Thursday, December 30, 2010

JustLuxe: Drinking it Old School at Hemingway's

For my final December article on JustLuxe, I decided to write about Hollywood's hottest new watering hole, Hemingway's.

This place, like the man it's named after, is all kinds of old school cool--kind of like a bar version of the Dos Equis man. It's got classic cocktails, a sporting 1940's vibe, and best of all, unlike a lot of Hollywood bars, it's not douchey--there's no one there whom Ernest Hemingway would want to unceremoniously punch in the kisser. That's a big plus in a town where people tend to go out based on where they'll be seen by the most people, with the right people

Enough about the downsides of Los Angeles nightlife, though. What makes it worth putting up with all that superficial stuff to live here is the fact that there are all kinds of authentically awesome places like this one. To find out what I mean without mincing any more words (I'll take Hemingway as my inspiration on that one), take a look at my article at the link below.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jaunted: First Look at Air New Zealand's New 777

If you're one of my Facebook friends or Twitter followers (or if you just know me and have spoken to me in the last month), you'll know that I have been on another adventure with Air New Zealand.

A couple days before Christmas, I flew up to Seattle to take a tour of Boeing's 777 manufacturing floor and see the first of Air New Zealand's new fleet of 777-300ER's with the all-new interiors including the SkyCouch, as well as its game-changing Premium Economy seats and the new Business Premier class.

Then, along with a cadre of other journalists and reporters, I was at the official handover of the plane from Boeing to the airline, and hopped aboard the delivery flight from Seattle down to Los Angeles. The airline also asked if I'd like to fly down on the main delivery flight all the way to Auckland, so, after skipping for joy at such a great opportunity, I said yes, and packed my bags!

I'll be bringing you more news about my trip to New Zealand, and my flights on the beautiful new plane soon, including a series for Jaunted with all kinds of interesting galleries and interviews, but for now, take a look at my exclusive preview of the new plane complete with a photo gallery and walk-through video!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Frontiers: Di Carlo Pizzeria

I could eat pizza just about every day of the week (and have almost been doing that this past week!), so I was thrilled when my editor at Frontiers asked me to head in to DiCarlo Pizzeria to taste-test a few of their pies, and nibble some pasta and other specialties as well.

Di Carlo is on a lonely little stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, right on the border of Los Feliz and Silverlake, not too far from Bar Covell, actually, but I hadn't been there before. It's actually owned by two French people, who treated me to a tasting of the restaurant's specialties, and explained some of the unique features of Di Carlo, like the almond wood-burning oven that heats the crusts just right.

Take a look at my article in Frontiers at the link below, and next time you're thinking about cooking a DiGiorno, consider a Di Carlo instead.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

JustLuxe: Caviar and Truffle New Year's Brunch at Dominick's

Though I'll be spending Christmas in Auckland, I've been thinking about my New Year's plans, and came across this decadent little brunch option at one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, Dominick's.

Forget the economic crisis, and your own possible financial ruin, Dominick's is pulling out all the stops for brunch on New Year's and offering a special menu featuring some of the most expensive food ingredients available to the general public: truffles and caviar! Seemed like the perfect story for my newest outlet, JustLuxe.

Sound delicious to you? Read on to find out about the special menus, as well as what else might be on order this New Year's at Dominick's...


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

LowFares: Tahoe Roundup

I'll say it again: I'm not much of a winter-snow-skiing kind of guy. I much prefer the warm sunshine and the crashing ocean--vineyards and beaches are where you'll normally find me.

Since this is winter, though, and California is getting a record amount of precipitation and snowfall, it was time to do a roundup of the best Tahoe hotels for LowFares.

And, after looking at how nice the Ritz-Carlton, the Hyatt Regency, and the others I researched are (not to mention the Montage Deer Valley I just wrote about for JustLuxe)...I might just think about a ski vacation for myself this winter!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

LowFares: London City Guide

I've definitely done my fair share of writing about my trip to London earlier this fall, but this new LowFares City Guide is definitely the biggest.

