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July 15, 1998|CHARLES PERRY

Five Stars in Hollywood

Congratulations to L'Orangerie Restaurant in Hollywood, the only California restaurant to win five stars in the 1998 Mobil Travel Guide. The Mobil awards, which have been given out for 40 years, consider service, decor and comfort as well as food. Patina (Hollywood) and Chez Panisse (Berkeley) were among the 17 California restaurants to win four stars.

For the Riedeler

Your serious wine freak drinks from glasses made by the Austrian glassmaker Riedel, each designed for a different kind of wine. But what if the wine freak goes to a dinner, a picnic or (gasp) a tasting where the right glass isn't available? At last, there's a sort of wine glass tote, the fully padded Riedel Travel Case, with room for up to four glasses, detachable shoulder straps and the Riedel name prominently emblazoned on the outside.

Quebecker Steak

Schilling is promoting a spice mixture called Montreal Steak Seasoning. It seems to be the usual seasoned salt flavorings (garlic and paprika) plus black pepper and a strong dose of dill. So if it's a dilled steak you want, Montreal's the way to go.

Taro: It's in the Cards

Maybe you haven't noticed, but there's a new food pyramid in town--the Hawaiian food pyramid, based on taro root. Hawaiian governor Benjamin Cayetano has announced that he's on the Hawaiian diet, which seems to be your basic low-fat, high-fiber health-food diet of the tofu stir-fry family--only, needless to say, prominently featuring taro, a starchy root used pretty much like the potato in cooking (it's actually more closely related to the calla lily).

Taro is a hard vegetable to love, though. It's notoriously bland and looks like a particularly sluggish space alien when you buy it in the market. But it's easy to cook, its promoters bravely say--simply steam two hours or cook one hour in the pressure cooker.

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