Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Datebook

Four food events you should know about

Gelato

Tonight

Chillin' in MacArthur Park MacArthur Park's Levitt Pavilion kicks off its free summer concert series with a community reception called "A Taste of MacArthur Park." The event features the culinary prowess of 12 neighborhood restaurants, including Mama's Hot Tamales and La Fonda. Councilman Ed Reyes will be on hand and a concert featuring Gabby Villanueva and her band will follow.

I went to a few of these last summer and had a silly good time. You can bring a picnic and a blanket and just relax as the sun sets. MacArthur Park has come a long way thanks to community efforts to clean it up. MacArthur Park Levitt Pavilion (at the corner of 6th and South  Park View streets), community reception 5 p.m., concert 7 p.m. Free. (213) 384-5701, www.levittla.org.

Thursday

Ice for you Be the coolest person you know (internally at least) by swinging by Paciugo Gelato Caffe's one-year anniversary party in Hermosa Beach. The party involves the happy distribution of free cups of hand-crafted gelato. The party spirit is up to you. Paciugo Gelatto Cafe, 1034 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach. 4 to 7 p.m. (310) 379-2525.

Five years in Spain Bar Celona in Pasadena celebrates its fifth anniversary in conjunction with the Running of the Bulls celebration in Pamplona, Spain. The festivities include an all-night happy hour with $5 tapas, sangria, beer and cocktails; paella cooking demonstrations; DJs and live flamenco guitar; a mechanical bull and, at 9:30 p.m., a faux running of the bulls session. Bar Celona, 46 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. (626) 405-1000. www.barcelonapasadena.com.

Locals night launches Cafe Pinot kicks off the Patina Group's inaugural "Locals Night," which hops from one Patina restaurant to another throughout the summer. Cafe Pinot's turn at bat features a taste of the French Riviera with complimentary assorted tapanades and homemade crackers and breads. Tasty items including pommes frites, tuna niçoise rillettes and an open-faced grilled rosemary chicken sandwich go for $5, and French cocktails are $7. Cafe Pinot, 700 W. 5th St., L.A. (213) 239-2568. www.patinagroup.com/locals.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Paciugo Gelato

Datebook: Father's Day fun, keg parties and beach blanket bingo

Make mine a kegger Friday

Make mine a kegger From 8 p.m. until 2 a.m., the Culver City party palace known as Rush Street will be holding a "beach blanket bingo kegger party," featuring, yes, kegs of beer in beer tubs, beer pong, frozen margaritas and a beach blanket bingo costume contest with prizes. The Gidget-like fun will take place on the rooftop patio, which will be filled with sand just dying to get into your bikini. On the menu: hot dogs, grilled lamb lollipops and sweet-and-spicy glazed ribs. Also, since they went through all that trouble to put all that sand up on the patio, it'll stay put on Saturday, when Rush Street hosts a Baywatch Cocktail Party, where all the bartenders and servers will be dressed in the traditional garb of "Baywatch." That could either be great, or go very wrong very quickly. Finally, on Sunday that pesky sand will still be there for Dad when he will be offered a cold beer on the house. Rush Street, 9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City. (310) 837-9546.

Saturday

A taste of Pali Wine Enjoy gourmet cheeses from around the world, paired with small lot wines from Pali Wine Co. Five wines will be poured, including the 2007 Shea Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, Ore; the 2007 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir, Russian Valley, Calif.; and the 2007 Boer Chalone Pinot Noir, Chalone, Calif. Artisan Cheese Gallery, 12023 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. 7:30 p.m. $45. (818) 505-0207.

This little piggy Campanile wraps up its week-long 20th birthday bash by roasting an entire pig. Expect plenty of summery fun and lots of good wine. The party starts at 4 p.m. and should last all night. Campanile, 624 S. La Brea Ave., L.A. (323) 938-1447.

Sunday

Daddy dearest In honor of this most momentous of holidays, The Guide, which is now called Summer Hot List, has put together a handy list of restaurants hosting special Father's Day brunches, not surprisingly many feature beer. Also, because I care about Daily Dish readers, I am including an excerpt from an e-mail my own father sent to me just a few short days ago about what he is expecting (and not expecting) on that day. I found it helpful and hope you do too (read it after the jump):

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Datebook: A Napa escape, L.A. WineFest, Champagne feasts and more

Beacon 

TODAY

An anniversary of savings Beacon, an Asian cafe, celebrates its five-year anniversary through June 17 by offering a special menu of $5 small plates along with $5 glasses of wine and cocktails. Time to get that miso-marinated black cod you've been craving. Beacon, 3280 Helms Ave., Culver City. (310) 838-7500. www.beacon-la.com.

