Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jaunted: Air France Premium Voyageur Class

When I traveled to France in January to visit Paris, Bordeaux and Champagne, I flew the direct LAX-CDG flight on Air France, and got the chance to try out the airline's newish Premium Voyageur class: its version of premium economy between regular old economy and business class.

The airline was kind enough to upgrade me from economy both ways, so I got a pretty thorough impression of it (they're long flights, after all!), and wrote up the experience for Jaunted last week.

So to find out about the nifty seats, the food, wine, entertainment and amenity kit--and decide whether the extra leg room is worth the extra money, take a quick look at my article on Jaunted below.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Jaunted: Flights on a Flight with Delta's Sommelier

You might know by this point that I love writing about airline wine programs for my series on Jaunted called Flights on a Flight.

So imagine how excited I was to interview Andrea Robinson, Delta's Master Sommelier. She told me how she tastes through over 900 wines a year to select the pours for the airline's International BusinessElite program, why she looks for wines with a "story," and what characteristics wines must have to taste good at altitude.

Take a look at my video interview with Andrea at the link below--it'll change the way you drink in the sky!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

JustLuxe: BLT Steak Cooking Class

My next JustLuxe piece for March was about a great cooking class being hosted by Brian Moyers, the Executive Chef at BLT Steak up on Sunset.

In the first class in the series, he taught guests how to make a few of the restaurants signature dishes including the popovers, Caesar salad, and, of course, steak. Sounded like a fun time, and if you missed it, you can catch one of the future classes in the series each month.

Check out my story at the link below!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MadeMan: Salt Every Man Should Have

I've just started writing for a new outlet called MadeMan. I'm really excited about it, because it's a huge web site in and of itself, with millions of users every month, but it's also part of an enormous network called Break Media that encompasses tons of great web sites.

I'll be writing with kitchen, cooking and dining tips for the everyday guy, so I figured I'd start with the basics and take on one of the staple ingredients of any kitchen: salt.

Though it's so prevalent in our food, it still requires some demystification--especially if it's to be used properly, and even more so if you are looking to get into some of the amazing artisanal varieties out there today.

So whether you never cook at all, or if you're an old hand in the kitchen looking to find out about some rare salts you might not have known about (Salish Smoked Salt! Indian Kala Namak Black Salt! Hawaiian Red Clay Salt!), this article of mine is pretty interesting, so take a look!


Monday, March 21, 2011

JustLuxe: Three Great New Hollywood Bars

For my latest piece on JustLuxe, I decided to feature a trio of new Hollywood hot spots that I've been excited to find out about lately.

They include Harvard & Stone from the La Descarga guys--it's all about artisanal spirits, cool cocktails and a bygone factory Rosie the Riveter vibe.

The second spot is a new supper club lounge kind of place called Lexington Social House whose chef has done time at Soho House, Cut and Spago, and where the back patio is the place to hang out around the fireplace.

Finally, we head to The Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel right in the heart of Hollywood, which I had a chance to visit after trying out the hotel's new restaurant, Public Kitchen & Bar.

Check out all three in one place in my article at the link below, and find out where you should be drinking in Hollywood these days!


Photo credit: Thrillist LA.

Friday, March 18, 2011

HotelChatter: The Omni Downtown LA's New Look

And for the final piece in my HotelChatter run last week, I did a quick piece on the new rooms at the Omni Los Angeles at California Plaza in downtown LA.

It had been a while since I'd been to the Omni, and I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by how the new rooms are looking. They were only on the Club Floor (the 17th and top floor) at the time I stayed there, but the hotel is redoing all the rooms floor by floor over the course of the spring.

I also really liked the Club Lounge, where I had a glass of wine and got some work done in the evening, while trading restaurant suggestions with the concierge working there, and then the breakfast spread in the morning was surprisingly broad. All in all, an unexpectedly wonderful experience.

For the photo gallery and video, check out the piece at the link below.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

HotelChatter: Inside the Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux

I already wrote an article about the Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux's famous Pressoir d'Argent for JustLuxe a few weeks ago. This time around, for my HotelChatter story on the hotel, I bring you one of our signature Inside Looks, along with the customary photo gallery and walk-through video of my suite.

