Campanile, the La Brea Avenue restaurant, last week threw its hat in the ring with the Writers Guild of America in the group's strike with film and television producers.
The high-end restaurant hosted a "Writers Soup Kitchen" Nov. 21, which featured a three-course dinner for $18. You simply had to flash a WGA card to get the deal.
Campanile executive chef and owner Mark Peel dreamed up the idea for the event after brainstorming with a few regular diners at the restaurant who were affected by the strike, said Jay Perrin, general manager and wine director for the restaurant.
The Campanile deal is a steal for WGA members with sophisticated gustatory needs and thin pocketbooks; the restaurant's typical dinner entrees, such as rosemary charred baby lamb or braised rabbit saddle and leg, go for around $30.
"We always felt we were a behind-the-scenes restaurant, for the make up artists and writers, not the actors," Perrin said.
The set menu wasn't skimpy. The entr & #233;e choice included grilled albacore and long cooked greens, grilled chicken and fries with watercress salad, or saut & #233;ed polenta with local sheep's milk cheese and glazed cauliflower.
Perrin said that the restaurant wouldn't lose money on the venture, but it is "trying to make sure we float the boat." He said that the restaurant had 40 reservations for the "soup kitchen" dinner. The deal will be available each Wednesday, at least for the time being.
And what about that name? Might some take offense at the idea of an $18 per-person "soup kitchen?"
"It's for fun," Perrin said.
Terry O'Neil, director of public relations for Ralphs Grocery Co., said his Turkey Day meals include the requisite bird, and he added that he prefers stuffing cooked outside the turkey not the moist stuffing that's cooked inside the bird.
In the public relations world, O'Neil is not alone with his stuffing preference.
In an informal poll conducted with local public relations mavens about this age-old question, Michael Bustamante of MJB Strategies, Jill Hoffman of Clive Hoffman Associates and Darcie Giacchetto of Amies Communications all go for stuffing cooked outside of the turkey. There was a dissenter Amy Goldsmith of GK Communications prefers stuffing cooked inside the bird.
And when it comes to Thanksgiving favorites, Goldsmith likes her homemade corn bread, Giacchetto goes for mashed potatoes, Hoffman enjoys green bean casserole and Bustamante loves lamb.
Contacted before Thanksgiving, none of the public relations specialists said they'd be eating crow or this reporter's favorite humble pie.
Daniel Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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