Winemaker Charles Smith Taught Us How to Pair Wines With L.A.’s Most Popular Food Truck Dishes

The Washingtonian picks affordable bottles to go with Kogi BBQ short rib tacos and Coolhaus’ ice cream sandwich

Tomorrow, Charles Smith—Wine Enthusiast’s 2014 winemaker of the year and founder of Charles Smith Wines—will be co-hosting a wine dinner at the Line Hotel’s Commissary with Chef Roy Choi and Top Chef alum Zoi Antonitsas. The family-style dinner ($79) will feature five courses of hand-selected wines from Smith’s collection paired with Chef Antonitsas’ Mediterranean-meets-Pacific Northwest dishes. There are two seatings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Since Charles’ wine philosophy is “wine for everyone, every day” we asked him to pair wines (from his collection as well as affordable bottles under $25) with some of L.A.’s favorite food truck items.


Photograph by Bill Esparza

Kogi BBQ’s short rib tacos
o   CSW: Charles & Charles Cabernet Blend — “Big flavors deserve a wine that can stand up and complement it. The depth and complexity of this wine can do exactly that.”
o   Other Wine: Saint Cosme Little James’ Basket Press Rouge — “This wine is a mouthful of ripe, red juiciness, and copious amounts would be perfect for washing down BBQ short ribs.”

Guerilla Tacos’ Sweet potato taco with almond chile, feta cheese, fried corn, scallions
o   CSW: K Vintners Art Den Hoed Viognier – “This wine is floral, exotic and juicy and matches the exotic nature of the tacos.”
o   Other Wine: Guigal Cotes du Rhone Blanc – “Once again, an exotic wine, for not a lot of money, that just happens to be a perfect pairing.”

Dogtown Dogs’ Spicy Angeleno with Hardwood smoked bacon wrapped dog with tomatillo sauce, spicy salsa fresca and topped with fried jalapenos
o   CSW: Boom Boom! Syrah – “Explosive flavors deserve an explosive wine, not just in style, but in the name as well.”
o   Other Wine: Seghesio Zinfandel – “What better wine than California’s native son, Zinfandel. Seghesio is one of my go-tos for California heritage wine.”


Photograph courtesy Coolhaus

Coolhaus’ Louis Ba-Kahn: chocolate chip cookies & brown butter candied bacon ice cream
o   CSW: Wines of Substance Cabernet Sauvignon – “It’s elemental: Substance Cabernet with this dessert. All of that and $15 from Washington State.”
o   Other Wine: Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon – “The Californian book end to Washington’s Wine of Substance Cab from my good friend, Joel Gott in Napa Valley.”

Grilled Cheese Truck‘s Cheesy Mac: Macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar, BBQ pork, caramelized onions
o   CSW: Eve Chardonnay – “Something with edge to cut through the richness, and something lush enough to complement this decadent dish.”
o   Other Wine: Au Bon Climat Chardonnay “The Pip” – “From California legend Jim Clendenen. Always a top pick.”

Lobsta Truck lobster roll

Photograph by Caroline on Crack

Lobsta Truck’s Lobsta roll
o   CSW: K Vintners Rose  – “When I think of lobster rolls, I think of New England on a summer day, and what better to go with summer than a fresh glass of rose?”
o   Other Wine: Casa Smith Rose of Sangiovese – “Sometimes it’s about discovery and I have first-hand knowledge about the release of this Rose of Sangiovese. It will be a rich, exotic, new offering and delicious with summer.”

India Jones’ lamb Frankie: An Indian Roti (flat bread), egg washed & rolled up like a burrito with chopped onions,  tamarind chutney, and lamb
o   CSW: Kung Fu Girl Riesling – “I might be biased, but so should you. Kung Fu Girl goes good with everything and particularly with this selection.”
o   Other Wine: Navarro Gewurztraminer – “One of my all-time favorite California wines from Anderson Valley. It has floral, spice and is simply delicious.”