Good Day Rosé: Food, Wine & Photos From The Taste at Paramount Studios

The Los Angeles Times’ The Taste, an annual celebration of Southern California’s culinary scene, returned to Paramount Pictures Studios with five events highlighting food from Boyle Heights to Beverly Hills, NoHo to Venice. Inside you’ll find all the best and most delicious food from all the best restaurants in town including Ocean Prime, Chaya, Otium, Kismet, Preux and Proper, and more. Plus your next new favorite bottle of rosé awaits!

It was one hot weekend, so needless to say there was a lot of refreshing ceviche, a lot of tacos, and, yes, a lot of chilled wine. And, thankfully, Essentia was there to rescue us whenever we needed an ice cold bottle of water. Everything is included in your ticket price and no money exchanges hands throughout the weekend, which makes the pricey ticket worth every penny.

To get the afternoon started, we began with White Truffle Deviled Eggs from Ocean Prime in Beverly Hills. Perfect for our first course. Beautiful to look at. And the server wasn’t bad on the eyes either.

Ocean Prime also served Ahi Tuna Tartare Wontons with sesame seeds and which were crunchy and the creme fraiche added a unique jolt to the dish.

The Ocean Prime chefs gather for a group photo.

McConnell’s Ice Cream served Mexican chocolate sorbet and hibiscus lime ice cream. All of McConnell’s dairy is from Santa Barbara. Their new summer flavor is the Hibiscus Lime, which was lovely, slightly tart with a subtle floral quality. It’s never too early for ice cream.

The Montage in Beverly Hills may be my pick for the most beautiful presentation. Behold the Hamachi Tartare, which you can order at their restaurant.

Chef Patrice Martineau draws inspiration from the wealth of seasonal produce readily available in Southern California. Go see him in Beverly Hills!

Vegan Bolognese from M Cafe was incredible. The truffle soy creme sauce was delectable and I’d love to take a bottle of it home. M Cafe is a no eggs, no dairy, no poultry, mostly vegan restaurant in Hollywood. They do a healthy 5 Day Reset Plan with home delivery which is a favorite of the Hollywood set.

And now onto Octopus Island! That’s what restaurants The Wallace and Preux and Proper were calling their neighboring bootths. Charred octopus with weiser fingerlings, anchovy remoulade, mustard frills, and blood orange mojo from Preux and Proper.

Notice chef Daniel Alva has an octopus tattoo on his arm.

We believed we had now eaten enough for our first glass of wine. Meoimi Wine definitely had our favorite wine tasting room. Beautiful design and the friendliest servers!

Meomi’s pinot noir is evocative with intense fruit aromas and opulent, flavorful layers of juicy blackberry, dark cherry, strawberry, plum, and toasty mocha. The pinot pairs well with turkey, salmon, lamb, pasta with red sauce and, of course, pizza. But what doesn’t go well with pizza? Their brand new rosé was dry with vibrant floral aromas and mouthwatering fruit flavors complimented by notes of rose petal and orange peel.

The Thai eggplant with whipped tofu, chili and lime from Hayden wine bar was a favorite of many. Hayden also has a great happy hour from 6-7pm daily.

Chef Gilberto Cetina served local yellowtail ceviche from Holbox. You may recognize Cetina, who Jonathan Gold has raved about for several years calling his uni tostada transcendent. You may want to pick up his new cookbook so you can make the dish at home. It is simply mouth-watering.

Now it was time for Good Day Rosé! 

We were delighted to attend Saturday’s Good Day Rose tasting hosted by Ira Norof, Stewart Prato and Margaux Kugelman. With temperatures soaring into the triple digits, Rosé was the perfect refreshment. Rosé, as you certainly know by now, has become very popular in California and all over the States and for good reason. We tasted 6 different rosés from around the world: Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Argentina, Italy and France. Provence is the template for Rosé, but we discovered that some of the Rosés from elsewhere in the world were equally wonderful and unique.

Taste #1 First up was Prum’s Pinot noir based rosé from the Mosel wine region of Germany. Germany is famous for Riesling, so this was a real surprise. It tasted of strawberries, light peaches and watermelon. It was very inviting and not your typical color, much more golden than pink. It retails for about $25 per bottle. 

Taste #2 Next we tried a rose from Northern Israel, Tabor winery’s Adama made from Italian Barbara grapes. This is a very different new wine and in the United States for the very first time. It had some weight to it, was bigger and rounder, making it ideal for food pairing. It also happens to be Kosher. This retails for about $22 per bottle. 

