Eating (and drinking) Locali


(Locali photo from Green La Girl)

There are a lot of great food & drink options near Her new house and over the last couple of weeks We’ve been trying out the fare, mostly consisting of delivery after a day of lugging boxes (yes, I am a very good boyfriend and helped with all the labor). Last night We had another dinner of all local stuff, but this time We actually prepared part of it ourselves. (Or rather, She prepared it.)

During the move We frequented Locali often, but now that She is more moved in We decided to grab a few groceries there too, instead of just the usual sandwiches to go. The store is small, which means their inventory is carefully chosen. The products are organic and many are vegan or vegetarian. There are lots of prepared foods, dairy, juices, beers, wine, and cool household products that are environmentally conscious. The store contributed to the wine and dessert portions of the meal.

Locali doesn’t specialize in vegetables, but this is fine; for produce We both go to the Hollywood Farmers Market (until the garden provides vegetables). As She reported, last Sunday We got a “bounty” of fresh produce from the HFM.

Also on the regular post-moving rotation has been Prizzi’s Piazza. They make a fantastic deep dish. For last night’s dinner we ordered a pie, paired it with a Farmers Market salad, and delicious cinnamon cookies. For beverage We drank a biodynamic Cab by Frey from Redwood Valley.

To be quite honest, I really don’t know what “biodynamic” means. I know there are blog-wars about it. [OK, I just took a break from writing and read a little about it. Sounds well and good, but the wine still has to taste good.] I have watched many programs and documentaries about winemakers and so many of the winemakers really, really seem to care about their grapes and their product, so I’m not sure you need to subscribe to a certain farming method. [I'm kinda thinking aloud in blog form right now.]

Anyhow here’s my review of the meal:

Prizzi’s Piazza: Wow, this pizza is delicious. We may need to put some sort of cap on how much we are allowed to eat this. I feel fatter after one slice.

Farmers Market Salad: So fresh and nice. She makes a great salad. And I ate everything on my plate even though I told Her I didn’t want any salad.

Sun Flour Baking Co. Premium Cinnamon Cookies: These are vegan and gluten-free. I am neither vegan, nor adverse to gluten, but these are some of the best cookies I have ever tasted.

2006 Frey Cabernet Sauvignon: My first statement upon smelling the wine was, “it’s corked.” To which She replied, “the cork was not made of cork.” [Sidenote: what is a cork called that is not made from cork?] It smelled really funky. It tasted, ehh. It had texture and mouthfeel, but almost no flavor, no fruit whatsoever. (Though She did say she got a hint of huckleberry and “bramble” in the finish.) The tannins were a little too powerful too. Later, after We switched to G&T’s, I said it was a positively OK wine, but for nearly $20, I expect more. We probably won’t buy this again, nor could We recommend it.

The evening segued into a competitive game of Boggle. I won’t say who won, or who is still undefeated. I won’t even allude to the man who won. Nor will I say His name. Because that would be poor sportsmanship.

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Erath single vineyard pinot noirs

We’ve spent the last week moving Her into new digs in Hollywood, an arduous but also satisfying task: the place is effing awesome. But by the end of a day of lugging and unpacking boxes (including two labeled “jello molds”) the last thing either one of Us have been in the mood to do is cook. But of course We’re always in the mood to drink wine.

We’ve picked up some nice, inexpensive bottles at a couple of Her newly local shops: hands down our favorite new spot, Locali, and across the street in the competing mini mall, the newly opened Oaks Gourmet Market. (An aside by Her: the word “gourmet” in the name of a store turns me off because of it’s inherent snobbishness, but We’ve found the liquor and food selections terrific, the staff friendly, and the prices on par with or just slightly higher than other places.)

We’ve also scouted the neighborhood for a new “corner” liquor store to supplement our Big Mac’s Mondays series. Hello, Pla-Boy Liquor: you are our winner. Soon we’ll be supplementing our smokes and gin purchases with a bottle of wine.

