Meet Pastry Chef of The Year, Aggie Chin

Bubble, Pop, Electric

Life is short…eat dessert first!  This is probably one of my favorite mantras.  Following this mantra is especially easy when you have Aggie Chin, creating delicious one-of-a-kind desserts in Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown’s The Grill Room.  But don’t take my word for it!  Chef Aggie, was just named “Pastry Chef Of The Year” by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

Aggie RAMMY SelfieThe Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is the regional trade association representing restaurants and the foodservice industry in the D.C. metro area.  The RAMMY Awards Gala honors exceptional ability and accomplishments of the hard-working individuals and the region’s restaurants.  It was truly a wonderful night witnessing Chef Aggie being honored for her dedication to the industry as well as celebrating her remarkable achievements!

Aggie Chin - RAMMY

Chef Aggie has been a mastermind behind delicious and delectable desserts for many years prior to joining our Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown family.  Aggie spared no time adding whimsical and creative dessert menu options to The Grill Room, welcoming exotic flavors and fresh seasonal mixes to everyone’s palate.  To set a True Capella experience for everyone, Chef Aggie wanted to curate a unique experience for the evolving desserts menu, “My vision for The Grill Room’s new dessert menu matches the welcoming atmosphere of Capella while adding exciting elements reflecting the bustling diverse metropolis of D.C.”

Aggie Chin Headshot

We are all very proud of Chef Aggie’s accomplishments, so I am delighted to share with you an easy spinoff cocktail that draws inspiration from Bubble, Pop, Electric, one of her most popular desserts.

Bubble, Pop, Electric

Make At Home: Bubble, Pop, Electric – The Cocktail (or Mocktail!) – Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (8 oz) of strawberries. Clean and chopped
  • 5 cup of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • A bag of pop rocks candy (Optional)

Preparation:

  • Add all ingredients in a blender and puree together
  • Disperse mixture in a popsicle mold (You can use ice cube trays as well)
  • Freeze in a freezer overnight
  • Rim glass with pop rocks candy
  • Add frozen mixture into a glass and pour over either sparkling water (for a mocktail) or champagne (for a cocktail)
  • Garnish with fresh strawberry

And of course, if you just have to have the real thing, come by The Grill Room and Chef Aggie will share some of her culinary magic with you.  Always save room for dessert!  Enjoy!

Spend A Magical Day At Sapphire Falls

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edit_MG_1285Soufriere, the volcanic region of St. Lucia, is well-known for its gorgeous waterfalls and naturally occurring hot springs.  If you’re anything like me, tropical island vacations go hand-in-hand with some up close and personal time with a waterfall, so I am extremely excited to share Sapphire Falls with you!

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Nestled in a stunning, private area of rich foliage, Sapphire Falls is exclusive to guests of Capella Marigot Bay. Instead of following the vans of tourists heading to nearby Sulphur Springs, our guide, Jahrod, led us off the beaten path. We walked through a nature trail lined with native St. Lucian flora.

edit_MG_1270The walk was idyllic, as we passed some smaller streams along the way with mini-waterfalls.  Jahrod informed us that the water is dark because it is laden with mineral rich volcanic ash! Since it’s coming from La Soufriere, St. Lucia’s volcano, the water is warm!

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Arriving at Sapphire Falls is like entering a tropical dream-come-true. Everything you’d ever wanted to experience on a Caribbean island is right before you.  I found myself just wanting to take it all in.  After plunging beneath the waterfall and slathering our skin in mud from volcanic ash, we spent some time relaxing in the sulphur spring pool and taking in our surroundings while eating fresh mangos.

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To actually have a place like this all to ourselves and experience it without interference is such a rarity. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity. When you visit St. Lucia, you must go to Sapphire Falls! It will become a cherished memory and a wonderful bonding experience to share with your favorite people.

edit_MG_1310Pictured above is our guide, Jahrod. He is incredibly knowledgeable about all things St. Lucia. You will love meeting him!edit_MG_1280Everyone deserves to experience nature on this scale and I hope you have the opportunity to visit Sapphire Falls soon! Your Capella Marigot Bay Personal Assistant will arrange all the details for visiting this stunning location.

In the meantime, I recommend pampering yourself with a mud mask either at home or at the spa! Your skin will feel rejuvenated and baby soft. Enjoy!

How To Host A Summer Cookout

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Summertime is finally here and nothing says summer like meat on the grill and refreshing drinks enjoyed with wonderful company.  If you’ve ever hosted a cookout,  you know there is a lot to plan and this is especially true when it comes to the menu.  Fortunately, the team at Breidenbacher Hof,  A Capella Hotel has a lot of experience hosting and catering these events, so I am happy to share some of our secrets.Buffet - 600pxl width_ CapellaBBHOn the Grill:

The chefs here recommend always having at least 3 options for a crowd.  People have different preferences, especially when it comes to proteins, so make sure you have something for everyone!
My top 3:
-Marinated Chicken Breast (classic)
-Pork Neck (a German favorite)
-Salmon Steaks (don’t forget a squeeze of fresh lemon!)
Make sure to use tongs when flipping the proteins and not a fork.  That way you keep the juices in, enhancing the flavors.