Tequila time Join Malo beverage director Christine D'Abrosca for a low-cost evening of tequila tasting and complimentary taco noshing. Agave highlights will include Casa Noble, Partida and Comisario. A DJ will keep things lively. Malo, 4326 Sunset Blvd., L.A. 7 to 10 p.m. $15. (323) 664-1011. www.malorestaurant.com.

THURSDAY

Weekend getaway Whisk that special someone up north for the annual Auction Napa Valley, which boasts four days of parties and open houses at many wineries along California 29. The grand tasting event features more than 100 wineries, intimate dinner parties and, of course, a live auction at which bidders get a chance to snag one of 43 rare and one-of-a-kind lots. Event locations and ticket prices vary. For more information and to purchase tickets go to www.napavintners.com/anv.

FRIDAY

Battle of the vine If you're a fan of competition, you might enjoy the Napa versus Sonoma wine dinner hosted at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Enjoy a four-course dinner, featuring two courses paired with wines from both Napa and Sonoma, then engage in a lively debate with your compatriots about which wine provides the best accompaniment. Dishes include filet mignon and wonton-crusted ahi  and Bodega Bay crab cocktail. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 800 W. Olympic Blvd. 6:30 p.m. $55. (213) 745-9911. www.flemingssteakhouse.com.
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Datebook: Strawberries, BBQs, Alice Waters and more

Strawberry-festival

FRIDAY

Down Under fun Spend a couple of hours after work at the Grove, where Qantas Airways and Tourism South Wales will team up to attempt to make you long for Australia by playing host to "The Great Sydney BBQ" in the grassy park. The festive event will feature Australian food, beer, wine and entertainment. The Grove, 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles. 5 to 7 p.m. Free. (323) 900-8080. www.thegrovela.com

SATURDAY

Berry nice Fill your tummy with fresh-picked strawberries at Oxnard's California Strawberry Festival. The two-day event packs plenty of action. There'll be a tart toss, a pie-eating contest, a berry-dish cooking demonstration by former "Top Chef" contestant Fabio Viviani, a berry decorating workshop and much more. Strawberry Meadows of College Park, 3250 S. Rose Ave., Oxnard. Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. $12, general admission. (888) 288-9242. www.strawberry-fest.org

SUNDAY

Chef-tastic The 5 X 5 Chefs Collaborative dinner series is back, featuring five notable L.A. chefs who host one another and a guest chef at each of their respective restaurants for a night of fun and culinary creativity. This week brings guest chef Gabriel Kreuther of the Modern in New York to the kitchen of Mélisse to cook and kick back with the collaborative's founders Michael Cimarusti, Josiah Citrin, David LeFevre, Gino Angelini and Neal Fraser. Mélisse, 1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. The first seating is 5:30-6:15 p.m.; the second seating, 8:15-9:15 p.m. $150, $215 per person with wine pairings. (310) 395-0881. www.melisse.com

TUESDAY

Edible education Alice Waters discusses her experiences bringing "edible schoolyards" into public schools. She'll be accompanied by 15-year-old Sam Levin, who founded a sustainable garden for his school district in Massachusetts. She'll also sign copies of her books, "The Art of Simple Food" and "Edible Schoolyard." All proceeds benefit Canyon Charter School. Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. 7 p.m. $25. (917) 825-6505

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo Credit: California Strawberry Festival.

Datebook: Remi Lauvand, beer and BBQ festivals, and Mother's Day treats [updated]

Datebook

WEDNESDAY

Catch him while you can Former Citrus at Social Hollywood chef Remi Lauvand is the featured guest chef at Cafe Pierre in Manhattan Beach. For two nights only, he'll prepare a special three-course menu featuring spring produce from the Santa Monica farmers market. Dishes include shaved Zuckerman asparagus salad, braised lamb shank and dark chocolate fondant. Cafe Pierre, 317 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach. Today and Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. $40. (310) 545-5252. www.cafepierre.com.


