Laura Janelle Downey

Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent

  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Laura Janelle Downey is a correspondent who covers Atlanta for Forbes Travel Guide. After receiving a master’s in journalism at Florida A&M University, she landed in New York City as a reporter for People, where she once followed Billy Crystal to the men’s bathroom just to get a quote. Since then, she has been a fashion/entertainment editor, magazine journalism professor and managing editor of 944 and Vegas/Rated magazines. Her favorite pastimes include hitting the spa, finding out which Five-Star hotel has the most comfortable bed and trying out delicious dishes in any given city.

  • On December 6, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey is now following Macau
  • On November 21, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What are the best things to order at Café Encore at Encore Macau?

    Although there are several things to order on the menu at Café Encore at Encore Macau, I’d have to recommend this Macau restaurant’s five signature dishes as the best things to try. These items include the coriander sautéed clams, Macanese curry crab, salted codfish a Braz, Portuguese-style baked duck rice and pan-fried Macanese king prawns. In addition to these signature dishes, you can delight in the savory Chinese cuisine offered, which includes everything from delicious rice and noodle entrées such as the fried rice noodles with sliced duck in fermented soy bean sauce to seafood such as fresh scallops and asparagus with plum and chili sauce.
  • On November 21, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the service like at Café Encore at Encore Macau?

    The service inside of Café Encore at Encore Macau is what you’d anticipate from a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel (and not what you’d expect from your average café) — it’s top notch. During a recent visit, I ordered some dim sum in addition to an entrée. When my entrée arrived, I set aside the dim sum so I could savor my main meal. After some time had passed and I was finished with my main course, the assistant manager came by and offered to reheat my dim sum so I could continue to enjoy it at its optimal temperature. You won’t find that type of service from your run-of-the-mill café in the United States.
  • On November 21, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the interior design of Café Encore at Encore Macau?

    The interior design of Café Encore at Encore Macau puts a spin on a traditional European café by infusing Italian artwork into its space. Designed by the esteemed Roger Thomas and Hirsh Bedner Associates, the restaurant features items such as a 17th-century Venetian angel and a contour of a 5th-century Greek vase overflowing with grapes and foliage. There are pops of lime green in the seating, and the square-shaped black-and-white marble flooring reminds you of the décor in a classic café. Other hues seen throughout the Macau restaurant consist of orange and white (think striped curtains) and a bright fuchsia (fresh flowers). But the design centerpiece is undoubtedly the eye-catching painting of a 16th-century feast inspired by Italian artist Paolo Caliari. From ladies in lavish costuming to the passing of plates loaded with food, the portrait is breathtaking.
  • On November 21, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the menu like at Café Esplanada at Wynn Macau?

    The menu at Café Esplanada at Wynn Macau represents a diverse blend of international cuisine. Expect everything from Korean specialties such as the signature dish dolsot bibimbap (steamed rice with vegetables, egg yolk, minced beef and chili paste), regional Asian specialties such as Malaysian Nyonya chicken kapitan curry (with coconut milk, spices, potato and steamed rice), dim sum such as steamed prawn dumplings, sandwiches such as a Cajun chicken panino, Macanese specialties such as ox-tail soup, Western favorites such as a pan-roasted fillet of Norwegian salmon, soups such as cream of mushroom, and desserts ranging from Macanese mango pudding to a baked mango tart.
  • On November 21, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the price range for a meal at Café Esplanada at Wynn Macau?

    The price range for a meal at Café Esplanada at Wynn Macau is affordable for all budgets. Diners will find items on the menu starting at MOP35 ($4.38) and going up to MOP388 ($48.60). Dishes that are MOP35 include chocolate mud cake and iced tea. Other menu highlights at the Macau restaurant include the Wynn Mediterranean salad (MOP88/$11.02), stir-fried beef minchi (MOP120/$15.03), congee (MOP80/$10.02), Hainanese chicken rice (MOP150/$18.79) and an Australian Black Angus tenderloin steak (MOP388/$48.60). Should you be interested in the buffet, adult prices range from MOP198 to MOP288 ($24.80 to $36.07) and between MOP88 and MOP148 ($11.02 to $18.54) for children.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Is 99 Noodles a romantic restaurant?

    Although 99 Noodles most likely wouldn’t be thought of as a romantic restaurant at first mention, when diners visit the establishment located inside of Encore Macau they will be able to feel the intimacy of the place. With about 30 seats in the colorful restaurant, grabbing a table for two around dinnertime could provide you and your significant other just the right amount of quality time you need before spending an enchanting evening together in your suite. If you want to get up close and personal with your date at the restaurant, sit on the same side of the banquette-style half-booth bench (there are only two of these set-ups in 99 Noodles — I recommend the one farthest from the casino floor) and hold hands.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What non-alcoholic drinks or mocktails does 99 Noodles offer?

