IT used to be hard to find restaurants that served decent wine by the glass. Now a growing number are practically turning into tasting rooms.
A diverse list of dining spots -- from Mako and Zax to Jer-ne at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey and Asia de Cuba in the Mondrian -- are offering "flights" of wine on their dining room and bar menus.
At these restaurants, a flight is small pours of three to five interesting wines or sakes. It's an ideal way to taste and compare the wines in the way that's most telling -- with food.
For example, at Axe, an intimate spot on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, the flight menu changes every few days and costs about $10 for a tasting of four or five wines.
Perhaps you'll sample a French white Burgundy and a Blaufrankisch from Napa Valley and pair them with a little plate of artisanal cheeses.
Across town in West Hollywood, the bustling Koi serves sake flights through the night. A flight of three 4-ounce pours begins at $14.
At dimly lighted Asia de Cuba, the wines (four to a flight) are served in 2-ounce glasses.
There are five choices: whites from around the world, California reds, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays or dessert wines (which are 1-ounce pours).
All are $16.
For serious mixing and matching, pair with a few of the mini-appetizers called shooters, such as diver scallop ceviche.
*Feeding the growing appetite for a raw diet
Before there was Roxanne, there was Juliano.
And now the 30-year-old pioneer of the vegetarian raw food movement is set to open a restaurant, Raw in Santa Monica, and is launching a supermarket line of packaged raw foods.
Advocates of the raw diet believe that food heated beyond 118 degrees loses nutrients, and so they produce dishes such as pizza or pad Thai using dehydration and pulverizing techniques.
Juliano Broitman, who is known simply as Juliano, has been following a raw diet for eight years, holding raw food "raves" and catering raw food parties, as well as having written "Raw: the Uncook Book" (Regan Books, 1999).
Now his Juliano Raw line of prepared foods including eggless egg salad and mock salmon pate will be introduced at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods Market and Costco in mid-December.
The restaurant is scheduled to open in December at 609 Broadway. The menu will feature "raw comfort food," he says, including cheeseburgers and pancakes with cream and syrup.
Brooke Williamson, the 24-year-old wunderkind of L.A. dining, is leaving Zax, the new American spot in Brentwood where she headed the kitchen for two years. Williamson, who will depart in mid-December, has not announced what's next.
Sona, the long-awaited restaurant from David and Michelle Myers, opens Tuesday. David Myers headed the kitchen at Jaan in Raffles' L'Ermitage Hotel; Michelle Myers is former executive pastry chef at Patina.
Sona, 401 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 659-7708.