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




Snow Rookies

on February 15th, 2013
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  • pinitbutton Snow Rookies
alpine slide 300x225 Snow Rookies

Riding the Alpine Slide

by Jeff Hoyt

EDITOR’S NOTE: Between a fatal bus crash and a manhunt for a revenge-minded cop-turned-copkiller, Big Bear Lake, California, has been in the national news a lot lately. I had the pleasure of visiting the area just before the back-to-back headline-grabbers occurred. As the area struggles to put these episodes behind them, the following innocent tale reflects the type of news Big Bear wants to make.

Growing up in sunny Southern California, my daughters are exposed to sand, sea, surf and sun, but not snow. Good thing nature provided Angelenos with nearby mountains so kids can frolic in a geographically desirable winter wonderland. For their first foray into snow, the kids rode up to Big Bear Lake, California, which is taking on child obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles through a new program called KIDS. GET OUTDOORS. WIN.

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  • pinitbutton Special Valentines in New York City
blog le perigord Special Valentines in New York City

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special prix-fixe menu at Le Perigord in Midtown Manhattan

by Meryl Pearlstein

Haven’t firmed up your Valentine’s Day plans yet? No problem. Manhattan is teeming with great dining options. For the 14th of February, take a look at these delicious and varied choices:


A restaurant that’s a tough reservation to score even on non-holiday evenings, Sfoglia sits across from the 92nd Street Y and offers a “cupid’s arrow” four-course prix-fixe celebration for $95. I love this restaurant on a cold night. It’s cozy with its white curtains, homey with its convivial vibe, and always pleasing with wonderful Italian cuisine. On Valentine’s Day evening they’re only serving couples, no matter whether you’re sitting at a two-top or at the communal table, so you might actually have a better chance at scoring a table. Both restaurant favorites and specials are on the menu with the likes of Maine uni with brown bread and house-made butter, buckwheat crespelle with celery root cream and caviar, and spaghetti and ruby red shrimp with Meyer lemon.

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  • pinitbutton Celebrating Chinese New Year!

by Sophie Gayot

To celebrate the Year of the Snake, I had many dining options available. I chose to go to Joss Cuisine/Traditional in Beverly Hills, CA. It was a good pick! The restaurant has improved its cuisine, and now bears a rating of 14/20, which is one point higher than it was at my last visit. It has also been added to the Top 10 Chinese Restaurants in Los Angeles list.

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  • pinitbutton Crystal Cruises Offers Unexpected Travel Destinations for 2013 – Travel News
crystal serenity norway 300x199 Crystal Cruises Offers Unexpected Travel Destinations for 2013 – Travel News

Crystal Serenity in Norway

Crystal Cruises is challenging travelers to think outside the box when it comes to their 2013 travel plans with a new menu of itineraries for its “Top 10 Unexpected Destinations.” The luxury cruise line is offering “historically significant, naturally extraordinary and culturally diverse” adventures, giving well-traveled guests a chance to broaden their horizons with new experiences.

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A Call to Gastronomes

on February 11th, 2013
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chef3 300x300 A Call to Gastronomes

Some chefs are real tyrants!

Let’s Fight the Taming of the Chew

by André Gayot

Four hour dinners; endless degustation menus encompassing 40 dishes; tyrannical chefs leaving no choice to clients who are expected to behave docilely; cooks parading and fishing for our admiration, sporting their names everywhere; all of this crowned by astronomical bills; that is the vision of a good portion of the contemporary fine dining experience depicted by our colleague Corby Kummer in his recent Vanity Fair article. While deploring in detail this regrettable spread of theatrical ego and auto-satisfaction, he humorously wishes modest and reasonable chefs like Alain Passard (L’Arpège in Paris) and Jacques Pépin lead a hungry crowd with forks and knives against the above described tyranny.

It won’t harm anyone to be equitable and admit a large portion of responsibility on our part, food writers, beginning with us. When we launched the magazine Le Nouveau Guide GaultMillau in March of 1969, we revealed to the public the names, faces and talents of 50 unknown new young chefs who became the centurions of the Nouvelle Cuisine. Guess what happened: their descendants are now every other day on the NBCs and CNNs of the world presenting their latest concoctions. They want to be famous with their names in capital letters beginning with their own establishment(s).

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  • pinitbutton Celebrating Valentines Day From Coast to Coast
tea lounge 300x199 Celebrating Valentines Day From Coast to Coast

Tea Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas

by Meryl Pearlstein

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there are lots of interesting dining and travel-related experiences that make wonderful gifts for your sweetie. Here’s a round-up from Washington, D.C. to Honolulu.

Las Vegas

How about a twist on the usual Afternoon Tea found at many upscale hotels? The Mandarin Oriental Tea Lounge in Las Vegas adds a romantic touch with their Valentine Afternoon Tea. Heart-shaped, house-made gourmet chocolates finish off the sweets selection. $45 per person.


Sit at the bar at the St. Regis for a special Valentine’s Day “Pink of Perfection” cocktail that is available all month. It’s made with one part tequila, ½ part simple syrup, 3 dashes orange blossom water, with fresh lime juice and soda. What gives it its name? The pink rose petals that sit on top. You can increase the aphrodisiac quotient with the Oysters and Caviar Pearls special, a sensual combination of tempura oyster frites and osetra caviar sabayon created by executive chef Joseph Trevino, paired with Heidsieck Champagne.

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  • pinitbutton The Sky Lodge Couples Ski Retreat Package   Travel Special
park city utah 300x180 The Sky Lodge Couples Ski Retreat Package   Travel Special

Park City, Utah

Romantic Winter Wonderland Escape

With Valentine’s Day almost upon us, you’ll need to get your romantic plans in order — and fast. The Sky Lodge in Park City, Utah, is here to help with its Couples Ski Retreat package.

Located in the center of Park City’s historic Old Town, The Sky Lodge is walking distance to more than 40 restaurants, as well as nightlife, museums, theatre, galleries and boutique shopping. Just steps from Park City Mountain Resort’s Town Lift, the hotel also provides easy ski-in/ski-out access, making your romantic ski vacation that much easier.

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  • pinitbutton Lots Happening at SUR Restaurant & Lounge
peter madrigal sophie gayot 300x274 Lots Happening at SUR Restaurant & Lounge

SUR Restaurant & Lounge Peter Madrigal with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

It looks like Peter Madrigal, the general manager at SUR Restaurant & Lounge, is going to have to do lots of hand holding after last week’s episode of “Vanderpump Rules,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” Lisa Vanderpump’s new TV show. Stassi, a server, invited some of the waiting staff to go to Las Vegas to help celebrate her birthday. But the trip to Sin City turned into a big fiasco after an incident at the Moroccan Marrakech restaurant.

As SUR Restaurant & Lounge has just been named one of’s 2013 Top 10 Places to Kiss in the U.S., we believe that Madrigal will have even more work to do. SUR Restaurant & Lounge is FULLY booked for Valentine’s Day. But I hear that they might extend the special “love” menu to the next evening. I’ll keep you posted.

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