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Special Restaurant Issue

The morning after

(Scene 6) The band started late. You forgot your earplugs. Drinks were involved. And when you got home, the newspaper was already on the doorstep. Help!

June 20, 2004|S. Irene Virbila

The latest, possibly most fashionable place to jump-start your day is the new $25-million Sports Club L.A. in Beverly Hills, followed by breakfast or lunch at the adjacent Oliver Cafe & Lounge. Owned by Mario Oliver of Linq, this sleek white and chrome restaurant, squeezed into a former bank vault, has something for everyone. Those looking to shed a few pounds can head to the spa menu, where many dishes have fewer than 400 calories. But you can also find panini and wraps, an old-fashioned quiche Lorraine, a New York pepper steak, miso cold-poached Norwegian salmon--and low-carb bagels. And hey, there's the Low-Carb Power-C martini made with wheat grass or, for reprobates, the real thing straight up with a twist.

To soothe over-tired muscles with a massage and maybe a detox wrap, head for Kinara, the West Hollywood day spa co-owned by Christine Splichal of Patina, with a chic cafe that serves delicious food. Produce comes from the farmers market, and dishes are based on what's healthy for the skin. You can get an open-face Nicoise tuna sandwich or poached wild salmon with pea shoots. Chef Elizabeth Mendez proposes wonderful organic salads and chilled soups for lunch, along with grilled asparagus with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Dessert is panna cotta with fresh berries.

Josiah Citrin (Melisse) and Raphael Lunetta (JiRaffe) have gotten together again with the Lemon Moon (get it?) in Los Angeles. The two, who cooked together for years, are scoring home runs with brioche French toast with strawberry compote and vanilla mascarpone, and eggs cocotte snuggled in marinara sauce and fresh mozzarella. Lunch lays on the salads with two dozen variations (a choice of any three is $9.50), plus composed salads, rotisserie items and inventive sandwiches and panini. It might be worth it to stay on the treadmill half an hour longer in order to dig in without guilt.

The waiters at the old-time Fountain Coffee Shop in the Beverly Hills Hotel are certain to cheer up anybody suffering from a hangover. Just grab one of the stools at the U-shaped counter and sit back to watch the short-order show. The orange juice is freshly squeezed, the coffee is the Beverly Hills Hotel roast. Silver-dollar buckwheat pancakes are fab, hash browns crisp and golden, and the Western omelet is classic. They've also got a few healthy items, including vegetarian eggs Benedict with steamed salmon and low-fat cheddar.

If the situation is dire, something radical may be in order. Take thyself to Elixir, a sprawling herbal tonic and tea shop with a shady Japanese garden that's a soothing oasis in the midst of the design district's jagged energy. Order the hangover cure, "the morning after," a tonic laced with milk thistle, schizandra, dandelion, gardenia and licorice root designed to calm a headache's drumbeat.

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