Just a few news tidbits to pass along in the midst of back-to-school madness:
Standard Bistro in Mt. Laurel is having an heirloom tomato wine dinner this Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. Hosted by International Wines, the menu features tomato-themed and -enhanced dishes such as tomato, pesto and mozzarella flatbred; crab and gazpacho "shooters;" fried green tomatoes and remoulade, and a chery tomato and cucumber salad, both accompanying seared snapper; and a panzanella, arugulat, and heirloom tomato salad accompanying roast pork. Call 995-0512 for reservations; cost is $75, including food, wine, tax and gratuity.
Alan Martin, the longtime executive chef of Standard Bistro and before that a favorite of ours at the Metro Grill that used to be in Brookwood Village, has moved back to his hometown to reopen the restaurant at Anniston's history Victoria Inn. The Birmingham News' Bob Carlton reports that the menu will feature contemporary Southern cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown produce and dairy products.
Veranda on Highland chef Tom Robey won the Iron City Chef competition this weekend. The fundraising event was sponsored by the Vestavia Hills Rotary Club.Robey prepared lump crab and truffle beet "martinis," pulled duck shortcake with Chilton County peach Habanera barbecue sauce, minted goat cheese mousse and peanut butter pie in a salted pretzel crust.
The first annual Free the Hops Oktoberfest has been scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19 (jumping the gun a little bit, aren't they?) on Morris Avenue. It will feature German cuisine, live music, and more than 25 German and German-style American-made beers. More info at http://freethehops.org/oktoberfest.
Bellini's, located on Cahaba Valley Road near Hwy. 280, is now serving lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Some of the offerings will include a potato crusted tuna salad with mixed greens, heirloom tomato, grilled artichoke; carb cake with mixed greens and heirloom tomato; shrimp scampi; lasagna involini; panini sandwiches; a Bellini burger, and several pizzas.
Birmingham's 21st annual Taste of the Nation will be Monday, Aug. 24, 6-9 p.m. at McWane Science Center, benefiting Magic City Harvest and Pathways. More than 40 of Birmingham's chefs and beverage vendors will offer signature dishes and drinks. Tickets are $75 in advance or $85 at the door. More info and tickets at www.tasteofthenation.org.