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




  • 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 Food, Fun & Fighting Cancer
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Farshid Hakim, owner of La Provence Pâtisserie & Café with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

The winning dish at Concern Foundation’s 36th Annual Block Party, held on July 10 at the Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, was the sweet corn agnolotti by Savore Catering. But honestly, I could not try every single one served on that fun night. Out of the 63 restaurants and refreshment stations, an increase of six from last year, I only had time and room to try ten. My apologies to the rest.

  Continue reading “Food, Fun & Fighting Cancer” »

A Punchy Evening

on June 15th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton A Punchy Evening
sophiegayotsugarrayleonard 213x300 A Punchy Evening
World champion Sugar Ray Leonard with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


Saturday night I attended the 2010 edition of Vintage Hollywood, an organization formed in 2002 to raise funds to support charitable organizations that work to promote the health and well-being of Southern California’s diverse community. This year the proceeds will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.


The king of the evening was definitely world boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard, whose Pacific Palisades house hosted the event. Food-wise, Christophe Happillon was the most popular with his Luna oysters from Carlsbad. The line to sample the dish was very long, as he was opening them “à la demande.” Don’t be fooled by the photo below; I was not really helping him. Readers can find him at Joe’s restaurant in Venice every Friday and at Church & State downtown Los Angeles every Tuesday.

Continue reading “A Punchy Evening” »

  • pinitbutton Living One Year Longer for Every Year of Research
sophiegayotroryherrmann 300x276 Living One Year Longer for Every Year of Research

Chef Rory Herrmann, sous-chef Katie Hagan-Whelchel from Bouchon Beverly Hills with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

When I attended the 21st annual Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters on May 15, it was no surprise that I did not have time to get to all of the 45 restaurants and 71 wineries that were donating their food, wines and time to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The very same thing happened too, last year!   
1,400 epicurean guests wined and dined for a good cause at the sold-out event held on the “Midwest Street” backlot at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. The generosity of the crowd in conjunction with 900 live and silent auction items raised $1,590,000 for the Foundation’s vital research and care centers. I admired the entertaining energy of premier auctioneer DawnMarie Kotsonis, who sold an Imperial of 2005 Château La Mission Haut-Brion for $22,000 as well as a 6-liter 1996 Domaine de la Romanée Conti Romanée Saint-Vivant for $10,000.

Happy Birthday to W

on May 28th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Happy Birthday to W
DSC 0172 300x201 Happy Birthday to W

Nelsan Ellis of "True Blood" and Edi Gathegi of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” with GAYOT's Cara Trump


The W Los Angeles in Westwood was abuzz with celebrities and American Cancer Society VIPs the night of May 26 in celebration of the hotel’s tenth anniversary. As “The Official Sponsor of Birthdays,” the American Cancer Society (ACS) held a special fundraising silent auction to benefit the fight against cancer and “create a world with more birthdays.” Floating luminaries were provided in exchange for donations to help raise money and as a tribute to those lost to—or still fighting—cancer.


The co-hosts of the event were Amber Heard of “The Rum Diary” and “30 Seconds to Mars” front man Jared Leto, who tweeted remotely for the cause due to a scheduling conflict. Also in attendance were television and movie stars such as Mariana Klaveno and Nelsan Ellis of HBO’s “True Blood,” Edi Gathegi of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” and Laura Harring of “Gossip Girl.”

Continue reading “Happy Birthday to W” »



  • pinitbutton We Invent the Future
graydavissophiegayot 300x173 We Invent the Future

James Hausberg (Board Member Concern), Frank Mottek, Governor Gray Davis; Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


This is what the 37th Governor of California, Gray Davis, said last night at the first Speaker Series event at the Carroll & Co store on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. The “we” he was referring to is the Golden State.



