Monday, August 4, 2008

A Night Out in Glendale

One night last month, we headed to Glendale to enjoy some activities and cuisine that fall outside of the realm of what we tend to do/have on a typical weekend night. That involved a wine tasting far from the beaten path of "wine country," Peruvian food, and an old movie on the big screen.

We started our night at the Rosso Wine Shop (pictured just below here) - a little place the owner calls "a neighborhood wine shop for the disenchanted Trader Joe wine-buyer, social nomad and local wine enthusiast." We loved the inviting, intimate atmosphere, the old-fashioned Dutch door at the storefront (which reminded me of the one in my childhood home), the maps depicting different wine regions of each country above the appropriate wine sections (you can kind of make them out in the picture), and the great pictures of the owner and his wife in different countries hanging up behind the bar. Also behind the bar that night was the owner himself, Jeff Zimmitti. He was extremely friendly and provided just the right level and amount of helpful information about the three excellent wines they were showcasing that night. Matt and I aren't wine connoisseurs (by any stretch of the imagination), but we've really enjoyed getting to know what we like over the past several years, and it's been experiences like this - tastings with knowledgeable and unpretentious vintners and sommeliers who were willing to share their knowledge and expert selections - that have encouraged us to do more. We liked the Godello and the Super Tuscan so much that we took a bottle of each with us to enjoy at home.

After wine tasting, we headed to Lola's Peruvian Restaurant for some dinner. Matt was happy with his dish and his beer, but he didn't care for the busboy (who Matt claims kept looking at me lasciviously) and I didn't like my dish or my wine, so I don't know that we'll be rushing back. When I was a sales rep for McGraw-Hill Higher Education, Glendale Community College was part of my territory. One of the professors there told me that Glendale had the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia, so I'm hoping next time we get back that way we'll have the chance to check out an Armenian restaurant and maybe some authentic Cuban breads and pastries from Porto's Bakery. I've heard good things.

After dinner, it was on to the Alex Theatre, which is run by their own non-profit community arts organization dedicated to film preservation through exhibition. Built in 1925, the theater has been lovingly maintained and is still quite beautiful. The movie experience they had to offer that night was pretty unique because they were showing the road show version of an amazing classic - complete with overtures, an intermission, and audience clapping. It was David Lean's Academy Award-winning, epic film Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, and Claude Rains. The first time I saw this movie was on an itty-bitty 13" tv . . . with bunny ears and a turn-dial station changer (!). Not exactly the ideal viewing medium for those gorgeous panoramic shots of the dessert. What a treat to see it on the big screen! At 227 minutes, it's a long movie to sit through, but it was so worth it. The Alex doesn't have anything else coming up in the fall that I'm interested in, but I definitely want to get back there in February when they'll be showing Philadelphia Story.

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