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






  • pinitbutton Sippin by the Dock of the Bay
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The Grand Tasting at the Sixth Annual San Diego Bay Food & Wine Festival

by Ann Wycoff



The 6th annual San Diego Bay Food & Wine Festival, a five-day foodie fête, was a smash success with 170 world-class wineries and spirit producers, along with 70 of San Diego’s award-winning fine dining restaurants on hand.




The East Village was hopping Friday night at the Wonderhaus, the iconic Wonder Bread Factory downtown, where merry imbibers sampled reserves, rum concoctions from Tommy Bahama, a jazzy effervescent champagne cocktail with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, a robust seasonal ale from Sierra Nevada and myriad good wines.


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  • pinitbutton What’s Cooking at the White House?
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President and Michelle Obama host their first state dinner
 by Jeff Hoyt
Who wants to cook a big dinner right before Thanksgiving? Last night, President and Michelle Obama hosted their first state dinner for more than 300 guests, honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The First Lady, chef Marcus Samuelsson (Aquavit in New York, C-House in Chicago) and White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford designed a menu “to showcase the best of American cooking,” she said at a press preview.


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Porsche Panamera

on November 24th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Porsche Panamera
porsche panamera turbo 300x235 Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Power of Four

by Alain Gayot

The definition of a Porsche could be along the lines of: Sleek and efficient German-made two-seat sports car with a mid-or rear-positioned engine with impeccable handling.
  So, why is it that when the engineers in Stuttgart move the engine to the front and add two more doors, the car flies even higher, on a business level? And, it’s an SUV to boot, which could not be furthest from the definition of what the iconic car born circa 1946 had been, and it’s been Porsche’s top seller since inception.  

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Tequila Time

on November 23rd, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Tequila Time
hornitos Tequila Time

A Hornitos Cocktail


by Becky Sauer


This week is already Thanksgiving, but it still felt like summertime at the Hornitos Tequila Block Party last Sunday, November 15th, in Burbank. The back lot of Warner Bros. Studios provided the perfect suburban setting for nearly a thousand folks to enjoy an afternoon of barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs, cupcakes, cotton candy, and, of course, Hornitos Tequila cocktails. 


 Guests could indulge their inner child and play old-school games like badminton, ping pong and Twister, or duck into the “Mischieve” photo booth and pose with the provided fake mustaches, oversized sunglasses or plastic vampire fangs (a favorite among the “New Moon” fans).

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Bouchon Voilà!

on November 17th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Bouchon Voilà!
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Larry King with Sophie Gayot at the opening of Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in Beverly Hills

By Sophie Gayot


Last night, the grand opening of Thomas Keller’s third Bouchon restaurant in Beverly Hills was definitely the place to be. The long, red carpet was filled with celebrities, including Larry and Shawn King, Jay Leno, Pierce Brosnan, Don Johnson, Gilles Marini, Ryan Seacrest, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Some were driven to and from the event by BMW, one of the night’s sponsors.


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Trumpeting the Trumps

on November 16th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Trumpeting the Trumps
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Trump International Hotel & Tower Waikiki Beach Walk

By Jeff Hoyt


Is Donald Trump trading the boardroom for board shorts? November 16 marks the opening of the Donald’s 38-story Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk, featuring 462 guest rooms and suites, with the largest exceeding 2,000 square feet.

Since Trump always strives for the best, the hotel’s Penthouse accommodations boast full gourmet kitchens with granite and marble countertops and travertine flooring, and will be outfitted with appliances by Wolf, Sub-Zero and Bosch as well as under-counter wine cellar storage, affording guests the option to have the hotel’s chef prepare a meal in the privacy of the suite. Other guests will have to make do with the Honolulu branch of Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Steak scheduled to open December 16 on the street level.

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Raising the Bar Again

on November 11th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Raising the Bar Again
joesrestaurantvenice 300x144 Raising the Bar Again
The contestants and the judges (from left to right): Josh Renfree/BOA, Judge Michael Cardenas/BOA, Sophie Gayot, Clint Johnson/Comme Ca, Judge Nile Park/Comme Ca, Stacy Street/Church & State, Judge Yassmin Sarmadi/Church & State, Hector Bury/Joe’s, Judge Joe Miller/Joe’s

By Sophie Gayot

Come join us this Sunday, Nov. 15th, at 3:30p.m. at David Myers’ Comme Ca restaurant where the second part of Raising the Bar will be held.



Raising the Bar is a free cocktail competition that I will be judging, along with Victoria Recaño (anchor of KTLA’s 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts), between the bartenders of Joe’s in Venice, Comme Ca, BOA Steakhouse and Church & State. They will be required to make three rounds of drinks: a classic cocktail, a themed drink using a certain spirit (Bourbon) and a creation of their own.


Stacy Street from Church & State won the first part of the competition held at Joe’s in October. The classic was a Negroni; round two was made with Zaya Rum. For the freestyle, Hector Bury from Joe’s came up with “The Jean Genie” (Tuata, Vodka, Cointreau, lemon juice), Clint Johnson from Comme Ca with “Dominicana”, Josh Rentree from BOA with “Pumpkin Cream” and Street wowed the judges with her “Crémant de la Poire”.


Expect the atmosphere to warm up as time goes by. And, don’t worry, I will leave Comme Ca under the legal alcohol limit. Note that the event is free, so please come to Comme Ca.



Photo by John Meng


A Pink Moment

on November 10th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton A Pink Moment
sophiegayotmayorvillaraigosa 300x225 A Pink Moment

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa serving chili cheese dogs to Pink's fans with Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

What were Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and I doing around a tray of hot dogs yesterday? As my jacket indicates, we were at Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood, where the Mayor had to elect the “LAX International Dog,” the signature hot dog at the soon-to-open Pink’s location at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.


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Taste of Carnaval

on November 10th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Taste of Carnaval
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Three girls with body paint

by Stephen Volkamer

Last Wednesday evening we enjoyed an authentic taste of Carnaval, sans the plane tickets to Brazil, at the grand opening night of Samba Brazilian Steakhouse & Lounge at Universal CityWalk. When we got there, we saw a lively parade of samba dancers—clad in glittering bikinis and colorful feathers—shaking to the beat of booming drums.


A Wall of Freedom Today

on November 09th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton A Wall of Freedom Today
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German chanteuse and actress Ute Lemper with Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot


The fall of the Berlin Wall was a big deal in Los Angeles last night. The sister city of Berlin commemorated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall with the ceremonial breaking of a symbolic foam one installed across from LACMA on Wilshire Boulevard. To mark the occasion, the boulevard, a major LA artery, was closed for the event between Fairfax and Spaulding Avenues.


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