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




Que La Fête Commence!

on April 12th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Que La Fête Commence!

by Sophie Gayot

Last night was the opening of the 2011 COLCOA Festival, A Week of French Film Premieres in Hollywood. Quite a few prestigious and renowned French actors and directors made the trip from France, arriving just in time for the City of Lights, City of Angels event, including writer-director Bertrand Blier. Watch my exclusive video interview with the Oscar winner (“Get Out Your Handkerchiefs”) as he talks about his career.

Every year, COLCOA Director François Truffart invites an actress who represents French cinema and glamour. This year, I had the pleasure to mingle with two-time César-winning actress Nathalie Baye (“Day for Night,” “La Balance”). Baye will be presenting her latest movie, “De Vrais Mensonges” (Beautiful Lies”) this Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

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  • pinitbutton 2011 Best Restaurateur in the U.S.

by Sophie Gayot

Every year we pick the best of the best when it comes to restaurants, and compile them in our Annual Restaurant Issue.

The categories include the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S., Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S., Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S., and Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S. But there’s only one category where we pick a single winner, and that’s for the Best Restaurateur of the Year in the U.S.

For 2011, we have chosen chef Michael Mina. Read Mina’s profile to find out why we selected him, and watch my exclusive video interview with him shot during my recent visit to his new flagship restaurant Michael Mina in San Francisco.

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  • pinitbutton What Made Michelin Red?
michelin stars japan 300x202 What Made Michelin Red?

Michelin spreading its stars over Japan (drawing by Jean-Pierre Desclozeaux, as published in the book "Rouge de Honte")

by André Gayot

The book started as a gift, both to the audacious people who dared purchase an automobile in the early twentieth century, and to their indispensable companions, garage mechanics. Its purpose was to help those brave drivers find a tasty destination for lunch as well as a garage that could repair their new machines, and perhaps change the tires, since selling tires was and still is the main goal of the Michelin Company, and a lucrative one at that.

The brothers Michelin got mad and decided to end the free distribution of the guide when they discovered how one mechanic employed it: instead of using a jack, he had propped up a car in his garage with a pile of their books. The guide Michelin became a business; although not profitable in itself, it generated huge publicity value.


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  • pinitbutton Next Opening in Chicago

by Jennifer Olvera

Handcrafted cocktails aren’t exactly new to Chicago — look to The Violet Hour for proof of that. However, it’s safe to say Grant Achatz‘s soon-to-debut Aviary in the West Loop will ratchet things up further, what with its cocktail kitchen serving experimental, tincture-meets-classic cocktails, approachably hip, no-reservations vibe and potables that surprisingly top out at under $20. (Mind you, there’s no actual “bar” and labels can’t be “called.”) Future plans for Aviary include a haute, basement-level den that is said to be the antithesis of the main lounge. With room for only 20 guests, the exclusive space will serve luxuries like caviar by the ounce and a foie gras terrine.

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  • pinitbutton When Democracy Rises from the Kitchen
beet comte cheese carpaccio 300x193 When Democracy Rises from the Kitchen

Beet Comte cheese carpaccio by chef Christophe Bellanca of Aureole NY

by André Gayot

Traveling in Germany recently, I was impressed when at the Porsche plant in Leipzig, along with 600 American guests, I was served a high quality dinner. The duck was cooked just right, the plates were warm, the service was precise to the millimeter and the meal unwound in no time. The only lengthy part was due to the speeches of my fellow diners. For this gastronomical tour de force I credit the much heralded German engineering that also produces those sturdy vacuum cleaners and dishwashers, as well as prestigious limousines and coupés. Expensive, but they last a lifetime. The hip-hop generation may not be sensitive to hardware longevity, considering that progress moves faster than life.

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  • pinitbutton New Interactive Sony Stores Offer Latest Electronics
sony store century city 300x225 New Interactive Sony Stores Offer Latest Electronics

A colorful display in the new Sony store at the Westfield Century City mall

by Alain Gayot 

Consumers have been spoiled by the Internet, allowing them to buy thousands of dollars of the latest technology from virtual stores like Amazon without even getting dressed. Smart retailers realize they have to offer shoppers more and more in order for them to spend the time, gas money and energy to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Responding to the heightened competition, Sony is rebranding its retail stores while making them more fully interactive.

Opening today at Westfield Century City shopping mall in Los Angeles is the first newly branded Sony store in the U.S. Seven more are poised to open later this year, with a vast roll out scheduled for 2012. Steve Krajenka, VP for Retail Stores at Sony, is proud to showcase to visitors and buyers what the new Sony stores are all about. “Yes, the design of our retail stores is important,” says Krajenka, “but it’s more about having the product stand out so that customers can touch, feel and play around with pieces of electronic merchandise.” Moreover, the store is staffed with Sony sophisticated users, not just salespeople.

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