As the years have led to urban expansion, only one Los Angeles winery has stood the test of time. The San Antonio Winery and Restaurant in Lincoln Heights is so beloved as a local drinking institution, it was given cultural monument status in 1966. Since then, the hidden-away winery, down a few side streets in an industrial part of the downtown area, has been quietly serving up glasses of fine wine from their Italian-style villa. Terracotta roofs and tall greenery line the exterior of this operational winery, which has been bottling since 1917. Free wine tastings and tours are available daily, and the attached Maddalena restaurant serves homey Italian food.
Though freedom to choose your own pairings is good for believers in true love and eclectic décor, professionally paired flavor combos showcase the best qualities of each ingredient. A retail shop outfitted with a handsome tasting bar, California Wine and Cheese stocks wines produced exclusively in California, regularly consisting of over 200 selections. Wine flights consist of four to five samplings and change every Friday, giving customers a chance to gain a broad appreciation for all kinds of wine. If you've already sampled one or more wines from the flight, just wait a week and new choices of red or white wine will magically appear. To complement the characteristics of each wine, a sampling of imported and domestic cheeses accompanies each flight. Because California Wine and Cheese sells the goods to take home, you can purchase the wines and cheeses you like best to re-create the pairings at home for dinner guests and culinarily curious cats.
Named after its spot in the shadow of the Santa Anita Racetrack, One Hundred to One evens the odds with a no-frills selection of beers and spirits. Float toward camaraderie-laden coves borne on the sudsy currents of Budweiser, Amber Bock, or Shock Top draught pitchers (starting at $7.50). Or listen for the sound of ocean waves and subliminal messages from Sting by putting your mouth and ear to international bottles ($4.25), including Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, and Dos Equis. Parched partiers can also place their fermented fate in the hands of one of One Hundred to One's merrymaking mixologists, sating thirsts with cocktails constructed of blithe spirits including Belvedere ($6.75), Crown Royal ($5.75), and Bombay Sapphire ($5.75).
Using only fat-free vegetable oil, seasonal vegetables, and fresh meats, the chefs of Nirvana Indian Cuisine whip up authentic Indian dishes in their sunny, open space. White table clothes set the stage for heaping plates of curries and naan, and lunchtime diners can sample bites of everything during the lunch buffet.
Intent on contributing to the rise of an Old World-style wine country in Temecula Valley, Rev Winery harvests grapes from more than 30 acres of vineyards to create organic, palate-friendly wines. These grapes include traditional European vinifera varietals, producing everything from syrah and merlot to cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese, but the winery embraces modern, New World-driven advancements in winemaking techniques and technologies. Rev Winery also features a robust zinfandel made from 43-year-old vines, which are easily identifiable thanks to their Nixon-Agnew presidential campaign stickers.
The Parlour stocks its chic, exposed-brick bistro space with a Bacchanalian bounty of elegant, hand-selected wines. Its impressive by-the-bottle list boasts more than 200 wines from around the globe, categorized by type and country of origin. If this leviathan list seems too daunting, wizened staff members are on hand to make masterful suggestions. The shorter by-the-glass list streamlines the assortment down to approximately 30 wines, ports, and imported beers (starting at $6) to team up with The Parlour's seasonal menu, like Tom and Jerry when they fight that pesky bulldog, Spike.