The Curious Case of Jenson Button

Jenson Button
Jenson Button

By Alain Gayot

 

I have been a fan of Formula One racing for as long as I can remember. Sunday afternoons watching these soldiers fight it out on the racetrack felt a lot like what my ancestors would have felt, watching gladiators in the  Arenes de Nimes   –  which by the way is the place where we got the  word Denim  from. The Levi brothers used  the durable  Toile de Nimes to manufacture solid outerwear for the 49ers;  no, not the football team. The drivers lost their lives in horrendous and fiery crashes. Due to improved technology, not only are the cars faster today but, thankfully, no one dies anymore. Although the drivers are still the critical part of the operation, software in its many shapes and applications is what wins races. How is it possible that in the 2009 championship the usual suspects (Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, BMW and Renault) are quasi scoreless after five races? And the British sensation of the last two seasons, Lewis Hamilton, is left in the brake dust of Brawn-Mercedes, RBR-Renault and Toyota.

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Anniversary on Sunset

Chefs Laurent Tourondel, Brian Moyers, Christophe Bellanca with Sophie Gayot
Chefs Laurent Tourondel, Brian Moyers, Christophe Bellanca with Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

Last night, to celebrate the first anniversary of his Los Angeles restaurant BLT Steak, chef Laurent Tourondel made the trip from the East Coast. During the occasion, he and his corporate chef, Christophe Bellanca, formerly at L’Orangerie and Le Cirque, introduced the new chef de cuisine, Brian Moyers, who just moved into the kitchen from The Blvd at the Beverly Wilshire, and the sommelier Jared Heber.

The trio cooked together in the kitchen and served us squash blossom stuffed with burrata, pistou and roast tomato pomodoro; hamachi with marinated white asparagus, avocado and pickled red onions; olive oil-poached halibut in artichoke barigoule, fennel and spring onion in a blood orange sauce; dry-aged NY strip on a bed of beef short ribs accompanied with ricotta gnudi, a morel fricassée and fava beans; and ending with strawberry rhubarb crumble pie with lemon thyme ice cream. Hollywood celebrities Sharon Stone and Victoria Recano were seen here that evening.

Note: In honor of the Lakers’ continued success in the NBA playoffs, BLT Steak’s bar is offering chef Tourondel’s signature BLT Burger—a first in LA (the offer is for a limited time only, while LA is in the playoffs). The “Kobe” burger ($17) or the “Jackson” burger ($14) can be accompanied by fries and a brew for $11 more. A flat screen captures the game action.

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Partying Like It’s 2009 at the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York

Daniel Boulud serving food in the basement of Bar Boulud at an after party
Daniel Boulud serving food in the basement of Bar Boulud at an after party

By David Farley 

The 2009 James Beard Foundation awards came and went rather quietly this year. There was less food at the post-show reception in the Lincoln Center lobby and the celebration was more subdued than years past, but that doesn’t mean the kitchen stars didn’t come out for the event.

 

We were there all night (plus at after parties at Bar Boulud and the Pegu Club) and rubbed elbows with the culinary all stars, including Tom Colicchio, Alain Ducasse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, David Chang, Missy Robbins, Grant Achatz, and Daniel Boulud.

 

The big winners included David Chang’s Momofuku Ko for best new restaurant, Daniel for most outstanding service, Dan Barber (of Blue Hill) for most outstanding chef and Jean-Georges for most outstanding restaurant. 

 

See our list of complete winners. 

Red Bull Air Race in San Diego

Pylone turn
Pylon turn

Racing Bulls


By Alain Gayot


Motorsports are elevated when you are a live spectator from the sound of the roaring engine to the anticipation of an active crowd of 55,000. But when you are talking about the Red Bull Air Races, everything get kicked up a notch – especially when fans can get right up to their favorite pilot for a quick autograph on a recently purchased t-shirt. Finally it certainly can’t get much better than the setting in San Diego Bay with perfect weather conditions.


Created in 2003 by the energy drink guru Dietrich Mateschitz, the air racing series is a cross between the air races of the twenties and modern aerobatics flying. Although the aircrafts are small in size, the show they put on is big – very big. And beyond the actual race plane, there are all sorts of other acts and fly-bys by the U.S. Navy, demonstrations by the Coast Guards etc. You sort of need to attend to catch the full effect.

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The War of the Beef Will Not Take Place

 

War of the beef settled between Americans and Europe
War of the beef settled between Americans and Europe

By André Gayot

The European Commission and the US Department of Commerce have finally resolved their differences, and they appear to have read our earlier blogs to find their solution. Under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, after smoking the peace pipe (the tobacco was American but the pipe was European), they have wisely buried the hatchet. The archaic war of the beef will not unravel any longer, and the battle of the cheese has ceased.   

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