founded almost 15  years ago by Shelley Komarov, a talented costume designer with 4  Emmy Awards under her belt.

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In a beautiful and wrinkle-free Komarov dress

Shelley started this company to help women travel in style with wrinkle free clothes. In her line of work as a costume designer, dressing stars such as Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Matthew McConaughey , George Clooney and many more, she travelled quite often. During her trips around the world she was constantly facing the challenge of dealing with wrinkled clothes. After years of research and experiments, Shelley created the Komarov line.

All of the clothes in the Komarov line are made by hand in the USA with specially developed technology. They are pleated and secured with extreme heat (allows for a little elasticity), so no matter how the clothes fold there will be no wrinkles, and they fit comfortably on any body shape!

Why am I extremely excited to collaborate with Komarov? :

LOVE taking Komarov with me when I travel!

During my travels I always face a dilemma because:

  • I want more options for outfits: What if the weather changes? What if I spill wine on my only dress? What if I change my mood?
  • It is always a hassle to check in the bags, than hope and pray that you will get it back (I received my luggage days later after I came back from Rome, thank God it was not lost!)
  • Another issue is packing nice dresses and by the time you take them out of your suitcase, they look unrecognizable because of the amount of wrinkles!

Komarov solves all of these dilemmas for me! I pack up to 7 dresses and 6 tops in my carry on, fit them alongside 2 pairs of shoes, toiletries and intimate wear. (This is good for an entire week!)

And the best part? When I take them out of the suitcase, they look Fresh and Ready to party!

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Another fabulous Komaorov dress

New Year’s Resolution

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Hope everyone has enjoyed their Christmas!

Now it’s time to look forward to 2014.
I’m looking for the perfect quote to inspire my new year resolutions , so far this is my favorite:

“If you want your life to change, your choices and actions must change. Every day brings a chance to start over”.

Do you want to change anything in 2014?

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Merry Christmas!

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My kind of “White Christmas” !
Wishing you love , happiness and joy from the sunny Hawaii !
Hope that everyone would have their Christmas wish to come true!

Did you get your perfect present yet?

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The 8th Wonder of the World!

As you saw in my previous post, San Gimignano is a pretty unique place. A complete fossilized city in the middle of nowhere. One of the most intriguing things about the city is their delicious food!

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I found a restaurant that Tripadvisor gave more than 1200 reviews. It was located in a non-descript alley, with an unmarked door.

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A little curious fact is that the restaurant was  right next to the Museum la Tortura.

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(As you may have guessed, “Museum la Tortura” means “Museum of Torture.” Because my hands were shaking when taking the photo, you may notice the skeleton in the cage.)

The restaurant that I was looking for was called Cum Quibus. The sign said they will open at 7:30 pm.  And just in case someone wanted to open the door to peek in, it had curtains in front of it: a complete mystery.

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It was only 3 o’clock and I had to eat something. Some American tourist suggested Cafe Stella, and I thought, well maybe something light will help me survive to 7:30 pm. Of course I ended up eating a 3 course meal (dessert included) since this was the absolute best food I have had in Italy so far! Caffe Stella was not even close to Cum Quibus’ ratings on TripAdvisor, so my desire to go there was hightened 10 fold!

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At 7:25 I went back to Cum Quibus and waited another five minutes under the pouring rain, for the doors to open. The restaurant was booked completely but somehow they managed to find an extra table. The place had a really cool rustic Tuscan vibe and was very small.

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Food started coming in and despite the more casual presentation it had the most surprising, bold flavor combinations that were extremely artistic.

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Then some of the loyal patrons started coming and congratulating Lorenzo, the restaurant’s young owner that TripAdvisor just announced Cum Quibus as the 8th BEST Restaurant in the WORLD! 

That was unbelievable! 8th restaurant in the WORLD in the middle of nowhere?! How is it possible?

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Cheers for Cum Quibus from Instagram

But it made me think of an Armenian proverb that says “a polished diamond won’t sit on the floor for too long”.

Regardless of where you are and how small you are, if you’ll do a good job, it won’t be unnoticed.

That was the beautiful lesson from old San Gimignano and wounderful Cum Quibus.

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Lost and Found in Tuscan Hills

People don’t normally like the feeling of being lost, me included. It is the uncertainty, the loss of control, disorientation, frustration, anger, denial, and the list can go on.

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But if we have time and we can move past the initial sense of anxiety, being lost can be an opportunity to see new places, to discover new things, to become an explorer…almost like Columbus.

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I was not quite in the philosophical mood when I got lost on the way from Florence to Sienna. Rain and feeling hungry did not help the situation. But pretty soon a structure that resembled old city walls appeared, as well as promising signs of Trattorias and Pizzerias nearby. The medieval city structure was so impressive that for a little while I forgot I was hungry. Rain almost became a drizzle and my iPhone finally got an Internet signal showing that my location was at San Gimignano.

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Since I had never heard of this city, I wanted to get inside and see what was happening inside the city walls.

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Especially after seeing that TriplAdvisor.com recommended an amazing restaurant there, which had more then 1200 reviews on it, all being fantastic and fabulous!

Inside the city walls the cutest medieval city was hiding! Coming from LA it almost felt like a movie set. But of course it is as real as it gets!

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With the 14 towers that were leftover from the previously built 72 (the highest one 54 meters!), it was an architectural gem that I was feeling so blessed to see.

I will tale more about this fascinating city but I wonder if you can guess why people will build these labor-intensive tall towers in the 14-century, 72 of them and one higher than the other?

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Styling à la Florentine

When you enter a city trough the medieval gigantic doors, you know it is a special place.

Firenze (Florence)  is an epitome of the Italian Renaissance where even the hotels are built with the Renaissance in mind.

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When the hotel room has a Renaissance themed frescoes on the walls, it must be Florence!

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Florence has a very distinct style.

It is an open air museum that would take a visitor a few months to experience and appreciate all the gems that this city has to offer.

One of the least touristy places is the Medicis’ villa. There are so many primary spots that I think the Medicis’ villa hardly gets any traffic.

It is a unique feeling to experience such historical locations in a Zen atmosphere.

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In this Zen environment, I have stumbled upon the most beautiful movie theater ever!IMG_1998

Doesn’t it just look fascinating?

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It just needs a popcorn and a soda machine!

Talk about Form NOT Following the FUNCTION!

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And if the movie is boring, one can always look up to the “sky” for more action!

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What do you think? Would you like a home theater à la Florentine ?

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Crystal Chandeliers and the Gas stations

Spending time in Venice seems like time travel. Life in a beautiful painting, life in a fantasy land. No cars, no streets, no gas stations…instead it is canals, bridges, palazzo and basilicas.

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I was almost afraid that I lost touch with reality.  When it was time to stop by a gas station on the way to Florence, I was almost excited: finally back to the modern life, not as pretty and romantic, but you know it is REAL!

But there was an element of a surprise waiting inside the gas station. Cristal chandeliers, dark hardwood flooring, freshly made Panini’s, gourmet espresso and  restaurant quality amazing pastries.

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“Welcome to Italy,” I told to myself. How could you expect an ugly gas station where food and beauty are the matter of a national pride!

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I do agree with the “form follows function” rule that moved 20th centuries design and esthetics, but maybe there is something else besides pure “function” of an object that the “form” needs to reflect …such as uplifting the viewer’s mood with it’s pleasant look.

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Gas stations with crystal chandeliers and wooden floors can be a great example for the new ‘postpost modern’ esthetics of the 21st century, where some excess won’t only be allowed but also welcomed.

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