The 8th annual Taste of the Town will be held at Five Rivers Delta Resource Center on Thursday, May 7. The popular event sponsored by the Daphne/Spanish Fort Kiwanis Club and Safe Harbor Financial Services will run from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and will feature live music and plenty to taste.

The restaurant count stands at 27 and culinary businesses of all makes and models are participating. With ticket prices at a cool $30 in advance and $35 at the door, that amounts to barely over a dollar per restaurant. The only thing better than a price so low is the complimentary beverages paired with the view.

Grab your tickets today by calling 251-621-2996 or visit www.daphnespanishfortkiwanis.org.

Southern Napa presents another 99 bottles of beer on the lawn
If you’ve never been to this event then you don’t know what you’re missing. Southern Napa at 2304 Main St. in the heart of Olde Towne Daphne is cooling off the IPAs and getting ready for their 99 Bottles of Beer on the Lawn. Even in the pouring rain, last year’s event brought in 600 beer lovers under the giant tent just outside of the amazing wine store.

This year’s shindig will be held Saturday, May 9 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. with proceeds going to Baldwin County Humane Society. The $30 advance and $35 at-the-door ticket prices include a commemorative tasting glass for a selection of 99 craft beers and live music by Willie Sugarcapps.

“Craft beers are a lot like a bottle of wine,” said Jim Cox, owner of Southern Napa and event coordinator. “Each has a very unique flavor profile and the more you taste the more you hone in on what you like.”

To be a part of this special event visit www.southernnapa.com for tickets or find them on Facebook. If all else fails then call them at 251-375-2800.

Italian Fisherman’s final wine dinner a hit
The final installment of the Italian Fisherman’s wine dinner series was probably one of the best. The series ended with a Spanish wine dinner that included the importer and the exporter Kathy Kellett of M&J Wines played host to export manager Carmen Ramirez of Vinicola de Tomelloso, and I must say Spain never tasted this good.

For something about which I knew very little, I left impressed enough to take home two bottles. One was a Finca Cerrada Viura, a gold medal white, and the other an out-of-this-world rose’. These were steals in the less-than-$15 market, and I shall hunt them down again. They are guaranteed to work for you, especially the rose’.

Of course Chef John was bringing his A-game for the final dinner. Highlights of the meal included a Spanish seafood soup and a chicken breast with parsley sauce and potatoes au gratin. It was a bittersweet ending to a series I’ve enjoyed and learned so much from. The friends you accumulate at these intimate events are the best part.

Second annual Local Goodness goes off swimmingly
We’ve had so much rain this isn’t an inappropriate headline. But this year’s Local Goodness farm-to-table event benefitting the USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital was nothing shy of amazing. Liz Freeman and the gang put together a nice package that was worth every penny spent on this important fundraiser.

For starters there was once again a Fat Man Squeeze cocktail. Bourbon, spicy ginger beer, simple syrup, fresh lime juice and basil may just put the Mint Julep out of business. Word on the street is this recipe almost made it to the Preakness. If it does eventually, then eat your heart out, Kentucky Derby.

The local menu was executed flawlessly by Bay Gourmet. Sarah and her staff really outdid themselves this year. Buttermilk fried oysters with horseradish cream sauce is no joke. Who wraps Conecuh sausage in shrimp? They do. Barbecue shrimp and smoked Gouda grits as well as pork tenderloin in a bourbon peach chutney sauce had everyone smiling. The many mini desserts included a mixed berry cobbler with Old Dutch vanilla ice cream.

Things are so much better local.

National Shrimp Festival’s Restaurant Challenge leads to World Food Championships
Let’s see if you can keep up with this. More than 400 prequalified competitors will enter one of nine categories at the World Food Championships running Nov. 3-10 in Kissimmee, Fla. Before that we will have the 44th annual National Shrimp Festival Oct. 8-11. Affiliated with the National Shrimp Festival is the eighth annual Shrimp Festival Restaurant Challenge held at Faulkner State Community College Aug. 26-27.
I told you that story to tell you this one: The road to the World Food Championships for Alabamians begins by winning the Shrimp Festival Restaurant Challenge which has been elevated to Preferred Qualifier status guaranteeing the winner’s spot in the big dance.

Applications for this event are currently open exclusively to Coastal Alabama Chamber of Commerce (which produces the National Shrimp Festival) members until May 8. Non-members will not be permitted applications until May 9. For an application visit www.myshrimpfest.com.

Until next time, recycle!