Taste #3 We traversed the globe to New Zealand, which was a special treat for me!  I adore Kim Crawford’s Savignon Blanc and was equally impressed with their rosé. Kim Crawford’s rosé was a pretty pale pink with a lively nose, brimming with bright berry and tropical fruit, hints of watermelon and strawberry. It was made entirely from merlot grapes. This easy drinking rosé is an ideal aperitif or summer sipper. Perfect with lighter dishes and salads. Retails at about $22 per bottle. 

Taste #4 A beautiful bottle from Argentina, called “Rosé is a Rosé is a Rosé” from Luigi Bosca. This copper colored rose is made from 85% Pinot Gris and 15% Syrah. It smelled of dried apricot and cantaloupe, almonds and nuts with a Syrah spice. This retails for about $16 per bottle. 

Taste #5 We worked our way back to Europe to Italy and tasted Kreos Castello Monaci Rose, which is rated 89 by Wine Enthusiast which is great for a rosé. This is from a family owned estate that is one of the few in Puglia to be certified sustainable. Made from 100% Negroamarois, this delightful wine was delicious, dry and elegant with bright fruit and floral notes on the nose and palate.  It retails for about $18 per bottle. 

Taste #6 They saved the absolute best for last! Chateau Minuty’s Chateau D’or. This wine was exceptional!  From a family owned vineyard that is always being approached by big companies to be bought out. This light rosé wine was the top of the line! It was delicate, and brought us back to the mediterranean, Cannes, St Tropez, white peaches, a touch of saltiness and tangy acidity. Vineyards next to the sea produce a beautiful crisp wine. This special bottle was the priciest at about $50 per bottle. Our tasting group voted unanimously for this wine before knowing the price tag. 

After our rosé tasting we decided it was time for more food. Something with a little bread maybe? So it was great timing we ran into Maury of Maury’s Bagels. Maury’s served a smoked whitefish bagel with lemon cream cheese, smoked whitefish, cucumber and red onion. Maury’s Bagels will be opening a brick and mortar location soon on the South side of Silver Lake, but for now you can catch them Saturdays at Dinosaur Coffee or Sundays at Hollywood Farmers Market.

Ceviche on top of the flowers courtesy of the Montage Beverly Hills and Chef Patrice Martineau.

It was a pleasure throughout the weekend to return to our good friends at Oyster Bay Wines. Oyster Bay’s pinot noir is floral and cherry with juicy black plum and violent nuances while their sauvignon blanc is fragrantly tropical with floral notes and a vibrant fresh lime and citrus zest.

Saturday night was a whirlwind of fine dining in miniature. The theme was Dinner with a Twist. Little Fatty made squid ink XLB. The Bellwether served crispy squash blossoms with crushed heirloom tomato and stracciatella cheese. Steak frites was on the menu from Antonia Lofaso Catering. Faith and Flower served a delicious Kampachi. The Black Cat made another excellent octopus dish. Blue Ribbon made an excellent hand roll with spicy tuna and yellowtail. Barrel and Ashes made Smoked Beef Brisket and Grilled Corn Salad.

One the highlights of the weekend were the crispy salmon tacos from Chaya. One of the absolute best dishes at the festival. Chaya was very, very busy with a long line snaking around the backlot. But the incredible taco was absolutely worth it and inspired us to stand in line three times.

The Crispy salmon tacos were made with crispy nori, salmon sashimi, mentaiko cream cheese, Yuzu jelly, pickled French radish, and micro mitsuba.

An artist was painting live on the Paramount backlot.

Doomie’s, an unassuming small vegan outpost in Hollywood, served vegan ceviche made with hearts of palm.

The Ensaymada Project served mango and red velvet cupcakes with Phillipino bread that takes twelve hours to cook. People were loving them.

At Layer Cake Wines, they work directly with the farmers to grow the fruit they work with. Their grapes are grown to exacting standards in some of the most diversely-layered vineyards around the world. They are handpicked, separated and fermented with care, then aged in French Oak.

Wilson Creek Winery is nestled at the end of Rancho California Road in the Temecula Wine Valley and produces high quality wines and champagnes.

Josh Cellars specializes in Wines that are bold and expressive, but unassuming and approachable.

Slapfish made a Surf and Turf lobster burger – gooey, decadent, incredible. This should be on their menu full time.

