November 2015 - Page 2 of 6 - Please The Palate
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This piece originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register (November 6, 2015) If someone had told Carles Pastrana years ago that he would be considered the patriarch of modern Priorat wine and the owner of two of the greatest wines in the world (Clos de l’Obac and Miserere), he would have said they were insane. Carles Pastrana Priorat is not a normal region. A tiny region within Catalonia, Spain, Priorat is a small area that covers 4,000 acres. A very hilly area with hot and dry summers and cold and windy winters, the soil consists of slate, rocks and bushes. It is not an area to easily plant in and many were thought to be foolish to plant there. The Romans did not dare to try. But in the 12th century, the Catalonian king founded a place for monks. No vines, no grapes. No grapes, no wine. No wine, no communion. So, the first thing to do when the monks moved in was to plant grapes.
The cocktails have "gone to the birds" at Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel in downtown LA. That is, the new menu at the rooftop bar is dedicated to the birds with a "fowlplay" menu. It's a pretty creative theme and the result is a very tasty menu! Upstairs at the Ace Hotel Did you know that there are 477 species of birds that live in and around downtown LA? According to the new menu, a family of Cooper's Hawks have made their nest on the radio tower across Broadway and you can see them if you squint hard enough (or have super vision). Also, in the fall and spring, thousands of Voux's swifts fly across the skyline to the Chester Building chimney on Fifth and Broadway where they roost. And, on the top of the US Bank Building, you can find Peregrine Falcons nesting there. View from Upstairs at the Ace Hotel View from Upstairs at the Ace Hotel While people-watching can be fun, the rooftop patio of the Ace Hotel is the perfect spot to do some bird watching while enjoying a cocktail from the descriptive menu Daniel Sabo, Bar Manager Evan Enderle and their bar team have put together.
One of the things I love about Italy is that everybody, no matter what age or gender, enjoys a gelato in the afternoon. There's no excuse needed; there's no rationalization. It is just pure enjoyment. But here in the U.S., I sometimes feel like I am being judged if I decide to have an ice cream in the middle of the day. Ice cream is seen as a dessert or for special occasions but not as an afternoon snack. But, maybe that will change with Stickhouse Gelato. Stickhouse Gelato With 92 stores around the world, including Italy, London, Germany, Spain and throughout Asia and the Middle East, Los Angeles is the location of the first U.S. store. Located in Santa Monica, just off the 3rd Street Promenade, Stickhouse Gelato will transport you to Italy as you are greeted by the young Italian staffers, Elisa and Andrea. Elisa and Andrea