I really loved this historic old property, and it was a fantastic place to stay on my first visit to the city of Bordeaux itself. Find out reading my piece at the link below!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

HotelChatter: Inside the Fairmont Mayakoba

Today brings another of my HotelChatter Inside Looks at one of the resorts I've experienced in the last couple of months: the Fairmont Mayakoba.

The resort is located along the lovely coast south of Cancun, close to Playa del Carmen along the Riviera Maya. You might recognize it from my LowFares coverage of great budget to luxury options in the resort destination, but here the resort gets its full due, along with a photo gallery and room video that shows you just what a lovely place it is.

Take a look, and read all about the awesome golf school on the property as well as the body wrap that covers you in chocolate (no joke!) at the link below.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

HotelChatter: Inside Napa's Hotel Yountville

I spent last weekend in one of my favorite destinations, Napa Valley, celebrating a friend's birthday. Since we were eating at The French Laundry one night, I took the opportunity to stay at the newest hotel in the Valley, the Hotel Yountville, which is a quick walk from the restaurant.

Not only was I blown away by the fantastic conversion of the property from its former incarnation as the somewhat dowdy Yountville Inn, but I loved my room (especially the working fireplace), the breakfast I enjoyed at the hotel's Hopper Creek Kitchen, and the signature massage at its Spa AcQua.

Head to HotelChatter for my Inside Look at the property, as well as a photo gallery and room video.


Monday, March 14, 2011

HotelChatter: Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan Paris

During my recent trip to France in January, I spent a few nights in Paris at the Radisson Blu Le Metropolitan in the 16th arrondisement near Trocadero, with great views of the Eiffel Tower from its suites.

So here's another one of my signature HotelChatter complete with photo gallery and room video so you can see my domicile for yourself and decide whether it might make a good lodging for your next trip to the City of Lights. While on the small side, it was still a pretty nice little room, though the prices they're asking are a tad high--even for Paris--if you ask me...


Friday, March 11, 2011

HotelChatter Islands Series: Wilson Island, Australia

Alas, as the week ended, so too did my series on Private Islands for HotelChatter. For the grand finale, I decided to hit one of my favorite (and most-repeated destinations of late), Australia!

Whereas last time I wrote about Oz, it was about glamping at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef in rustic Western Australia, this time, my focus is clear across the country in tropical Queensland, where we find the tiny (only 5 acres and only 6 tents!) offshore Wilson Island, right on the Great Barrier Reef--where there's nothing to do except swim, sunbathe and relax.

I was even more excited to write about it because, while I won't actually be going to Wilson Island itself, it looks as if I will be headed to QLD for a few days while I'm down in Australia next month, so I have a lot to look forward to!

In the meantime, feast your eyes on this lovely little Pacific fly-speck and tell me you don't want to book a ride on the Wilson Island ferry today.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

HotelChatter Islands Series: Cambodia's Song Saa

For my recent Glamping Series on HotelChatter, I took you to Cambodia to visit the 4 Rivers Floating Eco-Lodge.

Now, for my Private Islands Series, we head back to this exciting corner of the Far East to visit not one, but two islands that comprise Cambodia's first private island resort: Song Saa.

The resort, which has three different kinds of bungalows, as well as what looks to be a stunning overwater restaurant, won't actually be open until next November, but it's already proving to be quite buzz-worthy thanks to its exotic and untouched locale, as well as how amazing the model villas they've built turned out. So you'd better get your reservations in now if you like what you see when you read my story below!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

HotelChatter Islands Series: Lupita, Tanzania

Day number 3 in my Private Islands series on HotelChatter takes us to the pristine waters of Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika, where we find the private safari lodge of Lupita Island, where the days are sunny and hot, the drinks are frosty and cold, and the wildlife both on land and in the water is abundant.

I first learned about Lupita last year while researching my perennial Glamping Series for HotelChatter.

After you take a look at the photos and my piece at the link below, you'll have a hard time not booking a ticket to Africa ASAP!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

HotelChatter Islands Series: Laucala Fiji

For the second day of my Private Islands series on HotelChatter last week, I took my readers from the idyllic shores of Musha Cay in the Bahamas to another tropical jewel: Fiji's Laucala Island.

Laucala, which is the largest private island in the southern hemisphere, also has an interesting pedigree. It used to be the island retreat of publishing magnate Malcolm Forbes before it was bought by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz, who converted it into a small all-inclusive luxury resort that you actually have to apply for to get a reservation! No joke.

