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




The Tissue Issue

on October 06th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton The Tissue Issue
tissue issue tfp The Tissue Issue

The echinacea flower, one of our Top 10 Immune Boosters

by Jeff Hoyt

Working in an office, I always worry about people coming to work ill. I appreciate their dedication to the job, but don’t want them getting me sick. I’d hate to bring a cold or flu home to my kids.

Although there’s no cure for the common cold, there are proven things you can take to build up your defenses. Check out our top 10 immune system boosters and see which ones are right for you. Personally, I take Vitamin C every day, and zinc lozenges when I feel a cold coming on.

Continue reading “The Tissue Issue” »



  • pinitbutton Do Food Trucks Mean More Lawyers?
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Liba, one of our Top 10 Food Trucks in San Francisco

by Jeff Hoyt

As food trucks proliferate from coast to coast (and even on Hawaii), municipalities are struggling to regulate them. In Los Angeles, there’s a movement to have inspectors give food trucks letter grades like they do to restaurants. There have also been parking struggles, as a time limit on how long they can park in one place was overturned in court. A food truck lot was opened in the beach community of Santa Monica, and then shut down by zoning enforcement the very next day. It has recently reopened on private property, complete with permits.

Continue reading “Do Food Trucks Mean More Lawyers?” »

Let’s Do Brunch

on October 01st, 2010
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Check out's list of the best brunch restaurants near you

by Jeff Hoyt

Brunch: the very word conjures up images of mornings slept in, leisurely quality time with the Sunday paper, perhaps a workout on an empty stomach before meeting friends to share the week’s highlights, with good feelings accented by a Bloody Mary or glass or two of Champagne. This blend of breakfast and lunch, with the corresponding choice of entrees ranging from yogurt to steak, is denoted by the marriage of the two words themselves. The hybrid result is what etymologists call a portmanteau word, like ‘smog’ combining ‘smoke’ and ‘fog,’ but a lot tastier.

We’ve scouted the U.S. for the best brunch spots from the Hawaiian Islands to Manhattan Island, so you can enjoy this most versatile and decadent meal. So check out our selections of the best brunch restaurants near you this weekend. We’ve even got wine suggestions for proper pairing. Cheers!

  • pinitbutton Introduction to Food Halls, Pt. 2: Eataly
eataly 300x192 Introduction to Food Halls, Pt. 2: Eataly

Eataly Food Hall in the Flatiron District of NYC

by Meryl Pearlstein
Yesterday we profiled The Plaza Food Hall in NYC. Another food hall, Eataly (get it?), opened last month in the Flatiron District, offering culinary classes and fine foods and drinks from throughout Italy all under one enormous roof. Owned by Mario Batali, Joe and Lidia Bastianich and Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti, Eataly adheres to a philosophy of creating a bona fide Italian experience for each guest, whether they consume the food presented by the resident chefs or buy the ingredients to create a feast themselves.

Introducing Food Halls

on September 27th, 2010
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plaza food hall Introducing Food Halls

The expansive bakery at the Plaza Food Hall

by Meryl Pearlstein

While food trucks continue to proliferate across the country, New Yorkers are already enjoying the latest culinary trend: food halls. At these new culinary destinations, foodies can eat, buy ingredients, and learn how to prepare and cook them all in one place.

Conceived by Todd English, The Plaza Food Hall features a European-style market inside The Plaza Hotel offering an extensive array of dishes. The 5,400 square-foot, 80-seat space offers dine-in and take-away options from more than eight culinary stations, as well as fresh flowers, a range of international specialty foods, cookware and home goods like coffee, tea, jams, spices and sauces. The open kitchens throughout the space allow for interactive events including cooking demonstrations with the star of PBS’s Food Trip with Todd English and other visiting chefs as well as wine tastings.

Continue reading “Introducing Food Halls” »



  • pinitbutton And One Burger for the President
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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s memoirs, A Journey: My Political Life

by André Gayot

On this proposition, scientists are, at least, unanimous: “We are what we eat.” Fine, but even if I trust the verdict, I am not sure of what it means and entails exactly.

For example, in what capacity could we, with the content of our plates, supersede or contradict the Darwinian theory of evolution? Would it be possible via eating to transform ourselves into creatures different than the ones pre-determined by our genes? Without digging too deeply into this philosophical comestible matter, one sure thing is that eating is the most common and frequent act of our lives. We all — including the Pope, the Kings and the Presidents — do eat, but some of us do it better than others. As to ourselves, if we are smart enough in that endeavor, the Presidency of the United States could very well be in our lunch box. Continue reading “And One Burger for the President” »

  • pinitbutton Ice Cream Memories Not Melting Away
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Mister Softee Ice Cream

by Jeff Hoyt

While some kids marked the start of summer by the last day of school, my friends and I knew the season was here when we heard the familiar jingle-jangle of the ice cream truck as it started winding its way through our neighborhood. In suburban New York, we actually enjoyed two trucks: the Good Humor man made his rounds during the day, while my favorite, Mister Softee, showed up at dusk to provide a sweet end to our dinnertime. I’ll never forget when my older brother got his own ice cream truck route as a summer job, and I was the envy of the neighborhood as I rode shotgun.

Today, dessert food trucks offer a lot more varied fare, but Mister Softee still peddles his soft serve sweets. Good Humor sold off their truck fleet in 1976, but the 90-year-old company continues to sell their Chocolate Éclair Crunch and Toasted Almond bars at grocery stores and snack shacks. Continue reading “Ice Cream Memories Not Melting Away” »



  • pinitbutton In N Out and Cabernet Sauvignon?
turning leaf takeout 167x300 In N Out and Cabernet Sauvignon?

Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon

 by Jeff Hoyt 

A chocolate shake makes a wonderful complement to a fast-food burger, but I’m really enjoying this Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon with my In-N-Out burger. “Wine doesn’t need to be reserved for fine dining,” says Turning Leaf winemaker Nicole Hitchcock, who also suggests pairing the Cab with pizza and a meatball hero. She hopes that more people will pair her very inexpensive line of wines with takeout food, and has even conducted a survey of America’s takeout habits, with some surprising results.

Have you ever pretended that takeout food was something you actually made? 34%, more than 1 in 3, pled guilty. I’ve never done that, but I do admit sneaking a bite of food before bringing it home, along with 61% of the respondents. Continue reading “In-N-Out and Cabernet Sauvignon?” »

Ladies Who Lunch

on August 02nd, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Ladies Who Lunch
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Author Mireille Guiliano with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

What happens when ladies go to lunch together, especially if some of them are French? Chances are they will be talking about food, and how to stay thin.


This is what happened to me when Mireille Guiliano, the author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat,” was in Los Angeles to present her new book, “The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook.” The book is, of course, a logical sequel to the first one. Guiliano tested all the recipes: 150 new ones and eight classics from the first book.

Continue reading “Ladies Who Lunch” »



  • pinitbutton Cooking with the Schaffers


by Sophie Gayot

I first met husband and wife chefs Charlie and Kathleen Schaffer when they catered a movie premiere I attended. Not only was I impressed with their falafel, but I learned their cooking had also pleased many celebs both in Hollywood (Barbra Streisand, Eddie Murphy, Martin Scorsese, Kate Beckinsale, Julie Andrews) and elsewhere (Martha Stewart, Heidi Klum, Tom Brokaw). They even cooked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who probably didn’t know the two former busboys first met while working at the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Continue reading “Cooking with the Schaffers” »

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