Caffe Gelato and Frank's Wines do a Johnny Cash Dinner

Plus, Dinner in the Orchard at T.S. Smith Benefits the Food Bank of Delaware, Taste of the Riverfront Comes to Wilmington, Delaware Saengerbund Celebrates Oktoberfest and Taste of Newark Celebrates 10 Years

Dinner in Black

There will be Johnny Cash Wine Dinner at Caffe Gelato at Sept. 15. What, exactly, does that mean? It means that both the food and the wine was inspired by Johnny Cash songs. For instance, the appetizer of Colorado lamb lollipops rubbed with herbes de Provence, paired with Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc, was inspired by “You Wild Colorado.” “Shrimpin’ Sailin” and “Look at Them Beans” inspired chili-sautéed prawns served with a cannellini ragu of shaved zucchini, lemon, rosemary and arugula pesto and orange-pickled fennel slaw with carrots, shallots and chervil. Intriguing, no? You’ll have to buy a ticket to see what the crew did for the songs “Green, Green Grass of Home,” “Orange Blossom Special,” “The Man in Black” and “Sugartime.” Frank’s Union Wine Mart pours the vino. 738-5811,

Ciao, Wilmington

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It’s almost time for Vendemmia da Vinci, coming Oct. 13 to Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park

in Wilmington. Your ticket to this celebration of the grape harvest gains you samples of great Italian wines, great Italian food and the
Italian Beer Garden, not to mention great live entertainment. A highlight: the contest of homemade gravy. Taste the best homestyle sauce local home cooks have to offer. Delicious. Stay tuned for more as the event nears. 877-731-5790,

Farmers + Chefs = Good Deeds

Look for The Farmer and The Chef South North on Sept. 19 at the Chase Center on the Riverfront in Wilmington, a dinner to celebrate community and healthy eating while raising money for the important work of The March of Dimes. It goes like this: pair local farmers with local chefs, let them start cooking, then enjoy the fruits of their labors. Because agriculture is still an important industry in Delaware, the MOD believes it is vital to support local farmers and to make sure you know where to buy fresh, local produce. The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. It focuses on advancing research on maternal and health issues, helping moms have healthy pregnancies and supporting families.

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Celebrate Fall to End Hunger

Once in awhile your Insider gets his social conscience on. Here are some facts we should know about hunger, according to the Food Bank of Delaware:

Hunger in the United States is an invisible epidemic felt only by those who experience it
and those who try to end it.

Hunger does not discriminate against gender, weight, color or ethnicity. It does not stereotype. It’s affecting a working family of four, a single mom and her two children, a college-educated man who recently lost his job to illness and an elderly woman living off of a small monthly Social Security check.

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that in 2009 49.1 million Americans struggled to feed themselves.

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About 17,500 different people receive food assistance through the Food Bank’s network of hunger-relief partners in any week. The Food Bank serves 241,600 people, and that number is rising. As the economy continues to slow and food prices skyrocket to all-time highs, more and more Delawareans will seek help.

Forty-four percent of the people in households served by The Food Bank of Delaware are
children under 18 years

Hunger will not end until its root causes—lack of job training, education, transportation, childcare, literacy, affordable housing, healthcare and drug treatment, to name a few—are addressed.

But you can help. One way is to attend regular benefit dinners corrdinated by The Food Bank. The next is Dinner in the Orchard on Sept. 12. It happens at the beautiful and historic T.S. Smith & Sons farm in Bridgeville, where food straight from the farm will be prepared by students from the Culinary School at the Food Bank of Delaware and local chefs to benefit the Food Bank’s Milford branch. It’s a celebration of autumn to end hunger. 444-8074,

Rollin’ on the Riverfront

What’s that? You say you haven’t bee to Wilmington’s Riverfont in awhile? Visit on Sept. 14 for Taste of the Riverfront. The admission is free. The entertainment is free. There will be a free movie screening. And there will be free food, too. Neighborhood restaurants will be setting up to show you what they’ve got. And that’s some good stuff. You’ll have to attend to see who shows, but just take a gander at all the great places to eat and drink in the area, then start your dining safari. On the riverfront: Kooma Restaurant & Lounge Bar, Joe’s Crab Shack, FireStone Roasting House, Iron Hill Brewery, Molly’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Deli, Big Fish Grill on the Riverfront, COSI, Veritas Wine and Spirits, Harry’s Seafood Grill, Riverfront Market, Bain’s Deli, Ubon Thai Cuisine and Frawley Stadium, Timothy’s on the Riverfront; In LOMA: Shenanigans Irish Pub and Grill, Zaikka Indian Grill, Extreme Pizza and LOMA Coffee That makes for easy walking. Lace up.

Why isn’t it Septemberfest?

