Coffee has been around for so long that it seems that there is little to no room for innovation. For the coffee purist, there would seem little to be no need to do so, but for shops looking to bring in more customers, the next big thing is a priority. FOOM Coffee, also known as BakeWorks, has settled on an interesting trend – charcoal lattes.
I’ve often felt that the term ‘hidden gem’ is a bit overused. Often times it is used to describe places that is both convenient to get to and in plain sight, not the hard to find places that are actually good. However, occasionally you do find a legitimate hidden gem – place that you would not have actually found unless you were guided there. This is the case with Matsukawa Japanese Restaurant.
C anada’s favorite coffee shop hit Chinese shores in early 2019, with their first store opening in Shanghai. Since then they have expanded to other large cities in China, with their most recent opening right here in Xi’an on July 29th. The shop, located at MIXC not far from exit C of the HuiZhanZhongXin Metro stop is a bit of an odd choice, being far from the downtown area, but is likely just the beginning of their expansion in Xi’an.
Summer is a season that often reminds me of meat. Whether barbequed over open flame or served up on a big platter, summer always feels like the right season for skipping the carbs and going straight for the good stuff. There are many cuisines in China’s north and northwest regions that are famous for their high quality and quantity of meats, not the least of which is the food of Gansu. However, if most people were asked to name some dishes from that province, most would not be able to think any further than beef noodles.
L ocated just a short walk from Dayanta, the Hualuxe hotel is a large, expansive hotel, part of the hotel chain of the same name. Located on the second-floor of the hotel from the lobby, the dining area for this restaurant has many segmented areas for sitting, including several private dining rooms located just adjacent to the main floor. The whole restaurant is decorated in a modern look, with accents that reflect traditional Chinese culture.
It seems like everywhere you go these days, new bars are popping up. With most of the main commercial areas already filled to the gills with chain restaurants and other similar establishments, the smaller boutique places have turned to side alleys and back streets to open up, creating tiny enclaves of unique and interesting shops. One such place is Ti Yu Guan Lu, located on a small street behind the SKP at South Gate. Here a wide variety of restaurants and tap rooms have opened up, including its most recent addition, Snug Room.
Located directly on the southwest corner of the intersection, Snug Room has a tight, almost bunker-like appearance from the outside, with a few tables sitting outside in the evening. Stepping inside, you are immediately greeted by a prominent bar, with plenty of seat around it, as well as several high-top and low-top tables for you to sit at. The windows are in a high small row that looks out onto the street, which gives the whole place a hidden feeling, as you can see out but others would have a hard time seeing in.
I once had a friend who used to complain about the lack of standalone restaurants. He loathed the fact that every half decent restaurant happened to be in a mall or jammed into the first floor of a building, not allowing for much in the way of outdoor seating or enjoyment. And it’s true, real estate is a premium and the fact of the matter is that it is more economical to save on expenses by going the mall route. It’s also almost guaranteed foot traffic to help your business along. So when you find a restaurant that breaks out of this mold; that is something to pay attention to.
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.
Chuan-chuan, for the uninitiated, is a variation on hot pot that serves the typical arrangement of hot pot goods served on skewers instead of the standard trays. Skewers are counted up at the end, just like at barbeque. These restaurants have become increasingly popular over the past several years and for good reason; they offer the best of the hot pot experience, but allow you to eat a greater variety of things without having to massively extend your bill.
It used to be that a good cup of coffee was hard to find in Xi’an. Now it seems we are spoiled for choices, with coffee shops popping up everywhere, from large sprawling affairs to smaller boutique places. These places will offer up special varietals of coffee beans from the far reaches of the planet. Quality can sometimes vary though, as all the excitement surrounding coffee has not necessarily gone hand in hand with knowledge of proper preparation.