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"Chef" is Michael Stebner -- Johnson followed him from La Jolla's 910 -- and Region is his fairly explicit nod to Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' now-legendary temple to pure flavors. Preparations are often simple, with the emphasis on showcasing tip-top ingredients, be they carrots or chickens. (Posters for Chez Panisse's 10th and 31st birthday celebrations, one of them signed by Waters, adorn the walls at Region.) A chalkboard announces the (usually local) source of various foodstuffs in that evening's menu. Region is working with Morris High School in Lemon Grove to establish an organic garden that will feed the restaurant. For his part, Johnson looks for wines that have similarly "clean, pure flavors that are varietally correct and not manipulated. My Pinots don't taste like Syrahs, and my Syrahs don't taste like Cabernets." And just as the menu changes daily to reflect the market, he keeps the list changing to reflect the menu. "I have a lot of people who come in and don't even look at the list anymore. They just say, 'Scotty, what are we drinking today?' That, to me, is awesome."

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