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Bring on the Bubbly!

on October 05th, 2012
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05

Oct

by Sophie Gayot


My sabraging of a bottle of sparkling wine last night was even more fun than usual, as the person whose name was on the bottle was next to me. It was chef Michael Mina, GAYOT’s 2011 Restaurateur of the Year, in person at his restaurant Stonehill Tavern at The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Orange County, CA. I had the honor of kicking off the evening’s festivities by opening a bottle of Iron Horse 2004 Cuvée Michael Mina.

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Calories Vs. Cocktails

on October 02nd, 2012
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02

Oct

by Sophie Gayot


If you’re a calorie counter who enjoys cocktails, it’s time to try Voli Light Vodkas. Made of superior French wheat and natural ingredients, Voli’s line of vodkas — Lyte, Lemon, Espresso Vanilla, Raspberry Cocoa, Orange Vanilla and Mango Coconut — are on average between 25 per cent and 40 per cent lower in calories than their counterparts.  It is a first in the spirit industry. They are produced in Cognac, France, where they are distilled five times and filtered four times. The flavors of the vodkas are enhanced by electrolytes, so you can eliminate the high calorie sugary mixers — that is the trick.

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A Cognac Lesson

on September 15th, 2012
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15

Sep

by Sophie Gayot


I am not going to give you that Cognac lesson myself; Maurice-Richard Hennessy himself is doing it in the exclusive video interview above. I got lucky as the class took place in Beverly Hills in a private dining room of Crustacean restaurant. Among the other “students” were French Consul General of France Axel Cruaumy father André and my brother Alain. Hennessy is the eighth generation of Hennessy, so you can be sure he knows what he is talking about.


Here are just a few things that we did not have time to discuss:

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Long on Short Order

on September 11th, 2012
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11

Sep

by Sophie Gayot


Despite its name, Nancy Silverton’s Short Order restaurant does not cut corners to prepare its burgers nor other dishes. You can read my review of the restaurant which I wrote after my first visit in July. You can also watch my exclusive video with executive chef Christian Page to find out how he gets it done.

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05

Sep

by Sophie Gayot


I recently enjoyed my longest dinner ever: after arriving at the restaurant at 8:30 p.m., I didn’t leave until 2 a.m. Where was that? At Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Florida. Why? Because I wanted to get a real feel of the oh-so-famous steakhouse, one of the GAYOT.com Top 10 Steakhouses in the U.S.

Continue reading “Meaty Memories from Tampa, Florida” »



Dining by the Pier

on September 01st, 2012
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01

Sep

by Sophie Gayot


Michael Zislis’s latest achievement is The Strand House, the beautiful restaurant overlooking the pier in Manhattan Beach, CA. Before that, he put his energy, and he has quite a lot, into restaurants ROCK’N FISH, Rock & Brews, and Mucho Ultima Mexicana, as well as the Shade Hotel.


Not only does he like to invite guests to his restaurants and hotel, but Michael, who is obviously in the hospitality business, also has created a Guest Chef Series at The Strand House where chef Greg Hozinsky cooks and creative exec chef Neal Fraser comes by a few times a month.

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Cocktails at Sunset

on August 28th, 2012
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28

Aug

Sophie Gayot pointing to the American white oak barrels in which cocktails are aged for 2 to 3-weeks


by Sophie Gayot


There are other reasons to head to Santa Monica’s Casa del Mar hotel besides needing a room for the night: the cocktails and cuisine.


Casa del Mar now offers unique cocktail options inspired by pre-Prohibition. Two debut cocktails, The Brooklyn and The Negroni, are aged in white oak barrels for two to three weeks. These small barrels add depth to the cocktails with hints of spice, caramel and smokiness. The Negroni follows the classic recipe with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari; The Brooklyn is a mixture of corn whiskey, Maraschino, orange bitters and sweet vermouth. In the coming weeks, more new cocktails will be added to the menu. The cocktails are available in The Veranda and Lobby Lounge every Tuesday through Saturday.

Continue reading “Cocktails at Sunset” »



by Sophie Gayot


There are many, many reasons to visit Columbia Restaurant, located in the historical area of Ybor City in Tampa, Florida. The best way to discover them — outside of dining there yourself — is to watch my exclusive video interview with partner/owner Casey Gonzmart and read the just updated review of the restaurant.


Over the storied 107-year history of the restaurant, its food and ambience have attracted a long list of celebrities from Marilyn Monroe, Babe Ruth and Liberace to Bruce Springsteen and George Clooney — why wasn’t I there the day he came in?
Continue reading “Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida” »



Sauerkraut in Tampa

on August 17th, 2012
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17

Aug

by Sophie Gayot


I did not think that when I was heading to Tampa last week that I was going to find one of the best sauerkrauts I have ever had, especially at that hot and humid time of the year. But find it I did at Datz restaurant, where it is made in-house by chef Jason Dame. I was hoping I would get some to take home with me. Maybe I should call them so they can ship it over!

Continue reading “Sauerkraut in Tampa” »



06

Aug

by Sophie Gayot


Yesterday marked the debut of the seventh edition of Jazz on the Lawn, a free concert series presented by Santa Monica Cultural Affairs in Stewart Park on Sundays in August from 5 p.m. to 7 pm. It was my first time attending the event; I had never made it in prior years, when the concerts were held on the lawn in front of Santa Monica City Hall. The new location was just perfect: we were surrounded by huge and gorgeous trees and a playground for the children.

Continue reading “Sunday in the Park With Jazz” »



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