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






  • pinitbutton Celebrating the 2012 Oscar Winners
sabraging bottle champagne sophie gayot 300x227 Celebrating the 2012 Oscar Winners

Sophie Gayot sabraging a bottle of Champagne on the bow of Serene, Yury Scheffler’s yacht

by Sophie Gayot

Yesterday was Oscar day. Even though, the biggest night in Hollywood had not yet started, I decided to celebrate the winners while cruising on the Pacific Ocean.

There was only one way to do it for me: sabraging a bottle of Champagne with a backdrop that was worthy of the stars walking the red carpet. Yury Scheffler, the Russian vodka tycoon (Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya, among others), made it easy for me: his 134-meter (440-foot) yacht, Serene, was anchored in Santa Monica Bay.

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When Judges Meet & Eat

on February 08th, 2012
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  • pinitbutton When Judges Meet & Eat
sophie gayot randy jackson 300x237 When Judges Meet & Eat

Randy Jackson with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

I was not the only one dining at über-chef Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air on a recent visit (luckily for the restaurant). The multi-talented Randy Jackson, who has been a judge on American Idol since 2002 — longer than anyone else — was sitting next to me. I had dined with him before, and know he is a gourmet, so I was not surprised to see him there. As we know, he is a tough judge — nice and fair, but tough…

My judging of the dinner: very good California cuisine, with precise execution, that grants the restaurant a rating of 16 out 20. Here is the explanation of the rating system.

For more about Hotel Bel-Air, read my October blog post, which I wrote after touring the hotel a few days before it opened.

  • pinitbutton Toys for Tots at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills
sophie gayot mehdi eftekari 300x206 Toys for Tots at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari with Marines & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

To celebrate the start of the holiday season, the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills invited some 300 guests last night. The reception was actually a very good excuse to collect toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The foundation then distributes them as Christmas gifts to needy children. The Marines left with more than 500 presents!

Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari is behind this good cause. He started getting involved with the Marines’ organization sixteen years ago, when he was at the Newport Beach Four Seasons, and then brought it with him when he moved to the Los Angeles location eight years ago.

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  • pinitbutton Thanksgiving on a LA Rooftop

by Sophie Gayot

For your culinary delight, we have compiled a list of restaurants serving a Thanksgiving menu throughout America, and even in Paris & London. If you happen to be in Los Angeles — 1.78 million passengers are expected at LAX this Thanksgivi​ng, a 16 per cent increase over last year — and want to immerse yourself in the LA food scene, may I recommend you spend your holiday at chef Eric Greenspan’s new restaurant The Roof on Wilshire.

Starting at 4 p.m. until 11 p.m., for $29 (yes, only $ 29!), diners will enjoy an appetizer (salad of celery root, pomegranate, carrot or sunchoke soup); turkey, of course (with rosemary mashed potatoes, green beans with mushrooms, crispy onions, cranberry dijon chutney and pumpernickel stuffing); and dessert (pumpkin bread pudding). To discover the restaurant, watch our exclusive video with Iron Chef America-winner Greenspan, who also co-hosts the A&E show “Fix This Kitchen.” For more information, read our just published review of the restaurant.

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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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Glitter Everywhere

on October 19th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Glitter Everywhere
sophie gayot teri hatcher 300x232 Glitter Everywhere

Hasty Torres, Madame Chocolat; Actress Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives); with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

By the end of yesterday’s reception at the French Consulate in Beverly Hills, the guests were covered with glitter. Had we gotten too close to the models, who were wearing fine French jewels? No, the glitter was coming from the Madame Chocolat truffles! For the fifth edition of “The Jewels of France” event, chocolatier Hasty Torres was offering edible glitter truffles.

We had a few. Or maybe a lot, I’m not sure; when it comes to chocolate, we make all these excuses. We had to choose from the dark chocolate espresso covered in gold and silver, the white chocolate lime in blue or green, and the red and fuchsia filled with milk chocolate raspberry (my favorite).

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Food & Wine at L.A. LIVE

on October 14th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Food & Wine at L.A. LIVE
sophie gayot antonio villaraigosa randy jackson 300x171 Food & Wine at L.A. LIVE

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sophie Gayot, Wolfgang Puck and his guest, Randy Jackson at the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Food & Wine

by Sophie Gayot

Last night was the opening of the first Los Angeles Food & Wine which was held at L.A. LIVE. To celebrate the evening, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Randy Jackson took the stage. They are both food lovers, and are great supporters of restaurants and the hard working people they employ.

The event was truly red carpet, as the entire area where the chefs and wineries had their booths was completely covered with it, which was great for those wearing high heels. It made the setting quite elegant for sampling Daniel Boulud’s charcuterie, Kerry Simon and Nona Sivley’s tuna tartare with caviar (SIMON L.A.), Lissa Doumani’s savory Japanese pancakes (Terra) and Michael Ginor’s escargots, to name just a few. Kristen Schaefer, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ mixologist, was serving “The Alameda cocktail” (Hangar One blueberry vodka, green Chartreuse, blueberry and pomegranate juice, fresh lemon, and thyme-infused honey), and not too far away, Maison Marques & Domaines was pouring Louis Roederer Cristal 2004.

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  • pinitbutton Magical Moments Along the Pacific

by Sophie Gayot

Yesterday, I found a great way to finish my weekend. I drove along the Pacific on Route 1, also called Pacific Coast Highway or PCH by the locals, heading to Beau Rivage restaurant in Malibu, California. You are saying, “Another restaurant?” Yes, but not quite. I was going for a night of “Magic & Wine.”

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Que La Fête Commence!

on April 12th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Que La Fête Commence!

by Sophie Gayot

Last night was the opening of the 2011 COLCOA Festival, A Week of French Film Premieres in Hollywood. Quite a few prestigious and renowned French actors and directors made the trip from France, arriving just in time for the City of Lights, City of Angels event, including writer-director Bertrand Blier. Watch my exclusive video interview with the Oscar winner (“Get Out Your Handkerchiefs”) as he talks about his career.

Every year, COLCOA Director François Truffart invites an actress who represents French cinema and glamour. This year, I had the pleasure to mingle with two-time César-winning actress Nathalie Baye (“Day for Night,” “La Balance”). Baye will be presenting her latest movie, “De Vrais Mensonges” (Beautiful Lies”) this Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

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Women in Film & Champagne

on February 28th, 2011
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  • pinitbutton Women in Film & Champagne
halle berry sophie gayot 300x270 Women in Film & Champagne

Actress Halle Berry & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Bubbles of Perrier-Jouët Champagne were floating in glasses during the 4th Annual Women in Film pre-Oscar reception hosted by Academy Award® Winners Halle Berry and Cathy Schulman. The star-studded event was held at the Soho House’s garden rooftop in West Hollywood on Friday, February 25th.

The few men who attended the party, including Halle’s new flame Olivier Martinez, were happy to mingle with Amy Adams, Kate Walsh, Gillian Jacobs, Melissa Leo, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Jennifer Morrison, Hailee Steinfeld and Malika Sherawat, among others.

WIF President Cathy Schulman reiterated the night’s theme when she said, “This organization is about women supporting women.” Halle also briefly greeted the crowd, speaking about how, as women, it is important to support each other and lift each other up.

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