It’s time again, folks. Taste of Mobile will take place Nov. 7 at the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center from 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Do not miss your chance to taste specialty dishes from 40 of Mobile’s restaurants and vote for your favorite plate. It’s still pomegranate season. I have it on good authority there will be at least one dish incorporating them. Plenty of surprises await. This is one of Mobile’s biggest and best culinary events and a great way to experience a cross section of our food scene.

Tickets are $25 per person, $35 for VIP passes. Proceeds benefit Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, helping people with disabilities in our community. Grab yours at Wintzell’s locations, Mobile Fixture, Mobile Harley Davidson, and Goodwill Easter Seals. Call (251) 471-1581 for more information.

Neptune’s Daughters don’t wait until February for a chili cook-off!

These gals don’t play around. Teaming up with the Mobile Mystics, Neptune’s Daughters are having their Third Annual Chili Cook-off Nov. 2. Smell the cumin and the chili powder early at the Mystics’ float barn on St. Anthony, but the first public tasting won’t happen until 11:30 a.m. Judging is just after noon and awards will be announced at 3 p.m. Ten bucks gets you in the gate, free for kids under 10 years of age, and a cash bar is available for anyone over the legal drinking age. Get a jump-start on your chili season!

Go bouzouki crazy at Greekfest

We never miss the chance to experience some fine bouzouki playing and Greek food. Presale tickets just became available for the 2013 Greekfest to be held Nov. 14-16 at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church located at 50 S. Ann St. If you think early morning baklava from Highland Village is great (and it is) wait until you try this one. For a complete menu and curbside availability visit www.greekfestmobile.org

Sing us a song Pecan Festival man

Gear up for the Alabama Pecan Festival Nov. 1-3 at the Tillman’s Corner Community Center. Live entertainment, pecans, family activities, and the Hank and Jett Williams Songwriting Contest are but a few of the attractions. Friday night runs from 5 p.m. until, Saturday 9 a.m. until, and the Sunday Gospel Program begins at 11 a.m. until. Visit www.alabamapecanfestival.com for more details.

True Midtown Kitchen unleashes fall menu

Last week TMK released new additions to the fall menu including greens, cobia, coconut catfish and, get ready, chicken schnitzel that is out of this world. Do yourself a favor and stop on by. They’re offering many of these in “small plate” portions for small prices.

Food Champ is up and running

It certainly didn’t take long, but Food Champ is up and running. What a difference it made when a portion of the Belle Foods stores became Food Champ. Clean, friendly, and well stocked, I welcome the changes. Take advantage of the blowout sale from discontinued products. Rouse’s is next, but we have to wait a bit on that one.

Italian wine dinner a smash hit

My thanks to Chef John of the Italian Fisherman and speaker David Harmon from Gruppo Mezzacorona for an enlightening and delicious pairing of Italian wines last week. Highlights included Righetti Valsala, Castello Di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva in the glass, braised beef short ribs and lamb, figs stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto on the plate. All of it was stellar, and I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Kitchen on George two year anniversary

Nov. 8 marks the two-year anniversary for Virginia College’s Culinard run Kitchen on George. The success of this business model has led the Culinard program to open two other restaurants, one called Kitchen on Cary in Richmond, Va., the other Kitchen on Union Square in Chattanooga, Tenn.

It’s no surprise. The corner of George and Savannah took home “Best New Restaurant” at the Nappie Awards in 2012 and “Most Underrated Restaurant” of 2013. I’d like to think it was due to my review of the place, but more than likely it should be credited to their hard work.
No event is planned, but a special dish marking the milestone is in the talks.

Those busy Bees have a farmers market

From now through Nov. 21 plan on spending your Thursdays at the Beehive Farmer’s Market of Government Street United Methodist Church. Located adjacent to their garden just one block west of the church building at the corner of Marine and Government, the market will be open from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. the day after Hump Day.

Expect vendors with baked goods (even Manna Bakery), grass-fed beef, soap, goat cheese, and even seafood from Bettie Champion’s ever-popular Gumbo Academy. I wonder if there is honey.

Calling all Italian food lovers

On Saturday, Nov. 9 amateur and professional chefs will compete in the Mamma Mia! Italian cook-off in Daphne. The competitors can enter their Italian dishes in four categories: beef, chicken, meatless and seafood.

This year organizers have added the celebration of Rificolona, a Florentine paper lantern parade. Guests are encouraged to bring their own and participate in the parade.

There will also be college football on big screen TVs, big band sounds from the Jubilee Orchestra and delicious Italian deserts sold a la carte. And this is all presented by and benefits Daphne’s education foundation, SEEDS.

Things will get kicked off at 7 p.m. on the lawn at Daphne City Hall. Advance tickets are $30 for adults/$15 children (grades K-6) and may be purchased online at seedsindaphne.org or at the Daphne Recreation Department, Glass Orthodontics, Miller’s Grand Events and numerous area businesses. Tickets at the gate will be $35.

Mobile International Festival turns 30

It seems we have plenty of festivals to go around this issue. Go ahead and mark down another! Mobile’s International Festival hits the big three-o this year on Nov. 23. Head down to the Civic Center to get your load of what it’s like in someone else’s homeland. This year’s theme is “Roots…the Journey.” Details have not been fully announced but expect their usual food booths, cultural exhibits and live entertainment.

Stay within earshot of www.mobileinternationalfestival.org for an upcoming update. We will have more information in our next issue.
Whew! That’s a lot of festivals. Be sure to recycle those Halloween candies for thanksgiving fruitcake!