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When I was asked by the publication Daily Ovation to write a story about holiday cocktails, I reached out to some bartender friends and asked them what they like to drink during the holidays. The last thing I expected was them all saying the same thing....Eggnog. Eggnog is the quintessential holiday drink and with Christmas here, I am sharing the story that originally appeared in Daily Ovation but you can read it here. Tis the season. The holidays are coming. The weather has shifted, and it is getting colder outside. It gets darker earlier in the evening. Curling up with a holiday cocktail sounds like the perfect thing to do so I asked four bartenders around Los Angeles what they like to drink.  Funny enough, they all said Eggnog, which should be no surprise as nothing screams the Christmas holiday more than eggnog.
As good as the food is at a restaurant, what can make a meal even better is the wine selections to pair with the food. It is not about the size of the list or having the correct list of wines. It is about understanding the cuisine of the restaurant and the customer and then creating a list to appeal to both. My recent story in California Winery Advisor listed 15 of the best restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles and you can read it here. ************************************************************** Wondering who has the best restaurant wine lists in Los Angeles and why? It is not the size of the wine list. It is not because it has a list of every aspirational, expensive, highly scored wine. And it is definitely not a good list when the list consists of generic mass-produced brands that can be found on the shelves of the local grocery store. A good wine list is one that is curated by the wine director of the restaurant to pair with the food on the menu. It is a list that offers a range of price points and combines familiarity as well as uniqueness. With so many exceptional restaurants in Los Angeles, a good wine list is what can set one apart from another. Here are 15 restaurants offering some of the most interesting, exciting and appropriate wine selections for the customer.
My friend and I were on 3rd Street in West Hollywood the other night where we enjoyed dinner. As we were standing outside and talking, I realized that we were within walking distance of AOC Wine Bar and Restaurant. I suggested that we stop in and see if co-owner Caroline Styne was there as I wanted to personally congratulate her on her recent nomination for Outstanding Restaurateur by the James Beard Foundation. I first met Caroline when I got into the wine business over 15 years ago. This was the same time that she and Suzanne Goin opened AOC in 2002 in its original location. Named in honor of the French wine indication system, appellation origine controlee, AOC was ahead of its time, serving tapas and a great selection of wines. Of course, I did not know as much about wine then as I do now. We walked into AOC and waited at the bar for Caroline to come down from her office to say hi. As we sat there, we started to peruse the by-the-glass wine list. As I was with a friend who also works with wine, we were both oohing and ahhing over the selections. And this is why I have selected the Wine-By-The-Glass list at AOC as the Please The Palate "pick of the week".