Wednesday, July 30, 2014

JustLuxe: Four Fabulous New Nordic Cuisine Restaurants

During my recent round-the-world trip, I spent a few weeks roaming the Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, and one of the highlights was the cuisine. Even just a decade ago the idea of Scandinavia as a culinary destination would have been something of a joke - the land of smorgasbord and smoked herring. But thanks to a cadre of enterprising and experimental young chefs, including Rene Redzepi of Noma who put "new Nordic" cuisine on the map, the restaurants in these countries are some of the most exciting in the world to eat at these days.

I was lucky enough to eat at nearly a dozen fabulous places, but singled out four in particular for my most recent JustLuxe post on the new Nordic trend. They were Oaxen Krog in Stockholm, Falsled Kro on the island of Funen in Denmark, Spis in Helsinki and Lysverket in Bergen.

Read about what makes each one so special and some of the mouthwatering dishes I sampled in my full article on JustLuxe: Four Fantastic New Nordic Restaurants You Have Not Heard Of...Yet

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Metrosource Magazine: Designer Bill Bensley Profile

I branched out a bit in the most recent issue of Metrosource Magazine, the Design Issue, to write a profile of a man whose work I've admired for a while now, hotel designer and landscape architect Bill Bensley.

I've seen Bensley's work up close at properties like the Four Seasons Chiang Mai and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle as well as read about it when researching trips to Asia and considering where to stay in Vietnam, Bali, Thailand and more. The man's fingerprints are all over Southeast Asia and almost overnight it seems like he has become the "starchitect" of the region.

Interested to learn more about him, I talked to him about his aesthetic, how he goes about envisioning each project, some of his hallmarks and what he looks for in a travel experience himself. His answers were both challenging and illuminating.

You can read the full article at Metrosource here: An American Designs Asia

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Metrosource Magazine: Republique Restaurant Review

Walter Manzke is one of my favorite chefs in town, and he proves himself once more at his latest restaurant, Republique.

It's in the former Campanile space on La Brea and features a farm-to-table French-skewed menu that includes my favorite escargot as well as thinks like hamachi crudo with grapefruit and Fresno chile, and pig face over frisee with a poached egg.

The cocktails and wine list are pretty interesting too. Read my full review from Metrosource Magazine here: All Together Now: Republique Review

Monday, July 14, 2014

JustLuxe: First Look Inside Air New Zealand's Boeing 787-9

If you're an aviation geek like me, then the big news from your week was the unveiling of Boeing's next-generation 787-9 Dreamliner. The first airline to operate this new plane will be Air New Zealand, and I was lucky enough to be invited up to Boeing's facility at Everett Field in Washington State for the unveiling of the new plane and a sneak peek at its interior before it made its delivery flight to Auckland. It was an exciting moment not only because of the new plane but also because it's a great airline and one that I have had fantastic experiences with.

Much of the plane will look familiar to anyone who has flown Air NZ's 777-300's with similar (though smaller) business and economy cabins. However, there is an all-new premium economy class that looks pretty comfy, and all kinds of fun features like automatic window tints and humidifying and pressurizing systems that should lessen the effects of flying and jet lag.

All in all, it was an exciting event, and you can read all about it as well as taking a look at the new plane in my full JustLuxe article: Take Your First Look Inside Air New Zealand's New Dreamliner B787-9

Thursday, July 10, 2014

JustLuxe: 5 Unique Hong Kong Luxury Hotel Amenities

I love Hong Kong. It has to be one of my favorite cities. Fast-paced, cosmopolitan, exotic, and just plain fun. It also happens to be home to some of the best hotels in the world including a list of luxury properties a mile long.

I got the chance to experience four of them on my past trip to the city, and what most impressed me was the variety and detail of the luxury amenities they offer their guests - from one-off restaurant champagne tastings to pampering spa treatments, private BMW chauffeur service to kid-friendly treats. These hotels go above and beyond to provide their guests with the best possible experience.

With that in mind, take a look at my most recent JustLuxe article on the top five luxury hotel amenities in Hong Kong here: 5 Unique Hong Kong Luxury Hotel Amenities

Monday, July 7, 2014

JustLuxe: The Mulia Resort Bali - Bringing Luxury Back

Bali has had a hard decade after the terrorist bombings of 2002. Tourism there hit a wall, but it has slowly been coming back and there are a lot of new resorts opening their doors these days including a sprawling luxury property in the southern beach town of Nusa Dua called The Mulia.

The resort is really three hotels in one. I stayed at the boutique property, The Mulia, and my two-night stay was all too short, though I did try to experience every corner of the place, from the eight restaurants to the spa, to the various pools and beaches.

Read all about my experience and the resort's amenities in my article on JustLuxe here: The Mulia Boutique Property is Breathing Fresh Life into the Bali Luxury Hotel Scene

Friday, July 4, 2014

JustLuxe: Amantaka Luxury Resort in Luang Prabang, Laos

On my recent round-the-world trip, one of my main destinations was the gorgeous, UNESCO-listed city of Luang Prabang in Laos. This former royal capital has an intriguing French colonial flair, fabulous restaurants, wonderful things to see nearby including waterfalls, caves and elephant camps, and a slew of fantastic hotels.

