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




All About Barbecue

on June 28th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton All About Barbecue
bbq blog 300x229 All About Barbecue

Check out all of our great barbecue features in order to make your backyard cookout a success

Summer is in full swing, which means it’s time to fire up the grill! In the just-published July 2011 issue of our TASTES Newsletter, you’ll find all things barbecue, including our brand-new Top 10 Barbecue Grills list.

For those who like their ‘cue prepared for them, the issue offers the best barbecue restaurants in the U.S., as well as a Top 10 Barbecue Restaurants list across the country. It even shows how you can get Chicago barbecue delivered to your door so all you have to do is heat and eat!

The issue also features grilling tips, including the best ways to use wood chips in gas grills, barbecue recipes, products, books, the Top 10 Barbecue Wines, and even details on where to get top-quality, mail-order meat.

Our latest newsletter also goes beyond the grill to bring parents great ideas for cool summer getaways, including the Top 10 Family Resorts in the U.S. and Around the World as well as the best Kid-Friendly Restaurants. Environmentally-conscious travelers should check out our Top 10 Eco-Resorts Worldwide and the Top 10 Green Hotels in the U.S.

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  • pinitbutton The Bellagio Epicurean Epicenter Series
bellagio 300x200 The Bellagio Epicurean Epicenter Series

The Tuscany Exhibition Kitchen at the Bellagio in Las Vegas

by Bob Barnes

Earlier this month, the Bellagio began its Epicurean Epicenter Series with an exclusive four-course pairing of the wines of the Williams Selyem Vineyard from the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California. The sold-out event began with a reception of passed appetizers accompanied by the 2005 Blanc de Noir Brut Magnum. We were then escorted into the Tuscany Exhibition Kitchen, where Master Sommelier and director of wine Jason Smith partnered with Williams Selyem executive winemaker Bob Cabral in describing the wines that would be paired with Le Cirque executive chef Gregory Pugin’s creations.
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Cocktail Week in NYC

on June 20th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Cocktail Week in NYC
chartreuse swizzle 172x300 Cocktail Week in NYC

A Chartreuse Swizzle, one of our Top 10 Cocktails

by Jeff Hoyt

“Let’s meet for drinks!” Is there a better way to end the working day? Whether it’s a cozy one-on-one or a large group of co-workers, sharing cocktails and appetizers is great for both winding down and gearing up for the rest of the night’s activities.

Until June 29, New York City is celebrating its first annual Cocktail Week with specials that are easy on your wallet. At participating bars, restaurants, clubs and lounges, just ask for the NYC Cocktail Week menu. From Marcus Samuelsson‘s uptown Red Rooster Harlem to Employees Only in the West Village to Pegu Club in SoHo to Macao Trading Co. in TriBeCa, customers can enjoy two full-sized cocktails and an appetizer for just $20.11.

Besides making The Big Apple even more fun, the event is also raising money for City Harvest to fight hunger, and for The Museum of the American Cocktail.

Check out our cocktail recipes, including the top 10 craft cocktails in the US and how to make The Perfect Margarita. And keep coming back to for New York City restaurant reviews, restaurant news, NYC culinary events and wine dinners.

Tasting At Sunset

on June 17th, 2011
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brendan collins waterloo city sophie gayot 208x300 Tasting At Sunset

Brendan Collins of Waterloo & City with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Last Saturday was the third time I attended Vintage Hollywood’s Annual Wine & Food Tasting Event. It’s always a special night, in that the fundraiser is held on the grounds of a Los Angeles mansion.

As the two hundred guests were arriving at the sold-out evening, the sun was setting through the branches of gorgeous trees, adding elegance to the ambience at the Westside LA location. I was excited by the diversity of the tasting bites and wines offered by the restaurants and vintners. From the oysters of Oyster Gourmet and Blue Plate Oysterette to the caramel fleur de sel toffee of Valerie Confections via the Mediterranean sandwich of Tavern, the panini of Bar Toscana, the steak tartare of Bouchon, the foie gras chicken liver mousse of Waterloo & City (that everybody was raving about, including me), the braised pork leg from Jar, the scallops and rabbit rillettes of On Sunset, the burrata from Mozza, the grilled cheese sandwich from The Foundry on Melrose, the tuna wonton tacos of Zengo, the La Quierca proscuito from Akasha and the shrimp ceviche from La Sandia, I had quite enough for the evening (though I was able to sneak into my stomach a banana foster from Florentino Ice Cream). Apologies to Whist restaurant at the Viceroy and Simple Things Sandwich & Pie Shop, but I simply had no more room, even for a coffee from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

