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






  • pinitbutton Jaguar Suite at 51 Buckingham Gate
jaguar suite living room2 300x207 Jaguar Suite at 51 Buckingham Gate

Jaguar Suite living room at 51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences in London

The Night of the Jaguar

by André Gayot

Undoubtedly, we are a car civilization. The automobile is an ordinary object in our spoiled world, a dream in the barren parts of the planet and a nightmare at a quarter to nine a.m. on the 101 freeway in downtown Los Angeles. We find cars a convenient instrument to go to the stores and take back home the stuff of which probably we bought too large a quantity at our local Costco. A car is more practical than a backpack and a bicycle, but more polluting — as we are told by ecology — and more expensive, as we can see by the price soaring at the pump.

OK, it’s our way of life. But some of us are in love with automobiles. They admire the beautiful machines, their engineering, their design and their power, regardless of the speeding tickets and hefty insurance premiums they may have to face.

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  • pinitbutton Celebrating the 2012 Oscar Winners
sabraging bottle champagne sophie gayot 300x227 Celebrating the 2012 Oscar Winners

Sophie Gayot sabraging a bottle of Champagne on the bow of Serene, Yury Scheffler’s yacht

by Sophie Gayot

Yesterday was Oscar day. Even though, the biggest night in Hollywood had not yet started, I decided to celebrate the winners while cruising on the Pacific Ocean.

There was only one way to do it for me: sabraging a bottle of Champagne with a backdrop that was worthy of the stars walking the red carpet. Yury Scheffler, the Russian vodka tycoon (Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, among others), made it easy for me: his 134-meter (440-foot) yacht, Serene, was anchored in Santa Monica Bay.

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Did You Say Donuts?

on February 24th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Did You Say Donuts?
do rite donuts 243x300 Did You Say Donuts?

Vermont maple-glazed French cruller with candied bacon

by Sophie Gayot

I recently found myself in the Loop in Chicago in search of breakfast, a vital part of my three-daily-meal routine. I can recommend a tiny place which just opened: Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee.

For donut lovers, it is a paradise. For others, it’s a good way to rediscover the treats. Since they offer so many flavors, you’re sure to find one to your liking, or one so good that you will want to return. Add a cup of coffee, and you’ll have a good way to keep you warm in the Windy City. That’s all they have; in fact, the entire menu of Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee is in its name!

Go to the photo gallery to discover some of their exotic flavors (Vermont maple-glazed French cruller with candied bacon, anyone?), and read the review for more information.



  • pinitbutton It’s Always Time for Romance
Valentines 199x300 It’s Always Time for Romance

A table set for romance at Everest, Chicago

by Sophie Gayot

If you weren’t able to book the restaurant of your dreams for Valentine’s’s Romance section can still help you plan the perfect evening, no matter what day it is. There you will find romantic restaurants, as well as chocolates and gifts, sexy cookbooks, romantic movies and more.

If you are one of our LA readers, you can listen to my radio interview, which aired February 14 on Frank Mottek’s Business Hour on KNX1070, that includes suggestions on intimate places to take your valentine all year long.

Sushi, Zen and Shizen

on February 17th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Sushi, Zen and Shizen
sophie gayot william siew 300x228 Sushi, Zen and Shizen

Chefs William Siew (left) & Maswin Sukotjo with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Many Vegas visitors never leave The Strip, and don’t realize what they’re missing. There are peaceful places to stay just a short distance away. One of these relaxing spots I got to experience recently was the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa & Golf, located in Summerlin. The spa, the gardens and the golf courses surrounding the property are certainly a good way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the Vegas Strip.

You don’t have to fight the traffic jams to eat well, either. I dined at Shizen, one of the four on-site restaurants. Chef William Siew oversees the menu while teppanyaki chefs handle the spatulas and fire at the grills. Sitting at one of those tables is for sure some Sin City excitement. And unlike sitting at a craps table, you can’t lose!

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on February 15th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Madridfusión
madrid fusion ad 205x300 Madridfusión


by Jennifer Olvera

Madridfusión: it’s where food trends come to life. Celebrating its tenth year, the recent gathering — held at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos — featured three chef-filled days replete with presentations, mad scientist-worthy cooking demos and interviews with food industry vets. Add to that the upper-level booths, proffering food, wine and cooking-related miscellania. It all occurs in tandem with Gastrofestival, a two-week extravaganza offering special food-based programming citywide at Madrid’s tapas restaurants, museums, markets and shops.

Those feeling particularly posh opted to stay at the palatial Hotel Ritz Madrid, where gracious service gives way to views of Retiro Park. But those in search of an edgier experience chose the architecturally driven — if off-the-beaten-path — Hotel Silken Puerta America Madrid. Its 13 floors, each designed in wildly creative fashion by a different architect, have a trippy feel and plenty of curb appeal.

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When Judges Meet & Eat

on February 08th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton When Judges Meet & Eat
sophie gayot randy jackson 300x237 When Judges Meet & Eat

Randy Jackson with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

I was not the only one dining at über-chef Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air on a recent visit (luckily for the restaurant). The multi-talented Randy Jackson, who has been a judge on American Idol since 2002 — longer than anyone else — was sitting next to me. I had dined with him before, and know he is a gourmet, so I was not surprised to see him there. As we know, he is a tough judge — nice and fair, but tough…

My judging of the dinner: very good California cuisine, with precise execution, that grants the restaurant a rating of 16 out 20. Here is the explanation of the rating system.

For more about Hotel Bel-Air, read my October blog post, which I wrote after touring the hotel a few days before it opened.



  • pinitbutton San Francisco’s Grand Cafe
trout 300x297 San Francisco’s Grand Cafe

Grilled rainbow trout

by Tiffany Maleshefski

Though Grand Café continues to be a stalwart French restaurant that’s been around since 1995, consistency hasn’t really been one of its strong points. Located inside the Hotel Monaco San Francisco, the eatery has seen an impressive roster of venerable chefs lead its kitchen, including Victor Scargle, Mauro Pando, Denis Soriano and Paul Arenstam. Despite their efforts, the restaurant has experienced a steady pattern of highs and lows.

Its newest chef, Alicia Jenish, who worked under Loretta Keller at Bizou and opened LarkCreekSteak, is the latest to throw her toque into the ring, with the stated goal of taking the Grand Café’s menu and “transforming it into something [that] is lighter, healthier, and distinctly San Franciscan.”

Now before anyone gets excited that the Grand Café can be a dieting girl’s best friend, what Jenish means is that she’s using sauces that are less rich and rustic and, therefore, lighter in texture and color.

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