Restaurant News & Reviews

Help out: Taste the wine

The way the organizers of the 15th annual Midwest Winefest see it, it's your social responsibility to imbibe this weekend.

Their Grand Tasting on Saturday, which will feature samples of more than 300 wines, is the finale of an event that to-date has raised more than $2.3 million for the Guadalupe Health Foundation.

"It's a great way to learn about wine and to sample great food," said Michelle Havercamp, festival director. "But the bottom line is that we're really helping our community."

The Winefest is a three-day celebration of wine, and it included a sold-out Old Town walkabout event on Thursday and a series of sold-out wine dinners.

But the main event is the Grand Tasting, which is set up in Century II's Exhibition Hall and is expected to attract about 2,000 people. It's scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and a $60-a-person ticket earns visitors a tasting kit and tickets that can be redeemed for 20 one-ounce pours. (That comes out to roughly three glasses of wine, Havercamp said.)

Ticketholders also are invited to sample food from a lineup of local restaurants. This year, Havercamp was able to enlist a larger number of restaurants than in some previous years, including several that are new to town.

Among the new participants — Mike's Wine Dive, Granite City and Caffe Moderne.

"A lot of these places want to attract the clientele who attends Winefest," Havercamp said. "It's great face-to-face marketing for them to come here and say, 'This is who we are.' "

The event also will include a cooking demonstration, a live and silent auction featuring trips and wine lots, a "Bubble Room" with champagne samples, and even a few beers.

Those who fear they might accidentally overdo it can bring an adult designated driver along for $15.

Winefest Food

Wine is the focus of Winefest, but this is the dining page, so food is the focus here. Following is a list of the restaurants that will participate and what they'll serve:

Abuelo's

* Alambre de camarones

* Papas con chile

* Chile con queso

Caffe Moderne

* Gelato

* Bread pudding

Carrabba's

* Lobster ravioli

Granite City

* Bruschetta on toast

* Steak bite with zip sauce

* Spinach and artichoke dip

Black Angus Grille (from the Corporate Hills Marriott)

* Wild rice and barley salad topped with smoked tenderloin drizzled with morel

* Butter and fire roasted asparagus

The Seafood Shop

* Hawaiian ahi tuna served sushi style from whole fish

* Shrimp/crabmeat appetizer served in phyllo cups

Sweet Basil

* Fudge brownie with strawberry Pinot Noir sauce

Yoder Meats

* Roasted sirloin with blue cheese or mushroom sauce

* Dried beef with smoked horseradish cheese

Mike's Wine Dive

* Stuffed mushrooms

* Empanadas with aioli sauce

Jimmy's Egg

* Biscuit debris

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