Us Angelenos are blessed with sunny skies, delicious local cuisine, and a wine festival just about every weekend. So when LA Winefest returned this year at the Row DTLA, we decided to attend Sunday when Smorgasburg was open. For those of you who’s never been to Smorgasburg in LA, it’s a swamp meet of mouth-watering dishes changing the food scene. With Instagram heavy hitters like Mama Musubi, Chi Chi Dango, Donut Friend, and Shrimp Daddy the choices are endless. But first, let’s turn our attention back to drinking the wines at LA Winefest.
Compared to last year, the amount of wineries on Sunday felt like a stripped down version of last year. But for us, it’s really quality over quantity. Fortunately, we saw a familiar sight. The booth for Temecula Valley Wine Growers was present and even though we try not be biased, they were our favorite of the day. More specifically, the Lorenzi Estate Rated R that was a blend of Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel, and Petit Syrah. Lots of dry fruit on the nose and a smooth finish. We also liked the 2014 Celler Selection Meritage by Leoness Cellers. Similar characteristics as the Lorenzi, just a little lighter in body.
Strolling around the winefest, found some new vendors this year. Obvious Wines with their simple label and their take on wines. Currently they have a #1 “dark and bold” red wine and a #2 that is bright and crisp white wine. Their #2 tastes like a vouvray without all the heaviness. All wines are produced by other wineries in that particular region. (ie. the #2 is produced in Loire Valley by the Villebois winery in France). Easy drinking wines without the complexity of extra wording on labels.
Brew Dr. Kombucha , the 100% raw organic tea company was also a newcomer to LA Winefest. Personally, I got started drinking kombucha because of this company since it is, to my knowledge, the only company who makes a “hoppy” kombucha that tastes like a light beer. Brew Dr’s kombuchas are not sweet nor is it vinegary like it’s competitors. Rather it was crisp, cold and refreshing and much needed on a sunny day in DTLA.
As we strolled along, there was the other side of the winefest. We walked by and passed the jazz stage, saw the infamous giant Jenga, and enjoyed meeting new friends. What’s great about coming to this event is the lines are never long, usually a minute tops at the queue. With that said, we ventured out to Smorgasburg which was conveniently steps away from LA Winefest.
The lines here at Smorgasburg, on the other hand, was quite opposite. There was a line pretty much for everything and everyone. Longest line winner goes to Shrimp Daddy, famous for their garlic shrimp served inside a pineapple bowl. Even with the wait, I love coming to places like this. It’s the central place to show and your specialty cuisine (craft vendors are also here as well). Thus, I don’t wouldn’t have the excuse to drive all over town to get these great eats. I can just come to Smorgasburg and enjoy the food. Parking is free at The Row for the first two hours, that’s a plus!
Fortunately for me, I was able to grab a sandwich from my favorite Pastrami stand, Ugly Drum. I’ve been a fan of this deep, pit smoked pastrami pop-up since their early days. Impeccable rich flavor, and not dried out like most other pastrami places. The cuts here are a mixture of flat and point. Believe me, it tastes meaty and chunky, like a steak would be.
And as long as our wristbands were intact, we were able to circle back to grab some more red wine to go with our meaty sandwich. We strolled s’more and found GABF Gold winner Highwater’s Campfire Stout mixed with Dr. ZZYZX Chiptole Vodka. Wow! It was the stiffest and spiciest drink all day.
It was a true Sunday Funday with new wine friends, eating at Smorgasburg and pairing it with wines found from LA Winefest. I would totally recommend to come Sundays to enjoy the best Los Angeles has to offer in terms of food and drink.
June 2& 3 at the Row DTLA
777 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90021