Archive for September, 2008

Comptoirs de France Restaurant – Beijing, China

Monday, September 29th, 2008

East Lake Villas, 35 Dongzhimen Waidajie, Dongzhimen
Tel. 6461-1525
Opening Hours: 7:30am-9pm
Credit Cards: No
Prices: Inexpensive-Moderate

This bakery has a 150 year history in France and at its location in Beijing turns out freshly baked breads, an array of exquisite French pastries and homemade ice cream, which are served in a pleasant setting. This premium bakery raises the bar for pastry making in Beijing. With one branch already near Guomao and another off-shoot near Sanlitun. The bakery serves a range of homemade ice cream, cakes, pastries, bread and chocolates.

Restaurants Gone Topless? Maybe, but Mexico Objects!

Monday, September 29th, 2008

The infamous Joe Francis has a reputation for displaying despicable and appallingly distasteful behavior in public and private, especially where women are concerned. He has been planning to open as he calls it, “a chain of topless restaurants”, one branch is planned to open in Cancun, and another possibly in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. However, Mexico has sent a blunt message: open your topless restaurants in your own country we do not want them here. It is not clear anyway as to who would be topless, waitresses, customers or no one at all?  He has top (less) credentials going in, as he is the founder of “Girls Gone Wild“, Paris Hilton was a girlfriend for a time, and he usually is facing charges on various felonies and his office is handling a swinging-door of constant lawsuits. These so-called “restaurants” I suspect, will be no more than bars with snacks and not restaurants at all. In any case, I hope this particular project never comes to fruition, as this person should stay in his own world of soft-porn, and leave the restaurant business to be operated by more ligitimate persons.

Pizzeria Mozza – Los Angeles

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

641 N Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90036
Tel. 1-323-297-0101
Opening Hours: Daily 12pm-12am
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate-Expensive

Nancy Silverton appears to be the main influence in this operation on the fringes of Hollywood, since she resides in Los Angeles, and partners Mario Batali along with Joseph Bastianich are delivering their input from afar.
Today the whole subject of pizza in America is a puzzling discussion that may turn quickly into a disagreement, due to so many different styles of pizza and, which one you personally prefer. Some of the best are basically inspired by the thin-crust pizza of Naples that usually are round and measure about a foot in diameter although I remember a place near Napoli that sold rectangular pizza by the meter.
Some restaurants making pizza may have a certified pizzaioli who cook them at intensely high temperatures in Italian wood-burning ovens, which is certainly the best way to do it. Or there are less expensive ways to finish them. Whether people think that Pizzaria Mozza makes the perfect pizza or not, is incidental, they flock there in droves to taste the many different pizzas and antipasti along with many other tempting dishes. Personally, I prefer the thin crust to Silverton’s thicker overlapping crust, which at least to me, infringes into the central area of the pizza, however, as I have tried to confirm it is all a matter of individual taste.

In any case, this small, noisy pizzeria was to be a prelude to what was to be the main-event, Osteria Mozza. What happened unexpectedly was a Hollywood phenomenon, as the place became a huge overnight success with the small room booked over one month in advance and local power-players fighting for tables, and when the Osteria opening was delayed, no one particularly cared. It probably might be one of the hardest reservations to obtain right now in Los Angeles.

Luau – Beverly Hills (CLOSED)

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Above and left photo and menu are from the original Luau on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Below is a photo of the new Luau on Bedford Drive in the same city.


The New Luau opened to the public for dinner on Friday night October 24th.
369 North Bedford Drive
Tel. 310-274-0090 (reservations advisable)

A new Luau is open on Bedford Drive in Beverly HIlls however, it will not be a 100% tiki-type operation and will lean more to Balinese decor laced with Asian-influenced cooking with a menu put together by Mako Tanaka from Mako, Beverly Hills. There will be, I am happy to report, some tropical drinks based loosely on old recipes from the original Luau. There is no relationship whatsoever to the original Luau on Rodeo Drive that was opened in 1953 and was a popular celebrity hangout throughout the 50’s and 60’s, which closed in 1978. The Luau was owned by Steve Crane who was one of Lana Turner’s husbands. Their daughter Cheryl Crane became infamous due to stabbing her mother’s boyfriend gangster, Johnny Stompanato to death, although it was deemed justifiable. According to latest reports Ms Crane (an admitted lesbian) is currently a real-estate broker living with her female companion in Palm Springs.  A decade earlier the same Rodeo location housed “The Tropics” owned by Harry Sugarman also popular with celebrities in the 40’s.

Regarding the comment below from Susie: flattery will get you everywhere! No, not really, but I do think the cause she is plugging is a good one so I allowed it to fly. K.M.

