Grape Escape


We didn't attend the 17th annual GrapeFest last year in the heart of Grapevine's historic district, but, man, we sure wish we had. That was the year that, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, two two-person teams from the Farmers Branch Senior Center took on two teams from the Grapevine Senior Activities Center in the Grapestomp contest, whose ultimate glory is the Purple Foot Award. In one corner, from Farmers Branch, the Soggy Seniors and Juiced-Up Juicers were rolling up their pant legs in readiness for combat against the GrapeFest Grannies and their colleagues, Aged to Perfection. "On your mark, get set, stomp!" an official yelled. "Pretend they're little cockroaches!" someone apparently blared out, a sweet little encouragement that, were we the ones stomping, would have caused us to immediately hop out of our barrel and run for cover. Grapevine trounced Farmers Branch, eking out 13.5 ounces of juice to the losers' nonetheless respectable 9.5 ounces. One of the competitors suggested a rematch at this year's GrapeFest, which will take place from September 9 through September 12, but if you learned enough about grape stomping from that old episode of I Love Lucy, you can sign up for the People's Choice Wine Tasting Classic, in which an estimated 27 Texas wineries will offer up some 115 wines to compete for the People's Choice Award (samples limited to one ounce to rein in drunken licentiousness). There will also be an International Wine Garden, a champagne brunch with Texas champagnes, a children's village and both gourmet and fatty fair food. To reserve a spot to taste and vote in the People's Choice Classic, call 817-410-3185 or purchase the $15 reservation, which includes a souvenir wine glass, at It also features GrapeFest's complete schedule. General admission is $6 for adults. --Claiborne Smith

Big Cheese

Small, soft, ivory snowballs of fresh mozzarella are handmade in the back of Paula Lambert's Deep Ellum cheese shop, The Mozzarella Company. Lambert sells them at the front counter, but many wind up on the salad plates and in the wood-burning pizza ovens of the best restaurants in Dallas, including The Mansion at Turtle Creek. Entrepreneur, gourmet and grandmother, Lambert will be signing her new book, The Cheese Lover's Cookbook and Guide, at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth's snazzy Café Modern, 3200 Darnell St., from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. For $30, a three-course lunch prepared from the book will be served following the signing. Café Modern executive chef Dena Patterson's menu includes fennel asiago bisque, baked goat cheese salad, Cornish game hen with gorgonzola polenta and lots more. Make reservations at 817-840-2157. --Annabelle Massey Helber

Sign This

Chuck Norris is an actor and a martial arts expert. And now he's an author. Yes, Norris--with the release of Against All Odds: My Story--has joined the ranks of celebrities, including the likes of Paris Hilton and Joe Pantoliano, who have brought their life stories to the page. Apparently any semblance of stardom comes with the opportunity to publish a memoir. Highlights of Norris' book: a poverty-ridden childhood, an alcoholic father and living life as a devout Christian. Norris will appear at Barnes & Noble at Lincoln Park on Monday at 7 p.m. for a book signing. And "book" is the key word. Walker, Texas Ranger, will not sign any other books or memorabilia. Barnes & Noble is at 7700 W. Northwest Highway. Call 214-739-1124. --Rhonda Reinhart

Too Many Cooks
These competitors can stand the heat

You know what it's like when you have people to dinner and they sit on bar stools at your kitchen counter and watch you prepare your masterpiece. You smile and divert their attention to the dog's antics in the back yard or point to some photo on the wall in the living room while you pick the black, oozy pieces out of the bag of lettuce, scrape the mold off the cheese block or wipe the cat fur off the beef chop that you dropped on the floor. Ingenuity is last-minute substitution when you realize your shopping list had two sides, not one. It's time to watch someone else under pressure and over the stove. Top students at the Art Institute of Dallas contend Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. for the title of regional S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef. This Iron Chef-like competition will be held at the Art Institute, Two North Park East. Call 312-787-9580. --Danna Berger

Shrew Moves
This movie is Killer

You know the story--a beautiful girl, a ship's captain and first mate, a scientist and others all find themselves stranded by a storm on a remote island. Before you start whistling the Gilligan's Island theme song, just sit right back and you'll hear the tale of The Killer Shrews. This 1959 campy B-movie features a cast of characters similar to Sherwood Schwartz's oft-syndicated comedy but with the added drama of a few hundred oversized shrews. And, as the title would have us believe, they're killers. Who will survive these rodents of unusual size? Find out September 10 at Lone Star Film Society's Beach Blanket Party, which also features two short films by Bill Ross and Michael Moroneseo. The short films start at 7 p.m., followed by The Killer Shrews, projected "drive-in style" onto the side of the Rose Marine Theater, 1440 N. Main St., Fort Worth, at 9 p.m. Admission is $8. Call 817-735-1117. --Michelle Martinez

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