Blue Caravan

 blue exterior Blue Caravan

ADDRESS: 467 Columbus Avenue

(Between 82nd and 83rd Streets)

New York, NY 10024

WEB SITE: www.bluecaravan.com

TELEPHONE: (212) 595-4300

FAX: (212) 595-4333

HOURS: Breakfast: 8:00 AM – 12:00 Noon, Mon.-Fri.

Lunch: 12:00 Noon – 4:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

Dinner: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Mon.-Sun.

Bar/Lounge: 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM, Sun.-Thurs.

5:00 PM – 1:00 AM, Fri-Sat.

Brunch: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Sat.-Sun.

Happy Hour: 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Mon.-Fri.

CUISINE: Modern Tapas and Global Cuisine

Restaurateur/Chef Mei Chau

CREDIT CARDS: All major cards accepted

PRICE RANGE: Lunch: $ 7 – $20

Dinner: $ 7 – $30

DRESS: Casual Elegant

RESERVATIONS: Recommended

SEATING CAPACITY: Dining Room: 40

Bar/Lounge: 30

Private Party Room: 30

Outdoor Café: 20

NUMBER OF ROOMS: 3

PARTY FACILITIES: Available upon request

(Private Party Room and Bar/Lounge are

available for customized private parties and

special events.)

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On Monday evenings, from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, the

Bar/Lounge features live world music.

OUTDOOF CAFÉ: A charming outdoor café on a lively street will seat 20 people.

OWNER/CHEF: Mei Chau

BEVERAGE/WINE DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Palumbo

OPENING DATE: April, 2011

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Blue Caravan, is a stylish, spacious Upper West Side eclectic brasserie, featuring modern tapas (small plates) and global cuisine (dinner plates). The restaurant, which opened in April 2011, is owned by Restaurateur/Chef Mei Chau. formally of the award winning Franklin Station Café in Tribeca, which was one of our favorite restaurants in its day.

Blue Caravan is also one of the most exciting restaurants to open on the Upper West Side in years and is an outstanding discovery. The ambiance reveals itself through a 12-foot high ceiling, lacquered wood candlelit tables, rattan and fabric-upholstered chairs and beautiful contemporary photography and artwork adorning the walls of the restaurant by the owner’s husband, Marc Kaczmarek (check out his bio: www.marckaczmarek), an acclaimed professional photographer. There are Brazilian cherry wood floors, stylish chrome mirrors, mood lighting, and an open kitchen to create a handsome setting.

Blue Caravan’s seasonal global menus are sophisticated and creative, yet simple and earthy.  Mei Chau’s menu is inspired by the multi-cultural influences of her native Malaysia and its popular small plates. As such, it showcases modern tapas (small plates) and global cuisine (dinner plates), thus allowing Mei the creative freedom to create new dishes regularly so that the menu constantly evolves. It is also an outstanding bargain with appetizers starting at $7 and entrees from $16. A copious dinner of small plates can be enjoyed for a token $20 per person or less. It is prudent to save room for the elegant entrees and to accompany one’s meal with a selection of the excellent wines from a user friendly list on the back of the menu.

Blue Caravan features a fine selection of global wines. The international wine list, created by Mei and Beverage Director Jeffrey Palumbo, changes seasonally and is continually evolving. A variety of wines by the glass are also available. We enjoyed wines a full bodied Pinot Gris, from Bott Freres 2008 for $32 the bottle and a fresh and sprightly Rioja Lan Crianza 2006, also $32. There is also a food friendly Riesling and Pinot Grigio by the glass (glass prices from $7 to $10).

When ordering, note that Ms. Chau’s global dishes and sauces are enhanced by an eclectic selection of fresh, flavorful herbs and spices from all around the world. Her use of fresh fruits, seasonal ingredients as well as a variety of global flavors is the foundation of Blue Caravan’s culinary style.

