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Hollywood PR Exec Jessica Zacholl Takes THR's Taste Test

The co-owner of new Venice wine bar Dry Tour talks skirt steaks, chocolate chip cookies, unsuccessfully searching for a legitimate Buffalo chicken wing and more.

Jessica Zacholl with Dry Tour's executive chef Jorge Valines.
Mike Ponce and Whitney Morris

Jessica Zacholl, a Hollywood public relations veteran, opened the already-buzzing new Venice vino vortex Dry Tour on May 25 with co-founder Arron Turnbull. Ensconced in a 108-year-old building in the historic center of the neighborhood, just a half-block from the sand, the grape list runs from the regional — boutique California varietals — to the international. It’s accompanied by chef Jorge Valines’ menu, which hits the full range of requisite latter-day L.A. bar food notes, whether gluten-free/vegan-friendly (cauliflower Vichyssoise) or gastro-grub (braised short rib Beef Wellington).

JESSICA ZACHOLL’S THR TASTE TEST

Current Fixation
“Since we just opened, the majority of my food consumption is at Dry Tour these days, and I’ve been pretty obsessed with Jorge’s short rib Beef Wellington. During the week, I’m really into the grilled cheese at Olive & Thyme in Burbank.”

Known For Cooking
“My mom is a phenomenal cook and an extraordinarily talented baker – the latter skill set captured my interest, and I’m fortunate to have learned so much from her. My current signature dessert: crème brûlée cheesecake bars, which were a big hit with my friends at Thanksgiving and our Super Bowl party this year.”

Destination Dinner
“I’d love to do a tour of Chicago’s finest: Alinea, Charlie Trotter’s, Next… I’m guessing I’d need at least two weeks there to do this properly.

Go-To Take-Out
Bossa Nova. Hands down the best and most affordable skirt steak in town.”

Adventurous Bite
“As a Syracuse native, I have scoured L.A. in an effort to find a place making legitimate Buffalo chicken wings – to date, my search has been 100% unsuccessful, but I certainly have tried some highly adventurous interpretations of ‘authentic’ wings along the way.”

Simply Won’t Eat
“Cream cheese — and yes, that does mean that I won’t eat my own aforementioned dessert du jour.”

Favorite Snack
“Choclo, which is like a Peruvian corn nut we serve at Dry Tour. I’m a big fan.”

Dietary Regimen
“Someday I’ll have a proper response for this one…”

Preferred Company
“Anyone who is able to relax, have fun, and truly enjoy the experience in favor of spending the majority of any given meal talking about work.”

Pet Peeve
“I’m known for having a minor conniption whenever I see a spelling or grammatical error on a menu.”

Embarrassing Experience
“I spent a lot of time in Philly while attending the University of Delaware. My very first excursion culminated at Lorenzo & Sons Pizza, a staple of South Street notorious for having a line out the door at any hour of the day or night and – unbeknownst to us – an unwritten yet mercilessly enforced rule forbidding customers to deviate from ordering any toppings not in plain sight at that given moment. Long story short, I ignorantly attempted to order a slice with an unavailable topping and was promptly dismissed by a man referred to as the “Pizza Nazi” in front of at least 50 people. I never made that rookie mistake again.”

Guilty Pleasure
Jack in the Box. #20 is the single greatest hangover cure on Earth.”

Last Meal
Ago’s chicken parmigiana, a rare prime rib from Peter Luger in Brooklyn, a pile of Jorge’s mashed potatoes, and a few of my mom’s chocolate chip cookies. Go big or go home, right?”

What do you think?

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