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




Did You Say Donuts?

on February 24th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Did You Say Donuts?
do rite donuts 243x300 Did You Say Donuts?

Vermont maple-glazed French cruller with candied bacon

by Sophie Gayot

I recently found myself in the Loop in Chicago in search of breakfast, a vital part of my three-daily-meal routine. I can recommend a tiny place which just opened: Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee.

For donut lovers, it is a paradise. For others, it’s a good way to rediscover the treats. Since they offer so many flavors, you’re sure to find one to your liking, or one so good that you will want to return. Add a cup of coffee, and you’ll have a good way to keep you warm in the Windy City. That’s all they have; in fact, the entire menu of Do-Rite Donuts & Coffee is in its name!

Go to the photo gallery to discover some of their exotic flavors (Vermont maple-glazed French cruller with candied bacon, anyone?), and read the review for more information.


on February 15th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Madridfusión
madrid fusion ad 205x300 Madridfusión


by Jennifer Olvera

Madridfusión: it’s where food trends come to life. Celebrating its tenth year, the recent gathering — held at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos — featured three chef-filled days replete with presentations, mad scientist-worthy cooking demos and interviews with food industry vets. Add to that the upper-level booths, proffering food, wine and cooking-related miscellania. It all occurs in tandem with Gastrofestival, a two-week extravaganza offering special food-based programming citywide at Madrid’s tapas restaurants, museums, markets and shops.

Those feeling particularly posh opted to stay at the palatial Hotel Ritz Madrid, where gracious service gives way to views of Retiro Park. But those in search of an edgier experience chose the architecturally driven — if off-the-beaten-path — Hotel Silken Puerta America Madrid. Its 13 floors, each designed in wildly creative fashion by a different architect, have a trippy feel and plenty of curb appeal.

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Flying Lobsters

on January 11th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton Flying Lobsters
live lobster 300x154 Flying Lobsters

Live Maine lobster

by Ben Narasin

While a trip to Montauk or Maine can create the ultimate lobster memory, if you don’t have one planned, you can create a small part of that Eastern elegance anywhere a FEDEX box can fly. will ship crustaceans overnight, chilled and wrapped in seaweed, alive and comatose, for you to drop fresh into your pot.

We tried the Maine Lobster “Feast for Two.” Two one-and-a-half-pound, just caught, live Maine lobsters, two pounds of mussels and two whoopie pies. Delivered from the Eastern shore to our Western coastline, the small feast costs $115.

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A Couple Deep in Chocolate

on December 07th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton A Couple Deep in Chocolate
sophie gayot hasty torres 214x300 A Couple Deep in Chocolate

Hasty Torres in her Beverly Hills store with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Some couples are diabolic, but Jacques & Hasty Torres aka Mr. Chocolate and Madame Chocolat, are “chocoholic.” Jacques operates out of Brooklyn, Hasty out of Beverly Hills. If you are in the Los Angeles area and cannot drive to Beverly Hills or cannot fly to New York to indulge in their chocolate creations, you have a chance to get their pieces at two pop-up stores. One is located at The Grove in Los Angeles (near the foot of the Christmas tree across from Crate & Barrel), and the second one in Glendale at Americana at Brand (102 Caruso Ave. across from Trattoria Amici restaurant and Barnes & Noble, formerly Guess Accessory store).

His chocolate products are wrapped in brown and orange, while hers are in brown and beige, so there is no reason to be confused. Since it’s the holiday season, we recommend Jacques’ Christmas tree, snowman, and Santa Claus and Hasty’s nutcrackers, watches or gift baskets. They run from $1 to $200.

You will also find their classics: Hasty’s Eiffel Tower, High Heel Pumps, or truffles; and Jacques’ chocolate caramel corn, espresso beans or chocolate-covered marshmallows (I never had those, so they’re next on my list.)

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  • pinitbutton The Cook, the Demons, the Angels & the Bankers
mario batali2 237x300 The Cook, the Demons, the Angels & the Bankers

Mario Batali had to eat his words - good thing he has plenty of recipes.

by André Gayot

“The ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys,” star restaurateur Mario Batali declared at a recent panel sponsored by Time Magazine. No surprise Mr. Batali got a lot of flak, especially, of course, from bankers and the like. The restaurateur realized belatedly that quite a number of his clients in his twenty fancy establishments might very well belong to or be associated with the banking industry because, according to his own terms, bankers “… have taken most of the money into their hands,” and thus can easily afford the hefty bills. Some talked vigorously of boycotting Batali’s restaurants. Deterring such a well-heeled clientele is not good business practice in these uncertain times.

