02/22/2012 04:16 pm ET Updated Apr 23, 2012

L.A. Restaurant Deals and Events for February 21-26


It's Fat Tuesday -- Mardi Gras -- and they're celebrating at Wood & Vine in Hollywood with an à la carte menu of crawfish boil, gumbo, jambalaya and lobster étouffée, with sazeracs and hurricanes to quench your thirst and Abita beer on tap. And they're throwing their 23rd annual Mardi Gras party at the Original Farmer's Market (6333 W. Third St.; 323-933-9211), where the Gumbo Pot restaurant is where you go for jambalaya and gumbo, the market is festooned in green, purple and gold, and filled with Cajun and Zydeco bands.

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Starting tonight the Next Door Lounge in Hollywood is kicking off a series of Whiskey Wednesdays, with whiskey and small dish pairings served from 8:30 to 10 p.m., built around a weekly selection of four libations. It kicks off  with "Whiskeys of the World"  and continues in future weeks with "North American Whiskeys," "Blended Scotches" and "Single Malt Scotches." The cost is $30 per person, which includes a commentary by a Master of Whiskey. And for those not ready to go home, the outdoor cigar patio opens at 10 p.m. Over at Mezze, chef Micah Wexler is paired with Ben Weiss of The Bruery to create a four-courser with limited edition beers to match dishes like baby yellowtail crudo, duck galantine and veal dumplings in beer broth (begins at 7:30 p.m., $85 per person; 323-465-5505).

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It's Morso della Bestia ("Bite of the Beast") time at Locanda del Lago, with this month's culinary critter a Muscovy duck, served in five courses, including an antipasto of housemade duck pate, a primo of duck and farro soup, a pasta of duck ravioli and a main course of roasted duck breast with espresso sauce, plus almond custard brûlée for dessert (starts at 7 p.m.; $54 per person, $70 with unlimited liters of house red and white; 310-451-3525).

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Those in the mood to drive out to La Quinta Resort & Club on the eastern edge of the Coachella Valley can reward themselves with a James Beard Celebrity Chef's Night out BBQ and Wine Tasting from 6:30 to 9 p.m., with dishes prepared by chefs Jimmy Schmidt, Stephan Pyles and Nancy Silverton, who'll join together to prepare mozza caprese, 24-hour pork belly with foie gras and pan-seared coriander crusted sea scallops, with other dishes prepared by the resort's chef ($95 per person, includes wine; 760-564-4111).

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Test Kitchen returns for one night only -- five chefs and four mixologists gather for an evening of serious burgers and cocktails at Short Order in the Original Farmers Market, with the guest chefs including Kris Morningstar (of Ray's & Stark Bar), Adam Horton (of Raphael) and the ubiquitous Walter Manzke; the burgers and sides are offered a la carte from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., priced at $14 to $18 for the burgers, and $5 to $12 for the sides. It's a rare chance to try Manzke's Vietnamese pork burger and Horton's Korean BBQ burger among others (323-761-7970).

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It's the 84th Annual Academy Awards, a night when a large segment of the local population stays home to watch. But it's also a great night to score a reservation at any number of restaurants that are hard to get into. Consider going to Gjelina, Sunny Spot, Pizzeria Mozza, Matsuhisa or Campanile, among others that are normally fully committed.

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