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The LAist Food Section: Better Than Frozen Peas

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Because drinking and driving is beyond passé: This week, local bartenders strutted their best Tom Cruise-in-Cocktail skills, but without any "proof" in their puddings. It was the annual Mocktail contest held at Universal CityWalk, where ten expert mixologists threw their best non-alcoholic mixes into...well, the mix at the annual "Battle of the Bartenders". The event was designed to promote awareness of the dangers of DUIs. Your turn to be the designated driver? Try one of these recipes, direct from the contest participants. As a rule, we don't find CityWalk to be very cool, but getting behind the wheel sober is about as cool as you can get, wethinks.

Molto Mario: EatingLA reports (via Chowhound) that Mozza's other big-name owner has been in the house this week.

Follow those threads: And speaking of Chowhound, the local foodies are already barking up a storm as they chime in for their votes for the best and the worst meals of 2006.

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More tears in their beers: Last night's ep of Top Chef was about imbibing, in-fighting, and shedding tears. It must be the holidays! In the quickfire the chefs made cocktails with Baileys and canapés, which got them loosened up enough to split into two teams to competi-cater the Warner Bros./Los Angeles mag holiday shindig. Who's crying now? It's California resident Mia, who cut off Head Judge Tom Colicchio before he could announce the name of the chef on the chopping block and volunteered herself as the sacrificial lamb. Fa la la la, la la, la la. And so seven remain...

Where did the L.A. Times eat? S. Irene Virbila checks out Atwater Village's Canele.

And the Weekly's Mr. Gold? Braved the flaming red-hots at Dino's Burgers on Pico.

And what did we eat? This week this LAist was so happy to be off work (all hail the scheduling gods of academia!) that we stayed home and in the kitchen. We got busy making scones, baked eggs with parmesan and asparagus, pizza with onion confit and goat cheese, grilled lamb chops with fingerling potatoes, and sticky buns. Who needs to eat out? Well, we do. We're trying to decide where everyone can take us for our upcoming birthday dinner(s) out... Got any suggestions?

Incidentally, we don't care for peas.