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dineLA Restaurant Week's Big Kickoff

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Mayor Villaraigosa serves the city / Photo by Elise Thompson

dineLA Restaurant Week kicked off in style yesterday at Neal Fraser's Grace on Beverly Boulevard. Neal Fraser is the only Angeleno ever to have won Iron Chef, against none other than Cat Cora.

The Two Hot Tamales, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, were the belles of the ball. I just had a moment to chat with them regarding a funny story they had written about a banquet gone awry. Mary Sue immediately asked, "Did it gross you out?" I barely had time to reply, "No! I thought it was hilarious!" while the tide of people bore her away. The Hot Tamales are constantly laughing, and their upbeat spirit is definitely contagious.

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In attendence were such culinary luminaries as Suzanne Tracht, Fred Eric and Olivier Rousselle, but the guest of honor was Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. When Villaraigosa first walked in, he was greeting people as the press took pictures. He hesitated in front of me, so I went for the big front-facing-handshake pose of a person receiving an award. He naturally fell into position, and the photographers snapped away. So I can hang that in my den over my Pulitzer someday.