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Century Plaza, Tower Split; Each Will Get New Features

September 21, 2000|ANGELA PETTERA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A Tower Transformed: The Century Plaza Hotel and Tower is no more. In February the hotel was sold to the Pivotal Group, which decided to divide the property in two.

The horseshoe-shaped Century Plaza part (without the 30-story tower) will remain the Century Plaza, still managed by Westin. It will get a new spa and restaurant in the next few months.

The tower, renamed the St. Regis Los Angeles, gets a new entrance and lobby, a new spa on the fifth floor (not yet open), a new pool area and a new Cal/French restaurant, Encore, meant to be a destination restaurant as much as a hotel dining venue. Encore will open quietly in a few weeks with an official grand opening in November.

French-trained Bruno Davaillon, who has moved to Los Angeles to work at the St. Regis, was most recently private chef to an African nation's U.N. representative.

Some appetizers on his not-yet-finished menu are a duck foie gras terrine with black Mission figs, rock shrimp cilantro ravioli and lobster cardamom bouillon. Entrees might include roasted John Dory with vegetables a la barigoule and roasted veal filet mignon with caramelized endive, baby spinach and chanterelle-apricot marmalade.

Prices haven't been set yet, but expect to spend an average of $30 at lunch and $55 at dinner, per person.

* Encore, St. Regis Los Angeles, 2055 Avenue of the Stars, Century City; (310) 277-6111.

A Paul's is a Paul's: Paul Lloyd has sold his original Paul's Cafe in Sherman Oaks to one of his managers, August Nazzaro, and partner Chris Delisle, a former waiter there. The new Paul's Cafe in Tarzana is still Lloyd's, however. Neither restaurant will undergo a name change.

The chef at Paul's Cafe in Sherman Oaks is still Ricardo Mihinne; he won't be going anywhere. Nazzaro and Delisle officially take over the space Sept. 29. They'll close the restaurant Oct. 1 and 2 to freshen the place up. They say they want to enhance Paul's, not change it very much. Nazzaro says: "We try to offer a personal touch here, and I think we're small enough that we're capable of doing that."

* Paul's Cafe, 13456 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 789-3575.

Welcome Back: Campanile has reopened after its repair job. You won't notice most of the changes; they're in the kitchen.

* Campanile, 624 S. La Brea Ave., L.A.; (323) 938-1447.

Take the Way-Back Machine: On Sunday, Ventura's Pierpont Inn celebrates its 90th anniversary by re-creating its opening day. Costumed volunteers from the Ventura County Museum of History and Art will be wandering the grounds.

There will be a replica of a Chautauquas--public outdoor lectures that were a characteristic feature of the early 1900s. From noon to 8 p.m. the restaurant will serve its original 1910 menu for $25 for adults and $12.50 for kids 12 and under. Admission is $12.50 for adults and $7.50 for children.

* The Pierpont Inn and Racquet Club, 550 Sanjon Road, Ventura; (805) 643-6144. Ventura County Museum of History and Art at (805) 653-0323, Ext. 10.

Cups Runneth Over: Trefethen Vineyards comes to JiRaffe for a six-course winemaker dinner at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Chef Raphael Lunetta will send out a main course of braised short ribs with smashed Yukon Gold potatoes and oven-roasted tomatoes. The price is $95 per person.

* JiRaffe, 502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 917-6671.

Chef Dinner: Chef Ray Swanson of Westlake Village Inn has invited a few pals into his kitchen to help him prepare dinner at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The five-course meal will be created by Swanson, Alex Scrimgeour of Saddle Peak Lodge, Robert Rubino of Sherwood Country Club and Bruce Jones of Hyatt Westlake Plaza. Each course is paired with a wine. The tab is $125 per person.

* Westlake Village Inn, 31943 Agoura Road, Westlake Village; (818) 889-1662.

Lend a Hand and a Taste Bud: Volunteers are needed for the national program called Days of Taste run by the American Institute of Wine and Food Oct. 3 through 6.

Local chefs and restaurants work with fourth- and fifth-graders from two magnet schools (the Foshay Learning Center and the 32nd Street School, both in L.A.).

On the first day, kids are taught the ABCs of taste and table manners. On the second day, they visit the Santa Monica Farmers Market to learn how to shop for produce.

On the third and fourth days, the kids learn how to prepare harvest salads and how to dine in a fine restaurant. Participating restaurants are El Cholo Santa Monica, the Sonora Cafe, Ocean Avenue Seafood, Ciudad, Rock, Melisse, Authentic Cafe and Traxx. Volunteers are needed all four days. Call (310) 535-6090 to volunteer.

*

Angela Pettera can be reached at (213) 237-3153 or at pettera@prodigy.net.

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