Here, There and Everywhere with Gregg
What does a celebrity chef do on his day off? If you’re Wolfgang Puck, you open another restaurant or launch a new product like his recent venture Wolfgang Puck’s Culinary Iced Coffee. Wide-ranging bottled flavors are 8.5 ounces, organic and kosher, but have 120 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. Available at most major food markets, four packs of the Puck innovations retail for $7.99.
Statistically, our readers are eating more frequently at home and spending less on dine-out tabs. Mark Peel, noted chef and owner of renowned Campanile Restaurant (624 S. La Brea Ave. between 8th and Wilshire in L.A.), a place for “the pickiest palates,” mans the restaurant kitchen 5 nights and then cooks at home for family and friends on his off-nights, Sunday and Tuesday. His latest cookbook, New Classic Family Dinners, is calculated to make memorable meals less extravagant and time consuming for homemakers. The collection of 200 recipes, a collaboration with Martha Rose Shulman, sells for $34.95, about the cost of two courses at modest Mark’s landmark restaurant. To make a classic din-din at home, you have to shop, cook and clean-up. To make reservations, all you do is dial (323) 938-1447, spruce up and set sail on a Cal-Med dining adventure. You call it!
The popular Hummus Bar & Grill has fresh competition with the arrival of Itzik Hagadol Grill (17201 Ventura Blvd. in Encino). The focus is firmly on serious Israeli cuisine rather than fancy trappings at this large, casual place. Imagine an $8.99 per patron option that offers unlimited refills on 20 salads and falafel with an entrée. The lavish veggie array costs about twice the price sans a main dish, so why resist skewered meats and poultry, fish, steaks and chops? There’s a veritable mountain of good eats including luscious Chilean Seabass and the Grill is a great place for group gatherings where there’s (limited) wine and beer plus efficient, friendly service and a smoking patio. Expect to lay out $40 to $80 per couple (for food only).
Wine tasting without heavy mileage begins in downtown L.A. at the historic Riboli family-owned San Antonio Winery (737 Lamar St.) where you get an authentic tasting of upstate-sourced vintages plus fair California lunch fare at the popular Maddalena Restaurant. Winery tours are scheduled daily and the tasting room, open 10 til 6 daily, provides adults with three free Riboli label wines as well as an $8 tasting of several prestige vintages — including a souvenir glass to mark the occasion.
Most unlimited soup and salad specials nail an extra $2 for a beverage but a choice of soft drink is included in the $4.99 tab at Hometown Buffet locations where wholesome adult dinners are served from $5.99.