> Chef Lynn Krause, who has taught culinary classes at the college level and at The Viking Cooking School, has been named this year’s recipient of the American Culinary Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. As a member of the Foundation’s disaster relief team, Lynn was involved in on-site relief efforts during hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, as well as during flooding in the upper Midwest.

> St. James Winery has been named Winery of the Year, Eastern U.S., by the Critics Challenge International Wine Competition. The Challenge divides the continent into Western U.S. (winner: V. Sattui, Napa Valley) and Eastern U.S. and also awards Winery of the Year for Europe (Perrier-Jouet) and the Southern Hemisphere (Graffigna, San Juan, Argentina) St. James took home a total of 16 medals, including two Platinum and four Gold.

> Last week at Eclipse Restaurant, Ted Kilgore of Taste by Niche won the Bombay Sapphire ‘Most Inspired’ mixology competition and will be headed to Las Vegas in August to compete in the main event. Eclipse’s own Chad George finished second.

> Be on the lookout for a new Tex-Mex restaurant by Kelli and Tony Almond of Almond’s in Clayton. Latitude 26 (in the Dogtown space that formerly housed Chuy’s) is set to open next month.

> Summer Fusion is back again to raise money for Independence Center, the local non-profit that helps people with severe and persistent mental illness live and work successfully in the community. Independence Center’s rehabilitation program is the second largest of its kind in the world and has been recognized internationally as a model for helping people with severe mental illnesses. Summer Fusion is an evening of three soulful musical acts, delicious fare from McCormick & Schmick’s, sweet desserts from the pastry chef of Reggie’s Backstage, unlimited cocktails from Pearl Vodka, beer from Samuel Adams, and a great selection of wine.  ALL OF THIS FOR ONLY $35!  

> Speaking of Reggie’s Backstage…it will be closed for the summer to undergo renovations and reopen in fall as a boutique restaurant and R&B venue. An updated menu by exec chef Peter Barken will feature contemporary American cuisine. A new non-profit started by Reggie’s owner and namesake, Reginald Dickson, and Cornelius Washington, St. Louis Rhythm & Blues Preservation Society, will promote our region’s distinguished R&B heritage.

> Audi-K’s in Maryland Plaza will open soon, according to the sign on the door. It will specialize in hot dogs and New Orleans-style shaved ice. The owners are Audra, Karen and Kristy Davis of Brentwood. Audi-K’s is located just south of Maryland Plaza on Euclid, next to Big Sleep Books.

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