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georgempavlov's Profile

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Favorite NV Champagne?

Plaidbowtie's advice is the best yet, IMHO. It's all about "grower" Champagne.

At the non-vintage level, the better among the RMs (and more boutique NMs) almost necessary make a superior product as compared to the big Grandes Marques (which, unless you're a real Champagne geek, includes pretty much every name you've heard of). They will be less familiar names, but they also usually come from very prestigious premier and grand cru villages, and the ones that have some kind of distribution usually to have a reason to exist. Terry Thesie is the godfather of the RM Champagne movement, and his producers are still among the best: Varnier-Fanniere; Pierre Gimonnet; Pierre Peters; Billiot; Rene Geoffroy; Margaine; Marc Hebrart: Vilmart; Lallement, et al. Also, the handful of RMs imported by Louis-Dressner Selections; Becky Wasserman; Neal Rosenthal; and Kermit Lynch are all worth trying.

Feb 21, 2012
georgempavlov in Wine

Korean in OC?

Any recommendations for good Korean in Orange County aside from the usual BBQ?

Scored reservations for LudoBites 8.0

My advice is not to bring wine. Whitney A. (from Domaine LA and Terroni) is curating the wine list with a little help from Jill B., and these two young women are some of LA's most sophisticated and talented wine people.

In other words, to maximize your experience, order whatever Whitney tells you to!

Goods Eats in Santa Ana?

I always cherish a recommendation from DU, to whom I must give credit for several (though not all--feel free to blame me for the misses!) of the following recommendations.

Pop's Cafe is okay--your usual greasy spoon diner, though I must say I don't know of a better one in the North SA/Downtown area. Deep fried French Toast is rather decadent, something you don't see everyday (and certainly shouldn't eat every day!). Most things are hovering pretty close to the norm, but I would still eat there.

Here are a few more we've discovered that we like, omitting the countless excellent Mexican eateries except in an instance or two where I just can't help myself:

Bangkok Taste and Siam Taste of Asia--both excellent Thai
Cafe Chiarini--wonderful patio atmosphere for lunch, terrific tri-tip sandwich
Trieu Chau--real deal Chinese, only open for lunch
Sushi Murasaki--good sushi
Conde Cakes--bakery, but they have outstanding Yucatan savory items when they're actually serving them, which is rare...
The Habit--I know it's a chain, but I think the burgers are quite good, always well-executed, cheap, and service is very efficient and friendly.
Tan Cang Newport Seafood--lobster!

I will post again if any more occur to me...

And BTW, what is "Ruth's Place"--you mean Ruth's Criss?

Goods Eats in Santa Ana?

Sadly, I heard that La Cocina de mi Abuelita has closed down. Though please correct me if I'm wrong.

Anepalco’s Café – Literally Amazing Chilquiles in Orange

You, know, though--the coffee at Anepalco's, although not quite artisinal or anything, is actually markedly better than you would except from most breakfast/lunch joints.

Does your Costco have Screaming Eagle or other exclusive wine?

Allow me to let you in on something gleaned from over ten years in the fine wine business--if Costco has it, it isn't "exclusive." It may be expensive, but it absolutely axiomatic that it is not "exclusive."

Jan 27, 2012
georgempavlov in Wine

Where to eat in Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead?

Going to be doing a little cabin mini-vacation next week in Big Bear--where is there worthwhile to eat in the area?

Haven't seen this area discussed (to my knowledge) on this board since 2005, so would be nice to get some new recommendations!


Aug 03, 2011
georgempavlov in California

Eats near Santiago Park area of Santa Ana

Hey Gang,

We just bought a new house and will be moving very soon to the Santiago Park area of Santa Ana--this community, for those of you who may not be familiar with it, is directly east of Floral Park, situated southeast of, but very close to the intersection of the 5 and 22 freeways.

