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Beer and bourbon dinners at Jujube

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Even if you're not enrolled in school, the beginning of a school year feels like a good time to plan things. Here are a few of the funkier food-related events coming in the next few months, so you can do so.

For kids of all ages: From Sept. 13-Nov. 2, Lee Farm (901 Devil's Tramping Ground Road, Bear Creek, south of Siler City, 663-3869 or 545-6782) opens its corn maze in the shape of a rooster. Explore, get lost, eat snacks. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays, and 1-6 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $6 per adult and $4 for kids 4-12.

For culture lovers: The exhibit El Greco to Velazquez: Art During the Reign of Philip III, on display at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (nasher.duke.edu) through Nov. 9, celebrates art during the Spanish Golden Age. Why do I bring this up in a food column? Because there are several events celebrating Spanish food and wine planned in tandem with the exhibit, at area establishments. The list includes Spanish wine tastings at Wine Authorities (www.wineauthorities.com); "Friday Night Wine Flights" and tapas at Four Square (www.foursquarerestaurant.com), and Spanish-themed dinners at the Washington Duke Inn's (www.washingtondukeinn.com/Dining/fairview.asp).

Check out those sites for dates, times, and prices, and the El Greco events site (nasher.duke.edu/elgreco/events.php) for a complete list.

For beer and bourbon aficionados: Jujube Restaurant (1201-L Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, 960-0555, jujuberestaurant.com) will host some cool dinners during September. First, at 7 p.m. Sept. 9, is a five-course beer dinner featuring the brews of Asheville's Highland Brewing Company paired with chef-owner Charlie Deal's menu. Highland founder Oscar Wong will be there, should you have any questions while you eat fried banana and red rice crostini with roasted peanuts, watercress and sweet chili, paired with Cattail Peak Wheat Ale. Cost is $50 per person plus tax and gratuity. A week later, Jujube plans a six-course "brown liquor" dinner, with food and drinks made with Woodford Reserve bourbon. For example, spice-braised pork belly with grilled peaches and johnnycakes, served with a cardamom old-fashioned. Cost for this one is $55 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended for both.

For those interested in the latest news on sustainable food production: N.C. State University is hosting the Environmental Leadership Program's (www.elpnet.org) national conference, "The Politics of Food," Sept. 22-24. Through speakers, panels and workshops, the conference aims to "engage participants in a challenging exploration of how and why our food system works as it does, whether it is secure, just, and sustainable, and how it might be reshaped for the future," according to the ELP. "The conference will provide participants with an interactive forum to make new connections and share information while developing visionary, yet practical, solutions to local and national food-related challenges." For more information, or to register, visit www.elpnet.org/foodtour/index.php.

Know of a fun food event in the Triangle? E-mail food@indyweek.com.

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