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




Hello, Cleopatra!

on August 31st, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Hello, Cleopatra!

It seems that Sam Nazarian likes to keep himself busy, and I am glad that he does. Tomorrow, Nazarian and his team will officially open Cleo restaurant in Hollywood at The Redbury hotel, just across Hollywood Boulevard from Katsuya Hollywood. 
Last night, I got to discover this new spot, so I can share my first impressions. SBE corporate chef Daniel Elmalel has composed a good menu with food from around the Mediterranean basin. Strangely enough, there is no cuisine offered from Egypt, home of the original Cleo(patra). Greece and Morocco are well-represented with dishes like tatziki, moussaka, grilled octopus and couscous. For now, avoid the beef cheek tagine which needs work. Prices range from just $6, with nothing on the menu more than $16, making it a good value. The bar will draw crowds with their interesting specialty cocktails. Mix all the above and you get a great, noisy, place for the young and young-at-heart. Continue reading “Hello, Cleopatra!” »

  • pinitbutton Baby Brain? Nanny Caddy to the Rescue!
nanny caddy vending machine 179x300 Baby Brain? Nanny Caddy to the Rescue!

The Nanny Caddy vending machine

by Jeff Hoyt

The next time my family visits LEGOLAND, there will be a new addition that will thrill parents. No, I’m not referring to the new water park, which is sure to please the kids. I mean the three Nanny Caddy vending machines strategically placed throughout the attractions that sell items that are easy to forget, misplace or use up, but can make the difference between a delightful vacation and disaster.

A Nanny Caddy, which is making its California debut at the park this week, carries items that parents rely on: diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, and even pacifiers, which could replace one dropped overboard by an excited child during a water ride. Infants wear different sunscreens than their thicker-skinned parents, so that’s available as well, along with Tylenol, which presumably can be used to treat an adult headache as well as a child’s. But headaches should be reduced due to these devices, which also carry hand sanitizer, diaper cream, and disposable cameras.



  • pinitbutton Sixth Dinner Series
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Craft Los Angeles chefs Anthony Zappola and Shannon Swindle with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

The 6th GAYOT Dinner Series will be in conjunction with the 3rd Annual Signature Chefs Auction for the March of Dimes Greater Los Angeles Division held at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. The lead chefs of the event will be chef de cuisine Anthony Zapolla and pastry chef Shannon Swindle from CRAFT Los Angeles.
During the evening, ten chefs from the greater Los Angeles will be presenting tasting portions in the private courtyard of the SLS Hotel. As the honorary chair, I will be in the crowd mingling with the chefs and attendees, so you can ask me any question you have about food and I will be happy to answer. Continue reading “Sixth Dinner Series” »

Hip Hop Cognac

on August 26th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Hip Hop Cognac
t.i. remymartin 197x300 Hip Hop Cognac

Rapper T.I. has been named Global Creative Consultant to Rémy Martin Cognac

by Jeff Hoyt

A few years ago, General Motors hired rapper T.I. to promote their line of cars, but they dropped the deal when the Grammy-award-winner pled guilty to felony charges after trying to buy guns and silencers from an informant. If you think his days of big endorsements are over, think again. After serving nearly six months in prison and a stint in a halfway house on federal weapons charges, he has been named Global Creative Consultant to Rémy Martin Cognac.


A Winning Battle

on August 25th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton A Winning Battle
“Waterloo & City” is the name of a famous subway line in London. It is also on track to becoming a destination restaurant in Culver City, California, due to the talent of chef Brendan Collins. I had previously enjoyed his cooking at The Hall at Palihouse while dining with Curtis Stone, who worked with Collins under Marco Pierre at Quo Vadis in London.

