List w/o commentary: Wednesday’s eats and drinks

Summary of the standouts from our long day:

  • Sauvignon Blanc, Cono Sur Organic 2009
  • Cava Rosé, Cristalino Brut NV
  • Tempranillo, Mirto, Ramon Bilbao 2005
  • Txakolina rosé
  • Lou on Vine meats and cheese including Hook’s 10 year cheddar and Batali salumi
  • Campanile/ Tar Pit sliders (or were they from AOC?)
  • Vinoteque chocolates (or were they from The Avalon Hotel?)

Now, here is specifically what We ate and drank on this International wine-ing day. We were joined by our couples-double-date friends D and M in the evening.

Breakfast (Her house):

  • Nature’s Path Organic Flax Plus cereal with Trader Joe’s Anti-oxidant nuts and berry mix, 2%milk (Him)
  • Luna bar (Her)

Wines of Chile blogger tasting (Her kitchen table):

  • Sauvignon Blanc Reserva, Veramonte 2009
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Ventisqueo Queulat 2009
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Unduraga T.H. 2009
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Wild Fermented, Valdivieso Single Vineyard 2009
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Rita Medalla Real 2009
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Cono Sur Organic 2009
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Haras de Pirque 2009
  • Sauvignon Blanc, Vasa Silva 2009

Wines From Spain presents: The Great Match (SLS Hotel)

Wines tasted:

  • Tempranillo, Crianza, Ramon Bilbao 2005
  • Tempranillo, Mirto, Ramon Bilbao 2005
  • Albariño, de Fefinanes 2008
  • Albariño, Mar de Frades 2009
  • Albariño, Martin Codax 2008
  • Tio Pepe Fino Sherry, Gonzalez Byass
  • Cava Rosé, Cristalino Brut NV
  • Rioja, Finca Valpiedra Reserva 2004
  • Blanco La Mancha, Finca Antigua 2008
  • Rioja, Siera Cantabria 2006
  • Rioja, Palacious Remondo, La Montesa 2006
  • Rijoa Reserva, Marqués de Riscal 2004
  • Rijoa Gran Reserva, Marqués de Riscal 2001

Restaurants sampled:

  • AOC (forget what)
  • Bazaar (olives and a tomato thing: all of us)
  • Campanile/ Tar Pit (sliders–or was that AOC?: Him, D, and M)
  • Grace (salmon: all of us)
  • Oliverio (The Avalon Hotel) (burrata: Her)
  • Vinoteque (a beef thing?: all of us and chocolate?: Him, D, and M–or was that from The Avalon?)
  • DISCLAIMER: cannot exactly remember who served what–a lot of wine had been sampled at this point

Late night snack at Lou on Vine, wine and food tasted:

  • Txakolina rosé
  • meats and cheese including Hook’s 10 year cheddar and Batali salumi (all of us)
  • market salad and burrata (Her)
  • chocolate cake/tart thing (Him)
  • apple pie with Hook’s 10 year cheddar (M)
  • strawberry shortcake (D)
  • glass of red wine, don’t remember what (She and M, but the boys took sips)

Tags: , , ,

Field Trip Fridays: X to the Z

Some days everything just goes right. This is one of them. It all started at…

The Berrics
We had to swing by The Berrics (the most popular private skatepark in the world, and the most viewed website in skateboarding) to pick up Steve Berra for the LACC Luncheon. I have known Steve for 20 years and I worked with him at The Berrics for a couple of years. The growth of The Berrics has been outstanding and impressive. We are currently working on a few things together, and that’s why we are “honored guests” at the luncheon. Even if you have never skated, The Berrics website is quite entertaining and I would recommend that you check it out. I have to mention that Steve and I had a 3-hour meeting this week with a billionaire philanthropist with the last name Annenberg. It’s nice to meet billionaires.

LA Conservation Corps 2010 Luncheon Celebration (Los Angeles Historical Park, the old Cornfields)

Xzibit with some of the kids who were not exactly the under-priviledged ones.

