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 22, 2011

Libation Location: Wine Expo

Last week, the Lush Chef told you about her visit to Silver Lake Wine, but if you're a Westsider like me, sometimes you just want to be closer to home for a wine tasting.  Enter Wine Expo in Santa Monica!  I must have passed by this place a gazillion times on Santa Monica Blvd and I never thought to stop in.  I thought it was just a little wine shop like the ones in my neighborhood and boy, was I wrong.  A friend, let's give him the code name "American Trilogy," (cocktail recipe coming soon) introduced me to this spot because it's just down the street from him.  They recently built out a beautiful tasting room along the side of the shop.  The front part has a little art gallery-like space, but hidden in the back is a huge room with a nice, long bar, plenty of cocktail tables and seating, and even a small private room.

We went on a Saturday when they were doing their 20/20 special (they're doing 1 more Saturday in September).  Yes, that's 20 wines for $20.  American Trilogy and I knew we couldn't each drink 20 wines (there was only 1 guy in the tasting room that hit 20), so we split it and each did the same 10 wines so we could go through a flight together.  They change up the choices every week and break the tasting up into bubblies, pinks, whites and reds.  We only made it to wine 7 or 8 because the pours were quite generous.  Sangria and beer is also on tap, and they have a nice selection of salumi, cheese, olives, nuts and crostini plates.  Every night, there is a different gourmet food truck parked in the lot out front (check the website or their Twitter feed for updates on the trucks) and they'll even bring it to you right in the tasting room!

The 20/20 deal is normally on Tuesdays, but were extended to Saturdays throughout the month of September.  They also do Happy Hour from 5-7 on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, where wines by the glass are half off and bottles are discounted by 10% in the shop.  Monday nights offer special flights and discounts and Tuesdays offer beer flights and ale-friendly snacks.  They'll occasionally have live music playing and other nights planned that focus on different kinds of wines or regions.  Needless to say, it's a killer deal, fun crowd and the shop has an excellent selection of wines in a range of prices.