So...what do you like to eat within a 1-2 mile radius of our new home? I'm open to anything--divey ethnic, take-out, whatever the serious among you deems worthy of investigation...


bacon wrapped dates: Spanish wine pairing

Trust me on this, I swear--go find a bottle of old-school white Rioja, preferably the "Gravonia" from R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia. It's not what you would call "crisp," but the pairing will sing. I'm not so sure about the Cava pairing--the sweetness of the date will probably make the Cava taste sour unless it has some serious (more than 15-20 g/l) residual sugar.

May 16, 2011
georgempavlov in Wine

Bourgogne Mousseux AOC

(1) was apparently lifted from an older proscription of the (Bourgogne Mousseaux) Appellation. Bourgogne Mousseaux AOC(P) no longer includes white or rosé sparkling wines. The Cremant de Bourgogne AOC(P) was not codified until 1975, whereas Bourgogne Mousseux goes back to 1943.

This can be verified by going to:, where you may also notice that the wikipedia article doesn't actually list the correct legal varietals, either, which now are actually:

― cépages principaux : gamay N et pinot noir N ;
― cépages accessoires : chardonnay B, pinot blanc B, pinot gris G et, pour le seul département de l'Yonne, le césar N.

Also, the secondary grapes cannot exceed 15%, not 20%, and Cesar is only legal in the Yonne, and not exceeding 10%.

Clearly I'm fun at parties, right?

A nice example of why wikipedia is not always to be relied upon as an authoritative source. And I guess the other thing we sometimes forget about French wine law is that it is still changing, although not as rapidly as in Italy, etc. We actually got a couple new AOC(P)s this year even, not to mention the big AOC --> AOP changeover.

Nov 07, 2010
georgempavlov in Wine

Red Only Drinkers?

Victor Hazan is an eminent authority on Italian wine, and once wrote a legendary book on the subject, and of course Marcella is a legend in her own time. His attitude about red wine, however, is definitely an anomaly among wine experts, professionals, etc. I have been in the wine business for over a decade, and I have never met another wine professional or someone whom I would consider and expert who espouses a similar belief.

Also, it is not as a rule true that Italians always drink more red. In many of the coastal regions, as well as in places such as Lazio, e.g., white is consumed more often than red.

Nov 07, 2010
georgempavlov in Wine

1977 Heredia Gran Reserva -- pairing ideas?

I would also concur with RCC that decanting is not advisable. I work, in fact, with the importer and California distributor, and have been to the estate and know Maria José, and she herself discourages decanting the wines.

I take it this is a red?

I would advise lamb prepared simply.

Nov 07, 2010
georgempavlov in Wine

Where to eat in Vegas?

is the list 100% Italian?

Jul 19, 2010
georgempavlov in Las Vegas

Great Artisan Bakery in OC?

Since the demise of the Village Bakery in Costa Mesa, I don't think there is really anything in OC. Sad, but this line of conversation seems to come up all the time in OC foodie circles.

I would welcome contradiction, though.

Where to eat in Vegas?

Obviously, this is ridiculously broad, but let me give some parameters...

We're going to be there for just three days, two nights. My wife is (newly) pregnant, and will not therefore be drinking, but I am a serious oenophile and wine is a serious consideration in many restaurant situations, although I am able to make an exception (as I find I often must) for some outstanding Asian restaurants, and of course for casual restaurants. Food, though, is the ultimate consideration.

The first thing out of everyone's mouth I've asked is Lotus of Siam. This is no doubt due to the legendary German wine list (I am a fine wine broker and represent some of Germany's greatest wine estates). It also seems to be a great value.

I've also heard good things about Raku, Carnevino, Sage, Picasso, Alex, Guy Savoy, etc. - and it seems that the ultimate sine qua non in Vegas is Joel Robuchon.

Basically, we'd like to splurge on one dinner (would like to get out the door for less than $300 if possible with modest wine selections) and maybe hit Lotus of Siam and a couple of other hole-in-the-walls, classic cocktail bars, etc.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.


Lotus of Siam
953 E Sahara Ave Ste A5, Las Vegas, NV 89104

Jul 18, 2010
georgempavlov in Las Vegas

Great OC Gastropubs to Try?

