(credit: napavalleygrille.com)

With the advent of summer, many local restaurants have rolled out new menus for happy hour, kids, specials, and even breakfast at night. Now’s the time to revisit your old favorites or discover some new ones.

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Wine Wednesday returns this summer at gLAnce Wine Bar at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. The complimentary wine tasting event occurs every Wednesday from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM until the end of the summer (except on July 4). Guests are invited to taste wines from vineyards throughout the world, with a different winery featured each week. Additionally, gLAnce will also offer small bites to balance the wine. Next week’s tasting menu features Catena, an Argentinean winery owned and operated by a passionate father-daughter team.

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In celebration of outdoor summer festivals, Vertical Wine Bistro is premiering their “Picnic in the Park” menu which features seasonal creations from Chef Laurent Quenioux and international wine selections, all of which can be taken to go in reusable brown and white bags (utensils, napkins, and wine openers are included, too). Located just steps from Levitt Pavilion’s outdoor auditorium, VWB prepares picnics ahead of time or while guests sip on a summer cocktail at the bar. The menu features such items as an artisanal cheese plate ($22), slow roasted pork with sweet potatoes and salad ($22), and wine accompaniments from $15.

SOL Cocina Executive Chef Deborah Schneider introduces a new Kids’ Menu with variations on her already celebrated menu of authentic Coastal Mexican cuisine with a fresh modern interpretation. Offered during lunch and dinner, the Kids’ Menu is for children ages 10 and younger and is created with same fresh, flavorful ingredients as its adult counterpart. The menu includes the standard quesadillas (less spicy than for grown-ups), but also features sides of beans and their special spinach garlic rice. You can even get an extra tortilla at no charge. See their full menu here.

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At The Tasting Kitchen, Chef Casey Lane is dedicated to creating as much of the menu by hand as possible—including butchering his own meat and creating much of the traditional charcuterie items in-house. À la carte selections at The Tasting Kitchen include Rillettes ($13), Gnocco Frito with Salumi ($16 | add Burrata $20), Pâté ($9), and La Quercia Prosciutto ($12). A kitchen selection of meat and cheese ($45) or charcuterie items ($35) is also available for dinner.

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Executive Chef Taylor Boudreaux celebrates fresh fare at Napa Valley Grille—bringing a taste of summer wine country to Westwood. The new menus (ranging in price from $4 to $38) emphasize seasonality and locally-sourced ingredients from neighboring farms and purveyors including Drake Family Farms in Ontario, CA and Country Fresh Herbs in Tarzana, CA. You need only see that this is on the menu to drive right down there: Fresh Grilled Peach Tart served with Vanilla Bean Custard and Blackberry Sorbet.

The warmer weather also introduces new market-driven “Liquid Therapy” cocktails by Beverage Director Carol Teich, highlighting fresh summer fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The Summer Heirloom ($15) is a bright take on the classic Bloody Mary utilizing Green Heirloom Tomatoes, Belvedere Vodka, Lime Juice, Jalapeño Simple Syrup, Cilantro, and Olive Juice in the savory drink.

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Other locations throughout Southern California

Aloha Hour: Every Night 4:30-6:30pmTo celebrate the return of Summer, Roy’s Restaurant is spicing up its popular Aloha Hour menu by introducing innovative new items and cocktails. With all offerings priced at $5, guests can enjoy new flavors and old favorites with a menu that captures the essence of summer with fresh, seasonal combinations including Smoked Mahi Mahi Tacos or Crunchy Golden Lobster Potstickers for an appetizer, and Signature Hawaiian cocktails including Roy’s Island Mai Tai, the 1988, and “The Original” Hawaiian Martini, made with SKYY Vodka, Stoli Vanil Vodka & Malibu Coconut Rum infused with fresh Maui Pineapples.

Aloha Hour items are available every night between 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

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Starting this month, Blu Jam Café has decided to extend breakfast and brunch hours all day long. Whether one’s in the mood for a breakfast burger, an after-work omelet, or even a late-night pancake, Blu Jam Café aims to be an all-day neighborhood mainstay. This is good news to their brunch fans who have sometimes had to wait in line for two hours for Blu Jam’s favorites like crunchy French toast, or Mazatlan shrimp scramble.

Blu Jam Café will also offer a larger variety of options for those looking beyond breakfast. Interesting dishes include the Chicken Schnitzel, a breast of chicken pan-fried and served with potatoes, green beans, and lemon; organic salads such as the Beets and Greens with organic wild arugula, fresh beets, chevre goat cheese, black currants, candied walnuts and citrus herb vinaigrette; the Seared Rare Ahi, served on a bed of wasabi mashed potatoes with lime- ginger sauce and pan roasted vegetables; and of course the always delectable Burrata & Strawberries. Blu Jam is open every day until 9:00 PM.

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Short Order LA at the Farmer’s Market just introduced Chef Christian Page’s specials which are combos of a burger, a side, and a drink. This is no drive-thru meal deal, however. These specials include the SOS, SOB, and SOL – each featuring “The Burger” (local, grass-fed beef patty; Hook’s aged cheddar; SQIRL homemade pickles; and special sauce layered within Short Cake’s house-baked bun); a side order of fries or signature spuds; and a choice beverage—offering Angelenos and tourists thoughtfully sourced, accessible alternatives to fast-food options.
The SOS ($14): The Burger + side order of fries or spuds + soda
The SOB ($17): The Burger + side order of fries or spuds + craft beer
The SOL ($21): The Burger + side order of fries or spuds + liquor (signature cocktail)

Specials are available Monday through Friday 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM and late-night after 10:00 PM; dine-in only; no substitutions; ask your server for available drinks.

(pork belly chicaron credit: lazyoxcanteen.com)

At Lazy Ox Canteen in Little Tokyo guests can enjoy $3 drafts and select wines, along with $5 bar bites (i.e. pork belly chicaron with harissa aioli; ennebec frites with Gallegos aioli; cod brandade with toasted bread) crafted by Chef Perfecto Rocher. These specials are available Monday through Friday, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

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Seven days a week, from 6pm-midnight, Haus — a charming cafe on 6th and Serrano with Korean-inspired sweets and savories fit for the western palate — now offers an all-night happy hour, with $6-7 glasses of wine and $6-8 tapas-style dishes, such as Shrimp toast; Mini baked clam & shrimp; and a “Giant Galbi Sushi”– a cylindrical dish layered with rice, a glazed short rib patty, and mixed greens. Haus, the only cafe in Koreatown with an enomatic wine dispenser, also features an expansive patio for summertime sips.

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Public Kitchen & Bar offers a special assortment of savory charcuterie in addition to their regular dinner menu every Thursday night. Diners can choose up to five selections of sliced-to-order charcuterie, including San Daniele Riserva prosciutto, Fra’ Mani smoked uncured ham and Creminelli mortadella. House-made charcuterie also is available, including chicken liver terrine, pecorino peppato, jamon Serrano, salami Toscana, cured pork loin, crespone, speck, fuet sausage and mousse truffee, rillettes (pork, duck, rabbit), Foie Gras Trochon, Duck Prosciutto and Country Pate. Charcuterie is offered at $12 for one selection, $17 for three and $23 for five.
If you don’t know what any of those words mean, that’s okay. It tastes good, and the selections are paired with featured wines, beer, whisky and aged rum from $7 to $13.

Kim Tracy Prince is the managing editor of Best of Los Angeles and Best of Orange County.