Friday, April 27, 2012

The Points Guy, Destination of the Week: Chicago

For this week's Destination of the Week on The Points Guy, we decided to talk about a great city that is prime for flying using British Airways Avios from the current 100,000 bonus sign-up: Chicago. It's pretty central, meaning you won't have to use as many Avios because of BA's distance-based award ticket formula, and because it's the hub of BA's partner airline, American, there is plenty of availability.

Once you're there, there's plenty to see, do, eat and enjoy, plus many places to stay where you can either earn or use points--or both. So have a look at the article and book your trip before the summer heat sets in.


Monday, April 23, 2012

LA Confidential Magazine: Post & Beam

For my latest restaurant piece in LA Confidential's April/May issue, I headed to the streets of Crenshaw in south central LA for dinner at celebrity chef Govind Armstrong's latest project (which also marks his return to LA): Post & Beam.

This cozy little restaurant is part of the revitalizing work at the Baldwin Hills Plaza and is just one step toward turning a down-and-out neighborhood around. From what I could tell, it's starting to work--the restaurant has been packed since its opening with folks seeking something different from the fast-food fare that is found in the rest of the neighborhood in favor of farm-sourced comfort food. I know that seems a little vague, but check out the story at the link below and you'll see what I mean.


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Points Guy: Destination of the Week Series, Panama

This week on The Points Guy, we head to Central America for the first time in our Destination of the Week series and visit: Panama.

Now, this little Latin American country might not be on the top of everyone's list, but as we discovered while researching all the options out there, it's just a short flight from the South and Eastern US, there are tons of direct flights from major gateways on US carriers, and it can be an excellent use of points (not to mention a great earning opportunity). The country uses the US dollar as its currency, so that takes some of the extra stress of international travel off, and there are also a bunch of hotels in Panama City where Americans (or anyone, for that matter) can earn and redeem hotel points--plus several just about 30 minutes away in the beachside resort of Playa Bonita where the vacation really starts.

As for Panama City itself, there's a ton to do, from visiting the Canal, shopping, touring the old city, and getting out on the water, so if you're looking for somewhere a little offbeat, this could be a good destination for you.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Biodynamic Wines from Chile, New Zealand and California

For my latest JustLuxe piece, I got to revisit one of my favorite topics from the past: biodynamic wines. Specifically, I wrote a tasting piece that both discussed the basics of biodynamics as well as my thoughts on three particular wines I've sampled in the past couple of months:

-2010 Bendigo Pinot Noir from Quartz Reef in New Zealand's Central Otago region, which I visited in November
-2008 Coyam Red Blend from Chile's Colchagua Valley, which I tried in the LAN VIP Mistral Lounge in the Santiago Airport
-2011 Envolve Winery Sonoma Mountain Rose, which I tasted at a lunch in LA back in February

One rose, two reds, lots of interesting flavors, and some great background stories on each. Find it all in my article at the link below. Cheers!


Friday, April 13, 2012

The Points Guy: Destination of the Week Series, Queenstown, New Zealand

Another Friday, and time for another The Points Guy Destination of the Week based on one of my favorite travel destinations, New Zealand.

During my last trip there in November, I was able to spend a few days in the adventure capital of the country, Queenstown, down in the heart of the South Island, where I ziplined, bungy jumped, wine tasted, and more.

And though it's a small town, there are still a couple places where you can earn and redeem miles at the various hotel chains including a Crowne Plaza and a new Hilton right on Lake Wakatipu. So if you're considering a trip down to NZ, make sure to plan a couple days getting an adrenaline high in Queenstown.


Monday, April 9, 2012

JustLuxe: Pebble Beach 2012

This coming weekend will see some of the country's most famous chefs and wineries from all over the world coming together to celebrate the 2012 Pebble Beach Food & Wine up in Northern California.

The blow-out weekend will include cooking demonstrations by big names like Jacques Pepin, wine tastings of various vintages like roses and Chilean vinos, plus cheese pairing courses, and a lot of luxury luncheons and over-the-top dinners.

If you haven't gotten your tickets yet, don't worry, there are still plenty left to various events over the course of the festival, so check out my JustLuxe story at the link below for a quick roundup of them and what you can be eating and enjoying soon.


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Points Guy: Destination of the Week Series, Miami Beach

For this week's Destination of the Week on The Points Guy, we visit TPG's very own adopted hometown: Miami Beach, Florida.

And, unsurprisingly, there are tons and tons of great hotels for folks to both earn and burn those hotel points while sunning on the sandy beaches, exploring the vibrant restaurant scene, and generally living the good life in the Sunshine State.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

JustLuxe: Easter Brunches in LA

Another quick-hit roundup on JustLuxe this week of great restaurants around Los Angeles who will be offering special Easter brunches this coming Sunday. Plenty to eat at old favorites like Cecconi's and Jar, as well as some newer eateries like Il Covo and Sotto, plus more international takes on the meal from Locanda del Lago and Fig & Olive, and finally, the all-out white-tablecloth, opulent buffet at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills.

So no matter what your taste, you've got options! Enjoy, and happy Easter.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Frontiers: Papilles

Fast on the heels of my last Frontiers restaurant review of Rosa Mexicano comes this next piece on an exciting little restaurant called Papilles that just opened in a Hollywood strip mall and is at the forefront of the "bistronomy" movement here in Los Angeles.

I'll save you the big definition here since I talk about it in the piece, but the basic sketch is that there's a menu. It's short. There aren't many choices. It's gourmet. It's cheap. And it's delicious. $30-35 gets you a three-course prix-fixe menu with about two choices per course, and there are plenty of eccentric wines to accompany the dishes (we're talking Slovenia, Hungary, Portugal and more).

There might not be many options, but there is still plenty to enjoy!