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




  • pinitbutton Historic Inglenook Winery Restored to Former Glory   Wine News
inglenook label front 300x200 Historic Inglenook Winery Restored to Former Glory   Wine News

Front side of Inglenook 2009 CASK Cabernet Sauvignon, featuring 1941 label design

If you avoid Inglenook wines because of their subpar reputation, it’s time to rethink that notion. Founded in 1880 by Finnish sea captain Gustave Niebaum, Inglenook was actually one of the earliest and greatest of Napa Valley wine estates. But in 1964, it was broken up and sold off, and the brand became associated with cheap box wines.

Over the past few decades, filmmaker/wine entrepreneur Francis Ford Coppola has devoted a tremendous amount of money and energy to reviving this historic brand. He began buying up parts of the 235-acre estate in 1975, issuing wines under the Niebaum-Coppola label. In 2006, he changed the label to Rubicon Estate, and five years later to Inglenook when he finally completed the estate’s reunification. He also hired Château Margaux winemaker Philippe Bascaules to change the public perception of the Inglenook brand and restore it to its former glory.

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  • pinitbutton 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards
james beard awards 300x237 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards

2012 James Beard Foundation Awards

25 Years of Food at its Best

by Alain Gayot and David Farley

The first week of May is often dominated by thoughts of where to go for the long Memorial Day weekend at the end of the month. Or about summer travel, in general. For foodies, though, it’s about one thing: the James Beard Awards. As per usual, the awards took place this week at Lincoln Center and were a glorious gala of the country’s best of the best in the food industry.

Chefs and attendees flew in from across the country, but the home team did very well. New York was well represented in the winner’s circle with Eleven Madison Park’s chef, Daniel Humm, taking the cake, or, rather the top award for Best Chef while Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi took home honors for Rising Chef. In the Best Chef NYC category, Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony was the big winner. Other Big Apple restaurants and individuals that received awards included Terroir’s Paul Grieco for Outstanding Beer, Wine, and Spirits Professional and La Grenouille for Outstanding Service.

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  • pinitbutton Jordan Winery Celebrates 40th Anniversary   Wine News
london west hollywood pool 300x200 Jordan Winery Celebrates 40th Anniversary   Wine News

Jordan Winery's 40th anniversary celebration at the London West Hollywood

Top Form at 40

It was 40 centuries ago that the production of wine took place in what is today Armenia and Iran and, yes, China most probably had been making fermented fruit juices another 40 centuries earlier. At 40 years young, John Jordan and Jordan Winery are following in our ancestors’ footsteps and more recently his Mom and Dad, Sally and Tom Jordan, who gave birth to the winery and their son forty years ago. And what an enterprise it is. It took a fortune made in the oil and gas exploration business to power its development. Tom, a geology engineer, had to keep his hands and feet underground to satisfy his thirst.

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  • pinitbutton Mt. Brave Wines   Wine News
P1270363 1 300x235 Mt. Brave Wines   Wine News

Mt. Brave wines

A Brave New Wine

Native Americans and early settlers hunted animals with bows and arrows so they could feed themselves and their families. But a lucky few wielding those old-school weapons were able to enjoy a gourmet wild game meal on Sunday, washed down by fine Napa Valley red wines, no matter how badly they aimed.

The occasion was the exclusive launch party for the new Mt. Brave wine label at the Houdini Estate in Los Angeles, where three wines and a mini-archery range magically appeared. Mt. Brave winemaker Chris Carpenter, who has worked on other top Kendall-Jackson Napa mountain vineyards such as Lokoya and Cardinale, introduced the inaugural 2008 vintage, which includes 1,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon ($75), 100 cases of Merlot ($60) and 100 cases of Malbec ($60).

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  • pinitbutton The Peninsula Beverly Hills Completes Year Long Renovation
the blue suite1 300x168 The Peninsula Beverly Hills Completes Year Long Renovation

The bedroom of the Grand Deluxe Suite by Nancy Corzine: The "Blue Suite" at The Peninsula Beverly Hills

Pretty in Pink, Blue, White and Green Suites

by Alain Gayot

Princes are graduating to kings thanks to The Peninsula Beverly Hills‘ recently remodeled suites. The year-long renovation transformed 193 guest rooms of the hotel, including luxurious villas and four individually designed suites – The Peninsula Suite, The Royal Patio Suite, The Grand Deluxe Suite (all three designed by Forchielli Glynn) and The Grand Deluxe Suite by Nancy Corzine. Each features its own color palette and style – The Peninsula Suite, or The Green Suite, has an “East-meets-West” feel; The Royal Patio Suite is nicknamed The White Suite for its cream-toned backgrounds and drapery; The Grand Deluxe Suite is also called The Pink Suite; and The Grand Deluxe Suite by Nancy Corzine, or The Blue Suite, showcases an ice blue palette accented with Venetian silver, cream and white, as well as Corzine’s signature line of furniture, textiles and lighting designs. Reservations begin at $6,000 for The Grand Deluxe Suite (Pink Suite), $6,795 for The Grand Deluxe Suite (Blue Suite), $7,000 for the The Peninsula Suite (Green Suite), $8,000 for The Royal Patio Suite (White Suite) and $9,700 for The Peninsula Villa.

