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






Chef Dustin Valette of Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in St. Helena will be serving a special three-course Easter brunch focusing on locally sourced Sonoma County ingredients

Chef Dustin Valette of Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in St. Helena will be serving a special three-course Easter brunch focusing on locally sourced Sonoma County ingredients

by Anneli Rufus

Lots of San Francisco-area restaurants are thinking outside the ham-shaped box this Easter, offering inspired original creations and ethnic specialties instead of the standard fare.

At Foreign Cinema in San Francisco, chef-owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark will offer a three-course prix-fixe Easter menu that includes warm brandade with Thai green chilies, pickled onions and organic sunflower bread; baguette French toast with cardamom-blood orange butter, bananas, poached golden fruit and brown sugar bacon; croque madame with French ham and gruyere, béchamel, egg crown and harissa potato chips; and poached eggs with duck breast.

Bocanova in Oakland will serve fanesca, an Ecuadorian soup that is traditionally eaten only during the week leading up to Easter. Made with twelve different beans and grains and milk-cooked salt cod, the richly elaborate soup will be served — as is also traditional — with fried plantains, hard-boiled eggs, onion salsa and empanadas. On Easter Sunday, Bocanova will also feature pounded mustard-marinated lamb-leg steaks a la plancha.

Continue reading “Easter Brunch in San Francisco” »


The Skydeck at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California

The Skydeck at Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California


Made in the Shade

In the summer of 2005, downtown Manhattan Beach’s first hotel opened its doors to the picturesque beachfront community in Southern California. Adjacent to dining and shopping destination Metlox Plaza (a former pottery factory that produced the ceramic sign for Pantages Theater in Hollywood), Shade Hotel is an upscale property conveniently located within walking distance of the pier and beach, and just fifteen minutes from Los Angeles International Airport. The area is known for its beauty – it’s even nicknamed the “Pearl of the South Bay” and has been used as a filming location for numerous movies and television shows, including “Jerry Maguire,” “Point Break,” “The O.C.” and “90210.”

Continue reading “Shade Hotel, Manhattan Beach, California – Hotel Feature” »

by Sophie Gayot

For those of you who want to learn more about the chefs who are the recipients of the 2013 U.S. Restaurant Awards, watch the video above. It was filmed during Chef Jamie Gwen’s radio show Food & Wine, which airs every Sunday morning in the Los Angeles area on KFWB News Talk 980.

Continue reading “The Southern California Winners of GAYOT 2013 Restaurant Issue” »



Find out which are the best restaurants in America for 2013

Find out which are the best restaurants in America for 2013

We have just published GAYOT’s Annual Restaurant Issue, which includes the highly-anticipated Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. list. The 2013 edition also names chef Thomas Keller as U.S. Best Restaurateur of the Year.


Of the Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. selected, nine of them did not appear on last year’s list, and three of those, The Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Michael Mina and The Willows Inn, are gracing the list for the very first time. Six that made Top 40 lists in earlier years are making a comeback: Bacchanalia, Bouley, CityZen, Corton, Georgian Room and The Restaurant at Meadowood. That means that nine from last year’s list did not make the cut: Cyrus, The Herbfarm, L’Espalier, Masa’s, Michel Richard Citronelle, Patina, Restaurant Eugene, TRU and Twist by Pierre Gagnaire.

Continue reading “GAYOT’s 2013 Restaurant Issue” »

GM's 4G technology will allow for faster and more sophisticated navigation systems

GM’s 4G technology will allow for faster and more sophisticated navigation systems

General Motors recently announced a partnership with AT&T that will bring 4G connectivity to most of its vehicles by 2014. With the new 4G system, cars will act as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing for back-seat video streaming, more sophisticated navigation and wireless internet access for multiple devices. While some companies such as Ford Motors are relying on systems that work through drivers’ smart phones, GM notes that an in-car 4G system would transfer data ten times faster than existing 3G networks, and holds the potential for constant updates and upgrades through the use of apps. Although the technology is still in the developmental stages, production is on the horizon and consumers can expect 4G in most 2015 model year Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. However, while General Motors may be the first out of the gates with Wi-Fi on the road, don’t be surprised to see other automakers follow suit in the near future — luxury brands such as Audi and BMW have already expressed interest in developing similar systems.

Continue reading “GM Partners with AT&T to Bring Wi-Fi to Vehicles — Car News” »

Winemaker Tom Hinde and Yao Ming

Winemaker Tom Hinde and Yao Ming

Yao Family Wines

by Barnaby Hughes

Former pro basketball player Yao Ming has not been idle since retiring from the Houston Rockets in July 2011. In addition to enrolling at the Shanghai Jaio Tong University and working on behalf of elephant conservation, the thirty-year old has begun producing a pair of premium Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons.

Yao Ming and Tom Hinde, President and Director of Winemaking of Yao Family Wines, presented the portfolio at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles recently. The grapes are sourced from multiple Napa sub-appellations and include small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

Continue reading “Yao Ming Launches Eponymous Wine Label” »

The Bushmills Irish Buck from FIVE restaurant in Berkeley, CA

The Bushmills Irish Buck from FIVE restaurant in Berkeley, CA

by AJ Rufus

The fifth-century priest who is credited with banishing snakes from Ireland, converting multitudes by using the shamrock to symbolize the Holy Trinity, and having an ashwood walking stick that miraculously transformed into a living tree would no doubt be stunned to know that his annual feast day — March 17 — is now celebrated largely in bars. But he could at least draw comfort from the fact that all this glass-raising has kept his name very much alive, which is more than we can say for St. Narcissus, St. Mathilda and St. Julian of Antioch, who also have feast days this week.

The patron saint of Ireland has also inspired mixologists to devise astounding St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, served only on or around March 17.

This weekend, the Napa Valley Grille in Los Angeles will be serving the kale-based Jolly Green Machine.

Continue reading “St. Patrick’s Day — We’re Not in Ireland Anymore” »

TSA will allow pocket knives on planes

TSA will allow pocket knives on planes

Samurais and winemakers traveling with their equipment still have to check their sabres and bottles, but starting April 25, small knives, novelty bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment currently banned from planes will be allowed on board, according to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) new carry-on rules.





Continue reading “TSA to Allow Small Knives, Golf Clubs, Bats and More on Planes – Travel News” »




by Sophie Gayot

The Vatican in Rome has a new Pope, while Culina Modern Italian, the restaurant at the Four Seasons at Beverly Hills, has a new chef: Mette Williams. I have been following her career as she worked her way through the kitchens of Wolfgang Puck‘s Spago Beverly Hills and CUT as well as Lexington Social House and One Pico.

Continue reading “New Chef at Culina Modern Italian” »

2013 Almost Famous Chef competition  Kristen Thibeault with Sophie Gayot

2013 Almost Famous Chef competition winner Kristen Thibeault with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

The winners of the 11th S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef competition, held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif., have just been announced.

During two challenges, The Mystery Basket yesterday, and The Signature Dish today, ten competitors had to prove to the judges that they can cook. The chef judges were Rick Moonen, Tony Mantuano, Jean Joho (2012 Best Restaurateur in the US), Michel Richard, Susur Lee, and Mark McEwan; the media judges Dana Cowin, Mitchell Davis, Jacob Richler, Betsy Andrews, and me.

Continue reading “S.Pellegrino 2013 Almost Famous Chef Competition Winners” »

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