Recommended small dishes include a succulent Shrimp, with garlic, parsley and white wine; zesty Chicken Wings ginger and soy sauce; a fabulous Jasmine Tea Smoked Mackerel, with seaweed tartar sauce and beetroot crisps.; Kabocha and Potato Gratin with cucumber and dill salad (the best vegetarian dish we’ve tasted in ages; Nyonya Mussels, were mildly curried, delicious and also offered Provencal style); Steamed Clam chorizo, white wine, garlic: light and luscious Braised Oxtail Dumplings In Their Own Broth with thai basil beansprouts and crispy shallots; a terrific Pork Bun filled with slow roasted pork belly, ginger hoisin sauce, shitake mushroom, garlic show pea shoots and two dishes, soon to be on the menu from Malaysia that are worth requesting: Laksa (There are two basic types of laksa: curry laksa and asam laksa. Curry laksa is a coconut curry soup with noodles, while asam laksa is a sour fish soup with noodles. Thick rice noodles also known as laksa noodles are most commonly used). Here, the chef demonstrates a free hand and uses Udon Noodles to great advantage. Steamed Seafood in an ethereal fish mousse is another original creation sourced by Mei’s homeland.

Entrees offer a lovely PAN SEARED RED SNAPPER with Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a terrific ROAST MONKFISH with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts; Eggplant Fan roasted eggplant, zucchini, summer squash and tomato fans, quinoa stuffed artichoke; and a minor miracle: Giant Prawns, perfectly grilled with herbs and spices. and Ginger Red Pepper Sauce. If in doubt, go for the DAILY CHEF’S TASTING PLATE.

We were too full to sample desserts, but the seductive coffee machine emitted a haunting aroma, which we will sample on another occasion, perhaps brunch. Blue Caravan, with its romantic setting, friendly and attentive service, superb kitchen and gentle prices along with a personalized and welcoming proprietorship, offers a unique dining experience for all to enjoy. Absolutely a delight!

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Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers PRESENTS THE NEW VOGUE IN SHOPPING

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Shopping just got a whole lot more fun – simply have a couple of days dedicated to fabulous shopping and get a Personal Shopping Porter to go at Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers to carry all your shopping bags. Your shopping adventure is all taken care of and it will be a “light” experience that everyone fancies.

Having not to worry about your shopping bags, you can simply look posh and gorgeous in your designer dress, stiletto heels and designer handbag when you shop.  Book the limousine service and have a Personal Shopping Porter to go while treating yourself to hours of fabulous shopping.

Conveniently staged at the top of Kowloon’s Gold Mile along Victoria Harbour, the hotel is accessible from the train station, ferry terminal and MTR station all within 10 minutes. Lined with flagship designer shops and mega shopping malls, the prime location offers a great start of shopping adventure.

When you can pull yourself away for a break, what would be better than an afternoon tea set with a panorama harbour view at the Sky Lounge on the 18th floor? To ease away the tiredness after a whole day of shopping, the body deserves to get rejuvenated with a relaxing soak and a glass of champagne. The next best thing to do is to fall asleep on the Sweet Sleeper Bed for a restful night. In the next morning, get energized with a delicious breakfast and be ready for another day of fabulous shopping.

This is an experience that can’t be beat! Book now and enjoy special privileges like no other.

The New Vogue in Shopping package includes:

  • Afternoon tea with a view
  • Relaxing soak & bubbles
  • Energizing breakfast
  • Shopping Porter to go (optional)

Package starts from HK$2,000 per night and is valid for travels of 2 nights from now through 31 August 2010. Bookings are subject to availability and can be made at http://specialoffers.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton_hongkong or +852 2732 6771.


SHERATON HONG KONG HOTEL & TOWERS
20 Nathan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
sheraton.com/hongkong

THE EASTERN & ORIENTAL EXPRESS INTRODUCES NEW JOURNEYS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

Eastern & Oriental Express

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The Eastern & Oriental Express (E & O) has long offered travelers the opportunity to experience the Golden Age of train travel through one of the world’s most beautiful and exotic regions.  This November, Orient-Express is introducing the Chronicles of Southeast Asia — four new journeys that enable guests on the E & O to experience the region in even greater depth.   The new itineraries will take passengers in comfort to places off the beaten track and essentially turn the train into a touring hotel – a window onto the world of Southeast Asia.  To ensure ultimate exclusivity and a more personalized experience, capacity on each trip will be limited to 60 guests and only presidential and state carriages will be in use.  The new routes include:

