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October 2008 Archive

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LOS ANGELES RESTAURANT NEWS - OCTOBER 2008 Archive


OPENINGS

Pasadena's Equator coffeehouse has been stylishly redone by owner Teddy Bediakian and chef/partner Jack Zhang to become the more upscale Equator Restaurant and Bar. It has jettisoned the exotic hookahs in favor of a sultry mood-lit bar, which offers specialty martinis and sakes; Zhang's new menu features upscale Asian-fusion dishes like basil filet mignon and weekend dim sum made by his mother. Equator Restaurant and Bar, 22 Mills Pl., Pasadena, CA 91105, 626-564-8656.
 
Sizzling celebs Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Smits, Paul Rodriguez and Sheila E. are fueling the new Latin-infused nightclub Conga Room, due to open in December at the new L.A. Live complex in downtown Los Angeles right across from the Staples Center and adjacent to the Convention Center. Besides live entertainment and dancing, the club will also house the Pan-Latin restaurant Boca, headed up by executive chef Alex Garcia and featuring a menu of Caribbean, South American and Cuban cuisine. Conga Room, L.A. Live, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Stes. A160 & A260, Los Angeles, CA 90015, 213-749-0445.
 
Actress Joan Collins at the opening of LA Food Show Grill & Bar Actress Joan Collins at the opening of LA Food Show Grill & Bar
The team behind the California Pizza Kitchen chain have opened a second branch of their restaurant concept LA Food Show Grill & Bar. Like the original location in Manhattan Beach, the menu offers a blend of American, Asian and Italian food, with menu items including homemade meatloaf, garlic ginger noodles, and buttermilk-battered fried chicken and waffles. LA Food Show Grill & Bar held a Grand Opening Preview on October 22, and Joan Collins, Kathy and Rick Hilton, Buzz Aldrin, and Steve Schirripa were some of the VIPs in attendance. LA Food Show Grill & Bar, 252 N. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210, 310-550-9752.
 
Wokcano has opened a two-story location in Santa Monica that features a dark, modern dining area with leather booths, rough stone columns and dimly lit Asian lanterns. The menu offers a fusion of traditional and nontraditional Japanese, Chinese and Thai cuisines, as well as a selection of sushi. Wokcano, 1413 5th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401, 310-458-3050.
 
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is scheduled to open the first week of December at L.A. Live, a 27-acre mixed use development downtown that includes the NOKIA Theatre. This new location will offer a large patio and extended bar area. It will also be among the first Fleming's to serve lunch.
 

NEWS BYTES

Lola's Offers Martini and Appetizer Deals
Given the state of the economy, it’s great to find a good value for one of the city’s most legendary frou-frou cocktail bars. Lola's, the West Hollywood hot spot, introduces the "Hard Times Happy Hour,"which is offered seven days a week from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., featuring its famous martinis for $5, and appetizer specials for $5.50. Known for its signature apple martini and a list of 79 other varieties---the largest in town---Lola's spotlights several renditions during the happy hour, including apple, raspberry, Cosmo, dirty, dry, peach and grapefruit. During the upcoming holiday season, pumpkin, gingerbread and candy cane martinis will also be featured. Each martini is made with the "vodka of the month." November's drinks will be shaken and stirred with Svedka. Featured $5.50 appetizers include short rib tacos, chicken spring rolls, sweet potato fries, and spinach-artichoke dip. Lola's, 945 N. Fairfax Ave., West Hollywood, CA 90046, 323-654-5652.
 
Political Potables
Morton's The Steakhouse in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Woodland Hills and Palm Desert are inviting guests to celebrate (or commiserate) with election-themed cocktails available now through November 4. On offer are the Republican-tini (Absolut Citrus Vodka, Pama and sour mix), Democratini (Absolut Citrus Vodka, Blue Curacao and sour mix) and the Undecided-tini (a half red/half blue concoction of Blue Curacao, Pama and pomegranate syrup). Diners can watch live election coverage in the bar on Election Day.
 
A Cap Cake from The Peninsula Beverly Hills "Cap Cakes" Take the Cake
The Peninsula Beverly Hills has introduced "Cap Cakes," a new sweet specialty served during afternoon tea service. This cupcake-like dessert is modeled after the white satin pillbox caps worn by the hotel's pageboys and features white chocolate enrobed sponge cake and passion fruit mousse. Gold-braided fondant and gold lettering are added as a final ornamental touch. Afternoon tea is offered in The Living Room at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. every day. (Throughout the month of December, a third seating will start at noon.) Cap Cakes are complimentary with tea service; a gift box of four is also available for $39. The Peninsula Beverly Hills, 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, 310-551-2888, 800-462-7899.
 
Melograno’s Meal Deal
Hollywood Boulevard's Melograno is giving a nod to the recession by offering a Sunday night three-course prezzo (prix-fixe) for $35, featuring Italian autumn specialties. Piemontese chef Alberto Lazzarino dishes up baby artichoke hearts over wild arugula, organic butternut squash with amaretto and cinnamon, pasta with Barolo wine-braised hare and pomegranate, gnocci with porcini ragu, as well as desserts including pumpkin flan and hazelnut panna cotta. The menu will continue until the economy improves. Melograno, 6541 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028, 323-465-6650.
 