Like your usual travel guide, it covers everything from hotels (with a special mention of the Athenaeum, where I stayed), restaurants, attractions and insider tips, as well as practical information on getting around.

However, since I'm the one who wrote it (not to toot my own horn too much), you can bet that this guide has up-to-the-minute information on all kinds of fun places and things to do that you won't find anywhere else, and isn't written in the stilted tone that guidebooks tend toward. So what I'm basically saying is--this is definitely the awesomest London City Guide you're likely to come across, and if you're planning a trip anytime soon, you're going to find tons of useful information in it. So tally ho, guv'nah, and sally forth to Londontown!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Brand X: Lady Chefs Take Over!

It's been quite a while since I last wrote for Brand X, but as I've been eating out around town a lot lately, I noticed a fascinating new trend taking shape on the L.A. dining scene: young female chefs are taking over some of the most established, big-name kitchens around town.

I decided to delve into this sweeping change by talking to five of the young ladies I'd come across, and hearing their thoughts on why this is happening, what it's like for them, and where they think all this is trending.

I talked to Sara Johannes at WP24 at the Ritz-Carlton at L.A. Live, former Top Chef contender Jamie Lauren at Beechwood, Waylynn Lucas at Bazaar, Giselle Wellman at Petrossian, and Megan Logan at Nick + Stef's.

Not only were they all quite voluble and articulate, but they also had fascinating perspectives on the changing nature of the professional kitchen...and how a woman's touch is responsible for it. Definitely one of the more interesting pieces I've had the chance to write lately, so take a look!


Friday, December 17, 2010

JustLuxe: Drybar, Blowing the Competition Away

Though you can often find me lounging around spas, sampling offbeat treatments, or testing new skin and haircare products, I don't actually get to write about straight up style and beauty very often. But I hope that's all going to change now that I'm the new L.A. editor for JustLuxe.

In addition to my normal beats of food and travel, I'm hoping to get more into spirits, wine, fashion and style for the site since all kinds of fun new trends and stories come across my desk. So, for my first beauty article, I decided to write about a really cool small chain of blowout salons called Drybar because I met the founder at a party a couple weeks ago, and it sounded like such a great idea, and a fun place to hang out. Plus, you get to walk out feeling gorgeous.

Sound fabulous? It is. Check out my story to find out all the reasons why.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

LowFares: Seattle Destination Guide

I'm actually heading up to Seattle next week for a first look at Air New Zealand's new Boeing 777's with the SkyCouches and the new Premium Economy and Business Premier classes. But in the meantime, I've written up another quick destination guide for LowFares about the city.

In it, I include some top hotel choices like the Ace, the artsy Hotel Max, the Andra, the Hotel 1000, and the W Seattle, as well as some restaurant picks from friends of mine who are either from there or live there now, and then a roundup of the most fun activities the city has to offer.

Can't wait to check some of them out myself when I'm up there next week, but for now, you can take a look at my article at the link below!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Frontiers: Pane e Vino's Italian-Style Holidays

It's back to food-writing for Frontiers IN/LA for the current holiday issue of the magazine. Not only do I have a review of the new restaurants at Santa Monica Place, but I also have a foodie feature/interview with Raffaele Favuzzi, the new chef at the Beverly Boulevard favorite, Pane e Vino, about what he's cooking up this holiday season from his native Italy--including a mouthwatering porchetta.

So take a look at the article to see what you can expect this holiday season at one of the best Italian restaurants in town. Buon appetito!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Frontiers: Santa Monica Place Review

Though lately I've been writing a good mix of food and travel for Frontiers IN/LA, with the holiday issue, I go back to basics with two restaurant pieces: a roundup of the new dining experiences at Santa Monica Place, and a feature/interview with Raffaele Favuzzi, the new chef at the Beverly Boulevard favorite, Pane e Vino, about what he's cooking up this holiday season from his native Italy.

But for now, take a look at my Santa Monica Place Dining Deck roundup. I get to all six new restaurants there: Xino, Ozumo, Zengo, La Sandia, Pizza Antica and Sonoma Wine Garden, and share my favorite features of each place. Bon appetit!