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  • pinitbutton Drink up! Our Quarterly Wine Newsletter is Here
main 225x300 Drink up! Our Quarterly Wine Newsletter is Here's Top 10 Rosés and other light wines are featured in the current edition of our Quarterly Wine Newsletter

Summer is just around the corner, and with the warmer weather come pool parties, barbecues, and plenty of downtime just spent soaking up the sun — and perhaps a drink or two. In the latest edition of’s Quarterly Wine Newsletter, released today, you’ll find the perfect beer, wine and spirits to make your summertime celebrations a success.

While wine has been known to keep many a body warm during the winter, we’ve chosen to focus on lighter varietals that will help you cool down when the temperature’s up. On’s Top 10 Summer Wines and Top 10 Rosés lists, the emphasis is placed upon refreshing flavors ranging from dry and tart to tropical and fruity. And if you’re going to be grilling, you’ll want to check out our’s Top 10 Barbecue Wines for great libations to sip on with steak, ribs and grilled veggies.

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Scoops from LA Chefs

on June 13th, 2011
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bruno lopez david martinon sophie gayot 300x154 Scoops from LA Chefs

by Sophie Gayot

I have had the pleasure of meeting French chef Bruno Lopez many times throughout his career. I’ve tasted his dishes when he was working at different The Ritz-Carlton hotels, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire (now a Four Seasons), and the Hotel Bel-Air. I was most impressed with his peach gazpacho with truffle oil, which he made when he was at the restaurant of the Raffles L’Ermitage hotel (now part of the Viceroy Hotel Group). I was sorry when he stopped serving the public when he became a private chef at the French Consulate Residence in 2009.

Last Friday, I got to congratulate him on his skills yet again, but the setting was quite different. Lopez received the esnigns from French Consul General David Martinon making him an officer of the Ordre National du Mérite Agricole, in recognition for his work in promoting French cuisine in the USA.

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  • pinitbutton I am Sold to the Highest Bidder
celestino drago sophie gayot 300x238 I am Sold to the Highest Bidder

Chefs Celestino Drago (left) & Ian Gresik (right) with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

The 22nd Annual Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters held on May 14th in the “Midwest Street” backlot of Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, was a huge success. At the sold-out event, more than 1,400 guests enjoyed food prepared by 45 top chefs paired with wines from more than 70 California wineries. Chefs and winemakers were all in attendance to give partygoers all the explanations they needed.

Every year, the event benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The money raised, $23,000,000 over 22 years, including $1,667,500 this year, is used for vital research and care centers. Thanks to the new treatments, people with cystic fibrosis are now living one year longer for every year of research. When this event began, patients were living into their teenage years. Now, the median age is approaching 40.

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  • pinitbutton Cut the Calories but Not the Taste
bikini chef 269x300 Cut the Calories but Not the Taste

The Bikini Chef, Susan Irby

by Sophie Gayot

This weekend, I was going through my pile of cookbooks, and I am glad I did. I found The Bikini Chef Susan Irby‘s fourth cookbook, Substitute Yourself Skinny, which I use when I want to eat tasty but healthy foods at home. Lots of effort went into the creation of this 175-recipe book. The entire Irby family was involved: her mother helped her test each recipe, while her husband and daughter lost the use of the kitchen when photos were taken!

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  • pinitbutton For Your Next Vacation, But Only If You Like White Sandy Beaches

by Sophie Gayot

When Gordon “Butch” Stewart purchased his first hotel in Montego Bay in Jamaica in 1981, I am not sure he knew what he was about to start. He sure knew what he wanted to do, but did he envision how successful he would be thirty years later? Stewart is now the chairman and founder of Sandals Resorts International, the privately-owned Jamaican-based parent company to Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, totaling 23 Caribbean properties. Sandals caters exclusively to couples while the others are for families as well.

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  • pinitbutton French Tapas, Crêpes & Bastille Day

by Sophie Gayot

Chef Jean-François Meteigner is attached to his French roots, which is great for diners, as La Cachette Bistro is one of the few remaining true French restaurants in the Los Angeles metro area.

He has been jazzing up his menu with a line of French tapas for a while now. They are playful, and create fun interactions at the dining room table as tapas do. Watch my exclusive video with Meteigner who explains his tapas, and enjoy pictures of the dishes below.

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