On the Side:

I would argue that the side dishes served at a cookout are as important as the proteins.  Make your life easy by prepping these dishes ahead, leaving more time for entertaining and socializing.
My favorites:
-German Potato Salad (another classic!)
-Spicy Noodle Salad (offers a balance to the sweetness of the marinades)
-Grilled Vegetables (This is a great way to add color to your meal. I love corn, aspargus and eggplant, but choose your favorite!)

On The Sweeter Side:

No meal, and for that matter, no cookout is complete without something sweet!  Whether the dishes are served as a side or a dessert these options offer a balance to the meal.
Try:
-Fruit Salad (refreshing with a bit of lime and mint)
-Sorbet/Ice Cream (because nothing says summer like a frozen treat)
-Coffee cake (can be made ahead and always a favorite)

Don’t Forget:

-Serve some crusty bread with dips for guests to munch on either with their meal or as it is cooking.
-Summer cocktails! Elevate this from a regular dinner by serving a signature cocktail. Might I recommend the Thyme Silver Fizz from the Capella Bar?
-Relax! A summer cookout is meant to be fun, so don’t take things too seriously. And remember, if you feel overwhelmed by the process you can always reach out to Breidenbacher Hof to cater the event!

Wie Ihr eine Grillparty veranstaltet

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Die Sommerzeit steht vor der Tür und es gibt nichts Sommerlicheres, als Fleisch auf dem Grill und erfrischende Getränke mit tollen Freunden zu genießen. Wenn Ihr schon einmal eine Grillparty veranstaltet habt, wisst Ihr, es gibt jede Menge zu organisieren. Vor allem wenn es um das Menü geht. Glücklicherweise hat das Breidenbacher Hof Team jede Menge Erfahrungen mit der Ausrichtung solcher Events, daher werde ich Euch heute unsere Geheimtipps verraten:Buffet - 600pxl width_ CapellaBBHAuf dem Grill:

Unsere Küchenchefs empfehlen Euch drei Auswahlmöglichkeiten zu servieren. Eure Gäste haben verschiedene Präferenzen, vor allem wenn es um Fleisch geht. Also habt etwas für jeden Geschmack.
Meine Top 3:
– Marinierte Hänchenbrustfilets (ein Klassiker)
– Schweinenacken (besonders beliebt)
– Lachssteak (vergesst nicht frische Zitrone über den Fisch zu pressen)
Anstatt einer Gabel, solltet Ihr lieber eine Grillzange verwenden, um das Fleisch zu wenden. Auf diese Art, bleibt das Fleisch saftig und es behält seinen aromatischen Geschmack.

Als Beilage:

Ihr wisst ja, die Beilagen sind mindestens genauso wichtig wie das Fleisch. Mit diesen tollen Salaten, macht Ihr Euch das Leben leicht und habt mehr Zeit für Euren Besuch.
– Deutscher Kartoffelsalat (ein weiterer Klassiker)
– Würziger Nudelsalat (eine prima Abwechslung zu den süßen Soßen)
– Gegrilltes Gemüse (es bringt Farbe auf den Teller. Ich liebe Mais, Spargel und Aubergine, aber nehmt ruhig Euer Lieblingsgemüse!)

Als süße Verführung:

Es ist keine richtige Grillparty, ohne eine süße Versuchung! Ihr könnte es, als Akzent zum Hauptgang servieren, aber auch als leckeres Dessert .
Probiert:
– Obstsalat (erfrischend mit ein wenig Zitrone und Minze)
– Sorbet / Eiscreme ( nichts sagt mehr Sommer, als Eis!)
– Kuchen ( kann man gut vorbereiten und kommt immer gut an)

Vergesst nicht:

– Serviert knuspriges Brot mit Dips für die Gäste, entweder als Vorspeise oder als Beilage.
– Sommercocktails! Serviert gerne Cocktailklassiker, ich empfehle Euch den Thymian Silver Fizz von unserer Capella Bar.
– Entspannung! Eine Sommer Grillparty sollte Spaß machen, nehmt kleine Pannen nicht zu ernst. Denkt daran, falls Sie Euch doch hier oder da vor eine Herausforderung stellt, steht der Breidenbacher Hof und sein Team in den Startlöchern, um einzigartige Momente für Euch zu kreieren.

Meet Capella Washington D.C.’s General Manager, Marco Bustamante

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I would like to introduce you to the Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown General Manager, Marco Bustamante.  Marco, a 10 year veteran of the Capella family,  took D.C. by storm, bringing with him a wealth of experience and charisma.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Marco to get a better idea of why he loves being part of the Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown team.

Marco Bustamante HeadshotWhat do you love most about Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown?

The people.  We have an amazing team with people from all different backgrounds and experiences.  We have a lot of local Washingtonians as part of our staff and I think it brings great soul to the property.

What makes our property unique in D.C.?

The design of our hotel gives guests an intimate, sophisticated, modern, and high tech feel. From relaxing in the Living Room to enjoying a cocktail in The Rye Bar, our guests have the option of feeling like they are in an urban oasis.

