Restaurant: La Paella [1, 2, 3]
Location: 476 South San Vicente Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA 90048. (323) 951-0745
Date: May 1, 2019
Rating: Really tasty traditional Spanish
I haven’t been back here in a while, but when the Hedonists decided to do an Unico dinner it had to be here — hey there aren’t really very many Spanish restaurants in LA.
La Paella is cosy and “classic.”
We had a serious lineup of Unicos tonight, and thanks to some last minute wrangling and me throwing 3-4 in the bag no need to actually serve a duplicate!
NV Billecart-Salmon Rose. Parker 90. The NV Brut Rose is a pretty, gracious wine. Freshly cut roses, red berries and spices take shape nicely in the glass as the wine shows off its understated, timeless personality. Billecart-Salmon’s NV Brut Rose is a reliably tasty wine.
Bread with butter and olive tapenade.
Yummy Spanish olives.
“Boquerones en Vinagre.” Marinated small silvery fish fillets.
From my cellar: 1994 R. López de Heredia Rioja Blanco Gran Reserva Viña Tondonia. 94 points. A delicate bouquet of beeswax, dandelions, orange peel and candid citrus. Transferred to the palate to become more nutty with slightly hints of damped cellar. Oily but uplifting acidity making nice balance.
Spanish Jamon. Great WITH the cheese.
NV Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Reserva Especial 1965, 1967, 1972 (1989 Release). Unfortunately corked 🙁
Croquettes. The classic béchamel and ham kind. Yum!
Asparagus with almonds and jamon. Ham always makes veggies better!
“Gambas al Ajillo.” Shrimp sauteed with garlic and chili pod.
NV Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Reserva Especial 1985, 1991, 1996 (2005 Release).
NV Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Reserva Especial 1991, 1994, 1998 (2011 Release). 95 points.
“Champiñones con Chorizo.” Mushrooms with Spanish red sausage.
Escargot. Snails in garlic butter. Delicious!
NV Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Reserva Especial 1994, 1995, 2000 (2014 Release). 94 points.
NV Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único Reserva Especial 2003, 2004, 2006 (2017 Release). VM 96. Vivid ruby-red. Ripe cherry, dark berries, cigar box, vanilla bean and incense on the deeply perfumed, expansive nose. Shows impressive weight and breadth on the palate, offering sappy blackberry, candied cherry and spicecake flavors complicated by hints of rose pastille, vanilla and licorice. The smooth, strikingly long finish shows a seamless quality and repeating floral and dark berry notes that build as the wine opens up. While this wine has plenty going on right now, I’ve no doubt that it will enjoy a long, positive evolution as well.
“Arròs Négre. Cuttlefish, calamari, baby shrimp and mussels cooked with rice and squid’s ink.” Oh I love me the black rice!
Paella Valencia. With the works. A bit dull other than the sausage.
Tomatoes and onions.
From my cellar: 1994 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único. VM 95+. Full ruby-red. Knockout nose combines roasted blackberry, minerals, cedar, graphite and flowers; reminded me of a very ripe vintage of Chateau Lafite. Creamy and sweet, but with penetrating, perfectly integrated acids and a structure of steel. Powerful yet wonderfully elegant wine, with flavors of crushed redcurrant, minerals, flowers, chocolate and truffle. Finishes with great length and grip. An outstanding vintage for Unico, with the sheer acid structure and flavor intensity to go on in bottle for at least another two decades.
From my cellar: 1996 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único. VM 94. Deep ruby. Complex, heady bouquet of kirsch, candied plum, cured tobacco, licorice, dried rose and cedar. Pungent herbal notes build with aeration and repeat on the palate, adding complexity to the deep, ripe cherry and dark berry liqueur flavors. Remarkably elegant wine with precise cherry/berry flavors and a slow-mounting mocha quality on the long, sappy finish. There’s a very impressive interplay of fruit and tannins here.
Oxtail over rice. Delicious. Really delicious, even with the old school gravy.
Chicken or quail with garlic.
1989 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único. VM 95+. Saturated dark, fresh red. Exotic dried fruits complicated by minerals, cedar, cigar box and nuts on the nose. Huge, dense and solid, with great sappy redcurrant and wild strawberry sweetness buffered by powerful acids. With its huge concentration and extraordinarily chewy extract, this has fruit of steel. The wine’s explosive, extremely long finish and great thrust go beyond 99.99% of the world’s wines.
1991 Bodegas Vega-Sicilia Ribera del Duero Único. VM 91+. Dark red. Highly complex nose melds plum, cherry, roasted meat, iron, truffle, mocha and underbrush. Broad, sweet and concentrated, but not at all an exotic or supersweet vintage for Vega Sicilia. In fact, this smooth midweight has some rather intriguing, cool notes of minerals and botanical herbs. Finishes with fine, dusty tannins and excellent length. A much more polite style of wine than the chewy, powerful and considerably more explosive ’89.
Lamb chops with gravy and potatoes. Quite decent actually, if decidedly old fashioned.
Pork chops with vegetables. On the boring and a bit dry side.
2011 Château Doisy-Daëne. VM 92. Bright gold. Pure aromas of kiwi, gooseberry and mandarin orange lifted by fresh white flowers. Juicy, lively and intense, delivering bracing flavors of floral apple, pear and sweet spices. This fruit-driven Sauternes finishes silky and long, with palate-cleansing acidity. It’s less opulent than I remembered it, but I love this wine’s high-acid personality and aromatic purity. Not surprisingly for a Denis Dubourdieu wine, it’s very sauvignon blanc.
“Flan de Naranja.” Creme caramel with a light touch of fresh orange.
Hey, we were celebrating something!
Thai Peanut Coconut Lime Chili Gelato — Try 2 — Salty peanuts, Thai coconut, lime zest, and serrano chillies — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — the last batch was too spicy so this one has no chilie in the base itself — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #IceCream #NomNom #dessert #chili #spicy #thai #peanut #coconut #lime #SavorySweet #Serrano
and on the right, a bit of:
Testing out a new Italian nut source — Salty Pistachio Gelato – using my new egg yolk based nut formulation with the new Sicilian Pistachio to produce a pistachio base with a slight saltiness — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #salty #pistachio #sicily #nuts
Testing out a new Italian nut source — Caramel Nocciola Gelato – using my new egg yolk based nut formulation with the new Piedmontese hazelnut to produce a hazelnut base, then adding in house-made caramel and chopped up hazelnuts — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #hazelnut #Nocciola #caramel #nuts
I love Spanish cooking, and La Paella has a really nice traditional kitchen. It reminds me of Botin in Madrid at the opposite end of the Spanish culinary spectrum from modernist Calima and the ElBuli school. Personally, I love both and I need to head back to La Paella to sample even more of their menu. Some of my favorites are Gambas Pil Pil, Anchovies en Boccerones, seafood paella, and, of course, the flan.
The Unicos tonight were really awesome. Great wine and we had a nice mix of reserva and vintage unicos. Tonight I liked the vintage ones better in general, but sometimes it’s the other way around. Great juice.
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