Salad Days

Star chefs host a toss-up

8/10

Attention, foodies. All you devotees of culinary arts, all you weekend chef-poseurs, all you béarnaise-making, haughty wine-tasting, snail-snacking, Food Network-watching bon vivants, listen up. Raise your Williams-Sonoma whisks in your right hands and salute the matriarch of your penchant for all things gourmet. Hail, Julia Child! See, without old Julia, propped up as she is now, pushing 90, cooking on PBS with Jacques Pepin, you'd still be shoving a Swanson's turkey dinner in the toaster oven. Child brought French cooking into every 1950s living room and enlivened every June Cleaver's ho-hum supper menu. She's lived long enough now to become a caricature of herself, and Dan Aykroyd's hilarious blood-spurting impersonation notwithstanding, she's not often credited with the whole home-chef, cooking-show craze. Besides demystifying haute cuisine, Child founded the American Institute of Wine and Food, a national organization with a particularly lively D-FW chapter. If you're a member or a food fan, you've noticed AIWF's frequent food and wine events all over the metroplex--dinners at hot restaurants, Farmers Market cooking classes, amateur restaurant critique sessions. All these events are fund-raisers for the nonprofit group, with proceeds going to culinary scholarships. One of AIWF's big ones is coming up Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The "Hail, Caesar!" 12th annual Caesar Salad Competition features local chef celebs creating unique and tasty versions of a classic. Guests watch--and taste--the contestants' best efforts, along with appetizers and wine, and can bid at the silent auction. Tickets to "Hail, Caesar!" at the Adam's Mark Hotel's Convention Center, 400 N. Olive, are $35 for AIWF members, $40 for guests and $50 at the door. Call 214-696-2493 for reservations. Tell 'em Julia sent you. --Annabelle Massey Helber

8/9 Samba on Over

Instead of chomping down on leftover pizza or driving through that infamous fast-food chain, why not eat for free? You might not be able to overstuff yourself, but who needs to feel his waistline expand in this heat anyway? Chef Brannon Florie promises to serve up small servings of delectable delight for Best Cellars' Saturday Chef Series from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. What could be better on a Saturday afternoon than some free samples of Samba Room's Caribbean cuisine paired with fine wines from the Best Cellars collection? We think that if it's free and wine is involved, then nothing could top it. Plus it's open to all. Best Cellars is located at 3205 Knox St. just west of Cole Avenue. Parking is located behind the building. Call 214-252-9463. --Desirée Henry 8/11 Full Meal Deal

The modern political climate is rocky. There's international dispute and controversy in the papers, on the news, when you're trying to get your change from Harvey the bagel guy. Politics are everywhere. But now people have an opportunity to put aside their petty foreign-policy differences and come together at Watel's upcoming Jazz Dinner, where an American art form meets classical French cuisine in a stylin' little Dallas bistro. As they consume their scrumptious meals, lucky patrons will be treated to the work of musicians Brian Piper and John Adams. Come August 11 to see the Jazzmen testifying at Watel's, 2719 McKinney Ave. Dinner is $29 for four courses. Call 214-720-0323. --Mary Monigold8/9 Czech it Out

We tell most people we're Irish, Scottish sometimes, depending on what we're drinking. But in truth, we're as much Czech as anything else. Our grandfather was born in the Czech Republic, back when it had the much sweeter name "Czechoslovakia." His wife helped start West Fest, the Labor Day weekend Czech festival in, you guessed it, West, Texas. And when we were in high school, we were part of the Junior Historians, a Czech dance troupe. And we danced to polka bands that sounded much like the Vanek Czech Band. So should you. Just make sure you drink plenty of pivo. Vanek Czech Band performs during the Czech Club's Club Dance on Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at 4930 Military Parkway. Admission is $3 to $6. Call 214-275-8577. --Zac Crain

 
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