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Panini Nights, Day of the Dead Dining and More


Menu Action: Alto Palato Italian restaurant has introduced a panini night--Mondays from 5 to 10 p.m., hot and cold Italian sandwiches ($9.95-$13.95) will be served at the bar. The grilled Asiago cheese sandwich can be made with or without guanciale (cured hog jowl). The smoked salmon sandwich comes with goat cheese. Other selections: a cold prosciutto, fig and Manchego cheese sandwich; butter and anchovy sandwich; lamb and escarole; cold ahi, Maui onion, tomato and basil; grilled zucchini, eggplant and Pecorino cheese. Alto Palato, 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; (310) 657-9271.... Napa Valley Grille begins a new wine flight menu Friday at the bar after 6 p.m. Three 2-ounce servings of wine cost $12 to $18, depending on whether you pick a flight of Champagnes, whites, Zinfandels, Chardonnays, Cabernets or dessert wines. "Perfect pairs" of food are designed to be eaten with the wine flights. These are plates of food topped with two different appetizers. A trio, consisting of six tastes, costs $19.95. Napa Valley Grille, Westwood Center, 1100 Glendon Ave., Westwood; (310) 824-3322 .... Mumtaz Indian restaurant has added Balti dishes to its menu. These north Indian dishes, running $11.95 to $16, cooked in a cast-iron skillet, include a beef Balti with mushrooms, mixed seafood Balti, lamb and chicken Balti and mahi-mahi Balti . Mumtaz, 7166 Melrose Ave., L.A.; (323) 933-2945 ....Believe it or not, the hip nightclub restaurant Moomba is offering an early-bird special. Between 6 and 7:30 p.m., you can get a three-course meal for $35 plus tax and tip . Moomba, 665 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood; (310) 652-6364 .... Maple Drive has introduced a cheap three-course dinner. Soup or salad, entree and dessert cost $25 plus tax and tip nightly. On Tuesdays, many wines are half-price . Maple Drive, 345 N. Maple Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 274-9800 ....The Bistro Garden at Coldwater celebrates Oktoberfest with German dishes and beers at lunch and dinner. Now through Wednesday expect bratwurst with sauerkraut, veal schnitzel, pig knuckles with Bavarian cabbage and more. The Bistro Garden, 12950 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 501-0202 .


Day of the Dead Celebrations: Abuelitas Mexican restaurant hosts an art exhibition for the occasion, and plans to set up an altar, and serve tequilas, moles, and tamales from Puebla, Mexico. These festivities will last until Nov. 4. An artists' reception happens Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m . Abuelitas, 137 S. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga Canyon; (310) 455-8788 ....Casablanca Restaurant hosts a Day of the Dead brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 4 with several altars set up honoring the dead. Brunch includes an entree, fresh fruit, hot chocolate and Day of the Dead bread for $10.95 . Casablanca, 220 Lincoln Blvd., Venice; (310) 392-5751 ....Chimayo at the Beach throws a party that includes dancing and a costume contest from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday. It may sound like Halloween, but it's meant as a celebration of life. The cover charge is $10; themed food and drinks are additional. Chimayo at the Beach, 315 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach; (714) 374-7273.

Halloween Parties: Saddle Peak Lodge turns scary on Wednesday. The four-course menu, however, is only frightening to vegetarians. Dishes include buffalo tartare, crispy sweetbreads, sauteed skate wing and "Three Little Pigs" (wild boar served three ways). It's $55 plus tax and tip . Saddle Peak Lodge, 419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas; (818) 222-3888 ....L'Orangerie trots out a four-course menu for the 31st. It includes pumpkin soup with black truffles, John Dory poached in a witch's caldron, assassin beef and warm pumpkin torte, $95 . L'Orangerie, 903 N. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.; (310) 652-9770

Seafood Solutions Dinner: Get tips on how to buy and cook with sustainable seafood from Chefs Collaborative, then eat a four-course meal at Lucques of Fanny Bay oysters, local squid and Alaskan halibut. Cakebread wines will be paired with each course. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and costs $75.* Lucques, 8474 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood; (323) 655-6277.

First Class Guide: Need an amazing cake? Looking for the best cheese shop around? Want to throw a children's tea party or adult ice cream sundae bar? Check out Merle Elias' "L.A. First Class." She also lists plenty of non-food needs too. The book lists for $16.95 and can be found in most bookstores.

Reach Angela Pettera at (310) 358-7647 or

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