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






Chef Bobby Flay at the opening of the Princeton Bobby's Burger Palace

Chef Bobby Flay at the opening of the Princeton Bobby’s Burger Palace

by Patricia Mack

Don’t over-think a burger.

That was Bobby Flay’s philosophy when he decided to open a burger joint. And he decided to open a burger joint after years of seeking great burgers with other chefs late at night after service was over at their fine food restaurants.

“We may have been offering foie gras and caviar on our menus, but fine food isn’t what chefs are looking for after work,” said Flay, who owns well-regarded restaurants such as Bar Americain in New York City and Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT and Bobby Flay Steak in Atlantic City.

Continue reading “Bobby Flay’s Burger Secrets” »

Lufthansa's Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental

Lufthansa’s Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental

Europe’s second-largest airline, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, is giving budget travelers reason to celebrate. The company has announced plans for a selection of its European short-haul operations to join forces with low-cost airline Germanwings. The collaboration is slated to begin in January 2013 with approximately 90 planes and is expected to fly eighteen million passengers annually on all domestic and European short-haul flights outside Lufthansa’s main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. While the goal of this strategy is companywide cost-reduction, passengers will benefit, since the as-yet-named new airline will broaden the options for low-cost flights in Europe now offered by airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair.

Continue reading “Lufthansa Airlines Announces Plans for a Low-Cost Division – Travel News” »




Parisians are beginning to embrace the distinctly American concept of brunch

Parisians are beginning to embrace the distinctly American concept of brunch

Parisian Bobos Discover Brunch at Bread & Roses and Claus

The one-stop-shop meal of the weekend, brunch — the melding of breakfast and lunch — is an all-American invention. This common habit traveled to Britain at the end of the nineteenth century. A hundred years later it crossed the Channel and is now the rage among French Bobos. The term Bobo applies to a class of young, hip Bourgeois who are open-minded and quick to jump on new fads. Les Bobos put aside the traditional family Sunday lunch leg of lamb and vote for brunch: sweet or salty, eggs Benedict or brioche, brunch offers the liberty to enjoy all of the above.

Bread & Roses, the former Hermès canteen, has been transformed into a tea lounge, bakery and épicerie, and stylish Parisians nibble on quiche, smoked salmon and delicious pies. Brunch is served daily (30 euros). 25, rue Boissy-d’Anglas, 8th arrondissement, 01 47 42 40 00,

Continue reading “Brunch: Le Dernier Cris à Paris” »

The Volkswagen Golf is one of Strategic Vision's top-rated vehicles of 2012

The Volkswagen Golf is one of Strategic Vision’s top-rated vehicles of 2012

The Volkswagen Group of America once again took the top spot in Strategic Vision’s annual Total Quality survey, which measures overall customer satisfaction with new car purchases. The marketing and consulting firm cited consumer favorites like the Audi A4 and A8, as well as the Volkswagen Golf, Eos and Tiguan as factors in VW’s ranking. The Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Company followed close on Volkswagen’s heels in a tie for second place, with the Ford Flex and F-Series pickup, as well as the Fiat 500, all earning high marks in the Total Quality survey. Along with its namesake brand, the Volkswagen Group also owns luxury car badges Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Porsche and Lamborghini.

Continue reading “Volkswagen Achieves Highest Ranking in Total Quality Survey – Car News” »

Sneak Peek at the New Spago

on September 21st, 2012
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Waldo Fernandez - Sophie Gayot - Wolfgang Puck

Interior designer Waldo Fernandez & master-chef Wolfgang Puck with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

After an extensive renovation, Wolfgang Puck‘s flagship restaurant Spago in Beverly Hills will reopen tonight. I drove by and based on what I saw from the outside, I expect many changes inside.

As I am headed there tonight for dinner, come back in a few hours to see exclusive photos of the new interior of this iconic Beverly Hills restaurant.

UPDATE 9/21/12: Yesterday I wrote that I was heading for dinner at Spago Beverly Hills which has been closed for renovations for three months. I declared that I would post pictures of the new décor a few hours after I dined. But as it is not completely finished, I was asked not to put any photos online. The ones I have will have to stay on my computer. Hopefully, I will go back when the renovations are complete.

