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




  • pinitbutton Of the Good Use of Math in the Hospitality Industry
img 21831 262x300 Of the Good Use of Math in the Hospitality Industry

The Nautilus shell, 450 million years old is still a mystery and an inspiration for mathematicians

By Andre Gayot


Usually, hotel meeting rooms bear grandiose names like “The Imperial Room” or “The Majestic Room.” But in The Indigo, a San Diego boutique hotel, their modest function space is dubbed “The Fibonacci Room.” Many visitors would immediately assume the Italian name in such a location refers to some variety of pizza.


Shame on us! We should be taught in first grade to pay respect to the genius Fibonacci (1175-1250), whose real name was Leonardo Pisano, who changed our lives when he changed the way we represent numbers way back in the XII, I mean 12th century. Fibonacci helped the world to adopt Arabic numerals instead of the Roman numbers that were then in use. He also popularized the use of the figure zero despite the resistance of the traditionalists, who, as usual, did not understand the concept and were up in arms against it. Hey! Zeros and ones: does that ring a bell for you, computer nerds?

Continue reading “Of the Good Use of Math in the Hospitality Industry” »

  • pinitbutton The Rise of the Chef who Likes the Citrus Twist
williambradley 300x200 The Rise of the Chef who Likes the Citrus Twist
Chef William Bradley of the Addison restaurant

By André Gayot

To count how many places in the entire world belong in the same class as The Grand Del Mar hotel near San Diego, you probably won’t need all ten of your fingers. Perched in the foothills of the Sierras, hidden within the rolling hills, this domain is nothing but majestic beauty.


Good enough, but how can we spend—without drastically breaking the bank — an unforgettable evening in this palatial Moorish style Kasbah spiced with a good ladle of Florentine art where no effort (nor money) was spared to erect this paramount of handsome hospitality? Follow me. Let’s walk to your table in the Addison restaurant, between the Porphyry columns sustaining the caisson ceiling over the encrusted marble floor.


Continue reading “The Rise of the Chef who Likes the Citrus Twist” »

  • pinitbutton The War of the Beef Will Not Take Place


cow The War of the Beef Will Not Take Place

War of the beef settled between Americans and Europe

By André Gayot

The European Commission and the US Department of Commerce have finally resolved their differences, and they appear to have read our earlier blogs to find their solution. Under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, after smoking the peace pipe (the tobacco was American but the pipe was European), they have wisely buried the hatchet. The archaic war of the beef will not unravel any longer, and the battle of the cheese has ceased.   

Continue reading “The War of the Beef Will Not Take Place” »

  • pinitbutton Really, is There Still a “Smoking Fun”? Oui…
smoking cigar Really, is There Still a “Smoking Fun”? Oui…
           79% of Europeans approve of  smoke             prohibition in restaurants

By André Gayot


A survey by the European Commission states that 79% of Europeans approve of the smoke prohibition in restaurants. So what about the other 21%? Twenty one per cent of the European population is about 30 million people. This strong minority still finds fun in smoking.


No wonder that a few restaurateurs think that there’s a niche market catering to nicotine addicts. But how to lure them back—legally, that is—to the tables?


The law is strict: smoking in a restaurant is allowed only in a tightly-closed, separately-ventilated space with no access for the waiters, maître d’s and sommeliers so they can avoid the risks of passive smoking. The staff must be hailed via walkie-talkie and then whisk your order through a special passage. It is a costly installation, but it’s conceivable that after such an effort, the smoking diners will pay the price of their pleasure.


Continue reading “Really, is There Still a “Smoking Fun”? Oui…” »



  • pinitbutton Meet Meat Not Scary to Eat
organicbeef1 Meet Meat Not Scary to Eat

Organic Beef

By André Gayot


On bumper stickers we often read this straightforward formula: “War is not the answer.”

That should be the motto of the World Trade Organization (WTO) when the officials of this International entity try to reconcile the US Department of Commerce with the European Commission of Brussels. For now, the battle is raging.


