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




  • pinitbutton One Million Years Old and Ultra Fresh
The town of Yountville, California may be small, but it has a large culinary legacy. The French Laundry, a perennial Top 40 Restaurant helmed by Thomas Keller, started it, and chef Michael Chiarello carries it on at Bottega. The cuisine of this Napa Valley restaurant reflects the chef’s Italian heritage. Watch my exclusive video interview with Chiarello to learn more about him, his restaurant, his wines, Chiarello Family Vineyards, and his retail store Napa Style.

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  • pinitbutton Chotto: Traditional Japanese Izakaya in San Francisco
tuna1 300x265 Chotto: Traditional Japanese Izakaya in San Francisco

Bigeye tuna with avocado and spicy sweet sauce from Chotto restaurant

by Tiffany Apczynski

Born in Madrid, Spain, Armando Justo has a culinary background deeply entrenched in European cuisine. So, the fact that the young chef is helming a traditional Japanese izakaya is, well, unexpected. But Justo, who cut his teeth while serving as sous-chef at Ozumo and Yoshi’s in San Francisco, boldly struck out on his own recently with Chotto, a Japanese izakaya located in the city’s Marina neighborhood. The decision so far seems to be a very good one.

What’s most impressive about Justo’s menu is its accessibility. Whether you eat Japanese food three to four times a week or a year, Chotto’s menu will keep experienced palates excited and curious, and less experienced palates open to new dishes and flavor profiles. Meanwhile, its warm, welcoming atmosphere makes it a great neighborhood restaurant to drop in for a drink and simply a few nibbles.

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  • pinitbutton Cooking With A Top Chef

by Sophie Gayot

Remember that dining scene in the movie “The Italian Job?” It was shot at the famous seafood restaurant Water Grill located in downtown Los Angeles. I recently dined there to review the cuisine of newly appointed chef Amanda Baumgarten as she follows in the footsteps of chefs Matt Stein, Allyson Thurber, Michael Cimarusti (now at Providence), and David LeFevre (now at M.B. Post), who have been part of the 20-year history of the restaurant. You can read my review in our Restaurant section.

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  • pinitbutton Bellagio Continues Epicurean Epicenter Series with BBQ & Beer Event
100 2208 300x266 Bellagio Continues Epicurean Epicenter Series with BBQ & Beer Event

Tasty dessert at the Bellagio Epicurean Epicenter's BBQ & Beer event

by Bob Barnes

The Bellagio Resort & Casino in Las Vegas continued its Epicurean Epicenter Event series with a celebration of beer and barbecue. The sold-out event began with a reception where we were served a Bellagio Fountains Shandy. This creation by Assistant Beverage Director and Master Mixologist Matt Myers is a mix of Stella Artois and Bombay Sapphire gin, which he related is a play on a Canadian cocktail.
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  • pinitbutton 405 Freeway Closure at Mulholland Bridge

Carmageddon Did Not Happen

by Sophie Gayot

Today my favorite pilot, my brother Alain, flew me over the closed 405 freeway to see the progress on the demolition of the Mulholland Bridge. Over the past few days, this Los Angeles event has become nationwide news.

I have to say it was very impressive to see the 405 empty of regular traffic. I hope that the drivers of the few cars and trucks that were circulating on it enjoyed their ride, and must feel privileged — and they should. Watch my video to get some great views of the almost demolished bridge.

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Celebrating France

on July 15th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Celebrating France

by Sophie Gayot

Did you miss Bastille Day yesterday? Don’t worry! Bastille Day celebrations are still going on this weekend. It’s a great time to visit L’Epicerie Market, a very French restaurant in downtown Culver City, California. The partners are Thierry Perez, formerly of Fraîche, and chef Sébastien Archambault who came directly from France to RH restaurant at the ANdAZ hotel in West Hollywood, where he first got acquainted with the Los Angeles food scene. Watch my exclusive video interview with chef Archambault, who only cooks French cuisine. You will learn what type of French cuisine he prepares, and that you can also shop at L’Epicerie Market whether you are dining there or not.

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  • pinitbutton 2011 Providence Restaurant Weeks
PRRES031003 2011 Providence Restaurant Weeks

Chez Pascal is one of nearly 100 establishments participating in this year's Providence Restaurant Weeks

by Jeff Hoyt

Rhode Island may be a small state, but Providence has a big culinary scene. Come see for yourself what Providence has to offer to the gastronomic world during Providence Restaurant Weeks, going on now until July 23. Special three-course lunches for just $12.95 and three-course dinners priced at $29.95 will be available at nearly 100 Providence-area restaurants. Among the participants are Italian restaurants like Angelo’s Civita Farnese and Bacaro, French restaurants like Chez Pascal, Contemporary restaurants like Gracie’s, and many more. For more information, visit

Keep coming back to for more Providence restaurant reviews, restaurant news, culinary events and wine dinners.



  • pinitbutton So Crowded, It Was Hard to Walk
sophie gayot savore catering 300x225 So Crowded, It Was Hard to Walk
Savore Catering team: Daniel Elkins, Richard Lauther, Michael Morisette with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

On Saturday, July 9th, over 4,000 people partied on the backlot of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles at the 37th annual Block Party of the Concern Foundation. The event was so successful that it was packed like the Paris métro at 6 p.m. A record was broken with the amount of money raised that evening with the ticket sales, plus the live and silent auctions: a million and half dollars. Among the lots sold was dinner with me while I review a restaurant!

Because of the crowds, I couldn’t get to most of the 80 restaurants that participated, along with pastry shops, wineries, and bars. To see some of the participants, look at the photos in the gallery below. One of the most memorable displays was put on by Savore Catering, which cooked more than 1,000 eggs for 58 minutes in a 147-degree-Fahrenheit water bath to prepare their “farm egg on baked heirloom beans with béarnaise” to the hungry hordes.

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  • pinitbutton Drago Centro Does Barbecue

by Sophie Gayot

To celebrate the beginning of summer, chefs Celestino Drago and Ian Gresik recently organized a Sunday afternoon barbecue. I almost dressed in short pants, but since the event was at the elegant Drago Centro restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, I did not. I am glad that I wore a dress as it was quite a feast.

Yes there were some “barbecue” elements, like suckling pig, whole chicken, pork sausage, lamb leg and roasted baby goat, but they were all delicately cooked and served with tasty sauces on delicious homemade pasta and risotto.

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  • pinitbutton When the Eclair Sparks
eclair caramel beurre sale 300x193 When the Eclair Sparks

Superb éclair caramel beurre salé

by Sophie Gayot

A recent lunch in Paris brought me to Cyril Lignac’s bistrot Le Chardenoux located in a quiet street of the eleventh arrondissement. Lignac was not there, but Marie-Laure, “la maîtresse de maison”, was. As I ordered the baba au rhum for dessert, a Chardenoux classic, and my guests ordered the pain perdu à la cerise and the profiteroles à la vanille, she insisted that we try the éclair caramel beurre salé (salted butter caramel éclair). She knew exactly was she was doing, and that we would all love it. She was right. I don’t think an éclair can get any better than that, between its wrapping and its content: a perfectly baked puff pastry filled and covered with a delicious caramel cream.

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