Tag Archives: restaurant review

Dinner with Linner- SOL #19

Last night, Linner (my nickname for her) and I headed out to Shook, a restaurant in the Swatch Hotel on the Bund, for a fancy Restaurant Week dinner. We both love fine dining, and when we can get it for a cheaper price, we love it even more!

Our first course was the Tomato Basil Bisque with Grilled Cheese “Soldiers.” Giggling as we ordered it, we talked about how we can’t understand why restaurants feel the need to make up names for food like that. They’re mini sandwiches, not soldiers. Just call it what it is. As far as the taste, the soup was really nice, but I personally make better grilled cheese.

Linner with her Espresso Martini…she’s brave drinking so much caffeine at night! Hope she was able to sleep when she got home. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I opted for a Pina Colada, a girly drink where the alcohol taste is masked in sweet goodness. ๐Ÿ™‚ Later, my drink would be the idea for a song I would sing whilst walking along the Bund. “Do you like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain?”…

Our main course was the Pan Roasted Snapper with Potato Puree, Blistered Tomatoes, Cucumber, Fresh Herbs, Ginger, and Tamarind Sauce. First thought was that the presentation was gorgeous. Second thought was what’s all this cilantro doing on my plate? I despise cilantro, and would have noticed that on the menu. Ahhh…it must be the fresh herbs. Luckily, it was just on the top, so I could easily pick it off. After that, the meal was really tasty, but on the smaller size portion-wise.

Our third course, always my favorite, was dessert. Linner had the Lemon Cheesecake with Maple Cranberry Compote, Toasted Walnuts, and Whipped Cream while I had the Coconut Lime Creme Brulee. My creme brulee was perfectly done, with that crispy sugary coating you have to hit just right with your spoon to get into the creamy custard beneath. We shared both, as we sipped our cocktails and shared stories.

Linner is one of those friends who will always be there for you. Whether we’re getting together to swap funny stories, laugh at the happenings of the week, and reminisce about the past, or we’re supporting one another through a tough time, she’s a sweet, loyal, dear friend.

Tonight’s conversation was light and fun, filled with stories. We remembered the time she got the nickname Linner, and how she hated it every time I called her that….until I was relentless and she gave in, accepting that, to me, she was no longer Linnea, but the less beautiful-sounding Linner. I playfullyย call her ‘Linner, Linner, Chicken Dinner.’ Secretly, she loves it. We also recalled the time I changed her boyfriend’s name in her phone to ‘Dee my lover’…haha, she was so mad about that one because she couldn’t figure out how to change it back. It stuck until she finally was able to change it a few days later. We talked about the time in Seoul, on vacation together, when I realized that Linner was not to be messed with in the morning. Taking pictures of bed head is not her idea of fun…haha. I’ve realized that throughout our friendship, I pick on her, but she’s a good sport and we’re still friends. ๐Ÿ™‚ She’s the nicer one of the two, for sure!

After I passed the fifth woman taking ‘glamour shots’ on the Bund, I decided to take some myself…haha! I love being in China…you can be completely silly and it’s no big deal! ๐Ÿ™‚

My favorite selfie of the night…Linner with her serious face and me with my silly one! She’s definitely a friend for a lifetime. Love you Linner!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Birthday Lunch- SOL #14

Even though her birthday isn’t until next weekend, the two of us celebrated today. Michelle has been with me since 2010 when I first moved to Shanghai. She and I are colleagues and friends, and I wanted to spend some quality time- just us- for her birthday. It’s Restaurant Week in Shanghai right now, so I booked us a table for lunch at Porcini, a restaurant in the Radisson Blu hotel in Pudong. After a starter of spicy bread, we enjoyed a lovely 3-course meal.

I had the carrot ginger soup with herb croutons and crab meat. Even though I’m not a big fan of ginger, the soup was really tasty! ๐Ÿ™‚

For my main course, I had the Mackerel with a creamy caper sauce and spinach risotto. The fish was okay, but I was a little turned off by the skin and bones left in it. I picked at it a little bit. The risotto was nice though. My drink was a Fun Calypso, their take on a pina colada, sans rum.

For dessert, I had the New York cheesecake. It wasn’t too sweet, but it was creamy and tasty. The strawberries were a nice complement. After dessert, we had a nice conversation, catching up on what’s new in our lives. I’m not sure how much time I have left to spend with Michelle, but I’ll definitely miss her when we no longer live in the same place!

As we were leaving, we found this random thumb statue…kinda weird, but we (well, I) couldn’t resist a thumb selfie! ๐Ÿ™‚

Reason to Celebrate- SOL #8



Tonight we had many reasons to celebrate. For one, it was Restaurant Week, so we got to eat a five-star meal for two-star prices. Secondly, it was International Women’s Day, and I was out with a group of beautiful ladies, dressed to the nines, and ready to have some fun. Third, and most importantly, it was my dear friend Amy’s birthday!