Soup’s On at The Edison
In another concession to the financial times, the historic Edison is introducing its "Soup Kitchen" on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring complimentary grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, plus a Depression Era cocktail at Depression Era prices---only 35 cents. Twenty-five percent of the net proceeds will go to local food banks and charities. The Edison, Higgins Building, 108 W. Second St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, 213-613-0000.
 
Celebration of Bordeaux Wines
Joachim Splichal's Patina restaurant group will be celebrating the bold wines of Bordeaux through November 26. Select Patina restaurants will be pairing affordable wines by the glass or bottle with harvest-inspired meals. Participating eateries include Café Pinot, Kendall's Brasserie & Bar, Nick & Stef's Steakhouse, Pinot Bistro, and Pentimento Café at LACMA.
 
Bar Celona Bar Celona Out to Raise the Bar
Coinciding with the restaurant's fifth anniversary, Bar Celona has unveiled a new menu created by chef Josef Centeno (Lot 1 Café, Opus Restaurant, Meson G). His modern interpretation of Spanish cuisine includes dishes like Tasmanian ocean trout with lima beans and gooseberries, and roast duck breast with beluga lentils, anise spiced pear and sweet-sour strawberries, as well as a variety of tapas. Bar Celona, 46 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105, 626-405-1000.
 
Be an Extra on the Food Network
As part of their new series, "Raw Talent," the Food Network will make a stop in Los Angeles to feature a local sushi chef. Adults and children are welcome to be extras on set, and there will be free sushi and entertainment for participants. This special event will take place on October 23 at the Korean Bell of Friendship and Bell Pavilion in Angels Gate Park in San Pedro at 12:45 p.m. RSVP to Jessica at RawTalent08@gmail.com. Angels Gate Park, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731, no phone.
 
Think Pink
Throughout October, sales of Panera Bread's Pink Ribbon Bagel, made with cherry chips, dried cherries, cranberries, vanilla, honey and brown sugar, will benefit breast cancer charities such as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and LA Breast Cancer Alliance. The Pink Ribbon Bagel is available at the locations in Torrance, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey, Carson, Palmdale, Studio City, Santa Clarita, Lancaster, Northridge, and Los Angeles (8647 S. Sepulveda Blvd.).
 
Brunch by the Beach
Ortega 120 in Redondo Beach is now serving a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. The Mexican brunch menu features items like Huevos Benedictos (eggs benedict) with lightly fried corn masa cakes, poached eggs, house made chorizo and lime sour cream; as well as pan de leche strawberry french toast stuffed with sweet cream and strawberries. All brunch items are $10. Ortega 120, 1814 S. Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach, CA 90277, 310-792-4120.
 
Snacks at the Stacks
Downtown's Library Bar has introduced a menu of refined pub fare. Options include grilled artichoke with lemon garlic confit, a pork belly sandwich, and the "Library Burger," which is topped with grilled onions, house-made pickles, Gruyère and arugula. Library Bar, 630 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90017, 213-614-0053.
 
A Sweet Sequel
Chef Kristy Choo of Jin Pâtisserie will open a location of her pastry shop at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City by the end of October. The lobby-adjacent shop will feature shadow display boxes in the front window to showcase Choo's signature truffles and cakes, which will be available for purchase along with Theodor Tea, coffee, macaroons and gift items. Jin Pâtisserie, 2151 Ave. of the Stars, Century City, CA 90067, 310-284-6500.
 
The wine bar at Bastide Bastide Debuts Wine Bar
Bastide has added a green marble wine bar to the outdoor patio. There's room for six patrons to perch on rattan stools and order order high-end rustic fare, along with wines from the restaurant's extensive wine list, overseen by sommelier Pieter Verheyde, plus a surprise selection chosen each day. Bastide, 8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069, 323-651-5950.
 

CHEF SHUFFLE

Check back soon for more news.

CLOSINGS

Joachim Splichal's Beverly Hills seafood restaurant Paperfish is closed. The stylish modern spot tucked away on Maple Drive apparently suffered from an economic decline, and the Patina Restaurant Group chose not to renew their lease. Splichal commented that executive chef Kevin Meehan will likely move to another Patina restaurant. Paperfish, 345 N. Maple Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210, no phone.
 
El Cholo's chic little Southwestern sister The Sonora Café will be closing on La Brea. Opened in 1986, it moved once already from its original downtown digs, but owner Ron Salisbury is hoping to relocate the restaurant yet again in the near future. The Sonora Café, 180 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036, 323-857-1800.
 
Leda's Bake Shop in Sherman Oaks closed on October 18 with plans to re-open in 2009. It's been rumored that their popular cupcakes may not be part of the menu when the bakery returns. Leda's Bake Shop, 13722 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, 818-386-9644.
 

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