Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Points Guy: Wine Wednesday, Russian River Valley

Today on The Points Guy, we launched a new weekly series called Wine Wednesday (like on Twitter) that's kind of like an abridged Destination of the Week dedicated specifically to wine regions around the world and giving some hotel, restaurant and wine-tasting recommendations, not to mention a tip or two on how to get there using miles.

For the first post in the series, we decided to cover a destination that The Points Guy and I hit this summer, the Russian River Valley, when we were dashing around the world for the Catch The Points Guy campaign with Chase Sapphire Preferred. Not only did we get there using miles to fly into San Francisco, but we stayed at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa on points and used the card itself, which is a Visa Signature, to score free wine-tastings and other swag while we were there - so even on the most epicurean of trips, you can still find plenty of ways to earn and burn points as well as brandishing the benefits of your credit cards to their fullest.

To find out my top picks, check out my post at the link below.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine: Sunday Suppers

In a big city like LA, it can be hard to connect to old-fashioned rituals like a family-style Sunday supper, but several restaurants around town (including some of my favorites) host one every week.

These suppers are a way to reconnect with those close to you in beautiful restaurants with gourmet food in a relaxed, laidback setting, all for a usually moderate price.

Included on my list are famous Sunday suppers like those at Lucques, which Suzanne Goin has been hosting for over a decade now, and Dominick's, as well as newer entrants like The Parish, Cafe del Rey and even Thomas Keller's Bouchon, where you can get the decorated chef's famous roast chicken with all the fixings in a special Sunday three-course prix-fixe meal.

Check out the full list here:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine: Dessert Cocktails

Sometimes after a huge meal the last thing you want is a decadent dessert...but turn that dessert into a cocktail and suddenly it sounds a lot more tempting.

While I'm personally more of a savory and strong cocktail guy, I can definitely understand the appeal of these sugary libations - especially ones like the beer float at Golden State or C+M's adult milkshakes.

Check out the full list, which also includes cocktails from Laurel Hardware, Rivera and Sotto among others, on the LA Confidential site here:

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine: Blue Plate Taco

Blue Plate has been one of Montana Avenues most popular lunch joints for years, and BP Oysterette - the second iteration of the chain - has been serving ultra-fresh seafood to Westsiders for a couple years now as well.

For the third "Blue" restaurant, the owners decided to do Tex Mex and opened up Blue Plate Taco inside the sophisticated new Shore Hotel along Ocean Avenue.

Though typically a touristy stretch of Santa Monica, Blue Plate Taco is actually often packed with upscale locals out for an evening of lobster tacos and tequila cocktails, so it's a chance to get a true taste of Westside social life if you happen to be in the area.

Read the full review here:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Los Angeles Confidential Magazine: Guest Chefs

An interesting little phenomenon I picked up on a few months ago was the fact that chefs around Los Angeles - some of them quite well known - are doing guest stints at and creating menus for restaurants in addition to their own.

Perhaps the best-known example of this is Neal Fraser, formerly of Grace on Beverly and currently working on getting the new incarnation of Grace open downtown, creating the menu for The Strand House in Manhattan Beach, or Eric Greenspan taking over the kitchen at the Roof on Wilshire while still seeing to his signature restaurant, The Foundry on Melrose.

Some of my other favorite LA chefs are doing the same thing, like Josef Centeno of Lazy Ox Canteen guesting at Blue Cow downtown, as well as Top Chef castoffs like Antonia Lofaso and Angelo Sosa doing menus at bars around town.

For the full roundup of guest chefs and the menus they've created around town, check out my piece in LA Confidential here:

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Points Guy: Top 10 Places To Visit in 2013

Since New Year's Day falls on a Tuesday - we put together a Travel Tuesday Top 10 of fascinating up-and-coming destinations for 2013 that we're interested in visiting and that are prime for amazing travel experiences - before they become overrun.

On our list are countries you've probably been hearing a lot about lately, including Burma, Slovenia and Namibia, as well as some more off-the-beaten-path places like the 'Stans (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc.), Oman and Tasmania, places to rediscover like Puerto Rico and Chile, and even some unexpected places in our own backyard, like the American South - which has lately been generating frenzy in foodie circles.

There's something here for everyone, whether you're looking for a far-flung blow-out, globetrotting destination, or a quick getaway within a short flight of the US, so have a look at the full piece at the link below, and bon voyage!