SATURDAY

The will to grill Get your grill on at the second annual Los Angeles BBQ Festival, where 11 big-time pit masters will 'cue up a storm of pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken and more. Music by Tom Petty tribute band Petty Cash. Pacific Park at the corner of Ocean and Colorado avenues, Santa Monica. Saturday and Sunday. 1 to 6 p.m. $10 general admission, does not include food. (310) 709-3969. www.labbqfest.com.

On the origin of recipes Join scientist, author and historian Weslie Janeway for a discussion about the newly published "Mrs. Charles Darwin's Recipe Book: Revived and Illustrated." Janeway and co-author Dusha Bateson pored over a huge archive of Mrs. Darwin's work, writing, letters and recipes to piece together a vibrant account of the culinary habits of the famous family. Los Angeles Public Library, 630 W. 5th St., L.A. 10:30 a.m. Free. (323) 663-5407. www.culinaryhistoriansofsoutherncalifornia.org. [An earlier version of this post incorrectly listed the start time as 11:30 a.m.]

Beer me A group of self-professed "beer geeks," with the Los Angeles Craft and Artisanal Beer Appreciation League, are throwing what they say is L.A.'s first craft beer festival. The event features live music, 26 handcrafted beers from all over the state, as well as food by Hot Knives, Burrito Project and Pure Luck. Proceeds benefit Dave Eggers' nonprofit literacy tutoring program, 826LA. The Echoplex, 1154 Glendale Blvd. 2 to 9 p.m. $30. Tickets can be purchased online at the Echoplex website, www.attheecho.com. For more information, go to www.lacabal.org/beerfest.

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Datebook: The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books gets cooking

Kleiman There's plenty of cooking (and talking about cooking) at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival this weekend at UCLA. All events listed here are free.

SATURDAY

4 p.m.: A conversation with Times Food Editor Russ Parsons and chef and KCRW "Good Food" host Evan Kleiman, L.A. Times Pavilion

At the cooking stage:

11 a.m.: JoAnn Cianciulli and Amelia Saltsman on farmers market cooking

12:30 p.m.: Dana Slatkin on everyday cooking

2 p.m.: Jamie Purviance on grilling

3:30 p.m.: Katie Lee Joel on "The Comfort Table"

SUNDAY

2 p.m.: Panel on sustainable living at Young Hall: Rebecca Solnit, Mr. Jalopy, David Mas Masumoto, Russ Parsons, Jenny Price

At the cooking stage:
11 a.m.: Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook on "Two Dudes, One Pan"

12:30 p.m.: "Relaxed Cooking With Curtis Stone"

2 p.m.: Barbara Fairchild on "Bon Appetit Cookbook"

3:30 p.m.: Giada De Laurentiis, interviewed by Barbara Fairchild

-- Russ Parsons

Photo: KCRW's "Good Food" host Evan Kleiman. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times

Datebook: Wine and cheese, curry festival and Thai New Year

 Songkran

THURSDAY

Eagle Rock favorite Colorado Wine Co., known for its laid-back approach to wine and convivial back room wine bar, hosts a tasting of Black Sheep Findswith founders Peter Hunken (part of the Holus Bolus and Piedrasassi winemaking teams) and Amy Christine (A.O.C. sommelier). The price is right at $25 for six wines, along with cheeses from Auntie Em's Marketplace. Be sure to say hello to owners John and Jennifer Nugent, who have practically made the shop an extension of their own living room. Colorado Wine Co., 2114 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. $25. RSVP to info@cowineco.com or (323) 478-1985. www.cowineco.com.

SUNDAY

Thai Town celebrates Songkran, Thailand's traditional New Year, by closing off Hollywood Boulevard between Western and Normandie and filling it with delicious Thai food booths, Singha beer vendors, live music, Thai boxing, dancing and traditional arts and crafts. The second annual International Curry Festival is also part of the mix, when international curry products will compete for the "Curry King" title. Thousands of people are expected, so may we suggest you arrive via subway. There's a Red Line stop at Hollywood and Western. Songkran Festival, Hollywood Boulevard, between Normandie and Western. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

TUESDAY

Celebrate the season with a Spring Flavors Cooking Class at Chez Cherie Cooking School. Learn about spring's most delicious fruits and vegetables and enjoy a light meal to boot. Chez Cherie Cooking School, 1401 Foothill Blvd., La Canada. 6:30 p.m. $65. (818) 952-7217. www.chezcherie.com.

