Monday, October 31, 2011

Frontiers: Australia's Mardi Gras Train

Australia happens to be one of my areas of travel specialty thanks to all the amazing trips I've gotten to take there in the past couple years. One of the events I'd love to experience is Mardi Gras in Sydney, and though it looks like I won't be able to make it there this year, I did want to share with Frontiers readers a new experience being put on by the Great Southern Rail--one of the world's great luxury train companies.

The Great Southern Rail will be running a gay-friendly special train journey on the last leg of the Indian Pacific line from Adelaide to Sydney the day before Mardi Gras begins, with all kinds of special performances, fun stops and other parties. The journey is just 24 hours total, so it could be a great way to get to see a little more of the country while having a blast.

Check out my Frontiers story at the link below for details.


Friday, October 28, 2011

LA Confidential Magazine: Brunch Guide

With the October issue of the magazine, we've changed up the format of LA Confidential with a new focus on restaurant features and thematic dining guides, starting with the fabulous roundup of LA's best brunch places...just in time for the weekend!

In it, I let you know about some of my old favorites, like AOC, Cecconi's, Fig and Scarpetta, as well as what some newcomers like Larry's Venice and The Churchill are serving (grilled crostini with heirloom tomatoes, prosciutto, tarragon béarnaise and poached eggs!).

Find out where else you should be making reservations by checking out the article at the link below.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

HotelChatter: Montage Laguna's Sommelier Training

You might know that I regularly write a series on some of the world's coolest hotel jobs for HotelChatter, but last week, I actually wrote about a cool hotel job perk as part of the coverage of my recent stay at Montage Laguna Beach: the resort's staff sommelier certification classes, which are open to any staff member who is interested and has the time in their schedule to take them.

I actually got to sit in on one of the Friday afternoon classes with the resort's Beverage Director, Troy Smith, and it was especially great because we were talking about the wines of Portugal, which I'd just visited a couple weeks before.

Learn more about this unique program, and start earmarking your wine encyclopedia.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

JustLuxe: Napa in a Porsche

As you know, one of my favorite travel destinations--both to enjoy and to write about--is right here in my home state of California: the Napa Valley.

If you ask me, Napa has it all. World-class wine, gourmet food, luxury hotels, fabulous spas...I might just have to live there!

In the meantime, at least it's easy for me to visit, and I wrote about my most recent experience up there--jetting around in a Porsche, staying at the Carneros Inn, tasting great wines, and eating at some of the hottest new tables in town.

Check it all out at the JustLuxe link below.


Monday, October 24, 2011

HotelChatter: Portugal Boozy B&B's

For the next installment of my new Boozy B&B's series on HotelChatter, where I take readers along as I visit hotels and inns in some of the world's great wine regions (and hopefully other spirits too, like Cognac and scotch, eventually), I take you inside five of the properties I got to visit on my recent trip to Portugal's Douro Valley.

We start in the city of Oporto itself, where I stayed at the new Yeatman Hotel, then travel far into the hinterlands to inns nestled in the Douro Valley's dramatic, winding hills and valleys, where the country's famous Port wines are made.

Picturesque locations, gourmet food and wine, gorgeous weather...take a look and then start searching for flights to Portugal!


Friday, October 21, 2011

JustLuxe: Shanghai-ed for the Weekend

The more I travel, the more I realize that it's possible to visit even faraway exotic locations in a shorter time than you think. Case in point, the whirlwind trip I took to Shanghai this past July.

Read about my experience, including the flight on American Airlines, my stay at the lovely boutique PuLi Hotel & Spa, sampling the city's famous xiao long bao dumplings, finding a happy shopping medium somewhere between the huge world-famous brand-name stores and the schlocky souvenir shops of the back alleys, with a dose of history and culture thrown in. And it only took about three days!

Don't believe me? Read on at the JustLuxe link below.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

HotelChatter: Montage Laguna's Wine Program

One of my favorite properties along the Laguna Coast (and in all of California) is the ultra-luxe Montage Laguna Beach.

Not only is it on a perfect spot on the coast, but it's got gorgeous rooms, a fabulous restaurant called Studio, a lovely spa, and, as I found out on my recent visit, an extensive wine program that guests can get to experience firsthand by making a reservation at their signature Sunday Artistry of Wine program.

Check out some of the wines (and cheeses!) I got to taste by reading my story at the link below.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

HotelChatter: Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon

After the wine-tasting portion in the Douro Valley of my recent trip to Portugal, I spend the weekend in Lisbon, and had the opportunity to stay at the gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel Ritz in the heart of the city.

I've posted a whole photo gallery and all the pertinent info, but of course, I had to focus on a particular amenity--the enormous bathrooms! Find out why by taking a look at my story below.


Monday, October 17, 2011

HotelChatter: Carneros Inn and Audi

When I was up in Napa at the beginning of the month, I got to stay at a property I've been dreaming about for a long time, the Carneros Inn. This luxury resort is at the southern end of the Valley and features tricked out cottages as rooms, plus gourmet restaurants, a fabulous spa, and all sorts of other perks, including a partnership with Audi.

While there, my friend and I were chauffeured around the property in one of the cars featured in the program, the top-of-the-line A8 sedan...and naturally we played with all the buttons and knobs to see how everything worked. Check out my piece and photo gallery on HotelChatter at the link below.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

JustLuxe: Park City Autum Adventure

I paid my first visit to Park City not in the winter, when Hollywood glitterati crowd its charming streets for Sundance, but over the summer. I'm not really a snow person, so heading to this scenic mountain escape was right up my alley--especially because I got to go mountain biking, horseback riding, shooting down an Alpine slide and...oh yeah, whiskey-tasting at the High West Distillery.

I also talk about the Sky Lodge (like I did in HotelChatter--remember those waterfall bathtub spigots that stream from the ceiling?) and all the other fun stuff I got up to, so check out my JustLuxe story below!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Frontiers: Perch

Finally, I should be all caught up with posting my Frontiers reviews from over the summer! This one is another great restaurant to open downtown--truth be told, the food is good, but it's the view and the urban ambiance I come for when I head downtown to eat at Perch, which, true to its name, roosts 14 stories above the streets of Los Angeles, surrounded by scenic skyscrapers.

Next time your downtown for an evening, you should definitely plan to spend part of it here!


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Frontiers: Saint Felix

Whew! I didn't realize I'd done this much writing for Frontiers over the summer, but I'm still catching up on posting pieces from the past few months as they come online on the magazines web site. So here's the next piece. It's a little love note to an LGBT-owned bar called Saint Felix that opened its second installment in the heart of Hollywood.

Finally, a good place for drinks and schmoozing for gays before heading to the ArcLight!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jetsetter: Roomers Hotel Frankfurt

I've been writing for Gilt Groupe for a while now, but my first piece for Jetsetter ran this week, and is about a hotel where I stayed (and spent my 29th birthday!) in Frankfurt, Germany.

There've been quite a few hotels since my stay at the Roomers Hotel, but I remember it quite well--especially since it was so distinctive for Frankfurt. Find out more about it and just what sets it apart (besides the silver, velvet, swan-shaped chairs in the lobby) at the link to my description on Jetsetter below.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Frontiers: Picca

For the next update review from over the summer in Frontiers, let me share this one about what was probably this summer's most exciting new opening around town: Picca.

Picca is the follow up second restaurant to chef wunderkind Ricardo Zarate's beloved downtown Peruvian spot, MoChica.

The food at this new place on Pico in Beverly Hills is significantly more upscale, though the service and ambiance is still casually convivial. See what I mean--plus enjoy a roundup of some of my favorite places around town for ceviche in the review at the link below.