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




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.

Continue reading “Women in Film & Champagne” »



  • pinitbutton Touring the Freezer in 90210

by: Sophie Gayot

A trip to the Vodbox at Nic’s Beverly Hills restaurant is a dream for vodka lovers. But there are some rules to follow before entering the 28-degree freezer: you must wear a fur coat, (faux, waiting for you right there); and don’t think you will be able to drive away right after your 15-minute tour. Luke Nicola, restaurateur Larry Nicola’s son, will guide you through 80 of the best boutique vodkas available from over 20 different countries, while never leaving 90210.

Continue reading “Touring the Freezer in 90210” »

  • pinitbutton Chicagos Ria Hosting Wine Centric Fête
Ria Chicagos Ria Hosting Wine Centric Fête

Ria's plush dining room will host a boutique wine dinner showcasing its new menu. (Photo courtesy of Patricia Parinejad.)

by Jennifer Olvera

You’ve got to love a place that’s been open mere months and closes for a mini-facelift, New York-based culinary research and menu revamp, all the while riding on rave reviews. But that’s Ria for you. Celebrate its reopening early on January 22 with a luxurious wine dinner highlighting six boutique California producers: Failla Wines, Anomaly Vineyards, Realm Cellars, D.R. Stevens, Chase Family Cellars and Fischer Vineyards.

The event kicks off at 4 p.m. in the Elysian hotel’s grand ballroom with passed hors d’oeuvres and an informal wine tasting. Come 6 p.m., the soirée moves into Ria’s dining room for a six-course meal comprised of dishes from the yet-to-be-unveiled winter menu and, naturally, more specialty sips. Producers will be seated among diners and will elaborate on pours between courses and stay to talk post-dessert with those so inclined.

Participants for the tasting only may reserve advance tickets for $50, while the entire evening costs $250 per person, in addition to tax and service. Ria, 11 E. Walton St., 3rd Fl., 312-880-4400.

Keep coming back to for the latest Chicago Restaurant News, Restaurant Reviews, Culinary Events and Chicago Wine Dinners.



  • pinitbutton Cocktails Keep the Holidays Alive
four seasons sf 239x300 Cocktails Keep the Holidays Alive

The elegant main lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco

by Tiffany Maleshefski

Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying holiday spirits. The bar and lounge at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco has added a number of very cool holiday-themed cocktails to its menu.

More innovative choices include the Pumpkin Pie Martini, which shakes up brandy, Frangelico, and pumpkin purée with a pumpkin pie spiced rim. Admittedly, it looks a little odd on paper, but fear not. The brandy is mild and the drink is actually on the sweeter end of the spectrum; it’s not unlike a Cosmopolitan.

Of course, the best parts of a holiday-themed cocktail menu are the beverages served hot. Given the unending rain in San Francisco, the Wassail, a yummy hot cider drink spiked with spiced rum and garnished with a clove-studded lemon twist, is a godsend. It’s tempting to order one to-go and pour it in a thermos for mobile imbibing.

Continue reading “Cocktails Keep the Holidays Alive” »

Holiday Issues

on November 29th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Holiday Issues
home alone 300x177 Holiday Issues

Holidays have you stressed? Unwind with one of our Top 10 Holiday Movies, including John Hughes' modern-day classic, Home Alone.

by Jeff Hoyt

While you’re still working your way through Thanksgiving leftovers, we’re hard at work making the next set of holidays easier for you. Shopping? Check out our Top 10 Holiday Gifts, including a new book for foodies: Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert. Need a break from shopping? Unwind with one of our Top 10 Holiday Movies: some will steal your heart, while others depict stealing groundhogs. Going to a holiday party? Pick up one of our Top 10 Holiday Wines, which covers white, red, dessert, and sparkling. But for the best in sparkling wines, consult our Top 10 Prestige Cuvées, our selections of the top Champagnes available.

All of these lists and more can be found in our latest The Food Paper newsletter, published today. It’s easy to subscribe to our free newsletters, including our recently published Hotel Issue and our Annual Restaurant Issue coming out in January. Keep coming back to for reviews of the newest restaurants and hotels.

Hip Hop Cognac, part 3

on November 09th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Hip Hop Cognac, part 3
TI rapper cognac 205x300 Hip Hop Cognac, part 3
Rapper T.I. reportedly loses his Remy Martin deal after his arrest

By Jeff Hoyt

We hate to say, “I told you so!” And by “hate” we mean “love,” like, in hip-hop, “bad” can actually mean “good.”


