by Virginia B. Wood

Now that the blessings are all counted in anticipation of Thanksgiving Day, one good way to share the bounty with folks less fortunate (and work up a good appetite for turkey at the same time), would be to enlist the whole family in the sixth annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot. The five-mile competitive and fun run kicks off at 9am on Thanksgiving Day at the Zilker Park soccer fields; the entry fee is $15 and $8 for kids 12 and under. All entrants are asked to purchase personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes and paper towels to donate to the homeless. Race day activities include turkey and pie giveaways, plus appearances by such kid-pleasing celebrities as the Pillsbury Dough Boy, Chester Cheetah, and the Austin Ice Bats' mascot "Fang." Special awards will be given for the first male and female Longhorn and Aggie to finish the race, and for the family with the most generations participating. All proceeds from the event will benefit Caritas, an Interfaith organization that aids the homeless. Trot on down to the park early if you haven't registered already...

Leave those Turkey Day dining plans 'til the last possible minute? For folks who get hungry after a full serving of holiday football games, Brio will be serving their regular menu plus some special Thanksgiving items, 5:30-11pm. Call 499-0442 for reservations...

If a Thanksgiving dinner with an Italian flavor interests you, check out the holiday menu at Madam Nadalini's in Westlake. Though they still serve a large selection of vegetarian entrées, they've added meat, fish and poultry dishes to the Northern Italian menu. For the holidays, they'll be serving a stuffed boneless young turkey breast ($16.95) with sage cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and artichoke mashed potatoes, and a pork tenderloin ($16.95) roasted with rosemary and cream. We've recently sampled a very satisfying Crostini Sampler ($9.50) appetizer for two and a first-rate Seafood Risotto ($14.95) with shrimp, calamari and mussels, and the restaurant's service can still be described as leisurely...

With a recent flurry of building activity, Austin has a new, full-fledged "Restaurant Row" between Jollyville Road and Research Blvd in the northwest. Xena, Carrabba's, Outback Steakhouse, HangTown and Rudy's have lately been joined by the third Chuy's location and there's a Joe's Crab Shack visible on the horizon. Meanwhile, back on the original "Restaurant Row" on Barton Springs Road, Mike Young and John Zapp of Comida Deluxe (Chuy's, Shady Grove, Hula Hut) have sold their Italian restaurant outlet, Romeo's, to company employees Jas Lemert and Kristine Moberly. The new owners celebrated with an opening weekend bash November 22-23, showcasing new wines and menu items, including dishes that will appear on their new weekend brunch menu. Romeo's is located at 1500 Barton Springs Rd., and operates 11am-10pm, Sun-Thu; 11am-11pm on Fri and Sat...

Cookbook author and herb expert Lucinda Hutson and Central Market chef Jay McCarthy represented Austin at the 1996 International Conference on The Diets of Latin America held November 20-23 in El Paso. The conference was jointly sponsored by the Oldways Preservation Trust and the Harvard School of Public Health. Hutson and McCarthy were among a list of national experts, chefs and culinary historians who gathered to explore the history and health implications of the traditional Latin American diet. Oldways has sponsored similar events to spotlight both traditional Mediterranean and Asian diets.

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