ON THE PLATE Waters Lakeside Bistro Among the highlights of Alex Nemeth's menu: a salad of smoked trout, pear, and endive ($8), crab cakes with a side of jicama and bib lettuce and a dash of maple vinaigrette ($12), seared scallops with squash risotto and a cauliflower gratin ($23), and rack of lamb with tiny mustard dumplings and a thyme-scented jus ($26). 1200 Carillon Point, Kirkland, 425-803-5595. Palomino Bistro Chef Rob Whaley steers his new menu back to the basics that made Palomino a destination: delectably light, crisp pizzas (try the sausage and mushroom, $7.95), hearty pastas (brick-oven baked penne with basil, tomato, and fresh mozzarella, $10.95/$11.95 dinner), and luscious boneless rotisserie-roasted poultry: half a crispy duck, $18.50, lemon-sage chicken, $15.95. 3rd floor, 1420 Fifth Ave. (Pacific Place), 623-1300. Mistral Cutting vegetarians some slack in the season of fleshy overkill, chef William Belickis offers a seven-course no-meat feast featuring toothsome dainties like carrot risotto, squash soup with chestnuts, and roasted eggplant drizzled with 100-year-old balsamic. $75 exclusive of tax, tip, and beverage. Special menu available Dec. 4-29. 113 Blanchard, 770-7799. IN THE GLASS Hale's Wee Heavy Winter Ale A strong, flavorful ale brewed with a hint of cinnamon spice; its makers claim that it's "a good listener" and proper company for cozy, dark winter nights. Available on draft and in bottles (around $7 a six-pack) through January. '98 Columbia Crest reserve cabernet Best known for its inexpensive varietals, the state's biggest winery also produces higher-end bottles. This delicious limited edition crafted by Doug Gore is a remarkable value, compared by tasters at Wine Press Northwest to California products costing four times as much. Around $25 in specialty wineshops. AT THE MARKET Pike Place is gearing up for Christmas. At De Laurenti Specialty Foods you'll find miniwheels of Neal's Yard Stilton (soak it in port for after dinner) and Swiss vacherin cheese to melt over boiled potatoes. Refinance the kids and order some white Italian truffles while you're at it. At Sosio's, far less pricey black truffles from China are available—great for shaving over risotto or pasta. And you don't know what the words "heavy cream" mean till you've experienced the double-Devon at Pike Place Creamery. THIS WEEK Dec. 6 For his fund-raising banquet for FareStart, the Capitol Club's Michael Ruiz serves up a spiced carrot bisque with dill and manchego cheese, saffron-poached salmon on root vegetable couscous with a green olive beurre blanc, and a Mission fig-goat cheese tart with blackberry juice and whipped cream. $16.95. 1902 Second, seatings 5:30-8 p.m., reservations 443-1233, x10. COMING SOON Dec. 9 Two hundred beer glasses hand-painted by Northwest artists go for $20 apiece at the Pink Door Restaurant in Post Alley, a benefit for the Pike Market Foundation. There'll be live music too, and the first beer's on the house. 5-11 p.m., 1919 Post Alley. Information 682-7453, x252. Ow, that's hot. Send food news to the Hot Sheet, firstname.lastname@example.org.