groovy folks, groovy wines in sunny LA (was it just a dream?)

fico pizzeria los angelesTexas was on my mind yesterday, as I floated through gilded, bigoted, face-lifted Beverly Hills, as if in a THC-induced dream.

I was raised here… vinified in La Jolla and bottle-aged at UCLA. But as my high school chum Gary Jules likes to point out, I spent my whole adolescence trying to escape.

Today, I’m a Texan, husband to a Texan and father of two little Texans. But these are my roots, for better or for worse.

I really loved chatting with John Tierney at Pizzeria Il Fico (above) and shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that he speaks excellent Italian. He studied Italian at Stanford, I learned. Super cool guy who shares my passion for Italian wine and food in a historical and cultural context and a top-notch restaurant pro.

porcini salad republiqueThe porcini salad (above) was just one of the great things that I ate last night at the super sexy République on La Brea, where I met my good friend and music agent Michael Nieves.

Some of the porcini were lightly sautéed with garlic and others were sliced raw. It was one of the best things I’ve eaten this year. Really fantastic…

The place was slammin’ packed and I was geeked to catch up with my friend and colleague Taylor Parsons, who runs a superb and mostly French wine list there. He changes the list nearly every day, he told me, reacting to specials and changes in the menu with new and different by-the-glass selections.

Taylor is so sharp and focused and his wine list was orthographically impeccable — not to mention delicious. He tasted us on two ten-year-old expressions of Muscadet, approachable but classic Chablis, and Anjou blanc that blew my nugget.

We were seated without delay and our server was also spot-on. I was really impressed by this restaurant on every level.

radoar muller thurgauThe folks from Farm Wine tasted me on the Radoar Müller-Thurgau from German-speaking Italy.

What a beautiful, focused expression of this grape, electric in the glass! Not much of this wine is brought in by Louis/Dressner, they told me. And I was very geeked to get my first taste.

People still get thrown out of Louis/Dressner tastings, they also told me. I was glad to learn that the tradition continues.

failla sonoma pinot noirAnd the dudes from Chambers & Chambers, with whom I did a “ride with” yesterday, tasted me on this awesome Pinot Noir from Sonoma coast, Failla. This elegant wine had brilliant acidity, gorgeous fruit, and lovely balance. They told me it should retail for around $35. We don’t drink a lot of Californian at our house but I would happily see this on our dinner table on a Saturday night. Really loved this wine from my home state.

All in all it was a good visit to sunny LA, where the tits are fake and the homeless are real.

Our Festa del Rosato tasting at Sotto was a mad house and it was fun talking to guests about the virtues of rosé and why we drink so much of it.

Was it just a dream? I don’t think I’ll ever know… I’ll just keep on keeping on, trying to understand where I came from and how I got here (some weird family shit has been hard on me lately)…

Now it’s time to hop back on a plane and get my ass back to the armadillo, where I belong. Thanks for reading this oneiric post of mine.

7 thoughts on “groovy folks, groovy wines in sunny LA (was it just a dream?)

    • Funny you mention that– my thoughts exactly. Do give some further insight into that characterization if you will, Jeremy?
      I love this blog. The wine, the family, etc… The occasional politics always sparks my appetite for more. I don’t imagine this comment section will ever serve as forum for political discussion… But, my interest is piqued.

  1. … another thing… I love the music — here.

    Jeremy, lucky you to have landed in that hotbed of socialism, tolerance, and progressive politics that is Texas, USA ;)

  2. I hadn’t been to Beverly Hills in a long time and as I was waiting for my colleague in a swank pseudo-Italian restaurant on Canon, I was struck by the immense divide between the guests and the people who were waiting on them. The men and the women on the streets seemed painted and sculpted to me… not inhuman but dishuman. It’s just one of those places in America where the haves seem to be tanned with the joy of not being have-nots.

    And yes, Texas, to the outside world, seems like one of the most bigoted places on earth (and there are some pretty bad spots, I know first hand). But Texas is actually becoming a brown state and a purple state… and Graz, if you ever came to Houston, you’d see that it’s one of the most racially diverse place in the country, where people from all walks of life interact on a daily basis…

    Always glad to see both of you here… and thanks for the kind words about the blog…

    • Jeremy, I haven’t been to your fair state in at least 10 years. But I’m not unaware of the shifting demographics. While also a fairly close observer of the electoral politics and actual current legislation as well as the results of those laws on citizens.

      Credit also has to be given to pride in place. Nothing wrong with that. I have no doubt that in your everyday experience most of the peeps are cool and diverse. I wouldn’t expect less knowing what I know about you. So may your life continue to be blessed.

      I wasn’t defending Beverly Hills btw :) But here in California I was extended healthcare after a long absence due to the state expansion of existing programs (ACA related). The intersection of politics in lived lives is critical in assessing the genuine value of residence in a given state here in these un-united states. Here’s hoping the purple in Texas is trending blue!

  3. honestly, my snarky comments about BH were more of a reflection of some family mishegas that I’m going through. Dealing with my own feelings of alienation and belonging. I always appreciate you being here…

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