You may recall that we questioned the wisdom of Remy Martin Cognac naming felon/rapper T.I. their Global Creative Consultant after serving time on weapons charges. Shortly thereafter, we reported on his Los Angeles drug arrest. Now it appears the cognac house and others believe it’s time to drop him like he’s hot.


After being sentenced to eleven additional months behind bars on the probation violation stemming from the arrest, T. I. has reportedly lost his Remy Martin deal.  In addition, he has also lost his sponsorship deal for AXE Body spray. It seems there are only a certain number of felonies a rapper can get caught committing before endorsement deals dry up.

Continue reading “Hip Hop Cognac, part 3” »


Raising the Bar #4

on November 01st, 2010
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  • pinitbutton Raising the Bar #4
sophie gayot michael cardenas 300x179 Raising the Bar #4

From left to right: Christopher Hennessy, Comme Ca general manager; Yassmin Sarmadi, Church & State owner; Tim Loden, Comme Ca mixologist; Sophie Gayot; Charlotte Cramer, BOA mixologist; Claudia Smith, Joe’s Restaurant; Hector Bury, Joe’s Restaurant mixologist, Victoria Recano, TV personality; Dave Ferney, Church & State mixologist; Michael Cardenas, BOA owner.

by Sophie Gayot

Join me at Church & State on Sunday, November 7th, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the fourth edition of the cocktail competition Raising the Bar. Along with Church & State owner Yassmin Sarmadi, chef/owner of Joe’s Restaurant and Bar Pintxo Joe Miller, Comme Ca General Manager Christopher Hennessy, and newcomer The Raymond Restaurant General Manager Chris Mangandi, I will be judging cocktails created on the spot.

Four mixologists, Mat Greis (Church & State), Jennifer Zerboni (Joe’s Restaurant), Eugene Shaw or Tim Loden (Comme Ca) and Lacey Murillo (The Raymond Restaurant) will have to create three different cocktails: a classic, another made with Starr African Rum, and one freestyle. Audience members will also enjoy a choice of special menus from chef Jeremy Berlin. Ask for details, including pricing, when making your reservation at 213-405-1434. Continue reading “Raising the Bar #4” »

My A– !

on October 25th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton My A   !
all asses not equal 300x116 My A   !

“All asses were not created equal"

by André Gayot

I was puzzled the other night when a brightly illuminated billboard promoting pants over the boulevard drew my attention. It read: “All asses were not created equal.”

True enough! All of a sudden, as I was so far relatively satisfied with that part of my anatomy, I felt uncomfortable in my mind to have ignored this important issue and its intricacy. I did not feel guilty, though, because no trace of the lower back problem could be found in my favorite readings, that of Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. Reflecting on the human condition, and on the research of equality among men, they were – it seems – mostly concerned by the inequality of the heads and by the difference it could make at the end of the day if nothing was done to take care of natural or acquired imbalances.
Continue reading “My A– !” »

  • pinitbutton Dining Out More, but Enjoying it Less?
dining out enjoying less Dining Out More, but Enjoying it Less?

FLIP Burger Boutique in Atlanta, one of our Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S.

by Jeff Hoyt

Americans are dining out more, but spending less per meal. That’s the conclusion of payment processor First Data. Comparing September 2010, to a year earlier, food service establishments posted a 12.7-percent jump in transactions, the highest increase in 18 months. However, they also suffered a 4.5 percent decrease in the average check for the month, meaning customers were ordering less and taking advantage of promotions. Perhaps diners are sharing appetizers and desserts, or forgoing the steak for the hamburger.

To make your dining dollars go further, check out our Top 40 Cheap Eats in the U.S. and Best Value Restaurants near you. In our GAYOT Economic Stimulus Plan, we list the Top 10 Value Hotels Worldwide which can help you save on your vacation, and even the Top 10 Value Automobiles to help you get there. And if dollars are so tight that you’re stuck at home, why not try one of our Top 10 Wines Under $10? Cheers to better times ahead.

No Ghost Vodka

on October 08th, 2010
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  • pinitbutton No Ghost Vodka

by Sophie Gayot

Although he’s best known for comedy, from Saturday Night Live to The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters (to name just a few), making vodka is no joke to Dan Aykroyd. I had the honor and pleasure of meeting the Canadian comic actor last week at The Blvd restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Watch my exclusive video interview with him, and you will see the passion he puts into his Crystal Head Vodka.

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