November 14, 2018
My current status has me sitting at one of my FAVORITE places in Southern California - Wally's Wine & Spirits. I know, I know, I have a LOT of places I love but I was, first, introduced to this establishment after reading that it is a BIG celebrity hot spot (no judgement) and, if you like cheese, charcuterie, and, of course, WINE, then this is a go to restaurant! While I had visited their location in Beverly Hills multiple times, I was beyond THRILLED to see that they were coming to Santa Monica...and I was able to get in a quick trip, pre-flight, when I was here in October!
And when I say they are caddy corner to the hotel where I stay they are, literally, caddy corner. One of the things I love about this town is the diagonal crosswalks. I wish more places did this, LOL!
Upon entering, you are mesmerized by the walls, AND WALLS, of beautifully lined wine bottles in modern, wood and rod-ironed wine racks which surround marble high top tables with wooden high back chairs. The center of the restaurant features a super chic bar on one side, and the other, a cheese, charcuterie, and freshly baked bread bar from which you can come in off the street and pick-up. Did I, also, mention that the wine is for purchase as well? Well, you may have been able to guess that one. An open kitchen showcases the chefs hard at work, baking, mixing, searing, and so much more. What I love is that they use a wood burning oven! Let's face it, anything in a wood burning oven is that much better!
As I sat down, I was starving beyond belief! Beyond the 3 coffees, and tons of water I consumed, I managed to woof down a protein bar prior to getting in a sweat session at the local Orangetheory Fitness. Once seated, I was greeted with more water, the fabulous sommelier, and my waiter who I politely said "I need cheese and charcuterie to start." Ultimately, I ended up just picking cheese, and having the waiter make the recommendations. One thing I do not do - bleu cheese. Totally not part of my palette. I have tried, I just cannot do it. Fun Fact: They have over 200-250 cheese selections on a daily basis.
Once that was determined, the sommelier, Michelle, was able to help me pick the best choices for my course moving forward. I wanted something sparkling to start (because, of course), and then a nice chardonnay and cabernet/red blend to try and share as well. With over 130 wines by the glass from which to choose, and 250 bottles to purchase, I decided to keep it simple - stay in a moderate price range and just stick to California (not including the sparkling) wines.
FYI: If I lived here, I would, totally, take one for the Fit4Janine team and be trying varietals from around the world, every single day! I know, how nice of me, right? ;)
The cheese course came out BEAUTIFUL, and I did not expect anything less. There were 3 different cheeses mixed on the board, along with honey, a blackberry jam, candied walnuts, pickles, and freshly baked bread:
- Brillat Savarin - (France, cow); velvety, creamy, and buttery
- Manchego - (Spain, raw sheep); nutty, fruity, sweet, and bold
- Petite Basque - (France, sheep); buttery, nutty, and smooth
To accompany the board, I started with a sparking wine from Germany called "Ruinart Blanc de Blanc." Made from 100% Chardonnay, this was a PERFECT start to my meal (and day for that matter).
After I polished off (most) of the cheese, it was time to order lunch. So many fabulous choices to pick from! Everything from salads, to sandwiches, pizzas, and pastas, every palette will be able to find something they LOVE. In true #fit4janine fashion, I chose the same entree I did the last time I was here - the Bluefin Tuna Cobb Salad with dressing on the side. Filled with lettuce, tomatoes, egg, green beans, bacon, and, of course, delicious bluefin tuna, this was super satisfying and EXACTLY what I needed. I admit, though, the pizzas that were being carried by looked AMAZING. Again, anything cooked in a wood burning oven must be AWESOME, right?
Hands down, this is a MUST try when coming to California! Sure, you can order online but the full experience is being here in all it's glory! Yes, I may be feeling the effects of a little vino love but it is SO WORTH IT! :)
Cheers to your Wednesday...and HUMP DAY! More to vino to come via my Instagram and Instastories, so stay tuned! Muah!!