Critic's Preview

Times Restaurant Critic

Izakaya Zero After the beach, stop in at Izakaya Zero for some updated Japanese pub fare from Takashi Abe of OC's Bluefin. Order up a Sapporo and some popcorn shrimp with ponzu sauce, crispy fried chicken, fried soft-shelled crab or okonomiyaki -- a hearty pancake laced with pork, cabbage and octopus. Izakaya Zero, 412 Walnut Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 960-1278; www.

Silverlake Wine tastings Now that Silverlake Wine has expanded into the adjoining space, there's more room than ever for wine tastings. Held Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, they're quite the social affair, given that you get to taste some interesting wines, nosh a bit, maybe meet a winemaker or some new faces from the neighborhood. Silverlake Wine, 2395 Glendale Blvd., L.A.; (323) 662-9024; www.silver Tastings Sundays, $20 (reservations only, includes hors d'oeuvres); Mondays, $12 (includes cheese) and Thursdays, $8 to $12. See website or call for more info.

Dreamy ice cream bar Milk, the little ice cream parlor and nosh emporium at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and Poinsettia Place in Los Angeles, has a killer ice cream bar tucked away on its shelves. It's vanilla bean ice cream covered with a thick, obviously handcrafted layer of dark delicious chocolate. Savor one at a sidewalk table and, when you're done, step over to Insomnia next door for a jolt of caffeine. Milk, 7290 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; (323) 939-6455; Ice cream bar, $3.

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