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Ready, Aim, Sip : Patina’s series of dinners compares French, California wines.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

California faces off against France in a series of Monday evening wine dinners at Patina starting March 31. Sommelier Christopher Meeske will review the status of California wines by comparing them to their French counterparts. The wines will be poured blind and served with a four-course menu created by chef-owner Joachim Splichal.

“Christopher will talk about the wines and I’ll answer questions about the food pairing,” Splichal says. “People like involvement, something educational. Our regular wine dinners where we introduce wines from small wineries are fun and informal. These will be limited to 12 diners and show the big wineries.”

The Sommelier’s Round Table will be held monthly in the restaurant’s private dining room from March through June. A few spaces remain for the first dinner, which spotlights California Chardonnay and White Burgundy. Upcoming evenings pair California Pinot Noir and Red Burgundy (April 14); California Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux (May 19); and California Syrah and Rho^ne wines (June 9). Prices vary from $100 to $140 per person. Cocktails at 7 p.m.; dinner and wine tasting, 7:30 p.m. Limited seating; reservations required.

* Patina, 5955 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (213) 467-1108.

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Va Bene: Travel around Italy by sampling more than 50 of Italy’s top wines chosen by Gambero Rosso, that country’s respected food, wine and travel magazine, now available in English. The walk-around tasting, organized by Wally’s and featuring antipasti by executive chef Gary Clauson, will be held Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Hotel Bel-Air. Reservations required.

* Hotel Bel-Air, 701 Stone Canyon Road, Los Angeles; (310) 475-0606. $59.

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Heartthrob: Quail in rose petal sauce plus ballads by Chilean songstress Jacqueline Fuentes will set the scene at Border Grill on Valentine’s Day. The five-course menu ($45) includes a paper flower. Border Grill, 1445 4th St., Santa Monica; (310) 451-1655. . . . Take a bite of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” Friday from noon to midnight. Pastry chef Jean Michel Dejean of Madeleine’s Bakery Cafe creates a 60-pound cake shaped in the form of the bestseller. $10 per person, includes cappuccino. Madeleine’s Bakery Cafe, 1518 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 656-6880. . . . Valentine’s Day at Reed’s runs today through Saturday. The three-course menu includes a heart-shaped ice cream sandwich with warm mocha sauce. $30 per person. Reed’s, 2640 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach; (310) 546-3299.

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Deliverance: With just two hours’ notice you can pick up a Valentine’s dinner. Dial BG TO GO for a three-course menu that includes rack of lamb or broiled salmon, and raspberry souffle or raspberry creme brulee--and a pair of red candles to set the mood. $24.95 per person.

* BG TO GO, adjacent to the Bistro Garden at Coldwater, 12930 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) FOOD-2-GO.

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Small Bites: India’s Tandoori restaurants introduce a children’s menu. Kids under 12 can get half-orders of chicken tandoori, chicken tikka, vegetable and chicken biryani, even small orders of naan. Sunday brunch also comes, kid-size, for $4.50. At all India’s Tandoori restaurants in Los Angeles, Tarzana and Burbank. Call (800) INDIA LA for individual locations.


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