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EATS: Restaurant Reviews and News | RESTAURANT NEWS

Knives and Forks at the Bowl

When concert season means picnic season, boxed meals are the answer.

June 11, 1998|ANGELA PETTERA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Hollywood Bowl picnic boxes are ba-a-a-ack. Here are a few places that are wrapping up meals for you to carry out and eat under the stars. Be sure to order at least one day in advance (most places need 24 hours) and ask when you can pick up your order. All prices here are per box (serving one) unless otherwise noted.

The New Boxes on the Block: Urban Epicuria, a new take-out store in West Hollywood, has a large open kitchen--the better to watch the chefs making meals to go--and a "food concierge" to help create custom dinners with the appropriate beverages. Dinners are available in oven-safe reheating packages or ready to eat in picnic boxes or woven baskets. Meal accessories include fresh flowers, flatware, glassware, napkins and candles. If you want your food to meet you somewhere, the food concierge can arrange courier service. The picnic menu lists an assortment of appetizers, chilled soups, salads, sandwiches and sushi rolls from which to create individualized picnic boxes. Or choose from set boxes with opera-inspired names. Boxes, which serve two, run $18 to $42 and come packed with ice packs, plates, flatware and napkins. Call before 11 a.m. to pick up by 4 p.m. Or wander in to browse between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. daily.

* Urban Epicuria, 8315 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (213) 848-8411.

The Corner Bakery has picnic box lunches at practically school lunch prices. Among the sandwiches are roast beef, chicken pesto, smoked turkey with Swiss (all three come on baguettes), smoked ham and Havarti (on pretzel bread) and mozzarella with roasted peppers (on ciabatta bread). The standard take-out lunch, which includes fruit, potato chips and a cookie, is $7.95. The chips can be switched out for a pasta or Caesar salad for 50 cents more. The small lunch box, $5.95, is a mini-sandwich, small salad, fruit, chips and a cookie. The boxed lunches are made while you wait, or you can call ahead. Available daily during business hours.

* The Corner Bakery, inside Maggiano's Little Italy, South Coast Plaza (near Sears), 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; (714) 546-1555.

Connolly's Restaurant, which just opened on Pico Boulevard, has six Bowl menus at $24, all packed in boxes tied with raffia. (For $10 more, it comes in a wicker picnic basket.) Each menu includes a soup, a main course (e.g., grilled chicken salad; whitefish with three-bean salad; chicken with Swiss chard), vegetable, salad or rice dish, assorted breads and dessert. Call at least a day ahead and pick up any day you specify, even if the restaurant is closed.

* Connolly's Restaurant, 11510 W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; (310) 479-2133.

Chris Michael's Restaurant has three generous boxes available to order, and customers can also design their own menus. Menu No. 1 ($27) is a tomato basil torta, rosemary chicken breasts, farfalle with fresh herbs, mixed field greens, bread and sweet butter, and poppy seed cake or blackout brownies. Menu No. 2 ($34) keeps the mixed field greens (adding asparagus vinaigrette) but features chicken piccata, grilled garlic shrimp, rice medley, almond shortbread zephyrs and either Belgian chocolate cake or brownies. Menu No. 3 ($42) combines the game hen, shrimp, farfalle, rice, torta, brownies and shortbread from the above menus and adds a spicy eggplant dish. The dinners are available Mondays through Fridays and should be picked up by 6:30 p.m.

* Chris Michael's Restaurant, Pacific Design Center, 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (310) 360-7755.

The Swankiest Box in Town: Wolfgang Puck's Granita has a woven picnic basket for two that includes smoked salmon with dill cream, chopped vegetable salad, prosciutto San Daniele with artichoke salad and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, grilled free-range chicken with summer vegetables, country breads, a Granny Smith apple tart, a Valrhona chocolate tart and cookies and biscotti. Plus, of course, a bottle of California red or white wine and two glasses. The price is $100 for the food and wine plus $15 deposit for the basket (you can keep it if you like it). Order and pay two days in advance.

* Granita, 23725 W. Malibu Road, Malibu; (310) 456-0488.

Lots of Menu Choices: DickinsonWest has five boxes to choose from. Box No. 1 (either the chicken breast with romaine hearts and pesto Caesar dressing or smoked Chinese duck salad) is $14, and it includes a bar cookie. Box No. 2 has mixed green salad with roasted onion dressing, grilled achiote chicken breast, black beans and rice and the bread pudding of the week for $18. Box No. 3 has caponata with toast points, poached salmon salad Nicoise and the tart of the week for $22. Box No. 4 is Thai grilled shrimp, an eight-ounce New York steak, potato salad, potato chips and seasonal fruit cobbler for $26. In box No. 5 there's an ahi tuna and salmon tower, roast loin of lamb with curried basmati rice, the creme bru^lee of the week and crispy cookies; $32. Pickup is Tuesdays through Saturdays during restaurant hours.

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