You know the annual Oktoberfest of the Delaware Sangerbund as a reason to drink, sing and dance. We like it as a reason to eat. Visit the event in Newark Sept. 20-22 for such German specialties include grilled bratwurst (pork sausage), weisswuurst (veal sausage), frankfurters, pretzels and rollmops, a marinated herring served with rye bread. Potato salad and sauerkrautÒots and lots and lots of it—are made in the Delaware Saengerbund kitchen by the Ladies organization. A variety of torten and traditional plum cake are the tempting sweet fare. So get in on the shoe slapping, then dig in. 366-9454,

Noshing in Newark

Prepare for the 10th Annual Taste of Newark on Sept. 29 on the lawn of the University of Delaware’s Old College Lawn off Main Street. Enjoy food from more than 50 Newark restaurants, accompanied by 30 of the finest wineries and wine distributors in the area. This year the festival will host David Puser, executive chef of the Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality. Puser began his lifelong fascination with cooking after his first job as a busboy in California. He spent four years in the Coast Guard aboard an ice breaker before earning enough tuition to fund his studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Puser worked and traveled widely until he landed in Switzerland in 1989. He has been director of the Swiss School of Tourism for the past 10 years. He’ll be among the chefs offering cooking demonstrations. Newark chefs will compete in the annual “Iron Chef” style Battle of the Chefs. They include Anthony Carnevale from 16 Mile Taphouse, Jeovany Valle from Caffe Gelato, Mark Chopko from Courtyard Newark, Donny Merrill Jr. from Skipjack and Jeff Matyger from Taverna Rustic Italian. It will be quite a competition, and quite a day. Tickets sell out quickly, so rev up that debit card now. 368-2561,   

Looking Forward to Cheesy

“If there is one thing we cannot stand, it is a sandwich that calls itself a grilled cheese when it is actually a panini. Just say ‘no’ to panini-ing.” —Famous Grilled Cheese Judge That You Have Never Heard Of

What’s all the hubbub? Only the event we’ve been waiting for all our lives. Cheesetoberfest, says its organizers, is “an all-out, no holds barred, grilled cheese competition” that will go down at Fordham & Dominion Brewing in Dover Oct. 5. Twenty restaurants from Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Philadelphia will battle for top honors while the brew flows and an oompah band toots on. The categories:

HandKrafted Goodness

White bread, butter and either American or cheddar cheese. Just like Mom used to make.

We Will Roquefort You

Any so-called bread and any so-called cheese. No additional ingredients.

Cheeseballs to the Wall

A sandwich that is savory more than anything else.  Internal ingredients must be at least 60 percent cheese by weight. Contestants may use any type of bread, butter, cheese and additional ingredients.

Looking for a Gouda Time

A dessert sandwich. Again, internal ingredients must be at least 60 percent cheese by weight. Contestants may use any type of bread, butter, cheese and additional ingredients

Participating restaurants include, among others, The Pickled Pig Pub in Rehoboth, 33 West Ale House and Grill in Dover, Ulysses Gastropub in Wilmington, and more. Book the date now. This one is the cheesiest.

Home of Beer

Do you believe you have an award-winning beer recipe? Delaware will crown its first homebrew champion on Oct.  20 during the Delaware Wine and Beer Festival  at the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village in Dover from noon till 5 p.m. The event is an American Homebrewers Association-sanctioned competition, meaning the champion will be selected by beer judge certified program judges. Festival-goers who purchase the VIP ticket package will select the semi-finalists in five categories, and the certified judges will pick the champion from among those five. The winner, in addition to holding the state title, will earn $250 in cash, at least $250 in prizes from the Delaware Wine and Ale Trail and Cabot Cheese, plus a ribbon.  Five finalists will earn ribbons. The competition is sponsored by How Do You Brew, a wine and beer homebrew store in Newark. The five categories will include:  IPA (American-imperial), American Ale (pale, amber, and brown), Delaware-grown fruit beer, Belgian-French ale and specialty brews. “We also wanted to announce that the competition rules have changed,” says Charles Gray, who is managing the competition for Kent County Tourism, producers of the festival. “Our Homebrewers let us know that we had originally asked for too much beer per entry,” he said.  “And we listened. The new requirement is six to 12 bottles or keg equivalent per entry.” To enter, purchase a $10 Brew Competition ticket online at http://www.eventbrite/delawarehomebrew.  Competitors are asked to deliver their entries to the festival grounds in Dover between 11 a.m. and noon on Oct. 20.  Competitors may also purchase a greatly discounted $10 festival ticket with five tastings. The Delaware Wine and Beer Festival, now in its fourth year, is Delaware’s official Wine and Beer Festival, featuring Delaware’s wineries, breweries and distilleries at one great event. This year’s theme is Drink Local, Eat Local and Buy Local. Select Delaware restaurants will serve food, 40 Delaware artists and artisans will display their work, and there will be a corn hole tournament, a keg tossing competition and live reggae music by the Island Boyz. The first 500 ticket buyers will receive their choice of a free wine or beer glass, and VIP ticket holders can sample and judge the semi-finalists of the Delaware Homebrew Championship. This year’s event will include expanded free parking adjacent to the festival grounds, the 19th century farm village. 800-233-5368,

Our Best of Delaware Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!

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