Epic Thailand (6 nights): Bangkok/Isan/Chiang Mai/Lampang/Bangkok.
This journey visits sites in Northern Thailand — traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and through fascinating, untouched landscapes.  The huge diversity of Thailand is evident: remote settlements on the Isan plains; ancient temples that retain otherworldy beauty and tranquility; the culture-rich city of Chiang Mai and the Khao Yai National Park – home to wild elephants, gibbons, and fabulous birds. Highlights include:

  • A walking tour through a traditional village in Isan
  • A sunset candlelight reception at Prasat Sikoraphum – a restored 12th- century Khmer Temple
  • Lunch with the first female Thai oenologist at Khao Yai Gran Monte Vineyard
  • The opportunity to participate in a Bai Sii (sacred thread) ceremony
  • Touring the town of Lampang "wild-west style" in a traditional pony trap.

Aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express

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Fables of the Hills

(6 nights): Singapore/Kuala Lumpur/Cameron Highlands (overnight)/Penang/Surat Thani/River Kwai/Bangkok.
This tour takes visitors north from Singapore through the beautiful Cameron Highlands to Bangkok and highlights some of the best and most compelling parts of Asia:  the colonial heritage of Malaysia’s mist-shrouded Cameron Highlands, the historic Bridge over the River Kwai and the varied architecture of cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Kangsar and Georgetown on the island of Penang. Highlights include:

  • Kuala Lumpur city tour, including a visit to "The School of Hard Knocks" (for the history and facts of pewter)
  • Strawberry and tea tastings in the Cameron Highlands
  • Surat Thani Monkey Training College

Legends of the Peninsula (6 nights): Bangkok/River Kwai/Trang (overnight)/Penang/Kuala Lumpur/Singapore.
From the city of Bangkok to the beaches of Trang on the crystalline Andaman Sea and the colonial architecture of Kuala Lumpur, this land voyage through Asia encourages guests to join in and do something new. Highlights include:

  • The River Kwai Bridge
  • A sojourn at Trang that offers the chance to take part in a range of water sports
  • Dugong trekking
  • Thai cooking classes

Tales of Laos (3 nights): Bangkok/Pimai/Khao Yai/Vientiane/Bangkok.
E & O passengers are among the few to travel this route. It is an evocative way to arrive in a country once part of old Indochina and subsequently sealed off from the rest of Asia for many years. Vientiane has a delightful old-world air, with traditional markets, golden temples and colonial residences lining leafy boulevards.  Highlights include:

  • Stopping at Phimai to explore the impressive Angkor-style Khmer temples
  • Discovering the vineyards of the scenic Khao Yai hills and sampling the "new" latitude wines cultivated there.

Prices start at US $3,900. For more information and departure dates, please visit: http://www.orient-express.com/web/eoe/chronicles_asia.jsp.

Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House Wows Hong Kong’s Culinary Scene

Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House Wows Hong Kong’s Culinary Scene

Perched on the 49th floor of The Upper House, Hong Kong’s newest and sleekest hotel, Café Gray Deluxe has stunning views of Victoria Harbour, and equally stunning dishes to match. Chef Gray Kunz returns to Hong Kong after 20 years with this 21st century brasserie featuring his signature twist on classic Western dishes with Asian influences.

To prepare for the launch of Café Gray Deluxe, Chef Kunz spent six months in Hong Kong, scouring the wet markets of Sheung Wan and Wan Chai for the freshest ingredients, organic meats, and exotic delicacies and perfecting his menu in a test kitchen in Sheung Wan.

Must try dishes: saffron pasta fiori; simmered red mullet with squid razor clams and herb broth; braised beef short ribs with grits; steak tartar with Kunz’s ketchup; steamed sea bass in ginger bouillon; sirloin flank steak; and chocolate rum toast.
For more information: www.upperhouse.com.

