It’s the Great Tomato Contest, Alabama: Pepper Place Gleans Southeast for Contestants
It’s been said, “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” Pepper Place Market and Les Dames d’Escoffier International are culling the state’s best tomato recipe wisdom (fruit salads included) to compete in The Great Alabama Recipe Contest.
Participants will register and list their recipes at the information tent at Pepper Place Market by Saturday, July 4 at noon. Finalists will be notified by Friday, July 11, 2015 to bring their prepared dishes to the taste-testing round of competition the following week.
Author, food critic and television personality Morgan Murphy will serve as the emcee for the finals on July 18 at the Chef Demonstration area. Murphy, who hails from Mountain Brook, has written numerous culinary best-sellers like Bourbon and Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South’s Favorite Food Groups and Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made Them Famous, and has been published in Vanity Fair, Forbes, Esquire, The New York Post and Southern Living. His radio and television credits include segments on NPR, The TODAY Show, Fox & Friends, CNN, and Sirius/XM.
Tom Wagner, tomato breeder and president of Wagner Seeds, will be a special guest speaker during the event. Wagner, otherwise known as “Tater-Mater,” has been collecting tomato varieties since the 1950s. His mission is to breed disease-free heirloom tomatoes such as the Green Zebra.
The panel of judges is made up of Birminghamian food mavens Lawrence Calvert of Calvert Farm, Chez Lulu and Continental Bakery owner Carole Griffin and Jo Ellen O’Hara, who spent 48 years as food editor at The Birmingham News prior to her retirement. Entries will be judged on appearance and presentation, flavor, texture and use of Alabama field or greenhouse tomatoes.
Registration is free. To compete, fill out the form listed on pepperplacemarket.com or located at the Information Tent at Pepper Place by 12 p.m. July 4. Finalists will bring their prepared entries to the Market on July 18 8–9 a.m., and the awards ceremony will begin at 10:15.
THURSDAY, JUNE 25
Are We There Yet? It’s Just a Plant! — Urban Standard. 2320 Second Ave. S. In this week’s installment of live talk show Are We There Yet?, Max Rykov hosts a discussion on the legalization of marijuana in Alabama. Attendees can sip a Counter Culture coffee or coffee creation by Urban Standard’s impressive baristas while listening to Ron Crumpton, Candidate for United States Senate; Loretta Nall, Founder of the United States Marijuana Party; and Chris Butts, Executive Director of the Alabama Medical Marijuana Coalition, and others sound off on this controversial topic. 7:30 p.m. $10. For more information, visit the event on FaceBook.
Holy Fruit and Veggies, It’s a Smoothie! — North Avondale Public Library. 501 23rd St. N. The Birmingham Public Library System will host a workshop on healthy eating. Participants will learn how to add more fruits and vegetables into their diet with tasty and vitamin-packed smoothies. The class will also discuss how to daily make healthier choices overall. Free. 1–2 p.m. For more information, call (205) 592-2082.
Slice Brewery Spotlight — Slice Birmingham. 725 49th St. S. Every Thursday Slice Pizza and Brew highlights a different brewery with specials on pints of the selected beer. Also dubbed Tap Takeover, the weekly event has featured Stone Brewing Company, Good People and many more. All day. $4 and $5 pints. For more information, visit slicebirmingham.com.
FRIDAY, JUNE 26
Better Burger Project — Galley and Garden. 2220 Highland Ave. S. As a participant in national contest James Beard Foundation’s Better Burger Project™, Galley and Garden’s chef James Boyce presents his version of a healthier, more sustainable burger: a grass-fed beef, shiitake and oyster mushroom burger topped with crispy onion and barbeque aioli. Winners will be selected based on diners’ Instagram posts. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Through July 31. $12. For more information, visit galleyandgarden.com.
SATURDAY, JUNE 27
Red, White and Brews: Independence for Life — Rosewood Hall. 2850 19th St. S. The second annual Red, White and Brews fundraiser will benefit the Bell Center for Early Intervention Programs, Mitchell’s Place, Inc., and Triumph Live Work Play, which provide services to individuals at risk for developmental delays and their families in the Birmingham area. Food trucks will roll into the parking lot, and local band Live Wire will perform. Attendees will receive samples from local breweries including Good People Brewing Company. 5–8 p.m. $15. For more information, call (205) 951-9538.
Chef Demonstration — Pepper Place Market. 2829 Second Ave. S. Chef James Lewis from Bettola will demonstrate the Italian cooking his pizzeria specializes in this weekend at Pepper Place Market. His restaurant on Second Avenue South is known for wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, house-made pastas, specialty cocktails and wine. Lewis will also answer questions from the audience. 9 a.m. Free. For more information, visit pepperplacemarket.com.
Lulu’s Drag Brunch Exclusive — Continental Bakery Downtown. 1820 Fourth Ave. N. Brunch gets a pop of pizzazz during Lulu’s Drag Brunch Exclusive double-feature. The typically sold-out shows feature some of the Southeast’s best performers including Cierra Symone Campbell, Reese Eve Cocx, Miss Birmingham Apollo 2015 Sharon Cocx, and special guests. Mimosas, Bloody Marys and other cocktails will be served along with Continental Bakery’s brunch menu. 10:30 a.m.–12 p.m. and 12:30–2:30 p.m. Free. To make reservations, call (205) 323-4110.
MONDAY, JUNE 29
Vintage Video Game Night — Saturn Birmingham. 200 41st St. S. Saturn Birmingham presents an evening of drinking, more than 35 vintage game systems from the ’70s to 2015, thousands of games and a jumbo projection screen. Intellivision, the SNES, the Sega Master System, the Colecovision, the N64 and more. 6 p.m. Free. For more information, visit saturnbirmingham.com.
Chow Down for the Children — Rojo. 2921 Highland Ave. S. As part of Rojo’s weekly 10% Tuesdays, 10 percent of menu item sales will benefit Grace Klein Community’s partner ministry Kwathu Children’s Home in Livingstone, Zambia. Merchandise from the nonprofit’s BeMoreRandom store will also be available for purchase. 5–11 p.m. Free. For more information, visit gracekleincommunity.com.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 1
Wine Tasting Wednesday — Primeaux Cheese and Vino. 300 Summit Place. Locally owned and operated, Primeaux Cheese and Vino showcases a new wine each week during Wednesday Wine Tastings. Free. 5–7 p.m. To make reservations, call (205) 623-5593.