You’ve been part of the Capella team for over 10 years, what is your favorite memory?

When I was working in Los Cabos, we had a couple buy-out the entire hotel for their wedding.  We really wanted to make their experience special and unique, so we built a 120-foot long table to host 150 of their wedding guests in an underground tunnel.  The tunnel started from the entrance of the resort and opened up to the front of property.  We strung chandeliers from the ceiling accompanied with drapery all around; it was really beautiful and different.

What new and exciting events can guests expect this summer at Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown?

We recently held Negroni Week, where $1 of each Negroni cocktail sold will be donated to helping aid the victims in Nepal.  We have an employee who is Nepalese and she started a charity fund to help out her homeland, so proceeds will be sent to support relief efforts.  Summer in D.C. is a great time, we are looking forward to our Father’s Day special package, our annual 4th of July Rooftop party, cocktail specials in The Rye Bar, and Chef Ruta has some amazing new brunch items to be enjoyed on our terrace.

What is your favorite thing to do in D.C.?

I love spending time with my two sons and taking them kayaking on the Potomac River.

We are so happy to have you leading the team here at Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown, Marco!  Here’s to another year of creating more True Capella memories!

Images via MoMo Photography

Discover Water Adventures On Sentosa Island

Suspension bridge at Palawan Beach

I love driving onto to Sentosa Island on my way to Capella Singapore each day.  Sentosa may only be a twenty minute drive from downtown Singapore, but it is an escape unto itself.  What I love most about Sentosa is being amidst an ocean of sapphire, sparkling in the brilliant sunlight.  Spread across just 500 hectares (5 square kilometres) of lush greenery, Sentosa offers stunning coastlines and countless water-themed attractions.  Here are my top four recommendations for wonderful water escapades on the island.

#1 Find Your Dream Beach

Suspension bridge at Palawan Beach

Suspension bridge at Palawan Beach

Summer is synonymous with the beach, and Sentosa boasts three stunning beaches.  Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong Beach are just mere minutes apart, but take a closer look and you’ll discover their rich and distinct personalities.

For family fun, make a beeline for Palawan Beach. The Port of Lost Wonders will enrapture the little ones with a water play area and themed islets. This sunny haven also features a suspension bridge leading to Asia’s closest point to the Equator, so you can literally ‘journey to the centre of the Earth’ together!

Siloso Beach has a decidedly more hippie vibe, with themed bars, beach volleyball games and an outdoor whirlpool bath lining the golden strip of sand. Come nightfall, it also transforms into a party haven, fuelled by beautiful beachgoers, thumping clubs, and regular guest DJ performances.

If you’re looking for an under-the-radar beach, however, Tanjong Beach will fit the bill. By far the quietest of the three, it offers the weary traveller a few peaceful moments away from the world. Skip the crowd, curl up with your favourite novel, pack a picnic with your partner and find a nice piece of paradise to call your own.

#2 Discover The Underwater World

Dolphin Adventure at Marine Life Park’s Dolphin Island,  ©Resorts World Sentosa

Dolphin Adventure at Marine Life Park’s Dolphin Island, © Resorts World Sentosa

Sentosa is also home to one of the world’s largest oceanariums, so relive your Steven Spielberg fantasies by observing sharks, gigantic manta rays and exotic fish.

If you’re looking for a more personal adventure than that, you may also dive with dolphins at Dolphin Island or snorkel with 20,000 colourful reef fish and rays. Intrepid gourmands should also make a mandatory stop at Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora, an underwater dining destination. Helmed by a celebrity chef, this restaurant located within the S.E.A. Aquarium serves up delicious smoked eel and sous vide salmon with first-class view of more than 100,000 marine animals through its giant glass window.

#3 Ride a Wave

Looking for some surf? Adrenaline junkies will love flowboarding at the Wave House. Get some heart-pumping action riding a wave, and then chill out to live music, enjoy some gourmet pizza, or knock back a few artisan beers at the alfresco beach bars. It’s the best way to let off some steam and decompress for the weekend.

#4 Experience Water Therapy

Auriga Spa Vitality Pool

Auriga Spa Vitality Pool

After all that action and excitement, Auriga spa at Capella Singapore is the best place to unwind. Our wet facilities include hot therapies such as an Herbal Steam Room to flush out toxins and boost blood circulation, lovely hot shower facilities, and an elegant Vitality Pool with water jets to deliver amazing body and neck massages. The heat promotes healing by dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow, hence delivering more oxygen and key nutrients to cells, and flushing out toxins.

Cool down in between hot therapies with cold therapies such as the Ice Fountain and cold showers. These encourage blood vessels to narrow and decreases blood flow to reduce swelling and inflammation. For optimal results, try alternating a few minutes of heat therapy with a minute of cold therapy, and repeat this several times. This prompts deep detoxification, healing and relaxation, and is the best way to end your water-themed weekend or summer vacation!

 

These are some of my favorite water experiences on Sentosa Island, but believe me, there is even more to discover!  Make sure to ask your Personal Assistant at Capella Singapore to help in your activity selection.  I am sure you won’t be disappointed!