 The Speaker Series, hosted by Frank Mottek from the KNX AM1070 Business Hour, benefits the CONCERN Foundation for Cancer Research. Over the past 42 years, the foundation has raised over 42 million dollars to finance research to fight this deadly disease. Derek Alpert, the foundation’s president, was happy to report that 95 cents of every dollar collected actually goes back out. The highlight of the financing campaign is the Block Party held every year at the Paramount Studios back lot on Melrose, where more than 70 restaurants and wineries come together to showcase the best of what they have to offer. Derek’s goal this year is to raise about $2 million at the fundraiser, which will take place July 10.


Note: Carroll & Co., the elegant menswear store, will donate 10% of each sale when shoppers mention the CONCERN Foundation through Sunday. And Porta Via, the restaurant across the street that provided hors d’oeuvres and wine for the Series, will be giving 20%.



  • pinitbutton Your Private Chef for a Cause
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2010 Flavors of Los Angeles Culinary Gala

by Sophie Gayot



I attend fundraising dinners quite often, but the one being held on May 23rd, outdoors at City National Plaza in downtown Los Angeles, is my favorite. Not because I am the Honorary Chair, nor that it will be the fifth GAYOT Dinner Series, but because of its unusual format.


Continue reading “Your Private Chef for a Cause” »

Goodbye to Grace

on May 01st, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Goodbye to Grace
riverakevinluzande 212x300 Goodbye to Grace

Rivera chef de cuisine Kevin Luzande & general manager Matthew Washton

by Sophie Gayot


Last night, I heard some important restaurant news while attending the 15th annual fundraiser for UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Pretty Woman’s favorite hotel. There was a lot of good food from, Church & State, Lazy Ox Canteen, Patina, Rivera and Bottega Louie and fine wines from the Stags Leap District, a non-profit organization of Cabernet Sauvignon vintners and growers from Napa.



I arrived too late to try Patina’s Tony Esnault’s foie gras, but I still enjoyed some from Bottega Louie. I got to meet Church & State’s new chef, Joshua Smith, and reconnected with Lazy Ox Canteen’s Josef Centeno (who was kind enough to appear at my first radio show on KNX with Frank Mottek back in 2005). The breaking news came from Matthew Washton, the general manager of Rivera: the restaurant has taken over Grace restaurant and will open sometime this October as a more casual and less expensive version of Rivera.

  Continue reading “Goodbye to Grace” »



  • pinitbutton Kefir Lime on the STREET
sophiegayotsusanfeniger 230x300 Kefir Lime on the STREET

Chef Susan Feniger with Sophie Gayot at STREET restaurant

by Sophie Gayot


How popular is Susan Feniger? So many people showed up at her latest venture STREET last night to watch her appearance on the TV show Top Chef Masters that the LAPD had to dispatch a traffic officer to Highland Avenue to handle the crush.  STREET private parking behind the restaurant was transformed into a party playground to handle the more than three hundred guests. Luckily, the walls of the parking are decorated with the same graffiti art as the inside.


We got to taste Feniger’s street food for the modest sum of $25, with half of the proceeds benefiting the Scleroderma Research Foundation. For me, the winning dish was the pork slider. Made with braised pork in licorice, sweet soy and oyster sauce, pickled carrots, daikon radish and cilantro, it also had a secret ingredient: kefir lime aioli that brought a smart touch.

minilogo Kefir Lime on the STREET



  • pinitbutton Make a Perfect Pairing in LA
sophiegayotstevenfretz1 300x253 Make a Perfect Pairing in LA

General manager Jacob Shure and chef Steven Fretz of XIV, Perfect Pairings founder Kevin Mark Lodie with Sophie Gayot and a glass of Nicolas Feuillate Champagne

by Sophie Gayot

A few days ago, chef Steven Fretz and general manager Jacob Shure of restaurant XIV in West Hollywood opened their kitchen and bar to launch the Los Angeles portion of the Perfect Pairings campaign.

Perfect Pairings, founded by Kevin Mark Lodie, is a program benefiting local Meals-on-Wheels programs like St. Vincent Meals on Wheels that deliver food and other vital services to thousands of people in need every day.

Continue reading “Make a Perfect Pairing in LA” »

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