Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TravelAge West:: ATE Coverage

Just in case you were thinking (as most of my friends seem to) that my recent trip to Australia was just a fun vacation, I now have proof positive that it was all about work! Though I've already put out a few articles detailing different aspects of the experiences I had including one on the Hilton Sydney and two others on Qantas, my biggest article to date just came out this week on the web site for TravelAge West.

TravelAge West is a new publication for me. Targeted at travel industry professionals in the U.S., as well as at the general reading public, it covers both the the trade aspect of the industry as well as new and interesting itineraries. I'll also be writing for them about Melbourne and the Barossa, but for now, they have published my synopsis of the Australian Tourism Exchange in Adelaide--the trade show that was the main reason for my going to Australia this time.

In the article, I cover the major announcements and press conferences including the launch of Tourism Australia's "There's Nothing Like Australia" campaign, South Australia's individual tourism pushes, Qantas's A380 service, and the unveiling of the Saffire-Freycinet resort in Tasmania as part of the Luxury Lodges of Australia association.

Lots went on, and I cover it all. So to find out what's new in Australia these days, take a look at my article at the link below!

Link: http://www.travelagewest.com/aunzsp/article_ektid44024.aspx

Friday, June 25, 2010

LA Confidential Magazine: Food Trucks Rally

When we first started discussing the LA Confidential Dining Issue, we realized, of course, that we couldn't leave out the biggest trend of all from the past couple of years: food trucks. That's why I devoted one of the features in the spread entirely to these mobile kitchens that have foodies lining up for hours in vacant parking lots for a paper plate of food on the go. Here are some of our favorites, but there are plenty, plenty more!

Link: http://www.la-confidential-magazine.com/dining_0610_article5.html

Food Trucks Rally

When discussing the LA food scene, we can’t avoid truck talk, and though we aren’t glued to our Twitter feed furiously following their whereabouts, we do manage to catch up with them from time to time. We have to mention Kogi (twitter.com/kogibbq) for the excellent work it’s done not only combining kimchi and tacos, but also for raising the profile of food trucks everywhere. Once you get a taste of the parathas from India Jones Chow Truck (twitter.com/indiajonesct), you’ll never settle for plain old naan again, while the temari balls at Fishlips (twitter.com/fishlips_sushi) put the average sushi roll to shame. Frysmith (twitter.com/frysmith) makes French fries even better by topping them with goodies like Kurobuta pork belly, kimchi, onions and cheddar, and the gyros at Louks (twitter.com/loukstogo) are good, though we go for the mini Greek doughnuts topped with Nutella (and for the cute guy who takes our order). Then again, for dessert, there’s always the mix-andmatch ice cream sandwiches from Coolhaus (twitter.com/coolhaus).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

HotelChatter: Sapphires at Saffire Spa

While I was at ATE in Adelaide at the beginning of June, I was running around from meeting to meeting with tourism industry professionals (airline, hotel, tourism board reps), sniffing out story angles for the various outlets in which my work appears.

One of the big announcements at ATE was the opening of a new eco-luxury resort on Tasmania's east coast called the Saffire-Freycinet. In addition to being just a breathtaking property in one of the most unspoiled places in the world, it is also part of the newly established Luxury Lodges of Australia association of fifteen independently owned and operated high-end resorts. Though that figures in my story, what I really wanted to concentrate on was all the decadent treatments being offered at Saffire's spa, including several that incorporate gold, diamonds, and, yes, even sapphires.

To learn more about the opulent offerings in one of the far corners of the earth, take a look at my HotelChatter story from this morning at the link below.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/6/23/20719/6868/hotels/Saffire_Spa_s_Moisturizer_Actually_Has_Sapphires_In_It

LA Confidential Magazine: Al Fresco Views

You can't talk about dining in LA without discussing alfresco options. That's just the climate out here talking, and you can't find a restaurant without at least a table or two outside for diners to enjoy the (sort of) fresh air.

Then again, some people want their food with a view, so there are plenty of options for lovers of beauty, whether it be the downtown skyline or the Pacific waves. To find out some of my top choices for eating outside or with a great view in Los Angeles, click on the link, or take a look at the text of my stories below.

