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Change Is on Menu as Woodside Becomes Zax


The X Woodside: Chris Schaeffer will close Woodside in Brentwood on Monday and reopen on Tuesday as Zax. Brooke Williamson, last at Boxer, is the new chef. Her new menu will debut with Zax. Chantal Schaeffer, Chris' wife, will help him work the floor most nights. They hope to bring Zax up from a neighborhood restaurant to a destination spot.

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


Let the Teas Begin: Now's the time for holiday eats in the form of high teas, special foods and fancy dinners:

The Regent Beverly Wilshire hosts its annual Nutcracker Tea Sunday and Dec. 10. A traditional English tea is served at 3 p.m., then ballet dancers from the Westside Ballet Company will perform "The Nutcracker" in Le Grand Trianon beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets are $45 for adults and $25 for children under 12.

* The Regent Beverly Wilshire, 9500 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; (310) 858-2384.

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel gears its Teddy Bear Tea toward youngsters 3 to 10. The hot beverage is really hot chocolate, not tea, and the finger sandwiches run along the lines of peanut butter and jelly. Entertainment will be a marionette show. The Teddy Bear Tea takes place Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. from now until Dec. 10 and daily Dec. 16 through 22. The price is $40 per person, plus the donation of a new unwrapped teddy bear to be given to Toys for Tots.

* The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, 1 Ritz Carlton Drive, Dana Point; (949) 240-5008.

The Restaurant at the Hotel Bel-Air has added the Louis XIII 50-year-old Cognac from Remy Martin to its tasting menu for the holidays. Six small courses of food are paired with four wines. The tasting menu, which changes weekly, is available every night. The price is $165.

* The Restaurant at the Hotel Bel-Air, 701 Stone Canyon Road, Bel-Air; (310) 472-1211.


Five Il Fornaio locations are carrying holiday treats in their bakeries, such as marasche, luscious almond cookies with cherries inside (85 cents each); tartufi, chocolate-rum truffles on butter-cookie bases ($1.85 each); and mini apricot panettone cakes ($2.25 each). Call individual locations for bakery hours. These treats are also available online at

* Il Fornaio, 1800 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 725-9555; 1551 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 451-7800; 24 W. Union St., Pasadena, (626) 683-9797; 301 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 550-8330, and 18051 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, (949) 261-1444.

Roy's in Newport Beach offers diners a Hawaiian version of some holiday dishes. Specials that run through Dec. 31 include duck glazed with teriyaki and served with a sauce made from lilikoi (that's passion fruit to you and me) and poha berries (a sweet cousin of the tomato otherwise known as ground cherry or Cape gooseberry). There are appetizer and dessert specials as well.

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


Sonora Cafe and all of the El Cholo Mexican restaurants are making seasonal turkey tamales with raisins, apples and nuts. They come with a mole sauce and cost $3 each. Visit the restaurant locations--or order turkey tamales by mail by calling (888) 982-6253.

* Sonora Cafe, 180 S. La Brea Ave., L.A.; (323) 857-1800. El Cholo, 1121 S. Western Ave., L.A., (323) 734-2773; 1025 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (310) 899-1106; 958 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (626) 441-4353; and 5465 Alton Parkway, Irvine, (949) 451-0044.


How Swede It Is: Gustav Anders is serving a classic Swedish smorgasbord buffet until Dec. 30. It stars herring--pickled, smoked, mousse, curry, as a hard-boiled-egg stuffing and made into a potato casserole, to name a few treatments. Also on the menu: curried crab salad, leg of lamb, ham, sausages, smoked reindeer, lutefisk and rice pudding (among other dishes). And Swedish meatballs, of course. Waiters will give you tips on the proper way to visit the smorgasbord table. It's $39 at lunch and $49 at dinner, exclusive of drinks, tax and tip.

* Gustav Anders, South Coast Plaza Village, 3851 S. Bear St., Santa Ana; (714) 668-1737.

Danish Dinner: Danish chef Pete Lehmar brings his country's Christmas tradition to McCormick & Schmick's in Beverly Hills. On Tuesday at 7 p.m. he'll set down pickled herring, shrimp salad, roast duck, pork-liver pa^te, red cabbage and more. At dessert you'll try to find the one whole almond stashed in the rice pudding. It's $45 plus tax and tip.

* McCormick & Schmick's the Fish House, 206 N. Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 859-0434.


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

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