Coni’Seafood served shrimp and octopus sea snail ceviche.

Takami may have served my absolute favorite dish – seared taco soy van blanc cucumber salads. Excellent and refreshing on that really hot day.

And their Seared Tuna in soy vin blanc was to die for. Can’t wait for my next dinner at Takami downtown.

Braised leek with blue cheese, spicy peanuts, pickled cucumber and Thai basil from The Butcher’s DaughterThe Butcher’s Daughter is a plant-based restaurant, cafe, juice bar and “vegetable slaughterhouse.” They treat plants how a butcher treats meat.

Ceviche with campache squid and avocado from Otium. Otium, of course, is the newish contemporary restaurant next to The Broad museum in Downtown Los Angeles by Chef Timothy Hollingsworth.

We returned to the Bar Stage Sunday afternoon for the “There are Bubbles in my wine” tasting and discussion hosted by Ira Norof, Stewart Prato, Serafin Alvarado and Lora Tagliarina.  Sparking wine is great for any celebratory occasion as well as working for any meal, equal parts festive and food friendly, always welcome and appreciated! Needless to say, it was quite a pleasure to sample sparkling wines from all over the world!

Taste #1 We tried a Cava from Spain: The acclaimed Segura Viudas Brut from the renowned Penedes region just outside of Barcelona. It was clean and delicate, yet rich in flavor. Dry and long on the finish. 

Taste #2 Next, we tried a Cremant from the Burgundy region of France in Chablis. Simonnet-Febvre Brut the only cremant made in Bourgogne. It ages 24 months and is a wonderfully well balanced wine with fine bubbles, fresh and powerful on the nose with aromas of citrus. It had a rich and searing lift with minerality. Delightful!

Taste #3 Ferrari brut and Italian chardonnay based sparkling wine was poured out of a giant magnum which was visually stunning – it invites a party. This sparkling wine was elegant, yet had restraint, subtlety and didn’t give away everything up front. A true find! More please! 

Taste #4  What a treat! Veuve Clicquot Brut yellow label from France, the only true champagne and my absolute favorite! Classic and the one of the most famous champagnes in the world. The layers of citrus and minerality from the Chardonnay, brambly berry from the Pinot Meunier, and the refined full structure from the Pinot Noir, which is the dominant variety in this blend, makes this an outstanding Non-Vintage Champagne. We were so happy to get a refill!

Taste #5 Chandon Rosé produced in California by French winemakers Moet & Chandon. This Rosé was a pretty pink color with intense ripe strawberry, juicy watermelon, and fresh red cherry fruit aromas and flavors. On the palate, this wine is creamy and seductive with a defined structure from the Pinot Noir added in its final stages. Not as spectacular as the Veuve, but perfectly enjoyable to enliven any occasion.  

Taste #6 was Bartenura Rosé, a sparkling moscato which really smelled like grapes.  It was a light rose color with a delicate fragrance and sweet taste. Great to accompany fruit, cheese and desserts. Not my favorite, but a nice end to the tasting.

We really enjoyed savoring all these great sparkling wines! Ira Norof, Stewart Prato, Serafin Alvarado and Lora Tagliarina were so knowledgeable and entertaining! 

Rosaline chef Ricardo Zarate.

71 Above – a hot ticket in town – served more octopus. 71Above offers elevated modern American cuisine by Chef Vartan Abgaryan and boasts breathtaking views at 950 feet above ground level. We can’t wait to go.

Kato served albacore tartare in a lettuce leaf. It was the most beautiful presentation and I absolutely loved it.

Burratta toast from Beverly Hilton. Excellent.

And as our foodie weekend came to a close it seemed fitting we’d end it with Pizerria Mozza and their Chopped Italian Salad. Cold, classic, hearty, refreshing, but with a twist. Much like most of our dishes served that weekend.

And, of course, the perfect ending to the evening was a conversation between Jonathan Gold and actor/restauranteur Danny Trejo of Trejos Tacos (and many, many movies).

I even was lucky enough to meet Jonathan, who was as warm and enthusiastic about food as you can imagine.

All told, it was a spectacular weekend being able to try small bites from our city’s best restaurants and top chefs. Not to mention the feeling of being able to visit wine regions from all over the world without having to leave the Paramount backlot. Maybe it’s that aspect of movie magic that makes every The Taste Food & Wine Festival so incredible. We can’t wait to return to The Taste next year!

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