Friday, February 27, 2009

Interview with Chef Tyler Florence

I'll admit it: for a food writer, I don't watch the Food Network very much. Nor, gasp!, do I tune in to Top Chef often, but sometimes I get to interview the stars of TV Land's culinary set for's FACES series, and that is just what happened this month when I was contacted by Tyler Florence's publicity team.

It seems that Chef Florence is teaming up with Macy's on a series of podcasts and a home cooking contest where the winner gets a Tyler-escorted shopping trip to Macy's in San Francisco. In the meantime, I asked him about his shows, his cookbooks and the new projects he has underway, like the imminent opening of his restaurant at the Hotel Vertico in San Francisco.

Food, Food, Food...and a Museum

The weekly article update! Here's what I've been working on lately.

Bouillon Racine: This is one of my favorite restaurants in Paris, which I first visited with my brother's friend Karine. She also took me to a few cool places in Montmartre, but this is the one that stuck with me. Turns out it's a historical landmark thanks to a 1996 renovation, and I just love all the Art Nouveau touches. Take a look:

Beijing Noodle No. 9: Caesars Palace's attempt to attract more Asian visitors. Link:

Rivera: I also went to a new nouvelle-Mexican restaurant downtown courtesy of Chef John Rivera Sedlar, who apparently put fine Southwest dining on the map in LA in the 80's and 90's:

Germany's Twin Art Movements: This is a really cool exhibit at LACMA that traces the evolution of modern art simultaneously in East and West Germany after World War II. Link:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lompoc Wine Ghetto

My article for The Rundown finally came out! It's short but sweet, but hits four of the wineries we visited, a couple of restaurants, and the hotel. That leaves plenty more to write for other outlets, so stay tuned for further coverage of some of my favorite winemakers!

Saturday, February 21, 2009 Lists Lists Lists

I have one word for you, Joel: Lists. So the line might read if "The Graduate" were to come out today. As it is, I have been given a new mandate by my editor at, and one which has been seconded by every other interweb writer I have talked to. The future of our sites lies in lists. Best Of's, Top 10's, etc.
Thus I created the LA's Best Burger Bars List and LA's Best Wine Bars List this past week. I think they're pretty good, but the whole point is to get people talking and adding to them, so hopefully readers will have suggestions. I think what bothers me is when their suggestions read like this: "How can you think this is a list of the best burgers? You've left off ___ and ___ and ___, and then ____ has the best chili fries, and..." they go on and on like that, which is pretty unhelpful. I don't think readers understand that I'm operating under some strict parameters, that my lists are not meant to be comprehensive (after all, I need people to read and respond!) and if they want to make additions, they can in their comments. People get so uppity about it though. Frustration!
But please enjoy the two lists, plus a couple of recent reviews!

Bar Centro at the SLS: I wanted to put this up since the LA Times food critic, S. Irene Verbila put out her review of it this week and was gushing and gushing. Plus, she apparently sat next to "blinged-out hip hoppers," which I find hilarious:
RH at Andaz West Hollywood: Whatever you do, don't call the Andaz West Hollywood a "Hyatt"! I got a few publicist hissyfits thrown my way over that and it required several corrections to the review, at which point I was almost ready to have it taken down. What is Hyatt so ashamed of anyway?

Jaunted Update

Wow, I have been really bad this week about keeping this page updated, but that's because I've been really busy with the writing! So you see, that's a good thing.

Here are some of my Jaunted pieces from this week.

Where to Beef in Buenos Aires: I got to write up a little review of Soberbia 22, a wonderful parrilla that was a few blocks from the apartment I rented last year in BsAs. I walked by it one afternoon and thought it looked like a great place for dinner, so I decided to come back. Only I forgot where exactly it was and it took me several evenings of tromping through torrential downpours to find it. When I did, though, it was completely worth it since they were unbelievably nice to me, the owner Aldo took care of me personally, and my entire rib-eye dinner, including sides, dessert and wine, was under $20. Te quiero Argentina! Link:

Are Mardi Gras Beads Worth Going "Girls Gone Wild!"?: I think the title says it all, though this was just a fun little research piece into the history of Mardi Gras beads, and just what it is about them that makes drunk coeds want to bare it all:

A Night On The Town Without Leaving MyHouse: I rarely write about nightlife. In fact, I don't think I have at all yet, unless there happens to be a restaurant in a club like at Citrus at Social. But I got a quick assignment to cover one of the most buzzed-about new clubs in town, called MyHouse. It sort of takes that club in New York, APT, to a new level. It's tiny, it looks like a swinging bachelor pad, and there's a bedroom that you can lounge around in. Also, not how much the bedroom here looks like Preston Lee's bedroom from my Frontiers profile! Odd, but fun:

Watch the Derby Dolls, Then Take the Work-Out Class: How awesome is this story!? I ran into a new aquaintance at the gym and he was telling me how much fun he'd had the night before watching the Derby Dolls kick some roller derby butt, so I thought I'd write up the next "bout" for Jaunted:

HotelChatter This Week

And here are a couple of my pieces for HotelChatter this week.

Hotel Sorbonne Paris: I really want to stay at this little place if my mother and I hit Paris in April, but I think it might be a little too expensive for me to budget by myself. Another time!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Three Frontiers Features in One Issue!

It seems sort of ironic to single, unattached me, that I have three features in Frontiers' Valentine's Day issue, but what can I say? I guess I know a little something about love. least how to write about it.

I've had a couple features in the same issue before, but this is definitely the most writing I've done for Frontiers at once, so it's kind of exciting, even as the magazine undergoes a huge transformation thanks to its merger with IN. So we'll see what happens next, but for now, enjoy learning about aphrodisiacs, age disparities, and what the sexiest threadcount is for your sheets.
Aphrodisiacs: I really pride myself on pitching this idea for the V-Day issue, and found out all sorts of interesting things, like that the Aztec word for avocado tree meant "testicle tree." Fascinating! Take a look:

Preston Lee: Preston is a designer whom I saw on Bravo's Top Design, thought he was cute and talented, and so decided to profile for Frontiers. It was just happenstance that it was for the Sex, Love and Marriage issue, so the topic of the article turned into his tips for spicing up the bedroom. Enjoy!

Age Disparity: And finally, what was probably the most interesting article to write, entitled "A Gay-December Romance," I profiled three gay couples from Los Angeles where one partner was much older than the other--by several decades. It was fascinating to hear just what brought these men, and kept them, together, as well as to talk about why there are not really many of these relationships around.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Valentine: Patron Saint of Gluttony

Apart from the excuse it gives couples for shamelessly saccharine smooching in public, Valentine's Day is also one of the most culinarily important evenings of the year as restaurants across the country (and around the world) prepare fancy, phenomenal, fantastical, freakishly expensive meals to put everyone "in the mood."

While I might not personally get to indulge in the many dining options in LA on the special day (yes, you should feel sad for me, I accept your pity), I have certainly found some excellent meal deals around town and covered them in my Valentine's Day Guide for

So take a look, make a reservation, and if you want to keep your appetite, try to avert your eyes from all the PDA's you're sure to spot.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lompoc: Getting Started

I promise I am going to blog about the phenomenal little trip I took last week to the glorious Lompoc Wine Ghetto and the surrounding Santa Ynez Valley. There is so much to talk about, though--for instance, Brian and I tallied that we tried over 70 wines during our two days there! So I'm going to start small and link to a little review I did of the hotel we stayed at in Solvang, called the Hadsten House:

More to come!