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




Wines of Morocco

on September 30th, 2013
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A selection of Ouled Thaleb wines at the one-year anniversary event at Rustic L.E.S.

A selection of Ouled Thaleb wines at the one-year anniversary event at Rustic L.E.S.

by Michelle Kwan

When you think of Morocco, you may conjure up its vast stretches of desert, labyrinthine bazaars, or even the Bogart movie “Casablanca.” But have you ever thought of this Islamic nation as wine country?

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Ouled Thaleb 2010 Syrah

Ouled Thaleb 2010 Syrah

Price : $16

Rating: 13.5/20

Region: Zenata, Morocco

Varietal: 100 percent Syrah

Production: 450 cases imported

Tasting Notes: Founded in 1923, Domaine Ouled Thaleb is a leader in the revival of Morocco’s wine industry. The winery is located on the coast near Casablanca where it combines sustainable farming with a mix of indigenous varietals, such as Faranah, and international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot and Syrah. An easy-drinking wine, the 2010 Syrah boasts spicy black fruit flavors balanced by moderate acidity and supple tannins.

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Pinot in the City: Oregon's Willamette Valley to Los Angeles

Pinot in the City: Oregon’s Willamette Valley to Los Angeles

by Barnaby Hughes

It’s not every day that representatives of 65 Willamette Valley wineries leave Oregon, especially to come to Los Angeles. Besides distance (about 1,000 miles), Oregon wineries face stiff competition from California wineries, which tend to be older and larger and have better brand recognition. At “Pinot in the City,” a tasting event organized by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, hundreds of Oregon winemakers and proprietors brought a selection of their finest wines to The Ebell of Los Angeles, an historic women’s club.


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República del Cacao chocolate bar

República del Cacao chocolate bar

Chocolate Prices on the Rise

Love chocolate? You have lots of company. Increased consumption in Asia and Latin America and an upswing in sales in Europe and the U.S. have brought global chocolate demand to an all-time high. The bad news is that manufacturers are facing an unprecedented rise in the price of cocoa butter, the almost-magical ingredient which helps give chocolate its creamy, irresistible texture.

Continue reading “Paying for Chocolate Bars with Gold Bars?” »

Trefethen 2010 Dragon's Tooth

Trefethen 2010 Dragon’s Tooth

Price : $75

Rating: 15.5/20

Region: Napa Valley (Oak Knoll District), California

Varietals: 58 percent Malbec, 22 percent Cabernet Sauvignon & 20 percent Petit Verdot

Production: 980 cases

Alcohol: 14.8 percent

Tasting Notes: Dragon’s Tooth is a proprietary red blend that pays homage to the Trefethen family’s Welsh heritage. Adorning the bottle label is the guardian and symbol of Wales, a red dragon. Made entirely from estate-grown grapes, the 2010 Dragon’s Tooth is bold and big-bodied. Well-structured to take Continue reading “Trefethen Family Vineyards 2010 Dragon’s Tooth – Wine of the Week Review” »

Farm-to-Table, Island-Style

on September 19th, 2013
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Fruit on display at the Kaanapali Fresh celebration on the island of Maui

Fruit on display at the Ka’anapali Fresh celebration on the island of Maui

by Leslie Kelly

Aloha from Maui, the Magic Isle known for its super sweet “Gold” pineapple, onions, sugar cane and the best banana bread on the planet.

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View from a lodging at Big Bear Lake, CA

View from a lodging at Big Bear Lake, CA

Nothing says fall like the changing of the leaves, perfect weather, Oktoberfest and the great outdoors. And what better way to experience this magical time of year than by saving money while you do it? But you have to move fast.

Continue reading “Big Bear’s 48-Hour Fall Lodging Special” »


on September 16th, 2013
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Jeff Hoyt gets airborne

Jeff Hoyt gets airborne via flyboard at Big Bear Lake, CA

Above Big Bear Lake Without a Net

To speed across the water, first came surfboarding, then sailboarding, paddleboarding, wakeboarding and kiteboarding. Now there’s a way to speed across and above the water: flyboarding.

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Abeja 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Abeja 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon

Price : $45

Rating: 15/20

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington

Varietals: 94 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 4 percent Merlot & 2 percent Petit Verdot

Production: 1,913 cases

Alcohol: 14.9 percent

Tasting Notes: Located in the Walla Walla Valley, Abeja is a beautifully restored historic estate comprising an inn and a winery. One of GAYOT’s Top 10 Wine Country Inns in the U.S., The Inn at Abeja provides guests a great way to experience the region and its wines, including Abeja’s fine Cabernet Sauvignon. Sourced from four vineyards, including Sagemoor Farms, Hedges Estate, Red Mountain Continue reading “Abeja 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon – Wine of the Week Review” »

The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes

By Tony Conigliaro

(Ten Speed Press, 2013)


The Chemistry of Cocktails

When it comes to instructional books, we often hear the word “art” thrown around — the art of filleting a fish, the art of screenwriting, the art of whittling — but not many are quite as literal as molecular mixology master Tony Conigliaro’s The Cocktail Lab. Not only is the book’s presentation an aesthetic delight, from the retro cover with metallic accents to the clean layout of text and illustration, but each photo is a still-life portrait of the featured cocktail, making it almost as delicious to consume visually.

Continue reading “The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes – Review” »

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