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Chef Yousef Ghalaini’s smoked salmon salad at FIG restaurant requires Chardonnay

Chef Yousef Ghalaini’s smoked salmon salad at FIG restaurant requires Chardonnay

 

by André Gayot


Attractive and sporty Molly Hill, winemaker of seven years at Sequoia Grove (Rutherford, California), teamed up with Yousef Ghalaini, the new chef of FIG restaurant in the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows (Santa Monica, California) to pair her wines with his food.


As Sequoia Grove focuses on prime Cabernet Sauvignons, the theme of the demonstration was that Cabs can accommodate a whole variety of dishes. Maybe not the smoked salmon salad, though. For the fish, Sequoia Grove has a flowery Napa Valley Chardonnay ($28).
Continue reading “Cabernet Sauvignon Fits All Foods…Well, Almost” »



 

How Garlic Flew on the Wings of War

 

A watercolor of the famed harbor by artist Liz Sydenham

Artist Liz Sydenham captures scenes of the life on the Isle. Here, a yacht in the harbor of Yarmouth.

 

 

by André Gayot

 

Garlic is not usually associated with England. However, the small Isle of Wight, a sentinel of Great Britain off its southeastern coast in the English Channel, produces a surprising amount of the fragrant bulbs. One would think the Romans introduced garlic to their former 1st century colony, but it was not them. In fact, it was much much later and due to an unbelievable combination of circumstances.

Continue reading “The Woodstock of Europe: Isle of Wight Attracts Thousands of Sail Boats, Musicians & Garlic Lovers” »



 

With her 151,400 tons,
her mighty majesty indeed rules the waves

 

verrazano-brigde-new-york

The majestic Queen Mary 2 sets sail beneath the expansive Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

by André Gayot

The Statue of Liberty fades away in the mist as we just slip underneath the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, the lapping strengthens, the breeze broadens out and the sky darkens. Continue reading “Crossing the North Atlantic in Style on the Queen Mary 2” »



A Call to Gastronomes

on February 11th, 2013
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11

Feb

Some chefs are real tyrants!

Some chefs are real tyrants!

Let’s Fight the Taming of the Chew


by André Gayot


Four hour dinners; endless degustation menus encompassing 40 dishes; tyrannical chefs leaving no choice to clients who are expected to behave docilely; cooks parading and fishing for our admiration, sporting their names everywhere; all of this crowned by astronomical bills; that is the vision of a good portion of the contemporary fine dining experience depicted by our colleague Corby Kummer in his recent Vanity Fair article. While deploring in detail this regrettable spread of theatrical ego and auto-satisfaction, he humorously wishes modest and reasonable chefs like Alain Passard (L’Arpège in Paris) and Jacques Pépin lead a hungry crowd with forks and knives against the above described tyranny.


It won’t harm anyone to be equitable and admit a large portion of responsibility on our part, food writers, beginning with us. When we launched the magazine Le Nouveau Guide GaultMillau in March of 1969, we revealed to the public the names, faces and talents of 50 unknown new young chefs who became the centurions of the Nouvelle Cuisine. Guess what happened: their descendants are now every other day on the NBCs and CNNs of the world presenting their latest concoctions. They want to be famous with their names in capital letters beginning with their own establishment(s).

Continue reading “A Call to Gastronomes” »



24

Jan

by André Gayot


I wonder: is there a single best restaurant in the entire world? On what basis could such a global title be awarded? Yet some have made a business of an annual proclamation with great fanfare of “The best restaurant in the world.”


To place things in perspective, let me remind you of the old tale of the three eateries competing on Main Street, Trouduculville, a former Canadian trapper post in Northern Nebraska. Mac Adam Smith, descendant of a Scottish settler, opened the first restaurant there and dubbed it with some restraint, “The best in town.” Gregory Braun, whose grandfather emigrated from Hungary between the two world wars had a broader ambition and embellished his establishment with the nickname, “The best in the country.” As to the latest restaurateur, Arturo Martinez of Mexican descent, he placidly ended the debate when he posted a big sign on the façade that read, “The best on the street.” That confirms that all things are relative, n’est-ce pas?

