The Yearly Holiday Overdose

December 16, 2017 Uncategorized  No comments

It happens every year – obligations around the holiday season – work, professional organizations, family, extended family, not to mention old friends and acquaintances coming into town and wanting to get together. Question is – since this is blog centered around food and wine – do you get to choose where and what you will be eating? And is it what you want? If the answers to those questions are “no”, and if you have particular tastes (I would imagine that that is a “yes” since you are reading this), what do you do to sneak around in-between responsibilities and get something that you really want to try? Well, it can be a challenge – and it can entail some “sweet little lies” as well as some creative planning. But here’s what I did one night with a few friends.

There’s a fantastic little restaurant, not too expensive too, called the Nook Bistro, located in West Los Angeles. Everything on the smallish menu is quite flavorful and very well prepared. 4 of us had 4 entrees – and I highly recommend them all. And, they don’t mind you bring your own bottles of wine along. And, their salads/starters and desserts are all just as good as the incredible main courses.

A dish that they do amazingly well is the Chicken Paillard – a flattened chicken breast pan seared with a lemony-butter-and white wine sauce with capers, over a mound of garlicky mashed potatoes and some fantastic grilled brocollini. It’s so good in fact, that I wanted to make it myself, and found this close recipe -

A friend of mine ordered the Blackened Salmon with grilled broccolini, creamed corn, green goddess crema and I had a taste too – fantastic. Don’t even think that the “creamed corn” here is remotely similar to the canned version that many of us had while growing up. This one bursts with a fresh corn flavor, which goes very well with the spice from the seared spice on the salmon.

Nook Chicken Paillard Nook Salmon Nook Shrimp & Grits Nook Steak Frites


Our wives ordered the Andouille Sausage Shrimp & Grits, and the Steak Frites. Ok, call me a newbie, but I had never ordered grits before – but I would again after trying this. They had a great creaminess that went well with the fresh shrimp and spicy ( not too hot!) sausage. And the fries were crispy and not overdone – and not oversalted which too many restaurants do. And the Steak was as tender as a nice Filet Mignon as well.


We brought in a few wines that I picked up from LAWC – 2 nice yet contrasting red wines – first, the 2013 Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture Il Repertorio, a 93-point wine from Southern Italy, and the 2015 All or Nothing Red Blend by Tank Garage Winery, from Napa. The latter was a much bigger wine, as it is made of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Malbec, and has flavors of dark fruits and mocha. Of course, this went very well with the grilled Steak with its nice char on the ends. And, once it opened up in the glass and softened a little, the edge of the muscular red seemed to dissipate (as they always do) and even went well with the Chicken Paillard – although I preferred the softer Aglianico for that dish (it also went very well with the charred Salmon, and I’ll most assuredly be getting this red again for grilling fish at home – as I do often!)

Happy Holidays to all of you and to all the LAWC customers – and remember to make some plans to go out this Holiday season and bring some unusual wines!

And don’t forget, mention “Nickel & Dime” in the notes upon checkout for a discount flat shipping rate of $25.00 to the lower 48.


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