clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

It’s a Great Time to be Drinking Wine in Los Angeles

Plus the return of the Kembo Truck

Kali Defines Upscale Casual Dining in Larchmont Next Week
Kali on Melrose
Wonho Frank Lee
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

LA’s newest true tasting room

While great wine exists at restaurants across Los Angeles, there are surprisingly few true wine tasting rooms showcasing pours from one particular winery while also selling their bottles and all. Now there’s The Blending Lab, a newcomer on W. 3rd St. working a bunch of proprietary wine in a casual new space near The Grove.

The Blending Lab actually makes their wines up in Valencia near Six Flags, using grapes from all over the Central Coast. They don’t actually own their own vines (hence the blending part) but mostly source from around the Paso Robles area. There are some single vineyard bottles on offer as well, and the plan is for the retail space to start offering full blending classes soon in addition to on-site wine pours for anyone curious as to what the place is doing. The full opening menu of options is below.

The opening of The Blending Lab also brings up a larger point about Los Angeles in general: It’s a great time to be drinking wine here, at every level. Places like Bar Covell have for years been turning out an almost omakase wine experience, while Domaine LA and Lou Wine Shop keep inspiring a new generation of sommelier around town. Even places like Night + Market Song carry a surprisingly effective wine list, while wine-focused folks like Mary Thompson are taking over entire beverage programs (in her case, with The Line Hotel). And let us not forget Maxfield Schnee, the young wine-obsessed GM at the helm of Downtown’s Orsa & Winston, Alicia Kemper at Fundamental, or Drew Langley, co-owner of Kali on Melrose and former wine director of Providence, both of whom are now pouring some of LA’s most exciting stuff.

If you’re a wine drinker, now is a great time to be experiencing all that Los Angeles has to offer, from high-end nights over rare bottles at 71Above to a simple tasting experience with the new Blending Lab on West Third Street. Here’s to many more bottles to come.

BLVD 16 shutters on Wilshire

Looks like the end of the line for BLVD 16 on Wilshire, just west of Beverly Hills. The long-running restaurant inside the Hotel Palomar is in for a big flip, and will reemerge with a new chef cooking what the hotel describes as "elevated American comfort food." There will also be a bar and adjoining game space (like darts and stuff, probably), with a slated opening for early 2017.

Why it’s so hard

LA Weekly comes through with a tough but vital read on why it’s so hard to catch people in the act of drugging someone’s drink at a bar or restaurant. An incident at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica last year where a man was allegedly caught in the act gained national steam, but other incidents alleged to have happened at places like Tenants of the Trees in Silver Lake have been underreported widely, leading folks down a dark corridor of statistics on the number of reported (and unreported) druggings, their frequency, and lots of other important details. This one’s important.

More movement at Twin Palms in Pasadena

Looks like even more going on at the long-gone Twin Palms in Pasadena, as crews have been on site there for some time doing work. It’s still a bit unclear as to what the place will be when finished, but don’t expect those iconic dueling palm trees: they’re being destroyed.

Industry night at Doheny Room

Need a place to relax on a rare night off from the restaurant industry? How about the Doheny Room in West Hollywood, where those in the biz now get a full 25% off their meals. You’ll still probably have to make a reservation and presumably some sort of compliance is involved to find out what you do for a living, but otherwise enjoy the discount!

Brio Coastal Bar & Kitchen hits Torrance next month

There’s a new player at the Del Amo Fashion Center, with Brio Coastal Bar & Kitchen coming to the popular South Bay shopping center. Previews are starting to run this month, with an opening in December by chef Steve Mihaylov — who’s serving pan-regional coastal food by way of salads, sandwiches, and composed dinner plates. The restaurant is the brainchild of the BRAVOIBRIO restaurant group, who operate the well-known Brio Tuscan Grille chain.

The return of the Kembo truck

Good news for fans of Taiwanese street food, as it seems the Kembo truck has returned to its regular place along Atlantic Boulevard in the San Gabriel Valley. What’s more, as Sinosoul shows, they’ve got an entirely new setup ever since a drunk driver crashed into their old trailer. Now it’s a full truck, and as the mockups below can attest, it’s looking rather nice.