February 2019 - Please The Palate
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Last summer, I was invited to judge for my first time at the Central Coast Wine Competition 2018. When it came time to the final round, we were voting for the Best White Wine and ended up selecting a Grenache Blanc. After the competition was over, we all went into the back to see what the wine was that won. It was the Alara Cellars 2017 Grenache Blanc that won “Best in Show” for white wines. The label was quite eye-catching but none of us had ever heard of the winery that was owned by Janu Goelz. That was because it was the first vintage of Alara Cellars. Fast forward more than six months and I met Janu and Jason Goelz for lunch when they visited Los Angeles and they shared their story of how they met and about their two individual wine labels which I wrote about in the Napa Valley Register and am sharing here. When you think of wine production in Northern California, you likely think of Napa or Sonoma. Of course, there are other wine regions in Northern California, such as Mendocino and Lake counties.
I regularly drive up and down La Cienega, recognizing all of the familiar sites. But, there is a new restaurant that just moved into the spot that was home to Le Petit Bistro for 25 years. Pacifique is the new restaurant, owned by chef Joe Miller and his friend, and former partner at Joe's in Venice, Joe Herzer. Instead of driving past, I went in recently with some friends and we were in for a lovely experience. Pacifique is elegant and sophisticated. The dining room is warm and inviting with a palate of grays and black. Plush booths, seating parties of four and six, line both sides of the room and two-tops run down the center of the room. At the end of the room is the bar, back-lit by a bright florescent color that warms the room. And, large globe lights hang from the ceiling. There is additional seating in the front of the restaurant, as well as some hidden booths separated by a wall.
I have found myself at The Line Hotel rather often lately. Whether checking out the space for a possible event to hosting an event to attending an event there, I keep ending up at The Line Hotel in Koreatown. And, on more than one occasion, I have enjoyed lunch at Openaire, the airy and inviting restaurant and the Please The Palate pick of the week. Formerly, the space was Roy Choi's Commissary. From the start it was a beautiful space, a sort of green house located next to the hotel pool. The glass-windowed building with live greenery hanging throughout always had an inviting feel. But, as Openaire, a restaurant in collaboration with two-star Michelin Chef and native Angeleno Josiah Citrin, it is all the more brighter, lighter and fresher inside.