NYC Mandarin Oriental's Asiate: Sensational Lunch


Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper, advised nutritionist Adelle Davis. I ascribe to any theory that supports my illusion of grandeur.

So I had a royal lunch at Asiate in the palatial Mandarin Oriental in New York City with Mary Ann Williamson. She puts the amorous in glamorous.

We rise in the elevator as if in a champagne bottle. We pop out onto the 35th floor and float into the dining room to drink up a bubbly view of sparkling Central Park.

Gracias Madre: Thank You for Good Vegan Food


I love hearing anyone's personal stories about their connection to food. Although I'm not a vegan, I played with some on TV. I traveled around the world interviewing over 100 of those nuts for a project. After listening to them, I was never in the mood for meat. The rest of the crew and I always ate vegan.

My main beef with most vegan restaurants is the lack of flavor. However, Gracias Madre in West Hollywood is exceptional. Their sunny patio is a free source of Vitamin D. The whole restaurant is like a gorgeous carrot dangling in front of you.

Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac: Welcome to Love, Bienvenue a L'Amour

My brother Brad White painted this portent of our grandmother
It's a hot day in 1931. My dandy grandfather drives his Ford down a dirt road near Linden, Texas. A young girl in a cotton dress walks barefoot. He yanks the brake. The girl turns. Her blue eyes clear the swirling dust. She's stunning.

Over eight decades, my grandmother's beauty continues to develop. It's legendary. I call her Nanny. Still do, as she's always with me.

The Fairmont Hotel in Quebec City is my gorgeous grandmother.

Michael's on Naples & Chianina: How to Throw A Block Party

Two loving grandmothers often vie for our attention. A promoter can make a cruel million by tossing Bubbes in a boxing ring to battle it out. In this corner, sponsored by Jean Nate, weighing in at 101 pounds.... 

I'm using Chef David Coleman to allegorically stir the pot of that duel. He nurtures two families, or eateries, steps away from each other in Long Beach, California.  First, there' s Italian Michael's on Naples. This is your exotic grandmother -- the one that smoked and took a lover that summer in Paris. A block away lives steakhouse Chianina, your pioneer granny that drove a wagon out West and struck oil. Maybe killed a lover along the way. 

Chef Coleman whisks between both joints with the agility of a new-hipped octogenarian. 

Renaissance Long Beach: The Great Escape

A weekend away can be refreshing. A facelift for the spirit.

I peer between the unending lines of cars dragging down the 405 freeway. I glance in my rear view mirror and see similar lines dug into my face. Reflections cause pause, then panic. I'm resigned to traffic, but not to the personal effects of stress from living in Los Angeles: The Big Ego.

I jump at the chance to sprint to Long Beach. I have friends there I rarely see because in my mind that tiny change in area code stretches to a time zone difference. Crazy; it's only half an hour away. Today, I need it to be a world away.

Blue C Sushi: Hollywood -- Roll 'Em!

I experienced my first rolling sushi at uber-swanky Harvey Nichols department store in London. The price of a Jil Sander sweater made my jaw drop. I climbed up to the 5th Floor to recover, and was met by the conveyor belt sushi bar. I picked up a soothing, cool spicy tuna roll. Satisfying; always in style. Fun.

Life presents opportunities. How we handle the choices that come along is up to each individual. Television immortalized the best example of how we react to life's offerings when Lucy worked the assembly line at a chocolate factory. Funny.

There's a new star in Tinseltown: Blue C Sushi premieres conveyor belt sushi. Really fun.

Tripel: A Gregarious Gastropub

I wonder how I'll do tonight. I win a great parking spot near the beach and walk to the nearby bar. A star shoots over the Pacific Ocean. I have a good feeling. I'm here to get lucky. 

Entering Tripel, the quiet of the Playa del Rey night is switched off like a light. My eyes adjust to the dark and I scan the room. I stride to the bar and squint to read the blackboard, hoping to look cool and not like I need glasses. I want to recognize a beer like a familiar face, but these are fun beers with long, clever names, crafted by thinkers. I worry I've stepped into an inside club.

Then buzzing patrons provide an electrifying amuse bouche. I smell garlic and sense comfort.