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It's aperitivo time at Cecconi's; who's popping up at the Grilled Cheese Invitational; Beer Chicks beer class; more [Updated]

April 20, 2010 |  5:32 pm


Hey, amici: The ritual known in Italy as aperitivo -- light cocktails and snacks -- starts at 5 p.m. at Cecconi's in West Hollywood (and ends at 7 p.m.). Cocktails here come with complimentary snacks such as slices of pizzette, mixed olives, pierino (an Italian version of croque monsieur), and grissini wrapped in Parma ham. Chef Andrea Cavaliere changes up the snacks menu daily. A new cocktail list includes the Nerone (Bombay Sapphire, Aperol, fresh grapefruit and blood orange juice), Campari Fizz (Campari, Junipero, grapefruit and lime juice), and Purple Rain (Veev, blueberries and ginger ale). Cocktails are $12 to $14. Free valet before 6 p.m. 8764 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (310) 432-2000, www.cecconiswesthollywood.com.

Getting to know your ales: Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune will lead a craft beer class on Saturday afternoon at Rustic Canyon Winebar & Seasonal Kitchen in Santa Monica. The duo will discuss different styles of craft and artisanal beer, such as Belgian white ales and the porters of Britain -- "you'll learn your ales from your lagers ... and how to truly appreciate and discern a tasty brew." $40 per person. Rustic Canyon, 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets are available here (do not call the restaurant for reservations).

The cheese is flowing: At the Grilled Cheese Invitational on Saturday*, the Foundry on Melrose chef Eric Greenspan will be part of a grilled cheese cooking demo with Campanile chef Mark Peel and others. Greenspan's Grilled Cheese pop-up restaurant also will be a fixture this weekend at the annual cheese-sandwich fest. And, besides the amateur and pro grilled cheese contests, there will be a beer garden and a cheesy costume contest. Who's going as the Cantal? Noon to 6 p.m., Los Angeles Center Studios, 1201 W. 5th St., Los Angeles. $10 tickets available at www.grilledcheeseinvitational.com ($15 at the event).

Taking the meat out of Animal: Popular vegetarian chef Jeremy Fox -- formerly of Napa's Michelin-starred, earth-friendly restaurant / yoga studio, Ubuntu -- is scheduled to cook at the meaty headquarters of Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's restaurant Animal. He'll be serving prix-fixe vegetarian menus paired with wine and beer from May 17 through May 23. The cost is $70, with an additional $35 or $70 for wine pairings. So put the pork down and pick up the phone to make a reservation, which we're told are not being taken until a month in advance of the night requested. 435 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A. (323) 782-9225, www.animalrestaurant.com.

-- Betty Hallock and Jessica Gelt

Photo: The bar at Cecconi's by Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times

*April 21, 4:15 p.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that the Grilled Cheese Invitational is on Sunday; it's on Saturday.