Monday, January 17, 2011

A Winery ... in L.A.!

Well, sort of. The San Antonio Winery has been a part of Los Angeles since 1917. Really! Isn't that amazing! I just somehow cannot picture a vineyard along the Los Angeles river, but ... there you have it. Their grapes are now grown in Paso Robles, and what remains in Los Angeles is a fine tasting room, retail store and restaurant.

For years I've been saying that I wanted to go to the San Antonio winery to try out the restaurant. Well, Saturday was our day! We headed over to the restaurant about 12:30 or so Saturday afternoon. The place is really just a hop, skip and a jump from Bev and Ken's house so it didn't take us any more than about 15 minutes to drive there. The four of us were pretty shocked by the neighborhood. To say the least, it's quite different from when there was a vineyard. The winery is located in a section of L.A. called Lincoln Heights. It's a half residential/half industrial area that has clearly seen some better times. However, when you turn on to Lamar Street and approach the winery, it's as if you've stepped into a different world. The outside of the building is quite charming and, once through the door, you completely forget all about the neighborhood.

Their menu changes daily and what really impressed us was how they showcased their entrees. As you enter the area, there are several tables filled with that day's entrees. Each entree is made in its entirety, wrapped in cling film and placed on the table. Unlike other restaurants where you simply have to go by their description of a dish, at Maddalena Restaurant, there is no doubt what your entree will look like. The most difficult part was making a decision - one dish looked better than the next! And we were not disappointed; the food was both plentiful and delicious. The ambience was very nice as well. The main room of the restaurant is lined with oak wine barrels and there was a wonderful saxaphonist who played mostly old standards - another bonus in my book. =)

After finishing our meal, we walked around a bit and found a flyer highlighting their winery tours. We decided we would definitely come back and take a tour ... and maybe pick up a bottle of vino or two in the process!

If you've never been, I would recommend it. It's a one of a kind L.A. experience that should not be missed. Here are a few photos of our adventure:

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