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Introducing a Gourmet Trailer

June 13, 2002|JESSICA STRAND | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Upscale Airstream: In the heart of Beverly Hills, Fred Eric (Vida, Fred 62) is opening a diner that looks like an enormous Airstream trailer on the outside. Eric and architect Alexis Roworth have given the interior a sleek, early-'60s look: blond wood and desert tones, with gnome-shaped stools designed by Philippe Starck. "The food will be pure pop Americana with fresh product," Eric says, "everything you'd want to eat every day but livelier, brighter and more fun." It has a full bar and will make old-fashioned doughnuts to order 24 hours a day. Opens July 7.

* Airstream Diner, 9601 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310) 550-8883.

Bel-Air Changes: Since being hired by the Hotel Bel-Air four months ago, Philippe Reininger has been testing more daring dishes (e.g., rack of lamb in pistachio crust with Peruvian potatoes and cinnamon polenta in honey date sauce) than the Bel-Air has been used to. But some things will never change. Regulars insisted that certain classics remain, including the lemon pancakes, tortilla soup, Cobb salad and house smoked salmon.

* Bel-Air Hotel, 701 Stone Canyon Road, Bel-Air, (310) 472-1211.

Patina's Chef Leaves: Walter Manzke plans to open Bouchee, an intimate, romantic restaurant in the heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, along with David and Kathleen Fink (Highlands Inn). Manzke describes his new menu as being a lot like Patina's. "But I'll be able to use what's in my backyard," he says. "We have absolutely every resource within a few miles." Meanwhile, Patina owner Joachim Splichal has replaced him with his former sous-chef, Eric Greenspan.

Small Bites: Denis Ferrari, chef of Maxim's de Paris in Mexico City, is executive chef at West L.A.'s new Casa Antigua Cantina at 11217 Wilshire Blvd., cooking classic regional Mexican dishes with French intensity.... For those who crave Ben Ford's food all day, Chadwick's in Beverly Hills is serving lunch again, 11:30-2:30 Monday-Friday. ... Also in Beverly Hills, chef Makoto Tanaka of Mako is offering a Father's Day cooking class Saturday: Meats, Marinades and Men Can Cook. Call (310) 288-8338.

Reach Jessica Strand at jess strand@hotmail.com

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