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




  • pinitbutton The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards
pellegrino restaurant awards 2009 The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners - Ferran Adrià of El Bulli (top), Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck (left) and René Redzepi of Noma (right)

By Mary Anne Evans 

It was a glittering occasion last night in London. Where in the world would you get so many top international chefs deserting their kitchens and gathering together in one place at any one time? Names like Joël Robuchon, Mathias Dahlgren from Sweden, Ignatious Chan of Iggy’s in Singapore, Marcus Wareing, and David Chang of Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York.



They had all jetted in for the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards (co-sponsored by Restaurant magazine, Acqua Panna, Nespresso, Laurent-Perrier, alliance restaurant insurance and Electrolux, with Action Against Hunger the official charity). The ceremony took place in the Masonic Freemasons Hall, a suitably esoteric setting for the best chefs in the world.


Continue reading “The S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards” »

  • pinitbutton Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Stephen F. Udvar Hazy Center
george boyd andre james warren alain 300x225 Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Stephen F. Udvar Hazy Center

George Boyd and James Warren with Andre and Alain Gayot

Tuskegee Airmen at the Udvar-Hazy Center and Baghdad

by Alain Gayot

It’s been a few decades since the end of WWII but there are still wars being fought and airmen up in the skies chasing bogies and dropping ordinance. A select group of black men, who had been previously forbidden to participate because of their race, were chosen as part of an “experiment” towards the end of the second world conflict to see if they might be fit to fly. African-American men had flown in air forces in Canada and France but never in the U.S. or for the U.S. Air Force.

“If you want to know more about us,” says George Mills Boyd, “you can watch the 1995 Robert Markowitz movie with Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr., The Tuskegee Airmen. But you should know that Eleanor Roosevelt was flown by the [white] Base Commander, as no [black] cadet would have been allowed to take the President’s wife up.” Alain and André caught up with four of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen, who were on their way to meet the boys in Baghdad for a motivational encounter, during a United Airlines tribute. It was an honor and a pleasure to meet a bunch of alert octogenarians who not only fought the enemy but also quasi-insurmountable racial obstacles on their ascent to build the respectable Fighting 99th Squadron. Some of them still fly to this day.

Continue reading “Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center” »

  • pinitbutton At Table with Two of Our Top 40 US Chefs
sophiegayotmichelrichardjeanjoho 300x257 At Table with Two of Our Top 40 US Chefs

Michel Richard tasting Jean Joho’s perfect risotto with Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot



Today, at the Second Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine extravaganza, I enjoyed a dream lunch prepared by chefs Michel Richard from Citronelle in Washington, D.C., and Jean Joho from Everest in Chicago.

Sponsored by Lexus, the meal was based on the king of mushrooms, the truffle.
The talented pair cooked right in front of us, and even filled the tent with smoke!

Continue reading “At Table with Two of Our Top 40 US Chefs” »


Sweet Songs, Fine Wine

on April 14th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Sweet Songs, Fine Wine
flemings steakhouse 300x200 Sweet Songs, Fine Wine

Mick Fleetwood with Gayot Associate Publisher Greg McComb

While some older rock-and-rollers don’t know what to do with themselves when the spotlight moves away, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame knew what he wanted to do: make wine! We joined the Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Woodland Hills for some good food (try the lamb chops) paired with the drummer’s own wines. We enjoyed Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar Riesling, Private Cellar Chardonnay and Cabernet with a hearty dinner that featured impeccable service (Thanks, Tina!) But Mick still gets himself out of the cellar and into the studio, as evidenced by his new CD that’s climbing the charts, “Blue Again.” Thanks for the autograph, the wines, and all of your great tunes, Mick!
minilogo Sweet Songs, Fine Wine

  • pinitbutton A New Restaurant at SLS at Beverly Hills
sophiegayotgiadadilaurentiis 291x300 A New Restaurant at SLS at Beverly Hills
Chef Michael Voltaggio smoking salmon with TV star chef Giada de Laurentiis and Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

A birthday celebration last week took me to dinner at The Bazaar by José Andrés. Two pieces of good news came from the kitchen where chef Michael Voltaggio was cooking that evening. First, the meal was as good as the previous ones we’ve had.

