Yours truly was honored to be a judge at a chili cook-off, part of the annual Fall Festival at Reed Elementary School in Ladue, on Oct. 14. This was the first year for the cook-off, which took the place of the long-running pie-baking contest, and 14 chili masters stepped up to compete. Custom-carved pumpkins from CJ Sanders were given out as prizes for categories such as Best Pork Chili, Best Beef Chili and Best Vegetarian Chili. At the end of the day, JALAIN FELLMAN took the overall top honors with her creation, dubbed Blazing Saddles.

Indulge in fine food, wine, craft beers and spirits from more than 30 local restaurants at the St. Louis Originals Fall Food Frenzy. The event will be held at the Monarch event space in Maplewood on Sunday, Nov. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m., and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the ALS Association’s local chapter. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at or at participating restaurants, which are listed at

Operation Food Search is hosting A Brewtopian Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m at City Cottage, 3800 Choteau Ave. The dinner will include six courses from various area chefs, each featuring local beer as an ingredient, along with special beer pairings from some of the best area breweries. For more info and reservations, call 726-5355 ext. 23 or visit

Beer fans can now enjoy a variety of brews at Lambert International Airport at the St. Louis Brewmasters Tap Room, which recently opened in the Terminal 2 Concourse. On another hops-related note, three area craft breweries took home prizes at Denver’s Great American Beer Festival earlier this month. Perennial Artisan Ales took silver in the Other Strong Beer category for its Heart of Gold wheat wine; Charleville Vineyard & Microbrewery also won silver for its Barley Wine in the Barley Wine-style Ale category; and Morgan Street Brewery's Black Bear garnered bronze in the German-Style Schwarzbier.

More fall menu offerings to report: Bixby's at the Missouri History Museum is introducing fall favorites like Pumpkin and Rosemary Hummus and Marcoot Jersey Cheese Curd with Autumn Fruit Chutney, as well as some special menu items to honor George Washington (to coincide with the museum's newest exhibit). Truffles in Ladue has Half-Smoked Duck and Roasted Quail on hand; while Brasserie By Niche and Franco have both unveiled cassoulets, one of our favorite cold-weather dishes!

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