As I mentioned above, I am working with Steve and the LACC on a couple of architectural projects. The LACC is a fantastic organization with truly ambitious and genuinely good goals. Today they were presenting scholarships to over 250 kids from tough backgrounds. 2 of the kids spoke, it was very moving, She cried.

We had been seated at a table right in front of the stage, and at the table was a well-dressed handsome man who introduced himself to us as Alvin “and this is my lady Crystal.” She, Steve & I all picked up the catalog in front of us that listed the speakers and the schedule. At separate moments, both She and Steve leaned over to me and pointed at the name “Xzibit.” My only thought was, “Cool, Xzibit is here.” I can almost guarantee that I am a bigger fan of Xzibit’s music than either She or Steve, but it took me another five minutes to realize that Alvin was Xzibit. Then there was a funny exchange:

Steve: So you have to get up on stage, huh?

Alvin (Xzibit): Yeah but I ain’t gonna rhyme.

Me: Not even a little What You See is What You Get?

Xzibit (Alvin): Nah, and no Bitch, Please either.

Then he got on stage and the first thing he said was, “I’m not gonna fix your cars.” The kids loved him. He was excellent and funny and charming and sincere. He wasn’t there trying to push or sell anything. It seemed that he was doing it strictly because he believes in what the LACC is doing for these kids. And it was his third year presenting the scholarships. Xzibit is very nice and I really like him.

Lunch was served in an LACC nylon lunch bag and We had turkey sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad and water as City Council President (and rising political star) Eric Garcetti spoke. Wow, he’s awesome. I really like him too.

The Gorbals
After our inspiring lunch We were in the mood for a glass of wine. Since We were downtown We decided to pop in and see our friend Ilan at The Gorbals. I designed the space and like to check in every now and then to see how it is holding up, and I really love seeing people seated on the stools I built with my hands. Ilan wasn’t there, so I called him and he said (in that very frazzled Ilan way), “I’m not there. I don’t have time. I am working on something time-sensitive. OK, I’ll come by for 2 minutes and say hello and give you a kiss.” That is actually how a lot of my conversations with Ilan go. We each had a glass of a Pine Ridge Viognier / Chenin Blanc blend. Ilan came by and said hello, and I learned that the time-sensitive “thing” was that he had to move a giant TV before his girlfriend got home from the airport and got mad at him. I love Ilan, but I am happy to report that he did not, in fact, kiss me (though he did kiss Her). The wine was light, lovely and refreshing.

K&L Wine Merchants
I haven’t been to K&L in a long time, which was long before I knew anything about wine. Today, it felt like I was at Disneyland (that is, if I actually liked Disneyland). Maybe I should restate that last sentence: Today it felt like I was at, umm, a Lakers game. Aisles and aisles of bottles. Oh, look, some Txakoli. We have to get a bottle of that. We were there to pick up wine for our United Slurps of America: Washington post that will go up this coming Monday, but left with those 5 bottles, a Txakoli, a Madeira, a bottle of Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, and 4 bottles each of Fever-Tree Bitter Lemon and Tonic Water. And I almost bought a hat because my hair is getting kinda long. Any wine shop that has shopping carts is OK by me.

Later She checked her history online and informed me over the past dozen years she has spent something like $50,000 at K&L. Whoa, darling.

Lou Winebar
We’ve already written about Lou in a previous Field Trip Friday. What can We say, We like the place. The service, food and wine are always top-notch. When We sit at the bar Lou almost always pours us a taste of some interesting wine that he is drinking from a region you wouldn’t expect to make good wine. I think last time it was Croatia. Tonight We sat at a table, She had duck, I had the Niman Ranch Ribeye. We shared Mac & Cheese (with Hook’s 10 year Cheddar, oh my), the charcuterie plate and olives and almonds. We drank 2008 Ribeira Sacra Vina do Burato; the medium bodied wine with flavors of pomegranate / cranberry and tart was a nice compliment to both of our meals.