Get ready to host a unique dinner party by taking a Spanish tapas class with Happy Trails Catering. Dishes you'll learn to create (and enjoy sampling) include Andalusian gazpacho, marinated olives and Marcona almonds, chorizo croquettes and sizzling shrimp in garlic sauce. Happy Trails Catering, 207 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. $75. (626) 796-9526. www.happytrailscatering.com.

-- Jessica Gelt

P.S.: We know the Los Angeles Beer Festivalis happening this weekend, but we've got our own beer man, Blake Hennon, on it. He'll post something glorious later this week. Stay tuned.

Photo: A 200-pound display of pad Thai in a six-foot wok was a highlight of L.A.'s Songkran (Thai New Year) festival in 2005, which also featured more than 50 food booths, a parade and dance and music performances. Credit: Jet Tila.

Datebook: Silverlake Wine launches a tasting at the Standard Downtown

ThestandardWEDNESDAY
Silverlake Wine launches the first in what is to become a weekly wine-tasting event at the Standard hotel in downtown L.A. The event takes place in the minimalist wonderland that is the hotel's lobby and includes three boutique wines paired with snacks from the Standard's Lobby Lounge kitchen. The Standard Downtown, 550 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, 5-8 p.m. $20. (213) 892-8080. www.silverlakewine.com.

FRIDAY
Like restaurant week but with shopping, South Coast Plaza celebrates the opening day of its third annual "Fashion Plates" promotion with 13 participating restaurants offering $20 three-course lunches and $40 four-course dinners. Nello Cucina and Royal Khyber include a glass of wine with dinner, and David Myers' Pizzeria Ortica participates for the first time. South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa. Through March 29. (800) 782-8888. www.southcoastplaza.com.

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Datebook: Your week in food and dining events

CelestinodragoTHURSDAY

Far East flavors: Come one and all to the Japanese Food and Sake Festival 2009. Organized by a group of Japanese government agencies and nonprofit organizations, the festival aims to introduce the public to some of SoCal's most popular Japanese restaurants and food providers. Hyatt Regency-Orange County, 11999 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove. 5 to 8 p.m. $40 in advance; $50 at the door. (818) 907-9764. www.japanesefoodculture.org.

SATURDAY

A date with fame: The Single Gourmet is hosting a dinner for would-be daters at the Robert DeNiro-backed WeHo joint Ago. Although it's not quite as hot as it once was, Ago never seems to lose its patina of glamour (or its famous clientele). Come for the Italian dinner and an opportunity to meet someone special, stay for a chance to lock eyes with the boy from that sitcom you love. Ago, 8478 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. 7 p.m. social, 8 p.m. dinner. $95. (323) 655-6333. www.singlegourmetlaoc.com.

Cooking with a king: Jump at the chance to take a cooking class with chef Celestino Drago. One of L.A.'s most celebrated Italian chefs, Drago has a way with pasta that just might rub off on you (if you're lucky). Drago Ristorante, 2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. (Location subject to change, so call in advance.) 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $130. (310) 824-7408. www.celestinodrago.com.

Sustainable seafood day: Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific invites the public to learn how to use food from the sea in a way that is healthful for humans and the environment. Sample seafood, watch cooking demonstrations, check out a variety of educational booths and learn how to cook delicious, low-cost sustainable seafood dinners at home. Aquarium of the Pacific, 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free to aquarium members, $23.95 adults; $11.95 children. (562) 590-3100. www.aquariumofthepacific.org.

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Dana Point joins "restaurant week" fray this weekend

Brio

Hot on the heels of Los Angeles and Orange County restaurant week promotions (both of which have been extended to last over a week), the Dana Point chamber of Commerce has announced the city's first restaurant week.

The inaugural edition of Dana Point's restaurant week promotion is in conjunction with the city's Festival of Whales, which begins this coming weekend.  Recently reopened eatery Proud Mary's is not among the seven dining destinations in the group, but Restaurant 162 at the Ritz Carlton and  Brio are both offering specials related to the latest restaurant week to hit SoCal.

For more information and menus of participating locations, check this website.  Several other food-related events for both this coming weekend and next (we like the BBQ/free concert at Baby Beach Sunday the 15th) can be found on the Festival of Whales' calendar of events.

-- Charlie Amter

Photo of Brio owner Enzo Scognamiglio in his restaurant before it opened in 2001 by the Los Angeles Times

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