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EaterWire: Restaurant Week Ressies, Dumb and/or Free Cocktails, Ted Allen Defends Chopped

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RESTAURANT WEEK: DineLA's Restaurant Week is just around the corner (Jan. 25-30, Feb. 1-6), and it looks like reservations are starting to stack up. Amex card holders are supposed to be the only ones who can make reservations from now until Jan. 11, when the lines are open to the general public, but it kind of looks like anyone can make them now. Try at your own risk. And although prices have been upped just a bit this year, there are some caliber restaurants participating: The Bazaar by Jose Andres (pictured), BLT Steak, Bashan, Citrus, Comme Ca, Grace, Water Grill, Wolfgang's Steakhouse. And also questionable ones like Gladstone's, Wokcano and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. where spending even $16 is too much, but kudos for participating. Most of the restaurants have menus and prices listed on the DineLA website. [EaterWire]

DUMB COCKTAILS: Out of 14 of's "The World's Dumbest Cocktails," LA is lucky enough to have two (although we're sure there are many more out there). These are the antithesis of our burgeoning mixology culture: One Sunset serves "The Naughty Schoolgirl," a ridiculous concoction of Stoli Raz, lemonade, and a raspberry sugar rim with, yes, a lollipop; and Crown Bar's doozy is the "Trophy Cup," Pimm's, diet Red Bull and Veev. "In other words, this is a perfect storm of obnoxious early-aughts trendiness. To the bar's credit, though, it's not served in an actual trophy cup." [Men's Style]

MORE COCKTAILS: And speaking of not caring about what you're drinking just as long as it's booze: Check out My Open Bar for places you can drink for free. Varies from happy hours to launch parties to art openings, but as long as you have an RSVP, most will get you buzzed for free. [EaterWire]

TELEVISION: Ted Allen gets all defensive about the claims that his new Food Network show Chopped is a Top Chef knockoff: "There is no sleep deprivation, no “Big Brother” house full of bunk beds and cameras, no booze-fueled personal drama (as much as we all love the brainwashing and catfights on that certain show I used to judge). There are no team or catering challenges. Best of all, there is no product placement, so you never see passionate lovers of good food being forced to use packaged convenience junk thanks to Kraft/Altria/Exxon’s sponsorship." [Ted Allen via Eat Me Daily]