Those who know me would understand that my favorite organization right now is the Junior League of Mobile. Why, you may ask? Because they’re bringing John Besh to the Mobile Convention Center!

If you noted the item in our Calendar of Events last week or picked up an early copy of this issue, you may still have time to attend the preview gala to Mobile’s 31st annual Christmas Jubilee Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. It’s sure to be special. This will be your first chance during the weekend-long event to shop while enjoying delicious food, beer and wine as well as entertainment and a silent auction. Chef Besh will be doing a cooking demonstration you cannot afford to miss.

Tickets are $60, available through www.juniorleaguemobile.org, and the gala is open to those 21 and older. Dress in your favorite cocktail attire and let this be the kickoff to your holiday season.

The following three days will be shopping, shopping, shopping — with a Thursday morning VIP experience to avoid the crowd — complete with morning cocktails, from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. at $25 per ticket, followed by Friday’s Girl’s Night Out Nov. 13, 6 until 8 p.m. This $35 ticket includes beer, wine, appetizers and desserts from EllenJAY Stylish Events + Sweets.

Finally, Saturday morning begins with a Santa Breakfast. Seatings are at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Expect your $20 ticket to get you story time, crafts, breakfast and, of course, photo ops with the Big Man in Red. Shortly after is Cookies with Santa at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. For a mere $10 you’ll get more story time and crafts, and decorate cookies with Santa! These last two events are NOT restricted to 21 and older.

General admission will also be available for this event Thursday through Saturday and are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. College student, military, senior citizen and child discounts are available. See the above website or call 251-471-3348.

Café Del Rio opens on Causeway
Can you believe there is now a waterfront Causeway restaurant that isn’t a seafood destination? Back when Ralph and Kacoo’s took over Lap’s they also gained possession of the former Tacky Jack’s. We told you there were plans to place a Mexican restaurant there. Well, the time is here.

Café Del Rio is wide open at the 1175 Battleship Parkway location and the name of the game is Tex-Mex. You can get your tamales smothered in chili or queso. I’ll take both.

This isn’t an order-by-number joint, so don’t expect a Speedy Gonzales and a bowl of cheese. Be prepared to feast on some well-thought-out dishes, all the while finding your Mexican or Texican faves. Several shrimp dishes are on the menu so I guess Causeway fans should give them a pass. On my first visit I was tempted by the shrimp cocktail. The twist to this version versus the typical cocktail de camaron is a mango salsa that sweetens the pot. Several dips caught my eye. Don’t forget the homemade coconut flan. I think you’ll like this place.

Mujumdar makes big splash at Chefs and Hardhats event
A good time was had by all at Habitat for Humanity’s Chefs and Hardhats event Oct. 29. It was a packed house at the Athelstan Club as guests crowded the dining hall to see Food Network’s Simon Mujumdar. The Indian with the British accent was delightfully funny, incredibly informative and supportive of the cause.

We were treated to stories about the history of nutmeg and insight into Simon’s own plight coming from England to the United States. Speaking of his new home, he said, “There is no greater country.” You could tell he wasn’t looking for cheap applause. This proud immigrant is as busy as anyone I’ve seen and rarely sleeps in his Los Angeles apartment. If he thinks it’s the greatest country, he should know. He has seen all of it. I was exhausted listening to his schedule.  

The raffle prizes were presented by a very talented Vanna White-esque lady who got better and better as the night went on and the wine was flowing. The evening went off without a hitch and the meal was well executed by the Athelstan Club staff under the direction of Mujumdar, though he admitted the fantastic butternut squash soup was not of his creation.

Not only did I enjoy the food, I also was glad to get a closer look at what Habitat for Humanity is doing in Mobile.

Celebrate Hope with USA’s Mitchell Cancer Institute
Mark your calendars for Thursday, Nov. 19, as we Celebrate Hope from 6 until 10 p.m. at the Mitchell Cancer Institute, 1660 Springhill Ave. Celebrate Hope is a food and wine/craft beer pairing event with live entertainment and delicious company.

Tickets start at $175 each and sponsorship opportunities are available. That price may sound steep, but last year they raised more than $388,000 in net revenue with all proceeds going toward advancing Mitchell Cancer Institute’s early-detection cancer research program. Nothing could be more important for those with a history of cancer in their family. Since its inception Celebrate Hope has raised more than $1.8 million for cancer research.

For more information and ticket purchasing, visit www.usahealthsystem.com. From a mobile device you may have to view the full site to get the proper information.  

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