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




  • pinitbutton The 4th Annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival
grandmarketac 300x200 The 4th Annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival

Grand Market at the Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival

by Patricia Mack

Atlantic City knows a thing or two about summer, and what would summer be without celebrating food and wine?

Its showy casinos, sandy beaches, appealing restaurants and dazzling theaters set the stage for the 4th Annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival that runs from July 26 through 29.

The event, the largest food and wine festival of its kind in the Northeast, takes place across Caesars Entertainment Atlantic City casinos and resorts — Caesars, Harrah’s, Showboat and Bally’s. The program offers cooking demonstrations, panel discussions and wine seminars, dinners, tastings and entertainments hosted by some of the country’s most lauded chefs and culinary personalities. This year the lineup includes Anne Burrell, Paula Deen, Tyler Florence, Nadia G., Robert Irvine, Buddy Valastro and recent James Beard award winner Andrew Zimmern.

Continue reading “The 4th Annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival” »

  • pinitbutton Virgin Atlantic to Allow Sky High Mobile Phone Calls   Travel News
virgin atlantic a330 300x198 Virgin Atlantic to Allow Sky High Mobile Phone Calls   Travel News

Virgin Atlantic A330 on the runway

It seems that a person can’t go anywhere anymore without overhearing someone else’s cell phone conversation. The one place that seemed safe was the friendly skies. Not so any longer. Virgin Atlantic has announced that it will become the first British airline to allow passengers to use their own mobile phones at 35,000 feet. Using a link-up with Panasonic-owned AeroMobile, passengers will be able to make calls on the airline’s new A330-300 Airbus flights between London and New York, with as many as twenty planes available for this service by the end of 2012. Continue reading “Virgin Atlantic to Allow Sky High Mobile Phone Calls – Travel News” »




  • pinitbutton The Romance of the Cork
screw caps corks 300x292 The Romance of the Cork

Screw caps or corks?

by Sophie Gayot

Back in June, I had the pleasure of being a guest on David Wilson’s radio show, Grape Encounters Radio. Wilson’s show is all about wine and the love of it, but he insists he wants it to be fun. A long-time wine enthusiast, his main objective is to tell you how to get the most from your drinking experience. You will not hear him discussing tasting notes, but rather guidance on finding some non-traditional uses for wine, like pairing wine with music.

After a very kind introduction about, which Wilson called “a website that has enough material to keep you busy for the rest of your life,” we discussed the somewhat controversial topic of cork versus screw cap.

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As Seen on USA TODAY

on July 16th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton As Seen on USA TODAY
kitty bean yancey 300x224 As Seen on USA TODAY

Writer Kitty Bean Yancey at Peter Luger in Brooklyn

by Sophie Gayot

Kitty Bean Yancey, a leisure writer for USA TODAY since 1982, has also developed a passion for food — after dating a Parisian, she says. Frankly, I think it is a good thing.

A few weeks ago, Kitty contacted thirteen of us from the world of food and asked us each to name two of the best steakhouses in the U.S. Here are the finalists from the results:

Continue reading “As Seen on USA TODAY” »



  • pinitbutton Dining Out for Bastille Day
bastille day place de la concorde 300x172 Dining Out for Bastille Day

Place de la Concorde, in Paris, getting ready for Bastille Day

by Sophie Gayot

You have just realized that today, July 14th, is Bastille Day, and want to celebrate the French national holiday? We have put together for you a list of restaurants, in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, that are commemorating what the French call “La Fête Nationale.”

A quick history: July 14, 1789 was the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison which led to La Révolution Française. Now, on the morning of the 14th, the Champs-Élysées is taken over by the French army for the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe. (Ironic as in 1789, the day was a pure demonstration against power.)