While we’ve taken care of the booze part of the post-moving evenings (priorities), We’ve left dinner to others: pizza delivery, sushi delivery, sandwich delivery, chicken and ribs delivery, etc. But the best meal We’ve had delivered thus far was from our friends David and Melanie last night. They graciously offered to bring dinner and arrived with a delicious, fragrant cauliflower tart and fresh from their garden herb salad. The night seemed perfect to open our second favorite delivery of the week: a box of 4 bottles from Erath. (Actually, as He aptly pointed out in His post a few days ago, there were two packages at the door that day–unfortunately for Her the foxy FedEx man was not around to share a bottle of wine with Us.)

The four of us swirled, smelled, and slurped greedily from our glasses of two of Erath’s single vineyard pinot noirs. We explained to our friends the wines were samples sent by the winery, something We were both thrilled about (free wine!) and nervous about (what if they suck?)

Pinot Noir, Prince Hill, Erath 2006 (provided as a sample, winery price: $45)

She said: Very beautiful nose: dark cherries and Knott’s Berry Farm jam, with a little hint of spice. Lush and perfumey in the nose, sensations that continue on the palate. A truly voluptuous mouthfeel: soft, creamy, rich. Very fruit forward (dark cherries and berry jam again) and ready to drink now. The structure, acid, tannin could all be stronger, but the wine is beautiful. A total crowd-pleaser. score:

He said: This smells really good. So creamy in the mouth. All fruit with a hint of spice. Drank very well with the tart and the cupcakes we had for dessert. Not really feeling a lot of tannins, but the creaminess and flavor make up for that. I would and will buy another bottle of this.

Pinot Noir, Leland, Erath 2006 (provided as a sample, winery price: $50)

She said: Another beautiful nose, this time heavy doses of cocoa and cola with dark cherry fruit. More refined in the mouth than the Prince Hill because of a touch of acid that gives it some backbone, but again very lush and voluptuous. This is another very pretty, feminine wine; downright sexy. Long cherry cola finish with mild tannin. Of the two pinots, this is my favorite. A delight. score:

He said: Cherry coke on the nose. This one feels lighter in the mouth than the previous. More acidic and less creamy. All cherry and cola and fruit-forward. A very good wine indeed, but I like the creaminess of the previous one more.

Phew. Thankfully, we really enjoyed the wine. As did our dinner guests.

Erath also sent us a Pinot Gris, which we drank with CW, chef-owner Canelé, while we discussed our cooking debut at the restaurant on February 23 (join us there Tuesday–it’s going to be a great, tasty night). We all agreed that the wine was a little shy in texture and acid, but had really nice tropical fruit flavors. All in all, this was a very good batch of wines. We, and our friends greatly enjoyed them.

And We aren’t just saying that because they were our first samples and We were excited by that. We promise.

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Happy Birthday to Him

It feels like a perpetual holiday here at the Swirl Smell Slurp headquarters.

On Sunday He disappeared for an hour and came back with a package He wrapped himself in a brown paper bag full of goodies for Valentine’s Day, including a chilled bottle of Lassalle Champagne, a favorite producer of mine. The weather was fantastic so We decided to pop open the bottle and enjoy it poolside. The wine was pure pleasure and delicious, even out of pool-friendly plastic cups; rich, well balance, and had a wonderful toasty, yeasty finish. A delight.

Yesterday We celebrated another sunny day and my upcoming move by twisting the cap off a refreshing Sauvignon Blanc by Pic*nique, purchased from Locali, an organic driven store near my new house (their tagline is “conscious convenience”). The shop has lovely, small selection of organic wines. The SB was bright and fruity with lots of citrus and a lush, full finish. A terrific bargain white for just $10.50.

As for this sunny day: it is His birthday. For my own last October He presented me with a beautiful bottle of wine and declared We would have a new gift giving tradition: popping open the previous birthday’s gift to celebrate the new one. Lucky Us: tonight We will be slurping Williams Selyem Pinot Noir.

And now…what bottle will I present to Him today to be opened on my birthday? Red Bordeaux is on the brain and its flavors have been teasing my palate in anticipation of this weekend’s SSS Sunday Salon (have you RSVP’ed yet?). I’ll sneak out later later and pick out a bottle. And wrap it myself in a brown paper bag.

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