When a break is needed from the rain in Vancouver, an easy place to travel to is Los Angeles. And it’s not just sunshine this place offers, expect some outdoor adventure, beach, outdoor markets, fantastic food and wine.
Here’s a list of places visited on my last trip to LA… (which 1 year ago in January 2015 – looong overdue post)
Upon arrival, we headed out on foot to explore the neighbourhood which included a local wine shop! Always love browsing a local wine shop to see what they have in stock. Larchmont Village Wines – this quaint wine shop was a real find! I picked up this Celler Xavier Clua Terra Alta Il-Lusio Garnacha Blanca from Spain. Delightfully fresh!
We found this nice little restaurant on Melrose called Vinoteque – a good wine list and dishes to share, not pretentious and a comfortable way to catch up with (and drink too much) with friends. 😉
Bottle #2 (oops) was one of my favourites from Spain – Albarino from Rias Baixas. Located in the Northwestern part of Spain – the wine is usually crisp and savoury (think minerals from the ocean) with lovely citrus notes, it’s easy to drink and enjoy with food. Lagar de Cervera is a great one to try.
Bottle #3 (double oops) was this often overlooked grape variety – Grüner Veltliner! It’s crisp and refreshing, if you like Sauvignon Blanc style of wines, you may just really be surprised with this one. We enjoyed the Höpler Grüner Veltliner from Austria
We spent one day south of LA in the beach community of Huntington Beach. Visiting with a fellow wine geek (Chris Kern of Paso’s Best Wines) who sells wines from Paso Robles, California – we enjoyed this fun wine: Carmody McKnight NV “K” Sparkling Pomegranate Cuvée a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and French Colombard. Think bright berries with flowers and hint of Pomegranate.
Of course, we had to take a break from wine and enjoy a local Bloody Mary with Fish Tacos for lunch 😉 this was before we went for an bike ride along the boardwalk (highly recommended).
Back in LA… we dined out one evening at Katana just across the street from Skybar at the Mondrian Hotel on Sunset Blvd. Think modern Japanese with lots of sharing dishes in a great space. It was a pretty good find! And a great location that is fairly central to lots of action.
Also enjoyed in LA was this Sparkling Rose from 3B in Portugal. A blend of E Baga and Bical – it was bursting with fresh fruits and sparkles but slightly crisp and dry. This was a great way to thank our host (my cousin) and get ready for an evening out. Who knew a Método Tradicional from Portugal would be so delightful.
And I believe I found a new favourite restaurant in Santa Monica: Water Grill. It may be on the main street and visited by many tourists, but it had everything that made me a happy gal – Beer, freshly shucked oysters, and my favourite – Salade Nicoise. Everything enjoyed at the table was fresh and delicious.
Another find, was a hidden gem for sure – Yamashiro Hollywood is in the hills above Sunset Blvd, and overlooks the city. A great place to take in happy hour as well as enjoying the sunset!
Also purchased from Paso’s Best Wines was Vista Del Rey Zinfandel. Big and bold, if you are expecting a jammy, fruit forward wine like some you find in Northern California, think again. This one is HUGE with stewed dark fruits, spice, earth and…alcohol.
And our breakfast find of the trip was definitely Cafe Gratitude. This gourmet vegetarian and vegan restaurant has many followers, so we were truly happy to be part of the “club”. It was delicious!!
I don’t travel anywhere without having a morning cup of green tea, if I’m lucky – I’ll find a well done Matcha green tea. BAM! Found one!
My breakfast choice was called “Fantastic” – a raw cashew crêpe with fresh fruit, coconut yogurt and nuts. Yummy and light.
My fellow traveler, Kathy – was happily full from her “Bonita” – a breakfast taco plate with vegetables, protein and cashew nacho cheese. Highly recommend a meal at Cafe Gratitude!
Hope you enjoyed my LA adventure!