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What I'm drinking now: Josie LeBalch of Josie and Next Door

April 18, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila
  • Josie LeBalch, chef/owner of Josie and Next Door in Santa Monica, with a glass of her current favorite, a Pecorino from the Marche region of Italy.
Josie LeBalch, chef/owner of Josie and Next Door in Santa Monica, with a… (Josie restaurant )

Josie LeBalch can hardly believe it herself, but her Santa Monica restaurant Josie is in its 13th year. To celebrate, for the entire month of March, she revisited her original menu, which included seared sardines with cannellini bean salad, cod tagine and roasted marrow bones, all fashionable right now. Maybe the rest of the restaurant world is just catching up.

A year and a half ago, she opened the more casual Next Door on the same block as Josie. The bar there is split equally between cocktails, beer and wine. So guests could try more wine -- and more eclectic wine -- she decided to serve half glasses of wine there.

Lately, when she has a moment between 5 and 7 p.m., before she dresses up and heads back to work, she likes to sit out on her patio with a glass of wine.

"It’s a magical time for me. Lately, I’ve been drinking a Pecorino from the Ciù Ciù estate near Offida in the Marche region. And I love it. Made from the indigenous Pecorino grape, it's a clean and crisp white wine. It has structure, yet it’s not too acidic or too heavy. Great with food, but it’s also one of those wines that you can sip all by itself.

"This is the wine I can drink while I’m putting my makeup on before I go out.”

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