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Wally's 21st Annual Champagne Tasting on Sunday for a Good Cause!

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Steve Wallace is the idiosyncratic guy who opened the singular Wally's Wine and Spirits Shop on Westwood Boulevard many years ago, offering us Angelenos a source for rare, small batch and unique boutique wines. He then opened a shop next door called Wally's Cheese Box, offering one of the largest international selections of cheeses and delectables in the city. But he is celebrated mostly for his fabulous charity event called the "Grand Marque Champagne Tasting" which began 21 years ago, in 1992, and has blossomed into one of the finest food-and-wine events held annually hereabouts. I support it because it benefits several charitable causes I espouse, namely the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, Vista del Mar Child and Family Services, and Food on Foot, an organization which fights hunger and homelessness in L.A. So comes Sunday, June 2, at 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., I will be entering the gates at Le Merigot Beach Hotel (1740 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica) to join in a celebration of the bubbly -- with over 50!, yes that' s right 50, Grand Marque Champagnes on tap to sip and slurp and swallow. Tickets are $150 per person if bought in advance or $200 at the door. Le Merigot Hotel even offers visitors a special rate for the champagne tasting evening, $259 for a superior room.

Steve Wallace

Steve Wallace founded the annual charity event.

Steve tells me that they have raised to date almost one million dollars for the wonderful groups I mentioned... and this year will bring them over the million dollar mark. Along with champagnes on tap from Dom Perignon, Krug, Salon and Cristal, Ruinart, Veuve Clicqot, Moet & Chandon, Armand de Brignac, Laurent-Perrier... signature dishes from over 15 local restaurants will be offered. I always head first for Café del Rey's sumptuous raw bar, gorging on fresh-shucked oysters, clams and crabs. Then I munch and mingle while supping on delicacies from Enoteca Drago, Angelini Osteria (yes, Gino's luscious lasagna will be served, the best in the world), Melisse, Michael's, Brentwood, Maru, Locanda del Lago (West Hooker celebrating his 22nd year in business) Pastina, Chinois-on-Main, Cezanne at Le Merigot, Monsieur Marcel (remember my recent Huffington on this spectacular new Beverly Hills bistro?), Tierra sur, Tin Roof Bistro, Rose Garden café..and others But wait, Petrossian Caviar is serving up samples of their osetra pearls, while Emanuel Andren Chocolates will be on hand, desserts from Duff's Cakemix, and those delicate macarons from the incomparable Duverger folks. Live music from the David Arana Quartet will set the mood for the several hundred in-the-know people who will attend. To purchase tickets, call at (310) 475-0606 or visit www.wallywine.com. See you on Sunday!

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