Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.






  • pinitbutton Wine for a Good “Koz”
img 08842 190x300 Wine for a Good “Koz”

Three different grape varietals of KOZ Wine

By Jeff Hoyt



Saxophonist Dave Koz is used to seeing his name in lights, but now he can see it on wine labels. The six-time Grammy nominee took the time before his concert yesterday at the Hollywood Bowl to introduce his latest venture: wine.



Three different grape varietals of KOZ Wine – Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, a Rhone style El Dorado “Red Alto” Blend, and, our favorite, the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, are now on sale at Southern California Whole Foods Markets, and the musician will be making appearances to meet fans and sign bottles.


Continue reading “Wine for a Good “Koz”” »



  • pinitbutton A Sparkling Pear Libation

pear champagne 200x300 A Sparkling Pear Libation

Champagnerbratbirne fruit

By Sylvie Greil



Greetings from Southern Germany, where we had the pleasure of sampling a smooth, delicious “Pear Champagne.”

Reminiscent of a mild, moussey cider, its fine pearly bubbles play delicately on the tongue. Vintner Jörg Geiger originally labeled his libation Pear Champagne—until he got word from France that he better quickly change it to Birnenschaumwein (or pear bubbly), since, as everyone knows, Champagne can only come from, well, Champagne.



This particular sparkler centers around a fruit that has been used since 1760: Champagnerbratbirne, loosely translated as “Baked Champagne Pear,” or a pear that bakes well. It has garnered distinction from Slow Food Germany.


Continue reading “A Sparkling Pear Libation” »



  • pinitbutton First Gayot Dinner Series
sophiegayotkerrysimon 252x300 First Gayot Dinner Series

Chef Kerry Simon with Sophie Gayot in the kitchen of Simon L.A.

By Sophie Gayot


I am pleased to introduce the “Gayot Dinner Series” which will be held at some of the finest restaurants in the Los Angeles area.


The Gayot’s are quite honored that celebrity chef Kerry Simon will be the first chef to participate. He will be cooking the first two dinners of the “Gayot Dinner Series,” which will be presented in his Los Angeles restaurant, Simon L.A., located in the Sofitel Los Angeles on September 10th and 11th.


Simon L.A. is one of our Los Angeles Top 10 American Restaurants, and has one of our Top 10 Chef’s Tables and Top 10 Lounges.


I will also be there both evenings to talk about the dishes with the guests. We are still fine-tuning the menu, but diners will be able to enjoy Maine lobster, organic corn tortellini, Simon Prime Beef Strip and more of Kerry Simon’s creative dishes, for the unbelievable price of just $48 per person.


You can make reservations by calling 310-358-3979. I hope to see you there!


minilogo First Gayot Dinner Series


Dine with the Pacific

on August 14th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Dine with the Pacific
michaelfiorellimarselterranearesort 300x224 Dine with the Pacific

Chef Michael Fiorelli from mar'sel restaurant holding fresh hearts of palm

By Sophie Gayot

Every week, we at select a restaurant to be highlighted as our Review of the Week in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.


This week, after my dinner at the signature restaurant of the new Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, I chose mar’sel for a few reasons.


Of course, the main one is the California cuisine of chef Michael Fiorelli. It is obvious that he uses very fresh ingredients—he even has fresh hearts of palm for the salads stored in the fridge. But, I also made the choice because of the prime location of the restaurant, which features a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.


The restaurant also made our Los Angeles Top 10 Romantic Restaurants and Top 10 View lists.

   Continue reading “Dine with the Pacific” »



  • pinitbutton More a Restaurant than a Bistro
laurentqueniousbistrolq 300x232 More a Restaurant than a Bistro

Chef Laurent Quenioux (in a white tee-shirt) from Bistro LQ and his team

By Sophie Gayot


I think you will agree with me after looking at the photos below, taken during my dinner at Bistro LQ last week (click on them to enlarge), that Laurent Quenioux’s new venture on Beverly Boulevard is more of a serious dining destination than the word “bistro” implies.


But judge for yourself: Dine at Bistro LQ and if you don’t agree, let me know, but also if you do!

  Continue reading “More a Restaurant than a Bistro” »



  • pinitbutton LA Restaurant News on the Radio
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Frank Mottek in the KNX1070 studios with Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot


If you missed my appearance last week on Frank Mottek’s Business Hour on KNX1070, here is another chance to hear about the Los Angeles restaurants that are perfect for dining during these summer days and thereafter.



