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




Feelin’ Lucky?

on July 20th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Feelin Lucky?
lucky devils restaurant los 300x225 Feelin Lucky?

Lucky Devils in Hollywood

by Becky Sauer

The first heat wave of the season has finally hit Los Angeles, and Lucky Devils in Hollywood is turning up the temp itself with a hot new summer menu. Owner Lucky Vanous, whose steamy 1994 soft drink commercial still makes us want to take a Diet Coke break, has added new dishes—like smoked cheddar dip, rosemary-garlic fries, and spicy pulled smoked chicken sandwich—that fit right in with fiery favorites like the jalapeño hummus and hot sauce-kissed Kobe Diablo burger.

Once you’re all fired up, cool down with a scoop of grilled peach frozen custard on top of a Belgium Liège waffle with salted Chimay beer caramel sauce. New summer beers on tap, like the Blanche de Bruxelles and Pasadena’s own Craftsman 1903 Pale Lager, offer still more options to beat the heat.



  • pinitbutton Cooking with the Schaffers


by Sophie Gayot

I first met husband and wife chefs Charlie and Kathleen Schaffer when they catered a movie premiere I attended. Not only was I impressed with their falafel, but I learned their cooking had also pleased many celebs both in Hollywood (Barbra Streisand, Eddie Murphy, Martin Scorsese, Kate Beckinsale, Julie Andrews) and elsewhere (Martha Stewart, Heidi Klum, Tom Brokaw). They even cooked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who probably didn’t know the two former busboys first met while working at the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Continue reading “Cooking with the Schaffers” »



  • pinitbutton We Raced Obama, and Won!
electric plugin volt1 300x199 We Raced Obama, and Won!
Alain Gayot getting a closer look at the Chevrolet Volt plug-in

by Jeff Hoyt

Congratulations to President Obama for finally getting behind the wheel of the Chevy Volt electric vehicle with extended range capability during a visit to the Compact Power battery plant in Holland, Mich. LG Chem, the parent of Compact Power, is making the battery cells for the Volt, which goes on sale late this year in California, the Washington, D.C. area, and Michigan.

But we beat the President to the punch, experiencing the car powered with electricity at all times way back in September of 2008 talked about the car’s importance with the former Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz before he retired. The Volt, with its range of about 340 miles, was even used by Olympic athletes back in February in Vancouver.



  • pinitbutton Gold versus Green at the Spa
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The coed relaxation room at Sense, the spa at Rosewood Sandhill near San Francisco

by Tiffany Maleshefski

Perhaps this lousy economy is on the upswing after all. Sense, the spa at Rosewood Sandhill in Menlo Park, California is now offering a decadent treatment that infuses 24K gold into one of its body scrubs. In the Gold Rush Renewal, gold powder is blended into a scrub that uses raw sugar and fruit extracts. Why gold? Well, beyond being an ingredient that can’t help pique the interest of a proper spa junkie, apparently the shiny stuff is a natural anti-aging agent.

In fact, this isn’t the first time that gold has found its way into a luxury spa’s menu. Some folks (mainly those who produce gold-based products) claim that the metal increases blood circulation, thus speeding up cellular processes and activating regeneration. And there are lots of chemistry-based claims that the electrons in our skin cells are energized by the electric charges of gold, which in the long run minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Continue reading “Gold versus Green at the Spa” »

  • pinitbutton Tyler Florence Back in the Kitchen
tylerflorence 255x300 Tyler Florence Back in the Kitchen

Chef Tyler Florence

by Sophie Gayot


A few months ago, I received a phone call from a television producer to invite me to appear as a judge on one of Tyler Florence’s TV shows. Unfortunately it did not happen, which means I missed my chance to get to know the Food Network star better.
After fifteen years on television, he has decided to move back into a real kitchen and open his first restaurant in San Francisco. One reason behind the shift? His wife Tolan, who is from Marin County, wanted to move back to her home area. So here comes Wayfare Tavern, a trip back in time inspired by San Francisco Victorian-era design, featuring old-fashioned accents like exposed brick and Edison light bulbs lining the ceiling. The menu also gives a nod to the past, with classic American dishes like the Monterey Bay calamari grilled with olive oil and lemon, oysters Rockefeller and fried chicken. Located in the Financial District in the former Rubicon space, there is no doubt that Wayfare Tavern will be the new show in town.
Read more about his project on our San Francisco Restaurant News, and also see more Restaurant Reviews, Culinary Events and San Francisco Wine Dinners. 
 minilogo Tyler Florence Back in the Kitchen



  • pinitbutton Formaggi, Salumi or Pasta?

