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






by Sophie Gayot



Come Early, Stay Late Cookbook

Despite the names of the venues Brian Malarkey operates in the San Diego area — Searsucker and Herringbone, and the now-defunct Burlap, Gingham and Gabardine — he is not in the fabric business but rather in restaurants.

The “Top Chef“, who is also a judge/mentor on ABC-TV’s The Taste, has been doing a good job since his original restaurant, Searsucker, in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, made’s 2013 Hot 40 Restaurants in the U.S. The day I dropped by in the middle of the week in low-season, the restaurant was packed.

Continue reading “Eating with Chef Brian Malarkey” »

Bordeaux Under One Roof

on January 16th, 2014
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Guests enjoy a variety of wines from France's Bordeaux region


by Michelle Kwan


Bordeaux, France, stands at the pinnacle of wine production. This region comprises more than 45,000 acres of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) vines with over fifty appellations that yield Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, Cabernet Francs, Sauvignon Blancs and Semillions. Blends of these varietals have produced some of the finest wines in the world, making Bordeaux synonymous with superior wines. However, that doesn’t mean that all quality Bordeaux wines are unaffordable.

Continue reading “Bordeaux Under One Roof” »

La Rochelle 2012 Saralee's Vineyard Pinot Meunier

La Rochelle 2012 Saralee’s Vineyard Pinot Meunier

Price: $38

Rating: 15/20

Region: Russian River Valley, California

Varietal: 100 percent Pinot Meunier

Production: 866 cases

Alcohol: 13.9 percent

Tasting Notes: La Rochelle Winery is named after a town in France which Pierre Pellier sailed from in 1854 on his way to California. The founder of Mirassou Winery is known for introducing Pinot Noir to the Golden State. Fast-forward to the 2000s. Mirassou was sold to the Gallo family in 2002, and shortly after, sixth-generation descendants Daniel and Peter Mirassou started La Rochelle. In 2005, the brothers sold the brand to their cousin, Steven Kent Mirassou, who produces Continue reading “La Rochelle 2012 Saralee’s Vineyard Pinot Meunier – Wine of the Week Review” »

Try skydiving and bumper cars at sea!



by Patricia Mack


Boredom will be a thing of the past on Royal Caribbean’s two new ships, the first in a new Quantum class. They will be the first at sea to offer attractions such as simulated skydiving, bumper cars, roller skating and an observation capsule inspired by the London Eye. The capsule, called The North Star, can hold 14 people and is attached to a crane-like arm with a bird’s-eye view 303 feet above sea level for spectacular vistas of the ship at sea as well as ports of call.

Continue reading “Royal Caribbean’s two new Quantum cruise ships” »

Amabito no Moshio

Amabito no Moshio Sea Salt

Mineral-Rich Gourmet Sea Salt

In business since 1926, Mutual Trading Co. imports an extensive range of Japanese beverages and specialty food items into the U.S.

We sampled their artisanal sea salt, Amabito no Moshio, which is made by the Kamagari Bussan Company on the tiny island of Kami-Kamagari in Western Japan.

Continue reading “Amabito no Moshio Sea Salt — Review” »

Moroccan Nights

on January 08th, 2014
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by Sophie Gayot
During my dinner last week at Acabàr, located in an iconic, storied building on Sunset Boulevard, I was wowed by the décor. The Meschin brothers — owners of The Little Door and Little Next Door — along with Roland Emmerich, Jerry Murray and Sue Choi did an amazing job restoring the former Moroccan restaurant Dar Maghreb that had been there for 42 years.
Continue reading “Moroccan Nights” »

The exterior of Ellenborough Park in the Cotswolds

The exterior of Ellenborough Park in the Cotswolds

When Ellenborough Park was built in the early 1500s, it was known as Southam House because it was situated on Southam Manor, which was owned by King Henry VII and covered two-thirds of the land in the village. Over its 500-year history, the house has changed hands numerous times, undergoing facelifts and additions, including a cross wing, grand staircase and rooms paneled in oak.

Continue reading “Ellenborough Park, Cotswolds – Hotel Review” »

Prats & Symington 2011 Post Scriptum de Chryseia

Prats & Symington 2011 Post Scriptum de Chryseia

Price: $22

Rating: 14.5/20

Region: Douro, Portugal

Varietals: 56 percent Touriga Nacional, 30 percent Touriga Franca, 7 percent Tinta Barroca & 7 percent Tinta Roriz

Production: 6,000 cases

Alcohol: 13.9 percent

Tasting Notes: Although the dramatic, hilly landscape of Portugal’s Douro Valley is best known for its Port, the region produces just as much table wine as it does fortified wine. In 1999, the Symington family (owners of many Port brands, including Warre’s, Dow’s and Graham’s) partnered with Bordeaux winemaker Bruno Prats (formerly of Château Cos d’Estournel) in order to improve the quality of their table wines. They launched the flagship Chryseia label with the 2000 Continue reading “Prats & Symington 2011 Post Scriptum de Chryseia – Wine of the Week Review” »

Where to Dine in 2014

on January 03rd, 2014
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How to find the best restaurants

Clockwise from upper left: The Church Key, Hakkasan (Beverly Hills), Lazare (Paris), Hôtel Plaza Athénée (Paris)

by Sophie Gayot
As 2013 has ended, aren’t you looking forward to know where to dine in 2014?
We have a few things that can help.
Listen to my latest interview on chef Jamie Gwen’s radio show, which is now syndicated throughout America, where we discussed (listen to show here):
– chef Michel Richard’s new restaurant in New York, Villard at The New York Palace;
chef Jeff Mahin’s new additions to the Chicago scene, Summer House Santa Monica and Stella Barra Pizzeria;
Michael Mina’s PUB 1842 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, and Sam Marvin’s Echo & Rig Butcher and Steakhouse in Las Vegas;
– then we went to Paris to talk about the major renovation going on at the Dorchester Collection’s Hôtel Plaza Athénée, and chef Eric Frechon‘s new gourmet bistro Lazare;
– we finished the journey in Los Angeles at Hakkasan, the new Chinese restaurant in Beverly Hills, and chef Steven Fretz’s The Church Key in West Hollywood, which is already so popular, it’s hard to get a table.

Continue reading “Where to Dine in 2014” »






Barnie's CoffeeKitchen Barnie's Blend Pronto! Liquid Coffee

Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen Barnie’s Blend Pronto! Liquid Coffee



Reviewed by Sylvie Greil

Instant coffee has come a long way since its invention under patent number 3518 in New Zealand in 1890. The standard bearer of this type has always been Nestle’s Nescafé, but then came Starbucks in the ‘90s and the still brewing coffee revolution and poof, instant coffee became a relic of a dusty past. But now, we harried and ever-stressed masses love things “insta” again.”

Continue reading “Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen Pronto! — Review” »

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