First Bite: S'laked Thirst -- Fine Wine and the Return of Don Dickman at Barbrix

When the L.A. Weekly offices were located in Silver Lake what seems like a millennium ago, the area could not have been more of a culinary wasteland -- the only place within walking distance was what may have been the single worst Mexican restaurant in L.A. That stretch of Hyperion Avenue is now something of a restaurant row, and Barbrix is exactly what many of us yearned for back then: a loud, busy converted house; a decent list of artisanal beers and a quirky list of wines by the glass, reasonably enough priced so that you can try both the Leroy white burgundy and the obscure Croatian white that tastes like licking a freshly unwrapped cigar; a small plate of roasted organic vegetables from Oxnard's McGrath Family Farm; and a plate of crunchy fried sweetbreads that go down like pancreatic popcorn.

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