The Culinary Academy of Austin has joined forces with Reuben's Wine & Spirits to highlight the various world cuisines - find out how to participate; Mezzaluna celebrates 10 years of business; and an Organic Update..

Dine Like the Czars

The Culinary Academy of Austin (2823 Hancock Drive, 451-5743, has joined forces with Reuben's Wine & Spirits (various locations) to present a new cultural series highlighting the food and drink of various regions around the world. The first symposium will feature a Russian hors d'oeuvres buffet and a tasting of over a dozen premium vodkas judged by an international panel. Chefs, scholars, drink experts, and specialists including Russian baker Vladimir Bolgov and local vodka maker Tito Beveridge will discuss Russian history and culinary culture, dining with the czars, and vodka production during the evening of eating, education, and entertainment. The symposium is Friday, November 5 from 6-8pm in the Foothills Banquet Room of the Hyatt on Town Lake. Reservations are limited to 50 people, and the cost is $55. Contact Glen Mack at 451-5743 for reservations.

Has It Really Been 10 Years?

Ten years ago this November, homegrown restaurant entrepreneur Reed Clemons opened Mezzaluna (310 Colorado, 472-6770) in a quiet downtown area known for funky old buildings and dusty warehouses. Mezzaluna's success in attracting diners to the neighborhood heralded the development of the "warehouse district" as a vibrant and sophisticated alternative to Sixth Street. Help the San Gabriel Restaurant Group celebrate the anniversary milestone on Thursday, November 4 at "Vintage '89," a wine dinner featuring a five-course meal designed by new chef Martin Finneran to complement the finest wines of the 1989 vintage. The event is open to the public, but seating is limited. Cost is $125 plus tax and gratuity. Contact Jerry Reid or Bryan Deckert for tickets.

Heavy Hitters

Central Market Cooking School (4001 N. Lamar, 458-3068) has culinary heavy hitters teaching this weekend. Chez Panisse pastry chef David Lebovitz, author of Room for Dessert (HarperCollins, $29.95) offers a dessert class Friday, Oct. 29th from 6:30-9pm. New York Times columnist/cookbook author Mark Bittman presents the 2-Hour Dinner Party from his book How to Cook Everything (Macmillan, $25) on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 6:30-9pm.

Organic Report

How healthy can you get? The Flame Bistro (6300 Bridgepoint Pkwy., Bldg 2, #120, 343-2555) serves organic breakfast tacos made with the following ingredients: organic Yukon Gold potatoes, Arrowhead Mills black beans, Featherland Farms local natural eggs, homemade chorizo sausage made from hormone- and antibiotic-free Applegate Farms turkey, fresh salsas, roasted peppers, and caramelized onions wrapped in tortillas made from organic spelt flour. Nowhere else but Austin!

Richard and Peggy Sechrist recently achieved the goal of having beef raised on their Fredericksburg-area ranch designated as the first certified organic beef in Texas. The Sechrist's cattle are raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, or parasiticides, fattened on grass, and all feed supplements are 100% certified organic with no animal by-products.

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