Truffle Extraordinaire Part 1

by Sophie Gayot

This is not the first time that the endless creativity of chef José Andrés compelled me to my computer to write a piece after sitting at the table of one of his restaurants.

This time, it is about the second annual Truffle Season Dinner Series at SAAM, the chef’s private tasting room in The Bazaar at SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. This series presents a great challenge as the key ingredient is what Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin called “the diamonds of the kitchen“. Using truffles reduces dramatically Andrés’ range of action and forces him to express himself in one direction.

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Hooker 2010 “Blind Side” Zinfandel – Wine of the Week Review

Hooker 2010 "Blind Side" Zinfandel
Hooker 2010 “Blind Side” Zinfandel

Price: $18

Rating: 14.5/20

Region: California

Varietal: 79 percent Zinfandel, 20 percent Petite Sirah & 1 percent Merlot

Production: 1,040 cases

Alcohol: 14 percent

Tasting Notes: Betsy Lawer’s father played hooker on Stanford University’s rugby team; her husband David played hooker for Duke. To celebrate their love for the sport, David and Betsy Lawer of Lawer Family Wines created their Hooker label. Grapes are sourced from the winery’s estate in Knights Valley and from vineyards across California. The 2010 “Blind Side” Zinfandel is a nicely balanced Continue reading “Hooker 2010 “Blind Side” Zinfandel – Wine of the Week Review” »

Cooking with Scott Conant

by Sophie Gayot





If you have experienced chef Scott Conant’s cooking at one of his Scarpetta restaurants (New YorkMiami, Las Vegas), chances are that you would like to enjoy some of his dishes in the comfort of your own house.

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Trump Winery 2012 Chardonnay – Wine of the Week Review

Trump Winery 2012 Chardonnay
Trump Winery 2012 Chardonnay

Price: $16

Rating: 14/20

Region: Monticello, Virginia

Varietal: 100 percent Chardonnay

Production: 2,505 cases

Alcohol: 12 percent

Tasting Notes: Billionaire Donald Trump purchased Kluge Vineyard and Estate in 2011, claiming that he was more interested in its property value than in making wine. Now owned and managed by his son Eric, Trump Winery comprises 1,300 acres near Thomas Jefferson’s historic home, of which some 200 acres are under vine. The 2012 Chardonnay is one of a growing number of wines that eschew the often overripe style made popular in Caliornia. Instead, it is lower in alcohol and mostly fermented Continue reading “Trump Winery 2012 Chardonnay – Wine of the Week Review” »

Peru in Marina del Rey, CA: A Great Trip

by Sophie Gayot

Recently, a gourmet friend of mine asked me to recommend a restaurant in Marina del Rey, which is on the water just outside of Los Angeles and where surprisingly there are not too many good options. Since I dine at so many restaurants, I rarely steer friends to places I haven’t been to myself. But having enjoyed Ricardo Zarate‘s cooking at Picca as well as Mo-Chica, I suggested she try his new restaurant Paiche even though I had yet to visit.

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