The second was the announcement of the opening of restaurant Saam at The Bazaar by José Andrés tomorrow, April 9th. Saam is a secluded dining room in The Bazaar, which is also decorated by Philippe Starck. In a very private and stylish atmosphere, José Andrés will offer a fine dining version of 20-plus “tastes” or small courses for $120 per person, or $170 including wine pairings. We are very much looking forward to dining there!


minilogo A New Restaurant at SLS at Beverly Hills



  • pinitbutton Running in the Streets of Paris
toureiffel 300x183 Running in the Streets of Paris

La Tour Eiffel, the most visited monument in the world


Worldwide, millions walk and jog. This morning more than 31,000 participants ran the 33th Paris Marathon. Starting at the bottom of the most beautiful avenue of the world, Les Champs-Elysées, they looped around the City of Lights to finish on the gorgeous avenue Foch. It seems that to get the best views of the city, it was better to be one of the helicopter pilots covering the event than an actual marathoner.




The weather was just perfect for this ultimate race, where the winner, Vincent Kipruto of Kenya, broke the record of the Paris competition by 33 seconds, finishing the 41,195 kilometers (26 mi., 385 yds) in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 47 seconds. Bazu Worku from Ethiopia finished second (2:06:15), while another Kenyan, David Kiyeng, took third (2:06:26). For the women, Ethiopian Atsede Bayisa won in 2:24:42 over her compatriot Aselefech Mergia (2:25:02). The surprise came from Christelle Daunay of the home country who took third place in 2:25:44. Did you know that women weren’t officially allowed to run marathons until 1972 (Boston) and at the Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles?



  • pinitbutton Rain Doesn’t Dampen Spirits
tongaroom Rain Doesn’t Dampen Spirits

The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar at the Fairmont San Francisco


By Jeff Hoyt

Sometimes, kitsch just works. At the historic Fairmont San Francisco, much of The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is covered by the hotel’s old swimming pool, which now features a floating bandstand. Allegedly, Ronald Reagan is among the famous people to have taken a dip in it.

Continue reading “Rain Doesn’t Dampen Spirits” »



  • pinitbutton Lost Your Golden Parachute?
grouchomarx5 Lost Your Golden Parachute?

Philosopher Groucho Marx


By André Gayot

Sleepless last night, I spoke with Groucho Marx, my favorite philosopher. Chewing his cigar, he hailed me:  



-          Hey, André, what’s keeping you up?
-          You know, the economy, the world…
-          There’s no reason to worry about. You are blessed to live in a democracy: you are free!
-          Free and broke.
-          Still democracy is great because it’s the enlightened will of the majority. For instance, the majority of us have no bonuses nor golden parachutes because the majority feels it is immoral.
-          Sure, but some do get them, however. So if we could compromise just a little bit with the immorality of the thing could we all have bonuses and golden parachutes?
-          No, I fear, that’s not possible.
-          Then, in that case, would it be possible that nobody could benefit from these  immoral goodies?
-          Don’t ask silly questions… 

Continue reading “Lost Your Golden Parachute?” »

Supporting Wine

on March 31st, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Supporting Wine
alaingayotandpetermondavijr 300x225 Supporting Wine

Peter Mondavi Jr. with Alain Gayot

by Alain Gayot

When it comes to legendary wineries in Napa, Charles Krug certainly comes out on top as the Valley’s first. Founded in 1861 by an exiled Prussian radical journalist, it was purchased by the Mondavi family after prohibition and the rest is history.

We caught up with third generation family owner Peter Mondavi Jr. at a fundraiser event for the Make-A-Wish children’s foundation of Greater Los Angeles at Morton’s on La Cienega. Emcee, Sara Fasolino, Certified Sommelier extraordinaire for the Morton’s chain, doubled as the evening’s auctioneer.

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Disunited We Stand!

on March 30th, 2009
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  • pinitbutton Disunited We Stand!
sushi 300x164 Disunited We Stand!

We already have a glut of sushi

By André Gayot

Formerly a KGB analyst in the late 1990’s, Igor Panarine holds a doctorate degree in psychology and is now the director of studies of the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He teaches the Russian diplomats that the US will soon disintegrate, as well as its currency – the almighty dollar – which will be replaced by the “Americano.”  


Igor forecasts such a demise to take place as soon as the fall of 2010. The reason for this cataclysm is the “moral failure” and “the psychological stress” of the country with its “considerable population of homosexuals.” A country , he contends, that can’t build enough jails for all  its criminals.  He carries on: following a civil war, the US will split in six fragments. The East Coast will go to the European Union, Canada will take over the Midwest, Mexico will seize the southern states, China and Japan will share the West Coast while Alaska will return to Russia.

  Continue reading “Disunited We Stand!” »

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