Monday, February 28, 2011

Frontiers: Sushi Roku

I've been doing a lot of dining coverage and restaurant reviews for Frontiers lately, including this most recent piece on Sushi Roku, IDG's fancy fish joint on West 3rd Street.

"That's not a new restaurant!" you might be saying, andyou're correct. It's been around for a few years now. However, it feels like a completely new experience thanks to a complete redeco job, and all-new menu items like the ones I mention in my piece. Aw, come on, you didn't think I'd give it away here, did you? You'll just have to click on the link and check out the full review (plus where to find the best yellowtail with jalapeno!) on Frontiers...

Link: http://www.frontiersweb.com/Nightlife/Restaurants/Story.aspx?ID=1362614

LowFares: Best Romantic Restaurants

Lately, my work for LowFares has been of the "listicle" variety--you know, those "best of" roundups that everyone seems to think are so popular. Ah, SEO.

So far, I've written about the best hotel bars, the best celebrity chef hotel restaurants, and the best hotels for foodies for its sister site, HotelHostess, and even the best hotel holiday decorations!

This time around, I take a look at the most romantic restaurants. Just in time for...well, post-Valentine's Day. But hey, it's not true love if it's only romantic one day a year, right? Same with restaurants--it should be consistently excellent.

The list kicks off with one of my favorites, Auberge du Soleil in Napa, where I had one of the best lunches of my life last summer...alone. Ah, the life of an itinerant travel writer.

While I cry silent, salty tears into my glass of Sauvignon Blanc, take a second to look at my article at the link below, and be sure to call ahead for reservations for your next romantic date.

Link: http://www.lowfares.com/blog/2011/02/23/best-american-romantic-restaurants/

Friday, February 25, 2011

JustLuxe: StyleLab's Oscars Jewelry Suite

As you certainly know by now, I'm a food and travel writer with a good bit of wine thrown in, so it's not often I get to write about fashion and beauty--well, spas and moisturizer yes, fashion, no--and it was kind of fun to do a story on Oscars jewelry.

I love watching the red carpet and seeing what the starlets are wearing every year, not to mention the train wreck takes on tuxedos that their escorts usually don, but to be honest, the component I really keep an eye out for is the bling. What can I say? I like shiny things.

So imagine how fun it was to write about one of the luxury jewelry suites (in a secret location, no less!) where the ladies will pick out some of the trendiest jewelry--or jewelry that will set trends as soon as they flash it on the red carpet.

It's called StyleLab, and it features one-of-a-kind pieces that you'll only find on Hollywood's biggest night. So to check out some of the trinkets and hear what the biggest trends to look out for this year will be, take a look at my JustLuxe article at the link below!

Link: http://www.justluxe.com/lifestyle/jewelry/feature-1381563.php

Thursday, February 24, 2011

LA Confidential: Eveleigh


Although I also wrote up Eveleigh, the striking new restaurant on the Sunset Strip, for Frontiers, I originally went in for LA Confidential, since it's definitely one of the hippest up-and-coming restaurants in the city. I mean, the view alone!

But I don't want to get into it prematurely. Instead, read my LA Confidential article below!

Eveleigh

By Eric Rosen

Sunset Strip restaurants are more like nightclubs than great dining destinations, what with velvet ropes, overpriced cocktails, and unremarkable menus. The trio of young Aussie entrepreneurs behind Eveleigh (pronounced “ever-lee,” like the Sydney suburb) are aiming to change all that, though.

Even the entrance lets you know you’re in for a unique experience. Wander beneath the olive tree-shaded arbor and past the trickling fountain into the main building, which was originally constructed in 1923, but most recently was a Kenneth Cole store. These days, its design elements include Douglas fir floorboards salvaged from a church, cabinets full of garage sale curios, and a ceramic cow’s head over the fireplace, its gaze intent upon the zinc bar where specialty cocktails like The Woods, with Famous Grouse, sweet vermouth, cherry herring and Clementine, are shaken up.

The best tables, however, are on the back patio, which is peaked with wooden beams, and illuminated by maritime lamps that create a glamping-like ambiance. Diners have the perfect view both of the city lights and the organic herb and vegetable garden as they enjoy Chef Jordan Toft’s menu of delights like the fried eggplant salad with scallions and cilantro in rice wine, soy and cumin dressing; crisp pork belly with polenta, watercress, shallots and currant salad; and a gooey baked pear crumble with almond crunch and spiced butterscotch. Even more impressive: the best list of hard-to-find Australian wines in the city, with benchmarks like Leeuwin Estate and Torbreck.

