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FOOD TALK

Joey and Maria's Comedy Italian Wedding will be held Saturday, June 8 and 15. Seating begins at 7 p.m., show begins at 7:30 p.m. Interactive dinner theater at Holiday Inn Tysons Corner, 1960 Chain Bridge Road, McLean. $49.50 includes complete Italian wedding dinner and champagne toast. For reservations, call 1-800-944-JOEY.

Green Spring Gardens Park in Alexandria will hold a "Victorian Garden Tea," June 9, 1-3 p.m., on the lawn of the Manor House. Feel free to dress the part and step back in time to the days of parasols, petit fours and bone china. Reservations and $20 prepayment are required. Call 703-324-3988.

Lansdowne Resort has a way to involve the whole family in Father's Day..

The main event will be a Pig Roast/Luau at the Lansdowne Grille starting at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 16

While dad starts the day with golf, the rest of the family can enjoy the many amenities of the resort before the dinner.

The Pig Roast/Luau will be held on the outdoor terrace of the Lansdowne Grille overlooking the Virginia countryside. A tropical/jazz band will warm up the evening festivities while the culinary team presents a traditional luau buffet. The price for the Pig Roast is $65 per person, $100 if purchased with nine-holes of golf for dad. The event starts at 4 p.m. and continues until 9 p.m. The family events will begin at 1 p.m. To make a reservation, call 703-858-2107.

The golf professionals will be offering a beginners clinic on the driving range. Spa appointments as well as pool time are also available with a reservation.

Upcoming special events at the historic Bailiwick Inn in Fairfax include the following:

* Wine Tasting Event, Wednesday, June 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m. At least 15 wines from the Paso Robles area of California will be available as well as hors d’oeuvres and cheeses. The cost is $49, $45 in advance. In addition, a three-course dinner will be offered at 8 p.m., priced at $45.

* Father’s Day Breakfast or Dinner, Sunday, June 16. The cost for breakfast, served 8:30-10 a.m., is $15. There will be two seatings – 6:30 or 8 p.m. – for a five-course gourmet dinner; the cost is $69. A 50-percent room discount is offered that night, which includes a gourmet breakfast.

Angelo and Maxie’s Steakhouse, in Reston Town Center, 11901 Democracy Drive, will offer a "feast for a king" on Father’s Day, June 16, 5-10 p.m. A selection of appetizers will include oysters on the half shell, littleneck or cherrystone clams and cold, steamed, one-pound Maine lobster cocktail, steak tartare, and salads such as Angelo’s Caesar salad. Entrees include a choice of a 26-ounce ribeye steak, a 24-ounce charbroiled T-bone, a 13-ounce filet mignon, grilled double-cut rack of lamb, steamed Maine lobster, 2-pound roasted chicken breast, or a 10-ounce grilled yellowfin tuna. And, of course, there will be a choice of dessert such as warm chocolate souffle, Oreo ice cream sandwich, or warm deep-dish apple crisp. Call 703-787-7766.

The Old Dominion Brewing Co. celebrates its ten-thousandth batch of beer with Dominion Maniacs, a Belgian-style tripel brew, on April 10, 2002. Only 50 kegs – one brew – of this special brew were produced. Maniacs will be sold only on draft, starting June 18, at the Old Dominion Brewpub and select on-premise accounts. Tripel is a style of ale first produced by the Westmalle Trappist Monastery in Belgium, notable for its creamy head, herbal aroma, firm maltiness, dryness, fruity-yeasty palate and clean finish.

Join 35,000 of your fellow Northern Virginians at the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s premier annual outdoor event, Taste of the Town, Saturday, June 22. The largest food-sampling event in the region will feature more than 30 restaurants offering scrumptious samples and live entertainment at beautiful Reston Town Center, lying in the heart of the Dulles Corridor. The all-day event, beginning at 1 p.m. and running until 10 p.m., will present Kids Korner, featuring family fun, food and entertainment. Enjoy live bands all day, featuring Swing Speak, swing and Latin dance music, at 7:30 P.M. Free admission, free parking. Tasting and beverage tickets $1 each. Most "tastes" are $1-$5. Log onto www.restonchamber.org or e-mail restonbiz@restonchamber.org for details on this festival.

The Old Dominion Brewing Co. in Ashburn will host a four-course beer dinner at the brewpub on Tuesday, June 24, at 7 p.m. The evening will feature a seasonal menu created by executive chef David Gedney and will be paired with a beer. Sauteed crabcake will be served with Old Dubliner amber ale; fried green tomato sandwich with Dominion spring brew; roasted rack of lamb with Dominion summer wheat; and blueberry lemon English bread pudding with Dominion Maniacs Ale. Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance. Call Terry Fife at Brewpub at 703-724-9100, Ext. 18.

"Spicy Basil" is the topic at the Manor House program on June 23, 1-3 p.m., at Green Spring Gardens Park in Alexandria. The spicy herb can be used to add zip to summertime recipes and also to add zing to floral arrangements and garden design. Plants will be available for sale. Reservations and $20 prepayment are required. Call 703-324-3988.

Strips of cheese and chilis are wrapped in Bridgford Frozen Bread Dough in this recipe for a convenient, easy-to-prepare summer treat.

