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To read more from Sarah Baker Hansen, go to her blog, OMAvore.
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Dozens of restaurantsare ready for big week
Omaha Restaurant Week kicks off tonight.
For the next 10 days, diners can eat at participating restaurants and get a three-course dinner for $19, $29 or $39, not including tax or tip. In some cases, the meals are an incredible deal, and in almost all cases, chefs around town put together something special for the week.
This year's participating restaurants: 360 Steakhouse, 801 Chophouse, Anthony's Steakhouse, Bella Vita Ristorante, Blatt Beer and Table, Cafe L, Caniglia's Venice Inn, Cantina Laredo, Crave, Crystal Jade, Dante Ristorante Pizzeria, Genji Japanese Steakhouse, Gusto Cuban Cafe, both locations of Hiro 88, Jack Binion's Steakhouse, Jackson Street Tavern, Jaipur Brewing Co., Jones Bros Cupcakes, La Casa Pizzeria, Millard Roadhouse, Nosh Wine Lounge, Piccolo's Steak and Cocktails, Rick's Cafe Boatyard, Ryan's Bistro, all three locations of Shucks Fish House, Spencer's for Steaks and Chops, both locations of Stokes Bar and Grill, Sullivan's Steakhouse, Taste, The Grey Plume, The La Vista Nines, Tussey's Casual Grill, Twisted Fork Grill and Bar, V. Mertz, Wave Bistro and Zurlo's Bistro Italiano.
For more information, visit omaharestaurantweek.com.
Game day hog roastis an all-local affair
If you're headed down to the Nebraska game this weekend and are in the mood for some local pork, The Single Barrel has you covered.
At the beginning of the season, Single Barrel owner Heath Macomber said, the downtown Lincoln restaurant started cooking whole pigs from Travis Dunekacke's T.D. Niche Pork, in Elk Creek, Neb., and serving the meat on game day.
The restaurant's head chef, Brandon Harpster, teaches in the culinary program at Lincoln's Southeast Community College and heard about T.D. Niche there. It was his idea to start the game-day hog roasts. They'll cook a whole hog every Saturday during home games for the remainder of the season.
Single Barrel stays open until 2 a.m. the Friday before game day, Macomber said, and the chefs are back at 3 a.m. to start the pig roasts in time for Saturday. Ross Kunze, another chef at the restaurant, is butcher. Macomber said Kunze aims to not waste a bit of the pig. The meat is cooked in a six-foot smoker.
Single Barrel's game-day pulled pork sandwich is served on a LeQuartier Bakery bun topped with house-smoked coleslaw and homemade sweet or tangy barbeque sauce for $7. The sandwiches have been popular so far.
Macomber said the restaurant uses lots of local products.
“It's kind of our thing here,” he said. “We work with a lot of farms around the area and cook with as many locally produced things as we can.”
Single Barrel is at 130 N. 10th St. Doors open at 8 a.m. on game days.
New business mixes art and wine
Village Canvas and Cabernet, the newest business to open in Aksarben Village, mixes a commercial gallery, a do-it-yourself art venue and a wine and coffee bar into what has to be one of the city's more eclectic art-related ventures.
Owners Kathy and Jack Byrnes also are involved in the Hot Shops Art Center in north downtown. Kathy Byrnes said their love of creativity and the arts inspired them to start the business.
Painting classes will give visitors step-by-step instructions on how to create a piece. The emphasis is on fun, Kathy Byrnes said. Most classes will take place in the evening. A gallery with work for sale from local artists will be open daily, and the venue is also available for private parties and corporate events. Though the shop only offers beverages, catering options from other Aksarben Village businesses will be available.
The business will have an open house Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The open house includes free refreshments and prizes. Village Canvas and Cabernet is in the DLR building at 6457 Frances St. Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call 402-680-5965 or visit www.canvasandcab.com.
Classes teach Chinese cooking
After visiting China earlier this year, I've become enamored with authentic Chinese food. So the Confucious Institute's “making dumplings cooking class” really appeals to me.
We ate dumplings a lot during our trip, and I'd love to re-create them at home. You can eat dumplings for breakfast, lunch or dinner and they can be an appetizer, main dish or the main course. Ingredients can vary widely depending on the region.
The class, on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus, will teach participants how to make three kinds of dumplings — boiled, steamed and pan-fried, which are also called potstickers. The dumplings will have different fillings and at the end, everyone can sample them. I'll be at the class and will recount it on my blog, omavore.omaha.com, and in the World-Herald's Go section next week.
The class is $30 and the fee covers materials, handouts, ingredients and soft drinks. It takes place Monday at 5 p.m. at Ruth Levertson Hall, 35th Street north of the East Campus Loop. This is the first in a series of classes on Chinese cooking. The next one takes place Nov. 26.
The class is limited to the first 20 people to register with full payment. To register, contact Angela Rystrom at 402-472-5370 or email@example.com.
Event deals with Celiac disease
Later this month marks the first Heartland of America Gluten-Free/Allergen-Free Expo of Omaha.
The event, slated for Sept. 23, aims to raise awareness about Celiac disease and other conditions which require people to eat a gluten-free diet.
Shannon Ford, a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader and Mrs. United States 2011. is the featured speaker at the event. Ford, who is celiac, is using her platform to advocate for those who live gluten free. She is a contributor to Delight Gluten Free Magazine.
Beckee Morland, from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, will be on site to help local restaurants and culinary students become certified in handling and preparing gluten-free foods. She's the director of the GREAT program — Gluten Free Resource Education Awareness Training. For more information on the GREAT program, visit www.celiaccentral.org/greatkitchensomaha.
A number of gluten-free vendors, restaurants with gluten-free menus and other businesses will be at the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is $10. It takes place at the DC Center, 11830 Stonegate Drive. For more information, visit http://www.omahaglutenfreeexpo.blogspot.com.
Restaurant marks reopening
Baja Grill is celebrating its grand reopening this weekend.
The restaurant has updated its interior with a game room and new televisions. The menu now includes creative burgers, boneless wings, new beers and free food for kids on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. A happy-hour special now runs weeknights from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes specially priced beers. The restaurant is at 2523 S. 140th Ave. For more information, call 402-697-7840.
— Staff writer Sarah Baker Hansen