Continue reading “Can Old Pots Make It To The Top?” »



12

Sep

Divinamente Italiano restaurant in Paris

Divinamente Italiano restaurant in Paris

by Andre Gayot


Craving Italian food while in Paris? Why not? And forget the old adage “When in Rome…” or “… in Paris.”


Italian chow is the preferred foreign cuisine of the French, who admit that since the conquest of the Gauls by Julius Caesar, Italians are not really foreigners. The French have embraced Italian cuisine as well as Italian art, culture and social organization, and hired Leonardo da Vinci to build palaces for their kings who married powerful or beautiful women — the latest being Carla, the spouse of Sarkozy. They also learned from them to eat with forks. It’s no surprise that there’s no dearth of Italian eateries in Paris.


Our friend Jean-Claude Ribaud, one of the most respected food critics in France, has visited — or revisited — a fistful of old and new Parisian Italian restaurants. For more on Italian cuisine at large, read John Mariani’s How Italian Food Conquered the World.

Continue reading “When in Paris, Do As the Romans Do” »



Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

A globalization-trotter asks: Should France sell the Eiffel Tower?


by Andre Gayot


A Chinese billionaire has just purchased the most glamorous Burgundy wine estate, Gevrey-Chambertin, which was owned by the same French family for more than 150 years, at an astronomical price. Why not? The problem, though, may be that there are more Chinese billionaires eager to buy vineyards in France than there are glamorous wine estates in the hills of Burgundy and on the banks of the Garonne. Some fear that, in the future, top French wines will exhibit a too-strong Mandarin accent.

Continue reading “Should France sell the Eiffel Tower?” »



Oceania Restaurants

on July 23rd, 2012
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23

Jul

Christening Riviera Cruise Ship Barcelona

The christening of Riviera cruise ship in Barcelona

It’s Easy to Book a Cruise — It’s Hard to Pick the Right One


by Andre Gayot


What’s the right cruise for you or me? Let’s start with the size of the ship: Big? Not so big? Small? Big is beautiful, some say. But small can be also, I think. I have tried it all, including a 25-foot schooner, and they all have their charms. How much you will enjoy your voyage depends on many factors: age, temperament, dependence on comforts, openness to adventure, aptitude to control sea-sickness, etc.

Continue reading “Oceania Restaurants” »



The Grand Canal in Venice

The Grand Canal in Venice

Although Submerged by Crowds, At Least There Are No Gondola Traffic Jams in Venice


by André Gayot


The Riviera, the latest heir to the family of the Oceania Cruises fleet, lazily fondles the banks of the Lido. It is a chubby newborn, weighing in at 66,084 tons, that can host 1,250 guests in lavish luxury. From the upper deck, one can glance a mirage becoming real: the 117 islets, the 177 canals and the 400 bridges of Venice, the home of Marco Polo. The rising sun ignites the roofs of the palaces and brushes with a touch of silver the dark green lap of the canals. As we get closer, so appears the marvel, the crown of “La Serenissima” (The Serene, as the Republic of Venice was dubbed) — the Piazza San Marco and its two gems, the San Marco Cathedral and the Doge’s Palace. From this height upon the 15th deck, the panoramic view is sublime, unforgettable. The boat, almost still, lingers, leaving our eyes and minds the time to record the beauty of Venice. Then it turns cautiously to the left into the Canale della Giudecca to the terminal. Of the many pleasures on board the Riviera, this extraordinary moment alone could serve as the raison d’être of the voyage.

Continue reading “La Serenissima – Docking in Venice” »



Oceania Cruises' Riviera

Oceania Cruises' Riviera

A New Contender Joins the Upscale Cruise Market


With this month’s maiden voyage of the Riviera, boutique cruise line Oceania Cruises increased its fleet to four luxury ships. Sailing from Venice to Athens, the ten-day “Pearls of the Aegean” introduced a new contender in the upscale cruise market. Following a gala christening ceremony in Barcelona, the 1,250-guest Riviera debuted just sixteen months after the launch of her sister ship, Marina. The new ship even has its own godmother — Cat Cora, the American chef, restaurateur and co-host of Bravo’s “Around the World in 80 Plates.” This pairing is apt, since the Riviera has been specially designed for epicureans and features ten dining venues, including a French bistro from Jacques Pépin. Continue reading “Oceania Cruises Launches the Riviera – Travel News” »



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