Fire Sticks

1 loaf Bridgford Frozen Bread Dough, thawed

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, cut into 16 1/4-inch sticks

4 whole green chilies*, canned, cut into 16 1/4-inch strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease large baking sheet(s). Using a little flour on dough and fingertips, stretch or roll dough out to a long, thin strip approximately 5 by 30 inches. Arrange strips of cheese and chilies about 2 inches apart to make 16 bread sticks. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into strips. Bring dough around filling and pinch to seal edges. Place bread sticks, seam sides down, on prepared baking sheet(s). Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool on wire rack. Makes 16 sticks.

* For extra hot Fire Sticks, substitute jalapenos for green chilies.

This is the time of year to enjoy the delicate taste of soft-shell crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. The shedding cycle of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab runs from late May though September and produces the delicious soft-shell crab. A blue crab may shed its hard outer shell 18-23 times during its three-year life span. Each time it backs out of its shell, it’s a soft-shell for only a few hours and must be removed from the water immediately in order to prevent the shell from becoming hard.

A live soft crab shows very little movement, especially when refrigerated. Soft crabs that are purchased live should be kept moist and stored in a drip-proof tray, between wet newspapers or paper towels in your refrigerator. Soft crabs are also available already dressed and should also be kept under refrigeration. Frozen dressed crabs are available year around. Frozen crabs should be thawed in the refrigerator.

Dressing or cleaning a soft crab is a simple procedure. With a pair of scissors, cut off the mouth and face behind the eyes. Cut off the apron. Life the top shell and snip out the lungs on each side. Run under cold water to drain. It is now ready to cook.

Fried Soft-Shell Crabs

1 cup pancake flour

1 teaspoon seafood seasoning

12 Maryland soft-shell crabs, cleaned

fat or oil, for frying

Mix together pancake flour and seafood seasoning. Dredge crabs in flour mixture to coat well.

In a large frying pan or electric skillet, heat about 1/2 inch cooking oil to 375 degrees. Add crabs and turn heat down to 350 degrees. Cook crabs until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Makes 6 servings, 2 crabs each.

MASA-Crusted Soft-Shell Crabs

by Robert Kinkead Jr.

Kinkead’s, Washington, D.C.

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

12 soft-shell crabs

1/2 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup peanut oil

In a small, shallow pan, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt and cayenne pepper. Dip the soft-shell crabs in buttermilk and coat with the cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess. In a large sauté pan, heat half of the oil, add half of the crabs, and fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove to a towel-lined sheet pan to drain and keep warm and repeat the procedure with the remaining oil and crabs.

The Bailiwick Inn Restaurant, located in the historic Bailiwick Inn Hotel in Old Town Fairfax, was recently honored with the AAA Four Diamond Award for 2002. The distinction places The Bailiwick Inn Restaurant in the top 4 percent of 14,000 AAA-rated restaurants and one of only 12 rated Four Diamond in the metro D.C./Northern Virginia area. The award is given to restaurants that meet the AAA criteria for food reflecting the highest culinary skills and creative presentation, flawless service from a professional staff, and a distinctive ambiance.

Colvin Run Tavern in Tysons Corner is offering new lunch and dinner specials. The lunch special, available from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, lets diners choose any two courses from the regular lunch menu for $20.02 or any three courses for $29. During "Drive-Time Dinner," served from 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, a selection of any three courses from a special dinner menu is available for $39. For additional information and to make reservations, call 703-356-9500.

A new seafood specialty will be on the menu at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants in Tysons and Reston Town Center from June through September – Chignik red salmon. McCormick & Schmick has negotiated with Alaskan fishermen to bring the rare and highly flavorful type of sockeye salmon, found in the waters of Chignik, Alaska, to the restaurant. Chefs at each restaurant are working on their individual preparations using seasonings and food pairings to enhance the flavor of the fish.

Chart House Restaurant, located at 1 Cameron St. in Alexandria, is now open for lunch, offering a new menu of appetizers, salads and sandwiches, as well as suitably pared-down versions of dinner favorites. Weather permitting, guests can choose to dine al fresco on the patio, enjoying the waterfront view of the Potomac River. A sampling of offerings includes coconut crunchy shrimp ($9.95), fried calamari ($8.50), Crab Louis salad ($11.95), tenderloin medallions ($15.95), and Boston scrod ($12.95). Lunch will be served Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 703-684-5080 for reservations.

The 2002 Virginia Wineries Festival and Tour Guide is now available from the Virginia Wine Marketing Office, part of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The free annual publication includes a listing of the state’s wineries, directions, hours of operation, maps and a listing of nearly 350 wine-related events. To receive a copy, call 800-828-4637 or visit www.virginiawines.org, or write to VDACS, PO Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218.

Every Friday, future chefs from Stratford College’s School of Culinary Arts, 7777 Leesburg Pike, Suite 500, Tysons Corner, invite the public to come and enjoy the fine cuisine that they prepare and serve themselves. A different style of service — buffet, traditional or Russian — is highlighted each week. Lunch ($12) is served promptly at 11 a.m., dinner ($18) at 8 p.m., and a happy hour is available 6-8 p.m. Call 703-821-8570 for reservations or information.