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May 18, 2008 - The Boston Globe - Travel

Parisians dream of things to come - after an apero

It’s as if the tour buses that stop at the base of Montmartre keep their customers on a short leash. Most first-timers walk through the tourist trap above the Boulevard de Rochechouart and take the funicular to the Sacré-Coeur Basilica before making an inevitable U-turn and heading back down the hill.

Too bad. They’re steps away from a Parisian hot spot and a classic French debate on the death of the apéritif, the predinner drink known here as the apéro that is adored for its intimacy.
Wine glass in hand, the cafes and bars along the avenues of the hidden northern side of Montmartre are the perfect place to discuss the ritual’s importance and debate its demise.

“It’s a moment where we take the time to live,” says François Simon, food critic for Le Figaro newspaper (where his influential columns can make or break a chef or a restaurant) and author of several books and a blog called Simon Says! “The apéro has a very soft and unctuous rhythm.”

Centurion Magazine

Chilean wines - Grape Expectations

Though Chileans have enjoyed making and drinking wines for centuries, their wines have reached the world stage relatively recently. Right now might be the most interesting part of the story: winemakers are able to consistently create something good and some of the best here are beginning to stake their claim.

April 6, 2008 - The Boston Globe - Travel

Chile from vine to vat

In a dirt hole with what appears to be a tarantula, I inspect the root structure of wine vines through a plexiglass pane while Jorge Castillo holds the trap door open and laughs. “Don’t worry,” he says, “It’s just a chicken spider!” I suppress visions from “Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom” and back away calmly.

Who knew that a greater understanding of Chilean wine involved sitting in a hole with a furry, saucer-sized arachnid?

April 2008 - Platinum Magazine - Australia

From the Pampas to the plate - A Buenos Aires food tour

On a ranch in the Argentine version of the middle of nowhere, I ask the gaucho in charge what a cow’s life is like. His eyebrows draw slightly closer as he takes a contemplative sip of mate (a stimulating infusion of yerba mate leaves) drunk through a silver bombilla (straw) and, without a word, gestures out the window at the 10,000ha of farmland that surround his modest cabin.

April 2008 - Centurion Magazine - Australia

The Centurion Menu - Pierre Gagnaire & Alain Ducasse

When Alain Ducasse and Pierre Gagnaire combine their formidable culinary talents it is an event not to be missed. We brought the two legendary French chefs together to collaborate exclusively on our unique Centurion Menu.

February 3, 2008 - The Boston Globe

Uno, Dos, Tango

It’s every male wallflower’s dream: walk into a hall of beautiful people, choose the woman you would like as a partner, nod confidently in her direction, and watch as she meets you on the dance floor. One caveat: In this country, when you take her hand you had better know how to tango.

January 1, 2008 - The Star-Ledger - PAGE 1

Cafes of France gather ashtrays and hold breath

Many thought it would never happen. But France, a country that has had a long, loving relationship with the cigarette, is banning smoking in all bars, cafes and restaurants beginning today.

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