He's still cooking, not pizza, but Argentine grilled meats in Baja California wine country.
Angel Eduardo Garralda left Argentina seven years ago with his brother. Their first venture was a pizzeria in Ensenada. When the brother went home, Garralda moved on to his dream, grilling meats just like at home.
Each weekend, he grills away in a rustic open-air structure at La Casa Vieja winery. Visitors may be surprised to hear tango as they sample the wines. This is a clue that Garralda is on the premises.
The two enterprises complement each other perfectly. La Casa Vieja is one of the oldest properties in the Guadalupe Valley. Its grape vines are so old that no one knows when they were planted. The wines are historic, individualistic and just right to drink outdoors, with Garralda's food.
And there's a fragrant, dry, unfiltered Palomino, a white wine made in such small quantity that the latest batch is almost sold out. To show how casual this place is, the label is a handwritten strip of masking tape.
La Casa Vieja means the old house. And that's what it is, an adobe house from the 1800s restored by Colleen and Humberto Toscano, Thomas Toscano's parents.
Sitting on the terrace, one looks out on olive trees and Las Brasas, the parrilla restaurant. Garralda cooks steaks, ribs, Argentine style chorizo and other meats, brushing them with his own chimichurri, which he has bottled and sells.
Las Brasas is at La Casa Vieja Winery, Km 93.5 on Highway 3, the Ensenada-Tecate highway, near the town of San Antonio de Las Minas. Tel: (646) 113 6783. The restaurant is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to sundown.
La Casa Vieja Winery has a wine bar, sandwiches, cheeses and other food to accompany tasting, a shop selling local arts and crafts, homemade jams and jellies, olive oil and other products. Tel: (646) 155-3153. For more information, go to www.lacasavieja.baja.com.