When We got home, She Tweeted:

To which Lou replied:

I’m very surprised Lou knows of my Txakoli obsession. As much as I do love Txakoli, I hope Lou knows that in the He/She/Lou triumvirate, I am the one with the least wine knowledge. Either way, see you at Lou next week. And how does he know that She tweeted that and not me. Hmm…

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: , , , , , , , ,

Wine Web Wednesdays


Kevin from Native Food & Wine eats a Century egg. Watch the video to find out more. I had one in China a couple of years ago by accident. It was on my plate already out of its shell, I thought it was Jello; boy, was my mouth surprised.

We eat out a lot. The following list doesn’t try to be comprehensive, it just highlights some of our local culinary go-to dishes. While we cannot recommend a Century Egg, we highly recommend these dishes from some of our favorite restaurants.

With Pepcid for dessert: poutine and the pig’s ear at Animal.

While we do some laundry: pulled pork sandwich and Hook’s cheddar at Lou.

If She drags Him to BH: grand plateau de fruits de mer at Bouchon.

The only place we eat chicken: chicken and whole branzino at Canelé.

A short walk for small plates: deviled eggs at Barbrix.

Rap music & wine: potted meats in mason jars at Palate. (sit at the bar in the back).

Sit at the bar He built: bacon-wrapped matzoh balls at The Gorbals.

A break from mid-day shopping: Nancy’s chopped salad and ipswich clam pizza at Pizzeria Mozza.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Field Trip Fridays: Chocolate, Gay Mafia & Pulled Pork

Stop #1: Heath Ceramics

We have uber-talented friends who make delicious things… Libations and general festiveness began at Heath Ceramics for “Artisans United,” a collaboration between the exquisite ceramics studio, Valerie Confections and Patz and Hall. Wine, chocolate, cheese, preserves, meats…all presented on the most beautiful pottery you’ve ever seen. The event was food blogger/Yelper/Twitterer heavy. (So we fit right in.)

We sipped three wines from Patz and Hall:
Dutton Ranch Chardonnay
Chenoweth Ranch Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
No notes were taken on our slurps. All were delicious and were thoughtfully paired with exquisite chocolate and amuse-bouche prepared by VC.

(She takes full credit for this event coming to fruition, by the way. Both VC and PH are old friends and She introduced Chocolatiers Valerie Gordon and Stan Weightman to the winemakers Anne Moses and James Hall at Her birthday party. Free samples is all the payment She asks for. You know our address.)

Stop #2: LACMA

tom ford

We try to be good citizens and support our local art institutions, so we are LACMA members at the avant garde level. Aside from feeling pleased with ourselves for being good people, we get invited to really, really cool private things. This time it was a special screening of Tom Ford’s film A Single Man.

We arrived early and went to the museum’s courtyard restaurant Pentimento for a pre-film drink. She had a Tanqueray & Tonic and He ordered a Rioja red. They were out of the Rioja so the bartender recommended a 2004 Celler de Capcanes “Mas Donis” Barrica from Montsant, Spain. Thank you, Bartender: it was excellent.

Before the film Ford took the stage to say a few words, and naturally he was the best dressed man in a very well-dressed room. He demurred at our enthusiastic applause, thanked David Geffen (also in attendance), and the curtain came up. Here is our review:

A-Single-Man

He Said: Totally beautiful to look at, that’s undeniable. Although the cinematography was beautiful, the music was beautiful, it kind of felt like watching a 90 minute perfume commercial (think dramatic music, soft focus on exquisitely dressed super-hot people in the snow). About 15 minutes before it ended, I was ready for it to be over. The story is nice, but not all that engaging. It’s nice for a film to show a loving relationship between gay men, but I wonder how the story would hold up if this film was “A Straight Single Man”. I imagine it would be a little cliché. The acting was terrific and Colin Firth was top-notch as usual. Also, I was happy to see a more subtle John Lautner house in a movie. Although I didn’t love it, I liked it, and would recommend seeing it, simply because it is really, really nice to look at. (And I assume that critics that recommend films get some kickbacks and I definitely want some Tom Ford Menswear.)

