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Recipes to Die For

September 23, 1998|RUSS PARSONS

First the John Gacy clown pictures, now this: Dorothea Puente, the 70-year-old Sacramento boarding house owner who was convicted in 1993 of murdering three of her tenants in order to cash their disability checks, is writing a cookbook. "Dorothea's been accused of a lot of things and [sic] being a bad cook isn't one of them," it says in the advertisement on the Web site for the weekly entertainment newspaper Chicago at Night (http://www.chicagoatnight.com). "The one thing everyone involved in this case keyed in on was how awesome all of her tenants thought the cooking was." Well, yes, that and the seven bodies buried in the backyard.

Sidewalk Chefs

There's a Walk of Fame in Hollywood for movie and television stars and one nearby for rock 'n' rollers. Now there's one in Santa Monica for chefs. Friday night, the California Heritage Museum inducted nine honorees into the International Chef's Walk. The chefs don't get stars but decorative art tiles placed within the sidewalk along Main Street.

Judging by the list, Santa Monica must be the next Lyons; five of the nine inaugural inductees have restaurants there: Wolfgang Puck, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, Hans Rockenwagner and Makato Tanaka from Chinois on Main. Three others, Nobu Matsuhisa, Joachim Splichal and Roy Yamaguchi, chef at various Roy's restaurants around the world, who started at 345 North in West Hollywood, have strong Southern California connections. The international touch must come from Bradley Ogden of the Lark Creek Inn in Northern California.

If your favorite chef's name isn't on the list, don't worry. Five to 10 new chefs will be inducted every year. And just because a chef didn't make the list this year doesn't mean he or she wasn't among the first choices.

"One of the things we considered in making our choices was that they had to be available for the awards dinner [Friday night]," says the museum's Tobi Smith, who headed the selection. "There were three or four chefs we contacted who couldn't make it this year. One was in France, one was at a fund-raiser in Washington, D.C., one had his mom's birthday. . . ."

The Collectible Menu

One of the little-known treasures of the Los Angeles Public Library system is its trove of old menus. Mainly, but not exclusively, from Southern California, they are stored in the rare books room, and you need to make an appointment to see them. Now, however, they have been compiled into a database, and you can search them on-line at http://dbase1.lapl.org/pages/menus.htm. In addition, the covers of about 1,200 menus have been scanned into the computer and can be viewed.

Louis P. Martini, California Winemaker

Louis P. Martini, who died Monday at 79, was named Winemaker of the Century by the California State Senate shortly before his death. Martini, a pioneering California winemaker, was the longtime head of the Louis M. Martini Winery, founded in 1922 by his father. He was one of the first growers to plant grapes in the Carneros area and is reputed to be the first Californian to bottle a varietal wine made from Merlot, in 1970. After being made winemaker at Martini in 1954, he ran it until his son Michael took over in 1978. Daughter Carolyn is president and CEO of the winery.

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