by Mabel Suen
The weather forecast for the weekend may be full of storms and gloom, but forget about it! There's plenty of booze, food and tunes to keep everyone out of the house. Take, for instance, the Missouri Brewfest in Westport or the 30th Annual Fine Art and Winefest in Washington for drinks, and then try heading over to the Missouri Botanical Gardens for Chinese Culture Days or an Around the World Wine Dinner for various ethnic eats.
Friday (May 20):
Rhythm and Ribs @ St. Charles Community College "Eat, drink and rock for education," states the slogan for this scholarship and academic program fundraising event. Enjoy tasty ribs and barbecue from area food vendors along with cold brews to the tunes of Smash Band and St. Charles West Jazz Band. $5 for admission; $25 or $50 for food and drink packages. 6 to 10 p.m.
Maifest @ International Tap House - Chesterfield Reluctant to wait all the way until "Oktober" to roll around again, ITAP celebrates all things German with beer, brats, bavarian pretzels and bands -- rain or shine. $5 admission. Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight.
Around the World Wine Dinner @ Missouri Botanical Gardens This month's dinner features a four-course meal and wine pairing with a mouthful of flavors from Spain including the likes of Serrano ham-wrapped dates, saffron rice croquette, grilled Spanish chorizo with tender rabbit, and blood orange cake. Chefs from Catering St. Louis create a lush menu of tapas and much more. Call 314-577-0200 for reservations. $55. 6:30 p.m.
Saturday (May 21):
Strawberry Season @ Clayton Farmer's Market If you weren't able to make it out to Eckert's Strawberry Festival this weekend (mentioned in last week's weekend best bets), head on over to the market to pick up some homegrown, hand-picked strawberries, perfect for baking up in something nice or just right for eating straight out of the box. 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
French Finesse cooking demonstration @ Kitchen Conservatory Take an exotic lunch break with goat cheese and pear puff pastries with pine nuts, roasted duck with cherry sauce on artichoke pasta and baba au rhum with fresh mangoes cooked by chef Jean-Pierre Augé's during this afternoon cooking class. Call 314-862-2665 to register. $45 per person. 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Missouri Brewfest @ Westport Plaza Amalgamated Brewing Co., Anheuser-Busch, Augusta Brewing Company, Boulevard Brewing Company and Buffalo Brewing Company are only a third breweries represented at this beer sampling event to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. $20 admission includes a sampling beer stein, all beer samples and live music by Hollywood 5. Noon to 5 p.m.
Taste of Maplewood @ Sutton Boulevard in Maplewood Neighborhood businesses and eateries converge for this street festival chock full of good eats and entertainment. Expect to see fest-sized food offerings from restaurants like Acero, Boogaloo, Foundation Grounds and Las Palmas at the ready. Groups such as the Soulard Blues Band and Folk School of Music provide plenty of sounds in the streets. Noon to 9 p.m.
Bi-State Celiac Support Group Annual Gluten-Free Picnic @ Tilles Park Whole Foods Market sponsors this festival featuring fun, games and lots of gluten-free food in honor of Celiac Awareness Month. Join in and support celiacs who suffer from gluten sensitivity. Free. 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Sunday (May 22):
Chinese Culture Days Culinary Arts demonstrations @ Missouri Botanical Gardens Watch demonstrations of the eight major cuisines of authentic Chinese cooking over a cup of fresh-brewed Chinese tea, and learn how Chinese cuisine has evolved over 5000 years. Grab some grub on the festival grounds while you're there! $12 admission for adults. Saturday and Sunday, noon and 2:30 p.m.
30th Annual Fine Art Fair and Winefest @ Historic Downtown Washington Sample over 60 wines from 13 Missouri wineries at the area's largest winery tasting event. Participating wineries include Adam Puchta Winery, Augusta Winery, Belmont Vineyards, Bias Winery, Blumenhof Winery and more. $15 in advance and $20 at the door -- includes souvenir wineglass. Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.