by Sophie Gayot

Most of the time, when you find a retail section in a restaurant, it has been added so you can bring home some of the products you’ve had while dining. In the case of Cube restaurant on LaBrea avenue in Los Angeles, also known as Cube Market Place, it’s the other way around. From a retail store, first for pasta from The Divine Pasta Company, then imported cheeses and charcuterie, wines and olive oils, it has became a full restaurant with a chef. Continue reading “Formaggi, Salumi or Pasta?” »

My First Rub

on July 12th, 2010
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steven raichlen rub 300x243 My First Rub

Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Steak Rub

by Jeff Hoyt

I eat a lot of beef. From ground chuck to filet mignon, I enjoy it probably more than I should. Since my wife doesn’t eat red meat, I don’t get to go out to steakhouses very often. Frequently the steaks I enjoy are ones I grilled myself, next to a piece of fish for the Mrs.
Since I find the meat so appealing, I rarely cover its flavor with marinades or spices, and cook it as little as possible. I enjoy the texture, and the gnawing of the bloody, rare meat probably triggers some pleasure center handed down by my ancestors who hunted to survive and cooked their fresh kill over an open fire.




  • pinitbutton Girl & the Goat—at Last
kitchen 2.jpg.414x222 300x160 Girl & the Goat—at Last

On July 12, the frenzy that is Girl & the Goat begins

by Jennifer Olvera

It’s been long in coming—that’s for sure—but finally, Girl & the Goat is set to open on July 12. Top Chef Stephanie Izard’s West Loop restaurant will start taking reservations at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 12 (good luck getting one).

On the menu are 30 items, split evenly between vegetarian, meat and fish dishes. Sausages are made in-house daily, with four to choose from at any given time. Among the oft-changing offerings may be shaved kohlrabi and fennel salad with cherries, toasted almonds and evalon, a raw milk cheese; hiramasa crudo with crisp pork belly, aji aioli and caperberries; and pork liver mousseline, teamed with ham hock jus, cherry mustarda and crumpets.

Continue reading “Girl & the Goat—at Last” »

  • pinitbutton News from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
mandarinorientalgroupnewhotels 300x165 News from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Left to right: Chad Belisario, Corporate Public Relations Manager; Alyssa Bushey, Director of Communications, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas. Back row, obstructed: Paul Jones, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Singapore; Kathleen Shea, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, The Americas. Back row, obstructed: Rudy Tauscher, Area Vice President & General Manager, Mandarin Oriental New York; Cliff Atkinson, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental San Francisco. Alexandra Wensley, Director of Communications, Mandarin Oriental Miami; Richard Baker, Executive Vice President, Southern Region, The Americas; Susanne Hatje, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Boston; Sophie Gayot; Rajesh Jhingon, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas; Christian Hassing, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo; Amanda Hyndman, General Manager, Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C.; Tammy Peters, Director of Communications, Mandarin Oriental New York. Back row, partially obstructed: Kurt Wachtveitl, Special Ambassador, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. Danielle DeVoe, Vice President of Communications, The Americas.

by Sophie Gayot

The story starts in 1974 with two very prestigious hotels: The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong and The Oriental in Bangkok. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has since grown to 42 hotels in 27 countries with 10,000 rooms. Synonymous with extreme luxury and legendary service, the Mandarin Oriental properties are located in prestigious locations, each of them imbued with a distinct personality. Representatives from as far as Singapore and Prague made a recent trip to Los Angeles to present us their hotels over lunch at the new private club Soho House on Sunset Boulevard.

Before enjoying dessert, I was already fantasizing about visiting the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona on the Paseo de Gracia (the city’s most prestigious address), featuring interiors by renowned Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola; or the Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma in Marrakech, due to open at the end of this year. The 161 rooms all in riad-style are set in 53 acres, of which a whopping 38,000 square feet are devoted to the spa. Remember the “Abu Dhabi” hotel in Sex & the City 2? It was actually shot at the Mandarin Oriental Marrakech; a great starring role for a hotel not open yet.

Continue reading “News from the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group” »



  • pinitbutton Kid Friendly Restaurants
jemma 224x300 Kid Friendly Restaurants
It only counts if the food winds up inside your mouth!

by Jeff Hoyt

Sure, white tablecloths, linen napkins and soft candlelight are great when a couple wants to enjoy a romantic meal. But when baby makes three, a different kind of restaurant is needed. Feeding kids is tough enough when you have the home field advantage, where a toy or television can make the difference between proper nutrition and total frustration. When it comes to eating out as a family, you need all the help you can get.

Consult our lists of kid-friendly restaurants near you to find the best places to take the tots. At some, kids eat free. Others offer a special children’s menu. They all feature understanding staff, a kitchen open to the flexible whims of a child’s palate, and fellow diners who will put up with your kids’ shenanigans because you’re willing to put up with theirs. It all adds up to a winning formula for feeding your children outside of the home.

Continue reading “Kid-Friendly Restaurants” »

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