I love me some weekend. Sleeping in, football, burgers, steak and wine. Does it get any better? The day started with a little French Press brewed cup of Intelligentsia. We then hit up the venerable Apple Pan for a classic burger and fries. There are some Apple Pan haters out there, but I love that this place hasn’t changed since 1947. I’ve been coming here for 10 plus years and I’ve had the same waiter nearly every time. I love their tangy red relish sauce, their toasted buns and fresh ground beef. It’s not the best burger in town, but it’s damn good. Check out this video from burger documentarian (and hero) George Motz catching up with long time cook Charles Collins.
Apple Pan would be our base for the day, as our next stop was wine tasting at Bottle Rock. It was day two of their round table wine tasting. Over 40 different wineries with 60 bottle of wine were represented. Drink as much as you want for $25. We got there early so we could have time to speak with the wine reps but the wine bar quickly became bustling with thirsty wine lovers. We sampled wines from all around the world and took about two hours to try 20 wines or so (we skipped most of the whites). The wines were discounted today which made taking home a few of them a little bit easier on the wallet.
We came away with a great Portuguese wine, a 05 Quinta de Cabriz Reserva for $16. A 05 Pascual Toso Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Las Barrancas Vineyard in Argentina for $15. And three bottles of a great Spanish wine, the 02 Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza for $23 a bottle.
We had a little time for a siesta after the wine tasting then it was on to the monthly Beefsteak dinner at Bacaro. The bar is named after the god of wine, Bacchus. These typical wine bars from Italy are laid back places to dine on cicheti (think tapas) and enjoy wine with friends. Bacaro is owned by former A.O.C. sommelier and wine buyer Santos Uy. The wine bar, located in USC’s University Park area, is small and has a great neighborhood feel. Small, rustic tables line both sides of the chalkboard walls, which display their wines and the food menu.
On the first Sunday of every month they do a Beefsteak night. All you can eat grilled hanger steak is served on bread with a side of roasted potatoes. Their steak was delicious, perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper. The potatoes were a little bland, drizzled with lots of olive oil and a little bit of cracked pepper, they needed more seasoning.
The red wine tonight was a 06 Bonacchi Sangiovese. At around $10 a bottle retail, you figure to pay around $20 in a restaurant, but tonight it’s all you can drink. They also had a white wine along with Peroni on tap. It’s a decent deal for just $25 a person. They have two seatings, one at 5:30 and one at 8pm. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 213.748.7205. Starting Sunday January 11, they begin serving a Sunday Brunch featuring items like eggs on brioche with mornay sauce & Niman Ranch bacon or Honey Polenta served with fruit or nuts.