> Grand Celebrations: Hungry theatergoers will have two more options when they head to Grand Center. Kota Wood Fire Grill is slated to open this week at 522 N. Grand Blvd. in the space formerly occupied by Reggie's Backstage. A new venture by STEVE SMITH, it will feature eclectic American cuisine prepared on, you guessed it, a wood-fire grill. And its locale makes it easy for Smith to keep tabs on his Triumph Grill, considering it’s about a three-block walk. Likewise, PETER SPOTO is gearing up for a mid-March opening for his second City Diner location on the bustling corner of Grand and Washington.
> Addresses and Introductions: Zheng ‘Amy’ Hui and Yan ‘Jason’ Lin recently opened Shogun Japanese Steakhouse in the Dierbergs Heritage Plaza on Olive in Creve Coeur, adding to their locations in Fairview Heights and South County…The Ritz-Carlton is also making intros now that JACO SMITH has been appointed executive sous chef at the luxe Clayton hotel. Chef Smith spent the last four years at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga., and has arrived just in time to help The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton roll out a new menu. This writer can’t wait to get a forkful of the new almond-crusted snapper with beet root risotto, let alone the mini fried apple pies with raspberry sauce and caramel.
> All for a good cause: Senior residence Manor Grove holds its annual Soup’s On! Cook-Off this Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Kirkwood Community Center. Chefs from more than 20 area restaurants will get the soup pot simmering. Buy a ticket at the door and fill up on soup samples, a drink and dessert. For info, visit manorgrove.com…The Gateway Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society holds its annual Uncorking a Cure wine dinner and auction Feb. 27 at Norwood Hills Country Club. Featured are rare wines donated by private collectors and nationally known wineries. 878-0780…The Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition raised $1,300 at its Winter Warm-up happy hour Feb. 5 at hip Club F15teen on Locust. Proceeds support the organization’s efforts to recruit and retain foster and adoptive families for children.
> On March 14, Chef WES JOHNSON will let loose the whimsy for an Alice in Wonderland-themed dinner at Eclipse. The c-de-c has planned five courses, each paired with a cocktail and inspired by scenes or characters from Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. Guests will then be escorted down Delmar to the Tivoli Theater for a showing of Disney’s new live-action version of the movie. The $65 cost includes a movie ticket. For reservations, visit eclipsestlouis.com.
> It’s too early to harvest anything at Eckert’s, but the Belleville farm is offering some hands-on fun these days. On Feb. 27, it is holding its ‘In a Stew’ cooking class. Cross the river and stir up several homemade soups, as well as unusual sandwiches and creative salads. Visit eckerts.com/belleville.