• Chef JIM FIALA recently got back from an excursion through Italy, and he’s announced that in the near future, there will be special menus available at his restaurants Acero and The Crossing that will reflect some of his favorite finds from his trip. We’ll keep you appraised of the final menus when they’re announced.
  • Root in Richmond Heights has closed. The rustic American eatery was shuttered last week, after being open for only three weeks. Ownership cited financial reasons for the closure.
  • Small Plates, a new culinary events and networking group, will be holding its first event, EMPANADAS! EMPANADAS!, on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 pm at Urban Eats Cafe, 3301 Meramec St., with WIL PELLY of Diablitos as the first guest chef. Pelly will be doing a cooking demo covering Latin American food. For tickets, visit smallplates314.com. Small Plates donates 10 percent of all proceeds to a different local charity each month.
  • Congrats to DORA BACHESTA, the winner of this year’s annual Pasta Bowl at LoRusso’s Cucina. This was the 15th year for the event, and instead of the usual open competition, three previous Pasta Bowl Winners came back to compete in a sort of grand championship round. Bachesta won with her Fettuccine & Polo Asiago, which took the top prize in 2005. The dish will be on the LoRusso’s menu for the next year, and every time it’s ordered, $2 goes to Operation Food Search.
  • 4 Hands Brewing Company will host The Lupulin Carnival, its first beer festival, on Saturday, March 3, from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be eats, courtesy of area food trucks, beer from various local craft breweries, live art and music. The folks at 4 Hands also will be using the event to launch their latest brew, War Hammer Imperial IPA. Tickets can be purchased at the brewery, 1220 S. Eighth St.
  • It’s been announced that staff and students at L’Ecole Culinaire will soon be rolling out their own food truck, which we understand will focus on venues in the county. Not a lot of details yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
  • It’s also been reported around town and even nationally that Pujols 5 Westport Grill has been renamed St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame Bar and Grill. Guess it had to happen.

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