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RESTAURANT NOTEBOOK

Shire Puts Another Feather in Her Toque

December 27, 1987|COLMAN ANDREWS

In addition to working as a consultant for the Beverly Restaurant and Market, scheduled to open in Beverly Hills early next year, and revising the menu at the same owner's Angel City Grill in Hollywood, top Boston-born chef Lydia Shire (late of L.A.'s Four Seasons Hotel) reports that she has also been working on an advisory basis for the long-awaited Langan's Brasserie in Century City.

"The people are wonderful there," she says, "and the place looks great, and I think I've come up with a very interesting menu for them." One of the features of the place, she adds, is a 70-foot-long bar. Langan's was originally supposed to open this month--well, if you want to get technical about it, it was originally supposed to open six or eight years ago, at another location entirely--and has already hosted at least one private party, but Shire says now that it will probably be February when the doors finally open to the public.

Meanwhile, though she has repeatedly expressed her desire to remain in the L.A. area with a restaurant of her own, Shire also reports that she has just made a bid on a possible restaurant location back in Boston, overlooking the bay.

LETTUCE ALONE: As noted recently in this column, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently blocked the release of a frozen Pesto Pizza under the Wolfgang Puck label, on the grounds that it contained no tomato sauce, which their rule book says any product that calls itself a pizza is supposed to have. If you thought (as I sure did) that that was silly, consider this: An expatriate Englishwoman who runs a restaurant in Athens was recently fined because she served a salad that didn't include cucumbers or tomatoes--both of which must be included, by legal definition, in any so-called salad served in Greece.

APPROVAL OF SEALS: When restaurateur Bob Morris took over the Malibu Sea Lion a couple of years ago, he told this column that he intended to bring back the beasts for which the place is named--the live sea lions that used to frolic in a fenced-in pool in the establishment's Pacific Coast Highway-side parking lot. A sign on the restaurant's flank even boasts "Home of the World Famous Malibu Sea Lions."

Alas, though, there is still nary a flipper in sight. What happened? "We haven't abandoned the idea at all," Morris assured me when I asked him that question recently. "It's just that there are so many permits to get--from the Coastal Commission, from the federal government and so on. Sea lions are an endangered species, so, quite rightly, the government makes it difficult for people to use them in various ways. It's all still part of my plan, though. They'll be back one day."

RESTAURANT CONCEPT OF THE MONTH: A new eating place in Long Beach called House of Fondues and Kebabs.

JUST DESERTS: What do a horny toad and a tumbleweed have in common, other than a shared desert habitat? Well, in one case locally, a horny toad has become a tumbleweed. When last we heard from Marsha Sands, proprietor of Camelions in Santa Monica and her ex-chef Elka Gilmore, each was planning to open a Texas-style barbecue place called Horny Toad's--a project they had originally planned together. Gilmore, as she predicted, has gotten hers opened first, on South Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills--but she has given up the Horny Toad's moniker and named it Tumbleweed instead, an environmentally sensitive solution to the problems, if you ask me.

WORD OF MOUTH: The Radisson Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Beach is serving a special "Taste the Flavor of the Northwest" menu, with Pacific Northwestern wines to match, in their terrace bistro, overlooking the Radisson golf course, through Jan. 31. The hotel will donate $1 for each Northwestern entree served and $1 per bottle (or 25 cents per glass) of Northwestern wine to the United Cerebral Palsy Assns. . . .

Robaire's on La Brea celebrates its 36th anniversary this year, and the newly refurbished restaurant is now open for lunch Monday through Friday. . . .

Christopher J. Blobaum, former executive sous chef at the Filmland Center's Le Montage and Producers Club restaurants, is the new executive chef at Colette in the Beverly Pavilion Hotel. . . .

A 4,500-square-foot Hawaiian edition of our own California Pizza Kitchen has opened in the Kahala Mall in Honolulu. . . .

And New York magazine reports that the legendary Dean & DeLuca upscale food store (so well-known that it has even been lampooned in a mystery novel as "Bean & Beluga") is considering opening a branch in Los Angeles. Store founders Joel Dean and Georgio DeLuca recently sold part of their company to First Pacific Group, a Hong Kong-based firm, which is pushing the expansion plans.

EVENTS: Ira Spilky hosts a course on "How to Successfully Start or Expand a Fast-Food Restaurant" on eight Tuesday evenings, beginning Jan. 5, at the Brentwood/Bel Air Holiday Inn. Tuition is $160 per person. Call (213) 826-7179 for details. . . .

Meanwhile, Robert Bell, owner/chef of Chez Melange in Redondo Beach, with the help of prominent guest lecturers, launches a "Starting Your Own Restaurant" course through UCLA Extension on Monday, Jan. 11, at UCLA. Fee for the complete series of classes is $200 per person. Information: (213) 206-8120.

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