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




  • pinitbutton New Interactive Sony Stores Offer Latest Electronics
sony store century city 300x225 New Interactive Sony Stores Offer Latest Electronics

A colorful display in the new Sony store at the Westfield Century City mall

by Alain Gayot 

Consumers have been spoiled by the Internet, allowing them to buy thousands of dollars of the latest technology from virtual stores like Amazon without even getting dressed. Smart retailers realize they have to offer shoppers more and more in order for them to spend the time, gas money and energy to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Responding to the heightened competition, Sony is rebranding its retail stores while making them more fully interactive.

Opening today at Westfield Century City shopping mall in Los Angeles is the first newly branded Sony store in the U.S. Seven more are poised to open later this year, with a vast roll out scheduled for 2012. Steve Krajenka, VP for Retail Stores at Sony, is proud to showcase to visitors and buyers what the new Sony stores are all about. “Yes, the design of our retail stores is important,” says Krajenka, “but it’s more about having the product stand out so that customers can touch, feel and play around with pieces of electronic merchandise.” Moreover, the store is staffed with Sony sophisticated users, not just salespeople.

Continue reading “New Interactive Sony Stores Offer Latest Electronics” »

Ferrari Style

on July 29th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Ferrari Style
ferrari engine 300x182 Ferrari Style

Ferrari F430 engine

A Day in the Life of a Ferrari Rally

by Alain Gayot


Once upon a time we had a chance to participate in a Ferrari Rally, which is one of the many events that the prestigious Italian manufacturer of GT cars gets involved in.
The mostly red cars with the prancing horse have crossed deserts and ascended mountain passes in all sorts of conditions over time to demonstrate the capabilities of the automobiles beyond racetracks. Their lead in wins at the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is a testament to their performance and endurance, and a billboard for sales. Continue reading “Ferrari Style” »

  • pinitbutton FIJI Waters A Dinner with the True Tastemakers of Los Angeles
fiji water main 300x247 FIJI Waters A Dinner with the True Tastemakers of Los Angeles

FIJI Natural Artesian Water

Just Add Water [and a Bit of Cash]

by Alain Gayot

Anyone with discerning taste wants to arrive in a brand new luxurious environmentally-friendly Lexus hybrid, sport a Christian Dior suit, be able to give you the time from their Cartier watch. . . and be seen drinking out of a FIJI Water bottle. We were exposed to this luxe lifestyle recently at Galerie Half in the company of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LA City Council President Eric Garcetti, a bunch of distinguished guests from fashion houses, local chefs—courtesy of Lynda and Stewart Resnick of Teleflora, POM Wonderful fame—and owners of the crisp and pure FIJI Natural Artesian Water.

Continue reading “FIJI Water’s A Dinner with the True Tastemakers of Los Angeles” »


  • pinitbutton Top Chef Michael Voltaggio Moves On
mike voltaggio 300x265 Top Chef Michael Voltaggio Moves On

Top Chef, Season 6 Winner Michael Voltaggio

Volte-face from one of the Voltaggio brothers

by Alain Gayot


A sports recruiter standing on the sidelines can pick out a young athlete and get a feel for his potential performance and ensuing achievements. Meeting Michael Voltaggio was a bit like that. Instantly, we felt that his performance would deliver continued success in his culinary career. He is a tremendous creative asset for any kitchen, and his food is something you look forward to eating time and again even if not all the dishes are successful one hundred percent of the time.




  • pinitbutton World Class Driving Car Club
slr 203 300x258 World Class Driving Car Club
Alain Gayot getting ready to break the speed barrier with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren

Breaking the 200 MPH Speed Barrier With World Class Driving

by Alain Gayot


Some say that hitting 200 mph in an automobile is equivalent to breaking the sound barrier in an airplane. Technically, there is a 568 mph difference, and yes, 200 mph on the road is scary fast. But for [rich] adrenaline junkies, it’s guaranteed to satisfy. In addition, you are in total control of the vehicle, albeit with a racing instructor in the passenger seat. If you tried on your own, providing you had the right tool, you probably could not and would not make it.



Enter World Class Driving and their friendly and experienced instructors, and your dream comes true. Well, it could. Not that it ever was my dream to achieve that speed on the ground, but I did have the opportunity do to it and was comfortable enough to try. I thought, “What’s the big deal?” I had gone that fast flying airplanes (and even up to twice the speed of sound flying the Concorde as a passenger). Let me tell you, this is just as thrilling, but requires much more work, preparation and precise coordination.


