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Woodside Stays, but Its Owner Must Go

Noel Ampel is selling to Chris Schaeffer, former owner of Amadeus; Tommy Tang and partner split.


Saying Goodbye to L.A.: Noel Ampel, the owner of Woodside restaurant in Brentwood, is moving to New York to take care of some family matters. But, no, he isn't closing Woodside; he's selling it to Chris Schaeffer, formerly a manager at the quickly closed Amadeus restaurant in Beverly Hills and of Barfly in West Hollywood. "It's a pretty great fit," Ampel says of Schaeffer taking the reins. "It's a nice, friendly transition." Ampel won't leave L.A. until the end of August, so you'll still see him hanging around his favorite restaurant. Of which he says, "I'm gonna miss it."

* Woodside, 11604 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood; (310) 571-3800.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Tommy Tang, the Thai chef with two restaurants under his belt (one on Melrose in L.A. and one on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena), and longtime partner Gary Arabia have split up after 18 years in business together. Arabia, who created Tommy Tang's Global Cuisine, the restaurant's catering division, tells us, "We had a great time together but it's time to go solo." Tang, meanwhile, has brought in Bonnie Covelli to head up future catering events. Arabia remains in the catering and event-production business. He has started his own company, Global Cuisine by Gary Arabia. And in spite of the breakup, the two men still share a very important aspect of their lives. Sandi Tang, Tommy's wife, is Arabia's sister.

Taking Fabio Home: Fabio Flagiello has opened an Italian coffee shop/deli/take-out store next to his brand-new restaurant, Fabio. Il Caffe was designed to serve business people in the Venice area who need good take-home food that's available on short notice. But with a back patio that seats 30 and 25 more chairs on the inside, Il Caffe may end up more of a light lunch spot. The antipasti (three for $4.95), panini sandwiches ($5.95 to $6.50), salads ($5.95 to $6.95), breads and pastries are all made next door in the Fabio kitchen; espresso, ice-blended drinks and specialty teas are made in Il Caffe. A newsstand will help you linger over your morning caffeine. Il Caffe is open from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

* Il Caffe, 1029 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 452-3887.

Quady Kudos: The Quady winery held its 8th annual dessert competition for L.A. area chefs Monday at the Argyle Hotel in West Hollywood. Judges gave top honors to Sam Gottlieb of Asia de Cuba in the Mondrian Hotel for his passion fruit and lemon zest cheesecake in a kumquat-orange sauce. Second place went to Koichiro Kikuthi of Bistro 21. Winners were judged on taste and how well their desserts paired with Quady's Electra Orange Muscat dessert wine.

More Wine Opportunities: Peter Maher, chef of La Boheme restaurant has created a four-course wine dinner for Chalone wines. Some of his dishes include poached lobster, roasted halibut and sirloin of veal. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. Monday. The price is $70 plus tax and tip.

* La Boheme, 8400 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 848-2360.

And Even More Wine: Roy's restaurant in Newport Beach has invited Justin Baldwin, the proprietor of Justin Vineyards & Winery on the Central Coast, to preside over a wine dinner on Aug. 14. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. The five-course meal to follow includes a risotto of calamari and clams, a seared-beef sashimi salad and grilled rack of lamb. The tab is $100 per person.

* Roy's, Fashion Island, 453 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach; (949) 640-7697.

Little Bites: The second Cafe Bizou, the one which opened in Pasadena late last year, just started serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It's at 91 North Raymond Ave., Pasadena; (626) 792-9923. . . . The Palm is in the midst of its summer Surf & Turf Dinner for Two season. For $95, a couple will get a meal consisting of an 18-ounce New York steak, a three-pound lobster, Caesar salad, vegetables, cottage fries with onions and cheesecake with coffee or tea. This deal is available until Sept. 15. The Palm is at 9001 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A.; (310) 550-8811. . . . Chez Jay, the mom-and-pop hangout with 10 tables and the same chef for 20 years, is celebrating its 41st anniversary. If you're also 41 and you mention that you read of their milestone in this column, you'll get a free drink. Chez Jay is at 1657 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 395-1741.


Angela Pettera can be reached at (213) 237-3153 or at

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