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New Restaurants and Happenings

Eating contest at The Borough; New chef at Il Palio; New menu at Bocci; More local food blogs

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Monday is not only Labor Day, but the first Monday of a new month. And you know what that means: an eating contest at The Borough (317 W. Morgan St., Suite 117, Raleigh, 832-8433, www.theboroughraleigh.com). Following a fun tradition that includes corn on the cob, marshmallows, Girl Scout cookies, pickles and Krispy Kreme donuts, this month's contenders will shovel spaghetti and meatballs down their gullets. The prize is culinary infamy, plus a $25 bar tab. Ten spaces are available, and the entry fee is $5, with all proceeds benefiting the Humane Society of the United States. The contest begins at 8 p.m.

Il Palio (1505 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 929-4000, sienahotel.com/ilpalio.html) has a new chef. Adam Rose, who began work in April, is a native of Long Island, N.Y., a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and the husband of Hailey Rose, Il Palio's sommelier.

The Roses arrived in the Triangle a year ago, and Adam, who had previous experience in restaurants in New York City and San Francisco, cooked at Jujube and Elaine's on Franklin before taking the job at the Siena Hotel. He immediately began renovating the menu, he said, one dish at a time, and finalized it within a month. The new menu features a first-course pecorino fondue with North Carolina honey and toasted hazelnuts; several pasta offerings, including tagliatelle alla Bolognese; and main courses such as grilled North Carolina red trout with chickpea and black olive salad and salsa verde. Its focus, Rose said, is to show local and seasonal ingredients as much as possible, so he's been making his way to area farmers' markets and developing connections with farmers. "They do half the job for me," he said. "They make the food taste great before it gets to my kitchen."

Bocci Trattoria & Pizzeria (5850 Fayetteville Road, Durham, 206-4067, www.bocciitalian.com) also has a new menu. In response to customer requests, Chef Michele Rizzo has added some new dishes, including prosciutto-wrapped scallops, house-made basil pesto and a margherita pizza, among others. Bocci's lunch menu has been revamped, and now includes six new paninis. Bocci's Courtyard Music Series, featuring bands performing on the lawn between Bocci and Nantucket Grill & Bar, appears to be taking a break this Friday, but returns on Fridays in September. Bands begin 7 p.m. Check the Web site for a list of performers.

In response to my query a few weeks ago about area food blogs, Dilip Barman alerted me to Dinner with Dilip (dilipdinner.blogspot.com). Barman, who is the president of the Triangle Vegetarian Society (www.trianglevegsociety.org), chronicles his daily dinner-making adventures. Since meeting his wife in June 2004, he has cooked for her almost every night, he says, and has yet to repeat a dinner.

Know about a special food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at food@indyweek.com.

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