Continue reading “World Class Driving Car Club” »



  • pinitbutton Dom Perignon Rose Oenotheque 1990
img 1102 300x225 Dom Perignon Rose Oenotheque 1990

Dom Pérignon Rosé Oenothèque 1990

Two-Bottle Lunch

by Alain Gayot

Every once in a while we have the chance to catch up with Richard Goeffroy, Chef de Cave extraordinaire at the fabled Abbey of Hautviller’s Dom Pérignon and France’s master Champagne producer. Real life people like Marilyn Monroe and fictitious characters such as James Bond have loved and publicized DP since the 1950’s, and we’d like to continue that tradition humbly.

It’s a rather easy task, however, considering the products we sampled during a “casual” lunch: we’re talking lobster and foie gras at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills with Richard and Dom Perignon Ambassador Nicole Ruvo. The entire experience was magical and ethereal and priceless considering the company and the two bottles we sampled.

Continue reading “Dom Perignon Rose Oenotheque 1990” »


The New GM

on February 23rd, 2010
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  • pinitbutton The New GM
img 1052 300x225 The New GM
Vice Chairman of GM Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz Drives Home a Few Key Points for the Energized Automaker and the Industry as a Whole


by Alain Gayot


From his early upbringing in Zurich and cross educational platforms in Lausanne and UC Berkeley to a five year stint as a US Marine Naval Aviator, Vice Chairman of GM Robert Lutz has been a citizen of the auto world. With positions at General Motors in Europe starting in 1963, BMW, Ford Europe and U.S., Chrysler and back in the General ranks since 2002, the multi-lingual executive wants to hang on until his “Intense Focus on Superior Products” doctrine sticks at The New GM. “Our J.D. Power Initial Quality Study results are at par with Honda and Toyota… and we can still do much better,” claims Lutz. “Residual values for our new models are up,” he added, “sales are up, and we are energized with the launch of the Volt in the fall of 2010.”


Continue reading “The New GM” »



  • pinitbutton Champagne Krug Clos dAmbonnay
img 3538 1 287x300 Champagne Krug Clos dAmbonnay
Clos d’Ambonnay cork and capsule with cage

Krug is it, Monsieur le President!

by Alain Gayot




Since it’s no longer politically correct to take the Gulfstream Jet around, we suggest you trade it in for a couple of cases of Krug Clos d’Ambonnay. It seems the two have about the same value these days. Yes, at $2,250 a bottle, this ultra Champagne is très cool, très, très bon and très, très, très cher… but no one has to know it costs that much, right?




Set up a listing on eBay and get rid of the kerosene-guzzling airplane and do the environment some good; Sarah Palin did it. The big difference is that you’d be hard-pressed to sell the carbon-footprint-handicapped flying machine in these economic times; while filling your Riedel flute with a few drops of the golden beverage is nearly impossible.


Continue reading “Champagne Krug Clos d’Ambonnay” »

Porsche Panamera

on November 24th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Porsche Panamera
porsche panamera turbo 300x235 Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Power of Four

by Alain Gayot

The definition of a Porsche could be along the lines of: Sleek and efficient German-made two-seat sports car with a mid-or rear-positioned engine with impeccable handling.
  So, why is it that when the engineers in Stuttgart move the engine to the front and add two more doors, the car flies even higher, on a business level? And, it’s an SUV to boot, which could not be furthest from the definition of what the iconic car born circa 1946 had been, and it’s been Porsche’s top seller since inception.  

  Continue reading “Porsche Panamera” »

  • pinitbutton Gayot Visits Hell’s Kitchen for the Finale of Season 6

By Jeff Hoyt


Our own Alain Gayot appeared as a judge on the season finale of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX-TV on Tuesday October 13, and showed that his taste matched that of chef and host Gordon Ramsay. In the first showdown between the final two competitors, filmed outside of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in downtown Los Angeles, Alain preferred Dave Levey’s rack of venison with sour cream and chive parsnip purée over Kevin Cottle’s petite clambake with poached lobster and clam pudding. Despite fracturing his wrist during the production, Dave went on to win this sixth season of competition, and the position of head chef at Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, British Columbia.

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