The entrance to the Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée
On a trip to Paris, our team revisited the famed Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée Hotel. They were delighted. The service was warm, the dishes were outstanding and the overall experience was festive and elegant.
“Alain Ducasse lays out the broad strokes. It’s up to me to fill in the lines,” said Chef Christophe Moret, who apprenticed at the Louis XV-Alain Ducasse in Monaco, became sous-chef at 59 Poincaré, then chef at Spoon food & wine in Paris.
Royale de Tomate araignée de mer, émulsion coraillée
Alba truffle flavored chicken with Madeira port, a house specialty
Lunch at Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée was remarkable thanks to a combination of deeply satisfying tastes, beautiful sights, and the staff’s attention to detail as well as the overall harmony of the event. Some may want to book a table to impress a client, celebrate a special occasion or just as an out-of-the-ordinary gourmet treat.
While not for everyone and not for everyday, the Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Plaza Athénée set the stage of what a superlative meal can be. For a sumptuous over-the-top dining experience few can compare with this restaurant. Click here to read our most recent dedicated feature on the Restaurant Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée.
The Michelangelo Towers and pool
Our team liked the Michelangelo Towers hotel accommodations in Johannesburg. Conveniently located next to an upscale mall and convention center in one of the city’s ritzy neighborhoods, this property may appeal to safety conscious visitors and those planning an extended stay in Southern Africa’s largest city.
The kitchen of one of the Michelangelo Tower’s suites
Two towers, side by side, offer condominium living for local residents, and luxury hotel accommodations for visitors wanting the added space of a one bedroom suite and the facilities and amenities of a hotel. The hotel has an on-site restaurant and spa and easy indoor access to shopping facilities and many restaurants. Click here to read our detailed article about The Michelangelo Towers.
By Elena del Valle*
The Man Who Ate The World in Search of the Perfect Dinner book cover
Jay Rayner, a London restaurant critic, traveled across continents to enjoy a meal at the best fine dining establishments he could identify and shared his findings in a recently published 273-page paperback book, The Man Who Ate The World in Search of the Perfect Dinner (Henry Holt and Company, $25). It took him 18 months to complete his journey and write the book. His budget? $36,000.
He started at some famous restaurants in Las Vegas, Nevada and concluded his project at renown temples of fine dining in Paris, France. In between, he visited some of the most expensive restaurants in the world including well known and sometimes obscure restaurants in Moscow, Dubai, New York, Tokyo, and London. He dined out alone, with colleagues and friends and, in Paris, with his wife.
Jay Rayner, author and restaurant critic
He left ‘Vegas uncomfortable with the idea of being a guest of the restaurants and decided to pay his way as much as possible from that point forward. By the time he reached Paris he added one rule to his plan: he would order and eat the tasting menu whenever it was offered.
I found the book funny, interesting, and full of useful insights. While it is not a restaurant guidebook, there is a lot of information about gourmet restaurants and the business of fine dining. Filled with Rayner’s accounts of his dining experiences, The Man Who Ate The World is an armchair trip through the London critic’s eyes.
In the book, Rayner shares his impressions of the cities he visited, the culinary business world, some of the most celebrated gourmet chefs, his life as a paid restaurant critic for a British newspaper, the restaurants he visited, and some of the meals he was served. Although the promotional materials for the book never promised restaurant recommendations, more than once I wished he had shared practical suggestions or a summary with his recommendations.
Rayner is a restaurant critic for the London Observer where he has worked since 1996 and is on contract to write 100,000 words a year. Forty percent of the restaurants he writes about are in the fine dining category. In the United States, his articles have been published in Gourmet, Saveur and Food & Wine magazines. Prior to his work as a restaurant critic he covered crime, politics, cinema and theater. He is the author of five other books.
*Photos: Henry Holt and Company
Click here to buy The Man Who Ate the World
By Josette King
The Anasazi Restaurant dining room
At the Anasazi Restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the decor is a harbinger of the dinning experience: a sophisticated fusion of the cultures that shaped the area and discrete cosmopolitan touches. Stacked stone and adobe walls create intimate dining alcoves that showcase contemporary murals reminiscent of Pueblo petroglyphs.
Formally set tables clad in starch white linen and the romantic subdued lighting complete the setting that discretely highlights the contemporary global approach of Martin Rios, the talented and imaginative head chef. On my recent visit to the Anasazi Restaurant, I especially appreciated how Chef Rios wove together continental and southwestern flavors with oriental touches to create an intriguing dinning experience.
Click here to read Josette King’s complete article about the Anasazi Restaurant.