Monday, August 23, 2010

Bread for a Day

Recently I visited one of my hero's in the wine world, Manfred Krankl and his wife Elaine. Their winery, Sine Qua Non which is located in Ventura California is legendary and the wines impossible to get which has given them cult status. What started off as a hobby for Manfred, has turned into a full time business. Sine Qua Non produces some of the finest Rhone varietals I've had in California and one of my favortie's is The Naked Truth, an estate grown Grenache. The production isn't huge and because they have such a cult following and the demand is greater than the production the best way to get the wines is to get on the mailing list otherwise you will pay through the roof.

Nancy Silverton first met Manfred in Greece back in the 70's while on vacation with her sister. While working at Campanile restaurant for Nancy and her ex husband Mark Peel he started producing small amounts for the restaurant. They then started up La Brea Bakery together which they then sold. After the sale Manfred used the capital devoted himself to making wine his full-time job.

We started off at his winery to do some barrel tasting. Manfred has different photographs on all his barrels which I've never seen before. It's very funny actually, what images he chooses to reference his various barrels. As we started tasting there was very little spitting going on let me tell you...The viognier was spectacular as was everything I tasted. The whites, the reds were all exceptional. The most interesting part of the tasting, was tasting all the various fruit seperatly and then taste some which he has then blended. In the case of the whites, each wine whether Fiognier, Roussane or Marsanne could of been bottles by them selves they were that good yet as a blend they went to another level. The same went for the reds.

We went back with Manfred to his house and drank even more great wine over a wonderful lunch. It was such really a treat. Manfred and Elaine have a gorgeous property over looking Ojai, where besides restoring a house they have planted vineyards and are building a winery on the property. They are getting some fruit from their vineyard now and in the years to come when the vines mature will be getting much of the fruit from there, hopefully that means they will be able to make more wine. They have a great collection of decanters in their dining room and above them is a wonderful quote which says it all..I couldn't agree more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

La Numero Uno

Once in a while, a restaurant comes along where you experience home-cooked food that's not necessarily simple, quaint or un-fussy—it’s just real. La Numero Uno is such a place, a small Salvadorian and Mexican restaurant that serves some of the best Mexican food I’ve had in a long time. The Mercado family, who are now the owners as of a month ago, are hands-on chefs.
On the Salvadorian side of the menu, they have delicious pupusas. We ordered the revuleta pupusas, which were filled with pork, cheese and beans and served with a side of coleslaw that was wonderful. The Mexican side of the menu is mostly recipes inspired from Mexico City , including classic dishes like mojarra frita, a simple piece of fried fish, and pollo con guisado, an exquisite chicken stew—both of these were sensational and satisfying.
One of my favorite dishes, and the best I’ve had in L.A. so far, was their chile rellenos. The chilies were fresh, the batter was light, and the red sauce delicious. When I asked our server what their most authentic and unique dish was, she said the salpicon, a traditional Mexican dish of shredded meat and chopped radishes served room temperature. They made theirs with ground beef, and though it was fine, I think if made traditionally with shredded meat, it would be outrageously good.
My friend Craig who lives in the building next door turned me on to La Numero Uno. He is trying to introduce them to using some organic ingredients, so he brought some tomatoes and peaches from the farmers' market. They served us some sliced peaches for dessert, a perfect ending for a great meal.
Besides just great food, the prices are unbeatable, and you can BYOB—another great plus. It’s also right down the street from the ArcLight on Vine, so it’s a great spot for before or after a movie or any other time as well.
La Numero Uno, 1247 N. Vine St., Hollywood, 323-957-1111