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






Dress Up Your Drink!




Stone Cask Ice Rounds

Stone Cask Ice Rounds

For the last few years, we’ve been noticing large, spherical ice rounds in craft cocktails. They’re impressive looking, so at first we assumed they served a purely decorative function. Pioneered by Tokyo’s avant-garde bartenders, the round stuff actually does more than dress up your drink.

Continue reading “Stone Cask Ice Rounds – Review” »



Chef Jon Shook and chef Vinny Dotolo

Chefs Vinny Dotolo, Michelle Berstein and Jon Shook with Adrian Si, Events & Paternship Manager at Lexus, with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Working in the world of chefs and restaurants, I see the name “Lexus” very often. The car company, which started with two luxury sedans in 1989, loves food. Over the years, it has become a sponsor of major culinary events throughout the country.

To reinforce that passion, the Lexus Culinary Masters team was created in 2011. Two new chefs have just been added to the circle: Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo from Animal restaurant on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles. They joined Daniel Boulud, chef/owner of Daniel (one of GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. since 2004); Michael Chiarello, chef/owner of Bottega and Coqueta; Dean Fearing, chef/partner of Fearing’s restaurant; Christopher Kostow, executive chef of The Restaurant at Meadowood (one of GAYOT’s 2013 Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.); Masaharu Morimoto, chef/owner of Morimoto restaurants; Michael Symon, chef/owner of Lola Bistro; and Michelle Bernstein, chef/owner of Michy’s.

Continue reading “When the Animal becomes a Master” »




Spanish Bramble cocktail at Range Restaurant

Spanish Bramble cocktail at Range


by Anneli Rufus

Getting into the appetite-stimulating spirit, San Francisco’s Range has launched a new “Aperitif Hour.” This innovative program includes a special menu of aperitif cocktails and exclusive sherries, amaros and vermouths along with bar snacks designed to pair perfectly with aperitifs — all served daily at the sleek, popular Mission District restaurant between 5 and 6 p.m.

Continue reading “It’s “Aperitif Hour” at Range” »

A guest room at the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai

A guest room at the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai

by Evelyn Chen

Between the busloads of tourists and the history buffs that flock to this Bund landmark to experience a piece of Shanghai’s history, the public spaces at the Fairmont Peace Hotel might not quite embody its name. But what the property lacks in tranquility, it more than makes up for in iconic status, given its storied past as the Cathay Hotel, built in 1929 and then owned by one of the city’s most notable businessmen, Sir Victor Sassoon.

Continue reading “Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai – Review” »

Juvé y Camps 2007 Millesimé Reserva

Juvé y Camps 2007 Millesimé Reserva

Price : $22

Rating: 13.5/20

Region: Catalonia, Spain

Varietal: 100 percent Chardonnay

Production: 7,500 cases

Alcohol: 12 percent

Tasting Notes: Juvé y Camps was founded in 1921 by Joan Juvé Baqués and his wife Teresa Camps Farré. The winery produces some of Spain’s finest Cavas, which are regularly served at royal and state functions. Made from fruit grown on the winery’s oldest estate vineyard, Espiells, the 2007 Millesimé Reserva was bottle-aged for 26-28 months, resulting in a well-balanced wine. It boasts Continue reading “Juvé y Camps 2007 Millesimé Reserva – Wine of the Week Review” »

Attendees of the Urban Wine Experience select soup and canapés to pair with wine

Attendees of the Urban Wine Experience select soup and canapés to pair with wine

by Anneli Rufus

We’ve all heard of the Napa Valley Wine Country and the Sonoma County Wine Country. Brace yourself for another one, easily reachable by public transit from San Francisco:

It’s the East Bay Wine Country.

Continue reading “Urban Wine Experience Puts Oakland on the Wine Map” »

by Sophie Gayot

If you head to the Italian restaurant Il Grano in West Los Angeles, and chat with chef Sal(vatore) Marino, you will have no doubt that he is in love with the tomatoes he grows at the restaurant and at his home garden. With the more than twenty varieties that he planted this year, he has so many different fruits at his disposal to create delicate dishes all around “pomodoro” that his inspiration is endless.

Continue reading “When A Chef Is In Love With His Tomatoes” »

Freemark Abbey 2012 Viognier

Freemark Abbey 2012 Viognier

Price: $32

Rating: 14/20

Region: Napa Valley, California

Varietal: 100 percent Viognier

Production: 1,503 cases

Alcohol: 15.1 percent

Tasting Notes: At the Judgment of Paris in 1976, California wines triumphed over French wines in a blind tasting. Freemark Abbey was the only California winery to have both a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay selected to compete. The winery’s 2012 Viognier is a crisp, full-bodied wine. Its heady tropical fruit and floral aromas entice upon entry. Citrus and stone fruit flavors in the Continue reading “Freemark Abbey 2012 Viognier – Wine of the Week Review” »

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