Friday, December 28, 2007

Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup

Free Stuff: The PR rep for an Australian company that sells hibiscus flowers in syrup, that you put into drinks, offered to send me a sample and I gratefully accepted. They are just as the name suggests: a jar of Australian hibiscus flowers in simple syrup. They are meant to be placed in your glass, then pour in the alcohol.

Tasting: I brought them to my wine group meeting - we were tasting champagne that day, so I thought we could give them a while with the worst tasting bottle in the bunch (you never want to add mix-ins with good alcohol). They are very pretty and festive, but do not really offer much in the way of flavor, alone. When we poured in some of the syrup, we ended up with a sweet and tasty cocktail, that certainly helped our bottle of slightly corked champagne. I think these flowers will work best in a vodka martini - it is a good way to turn a strong drink into a user-friendly cocktail (as my friend calls, "a cocktail with training wheels).

Final Consensus: My friend didn't like the jar. He felt it was unrepresentative of what was inside. He suggest they package it in a tall, skinny jar, with the flowers stacked on top of each other to create a nicer presentation. I agree. I think these would be cute and festive at a party, but are not my bag.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Top Reasons Why a Dyed-in-the-Wool Westsider Sometimes Wishes She Lived East of the 405

An editor from the site contacted me to create a list, like a top ten, to post among others for their year-end round-up. Here is the list I came up with, followed by the link to Laist. I hope you enjoy.

Top Reasons Why a Dyed-in-the-Wool Westsider Sometimes Wishes She Lived East of the 405

1. Intelligentsia Coffee – simply the best coffee out there right now, made to perfection. Hard-core, no blenders!

2. Lou – Exotic wine list, best bar food around, and great Monday night suppers.

3. Pizzeria Mozza – The best pizza dough, and even better toppings. Short, excellent, all-Italian wine list. Lardo!

4. K&L Wine – Big, but not too big. Great weekly tasting, knowledgable staff, good prices.

5. Silverlake Wine – Their tastings are educational and social, small, yet carefully selected wine selection.

6. 750 ml – Cozy, intimate atmosphere, easy to navigate wine list, excellent, short menu., well-priced.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Akasha Opening Party - I Was Not Invited

Last night, on our way to a late night dinner at Fraiche, I noticed Akasha was holding it's opening party. They had a tent in the back for the cooks, tables of swag bags, and heavy security. It is in the old San Gennaro location on the corner of Culver and Watseka in downtown CC. It is huge. It is separated into two sections. The larger area has a nice large bar and seating, and around the corner on the Watseka side, it looks more like a take-out counter - possibly the area for the bakery. The interior is warm and modern - it reminded me of The Other Room on Abbot Kinney. On the Culver Blvd side there is a fairly large patio area. It still looks unfinished. Apparently it will not open for a couple more weeks. After our dinner, when we walked by, the party was breaking up, and the security guards had left thier posts, so we went in and snapped some shots.

9543 Culver Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232

Saturday, December 08, 2007

On the Wine Trail in Hollywood

Every Saturday afternoon K&L Wines in Hollywood holds a tasting. For their last one of the year, they poured champagne. For $20 we sampled 10 champagnes, ranging in price from $24.99-$114.99, and nibbled on some excellent cheese and crackers. And yes, the more expensive ones were better.

K&L Wines
1400 Vine St
Hollywood, CA 90028

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The World's Most Award-Winning Coffee

Intelligentsia Coffee recently hosted a tasting event at their Silver Lake store, giving guests samples of a coffee called Geisha, from Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panama. Apparently this coffee is "the world's most award winning coffee," winning every competition it was entered in. It may also be the world's most expensive coffee, retailing for $99 per half pound. Unfortunately, my critical coffee tasting abilities were not quite advanced enough to fully appreciate all the complexities and nuances this coffee has to offer. It was very good, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I also really like their Los Delirios coffee from Nicaragua I bought that night for a relatively modest $15/lb. They got a good turn out. Coffee buyer Geoff Watts gave a presentation outside on the patio while my friend and I mingled inside, snacking on cheese and wine, watching the Clover machine in action. I also had the pleasure of meeting Doug Zell, the founder of Intelligentsia (who, by the way, said he read my previous Intelligentsia post). Doug, if you catch this post, may I put in a request? Open your next LA location on the west side. Preferably Mar Vista. Thanks.