Good Room, but the Chef?

by: Sophie Gayot

As I headed to Pasadena to check out The Royce, the new restaurant at The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa, I had no doubt that the décor would be better than that of the space’s former inhabitant, The Dining Room, which sported probably the most boring room of the past few years of such a high level restaurant. I was worried about the chef, who had a tough act to follow in Michael Voltaggio, and previously Craig Strong. But I had nothing to fear, as chef David Féau prepared quite a spectacular dinner.

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Looking for a Restaurant for New Year’s Eve in LA?

Magnificent sugar holiday sculpture from the pastry team at The Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa
Magnificent sugar sculpture from the pastry team at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa

by: Sophie Gayot

If you missed chef Jamie Gwen interviewing me on her weekly radio show on KFWB 980 on where to spend New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles, you may listen to it here.

My best tip is to read’s Top 10 New Year’s Eve restaurants in Los Angeles. And for other cities in the US, visit’s Dining Out for New Year’s Eve restaurant lists. 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas weekend!

Christmas Dining in NYC

The Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel in New York City
The Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel in New York City

by Meryl Pearlstein

The holidays are stressful enough without kitchen duty. In between last minute holiday shopping, hosting guests and crazy weather, the solution to your Christmas feast is only a phone call away. For those spending the holidays in New York City, there’s still plenty of time to make reservations at a top-notch restaurant that will help your Christmas dinner go off without a hitch.

Make this Christmas a memorable one amidst the storied glamour of The Oak Room at The Plaza Hotel. Open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the famed New York institution is serving up a special $100 four-course prix-fixe menu. Entrées include the Christmas turkey and the miso-glazed Virginia ham, but of course no meal at The Oak Room would be complete without their foie gras PB & J. Save room for dessert because you wouldn’t want to miss their signature chocolate-praline Oak Bar.

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Checking the Check

On the left: the credit receipt. On the right: the detailed bill
On the left: the credit receipt. On the right: the detailed bill

by Sophie Gayot

When we go out to restaurants or bars for a meal or a drink, the bill always comes at the end. The truth is that most of us don’t check the check in detail. We usually just give it a quick glance as we reach for our cash or credit cards because we don’t want to look stingy in front of our friends, family, dates, business partners or associates.

A few weeks ago, when I asked for my check at a very à la mode bar in Paris, the waiter announced a bill of € 34 (about $45) for the two non-alcoholic drinks we had and ran the card through his credit card machine. I started thinking out loud to my friend, “Well, €34 for a Diet Coke and a fresh fruit drink without alcohol, that is quite expensive. This place is VERY trendy, and has been for many years, but come on!” A few minutes later, I asked the waiter to give me the receipt with the details of what we were being charged (not the credit card receipt, which I already had, but the actual bill). He returned with it and €9 saying, “Sorry, we made a mistake, here are €9,” and handed me the money (about $12). Good, I thought, I got more miles on my credit card and pocket change to boot! I am pretty sure it would not have happened if I hadn’t asked for the bill.

In the future, don’t be scared to ask and verify. Please tell us about your similar experiences, which can only happen if you check. You can see the two receipts, but we’ve removed the name of the establishment to protect the guilty!

For more tips on how to save money, check out the GAYOT Economic Stimulus Plan.

Triple Chocolate Truffle Pizza at the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills

by: Sophie Gayot

Yes, you read my title correctly: Triple chocolate truffle pizza! And to be clear, I mean real truffles, not chocolate truffles.

The story goes that the general manager of the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, Pradeep Raman, really loves food — and since I was able to test him, trust me, he knows about food. So he asked Mirko Paderno, the chef of the hotel’s restaurant Oliverio, to come up with some fun ideas around chocolate. The pair created “Choco-Sutra,” an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet served on Fridays and Saturdays around the pool from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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