Me, Melissa, and Amy- the birthday girl!

Me, Melissa, and Amy- the birthday girl!

Anna and Linnea

Anna and Linnea

Dinner tonight was at The Grand Brasserie in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel located on the historic and beautiful Bund in Shanghai (whew…that’s a mouthful!). Upon entering the Waldorf I was taken into another world, a place too posh, lavish, and decadent for little ole me, but I loved it, if just for a night! Decked out in marble, crystal chandeliers, grand staircases, and 10 foot flower bouquets, it was a place fit for a queen (or 8 queens!).ย Our meal consisted of three courses, each one lovely and full of flavor. My favorite courses were the crab cake and the dessert, but the salmon was nice, too.ย I would definitely go back to The Grand Brasserie again.

First Course- Crab Cake

First Course- Crab Cake

Second Course- Grilled Salmon with Polenta, Artichokes, and Fennel

Second Course- Grilled Salmon with Polenta, Artichokes, and Fennel

Third Course- Warm Chocolate Cake and Strawberries and Vanilla Bean Icecream

Third Course- Warm Chocolate Cake and Strawberries and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Following dinner, we headed out to have a few drinks on Yong Kang Lu, a street lined with bars and restaurants that is frequented by expats. Everywhere was packed! We weren’t sure if it was because it was Women’s Day or because it was a relatively nice night (i.e. not raining and not too cold). Regardless, we found a spot in the back of the Taphouse, where we staked our claim. A few other friends joined us for the festivities, and we had a good time conversing with one another and laughing at the 21-year-olds who were obviously wasted by 9:00PM. As women in our 30’s (or nearly there), we can’t imagine acting that way now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Me and Michelle

Me and Michelle

Linnea and Me

Linnea and Me

Tired of being cramped and hot, we moved the party to an Irish pub across the street, seeking some solace from the throngs of party-goers out and about, hoping for a chill place to sit and relax. The Irish pub, we found, was just as crowded as the Taphouse. The Ireland vs. Italy rugby game was on, so finding a spot to sit was impossible. Nonetheless, we settled in, had a drink (or two), mingled with the usuals, and tried to one-up one another with our dirty jokes. As a spectator in the joke-telling contest, most just made me laugh! As the night wound down, we all had a yummy birthday apple cheesecake cupcake courtesy of the lovely Melissa. Hope you had a fabulous birthday Amy! Love you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mmmm….Mercato- SOL #26

SOLS button 2013


Tonight was girl’s night at one of my favorite restaurants in Shanghai, Mercato. Mercato is situated on the Bund and since we were seated near a window, we had a perfect view of the city skyline all lit up at night. We decided to go to Mercato since they won Restaurant Week, and had extended their tasting menu deal through this week. This meant we had an insane amount of food for the low price of 248 RMB ($40) per person. Considering that each main is normally about 200 RMB, this was a great deal! I thought I’d tell today’s slice of life through pictures so that you could see all the yummy foods we ate.

IMG_2783Melissa and I got to the Bund early to walk around and take a few pictures. Here’s my favorite one. I asked a local Chinese lady to take our picture. Of the three she took, this is the best one. I’m serious…even with the random Chinese guy and me not looking at the camera!

I love the beautiful wall of flowers on the Bund!


Our view of the Bund from our table. How pretty is that skyline?

Course One- Kingfish Carpaccio, Crushed Olives, and Dill; Housemade Ricotta with Strawberry, Olive Oil, and Grilled Bread (my absolute favorite!); Warm Seafood Salad with Avocado, Lemon, and Parsley

A close up of my favorite dish on the menu- Ricotta and Strawberry!!

Course Two- Kale and Pecorino Pizza; Not pictured- Rigatoni and Meatballs with Smoked Chili-Tomato Ragu

Course Three- Wood-Oven Roasted Whole 7 Star Seabass; Veal Milanese, Arugula and Citrus Dressing; Porcini-Crusted Salmon with Warm Leek Vinaigrette and Herbs (The salmon was my favorite! I couldn’t get over the head on the seabass. I generally don’t eat things with eyes staring at me.)

Course Four- Autumn Apple Crisp with Cinnamon Honey Gelato; Bittersweet Chocolate Bundino with Salted Carmel Powder (Both were equally amazing!)

A picture of all the girls at the end of the night. Funny how color-coordinated we all were. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’d say tonight was a success! If you are ever in Shanghai, you have got to try Mercato. You will not be disappointed!