Eclectic Wine Bar & Grille pairs entree searchers with the ideal meal for their culinary crosshairs, using a vast menu as the appetizing ammo. Mealtime starters include the popular tuna tartare ($14), with hand-cut ahi tuna mixed with avocado, cilantro, and scallions. Pasta-art students with a degree in linguine engineering can create their own dish by adding Cajun chicken ($5), smoked salmon ($7), goat cheese ($4), and more to Eclectic's pasta offerings ($12+). Pizzas, sandwiches, and seafood selections such as the grilled salmon ($21) round out the list of entrees that, when stacked atop each other, would be taller than a gaggle of Yao Mings.
Since 1992, California Canteen has bridged the culinary and cultural gap between Californians and Francophiles with its tasty twist on French bistro Mediterranean fare. French favorites populate the menu. Sample the nicoise salad with tuna steak ($14), beef bourguignon ($17.50), or lamb shank osso bucco ($18.25). Meanwhile, enterprising diners and triumvirates can customize comestibles in the three-course dinner ($20.50 4 p.m.–7 p.m., Sunday-Thursday). Alternately, the lunch menu spins a lighter, two-course remix of the prix fixe ($12.95).
Cozy candlelight and flickering lanterns cast soft shadows in 55 Degree Wine’s cellar, where waiters eagerly pair customers’ palates with weekly rotating wines. Featured on Best of LA Weekly in 2012 for its wine program, the winery stocks more than 2,000 labels, of which up to 60 are spotlighted in the cellar’s monthly lineup of pours. Though most vintages are Italian, ambrosias from Europe, South America, and other far-flung climes find homes in the shop after being tasted and approved by store owners. The thermostat, appropriately set to 55 degrees, helps keep elixirs fresh and patrons comfortable, but guests may wish to bring a sweater or particularly affectionate bear.
A retail shop outfitted with a tasting bar, Colorado Wine Company is run by owners John and Jennifer Nugent, who offer a friendly, laid-back environment for mingling and sipping. Each Tuesday night, fervent taste buds will traipse through a flight of four wines, presented specifically by the wines' importers and winemakers. Artisanal cheeses from Auntie Em's Cheese Shop are on hand to complement and flatter each glass and palate, and you can purchase bottles (many under $25) to re-create tastings at home for dinner guests and monocle-wearing cats.
Fill your mouth with a one-two tsunami of fine French bistro cuisine and world-class wine, plus the tongue-rolling joy of saying sommelier, with today's Groupon. For $10, you get a three-wine, three-appetizer Sip and Swirl tasting event ($20 value) at Vinoteque on Melrose. The themed three-course festival begins at 7 p.m. every Tuesday and will feature "Whites of the Loire Valley" on January 26, "Napa and Her Wine" on February 2, and "A Night in the North of Spain" on February 9, with more themes to follow.
City Sip tempts guests with a globally focused wine list featuring more than 40 wines by the glass, complemented by a thoughtful menu of cheese, small plates, panini, and more. Swirl, sniff, and sip your way through potable pleasures such as an Alsatian gewürztraminer from Klipfel ($11/glass), a Felino malbec ($12/glass), or another pick from the encyclopedic selection of bubblies, whites, reds, roses, and other vine-based beauties. Like the three-fisted men who harvest the grapes, wine flights provide a one-two-three palate punch, while dessert wines such as a Landskroon morio muscat ($11/glass) gently slap tongues with sweetness. A selection of craft beers including Allagash Curieux ($8) and Eagle Rock Brewery Solidarity ($7), plus a handful of nonalcoholic options, round out the liquid luxuries.