You can listen to

- last week’s interview here

- previous interviews on KNX1070 here.


  • pinitbutton Julie & Julia Brings the Culinary Greats to Mind
movieposter Julie & Julia Brings the Culinary Greats to Mind

Julia Child brings inspiration to a young woman through her cooking in the film Julie & Julia

By Alain Gayot

How about a cute movie which is certainly going to deliver good laughs if not a bunch of chuckles sans the Hollywood special effects craze? Should you be a foodie or other type of gourmand head to see Julie & Julia, a movie based on the book by fellow blogger Julie Powell, who you can read more about at Eatizen Jane. In celebration of the film, some restaurants, like Chef Mavro in Honolulu, are offering movie-themed dinner menus, and the executive chef of The Ocean Bistro at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida, will be recreating his favorite Julia Child recipes. To learn more about the movie check out the review by clicking on the link at the bottom of this blog.

In this day and age when people are educated about food and wine, mastering the art of French cooking might not be your first priority, but what Julia Child started doing in the 1940s was monumental for food in America. Some of us might prefer Japanese food or, why not Mexican cuisine, but all of us owe thanks to a few key masters like Jacques Pepin and of course Julia Child with their TV shows.

Continue reading “Julie & Julia Brings the Culinary Greats to Mind” »



  • pinitbutton A New Life for Gladstone’s
samnazariansophiegayot 300x234 A New Life for Gladstone’s

Sam Nazarian with Sophie Gayot at XIV restaurant


By Sophie Gayot

Last night, as I was at Michael Mina’s XIV restaurant checking out its mini burgers and floats, perfect for a casual stop on the way back home from the office, I ran into Sam Nazarian who was having dinner (no surprise since he owns the place). Once again I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his new ventures in the restaurant world.


Good news for Angelenos: Nazarian has partnered with the owners of Gladstone’s restaurant, right on the beach off Pacific Coast Highway, to manage the spacious location and transform it into a west coast Nikki Beach.


We can’t wait!

minilogo A New Life for Gladstone’s

  • pinitbutton Of the Good Use of Math in the Hospitality Industry
img 21831 262x300 Of the Good Use of Math in the Hospitality Industry

The Nautilus shell, 450 million years old is still a mystery and an inspiration for mathematicians

By Andre Gayot


Usually, hotel meeting rooms bear grandiose names like “The Imperial Room” or “The Majestic Room.” But in The Indigo, a San Diego boutique hotel, their modest function space is dubbed “The Fibonacci Room.” Many visitors would immediately assume the Italian name in such a location refers to some variety of pizza.


Shame on us! We should be taught in first grade to pay respect to the genius Fibonacci (1175-1250), whose real name was Leonardo Pisano, who changed our lives when he changed the way we represent numbers way back in the XII, I mean 12th century. Fibonacci helped the world to adopt Arabic numerals instead of the Roman numbers that were then in use. He also popularized the use of the figure zero despite the resistance of the traditionalists, who, as usual, did not understand the concept and were up in arms against it. Hey! Zeros and ones: does that ring a bell for you, computer nerds?

Continue reading “Of the Good Use of Math in the Hospitality Industry” »



  • pinitbutton Welcome Stefan to L.A. Farm!
sophiegayotstefanrichterlafarm1 300x206 Welcome Stefan to L.A. Farm!
Chef Stefan Richter with chef de cuisine Leandro Bongarra with Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot


The kitchen team must have received lots of training by chef Stefan Richter and chef de cuisine Leandro Bongarra to turn out the delicious hors d’oeuvres that were served during last night’s opening party at Stefan’s at L.A. Farm. The noise in the dining room was such that I stood in the kitchen to try the lemon grass/coconut lobster bisque, the fried risotto, veal meatballs and crème brûlée.


If you think you have heard the name Stefan Richter before, it is because you would have seen him on TV during season 5 of “Top Chef.” Richter was born in Finland, and then cooked in Germany, Switzerland, Thailand and Canada, before arriving in the U.S. and working in Michigan, Nevada and then California. He chose the old location of the celebrated L.A. Farm to open his first restaurant, and mixed the two names.



minilogo Welcome Stefan to L.A. Farm!