Photo credit: Katie Gibbs

The Los Angeles area is host to a large creative community, whose jobs can be performed anywhere. As such, it’s no surprise to find many new developments where living space is intertwined with retail, culinary and health-savvy businesses.   One such development is PLATFORM, in Culver City – located between downtown Los Angeles and the beach cities of Santa Monica and Venice. Hayden, an all-day restaurant and wine shop, provides PLATFORM neighbors with a lively dining location for collaborative lunches, and “after work” meetups. The California-inspired menu, developed by James Beard semifinalist Ari Kolender, incorporates locally-sourced produce, meats and seafood and a wide selection of charcuterie and cheeses.

Hayden’s eclectic wine program is curated by Anthony Cailan, a native Angelino and culinary school graduate, who happens to be the second youngest person in Los Angeles to oversee a wine program. He especially likes “natural” wines from small producers in California, Burgundy, and other popular wine-growing regions. He has a lot of intriguing selections, so ask him for his recommendations for in-restaurant dining or take-home pleasure. I would suggest starting with some fresh oysters complemented by a glass of 2016 Julie Benau Picpoul, a mouthwatering white wine with high acidity from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region. A not-to-be-missed “big snack” is Jamon de Bayonne Buckwheat Waffle, coupled with Eric Bordelet Poire Cidre (pear cider). And, if you have room for some more food, sample one of the delicious seafood conservas, such as octopus in paprika sauce. Anthony likes to serve this with chilled red wine, such as 2015 Pithon-Pillé “Grololo” from Anjou in France – it’s packed with the taste of blackberries and pepper.

Bottom line…a great partnership of exemplary cuisine with an eclectic wine program.