Big news out of Paris. Le Point reports that Alain Ducasse will take over the culinary direction of Le Meurice, the palace hotel on Rue de Rivoli, in September. As we reported earlier this year, Michelin three-starred chef Yannick Alleno departed to work on other projects (eg. his resto at Cheval Blanc in Courchevel) and the rumor mills started turning about his successor. Ducasse is a logical choice because he helms the kitchen at the Plaza Athénée, the Meurice's sister hotel which will be closing in October for a big renovation. That restaurant also holds three Michelin stars. The chef, pictured here at the small producers' market he organized at the Plaza Athénée, recently orchestrated a magnificent feast to celebrate Monte-Carlo SBM's 150th anniversary.
Can't get enough of Downton Abbey? Fans of the period drama can glean new insights into the wildly successful TV show with a special series of Afternoon Teas hosted at The Cadogan in London this summer. The hotel on Sloane Street in Knightsbridge has invited Jessica Fellowes, niece of the show’s creator Julian Fellowes, to host a Downton Abbey tea on the following Mondays this summer: July 22nd, August 5th, August 19th, September 2nd, September 9th, and September 16th. As a specialist of the TV series, Jessica has written two best-selling books-- The World of Downton Abbey, and The Chronicles of Downton Abbey-- and will provide guests with insider information about the cast, characters, and real-life inspiration for the show. Tickets cost £45 per person. For more information, visit www.cadogan.com. To make reservations, call 0800 023 5445.
It's that time of year again, when all the foodies in New York start hopping from eatery to eatery all over town. Yes, NYC Restaurant Week is back, kicking off from July 22 to August 16 for more than 20 days of three-course prix-fixe dining, with $25 lunches and $38 dinners at nearly 300 of the City’s top establishments. (And since the event is closing in on 30 days, can we just give up and call it Restaurant Month? But that's a debate for another day…) And when we say that some top establishments are available, we mean places like the iconic 21 Club, the swank Bar Boulud and the ultra-romantic Le Cirque. Steakhouses like Ben & Jacks, the Capital Grille, Club A Steakhouse and Bobby Van's are on the list, as are some under-the-radar favorites like Natsumi in the theater district and Darbar by Grand Central. Good to know: Drinks and gratuities are not included in the Restaurant Week prices, but we say the deals are so good that one can splurge on a great bottle of vino. (And some places, like Club A, will offer special deals on wine to go with the Restaurant Week menus. Be sure to ask!) Reservations are now open—and book fast; prime times disappear quickly. Click here to make reservations!
This looks like a fun way to dine al fresco this summer: We hear that the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta has launched a Garden Table on the hotel’s fifth floor terrace, where diners sit under tents overlooking the Atlanta skyline. Guests booking the Garden Table get a multi-course meal featuring ingredients from the terrace garden, courtesy of Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker and his team, that includes a tableside cooking experience from the Big Green Egg grill and smoker. Over the past five years, Chef Gerstenecker has transformed the Hotel’s fifth floor terrace into an urban garden. Each of the six planters includes a variety of different plants ranging from herbs to vegetables and edible flowers. Additionally, Gerstenecker brought his home-based bee garden to the terrace to increase pollination within the garden and the surrounding Midtown green spaces, and also for their honey production. The bees have produced nearly 1,000 pounds of honey since 2008. Garden Table is available for up to 14 people with a minimum booking of eight. (Drinks are not included.) Reservations for Garden Table are available, pending weather, by calling 404-253-3840.
One of the best things about luxury travel isn't just sleeping in a delightful hotel, but also waking up to a decadent breakfast. (In our book, hotels can score major points with their breakfast spreads.) Case in point: Hotel Bel-Air, a Dorchester Collection hotel in Los Angeles, starts the day off right with a lavish breakfast in bed orchestrated by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Think Champagne and caviar, complementing the usual morning treats. Priced at $130 per person, the “Breakfast Escape” comes with a selection of pastries; an ounce of Osetra Caviar served with Toasted Brioche and Crème Fraiche,“Onsen Egg” with Soft Parmesan Polenta and Black Truffle Mascarpone Emulsion; and Seacrest Strawberries with Warm Vahlrona Chocolate Ganache, Buttermilk Short Bread and Whipped Cream. Add Henriot, "Souverain," Brut Reims Champagne for a total of $175 per person. For more information, visit www.hotelbelair.com.