East Austin Provencal restaurant LaV has been garnering a lot of national attention this summer. In it August cover story, Wine Enthusiast named LaV one of the 100 Best Wine Restaurants in the U.S. The only Austin restaurant to earn the recognition, LaV joins Dallas’ FT33 and Houston’s the Pass & Provisions on the heady list.
The restaurant also landed a Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, in an issue sent out this week to subscribers. Look for it on newsstands in the coming days. Wine Spectator labeled France, Italy and the United States as particularly strong regions of the 7,450-bottle program directed by Vilma Mazaite, who oversees a staff that includes sommeliers Darren Scott AND Rania Zayat.
In addition to the wine program praise, Mazaite was profiled in last week on New York Times T Magazine’s website. The Lithuanian-born wine expert who only visited Texas for the first time when she moved here five years ago to open up the East Seventh Street restaurant talks Austin restaurant scene, pairing wine (Greek Assyrtiko with crudo), and the transcendent beauty of wine.
“Once you have something really good that you hadn’t before, you remember everything that happened around it: with whom you drank it, when you drank it,” Mazaite tells T. “I don’t think any other beverage does that. A cocktail will never do that.”
On top of all of that wine attention, chef and Del Rio native Janina O’Leary, who recently took helm of the kitchen following the departure of opening chef Allison Jenkins, was profiled by Latina.com. O’Leary talks about growing up in Texas learning to make bunuelos and pan de huevo as well as chocolate cake and pecan pie. She also shares some career-changing advice she got from Julia Child. Read that profile here.