8752 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069, (424) 239-1630; theeveleigh.com

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

LA Confidential: Resto News Roundup

I've been a bit busy so I'm a little late putting this up, but one of my pieces for the January-February issue of Los Angeles Confidential was a newsy roundup of restaurants--chef shuffles, openings, new menus, etc.

There's no link to it on LA Confidential's web site, so the only place to see it is in the magazine, or right here.

So to find out what's new around Los Angeles lately, both in terms of fresh kitchens, redesigns and changed-up menus, take a look at my article below!

Restaurant News Roundup

By Eric Rosen

The action never stops in Los Angeles, and its dining scene is no exception. Here’s a quick roundup of the new and notable happenings in kitchens around town.

Openings

Fast food just got healthier since Freshii opened its first two Los Angeles locations in Brentwood and Hollywood.

Fairfax fixture Mäni’s now serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a slew of vegan, gluten-free, organic options, and a creative cocktail list in its new Beverly Hills digs.

There’s a small specialty ouzo menu, and live entertainment including belly dancers and sword dancers at the new Greek Xandros on La Cienega’s restaurant row.

New Menus

Beechwood has gotten a breath of fresh air in the form of Top Chef contestant Jamie Lauren, and new menu items like duck confit tacos with dried cherry mole and Serrano chilis.

Casa Cocina Y Cantina downtown has a new chef, Alex Moreno, who reinterprets classic taqueria favorites like tacos de camarones fritos with caramelized pineapple and peanuts.

Rivera has four new special menus divided into various styles like the Iberian “Sangre” and the seafood-heavy “Playa” menus, each served in different rooms of the restaurant.

Chef Tony DiSalvo has reintroduced Savor Sundays at Whist with a roster of family-style dinner menus that will rotate throughout the year.

Redesigns

Chaya Venice is looking spruce these days thanks to a complete renovation, and new lunch and dinner menus of seafood specialties.

Sushi Roku underwent a two-month touch up recently, and its menu got a new look, too, with dishes like salmon carpaccio with black truffles.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

JustLuxe: A Night Out with W Hollywood's "Insider"

The other JustLuxe story I wrote last week had to do with another hotel I've spent quite a bit of time at lately, the W Hollywood.

It's pretty much an all-round destination these days--awesome rooms, great food at Delphine, and one of the hottest clubs in town: Drai's. That's why I decided to talk to Chris Nelson, the hotel's "Insider" about his favorite things about the hotel, what's new and exciting in Hollywood these days, and what his perfect night out on the town is like. Exhausting, that's what!

But in all seriousness, Chris was fun and fantastic to talk to, and has a bunch of great suggestions for visitors and Angelenos alike, so check out my article at the link below.

Link: http://www.justluxe.com/travel/news/feature-1352976.php

Monday, February 21, 2011

JustLuxe: Sally Hershberger Studio at SLS Hotel

Since I took over as the LA editor of JustLuxe, I've been straying a little further afield from my usual interests in food, wine and hospitality to cover fields like health, beauty and fashion.

That's why one of my articles last week had to do with the new Sally Hershberger "Style Studio" at the SLS Hotel's Ciel Spa. It won't be one of the famous stylist's full-service salons, but guests will be able to get fancypants stylings, blow-outs, and all sorts of other fun but quick and simple services. Plus there are going to be healthy snacks and specially curated musical playlists.

Just in time for awards seasons and all the Hollywood galas and shows that go with it...

Link: http://www.justluxe.com/travel/news/feature-1365188.php

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Jaunted: Air New Zealand's Wellington Koru Lounge

Did you like my Jaunted story on Air New Zealand's airport Koru Lounge in Auckland? Well get ready for the Wellington Koru Lounge, which I loved even more! If you ask me, the food was better, the views were prettier, and the vibe was more relaxed. Maybe that's because it was Wellington.

So here's my photo gallery and video walk-through. Along with a little editorial commentary to let you know what a special little lounge this is, and how much I enjoyed my time there. Definitely stop by on your next trip to those little islands on the other side of the world.

Link: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2011/2/9/203514/4775/travel/Inside+Air+New+Zealand%92s+Koru+Lounge+at+Wellington+Airport

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jaunted: Inside Air New Zealand's Auckland Koru Lounge

By now you must know that I LOVE to check out airline lounges whenever possible, especially if it's for a Jaunted assignment.

So naturally, while I was in New Zealand over the holidays, I took the opportunity to check into Air New Zealand's flagship international Koru Lounge in Auckland.

Here's a quick photo gallery and walk-through of the lounge, including video, and tips on how to make sure you get a foot massage at the tiny in-lounge spa before your flight!

