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Jaywalking in LA -- The Restaurant Scene

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The husband-and-wife team of Quinn and Karen Hatfield have just opened their new, enlarged Hatfield's (6703 Melrose Ave, Hollywood, 323-935-2977) in the location made famous by Chef Michel Richard in the 80s with Citrus, last seen here as Red Pearl. The Hatfields, who met while cooking at the original Spago in Hollywood, are energetic, talented chef/entrepreneurs, so lets hope they succeed here. Note: Quinn's entire kitchen staff wears traditional chef's toques!

Marketing genius Lynda Resnick (Rubies in the Orchard) tells me that since the earthquake in Haiti, sales of the home-delivery division of her Fiji Water have gone through the roof. People are sending cases of water to their children's schools, their own offices and homes, to relatives and friends. It does make a welcome though unusual gift: a case of Fiji delivered once a month. When I was young we had the old-time seltzer man who each week climbed the stairs of our 4th foor walkup in Brooklyn lugging a case of blue seltzer bottles, for $4. Fiji Water shipped 136,000 cases of its water to the U. S. Airborne Division in North Carolina, who then dropped it into the middle of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

When readers of my Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter call to ask me to recommend a steakhouse, I invariably start with Wolfgang Puck's incredible CUT in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, then move on to BLT Steakhouse on Sunset Plaza, followed by my particular favorite, The Palm on Santa Monica Blvd, where I can get the delicious Steak Stone (with peppers and onions), along with a perfect Bombay Sapphire Gin Martini straight up with a twist, watched over by G. Cedric Castro and his gang of able servers.

Top Chef TV Contestant Stefan Richter went on to open the delightful Stephan's @ L.A. Farm in an enormous film office conclave on Olympic in Santa Monica, and now he has opened another branch, Stephan's@ Montana (on Montana at 15th street in Santa Monica). For the next thee months, his mother from Finland will be in the new kitchen preparing a few of her Finnish specialties (Reindeer meatballs?).

Saw Sidney Poitier lunching at the wonderful Parq Restaurant of the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel. (He starred in the first film which I produced, For Love of Ivy, with Abbey Lincoln, the first studio picture to feature two black leads.) If I ever win the lottery, I am going to live in one of the resident apartments at the Montage. Room service every day!

Taste I can't get out of my head: Delicious Wild Boar Meatballs at Mark Peel's new wine bar/gastropub, The Tar Pit (609 N. La Brea Avenue, 323-965-1306). Mark rotates from his long-established Campanile to the new kitchen; last night we enjoyed Steak & Kidney Pie and Pig's Ears & Cheeks...but the best pig's ears ever are served at Walter Manzke's downtown bastion, Church & State.

New Chef Colin Crannel at Santa Monica's The Lobster, at the Pier there; the original chef, Allison Thurber, was allergic to lobster but did a brilliant job of cooking them.

Kors Hotels have taken over the management of the L'Ermitage Hotel on Burton Way in Beverly Hills from the Singapore-based Raffles chain. The status of the lovely Jaan Restaurant is up in the air.

Mark your calendar: Friday, May 21st, sees Placido Domingo Conducting Zarazuela Night at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica. He'll cross town to conduct the LA Opera orchestra in a program of the romantic Spanish operettas with which he started his singing career with his family in Spain and Mexico. The intimate theatre is a stunning new vehicle for drama and music....Love Jonathan Gold's quote: "While nobody was paying attention, food quietly assumed the place in youth culture that used to be occupied by rock 'n roll."