The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2016

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Page 18 of 108

THE MESSAGE Brief Encounters Whether The Tasting Panel goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world's most influential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it's in the publication, we deem it noteworthy. —Meridith May, Publisher & Editorial Director 18  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2016 T ucked off the street near a parking garage in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles is a wonderful gem of a restaurant called Simbal. Opened last year by Chef Shawn Pham, the Southeast Asian cuisine features bold flavors paired with unique wines and cocktails from General Manager and Beverage Director Ron Carey. We stopped by to have dinner and talk over the wine list with Carey. It can be difficult pairing wines with Asian food, but Carey takes it step further, selecting lesser-known varietals from Germany and Austria like Scheurebe or Zweigelt for his wine program. "This won't be a list where you see well-known varieties like Napa Cabs," Carey admits. "I try to push outside of the boundaries and pair Old World wines with Pham's dishes. We get a lot of industry people in here who really appreciate that." Many of the wines on the list are Biodynamic or organic, as well as small- production. Being in Little Tokyo, Carey added a few sakés to the menu, which have proved surprisingly popular. Although the wine list can seem daunting to an amateur wine drinker, Carey makes sure his service staff is knowl- edgeable about the list and can offer suggestions and guidance. "One of the biggest challenges outside of getting wines is training the staff on them. I have quizzes, we do tastings—anything that can help them help the customers." He adds, "It's an eclectic but approachable wine list." After tasting unique combinations like a Prieler Blaufränkisch Johanneshöhe from Austria with a delicious crispy and spicy tofu, we're inclined to agree! —Jesse Hom-Dawson An Eclectic Wine List Pairs with Eclectic Cuisine at DTLA's Simbal PHOTO COURTESY OF SIMBAL PHOTO COURTESY OF SIMBAL General Manager and Beverage Director Ron Carey of Simbal, located in Downtown Los Angeles. Beam Barrel Tasting in Houston PHOTO: KENZIE DELATORRE, TOWER PHOTOGRAPHY Guests of The Houston Whiskey Social taste Beam barrel samples at Federal American Grill in Houston. O n Wednesday, September 14, The Houston Whiskey Social invited 30 guests to come together at Federal American Grill to sample private barrel samples from Beam, with the group selecting their favorite over dinner. The tasting was led by The Houston Whiskey Social's Event Directors, Y'Wante Curry and Kristopher Hart, The Houston Whiskey Social's Event Manager Michelle Solomon and the National Brand Ambassador of Beam Suntory, Adam Harris with Luxury Specialist Frank Krockenberger. The selected bar- rel will be bottled for members in May of 2017.

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