•  A new type of fusion cuisine can be found at Cafe Lazeez in Ballwin. Pizza with chicken tikka topping and spicy ground beef curry on penne are two items on their dine-in or carry-out menu. Owners IRFAN KHALID and MOHAMMAD FAROOQ have just opened St. Louis’ first, and finest, Pakistani-American fast food cafe. Urdu is the main language spoken in the kitchen (and by the customers in its few booths), but the counter service staff can guide you through the differences between chicken tikka, karanhi and tandoori in plain English. They’ll even substitute a samosa for the fries that go with a hamburger. You’ll find only ‘halal’ (humanely slaughtered) meat at Lazeez, seven days a week. Check it out at 14248 Manchester Road, just east of Woodsmill. Lazeez means yummy!

•  TASTE! TASTE! TASTE!  You know it’s summer when there’s a wonderful outdoor food fest seemingly every weekend. First up is the Taste of Maplewood May 30 from 2 to 8 pm. The new location on Sutton Avenue is fashioned like a European-style open market. Participating restaurants include Monarch, Deluxe, Encore Baking and just about every food and drink business in Maplewood. Next up is Taste of Clayton June 7 in Shaw Park from 1:30 to 9 p.m. The 30-plus food booths hail from all over the metro area, and the day includes a ‘best booth’ contest and ends with fireworks!  Then June 12 through 14, at the Central West End Art Fair and Taste, Euclid Avenue is dotted with outside outposts of the neighborhood’s wonderful restaurants, perfect for grazing and gazing.

•  Beginning July 1, Mount Pleasant Winery in Augusta will be known as Mount Pleasant Estates. The new name better describes the visitor’s experience. The vintner is putting some of its premier wines…Norton, Claret, Cab and Villagio…under a new Estates label. These will be unveiled to the general public, by the bottle or by the glass, at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, which runs though June 14. A glass of wine can only make the Merry Wives of Windsor merrier! 

•  If beer is more to your liking, rejoice: St. Louis Craft Beer Week begins May 30. Celebrate our city’s beer-making history by attending beer school, beer trivia nights, beer dinners and other sudsy events all over town; full listing at stlbeerweek.com. All this is a run-up to the annual Saint Louis Brewers Heritage Festival, held in Forest Park June 5 and  6. Come for the unlimited samples of 60 different beers from 10 local breweries, three home brewer clubs, and the St. Louis branch of that international conglomerate, InBev. The festival will be on the Upper Muny Fields, and if it rains it’ll be on the Upper Muny Parking Lot. It is a fund-raiser for Lift for Life, and advance tickets are $30, $5 cheaper than at the gate. Get ‘em at stlbrewfest.com and watch the excellent, five-minute, online movie about St. Louis’ brewing history.

•  Mark your calendars for Happy Hour at Morton’s The Steakhouse in Clayton Friday, May 29. Yours Truly will be refereeing the Dueling Bartenders as they mix Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktails at this benefit event for Operation Food Search. Witness KRISTEN CORNETT, KMOV-TV4 meteorologist, and JIM DOYLE, KEZK 102.5 radio personality, face-off from 5 to 7 p.m. Every cent of the $25 admission goes to OFS. Guests enjoy cocktails, wine, and Morton’s signature bar bites while watching the duel or relaxing on the new patio (and hoping to win the handbag and cigar door prizes). You can pre-pay and learn more about how Operation Food Search helps the hungry in St. Louis at ofsearch.org.

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