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A Bit of Majorca in Newport Beach

La Granja specializes in Spanish and Basque cuisine and has artifacts from the estate that shares its name.


I (Heart) Majorca: A new Newport Beach restaurant sports a century-old wine press and a 300-year-old cheese press from a 1,000-year-old estate on the Mediterranean island of Majorca. The restaurant is named after the estate: La Granja. Chef Paco Santos, Castilian by birth, serves Spanish tapas for appetizers; among his entrees are two paellas and several seafood dishes, including Catalan grilled sea bass in romesco sauce and Basque-style halibut flavored with beer and saffron, pan-fried and finished under the broiler. Most dishes are served with Santos' answer to mashed potatoes: sliced spuds baked with olive oil, onions and garlic. La Granja is open for lunch and dinner daily.

La Granja Mediterranean Grill, in the Newport Plaza Center, 1000 Bristol St. N., Newport Beach; (949) 252-9396.

After Abiento, Asian: The Pasadena restaurant space vacated by Abiento last July has been snapped up by the Applied Restaurant Group (of the Parkway Grill and Arroyo Chop House) with plans for Gregg and Bob Smith and Abiento's owners to create a pan-Asian restaurant. No word on the name yet. The plan is to open it in February.

Santa Fe's Coming: Speaking of Parkway Grill, chef Eric DiStefano of Geronimo, a restaurant in a 150-year-old adobe in Santa Fe, N.M., is guest chef at Parkway Grill from Tuesday through next Thursday. He'll serve his brand of contemporary Southwest cuisine a la carte for dinner all three nights and at lunch Wednesday and next Thursday. Look for spring rolls stuffed with duck confit and sun-dried blueberries, prosciutto-wrapped greens with truffle essence, elk tenderloin au poivre with sun-dried cherry polenta and guava-prickly pear bisque with basil ice cream.

Parkway Grill, 510 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena; (626) 795-1001.

Tidbits: Pastis French restaurant is now open for lunch Monday through Friday with a more casual menu and lower prices to match. You can get grilled steak frites, marinated chicken, shrimp with tagliatelle or a red pepper and goat cheese sandwich. Pastis is at 8114 Beverly Blvd., L.A. The phone is (323) 655-8822. . . . The Chart House restaurants have some exotic South Pacific fish on the menu: mahi mahi, onaga (red snapper), opah (moonfish), ehu (orange snapper), lehi (maroon snapper), uku (gray snapper) and opakapaka (crimson snapper). The season should last until mid-November. Only three of these fish will be featured each day, so call ahead to see what's on the specials board. The phone numbers are (310) 454-9321, Malibu; (310) 822-4144, Marina del Rey; and (310) 372-3464, Redondo Beach. . . . West Hollywood landmark Dan Tana's turned 35 this month, still at 9071 Santa Monica Blvd. . . . And chef Akira Hirose celebrates the first birthday of Pasadena Franco-Japanese restaurant Maison Akira with a four-course dinner tonight: smoked asparagus with foie gras, a Dover sole and scallop-mousse timbale, roasted rack of lamb and chestnut Charlotte. It's $50 plus tax and tip. Maison Akira is at 713 E. Green St., Pasadena; (626) 796-9501.

Spooky Eats: Leave a giant bowl of candy on your doorstep and head over to one of these restaurants for a Halloween meal of more than just chocolate and caramel.

Chef-owner Serge Burckel has designed an orange-and-black (or at least dark brown) three-course meal at One: squash risotto and pan-seared foie gras, a whole roasted papaya stuffed with minced beef and an apricot tart on an apple-saffron compote. It's $35 plus tax and tip.

One, 672 S. La Brea Ave., L.A.; (323) 692-0540.

If you wear a costume to dinner at Rebecca's, your appetizer is free. And if that costume is the evening's best, you'll win a $100 gift certificate for food. The contest will be held around 11 p.m. The drink special for the night is a midnight cosmopolitan made with a black vodka from England called Blabod. Menu specials include a pumpkin relleno (a pumpkin-stuffed chile that's deep fried).

Rebecca's, 101 Broadway, Santa Monica; (310) 260-1100.

Cha Cha Cha Encino will feature costumed waiters, a Tarot card reader and menu specials including "spooky Sherry lobster bisque" served in a pumpkin shell and "witches' coven crispy coconut shrimp."

Cha Cha Cha Encino, 17499 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 789-3600.

Locanda del Lago will have a special cocktail for Creep Night--Jekyll and Hyde, mixing sweet Alize with bitter Jagermeister. Special dishes include a pumpkin soup, black pasta with squash sauce, creamy white "ghost risotto," halibut in blood-orange sauce and a salute to Dracula--blood-rare beef tenderloin.

Locanda del Lago, 231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 451-3525.

Kids can have Halloween brunch at the Manor Hotel in Hollywood; munchkins under 12 in costume eat free (adults pay $20). Traditional brunch items share the buffet table with "lizard brews" and "spider waffles." Brunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Manor Hotel, 5930 Franklin Ave., Hollywood; (323) 960-3100.

Angela Pettera can be reached by voicemail at (213) 237-3153 or by e-mail at

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