Woke up this morning with a wine glass...

Good food, fine wine, and some pretty fancy people were all on hand last Thursday, October 3, at the Main Street Market for a celebration of "the season's bounty," as the invitation described the shindig. While the drought may have left some local gardeners without much bounty at all, the shops at Main Street Market don't seem to have suffered the same fate.

Feast!, Ciboulette, Seafood@West Main, Albemarle Baking Company, and Gearharts Fine Chocolates made mouths water with tempting treats, and jazz music livened the mood. Also getting in on the act were Main Street Market's garden shop Hedge, which provided the colorful flowers, and The Seasonal Chef, which teamed its test kitchen with Seafood@West Main to create fishy delicacies on the spot. Hamiltons' and Sticks showed good local spirit by bringing over some tasty morsels even though they're not affiliated with the Market.

Though no ants came marching to this highbrow picnic, Dave Matthews, even in absentia, still had the hit of the evening with the introduction of his Blenheim Vineyards premier vintage.

Matthews has teamed with Brad McCarthy, the former White Hall Vineyards winemaker, to create six vintages, four of which are available for retail sale exclusively (for the moment) at Feast! (C&O Restaurant has begun serving it as well.) Each bottle sells for CD-similar cost of $19.99.

To try to pick our favorite would put us between a rock star and a hard place, so we'll leave the tasting to you.


More tapas

 Though we reported on a tapas restaurant gearing up in Belmont last week, fans of the small Spanish-style dishes need not wait until that restaurant's hoped-for November opening. Bashir's, at the east end of the Downtown Mall, now serves tapas starting at 6:30 every Friday night. With 13 or 14 dishes, including meatballs with saffron sauce and mussels with vinegar sauce, as well as live music, it's an easy way to get your international groove on.


More bang for your Chiang

 When the Chiang House restaurant burned to the ground last March, owner Jong Chiang told The Hook he hoped he'd have it rebuilt by this fall. Well, here it is October, and the lot sits empty, the building completely demolished and removed and no sign of anything going up in its place.

Has Chiang given up on his dream of a bigger, better Chiang House?

Absolutely not, says Chiang, who explains that getting the site plan approval has been the delaying factor.

"We hope to get the site plan approved by October 22," he tells Dish. If that goes as planned, he says he'd like to break ground before December and have the new restaurant up and running before April.

Optimistic? Perhaps. But we're glad he hasn't lost heart.