Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Sep 15, 2011

Libation Location: Silver Lake Wine

Since late February, The Lush Chef has been giving you food and cocktail recipes, libation education, little musings and spotlights on artisanal products, but I haven't told you about where I like to shop in Los Angeles.  So let's begin!

This past weekend, my old boss and I hit up Silver Lake Wine, a hip boutique that offers wines from around the world, some microbrews, select liquors and sake and a few yummy treats from local chefs/bakers.  I had my first experience with the shop when I went to the Barnsdall Art Park Friday Wine Tastings this past summer.  It's a great event out on the lawn in front of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, with KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox spinning tunes, a flight with four wines and the sun setting over the city.  The guys from Silver Lake Wine were young, hip, knowledgeable and just want you to find something you like.

My friend highly recommends the Sunday tasting events at 3pm because it's not as crowded and you get delicious food pairings with each glass of wine.  Sunday tastings are $20 for 5 wines and food and reservations are recommended—it's an insanely good deal, considering the pours are generous and the food is plentiful.  They also do Monday nights with 3 wines, cheese, olives and bread for $12 and Thursdays nights with 3 wines for $12 (the Let's Be Frank hot dog truck is parked outside if you need some nosh).

The focus of the evening was on California wines paired with food from Heirloom LA.  George Cossette, one of the owners was on hand and told these lovely, long stories about each winemaker.  The guy really knows his stuff and understands how to get folks excited about wine.  Here's what we had:

- Dominique Piron Rosé Beaujolais 2010 from France (the only non-California wine in this flight) - $13.25

- Tatomer Riesling "Sisquoc" Santa Maria Valley 2010 - $21 - paired with a Farmer's Market Salad with goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes, beets and shisito peppers

- Andrew Murray "RGB" Camp 4 Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley 2010 - $24.25 - paired with a salmon croquette with a spicy remoulade

- Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel Estate Mayacamas Napa 2008 - $39 - paired with osso buco in an heirloom tomato sauce with mini ravioli

- Sean Thackrey "Pleiades" Old Vines XX California - $26.25 - paired with ham thinly sliced over a red cabbage slaw and herb spaetzle

All wines featured in the tasting ended up being 10% off and my friend and I each bought bottles of the Riesling (we liked it because it wasn't very sweet) and the Old Vines (such a smooth red that I couldn't resist).  It's not often that I get out to Silver Lake, but it's worth the trek for great wines and beautifully planned tastings.  I'll definitely be venturing East again soon.