See why all that rigamarole might just be worth it by taking a look at my story below.


Monday, March 7, 2011

HotelChatter Island Series: Musha Cay

Another week, another series on HotelChatter! Well, this one's actually from last week, but I wanted to post it here on my site as well. While my last series on Glamping took you around the globe to some of the most luxurious campsites in the world--from safaris in Africa to swimming with whale sharks in Australia--this time I explore a slight variation on that theme to take you inside the exclusive world of Private Island Resorts!

I decided to go strong out the gate with one of the most exclusive, expensive islands you can call your own for a week: Musha Cay in the Bahamas. It's owned by the famous illusionist David Copperfield, and has not one, but five mansions spread out among its gorgeous 700 acres.

And that's just the beginning. Take a look at my article at the link below to see all the fabulous experiences a mere $37,500 a night will get you the next time you decide to go big or go home...


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Frontiers: Park on Sunset

For my latest Frontiers restaurant review, I headed over to Echo Park on the Eastside to a little bistro I'd never heard of before, The Park on Sunset.

It's a cozy little place you'd never recognize from the street, but on the night we headed in there, it was packed with Silverlake hipsters chowing down on the signature burgers and other specialties like Jidori chicken, and brisket with latkes.

Take a look at my review on the Frontiers site below, and as a bonus, there's a cute little guide to Assemble-Your-Own burgers for the control freaks out there, which includes my faves like 8 oz. Burger Bar, 25 Degrees, and the Counter.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

LA Confidential: Hostaria del Piccolo

Here's one of my other pieces in LA Confidential's January-February issue, and it's about a cute new hostaria, kind of like a little taverna, in Santa Monica from the folks over at Piccolo in Venice, which is another great Italian cucina on the Westside.

Though the article is up on the LAC site, I've pasted the text in below with the details on all the dishes I enjoyed, including the black squid ink pizza...buon appetito!

Hostaria del Piccolo

There’s a new restaurant from the same group of gregarious Italianos behind Piccolo in Venice. Drawing upon the rustic Italian tradition of hostarias—roadside eateries serving regional specialties in a communal setting—Hostaria del Piccolo is a congenial place with a small bar, a back patio and a cheerfully noisy open kitchen. It’s an inviting ambience to take in a glass of wine and antipasti such as seared ricotta with seasonal mushrooms. Here the driving philosophy is “eat less, taste more,” which you can do with bowls of homemade pasta, including the garganelli with porcini sauce, truffle oil and Parmesan cream; and delicate pizzas piled with fresh ingredients, like a concoction of creamy burrata, seared ahi, tomato sauce and microgreens on purple-black squid crust. To drink you’ll find a list of wines spanning the Italian peninsula, unusual European beers and classic cocktails—such as a fizzy Aperol Spritz with Prosecco and soda. 606 Broadway, Santa Monica; —Eric Rosen

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

LA Confidential: Red Medicine

The first of my pieces from the March issue of LA Confidential is up, and it's the front of the Eating & Drinking section. It's about one of the buzziest new restaurants in town, called Red Medicine, that's sort of going for a punk Vietnamese cantina aesthetic (you'll see what I mean).

You might have heard about a little brouhaha the owners of this restaurant had with S. Irene Virbila, the LA Times's restaurant critic, back in December, which seemed a little harsh. But for my part, I had a lovely time there, and really enjoyed the food, so I hope to go back there again soon.

In the meantime, check out my brief write-up on the LA Confidential site at the link below, and you can find the text here as well.


By Eric Rosen

After months of false starts, partners Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger, former Mina Group corporate beverage director Noah Ellis and culinary prodigy Jordan Kahn finally opened Red Medicine—a punkish Vietnamese canteen that brings to mind a late-night Chinatown dive with a farmers’ market twist. Though the corner store-style storefront in Beverly Hills has a no-frills interior, the food (much of it presented with an artful flair) gets special treatment, such as crispy spring rolls with Dungeness crab, calamansi and pea pods; and black-vinegar-and-honey-caramelized pork with prunes, sorrel, white poppy and dried almond. It's all perfect for washing down with a Krome vodka cocktail, a blend of “chili-anise shrub,” lime, grapefruit, Peychaud’s bitters, Thai basil and house-made ginger beer. 8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills;