|KCRW's Annual Pie Contest is back this weekend|
Today Josie Le Balch celebrates the first anniversary of Next Door by Josie, her casual gastropubby spot next to her eponymous Santa Monica restaurant. To thank everyone for their support, anyone who orders something from the Big Plates menu - tarragon-roasted half chicken or vegetable pot pie, perhaps - gets a free bucket of beer and bacon caramel corn. Available all day (2420 Pico Blvd.; 310-581-4201).
For 17 years chef Shigefumi Tachibe has created an all-garlic menu at Chaya Venice for the month of September, and it kicks off this week. Get dishes like black garlic-seared yellowtail sashimi with garlic citrus soy; sweet shrimp and pickled garlic ceviche; whole sea bass stuffed wtih garlic, fennel, rosemary and tomato; and a buffalo burger with garlic-chile chutney on a pretzel bun. Everything is priced a la carte and available nightly through September 30 (110 Navy St.; 310-396-1179).
September is California Wine Month, which means there's even more reason to drink a different vino every day. One opportunity to sample wines from more than 60 of the state's top producers is tonight's kick-off event at the Peninsula Hotel. For $60, it's like a road trip through 12 different AVAs without filling your gas tank once (get tickets here). And restaurants such as Napa Valley Grille, gLAnce Wine Bar at JW Marriott at L.A. Live, Cafe del Rey among others will have special dinners and offerings all month. Or check out Corkbar, which only serves California wines and beers.
Chef Walter Manzke (Bastide, Church & State) makes an appearance at the newish Colonial Wine Bar tonight, bringing with him dishes like rabbit ballontine with black mission figs, pig's head nachos, and his famous tarte flambe. All dishes on this one-night-only menu are priced a la cart. Reservations are recommended (7166 Melrose Ave.; 323-657-1827).
For the love of all things flaky and fruit-filled. Evan Kleiman and KCRW's fourth annual Pie Contest takes place at LACMA today, a celebration of fruit, nut, cream or savory pies, or any inspired by the Metropolis II exhibit. Home cooks, professional chefs and food writers/bloggers enter two different pies each to be judged by an esteemed panel (including yours truly) and the general public. Meaning: You, too, can taste as many slices as you want, as long as there's pie to taste. The event takes place from 2-4 PM, but there will be festivities (DJs, etc.) starting at 11:30 AM. Tickets are free and available on a first come, first served basis. And wear an apron, and you'll get into the museum for free.
You know how you hate to get out of your pajamas on the weekend? Now you can roll right out of bed and into P'tit Soleil for the weekly pajama breakfast. In addition to the popular poutine topped with a fried egg, there's a Quebecois special that includes two eggs any style, two slices of maple bacon, a slice of cold roast pork with sauteed potatoes, black beans and toasted country bread. The breakfast menu is available on Sundays from 9:30 AM to noon. (1386 Westwood Blvd.; 310-441-5384).