Today, Winetraveler spoke with Coly Den Haan, sommelier and owner of Los Angeles’ female-driven wine shop, Vinovore. Coly gives us a local’s perspective on the perfect 2-3 day escape in LA. She’s particularly passionate about natural wines, food & wine pairings, and of course, the LA food & wine scene.
What is the best time of year to visit LA from a gastronomic perspective, why?
Spring! We are so lucky in Southern California to have so much great local produce year-round but I feel chefs really go crazy in the springtime with the local bounty.
What are you favorite wine bars in LA worth visiting for a weekend getaway?
I really like Bar Bandini and Tabula Rasa. Both wine bars have a great natural wine selection and good breezy vibes. The natural wine scene is booming here in LA so if you’re visiting, it’s best to take advantage of all the funky and fun wines that may be harder to find in your own city.
Are there any wineries / vineyards near LA that you recommend visiting? Which ones? Why?
If trekking to LA from a further off place, I suggest going the extra miles and heading a little farther up the coast to Santa Barbara Wine Country. More specifically the Casa Dumetz wine tasting room in the super quaint Los Alamos is a blast. There are tons of surrounding winery options including a few of my lady-made wine favorites, Kita, Amplify, and Desperada.
What are some of your favorite restaurants and hotels to stay at when visiting LA for a wine weekend getaway?
One of my favorite LA restaurants is Tsubaki. Here you will find the perfect blend of Japanese style food with French techniques and stunning local ingredients, not to mention a banging wine and sake list.
Jewel in Silver Lake is a great breakfast or lunch option if you’re bopping around town and looking for a quick, healthy and beyond tasty bite, not to mention it’s right down the street from Vinovore! The Chateau Marmont, Biltmore and the recently renovated Figueroa Hotel gives tons of classic old Hollywood glamour.
What would be your perfect all-encompassing itinerary for visiting LA in a couple of days?
Without a doubt I suggest checking out one of our amazing museums. LA has a fantastic art scene, LACMA, The Broad, The Getty, Natural History Museum, MOCA, and so on. There are so many fantastic options! Just pick one that calls to you and you can’t go wrong – even the iconic La Brea Tar Pits are a trippy must-see of LA history.
The beach definitely has to make your LA list. If you’re looking for some wild people watching and total tourist shopping, Venice Beach is a must. If sunning like the local celebs is more your scene, the gorgeous, slightly more isolated beaches of Malibu won’t disappoint.
We also, have many Hollywood cliché treasures like the Wax Museum, Chinese Mann’s Theatre, Cinerama Dome, Griffith Observatory, Magic Castle, Studio Tours, The Bowl, The Greek, and of course the Hollywood Sign. I suggest not missing at least of one of these sites. Even if it may seem cheesy, it’s part of what makes the Lala landscape unique, and for me, home.