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A tequila tasting at Jibarra

Plus, Southern Season's N.C. Food & Wine Festival, and more pumpkin offerings



If you're one of those people who has a list of things to do before you die, and if your list is more of a "unique experiences" list rather than a "conquer the universe" list, then I present you this: a tequila tasting. Can't say you've ever been to one of those before, can you? (Body shots at skanky bars do not count.)

This is like a wine tasting, but with premium tequila. Jibarra (7420 Six Forks Road, Raleigh, 844-6330, www.jibarra.net), a Mexican restaurant, stocks more than 20 premium tequilas, and owner Joel Ibarra is offering a seminar and tasting from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 24, and again Nov. 28 and Jan. 30. The first event features six tequilas made by Herradura; for $30, you can sample them, learn how they're made, and how they pair best with food. Food will be served. Reservations required.

A Southern Season (University Mall, 201 S. Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, 929-7133, southernseason.com) is hosting its sixth annual North Carolina Food and Wine Fest through Saturday. A salute to the bounty of foods and wines available in our fair state, it culminates on Saturday with a daylong taste-fest in the University Mall parking lot.

Many North Carolina companies will be on hand sampling their products. The list shows an impressive variety of products from around the Triangle: Chapel Hill's Cackalacky (sauces), Wake Forest's Durn Good (mustards, spices), Durham's Headstart Gourmet (compound butter), Raleigh's Joe Bud's (barbecue sauce), Pittsboro's Kerala Curry (Indian food items), Apex's Pepper Dog (salsa, spice rubs), Cary's Twiga Imports (coffee, tea) and Siler City's Silk Hope Winery (wine).

I continue my quest for pumpkin desserts. This week, I cast about in Durham and found plenty o' pumpkin offerings—so many that I had to include non-desserts. (Disclaimer: There isn't room for a pervasive list; this is a sampling. Also, menus change often, so no guarantees.)

Every Thursday, Guglhupf Bakery & Patisserie (2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., 401-2600, www.guglhupf.com) makes pumpkin-cheese bread: whole-wheat sourdough bread with whole pumpkin seeds and Wisconsin cheddar cheese. Nearby, Restaurant Starlu (3211 Shannon Road, 489-1500, www.starlu.com) has a pumpkin chiffon tart with homemade crust and bourbon caramel sauce.

Elmo's Diner is offering pumpkin pancakes (mixed grain and pumpkin batter with nutmeg, cinnamon and whipped cream) as a weekend brunch special at both its locations (776 Ninth St., 416-3823 and 200 N. Greensboro St., Carr Mill Mall, Carrboro, 929-2909, www.elmosdiner.com) this Saturday and Sunday. Piedmont (401 Foster St., 683-1213, www.piedmontrestaurant.com) has a winter squash pecan cake with maple whipped cream; Magnolia Grill (1002 Ninth St., 286-3609, www.magnoliagrill.net) has pumpkin shortcakes with brandy-poached fruits and cranberry swirl ice cream.

Next week: Wake County's pumpkin treats. Then I, resembling a pumpkin, will need to be rolled into November.

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