Buick Food & Wine

Buick Discovery Tour
Buick Discovery Tour

The General’s Art

by Alain Gayot

The automobile is not only a favored mode of transportation but also an objet d’art. Cars are designed not just to be driven, but to be looked at and admired. They often come in flashy, eye-catching colors, adorned with shiny chrome and festooned with insignia, spoilers and racing stripes. Some are even displayed in museums and art galleries.

In the right hands, food and wine can be art as well. Emphasizing the artful connection between gourmet food and wine and fine automobiles, Buick has hired top chefs to help them market their line of cars. Together with sponsor Food & Wine magazine, Buick is taking its Discovery Tour around the country. We had the pleasure of playing “art critic” when the tour pulled into the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills this past weekend.

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A TOP Chef, for Sure

by Sophie Gayot

My assistant has typed up hundreds of photo captions of menu items. But after typing the captions for the gallery below, he couldn’t help but comment for the first time, “That menu seems very interesting.” He is right. And more than that, the wild game menu created by Chris Crary, chef de cuisine at Whist at the Viceroy Santa Monica, was creative, intelligent and sexy; pretty much what we look for when we go out for a fine dining experience.

By chance, the evening of the dinner was right after Chris Crary was voted off season 9 of the TV show Top Chef, where he was competing. Trust me, the dinner I enjoyed was created by a chef who is at the top of his game. I foresee a great future for Crary!

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Foodie Fun for Everyone

Jehangir Mehta
Jehangir Mehta

by Meryl Pearlstein

With New York City Restaurant Week (January 16-February 10) already underway, foodies have hundreds of great restaurants from which to choose. But there are other food events and celebrations well worth checking out in the next few days, including the Kids Food Festival and the start of Mehtaphor’s Global New Year dinner series.

At this weekend’s Kids Food Festival at Citi Pond in Bryant Park, chef Jehangir Mehta continues his mission to educate children about the role of nutrition in combating obesity. Chef Mehta will be joining food personalities and chefs such as David Burke (David Burke Townhouse, Fishtail by David BurkeDavid Burke Kitchen), Ben Pollinger (Oceana) and Jackie Newgent, RD, to present culinary demonstrations and offer healthy samples. The festival provides plenty of fun activities, including the “Balanced Plate Scavenger Hunt,” a puppet show and the “Silly Workout,” but also aims to educate parents and kids about the importance of making balanced food choices. General admission is free from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on January 21 and 22; tickets are required for cooking demos and other chef events. Festival partners are the James Beard Foundation and Share Our Strength. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.kidsfoodfestival.com.

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Top 40 Time

by Sophie Gayot

Our team of writers and editors are working hard to compile the 2012 edition of the GAYOT.com Restaurant Issue, which includes GAYOT.com’s Top 40 Restaurants in the US, to be published soon. Subscribe now to be among the first to learn about the latest culinary trends, rising chefs, the restaurateur of the year, and much more.

Mélisse in Santa Monica has been on our Top 40 list since 2006. Take a look at the video interview above with chef/owner Josiah Citrin to see what it takes to rank consistently as one of the best restaurants in the country. Then join our community and post your ideas for what restaurants you believe should be on this select list.

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Lunch at Michael Mina’s

Arctic char
Arctic char

by Tiffany Maleshefski

Michael Mina moved his eponymous restaurant out of the Westin St. Francis more than a year ago and into the building that formerly housed Aqua, the very restaurant where the chef started to develop his culinary cred. The move “home” had a lot of benefits, the biggest one probably being that it gave Mina a chance to tinker with the restaurant’s formerly stuffy atmosphere. Because while the space at the St. Francis was indeed stunning, there was no getting around the fact that one felt like they needed white gloves and tails to set foot in it. No matter how hard the restaurant tried to create a less opulent environment, with fun happy hour specials and a short-lived bar menu, diners weren’t buying it.

But now Mina is deeper into the Financial District, with a hipper, more vibrant and funky space that’s meant to make the restaurant feel less “special occasion” and more “this won’t completely deplete our bank account by eating here.” The introduction of a a prix-fixe lunch menu is one more step to making the restaurant more accessible. At $49 for three courses and $59 for four, the lunch menu is a great way to try out one of the Bay Area’s most decorated restaurants for half the price — but not at half the experience.

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