Los Angeles Openings: Mirabelle, Mercado, Gusto, Ushuaia Steakhouse

Mirabelle (West Hollywood) – This is not your ’80s bit-actor uncle’s Mirabelle. This is your Mirabelle.

Mercado (Santa Monica) – Unassuming Mexican spot hiding near the Santa Monica Promenade.

Gusto (Mid-City West) – Rustic Italiano in an intimate space.

Ushuaia Steakhouse (Santa Monica) – Argentine steakhouse with a spot-on wine list.

Attention Winos: Puglia Wine Week Starts Today in NYC

If you like the sound of popping cork, there’s no better place to be this week than New York City. Starting today, top citywide restaurants will be featuring wines from Puglia, a southeastern region of Italy, in a promotion brought to you from winery association Wines of Puglia. (Try saying ‘Wines of Puglia’ out loud: totally fun.) The first ever Puglia Wine Week will offer wine lovers the chance to discover regional grape varieties like negroamaro, uva di Troia, and the popular Primitivo.

Participating restaurants include Il Buco on Bond Street, Gusto in the West Village, Lupa in Soho and, naturally, SD26, San Domenico’s rebirth and the eatery being touted as one of the city’s best for Italian. All 23 restaurants in on the Puglia cabal will create special menus and host a Puglian winemaker on one evening during the course of the program (it ends October 3rd). Participating wineries include Albea, Barsento, Cefalicchio, Due Palme, Tormaresca, Vallone, and Vigne E Vini.

Many Puglia wines are not presently imported to the states, but if after several glasses of D’ Alfonso del Sordo you find yourself hankering for sloppy fourths, certain bottles will be available at select wine shops, so you can, er, pop your own cork. Speaking of which, has the question of whether cork soaking is a real profession ever been answered?

New York’s West Village Invaded by Killer Blood Oranges

For our upcoming December/January issue, we fed Chicago rapper Kid Sister a few gulps of Solerno, a new blood orange liqueur from William Grant. Her reaction: “It’s tastes like oranges on meth!” So last night, whilst huddled under blankets with various lovelies of the press and PR variety, petty cabs whisked me around to various West Village eateries to get elegantly wasted on various Solerno-infused cocktails. After the jump, cocktail recipes from some of the West Village’s hottest spots who are squeezing life (and blood) into their cocktails.

Breakfast Margarita (bobo) ½ oz Solerno 2 oz tequila ¾ oz lime juice ¾ oz grapefruit juice 1 heaping tsp. marmalade. Shake hard and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with grapefruit salt on rim of glass and a grapefruit slice. Italian Sidecar (Morandi) 1oz Solerno 2oz Villa Zarri Brandy .25 fresh lemon .25 fresh orange Served in a martini glass with a raw cane sugar rim.

Marco Polo (Gusto) 1 oz Solerno 2 oz Canton 1 oz fresh lime juice Shake with ice and strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a blood orange wedge.

Solerno Spritz (Fiamma) 1 1/2 oz Solerno 1/4 oz Aperol Fill with soda water. Build ingredients over ice in a tall glass. Use a soda siphon if possible. Garnish with a blood orange wheel.