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Side Dish

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Fields of flavorA homecoming of sorts for young restaurateurs Ian Kelley and Robert Blevins turned a recent benefit event into a celebration of a county's growing food prowess.

"A Taste of Powhatan," held Feb. 11 at historic Norwood, brought together former high-school classmates Kelley and Blevins — who presented Old City Bar's hallowed lobster bread pudding — as well as other chefs with local connections and local ingredients.

Rick Perrin's alderwood-smoked salmon, Janie Dean's country ham on sweet-potato biscuits and Becky Lillywhite's crab cakes with French sorrel were preludes. Todd Manley of Pescados served pinchos of cocoloco shrimp-and-crab cocktail, and fifth-grader Kari Rawls contributed walnut brownies from her business, Kari's Home Bakery.

Chefs also included Karen Amaral, Brian Hubler, Carlos Iga, Peter Markham, William Robertson, Jane Robison, Sally Garland Schmidt, Joe Turner, Rebecca Lette, Shane Logan, Alice McBride, Fred Neurohr and Tina Ritzik. Bobby and Mary Anna Wilcox of The Virginia Pantry tended the wine bar, Douglas Palmore hosted the dessert table and caterer Art Granger was master of ceremonies.

A bountiful spread of chef's specialties attracted a sold-out crowd and won raves for the creative fare, some of which was presented on pink Worcester porcelain original to the house. As a benefit for the Performing Arts Foundation of Powhatan, the tasting event and silent auction helped secure a series of performances in county schools this year.

Glass houses and wine screwsChef Frits Huntjens pays homage to one of the most respected wine houses in France March 1 when he presents a Louis Jadot wine dinner at 1 North Belmont.

Marc Dupin, sales director of Maison Louis Jadot, will preside over the pouring of Grand Cru burgundy wines that accompany a five-course menu of lobster, veal and other delicacies prepared in the French tradition. Tariff is $150 per person; tax and gratuity are additional. Reservations are required and seating is limited. 358-0050.

And, to recognize the legitimacy of the Stelvin (screw-top) closure, Manakin Grill serves a four-course wine dinner March 3 that features only vintages served from screw-top bottles. Carol Colby, a wine specialist with National Distributing Company, hopes to enlighten cork snobs as she explains changes in the wine industry's bottling methods. A menu for the reservation-only event is posted online at www.manakingrill.com; tickets are $80. 784-0544.



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