> The fifth annual Downtown St. Louis Restaurant Week is slated for Aug. 3 thru 9. This year, 25 of downtown's finest eateries will offer special three-course dinners for a fixed price of $25 per person, plus tax and tip. As part of the promotion, restaurants also will have special Terrazas De Los Andes wines for $7 per glass. And there is an appropriate charity tie-in with Operation Food Search, the largest distributor of free food in the bi-state area. Patrons have the option of adding a $5 “Extra Helping” donation to their dining bill, which last year raised nearly $6,000 to feed the hungry. Instrumental in bringing back the week-long event are The Downtown St. Louis Partnership, SYNERGY Productions LLC, Terrazas De Los Andes Wines and Lumiere Place Casino & Hotels. For more information, visit downtownrestaurantweek.com

> Bryan Carr, chef /owner of Pomme Restaurant & Pomme Cafe in Clayton, will soon be catering hot lunches to Chesterfield Montessori School. Carr replaces chef D’Aun Carrell, known for her school-meal activism. Like Carrell, Carr will emphasize fresh ingredients, food from scratch and good nutrition. Toasted turkey and cheese sandwich, chicken and dumplings, or baked ham and broccoli, anyone? FYI, Carr’s daughter attends the school, so you know the food will be good! The meals will be prepared at Carr’s Mockingbird Market kitchens in Olivette.

> Visit The Reference Room, a new late-night lounge in the same building that houses Sol Lounge. Late-night revelers will be able to dine downstairs at The Reference Room’s cafe, which is described as a noodle shop where diners can create their own dishes with choice of noodle, protein and vegetables. Plans currently call for the cafe to offer daytime hours and serve food until 1:30 a.m.

> Two savvy St. Louis businessmen have joined forces to create vodka that fuses the old and the new. From initial concept in July 2008 to availability on retail shelves in California last month, 1860s Genuine American Vodka introduces ultra-premium vodka that is five times distilled and filtered through mesquite charcoal, a unique filtering processs. Todd McGowan of communications agency McGowan Crain, and Max Burton, owner of 1860 Saloon in Soulard, are the spirit’s masterminds. 

> Be part of a history-making event and help Tom Coghill of Iron Barley and Lift for Life break the Guinness World Record by helping build the World's Largest BLT at TomatoFest 2009 Aug. 9. Volunteers are needed starting at 9 a.m. to help Tom assemble the sandwich, set up the site, sell tickets, help with games and raffles, and serve food. For more information, visit liftforlife.org.

> Red Kitchen and Bar in the lobby of the new Hyatt Regency is now open. The contemporary American grill offers both buffet and a la carte options for breakfast and lunch and a create-your-own pasta bar and tapas-style dining at dinner. Red Kitchen and Bar is open 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., seven days a week.

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