Torikai 鳥魁·燒き鳥·酒場

If you get around as much as I do (I mean that in the best way possible) you may have noticed a number of Japanese-themed bars and restaurants popping up around the local nighttime hotspots. The question is, “Are they just a passing fad or do they have some staying power?” Well, if they’re able to hit it home like the new Torikai restaurant, located just off QuJiangDaDao, right across from BeiChiTou subway station, then we may be in for a treat.

Leban (Hansheng Plaza) 乐班 (汉神广场)

Leban is a name that many foreigners in Xi’an are familiar with, as they have been operating for many years at this point (we wrote about their first location all the way back in October 2015). In the time since their inception, the café and bakery has expanded out to many locations throughout the city, expanding their menu and refining their craft in order to deliver a consistent, high-quality product.
Their newest venture is no exception, venturing for the first time to the north of the city. Located at the Wenjing Lu subway stop, not far from the government center at XingZhengZhongXin, this Leban has upped their game quite a bit, having more seating (indoor and outdoor) and an more extensive menu than any of their other locations. The interior is decorated in a modern chic style, with low tables and chairs – not the best if you’re tall – as well as some booth seating and regular-sized tables and chairs. There is a sliding wall that gives you access to the mall, if you’re into the whole secret panel door feel.

Online·Bread 面包咖啡店

With the cold weather having truly and properly announced its arrival in our city, it’s easy to just want to stay inside. Yet, I find this weather to be the ideal time to practice my favorite pastime: cafe hunting.
On a fresh Saturday afternoon, I headed out in the direction of South Gate in search of coffee. I was most delighted when I found a café at a location I’d never have thought to venture in to.
Having faced the cold on route, and admittedly getting lost (for trusting my mental compass over a map), what better feeling than being welcomed by warmth, the smell of coffee and freshly-baked croissants.

Lanna Spring Spa 兰纳春天(南门店)

Life can get stressful at times, and sometimes you really just need to relax and unwind. This can be made difficult when living in a large city, as escaping is not always an easy thing to do. Escaping to the mountains works only if you have a car and even then, you need to have the time. What’s needed is a place that you can get to more quickly, a private oasis that you can go to amongst the concrete. That is what Lanna Spring Spa seeks to be.

Challenge Accepted: Cocktail Challenge

Ilove cocktails. The only thing I love more than drinking a good cocktail is making one. I often come up with ideas for different cocktails as well as test them out, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at making drinks. My friend Ben loves music – he comes up with beats in his spare time and they are usually quite good, but recently he has be neglecting his passion. So after a long talk a proposal was made, a pact if you will, to help spur his creativity and out of comradery I decided to do the same. We came up with challenges for each other; his was to come up with a complete new song in two weeks, mine was to come up with a new cocktail every week. But my challenge had a few handicaps, which lead me on a very creative and tasty journey.

The Somerset: Quality Serviced Residences

We arrived at The Somerset Xindicheng Xi’an late on Christmas Eve. Located on the south Second Ring Road, the building itself is an unassuming highrise, but easy to find. To enter the lobby, you actually need to take an elevator up from a first floor foyer. We were promptly and professionally checked in, and made our way to the room. The first things we noticed in the lobby were an espresso machine and an “Aria” – you can get Aria (a robot) to deliver conveniences to your room.
Our apartment was an enormous Two-Bedroom Premier (两房豪华行政套房) on the 12th floor. The first thing we felt (after we swiped our card to press the floor number) was that the large elevators were fast. After the elevators whisked us away, the second thing we felt was the apartment was warm because of the floor heating – we were comfortable walking around in t-shirts. The apartment was huge (about 160 square meters in total). We not only had two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a study, a wall with several meters of clothing rack space (even Kim Kardashian could possibly have been pleased) and additional storage cabinets, a full kitchen with dining room and living room, and high-speed internet, but also had views of Gaoxin’s ever-developing skyline.