At Waterloo & City, Collins has free rein in the kitchen (which he co-owns with partner/general manager Carolos Tomazos), and his food is so much better and creative. Being English, Collins has created a very interesting gastropub menu, and it’s hard to choose what to order because it is all good.  Continue reading “A Winning Battle” »

  • pinitbutton Beat the Heat During San Antonio Restaurant Week
san antonio restaurantweek 200x300 Beat the Heat During San Antonio Restaurant Week

Biga on the Banks in San Antonio, TX

by Jeff Hoyt

Temperatures are up in San Antonio this week, but prices at restaurants are way down. Beat the 100-degree heat by keeping your stove off and dining out. This is Culinaria Restaurant Week in San Antonio, which lasts until Saturday, August 28. Enjoy prix-fixe lunches at just $15 and dinners at $35 at top local area restaurants including Biga on the Banks, The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, and Bin 555. You can find the complete list of participating San Antonio restaurants and the restaurant’s menus here.

Keep up with the local dining scene with San Antonio Restaurant Reviews, News, and Culinary Events.



  • pinitbutton Little Japanese in Little Tokyo

by Sophie Gayot

It took me a while to get to Lazy Ox Canteen, the bistro owned by Michael Cardenas. Sorry, Michael! He has had a long successful culinary history with his partners in Los Angeles, with Katana (try to get a table on a Saturday night), three Sushi Roku and two Boa Steakhouse locations. (Have you seen the patio at the latest Boa on Sunset?) Continue reading “Little Japanese in Little Tokyo” »

Pizza To-Go…. Far!

on August 20th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Pizza To Go…. Far!
537590 pizza Pizza To Go…. Far!

Check out's list of the Top 10 Pizza Restaurants in the U.S.

by Jeff Hoyt

Ending a vacation and saying goodbye to your family is always sad, but this last airport experience was particularly stressful. The terminal was closed when I arrived at JFK due to “too many people.” Then, the baggage handler forgot to give me my second boarding pass. My flight was delayed a few times, forcing me to scramble between gates until I finally was able to squeeze into a window seat on a plane headed for LAX. (My luggage was headed for Detroit, but that’s another story.)

The man in the aisle seat and I were hoping that our middle seat would remain empty, but these days, few flights seem to have empty seats. It was filled by a young man carrying not one, but two pizzas. Hot pizzas, in bulky boxes that brushed against my side, as their aroma made my stomach wake up and take notice.

Continue reading “Pizza To-Go…. Far!” »



  • pinitbutton Sushi at Royal T, in Culver City

I had been hearing about Royal/T, a café located in Culver City, for a while now and had never quite understood the concept developed by its owner Susan Hancock. So when I heard that chef Kenny Yamada was presenting his “Sushi Pop Art” dinner series last night, I eagerly headed there.

I discovered a 10,000 square-foot space, resembling more of a gallery than a restaurant. It is actually both at the same time. Hancock is sharing her private art collection, focused on Japanese contemporary art, for the viewing pleasure of the diners. The space is huge, but designed and decorated in such a way that it is warm and homey.

Since the café closes at 5pm, it is available at night for these new kind of chefs: the “pop-up” ones, like chef Ludovic Lefebvre (who rented it for the rendition of Ludo 3.0). It is now being utilized by chef Yamada, known for having started Katsu-ya in Encino as well as appearing as a judge on television’s Hell’s Kitchen (like me). The talented chef also worked at Hakata, SHU in Bel-Air, Bambu in Malibu and Takami.

Continue reading “Sushi at Royal T, in Culver City” »

  • pinitbutton Summer Ending, but not Al Fresco Dining Season
sophiegayotanthonyzappola 300x152 Summer Ending, but not Al Fresco Dining Season
Chef Jamie Gwen, Lana Sills, chef Anthony Zappola from Craft Los Angeles with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

After meeting chef Jamie Gwen at Craft Los Angeles, where chef de cuisine Anthony Zappola was introducing his new small plates for the summer, Jamie and I decided to share our summer outdoor dining discoveries on her weekly radio show on KFWB News Talk 980.

Continue reading “Summer Ending, but not Al Fresco Dining Season” »

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