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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".
Through word of mouth, I was told about this new wine bar located in the "Magnolia Park" neighborhood in Burbank. I was not aware of this neighborhood, located at Hollywood Way and Magnolia Avenue, other than the way to the Burbank airport. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find this strip of small businesses and restaurants that have contributed to the resurgence of the area. Luna Vine Wine Bar opened at the end of January, promoted by nothing more than word of mouth. Starting by the door and ending in an area with table and chairs, the bar fills up most of the length of the long, narrow space. The look is simple and sleek, with exposed rope and wire lighting, and paintings (mostly of elephants) along the opposing wall.