Enjoy!

Link: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2011/2/8/24143/52785/travel/Inside+Air+New+Zealand%92s+Koru+Lounge+at+Auckland+Airport

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Frontiers: District on Sunset

For my third piece in the Frontiers Valentine's Day issue, I did a quick review of George Abou-Daoud's restaurant up on Sunset, District. It's been around for a little while, but Chef Kris Morningstar left, and Kevin Napier took over, revamping the menu...including with one of Alan Rich's top 5 dishes in the U.S. this year in GQ, the venison chili relleno.

Just thinking about it makes me want to go back there this evening. See what else I ate, like the Spam slider, when you read my piece below.

Link: http://www.frontiersweb.com/Nightlife/Restaurants/Story.aspx?ID=1355883

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Frontiers: Aloha Oahu!

Last week my travel writing for HotelChatter focused on exotic locales and stunning settings with my Glamping Series.

But in case you can't get to Zambia or Cambodia this winter, you can still make it to America's very own playground, Hawaii. That's why, in this issue of Frontiers, we decided to cover all that's new and exciting on Oahu.

Now, I can't guarantee that this dude will come with your vacation package, but hey the view in Waikiki is still pretty good without him, so take a look at all the gorgeous places to stay, the delicious places to eat, and the fun things to do, and start booking your next Hawaiian vacay...

Link: http://www.frontiersweb.com/Columns/Travel/Story.aspx?ID=1355997

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

JustLuxe: Magnum Crew at Pal Cabron

Los Angeles seems to be all about pop-up restaurants these days, with chefs setting up shop anywhere and everywhere for a few days as they test out new recipes, work with new cuisines, and just let loose in a new setting.

One that I'm quite excited about is coming up tonight, sort of like a post-Valentine's treat. It's the team-up of one of my favorite sommeliers around town, David Haskell, who you might remember from his own restaurant called Bin 8945 and then Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena, and Chef Joseph Mahon, formerly of Bastide. And it's called..."Magnum Crew."

They hosted their first pop-up in December at Biergarten, but this time around, they're going Oaxacan at Pal Cabron, with a Mexican-inspired gourmet menu, and all kinds of wine, beer, sake and secret liquor pairings. It's only for two days--the 15th and 16th--but there's no chance I'm missing it!

Get all the details, and your reservation, by checking out my story at JustLuxe!

Link: http://www.justluxe.com/travel/news/feature-1352497.php

Monday, February 14, 2011

Frontiers: Valentine's Dining

When my editor at Frontiers asked me to cover Valentine's Day again this year, we decided that it might be fun to branch out from our usual "where couples can dine out" kind of roundup, and instead, I pitched a dual-piece. One side for singletons looking for places to drown their sorrows and maybe meet new people (like at the Big Bar's Booze Prom or the Edison's Queen of Hearts Valentine's Day Ball) , and the other for lovey-dovey romantics searching for a special night out (like at Petrossian, the Peninsula Beverly Hills and Eva).

So, voila! Here's my guide to Valentine's Day in LA for Singles vs. Couples, and just because I've split it up this way doesn't mean there can't be some crossover--or you can't treat yourself to a romantic night out on the town.

Link: http://www.frontiersweb.com/Features/Highlights/Story.aspx?ID=1355898

Friday, February 11, 2011

HotelChatter: Glamping at Cambodia's Floating Eco-Lodge

It's been a fun week exploring the worldwide Glamping scene for HotelChatter, but all good things must come to an end. At least until the next Glamping Series update on the site.

For today's wrap-up, we float down the mighty Mekong River to the Cambodia-Thailand border, where adventurous travelers can stay at the 4 Rivers Floating Eco-Lodge.

The resort is in the heart of the steamy jungle, near a region with the delicious name of the Cardamom Mountains, that has one of Asia's richest aquatic and land-based ecologies. Guests can chill in their luxury tents or on their private sun decks, but they can also go kayaking in mangrove swamps, hike to waterfalls, and explore the local region. Can you tell I'm about ready to go?

See if you're ready to hire your own riverboat after you take a look at my story below.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2011/2/11/04016/9233/hotels/Places_To_Get_Your_Glamp_On_Four_Rivers_Floating_Lodge_Cambodia

Thursday, February 10, 2011

HotelChatter: Glamping at Dubai's Al Maha Resort & Spa

Day #4 of Glamping! And for today's post on HotelChatter, we take a magic carpet to the Arabian Peninsula to enjoy some desert splendor at the Al Maha Resort & Spa.

