April 2015 - Page 2 of 6 - Please The Palate
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Spring is officially here and that means it's time for the Spring cocktail menus to come out. With the sun shining, the birds chirping and the flowers blooming, Spring is about freshness and the new cocktail menu at Big Bar in Los Feliz is all about that! And, as with past menus, the cocktail program at Big Bar is a collaborative effort. It's nice to see a diverse menu where each drink has a story behind it. Big Bar There are ten house cocktails on the menu - eight new drinks and two from the last menu (they are so popular they couldn't take them off the list). We were invited in to taste through the new menu and tasted seven of the new drinks (we didn't get to taste the Big Bar's Own G&T because their house tonic wasn't available but I will be back for that one.) Photo by Eugene Lee
Between Mike Skinner's obsession with his family's history and a series of coincidental events, Mike and Carey Skinner are the owners of Skinner Vineyards in El Dorado in the Sierra Foothills. Carey joined us in Los Angeles to share the story of her winery. Carey Skinner Mike had a dream about a vineyard but it was just a dream. Then, one day their son Kevin and his wife were driving from Lake Tahoe using an old map and found "Skinner" on the map near the Sierra Foothills town of Placerville. Upon further discovery, Mike found that he is the great-great-great-grandson of James Skinner, a Scottish miner who in 1861 established one of the Sierra Foothills’ first wineries. After discovering gold in Coloma in 1861, James had the largest winery in the country, producing 15 thousand gallons of wine and whiskey per year.
Ever since I ate the Mandilli de Seta (handkerchief pasta, Ligurian almond basil pesto, fiore sardo) at Factory Kitchen, it has been one of my favorite Italian restaurants. So, when I heard they were offering a Happy Hour menu, I decided to go check it out. While the Mandilli de Seta is not on the Happy Hour menu, there are many delicious options. Some are smaller versions of items on the dinner menu and other items are exclusively for Happy Hour. But, the best part is that everything (food, wine and cocktails) is between $6-$11. We started with the Frittino di Verdura (fried baby leeks with chickpea fritters). Well-salted and crispy, this is an addictive dish. Frittino di Verdura I washed down the salty fried snacks with a glass of crisp, fruity Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Grasparossa from Emilia-Romagna, Italy. 
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