Does the return of the benign weather of summer make you want to do everything out of doors--work, play, eat, even sleep?
To help you accomplish at least one of your wishes, restaurateurs from one end of the San Fernando Valley to the other open up their patios for outdoor dining as spring turns into summer.
The patio at Buky's County Line Restaurant and Bar in Tarzana seats more than 150, and owner Phil Buky now serves brunch every Sunday from a menu that gives new meaning to the word "varied."
For example, you can get a bagel with cream cheese and lox--or barbecued cod or smoked whitefish. Or you can have eggs Benedict, bacon waffles, blintzes and sausages, a big salad or fresh fruit.
Or you may order chicken or beef fajitas, barbecued chicken or honey-glazed ham.
The cost is $17.95 for adults, $6.95 for children. The price includes cappuccino, espresso or a margarita for adults.
County Line is at 18588 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 342-5171.
At Studio City's Wine Bistro, owner JB Torchon and his partner, chef Alain Cuny, opened their intimate patio recently.
Their menu boasts a number of new items for summer--a puff pastry (called a feuillete in classic French cooking) with scallops and mushrooms, a crab cake salad, a half duck in raspberry sauce, a rack of lamb, and lobster and shrimp in linguine with caviar.
Prices for entrees generally run under $15.
Torchon and Cuny will host a four-course winemaker dinner June 4 featuring Joseph Phelps wines. On the menu: a feuillete of asparagus in smoked salmon sauce; baked sea bass with lime sauce; rack of lamb with caramelized red onions in thyme sauce; and for dessert poached pear with pistachio ice cream.
The Joseph Phelps wines, in order: a 1994 Sauvignon Blanc, a 1994 chardonnay, a 1994 cabernet, and a 1995 late-harvest Riesling.
The cost: $42.50.
The Wine Bistro is located at 11915 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 766-6233.
Last but not least, if you like the outdoors and good food, you'll find no better place to indulge yourself than the 15th annual French Chefs Picnic on June 1 at the Big Rock Ranch in Topanga Canyon.
Hosted by the Club Culinaire Francais, a nonprofit association of Southern California's many French-speaking chefs, restaurateurs and suppliers, the picnic gets underway at 11:30 a.m. and will feature poached salmon, a duck leg confit with mixed baby greens, a shallot steak with parsley potatoes, ratatouille, lentil salad, cheeses and desserts.
Advance tickets go for $30 for adults and $15 for children 7 to 12 years old, and reservations are a must. Call (213) 964-0520.
* Juan Hovey writes about the restaurant scene in the San Fernando Valley and outlying points. Call (805) 492-7909, fax (805) 492-5139 or e-mail at JHovey@compuserve.com.