James Beard winners. Top chefs. Iron chefs. They all love to eat. But when it comes to cooking up inspiration for their own masterpieces, which bites light a fire under their talented soufflés? Well, I asked them... and they told me. Here are the preferred U.S. dining destinations of the epicurean elite. First up: Wolfgang Puck.
Austrian import. Celebrity chef-trepreneur. Founder of CUT, Chinois on Main, and the eaterie that launched an empire, Spago. When it comes to fame as it relates to food lovers, Wolfgang Puck wrote the recipe. His start came in California, where incidentally, all five of his favorite restaurants reside. Here they are:
Matsuhisa — Beverly Hills, Calif: "Nobu Matushisa's restaurant on La Cienega is a must for anybody who loves Japanese food. Though the traditional sushi is always the freshest and of the best quality, I especially like his exciting fusion dishes, which combine the best of the East and the best of the West."
Osteria Angelini — Los Angeles: "Osteria Angelini for true Italian food. It's great for kids as well as grown-ups."
Valentino — Santa Monica, Calif: "I love the exciting Italian cooking and fabulous wine list."
AOC — West Hollywood, Calif: "They serve everything in small portions, just the way I like it — especially for late at night."
San Ysidro Ranch — Santa Barbara, Calif: "John and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned here, and it is still a very romantic place with fireplaces in the rooms. They also have a very good organic kitchen. This is a great location if you are looking for privacy."