It Takes a Village.

Party @TerroniDTLAEvening of Terroni DTLA’s “Soft Opening”

I have been so lucky to be working with the people at Terroni as they prepare for their first day of service in the new Downtown LA location.  These people know how to open restaurants, and if I have learned anything in the past few months, it’s that consistency is everything, as are good people.  There is a palpable excitement as the seconds tick by towards the grand opening.  The food has been amazing out of this shiny new kitchen, and the staff is excited and happy to be working in such a glamorous, fun new place. The wine program? Don’t even get me started.  Amazing.

I thought I’d share a few pictures of the beautiful chaos that defines this special moment in a restaurant’s life. Continue reading

Tu Vuò Fà L’Americano @FeedBodySoul

Americano @FEEDThe “Americano” at FEED in Venice Beach.

I had this refreshing cocktail the other evening in Venice Beach, expertly made by FEED’s adorably-dread-locked Mikey Santiago.  I love this version, which replaces the traditional Campari with Oregon-made Calisaya Liquore.  They stir this aromatic and perfectly bitter concoction together with soda water and a bit of house-made sweet red vermouth.  The perfect thirst-quencher for these sweltering summer days.

Ingredients Americano @FEEDFEED’s Americano ingredients.

A lot of FEED’s cocktails are similarly playful and fun, using natural, organic ingredients from local, small suppliers as much as possible.  Calisaya is a great Campari substiution here, as it’s actually an Italian recipe, re-interpreted by an American company.  This in itself makes it a perfect ingredient in a drink called an “Americano”, which makes me think of Renato Carasone’s epic tuneTu vuò fà l’Americanowhich is indeed a song about the longing of a young Napoletano boy to seem “American”. Continue reading

Mother Shucker. And How to do the Philly Flip.

Shuckers

Iconic’s lineup on the bar at Shuck.

I found my new Happy Place the other day: full of California sunshine, bright white, clean, stocked with super-chilled, zippy white wines and a mountain of raw bivalves.

Shuck, Orange County’s new oyster bar, is the kind of place that reminds me how much joy and satisfaction can be obtained from the simplest and most obvious food and wine pairings. Continue reading

Doing the Brooklyn Bocce with @EugeneMSantiago

FEEDUnquestionably, my favorite part about my job is meeting all kinds of people, usually people who are irrationally and irrevocably passionate about food, wine and spirits.  There is a natural communion between people who like to feed each other- people who revel in the various and beautiful expressions of flavor sensations.  The day I walked into Feed in Venice Beach I knew there would be no shortage of such sensitive souls- this place is a sanctuary for foodies.  I felt like coming home. Continue reading

Happiness is a Warm Vespa (and a Cold Cocktail).

Vespa @SirenaWhen I pulled up to the lot behind Sirena Restaurant in Los Angeles, I knew I was going to like the place.  Wine Director Jeff Morgenthal’s Vespa is parked out back… a happy Italian omen of good things to come.

Continue reading

15 Year Old Verdicchio and the Perfect Plate of Pasta

Thank goodness for Italian wine geeks like Brittany Carlisi.  She found an awesome older bottle of Fattoria San Lorenzo’s eponymous “Il San Lorenzo” from 1997 in her company’s inventory, and decided it was time to dust that bottle off and start selling it.  The world needs more aged Verdicchio, right?

This is my favorite kind of wine: weird, old, and totally unique.

 

 

Continue reading

Erste + Neue @ Pizzeria Il Fico. Yes, it’s Italian.

Another day, another delicious slice of pizza.  

Pizzeria Il Fico is tucked along Robertson just outside of Beverly Hills.  It’s a sleek, modern place with a beautiful patio.  The food is classic, with a targeted, authentic Italian wine list.  This is where we found the Erste + Neue “Prunar” Weissburgunder 2010.  Yes, it’s Italian.  And yes, it was delicious. Continue reading

Anti- Wine Tasting @ Sotto. Naturally.

The “Oblong Tasting” at Sotto Restaurant in Los Angeles was one of the best wine nights I have attended.  Formatted around the infamous, wise-cracking personality that is “Lou”, and guided by Sotto’s resident Wine Geeks, Jeremy and Rory, it was a night of discussion and tasting centered around a handful of Italy’s “natural” wines.

Within the first ten minutes, glasses of Murgo Sparkling Rose in hand, references were made to Boccaccio, pop psychology and epistemological truths.  This is my kind of party. Continue reading

Fun with Montenegro @ Bäco Mercat!

I love the bar at Bäco Mercat in downtown Los Angeles. The ambiance is fun, the food is amazing, the bartenders are friendly, and their spirit selection is pretty much unparalleled. I love their home-made Bäco Pop, a series of surprisingly-flavored sodas, so I was very happy to taste it alongside one of my favorite Italian amari in a lovely little cocktail I like to call the Monte-Bäco. Continue reading

On being seduced by the Jura…

Jura is a phantom for me.  Quiet, mysterious, and elusive.  This is one of France’s smallest and lesser-known wine regions, situated east of Burgundy near the Swiss border. Jura’s craggy, gently rolling terroir holds the secrets of diverse and rambling microclimates- from limestone to marly soils, and from dry summers to cold winters.

From the few wines I have tasted so far, I believe Jura must be a woman.  Beautiful and multi-faceted, equally angelic, graceful, and yet completely frustrating.  I am totally captivated.

I tasted this gorgeous Jura wine from Michel Gahier on a dark, steamy night in San Francisco.  We were ensconced in one of the city’s most intriguing new restaurants, Commonwealth, when I had my first sip of this wine, made from Jura’s typical red grape, Trousseau.  First, the wine is bright, full of a lean acidity- long, elegant limbs confidently striding over ancient cobblestones, silk skirts floating over strong calves and ankles.  Then, there is a hint of black fruit- the aftertaste of a sun-ripened blackberry, and then nothing but dark, damp forest floor, mushrooms and tree bark.

This wine is a stunning enigma.  I had never tasted anything like it.  It is a first kiss, a long, hot look across a crowded room, a familiar embrace.

And now I want more.