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L’Orangerie Bought Back by Its Previous Owners

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

L’Orangerie is safe and sound and back in the hands of Gerard and Virginie Ferry. The French couple sold their landmark West Hollywood restaurant in October 1993 to a Japanese businessman. Now they’ve bought it back in an amicable deal and are delighted to be at the helm once again. The price and name of the former owner are under wraps, however.

L’Orangerie’s new executive chef is Ludovic Lefebvre, formerly of L’Esperance a Saint-Pere-Sous Vezelay and Arpege and Le Grand Vefour in Paris. The sous chef is Patrick Glennon, who worked at the Royal Monceau in Paris.

Changing Ranges: Since he closed his La Cienega restaurant, Russell’s, last August, Russell Jackson has been lending a hand at the Wolfgang Puck Cafe on Sunset Boulevard. But beginning Sept. 18, he takes over as chef de cuisine of the Dining Room in the posh Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Jackson replaces Bill Gideon, who left for personal reasons.

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To the Letter: The folks at Picasso, the 2-month-old cafe on Fourth Street in Santa Monica, are sparring with legalese. The 11-foot commercial sign or mural (pick one) that graces the facade is causing concern at the City of Santa Monica’s Department of Planning & Zoning. Is it a sign or a mural?

Partners Meir Mizrahi and Sylvie Amati and designer April C. Gillette say their reproduction of Picasso’s “The Dream” is artwork. The city fathers consider it a sign.

Says Gillette: “It adds a wonderful touch to the Fourth Street revival. It gives an upbeat feeling and increases pedestrian traffic. But everything’s in limbo right now. It was approved in May as a mural. Since then, there’s been a lot of miscommunication.” A hearing is set for Sept. 17.

Pasadena on a Stroll: Cafe Santorini, One Colorado, Il Fornaio, Gordon Biersch and Twin Palms restaurants host a progressive dinner party Thursday to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“Passage to Provence” begins at 6:30 p.m. with a tour of the Mendenhall Gallery, followed by regional French appetizers and wine at One Colorado in the courtyard. Around 8:15 p.m., guests--accompanied by live musicians--will stroll over to Twin Palms for a three-course meal by chef Michael Roberts. During the dinner an auction (silent and live) will be held. The cost is $95 per person. Information: (310) 479-8585.

Take Note: How to stimulate the diner’s intellect? Create a restaurant environment where people can relax and feel comfortable, according to restaurateur and architectural designer Barbara Lazaroff.

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On Sept. 21, the design force behind Spago, Chinois on Main and Granita will discuss how travel, psychology, wine and food, conversation and the arts influence her approach to restaurant design. She will be the guest speaker of the Woodbury University’s Library Associates Lecture series. Talk and discussion begins at 5 p.m., followed by an outdoor reception. Admission: $25; $10 for students.

Proceeds from the lecture series go toward enhancing the library’s collection. To be held at the campus’ Los Angeles Times Library on the campus in Burbank. Information: (818) 767-0888. Ext. 315.

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La Vita Italiana: A five-course dinner tops a day of Italian cooking demonstrations, wine tasting and ingredient discussions at the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch, part of Cal Poly University, Pomona. Organized by the School of Hotel & Restaurant Management, the dinner at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday will showcase regional dishes prepared by chef Tommaso Ruggieri, from the Palace Hotel in Bari, Italy.

The cost of the wine reception and dinner is $55 per person. Classes are $40 for desserts and $45 for pasta, pizza, risotto. Reservations: (909) 869-4485.

* California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, 3801 W. Temple Ave., Pomona.

Charmed Company: Mary Poppins presides over tea every Saturday in a Victorian parlor at Disneyland Pacific Hotel in Anaheim. Treats include fresh scones, finger sandwiches, wild rice pancakes, apple crepes--and from the children’s menu, peanut butter and jelly. Adults, $17.50; children ages 4-12, $9.50; children under 4, $3. Reservations are suggested for seatings at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Through Sept. 28.

* The Tea Room, Level 2, Disneyland Pacific Hotel, 1717 West St., Anaheim. Information: (714) 956-6755.

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And Baby Makes Two: Restaurateur Alain Cuny and partner J.B. Torchon announce the opening of Le Cafe St. Michel, just two blocks east of Laurel Canyon, and three doors down from their Wine Bistro in Studio City. The cafe menu includes open-face sandwiches with frites, entree salads, crepes and chocolate mousse.

* 11929 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 761-9800.

Such a Deal: OK, so you forgot Grandparents Day falls on Tuesday. Just fake it and invite one to dinner. Taix French Restaurant, 1911 Sunset Blvd., L.A., offers a special menu of roast pork ($9.95) or leg of lamb ($11.95) dinner on Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. The menu includes soup, salad and sherbet. Reservations: (213) 484-1265. . . . Happy hour prices plummet at Reel Inn West Hollywood on weekdays between 4 and 6 p.m. until Oct. 1: margaritas ($2), draft beer ($1.50), seafood tacos and quesadillas ($1.95 each), buckets of Manila steamed clams ($6.95), fresh oysters on the half shell ($4.50). At the West Hollywood location only. Reel Inn, 7953 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (213) 650-3098.

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