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Small Bites: Fondue, top restaurant trends, Huckleberry bakery, Drago Centro

Fondue_2 

It's cheesy: Sommelier Erik Kelley and cheese expert Talia Wabnig from the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills host the first in a series of Fondue + Flight Nights at Breadbar in Century City on Dec. 5. Fondues featured include traditional Swiss, Italian and French-style. Of course, lots of Breadbar bread will be served. Kelley will review fondue styles and history, and he and Wabnig will walk through the wine flights they picked to pair with the fondue. Dec. 5, 7 to 9 p.m., $35 per person (plus $15 for wine flights). Reservations required. Century City Westfield Shopping Center, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 277-3770; www.breadbar.net.

Trendiness: Restaurant consulting firm Joseph Baum & Michael Whiteman Co. predict the top restaurant trends for 2009. Here are some of them: yet more bistros (or are they late catching onto that trend?); breakfast all day; diners will get better treatment; yet more underground restaurants; noodle-based comfort food (across all cuisines -- Asian, Italian, etc.); offal; turkey legs; maple syrup; duck eggs; pickles; and Dutch gin. "Salt will be the new trans-fat."   

Huckleberry bakery update: Rustic Canyon owner Josh Loeb and pastry chef Zoe Nathan have settled on a name for their new Santa Monica bakery -- Huckleberry. Zoe says they are in the middle of construction and hope to open the bakery on Feb. 15. Meanwhile, she's been hard at work testing recipes. "Over the last month I have probably made 25 to 30 chocolate cakes in search of the best chocolate chocolate birthday cake, and I think I may have found one that we like," Nathan says.

Downtown Drago: Drago Centro says it will open this weekend. Partners Celestino Drago (of Drago Ristorante, Enoteca Drago and Il Pastaio Ristorante) and general manager Matteo Ferdinandi had intended to open earlier this month in the City National Bank space but were delayed by construction problems. See more at Eater LA. 525 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, (213) 228-8998; www.dragocentro.com.

-- Betty Hallock

Photo: Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times

 
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Oooh, fondue sounds so good right now in this cold (by Californian standards) and rain. And it's relatively cheap to make (and fun to do as a group) so great in these penny-pinching holiday-entertaining times too!


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