Monday, December 13, 2010

HotelChatter: The Louise in the Barossa Valley

I've actually had the opportunity to write about the The Louise, the all-suite luxury hotel I stayed at for a night while I was in Australia's famous wine region, the Barossa, last June. The first time was over the summer, when I wrote about my time in the area for TravelAge West. The second time was more recent. I included the property in a piece for HotelHostess about the top hotels for foodies.

This little article for HotelChatter, however, was a way to let the beautiful resort, which is part of the Luxury Lodges of Australia, stand on its own. It contains not only a little synopsis of my suite's amenities, and a look at the menu I enjoyed at Appellation, the fabulous restaurant, but also a photo gallery and video walk through. I think you'll see just what a fantastic place this is--and quite the jewel of Barossa accommodations--so click on the link to my story below to take an exclusive look inside!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

JustLuxe: Montage Deer Valley Luxury Ski Resort Opens

For my second JustLuxe story, I ventured a little farther afield than Los Angeles, and reported on the opening of the ultra deluxe new ski resort opening near Park City this week, the Montage Deer Valley.

Now, covering a ski resort is outside my usual sphere of activities--I'm not much of a snow bunny, and didn't even see the white stuff until I was almost 15 years old! Usually, I write about tropical places, like my recent spate of articles on Hawaii, or living the good life in wine regions like Napa. But hey, who am I to bow out when a fabulous new resort comes along. Even if it is in the snowy heights of Utah. Besides, as I learned by reading about the hotel and checking out all the amenities, it seems like a great place for ski/snowboard beginners such as myself (see: ski valets!), and also has a host of other activities on-hand for the...less active among us. Spa anyone?

Meanwhile, check out the resort for yourself by clicking on the link to my story below!


Friday, December 10, 2010

LowFares: Hawaii's Less Traveled Paradise

Hawaii week continues on Eric The Epicure with this whirlwind roundup of activities, and places to stay and eat on three of Hawaii's islands: Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.

Like my LA Confidential Hawaii Feature, this piece covers a few high-end hotels across the archipelago, but rather than just focusing on hotels, I've also included a few insider tips on eateries, the best beaches, and adventurous activities. All gleaned from fabulous friends who either lived in Hawaii, or travel there frequently.

So take a look at my article, and keep it in mind for your next trip to the Islands. Mahalo!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

JustLuxe: Four Seasons Fashion Nights

I have just recently started working with a fantastic web site called JustLuxe. I was on the London trip with the site's editor, and we got along so well, that we decided it just made sense to start working together!

Since then, she's made me the new Los Angeles editor for the site, so I'll be contributing about 4-5 pieces a month out of L.A. My first is about the Tuesday Fashion Nights happening at one of my favorite hotel properties in town, the Four Seasons Los Angeles, in December. They'll feature Robertson Boulevard boutiques like Intermix and Ted Baker, plus fabulous cocktails for a discounted (at least, by Four Seasons standards) $10.

Keep an eye out for more pieces soon!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

LA Confidential: Aloha Hawaii!

For my first major travel piece in LA Confidential Magazine (not counting my piece on the Ranch at Live Oak), I wrote a fabulous, luxury hotel roundup on some of Hawaii's top resorts. I included some of my old favorites, like the St. Regis Princeville on Kauai, the newly redone Waldorf Astoria Collection Grand Wailea on Maui, and the Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island, as well as a new entrant, the Edition Waikiki.

What makes these particular properties so decadently indulgent? Take a look at my article below to find out! Or better yet, pick up an issue of the magazine on newsstands now!

Aloha, Hawaii!

The new Hawaii Five-0 has us dreaming of Waikiki’s shores and the slopes of Mount Kilauea…and Alex O’Loughlin’s abs. America’s very own paradise has some of the best resorts in the country, including these four standouts. And if you happen to see Alex O’Loughlin? Well, that’s just gravy.

