3/12/2012 11:25:00 AM

Los Angeles Dining Deals and Events, March 12-18

Courtesy of Border Grill
You can make Blue Monday a lot brighter by dropping by JiRaffe in Santa Monica for its Monday Night Bistro menu - a fixed price three-courser that changes from week to week. Tonight offers a choice of ahi tuna tartar or a wild mushroom salad, followed by either New Zealand rack of lamb or wild Mexican shrimp with pancetta, finishing with lemon pudding cake with blackberry sauce ($38 per person, with carafes of wine priced at $8 to $12 - served in brown paper tablecloths to make it that much more casual; 310-917-6671).

Tonight is Le Cirque du Fromage Night at Palate Food + Wine, which features weekly-changing flights of three cheeses along with a glass of wine going for $12 - with the fromage selected by Todd the Cheese Guy. There are also $6 cheese dishes like Croque Madame (818-662-9463).

It's time for Michael's monthly Market Meet-Up, with owner Michael McCarty and his Zagat 30 Under 30 chef John-Carlos Kuramoto leading a group to the adjacent, sprawling Santa Monica Farmer's Market for a morning of learning how to select the best of the best (even in March!). This month's exploration centers around produce from Zuckerman Farms, and the new crop of jumbo green asparagus that's just arrived at the market (8:30-11:30 AM; $75 per person includes freshly made cinnamon rolls and cappuccino at Michael's, the tour and a tasting of dishes made with the ingredients, and wines to match, as well as an autographed copy of McCarty's cookbook, Welcome to Michael's).

Proving that in the world of cocktails, everything comes around if you wait long enough, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar has introduced a new line of Retro Chic cocktails for $10.95 each. Expect drinks your grandparents may have consumed, like a Remy Martin VSOP Sidecar, a Four Roses Manhattan, a Maker's Mark Old Fashioned - and a Sailor Jerry Rum Daiquiri - a favorite of JFK.

From now through Sunday, Locanda del Lago, which sits just steps away from the LA Marathon finish line, is offering an assortment of dishes to help runners replenish their energy after going 26.2 miles --including handcrafted pastas made with whole wheat and buckwheat, and a chilled veal cartilage salad (insalata di nervetti) made with pickled Santa Monica Farmer's Market vegetables and green lentils ($14). Should any runners actually feel up to a chilled veal cartilage salad after running for some five hours (310-451-3525).

Those wanting to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with style should consider joining
Top Chef Masters' Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger for a St. Patrick's Day-themed cooking class at Border Grill Downtown. Think dishes that are more green than Irish, for instance pork chili verde, Key Lime squares and other dishes using ingredients like avocados and tomatillos (two sessions, the first from 11 AM-1 PM, the second from 2-4 PM; $75 per person; 213-486-5171).

The 27th Los Angeles Marathon will be run today, once again taking a route that goes from Dodger Stadium, through Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, Brentwood and finally through Santa Monica to the sea.

Those who go to Dodger Stadium to watch the race begin (at 6:55 for wheelchairs, and 7:25 for runners), might consider dim sum in Old Chinatown – in particular, Ocean Seafood and Empress Pavilion. If you want to eat Downtown before the race begins, consider a classic American breakfast - both The Original Pantry and The Pacific Dining Car are open 24 hours a day, so you can do some serious carbo (and fat) loading early in the morning.  For those who opt to be either north or south of the route as it heads through Hollywood and West Hollywood, Canter's Deli, Nate 'n Al's, Barney Greengrass, BLD, Clementine, Duke's, Griddle Cafe, Toast and Newsroom CafĂ©, are all open early. And for those who show up at the end to watch the more than 25,000 runners collapse in Santa Monica at around noon, there are good brunches to be found at Gjelina, Lilly's and Joe's in Venice; and Ocean Avenue Seafood, One Pico and Whist in Santa Monica. Where you can enjoy your eggs Benedict, content that you won't spend the day rubbing liniment on your aching muscles.


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