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Tea, Tofu, Fro-Yo & Lots More

Ever wanted to learn more about Fair Trade products, as well as sample a variety in one convenient place?

Then, you’re in luck.

Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center is hosting a “Fair Trade Gala,” 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 29. Speakers will explain all facets of the Fair Trade movement. Additionally, such Fair Trade-certified companies as TCHO Chocolate, Alter Eco Olive, and La Yapa Quinoa will offer samples to try. You’ll also get a chance to taste Samovar’s new line of Fair Trade teas.

Tickets are $10. They can be purchased at Samovar or by calling (415) 227-9400.

Chocoholics are in for a treat at Marché in Menlo Park tonight and Saturday, Oct. 24, when Executive Chef Guillaume Bienaimé will partner with Michael Recchiuti of Recchiuti Confections to create a five-course chocolate feast.

Dishes will include Hokkaido scallop carpaccio with coconut, vanilla, French tarragon & olive oil ganache; and Peking duck breast with green cabbage, chocolate & duck confit ravioli, cocoa nib, pink peppercorn and smoked duck crackling.

Price is $65 per person. Wine pairings will be available for an additional charge.

Award-winning San Francisco Pastry Chef Emily Luchetti of Farallon and Waterbar will be conducting cooking demos at San Jose’s Santana Row, Oct. 24 and Oct. 25, at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

It’s all part of an event by Cadillac. You’ll be able to test-drive the new Cadillac SRX, along with its competition, Lexus RX350, Mercedes GLK and BMW X5. I know, you’re probably thinking, “What do luxury cars have to do with pastries?” The answer is that Cadillac has partnered with Bon Appetit and the now-shuttered Gourmet (cue the tears) magazines in this event.

Buca di Beppo is marking Oct. 26’s “World Pasta Day” (who knew?) with a pasta-rific promotion.

That day, any guest who purchases a small or large pasta or entree will receive a free serving of spaghetti with your choice of meat or marinara sauce. Guests also will receive a 16-ounce package of Rummo Italian pasta to take home.

The offer is valid for only dine-in customers, not take-out. But diners can box up their free spaghetti to take home.

Enjoy a different kind of noodle from Hodo Soy Beanery, which recently opened a factory in West Oakland.

Founder and tofu master, Minh Tsai, got his start selling his soymilk and tofu at the Palo Alto farmers market. It became so successful that he quit his finance job to make tofu full-time. You can now find Hodo Soy Beanery products at 10 Bay Area farmers markets, select grocery stores, and such restaurants as Coi, Greens, and the Slanted Door, all in San Francisco.

Tsai uses organic soybeans to make his products, which also includes soy noodles, and yuba (tender tofu skin).

Starting in December, the factory will offer public tours.

Pumpkin stars at Cetrella in Half Moon Bay through October.

The restaurant offers a three-course pumpkin menu for $25 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. through Oct. 31.

Autumn celebrations also are in the air at Foreign Cinema in San Francisco.

In honor of Oktoberfest, the restaurant will offer a special three-course dinner on Oct. 29. It includes a choice of one Oktoberfest beer, Weihenstephaner Festbier or Franziskaner Dunkelweisse, to enjoy with beet and cucumber salad; wiener schnitzel with fried potatoes; and spiced apple cake with praline and cider sauce. Dishes also are available a` la carte.

More tastes of fall are to be found at Red Mango, which is offering a special pumpkin spice fro-yo at all its locations through Dec. 31.

It is served with free graham cracker crumbs topping. A small serving has less than 100 calories.

Bar Tartine in San Francisco has reopened with Chef Chris Kronner at the helm and a new bistro menu in place.

Kronner previously cooked at Town Hall , the Slow Club, and Serpentine, all in San Francisco. His food, filled with generosity from the portion-size to the flavors, make good use of Tartine Bakery’s exquisite baked goods, too. Find the heavenly bread served as crostini with chicken liver pate with candied crabapples ($11); and in the richly satisfying savory bread pudding with bacon and toy box tomatoes ($6). Kronner has a deft hand to let stellar ingredients star simply such as in his signature three-bean salad with aioli ($9).

Desserts by Pastry Chef MaryLou Jaso are luscious, yet never overly sweet. Don’t miss the banana parfait with graham cracker crumbs and the warm chocolate souffle cake.

Breakfast has just been added, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The 28th annual “Vintners Holidays” gets underway at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite, Nov. 1 to Dec. 3.

Thirty-two prominent California wineries will be spotlighted in eight sessions. Among the participating wineries are Flowers Vineyard & Winery, Silver Oak Cellars and Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

Tickets range in price from $269 for dinner only to $1,295 per person for a three-night package at the Ahwahnee. For a complete list of wineries and ticket prices, click here.

Sake and sushi will tempt at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple’s 100th anniversary fund-raiser, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Takahara Sake Tasting Room in Berkeley.

Tickets are $100. For reservations or more information, contact Barbara Hedani-Morishita at (510) 658-9149 or email:bhedanim@yahoo.com.

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