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September 8, 2011
A 4-year-old red from Rioja for less than $20? That's why Bodegas Sierra Cantabria always gets such high marks for its price/quality ratio. Winemaker Marcos Eguren conjures up a delicious intro-level Rioja, one that anybody would be proud to serve. Modern in style, it has both fruit and intensity without sacrificing elegance. Layers of blackberries and spice and its well-integrated tannins make the 2007 Sierra Cantabria Rioja "Crianza" a great quaffing wine. Have it with grilled sausages, charcuterie, tapas and first courses.
October 6, 2011 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
In Porto, I remember eating sardines grilled outside a little restaurant near the sea accompanied by gulps of chilled vinho verde . It's easier to find the wine here now, and this bottling is well worth seeking out. Look for the characteristic tall slope-shouldered shape and the distinctive Trajarinho label. Pour a glass: It tastes alive. It's similar to Spain's Txakoli, only the grapes get more sun in Portugal, so you have not only that bracing snap of acidity but also beautiful ripe fruit.
August 18, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
2011 Ameztoi Rosé Getariako Txakolina "Rubentis" This rosé from the Spanish Basque country is something different. Grown on the hillside vineyards above the small fishing town of Getaria, the Ameztoi "Rubentis" is essentially a pink Txakolina made with a blend of white and red grapes. Ever so slightly pétillant , it has the minerality and a bright citrusy quality that makes it ideal with spicy foods. Open a bottle with fiery Thai or Indian dishes. I love it with ceviche, anything with anchovies or sardines.
July 29, 2010
  2004 R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja 'Crianza Viña Cubillo' Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta winery, founded in the late 19th century in Rioja, Spain, is still one of best in the region, famous for its gorgeous top-of-the-line Viña Tondonia. But the quality extends down the line. Viña Cubillo, the estate's crianza , would be a reserva anywhere else. And priced in the mid-$20s, it's a bargain by any measure. Made from a blend of Tempranillo with 25% Granacho and smidgens of Graciano and Mazuelo, it is a brilliant ruby, with an enticing scent of black cherries, anise and tobacco.
December 15, 2005
We were amazed that Leslee Komaiko found a place in the East San Gabriel Valley worthy of mention -- Coco Palm ["Holiday Cheer," Dec. 8]. We have never eaten there, though a Cuban friend tells us the food is good. We will give it a try. Claremont and other communities in this part of the San Gabriel Valley also have some restaurants worthy of mention. While we hope that Komaiko didn't experience any ill effects from her journey or go through the traffic hell we did last night in Hollywood, we hope that she will make more of an effort to include our restaurants.
November 4, 2001 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
After a cocktail party near the Pacific Design Center, five of us crowd around two tables pushed together at Cobras & Matadors. We're still getting our bearings, ordering water, deliberating over what to eat when I spy an old friend slouched on a banquette at a table set for 10. He's waiting for his wine buddies, he tells me. Back at our table, two more stragglers arrive and then we're seven. At some places, this could cause problems, but not at Cobras & Matadors. Here it's the more the merrier.
August 12, 1994 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
The play is over. The crowd files out into the balmy summer night, hesitating in the courtyard in front of the historic Pasadena Playhouse. It's only a little past 10:30, too early for the evening to end. What next? The solution is very close at hand. Step next door to Critixx for a glass of fino sherry and a wedge of potato-and-egg tortilla dribbled with aioli or flaky-crusted empanadas filled with spicy Cuban-style ropa vieja.
February 20, 1986 | ROSE DOSTI, Times Staff Writer
The tapas craze, which is peaking in New York, is on the verge of erupting in Los Angeles, if voices in the air speak truthfully. Restaurants featuring these traditional Spanish appetizers served on tiny plates are popping up here and there. Tapas seem to fit in. The hearty nibble food is taken on the run to or from theater, or savored over drinks by an increasing number of singles and couples who rarely make it to dinner. Tapas, in fact, can replace dinner.
March 27, 1986 | ROSE DOSTI, Times Staff Writer
I discovered Barcelona restaurant by way of a story on tapas. Tapas are Spanish appetizers served on small dishes, usually at a bar with drinks. The custom in Spain is to eat tapas while standing at a bar, which is covered from end to end with tapas. At Barcelona in Santa Monica, the tapas are served from the kitchen, a concession to state health and safety codes governing displayed foods, no doubt.
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