 The European Union does not want to buy American beef because of the (legal) use in the US of the growth hormone to raise cattle faster by some farmers. Indeed, not all the farmers. Apparently the EU is not sensitive to the difference and parks all of these American animals in the same corral. In response, the US retaliates with the threat of raising custom tariffs on European food items such as French Roquefort and Italian mineral waters so popular on this side of the Atlantic. Continue reading “Meet Meat Not Scary to Eat” »



  • pinitbutton Lost Your Golden Parachute?
grouchomarx5 Lost Your Golden Parachute?

Philosopher Groucho Marx


By André Gayot

Sleepless last night, I spoke with Groucho Marx, my favorite philosopher. Chewing his cigar, he hailed me:  



-          Hey, André, what’s keeping you up?
-          You know, the economy, the world…
-          There’s no reason to worry about. You are blessed to live in a democracy: you are free!
-          Free and broke.
-          Still democracy is great because it’s the enlightened will of the majority. For instance, the majority of us have no bonuses nor golden parachutes because the majority feels it is immoral.
-          Sure, but some do get them, however. So if we could compromise just a little bit with the immorality of the thing could we all have bonuses and golden parachutes?
-          No, I fear, that’s not possible.
-          Then, in that case, would it be possible that nobody could benefit from these  immoral goodies?
-          Don’t ask silly questions… 

Continue reading “Lost Your Golden Parachute?” »

Disunited We Stand!

on March 30th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Disunited We Stand!
sushi 300x164 Disunited We Stand!

We already have a glut of sushi

By André Gayot

Formerly a KGB analyst in the late 1990’s, Igor Panarine holds a doctorate degree in psychology and is now the director of studies of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He teaches the Russian diplomats that the US will soon disintegrate, as well as its currency – the almighty dollar – which will be replaced by the “Americano.”  


Igor forecasts such a demise to take place as soon as the fall of 2010. The reason for this cataclysm is the “moral failure” and “the psychological stress” of the country with its “considerable population of homosexuals.” A country , he contends, that can’t build enough jails for all  its criminals.  He carries on: following a civil war, the US will split in six fragments. The East Coast will go to the European Union, Canada will take over the Midwest, Mexico will seize the southern states, China and Japan will share the West Coast while Alaska will return to Russia.

  Continue reading “Disunited We Stand!” »



  • pinitbutton The End of Culinary Alchemy?
ferranadria1 The End of Culinary Alchemy?

Ferran Adrià of elBulli


A recent health scare at the world-renowned Fat Duck in England has forced the prestigious restaurant to shut its doors. Owner Heston Blumenthal, referred to as a “culinary alchemist” issued the closure when over 40 customers reported cases of illness after having dined at his establishment. These events have caused quite a stir in the culinary world, as many are now questioning the safety of molecular gastronomy – a cooking technique that relies heavily on chemicals that are intended to “deconstruct” the ingredients and transform the flavor and presentation of dishes. One of the most famous molecular gastronomists, Spanish-born Ferran Adrià (named best chef in the world by British publication Restaurant Magazine), implements similar techniques at his restaurant elBulli and has stood firm ground in support of cooking with chemicals.

Continue reading “The End of Culinary Alchemy?” »

Spread the Roquefort

on January 16th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Spread the Roquefort
roquefort Spread the Roquefort


by André Gayot

It’s time to stock up on Roquefort since the U.S. government has decided to raise taxes 300% on this cheese produced in the South of France. The inflation will result in making Roquefort as expensive as caviar. The motivation behind this decision stems from the U.S.’s desire to penalize the European Union for its reluctance to import American beef. The E.U. argues that the use of hormones in animal feeding is illegal in Europe while it is accepted in the U.S. European scientists continue to question the innocuous nature of these hormones when ingested by humans in their hamburgers or steaks. The dispute has been dragging on for years.

 Now why, among all food products imported from Europe, the attack on Roquefort? Its selection by the U.S., as an effective weapon of persuasion, remains unclear. Could it be because Roquefort is such a staple of European cuisine? Then what wonderful, unsolicited publicity! Or is it due to the Penicillium roqueforti found within the cheese as a result of the fermentation of ewe’s milk? The shepherds in the French Southern mountains contend that their sheep have nothing in common with American beef, and that Roquefort is a natural antibiotic.

At any rate, buy yourself a couple pounds of Roquefort while it is (relatively) affordable.


Read the update on the situation.



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