Home Cooking | Ecuadorian Inspired Food

Posted on June 17, 2013 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

Seafood extravaganza all prepared at home!!! 

Raw clams mom picked up from the seafood market in Astoria where everything is always super fresh. Mom prepared a grand assortment of ceviches...

Octopus based ceviche

Corvina based ceviche

Shrimp based ceviche

Mom's super crazy delicious hot sauce

These deep fried balls of heaven (Bolon) are an Ecuadorian dish made with green plantains, chicharron, and cheese. I've seen a  lot of recipes for bolon, but none of them really sound like my mom's and I won't ever give away the recipe. The ceviches, hot sauce and bolon are all treasured family recipes from Ecuador where my mother was born (she is half Chinese, half Ecuadorian). 

We washed this all down with some delicious iced black tea mixed in with freshly squeezed lime juice and muddled mint leaves from mom's garden.

Have a great day!



Gentleman's Afternoon Tea | Father's Day

Posted on June 05, 2013 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

I have a lot of books on tea and entertaining and I do mean A LOT. Sergiy can definitely attest to that. What 's rare to find in any of my Afternoon Tea books (written in the US) are man-centric teas. I'm sure the last thing my brother or dad is going to want come next Sunday is a froufrou kind of tea party that includes any of these things: ornate flower teapots, pastel colored desserts in cute shapes, or doilies of any kind. No dainty, delicate tea sandwiches for these two. My guys also wouldn't relate to the whole "tie", "golf", "fishing", "hunting" themed gifts that are out there. Sorry, but I feel bad that dads get stereotyped like this. I mean, can't they make a card where the dad likes to shop for electronics/gadgets, hip clothes, or jets off on a plane to some exotic destination? But, that's just them. So, I decided to look to the UK again for inspiration and I am so glad that I did.

My dad is a HUGE James Bond fan and I suppose that's where my brother inherited his love for James Bond as well.

Dad & my brother, Mike

Mike & Clarissa


I also want to give a shout to my best friend, Vaughn, who lives in Hawai'i. Vaughn and I met the first day at Cornell. He lived on my dormitory floor. Now, I spend loads of time with him and his amazing family whenever I go back to Hawai'i which (thankfully) is often!

Also thinking of all my friends, my uncles and my cousins that are fathers in Japan. Also remembering my grandpa Ryunn, grandpa Frank and papa Ramon.

Also want to wish Karina's dad a very Happy Father's Day! We are both so fortunate and blessed to have amazingly generous, kind, reliable and good humored fathers.

Now onto the tea and food...

Gentleman's Afternoon Tea at Aston Restaurant on Tottenham Court Road

"A selection of hand made filled crusty bloomer sandwiches, Mini Fish and chips with mushy peas, lamb kebabs and Yorkshire puddings with roast beef and onion gravy. And no afternoon tea is complete without freshly baked scones with Devonshire clotted cream and preserves. Add a pint of lager or sip on a classic Aston martini which will take you back in time to celebrate the location where the Aston Martin’s club was founded."

The Royal Horseguards

The Royal Horseguards says it's afternoon tea is getting a macho makeover this Father's Day. You can either "treat dad this Father’s Day at The Royal Horseguards’ relaxing lounge or the stylish Equus bar – a backdrop designed specifically with the modern gent in mind."

The menu includes a selection of savory bites such as a Beef and Meantime Ale pie, Mini fish and chips with pea puree, Smoked bacon and cheddar savory muffin and Casterbridge steak sandwich.
Not a cute cupcake in sight, the selection of sweet treats includes macho, man-sized cupcakes in whiskey and walnut & chocolate & chill flavors, "manly" macaroons and a chocolate tool kit. You'll still get the freshly baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and homemade strawberry preserves, but you're encouraged to wash it all down with a Butch Builder’s tea or one of the five-star hotel’s award winning tea leaf blends. 
(Photo credit)
This manly menu has been created exclusively by the hotel’s talented pastry chef, Joanne Todd, and will be available between June 10th through June 16th, priced at £35 per person. You also have the option of upgrading the Father’s Day afternoon tea to include a Habanos Cuban Cigar and a signature gentleman’s cocktail from the Equus bar for an additional £25.
Chapters Brasserie Blackheath
Here's the Gentleman's Afternoon Tea Service menu from last year's Father's Day event at the Chapters Brasserie in Blackheath.  A bottle of Greenwich meantime beer, Salt beef on toasted rye with mustard mayonnaise and pickles, Champagne glazed oysters, Venison Bresoala with toasted sour dough, Mini Chapters beef burger, Warm duck croquants with plum chutney, Deep-fried herring melts with garlic and parsley croutons, Warm chocolate brownies, and Treacle Tart.
(Photo credit)
Ideas from other Gentleman Tea menus:
Sanctum Soho Hotel London
Poached oysters with Bloody Mary relish, roast beef with horseradish-stuffed Yorkshire pudding and a tankard of Jack Daniel’s
Prism Brasserie
Salt beef sandwiches with mustard and scotch eggs (hard-boiled eggs packed in sausage and then deep-fried) served with piccalilli and Einstök (an Icelandic dark beer)
The Swan
Berkshire bangers and smoked-bacon macaroni and cheese with a bottle of London Pride ale, chocolate brownies with 
brandy cream


(Photo credit: enRoute Canada)

Start planning for all the special men in your life!