She Said: The film is visually gorgeous. Every single shot, vignette, scene is meticulously constructed. It is as if the pages of W Magazine have come to life. This said…Ford is a complete fetishist. He focuses on small (albeit beautiful) details that do little to progress the story. Close-ups of heavily made-up eyelids, a naked man being tossed around in water (that has the color and look of Mountain Dew), the hairy, tan legs of a young girl. And all those pretty, pretty boys. (Must they have such pink, plump lips? Gives a chick a complex.) All of this is complete eye candy, no doubt about it. But what is it’s purpose? There is nothing ugly (other than some characters attitudes about war, gays, and literature) in the entire film. The cars are pristine, a Pyscho poster looks like a Richard Prince painting that should be hanging in the Guggenheim, the men’s suits and ties are perfect, as are the pruned orange trees inside Julianne Moore’s mansion. And speaking of homes, really Lautner’s Schaffer Residence is the star of the film. I. Want. To. Live. There. A few other thoughts: the film reminded me of Sodenberg’s The Limey, both structurally and all that visual obsession; the final bedroom scene was straight out of Blue Velvet; the swimming scene and shots of the lovers on the cliff are straight out of From Here to Eternity–or maybe Herb Ritts’ Madonna version. My eyes got tired of all that glorious beauty after about 45 minutes, I had no sympathy for any of the characters, and thought the story was overly clichéd–but, damn–is A Single Man a looker.

Stop #3: Lou Winebar


(Image from Bestor Architecture)

Lou occupies a special place for us because it is where we went on our first “official” date. We had, of course, already had sex and all that, but it was are first time really sitting across from one another at a table.

When we arrived, we were seated between a 6-top and a cuddling/groping 2-top. We asked if we could move to the bar because we felt a bit crowded and, frankly, we just prefer to sit at the bar. We’re glad we did. Lou was behind there sniffing and slurping a variety of wines which he would then tell us about. Enamoring him tonight was a Croatian white with a nearly unpronounceable name. Upon sipping it, one of the servers said, “it’s contradictory in the mouth,” an assessment we both appreciated.

We began our drinking (or rather, continued) with a very pink Cava of which we have forgotten all information. This said, Lou: update your wine list on your website. For food we started with the Market Salad and Charcuterie and Cheese plate. Both were excellent, but wow, the charcuterie plate included the best cheddar cheese either of us have ever tasted (Hooks from Wisconsin–not England).

About a month ago we had signed up with Blackboard Eats for a free bottle of wine at Lou, and tonight we cashed that in and ordered a La Cabotte from the Cotes du Rhone. Lou remarked that it was a light-bodied red that would go well with both of our entrees (Her, the clam and chorizo, Him, the pulled pork sandwich), but he did pour us a glass of Pinot Noir that “is perfect with the pulled pork.” This is another reason why we love sitting at the bar.

Our dinner was wonderful. It was the perfect end to a fun, busy evening. You should all go to Lou, don’t be alarmed that it’s in a mini-mall next to a laundromat (where, coincidentally, we both used to do our laundry–before we ate here, or had sex with each other). It’s really fantastic.
La Cabotte_Cotes Du Rhone2007 Domaine d’Ardhuy Côtes du Rhône La Cabotte (Price: We forgot, because it was free)

He Said: Doing this from memory because I took no notes. I remember it almost bubbling after it was poured. Blackberry and pepper on the nose gave way to a very straightforward, light-bodied wine with hints of cola. Very nice compliment to the pulled pork sandwich. Not knowing the price, I can’t really do an honest valuation, but for free it was fucking excellent.

She Said: Deep ruby color. Pepper, earthy nose with an underlying gaminess. A slight frizzante on the tongue. Not as heavy or overly earthy in the mouth, which I was grateful for. Dark fruit, pepper, spicy wood, a little clunky, but pleasant and silky. Fine and easy drinking. And what a value: FREE!

Tags: , , , , , , , ,