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Spago Goodbyes Still Running Their Course

February 22, 2001|ANGELA PETTERA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Spago Reunions: As part of the extended goodbye ceremonies for the original Spago in Hollywood, Wolfgang Puck has invited a number of its alumni chefs to cook at the old place one more time, two chefs a night. The special menus are generally four or five courses with options and run $55.

On Sunday the visiting chefs will be Annie Gingrass and Joseph Manzare. Gingrass, who moved to San Francisco to open a Puck operation, Postrio, just opened her own restaurant there, Desiree. Manzare, who started at Spago as a line cook and went on to open Granita as its co-chef in 1991, owns two restaurants up north, the Globe in San Francisco and Mucca at Glen Ellen in Sonoma County. On March 6 and 7, Mako Tanaka of Mako in Beverly Hills and Kazuto Matsusaka, chef of Above in New York, will cook together. Both chefs worked at Spago Hollywood and Chinois on Main for many years. On March 13 and 14, the chefs will be Francois Kwaku-Dongo and Mary Bergin, both of whom are still in the Puck fold. Kwaku-Dongo is the chef at Spago Chicago and Bergin is the pastry chef at Spago Las Vegas.

* Spago Hollywood, 1114 Horn Ave., West Hollywood; (310) 652-4025.

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R.I.P.: Remi Santa Monica has closed its doors after 11 years, its owners blaming skyrocketing rents (the Remi in New York remains open). It will be replaced in its Third Street Promenade location by a Tommy Hilfiger clothing store. Chef Chris Bocchino and his wife, Kristine, have snagged a location on Wilshire Boulevard where they plan to open their own restaurant featuring Cal-Med flavors.

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Menu Action: Joan's on Third has begun offering two-course (entree and dessert) hot meals to go; they're available from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Two meal options are featured each week and prices range from $12 to $18 per meal. Salads are also available a la carte. To ensure a take-home dinner will be on hand for pickup, call in an order in the morning. Joan's on Third is at 8350 W. Third St., L.A.; (323) 655-2285. . . . Chef Didier Poirier is again offering regional French dishes at his Ventura restaurant, 71 Palm. Cassoulet will be featured from Monday through Saturday, then bouillabaisse, choucroute garnie and couscous royale make weekly rotations. The dishes cost $19.95 at lunch and $29.95 at dinner. 71 Palm is at 71 N. Palm St., Ventura; (805) 653-7222.

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Chef A Table Time: Once again Jean-Francois Meteigner has invited some of his cooking buddies over to have dinner with you. In this sixth Chef A Table event, everyone is seated at large, round tables with one visiting chef. Course by course, the chefs change tables so as to chat with as many guests as possible. The menu for the night is a five-courser with crab and lobster bisque, smoked salmon on braised fennel and beef daube. The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. The tab is $78 plus tax and tip.

* La Cachette, 10506 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Century City; (310) 470-4992.

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Because You Can Never Have Too Many Wine Dinners: Peter Michael Winery is featured at Fenix at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The five courses accompanying the wines include a scallop and cheese tamale, a lobster and chorizo pot pie, grilled loin of rabbit and pan-roasted beef; total price is $150. Chef David Slatkin is also cranking out six-course tasting menus when the whim grabs him (or when the reservation books are full enough). Call at lunchtime to find out whether the tasting menu is available that night. It usually costs between $65 and $75. A wine flight can be added for an additional $25.

* Fenix in the Argyle Hotel, 8358 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 848-6677.

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Bob Long of Long Vineyards and Bob Biale of Biale Vineyards come to town for a Chez Melange dinner Tuesday night. No fewer than six wines will be poured with the five-course meal--which includes smoked chicken dumplings with sweet chili dip, nouveau fish and chips with parsley coulis and a braised oxtail and morel casserole. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. The price is $75.

* Chez Melange, in the Palos Verdes Inn, 1716 Pacific Coast Hwy., Redondo Beach; (310) 540-1222.

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Mardi Gras: One L.A. place that's offering New Orleans-style pre-Lent fun is the new Marina del Rey branch of Uncle Darrow's. It has booked Mardi Gras entertainment--a zydeco band, a storyteller for the kids and an alligator--from noon onward on Saturday. Mayoral candidate Steve Soboroff will be the king of Uncle Darrow's for the day and part of the proceeds go to Wildlife on Wheels, an animal rescue charity. This is a safe-and-sane Mardi Gras--owner Norwood Clark and his cousins will serve the usual gumbo, po'-boy sandwiches and jambalaya, but they're made with seafood or poultry, not red meat (the catfish and shrimp are farm-raised), and there's no alcohol. The menu is available all day as usual from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

* Uncle Darrow's, 2560 S. Lincoln Blvd., Marina del Rey; (310) 306-4862.

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

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