Stop 1: Friday Flights @ Colorado Wine Company
The work weeks final sunset explodes behind the DTLA monoliths off in the distance. Happily away from bumper to bumper traffic, angry pedestrians, and the grind you easily find a parking space on the west end of Eagle Rock. Immediately after entering the dimly lit and cozy insides of Colorado Wine Company your memory is erased and a new era begins. A handful of candles and few light bulbs illuminate your way to the bar focusing their glare on the few seats available in front of Banah, your tasting guru for the night. Classic tunes, curated by your pour master, play overhead at the perfect level for a wine joint. It’s Friday so a flight is obviously in order. From white to red, dry to wet and locally grown to strangely grown you’re dazzled and educated on the tastes of the week. As you sip your way through the varietals the room’s conversations meld together in a pleasant opening opus to your night. When that last empty glass hits the table, you bid farewell to your vino host, maybe a new friend or two then slide out to the calm Los Angeles night.
Stop 2: Handmade Pastas (and more) @ Blair’s Restaurant
A non-gaudy façade and brightly lit signage of the country of Italy are the only indicators you’ve arrived at your next stop, Blair’s Restaurant. Once you pass through the door the feeling is more of an art gallery than an Italian restaurant. Red brick walls juxtapose the flood of white washed space amid exposed wooden beams and wicker orbs floating above the tables. The staff nonchalantly brings you to your table as you soak in the vibes which immediately makes you feel like you’re part of the crowd. Your waiter dives into the menu detailing it’s tasty handmade pastas and housemade cheeses, an education that makes it that much harder to choose your dish from the short list. You want it all but you eventually land on the bruschetta with burrata and tonnarelli puttanesca. Sipping your wine in the expansive minimalist room your little space of light becomes a big display of taste as the bruschetta and pasta arrives. The hand made long strips of tonnarelli are easily slurped up between tricky bites of the smooth burrata and heirloom tomatoes. A verbal “mmm” or a low key “oo that’s good” may slip from your mouth as you tackle your plate. Admiring the bowls you ask the waiter where they come from. In an artistic twist the owner is a master potter, making all the dishes you’ve seen since you opened the door. Then it dawns on you, from the bruschetta to the basket lights you didn’t step into a restaurant but an artistic space serving spot on Italian dishes with a balanced neighborhood vibe where the customer is the canvas. In a pleasant turn of events you duck out of the restaurant ready for some smooth sounding action.
Stop 3: Dessert Trays and Jazz Keys @ Colombo’s Italian Steakhouse
Walking up to the windowless red brick lined restaurant, you’re struck with the amount of silence adorning the street. As the door slowly creaks open the loud chatter, laughter and clinking of good times quickly echoes out into the suburban abyss. Stepping inside you become part of the melee between hipsters sipping Old Fashioneds living their best lives and old folks shaking out their martinis re-living their past lives. Moving to the bar seems tempting but you make the crucial decision to grab the table directly in front of the band. Once settled in between divorces and online daters you request the dessert tray. In classic fashion the chilled silver platter arrives with visual options ranging from classic staples like tiramisu and old world spumoni to not as classic raspberry tarts and chocolate strawberry stars. As the waiter preps your dessert the band preps their instruments for the smooth sailing tunes about to rock the room. When your desserts arrive the band strikes up their first cord setting the place a buzz like 1954. Morsels of cake and drippings of chocolate are shared between slow guitar ditties and upbeat keyboard solos. When you’ve licked the last sweetness of dessert away its time to turn your attention to the bar for a martini to stir along to the beat. You slowly get buzzed while making friends with the tables around you. A situation less seen in LA let alone this millennium. As the songs continue while you empty your mini shaker it’s either time to call it a night or double down like Dean Martin.