I would agree that Haven is the best of the three OC Gastropubs mentioned. And you gotta love a joint that offers a Zweigelt (Austrian red wine) as the recommended pairing for their burger!

Great OC Gastropubs to Try?

I think he means Side DOOR, which IS at 5 Crowns

Westwood area rec?

I think we're going to go with Wakasan.

1929 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Westwood area rec?

do I need a reservation for Wakasan?

1929 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Westwood area rec?

what about Wakasan? Anybody tried it?

This Times article seemed to like it:

1929 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

suggestions from ribero del duero?

I, too, am a died-in-the wool traditionalist, and other than Vega Siccilia, of course, the other producer you should be aware of is Valduero. Pesquera has been in the American market longer, is probably more well-known, and they make good wines, but in the traditionalist camp, I think Valduero is second only to Vega Sicilia.

Their Gran Reservas (6 Años and 12 Años) are nearly impossible to find, but awesome. The reserva is also excellent, more modestly-priced, and easier to obtain.

Mar 21, 2010
georgempavlov in Wine

OC - What's good in Huntington Beach?

Zimzala is actually very good. I've only eaten lunch there, twice, but it was way better than I expected.

Westwood area rec?

Going to a concert this coming Wednesday, the 24th, at UCLA's Royce Hall, looking for someplace to eat beforehand in the Westwood area near UCLA. We'll probably need to eat around 5:30/6:00, getting to the hall before 8:00.

Something where I can get in and out in less than 2 hours, and preferably nothing too expensive, although I might go as high at $40 per person if it's worth it.

Please - some real chow-worthy rec's! No chains or cookie-cutter garbage, please.

White or Red with Blanquette de Veau?

This is a classic Loire dish. I've had it with both white and red wines, and I would be inclined to say that Savennieres (white, from Chenin) would be ideal.

Sep 10, 2009
georgempavlov in Wine

WA - Jay Miller - is his rating scale only 90-100?

How about an interesting counter-example: David Schildknecht, who reviews wines in numerous categories for the very same publication, reviewed 112 wines in (what I believe is) the most recent issue of the Wine Advocate. Only 3 wines received scores above 90 points.

I guess the telling issue would be to know precisely how many wines were tasted, and evaluated, as opposed to actually reviewed. OP mentions "about a hundred" - but, even then, that doesn't necessarily guarantee that the sample of wines submitted (why would you send your dud to be evaluated?) accurately represents everything in that category.

I think this just goes to support one of my pet theories about wine people: basically, I think there are two types - (1) he who pretty much likes everything, and (2) he who likes pretty much nothing.

Sep 09, 2009
georgempavlov in Wine

Corks at dawn - A row in the champagne industry

I'm not so sure this would really affect the prices of the finer wines produced in Champagne. While the CIVC establishes a "maximum" yield, it does not specify a minimum yield, and most growers whose grapes end up in the better wines are harvesting at much lower yields than the maximum specified by the CIVC.

Sep 09, 2009
georgempavlov in Wine

Corks at dawn - A row in the champagne industry

Actually, the producers you mention are actually (granted, fine ones, but...) negociant-manipulants (NM's), not recoltant-manipulants (RM's). There are good Champagnes being made by producers in both categories, but they are qualitatively very different things.

If anyone would like to get a very quick and vivid education about RM's, download Terry Theise's Champagne Catalog, as chefdilettante very astutely suggests above.

Then, of course... the matter is further complicated by producers who, while technically NM's, operate essentially (save purchasing usually just barely more than 5% of their fruit) as RM's - e.g. Diebolt-Vallois, Jean Milan, André Clouet (all superb producers).

Sep 09, 2009
georgempavlov in Wine


Pere Ventura

May 21, 2009
georgempavlov in Wine

Raw (unroasted) cocoa beans - where to get?

Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I knew where one could get raw cocoa beans - anyone?

I asked another friend of mine, who usually knows everything that's recherche and foodie, but received no satisfactory answer. I suppose the place to look would be among purveyors of Latin American foods - but I'm sure who to go to...?

Online is fine, and OC is better than LA if bricks and mortar.