The Home Growers Circle: Real people with a passion to grow real food

Ethel & Bill Robert Charmaine & Brian Brandon Nancy Lewis & Tara Malika & Donny Andy & Susanna Craig & Gary Warren & Lovejoy

Lewis & Tara / Santa Monica

Savoring summer

Lewis & Tara

Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 8:08AM

Friends at Rosenthal Winery

We're writing this under the shade of the strawberry guava tree in "The Yard," after a recent day trip to Los Olivos via Santa Barbara Winery. In the wine ghetto, we picked up a case of Sauvignon Blanc purchased, yet left behind, from the last trip. Motivating the day's sojourn was a Global Gardens party to celebrate its fifth year in business. The best savory bits were a spinach feta pizza made with their Mediterranean finishing glaze, a veggie salad marinated in citrus vinegars, and baklava made with olive oil.

Risking traffic, we took Highway 1 the coastal route: West Channel Road to PCH to Sunset Boulevard. Coincidentally, this is the exact route Humphrey Bogart, playing a mercurial screenwriter, careens along in Nicholas Ray's film noir classic, In a Lonely Place, which we saw at LACMA the night before. We recite Bogie's memorable lines offered to his girlfriend, played by Gloria Grahame -- as an apology after a blowout on the beach -- that's repeated throughout the second half of the movie: "I was born when she kissed me, I died when she left me, and I lived a few weeks while she loved me."

The scenery is oh-so beautiful, reminiscent of Southern Europe or coastal Spain and smooth sailing until traffic slowed through the series of lights in Malibu proper. Traffic subsided as we pass "The Colony" which figured prominently in the second feature of last night's double header, Robert Altman's 1970s screen adaptation of Raymond Chandler's detective novel, "The Long Goodbye." The Malibu Colony is where Anita Pallenberg's character is living when she hires Elliot Gould as private eye. "That's OK with me," Philip Marlowe, to find her missing husband, an alcoholic writer on much feared successive benders.

A bit drained from traffic lethargy, we stopped at the Rosenthal Winery's tasting room. The 2005 Cabernet revives us with its viscous almost mulberry and cranberry, no strawberry, with a bit of dirt as a result of the tannins. We start from the top of the tasting list with 2008 Viognier, crisp with a faint resin and blossom (a portion of sales proceeds are donated to healing the ocean charities). Next the Meritage exploded like hunting in the jungle followed by smooth elegant Cab 2000, which caused the couple next to us at the bar to exclaim, "Holy Schnike," to quote Chris Farley in the movie, "Tommy Boy." The 2009 Chardonnay was serious and lush without to much oak.

Back on the road to Los Olivos, Epiphany Wine Cellar's 2008 Inspiration, a Rhone blend of Marsanne, Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc was just that. We would have liked more time in the garden hut setting to do justice by Carhartt Winery, where the affable proprietors were open later than the others. Given our tardiness, we made it to Global Gardens, just in time to enjoy the party and pick up our next quarterly shipment of oils, vinegars and unusual delicacies. The Los Angeles International Extra Virgin olive oil competition of 2011 awarded them a silver medal for their monocultivar organic 100% Farga first cold press.

Walking back to the car we saw Poul Palmer trying to leave his open air market on Grand Avenue. We couldn't resist his locally grown jumbo Texas sweet onions and medicinal garlic from Missouri's Osage Nation both of which made it into this morning's omelet.

That's all for now, Ma and Pa Locavores

Lewis and Tara live and grow in Santa Monica, California, where Tara works as a family therapist and Lewis works with clients as a real estate, insurance, and securities broker. You can learn more about Tara's work at Lewis' websites are and

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