'Tasted: Champagne'

Toasting the new home sweet home

The first slurps on the new patio were delightful, plentiful, and the prettiest shades of pink.

Our pal S came by and we watched the sunset, drank rosé (it’s L.A. in October, totally appropriate), sipped bubbles, and later made a mess of the kitchen preparing potatoes, haricots verts, slow cooked greens, and a roasted chicken. (Which turned out to be more challenging than it should be as we adjust to the new oven. Hmm. The chicken initially looked a little anemic, but we broiled it for a few minutes and got it close to brown.)

Having a housemate who loves to cook and is damn good at it is a (tasty) treat. Between the two of us, He is going to eat very well. Combining our tools of the trade and larder has our kitchen packed to the gills including an amazing, fragrant collection of spices, oils, vinegars, and oh yeah, wine. Loving it.

The first toast was a perfect: 2004 Nicholas Feuillatte Blanc de Blanc. Sweet flowers on the nose, racy citrus on the palate, with some green apple. A terrific aperitif. When the bottle was empty, we tried another French sparkling, this one a blend of Pineau d’Anuis and Chenin Blanc: NV Domaine Brazilier. After tasting the elegant Feuillatte, the Brazilier stuck me as flabby in structure. But it is also lovely in its own way: ripe pears, yeasty, hints of allspice, long finish.

The hot housemate had a bottle of rosé open from the night before: 2010 Prieuré Saint-Hippolyte from Languedoc. It was a beautiful orange pink, fresh, fruity, and simple. And it matched the sunset. You’ve got to love a town that has weather so moderate and wonderful that rosé season is practically year-round.
As we feasted on the chicken and veggies, we sampled three reds (as I said: there is a lot of wine at the new digs): a spicy, dense Rijoa (2005 Vina Santurnia Reserva), an absolutely wonderful and elegant Marc d’Grazia selection from Sicily, and a rather vegetal Chinon (2009 Le Paradis). If I could buy a case of the 2010 Etna Rosso, Tenuta Delle Terre Nere I would, but sadly George at Silver Lake Wine sold me his last bottle. I’ll be seeking it out elsewhere.

The conversation around the dinner table centered around what we would be cooking, eating, and drinking at our first dinner party. I loved the old Hollywood house, but this was a damn good move. Hello, Silver Lake: I love you.

Tags:

Effervescent

Tried these 3 sparklers last weekend with friends. We’ve been looking for a nice crisp, not too sweet, with lots of bubbles base for making sparkling aperitifs. Out of this round the Atmospheres was my pick. Guests seemed to really like the German Gilabert, its nose was off putting to me but I agreed it was tasty. The Cava Bien was lovely, but too sweet for our purpose. All delicious and all from a fave local shop: Domaine LA.

 

Tags: ,

Everyone knows Everybody


James Welling photo courtesy of Dérive.

Last night we invited our friends D & M to join us for a trip to Regen Projects for the opening of the James Welling: Glass House exhibit. The place was architect-heavy (Greg Lynn was there) and so D & M (both architects) instantly ran into people they knew. Also, as it turns out, M designed the Regen Projects space, so of course M knew the owner. And She and M both knew Stacy, who is Regen’s assistant. It’s strange how small the second largest city in the United States can be.

Oh yeah, the show was great. We had two glasses of nondescript white wine in plastic cups and perused the very colorful images of Philip Johnson’s Glass House.

Leaving the opening, we were all hungry and had to decide somewhere to eat on a Saturday night with no reservation. Lou, The Hungry Cat, Lucques, AOC?

It was obvious that we wanted to eat some Suzanne Goin. I have never been to a Goin restaurant (except The Hungry Cat, which isn’t totally her) and have only eaten her food secondhand; meaning what we have cooked out of the book Sunday Suppers at Lucques. It’s almost a crime to live in LA and not eat at AOC or Lucques, so I was pushing for one of those.

We pulled up to Lucques and could see through the window that we were not going to get a seat here anytime soon. Off to AOC.

AOC was less full, but still busy, busy. We asked the host if there was any possibility of us getting a table for 4, or sitting at the bar. She informed us it would be almost impossible, but would be at least 50 minutes. (To be fair, it is ridiculous for us to think we are going to get 4 seats at AOC on a Saturday night without reservations.)

She decided that before we left to our third choice for dinner, She would use the restroom. And who does She see on the way to the restroom…her old dear friend Suzanne Goin. The hostess saw them hugging and I heard the maitre’d mutter “oh” under her breath and look back at her reservation list to see if there was anything she could do.

Suzanne came and introduced herself to D, M & I, and then spoke to the hostess (Suzanne also called Lucques herself to see if there was anyway for us to get in there. This woman might be the greatest restaurateur I have ever seen; calm, hospitable, sweet, very welcoming.)

Five minutes later we had a 4-top at AOC. We began with some bubbly and then the wine steward came over to introduce herself (at Suzanne’s bidding) and assist us with selecting our wine. We had:

Drink

  • Lassalle Champagne (to begin)
  • Bordeaux Superior (with dinner, recommended by the steward and very nice, but we both forgot the name. Think it starts with an “M”.)
  • Tement Sauvignon Blanc (for dessert)

Food

  • jamon serrano
  • chicken liver crostini with pancetta
  • little gems, dungeness crab, avocado and lime
  • braised pork belly, kabocha purée and gremolata
  • farro and black rice with pinenuts and currants
  • arroz negro with squid and saffron aioli
  • clams, sherry, chanterelles and garlic
  • grilled quail (Sent out by Suzanne)

Dessert

  • hooks blue
  • tomme savoie
  • l’abbaye
  • warm pink lady apple crostata with caramel and vanilla ice cream
  • banana choux à la crème with toffee and bittersweet chocolate

Everything was great; the food, the wine, the service. I want to go back very soon (can we get a reservation tonight?)


We didn’t take any pictures, but for a very comprehensive review with nice images, check out Kevin Eats (from whom we borrowed the pic above).

Tags: , , , , , , , ,