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October 20, 1994|LEO SMITH

This is the week to have a craving for some fine dining, with two major dinner events coming up locally.

The gluttony will begin Saturday with the Fall Harvest Winemaker's Dinner and Dance at Ventura's Pierpont Inn as Chef Louis Ludwig celebrates the fall season by teaming up with Santa Barbara County's Zaca Mesa Vineyards.

Ludwig's six-course menu will include lobster bisque in baked acorn squash; buckeye swordfish with an inlay of giant Alaskan scallop, wrapped by cured salmon; and braised duck in a tangerine glaze paired with venison Wellington.

"And for the wowie, zang, pow dessert," said Ludwig, "we'll take a pear, a symbol of harvest, hollow it out and stuff it with hazelnut mousse, and roll it in chocolate."

Cost of the 6 p.m. dinner, the accompanying wines, music and dancing, is $75. Call 653-6144, Ext. 144 for reservations.

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Ojai's Wheeler Hot Springs will close out its 1994 winemaker series Wednesday with a six-course champagne truffle dinner prepared by chef Gael Lecolley. Champagne will be provided by Jean-Louis Carbonnier.

What extravagant fare will be served? Consomme of pheasant with vegetable confetti, topped with shavings of perigord black truffle; duck foie gras fantasy served with aged white port sauce and Italian white truffles; warm oyster and lobster on julienne of leeks, with two-color truffle flan; champagne tartuffo risotto with Italian white truffles; and baked apple belle normande.

The $95 cost includes presentations by Carbonnier and truffle expert Arthur von Wiesenberger. Reservations: (800) 9-WHEELER.

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Ron Bolourian and Fred Jaraha, owners of B.J.'s Cafe and Gourmet Coffee House in Moorpark, recently opened the Moorpark Produce Market at 661 Walnut St. The lifelong friends added a third partner, produce veteran Farshad Hadayat.

As for the cafe, it offers at least 30 brands of coffee daily, and within the past two months has added a menu of 12 sandwiches, fat-free desserts, and a daily breakfast special--a poached egg, toasted bagel, and coffee for $1.99. B.J.'s is at 484 E. Los Angeles Ave., No. 102.

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