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Le Colonial

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Le Colonial is located at 149 East 57th Street, between Lexington and 3rd Avenues.
Phone:  212.752.0808  212.752.0808 | Fax: 212.752.7534
Hours Of Operation
Lunch is served in the main dining room Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Dinner is served in the main dining room seven nights per week:
5:30 – 11:00 Sunday- Monday
5:30 – 11:30 Tuesday – Thursday
5:30 – midnight Friday – Saturday
The 2nd floor bar and lounge is open at 4:30 daily.
Guests can enjoy the lounge menu Tuesday – Saturday until 1:00 a.m., and Sunday-Monday until midnight. 

Executive Chef Extrodinaire: Xuan Pham (Below)colonial-chef2

colonial-bar

Beverage Director: David Merida (Above)

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Le Colonial
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Le Colonial
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The Queen of Asian Cuisine Reigns at Le Colonial

By Nancy Walman

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Designed by Greg Jordan, of Greg Jordan, Inc., Le Colonial transports guests to another milieu from a bygone era, to the enchanting tropical Southeast Asia from the 1920s. To re-create the mood and experience of this magnificent time and place in all its splendor, Mr. Jordan says, "I chose to design with unique tiled floors, crudely painted walls and antique mercury panels to keep the interior as simple, yet as elegant as possible."

The ecru walls of the first-floor Dining Room are lined with handsome, louvered shutters. Comfortable, tightly-woven rattan chairs surround amply-spaced tables that provide seating for as many as 95 guests. The 12ft ceilings feature delicate fans to gently cool the room, which is filled with lush, potted palms and graceful banana trees. Nostalgic photographs of life in Saigon during the 1920s cover the walls and lead guests up to a lively second floor Lounge.

Upstairs, there is a large mahogany Bar that serves cocktails for up to 25 guests. Sensual music fills the spacious room. colonial-lounge Guests can sit at the Bar or in the 50-person Lounge, a comfortable, romantic oasis adorned with sofas, Oriental rugs, low tables and antique furnishings.

Enhancing the restaurant’s exquisite ambiance and feel is the exceptional menu of authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Among the Appetizer and Petite Salad choices arecolonial-egg roll Cha Gio, crispy spring rolls with shrimp, pork, crab, shitake mushrooms and nuoc cham dipping sauce; Chao Tom, grilled shrimp mousse wrapped on sugar cane, with angel hair noodles with lettuce wraps and peanut dipping sauce; and Goi Ca, seared rare tuna with black pepper crust, atop a mesclun salad tossed with a spicy soy dressing. A tasting of 5 appetizers is a perfect way to begin. Also sample the crabmeat and avocado martini.

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Signature entrees include Ca Chien Saigon, Vietnamese crisp-seared whole red snapper with a light, spicy and sour; Bo La Lot, grilled lemongrass filet mignon wrapped in la lot leaves served with peanuts and pineapple mesclun salad; Ca Chien Gung, pan seared salmon with ginger crust with basil, leeks and bell peppers, served with lemongrass sauce; and Bo Sate, sautéed filet mignon with sate spice, yams and long beans. STEAMED CHILEAN SEA BASS WRAPPED IN BANANA LEAVES, WITH GLASS NOODLES, ROMA TOMATOES, SHIITAKE & OYSTER MUSHROOMS & GINGER SOY SAUCE is one of the best seafood creations we tasted this year. colonial-fish

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An expertly trained waitstaff assists guests in understanding the truly unique menu, and is always available to offer suggestions on complimenting dishes. There is an excellent mixologist and a good selection of wine and beer, thanks to Beverage Director,  David Merida . Even the desserts, often an afterthought in Asian restaurants, are memorable. I especially liked the green tea, layered crepe-pie. And don’t miss the terrific Vietnamese coffee (like a café filtre with evaporated milk).colonial-dumplingh

Le Colonial is a world class Vietnamese restaurant (and one of our personal favorites of any genre in New York). Thanks to the efforts of executive chef Xuan Pham, dishes are pure, clean,  and traditional with a bow to a healthy, contemporary life style. A former pharmacist (with an MBA as well), her style is unique. New York’s premiere Vietnamese restaurant is a gem and is not to be missed.

See Menu, Chef’s Bio and more Images.

Copyright 2009 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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POND PRAWNS AND OCEAN OYSTERS AT THE CAFÉ

Steamed Live Pond Prawns in Bamboo Basket This September and October, the world is your oyster… and your prawn as well! Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers has prepared the freshly harvested Hong Kong live pond prawns and jet-fresh seasonal oysters from the US & Australia, for a delightful range of seafood specialties to tempt your taste buds at the gourmet buffet of The Café.

The highlight of the prawn and oyster promotion features the Cold Noodles with Pond Prawns_ Freshly Cooked Live Pond Prawnsseasoned with Soya Sauce, Garlic, Chili and steamed in a bamboo basket, with a scent of Lotus Leaves. Kept in the “Gei Wei” (pond dug at the seashore) and fed on natural food in a traditional way, these live pond prawns grown in Hong Kong are freshly harvested in August / September at its best quality. Come now and sample the authentic flavour of this local specialty specially prepared by our chefs at The Café!

Besides, brand new prawn and oyster delicacies at the generous buffet tables range from appetizers like Oyster Shooter, Prawn Cocktail, Gei Wei Prawns Cold Noodles, freshly shucked Oyster, to hot dishes such as Pan-fried Oyster or Prawn Cake and Black Prawn or Oyster Tempura. The round-the-clock buffet will not fail to impress you with many other seafood options: Snow Crab Legs, Yabbies, Blue Mussels, Canadian Jade Whelks, Black Tiger Prawns, fresh Sashimi (Salmon, Tuna, Tako, Swordfish, Snapper and Ebi), and even the Mixed Seafood Congee live station.

Special discounts are available when you come in a group of 5 adults, you pay for 4 only! If it is a group of 5 with a mix of adults and children, we will only charge 4/5 of the buffet food bill, that’s equivalent to 20% off! This promotional offer is applicable for all buffets except breakfast buffet and cannot be used in conjunction with other discount offers including credit card joint promotion. Alternatively, HSBC Premier and Platinum Credit Cardholders and American Express Centurion Card and Platinum Credit Cardholders can enjoy 15% off, while all HSBC Credit Cardholders enjoy 12% off (exclusive of 10% service charge; food bill only; blackout dates apply; until 31 December 2009).The Cafe

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Third Night Free Promotion

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Stay two consecutive nights at the ultra-hip Opposite House, and get a third night stay FREE. This 99-room hotel designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma features the largest rooms in Beijing, with more than half at over 750 square feet. The rooms showcase contemporary Chinese decor with natural wood floors and bathrooms with deep oak soaking tubs, rain showers and under floor heating.
Third Night Free Promotion includes:

  • Breakfast for two on weekends
  • Access to workout and pool facilities
  • Guided cultural walk of Beijing on Saturday
  • Complimentary mini-bar and Internet access
  • Valid until December 31
  • Rates start at Rmb 2300 (approximately $337)

For more information: www.theoppositehouse.com

Café Gray Deluxe opens October at The Upper House in Hong Kong

Café Gray Deluxe opens October at The Upper House in Hong Kong

The Upper House, Swire Hotels’ second property opening in October, will be home to Café Gray Deluxe, a 21st century grand café overlooking Victoria Harbor. This marks the return of celebrated Chef Gray Kunz to Hong Kong. The vibrant restaurant is highlighted by a 46-foot long open kitchen and equally long bar, serving "everyday dishes" with an accent on local organic produce and relaxed service.
The main dining room seating approximately 100 offers spectacular panoramic views. Semi-private dining areas are designed with full view of the open kitchen stations. A private room for 12 is available for exclusive harbor view dining. The bar and lounge, seating 88, is contemporary and vibrant.
Café Gray Deluxe will be located on Level 49, which showcases the architecturally intriguing Sky Bridge. Infused with a skylight above a 131-foot high atrium, the Sky Bridge leads to the Sky Lounge and Café Gray Deluxe. 
The Upper House is a 117-room hotel designed by Andre Fu, one of Asia’s most prolific young architects. For more information: www.upperhouse.com