Eclipse Goes Dark: Eclipse restaurant on Melrose Avenue closed its doors Aug. 27. Owner Bernard Erpicum said: “Eclipse closed its doors on a very uplifting beat, celebrating three years of great success.”
George Pagani, former maitre d’ at Coco Pazzo, with the financial help of Robert Halmi, Robert Halmi Jr. and other investors, will, if all goes well, own the space, which once housed Morton’s. (The money is still in escrow.) Pagani’s plans are to begin remodeling in October, knocking down walls, enclosing the patio and raising its floor to make it level with the dining room’s. He wants the food to focus on steaks and seafood, with fish, crab and lobster flown in from New Zealand (he’s of the opinion that things grow bigger in the waters Down Under). The name of his new restaurant has not been chosen, but the chef has. You aren’t going to find out the name of the chef yet, though, because Pagani isn’t telling. We’ll leak it to you as soon as we know.
The Annual Puck Bash: On Sept. 27, Wolfgang Puck will once again throw his annual American Wine and Food Festival to benefit the Los Angeles chapters of Meals on Wheels. It will be held, as usual, at Spartacus Square on the Universal Studios back lot.
You can sample wine from 60 vintners and food from 30 chefs, including Nobu Matsuhisa, Mark Miller, Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme, Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton. Puck has also flown in three colleagues from Austria to prepare their favorite dishes: Walter Eselbock (Restaurant Taubenkobel), Reinhard Gerer (Restaurant Corso, Hotel Bristol) and Jorg Worther (Restaurant Jorg Worther, Hotel Schloss Prielau).
The theme is western, so jeans are OK. Tickets are $200 per person (which includes all the food and wine you can handle). Tables can be sponsored for between $3,000 and $5,000 for groups of 10.
* For information and to order tickets (by Tuesday), contact Pam Korman at Spago Hollywood at (310) 652-3706.
The Best Seat Out of the House: Rockenwagner Restaurant just got approval from the Santa Monica City Council to seat people outdoors on its patio. Rockenwagner always had the patio, but its permit allowed it only to have people outside, not to feed them outside. After four public hearings over the course of two months, people can at last legally eat on that sacred patio.
Says owner Hans Rockenwagner: “It took a lot of time, effort and money, but finally we prevailed.”
He’s grateful to all the customers who came to the hearings to speak in his favor. Mind you, all this effort was over 14 seats. So if you want one of those coveted, hard-won patio seats, you’d better reserve in advance.
* Rockenwagner Restaurant, 2435 Main St., Santa Monica; (310) 399-6504.
Cluckers for Humanity: Ever want to feel you’re helping to make the world a better place while stuffing your face with chicken? Next Wednesday, the profits from any chicken you buy at participating Church’s Fried Chicken outlets will go to Habitat for Humanity. This is, of course, the nonprofit organization that provides low-cost housing to families in need. (Families pay their own mortgages and help build their homes alongside volunteers.)
Church’s President Hala Moddelmog has been involved in building a Habitat home. She sees it this way: “Working on a Habitat house--there’s just nothing better. It’s a great experience.”
If you’d like to buy chicken for the whole church or office, Church’s will donate proceeds from your group order placed by Wednesday. If you can’t make those deadlines, you can still buy a cute little paper Habitat house from Church’s for $1 during the month of September. You sign your name to your house and it will be displayed in your local restaurant.
Pair o’ Patina Parties: Patina will cater the dinner at the Governors Ball that follows the prime-time Emmy Awards presentation at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Sunday. Patina has hired 250 waiters, 30 chefs, 35 cooks and 20 bartenders to serve 188 tables that night. If you’re not invited, alas, you won’t be able to devour the roasted veal over risotto in a sage lemon sauce or the strawberry tart with pistachio filling.
But if you didn’t get an invite to the Emmys, fear not: Patina will celebrate its eighth anniversary on Sept. 29 with an alumni chefs’ dinner. At that dinner you can taste entrees prepared by chefs who have done time in Joachim Splichal’s kitchen.
The menu hasn’t been firmed up yet, but the chefs are Octavio Becerra of Pinot Bistro, Studio City; Scott Newman of Rubicon, San Francisco; Jeff Inahara of Vertigo in San Francisco (actually, as of last week Inahara left Vertigo to chef for a new place that Mark Miller of the Coyote Cafes is building in Ghirardelli Plaza); and Josiah Citrin and Raphael Lunetta of JiRaffe, Santa Monica. Cost is $70 per person, food only. Cocktails begin at 6:30 p.m., dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. Call for reservations.
* Patina, 5955 Melrose Ave., L.A.; (213) 467-1108.