Primavera da Vinci is coming, more Titanic dinners, Meals form the Masters and more

Soon to be a Rite of Spring

It’s spring, the perfect time for the Societa da Vinci’s Primavera da Vinci, a celebration of wine and cuisine presented by regional chefs and wine professionals. On April 13, head to the Hilton Wilmington-Christiana to browse stations full of wonderful foods, sample fine wines and but in the on-site wine store, watch cooking demonstrations by talented pros, and listen to the Smooth Sounds of Steve Silicato and pianist Michael Malatesta. This is the same Societa da Vinci that brings you Vendemmia every October, so you know that, with chefs such as Roberta Adamo of Penne Restaurant in Philly and Franco Paterno of the Providence Marriot, it will be a top-flight event. Go. You’ll be able to say you were present at the creation. 631-1524,


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Clash of the Titanics

In this year of all things Titanic, here’s another great themed dinner: the third annual Night to Remember to benefit The Mancus Foundation at Bella Vita of Cavaliers Country Club in Newark. The event will re-create every lavish detail of the ship’s final night, from the 25 food items served to the table settings, music and flower arrangements. Attire is semi-formal, but if you have appropriate period dress, by all means, wear it. There will be a prize for best dressed. The Rhythm Doctors Orchestra will play as you enjoy an evening of supreme elegance. Hit the website now to buy raffle tickets for a seven-day Holland America Line cruise for two to the Caribbean or Mexico. The winner will be announced at the event. Mancus helps physically and developmentally challenged. Help the foundation by having some fun. 373-0914,  mancusfoundation,org

In case you missed it last week, the Hotel du Pont is re-creating the menu from the fateful night on April 14. For $125 (including wine, gratuity and valet parking) you’ll enjoy a lavish 10-course meal served in a setting to rival that of any classic luxury ocean liner. You’ll begin with Cape May oysters on the half with honeydew mignonette; a salad of asparagus, petite greens, saffron paint and champagne vinaigrette; and paté de foie gras with colvados-soaked golden raisins, hearts of celery, toasted brioche and truffle oil. Continue with consumme Olga of poached scallops, celery root brunoisse and cucumber gelee, then enjoy butter-poached salmon with sauce mousseline and cucumber-dill nage. If you’re not tempted by now, suffice it to say Filet medallions, roast squab and lamb chops complete the menu. We won’t give away all the goodies, so you’ll have to see for yourself. The dinner is part of A Weekend to Remember, hosted by the Kalmar Knyckel Foundation. Spend the night, enjoy the meal, listen to Titanic expert and best-selling author Daniel Allen Butler speak about the tragedy and view the film “A Night to Remember.” The package is $375. For more, visit the website. 594-3154,

La La Loma

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Your Insider is a big fan of the chicken salad and the hummus at LOMA Coffee on Third and Market in Wilmington, so we’re glad to see the place is doing well enough to expand. It’s doubled its size, and to celebrate, the crew is throwin’ down on April 13 with music from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. “I really wanted to create a space where art and music could come together since the LOMA district is heavily influenced by both,” says LOMA Coffee decorator Lisa O’Bryan. “I immediately envisioned an industrial urban vibe that felt warm and welcoming at the same time. The layering of exposed brick, concrete, brushed aluminum and warm wood tones harmoniously work together to achieve the desired effect.” Eleven artists + great food in a larger space = one terrific day. 384-8494,


This is one of the events we look foreard to most every year: Meals From the Masters April 20 and April 22, which benefits Meals on Wheels of Delaware. The weekend includes Evening with the Masters in Friday and the Celebrity Chefs’ Brunch on Sunday. Oenophiles will enjoy the Cellar Masters’ Wine Auction. Evening with the Masters-hosted by “MasterChef” Season 2 winner Jennifer Behm of Wilmington-happens at the Doubletree Downtown this year. You’ll enjoy meals from some of the state’s best restaurants. The brunch-now in its 15th year-happens at Bank of America, 1100 N. King St. You’ll sample foods from chefs who have traveled from the West Coast, Hawaii, and the rest of the country to join local luminaries like Jay Caputo of Rehoboth Beach. Tickets are available now. Hit

Also to Come…

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Two-course lunches for $15, three-course dinners for $35-it must be City Restaurant Week in Wilmington, one of the best dining bargains going. This year it happens April 23-28, with 14 restaurants participating so far. They are:
Big Fish Grill, Firestone Roasting House, Harry’s Seafood Grill and Ubon Thai Cuisine on the riverfront
Chelsea Tavern, Ernest & Scott Taproom, Orillas Tapas Bar Restaurant and World Café Live on Market Street
Cafe Mezzanotte, Deep Blue Bar and Grill, Domaine Hudson Wine Bar & Eatery, The Green Room at the Hotel du Pont, Mikimotos Asian Grill & Sushi Bar, Washington Street Ale House in the cluster from 11th to 13th Streets, Market to Washington
What are you in for? Your Insider snuck a peek at one menu, chosen at random. Here are your options at Cafe Mezzanotte. Assemble one from each category below for dinner:
Course one: spring fruit salad, grilled prosciutto eggplant, or broccoli and cheese
Course two: lobster ravioli in saffron cream sauce, grilled veal chop with local mushrooms in Marsala sauce, or 8-oz. sirloin petite 8oz. with asparagus and with mashed potato or pan-seared tuna loin over sautéed spinach with Vialone rice in saffron sauce
Dessert: tiramisu, mixed fruit or ice cream
That’s just a taste. To see all restaurants and all menus, hit

Final Showdown?

We made a big deal of Delaware’s James Beard Foundation Award nominees a few weeks ago for good reason-it’s a very big deal. Here’s wonderful news: Of our three semi-finalists-JD Morton of Domaine Hudson in Wilmington, Jay Caputo of Espuma in Rehoboth Beach and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton-Sam has been named a finalist for as Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional. The foundation is a national professional nonprofit that promotes culinary arts by honoring chefs, wine pros and others at annual award ceremonies and by providing scholarships. The James Beard Foundation Awards are the Oscars of the profession, a recognition of the best in the business. Winners to be announced in May. Stay tuned. We wish Sam all the best.

In Other News…

The amazing Salt Air in Rehoboth Beach has become part of the Big Fish Restaurant Group. The owners pledge to preserve the farm-to-table concept by serving local produce, natural, organic meats and sustainable seafood. The new Salt Air Restaurant will launch soon, so stay tuned.

Also in Rehoboth, look for a(Muse.) inspired food & drink to open in mid-May at 44 Baltimore Ave. (foremerly Café Sole). Chef Hari Cameron of Nage is the main owner, so expect great things. Cameron will hand the kitchen at Nage over to executive chef Ted Deptula. A(Muse.) “is the perfect opportunity to showcase Hari’s talent and passion for creative food preparation,” says Nage owner Josh Grapski. Cameron says a(Muse.) will offer “a modern, mid-Atlantic focus. You won’t be shocked, but happily surprised.” We look forward to it.

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

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