Foodie Happenings to Note in Delaware in May 2012

Barbecue Heaven

Break out the cole slaw. The 2012 Middletown BBQ State Championship Cook-Off happens May 18-20. The weekend starts Friday with national country acts Eden’s Edge and Thomas Rhett. There’s more country music on Saturday by national artist Ashley Forrest, and locals Hung Jury and Stones Throw. But the big event is the cookoff, which attracts barbecue competitors from around the country, all competing for a chance to cook in the Jack Daniels Invitational and the Kansas City Royal National BBQ competitions. (This is a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event—and those KCBS folks take their barbecue very seriously.) Sunday features a car show, an amateur backyard barbecue competition and music by the Philly George Project. All weekend long, there will be beer, there will be wine, and their will be amusements for the kids. It all happens at Frightland on Port Penn Road in Middletown. For more, check in with the Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce. 378-7545,

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Roam to Roma

The Insider is a big fan of chef Joey Garramone’s Roma restaurant in Dover. The fare is Italian, as you might have guessed, which makes it perfect for a special dinner with Italian vino on May 23. Joey cooks. Lanterna Wines pours. Your menu:

Amuse: tart of foie gras and dried fig served with Italo Cescon Prosecco

First course: asparagus and prosciutto salad with basil vinaigrette paired with Spadafora Alhambra Bianco

Second course: grilled branzino with fennel-citrus salad served with Corte Del Sole Soave

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Third course: ragout of braised short rib over papperdelle paired with Cappane Ricci Brunello di Montalcino

And finally, dessert: strawberry gelato with rhubarb compote

To be enjoyed with La Romantica Brachetto

For $60, you can’t beat that menu anywhere. Mangia. 678-1041,

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The Best Way to Begin Summer

We can’t wait for this: Rehoboth Beach Main Street’s Downtown Rehoboth Beach Restaurant Week June 3-9. Look who’s in: Hari Cameron’s new a(MUSE.), the classic Adriatico, fun stop Arena’s, the sublime Back Porch Café, trendsetting Blue Moon, Jay Caputo’s new Cabo Modern Mexican Tequila Bar, charming Café Azafran—and that doesn’t get us through the ABCs. The best restaurants in every foodie’s favorite town will offer three-course dinners for $20 and-or $30 prix-fixe dinners, many with wine pairings (or beer, or sake) for small upcharge. Some even offer a $10-$15 prix-fixe lunch menu. Who else is in? We’re glad you asked. There’s Catchers, The Cultured Pearl, Dogfish Head Brewings & Eats, Eden Restaurant, Espuma, Jam Bistro, Lupo di Mare, Pig + Fish Restaurant Company, Stingray Sushi Bar & Asian Latino Grill, Victoria’s Restaurant and many more—over 30 in all. So mark your calendar. To see the menus as they’re announced, hit the Web site.

More to Love in Rehoboth

You don’t always want to cook when you’re enjoying a getaway at the beach. Welcome Root Gourmet, soon to open next door to Nage on Coastal Highway. Root offers lovingly homemade food to go, so you can get right to the serious business of eating. A very reasonable $39 buys dinner for four, which includes your choice of meats such as slow-cooked pork loin, ginger-marinated chicken breast, herb-crusted salmon, plus two sides, such as rosemary roasted potatoes, sweet corn on the cob, grilled asparagus, five-cheese and baked macaroni. Take it to go, linger in the café or have a seat outside. They’re all fine ways to enjoy Root. We say, welcome to the neighborhood. 727-5664,

Barking Up the Right Tree

We dig this, too: the Java Puppy truck. Yes, the wagon comes to you, serving lattes, cappuccinos, other specialty drinks and some darned good organic brewed coffee. Throw them a bone. Check Facebook to find out when the puppy can fetch an affogato in your nabe, and don’t forget the Web site.

An Unforgettable Brunch

Don’t forget An Affair to Remember: Sparkling Memories—a Sophisticated Brunch and Silent Auction on May 20 to benefit those affected by Alzheimer’s disease in the Delaware Valley. Enjoy brunch as only Harry’s Savoy Grill can prepare it, plus lots of chilled Champagne, live entertainment and a silent auction. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon? 800-272-3900,

Our Excellence in Nursing Awards event takes place on May 9!

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

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