Thursday, July 28, 2011

HotelChatter: Intercontinental San Francisco's Grappa Bar

San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the U.S. to visit, and though I'm usually there on my way to Napa or Sonoma, I always try to make time for some good foodie experiences since it has one of the best restaurant scenes in the country, and as the gateway to some of the world's most famous wine regions, it's a great place to sample some of California's best and most interesting wines.

On my most recent visit, however, I stopped by the Intercontinental San Francisco (ICSF) to sample the extensive grappa selection at Bar 888, including in several specialty cocktails. Take a look at my HotelChatter story at the link below, and who knows, maybe grappa will be the liqueur of 2011!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

HotelChatter: PuLi Hotel Shanghai

Earlier this week, I hopped on American Airlines' direct LAX-Shanghai flight for a quick trip to China's most exciting city. I stayed at a wonderful independent hotel called the PuLi while I was there, right next to Jing'An Park and Temple, and close to all the major sights like Xintiandi, the French Concession, the Yu Gardens, and, of course, the Bund.

But in the subtropical heat that settles on the city in summer like a moist, muggy blanket, one of the most delightful places to pass the evening was in the PuLi's new garden terrace enjoying its menu of specialty cocktails and tapas-style bites. Take a look at my HotelChatter story on the experience below.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

HotelChatter: Sky Lodge's Waterfall Bathtubs

The other hotel I stayed in in Park City--and my primary reason for going--was The Sky Lodge in the town of Park City itself. The rooms there are all suites, and there's a great bar called Sky Blue, as well as a popular restaurant called Easy Street.

The crew there took us horseback riding, treated us to massages at the hotel's Amatsu Spa, and then up for an afternoon of high-speed adventure at the Park City Mountain Resort's rides, like the Alpine Slide and the Zipride to come.

In the meantime, check out my HotelChatter story on my favorite room amenity, the waterfall bathtubs, which were followed by a close runner up, the wine refrigerators in the kitchens. Lather up!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

HotelChatter: Montage Deer Valley's Daly's Pub & Rec

I spent the first part of this week on my first ever visit to one of America's premier ski destinations: Park City, Utah. Of course, this is summer. So was there anything to do? Well, you might be as surprised as I was to find out just how many fun activities there are up in the mountains over the summer. During my short visit, I went mountain biking, horseback riding, archery lesson-ing, whiskey tasting, and more.

This first story is about my stay at the new Montage Deer Valley, which just opened this past winter, and is my idea of an ideal luxe mountain getaway. They also happen to have an awesome pub and game room with pool, foosball, darts, Wii, and even a bowling alley, so that's what I wrote about for HotelChatter, along with a video about the special beers they have on tap there.

Read it here:

Friday, July 15, 2011

JustLuxe: American Sommelier 6-Day Napa Intensive

Another rarefied report for my JustLuxe portfolio: American Sommelier's 6-Day Intensive Wine Course in Napa Valley at the end of July. Students will spend a week learning all about the world's various wine regions, their varietals, producers, geography, soil, climate and more, plus take field trips to vineyards and wineries, enjoy a few meals out, and get some nice stemware along the way.

Now that's my kind of summer school!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

MadeMan: Skincare for Dudes

In the vein of how-to stuff dudes are interested in, my next MadeMan piece takes a look at the things every man should be doing to take care of his skin this summer.

For it, I enlisted the help of one of my favorite local skincare experts, Derek Hofmann, the Spa Director at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Not only is he just a mensch and a fun guy to talk to, but he's also a treasure trove of skincare information, and gave me tips on everything from a proper daily skincare regimen to a list of easily available products every man should be stocking in his bathroom (or car or gym bag for guys on the go). Oh, and he's got great skin, so I'll do anything he says!

So take a quick read, put on some sunblock, and get out there to enjoy the summer!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

JustLuxe: Bastille Day in Los Angeles

My last JustLuxe piece was on 4th of July happenings around Los Angeles, but this week is another independence celebration near and dear to my heart: Bastille Day!

And several of the French restaurants around town are going all out to celebrate la journee de la Bastille with everything from croque monsieurs and specialty cocktails to live DJ's and costume parties.

Check out my handy little list at the link below, including Comme Ca, BREADBAR, Cliff's Edge, La Cachette Bistro and Fig + Olive...