Torikai 鳥魁·燒き鳥·酒場

If you get around as much as I do (I mean that in the best way possible) you may have noticed a number of Japanese-themed bars and restaurants popping up around the local nighttime hotspots. The question is, “Are they just a passing fad or do they have some staying power?” Well, if they’re able to hit it home like the new Torikai restaurant, located just off QuJiangDaDao, right across from BeiChiTou subway station, then we may be in for a treat.

Leban (Hansheng Plaza) 乐班 (汉神广场)

Leban is a name that many foreigners in Xi’an are familiar with, as they have been operating for many years at this point (we wrote about their first location all the way back in October 2015). In the time since their inception, the café and bakery has expanded out to many locations throughout the city, expanding their menu and refining their craft in order to deliver a consistent, high-quality product.
Their newest venture is no exception, venturing for the first time to the north of the city. Located at the Wenjing Lu subway stop, not far from the government center at XingZhengZhongXin, this Leban has upped their game quite a bit, having more seating (indoor and outdoor) and an more extensive menu than any of their other locations. The interior is decorated in a modern chic style, with low tables and chairs – not the best if you’re tall – as well as some booth seating and regular-sized tables and chairs. There is a sliding wall that gives you access to the mall, if you’re into the whole secret panel door feel.

Online·Bread 面包咖啡店

With the cold weather having truly and properly announced its arrival in our city, it’s easy to just want to stay inside. Yet, I find this weather to be the ideal time to practice my favorite pastime: cafe hunting.
On a fresh Saturday afternoon, I headed out in the direction of South Gate in search of coffee. I was most delighted when I found a café at a location I’d never have thought to venture in to.
Having faced the cold on route, and admittedly getting lost (for trusting my mental compass over a map), what better feeling than being welcomed by warmth, the smell of coffee and freshly-baked croissants.

Lanna Spring Spa 兰纳春天(南门店)

Life can get stressful at times, and sometimes you really just need to relax and unwind. This can be made difficult when living in a large city, as escaping is not always an easy thing to do. Escaping to the mountains works only if you have a car and even then, you need to have the time. What’s needed is a place that you can get to more quickly, a private oasis that you can go to amongst the concrete. That is what Lanna Spring Spa seeks to be.

Challenge Accepted: Cocktail Challenge

Ilove cocktails. The only thing I love more than drinking a good cocktail is making one. I often come up with ideas for different cocktails as well as test them out, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at making drinks. My friend Ben loves music – he comes up with beats in his spare time and they are usually quite good, but recently he has be neglecting his passion. So after a long talk a proposal was made, a pact if you will, to help spur his creativity and out of comradery I decided to do the same. We came up with challenges for each other; his was to come up with a complete new song in two weeks, mine was to come up with a new cocktail every week. But my challenge had a few handicaps, which lead me on a very creative and tasty journey.

The Somerset: Quality Serviced Residences

We arrived at The Somerset Xindicheng Xi’an late on Christmas Eve. Located on the south Second Ring Road, the building itself is an unassuming highrise, but easy to find. To enter the lobby, you actually need to take an elevator up from a first floor foyer. We were promptly and professionally checked in, and made our way to the room. The first things we noticed in the lobby were an espresso machine and an “Aria” – you can get Aria (a robot) to deliver conveniences to your room.
Our apartment was an enormous Two-Bedroom Premier (两房豪华行政套房) on the 12th floor. The first thing we felt (after we swiped our card to press the floor number) was that the large elevators were fast. After the elevators whisked us away, the second thing we felt was the apartment was warm because of the floor heating – we were comfortable walking around in t-shirts. The apartment was huge (about 160 square meters in total). We not only had two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a study, a wall with several meters of clothing rack space (even Kim Kardashian could possibly have been pleased) and additional storage cabinets, a full kitchen with dining room and living room, and high-speed internet, but also had views of Gaoxin’s ever-developing skyline.