> After three long weeks of renovation, Stellina Pasta Cafe is finally open for business! The restaurant now has about twice as many seats as before. “We were busier than we could possibly be opening night,” says owner JAMEY TOCHTROP.  Benton Park’s Sydney Street Cafe also re-opened April 6, after being closed for a week of work that included a kitchen expansion. During the hiatus, chef/owner KEVIN NASHAN and his crew, with some help from neighborhood folks, built a series of raised-bed gardens around the parking lot to supply the restaurant with everything from carrots to herbs.

> Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the first anniversary of The Moonrise Hotel in the Loop and the 10th anniversary of Earthways Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden on April 23 at The Green Ball 2010, to be held at the Moonrise from 7 p.m until 11 p.m. Chef de cuisine WES JOHNSON of Eclipse Restaurant has planned a locavore’s delight featuring dishes made with foods from Companion Bakery, Baetje Farms, Hinkebein Hills Farm and Prairie Grass Farm. The soiree is a benefit for the Earthways Center. More details can be found at 721-1111, or moonrisehotel.com/greenball.

> Just in case you forgot that St. Louis is the center of the beer universe: On Saturday, April 17, Schlafly Bottleworks hosts its annual Repeal of Prohibition Festival from noon to 5 p.m.  In addition to Schlafly faves, representatives from three Michigan breweries will be on hand to showcase how they do it in the Great Lakes State.  For more info, call 241-BEER or visit schlafly.com.  Also, the 15th annual St. Louis Microfest will be going on April 30 to May 2 at the Upper Muny Parking Lot at Forest Park. Sample more than 80 North American and international craft beers; more at stlmicrofest.org.

> If you’re into local food and local history, Bixby’s, the new restaurant in the Missouri History Museum, might be just the place for you to spend your next lunch hour. Open from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. daily, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the bistro specializes in cuisine utilizing ingredients from area suppliers like Double Star Farms and Fazio’s Bakery, prepared under the expert eye of chef de cuisine TODD LOUGH, former executive chef at Busch’s Grove. Find more info at 361-7313 or bixbys-mohistory.com.

> Now that winter is behind us, why not get out of the house and learn something? From now through June 23, Missouri Botanical Garden offers a bevy of classes covering a variety of culinary subjects. Learn gourmet grilling techniques from BRYAN YOUNG of Catering Plus; divine the fine points of wine with HANK JOHNSON of Chaumette Vineyards Winery in Ste. Genevieve; and revel in the decadence of all things chocolate with BRIAN PELLETIER of Kakao Chocolate. The full roster can be found at mobot.org/classes.

> Get in touch with your inner cowpoke and help support a great cause at the 22nd annual ‘A Tasteful Affair’ benefit for Food Outreach. This year’s theme: Wild West. The event will be held Sunday, April 18, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Khorassan Ballroom in the Chase. Nosh on samples from more than 30 restaurants and caterers, and bid on auction items. Details at foodoutreach.org  or 652-3663, ext. 118.

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