by Sophie Gayot I was lucky to be a judge at the Los Angeles Epicurean Festival held today at the Sofitel Los Angeles, as I did not have to stand in line to enter the event. The line stretched from the second floor all the way to the hotel’s driveway. The Festival brought together culinary specialties and wines & spirits for visitors to discover or rediscover. There was also a competition where I had to pick the winning team along with my fellow judges: sommelier Mark Mendoza (Comme Ça), Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Franck Savoy (director of restaurants for Caesars Palace in Las Vegas), Michel Richard (Citronelle) and Michel Cornu (Hospitality Culinary Director for Boisset Estates).
After stops in Spain (Jaleo) and Greece (Estiatorio Milos), my culinary tour of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas took me to Japan at the Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill. I decided to sit at the sushi bar in the back dining room so I could be close to the sushi chef and watch him cut elegantly through the flesh of the fishes that are flown in daily from distant places like Japan and the Atlantic. After a while, I had to tell him to stop so we could try dishes from the grill, prepared by another chef. Watch my exclusive video interview with both of them, and read my just published review of Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill to learn more.
Yesterday, I found a great way to finish my weekend. I drove along the Pacific on Route 1, also called Pacific Coast Highway or PCH by the locals, heading to Beau Rivage restaurant in Malibu, California. You are saying, “Another restaurant?” Yes, but not quite. I was going for a night of “Magic & Wine.”
I had a disappointing meal when I first visited soon after its December of 2007 opening, but hadn’t been since the arrival of chef David Plonowski about a year and half ago. On my return, I just did not want to leave and wanted to try more and more of his dishes. They are small, so it is easy to ask for more.
For the past few summers, event manager Joan Wrede has been gathering Los Angeles chefs for “An Evening on the Beach.” The toques bring their barbecue grills right on the sand at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica. The evening finished around a huge bonfire where the attendees roasted marshmallows which no less than pastry chef Sherry Yard of Spago combined with graham crackers and chocolate to make s’mores.
I just returned from an intense culinary trip at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Part one of my eating journey started with dinner at chef José Andrés’s restaurant Jaleo. As it’s an Andrés restaurant, you can expect Spanish cuisine, but be sure that something unusual will happen during the course of the evening.
Find a seating area to suit your mood — note that the bar is not for sushi but for tapas. One of the dining tables is actually a foosball table with players from F.C. Barcelona and Real Madrid all dressed up.. The choices on the menu are quite numerous, so let the staff guide you in making your selections.