Edition Waikiki

Brangelina, Bennifer, Speidi...we love hot, hyped, slightly off-balance couples, and the partnership that’s been setting the hotel world atwitter lately has been that between designer boutique impresario Ian Schrager and mega-chain potentate Bill Marriott: Edition Hotels. After much fanfare (and a few stalls), the first location of this “urban resort” chain opened early in October, bringing some contemporary swank to the historic shores of Waikiki. The hotel’s 353 guest rooms and suites come with amenities like 46-inch LCD TV’s, glass-enclosed showers, plush Frette linens, and views of the beach, harbor and city. Geeks, we mean technophiles, enjoy the specially programmed iPads, though die-hard foodies gravitate toward Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s eponymous Western-Japanese fusion restaurant. There’s also a private beach, a hidden lobby bar reached through a secret passage, and a nightclub. Just don’t indulge too much, or you won’t be able to participate in the custom-designed surf and bikini boot camps.

1775 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96815, (808) 943-5800;

Grand Wailea

This award-winning Waldorf Astoria Collection resort on Maui is looking sparkling and fresh after a $50-million renovation. All that money went into updating elements across the hotel, like Spa Grande, which is now the largest in Hawaii and features ocean-themed treatments, a fitness center with squash courts and a cycling studio, and the new Wailea Canyon Activity Pool area, which contains nine pools, waterslides, a “baby beach,” and the world’s first “water elevator.” The rooms are looking spruce with dark wood furnishings, frameless shower enclosures, flat-screen TV’s, and a new blend of Western and Polynesian d├ęcor. Guests can also rent one of the luxury three-bedroom Ho’olei townhouses on the property with floor-to-ceiling ocean-view windows. When guests aren’t playing on the Championship Wailea Gold golf course, or enjoying breezy Wailea Beach, they can peruse the hotel’s impressive art collection, including works by Picasso and Warhol.

3850 Wailea Alanui, Wailea, HI 96573, (800) 888-6100;

Hualalai Resort

This sprawling 865-acre resort, which includes a Four Seasons property, is located on the awe-inspiring island that gave its name to the whole archipelago: Hawai’i. The Four Seasons is nestled into the dramatic landscape carved by 19th-century volcanic eruptions, and recently underwent a $40-million renovation that includes 20 new suites, an expanded spa, a new beachfront restaurant, and an outdoor adventure program with surfing and fishing called Voyages. No wonder it’s the first and only hotel on the Big Island to score Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond ratings. Guests can also choose from Hualalai’s three-bedroom townhouse villas for more privacy, while still enjoying access to the Four Seasons and its amenities. The resort’s other unique features include three restaurants (including one with gourmet Polynesian pupu platters) and two lounges, a Jack Nicklaus Signature 18-hole private golf course, a half-dozen pools and a lava rock aquarium.

100 Ka’upulehu Dr., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, (808) 325-8000;

St. Regis Princeville Resort

We like one-of-a-kind luxuries like the St. Regis on Kauai, which is the brand’s only property in the islands. The resort is built into the dramatic cliffs overhanging Hanalei Bay, and the 252 guest rooms have unique features like a “privacy glass reveal” in the bathrooms that cloud up or clear on your command for views of the spectacular scenery. Then again, who’s spending much time in the room when there are amenities like the Makai Golf Club, a 5,000 square foot infinity pool overlooking the ocean, five restaurants and bars including the Kauai Grill from Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Halele’a Spa with treatments inspired by Hawaii’s natural wonders. St. Regis is known for its signature butler services, but this hotel takes it a step further with a marine biologist on staff as an “Ocean Butler” who can escort guests on snorkeling and scuba tours of the coral reef fronting the resort.

5520 Ka Haku Rd., Kauai, HI 96722, (808) 826-9644;

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Frontiers: K2 Review

For my latest Frontiers restaurant review, I checked out the new Silverlake location of an old Beverly Boulevard brunch favorite, Kokomo Cafe. This one is called K2, and is supposed to be open for dinner as well, though we're still waiting on that to come through.