La Toque Restaurant – Napa

Friday, September 26th, 2008

1314 McKinstry St. (adjacent to the Westin Verasa)
Tel.(707) 257-5157
Opening Hours: Dinner 5:30-9:30 p.m. daily
Full bar
Reservations and credit cards accepted
Credit Cards: All major
Fixed-price menus $49-$88
Prices: Expensive

Ken Frank has moved his Rutherford restaurant La Toque to the Westin Verasa, Napa, according to Janet Fletcher of the San Francisco Chronicle.
At one time he was called L.A.’s “Wonder Boy” chef; it was during that period he told a friend of mine, Robert Tainsh, a well-worn international diner, who arrived at Frank’s restaurant for the first time, “you will eat better in my restaurant than in London or Paris.” To which my friend contemplated and said, “we shall see”?

Belguardo Restaurant – Bangkok

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Unit 515 Ground Floor
Siam Paragon Centre
Tel. +66 (0) 2-610-9380
Opening Hours: 11 am to 11 pm every day
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate-Expensive

Belguardo is situated down in the depths of the Siam Paragon Shopping Mall basement in the rear of the food hall, and is quite a trek from the front of the Paragon and the Skytrain, although if you arrive by car a side entrance is located a short walk from the restaurant. Cristina Spanu (Guest Relations Manager) controls the front of house. Cristina has been a driving force in the Italian restaurant scene in Bangkok for many years beginning at Pomodoro on Sukhumvit near soi Nana. Pichai Kijjaroentorn (General Manager) and
Parmigiana Melanzana is a mainstay dish, a favorite of mine and flawlessly prepared. There are many other good choices available on the menu as well.

Beccofino Restaurant & Grill – Bangkok

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

146 Sukhumvit Soi Thong Lo
(Soi 55) Bangkok 10110
Tel. +66 (0) 2-392-1881
Opening Hours: Lunch: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Dinner: 6:00pm – 11pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Prices: Moderate-Expensive

Beccofino has now been open for four years and has garnered a reputation for presenting fine Italian cuisine to the city of Bangkok. The menu has a choice of an outstanding array of well executed Italian dishes including a choice of daily hand-made pastas or selections from the charcoal grill, and the restaurant broke the barrier by offering a selection of wines from other wine producing countries other than Italy.
In addition, it features cooking classes taught by Chef Angelo Rottoli who previously was a chef at the three-star Michelin restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence and in fact, opened a Tokyo branch for them. Beccofino Restaurant Manager, Julian Allain takes care of all the responsibilities in front of house and will be glad to help you. Bangkok’s only authentic manner’s class is taught by Yukiko Matsuhashi using international standards, both are either translated into Japanese or supervised by Japanese Customer Relations Advisor, Emi Kagawa.
Beccofino’s Cristofle silver carving trolley, with table-side carving by Chef Angelo, is one of a very few in use today and there is also a dessert and cheese trolley to select from, both of these have proven to be exceedingly popular.

Gianni Restaurant – Bangkok

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

34/1 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Road
Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Tel.+66 2 252 1611 (check)
Opening Hours:11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10pm M-Su
Credit Cards: all Major
Prices: Moderate-Expensive

I first met Gianni Favro years ago while he was a partner and chef at Vito’s Restaurant, located in Bangkok’s Ruam Ruadee Village when it was in its prime, a far cry from what it has become today.
His present establishment, Gianni is not too far along Soi Tonson from Ploenchit Road, tell the taxi driver to drive slowly and watch carefully or you will miss it, as it is off on the right side in a tiny driveway leading into a condo complex. The restaurant has now been open more than 10 years and vitello tonnato, beef lasagna and sous-vide beef cheeks are all excellent choices along with many other dishes concocted from specialty products imported from Italy twice a week.

The Elephant – Beijing, China

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

A39 Chaoyangmenwai Toutiao (between Chaowai Nanjie & Er Huan Fu Lu)

Tel. (86 10) 8561-4073

Credit Cards: No

Prices: Inexpensive-Moderate

This is a strange mélange; a restaurant hidden in the back of fur-coat shops serving hearty but mediocre Russian and Chinese dishes followed later in the evening, by a risqué dancing show in a red-walled, smoky room with small tables. The Elephant Russian Restaurant/Nightclub is not everyone’s cup-of-tea but it certainly makes for an interesting evening! Russian pop music and videos are fun. Try the Elephant fish or Ukrainian stew accompanied by Gold Anto Vodka for only 10 Yuan.

Justine’s – Beijing, China

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

1/F Jianguo Hotel, 5 Jianguomenwai Da Jie, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100022, China
Tel. +86 10 6500 2233
Opening Hours: Lunch: 12:00 – 14:30; Dinner: 18:00 – 22:00
Credit Cards: Amex, Visa, Mastercard
Prices: Expensive-Very Expensive

Justine’s Restaurant is one of the finest and oldest French restaurants in Beijing, China and is located in the famous Jianguo Hotel Beijing. The decor is lavishly complimented with silver chandeliers and Louis XVI chairs. The style of the cuisine is classic French. A few of the most outstanding dishes served here include: foie gras of goose and duck, roasted rabbit, Dover sole, braised snails and mushrooms,lobster. The wine list contains a fine selection of classic French wines.