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




The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution

By Tom Acitelli

(Chicago Review Press, 2013)

The Audacity of Hops by Tom Acitelli

Craft beer has come incredibly far in just a few decades. As Tom Acitelli describes it in The Audacity of Hops, the history of craft brewing in America is nothing short of revolutionary! From just under 100 U.S. breweries in 1980, there are now nearly 3,000. This explosive growth unfolded largely as a consumer reaction against the mass production of bland beer by big breweries.

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by Sophie Gayot



Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking

Chef Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station has brought partying to the next level, and has become famous for that. Ford prefers the get-together to be a big one — one where you roast a whole pig or serve paella for eighty.
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Eat Well and Stay Slim: The Essential Cuisine Minceur

By Michel Guérard

(Francis Lincoln Limited, 2014)






Inventor of Cuisine Minceur and author of the bestselling book of the same name, Michel Guérard has released his second manifesto of diet-friendly recipes in Eat Well and Stay Slim: The Essential Cuisine Minceur, a cookbook as intricate and elegant as the food it seeks to craft.

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The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes 

By Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby

(Ten Speed Press, 2014)






Readers will be relieved to learn upon opening The Big-Flavor Grill, the ninth and newest collaborative cookbook by food connoisseurs Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, that grilling is easy.

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Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook

By Rick Mast & Michael Mast

(Little, Brown and Company, 2013)





Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook

Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook


Cutting-Edge Chocolate Recipes

Rick and Michael Mast are the darlings of the bean-to-bar craft chocolate movement. From their early artisanal efforts in their Brooklyn apartment in 2007 to their current chocolatier stardom, they are paving their way into your kitchen now. The duo has already impressed top chefs including Daniel Humm, Alice Waters and Alain Ducasse with their skills, and Thomas Keller has written the foreword for Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook.

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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” »



by Sophie Gayot

It is 18 kilos of a 1,200-page cookbook containing 500 recipes and illustrated by 1,500 photos; 1,000 copies of this book are being sold at € 1,500 by a chef who started in the kitchen at 15, and has been cooking for 25 years. From peeling potatoes at his debut, Yannick Alléno worked his way up to fine dining gastronomy when he took the helm at Le Meurice restaurant in Paris.


The best way to discover this soon-to-become iconic cookbook, Ma Cuisine Française, is to do it with Alléno himself with the video above. Also listen closely to how Alléno wants to redefine French cuisine in this exclusive one-on-one discussion.


To buy the book, you can only do so at


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Searching the World for the Best, the Worst, the Outrageously Cheap, the Insanely Overpriced, and the Undiscovered

By Mike Veseth

(Rowman & Littlefield, 2013)

Extreme Wine by Mike Veseth

Extreme Wine by Mike Veseth

Mike Veseth has quite a penchant for writing books with expansive subtitles, which is extreme in itself. (His 2011 book on globalization was titled Wine Wars: The Curse of the Blue Nun, the Miracle of Two Buck Chuck, and the Revenge of the Terroirists.) It should also caution the reader that Veseth, despite being a wine economist, is not writing for an academic audience. Extreme Wine is written in the same chatty, informative style that Veseth uses in his popular Wine Economist blog.

Continue reading “Extreme Wine – Book Review” »



by Sophie Gayot





I think when restaurateur/hotelier Michael Zislis created The Strand House Culinary Masters Series, he had a very good idea. Every time I have attended one of the events, the restaurant has been completely full. I didn’t see a single empty seat; instead I saw lots of people enjoying the cuisine of Josiah Citrin, Michael Cimarusti, Nancy Silverton, Alain Giraud, Douglas Keane or Tory McPhail to name just a few of the participating chefs. To top it off, diners can eat the fine food while watching the sun set over the Manhattan Beach pier and the Pacific.

During one of the dinners, where Trefethen wines were served, I finished the evening talking with chef Rick Tramonto who had flown in from Chicago. In the above video, you can watch as we flip through the pages of his autobiography together. Tramonto is a true success story; TRU restaurant under his direction was named one of’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. And Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans, where he has partnered with chef John Folse, made’s Top 10 New Restaurants in the U.S. list this year.

Continue reading “Chatting with Chef Rick Tramonto” »



The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

By Ken Grossman

(Wiley, 2013)

Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. by Ken Grossman

Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. by Ken Grossman

It’s easy to forget how revolutionary Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. was at the time of its creation by Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi. In 1980, there were just 40 breweries in the U.S., mostly brewing bland lagers in industrial quantities. The idea of creating full-flavored, hoppy beers that could compete with long-established German imports (at least, in terms of price), was a daunting prospect. Fortunately, Ken was an incredibly hardworking, entrepreneurial and resourceful guy. He was always building things and building businesses, beginning with bicycles (he managed a few bicycle shops in Chico) before focusing entirely on beer.

Continue reading “Beyond the Pale – Book Review” »

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