  • pinitbutton Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast
pismo beach north 300x200 Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast

The northern end of Pismo Beach

by Jeff Hoyt

When people think of Northern California, their thoughts often turn to San Francisco. Southern California cities that come to mind include Los Angeles and San Diego. But what about the Central Coast of California? Unlike other parts of the Golden State, there are no large cities in the area, allowing the focus to be on its natural beauty. As you cruise the Pacific Coast Highway south of Monterey all the way to Santa Barbara, you’ll enjoy rugged mountain vistas, coastal and ocean views, verdant farmland and picturesque vineyards.

Sandwiched between Northern and Southern California makes the Central Coast an easy place to visit for Californians as well as visitors from around the world looking for a different experience than Disneyland and the Golden Gate Bridge. Although the weather is pleasant year-round, we think the best time to visit is during the harvest.

Continue reading “Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast” »

Travel for Free

on July 11th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Travel for Free
american express card 300x196 Travel for Free

Travel for free with American Express

by Jeff Hoyt

Who hasn’t received one of those marketing postcards that offer a 3-day, 2-night Florida vacation that seems too good to be true? Do you know anyone who went on such a trip, because I don’t! But there are legitimate ways to travel for free.

I’ve been accumulating credit card bonus points for years. Some I’ve turned into Amazon gift cards. Others, I’ve stockpiled. On my American Express card, I’ve been able to accrue more than 150,000 Membership Rewards points just by buying things I normally buy, whether at gas stations, in stores, or online.

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  • pinitbutton Paso Robles Inn Hot Air Balloon and Wine Tour Package   Travel Special
hot air balloon Paso Robles Inn Hot Air Balloon and Wine Tour Package   Travel Special

Take a hot air balloon ride, followed by a day of tastings at the area’s top wineries, with Paso Robles Inn's travel special

Sipping and Soaring in Paso Robles Wine Country

For travelers seeking a one-of-a-kind central California wine country experience, Paso Robles Inn and The Wine Wrangler have created the Hot Air Balloon and Wine Tour Package.

Need to slip away from the rat race for a few days? Then make plans to visit the romantic Paso Robles Inn, situated in a tranquil wine country. Add in an early morning hot air balloon flight, followed by a day of tastings at the area’s top wineries, and you have this memorable escape, which features Continue reading “Paso Robles Inn Hot Air Balloon and Wine Tour Package – Travel Special” »



  • pinitbutton Foie Gras Dinner at Beer Belly
seared foie gras 300x250 Foie Gras Dinner at Beer Belly

Seared foie gras, cinnamon caramel apple, red wine shallots and celery root purée

by Barnaby Hughes

As the clock ticked down on California restaurants serving foie gras legally, many of them prepared special foie gras menus. On June 30, I had the pleasure of enjoying a “Gone But Not Foiegotten” menu at Beer Belly in Los Angeles.

By the time I arrived, the Foie-Q You foie gras sliders with pickled shallots, quail egg and spicy apple beer mustard was already sold out, so I ordered the seared foie gras. When I asked owner Jimmy Han why my order was taking so long, he joked, “Oh, that dish takes foie-ever.” Chef Wes Lieberher used the same joke in naming his creation Foiever, which was my favorite dish. The seared foie gras with cinnamon caramel apple, red wine shallots and celery root purée seemed more at home at a fancy French restaurant than this Koreatown craft beer bar.

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  • pinitbutton Summer Wines of Italy Tasting
summer wines italy 300x211 Summer Wines of Italy Tasting

Tasting the summer wines of Italy

by Michelle Kwan

The varietals that encompass the wines of Italy are as diverse as the regions from which they are produced. It seems that there is an Italian wine for every occasion, cuisine and season. This year’s Summer Wines of Italy tasting, held at New York’s Italian Trade Commission on June 26, emphasized all that is indicative of summer, namely wines that were fruity, refreshing, light and effervescent.

The event, co-sponsored by the Italian Wine & Food Institute, featured 30 wines. Moscatos, Chardonnays, Proseccos and sparkling rosés dominated, although a number of reds, including Pinot Noir, Merlot blends and Chianti, were also represented.

Continue reading “Summer Wines of Italy Tasting” »

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