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  • pinitbutton General Motors Buys Stake in Peugeot
cadillac deville1 300x204 General Motors Buys Stake in Peugeot

Cadillac, the iconic car of GM

When GM means Grand Marriage

by André Gayot

I love reunions, reconciliations, rapprochements, consolidations, alliances, coalitions, engagements and weddings. They all contain a sign of peace and while they are not always evidence of love, in many cases they demonstrate the power of reason. That’s why I find myself rejoicing at the announcement that American General Motors plans to acquire 7% of French Peugeot. It’s the nicer side of globalization: a marriage of convenience and — even better — perhaps also a marriage of love.

GM (which in this instance could stand for Grand Marriage) has always loved things French. Perhaps this is because it was co-founded by William C. Durant who also co-founded Chevrolet with Louis Chevrolet of French –Swiss descent. Chevrolet later merged with GM, which baptized its prestigious machines with French names like DeVille, Biarritz, Orléans, LaSalle, Pontiac and Corvette. The name of its iconic brand Cadillac, synonymous the world over with luxury, elegance and quality, is borrowed from the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac who founded the city of Detroit — another French name.

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Buick Food & Wine

on January 25th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Buick Food & Wine
buick test drive cars 300x200 Buick Food & Wine

Buick Discovery Tour

The General’s Art

by Alain Gayot

The automobile is not only a favored mode of transportation but also an objet d’art. Cars are designed not just to be driven, but to be looked at and admired. They often come in flashy, eye-catching colors, adorned with shiny chrome and festooned with insignia, spoilers and racing stripes. Some are even displayed in museums and art galleries.

In the right hands, food and wine can be art as well. Emphasizing the artful connection between gourmet food and wine and fine automobiles, Buick has hired top chefs to help them market their line of cars. Together with sponsor Food & Wine magazine, Buick is taking its Discovery Tour around the country. We had the pleasure of playing “art critic” when the tour pulled into the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills this past weekend.

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Kia Design Experience

on December 05th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Kia Design Experience
kia soul 300x237 Kia Design Experience

The Kia Soul in Seoul, South Korea

A Design DNA that Started with a Soul

by Alain Gayot

Kia, the South Korean automobile manufacturer, is on fire, having come a long way from their early days when they simply manufactured bicycles. The name itself means “arise out of Asia,” and that’s exactly what’s happening. Sales of the well-priced cars are up as consumers are taking a liking to the style, performance and value offered by the brand. Not long ago, sophisticated buyers would have frowned at the thought of settling for a Kia automobile. Today, many are proud and consider their purchase a wise investment.

Kia Motors started producing steel tubing and bicycle parts in 1944 and their own bicycles in 1951, then graduated to scooters and motorcycles and manufacturing trucks and automobiles designed elsewhere. Over time, the company gained more expertise in building engines. It was not until 1994 that the Kia Sephia, an entry-level sedan, was offered in the United States, followed a year later by the Sportage, a small SUV with off-road capabilities. From there, things grew exponentially.

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  • pinitbutton Joyeux Anniversaire Nicolas Feuillatte
IMG 4207 1 300x214 Joyeux Anniversaire Nicolas Feuillatte

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte's 35th anniversary logo

35th Anniversary Party

by Alain Gayot

If you need an excuse for a party or a reason to celebrate, turn to Nicolas Feuillatte. The man himself who created a new Champagne label in the twentieth century was a master at haute parties in the Big Apple, entertaining the likes of Jackie Onassis, Shirley MacLaine, Sophia Loren and Lauren Bacall to name just a few. We took part in the celebrations at a famous John Lautner-designed triangular house perched high in Beverly Hills; a modern house, yet older then the Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne label. The very happy few sampled passed appetizers washed down with the Brut, the Rosé and some Palme D’Or 1999. At 35 years old, the brand is selling more bottles each year than ever before. Today owned by the Centre Vinicole de Champagne, you may find the beverage at a retailer near you, on a restaurant wine list or on your favorite airline. For the occasion, they have created a 35th Anniversary Keepsake Canister, a classic Keepsake Gift box by 2009 Artist of the Year Aspassio Haronitaki for the Rose, and for the holidays, a box of Brut NV with two flutes. We’ll toast to the brand’s achievements: holding the #1 spot in France and #3 worldwide.

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  • pinitbutton 405 Freeway Closure at Mulholland Bridge

Carmageddon Did Not Happen

by Sophie Gayot

Today my favorite pilot, my brother Alain, flew me over the closed 405 freeway to see the progress on the demolition of the Mulholland Bridge. Over the past few days, this Los Angeles event has become nationwide news.

I have to say it was very impressive to see the 405 empty of regular traffic. I hope that the drivers of the few cars and trucks that were circulating on it enjoyed their ride, and must feel privileged — and they should. Watch my video to get some great views of the almost demolished bridge.

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