pom couscous

pom steak

A Night in Provence via Tavern LA

by Lisa Dinsmore
Print Email

tavernwinecheese.jpgAs a devoteé of all things wine, I am on the constant lookout for events that allow me to expand my palate without hurting my pocketbook. It's rare to find me at large "Grand Tastings" because I find it difficult even with pouring/spitting to get my $50-$100 worth and still be able to function or remember what I drank. Living in Los Angeles, "bang for the buck" wine-centered evenings are few and far between so when I heard about the Tavern's bi-weekly Wine and Cheese Club, I made a reservation immediately. The Larder, where the tasting takes place, is the casual cafe attached to Tavern, which is Suzanne Goin's latest restaurant venture. Even though I've never been to her reknowned wine bar A.O.C. – it's horrifying I know, I'll get there, I promise – I knew this was going to be good. It's what she does. Plus, four wines paired with cheese and nibbles for $29? There's nothing wrong with that equation. Except the drive, which thankfully for us was against traffic.

glasses.jpgThe evening is very casual, though there is some "education" about the wine region being featured, the backstory behind each wine and why it was selected, as well as what they hoped to accomplish with each pairing. It was probably 5 minutes of information before each course, leaving you plenty of time to socialize with your dining companions while savoring the pairings. Questions are encouraged, but not necessary to the enjoyment of the evening.

Since 90% of what I drink at home is California wine, I try to explore other regions when I venture out. Thus, a night of wines from Provence. While I'm a big fan of the Rhone Valley, just up the road from this region, I haven't had a lot of experience tasting Provençal vino, except for the occasional rosé. I was happy to find the pours to be quite substantial (at least 3-4oz), which gave the geeks like me plenty of time to swirl and take notes. I loved that they provided not only a menu of the evenings pairings, but a little booklet which described each wine and cheese and gave ample room to add your own musings. A classy, thoughtful touch and something that I greatly appreciated. I apologize in advance for the quality of some of the pics. I took them with my iPhone. So here's what we had:

 

taverncheese2.jpg
Tome de Bordeaux with baguette & Hazelnuts
with 2008 Domaine Gavoty Cuvée Clarenden
mussels.jpg
Mussels & Clams with Aioli Toast
with 2009 Domaine Gavoty Tradition Rosé
 
meatballs.jpg
Lamb Meatballs with Feta, Currants & Pinenuts
with 2008 Mas de Gourgonnier
cheese1.jpg
Romao al Romero with Black Olive & Marconas
with 2007 Domaine du Dragon
Cuvée St. Michel

 

All in all, it was a delightful evening, that definitely delivered a touch of Provence to a cold winter night. The pairings were spot on, adding dimension to the wines – none of which blew me away, but all well-crafted and enjoyable examples of what the region has to offer. The wines and cheeses were also available for purchase after the event. With plenty of snobbery in the wine world, this was a fun and unpretentious way to learn. Now if only they would post their upcoming schedule on their website, so I could plan where I want to "visit" next.

Every first and third Monday of the month from 7–8:30pm. Call the restaurant for reservations and schedule. (310) 806-6464.

Tavern, 11648 San Vincente Blvd., Los Angeles

 

Lisa Dinsmore is a writer, web programmer, movie and wine lover. She currently runs two review websites to share her passions: www.crazy4cinema.com and www.dailywinedispatch.com. She is also the Managing Editor of One for the Table.     

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

One Pico
Los Angeles
by S. Irene Virbila

shutters.jpg Tables lined up along the windows at One Pico offer not only an ocean view, but also a glimpse of Santa Monica's glitzy new Ferris wheel. Its complex computer system dials out the colors,...

Read more...
Sous Rising: Eating Underground in Chicago
Chicago
by Jessica Dixon

sousrisingjakeUnderground dinners. Do you know about them?  Probably. I'm new to this: paprika still confuses me.

I first heard of this scene when eating at Elizabeth --an up and coming Chicago "farm to table"...

Read more...
Sundance Resort's Pear Cobbler with Almond Crumble
Utah
by Chef Mark Shoup

Sundance Ski Resort UtahChef Mark Shoup knows about cold weather. The executive chef at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort in Utah serves up a lot of hot comfort food when hungry skiers sit down in the main dining room,...

Read more...
Amber Road Cafe
New England
by Kitty Kaufman

AmberRoadCafeAmber Road Café's breakfast is worth getting up for. Lunch warrants standing on line. Dinner? Amber's not open for dinner. Bummer. We find ourselves here for lunch and the only reason there's no...

Read more...