Link: http://www.la-confidential-magazine.com/dining_0610_article5.html

(Dining) Room With A View

If you think a view is superior to fresh air (and let’s be honest, LA is not known for its air quality), the Downtown skyline views at Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant (811 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; takamisushi.com) and the new WP24 by Wolfgang Puck (900 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; wolfgangpuck.com) at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles are great, but the vistas up and down the coast at Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge (1697 Pacific Ave., Venice; jdvhotels.com) make sunset a world-class event.

The Great Outdoors

One of the best things about living in LA is being able to eat alfresco all year round. The lush garden at Alcove Cafe & Bakery (1929 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles; alcovecafe.com) is perfect for brunch, the tree-shaded courtyard at Rockwell Vt. (Behind 1714 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles;
rockwellvt.com) is a sexy sylvan scene and the atrium at Palihouse’s The Hall Courtyard Brasserie (8465 Holloway Dr., West Hollywood; thehallbrasserie.com) feels like a taverna in the south of France—as does the back patio at Dominick’s (8715 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood; dominicksrestaurant.com). The front terrace at Cecconi’s (8764 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; cecconiswesthollywood.com) is good for people watching, and Café Pinot’s (700 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles; patinagroup.com) terrace makes for delightful Downtown dining, but it’s the backyard at Gjelina (1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; gjelina.com) on Abbot Kinney, with its fire pits and convivial volume level, that is one of the most genial experiences in town. Westsiders want waves though, so for a view of the Pacific, grab a casual lunch right on the beach at Bob Morris’ Paradise Cove Beach Cafe (28128 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; paradise covemalibu.com/beachcafe) or soak in the surf on the deck at Geoffrey’s Malibu (27400 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; geoffreys malibu.com). Listen to the waves crash beneath your table on the deck of the Malibu Beach Inn (22878 Pacific Coast Hwy., Malibu; malibubeach inn.com) or sup more formally at The Lobster (1602 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; thelobster.com), where there’s a million-dollar view of the Santa Monica Pier and its iconic Ferris wheel.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

HotelChatter: Hot Dog Cart at FIG

I'm helping out a little on HotelChatter this week, and one of the stories I picked up was a quick hit on FIG's new weekend poolside hot dog cart at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica.

This isn't your average summer barbecue, though. There are all kinds of crazy flavor combinations on the dogs--we're talking green chili lentils and carnitas and even Fritos--plus a bunch of specialty cocktails.

Unfortunately only guests of the hotel can use the pool, but anyone can stop by for lunch or some takeout before heading to the beach. Take a look at my story to see all the fun options...

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/6/22/193030/520/hotels/FIG_Makes_Us_Want_A_Hot_Dog_Real_Bad_

HotelChatter: Olive Kitchen + Bar at Grafton Sunset

One of the new restaurants that has opened nearby lately is the Olive Kitchen + Bar at the Grafton Hotel on Sunset Boulevard.

The restaurant has taken over the space that used to be Boa Steakhouse before they opened in their new digs farther west on Sunset. Unlike Boa, Olive is all about classic Mediterranean dishes--mostly Italian--with a few meatier items thrown in as entrees.

Take a look at the photos, and read more about the restaurateur, the menu, and what the place is like by taking a look at my article on HotelChatter below.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/6/22/15324/1353/hotels/Snooping_Around_The_New_Olive_Kitchen_Bar_at_the_Grafton_Sunset

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

LA Confidential Magazine: Italian Inspiration

As part of my Food Issue spread in LA Confidential, I had to come up with a list of some of my favorite Italian restaurants around town. What a great assignment! I sat around thinking about the best homemade pastas, the great wine lists, the wonderful (or wonderfully eccentric) service, and all the fine Italian food I've gotten to eat while living out here. It definitely made me remember some great meals I've shared with family and friends--and made me resolve to get to the gym more often!

To see some of the places that I like...and to add your own suggestions if you want, check out my story at the general link I'm attaching, or read the text of the article below.