I learned about the resort while reading the latest issue of Conde Nast Traveler and seeing that LA designer Catherine Malandrino loved it there. So I decided to investigate it myself, and I have to agree: it sounds absolutely fabulous.

Forty-two bedouin-style tent suites, each with its own private plunge pool, a full-service spa, a gourmet restaurant, all kinds of desert activities...I almost want to book a flight to Dubai here and now just to hang out at Al Maha. I'll have to rack up quite a few SPG points to afford it though. Ah well, it's good to have goals!

In the meantime, take a look at my article below and tell me you're not ready to head to the desert.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2011/2/9/205637/6201/hotels/Places_to_Get_your_Glamp_On_The_Al_Maha_Desert_Resort_Spa_Dubai

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

HotelChatter: Glamping in Patagonia

It's Day 3 of my Glamping Series on HotelChatter, and now we're traveling all the way to the far reaches of Patagonia in Chile, to the Torres del Paine National Park, where we get to visit Patagonia Camp!

Guests get to stay in tricked-out yurts on the shores of beautiful Lake Toro, and choose from a variety of outdoor activities each day. Then in the evening, there are gourmet meals accompanied, of course, by local Chilean wines.

Sound like heaven to you? Me too. Check out the camp and everything to do and see there in my story at the link below.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2011/2/9/2461/58451/hotels/Places_To_Get_Your_Glamp_On_Patagonia_Camp_Chile

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

JustLuxe: LearnAboutWine's $1000 Bordeaux Dinner

I get to taste fabulous, fancy, famous wines pretty often, but even I'm drooling over the thought of this spectacular dinner being hosted by Ian Blackburn and LearnAboutWine next week.

Eighteen lucky guests will pay $995 each for the privilege of tasting 20 wines from some of the biggest names in Bordeaux, including a vertical tasting ranging from 1945-2004 of Chateau Cheval Blanc.

It's being held at Mozza, and I hear that it's going to sell out any minute, so if you're interested, better buy your ticket here!

If the price tag is a little above your pay grade, you can at least read about what they'll be pouring in my JustLuxe piece: http://www.justluxe.com/travel/los-angeles-news__1332524.php

HotelChatter: Glamping at Sal Salis on Australia's Ningaloo Reef

For Day 2 of my latest Glamping Series on HotelChatter, we travel back to the barren expanses of Western Australia, where wanderlusting travelers can venture to the luxury camp of Sal Salis on the gorgeous Ningaloo Reef, where WA's famous whale sharks come swimming through in the fall (their fall).

Fabulous accommodations, unbelievably diverse ecology, tons of nature activities both in the sea and on the land...what are you waiting for? Check it out below!

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2011/2/8/2303/18650/hotels/Places_to_Get_Your_Glamp_On_Sal_Salis_Ningaloo_Reef_Australia

Monday, February 7, 2011

HotelChatter: Glamping Series!

It's been quite a few months, and I was talking to my editor at HotelChatter, and we decided that it was high time for an update to my uber popular Glamping Series!

Last time around, I covered every continent (that's right, I even talked about Antarctica!). This time around, we kept things a little more modest and decided to do just one property a day. While that made things easier on me, it was much, much more difficult to narrow the list down to just five properties around the world! It just makes me realize how many truly fabulous, inimitable properties are out there.

As with the last series, we start this week in Africa. This time, I take the readers to the unspoiled savannahs of Zambia--a relatively untouched safari destination where Sanctuary Retreats is launching their newest initiative, a walking safari called Zebra Plains.

Not only does it sound like the wildlife viewing will be unparalleled, but it's also one of the most environmentally sound resorts I've come across, and the food sounds pretty fantastic as well.

Are you ready to get your shots and pack your bags yet? You will be after you read my article and see the photos, so click on the link below.

Link: http://www.hotelchatter.com/story/2011/2/7/24225/25693/hotels/Places_to_Get_Your_Glamp_On_Sanctuary_Zebra_Plains_Walking_Safari_Camp_Zambia

LowFares: Cancun Vacations

It seems appropriate that, since I just spent a few days last week at the lovely Fairmont Mayakoba outside of Cancun (my first time on Mexico's east coast!), that I would write up a piece for LowFares about Cancun Vacations from Budget to Luxury--though who doesn't like to hear more about the luxury?

In addition to the Fairmont, and other fancy properties like the Ritz-Carlton, I included some cute mid-range places like the Hilton and the Aqua Hotel, plus two budget hotels, the Sol Y Luna, and the Xbalamque.

Oh, and let's not forget about all the activities there are to enjoy both in the water and on land. If the arctic temperatures across the country have you hankering for a tropical Caribbean vacation, take a look at my article, and start planning your Cancun getaway now!