Sorry, oops, my mistake, went Mario, who said through a spokesperson, “It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history.” So we get the message: these two guys are really bad, but bankers are OK. OK, but not angels?

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  • pinitbutton Hunting for a Chef on Food Network

by Sophie Gayot

The Food Network needs no introduction, of course, but have you heard about their new show “Chef Hunter”? Hosted by culinary recruiter Carrie McCully, “Chef Hunter” is a docu-reality series that takes you behind the scenes of running a restaurant, beyond just cooking the food. In the six episodes, chefs compete head-to-head for coveted executive chef positions at restaurants all over the country.

Watch our exclusive video interview with McCully to learn more about the show, and tune in to the next episodes. For information about the airing dates, click here.

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  • pinitbutton Project by Project, Plate by Plate
plate by plate2 300x225 Project by Project, Plate by Plate

Chefs from The French Culinary Institute

by Michelle Kwan

The thirteenth annual Project by Project-sponsored Plate by Plate event benefiting the Chinatown Youth Initiatives showcased the culinary talents of a group of distinguished chefs, among them Chris Jaeckle of Ai Fiori. Guests at the October 14 happening in New York City sampled specialties from participating restaurants, including a traditional Korean spicy welk salad with buckwheat noodles from Danji, Iberico ham from Bar Basque, and braised beef cheek from Macao Trading Co. Wineries like Southern California-based Monte De Oro and Bedell of North Fork, Long Island, served up tastings of their finest reds and whites, while Hakkaisan, Joto and Tengumai acquainted visitors with the subtleties of saké. Spirits distributors Zyr Vodka, Speyburn Scotch and Caorunn Gin, and designer water purveyor Voss, were also on hand. One of the highlights of the evening was the Quickfire Challenge with last year’s winner Jaeckle and former Top Chef contestant Lee Anne Wong as competitors, with each chef preparing dishes centered around one main ingredient: salmon. Kudos went to Jaeckle’s various salmon-inspired crudos, but ultimately, the title went to Wong’s salmon prepared three ways.

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  • pinitbutton Presidio Social Club: From Army Barrack to Fine Dining
meatloaf 300x225 Presidio Social Club: From Army Barrack to Fine Dining

Meatloaf at Presidio Social Club

by Tiffany Apczynski

Presidio Social Club is one of those out-of-the-way restaurants in San Francisco that nobody ever minds going the extra mile or bus route to get there. It’s located in a quaint clapboard building in the city’s Presidio national park that operated as an army barrack long before it was a fine dining establishment. The interior has this 1930s clubby feel to it and its atmosphere exudes post-colonial design.

When it opened four years ago, it did so with a bit of a bang. Folks not only liked the location and vibe, but Ray Tang’s menu of upscale comfort food won diners over immediately. But Tang, who is a co-owner of the restaurant, left the kitchen two years ago, and, well, the menu started to slide.

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  • pinitbutton Food Trucks Roll into Restaurants
NYRES100607 Food Trucks Roll into Restaurants

The Big Gay Ice Cream truck

by Meryl Pearlstein

Sure, food trucks help diners stretch dollars during these tough times, and appeal to today’s social-networked consumer. But for larger companies, they can also serve as billboards for a brand and serve as test outlets for brick-and-mortar restaurants. In New York City, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck — one of’s Top 10 Food Trucks in NYC — proved so successful that the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop opened in the East Village. Another entry on the list, Schnitzel and Things, opened a non-mobile version in Midtown, while GO Burger has opened three locations from coast to coast!

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Right Some Good

on October 27th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Right Some Good
lobster curry 300x188 Right Some Good

Atlantic lobster in red curry with taboulé of green apples by chef Vincent Masson

by Patricia Mack

I recently had the pleasure of attending the ten-day Right Some Good culinary and music festival held in small towns and historic sites along the rocky shores, rolling farmland, glacial valleys, barren headlands, mountains, woods and plateaus of Cape Breton, this serene and sparsely populated island in Nova Scotia. The event teamed world-class chefs hailing from as far away as Peru, China and Belgium with local chefs and culinary students for a series of gourmet dinners that were accompanied by the music of island talent.

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