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Celebrate Fall With Oktoberfests

Apples available from mountain orchards

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Rheinland Haus, 2418 Park Road, is celebrating its 35th year with Oktoberfest 2001. Nightly specials will include eight German draft beers on tap including Spaten Oktoberfest and a combo platter of Jaeger schnitzel and knockwurst served with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and a garden salad for $10.95. Jerry Goodman and the Gootman Sauerkraut Band will perform on Friday, October 5 and Monday, October 15; Bob Parker German Accordion Music plays on Wednesday, October 10 and 24, and Thursday, October 18; and Die Rheinlanders play on Friday, October 12. Music begins at 7pm. During Oktoberfest, 10 percent of all sales will be donated to the Red Cross. 704-376-3836.

The Carolina BrewMasters present the 3rd annual Oktoberfest Charlotte featuring beer and bluegrass music on Saturday, October 13, from 1pm until 7pm in front of the Atherton Mill condos, 2108 South Boulevard. Tickets are $15 per person; designated drivers $5. Picture ID required for entry. Children and minors free with parent age 21 and up. Advanced tickets are $12 at the Charlotte Trolley Store, Mellow Mushroom, Homebrew Adventures, and Hops. www.charlotteoktoberfest.com.

Baxter's Blue Marlin on East Boulevard in Dilworth has closed. In its place will be a Southern barbecue restaurant which is a collaboration of Red Mountain Management (owners of Baxter's Blue Marlin, Joey D'Attore, Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill, and Uncle Sal's Old Neighborhood Italian) and Shayne Lewis, previously chef and partner of The Meeting House, an American Bistro, 801 Providence Road. (Chris Zion, a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef and partner of the Meeting House, continues operations at that restaurant.) Lewis trained at Le Cordon Bleu in France. Says Lewis, The focus of the menu and theme of the place will be gourmet barbecue and southern comfort foods. From our beer brined pork chop, beef, and pork barbecue to southern fried chicken, everything will be finger-lickin' with flair.

Dennis Thompson and his Red Mountain Management are planning to open a second location of Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill in Durham in 2002.

Those gargantuan smoked turkey legs are back. The Carolina Renaissance Festival and Artisan Marketplace will run for seven consecutive weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from October 6 through November 18 from 10am until 5:30pm, rain or shine. Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children 5-12. Kids under 5 are free. Advance tickets are available from Harris Teeter. Tickets at the gate are $1 higher. Parking is free. Call 704-896-5544 or visit www.royalfaires.com.

Chef/owner Mark Martin of Ethan's of Elizabeth, 366 N. Caswell Road, is hosting a four-course All Star California Wine Dinner on Sunday, October 7. Winemakers, owners, and representatives of the following wineries will be on hand: August Briggs, Cartlidge & Browne, Fife Vineyards, Kellum Vineyards, Peter McCoy Vineyards, Renwood, and Rutz Cellars. The cost is $75 per person. For reservations: 704-375-3007.

Re-opened is Champion's Sports Bar, a block from the square (that's Trade and Tryon).

The Farmer's Wife, 19825-B North Cove Road, Jetton Village, Cornelius, is holding a series of cooking classes: Fall Dinner at 10:30am on Monday, October 8 or Wednesday, October 10; German Food Fair at 7pm on Tuesday, October 9 or Wednesday, October 10; Skillet Dinners at 7pm on Tuesday, October 16 or Thursday, October 18; Prime Rib at 7pm on Tuesday, October 23 or Thursday, October 25; and Holiday Party Starters at 10:30am on Tuesday, October 23 or Wednesday, October 24. All classes are two hours and cost $25 except the Fall Dinner which is $35. Call 704-892-4646.

Executive Chef Tom Condron of Mimosa Grill and Upstream will teach a series of cooking classes: Seafood Soups on October 20, Fall Harvest Seafood on November 17, and Holiday Seafood on December 15. All two-hour classes are on Saturdays at 10:30am. Cost is $25 per person. Call 704-556-7730 for cooking class registration and location.

Need to get away for a day? Perhaps a drive to the mountains for some leaf color might fit the bill. If you do go, don't miss the opportunity to try some different varieties of apples available in the mountain. Many southern heirloom varieties can't be found outside the Appalachians. If you're from the north, you won't find your beloved Northern Spy, but you can find the Hoover, which is quite possibly the perfect apple. One of my favorite apples is the Arkansas Black, a kissing cousin of the Stayman Winesap with dark red, almost black skin, and yellow flesh with a distinct flavor that mellows with age. Arkansas Black can also be found at local farmers' markets. Although Limbertwig is actually a group of apples, most orchard growers do not distinguish. Look for the Red Limbertwig, a dull red apple with an aromatic flavor which is frequently used for cider and apple butter. The citrusy Grimes Golden is a medium, golden green apple with a rich lemony flavor, which is excellent for cider and dessert and highly sought. The firm Yellow Newton Pippin was George Washington's favorite apple and Cox's Orange Pippin, a medium sized, russet-skinned apple, which is prized by Europeans, is sometimes found deep in the mountains. A bag of Rambo will scent the car for the ride home. Most orchards have an antique apple tree or two, but harvests are distributed to a waiting list. Even if you don't see any older apple varieties at the stands, ask. If you are looking for a particular variety, call for availability and pick dates. At the Charlotte area farmers' markets, ask the farmers what they have and what they can get. If you're going on a day trip to the mountains, download a copy of The Consumer's Guide to North Carolina's Roadside Apple Markets, available online (www.agr.state.nc.us/markets/commodit/horticul/apples/roadside.htm), or write for a hard copy: NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Marketing, WNC Farmer's Market, 570 Brevard Road, Asheville, NC 28806. This guide, by county, has hours and phone numbers.

Chef Alison Penland, a member of American Personal Chef Association, has opened a business called Wish Upon A Chef Personal Chef Service which delivers meals to your home. Meal plans start at $185 for 12 meals. 704-607-5391.

The fourth annual Southern Foodways Symposium, From the Farm to the Table, will be held October 25 through 28 on the campus of the University of Mississippi. Speakers include Karen Hess, author of The Carolina Rice Kitchen. For more information: www.southernfoodways.com.

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