Link: http://www.lowfares.com/blog/2011/01/28/cancun-vacations-hotels-budget-luxury/

Saturday, February 5, 2011

JustLuxe: Bordeaux's Le Pressoir D'Argent

Though I spent much of my time in France last month strolling the streets of Paris, we actually took the train down to Bordeaux for two days and stayed at the fabulous Regent Grand Hotel.

You might know that I've been down to the Bordeaux region before for wine-tasting in St. Emilion, Graves and Medoc, but this was the first time I actually visited the city itself, and I have to say that it was beautiful...now that all the Industrial Age soot has been cleaned off and the city center has been revitalized in some extraordinary ways.

The Regent Grand was the perfect place to stay, right in the middle of everything on the Place du Grand Theatre, and one night, we ate at its Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Pressoir d'Argent. The name means "the silver press," and comes from the fact that the restaurant owns and uses nightly one of five Christofle silver lobster presses in the world for its signature dish.

I can't even tell you how rich and delicious that dish is. Instead, you'll have to read about my dinner at Le Pressoir d'Argent, the provenance of what just might be the fanciest kitchen appliance ever, and why Tom Cruise loves the hotel's Royal Suite in my JustLuxe article at the link below!

Link: http://www.justluxe.com/travel/hotel/feature-1305089.php

Friday, February 4, 2011

Jaunted: Urban Wine Tasting in Paris

I love Paris and I love wine. So imagine my elation when I got to write about my favorite places to go urban wine-tasting in the City of Lights for Jaunted this week!

Contrary to what you may imagine because France is the most famous wine-producing country in the world, it's actually kind of hard to find a wine bar where you can taste through a bunch of wines like our American-style tasting bars. However, I've managed to find a few that are, quite simply, awesome.

Two of them I've written about briefly before on right here on my blog: Lavinia with its shiny enomatic machines, and the historic Lucien Legrand Filles et Fils. The third is a new wine bar called O Chateau, which literally just opened last week, and looks amazing. I took a hard-hat tour with the owner while I was in Paris a couple weeks ago. He and his partners have been conducting wine classes, tastings and tours for years, and now they finally have their own tasting bar right in the heart of the 1st arrondisement. I can't wait to go back!

In the meantime, check out my piece below, and tell me it doesn't make you thirsty for some sips on your next trip to Paris.

Link: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2011/2/3/161413/0497/travel/How+and+Where+to+Go+Urban+Wine+Tasting+in+Paris

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jaunted: Inside Air France's Salon d'Affaires at CDG

On my way home from Paris last month, I flew Air France out of Charles de Gaulle, and I took the opportunity to check out the airline's flagship business class lounge, Le Salon d'Affaires in the airport's 2E Terminal (the one ) as part of the Airport Lounge Series I contribute to on Jaunted.

Turns out I was lucky to get the invitation to enter since my flight ended up being delayed for an aggravating 4 hours. At least I had free snacks, wine and WiFi to tide me over though. My favorite part of the lounge, even though I didn't get to use it? The mini Clarins Spa they have with specialized travel-focused treatments that anyone who is allowed access to the lounge can use. Next time I'm signing up as soon as I get in there!

In the meantime, to learn more about the lay of the land, the calibre of drinks, and the food spread, check out my piece at the link below.

Link: http://www.jaunted.com/story/2011/2/1/201838/9727/travel/Inside+Air+Frances+Salon+dAffaires+at+Paris-Charles+de+Gaulle

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Frontiers: Eveleigh

Though I originally went into Eveleigh to write about it for LA Confidential, when my editor at Frontiers asked me if there were any new restaurants I wanted to write about for him, I immediately thought of it.

It's right up on the Sunset Strip, has some fantastic design elements, superb views, and a fun menu of California cuisine with an Aussie twist. Though it's only been open a couple months, it's already one of the most popular places around West Hollywood, and you'll often find its back patio packed with scenesters and foodies.

Since I enjoyed the Brussels sprouts there, I also did the Food2Know section on some of the best Brussels sprouts to be found around Los Angeles, including at Mozza, Gjelina, La Grande Orange, and two new restaurants where I've gotten to enjoy them lately: Cleo (for restaurant week!) and Red Medicine.

Please take a moment to check out my write-up in Frontiers at the link below, and stay tuned for my LA Confidential piece early next week when I post it here. Clearly there were enough good things to say about it for not one, but two articles!

Link: http://www.frontiersweb.com/Nightlife/Restaurants/Story.aspx?ID=1342539