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This Just In: Caffe Pinguini launches penguin-naming contest [UPDATED]

January 22, 2009 |  1:09 pm

Penguin Penguins aren't often associated with Italian food. But at Caffe Pinguini in Playa del Rey, the cuddly creature  from the freezing (no, melting) south, is on the restaurant's sign and serves as its mascot.

Owners Enrico Fiorentinio and Tony Cotrufo (who both hail from sunny Rome) say that the penguin came with the deal when they bought the restaurant 11 years ago. However, as time passes, people keep asking about the provenance of the sleek little beast.

Looking to come up with a credible tale Fiorentinio and Cotrufo are turning to the dining public to come up with a name for the penguin. They will take suggestions through Jan. 31 and announce the winning name on Feb. 2. (Yes, that's Groundhog Day, but given global warming perhaps penguins would prove a better indicator of the length of winter's stay.)

Participants can send names to caffepinguini@earthlink.net. The winner will receive a Caffe Pinguini lunchbox and a $100 gift certificate to dine at the restaurant.

Caffe Pinguini, 6935 Pacific Ave., Playa del Rey. (310) 306-0117. www.caffepinguini.com

Updated, 4:01 p.m.: A previous incarnation of this post said that penguins are from the north. An incredibly irate flightless aquatic bird wrote from Antarctica to inform me that he does not frolic on the North Pole. It was hard to take him seriously because he sounded like Morgan Freeman, but I extend my apologies to penguins everywhere.

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times