Destination: Los Angeles

Like most people hailing from Los Angeles (L.A.), I have a healthy love-hate relationship with the city. I grew up a “valley kid” in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. Visiting downtown, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, the LACMA museum, and Griffith Park were regular outings for my friends and I. Retrospectively, I can see why people thought that we were spoiled brats. I didn’t know how good I had it! Then, I remember why I haven’t moved back: the death trap that is the 101 freeway, the stifling air pollution, and the rude-but-weirdly-vain people that call Los Angeles home. Alas, a certain je ne sais quoi keeps me coming back at least once a year. I thought long and hard about it; food and beverages tend to win my affection. It goes without saying that L.A. has an impressive food scene. But, their wine scene? I sated my curiosity with a trip to Rosenthal Winery in Malibu.

Prior to imbibing, eating brunch is a favorite pastime for “basic” and “extra” Angelinos/Angelinas alike. Valley kids like myself will judge your degree of character based on whether you are a devoted patron of Brent’s, Abe’s, or Weiler’s Deli. I am a die-hard Abe’s Deli fan. You can imagine my upset when my best friend, Karen, informed me of the establishment’s recent closure. A noble substitute is Brent’s Deli. They’ve spent the last 50 years perfecting their omelettes, pastrami sandwiches, and matzo ball soup. After fueling up for wine tasting escapades, stop by Salt & Straw in Studio City for dessert. Their avant-garde ice cream flavors (think honey lavender, black olive brittle with goat cheese, and roasted strawberry) will knock your socks off! Treat yourself and grab an ice cream for the road.

No one appreciates being stuck on yet another congested L.A. freeway. Take Topanga Canyon to Malibu for a truly scenic route. Put on your fetching, too-large-for-your-face sunglasses, open the sunroof, blast your favorite pop songs, and cruise the canyon at your leisure. Take advantage of the several lookout points along the way…selfies, anyone? Before you know it, you’ll find that the canyon quickly meets the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Turn right off of PCH and about half a mile down the road, you will find Rosenthal Winery on your right. It’s hard to miss the over-sized, blue lifeguard chairs complete with a huge wine bottle. Did I mention that the beach is literally across the street? There are endless opportunities to snap an instagram-worthy photo! I can see why patrons host their wedding parties, baby showers, and birthday parties here.

Start off your afternoon by spending some time in Rosenthal’s tasting room. They have ample seating and an expansive standing bar. Karen and I chose the winery’s white and red tasting course. We mutually agreed upon the 2016 Albarino (a white wine) as our favorite. Glasses in hand, we ventured out to Rosenthal’s outdoor patio. The patio’s casual ambiance is perfect for enjoying Sunday Funday! There are plenty of picnic tables and lounge areas to catch up on the latest L.A. gossip. For those who would rather listen to music than to rumors, the live band is a refreshing alternative. Even Humble Crust has set up shop outside of Rosenthal’s white picket fence. Humble Crust’s pepperoni pizza pairs brilliantly with wine.

Karen and I had a great time imbibing, eating, relaxing, laughing, and catching up on life. After sixteen years of friendship (and going strong), there is something about being able to pick up right where you left off. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend a low-maintenance day in L.A. with my best friend!

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