The top-tier resort in town is Aman Resorts' Amantaka, where I was able to spend two nights during my stay, and enjoyed every moment of it. Read my review on JustLuxe to find out why.

Luang Prabang's Amantaka Resort & Spa is Filled With Luxury, A Sense of Place & History

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LA Confidential Magazine: Is DTLA The Next Coffee Capital?

When it comes to coffee, you might think that the most interesting things are happening in Seattle or Portland, but Los Angeles has been home a buzzing (if you'll pardon the pun) coffee cabal for a few years now, centered around a few roasteries downtown.

Here's my take on the trend, including interviews with several of the city's top roasters and baristas, plus a look at some of their most innovative drinks.

Article: Is DTLA The Next Coffee Capital?

Monday, June 23, 2014

LA Confidential: DTLA Tacos

You can't talk about California cuisine without including one of the simplest dishes out there - tacos. Get a tortilla, throw in some tasty ingredients, and you've got a meal on the go. While most of us might be familiar with the basic varieties of this humble plato, some of LA's best chefs have given this ancient food a more modern twist.

Here's a quick hit list I wrote up in LA Confidential Magazine of where to try these yummy morsels in LA's most up-and-coming foodie barrio, Downtown.

How Downtown Restos Dress Up Tacos

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

JustLuxe: Four Amazing Asian Spa Treatments

I am in Asia at the moment, and being here inspired me to write about some of the amazing spa treatments I enjoyed during my last trip here in November. Specifically, I cover four very unique, very different treatments at luxury hotels where I stayed including the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, the Shangri-La Bangkok and the Park Hyatt Siem Reap.

There's everything from a jade facial to a royalty-inspired rose oil body treatment, a millenniums-old Thai herbal body compress, and a trigger point foot massage inspired by Hindu lore. In short, each has something unique to offer and will leave you feeling like a new person.

Find out more in my article on JustLuxe: Four of the Best Traditional Spa Treatments in Asia

Monday, June 9, 2014

JustLuxe: Mexico's Best Luxury Resorts

I love Mexico. It might seem mundane to some, but I think it's a beautiful country with wonderful people, great beaches and cities, and some of the world's top resorts. I try to go several times a year if possible and each time I get to experience another amazing place.

In my recent travels there, I visited several very special hotels in Cabo, Cancun and Zihuatenejo, so I rounded them up here. The ones I cover include Capella Pedregal, Rancho Pescadero, Nizuc and Viceroy Zihuatenejo.

These hotels offer everything from a hot lava shell massage to a beachside cooking class, not to mention plenty of delicious restaurants, spacious suites and all the elements you need for the perfect getaway.

Read about what I loved at each in my JustLuxe article here: From Cabo to Cancun - Discovering 4 of Mexico's Best Hotels and Resorts

Friday, June 6, 2014

Frontiers: Cavatina Restaurant Review

The restaurant at the landmark Sunset Marquis hotel recently underwent a big reconcepting and is now called Cavatina. Sure, there's still that same wonderful al fresco patio, but the dining room has been pared down considerably, and the menu is by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schlow.

During my evening there, we enjoyed such dishes as chilled lobster with warm cauliflower panna cotta, grilled Spanish octopus with black chickpea puree, and a "loaded pot brownie."

To see what came in that one, read my review here: Cavatina - Dining Al Fresco

Friday, May 30, 2014

JustLuxe: Explore Tasmania's Amazing Food and Arts Scene

This past February, I had a chance to visit Tasmania. I have been to Australia four times, but I had never managed to get down to this lonely little island off the continent's south coast. However, it has been on my radar for a long time thanks to a thriving food scene - great restaurants, young chefs, artisanal food producers - a lively arts community, and some of Australia's most breathtaking wilderness.

It is also home to one of my all-time dream hotels, the Saffire Freycinet, which I covered when it first opened a few years ago and have been meaning to visit ever since.

Well, I finally got my chance! Take a moment to read all about what I did, saw and ate on Tasmania in one of my latest JustLuxe articles here: Head Down Under to Tasmania.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Frontiers: Gay Family Vacation Destinations

Now that gay marriage is legal not only in many states but also in many countries across the globe, we're seeing the relatively new phenomenon of gay family vacations. So my editor at Frontiers asked me to assemble my list of top gay family vacation destinations - from a Maui beach getaway to more far-flung locales like Sydney and Stockholm.

Here's what I came up with, but feel free to comment with your own suggestions and advice!

Article: 5 Vacation Destinations for Gay Families on the Go

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Quest Magazine: Park Hyatt Siem Reap

In addition to reviews on The Points Guy and Jetsetter, I was also asked to write about my experience at the Park Hyatt Siem Reap for Quest, the new quarterly magazine from luxury tour outfitters Ker & Downey.

This piece really focused on the hotel experience with sections on the restaurant, the spa (not to miss: the apsara foot massage!) and the rooms, as well as how it fits into the overall Siem Reap hotel scene.

Check the full article out here: Hot Spot - Park Hyatt Siem Reap.