What better way to celebrate Joe Cain’s birthday than attending his party at the Joe Cain Café? Old Slac turns 181 years old this go round and the celebration begins Thursday, Oct. 10 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The glorious Excelsior Band will lead the Big Chief and his band of Merry Widows and Mistresses (play nice, girls) through the Battle House on Royal to kick of the brief-but-important festivity. Be sure to stick around for a special Joe Cain Cake set to arrive at 6 p.m. The event is free to the public, and I am certain Joe wouldn’t have it any other way.

Just to be sure you get in guests are asked to RSVP on the Joe Cain Café Facebook page.

Italian Fisherman host Italian Wine Dinner
The French are famous for their wines. The Californians are so good at winemaking the Rolling Stones sang about them. Chilean wines are hot right now. But of all the wine dinners at the Italian Fisherman over the past couple of years, the latest is the one I am most eager to attend.

Italian wines will be the theme of this month’s dinner at the Old Shell and Florida hotspot. Save the date for Oct. 22 as Chef John and company welcome guest presenter David Harmon for the Italian Wine and Food Experience. Price is $55 per person, which includes tax and tip and the menu sounds outrageous. The whole thing starts at 7 p.m., so you have plenty of time to get there after work.

The event sells out at 50 attendees, and last month’s Chilean wine dinner was such a success that this one is expected to sell out quickly. Get ready to get your Chianti on (as well as plenty other wines of which I am less familiar) and call now for reservations at (251) 478-2881.

Also, don’t forget the Oct. 10 dinner featuring pianist Ronnie Kole. It will be his last performance of the season, and that menu is, as expected, looking good.

Bellingrath’s Balloon Glow teams with Geaux Boy
This event was spectacular last year! Kids in costume will flood the grounds of Bellingrath Gardens for their annual Balloon Glow on Saturday, Oct. 27. They will be firing up hot air balloons, weather permitting as guests walk the grounds in trick or treat fashion. The first ghouls hit the pavement at 4:30 p.m. and run amok until 7 p.m.
Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for kids 5 through 12. Children four and under get in free, so bring your kiddie ID. Live music by Fat Man Squeeze will keep the pace at a fairly good clip. But the most exciting news about this event is that Geaux Boy will be there! This may be the first chance for many of us to sample Mobile’s latest and most anticipated food truck. I hope he has his lamb debris fries. Dibs.
Visit www.bellingrath.org for more information. On the telephone thingy you may dial (251) 973-2217 or 1-800-247-8420. See you there!

Fair fare around the corner
The weather is cooling off and the Greater Gulf State Fair is just around the corner. Oct. 25 through Nov. 3 is slated for corn dogs and candied apples galore. I’m sure you’ll be able to find a commercially available product that is not normally fried, battered and then deep-fried. Thank goodness Twinkies are back. This year I’ll ask if they can fry a candied apple for me. I said candied, not caramel.

Hungry Owl Anniversary going to be a “hoot”
Go ahead and set aside Saturday, Oct. 19 as the day you plan on shaking your tail feathers. The Hungry Owl at the corner of Cottage Hill and Schillinger will be celebrating its second year in their new facility.
Chef Tony and the crew are already warming up a seat for me at the Growler Bar, as last year’s was so fun I plan to never miss the event. Expect live music all day long, specials, promotions, and I am sure the Cajun Microwave will be fired up at some point. More to come as the music line-up develops.

Are you loving it?
Yes, that is a McDonald’s under construction on the north side of Bel Air Mall. I was just saying the other day we need more traffic in that area and more confusion in the already spaghetti-bowl-ish intersection. Hopefully it will be open in time for the Christmas rush. On the plus side, hot apple pies.

Speaking of apples…
Fall is Mobile’s most glorious time of the year. Sure, we rarely see a leaf change color, and it is still 80 degrees most of the day, but as it cools off we see more apples. I’m not talking about the ones in the grocery available all year. So many varieties begin popping up and one of my favorites is the versatile McIntosh.
Be on the lookout for them to hit the shelves. Perfect with cheese casseroles, pies, relishes, the softer texture makes this one a jack-of-all-trades. Send in your favorite apple varieties and where to get them. My friend Matt Horton brought me a smorgasbord of apples from Quaker country last year, and I ate myself sick. I’d like to do that again, so be on alert.
Recycle those cores!