Obika’s ingredients are so carefully curated that the staff can point out the exact region in Italy, or even the exact city, from which they came. Compared to the restaurant's other prized, imported ingredients—smoked prosciutto, white salame, capers, parmigiano reggiano—it seems the mozzarella is the most prized of all. The mozzarella is shipped to the restaurant three times a week to ensure its freshness, and the European Union certifies that each batch has been prepared in the traditional fashion. All this attention to detail makes Obika’s menu equally as flavorful as it is authentic. Layers of fresh pasta burble with mozzarella and beef ragu in the housemade lasagna, and mint pesto brings spice to a free-range chicken breast pan-sautéed with artichokes. The kitchen’s oven takes center stage to fire pizzas that, once again, put the carefully cultivated cheese on display. And of course, it wouldn’t be a full-course Italian meal or a day when kids siege power from their babysitters without dessert: the tiramisu and a ricotta mousse sprinkled with pine nuts take the cake. Servers may even shout “Obika!” when they deliver dishes to tables—it means “here it is!” in Italian, and demonstrates just how excited they are about the contemporary, authentic Italian fare their eatery dishes out.
If Northern California houses the most celebrated vineyards in the state, then Southern California houses the most celebrated wine bars and restaurants. It is inside these spaces that Sip of Vino hosts its wine tasting events. Participants gather at hotspots, where they may pay homage to wines and sparkling varietals from across the globe. As they sip, they also mingle with other wine tasters, playing games such as Jenga and Apples to Apples and asking Connect 4 pieces what they look for in a syrah.
Upstairs 2 sits on the second floor of The Wine House, a 25,000-square-foot retail shop. Naturally, the selection is extensive, but owner Bill Knight isn’t content to just serve wine. There’s also a seasonal and sustainable menu of New American small plates divided by wine type to promote tasty pairings.
Held on select weekends, each SaMo Wine Party celebrates varietals from around the world with three hours of unlimited tasting. Bartenders uncork everything from Tablas Creek bottles to sparkling wine from Crystianos Cava, all carefully selected by a team of expert vintners and the surviving members of the California Raisins. To complement the evening's limitless pours, DJs set the mood with upbeat tunes, while chefs prepare bites such as customized sushi rolls or gourmet burgers. The soirees take place amid the Bali-inspired d?cor of the two-level Monsoon Cafe or the 20-plus TVs inside The Garage featuring The Motor Club.
Los Angeles Oktoberfest invites visitors to celebrate the changing seasons with two days of traditional Bavarian revelry. Hosted by Bob Guiney from ABC's The Bachelor, the festival invites attendees to fill their glass steins with any of the 19 available German beers and purchase hearty platefuls of bratwurst, giant pretzels, and strudel. Live bands lead traditional, sing-along drinking tunes, a Bavarian dance group performs for joyous audiences, and a strolling accordionist weaves through the crowds while playing familiar German melodies. In addition to bidding on sports memorabilia at the silent-auction table, patrons can also test their arm strength by competing in the stein-holding competition, which rewards the winners with lifetime admission to the Los Angeles Oktoberfest and a brand new pair of steel biceps to replace the old, used-up ones.
What services does your business offer and what makes your business stand out from the competition? We offer awesome wines in an elegant, yet relaxed setting; perfect for first dates, happy-hour wine tasting, or just catching up with friends.
Of the products you sell, which are your favorites? You can't beat our wines! We also offer cheese and charcuterie plates, as well as chocolate.
What was the inspiration to start or run this business? We obviously have a lot of passion for wine. Showing people our different wines from the major grape-producing regions of California is very rewarding for us. We like to have a glass of wine and chat, so why not make that our career?
What do you love most about your job? We love meeting new people and teaching people about wine. Hearing the stories that people tell make no two days the same. Making people happy with good wine is also very rewarding.
At Vampire Lounge & Tasting Room, visitors sip vampire-themed pours such as the Chateau de Vampire Rouseanne and Dracula Syrah from the bar's namesake winery, Vampire Vineyards. Its moniker originated from its ties to Transylvania back in the '90s, but even now that its a purely Napa Valley operation, the name still fits. The Vampire Lounge menu also features imported sparkling wines from Je T'aime, as well as bittersweet chocolates, Vampire espresso, and fine teas.