In Search of the Best Caprese: Bottle Rock

bottle-rock-2Up until a few years ago, I could not eat tomatoes. I was fine with tomato sauce or any cooked version of the red fruit (or is it vegetable?) but I couldn’t eat anything with the slimy seeds still in tacked. It just grossed me out.

All changed, however, during my trip to Florence when I tasted the sweetest and the freshest tomato in the world in the mozzarella / tomato / basil grilled panini form. For the rest of the stay, I consumed as much of the fruit as humanly possible, in pastas, salads, sandwiches … you name it I ate it. But my favorite was always in Insalata Caprese.

For me, Insalata Caprese, a simple salad of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, is not just my favorite tomato dish, but one of my favorite dishes, period. I’m always on the lookout for the freshest and the best tasting one that reminds me of my stay in Italy. But what I often forget is that cheese has as much importance as the tomato in this salad, and the Caprese I had at Bottle Rock in Culver City reminded me of that.

bottle-rockCaprese offered at Bottle Rock, a busy wine bar in the heart of Culver City, is an ordinary tomato / mozzarella salad with a kick, using a creamy, luscious burrata cheese in place of the thick, chewy cousin. Burrata, a hybrid of mozzarella and cream, where the outer mozzarella serves as the shell for the heavenly cream that resides in the middle, tastes a little like a fluffy tofu, and gives a distinct, sophisticated feel to this Italian staple.  The cheese, accompanied by sweet heirloom tomato wedges, drizzled with aged balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil, was simply divine, especially paired with your favorite red. There are over 800 wine labels from around the world at Bottle Rock, and you’re sure to find the one you love from its extensive seller.

Bottle Rock
3847 Main Street, Culver City, CA 90232