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EATS: Restaurant Reviews and News | RESTAURANT NEWS

How to Stuff, and Serve, a 6-Foot-Long Tamale

Alto Palato hopes to break record with colossal entree filled with lamb, poultry, game, seafood.

June 04, 1998|ANGELA PETTERA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Sedlar's Giant Tamale: John Sedlar, tamale-maker extraordinaire, is at it again. This time he's hosting a tamale dinner at Alto Palato on July 2 featuring ingredients from the Coachella Valley desert, like artichokes, Meejool dates and goat meat. The big treat, however, will be the Mother of All Tamales. Said tamale will check in at more than 6 feet in length and will resemble an overgrown version of the Zacahuil tamale from Vera Cruz, Mexico. Filled with lamb, chicken, guinea hen, duck, rabbit, lobster and shrimp, and then wrapped in banana and palm leaves, this heavy tamale is going for a world record. Sedlar had to have a giant steamer made for just this occasion. If you want to be there to eat a bit of the mother lode, make your reservations now. Cocktails begin at 7 p.m.; dinner is at 7:45 p.m. Cost is $42 per person, exclusive of tax and tip. Alto Palato, 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 657-9271.

New Guy in the Ring: Boxer has yet another new chef, only six months after losing Neal Fraser. Michael Plapp, Fraser's successor, has been replaced by Philip DuBose, who was the sous chef at Vida. The menu has been revamped, except for mainstays like the Boxer salad and the tuna tartare. DuBose will be going extra rounds though, because owner Steven Arroyo has decided to open the restaurant on Sunday nights now from 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner. Monday through Saturday, it's open from 6 to 11 p.m. Boxer, 7615 W. Beverly Blvd.; (213) 932-6178.

In and Out of Limbo: Derek Harrison, who, we reported in April, had left Mobay in Venice to chef at Limbo on Third Street, is now back at Mobay. Harrison says he was only consulting at Limbo, although Limbo's owner Errol Lawrence maintains Harrison was hired as executive chef. Either way, Harrison influenced the menu at Limbo, but is now back at the stoves in Mobay. At Limbo, Chris Hilton, who stepped into the sous chef position for a bit, is once again chef.

Otto's and Michael: Otto's Grill on the ground floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center downtown has landed a new chef, Michael Beglinger. The Swiss-born Beglinger has worked at the Rainbow Room and Restaurant Lespinasse at the St. Regis Hotel, both in New York. At Otto's, he's had to adjust to serving the off-hours crowd, which wants dinner before and after the theater. (The after-dinner menu serves light meals from 8 p.m. to midnight.) Beglinger also streamlined the menu. "When I came it was a nice menu, but a large one. It was all across the board," he says. "We tried to restructure it somewhat." Now you'll find hotel-like dishes such as smoked chicken Waldorf Salad, Cobb salad and beef Stroganoff. You'll also find a salute to the states with Maine lobster club sandwich, Maryland crab cakes and Colorado lamb chops. Otto's Grill & Beer Bar, 135 N. Grand Ave.; (213) 972-7322.

Bad for the Liver, Good for the Kidneys: The Great Chefs of L.A. are hosting a six-course dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel on June 14 to benefit the National Kidney Foundation. Merrill Shindler will host a silent and a live auction. Cooking for the evening are Katsuo Sugiura from the Beverly Hills Hotel; Suzanne Tracht of Jozu; Lee Hefter and Matt Bencivenga, executive chef and sous chef, respectively, of Spago Beverly Hills; Patrick Healy of the Buffalo Club; Joe Miller of Joe's Restaurant; Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery; and Josiah Citrin and Raphael Lunetta of JiRaffe. All courses are paired with a wine of the chef's choosing. Reception at 5:30, dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $185 per person and can be purchased by calling the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California at (310) 641-8152, Ext. 32. Crystal Ballroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel, 9641 W. Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 276-2251.

Trefethen Vineyards Turns 30: To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Trefethen Vineyards in Napa Valley is hosting a dinner on June 16 with Joachim Splichal at Pinot Hollywood. The restaurant's chef, Jon Fernow, will be cooking a four-course meal of seared sea scallops, striped bass with summer truffles, golden chanterelle risotto, rack of lamb, and warm pear tart. Janet Trefethen will be there to discuss the Trefethen wines being served with each course, including the limited 1996 Chardonnay Cuvee created for the 30th anniversary of the vineyard. Tickets cost $150 per person, including wine and tip; $60 of that is tax-deductible because the evening's proceeds will benefit the City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute. Reception with wine and hors d'oeuvres, 6 p.m.; dinner, 7 p.m. For reservations, call City of Hope at (213) 626-4611, Ext. 6315. Pinot Hollywood, 1448 N. Gower St.; (213) 461-8800.

Summer Sunday Champagne Brunch: 71 Palm in Ventura has just added a Sunday champagne brunch to its repertoire. On the menu are salads; appetizers of oysters, shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon pa^te; and entrees, including eggs benedict Florentine, chicken sausage, grilled tri-tip and eggs, and cre^pes. An $18.95 prix-fixe menu gets you an entree, salad, dessert and a glass of champagne, orange juice, coffee or tea. 71 Palm, 71 N. Palm St., Ventura; (805) 653-7222.

Too Uptown for Homer? The New Otani Hotel and Garden has opened its annual summer beer garden in the hotel's Japanese rooftop garden. A 48-ounce pitcher of Budweiser goes for $16; 2 liters (about 68 ounces) of Sapporo draft beer runs $20. Open Monday through Friday, 6 to 9 p.m., until Aug. 27. The New Otani Hotel & Garden, 120 S. Los Angeles St.; (213) 629-1200.

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