It was an unplanned day today. We just hopped in the car and started driving, making it up as we went along. Nearly every move we make has some sort of plan behind it, so it's nice sometimes to just go where the car wants to go.
Today it wanted to go to Beverly Hills for breakfast at Il Fornaio. Delicious. I had that little Italian sausage all coiled up next to some scrambled eggs. My wife had the eggs Benedict, Italian style. Side of raisin bread. Mmm mmm.
Then, a little driving around to kill time until a wine tasting event at the Wine House on the Westside of Los Angeles. It was a tasting of Italian wines staged by importer Oliver McCrum of Oakland. McCrum poured the wines himself, and added information about them as the tasters did their work. Here's how the wines struck me:
Sorelle Bronca Prosecco, from Venice - Citrus on the nose with a nuttiness on the palate I found quite engaging. Minerals and Melon abound.
Niedrist Terlaner Sauvignon - From Alto Adige, this expressive white has a very funky nose with a sort of petrol aroma. A bit of that comes through in the taste, as well, with a grassiness on the medium finish. Stainless steel.
Vallevo Montepulciano D'Abruzzo - Very nice nose, rather like cinnamon or cumin, very spicy. There's a dark fruit taste with an earthy edge. Not much finish, but nice while it lasted. 100% Montepulciano.
Germano Ettore Langhe Nebbiolo 2007 - Declassified Barolo. Light red with a perfumy nose; clove. Rather lightweight for Nebbiolo. Bright, easy drinker.
Tenute di Sella Lessona 2004 - Medium red with a vanilla nose. Rather earthy and a nice finish.
Sella Lesona San Sebastiano Allo Zoppo 2003 - Reserve bottling of the previous wine. Medium heft, vanilla and blackberry nose, very smooth taste, decent acidity.
After the tasting, we pointed the car in the general direction of Surfas in Culver City. The wife picked up a few items I could try to tell you about, but I don't really understand them. I'm happy to merely find them in the finished product she brings out of the kitchen.
Then we tried to go to Downey. Our friend Siouxie calls these sort of excursions our "adventures." Well, we ended up in Anaheim. A sudden desire for appetizers at Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel overcame us.
If you have never been to the Grand Californian, and if you have even a passing interest in architecture inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, you should not let the Disneyland location deter you. Entry into Disneyland is not required.
Great scallops, a fantastic sampler platter featuring pork ribs that fell - no, jumped - off the bone, shrimp with a black bean and garlic sauce and skewered chicken provided the dining portion of the visit.
I had a dry Riesling, Pfeffingen Pfalz 2007. The nose was full of minerals and a slight petrol aroma. I normally call this minerality "wet rocks," but I think this time I'll call it "wet sidewalk." The taste was very clean, with minerals and an orange zest flavor.
After the last few trips to Orange County, we decided that the Santa Ana Freeway would not be a nice way to end such a nice day. The car agreed, and we took the 91 to the 405. How many times can you say that the 91 Freeway was a great end to your day? It was for us.