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

JustLuxe: Paws Up Pinnacle Camp

As you know, glamping is one of my main travel writing interests, and I was ecstatic to get to visit the newest luxury camp, Pinnacle Camp, at Paws Up, the U.S.'s trendsetting glamping destination in the wild and wonderful woods of northwest Montana.

I already wrote up an interview I conducted with Matt, the camping butler, for HotelChatter, so for this JustLuxe piece, I decided to go more in-depth about the overall experience of staying at Pinnacle Camp, and talked about the deluxe new field tents with en suite bathrooms (including spa jacuzzi tubs!), all the fun activities (cattle drives and fly fishing!), the delicious gourmet cowboy cuisine (huckleberry martinis and grilled elk tenderloin), and all the colorful characters I met while I was there.

Once you take a look at my post, you'll be longing for a gorgeous home on the range too...


Monday, July 11, 2011

LA Confidential: Venokado's Susan Brink

I've already shared the restaurant reviews and the Santa Barbara travel piece I did for LA Confidential's June issue, but I also wanted to include a profile piece I wrote on one of my favorite wine people in Los Angeles, Susan Brink.

This self-proclaimed wine dork not only puts together the lists at restaurants like Soho House and Dominick's, but she also runs one of my favorite wine shops in the city, Venokado, with her sister Molly and Molly's partner, Tracy Hof.

Stopping by either the first shop on Fountain near me, or their new venture at the Market at Santa Monica Place, to talk with any or all of them about my recent wine adventures and to pick out a bottle and some quirky gifts for a dinner party, or any occasion really, is just a pure delight, so I was thrilled to get to write about her for the magazine.

Take a look at my piece and tell me if you don't want to be her friend by the time you finish...


Friday, July 8, 2011

Jaunted: LAN's Mistral VIP Lounge

For my final Chile-inspired article on Jaunted this week, I take readers inside LAN's Mistral Salon VIP, or airport lounge, at the Santiago airport, where I spent a pleasant few hours getting work done, grazing on snacks, tasting through wines, and even grabbing a quick shower while on layover before my flight back to the U.S.

Check out all the amenities and a gallery of my photos at the link below.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jaunted: Atacama Desert Adventure

The recounting of my May adventure in Chile continues on Jaunted this week with a recap of all the awesome, extreme activities in which I got to partake during my visit up to the country's arid Atacama Desert.

It's not just another desert, though. It's literally the driest place on earth. That doesn't mean it's a barren wasteland, though. Quiet the opposite. Near the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, where I stayed at the Hotel Alto Atacama, experiences abound including hikes up to ancient rock fortresses, swims in thermal hot springs, treks up to high-altitude geysers, flamingo-watching at the salt flats, unparalleled stargazing and more...

So come along, and check out one of the most distinct, challenging and fascinating places on Earth.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jaunted: Chilean Wine Day 2, Cachapoal

Today on Jaunted, I cover the other wine region I visited on my recent trip down to Chile: the Cachapoal Valley.

Never heard of it? You're not alone. It's actually a sub-region of the much larger (and more well known) Rapel Valley, and is nestled right in the foothills of the Andes, so there are tons of interesting microclimates that make it possible to produce distinctive wines--especially reds like Chile's signature Carmeneres.

So come along as I try the wine (literally, just the one wine) at Vik, and then the whole range (along with a beautiful multi-course tasting menu) at Anakena, and drink from the roots of the Andes with me.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Jaunted: Wine-Tasting in Chile's Colchagua Valley

I start this week off with a couple new wine pieces on Jaunted from my recent trip down to Chile. The first, from today, is about what is probably Chile's most famous wine region, and the one that has become renowned for producing what has become the country's national grape varietal (Carmenere): the Colchagua Valley just two hours southwest of Santiago.

In it, you can find out about where I tasted and what I did, and come along as I visit some of the biggest names in Chile's wine industry including Casa Silva, Montes, Casa Lapostolle, MontGras, Viu Manent and Santa Cruz...



Friday, July 1, 2011

JustLuxe: 4th of July in LA

Of course, I couldn't let the 4th of July pass without a quick roundup on JustLuxe since there are a few fun foodie things happening around the city including Magnolia Bakery's usual collection of patriotic cupcakes, a clambake at Rush Street in Culver City, prime fireworks viewing along the coast at the Shangri-La Hotel and High at the Hotel Erwin, special takeout from Tavern in Brentwood, and some down-home music and cooking at Chaya Venice (seriously!).

So slather on the sunblock, stock your cooler, and join the party as summer kicks into high gear!