Link: http://www.jaunted.com/admin/story/2010/6/20/194651/025

Italian Inspiration

Is there any meal as satisfying as a great Italian dinner? Mamma mia, no! The aloof vibe at Via Veneto (3009 Main St., Santa Monica; viaveneto.us) makes it seems like someone is going to make us an offer we can’t refuse—and it’s usually one of the irresistible ravioli dishes on daily special. Farther down Main Street, eating at intimate, canary-yellow Ado (796 Main St., Venice; adovenice.com) feels like dining in someone’s home (someone who can cook better than your own nonna). Amici Brentwood’s (2538 San Vicente Blvd., Santa Monica; amicibrentwood.com) menu is full of palatable piatti, but regulars only order from the list of specials recited by the welcoming waiters. The white-tablecloth service at Valentino (3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; valentinorestaurantgroup.com) is second to none, as is its list of Italian wines, and the sober service at Il Moro (11400 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles; ilmoro.com) and Il Ristorante de Giorgio Baldi (114 W. Channel Road, Santa Monica Canyon; giorgiobaldi.us) is professional and on point. However we’re partial to the familiar bustle at Angelini Osteria (7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; angeliniosteria.com) and the more casual vibe (and flatbreads) at Terroni (7605 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; terroni.ca), as well as the homemade pastas, modern wine cellar and small-plate bar specials of Downtown’s new Drago Centro (525 S. Flower St., Los Angeles; dragocentro.com).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jaunted: Inside the Qantas First Lounge

Last week, on my way back to the U.S. from Australia, I flew through Sydney and though I was in Qantas Business Class, the airline gave me access to their First Class Lounge for a story on Jaunted.

I wanted to explore the Marc Newson-designed space, check out the vertical gardens that form living walls, taste the menu at the Neil Perry restaurant, and, yes, see if I could get in for a quick treatment at the Payot Day Spa in the lounge.

Well, mission accomplished, as you'll find out by taking a look at my Jaunted piece below. It comes complete with a video walk-through tour, as well as a gallery of photos. I had about 6 hours there, so I was quite thorough!

Link: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2010/6/20/194651/025/travel/Inside+the+Qantas+First+Lounge+at+Sydney+Airport

LA Confidential Magazine: Strip Mall Treasures

Strip malls might not be the most sightly installations of Los Angeles architecture around, but anyone who's lived in L.A. for a while knows that these ungainly blights house some of the best restaurants in town.

Some of these hidden gems are well known, while others thrive on the cult-like devotion of a select clientele who jealously guard their whereabouts. Want to know where some of these clandestine kitchens operate? Take a look at my article in LA Confidential's Food Issue below, or simply read on to see the text of my piece.

Link: http://www.la-confidential-magazine.com/dining_0610_article5.html

Strip Mall Treasures

Unsightly strip malls typify LA architecture, but surprisingly they also house some of its best restaurants. Wine lovers come to Lou (724 Vine St., Hollywood; louon vine.com)—sandwiched between a Laundromat and a nail salon—to see what wine shop owner Lou Amdur is pouring. The ultra-spicy Thai food at Jitlada Restaurant (5233 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; jitladala.com) and the Hemingwayesque Cuban flavor at El Floridita Restaurant (1253 N. Vine St., Hollywood; elfloridita.com) lurk in Hollywood’s darker corners. On the Westside, there’s fine dining to be had at Nook (11628 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; nook bistro.com), which looks like a travel agency from the outside. Hamasaku (8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; hamasakula.com) has fabulous high-end sushi, and Sushi Time (8103 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; 323-658- 6700) on Beverly is an unlikely favorite of Hollywood A-listers. Though it moved across the street from its location in a luncheonette next to a locksmith to larger digs, Sunnin (1776 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles; sunnin.com) still boasts LA’s best Lebanese food. Finally there are Peruvian delicacies to be found in the food-court atmosphere at Mo-chica (3655 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; mo-chica.com) in the Mercado La Paloma, south of Downtown.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

HotelChatter: Mission Inn's Docents

Back in April I got the chance to stay at one of California's iconic historical properties, the Mission Inn in Riverside. Riverside might not seem like the most likely place for a grand old hotel, but you just need to pull up to the imposing old facade to see that it's been around for a while, and seen a slew of famous guests, including the Reagans and the Nixons (who were married there).

Recently I wrote about the cupcake bakery at the hotel on HotelChatter, but this time around, I posted a video with one of the docents who lead tours of the property every day. He tells us about a few of the hotel's distinctive features and some episodes from its distinguished past that make it a truly special place.

To learn more, and see why a stay at the Mission Inn is worth the trip out to Riverside, take a look at my story and video at the link below.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/5/3/18415/28821/hotels/Riverside_s_Mission_Inn_Hotel_and_Spa_Has_Its_Very_Own_Docent

Saturday, June 19, 2010

LA Confidential Magazine: Romantic Rendezvous

Everyone's always asking me what restaurants around Los Angeles are good for romantic dates. I usually shrug my shoulders and throw out a few suggestions. But when I really sat down to think about it for the LA Confidential Food Issue, I came up with this little list of old favorites and new spots whose amorous ambiance should set the right tone for an evening of romance.

Want to see where I included and why? Click the link below, or read past it to see the text of my piece.

Link: http://www.la-confidential-magazine.com/dining_0610_article5.html

Romantic Rendezvous

As spring turns to summer, romance is in the air—especially at these establishments. Though Cliffs Edge Restaurant in Silver Lake (3626 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; cliffsedgecafe.com) is routinely chosen as one of the best date spots in town thanks to an enchanting courtyard, Cafe Stella’s (3932 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; cafestella.com) dark corners are perfect for clandestine canoodling. The Little Door (8164 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; thelittledoor.com) is nobody’s secret, and down the block at Tasca (8108 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles; tascawinebar.com), the lights are set to sexy and the wine is poured liberally. The lounge at Chateau Marmont Hotel and Bungalows (8221 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; chateaumarmont.com) will make any starlet accept a role, but head further into the hills for some doting discourse at Pace (2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Los Angeles; peaceinthecanyon.com). Strung with twinkly lights, Pasadena’s Firefly Bistro (1009 El Centro St., South Pasadena; eatatfirefly.com) is perfect for Valley lovers, and when we find ourselves west and not stopping for a creekside meal at Topanga’s Inn of the Seventh Ray (128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga; innoftheseventhray.com), we’re trekking into the mountains for a leisurely repast at the charmingly rustic Saddle Peak Lodge (419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas; saddlepeaklodge.com). After all, nothing says “I love you” like a huge, smoking hunk of elk tenderloin.

Friday, June 18, 2010

HotelChatter: Covent Garden Fridays at Hilton Sydney

Last week while I was in Sydney, I was invited to stay at the Hilton Sydney for two nights in a fantastic King Relaxation Suite. One of the evenings I was there, I had a cocktail tasting at the hotel's popular Zeta Bar, and dinner at Luke Mangan's restaurant, glass brasserie.

The mixologist at Zeta Bar, Grant Collins, consults on "experimental cocktails" all over the world, and after taking a look at the menu at Zeta, you can see why. There are all sorts of crazy new flavor mash-ups, and things like Long Island Iced Tea jelly candies, pepper-smoked ice, and bacon-infused bourbon. It's a cocktail lover's paradise.

This quick post on HotelChatter today, however, is about Zeta's new Winter Party on Fridays where the bar is transforming its outdoor patio into Covent Garden, complete with street performers, food carts and other whimsical accoutrements. It might seem an odd choice, but wait till you see the view from the terrace onto the Queen Victoria Building across George Street, and you'll see why it all works.

Want to learn more about what they're doing, and what some of the fantastical specialty cocktails involve? Take a look at my story by clicking on the link below.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/6/18/2032/10328/hotels/Hilton_Sydney_Transforms_Into_Covent_Garden_on_Fridays

LA Confidential: Macarons, Dessert du Jour

Sometime last fall, I started noticing that a lot of restaurants I was trying, and most of the restaurant or hotel parties I was attending, were serving macarons, those deliciously dainty, pastel-colored treats popularized by 19th-century French tea houses (like my favorites, Angelina and La Duree).

Suddenly the little sweetmeats were popping up everywhere, much to the detriment of my diet, though to the delight of my palate. It seemed high time to recognize that the cupcake has been toppled from its pastry pedestal, and the macaron is the new dessert du jour.

Want to find out where to get these toothsome treats and what fantastical flavors they come in? Click on the link to my spread in the LA Confidential Food Issue, or read on to see the text of the article.

Link: http://www.la-confidential-magazine.com/dining_0610_article5.html

Macarons: Dessert du Jour

Angelenos will always love the cupcake, but the most popular pastry in town these days is the French macaron. Said to date back to the Italian Renaissance and a hallmark of famous Belle Époque Parisian teahouses, the meringue-like cookies have found a fashionable following here in Los Angeles. Kris Morningstar’s macarons at The Mercantile (6600 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles; themercantilela.com) come in kidfriendly flavors such as PB & J and maraschino cherry, while La Provence Patisserie & Cafe (8950 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, laprovencecafe.com) specializes in delightfully snooty old-lady classics, including rose, lavender, hazelnut and cherry amaretto. Paulette (9466 Charleville Blvd., Beverly Hills; paulettemacarons.com) uses exotic ingredients like Madagascar vanilla, Colombian coffee and violet cassis, and Jin Patisserie (1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; jinpatisserie.com) goes for pure concentration with a macaron made with chocolate ganache and sugared raspberries. For sizeists: Though Bottega Louie’s (700 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles; bottegalouie.com) macarons are small, the coconut and chocolate-orange flavors pack a big punch.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

HotelChatter: San Francisco Pride Hotels

I'm just helping out a little extra on HotelChatter this week, so one of my assignments was a roundup of hotels for San Francisco Pride, which is coming up June 26-27. Incidentally, it's the same weekend as New York Pride, so those of you thinking of hitting both...sorry!

Meanwhile, I found a whole roster of hotels with Pride packages (make as many dirty jokes as you want) both for the lads and the ladies, and all over town. Not only old favorites like Joie de Vivre Hotels, but also a few other cool places like Parc 55, and even the Marriott and Hyatt. Seems like the whole city will be celebrating 40 years of Pride this summer!

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/6/16/194625/376/hotels/Where_to_Stay_in_San_Francisco_for_Pride_Weekend

LA Confidential Magazine: Rise of the French Bistro

As part of my six-page spread in the LA Confidential Food Issue, I wrote about several dining trends around Los Angeles. One of those was the fact that so many of the restaurants that have opened in the past year or so seem to be French bistros--Delphine, Church & State, Saint Amour, etc.

I think part of the reason for that is that the bistro is kind of like the upscale dining equivalent of comfort food. In tough economic times, when you're going to drop a wad of cash on a nice meal, you want to know what you're getting. At these French bistros, there are standard, simple but gourmet, menu items you can count on.

To see which restaurants I included and what you can find on the menu, take another look at the specific piece in the dining spread by clicking on the link below, or read on to see the text of the piece.

Link: http://www.la-confidential-magazine.com/dining_0610_article5.html

Rise of the French Bistro

Even a few years ago, French restaurants in Los Angeles were excellent but limited in number. This year, however, it seems as if every new restaurant in town is a French bistro. Two renowned Westside chefs launched new ventures: Josiah Citrin of Mélisse opened Caché Restaurant & Lounge (3110 Main St., Santa Monica; cacherestaurant.com) and Jean François Meteigner built the new incarnation of La Cachette Bistro (1733 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; lacachettebistro.com), joining the ranks of Santa Monica mainstays Anisette Brasserie (225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; anisettebrasserie.com) and JiRaffe (502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; jirafferestaurant.com). Culver City is now home to Saint Amour (9725 Culver Blvd., Culver City; lesaintamour.com), named after a Beaujolais appellation. Thomas Keller’s return to Los Angeles with the opening of a Beverly Hills outpost of created incredible buzz, but it was Downtown’s Church & State (1850 Industrial St., Los Angeles; churchandstatebistro.com) that saw the most buzz (and drama) with sudden departures by chefs Greg Bernhardt and Walter Manzke. Meanwhile Hollywood heralded the inauguration of the Cannes inspired Delphine Eatery & Bar (6250 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; restaurantdelphine.com) at the W Hollywood, and even Pasadena welcomed Quadrupel Brasserie (43 E. Union St., Pasadena; quadrupelbrasserie.com), a French brasserie and Belgian beer pub hybrid. We can only assume there will be more moules frites and escargots in our future.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

HotelChatter: G Resorts

I had an interesting story come across my desk this week. G Resorts is a new luxury hotel brand catering specifically to the LGBT community that is planning to break ground on five properties across the U.S. over the next two years.

Along with a promotional bus tour that has been stopping at Pride events up and down the east coast so far this season, G Resorts has just released design renderings and the location of its first hotel...in Wilton Manors, Florida.

If you're as confused as I was as to the choice of location, rest assured it's not too far from Fort Lauderdale, and the small city has one of the highest proportion of gay residents as a percentage of its total population in the country.

Unfortunately the renderings so far don't include images of the rooms, but the public spaces look pretty hip, so hopefully the rest of the design will follow. For now, take a look at my story on HotelChatter and see what you think.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2010/6/16/13715/1974/hotels/G_Resorts_Unveils_First_Location_of_Gay_Resort_in_Florida

Monday, June 14, 2010

Los Angeles Confidential: Food Issue

A few months ago, I got the exciting offer from my editors at Los Angeles Confidential Magazine to write up the dining feature for their Summer Food Issue. Combining both the best of my experience and a sense of what trends have been taking shape lately, I brought all my expertise on L.A.'s restaurant scene to bear in this extensive spread, and I'm very proud of the results.

Included are small features on: the best steaks and burgers in Los Angeles, the ascendency of the French bistro in L.A., restaurants for romantic rendezvous, Italian kitchens, macarons: the dessert du jour, the best outdoor dining spots and dining rooms with views, the hidden gems you can find in strip malls, and, of course, food trucks. Then at the end, there's a fun foodie chart about where you'll find different L.A. "types" eating and drinking around the city.

I'll be posting content from the individual pieces over the coming days, but for now, you can take a look at the whole (wonderful, if I do say so myself) six-page spread at the link below. Best of all, the issue will be out on newsstands for three months, so you can take a look at it throughout the summer. Oh, and if you're wondering why the picture with this post is of Chace Crawford, it's because he's the cover image, so you can look for his face on newsstands if you want to buy a hard copy of the issue.

Link: http://www.la-confidential-magazine.com/dining_0610_article5.html

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jaunted: Interview with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce

Last week while I was at the Australian Tourism Exchange in Adelaide, I got the chance to speak one-on-one with Qantas CEO Alan Joyce about what the airline has coming up, including his announcement of a $44 million investment in the "There's Nothing Like Australia" campaign, the series of new A380's the airline has coming online over the next year, and what exactly makes those new first class suites on its international flights worth the $11,000 each way price tag.

I think you'll see Mr. Joyce has the facts down, and he's pretty fun to talk to, too, so this was a pretty enjoyable interview to do. It made me even more excited to be flying on a Qantas A380 tomorrow to see if the new plane really does live up to the hype, so keep checking this site and Jaunted for further coverage of the experience, as well as an inside look at the Marc Newson-designed First Class Lounge at the Sydney Airport.

For now, see for yourself what the Qantas CEO had to say: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2010/6/6/215019/7336/travel/Qantas%27+CEO+Alan+Joyce+Raves+to+US+About+Their+A380s

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Frontiers: Off Vine

Tucked away on a quiet street in a cozy turn-of-the-century bungalow, Off Vine was one of the most popular restaurants in Hollywood, especially for those power lunches you always hear about, until an accidental fire ripped through it two years ago.

Loyal patrons were heartbroken, not knowing when, or even if, it would ever reopen. Well, those fans now have reason to rejoice since the resto is back in business, and bigger than ever, though the menu of upscale comfort food is as familiar as ever.

