Saturday, August 21, 2010



Recently my brother and his wife (Bob & Nguyen) came for a week’s visit. We hadn’t seen them since our “long & wine-ing” road trip in Sonoma and wondered how we would top their hospitality that allowed us to stay in their time-share condo and explore the sites and ‘tastes’ of Sonoma. They’ve been to LA many times, so what to do… what to do?

I needn’t have fretted. The first day they were here we were ‘on the road again’ (Willie Nelson singing in my head) to Malibu. Specifically, the Malibu Getty Villa museum.

The day was gorgeous (well, it is Southern California, after all) – the sky was blue and the temperature was in the high 70’s/low 80’s – perfect. We arrived at the entrance to the villa for our 2:00 parking reservation and drove up the landscaped hill to the admitting gate, then drove some more thru the grounds to the parking garage… We took the elevator to a walled-walkway and the path to yet another set of elevators (this is not a museum run amok w/ walk-ins)… The elevator descended. The doors opened and – voila – we stepped into an estate that could have been air-lifted thru space and time from ancient Rome, complete with an amphitheater that has performances of ancient ‘costumed’ plays only w/ better lighting and a better sound system.

The villa, modeled after the partially excavated Villa dei Papiri in Italy, was built in the early 70’s on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean by J. Paul Getty to house his collection of ancient treasures. It was closed in the late 90’s for years of renovation and was reopened in 2006. We entered the villa

and found courtyard pools…

and busts...

and statues...

carved marble coffins

 marble wall renderings…

and ‘primitives’ – some as far back as 5,000 B.C. …

and reflecting pools…

We wandered thru the rooms of the villa, marveling at the art and architecture then continued our wandering thru the gardens. We sat by the large reflecting pool to muse and imagine how life must have been all those thousands of years ago. Well, for the rich anyway.

Our stomachs brought us back to reality. It was time to do a bit of wine tasting (yeh, in Malibu – who knew?) and get a bite to eat.

Because it was approaching the end of the ‘tasting hours’ (as opposed to the ‘witching hour’), we only had time to visit one tasting room before they all closed. We sped up PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) straight to Rosenthal “The Malibu Estate” featuring wines from Malibu-Newton Canyon. Jim Galcia, an account specialist, was our barista.

Our flight started off w/ a 2007 Surfrider Pinot Gris. ($19 retail). It was a nice wine for a hot day – light, crisp, fruity.

Next was the 2008 Surfrider chardonnay ($21 retail) which I really liked. Full-bodied, w/ a touch of oak and a nice ‘burst’ of tropical fruit.

The 2008 Rosenthal Chardonnay ($25 retail) w/ its hint of Meyer lemon and other fruits, wasn’t as full-bodied as I like, but was still a lovely white wine.

We moved from white to the 2008 Surfrider pinot noir ($27) which wasn’t as “celebratory” in the mouth as Bob would have liked.

We really liked the 2004 Rosenthal cabernet sauvignon ($39) w/ its flavors of chocolate and exotic spices seeping thru.

The 2007 Surfrider Hang Ten Red ($25), a cab-merlot, petite Bordeaux, San Giovese blend, was a terrific red table wine, rich in flavor.

Wine tasting over, we bought a bottle of the chilled 2008 Surfrider chardonnay and headed for Malibu Seafood (no corkage fee).

Jim recommended the squid steak sandwich. I love calamari – but a squid sandwich?!?! I wasn’t sure about that as I kept picturing those humongous squids in those old B&W horror movies.

The restaurant, not much more than a fish ‘shack’

w/ outdoor picnic table and bench seating was on PCH right across the street from the Pacific Ocean.

Fresh fish and an ocean view. What’s not to love?

And love this restaurant we did.

Bob had the scallops w/ a salad and baked potato. Though the salad was just a bunch of boring greens, the scallops were cooked to perfection. I had the shrimp sandwich burger: fresh shrimp chopped up, breaded and deep fried served on a burger roll w/ a slice of American cheese, fish sauce on the side. Not your fast food fish sandwich. There’s nothing like truly fresh shrimp and this was very fresh shrimp. Nguyen ordered fish & chips and – yes - that squid steak sandwich. I had a couple of bites and I have to admit, this sandwich was the ‘dish’ of the night. The thick white steak was grilled to perfection and served on toasted bread w/ mayo and lettuce & tomato – just like “mom” would make. There was so much food on the table that when we realized that Richard’s order never arrived, it didn’t matter. He had ordered something healthfully grilled, so I certainly didn’t miss it. Did I mention we also had sourdough bread, clam chowder, steamed mussels and more French fries? Well, we did.

The wine gone and our stomachs more than full, we headed back to “the Valley” as the sun began to set.

Not a bad ‘day one’ of our staycation.


Richard said...

A beautiful day in the hood... not OUR hood... but still beautiful!

bobsaari said...

What a great day!!!!!!!