Continue reading “Sneak Peek at the New Spago” »

South Africa's The Blue Train

South Africa’s The Blue Train

Lavish Rail Travel and Upscale Hotel Stays with South Africa’s The Blue Train

By partnering with two luxury hotels, South Africa’s The Blue Train offers a truly exclusive rail experience from Pretoria to Cape Town.

Showcasing top-of-the-line luxury on wheels, The Blue Train has hosted presidents, royalty and celebrities throughout the years. Its once-in-a-lifetime scheduled and chartered travel experiences are sought after by discriminating travelers, who appreciate the private butler service, fine bed linens, marble-clad bathrooms, gourmet cuisine and award-winning wines. Now those wishing to travel South Africa in style can take advantage of special journeys that also include an overnight stay in one of two of the country’s finest hotels Continue reading “The Blue Train, South Africa – Travel Special” »

A Cognac Lesson

on September 15th, 2012
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by Sophie Gayot

I am not going to give you that Cognac lesson myself; Maurice-Richard Hennessy himself is doing it in the exclusive video interview above. I got lucky as the class took place in Beverly Hills in a private dining room of Crustacean restaurant. Among the other “students” were French Consul General of France Axel Cruaumy father André and my brother Alain. Hennessy is the eighth generation of Hennessy, so you can be sure he knows what he is talking about.

Here are just a few things that we did not have time to discuss:

Continue reading “A Cognac Lesson” »


Champagne Perrier-Jouët 2004 Belle Époque Florale Edition on display at Katsuya restaurant in Brentwood, CA

Champagne Perrier-Jouët 2004 Belle Époque Florale Edition on display at Katsuya restaurant in Brentwood, CA

Pernod Ricard’s prestigious Champagne brand Perrier-Jouët unveiled the 2004 Belle Époque Florale Edition bottle by Japanese floral designer Makoto Azuma at Katsuya restaurant in Brentwood last night. Photographs of his beautiful floral arrangements make up the book Encyclopedia of Flowers. This first limited edition design of cuvée Belle Époque since the creation of its iconic anemone bottle by Emile Gallé in 1902 debuted in Japan this summer. Only 200 cases of the 2004 Belle Époque Florale Edition are available around the world at $199 per bottle.

Continue reading “Champagne Perrier-Jouet Unveils 2004 Belle Epoque Florale Edition – Wine News” »



Divinamente Italiano restaurant in Paris

Divinamente Italiano restaurant in Paris

by Andre Gayot

Craving Italian food while in Paris? Why not? And forget the old adage “When in Rome…” or “… in Paris.”

Italian chow is the preferred foreign cuisine of the French, who admit that since the conquest of the Gauls by Julius Caesar, Italians are not really foreigners. The French have embraced Italian cuisine as well as Italian art, culture and social organization, and hired Leonardo da Vinci to build palaces for their kings who married powerful or beautiful women — the latest being Carla, the spouse of Sarkozy. They also learned from them to eat with forks. It’s no surprise that there’s no dearth of Italian eateries in Paris.

Our friend Jean-Claude Ribaud, one of the most respected food critics in France, has visited — or revisited — a fistful of old and new Parisian Italian restaurants. For more on Italian cuisine at large, read John Mariani’s How Italian Food Conquered the World.

Continue reading “When in Paris, Do As the Romans Do” »

The exterior of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino and THEhotel in Las Vegas

The exterior of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino and THEhotel in Las Vegas

One of Miami’s hottest hotels is heading for Vegas, baby! MGM Resorts International and Morgans Hotel Group have announced a partnership to integrate the all-suite Delano Las Vegas into Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. The bastion of hip (and Morgans’ signature luxury brand) will replace THEhotel in late 2013. This second Delano property in the U.S. will introduce the Delano’s South Beach lifestyle to The Strip and include a destination nightclub. In addition, there will be several new food and beverage venues, including a casual American bistro by chef Brian Massie, a Japanese dining destination by celebrity chef Akira Back and a new vision for Mandalay Bay’s own Red Square.

Continue reading “The Delano Hotel to Take Up Residence at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas – Travel News” »

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