Happy Birthday, Summer Child! | Spa Castle New York

Posted on June 03, 2013 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

Today is a special certain someone's birthday!

So I bought her a huge cupcake shaped ice cream cake...

with magic candles that re-light!

She was really impressed...

but also truly curious as to how the candles would relight.

The cake was a hit and everyone enjoyed it.  

So, we went to Spa Castle at this little lady's request early in the day. How could we deny her this one little request? Five stories and 100,000 square feet of peace and tranquility. There are eight different saunas (Gold Sauna, Jade Sauna, Loess Soil Sauna, Color Therapy, Himalayan Salt, Infrared Zone, Far Infrared Zone and Ice Land), five different spa pools (Aqua Bar, Kiddie Pool, Waterfall, Hinoki Bath, and the Hydrotherapy Foot Spa & Body Massage Jets), and five different spa service areas ( Avenue S / VIP Private Spa, Lavender / The Beauty Spa, Body Massage where they offer five different massages, Traditional Korean Body Scrub, and Hand & Foot Reflexology/Reflexology.

There's also the Lounge with luxurious lounge chairs with personal televisions, a Relaxation Room, Locker Rooms for both men and women, Fitness Center (additional $5 charge), and a wide selection of food and beverages choices (Starbuck's, Tonic, Aqua Bar, Juice Farm, Little Italy, and Frozen Yogurt/Ice cream). I had an Orange Blossom (orange + carrot juice) and a plate of food from the buffet which had a wonderful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables.   

(Photography is not permitted inside the spa so the two photos above are courtesy of Spa Castle Queens)

After a day at the spa, we went home and enjoyed the amazing feast my mom had prepared for Clarissa's birthday, but I'll save that for another day.

Tea No. 3 Summer Child was blended with Clarissa in mind. So, we'll be sipping on this all day over ice even though it's raining. Named and numbered after her, this tea is bright, refreshing and unique just like her.

Happy 5th birthday, cutie!





Spa Castle Queens

131-10 11th Ave College Point, NY 11356

Phone: 718-939-6300

Open 365 days a year 6am to Midnight (Including all holidays)

Celebrating 100 Years of the Chelsea Flower Show with Afternoon Tea | London

Posted on May 28, 2013 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show at London's Royal Hospital and it is always a big to do. This year it took place from May 21st through May 25th.

According to London's tourism site: "Every year the grounds of the Royal Hospital are transformed into show gardens, inspirational small gardens and vibrant horticultural displays for the world's most famous flower show. The Chelsea Flower Show is attended by 157,000 visitors each year. The number is limited by the capacity of the 11-acre ground. Tickets must be purchased in advance. The show has become an important venue for watching emerging gardening trends. New plants are launched and the popularity of older varieties revived. It's the garden design equivalent of Paris Fashion Week."

Given the traditional nature of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it’s no wonder that so many places are celebrating by serving special floral inspired afternoon teas during the week. Although I can't be there in person, I chose a few of my favorites to highlight. All the photos are taken from their respective sites.

Radisson Blu Edwardian, Vanderbilt Hotel in Kensington 

(Photo credit: Radisson web site)

Radisson Blu Edwardian, Vanderbilt Hotel in Kensington is serving a Floral Afternoon Tea throughout May. The menu includes orange blossom and lavender scones with clotted cream and jam, delicate finger sandwiches, mini-cakes including vanilla meringue, rose fruit jelly and elderflower crème brulée. Complete with a selection of rich, aromatic teas and a glass of Champagne.

Royal Garden Hotel Park Terrace Restaurant


The Royal Gardens Park Terrace Restaurant is serving a limited edition ‘Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea’ available from Monday 20th to Sunday May 26th  from 2pm to 5.30pm and is priced at £24 per person or £34 with champagne. In honor of the Chelsea Flower Show they are offering delicate flower-themed desserts that include Orange Blossom Honey Cheesecake and Elderflower Posset. The menu also includes assorted finger sandwiches, raisin and cinnamon scones served with Devonshire clotted cream and homemade preserves, Jasmine Opera, Raspberry and Chocolate Roulade, Rose Marshmallow, Sunflower Seed and Honey Cake, freshly brewed fine loose leaf organic tea, and additional option of strawberries with vintage balsamic drizzle. There is also a resident pianist that plays live music Tuesday to Saturday from 3.30pm to 6.30pm and on Sunday from 2.30pm to 5.30pm.

Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea at the Connaught

In honor of the Chelsea Flower Show, the Connaught is adding a range of floral flavours to its stylish afternoon tea throughout May.
Classic cakes have been given a seasonal update with suitably aromatic additions; Battenberg arrives infused with rose and lemon, macaroons are flavored with violet, blackcurrant and mango and milk chocolate brownies have been combined with a refreshing sprig of lemongrass.
The Park Lane Hotel’s Flowering Afternoon Tea Complete with Edible Garden Gnome

The Park Lane Hotel in London has created a very special Flowering Afternoon Tea.  Available from Tuesday, May 14th to Sunday, June 9th, the Flowering Afternoon Tea will include a delightful array of horticulturally-inspired teatime treats. The hotel’s award-winning Pastry Chef, Sarah Hartnett, has created an edible garden gnome as a charming centerpiece for the tea in recognition of the Royal Horticultural Society’s decision to allow the beloved bearded figurines at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show following a long-term ban. Seriously?!

To begin the Flowering Afternoon Tea experience, guests will be greeted with a Wild Blossom Champagne Cocktail – Champagne topped off with an edible hibiscus flower soaked in syrup.  Doesn't this sound divine? Then a selection of five sandwiches and savories are served, including Poached Scottish salmon, cucumber and fennel crème fraiche served on a mini muffin with cucumber flowers; Orange blossom honey, wholegrain mustard roast ham, candied tomatoes and watercress on white bread; and Goats cheese, asparagus and lemon verbena tartlet with a soft boiled quails egg.

Warm, homemade plain and apple and raisin scones will follow, served with lemon verbena curd, clotted cream and seasonal preserves.  Finally, guests will be presented with a selection of floral pastries, including a Chocolate hanging basket with spiced Chai tea mousse and chocolate soil; a Honey orange blossom pain de gene with mango compote and edible honey bees; a Rosewater and raspberry mousse with crystallised rose petals on a rose macaroon and Pistachio and hazelnut chocolate financier “garden patch” with chocolate ladybird.  The pastries will be presented on a marzipan gardening patch edged with a chocolate rockery and will be complete with the edible garden gnome centrepiece perched on a white chocolate toadstool.

To accompany their Flowering Afternoon Tea, guests can choose from a selection of traditional British, Oriental, herbal and fruit-infused teas, including Whole Rose Bud and Whole Camomile Flower teas, Flowering Osmanthus and Flowering Jasmine Peach, while they relax to live music from the Palm Court’s resident harpist. Doesn't this sound absolutely divine???!

Floral Afternoon Tea at InterContinental London Westminster

(Photo credit: Kate and Chelsie)

Floral themed delicacies including edible chocolate butterflies, an elaborate top tier of lavender and strawberry tart, violet éclairs, a jasmine and jivara mille feuille and a chocolate and orange blossom shot which has been carefully paired with rosebud and Ceylon tea blend for a distinctly refreshing finish. The center piece is a glass tea pot sprouting mini lemon mousse chocolate lollipops. 

(Photo credit)

As well as traditional cakes, classic English mini scones and elegant finger sandwiches with a summer twist, guests can enjoy free flowing Laurent Perrier Rose Champagne. Yes, please : )

The Secret Garden Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

(Photo credit)

Here's the wonderful botanical inspired dessert menu:

The Wild Meadow Garden (Victoria sponge with crystallized wild flowers), The Chinese Garden (Chocolate bamboo cane embellished with oriental butterflies), English Rose Garden (Rose and wild strawberry financier rose water and wild strawberry liquor), Herb Garden (Lemon balm éclair finished with lemon fondant), Potting Shed (miniature flower pot built  from fro chocolate fudge cake), The Summer Garden (White chocolate ball encompassed in elderflower mousse), Spring Blossom (cherry and almond savarin), Late Summer Harvest (Raspberry mousse shot accompanied by a violet macaroon).

The Dorchester

The Dorchester has worked with the team behind Laurent-Perrier’s 2013 show garden to create a menu that includes delights such as a ‘lavender basket’; a dark chocolate tartlet infused with lavender scent and decorated with a spun sugar handle. This afternoon tea menu is available between May 20th and May 26th for £56.

(Photo from The Dorchester web site)

Wishing you all a wonderful and productive (short) week! I'll be dreaming of tea time in London.




Happy Mother's Day!

Posted on May 10, 2013 by LISA KUNIZAKI | 0 Comments

We want to wish all you moms, aunts, grandmothers, godmothers, social workers, policewomen, teachers, EMTs, nurses, physicians, IT support...(you get the gist) out there a very wonderful Mother's Day!

We thought we'd share a few of our favorite memories with you on this special day. 


Here's Lisa and her mom strolling along the Coney Island boardwalk in 1975...

then when she turned one. Here's Karina at 6 months with her mom...

and here, Karina is almost nine!


Here's Clarissa on her trip to Japan last summer with her ojichan (grandpa). She's visiting the Gibli Museum.


Hope everyone has a fabulous day! Give your "mom" tons of kisses and hugs this weekend.




« Previous 1 8 9 10 11 12 36 Next »

Recent Articles