Small Bites: Patriotic wines at Pourtal; Comme Ca to celebrate Bastille Day (with a very big block of ice)


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Patriotic wine tasting:Wine bar Pourtal in Santa Monica kicks off a tour-of-the-U.S. wine tasting Friday: ‘United Grapes of America: A patriotic tasting tour of 30 wines from 30 states.’ Each wine will be available to taste from Pourtal’s Enomatic system, along with tasting notes. Owner Stephen Abronson and wine director Peter Birmingham sourced wines from as many states as possible (every state of the union has at least one winery, but state laws prevent the purchase of wine from some states). There’s a ‘Cowboy Reserve’ from Wyoming and a ‘Super Texan’ Sangiovese from Texas. (And I’ll admit it: I like Hill Country Viognier.) Available through July 13. Pourtal is open on the Fourth of July. 104 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 393-7693,

And if Bastille Day is your thing: There are no royalists at Comme Ça, which is planning to celebrate Bastille Day with a “block” party on July 12 and a special prix fixe menu that runs through that week. At Sunday’s ‘block’ party, they’ll be hand-carving ice chips and chunks from one enormous block of ice for $5 cocktails, including the AF 69 (gin, Cointreau, honey and lemon verbena) -- so named for the daily Air France flight from LAX to Paris. Seven-dollar party snacks feature oysters a la nage, snapper escabeche, and pork belly confit. A $40 three-course prix fixe menu will be offered July 12 to 18. (Please see the jump for the menu.) Closed July 4. 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 782-1104,


-- Betty Hallock

Comme Ça’s three-course prix fixe menu in celebration of Bastille Day

Start with artichoke Provencal and end with cherry clafoutis, but for the main course, you can choose between roasted monkfish with a ragù of clams, artichokes, herbed lemon gnocchi, tomato water or bacon-wrapped saddle of rabbit with sauce anchoiade (a blend of anchovy, tomato and olive). Comme Ça’s regular menu will also be offered, including a special Dungeness crab and Charantais melon soup.