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




Leopold’s Ice Cream

on June 25th, 2013
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Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins and Stratton Leopold of Leopold's Ice Cream

Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins and Stratton Leopold of Leopold’s Ice Cream

by Patricia Mack

Ask wife Mary and she will tell you that Stratton Leopold has a passion for washing soda fountain glasses, be it at home or work at the nearly century-old Leopold’s Ice Cream in Savannah, GA.

He also has a passion for making movies.

Leopold, when he’s not creating spectacular banana splits or hand-dipping double scoops of mocha chocolate chip ice cream into cones for patrons who line up daily out the door of the little ice cream parlor/lunch shop, is a freelance Hollywood producer and former executive vice president of production at Paramount Pictures. He has also worked as an actor, casting director, executive and production manager during his long and successful career. Among his recent projects are “Parker,” “Captain America: the First Avenger” and “Mission: Impossible III.”

Continue reading “Leopold’s Ice Cream” »

Sean Baker (pictured center), executive chef at Gather

Sean Baker (pictured center), executive chef at Gather

by Anneli Rufus

Fish-sauce-glazed Berkshire pork belly with roasted kumquats and kimchi. Verbena-and-chamomile-poached sea bream collar with pear and celery. These are dishes to show off with.

But showing off was the
raison d’être of’s 2013 San Francisco Bay Area Rising Stars Awards ceremony and gala, held June 13 at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

Continue reading “Rising Star Chefs Announced in San Francisco” »

The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods

By Olivia Dupin

(Fair Winds Press, 2013)

The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods by Olivia Dupin

The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods by Olivia Dupin

Naturally Gluten-Free Foods approaches going gluten-free with enthusiasm. People who have to avoid this wheat protein for health reasons, not because it’s a trendy weight-loss approach, will be happy to find simple recipes for familiar foods which are, as the title promises, naturally sans gluten. So you won’t need obscure health food store ingredients or expensive, hard-to-find substitutions.

The book begins with the story of author Olivia Dupin’s own struggle with gluten intolerance and an explanation of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Several chapters offer practical information, including descriptions of symptoms, lists of foods to avoid and lists of naturally gluten-free foods, as well as suggestions for handling various tricky situations – from cravings to social awkwardness – and clarifications about terminology that kitchen beginners may not recognize.

Continue reading “The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods – Cookbook Review” »



Tru Alka is an alkaline water with a pH of 9-10

Go Alkaline with Tru Alka

by Julia Mason

Alkaline water — also known as “high pH” water — has recently become increasingly popular as a wellness trend, in part thanks to “alkaline diet” devotees such as Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The basic premise of the “alkaline movement” is that the consumption of beverages and foods with a low acid content – meaning a higher pH level – can boost the immune system by neutralizing acid in the body. While the human body is naturally alkaline, a diet high in meat, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods can radically increase the amount of acid in the blood. This stresses out the digestive system and promotes inflammation, which can lead to disease.

Continue reading “Tru Alka Water Review” »

House cured salmon with honey dill mustard

House cured salmon with honey dill mustard

by Cara Trump

We’ve been a fan of Stefan’s at L.A. Farm in Santa Monica since its launch almost four years ago. Chef Stefan Richter opened his restaurant after competing on season 5 of “Top Chef,” in which he was a runner-up. Monday night, we had the opportunity to sample his delicious new menu for summer 2013, as chef Stefan mingled with guests and posed for photos.

Continue reading “Stefan’s at L.A. Farm New Summer Menu” »



Wine and food combination at The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

Wine and food combination at The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

by Michelle Kwan


The region of Burgundy (English for “Bourgogne”), situated in the heart of France, contains five wine-producing areas: Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Côte de Beaune, Côte Chalonnaise and Mâconnais. Primarily comprised of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the wines grown here are noted for their quality, diversity and adaptability to virtually every type of fare. To prove this, the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) selected some top New York City restaurants to serve as testing grounds for the compatibility between Burgundy wines and various international cuisines.

Continue reading “Burgundy Takes Manhattan” »

The New Persian Kitchen

By Louisa Shafia

(Ten Speed Press, 2013)

The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia

The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia

In The New Persian Kitchen, Louisa Shafia draws on her Iranian heritage to create modern dishes that blend Old World Persian cuisine with contemporary farm-to-table cooking. The book’s 75 recipes combine time-honored Iranian ingredients like pomegranates and pistachios with non-traditional foods such as amaranth and quinoa.

Continue reading “The New Persian Kitchen — Book Review” »

Valrhona "Dulcey" Blond Chocolate Bar

Valrhona “Dulcey” Blond Chocolate Bar


by: Sylvie Greil

White chocolate is a bit of the stepchild in the dark and alluring world of cacao. Usually deservedly so.

A. It doesn’t contain cocoa solids (the healthy dark stuff boasting antioxidants and theobromine)
B. It often has an odd texture.
Continue reading “Valrhona Introduces “Blond” Chocolate: Dulcey” »

Empanadas are Peru's answer to the pasty and the knish

Empanadas are Peru’s answer to the pasty and the knish

Celebrating Peru’s Rich Culinary Heritage

by Anneli Rufus

Peruvian cuisine is gaining ground in North America, and not a moment too soon. We saw this coming — with pisco cocktails in hand — and aquí está. It is truly vivid fare — and one of its prime purveyors is La Mar Cebichería Peruana. The San Francisco restaurant has expanded its brunch menu this month, debuting a range of new entrées that merge cutting-edge creativity with a rich, diverse culinary heritage.

Peruvian food has ancient roots, augmented by indigenous traditions, European cuisine — French-style bakeries are ubiquitous in Lima — and local produce such as plantains, Lima beans, huge-kerneled corn and local peppers including the earthy yellow aji amarillo, assertive red rocoto and fruity orange aji panca. Sauces made from these peppers and from the leafy green huacatay herb are more popular in Peru than ketchup and mustard.

Continue reading “La Mar Cebichería Peruana Expands Its Brunch Menu” »

Pigs & Pinot

on April 18th, 2013
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Chef Charlie Palmer, Pigs & Pinot founder and master of ceremonies

Chef Charlie Palmer, Pigs & Pinot founder and master of ceremonies

Prestige and Pizzazz at Healdsburg’s Annual Event

by Barb Rybicki

Signs of spring’s arrival abound: daffodils and mustard mingle in the vineyards, newborn lambs frolic on ranches, and Pigs & Pinot dazzles food and wine enthusiasts at the Healdsburg Hotel and its Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant.

Now in its eighth year, the sold-out-in-three-minutes benefit for Share Our Strength and local scholarships and charities proved that pork is still king. Chef Charlie Palmer, cooking on home turf, once again played master of ceremonies, carving and plating juicy spit roasted pork with his sons in the central courtyard. Celebrity chef-restaurateurs helmed other stations: Jose Garces a.k.a Iron Chef, “father of Southwestern cuisine” Dean Fearing, Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake) and Craig Stoll of S.F.’s Delfina Group.

Continue reading “Pigs & Pinot” »

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