    There are a variety of non-alcoholic drinks offered at 99 Noodles, which is located inside of Encore Macau. Guests of the restaurant can choose from teas such as English breakfast and Earl Grey to coffee or cappuccino. There are also freshly squeezed juices such as orange, grapefruit, watermelon and mango offered alongside mineral water choices such as Perrier and Evian. And if you’re in the mood for a sweeter drink, try the restaurant’s mango smoothie or its strawberry one. Other drink options include beverages such as Coca-Cola, Sprite and Diet Coke. Should you want another non-alcoholic option, lemon squash and orange squash concoctions are available.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What are the desserts like at 99 Noodles?

    With six dessert items to choose from at Encore Macau’s 99 Noodles restaurant, your sweet tooth will be satisfied. Savor the double-boiled bird’s nest with coconut milk or pear, or try the stewed sweet pear with longan (tropical-tree-produced fruit) pulp. You will also find stewed harsma with red dates and papaya, mango pudding, and mango sago soup with mixed fruits on the menu. But just remember, if you have noodles for lunch, you are probably going to fill up quickly, so if you really want to have dessert, be sure to save room for any of these delicious treats.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the menu like at 99 Noodles?

    The menu at 99 Noodles located inside of Encore Macau offers a variety of à la carte options. Choose from cold dishes (braised carp with spring onion, assorted pickles), Northern Chinese dim sum (fried scallion cake, steamed oats and red bean bun) and congee (pumpkin millet), soups (double-boiled beef and turnip), rice dishes (steamed rice with sautéed lamb and leek), Northern Chinese specialties (fried seafood noodles with seafood sauce) and your choice of noodles that come with either a garnish (housemade hot minced pork) or soup (hot and sour frog with egg). Chef Liu Jie does a nice job of working with his team to create nine types of noodles (including tip-ended, one string and handmade egg) and nine different broths (such as chicken and beef brisket). When you’ve been seated, you’ll notice there’s another menu on the table that presents specialties from the chef. Some items on this menu include appetizers such as tossed pork tripe with bean sprouts or a hot dish of braised bean curd with mushroom.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the chef at 99 Noodles’ food philosophy?

    Chef de cuisine Liu Jie’s philosophy at Encore Macau’s 99 Noodles is to preserve the flavors and true essence of northern China in each of his savory dishes. His background in preparing Tan cuisine — a fresh, soft, flavorful and elaborate aristocratic private cooking style — enhances items on the menu, like what can be found in the Northern Chinese specialties section. Expect everything from the boiled Beijing dumplings and fried knife-shaved noodles with shredded pork and eggs to the fried seafood noodles with seafood sauce and Sichuan-style shredded chicken and cucumbers with cold noodles to be as authentic and true to the Northern Chinese region.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Who is the chef at 99 Noodles and what is his background?

    The chef de cuisine at 99 Noodles, which is located inside of Encore Macau, is Liu Jie. The talented cuisinier also served as chef de cuisine at Wynn Macau’s Golden Flower restaurant. His career started off at Beijing Grand Hotel, where he spent 17 years learning the ins and outs of how to prepare Tan cuisine, which is known as one of northern China’s aristocratic private cooking styles (think fresh, soft, flavorful and elaborate). From there, he went on to become the Chinese executive chef for the swanky northern Chinese restaurant, Kai Xuan, located inside of Beijing’s Hong Kong Jockey Club. It is there that he cooked for several celebrities and other bigwigs.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What are the best things to order at 99 Noodles?

    The best things to order at 99 Noodles, which is located inside of Encore Macau, would have to be the restaurant’s signature dishes. These items include the fried tip-end noodles with minced pork and green beans; beef brisket broth with noodles in tomato soup; sautéed pork belly and mushroom noodles in yellow oil; pan-fried Chinese puffs filled with scrambled eggs and chives; and Sichuan-style shredded chicken and cucumbers with cold noodles. If those items don’t suit your fancy, there are several other things on the menu to try at the Macau restaurant, such as the steamed rice with shrimp in scrambled egg sauce, the chilled marinated chicken with Huadiao wine or the double-boiled beef and turnip soup.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the service like at 99 Noodles?

    The service at 99 Noodles inside Encore Macau is what you’d expect from a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel. When the server brought my noodles over to me, she explained why the bowl looks lopsided. She said that since a lot of people come in for lunch during their break from work, they keep the side of the bowl that’s elevated higher closer to their chest so that way if the soup splashes, they won’t get any of it on their clothing. It’s a great tip that international diners otherwise wouldn’t know. And when I struggled to get my chopsticks around those slippery noodles, the observant waitress came over to offer me the option of eating my entrée with a fork.
  • On November 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What are the table settings like at 99 Noodles?

    The table settings at 99 Noodles located inside of Encore Macau include a tan placemat, circular porcelain white cup (with no handles) for tea, chopsticks, white paper napkin and a porcelain Chinese soup spoon with accompanying rest. Since the table and chairs are black, you’ll appreciate the pop of color coming from the purple flowers that are placed on the tabletop. And should you order a bowl of noodles, the delicious entrée will come in a big lime green bowl with a white rim. On the table, you will also find a menu listing the chef’s specialties in addition to a sign with a no-smoking reminder.