I got the chance to check it out the other week and see what's new, what's the same, and what's good. Check out my review in the most recent (LA Pride) issue of Frontiers by clicking on the link below.

Link: http://www.frontierspublishing.com/2903/nightlife/nl_eat.html

Friday, June 4, 2010

EDGE: Best "Package" at Long Beach Pride

In what will be my final piece on all the festivities at this year's Long Beach Pride, I've written a detailed recap of events for EDGE.

Included in the piece are a blow-by-blow (pardon the pun) chronology of the shenanigans on the JetPRIDE flight with Pam Ann, as well as a summary of all the wonderful features and amenities at Joie de Vivre's Hotel Maya, plus the gory details on a few of the Pride parties and events thrown in for good measure.

I think you'll see that I had a pretty fun time with all the fanfare, and that the best "package" definitely goes to JetBlue and Hotel Maya (not the dude in the pink speedo in the last picture!).

Find out why, and what I did, when you click on my story here: http://www.edgeonthenet.com/index.php?ch=travel&sc=&sc2=features&sc3=&id=105750

Thursday, June 3, 2010

LowFares: Horseback Riding and Relaxation at an Estancia

Argentina week continues on LowFares, with Buenos Aires as my destination of choice. However, the city's name is no longer accurate, clogged as it is at times with pollution and traffic. That's why it's a good idea to plan a day away from the sprawling metropolis, and what better to do than take a jaunt out into the countryside about an hour away from BA for a day of horseback riding and relaxation at a traditional Argentine estancia?

That's exactly what I did when I went to Argentina last year, and it was one of the best days I spent in the country. It included a gourmet lunch, an afternoon ride, tea time, sunning by the pool, and making new friends. I couldn't imagine a better travel experience.

In the final feature of my series this week for LowFares' Summer Travel Issue, I decided to write about my day out at Estancia La Bamba, in the hinterlands beyond Buenos Aires. If you're considering a trip to the Paris of the south, I'd highly recommend a day away, and La Bamba is a great destination. Want to know why? You'll just have to read my article by clicking on the link below!

Link: http://www.lowfares.com/blog/2010/05/28/horse-riding-and-relaxing-in-estancia/

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

LowFares: Mendoza's Fine Wine and Extreme Adventure

This week on LowFares is Argentina week, with my guide to Buenos Aires, a post on how to get out of the city for a day of cowboy-ing on an estancia, or ranch as we'd call it, and finally, a feature on the extreme sports and gourmet wine-tasting to be enjoyed in Argentina's gateway to the Andes: Mendoza.

To be truthful, this article is kind of just like a second city guide for the week, complete with hotel, restaurant and activities listings. However, it highlights the adventures for which Mendoza is known; namely, wine and outdoor adventure.

So enjoy the tips on wineries and wine-tastings, as well as the suggestions of outdoor companies from which to choose your activity itinerary, and then consult the hotels to figure out which boutique option might be best for you...whether it's to sleep off your wine hangover or to rest your weary muscles.

Link: http://www.lowfares.com/blog/2010/05/28/mendoza-fine-wine-and-extreme-adventure/

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

LowFares: Buenos Aires

If you took a look at Eric the Epicure or the LowFares Summer Travel Issue last week, you would have seen all my pieces on France including a guide to Paris, a day trip to Versailles, and champagne-tasting in Reims.

This week on the LowFares Summer Travel Issue is all about Argentina, though, with my city guide to Buenos Aires, a piece on getting your inner gaucho galloping with a day trip to an estancia, and then the high-octane thrills and wine-fueled adventures in beautiful Mendoza.

So, saddle up and get ready to head south. Way south. Because once you read my pieces on Argentina, I have a feeling you'll be calling your travel agent to book a ticket.

Today, start with my city guide to Buenos Aires: birthplace of the tango, gastronomic destination extraordinaire, and living shrine to Evita. Later this week, I'll be posting links to the other pieces, but for now, enjoy...or disfruta!

Link: http://www.lowfares.com/blog/2010/05/28/buenos-aires-city-guide/