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79% of Europeans approve of smoke prohibition in restaurants
           79% of Europeans approve of  smoke             prohibition in restaurants

By André Gayot

 

A survey by the European Commission states that 79% of Europeans approve of the smoke prohibition in restaurants. So what about the other 21%? Twenty one per cent of the European population is about 30 million people. This strong minority still finds fun in smoking.

 

No wonder that a few restaurateurs think that there’s a niche market catering to nicotine addicts. But how to lure them back—legally, that is—to the tables?

 

The law is strict: smoking in a restaurant is allowed only in a tightly-closed, separately-ventilated space with no access for the waiters, maître d’s and sommeliers so they can avoid the risks of passive smoking. The staff must be hailed via walkie-talkie and then whisk your order through a special passage. It is a costly installation, but it’s conceivable that after such an effort, the smoking diners will pay the price of their pleasure.

 

Continue reading “Really, is There Still a “Smoking Fun”? Oui…” »



04

May

Husband and wife Michael and Kim McCarty with father and daughter André and Sophie Gayot

Husband and wife Michael and Kim McCarty with father and daughter André and Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

Michael‘s, the eponymous restaurant of Michael McCarty in Santa Monica, California, was packed yesterday with faithful clients, friends and colleagues celebrating the 30th anniversary of this landmark house with Michael and his artist wife Kim. The buffets were stupendous, up to the stainless reputation of this regarded table.

 

Indeed, three decades of consistent success in Tinseltown, where the life span of an eatery is often times shorter than that of a cactus flower, can be considered an historical achievement worthy of merited kudos. Michael and Kim were justly entitled to appear radiant in their “ravishing” garden as we described it in our review of Michael’s in 1982, and the charm still floats on the patio.

Continue reading “Michael (almost) Angelo” »



01

May

Wolfgang Zwiener showing Sophie Gayot his custom designed meat aging fridge

Wolfgang Zwiener showing Sophie Gayot his custom designed meat aging fridge

By Sophie Gayot

Last night, Wolfgang Zwiener and his son Peter celebrated the first anniversary of their restaurant in Beverly Hills, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse by Wolfgang Zwiener.

 

The red carpet was deployed on Canon Drive to welcome more than three hundred guests for a cocktail reception. Beef, and lots of it, in various cuts, was passed around, still sizzling on the plates, grilled to perfection. I have to admit, I cannot recall the last time I had such delicious, tender and tasty meat.

 

I was lucky to be let in on part of the secret: the custom-designed, temperature/humidity controlled aging box where all meat is dry-aged on the premises for 28 days.  I am, also, guessing that Zwiener uses only top-quality, hormone-free beef.

 

Other locations include the original in New York, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, and spin-offs in TriBeCa and Hawaii.

 

Wolfgang's Steakhouse By Wolfgang Zwiener on Urbanspoon



30

Apr

Chef Michael Mina and Sophie Gayot
Chef Michael Mina and Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

 

When I went to XIV in November, I was not totally convinced by Michael Mina’s first restaurant in Los Angeles. When the names Mina and Sam Nazarian (SBE Group) are on the door, you have high expectations.

Did the team sense  it? What I am sure of is that they have worked very hard to create a totally new dining experience which, I feel, now works. From Michael Mina, whose eponymous restaurant in San Francisco has been one of our Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. for four years in a row, to executive chef Steven Fretz, pastry chef Jordan Kahn and to general manger Ryan Cole, they had all realized that they could make things better, and they succeeded.

 

Note that on Mondays, a three-course market menu is offered for $49, and that you can enjoy the restaurant’s best wines, including Château Cheval Blanc and Domaine de la Romanée Conti, at half price, for any bottle over $100.

You can read our review of XIV restaurant and add your comments in our restaurant section.

XIV on Urbanspoon

Continue reading “A Delicious New Start at XIV” »



29

Apr

Organic Beef

Organic Beef

By André Gayot

 

On bumper stickers we often read this straightforward formula: “War is not the answer.”


That should be the motto of the World Trade Organization (WTO) when the officials of this International entity try to reconcile the US Department of Commerce with the European Commission of Brussels. For now, the battle is raging.

 

 The European Union does not want to buy American beef because of the (legal) use in the US of the growth hormone to raise cattle faster by some farmers. Indeed, not all the farmers. Apparently the EU is not sensitive to the difference and parks all of these American animals in the same corral. In response, the US retaliates with the threat of raising custom tariffs on European food items such as French Roquefort and Italian mineral waters so popular on this side of the Atlantic. Continue reading “Meet Meat Not Scary to Eat” »



28

Apr

Chef Karim Razgallah presenting his desserts to Sophie Gayot

Chef Karim Razgallah presenting his desserts to Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

Last night chef Karim Razgallah of Jaan at L’Ermitage in Beverly Hills prepared an elegant dinner, under the toque of the Club Culinaire of French Cuisine, presided by Jean-François Meteigner of La Cachette restaurant. Chef Karim, former private chef to Karl Lagerfeld, is half Tunisian (from his father) and half French (from Bourgogne). He loves to mix the two cultures while cooking and uses spices wisely.

The evening began with a cocktail party in the hotel’s garden accompanied by bubbles from G.H. Mumm Champagne. Then we moved into the dining room for a five-course meal: lobster bisque (very tasty); roasted sea bass (perfectly cooked) with braised veal sweet breads; truffle chicken cannelloni (quite interesting); crusty lamb loin (more traditional); pear-almond feuillantine in a chocolate sauce (great orange blossom flavor).

Jaan on Urbanspoon

  Continue reading “A Tasty Gathering at Jaan” »



Chef Nick Albrecht and Sophie Gayot toasting over tuna ceviche tacos

Chef Nick Albrecht and Sophie Gayot toasting over tuna ceviche tacos

By Sophie Gayot

Downtown Los Angeles is sprouting with new, elegant restaurants. CASA on South Grand Avenue is one of them. Located at the foot of one of the towers of California Plaza, it is as beautiful as the buildings, though in a very different style. You can choose to sit outside or inside to sip on great house-made cocktails, before moving onto chef Nick Albrecht’s interpretation of Mexican cuisine.

Casa on Urbanspoon



23

Apr

Chef Jean-François Meteigner presenting his whitefish to Sophie Gayot
Chef Jean-François Meteigner presenting his whitefish to Sophie Gayot

By Sophie Gayot

Chef Jean-François Meteigner from La Cachette is celebrating the soon-to-come summer with a new “HYBRID MENU.” Within the restaurant he has created much more casual dishes at reasonable prices, under “La Cachette Bistro.” Look for them on the menu, marked with a bistro chair. Last night I tried a refreshing red papaya salad with brandade of homemade salted cod, corn blinis and cream; North Sea whitefish in a saffron broth with mussels, clams and mixed market vegetables, and floating island.

Besides dining at La Cachette, you can spend time with Meteigner during his cooking classes, the next ones to be held on May 2, June 27 and August 29.

 

 

Continue reading “Bistro Fare at La Cachette” »



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

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” »



George Boyd and James Warren with Andre and Alain Gayot

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” »



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