Cha Cha Ah-Choo: Toribio Prado (of Cha Cha Cha, Prado and Cava) opened a restaurant named Mulatto in West Hollywood back in December. It was open exactly a month when Prado experienced health problems that forced him to close the place down. But Prado is feeling better now, and Mulatto is scheduled to reopen on Valentine's Day.
The theme, as the name Mulatto implies, is to celebrate a mixing of cultures. Prado says the food will be like Cha Cha Cha's, but more upscale; to wit, it's contemporary Latin cuisine along the same lines as Yuca in Miami Beach, but "more tuned to the L.A. palate," as Prado puts it. To capture a tropical feel, the inside of the place is decorated with flowers, plants and waterfalls.
* Mulatto, 8727 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 289-1180.
Welcome to Nuevo Mundo: Nuevo Latino chef Xiomara Ardolina (of Xiomara in Pasadena) has found a new chef--again. Her last one, as you may recall, was out of the kitchen before he really started. The new guy, Robert Ferrer, is a Cuban-born chef with a French family background who attended culinary school in Havana. His new menu debuts Friday.
As for what to call his cuisine, Ardolina has decided against reusing the Nuevo Latino tag. "People didn't get it," she says. It seems that when West Coasters hear the word "Latino," they think Mexican food. Ardolina is now calling her upscale Cuban/South American cuisine "New World" cuisine. Got it?
* Xiomara, 69 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena; (818) 796-2520.
Friday, Pie Day: Did you know that Friday is National Pie Day? Chef Benjamin Ford at the Farm of Beverly Hills is making Dutch apple pie to celebrate. You can get it by the slice with homemade vanilla ice cream for $3.50, or you can buy the whole dang pie for $25. But in the latter case, be sure to call today if you want to pick up your pie Friday. Meanwhile, the Broadway Deli is making an Apple Rosemary pie to celebrate the occasion, and it's flavored with the aromatic dessert wine Moscato (a liquor license is a wonderful thing). It will be offered at $4 the slice, $20 the pie (order today for a whole pie).
* The Farm of Beverly Hills, 439 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 273-5578. Broadway Deli, 1457 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica; (310) 451-0616.
Super Bowl for Sushi Eaters: Perhaps you've never thought of sushi as the thing to cram in your face while watching the Super Bowl, but some people clearly do. Typhoon is throwing its Sixth Super Sushi all-you-can-eat party Sunday. The guest chef for the day is Shige Kudo from Sushi Shibucho restaurant on Beverly Boulevard. A large TV screen will broadcast the game; the fun begins one half-hour before kickoff--and if you don't know when that is, maybe you'd be just as well off eating your sushi somewhere else that day. Cost is $32.50 per person. (Betcha anything, anything at all, that they won't be doing this back in Green Bay.)
* Typhoon, 3221 Donald Douglas Loop South, Santa Monica Airport, Santa Monica; (310) 390-6565.
Super Bowl for Rib Crunchers: On the other hand, Rix in Santa Monica is making barbecue for Super Bowl Sunday. You know what that means: a buffet full of grilled chicken, ribs, sausages, baked beans and mashed potatoes, and plenty of napkins. Five 36-inch TVs will be spotted throughout the restaurant, in the bar, on the patio and in the cigar lounge. It all begins at 2 p.m. Cost is $25 per person, food only.
Rix, 1413 5th St., Santa Monica; (310) 656-9688.
Bigger Is Better: Cafe N'Awlins in Burbank is temporarily closed. Chef-owner Mark Antoine Foster is installing a larger hood exhaust system so that he can deep-fry seafood and beignets. Foster plans to reopen by Jan. 28, but you may want to call there first to confirm.
* Cafe N'Awlins, 122 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank; (818) 563-3569.
Another Renovation: Il Forno in Santa Monica, closed for a couple of weeks for revamping, has opened as of Tuesday. Owner Joseph Suceavanu wanted to make it more warm and intimate. "I feel the restaurant business is getting less cold, less neon," he says. He's also split the menu into two sections. One section will feature casual Italian dishes and spa cuisine; the chef's market specials (usually pastas, veal and seafood) appear on the other, and guess which side will be more expensive. Suceavanu has also changed the wine list. It looks like a wine cheat sheet or wine drinking for dummies. About 50 Italian and American wines are categorized according to color and body and listed with appropriate food choices.
* Il Forno, 2901 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 450-1241.
One More Chinois: Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff have opened yet another door in the Puck empire. This one's in Vegas--at the venerable Caesar's Palace, no less. The Chinois on Main that you know and love here has been re-created in the Forum Shops there. At stoves (and blades) is chef Munehiro Mori, formerly of Cashion's and Asia Nora in Washington, D.C. The new Chinois is a two-level restaurant with the formal dining room upstairs and a more casual cafe and sushi bar downstairs. Reservations taken only for dinner upstairs.
* Chinois, the Forum Shops at Caesar's, 3500 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas; (702) 737-9700.