THE BLOG
08/23/2010 06:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Jaywalking in LA: News & Gossip of the Restaurant World

kim novak in "Bell, Book & Candle"
Kim Novak as the seductive witch in Bell, Book & Candle, co-starred with Jimmy Stewart!
Pyewacket is her magical cat; (mine also has that name, also magical).

We will hold our review of the six restaurants on the Dining Deck atop the new Santa Monica Place until the furor quiets down and our readers can get into them without a hassle. Now they are jammed every night. Suffice to say that all are interesting, especially the Chinese one, Xino, with a breathtaking view of the 3rd Street Promenade from its terrace. We did visit opening night and tasted select foods from each, but that isn't a fair criteria. However, I was astonished by the scathing review from astute Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jonathan Gold in his L.A. Weekly column this week, taking the Mall to task for its restaurant selections. He commented, "...Seems almost custom-designed to make native Angelinos grumpy...scooped out all that was pleasant about Frank Gehry's old mall...a high-gloss sheen that would be at home in Columbus or San Jose as it is two blocks from the sea...the Mexican place was subcontracted to a chef from New York, and the pizzeria from a second-tier Bay Area chain; the Japanese place and the wine bar from another middling San Francisco restaurateur." Wow, coming from the usually affable, mild-mannered Gold, that's interesting. We'll weigh in objectively shortly. The adjacent Food Court is slowly unfolding its not-so-fast food outlets and their Farmer's Market (like the Ferry Building in San Francisco) will open in the Spring. It is truly an amazing shopping complex, and I recommend a weekday visit now...
Dong Deck at Santa Monica Place
The selection of restaurants on The Dining Deck at the new Santa Monica Place Mall.

Shame on the Beverly Hills Traffic Department! Driving home from the Walt Disney Hall recently, I was going though the intersection at Pico and Doheny when a camera flashed. (The light was yellow when I started through!) A few days later, a traffic ticket arrived in the mail...for $455! A little internet research and a New York Times story showed that the average camera traffic ticket in the country is $75, with the highest anywhere else being $125...but not here! No appeal is allowed until after you pay the full fine. Sorry, guys, but that is a disgusting abuse of judicial greed. Having said that, I must note my admiration for the Beverly Hills Police Department, certainly the best in the nation. Courteous, smart and professional guys protecting us all...

Phil Rosenthal
Phil Rosenthal created Everybody Loves Raymond, a version of which is now being seen in Moscow!

Went to a screening at CAA of Phil Rosenthal's hilarious, moving and unique film, EXPORTING RAYMOND, and can only recommend that you head for a theatre when it opens soon. Phil, the creative genius behind TV's Everyone Loves Raymond for its nine seasons, filmed his incredibly funny true story of the attempt to translate 'Raymond' into a Russian sitcom! Phil's 'fish out of water' story, where culture clashes lurked behind every Moscow corner, is just hilarious. Incidentally, it is now the top-rated TV sitcom in Russia. This is my Academy Award nominee for featured documentary this year...

Writing for the HuffingtonPost/LA once or twice a week has been a very rewarding (albeit unpaid) exercise. Hearing from people all over the world, old friends and new, is delightful... So many readers have reacted favorably to last week's blog on Wolfgang Puck's fabulous Iced Coffee. "Delicious" is the word most often used...

Update on my Miramax story in the last issue of my Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter; the powers-that-be at Disney showed real class by giving me a one-year turnaround on Bell, Book & Candle, to set up the movie elsewhere. The power of the press: it is so much appreciated. Incidentally, the still-beautiful Kim Novak was honored with a retrospective at the ArcLight and Bell, Book was the opening night film, with a newly-restored print from Sony, which has just issued a five movie DVD Novak collection. When I saw the actress at a Vertigo screening last year, we discussed my remake of Bell, Book & Candle and she said she would love to have a small part in the remake. She's got it! (Probably as Aunt Queenie.) A friend tells me that Chef John Mooney has opened a restaurant in Manhattan's Greenwich Village (141 W. 10th St.) called, yes, Bell, Book & Candle. And the original John Van Druten play will be opening in Burbank come October. Guess the rare jade Buddha pendent I'm wearing around my neck is protecting this Zen Juddhist and bringing me good 'joss'...

The power of poetry, passion and friendship will be on exhibit at the L.A. Opera starting Sept. 23rd when Placido Domingo stars in IL POSTINI, a world premiere of the opera based on the Oscar-winning Italian film about the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. It should be stunning, so you know I will be there opening night...

Have you heard that the new Cosmopolitan Resort and Casino in Vegas will be the site of a unique 'art' display on the four sides of the building. The marquee is running with several videos - one by Yoko Ono - covering the expanse. Can't wait for the 3,000 room place to open as my friend, Alex Acuna, is running p.r. there...

Tancredi DeLuca
Tancredi DeLuca has opened the DeLuca Italian Deli at the Americana in Glendale.

By the time you read this, my buddies Tancredi and Nina Deluca will have opened their Italian deli, DELUCA, at Rick Caruso's Americana in Glendale. We'll do a full-scale story shortly, but you know it will be a font of fabulous Italian food and drink...Anyone care to comment on the CAPITAL GRILLE? Michael Levine told me that it had decent food, high prices, and overwhelming service...

It was flattering to have the restaurant critic at the L.A. Times again follow one of my reviews within a month or so with her own; she gave South Beverly Grill one-and-a-half stars, although I think it's worth more. And she agreed with my HuffPost rave review of Red O with her own hurrah. I've been there at least four times in the past month and just love the entire surreal experience. Delicious food, a buzzy fun ambiance, courteous and knowledgable service, all combine to make each evening memorable. Only problem is reservations take awhile to get, so put your name in now. Shannon Mary Dixon is the very able office and event manager...

I have recently enjoyed some wonderful Italian meals at the ever-reliable Locanda Del Lago (231 Arizona, at the Third Street Promenade, (310) 451-3525), so don't wait for my full-scale review but visit West Hooker (soon to be the father of a baby girl) and his able staff for some stunning Northern Italian dishes...

Jennie Knox of Wally 's Cheese Bar
Jenny Knotts is running the new Wally's Cheese Box at Steve Waallace's wine shop.

.Jenny Knotts is running Wally's Cheese Box next to Steve Wallace's wine shop on Westwood Blvd. A superb selection of cheeses kept in perfect condition, and ask her for the amazing Wally''s Hero Sandwich ($8.95).

To subscribe to Jay Weston's Restaurant Newsletter ($70 for 12 monthly issues), email him at jayweston@sbcglobal.net.