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Nostalgic day-cation in Los Angeles

Road trip up to L.A. post-COVID for deli fare, ice cream and more food finds.

Lifeguard chair at Malibu's Rosenthal Winery – just two hours north of S.D. without traffic.
Lifeguard chair at Malibu's Rosenthal Winery – just two hours north of S.D. without traffic.

Like most people hailing from Los Angeles, I have a healthy love-hate relationship with the city. I grew up a "valley kid" in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. Downtown, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, the LACMA museum and Griffith Park were regular outings for my friends and I.

Retrospectively, I can see why people thought that we were spoiled brats. I didn't know how good I had it.

Then I remember why I haven't moved back home: the death trap that is the 101 freeway, the stifling air pollution, and the rude-but-weirdly-vain people that call Los Angeles home. Alas, a certain je ne sais quoi keeps me coming back at least once a year. I thought long and hard about it; food and beverages tend to win my affection. It goes without saying that L.A. has an impressive food scene. But their wine scene?

I sated my curiosity with a trip to Rosenthal Winery in Malibu. Prior to imbibing, brunch is a favorite pastime for basic and "extra" Angelinos/Angelinas alike. Valley kids like myself will judge character based on whether you're a devoted patron of Brent's, Abe's, or Weiler's Deli. I am a die-hard Abe's Deli fan. You can imagine my dismay when my best friend informed me of the establishment's recent closure. A noble substitute is Brent's Deli – they're open post-COVID for takeout as of May.

They've spent the last 50 years perfecting their omelettes, pastrami sandwiches, and matzo ball soup. After fueling up for wine tasting escapades, stop by Salt & Straw in Studio City (currently open for pint pickup) for dessert. Their avant-garde ice cream flavors (think honey lavender, black olive brittle with goat cheese, and roasted strawberry) will knock your socks off.

Treat yourself and grab an ice cream for the road!

No one wants to be stuck on yet another congested L.A. freeway. Take Topanga Canyon to Malibu for a truly scenic route. Put on your fetching, too-large-for-your-face sunglasses, open the sunroof, blast your favorite pop songs, and cruise the canyon at your leisure. Take advantage of several lookout points along the way to snap a selfie. Before you know it, the canyon quickly meets the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Turn right off of PCH and about half a mile down the road, you will find Rosenthal Winery on your right. It's hard to miss the oversized blue lifeguard chairs complete with a giant wine bottle. Did I mention that the beach is literally across the street? With no shortage of Instagrammable photo opps, I can see why patrons host their wedding parties, baby showers and birthday parties here.

Start off your afternoon by spending some time in Rosenthal's tasting room. (Editor's note: NOT yet open as of mid-May.) They have ample seating and an expansive standing bar. My best friend and I chose the winery's white and red tasting course. We mutually agreed on the 2016 Albarino (a white wine) as our favorite.

Glasses in hand, we ventured out to Rosenthal's outdoor patio. The patio's casual ambiance is perfect for a Sunday funday, with plenty of picnic tables and lounge areas to catch up on the latest L.A. gossip. For those who would rather listen to music than to rumors, the live band is a refreshing alternative. Humble Crust has set up shop outside of Rosenthal's white picket fence. Their pepperoni pizza pairs brilliantly with wine.

Pepperoni pizza at Humble Crust.

My best friend and I had a great time imbibing, eating, relaxing, laughing, and catching up on life. That's the beauty of a low-maintenance day in L.A: being able to pick up right where you left off.

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Lifeguard chair at Malibu's Rosenthal Winery – just two hours north of S.D. without traffic.
Lifeguard chair at Malibu's Rosenthal Winery – just two hours north of S.D. without traffic.

Like most people hailing from Los Angeles, I have a healthy love-hate relationship with the city. I grew up a "valley kid" in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. Downtown, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, the LACMA museum and Griffith Park were regular outings for my friends and I.

Retrospectively, I can see why people thought that we were spoiled brats. I didn't know how good I had it.

Then I remember why I haven't moved back home: the death trap that is the 101 freeway, the stifling air pollution, and the rude-but-weirdly-vain people that call Los Angeles home. Alas, a certain je ne sais quoi keeps me coming back at least once a year. I thought long and hard about it; food and beverages tend to win my affection. It goes without saying that L.A. has an impressive food scene. But their wine scene?

I sated my curiosity with a trip to Rosenthal Winery in Malibu. Prior to imbibing, brunch is a favorite pastime for basic and "extra" Angelinos/Angelinas alike. Valley kids like myself will judge character based on whether you're a devoted patron of Brent's, Abe's, or Weiler's Deli. I am a die-hard Abe's Deli fan. You can imagine my dismay when my best friend informed me of the establishment's recent closure. A noble substitute is Brent's Deli – they're open post-COVID for takeout as of May.

They've spent the last 50 years perfecting their omelettes, pastrami sandwiches, and matzo ball soup. After fueling up for wine tasting escapades, stop by Salt & Straw in Studio City (currently open for pint pickup) for dessert. Their avant-garde ice cream flavors (think honey lavender, black olive brittle with goat cheese, and roasted strawberry) will knock your socks off.

Treat yourself and grab an ice cream for the road!

No one wants to be stuck on yet another congested L.A. freeway. Take Topanga Canyon to Malibu for a truly scenic route. Put on your fetching, too-large-for-your-face sunglasses, open the sunroof, blast your favorite pop songs, and cruise the canyon at your leisure. Take advantage of several lookout points along the way to snap a selfie. Before you know it, the canyon quickly meets the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Turn right off of PCH and about half a mile down the road, you will find Rosenthal Winery on your right. It's hard to miss the oversized blue lifeguard chairs complete with a giant wine bottle. Did I mention that the beach is literally across the street? With no shortage of Instagrammable photo opps, I can see why patrons host their wedding parties, baby showers and birthday parties here.

Start off your afternoon by spending some time in Rosenthal's tasting room. (Editor's note: NOT yet open as of mid-May.) They have ample seating and an expansive standing bar. My best friend and I chose the winery's white and red tasting course. We mutually agreed on the 2016 Albarino (a white wine) as our favorite.

Glasses in hand, we ventured out to Rosenthal's outdoor patio. The patio's casual ambiance is perfect for a Sunday funday, with plenty of picnic tables and lounge areas to catch up on the latest L.A. gossip. For those who would rather listen to music than to rumors, the live band is a refreshing alternative. Humble Crust has set up shop outside of Rosenthal's white picket fence. Their pepperoni pizza pairs brilliantly with wine.

Pepperoni pizza at Humble Crust.

My best friend and I had a great time imbibing, eating, relaxing, laughing, and catching up on life. That's the beauty of a low-maintenance day in L.A: being able to pick up right where you left off.

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