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Food Talk

To have food and dining items happening in Fairfax and Loudoun listed free, mail to 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, or fax to 703-917-0991, or e-mail maweber@connectionnewspapers.com

The Churchill Center and International Churchill Societies will gather for a unique opportunity to celebrate the life of Sir Winston Churchill while enjoying great food and spectacular wines. The Chartwell Banquet will be held Saturday, Sept. 21, at 6:30 p.m., at Lansdowne Resort.

The event will feature a keynote speech by Celia Sandys, best-selling author and granddaughter of Sir Winston. Sandys is an acknowledged expert on Churchill's early life.  Her books include “Churchill: Wanted Dead or Alive” and “From Winston with Love and Kisses: The Young Churchill.”  Her mother, Diana, was Churchill's eldest daughter, and her father, Lord Duncan-Sandys, was a member of Churchill's wartime government.

To that end, Lansdowne's executive chef, Konrad Meier, and sommelier, Mary Watson-Delauder, have planned a menu of Winston Churchill's favorite food and drink. That includes Maine lobster, crabmeat, shrimp cocktail, a black Angus filet, lemon asparagus with Boursin mashed potatoes, and lemon raspberry chiffon tart.

The price of the event is $125 per person, which includes a $25 tax-deductible contribution to The Churchill Center.  The attire is military mess dress or black-tie optional.  For reservations, call 703-729-4037.

The Sutton Place Gourmet will be highlighting Virginia's fresh produce, herbs, seafood, wines and specialty products from Sept. 18-Oct. 8. Wine and product tastings as well as chef demonstrations will take place at Sutton Place Gourmet locations in Reston, McLean and Alexandria. The schedule is as follows:

Reston

11860 Spectrum Center

Saturday, Sunday; Sept. 21-22

Noon-2:30 p.m., Virginia product tastings; 3-6 p.m., chef demonstrations and wine tastings.

McLean

6655 Old Dominion Drive

Saturday, Oct. 5

Noon-2:30 p.m., Virginia product tastings; 3-6 p.m., chef demonstrations and Virginia wine tastings.

Alexandria

600 Franklin St.

Sunday, Oct. 6

Noon-2:30 p.m., Virginia product tastings; 3-6 p.m., chef demonstrations and Virginia wine tastings.

The Landsdowne Grille will have a wine dinner scheduled in the private Vintage Room with resort wine sommelier Mary Watson-Delauder one Monday each month. Each dinner is designed to feature the tastes of a specific region for the evening and involves six to eight courses The room has a capacity of 16 people maximum, and the price per person ranges from $75-$100, all-inclusive. The evening begins with a reception starting at 6:30 and continues till about 10:30 p.m. For more information, call 703-729-4073.

DaVinci Ristorante in the Springfield Mall will hold a buffet dinner, Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 6-8:30 p.m., to celebrate the opening of the restaurant and to benefit the Housing & Community Services of Northern Virginia Inc. (HCSNV). Admission is $50 per couple, $30 per individual. The menu will include hors d'oeuvres, seasonal salads, specialty pastas and desserts. Send reservation check payable to HCSNV, 6560 Backlick Road, Suite 207, Springfield, VA 22150. For information, call 703-921-2500.

For the first time ever, Mount Vernon Estates is holding a fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; Oct. 4, 5 and 6; from 6-9 p.m. Tickets will be available through TicketMaster or at Mount Vernon's main gate.

Because of the sell-out success of the spring wine festival, Mount Vernon decided to hold a fall version, featuring wines from 16 award-winning Virginia wineries. There will also be historic interpreters, and Colonial-attired 18th-century friends of the Washington family will conduct special tours of the mansion through the evening, including the brick vaults where George Washington stored his wine.

Visitors will also enjoy a live blues performance by Bruce Ewan and the Solid Senders, and on-site concessions from Kingstowne's Own Red Hot & Blue Memphis Pit

Bar-B-Que and Firehook Bakery.

Tickets are $25 each, and fruit and cheese boxes for two may be purchased for $15. Food will also be available from on-site concessions. Tickets are available through TicketMaster by calling 703-573-7328, or by visiting www.tickemaster.com, or at Mount Vernon's main gate ticket window during visiting hours. For information, call 703-799-8697.

The Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City will be holding its annual Teddy Bear Tea, Dec. 1, 8, 14 and 21; at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. A life-size bear will welcome children to the tea party, as Nanny Goat Productions performs a puppet show. Youngsters will enjoy hot chocolate, peanut butter and beary jelly sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, and pint-sized pastries, including meringue mice, a palmier butterfly, a brownie bear and chocolate caterpillars. Adults will have the traditional afternoon tea with a pot of tea, selection of tea sandwiches and assorted pastries. All children will receive a teddy bear and special gift bag.

A new seafood specialty is 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 this 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 (VDACS). 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.