In the meantime, it's a cool new little spot right at Sunset Junction to spend a weekend morning people-watching while sipping coffee and freshly made smoothies, or digging into their huge omelettes or chicken & waffles. See what I had to say at the link below.


Monday, December 6, 2010

LowFares: Best Hotel Holiday Decorations

Well, the holiday season is upon us, and that means it's time for stories on the best hotel holiday decorations! This little roundup (that's not so little) was for LowFares, and includes some fantastic finds from all over the country, and abroad.

I included some old favorites like the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco and the Ritz-Carlton Naples, the Bellagio in Las Vegas and Opryland in Nashville, the Fontainebleau in Miami and the Coeur D'Alene in Idaho and the Snow Bar at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I also included the nouvelle tree decorations by John Galliano at Claridge's in London, the ice skating rink at Barton Creek in Austin, Santa's Village at the Drake in Chicago, and even a Hawaiian Christmas at the Sheraton Kaiulani in Honolulu.

So no matter where you go this holiday season, or where you stay, there's bound to be something festive to do!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

HotelChatter: The Living Wall at London's Athenaeum Hotel

Just another quick HotelChatter piece this week about one of the coolest hotel features I've come across lately: the living wall at London's Athenaeum Hotel. I learned more about this very special "vertical garden" while staying at the hotel on my recent trip to London, and wanted to share the latest trend in urban greenery, and one of Time Magazine's Best Inventions from 2009.

Turns out the "architectural botanist," Patrick Blanc, is the same man who designed the living wall at the Qantas First Lounge in Sydney, which I visited last June. I thought it looked familiar...

Meanwhile, take a look at my article and the accompanying video to see all the fantastic details that make this living wall so special.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Frontiers: A Week in Peru

I've been writing a lot of food articles for Frontiers lately, but I've also been picking up a bit of the travel beat for them again, including a recent piece on Santa Barbara and Big Bear, plus all the videos I've posting for them from my recent trips as well.

This most recent article for them, however, was an exciting departure (so to speak) for me, since I got to write about South America again for them--specifically about my recent trip to Peru, which I've already covered for a few of my other publications. In this piece, I cover Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu, all in under 1,200 words. So it's a bit of a whirlwind. But then again, so was my trip! I think I manage to hit all the fun spots in this article though, so I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

HotelHostess: Hotels for Foodies Part 2

Yesterday, I told you about a new website I'm writing for called Hotel Hostess, which was started by the folks over at another of my outlets, LowFares.

The first piece was about Hotels For Foodies, and covered U.S. properties like the Ace Hotel in New York and the Affinia Chicago, as well as some more far-flung destinations like La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig in South Africa, an amazing-sounding property in Mexico City called Las Alcobas (pictured), and an old classic favorite of mine outside Reims in Champagne, Les Crayeres.

This second installment in my mini-series ventures even farther abroad to properties like the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, the Peninsula Shanghai, the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, the Thompson Toronto, and The Louise in Australia's Barossa.

So between Part 1 and Part 2, you can stay local, or you can go international, but wherever you go, you'll be eating well!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

HotelHostess: Hotels for Foodies Part One

This is the first piece I have written for a new site called Hotel Hostess, which was started by the folks over at another of my outlets, LowFares.

As you might guess from the name, the new site is going to be completely hotel-focused, much like HotelChatter, though rather than a cheeky, newsy slant, we'll be doing more hotel spotlights, and thematic roundups, like this piece on the top foodie hotels around the world. I basically picked ten of the properties I've heard of lately that have most piqued my interest (and my appetite), and rounded them up in one convenient piece.

Part one features a couple of U.S. properties like the Ace Hotel in New York and the Affinia Chicago, as well as some more far-flung destinations like La Colombe at Constantia Uitsig in South Africa, an amazing-sounding property in Mexico City called Las Alcobas (pictured), and an old classic favorite of mine outside Reims in Champagne, Les Crayeres.

You can't go wrong with a visit to any of these...and you won't have a bad meal! Stay tuned for Part 2 in the series, but for now, bon appetit!